IWBL: Chapter 226

Lian Susu was taken aback and quickly yelled, “What are you laughing at?”

Shui Miao stopped laughing. She suddenly sat upright, her hair covering her eyes so that her face couldn’t be seen clearly.

Originally, Shui Miao’s hair was cut diagonally and flowed like the sea. It looked cool and beautiful. Now her straight hair covered her face and she looked like a madman. Her disheveled hair made Lian Susu think of the female ghosts in horror movies, such as Kayako Saeki.

Lian Susu almost fell off her chair. She pushed away the plate in front of her and stammered, “S-Shui Miao?”

She didn’t dare approach Shui Miao at all but she was worried that if she chose to stay away from Shui Miao, she would be completely insulted by the netizens watching the live broadcast. In the end, she chose a compromise. She stood up and asked in a worried manner, “Are you okay? What’s wrong with you?”

Shui Miao turned a deaf ear to it. She threw her chopsticks toward the plate and reached out to cover her eyes. “Ah, hehehehehe.”

The first sound could be called a scream. It was a heart-piercing call. However, the scream only lasted a moment. The next second, Shui Miao let out a weird laugh. Lian Susu felt cold all over when she heard it. Shui Miao didn’t seem to be joking but she didn’t dare go over for fear that her ugly and frightened look would spread across the Internet.

“Director? Staff members? Where are you?” Lian Susu yelled loudly while standing not far from Shui Miao. She carefully approached and asked, “Shui Miao? Is the pressure too high after coming here? Why don’t you go rest?”

Shui Miao suddenly spoke in a hoarse voice. “It hurts.”

“What hurts? Where does it hurt?” Lian Susu asked in a puzzled manner. She started to worriedly look toward the entrance of the tunnel and she spoke to the brooch, “Why is there no one from the program’s crew? Come here, something happened!”

She no longer suspected that Shui Miao was acting. She heard from the other person’s voice that it was extremely painful. If Shui Miao had this type of acting skill then she would’ve been popular all over the country and she wouldn’t have been criticized all the time.

Shui Miao clutched her eyes and refused to let go, her body stuck to the table as she swayed. “E-Eyes, my eyes hurt!”

“Why isn’t the show’s staff coming? Even if this is a fully enclosed variety show, can you be like this?”

Lian Susu might’ve been jealous of this person at the beginning but she couldn’t leave Shui Miao alone now. She reached out to help the other person. However, Shui Miao rejected her and kept repeating the words, “Hurts, hurts, it hurts…!”

Lian Susu’s hand was stiff in the air. Just now, she was so close that she didn’t just hear the ‘it hurts’ coming from Shui Miao’s mouth. There was also another faint laughter mixed in with her voice.

Lian Susu’s eyes widened as she looked around in a panic, trying to identify the source of the sound. Finally, she locked onto the location as Shui Miao herself.

“Hurts, hehe, hurts, hehe…”

The two voices circulated repeatedly without interruption.

Lian Susu saw a smiling face drawn on the inside of Shui Miao’s arm that was covering her eyes. It was a simple smiley face. The face was an irregular circle with two small circles as the eyes and a raised bracket as the mouth. This was often seen in the outside world. However, Lian Susu clearly heard laughter from this smiley face.

“Shui Miao, you…”

Lian Susu stepped back and hit against three chairs instantly. There was a sharp pain from her knees but she had no time to care about this.

So much time had passed and the program’s staff members should’ve arrived long ago. Yet apart from Shui Miao’s cries, the passage to the outside was still as quiet as ever. It was like this cafeteria, no, this entire prison only had the two of them.

No, wasn’t this impossible?

Lian Susu no longer cared about Shui Miao. She took out the communicator and turned on the broadcast screen. Even if the program group ignored them, weren’t there viewers? Someone would definitely have called the police when they saw it—

[It started so soon? It can’t be helped this time.]

[Not enough, not enough. I want to see more fear. I want to see the previous scene.]

[Haha, no one will come to rescue you even if you scream until your neck is broken.]

[I want to laugh too, hehehe.]

What the hell was going on in the live broadcast room? Were she and her agent cheated?

Lian Susu’s hand slipped and the communicator fell directly to the ground. The barrage was still swiping frantically but she had no intention of picking it up. Her hands were shaking constantly and she pulled her mobile phone out of her pocket to call her agent.

The moment she unlocked it, she collapsed because her phone clearly showed: No signal.

Lian Susu didn’t give up and tried again. However, she couldn’t make any outgoing calls. The same went for texting or WeChat.

Only the strange, mentally ill Shui Miao and the smiley face remaining in the entire cafeteria. Lian Susu didn’t know why. Shui Miao obviously didn’t raise her head but Lian Susu felt that the smiley face on the inside of the arm was staring at her.

