Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“Shen Si?” Zeng Ren spun in circles like a headless fly, “Where is he? Does the trigram mean that Shen Si should be the bait to ensure my safety? No way! I don’t want that!”
“Up here.” Shen Si patted the cage, then put his hand down, blood dripped down his chin, landing on the cage.
Zeng Ren, as if he had not heard, kept looking around, Shen Si even saw him raise his head to look up, but even so he didn’t seem to see anything. With a panicked face, he turned his head to the sides to look, but he really couldn’t see him. Did this cage have a cloaking effect?
“Shen Si, where are you? Don’t scare me!” Zeng Ren shouted helplessly.
For a living person to suddenly disappear was indeed very scary, especially since he chose this route. Shen Si watched him constantly shouting, and finally desperately sitting on the ground, his lips white, constantly trembling, like he had given up.
After three seconds of this, Zeng Ren put his tray on the ground as he exhaled heavily, “I’m a miracle worker, I’ll find you soon!”
Knowing he couldn’t count on him, Shen Si held the cage to stand up. The iron cage was cold like a piece of ice, and felt like his hands would be frozen to it if he kept holding onto it. The door he had been dragged through disappeared, so it was completely impossible to find a way to get out.
Holding the wound on his forehead with his hand, Shen Si tried to find something in his pocket that he could send a message out with. He rummaged through his pockets and apart from the band-aids and alcohol, there was only the dismissal paperwork that he brought with him.
Tearing the last page with his name on it, Shen Si clutched the paper into a ball and threw it from the cage. The ball hit Zeng Ren, but he didn’t feel it at all because it was too light. He remained crouched on the ground looking at his trigram, his face full of tension; completely futile.
“It’s cold.” Shen Si tugged on his clothes, but couldn’t stop the cold wind. He could feel his body, and even his lungs were cold. Although there was no thermometer, this temperature was definitely more terrible than one could imagine, and if he were to stay inside for a while longer, he may froze to death.
After a few minutes, he could feel the blood on his face solidifying. Shen Si opened his eyes and looked at the sky. His dark eyes had no emotion, as if he didn’t feel how critical the situation was.
To be honest, Shen Si’s life was full of death: his parents, family and friends, and even completely unrelated aunt’s family. Shen Si’s view on life wasn’t as positive as one would expect, he had survivor’s instinct; he wanted to live, and he wouldn’t panic even in the face of death.
He had long been prepared to pass away one day due to an accident.
“You can’t die! You must wait until I come to save you!” Zeng Ren, who was still reading the trigrams on the ground, shouted, “I’ll calculate it right away! The trigram tells me to look backwards… backwards?” Zeng Ren turned his head, he lowered his head and saw the paper ball that Shen Si had just thrown down, he hurriedly picked it up and unfolded it, he almost tore it because of his fumbling. Laying it flat, Zeng Ren looked at the words on it, it should be a contract, with Shen Si’s name written on it, and next to that was a bloody word: Up.
“Up? Up where?” Zeng Ren backed up blankly to look up, but all he could see were dense cages, which were empty with nothing inside of them.
Zeng Ren, who had no idea what this meant, folded up the paper and put it in his pocket with a determined look on his face, looking like he wasn’t going to leave until he found Shen Si.
On the other hand, the Special Unit who received the news that the playfield was open was having an emergency meeting. They sent their officers to surround the playfield, but now they didn’t even know what the playfield was, and they were simply confused.
Ning Yangze walked around the conference room, “What’s up? Any news from the Inspection Unit?”
“Not yet, they said this place belongs to the non-dangerous area, they didn’t do the testing here before, so now they have to analyze from scratch. It’s not easy to completely determine the playfield’s properties.” Xia Leyu flipped through the files, “But I did find something.”
Ning Yangze’s spirit lifted, “What is it?”
“The playfield this time opened in the suburbs, and although it’s close to the subway, not many people were pulled in. I searched keywords based on this place, and found that three days ago the organization Night issued a warning, and said that there would be a playfield open here.”
