Candleman Festival (17)
“A candle person, candy…” Chi Nan quickly regained his composure and said calmly, “And a note.”
“W-What?” Old Yu stared at him. The words candle person reflexively made him feel numb.
“It is just an ordinary candle person.” Chi Nan paused and added, “It is the one that Ye Chang made in the workshop.”
He was so calm that he was almost numb as he placed the box with the candle person, candy, and note on the table.
It was only then that Old Yu came over to confirm it himself. His eyes swept from the candle person to the candy and he frowned in a puzzled manner. Finally, he picked up the little note.
[Brother Nan, I promised to give you the handmade candle. I didn’t make you wait too long, right? It is the first time I’ve made something by myself to give away. Don’t dislike the rough parts.]
Ye Chang’s powerful handwriting was clearly printed on the light yellow paper.
Old Yu frowned even deeper. He threw away the note and wondered in a confused manner, “What is this all about? Ye Chang left it for you?”
Chi Nan answered, “It might be Ye Chang, or it might be Ye Chang’s other identity.”
Old Yu was confused. Chi Nan looked at the note and said calmly, “There are still words on the back.”
Old Yu quickly turned over and saw the back.
[This lucky candy also has a nickname. You sleepwalkers like to call it regret medicine. Sleepwalkers who have redeemed wishes can eat it to regret their previous wish. I will give a reminder that after the wish is withdrawn, only half the favorability will be returned.]
[I hope you like this regret medicine. I pray that you won’t use it.]
The signature read: [Your roommate.]
“F*k! Regret medicine! This rare item was so…easily sent to us?” Old Yu picked up the plainly packaged milk candy. He couldn’t believe that inside was the legendary rare item, regret medicine.
The intention behind giving the regret medicine at this time was obvious. Releasing the necessary items at the right timing to enhance the tension and decorate the dream had always been the code of conduct for dream makers.
Chi Nan looked at the regret medicine packaged as candy and remembered that it was the lucky candy that Rui Rui gave him and Ye Chang at dinner on the third day.
At that time, Ye Chang took it for him and promised to give him another candy after returning to the dormitory.
Unexpectedly, he delivered his promise in this way…
Dyson Sen’s despairing eyes lit up when she saw the regret medicine. “If this is really regret medicine, then eating it to withdraw the wish will mean the wick used to light the giant candle won’t exist!”
Then she acted a bit madly. She snatched the regret medicine from Old Yu’s hand and shook it in front of the young mother. “We will be saved if you eat this!”
The young mother’s expression darkened and she gritted her teeth. “I don’t regret it. Why should I eat it?”
Dyson Sen, whose awakening value had risen to 89, almost lost her mind. She grabbed the young mother’s hand and shouted, “Can you not be so selfish?! Now we don’t know if the method of melting the human wax will work or not. In any case, if your daughter is sacrificed as the wick then she will be dead anyway. It is better to let her be wiped out by the system before the sacrifice. You can get back half of the favorability and Rui Rui won’t experience so much pain. We can all survive!”
Old Yu looked at the increasingly gloomy sky. He frowned and speculated that the method of melting human wax didn’t work and agreed with Dyson Sen’s words. He had just wanted to persuade the young mother, but before he could say anything, he was interrupted by a clear slap.
The young mother directly slapped Dyson Sen’s face and her tone was calm, “F*k you, I said it already. I don’t regret resurrecting Rui Rui, I don’t regret it!”
Old Yu wisely swallowed down his words. He guessed that Dyson Sen wouldn’t be able to handle the slap on her face and would definitely find a way to force Rui Rui’s mother to take the regret medicine. This wicked man would leave it to her.
A bright red slap mark appeared on the left side of Dyson Sen’s face. Her right hand was just about to touch the gun in her pocket when the sound of electricity in the dormitory building made her stop moving.
The sound of the electric current grew louder and the radio in the corridor turned on.
“Thank you to the volunteers who have come from afar. The preparations for the Candleman Festival have been successfully completed. Today, we will usher in the festival of light and freedom. The ignition ceremony of the giant candle will be carried out at 9 o’clock in the morning. I welcome all volunteers to come to the town’s central square to witness the arrival of the moment when the giant candle is lit in front of the human candle memorial wall. The darkness will ebb forever and the light will remain with us forever.”
Everyone’s face turned pale when the broadcast was over.
9 o’clock in the morning… Less than an hour from now…
At this point, even Old Yu couldn’t stand idly by. “Rui Rui’s mother, we might’ve successfully sealed the alienated shadows in the exhibition hall yesterday and isolated the light source, but there probably isn’t enough time to successfully starve the shadows to death. You heard it just now on the radio. The Candleman Festival will be held in an hour and we are really running out of time. The only way now is to destroy the candle wick and prevent the candle from being lit.”
