Kindness was not blind tolerance, and it was not the kind of self-deception where doing good things would only lead to good rewards. Actual kindness was accompanied with strength, a way of living that pervaded one's life, a spirit materialized through constant everyday action.
Chen Ge was a kind person, but the way that he showed his kindness was incredibly unique. The group wanted to say something more when they heard what Chen Ge had to say, but after giving his words some thought, they fell silent.
This was Li Wan City, which was shrouded in blood fog, a place where murderers and ghosts could be hiding behind every corner. One wrong move, and they could have easily lost their lives. A trait like kindness was extremely rare here, but at the same time, kindness was also the cheapest thing.
"I'll follow your lead." The doctor was the first to expression his opinion. He had a great eye for people, and in his mind, he had already treated Chen Ge as his only hope of leaving this place.
"I'll temporarily listen to your orders." Scissors agreed as well. Of the three passengers, only the drunkard appeared slightly unwilling.
"The majority wins, so it has been decided." Chen Ge gave the four keys to the four individuals. "Later, try not to speak and leave everything to me."
About two or three minutes later, the fat boss waddled back out from the kitchen. "Have you chosen the rooms among yourselves? Please register here, and while you do that, I have a few important precautions that I need to tell you."
The fat boss took out a yellowed notebook from underneath the counter. The surface of the book was covered in a thick layer of dust, a sign that it had not been used for a long time already. He flipped open the book. It was filled with room numbers, and there was a human name written under each number. The strange thing was that some of the names were cut off, some were circled, and others were crossed out with a red 'x'.
Chen Ge had no actual idea what these symbols meant, but he had a feeling that every single name that was cut off represented a life that had been lost.
"I hope you'll remember in your heart what I have to say next." The boss raised both of his hands over his head to make a strange pose. "This lobby is the location where we'll have dinner. When it's time to eat, I will personally go to each of your rooms to get you. However, I hope that you will not wander around for the rest of the time. Turn around the corner, and it will lead you to the rooms. Before the first floor is filled up, the second floor is not open for business. I hope you won't go upstairs to take a look out of curiosity. If there's any accident that happens to you, the hotel will not take any responsibility."
"We cannot go upstairs? This place is not big, but you sure have plenty of rules." Scissors licked his lips, and the wound on his face quivered slightly.
The fat boss seemed like he had gotten used to dealing with people with scary appearances. There was no change to his expression as he explained patiently to Scissors, "This is for your own good. I might have other guests staying here at my humble shop, and I cannot guarantee that those other guests will not come out to harm you."
"You have a point; we will be extra careful." Chen Ge was the politest out of the group-there was no sign at all that he was planning to take over the shop.
"As long as you stay honestly inside your room, nothing will happen. Other than that, I hope that you'll remember this. When you enter the room, do not open the door for anyone, not even your closest friend." The fat boss' beady eyes were covered up by folds of fat, so it was hard to discern the change to his expression, especially when it was so slight. "I'm not trying to scare you. Sometimes, those who call themselves your friend might not have your best interests at heart, or they might not even be your friend in the first place."
Chen Ge did not take the boss' words to heart. Obviously, the man was trying to turn them against each other, to plant the seed of discord within them.
"Alright, that's all I needed to tell you for now. I'll get you in a bit for dinner. You should go take a look at your rooms now, the payment for the stay of the first night is free." The fat boss left after that. His gait was light, completely disproportionate to the size of his body. "There are four more guests-it's time to prepare more food."
Chen Ge stared at the boss' back. He had no idea whether the last sentence the boss said was to prepare more food for the four of them or to turn the four of them into food.
"Let's go check out the room first. Relax, for now, there is no need to act so awkward." Chen Ge was the first to walk into the corridor and use the given key to unlock the room. The interior of the hotel room was slightly different from the one in Xiao Bu's game. It was much larger than the game.
The old man, high-schooler, woman, and police officer-I wonder if these guests would show up in real life.
In the game, the police officer was the first to be killed by the boss, so if the game was a full replication of real life, it was safe to assume that the fat boss was armed with a police gun, and that was one of the reasons Chen Ge did not challenge the boss directly.
"The rooms here are far cleaner than I expected." The doctor held the key, and he was the first to enter the room. He opened the armoire and stooped down to look under the bed.
"What are you looking for?" The drunkard was confused.