“What? Night? The organization that contacted the Survivors to help ordinary people go through the playfield safely?” Ning Yangze frowned slightly, “That organization even predicted the opening of this playfield?”
“That’s right, but it doesn’t say when it will open, just that it will open in the near future, and I suspect that there are Survivors inside who specialize in dealing with it.” Xia Leyu handed the information in his hand to Ning Yangze, “Since the playfield has opened, that means there are Survivors. I put together all the three Survivors in this area.”
Ning Yangze looked at the document in his hand, “This isn’t the same as our file?”
“That’s right, it isn’t.” Xia Leyu nodded, “At first I thought that someone had concealed the news from us again, but in the end, I found that the possibility of concealment was low, because there were only three Survivors who returned in that area.”
If there were many Survivors they had missed, it might be normal. If there were only three Survivors in the area there was not a great possibility of underreporting. In order to ensure safety, the Special Unit split into multiple teams, they were designated in specific areas to count the number of people. If even a team of more than ten people couldn’t determine whether the three Survivors were lying, then that would be a problem.
Ning Yangze instantly reacted, “You’re counting the unknown Survivors?”
“That’s right.” Xia Leyu handed Ning Yangze another sheet of information, “We had previously asked the Survivors who returned from the playfield to write about the other Survivors they remember in order to keep track of the statistics and there is one that keeps popping up.”
“Yes, that’s him.” Xia Leyu nodded, “He is a B-Rank Survivor, so there are a few Survivors who have an impression of him.”
Ning Yangze frowned slightly, “So it’s him.”
“Hmm? You know this person, Team Leader?” Xia Leyu murmured somewhat sadly, “I went to investigate the people who were reported missing, but there was no one named Zeng Ren missing at all, and no one reported it. So I had to look in the household register, and it turned out that there were no less than twenty people named Zeng Ren in this area.”
“Is that so?” Ning Yangze put away the information, “Is there a suspect?”
“There is, but it is only a suspicion.” Xia Leyu pulled out a person’s file, “I started searching for information after I was sure his name was Zeng Ren, and finally found a person who fits the description. Zeng Ren, orphan, learned from a fortune-teller after leaving the orphanage. But was arrested for spreading feudal superstition, and after that his whereabouts were unknown. He was left alone to tell fortunes occasionally to make ends meet.”
“…It’s the kind of person who has no ties and no contact with other ordinary people?”
Xia Leyu nodded, “That’s why there was no one to report the disappearance.”
“That’s him.” Ning Yangze slapped the table, “Did the people who were in the same playfield as him tell us about the type?”
“That’s the problem, they don’t know what playfield this is,” Xia Leyu slumped helplessly on the table, “I found out all the Survivor records that Zeng Ren had contact with, and finally found that the Survivors all came back from the same playfield, but unfortunately, none of them could tell exactly.”
“Don’t know what playfield it was?”
Xia Leyu nodded, “According to them, that playfield was very strange, there was black fog everywhere, and everything inside was beyond human imagination; all kinds of weird bronze statues, dried bones and cages, and they were confused from the time they went in until they came out.”
“A playfield that even the Survivors can’t tell what it is?” Ning Yangze frowned slightly, “Then we can only hope that the Inspection Unit gets it done quickly, and Zeng Ren…”
“Team Leader, you know Zeng Ren?”
“Not really, I’ve only heard of him.” Ning Yangze had a strange face, “…If I remember correctly.”
“I know! Shen Si must be in the cage!” Zeng Ren looked up at the sky as if he had suddenly realized, “The trigrams tell me that the cage is the safest place, Shen Si is missing, and the paper that says he’s above, yes, Shen Si must be in the cage.”
Zeng Ren threw down the trigram, rushed to the closest small store to get a ladder, then set it under the cage. Zeng Ren grunted and climbed up.
The small store was a kiosk that opened in the park and occasionally did a little park care, and although it had been closed all this time because of the Survivor’s return, the ladder had always been there and was strong enough for Zeng Ren to climb on top of it.
