It was 6:30 the next morning.
Bai Liu didn’t want to sleep on the mushroom straw bed so he used the books as a cushion on the ground and passed the night there. The next day, the pages on the ground were stuck because the humidity in the room was too high. The pages were all soaked and stuck to the ground and there was a lot of dew on the wall. Bai Liu frowned when he saw it. The humidity produced by three humidifiers working ceaselessly was even more ridiculous than the rainy season.
However, the three humidifiers in the ward were placed there by the nurse and absolutely couldn’t be turned off. It was just like how high-intensity lighting couldn’t be used in the ward. It was part of the hospital’s rules and regulations.
He sat quietly on the pages and waited for little Bai Liu (6)’s call. This kid would definitely call him in the morning for money. After all, he was billed by the minute.
It was 6:45 in the morning when Bai Liu’s walkie-talkie rang. This time, Bai Liu (6) wasn’t running. His breathing and footsteps were very light and it felt like he was creeping out.
“Good morning, Mr Investor.” Little Bai Liu (6)’s voice was almost airy. “The child who chased us yesterday is gone. As I came out, I saw the teachers talking in the corridor. They are going to take us to the church today as a witness, symbolizing that the children who have suffered have formally entered the sheltered place and are born again.”
This group of children entered the welfare home yesterday. Today happened to be Monday and Bai Liu (6)’s words made Bai Liu instantly think of the ‘born on a Monday’ part of the nursery rhyme.
According to the nursery rhyme, they were ‘Christened on Tuesday’. Then the children should be baptized tomorrow according to the process.
“Then we are going to be baptized on Tuesday, which is tomorrow. This is to wash away the sufferings we have experienced outside.” Bai Liu (6) spoke softly. “Once the children are baptized, our parents must be present but we have no relatives except for Liu Jiayi. Therefore, our investors will watch the ceremony. Tuesday is an open day for parents and you can come in. I heard from the teachers that those of you who invested in us will receive invitation letters inviting you to come to the welfare home and watch our baptism.”
Bai Liu inquired, “What happened on your side last night?”
“Apart from me, the child who went out to make a call last night was Miao Feichi in the same room as me. We both managed to get back to the room. Miao Feichi cried out all night so he should be fine. He ran pretty fast. He might’ve cried the whole time but he wasn’t caught.” Little Bai Liu (6) answered in a flat tone. “Then in the early morning, something strange happened. I heard the footsteps of children passing through the corridor as well as the sound of the flute.”
“These children hummed the nursery rhymes played by the flute. I got up to take a look. I felt that those children should be awake, not sleepwalking. They were just like the children described in the fairy tale. They jumped around in line and followed the direction of the flute. It is dawn and I haven’t seen them come back.”
This was also consistent with the information that Bai Liu knew in reality. The group of children followed the sound of the flute in the early morning and disappeared from the welfare home, unable to be found.
“Do you think that the flute has a hypnotic or confusing effect?” Bai Liu wondered. “Did you want to follow it when you heard it?”
Little Bai Liu (6) didn’t even think about his answer. “No, it was so bad to listen to. I wanted to go to the toilet.”
“……” Bai Liu considered the fact that he always seemed resistant to hypnotic suggestions. He was rarely guided when seeing a psychologist in the real world. Therefore, he asked more questions. “Were the other children in your room affected by the flute?”
There was silence for a moment as if little Bai Liu (6) was thinking back. “There should be none. Apart from Miao Feichi who cried all night, the other children in the room slept soundly.”
If there wasn’t a hypnotic or confusing effect, why did the children take the initiative to follow the flute sound?
Bai Liu was in deep thought. Was there really a monster set by the ‘piper’ in this instance? However, if it was a monster set by the piper then why were only a few children taken away every time? After all, the piper in the story summoned all the children without differentiating. Meanwhile, the piper in the children’s welfare home only took away a few children every time. The children also went actively. How did this work?
Little Bai Liu (6)’s voice suddenly lowered. “The teacher is coming to check on us. This time, the call time is 12 minutes and 37 seconds, rounded up to 13 minutes. It is a total of 13 minutes. Combined with last night’s 1,700 yuan, it is a total of 3,000 yuan. Thank you for your patronage. See you next time, Mr Investor.”
Then he hung up very coldly. Bai Liu was certain this time. That kid, little Bai Liu (6), must’ve called him while using a stopwatch.
At 9 o’clock, a notice was broadcasted through the wards and corridors.
