CNC: Chapter 49

Chapter 49 – Zi City

Old Yu looked at Chi Nan with a complicated expression and shook his head. “Your question is out of the ordinary. I haven’t heard of such a situation.”

Chi Nan: “……”

“The dream makers and sleepwalkers have never existed in the same class. They are the dominant ones and we are just prey being toyed with in the palms of their hands. Since you know the truth, there is no need to be so attached.” Old Yu was quite optimistic about Chi Nan’s potential and was worried that other factors would interfere with Chi Nan’s performance in the Nightmare World. Therefore, he gave a reminder.

Chi Nan nodded but said, “Really? I thought they were the service people and we were the guests?”

The customer was God. Chi Nan remembered that human society had always preached this way.

Old Yu’s lips twitched before he smiled. “You are talking about the dream makers as service workers. You really think of the Nightmare World as a haunted house.”

Chi Nan thought to himself, ‘Isn’t it? I get to eat and drink for free and experience different things. The only drawback is that it is a bit dangerous.’

“However, if you really want to see the dream maker, then you can try the system.”

Chi Nan looked slightly stunned and raised his eyes to look at Old Yu.

“First, you have to increase your favorability. In the Nightmare World, favorability is equivalent to currency. If you have more, then the service staff will look at you with surprise, right? I also feel…” Old Yu paused and smiled secretly. “That dream maker is interested in you as well.”

Chi Nan lowered his eyelashes and moved his lips. It was just that the driverless train entered the station and the wind completely covered up his words.

On the train, the group finally relaxed after the five days of horror and gathered to eat, drink, and chat.

Dyson Sen held the gun she used to end her companion’s life and said nothing from beginning to end. Meanwhile, Xia Wei rolled up his sleeve and rubbed hand cream onto the hand he lost and regained, cherishing it very much.

 Old Yu bit a cigarette in the smoking area. He wasn’t such a particular person before, but now there was Rui Rui in the carriage. He was embarrassed to smoke in front of a little girl.

“I’m really curious. What is going on with you mother and daughter? If you don’t mind, can you tell me about it in detail?” Xia Wei was idle and gossiped with the mother and daughter.

Rui Rui looked at her mother. “Can I tell this brother?”

Her mother was different from when she first entered the instance and she smiled gently and calmly. “You can make your own decisions now that you have grown up.”

Rui Rui smiled. “Thank you, Mom.”

“On Mom’s birthday, it rained a lot. Dad ordered a cake and booked a restaurant to surprise Mom. After work, he came to school to pick me up to go to the restaurant and wait for Mom.”

“On the way, my father and I were involved in a car accident. A big cement truck hit us. My father died on the spot. Since I was sitting in the back row, I was sent to the hospital for emergency treatment…” Rui Rui lowered her eyes as she spoke and threw a large piece of red velvet cake in front of her into the trash.

On the day of the car accident, her father had ordered a big double-layered strawberry cream cake that was placed in the passenger seat. The moment the car accident happened, Rui Rui saw the packaging box of the cake being torn. Her father’s blood soaked the snow-white cream and the chocolate card that said ‘Happy Birthday to my wife’ was torn in half. Half fell to the ground, while half was submerged in blood-red cream.

Blood dripped and the melted cream flowed through the badly damaged car. The sweet red covered the cold, sharp iron.

Rain fell outside the car and the strangely sweet and fishy smell became her most feared memory. She didn’t want to see a cake any longer.

“I knew that my father was gone. I might’ve been in a coma at the time, but my consciousness was unexpectedly clear. On the way from the ambulance into the emergency room, I made a wish for my father to come back to life so we could celebrate my mother’s birthday together.”

Rui Rui blinked and lowered her voice. She shrugged her shoulders while pretending to be relaxed. “However, I died. Later, my mother made a wish at my funeral and came to this world to resurrect me.”

“Mom made an additional wish when she resurrected me. She didn’t want to remember the days when I was gone so she forgot the process of resurrecting me. In order to protect her, I naturally inherited her previous memories and experiences. I made up my mind to protect my mother and continued to fulfill my wish of resurrecting my father.”

Rui Rui smiled brightly at her mother who was wiping her tears. “Mom, happy birthday. Thinking about it, I now have the opportunity to tell you this personally.”

The young mother hugged Rui Rui. “Thank you, Rui Rui. Our family will soon be reunited.”

Xia Wei listened to the story of the three members of Rui Rui’s family and cried again. At this time, Old Yu had already finished smoking and returned to the carriage. He sneered. “Why are you crying again?”

Xia Wei pressed a tissue to the corner of his eyes and said loudly, “I easily cry and have strong empathy.”

Old Yu: “……” He looked around and didn’t see Chi Nan. “Where did Chi Nan go?”

Xia Wei replied, “He seems to have gone to the sleeping carriage next door in order to sleep.”

