The next day, everyone gathered in the cafeteria for breakfast. They waited until almost 8:30 a.m., but Bai Chuan and Gu Xiao didn’t show up.
“What’s going on? Could it be that the two young children overslept?” the young mother asked as she looked at the empty door to the cafeteria, “Do you want to call them? The foreman said that the roll call is at 9 o’clock and we can’t be late.”
Time passed minute by minute, but the two people didn’t appear. The expressions of the veteran sleepwalkers had already sunk.
“Yes, let’s go and look at their room.” Old Yu drank all the porridge in his bowl and put down the bowl.
At 8:30 a.m., the group returned to the dormitory building and approached Room 107 where Gu Xiao and Bai Chuan lived.
The door of Room 107 was closed and a dead silence came from it.
Old Yu first knocked gently on the door. “Gu Xiao, Bai Chuan, are you inside?”
As expected, no one responded.
Old Yu knocked again. “If no one answers, we will go in.”
The moment he finished speaking, he unceremoniously pushed open the door.
The group of sleepwalkers saw the situation in the room and couldn’t help making a sound of surprise.
There were no living people in the room, or the expected bloody and horrific scene. Everything was as usual. The folds of the sheets obviously showed traces of people sleeping. Their phones were plugged into the chargers by the bed and the kettle seemed to have been accidentally knocked over and had rolled to the ground.
It was just that the people in the room had disappeared for no reason. The clothes hanging on the drying rack weren’t put away, and the suitcases weren’t taken. It was as if they had evaporated into thin air.
It was even creepier than seeing a bloody scene.
The newcomer mother saw this scene and innocently asked, “Did these two children go somewhere and forgot to tell us?”
“I’m not familiar with Bai Chuan, but Gu Xiao definitely isn’t such a person,” Xia Wei said with a frown.
“Then what’s going on?”
“It’s so weird…”
Chi Nan had smelt a “burnt smell” the moment he entered the room. It wasn’t exactly the smell of things burning. It was like a fire had been lit in the room, leaving behind the heat and unique smell of combustion.
“Do you smell it?” he asked, “There is a strange smell in the room.”
Everyone shook their heads at the question. Only Ye Chang nodded. “It is like the smell left by a candle after it is burned.”
“You can smell that?!” Xia Wei looked at Ye Chang with some surprise.
Ye Chang pushed up his glasses. “If your eyes aren’t good, your sense of smell and hearing will be sharper.”
Chi Nan glanced at him and said softly, “Me too.”
Everyone looked around again and sighed when they saw that Gu Xiao and Bai Chuan weren’t hiding in the cabinet or under the bed.
The fact that a body wasn’t found meant there was still a glimmer of hope of survival, although this hope was almost negligible in the Nightmare World.
“There is nothing unusual in the room but the two children have disappeared.” Old Yu bit his cigarette irritably and shook his head.
Chi Nan’s eyes swept from Bai Chuan’s backpack to the table and then the bed. “Did you see the cardboard box? The one that the female foreman rewarded him with.”
Old Yu looked stunned. “I didn’t see it.”
Then he looked at the group, who all shook their heads. Finally, his gaze fell on Bai Chuan’s half open backpack.
Xia Wei opened his mouth. “It is already like this. We can’t care about privacy. We should rummage through the bag to look for clues. I think Bai Chuan and Gu Xiao won’t blame us.”
He bit his lip. “If they’re still alive…”
Then he took the lead in grabbing Bai Chuan’s bag and shaking the contents of the bag onto the bed. The rest of the people also went to search through the room, but they didn’t find any trace of the small, white cardboard box.
“It seems that the cardboard box has disappeared into thin air along with them.”
The young mother’s face instantly turned pale and she instinctively hugged Rui Rui. “So…what do we do now?”
“Let’s go.” Old Yu looked at his watch. “It is already 8:55. We should go to the workshop first.”
The group arrived at the workshop and found that the female foreman who taught them how to make candles had already prepared wax blocks, mirrors, carving knives, and other objects for them.
She seemed to be in a particularly good mood today and a strange light was shining in her eyes. “Good morning.”
Everyone: “……” Hello to you as well, Sister.
“Your faces don’t look very good. Didn’t you rest well last night?” The foreman glanced at everyone several times. “It seems that there are already volunteers who have made great contributions to our Candleman Festival.
Old Yu smelled the unusual scent of a clue when he heard this. “What do you mean?”
The foreman smiled stiffly. “Thank you for your words.”
Chi Nan asked, “The two volunteers from Room 107 disappeared this morning. Do you know where they went?”
The foreman shrugged. “In our Candleman Town, there are always volunteers who disappear for no reason. However, don’t worry. In a place where we can’t see, they must be happy and safe now.”
Everyone scolded her in their hearts, “What type of sensational nonsense is this?!”
Ye Chang wondered, “Is their disappearance related to the contribution you just mentioned?”
The female foreman’s eyes rolled and she finally looked over stiffly like a robot. “Sorry, I don’t have a good memory. I often forget what I said two minutes ago.”
“……” This rough pretense of stupidity must be the dream maker cutting corners, right?
The female foreman looked at them again and her lips raised in a stiff smile. “We’ve taken up a lot of time. Let’s start today’s work. It is the same content as yesterday. Use your own faces as a prototype to make the candle people. The more similar it is, the higher the score. The final judgment is still based on groups.”
“The rewards will be the same as yesterday. The dormitory with the excellent volunteers will receive a special gift.”
