Highway 404 (13)
“W-What’s going on here?” Pei Mo looked at You Yu sitting in the driver’s seat and then at Chi Nan, who hadn’t had time to remove his makeup. Pei Mo’s face was full of surprise. “How can there be one more Chi Nan?”
Lu Baizhou and Jiang Yu were much calmer and they glanced at Pei Mo together. “He should be the younger brother character who was just dug up by us.”
“Huh? How is he alive?”
Pei Mo looked at the other ‘Chi Nan’ in the car incredulously and felt that his imagination and receptive ability as a middle-aged man were overwhelmed.
Jiang Yu shrugged and looked at Chi Nan. “Can we still sit in this car?”
Before Chi Nan could speak, You Yu in the car smiled and looked at Chi Nan. “Do you have any other choice?”
Chi Nan walked toward the car first and naturally opened the door of the front passenger seat. He looked at You Yu from top to bottom. “Do you have a driver’s license?”
His tone was like a traffic cop checking a driver’s license.
You Yu took out the Nightmare World’s driver’s license from his pocket and displayed it in front of Chi Nan. “Don’t worry. For the safety of the sleepwalkers, we are all licensed drivers.”
“Yes, then work hard driving.” Chi Nan got into the car and fastened his seat belt.
The other three people saw Chi Nan get into the car. There was no other way, so they had to follow. Pei Mo hesitantly pulled open the car door, suspicious of the driver who came from an unknown source.
You Yu didn’t even look at them. He just turned his head to ask Chi Nan, “So we will be on our way?”
You Yu directly pressed the accelerator and drove in a fast but stable manner.
The atmosphere in the car was eerily quiet. The three people in the back seat were looking at the two ‘Chi Nans’ and didn’t know what to say.
Finally, Jiang asked the new driver, “Why did you suddenly change drivers?”
You Yu answered, “He has driven 1600 km. It isn’t safe to drive when tired.”
The group: “……” It was really f*king safe.
Jiang Yu asked again, “Where did the previous driver go?”
You Yu replied, “Who knows? Maybe he walked back along the road by himself. Don’t worry.”
Jiang Yu looked at You Yu’s speed and wanted to say something, but finally, her lips moved and she fell silent. Chi Nan wiped his hands with a disinfectant wipe, took out his contact lenses, and put them back in the box.
You Yu held the steering wheel with one hand and took out a wet paper towel with his other hand, wiping under the corner of Chi Nan’s eyes. “Makeup should be removed in time. This type of old and inferior makeup isn’t good for the skin.”
“Okay, I’ll do it myself.” Chi Nan took the wet paper towel from You Yu’s hand. He carefully didn’t touch this person’s fingers as he wiped off the concealer at the corner of his eyes.
He paused before reminding him again, “Drive well.”
You Yu smiled.
Chi Nan saw that the knife mark on You Yu’s neck had healed and confirmed, “My character has completed his atonement and redemption?”
“It was really nicely done,” You Yu gave an affirmative answer.
Chi Nan continued to test the rules. “The motel owner mentioned previously that everyone in the car must complete the tasks of their roles in order to survive after the SUV reaches the end, right?”
You Yu wasn’t stingy and directly said, “Yes, but it seems you don’t have a long way to go.”
Chi Nan watched him increase to a speed of 100 km per hour and asked softly, “You know the situation, but you are still driving so hard?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m used to it.” You Yu said this but he didn’t have the slightest intention of slowing down his speed. He even stepped harder on the accelerator while whispering to himself, “I thought my brother wasn’t such a well-behaved person that he would sit in the car and wait for the weather to change.”
Then You Yu shifted his gaze to the car radio and didn’t continue speaking.
Chi Nan noticed his gaze and was silent for a moment. He suddenly twisted the radio FM button and a staticky ‘zizizi’ replaced the slow song.
Everyone saw Chi Nan doing something to the radio that could predict the events and were so nervous that they instinctively straightened their backs and stretched out their necks. They stared at his fingers that kept pressing the radio button and their eyes looked panicked.
If it was another person, then they would’ve yelled at him a long time ago. However, this person was Chi Nan and everyone was a bit afraid of Chi Nan.
A tense silence filled the car. Their fear of Chi Nan didn’t come from being afraid of him but from awe.
In the end, Pei Mo couldn’t help asking, “Chi Nan, you have messed up the radio channel like this… What if the weather forecast we receive is inaccurate?”
After all, this was the radio that determined the progress of their mission and the weather they encountered depended on the broadcast. If it was messed up due to Chi Nan, then the consequences would be unimaginable.
Chi Nan told him, “I want it to be inaccurate.”’