Chi Nan, who was lying on the top bunk of the soft sleeper bed, slept for a bit before waking up groggy.

He didn’t open his eyes, but the monotonous sound of the train moving over the railroad tracks kept repeating in his ears.

He felt it was a bit noisy and covered his ears with a pillow.

Ever since coming to the Nightmare World, he hadn’t really been alone. First, there was Hei Cha chattering in his ears all the time. Later, he met Ye Chang. Ye Chang might not talk much, but it made him feel peaceful and lively, even if they were silent.

Chi Nan finally realized this and felt curious and lost about his own confusion.

Before he knew it, he seemed to have become used to having people around him. Now those people disappeared from his side for the moment, leaving only the sound of the train.

Chi Nan couldn’t sleep.

He walked from the soft sleeper carriage to the dining carriage to eat something and cushion his stomach. He had just walked out of the carriage when he saw Rui Rui waving at him.

“Brother, thank you.” Rui Rui understood the whole process of clearing the dream. She knew very well that if Chi Nan hadn’t cut off the light source of the ghost wall and starved the shadows to death to melt the human wax, she probably would’ve had to leave her mother for a long time.

Chi Nan crouched down in front of the little girl. He hesitated for a moment before wondering, “Excuse me, do you still have that lucky candy?”

Rui Rui nodded. “Yes. Brother, do you need it?”

Chi Nan couldn’t get along with ordinary children so he lightened his breathing to hide his nervousness. “Yes, if you can.”

“OF course.” Rui Rui smiled generously and took out the familiar candy from her pocket, placing it on the palm of his hand. “However, aren’t you allergic to sugar?”

Chi Nan lowered his eyes while holding the candy in the palm of his hand. “No, that brother lied to you before.”

“He likes to lie the most…” Chi Nan opened the wrapper and placed the candy in his mouth.

The rich milky fragrance immediately spread between his lips and teeth. The sweetness quickly occupied his consciousness.

His green eyes flashed and his eyelashes dropped. Tears fell from the corners of his eyes along with his movements.

“Brother, why are you crying?” She was no stranger to Xia Wei’s tears, but this was the first time she had seen Chi Nan’s tears.

Chi Nan tried his best to mobilize the muscles of his face and finally let the corners of his lips curve upwards. “Thank you. The sugar is delicious.”

***

The group of people came to the Dawn Base according to the normal process to calculate the favorability. The system’s lifeless voice was once again heard from the radio.

[First of all, congratulations to all the sleepwalkers for successfully clearing the Candleman Festival. The following is the calculation of favorability.]

[Successfully completed the five days of volunteer work. It is calculated as 5 points of favorability per day. The five day cumulative favorability is 25 points per person.]

[Successfully survived and attended the Candleman Festival, 10 favorability points per person.]

Xia Wei pated his chest and sighed while saying, “It was dangerous, dangerous.” He almost missed out on these 10 points of favorability.

[Dormitory members who have been awarded the title of ‘Excellent Volunteer’ will get 10 points of favorability for each time.]

Everyone’s expression became subtle at this point. This favorability was distributed according to the dormitory members. The last two nights were randomly assigned so Dyson Sen in Room 109 and Old Yu and Xia Wei in Room 103 got it. They might’ve adopted the method of ‘exchanging the leopard cat with the crown prince’ and swapped rooms with Chi Nan and Ye Chang, but they could still be assigned the favorability points if they survived.

{The sleepwalker who successfully discovered the rules of the shadow alienation for the first time will gain 10 favorability points.]

[Successfully destroyed the shadow wall of Candleman Town and joined forces to rescue 186 souls trapped in the Candleman Festival, there will be a collective favorability of 20 points.]

Old Yu was in a good mood and whistled after hearing this.

[The dormitory from which the candle wick was selected will gain 10 favorability points per person.]

[The individual selected as the wick will receive a special reward of 20 favorability points.]

The young mother crouched down and hugged Rui Rui tightly, while Rui Rui kissed her mother’s forehead.

[The Candleman Festival special bonus: If you successfully kill a companion whose shadow is alienated, you will receive 30 points of favorability as encouragement.]

This should be the task with the highest reward apart from the most dangerous candle wick. Everyone looked at Chi Nan enviously, but Chi Nan was expressionless.

It turned out that killing Ye Chang with his own hands could earn him 30 favorability points.

[Mr. Yu has earned 65 points of favorability.]

[Xia Wei has earned 65 points of favorability.]

[Dyson Sen has earned 65 points of favorability.]

[Rui Rui has earned 85 points of favorability.]

[Lin Anlu (Rui Rui’s mother) has earned 65 points of favorability.]

[Chi Nan has earned 115 points of favorability.]

[The scores of the people who disappeared from the dream instance are cleared and won’t be counted.]