Old Yu’s tone was calm and objective so the young mother didn’t slap him. She just shook her head after a moment of silence. “I won’t do something like wiping out Rui Rui with my own hands, even if it is for the sake of living. It is impossible. I can’t do it.”
Then she pressed her lips together in a straight line, as if no one could make her change her mind.
Old Yu: “……”
Dyson Sen was on the verge of going berserk and she was no longer patient. She directly took out her gun and pressed it against the young mother’s forehead. “I’m not going to discuss it with you or ask for your opinion! Take the medicine for me! Immediately!”
The cold gun was pressed against her forehead, but the young mother stared directly at Dyson Sen without changing her expression. The atmosphere was stretched to the limit for a while.
Putting a gun at a teammate didn’t conform to the conventions of the Nightmare World, but Old Yu didn’t stop it. He also wished that he could force this stubborn woman to take the medicine that would save everyone.
Chi Nan had experienced two instances and he had seen the great malice manifested in humans in the face of death and fear. From Nan Lu to the middle-aged man on the cruise ship, the instinct for survival made them choose to sacrifice their companions to protect themselves. It was just that this situation was much more complicated than before.
Even so, Chi Nan didn’t feel nervous or fearful. In his opinion, there was still plenty of time. He suggested, “There is an hour left. Maybe the alienated shadows will starve to death, the human wax will smoothly melt, and Rui Rui can be saved.”
Dyson Sen looked at him coldly. “What are you saying? Don’t you know that waiting is the most dangerous behavior in the Nightmare World? The longer the time, the greater the variables. I don’t want to wait any longer…ah!”
The young mother suddenly turned sideways and grabbed at Dyson Sen’s hand holding the gun. She executed the move beautifully and she successfully subdued the aggressive Dyson Sen, seizing the gun.
She pressed the gun against Dyson Sen’s temple. “I said that I don’t regret it. No one can make me erase Rui Rui.”
Dyson Sen trembled as the gun was pointed at her, and she didn’t dare say another word. She could only stare at this young mother whose aura completely overwhelmed her. Old Yu also fell silent after swearing, out of fear that he would be shot in the head by this deadly woman.
The young woman saw that no one dared to force her to obliterate Rui Rui using the system before finally removing the gun from Dyson Sen’s temple.
“Let’s go to the central square to see. According to the information on the previous crayon drawing, Rui Rui should be next to the giant candle. We might be able to rescue Rui Rui during the time before the candle is lit.” Chi Nan was the only one who didn’t change his expression. He made a suggestion to the young mother as if the gun in the other person’s hand was just a toy to him.
The young mother nodded without hesitation. “Those who are willing to follow should follow. If someone tries to persuade me to kill Rui Rui, then I will blow their head off first.”
The young mother continued to threaten them, “If Rui Rui can’t be saved, then everyone will be buried with me.”
“Don’t…don’t leave me behind…” Xia Wei, who was confused from the fever, heard the noise over here and got up early. He was sitting down in the corridor weakly and threw a few anti-fever medicine in his mouth.
The thought of staying alone in this cold dormitory building where countless teammates had died made him afraid. He would rather go to the square with his teammates and die in a lively manner.
Old Yu, who couldn’t calm down at this time, smiled bitterly at him. “Isn’t it better for you to lie here where it is more comfortable? What is the point of tormenting yourself? There is someone here who isn’t willing to cooperate and we will all die in the end.”
Xia Wei’s voce was full of tears. “I’m not afraid of death. Isn’t dying normal after entering this ghostly Nightmare World? Who is afraid of that? I’m afraid of dying alone…”
Chi Nan pulled out a large box from underneath his head. It was the tools and weapons box that Ye Chang had prepared before. All sorts of controlled knives were available.
Before everyone could react, Chi Nan distributed the weapons to them. “Let’s go together.”
The air pressure outside was extremely low. The sky was overcast, as if it would rain down at any time.
The young mother ran in front with the gun in her hand. In the distance, she saw a giant curved altar full of sacrificial candles set up in front of the destroyed shadow wall in the central square. The altar contained a huge wax figure that was around 70 meters tall and made of special wax.
The statue was of a sleeping middle-aged man who was naked. There were many scars accumulated on his skin that were exposed to the public. Layers of flames were carved beyond him, like he was bathing in the burning fires of hell.
The giant candle was just a static wax statue, but the superb carving skills and life-like presentation made the sleepwalkers stunned by it. It was as if the flames surrounding the wax figure were really burning in front of them. As long as they stood here, they would be burned by the karmic fire and turned to ashes.
“Oh my god… Previously, I didn’t believe there was such a thing as a phobia toward giants, but today I have seen it.” Xia Wei, who was confused from the fever, held a boning knife and sighed at the sight of the giant wax figure. “It is exactly the same as the crayon drawing we saw that day…”
“How many bodies of the volunteers must’ve been piled up to create such a large wax statue?”