“Eh, why?” Pei Mo panicked and raised his voice.
Chi Nan continued to turn the channel dial. “Perhaps what the radio tells us isn’t the weather broadcast, but it determines what type of weather we can encounter.”
Pei Mo became even more confused, but Jiang Yu understood a bit and her eyes lit up. “You mean that we can change the rhythm of our mission by changing the content of the weather forecast?”
Chi Nan nodded. “We don’t have much time left. It is too passive if we let the pace of the mission be determined according to a random weather radio forecast.”
He paused before adding, “That is just my guess. It needs to be verified with an experiment.”
As he spoke, there was a static sound from the radio and the familiar female voice was heard.
[Listeners and friends having a good trip, this is the weather broadcast. It is expected that for the next eight hours, the entire section of Highway 404 will usher in heavy fog. The visibility is less than five meters…]
Chi Nan wasn’t satisfied with this weather and planned to continue to turn the dial, but Jiang Yu immediately stopped him. “Don’t continue to change it! During the time when you died, Lu Baizhou met her character’s ‘person waiting for the car.’ We can now complete the ‘death’ plot if we go to the motel.”
“A mission location that can only complete one character’s mission is too inefficient.”
Chi Nan had already adjusted the channel and the female voice on the radio soon reappeared.
[Listeners and friends having a good trip, this is the weather broadcast. It is expected that for the next five hours, the entire section of Highway 404 will usher in heavy rain…]
Chi Nan still wasn’t satisfied and continued to switch the radio channel.
Jiang Yu couldn’t understand it even more. “What was wrong with this one?”
Chi Nan told her, “Five hours is too long.”
Jiang Yu: “……”
[Listeners and friends having a good trip, this is the weather broadcast. It is expected that for the next half an hour, the entire section of Highway 404 will usher in a heavy rain and the road will be slippery. Your field of view will be greatly affected…]
Chi Nan heard a weather and duration that satisfied him and stopped.
You Yu glanced at him from the rearview mirror and the corners of his lips raised.
Lu Baizhou and Pei Mo in the back row looked confused. Jiang Yu explained to them, “Chi Nan thinks that it isn’t the radio that forecasts the weather for us, but that the weather itself changes according to the radio broadcast. Thus, he artificially interfered with the weather changes by changing the radio channel, thereby speeding up the pace of the task. For example, if there are two consecutive rain storms then when we check into the motel on a foggy day, two characters will be ‘killed’ at the same time and the task time is greatly shortened.”
Then she added, “Of course, it is still in the experimental stage…”
Pei Mo completely figured it out and patted his thigh. “F*k! That is awesome! Originally, we were led by the instance’s rules. If we succeed, then we will be the ones who lead the instance!”
Just as he spoke, there was a thunderclap. Dark clouds appeared over the wilderness that turned into devastating rain that slammed against the windows.
A wet man was waiting on the side of the wet highway.
He held up a black umbrella and seemed to be wearing white gloves on his hands. He stood quietly by the side of the road with his head down.
As the car approached, Pei Mo realized that the man waiting for the car wasn’t wearing white gloves, but a circle of white bandages.
It wasn’t just his hands but also his neck, face, and ankles… The exposed body parts were covered with bandages.
He suddenly raised his head as the car passed by and the two black eyes looked at Pei Mo through the rain curtain.
Pei Mo was so frightened by the other person’s gaze that his breathing stopped and the hairs on his body stood up. He instinctively leaned back to try and get as far away from the car window as possible, waiting for the skin around the other’s eyes to burn black and burst… It was as if with a slight blink of his eyes…his skin and eyeballs would fall off and show bloody flesh and bones.
The other person was the ‘Judge’ who wrote the best-selling book ‘Killing Intentions with Nowhere to Escape.’
Now all the clues were put together. The pseudonym of ‘The Judge’ and the title of the book were full of metaphors. In addition, the book had exactly 366 pages, which predicted that the writer who died a year ago would try the murderer on the 366th day. Thus, the motel they encountered was forever looping the same scene. The sinners in the car couldn’t escape the endless cycle of Judgment Day until the redemption was completed.
The new driver wasn’t as polite as the previous driver. He skipped the step of asking for the passengers’ opinion and stopped the car of his own initiative.
He even spoke to Pei Mo in a commanding tone while looking through the rearview mirror, “Open the car door. You can get off or not.”
Pei Mo was so frightened that he grabbed the seat belt on his body in fright. “Ah…huh?”
He understood the rules with his sense of reason, but he couldn’t resist the fear and resistance in his heart.