Chi Nan took a look at the favorability system interface. His negative favorability was finally offset and had reached 100 points after this instance.

However, his wish to ‘stop crying’ required 600 favorability points and this was far from enough.

Rui Rui and her mother were bound together to fulfill their wish, so their favorability was the same. This Candleman Festival instance added 150 favorability to their family’s wish to reunite.

Old Yu came over and rubbed the little girl’s head. “Congratulations. It shouldn’t be long before your family of three can be reunited.”

The nervousness on the young mother’s face finally disappeared. She stroked her hair and smiled. “If there is no accident, we can go out after one more instance.”

As she spoke, she looked at Chi Nan who was standing a bit further away from the crowd. “You know Mr. Chi quite well, right? This time, our mother and daughter should really thank him.”

“That child really isn’t an ordinary person. I just don’t know after this incident with Ye Chang if…”

Before Old Yu could finish speaking, the system that finished broadcasting the scores started making the sound of an electric current again.

[In this instance mission, congratulations to sleepwalker Chi Nan for getting a mission souvenir: A wax candle person, a pair of broken glasses.]

Chi Nan wondered, “Do these have any special effects?”

The system: [They can be kept as a souvenir to think about people when seeing them.]

Everyone: “……”

Chi Nan nodded. “Okay.”

The favorability calculations were finished and the group left the Dawn Base station.

As Chi Nan expected, he was the only one on the train back to Zi City this time.

He slept in the darkness and by the time he woke up, the train had stopped at the station.

He dragged his suitcase through the deserted and bright streets and returned to the apartment of Building 57 in the Third North District. He paused when he passed Room 205. He was just about to knock on the door when he saw a post-it note left by Hei Cha on the door.

“Chi Nan and Student Ye: I’ve gone to a nightmare. Wait for me to come back to have cheese fondue together. The base is ready. Hehe, wait for me!”

Chi Nan read the short sentences three or four times before tearing off the post-it note, folding it, and placing it in his pocket.

He walked back to the Room 206 assigned to him. He froze the moment he used the key to open the door. The small pot of mint on the balcony had withered, and the originally fat and tender leaves had dried up and turned yellow. Chi Nan threw the dead mint into the trash can.

This was what Ye Chang had brought back from the supermarket and placed on the windowsill. He said that mint leaves were needed from time to time for bartending and making desserts. It was convenient to have a pot on the windowsill.

However, Chi Nan felt that raising flowers or plants was troublesome in itself. He had only been away for five days and the mint had died.

There was the clicking sound of the lock and Chi Nan dragged his suitcase back into his dormitory. He frowned imperceptibly when he saw the situation inside.

During the time when they had left, the room was cleaned up and as Ye Chang’s identity had disappeared, all traces of his life were also erased.

Chi Nan quickly inspected the room.

The bed that belonged to Ye Chang, his clothes in the cupboard, his toothbrush cup and face towel on the washstand, and his exercise books on the bookshelf had completely disappeared without a trace.

There was no ‘physical evidence’ of him living here, and even the memories became a bit illusory, as if Ye Chang had never existed at all.

Chi Nan took out the post-it note left by Hei Cha and placed it on the desk with Ye Chang’s glasses. He put the candle person aside as a figure.

Then he opened the refrigerator and started to enjoy the lemon cheesecake and super large caramel pudding that he hadn’t eaten before.

Three days later, there were rapid footsteps in the corridor. Chi Nan, who was sleeping in the dark, opened his eyes in confusion. Then anxious knocking was heard on the door.

Chi Nan opened the door with sleepy eyes and faced a dusty Hei Cha. There was a momentary flash of imperceptible joy in his heart, but his face was as calm as ever.

“Do you want to eat cheese fondue?” he rubbed his eyes and spoke, “You might have to wait a bit. The pot hasn’t been washed and the ingredients have to be prepared again.”

Hei Cha was stunned for half a second before opening his mouth with undisguised excitement. “Chi Nan—I really missed you guys!”

If he hadn’t remembered that Chi Nan had a phobia of touching then he would’ve rushed to hug Chi Nan and express his thoughts and joy.

“This time it was really dangerous. Let me tell you, I almost…” Hei Cha took off his shoes and entered the apartment without looking. He started to explain about his near-misses, and Chi Nan listened carefully and quietly while handing Hei Cha cold beer and Coke.

Hei Cha talked for a long time and drank half a can of cold beer. Then he raised his head to scan the 206 dormitory again and suddenly felt that there was something wrong in the emptiness.

“By the way, what about Student Ye? Did he go out shopping?” Hei Cha asked.

Chi Nan instinctively looked at Ye Chang’s broken glasses and replied softly, “He didn’t come out of the instance.”

Proofreader: Kat

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1 month ago

Aw my heart… so Chi Nan likes to eat sweets to console himself ;-;

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