“Good morning, patients. It is 9 o’clock and you can open the door. Patients who have found their medicine, the nurse will send the medicine to your ward in five minutes. Patients who haven’t found their medicine, please go to the hospital restaurant on the first floor to have a meal. After the meal, speed up the pace of searching for your medicine. You are already critically ill…”
Bai Liu opened the door and saw that the other patients on the floor had opened their doors as well. After one night, it seemed that all the patients who came out were more refreshed. They were less dry as if they had sucked up the moisture from the humidifiers.
In the corridor, a nurse pushed a cart and moved quickly to deliver medicine to some patients in the ward. Bai Liu tried to follow to take a look but the nurse moved too quickly. Bai Liu could only see that the medicine was in a sealed, stainless steel container. As the nurse pushed the cart past Bai Liu to deliver the medicine, Bai Liu could hear a sound similar to liquid sloshing around. It seemed that the medicine should be a liquid. Bai Liu noted this down.
Mu Ke and Bai Liu had previously checked. The two of them lived on the same floor, which was the ninth floor. Mu Ke stepped out and the dark circles under his eyes were heavier than before. He was like a student who needed to prepare for the final exam so he stayed up all night to read.
The moment Bai Liu came out, Mu Ke stared at Bai Liu. His eyes were eager and focused, making people feel numb. He looked like a cat who was still very energetic after staying up all night and his expression was saying: come and rub me. If he had a tail then it would be wagging as he asked for a reward.
Bai Liu obediently asked Mu Ke, “Did you find anything?”
“The game wants us to find the prescription in the medical books. I’ve read a lot of relevant literature due to my illness and I’m pretty good at reading this. Last night, I wanted to split the work with you to read half of them. Then it turned out that the patients couldn’t leave their room on the first day so I just read first. Last night, I read 21 books.”
Mu Ke covered his mouth as he spoke, so sleepy that tears came out. He couldn’t help complaining, “This game setting is too bad. The room is dark and wet and we aren’t allowed to use lights. My eyes almost went blind. Fortunately, I had a pen to focus my line of sight or I would have astigmatism.”
Bai Liu heard the words ‘21 books’ and was strangely silent for a moment. The books in this game were particularly thick, thick to the point that Bai Liu didn’t even want to read them. This guy Mu Ke could actually read 21 in one night…
“Can you remember what you read?” Bai Liu wondered.
Mu Ke looked at Bai Liu strangely. “I can remember when I look at it. Why can’t I remember?”
Bai Liu, “……” He couldn’t remember. Bai Liu felt the contempt of the top student for the learning scum.
“How many books did you read?” Mu Ke asked Bai Liu.
The learning scum Bai Liu was silent for a moment before answering honestly, “0.01 books.” He turned two pages before closing it.
Staying up late and overexerting his brain caused Mu Ke’s reaction speed to drop very sharply. He thought for a long time about Bai Liu’s words before repeating with a wooden face, “0.01 books?”
This was the same as not looking! Then Mu Ke quickly reacted. He approached Bai Liu a bit anxiously and after looking around to make sure no one else was present, he lowered his voice. “Are you really going to the ICU to steal the life recovery medicine? Bai Liu, if you don’t want to read then you can let me read. I read books very quickly and can finish the bookcase in three days at most!”
“However, even if you finish reading it, do you know what the recipe for the life recovery medicine looks like?” Bai Liu turned his head and questioned Mu Ke.
Mu Ke was startled. He really didn’t know.
Mu Ke had read 21 books all night and could remember every word in it, but he really didn’t know what he was looking for. It was because the life recovery medicine mentioned by the system was too vague. There was no clear point so it was difficult to determine what they were looking for. Was it a specific drug, a treatment plan or something else?
“There are no precise instructions so it is difficult for us to know what exactly the life recovery medicine we are looking for is.” Bai Liu glanced at Mu Ke and prompted patiently. “Moreover, the system’s task prompt was to find it in the bookcases in the hospital. The life recovery medicine might not specifically be in the bookcases in our ward.”
“However, the bookcases in all the wards are the same.” Mu Ke looked at Bai Liu a bit uneasily. “I checked it specifically when I came up. Before the other patients closed the door, I took a peek at the bookcases in their wards. All the wards here have bookcases. I have a good memory and can clearly remember the books in the bookcases. They are all the same. If the system wants us to read books to find the life recovery medicine then we can look at these books.”
“Then is there a difference between their books and our books?” Bai Liu watched Mu Ke. “Is there any difference between the books you read last night and the books you didn’t read?”