The third phase was to make a choice and there was a time limit. This made Zou Hanyi temporarily move her attention away from how they left the haunted house and she first asked Xiao Li, “How to choose?”
This time, Brother Hao also came out. After Xiao Li and Zou Hanyi left, he didn’t know if they were dead or alive but he knew the clown was still there, looking at him while not moving. The clown didn’t come straight over and kill him, which suggested that Xiao Li was right.
In the end, Hao Ge chose to believe them. He closed his eyes and walked forward, coming out to the tall building together. Hao Ge looked at the task book. “Save or destroy, why does this feel like we have to choose to be good or a villain? How can we save this place?”
Xiao Li looked at the two options. “Destruction is always easier than salvation.”
“But…” Zou Hanyi instinctively tried to refuse destruction. Then she put this idea behind her and asked in a different direction. “If we choose a task, how will the instance world ask us to complete it? Destruction is directly destroying the forbidden area but saving it…”
A large hole appeared in Zou Hanyi’s head as she thought of a novel she had read. “Crossing through time and space?”
“Stopping an explosion before it happens is the most complete way to save…”
Xiao Li interrupted her. “It is impossible. There will be a paradox.”
If the reincarnators came back to the forbidden area and saved it before there was an explosion, there would naturally be no forbidden zone in the future. Then how could they go back inside the forbidden area?
Hao Ge interjected. “I can’t imagine how to save it but the reason I came out of the haunted house is due to Sherlock. Whatever you choose, I will follow.”
He knew he wasn’t a decisive reincarnator. He had survived the last world because there was a top-ranked figure in his team.
Zou Hanyi was silent for a moment. “Then you want to choose destruction?”
“No.” Xiao Li wrote in the little yellow book. “I choose to save it.”
Xiao Li shrugged. “Destruction is often a momentary thing and can be stopped at any time by salvation.”
Zou Hanyi exclaimed, “…Ah?!”
She didn’t understand but Xiao Li obviously wasn’t ready to explain. She worried about it for a moment before also writing ‘save’ in her task book. Hao Ge followed them and made the same choice.
[You have selected Task 1 to save the forbidden zone. Please successfully complete the mission within six days and you will be transferred back to the real world after the mission is completed.]
The task tip didn’t give the reincarnators any clues. It looked like everything was in this factory…
Xiao Li put the task book back in his pocket and raised his flashlight to look at the tall building in front of him. The sky of the forbidden zone was becoming bright as the sun started to emerge from the clouds. Red light flowed through the sky into the forbidden zone, covering the forbidden zone. Light shone off the power plant’s shelter structure, reflecting a sea of light.
Xiao Li turned off the flashlight and went inside the factory. Along the way, Zou Hanyi peeked at him several times. Once they entered the building, she finally asked the question in her heart. “Sherlock, why is the way out of the haunted house to close our eyes? How did you know that?”
Zou Hanyi had been observing and thinking since coming out of the hot springs hotel but she never found out that the way to live was to close her eyes.
Xiao Li pushed open the door while slowly speaking. “The angle.”
“In the drowned girl’s hot spring, I saw her reflected angle on the water… nothing has changed.”
“Generally speaking, a mirrored object wouldn’t change but the left and right would be reversed. However, the drowned girl’s reflection in the water was still the same direction. After coming out of the hot springs hotel, I used my phone as a mirror and looked at the candle and clown behind me. They were all positive but when I looked at myself, I was reversed.”
He reached out to point to his eyes. “There is another possibility that everything was in the mirror but my reflection was reversed. This means that I wasn’t in the same world as them. There is only one possibility left. They are in our eyes.”
“That’s why the ghost said it would always be with us? Who can throw away their eyes?”
“From the moment we entered the haunted house, everything started with the eyes. We can perceive them but they aren’t illusions. They are real. It is kind of like the ghosts covering our eyes. They covered our eyes from the moment we entered the haunted house.” Xiao Li paused.”I don’t know if you can understand. In other words, as long as we close our eyes, we can block the ghosts in our eyes and return to reality, walking out of the haunted house.”
The reality of the haunted house was actually an ordinary house that had long been turned into ashes with time. As long as they closed their eyes and moved forward, the reincarnators could leave the haunted house.
Zou Hanyi listened carefully and nodded. “It was like this…”
Hao Ge didn’t seek an explanation like her. As long as he lived, he could look forward to anything. He turned to look inside the factory.
This building was the centre of the explosion, the centre of the forbidden zone where the pollutants emitted. The area they were in was obviously the central control area. It was relatively clean and tidy but old dust also fell through the air. They entered the door and was first greeted by a small room filled with a variety of industrial appliances. Hao Ge casually picked up a cover and scratched it a bit. He didn’t find any other clues and put it back.
Soon, they searched the first floor and didn’t find anything. Xiao Li and the others were coming up to the second floor when he suddenly stopped on the stairs.
On the original white wall, a black figure suddenly appeared. It wasn’t like a painting but more like a person had been standing in front of the wall when the accident occurred. Perhaps it was due to the high temperature and explosion of radiation pollution that caused the person to directly dissipate, leaving only these shadows on the wall.
It was scarier than a mere painting.
Xiao Li shifted his gaze away towards a room deeper in the corridor. However, just after the reincarnators passed by the black figure, the solidified figure on the wall slowly turned and looked at their backs.
No one was aware of it.
The second floor looked like a staff dormitory. It was only one floor away from the main control room located on the third floor. Each room had two bunk beds and there were four rooms. Xiao Li sat down on the bottom bed of the left bunk, flicking the dust off the bed. Zou Hanyi also occupied half of another bed.