“Shen Si!” Zeng Ren panted, standing on the ladder, “I’m coming to get you! Huh? Not here?”
“I’m over here.” Shen Si spoke expressionlessly.
Zeng Ren blinked as he looked to the cage next to him, Shen Si sat in it, blood clotted on his face, looking a little worse for wear.
“Don’t worry! I’m coming to save you now!” Zeng Ren hurriedly climbed down, murmuring as he did so, “It’s amazing, obviously you can’t see anything in the cage from below, but if you climb to the same height as the cage you can see the person in the cage, what the hell is this playfield?”
Shen Si leaned on the edge of the cage, “I just know that if you don’t come back, I’m going to freeze to death.”
“I won’t let you die!” Zeng Ren murmured with conviction, “What will I do if you die, won’t I be alone again? I don’t want to go on living like that for the rest of my life, you’re my only friend.”
Shen Si lowered his head to look at him through the gap in the cage, Zeng Ren put the ladder under the cage, then ran to the small store just now to find tools that could be used. Shen Si was watching him search for tools for a long time, and finally chose a pair of pliers, thinking he could cut the bars with it.
Climbing up the ladder, Zeng Ren carefully stepped on the highest step, grabbed the cage with one hand and cut it with the pliers with his other hand. He couldn’t use his strength because of the instability under his feet, but Shen Si was able to see that the crossbar of the cage left traces under the action of the pliers, which meant that the thing was just ordinary iron that could be physically cut.
“It’s hard.” Zeng Ren frowned and exerted himself, and Shen Si could see that his fingers were slightly white from the force.
Just then, the ladder beneath his feet moved, and the next instant Zeng Ren fell backwards due to losing his center of gravity.
Reaching out to pull Zeng Ren through the gap in the cage, Shen Si exhaled a breath. His fingers were frozen raw, even his senses were a little numb. He could only clench his hand hard to keep Zeng Ren from falling. If he fell from this height, Zeng Ren would be injured.
“That was close, thanks!” Zeng Ren looked at his feet in horror before grabbing the cage bars to stabilize his body, “Shen Si, your hands are very cold.”
Only after making sure Zeng Ren was okay did Shen Si let go of his hand, which was deeply red and trembling occasionally.
The temperature in the cage had dropped to such a level, that if he stayed any longer he would definitely freeze to death because of the low temperature, “Mn.”
“Only a one-word answer?” Zeng Ren scratched his head in bewilderment, he watched Shen Si close his eyes, and then continued to cut the cage vigorously, “It’s very cold inside, right? You can’t fall asleep now! Why don’t you talk to me? Just tell me what you are here for, okay? I’ve been here for more than a month, but this is the first time I’ve seen you.”
Shen Si replied in a whisper with his eyes closed, “Didn’t you see the dismissal paperwork?”
“Tour company? I remember, you are a tour guide, no wonder you were so strong just then. You must have very good physical strength to be a tour guide!” Zeng Ren babbled randomly, “In fact, my physical strength is also quite good, but that’s because I’ve been hiding from the city police.”
Slightly opening his eyes, Shen Si looked at Zeng Ren’s hands. His hands were clean, without the slightest trace of injury, because of his fortune telling, only his fingertips were a little more worn.
With a clang, the cage was cut, and Zeng Ren’s eyes widened in surprise, “I cut it!”
It looked like this cage was just an ordinary cage, and can be taken care of in a normal way, but was it really that simple?
The white figure Shen Si saw before never seemed to appear again, and he didn’t know what the thing that pulled him into this cage was. Was it a little too early to let his guard down, what was going on with this playfield? Was it actually collecting people, the goal was to put everyone in the cages?
If what Zeng Ren said was true, that only by being on the same level could you see other things, then was the white figure above him? It was somewhere he couldn’t see at all while sitting in the cage.
With this in mind, Shen Si barely grasped the edge of the cage to pull himself up, and the white air exhaled from his mouth slowly drifted towards the outside of the cage.
