CNC: Chapter 77

Mosaic School (End)

Before long, it was completely dark. The lobby of the boarding school, which was arranged as the party hall, was brightly lit.

At 8 o’clock in the evening, the front door in the lobby was pushed open by a force from outside. The snowstorm invaded the room and confused everyone.

It took about three minutes for the door to close again. The chaotic snowflakes and wind were cut off and there were nine more figures in the bright corridor.

They wore their school uniforms from before they died and stood upright and lifeless. There was a small white flower on each of their chests, with no exception.

The group had already prepared themselves, but they were still frightened when they saw their nine companions who had crawled out of the grave. After a brief moment of trepidation, several newcomers even covered their mouths with their hands to prevent themselves from vomiting out of nausea or fear.

These deceased classmates maintained the states they were in before they died. For example, the two boys of Room 101 were just skeletons with colorful hair, while the two boys of Room 108 looked like wooden statues. The saddest thing was Guo Xian. The swelling of the corpse made him look more bloated.

The nine sleepwalkers who were lucky enough to survive until tonight looked at their dance partners with some trepidation in their hearts. This dance was destined not to be enjoyable.

Only Chi Nan was fine.

Familiar footsteps were heard from the stairs. Chi Nan raised his head to greet his dance partner.

At this time, the female teacher stood on the dance floor. “Good evening students. It is a pleasure to see 19 students gathered here again. There are still four hours until we usher in the most special day, and some of you will successfully graduate from the boarding school. I will send blessings to everyone.”

“Next, please find the dance partner you invited and spend your last pleasant time together.”

“Brother Nan, do you remember the last time I taught you the dance steps?”

229 was very dedicated to playing the role of a doctor. He still hadn’t taken off his white coat as he stood in front of Chi Nan with a smile.

He gestured in invitation to Chi Nan, who noticed that this person was politely wearing gloves.

Chi Nan knew that 229 wasn’t willing to let him shed tears in front of everyone.

“I don’t remember at all,” Chi Nan added truthfully as he held 229’s hand. “You can teach it again.”

229 laughed and lowered his voice to whisper, “Okay, I got it.”

The rest of the sleepwalkers weren’t as lucky as Chi Nan. Their dance partners had died in a variety of strange ways, but the biggest common denominator was that they were all creepy.

The teacher said that they could choose a same sex dance partner, so everyone gave priority to the classmates they were more familiar with. Jiang Liang was forced to be assigned to Guo Xian of the same dormitory and had to dance with a bloated middle-aged corpse on the eve of his birthday. This could almost be called the most unbearable experience of his life…

The music played and the absurd party kicked off. The dance floor was full of demons.

Originally, there was an insurmountable line between the living and the dead. However, in the midst of the singing of this night, the line was diluted and even eliminated. The dance of the undead and the living was like some type of carnival ritual. Death was used as a sacrifice to welcome the arrival of February 29th.

229 taught the uncoordinated Chi Nan to dance like the last time on the Dusk Cruise Ship, and he laughed while teaching.

Chi Nan pursed his lips and looked at this person. “Can I look at your pocket watch?”

229 paused before laughing again. “Unfortunately, there is no chance now.”

“…Oh.”

229 look at him. “Why do you suddenly want to see it again?”

“I want to confirm something.” Chi Nan didn’t directly inform 229 of his conjecture.

229 just narrowed his eyes slightly and didn’t continue to ask. He suddenly smiled deeply after a while. “Brother Nan, there are some things you might not want to know.”

“…Oh.”

“Or maybe, knowing isn’t necessarily a good thing for you.”

Chi Nan carelessly said ‘oh’ again.

The time flow of the party was artificially sped up. It had only been three dance songs but the clock had already struck 11.

There was still an hour to go until the much anticipated 29th.

The female teacher paused the music and took a position at the head of the party. “Happy times are always short-lived. Congratulations to all the students. You have successfully completed the dance under the guidance of the tarot divination, and none of you have violated the school rules tonight.”

The music faded away and the nine undead who had crawled out of the cemetery stopped all their movements. They were frozen like statues in the center of the dance floor.

“The students who have bid farewell in advance should return to their places first. Next is the time that belongs to the living.” The female teacher turned to the nine ghosts. “Thank you for your participation tonight.”

She bowed deeply to the nine undead. Then, in the blink of an eye, the undead disappeared from the bright banquet hall without a trace.

The group finally sighed with relief. Chi Nan and Tang Yu’s deduction was correct. The tarot implied that one of the two dance partners must be sacrificed. The method of inviting the decreased sleepwalkers not only avoided death, but was also within the scope of the rules.

Everyone was lucky enough to escape ‘death.’

Only Chi Nan’s dance partner was still here.