You Yu had never been a patient person and directly pressed the switch to open the car door. Wind and rain blew into the car the moment the car door was opened.
The trembling Pei Mo fell into a shaky uneasiness in the howling wind and rain.
Here, You Yu changed to a tone of patience as he spoke to Chi Nan, “Is it cold? If it is cold, I will turn on the heating. The oil cost will be reimbursed anyway.”
Chi Nan shook his head. “It’s okay. It is cool.”
Everyone: “……” The driver’s style change was more elusive than the weather changes.
Just like You Yu’s younger brother character, the person waiting for the car didn’t get into the car after the car stopped. He just disappeared silently in the rain curtain.
You Yu immediately closed the car door and started driving. Meanwhile, Chi Nan was messing with the radio channel again.
[Listeners and friends having a good trip, this is the weather broadcast. It is expected that for the next ten hours, the entire section of Highway 404 will usher in heavy fog. The visibility is less than five meters…]
The step for the sunny day was omitted and Highway 404 directly switched from a rainstorm to foggy weather. The neon signboard of the motel floated in the thick fog and the speed of the car slowed down.
Chi Nan noticed that there was still 2300km left on the road sign to the end point. This meant they took only 100 km to travel from sunny to rainy and then a foggy day. This was very efficient.
It was the same motel, same unfriendly men drinking, same TV news, and same female owner…
The only difference was that the female owner’s expression changed suddenly when she turned to the five people who pushed open the door.
To be precise, the female owner’s face was filled with an overwhelming fear when she saw You Yu. Her smile froze on her face for half a second before stiffly spreading. “Welcome.”
However, her face clearly wondered, ‘Why did you come again?’ She didn’t want to welcome him.
Chi Nan asked You Yu in a low voice, “Why isn’t the female owner like this to me when I look like you?”
You Yu explained, “Not all NPCS look at faces.”
Chi Nan: “……” He guessed that the NPCs determined the identity of a dream maker through a spiritual field or some other marker to determine the identity of the dream maker.
You Yu naturally walked over to check in. “The driver’s room isn’t needed. Just book a double room for this guest.”
He finished speaking and turned to Chi Nan, “Do you mind? If you mind, you can refuse.”
Chi Nan shook his head. “I also want to live with you.”
After all, it had been a while since the last time they met and he still had something to ask You Yu.
They received the keys and the guests walked toward their room. It was the same corridor and room number as the previous two times, but the footsteps of the group were much heavier.
They knew that in this fog, in this confined and small space, the thing that awaited them was the death trial from the dead.
Pei Mo was the most reluctant of the three. He stopped in front of his room for a long time without pulling out the key.
Jiang Yu watched his every move in the corridor and whispered to Chi Nan, “I have a hunch that something might go wrong on Pei Mo’s side. He might not necessarily act according to our plan.”
Before Chi Nan could speak, You Yu had already walked over and snatched Pei Mo’s key. Pei Mo stared at him with surprise and fear, but before he could resist, You Yu had already opened the door and pushed him in.
You Yu didn’t give him a chance to protest. He directly slammed shut the door and twisted the key to lock the room.
Pei Mo’s almost desperate banging on the door was heard, but he ignored it.
Jiang Yu was dumbfounded while Chi Nan gently comforted her, “Just get used to it.”
After returning to Room 213, You Yu closed the door and said to Chi Nan with a smile, “This time, you can sleep peacefully. You don’t need to be killed or commit suicide.”
“Yes.” Chi Nan’s expression was as casual as always, but You Yu could unexpectedly feel his happiness.
Chi Nan took the bath towel and pajamas prepared by the motel and closed the bathroom door to take a shower.
Just like the time in Room 206 of Zi City’s North District, You Yu lay on the bed with closed eyes. He was thinking while using his senses of hearing and smell.
He started to use his imagination to depict the little evil spirit using his body and closing his eyes in the hot shower.
Chi Nan cherished his body. Even when the plot needed him to commit suicide, he closed his eyes and apologized.
You Yu felt a calm feeling of deja vu amid the sound of rushing water.
There were strange emotions stirring under the calm.
This lasted until Chi Nan turned off the shower. He emerged from the water vapor in red pajamas and said while wiping his hair, “It is your turn.”
You Yu looked up at him and yawned lazily. He rubbed his eyes like a younger brother who was urged to take a shower by his older brother. Then he reluctantly stood up and walked to the bathroom.
Before stepping into the bathroom, You Yu suddenly stopped and said in a vague and lazy voice, “Brother, the way you crouched by the fountain and shed tears was seen by my colleague.”
You Yu turned around and a dangerous emotion flashed in his eyes. “She is very interested in your tears.”