Fan Chong was very unstable; it was obvious that this had affected him deeply. "Boss Chen, the game is really too much. Whenever Xiao Bu dies, I feel like she's looking at me like I'm the one who killed her."
Taking a breath, Fan Chong took out his phone. "Whenever I clear the game, I record the game process so that I can select a different route to go for a different ending next time."
Swiping on the screen, Fan Chong opened the note on his phone-it was filled with words. "Unlocking all the achievements in the game, the system awarded me with Mommy's Pajamas, and the key to the basement was found inside the pajamas. It was after the discovery of the key that the name of the main character was changed to Xiao Bu.
"The entrance to the dungeon was hidden behind the closet at a friend's home. After using the key, the style of the game changed completely. I've told you what happened next. I controlled Xiao Bu to go through the dungeon, and she saw a bus stop. To evade the red monster, she was forced to get on the bus."
So far, it matched what Fan Chong had said earlier.
"The bus started its engine and moved on the road. Xiao Bu, in her mother's pajamas, wandered up and down the bus. Some time later, the sound of a child crying come from the game. Then, two options came on screen: Find the source of the crying or ask the driver.
"The first time, I chose to ask the driver. However, when I reached the driver's seat, I realized that the bus had no driver. In fact, the whole bus was empty. The crying became louder and it felt like it appeared next to my ears and not from the game.
"The bus soon reached its first stop-Li Wan City. A line appeared on screen then: I have to leave this place.
"I controlled Xiao Bu to leave the bus. She turned back to look, and the scary part happened. The windows were filled with human faces, and they stared at me through the computer screen. Before I could react, a red shadow appeared. It was the scary woman in a red raincoat. To evade her pursuit, I ran into the nearby Li Wan City.
"The city was the map where the main character did her mission. The building and layout were all the same, but the style had completely changed. From a city filled with warmth and sunlight, it turned into a city of fear, dullness, and terror.
"The woman chased after me. I controlled Xiao Bu to run down the street. Words kept popping up-Help me! Help me!-but there was no one in the city. In the end, I was forced to hide inside an old building with no other escape.
"The woman got closer and closer. The screen focused on her face until it was fully dominated by it. The sticky hair parted to the sides, and the woman revealed her real face. Her eyes were filled with blood, and her mouth was sewn shut. It looked so scary.
"A very scary smile issued from the computer, and then a sentence appeared on screen-Xiao Bu has become her new child.
"Xiao Bu's head was covered by the red raincoat woman's hair, and I lost control of her."
Fan Chong took a deep breath after that. The image was too scary, and just thinking about it made him scared.
"Was this one of the bad endings?" Chen Ge got a bottle of water from the worker and handed it to Fan Chong.
"Compared to the other endings, this might be the best one." Fan Chong did not reach for the water. His face was pale as he continued his story.
"After Xiao Bu was taken away, the screen went dark. The sound of children laughing and crying came from the computer, and then a row of gray words appeared-Why did you kill me?
"The handwriting was like the child's dark and helpless eyes. It made me feel so guilty. After a long time, the words disappeared, and the screen returned to normal. Xiao Bu woke up in her own room, wearing her mother's pajamas."
At this point, Chen Ge raised his hand to interrupt Fan Chong. "Sleeping in her own room? Meaning after the character's death, the game reloaded at the bedroom?"
"Yes, she was lying in bed, like what had happened earlier was just a nightmare. The sun outside the window was still shining. People hurried to work, and they greeted each other." Fan Chong did not think too much of it. "The game restarted. I controlled Xiao Bu to enter the dungeon and got on the bus, but this time, I made a different decision."
"You chose to search for the child's crying on the bus?" Eastern Jiujiang was different from Western Jiujiang. All the ghost stories seemed to be connected, and the trigger of one would create a domino effect. Therefore, Chen Ge memorized everything Fan Chong said-he felt like the game was hiding a very important clue.
"Yes, I controlled Xiao Bu to walk to the last row on the bus. She found an old school bag. Then a sentence popped up-Xiao Bu found a wet phone inside the bag. Xiao Bu activated the phone, and then a few more windows popped up. It looked like Xiao Bu was reading the content of the phone."
"There was a phone inside the bag? At the last row? What did it say?" Chen Ge remembered Xiao Gu say that there had been a high-schooler at the last row on the bus, and the student had kept hugging his bag. His hand had been inside the bag like he was holding something.
"I've jotted it down. These few words were the reason I came to find you today because I think this has gone beyond just a simple game. There has to be something more." Fan Chong passed his phone to Chen Ge. Three paragraphs were written on the note.
"1st September, my mother and I moved into a new apartment. Our neighbor is a young man who lives alone. He rears a large dog. It looks so tame-its name is Xiao Bu.
"7th September, when I came back, I saw the neighbor walking down the stairs hugging a big black plastic bag. He looked so sad and said the pet that he had looked after for so many years had left him. The dog seemed to have ingested some poison and died at home.
"At the end of October, the young man moved away. The landlord found a fridge filled with dog meat in his home. The neighbor must have been devastated when Xiao Bu died."
The three sentences might look normal, but upon closer inspection, they read so weirdly. The neighbor carried a large bag down the stairs, saying his pet was dead, but then the landlord found a fridge filled with dog meat. Then what was really inside the man's plastic bag on the night of 7th September?
Fan Chong slid the display downward. "I checked the news around Jiujiang in September, and there was indeed a similar murder around the time. And the crime scene was in Li Wan City as mentioned in the game."