229 put his hands in his pocket and stood aside. He admired the final fate of the remaining ten sleepwalkers as a bystander.

“Congratulations again to the ten students who have followed the school rules. Next we will usher in the most ceremonial part of the semester and the part I anticipate the most.” The female teacher swept her eyes over the uneasy crowd. “I think many of you have guessed what the upcoming special day means.”

“I have prepared the most delicious graduation gift for you. I hope you will enjoy it.”

The moment the female teacher’s voice ended, a huge double-layered cake was pushed out from the cafeteria.

The lights in the lobby instantly dimmed. The half-lit state was more disturbing than complete darkness.

It was already the last moment, so the group suppressed their nervousness and excitement. They looked at each other before finally looking at the clock that pointed to 11 o’clock.

There was still an hour left to go, but they had a hunch that the dream maker of this school wouldn’t let them spend their last moments in peace.

Chi Nan was the only one who didn’t blink at the cake.

The cake was piled with white flowers shaped with fresh cream. Clusters were placed on the bright red cake and it looked delicious.

“That cake base is red… It can’t be made of human blood, right?” Liang Han looked at the cake in the dim light and spoke with a trembling voice.

Chi Nan looked closer and shook his head calmly. “It should be a red velvet cake. It is very delicious.”

Liang Han: “……” How could anyone care about the taste of the cake at this time?

229 noticed Chi Nan’s every move and smiled from not far away.

Then the female teacher took out a small square box. “The teacher has prepared a surprise for you in order to celebrate the most special moment.”

The moment the box opened, all the sleepwalkers stuck their heads out. In the faint light, they saw that the box was neatly packed with nine colored candles.

The female teacher hadn’t explained the specific rules, but Tang Yu’s expression had already sank when she counted the number of candles.

“This is a special birthday candle. Only people who have their birthdays on February 29th can light the candle.” The female teacher solemnly showed the candles in her hand to everyone. “A candle symbolizes the life of a student. It is only by lighting the candle that you can continue your life, otherwise…”

Her red lips cracked open and she smiled stiffly.

Tong Yu had a bad premonition. “Why are there only nine? We obviously have 10 people left.”

The female teacher smiled. “Students, this is a problem that you need to solve on your own.”

No matter whether it was the dance partners or candles, the school would always offer one less than they actually needed. it was as if it was deliberately making them compete with each other.

Tang Yu wondered, “Do we need to do anything after lighting the candle?”

The female teacher answered brightly, “You just need to be pious enough in your heart. In the process of lighting the candle, each student will have a chance to draw a lottery and the prizes available are very rich.”

The group was in an uproar the moment she finished speaking. Tang Yu hurriedly asked, “This lottery process…will it consume our favorability points?”

The female teacher’s lips curled. “Of course not. This is an extra gift from the head of the school to the students.”

Chi Nan opened his mouth and asked, “Can you reveal a bit about what prizes are included in the lottery?”

The female teacher answered, “For example, some practical items that can allow you to pass an instance smoothly in the future, such as the regret medicine obtained by Student Guo previously. You can also get a chance to ask a question of the dream maker. These things are very precious to you.”

In other words, if they got the candle and lit it successfully, not only would they get out of the instance alive, but they would also get a precious lottery opportunity. The setting of not consuming favorability points was equivalent to a pie falling from the sky.

Correspondingly, one of the sleepwalkers would fail to draw a lottery and would also face death because they couldn’t light a candle.

Tang Yu stayed with Chi Nan for a long time and learned some tricks. She thought about it and wondered, “If we cut a candle in half and cut off the wax block to reveal the wick, won’t there be two candles? The teacher didn’t say how long it needed to be burned, only that a prize would be drawn…”

Unfortunately, before she could finish speaking, she was interrupted by the teacher’s harsh voice. “This student, you must not do anything to damage the candle or you will anger the head of the school who made the candles by hand.”

Obviously, the head of the school was 229 who was standing there watching the play.

Tang Yu hurriedly fell silent and bit her lip while feeling at a loss.

Chi Nan quietly asked the female teacher, “Can I use a candle I brought myself?”

The female teacher raised an eyebrow. “Of course not. It must be a candle made by the person in charge.”

“It was made by his own hands.” Chi Nan took out the small candle person that Ye Chang had left for him. “Teacher, this should be okay, right?”

The female teacher’s expression directly froze and she instantly entered an offline state.

After a long time, she nodded stiffly. “Very good, very good, it will work.”

Everyone was confused while Tang Yu looked at Chi Nan with a subtle expression. She might be full of questions, but out of courtesy and respect, she suppressed them.

Chi Nan inserted the small candle person into the cake. He instinctively glanced at 229 and mouthed, “Thank you.”

229 smiled and also mouthed, “You’re welcome.”