She couldn’t bear it anymore. She couldn’t even scream. She just turned, ran past Shui Miao and ran to the place she entered from, trying to find the exit to go out.

“Can anyone hear me? Do you know where the exit is?” After leaving the cafeteria, Lian Susu didn’t go back to her room. She kept walking around the prison, calling out. She felt her voice becoming dry but she didn’t dare go back. She wanted to find the exit and leave here.

However, no one responded to her. Lian Susu cried and made a fuss but in the end, she could only accept it and return to her room for a brief rest.

***

The next day after the reincarnators entered.

Xiao Li was awakened by the laugher next door. He opened his eyes and sat up from the bed. The memories of last night flooded his brain.

Before he could think about what happened in the next room, Xiao Li pressed a hand to his temple and tried to recall the shadow he saw last night. However, he couldn’t remember anything. It was like his memory was erased by an eraser. He had stared at the jailer and was forced to return to bed to fall asleep. It was like he was hypnotized.

He couldn’t remember what the jailer looked like, nor did he remember any clues. Thus, he slept until dawn.

Was this the reason why the prison was able to maintain order despite having no other personnel? There didn’t need to be a high force value. They only needed to possess such a special ability to be invincible.

Xiao Li guessed it wasn’t just at night. As long as the ‘prisoners’ showed some extraordinary actions, these hidden jailers would appear and use this ability to make the ‘prisoner’ go back to sleep. He just didn’t know if the extraordinary actions included the task: prison break.

…Well, there was a 99.9% chance that it was included.

Xiao Li lowered his head and asked Tan Li lying on the pillow, “Did you see the face of the jailer last night?”

The doll shook her head 180 degrees. She put her hands together, put it to her ears and motioned that she fell asleep together with him. So this power was also effective against ghosts…

Xiao Li wanted to get down from the bed but for some reason, there was a slight pain from his back. No, it wasn’t pain. It was more like there was a school bag on his back. Then once he stood up completely, that weight had disappeared.

He turned back and touched the middle of the back. Then he looked at the half mirror above the basin in the room. The mirror surface stained with yellow dots vaguely reflected the teenager’s thin back. His shoulder blades protruded outwards slightly like a pair of flying butterfly wings. there wasn’t the ghost or heavy object in Xiao Li’s imagination.

He glanced at Tan Li. The doll looked serious and continued to shake her head. Xiao Li turned his head. He didn’t think about it and opened the door to go out.

The room that the laughter came from was the one belonging to the man who talked to Xiao Li last night. He was laughing wildly while intermittently saying, “I survived again. Hahaha, I survived again!”

As he spoke, dark smoke sprayed out from his nose and mouth. It was as if a big fire was burning in his body and only this black smoke was left over from his burning internal organs.

The other reincarnators were awakened by him and surrounded the room. The incandescent lights above their heads illuminated the passage like it was daylight and radiated to the rooms on both sides of the corridor.

Everyone could clearly see that the man’s bed, sheets and the glass in the room had been dyed black by the smoke. Mucus was stuck on the cloth and it was very disgusting.

“What are you called?” Wang Huai lowered his focus.

The man found that he had survived another day and he was in a good mood. “Yu You. Are you new here?”

“Yes.” Wang Huai observed him. “We just came in.”

Yu You had a strong desire to talk. Even if it wasn’t convenient for him to speak, he still tenaciously communicated with the reincarnators.

Yu You blocked his mouth with a fist and talked while coughing, “I came here earlier than you guys. I came in here, cough, and can’t get out anymore. It is enough to survive the day.”

“What is the smoke in your mouth?” Wang Huai inquired.

Yu You didn’t answer the question. “What crime did you commit?”

Wang Huai didn’t report his true crime and made it up. “Lust.”

Yu You was disappointed. “Then you won’t become like me. However, soon, you will face your own punishment.”

He laughed again and the black smoke rose like a newborn crow from his mouth and hovered in the room. Xiao Li stood aside and didn’t join the conversation. It was just that Yu You’s words reminded him of the punishments corresponding to the seven deadly sins in the Divine Comedy.

Wang Huai wanted to get more information from Yu You. Compared with the other two people on this floor, this man was easy to talk to and extremely slippery. However, before he could think about his next sentence, he heard a loud bang from the end of the passage. It came from the platform.

The group of reincarnators arrived and looked down the railing to see a blooming blood flower. It was a man with short hair wearing a maroon suit. He was face down and his entire head was smashed like a watermelon. Blood stained the platform.

Strangely, the man’s back arched forward like he had some disease. Only an old man with a hunchback for many years could form such a twisted back. It was very inconsistent with the man’s clothes.

Park Heesoon was quick to judge the height of the man’s fall. “He jumped from the floor below us.”

Ye Zeqing murmured, “His back…”

“It’s too far away to tell whether this hunchback formed earlier or after entering here,” Setamon spoke calmly. “Go to the next floor first.”