Previously, there had been too many ghosts in the haunted house and Zou Hanyi hadn’t felt the mental tightness. Now that the rhythm slowed down, tiredness immediately poured into her heart.
Zou Hanyi hadn’t opened her mouth when Hao Ge climbed onto the bed above Xiao Li. “Do you want to sleep first? Last night, we got no sleep and I am now completely exhausted. I feel like I can’t last another day in this state of mind.”
Zou Hanyi was very much in favour but was afraid of the previous nightmare. She glanced at Xiao Li with a complicated expression.
Xiao Li nodded and said, “Then sleep. I am also ready to sleep.”
With that, he lay on the pillow and slept sideways. Zou Hanyi swallowed down her concerns at the sight of Xiao Li. She once again checked the closed door and followed him to lie down. Soon after, her breath gradually calmed and she fell into a dream.
Xiao Li had a dream.
He dreamt of the little girl again. Her skin was cracked red and her bones were twisted outwards. She looked terribly deformed. The little girl stood on the playground, sitting on a swing. A zombie-like dog was next to her. The swing swayed slightly, the little girl’s arm resting on the top as she looked in the direction of the factory.
Xiao Li stood behind her and sighed. “You again. Can’t I get a good sleep?”
The little girl turned her head 180 degrees and she opened her lips to the reincarnator behind her. “Save me.”
Xiao Li wondered, “How do I save you?”
The little girl kept silent. Xiao Li took a few steps forward and crouched down to hold the swing still, looking directly into the girl’s eyes. “Tell me, how can I save you?”
The zombie dog looked towards Xiao Li, sharp teeth dripping saliva onto the ground. Xiao Li glanced at the dog. The zombie dog gave out a low cry and subconsciously clamped its tail. It always felt that this person’s gaze wasn’t a good thing…
The little girl’s eyes were red as she struggled to say, “The main control room… over there!”
The moment she finished speaking, Xiao Li didn’t have time to reply when she heard a loud dog barking in his ears. The sound woke him up directly from his sleep. It wasn’t just him. Zou Hanyi and Hao Ge also woke up. Hao Ge directly turned over on the bed and almost fell off.
Xiao Li jumped up from the bed, opened the door and looked outside. The sun poured through the broken glass in the corridor. In the shadow of a corner of the building, a tail disappeared from his field of view. Was it the dog… or other creatures?
Zou Hanyi stood behind Xiao Li, her breathing still a bit messy. “Did you have a dream?”
“I dreamed that the little girl told me to save her. I didn’t respond and she got up from the swing and walked to me. Before she reached me, I was awakened by the sound of a dog barking.” Zou Hanyi explained her dream.
“Me too!” Hao Ge patted his thighs. “I haven’t slept enough yet. Why doesn’t this place let me have a good sleep! I don’t know how to save her and don’t care about these things. I’ll have to chant a mantra.”
For the first time, Xiao Li agreed with the first half of Hao Ge’s words. He pressed a hand to his temple, long eyelashes casting a shadow over his eyelids. “Go to the main control room.”
He was going to end this instance quickly and then… go home and sleep.
From the staff quarters to the main control room, the human shadows on the wall increased more and more. It was as if the employees working here witnessed the explosion and were annihilated into shadows on the walls.
Zou Hanyi wasn’t willing to see anymore. She moved her line of sight away but Xiao Li looked carefully. Then he reached out to touch a bit of it and smell it.
Hao Ge couldn’t stand this atmosphere and took the initiative to guess. “How can we save them? Is it that their bodies are resting here and they want us to find them to bury them?”
Zou Hanyi shook her head. “That is saving the individual and not the forbidden zone. This is related to the region, unless there is a large array… I’ve met a reincarnator who knows Feng Shui arrays but unfortunately, I’m not too proficient in it myself.”
Xiao Li stated, “Whether it is an array or not, we should first go over and look.”
They were getting closer to the main control room and the gaps between the figures appearing on the wall were getting smaller and smaller.
Xiao Li passed by one of the figures. Once his gaze turned towards a dead end corner, the figure facing left raised its head slightly. Its head was firmly fixed on Xiao Li’s back as Xiao Li headed towards the control room on the right.
Xiao Li turned around when he felt something. The black shadow on the wall noticed his movements and quickly turned its head to restore its former appearance. Was it… an illusion?
In front, Zou Hanyi had already entered the main control room and she asked Xiao Li, “Sherlock…?”
“It’s fine. You go ahead. I have something to do.”
Xiao Li stared suspiciously at the black shadow on the wall for a moment. Then he didn’t find any movements and turned back to the door of the main control room. The dark shadow slowly looked at Xiao Li’s back, eyes full of a malicious light.
Just as Xiao Li was about to enter the main control room, he looked back. The shadow quickly turned to its original position very quickly.
Xiao Li turned around, the shadow looked at him again. Xiao Li turned back and the black shadow returned to its original position. This repeated many times until Xiao Li heard a ‘clicking’ sound. The black shadow had quickly moved back and forth so many times that its spine let out a sound of protest.
Xiao Li, “…”
“Don’t keep taking your old post. In fact, I’ve found that you moved.” Xiao Li went to the dark shadow, took out a pen and drew an arc on the chin of the shadow struggling to maintain the original post. “You raised your head just now and the arc isn’t the same as the original position. It is now 45 degrees too high and you don’t look depressed at all.”
It originally wasn’t depressed!!
The author has something to say:
Little yellow book: You can find me if you want to sleep. I might not let you sleep well but I will never scare you (I swear).