“Then let’s start the candle lottery in the order of the dormitory numbers. Please note that the candle must be lit and blown out by yourself, or it will be considered as violating a school rule and dealt with.”

The female teacher made the rules very clear. The sleepwalkers were worried that something would go wrong in the process of lighting the candles, so they consciously stood far away. They orderly queued up one by one to draw the lottery.

Chi Nan was the last one and 229 waited with a yawn.

He saw Chi Nan methodically insert the small candle man into the white cream in the shape of a flower. He lit it with the help of the lighter provided by the teacher and closed his eyes in the candlelight.

His luck stopped on the seemingly most useless prize, but it was exactly what Chi Nan wanted. [You have a chance to ask the system a question. Please note: there is no need to consume any favorability, but the system has the right to remain silent. Please think carefully before asking the question.]

Chi Nan had already thought it through and didn’t hesitate to speak the doubts in his heart.

“Tell me what secrets are hidden in the pocket watch of 229.”

229 might’ve already explicitly rejected him once just now and the system noted that it might remain silent, but Chi Nan didn’t hesitate to try again.

However, at almost the same moment when Chi Nan expressed his doubts, 229 received his question and pressed the ‘reject’ button on the system interface.

He wasn’t afraid of being known by Chi Nan. It was something that was out of his control right now and he was keen to watch the change in Chi Nan’s expression and his inner struggle. But…

229 couldn’t explain what he was worried about or what he was running away from…

He summed up all the emotions that couldn’t be explained: he wanted to save the most interesting part for the end, just like the strawberry on the cake had to be eaten at the end.

The matter of revealing his identity to Chi Nan was the so-called strawberry on the cake.

He had to let Chi Nan know his identity at the perfectly set time, scene, and story background so as to ensure enough drama and appreciation to satisfy his interests…

229 convinced himself so thoroughly that he rejected it with peace of mind.

So less than half a second after Chi Nan asked the question, he received a rejection message from the system.

[I’m sorry to inform you that the question you raised has been made classified by Dream Maker 229 and you won’t be able to get an answer.]

As expected… Chi Nan felt a hint of regret in his heart.

Chi Nan was about to open his eyes when the system suddenly flashed without warning.

[Sleepwalker Chi Nan, please note that even though your question was rejected by Dream Maker 229, it has been reviewed by a system administrator with a much higher authority.]

Chi Nan was immediately stunned. A system administrator with higher authority? Could it be that a dream maker with an authority above 229 intervened?

Did 229 usually offend a lot of his colleagues?

[Your question has been reviewed by the higher authority system administrator. Now you can view the secret of Dream Maker 229’s pocket watch through the system virtual interface.]

The moment the system voice ended, the pocket watch that 229 carried with him appeared in Chi Nan’s line of sight.

[Sleepwalker Chi Nan, please check the secrets belonging to 229.]

“Thank you.”

His heart seemed to beat faster and even his breathing was a bit out of rhythm. Chi Nan felt that a certain nerve supporting him was tense. This might be the ‘nervous’ emotion that humans usually spoke about.

Then why was he nervous? Chi Nan himself couldn’t tell…

He stretched out his hand and opened the cover of the pocket watch in the virtual interface of the system. Even if it was virtual, the pocket watch gave him a very similar feeling to 229’s. The touch was cold as if it had just been taken out of the freezer…

The glass of the pocket watch had a shallow crack like the watch had been dropped and broken. The time on it had long since stopped.

It was forever stopped at 12:20.

Chi Nan stared at the still hour and minute hands. 12:20 was the password of his phone, the password in the first nightmare instance and… the time of death of You Yu.

Chi Nan was too familiar with this combination of numbers.

He silently closed the pocket watch and thanked the system again.

Chi Nan opened his eyes and blew out the candle on the cake.

229, who was standing not far away, didn’t seem to know that he had been betrayed by a ‘higher authority manager’ and there was still the same smiling expression on his face. It was as if he admired Chi Nan, who was completely under his control.

It wasn’t until he and Chi Nan made eye contact that 229’s eyelids twitched fiercely. A subtle premonition surged in his heart.

Chi Nan didn’t say anything. He cut a piece of cake by himself and carefully moved the cream flower onto the red velvet cake using the blade of the knife, making the cake piece on the paper plate look richer and thicker.

He walked toward 229 with the cake. The light in the lobby was too dim, so 229 couldn’t clearly see Chi Nan’s expression this time.

This lasted until Chi Nan handed the cake to him and told him in a low voice, “Happy birthday.”

229’s eyelids twitched again and he didn’t speak.

Chi Nan repeated, “Happy birthday.”

“Happy birthday, You Yu,” Chi Nan said.

Proofreader: Kat

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