Yesterday, everyone had been excited and looked forward to it. Now, her words made them anxious. It was clear that the disappearance of the two boys in 107 was definitely related to the ‘Excellent Volunteer’ reward.
“What to do now? Do we want to…” The young mother glanced at the mirror in front of her. She used to like looking in the mirror the most, but today she was creeped out when she saw her face in the mirror.
Everyone looked at each other. If they didn’t do it, there was a punishment for slacking off. The specific punishment wasn’t known and it might be more dangerous than going missing…
However, they had already seen what happened to Bai Chuan and Gu Xiao after they worked hard…
Old Yu frowned, revealing a worry he never had before. “What should we do? How can we avoid the downfall of the Excellent Volunteer?”
The group was nervously silent.
Chi Nan suddenly asked seriously like a good student, “If we go on strike collectively, how will the punishment be calculated? What about the Excellent Volunteer?”
Rather than guessing, they should ask the NPC who gave the rules. Whether she would answer or not was a different matter.
The female foreman seemed to have never met such a direct volunteer and it took her a moment to react. “Then we will randomly select a lucky person to become the Excellent Volunteer, and the rest will be collectively punished.”
Everyone: “……” It was over. This was the meaning of collectively sending heads.
The female foreman continued with her ambiguous and creepy words. “Those of us in Candleman Town have always been hospitable. We won’t let volunteers spend long nights in disappointment and darkness.”
“What do we do now? The method of a collective strike won’t work.”
“It is over whether we do it or not. There is no solution…”
“I don’t know how the two boys are now…”
Everyone’s anxiety and fear multiplied and stacked up as minute after minute passed. The female foreman was smiling while admiring the fear of the group. She seemed to be very happy.
At such a time, no one dared to stand up and say something. After all, even if they didn’t care about their own life or death, they had to consider their roommate. The punishment was based on the dormitory…
The moment Chi Nan heard the rules given by the foreman, the first thing that came to mind was Ye Chang’s 90% death rate that was raised by the system.
If it was really random, Ye Chang would definitely be the first sacrifice and was almost certain to die.
If it was based on the dormitory, then what should he do to avoid risks for Ye Chang?
As Chi Nan was thinking, Ye Chang watched him silently. The eyes hidden behind the lenses were full of expectation, as if waiting for some upcoming surprise.
Finally, Chi Nan thought about it clearly and told the group, “I’ll become the Excellent Volunteer.”
Everyone looked over in surprise when they heard this apart from Ye Chang and Old Yu, who were already accustomed to Chi Nan’s behavior.
The young mother couldn’t help saying with surprise, “But…the two of you will…”
She turned to look at Chi Nan’s roommate, Ye Chang.
Ye Chang smiled as softly as before. “I have no problem with it.”
Chi Nan looked at him. “No, you can stay in 107 at night. In any case, 107 is empty now.”
Ye Chang imperceptibly raised an eyebrow.
Wu Ying questioned, “The rule is that you can’t change roommates. You will be violating the rule…”
Chi Nan cocked his head. “I am still staying in the original dormitory and don’t have a new roommate. I am just temporarily separated from Ye Chang. How can that be counted as illegally changing roommates?”
The female foreman had stressed several times that the score was based on the group but in fact, there was only one box. The dormitory where the box was located would encounter the accident.
Therefore, the death rule was likely to be based on the dormitory. If it was based on people, both of them would be given a separate box. The material didn’t look that expensive.
According to the logic, two people could live separately, where one took the box and stayed in the original dormitory while the other left and went to an empty dormitory to avoid the risk.
It wasn’t 100% certain, but the probability of Ye Chang surviving was definitely higher than a random situation.
Old Yu was the first to react. “Yes, this only counts as a roommate leaving the dormitory temporarily. It doesn’t count as a change of roommate.”
Just as everyone thought it made sense, Ye Chang suddenly joked, “Do you want to temporarily separate? I disagree.”
Chi Nan: “…….?”
Xia Wei hissed on the side. These two people definitely weren’t right…
“Don’t you want to play together? It is like the special room on the Dusk Cruise Ship.”
Chi Nan had never seen anyone who would invite the other person so gently and seriously to take him to his death.
Chi Nan stared at him but couldn’t seem to see this person’s expression clearly. “You have forgotten that you are unlucky. Don’t play around.”
Ye Chang picked up the carving knife and continued the unfinished template from yesterday. “In the exhibition hall yesterday, didn’t I promise you that I would send you a candle person if I had the chance?”
Chi Nan was suddenly a bit irritable. He didn’t notice it but his brow was furrowed. “So you want to make it for me now?”
“Yes, I think so.” Ye Chang pushed up his glasses and calmly spoke, “In fact, with you there, I think I can find a way to deal with it no matter what the rule of death is.”
Chi Nan wondered, “Huh?”
“As long as you…trust me.” Ye Chang swallowed down the words “shed some tears.”
Chi Nan confirmed it again. “Have you really thought of a solution?”
Ye Chang shrugged. “It isn’t 100% certain, but it is worth a try and perhaps we can find a key clue. I don’t want to miss such an opportunity. It should be done together.”
He looked at Chi Nan through his lens and issued an invitation. “Brother Nan, let me be with you. I really don’t want to separate.”
Chi Nan: “……” He was a bit shaken.
Ye Chang declared firmly, “Even if it is temporary, I don’t want to.”