It was the floor that they didn’t have time to check last night.

As they walked down, Xiao Li ran into Shen Chenzhi. The young man was holding a bag of bread and a carton of milk in his hand. He handed the bread to Xiao Li. “Breakfast.”

Xiao Li looked at him. “Is the food so good here?”

“Eat yours.” Shen Chenzhi tore open the milk carton for him. He walked beside Xiao Li and firmly held the carton in his hand. Once Xiao Li finished eating the bread, he handed the milk over.

Zheng Yi wanted to say something but stopped. He decided to find a chance to tell Xiao Li that all they ate was pickled vegetables and rice porridge. It was also quantitative. Even if they were hungry and wanted more food, it wasn’t possible. The food in Shen Chenzhi’s hand was absolutely a special offer and it was also packaged. This was absolute special treatment, a double-standard dog.

***

Further down was the floor where the numbers ‘22000-23000’ lived. Like the upper floor, there were four forked roads leading to: the prisoners’ rooms, the cafeteria, the infirmary and the library.

Apart from the prisoners’ rooms that were parallel on each floor, the other three passages would eventually come together. They were common areas.

This floor was where the old prisoners lived and it was much smokier than upstairs.

At the very least, many of the rooms that Xiao Li passed by were either completely blackened by smoke like Yu You’s room or the bed was covered with blood stains that were dried and looked more like dark brown blood scabs. There were also rooms where the walls were covered with scratches, including the bedside railings. It could be imagined how much pain the prisoner lying on it was just by looking at these marks.

A rough estimate showed that there were at least five different types of damages to the rooms on this floor.

Zheng Yi was startled. “These are all caused by ghosts?”

“Is it the jailer from last night? Or different ghosts?” Park Heesoon pulled out his phone and took photos of these rooms one by one, preparing to store them in his album so he could go back and analyze it slowly.

Xiao Li opened his mouth. “It doesn’t look like a ghost. If I’m not mistaken, these phenomena should be related to the sins after the trail. Have you ever read the Divine Comedy?”

Wang Huai suddenly recited, “Through me into the city of endless pain, through me into the pit of eternal misery, through me into the endless crowd… those who enter will surely have all hope cut off. Pride, refrain from pride and bear the heavy punishment. Envy, refrain from envy and be punished by sewing the eyes. Wrath, refrain from wrath, be punished with black smoke. Sloth, refrain from sloth, be punished through running. Greed, refrain from greed, be punished when lying down. Gluttony, refrain from gluttony, be punished by hunger. Lust, refrain from lust, be punished by flames.”

Xiao Li applauded. “It is very complete.”

Wang Huai readily accepted the praise. “This type of work is unforgettable at a glance.”

Ye Zeqing wondered, “It means that different penalties are imposed in response to the sentence we received when entering? Isn’t this unsolvable?”

“There is naturally a solution.” Xiao Li told him. “Successfully escape from prison before the penalty kills you. This is the best solution.”

At this point, he suddenly stopped. It was already close to the middle of this floor and they could be considered as entering deeply. Now Xiao Li heard a voice from the surviving person in the inner room.

“Wuu, hehe, wu wu wu, hehehe…”

It was a low sob which was actually very common in this type of scene. However, in addition to the crying, there was sparse laughter mixed in. The two seemed broken up and mixed together, both crying and laughing.

Xiao Li quickened his pace and saw a corpse in the room opposite the source of the sound.

A woman was lying on the ground without her head. She was reaching out her hand like she wanted to escape but she failed. Her other hand was curled up and holding a black pointed cone. Xiao Li chose to open this door first. Shen Chenzhi stood at the door, holding the door for him so it wouldn’t automatically close.

Wang Huai opened the woman’s hand and found that she wasn’t holding a sharp steel tool. Instead, it was a piece of sawdust. It was harder than ordinary wood, well polished and soaked in blood.

The moment it was released, a bloody smell filled the room.

Wang Huai held this piece of wood and bent over to look at the foot of the bed. He compared the piece of wood to the foot of the bed and found that according to the size and material of the gap, the piece of wood was pulled from the foot of the bed.

Xiao Li crouched down to examine the corpse’s neck. The incision of the neck was uneven. Some of the flesh even had a long strip pulled off. He had a terrible guess. “She polished the piece of wood and used it to cut off her head.

This simply wasn’t possible using common sense. An ordinary person’s neck would hurt to death when it was just slightly cut with a knife. No matter how sharp a kitchen knife, it was impossible for a person to cut off their head completely, let alone do it with such a small piece of wood.

Zheng Yi could already imagine that in the middle of the night, the woman who was stuck in the room was driven by some type of spiritual force to cut off her head.”

“What is this expression?” Park Heesoon noticed the pattern on the inner side of the woman’s arm. He gently picked up the arm and observed the expression drawn on her arm. “A smiley expression?”