Chi Nan held a wrench in one hand and a hammer in the other. He looked at the huge candle and thought that after this wax figure was completely melted, the entire altar and the square might be flooded with blood.
“Do you see a figure hanging above?” Old Yu raised his voice to drown out the noisy crowd and pointed to the top of the altar.
Chi Nan and the others followed Old Yu’s fingers and saw that there was a hanging black shadow swaying in the wind in the center of the altar, just above the head of the giant wax figure. It was like a sunny doll hanging in a corridor or a prisoner hanged at the gallows.
“It should be… I remember that Rui Rui was wearing a black funeral dress…” It wasn’t known if it was due to the fever or due to this scene, but Xia Wei’s voice was trembling.
The young mother saw her daughter being hung and she lost her reason and judgment. She shot directly at the crowd around the center of the altar.
Then something strange happened. The town’s residents who participated in the festival weren’t panicked, and no one fell down. The cheers rose higher and almost completely covered up the gunshots.
The residents of Candleman Town, who normally didn’t leave their homes, were now dressed neatly in white clothing. They held hands in a circle around the altar and the giant wax statue, like wanderers dancing around a campfire at night.
Seeing this, Chi Nan and the others also used their weapons to attack. Chi Nan hit the head of a celebrating man with the hammer and the wrench, but it was like reinforced concrete. It was as if the skull dented by Chi Nan was bitten by a mosquito, and the man just scratched it without feeling any pain.
“What is going on? Can’t these NPCs be harmed?” The scene in front of him was too strange and Xia Wei sucked in a breath.
“Perhaps they aren’t human and are actually special wax products.” Normally, Chi Nan would consider using a torch to burn these NPCs, just like the previous You Yu’s dream. It was just that fire and light were taboo in this instance. He had to suppress this dangerous idea.
“Physical attacks against them should be ineffective,” Chi Nan confirmed it.
Hearing this, the young mother tried to shoot one of the NPCs in the heart at close range. Sure enough, the bullet penetrated the heart and there was regular wax under the exterior skin and flesh. The shot NPC kept singing and dancing to celebrate the coming of the festival in an unaffected manner.
The young mother saw that there weren’t many bullets left, so she had to put away the gun. She tried to squeeze through the celebrating crowd using her own body, trying to penetrate through the crowd and reach the altar to rescue her daughter.
Yet once she penetrated through the bustling crowd, she found that there was a barrier-like existence outside the altar that was like a tempered glass cover. No matter how violently she attacked it, she couldn’t shake the barrier in the slightest.
Facing the indestructible barrier around the altar, the young mother punched, kicked, and even hit it with her head. Her crazy behavior finally caught the attention of Rui Rui, who was hanging on the altar. Rui Rui started to twist her body fiercely as if to convey some message to her mother. Unfortunately, they were too far away and the surroundings were too noisy. No one could hear what Rui Rui was saying.
At this moment, the young mother finally noticed that there was a burning fire below her hanging daughter. The tongues of the fire flickered like a ghost, greedily and fiercely coveting the girl who was the wick of the candle.
The fire and the wick could never be separated. The wick was the heart of the candle, while the fire was the beating force of the heart.
It was just like the horrible scene predicted by the crayon drawing…
“Rui Rui! Rui Rui!” The young mother helplessly and desperately hit the barrier with her head while screaming her lungs out.
Old Yu had experienced many instances and was good at observing people’s behavior and emotions. At this moment, he seized the opportunity to squeeze through the crowd and patted the young mother’s shoulder. “Rui Rui’s mother, I’ll tell you this even if you don’t want to hear it. You can point the gun at my head, but I want to ask you to seriously consider these words.”
The young mother cried while looking at her daughter hanging above the flames and didn’t answer.
Old Yu continued, “It has reached this point. Rather than letting Rui Rui be lit by the fire, sealed in the human candle, and endure the pain of being burned alive, it is better to use the system to let her go happily. Even if you suffer a bit, you can get back half of the favorability. It isn’t too difficult to start over again.”
Old Yu paused deliberately. He saw that Rui Rui’s mother didn’t intend to point the gun at him and continued carefully, “Of course, I am saying this for myself and our remaining teammates. We want to go out alive. There are people waiting for us at home. What do you say?”
Old Yu glanced at the time. It was 8:53 a.m. and the human wax still showed no signs of melting.
He frowned fiercely, but his tone was convincingly calm. “I am saying you should consider these things carefully. We won’t force you. The medicine is here and your right to choose is also here.”
As he spoke, he handed the regret pill that had been packaged as candy to the young mother. She didn’t resist and took it in a daze.