“Uh? Why are you standing up?” Zeng Ren thought it was a bit strange, but his hands did not stop moving.
Shen Si looked around: large and small cages filled the sky, and there was only darkness as far as he could see. Just then, a white dot stood out in the darkness, and on a cage a meter above Shen Si, a white shadow was crouching, its eyes were two black holes, as it just stared at Shen Si vacantly.
Sure enough, there it was.
Shen Si and it were staring at each other. Three seconds passed, but it seemed like a century long. Under Zeng Ren’s bewildered sight the white shadow stood up, the black void that was supposed to be its mouth curved up, as if it was giving a nasty smile. In the next moment, it swooped down directly from above, like an eagle catching its prey.
Completely unaware of the situation, Zeng Ren looked at Shen Si blankly. The next instant, a strong pulling force knocked into the ladder and it fell directly, so Zeng Ren hurriedly grabbed the cage, the pliers in his hand fell in Shen Si’s cage. Shen Si reached out to pull Zeng Ren in as the cage continued to shake. Shen Si could clearly see the white figure climbing on top of his cage.
“What? What’s going on?” Zeng Ren looked to his right and left nervously, “What’s happening? Why is the cage shaking?”
Shen Si asked, slightly distracted, “You can’t see it?”
“See what?” Zeng Ren grabbed the cage, then he cautiously glanced down, “At this height, if I fall, will I break my leg?”
The white figure climbing on the cage moved and twisted as it climbed along the cage to the forefront making an ear-piercing sound, like a provoked beast. The outer layer of the cage it grabbed made a creaking sound and the iron bars quickly corroded into rust. With this level of corrosion, the bars might immediately snap.
The bars Zeng Ren grabbed broke down, and under the effect of gravity, he also fell down hard, making a very heavy landing sound, as if he had fallen inconveniently, not moving at all.
The broken hole of the cage was blocked by the white figure, but it jumped straight down as if it was not satisfied. Shen Si took the opportunity to leave through this broken hole, and the temperature outside made him shiver, not because of the cold this time, but because of the sudden return to a place that could be considered warm.
“What the hell is this thing? Why does it keep chasing me?” Zeng Ren kept dodging the white figure’s attacks, “No, the trigrams say this is the safest place, how can this be?!”
Shen Si chased after him, but the white figure seemed to recognize only Zeng Ren, completely ignoring Shen Si.
On the other side of the park, Jian Nian, who finally arrived, looked at the white figure. He frowned slightly, and after a moment turned around and grabbed the collar of the man behind him, “Did Night tell you what kind of playfield this is?”
The man shook his head calmly, “I didn’t think this was something you would ask about, after all, you’re the one who had to make sure I leave safely.”
“Is that so? Then why is he here?” Jian Nian let go of the man’s collar, “It looks like you don’t trust me, so you found some other Survivor, but you really have a poor eye to hire him.”
The man looked at Jian Nian, “What do you mean?”
“Zeng Ren is a notorious guy.” Jian Nian chased after him, “I can’t let Shen Si be close to that guy.”
“Doomsayer? What’s that?” Xia Leyu repeated the term, pondering.
“It’s a code name given to Zeng Ren by other Survivors, and some people also call him Fraud Master, if he really is that B-Rank Survivor,” Ning Yangze frowned, “This guy is one of the best B-Rank Survivors, and currently the Survivor with the highest survival rate in B-Rank. The reason is because of his ability. He will swap his bad luck with other people’s luck, causing him to be lucky to get through the game, and the people whose luck he swaps inexplicably die in the playfield.”
Xia Leyu jumped up in shock, “There is an ability like that? Then wouldn’t he be…”
“Yes, this person is a villain who doesn’t care about other people’s lives at all.” Ning Yangze closed his eyes. “Once a playfield opens, he will look for teammates and gain their trust in various ways. Since he starts out by being extremely attentive to others, many people will drop their guard against him, but what he wants is not friends, just their luck to keep himself alive. People who become teammates with him will perish without exception.”