“What is the meaning of this?” Ye Zeqing bent down. “It is drawn with a marker.”

Xiao Li said, “This is a blind guess. Is she encouraging herself to smile optimistically and be strong even in such a place?”

Ye Zeqing, “……”

“I’m kidding.”

Park Heesoon, “……”

Park Heesoon lowered her arm and turned to look at the other side. “The crying and laughter is coming from over there.”

Through the two unclear glass doors, it could vaguely be seen that a woman was lying on the opposite bed. Her high-end dress was stained a blood red and she was holding her right hand high. It was unknown what she was doing.

Xiao Li came to the door of the opposite room. He hesitated for a moment and didn’t directly break in. He instead knocked on the glass door three times. Knock, knock, knock.

The woman inside was obviously affected by the knock on the door. She raised her right hand blankly and looked out the door with the same smiley face on her right hand as the dead body. As she moved, the others saw her face.

Xiao Li called out her name. “Lian Susu.”

After the courteous knock, he opened the door, blocking the light above the passage.

Lian Susu’s current appearance was very strange. Her head was clearly on her neck but she was ‘seeing things’ with the expression drawn on her arm. She observed everyone in front of her with the smiley face. It was like she was treating this as her real head.

Lian Susu turned her hand but her real head remained motionless. Her left eye couldn’t be opened anymore and most of her eyes were covered by hair. Only the corner of an eye was exposed, allowing them to see the state of her eye. Thin thread had appeared on her eyelid. The eyelid and lower eyelid weren’t completely stitched together. Only the right eye was okay and could blink like an ordinary person.

…Although her movements were using that smiley face.

The corner’s of Lian Susu’s mouth moved. “You, yes, heheh, who are you? My eye hurts a bit.”

At the foot of her bed, a light blue marker was lying quietly. It was similar to those that could be bought at stationery stores outside for three yuan. It was just that when Lian Susu was talking, the market rolled automatically to Xiao Li’s toes despite there being no wind.

Xiao Li looked down at it.

At this moment, Lian Susu seemed to be manipulated by something. She suddenly picked up the market at a speed that was completely incompatible with her reach. Then she jumped up, grabbed Park Heesoon standing to the side and scribbled a smiley face in the same style on the palm of his hand.

Lian Susu had become incredibly strong and fast. Park Heesoon reacted instantly by using his life saving item but he still couldn’t stop Lian Susu.

Lian Susu laughed loudly. “Try it too, hehe. Draw this expression on your hand and you will find that your head is so flexible that it can be moved! I only need one head. There is no need for the other one, hehe. I want to cut it!”

She turned around like she was going to find a sharp tool to cut off her head. Then Xiao Li pressed down hard on her arm.

“What are you doing? Hehe, why are you stopping me?”

Park Heesoon’s face had turned pale. He looked down at the scribble smiley face on her hand. The upper bracket symbolizing the lips seemed to be laughing silently at him.

“A curse?” He was breathing fast. “I… I…”

Park Heesoon’s thinking was momentarily confused. He used his sleeves to frantically wipe at the mark on her hand but he couldn’t wipe it over. It wasn’t even blurred. His eyes moved back and forth between the face on his hand and the reincarnators in front of him.

Xiao Li let go of Lian Susu and picked up the marker with his other hand. “Do you mind if I do an experiment?”

Lian Susu wondered, “What experiment?”

Xiao Li told her, “I didn’t ask you.”

Park Heesoon asked, “What experiment?”

Xiao Li grabbed his hand and opened the palm of the hand, revealing the smiley face. He added two strokes to the ‘smiley’ expression with the marker.

It changed from a ‘smile’ to ‘crying’. The corners of the mouth faced downward and there was a small waving hand. It looked like a fusion of the ‘crying’ and ‘waving hand’ in the WeChat emoji package.

It was an extremely ugly version.

Xiao Li said, “Try to change the facial expression. Will you still use it as your own head? Her expression is a smile. Now you are crying. Will you keep waving or is modifying your cognitive function only limited to the smiley face?”

His appearance was like a knowledge-hungry scientist.

Park Heesoon, “……”

He didn’t know if he should keep this ugly expression on his palm.

Zheng Yi took advantage of Xiao Li’s drawing time to open the barrage and take a look.

[Wtf???]

[I can’t help following his thoughts. But… it should be impossible, right? I’ve met this pen… It is a good companion. It killed many ingredients and the fear I got from it filled me up.]

[I shamefully want to know the results of the experiment too.]

[What is this drawing? It is too ugly. The food isn’t good this year.]

[This familiar style of drawing… Sherlock, is that you?]

[Moriarty, is that you?]

[Hercule, is that you?]

[?? Brothers and sisters put their fears on the public screen!]

[My food has wings, they’re flying away…]


Proofreader: Tofu

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