"I was trying to see if there's stuff like blood stain or human body parts.
"Can you please not do that? We worked so hard to find a relatively safe spot to lie down for the night, and now you're making me worried again." The drunkard followed behind the doctor. "How about we share this room for the night?"
The drunkard was really afraid. He was not only afraid of the potential danger coming from the other guests at the hotel, he was also afraid of the other passengers. Scissors was obviously not a normal person-his every move described him as a murderous madman. The other man with the hammer, even though he looked rather normal in appearance, the things that he did and the words that he said were definitely not those of a normal person. In comparison, the doctor was the most normal of them all.
After inspecting his own room, Chen Ge grabbed the backpack and started to wander around the doors of the other rooms.
The old man stays in Room 1, and the teeth that can summon the Red Specter are inside the drawer of Room 1 along with the spare keys for all the rooms here as well.
When Chen Ge played Xiao Bu's game, he had been given plenty of choices when he entered the old man's room. Xiao Bu had been limited to taking only one item away from the room, but that was the game, and this was reality. Chen Ge planned to grab everything that he could use and shove them inside his backpack to help him take complete control over this hotel.
"What is so unique about this place that it is placed right in the center of Li Wan City?"
When he was playing Xiao Bu's game, Chen Ge's only goal had been to survive, but now that he was there in person, he had to dig up all of its secrets. His eyes narrowed as he pushed the key in his hands into the keyhole and started to wiggle it loudly.
Naturally, his key was unable to open the door for Room 1. The only reason he was doing this was to attract the old man's attention and start the next step of his plan. The only presence that could threaten Chen Ge in the hotel was the Red Specter inside the fridge, and the teeth inside the old man's drawer was the key item to awaken the Red Specter. Only by taking the teeth away could he continue his plan without worry. He waited there for a long time, but there was no response coming from inside Room 1. It appeared like it was an empty room.
"What are you doing here? Our room is on the other side. Can't you see the room number that is hung on the door?" The drunkard jogged over to remind Chen Ge out of kindness. Chen Ge smiled and put the key back into his pocket. He stayed to stare at the door of Room 1 for a while. He gripped the handle of the hammer in his backpack tightly. He thought about it and finally decided against it. If he failed to find the teeth after breaking down the door, or if the old man had already moved the teeth away beforehand, then things could easily get out of control.
"The longer this is dragged out, the more troublesome it'll be for us. After the boss notices the threat that we pose, it'll be much harder for us to do anything then." Chen Ge was a quick thinker and fast mover. He was looking for an opening. Once the staff at the hotel exposed a weakness, he would make his move.
"Brother, the only one posing any sort of threat here is you, so I beg you to please calm down!" The drunkard knew that Chen Ge was not going to listen to his advice. He ran to find the doctor, hoping that the latter would be able to come help him advise Chen Ge. However, just as he turned around, the door of Room 1 opened to reveal a gap.
"You got the wrong room." An old man's voice came from inside the room. Chen Ge narrowed his pupils and looked inside the room with Yin Yang Vision. The lights inside the room were not turned on, and a small and short old man was standing behind the door with his back bent.
"We are so sorry. We did not mean to do this on purpose." The drunkard quickly apologized on Chen Ge's behalf. He grabbed Chen Ge's arm. "Let's go, you're creating trouble for other guests."
The drunkard really wanted to pull Chen Ge away. His actions and expressions were a real reflection of the thoughts in his mind.
Perhaps because of that, after hearing the drunkard's words, the old man put his guard down. The hand that held the doorknob relaxed, and the gap opened wider to expose his other hand that was hanging by his side. The other hand was covered in wounds, and it was holding a red cloth and several teeth that had been grinded smooth.
"Found it!" Before anyone could give their response, Chen Ge reached out to hold the door to prevent the old man from closing it.
"What are you doing‽" both the drunkard and the old man said in unison. They were both panicking.
"I just want to borrow something from you." With that, Chen Ge forced his way into the room and clamped his hand over the old man's mouth to stop him from screaming. "Come and help me! Pick up all the teeth that fell to the ground. Make sure that you do not miss any of them!"
The drunkard was stunned. Am I following a crazy person? He attacked a helpless old man without reason and without warning. And from the way he moved, it seems like he has been planning this for a long time already!
The old man who was ambushed forgot to resist. A normal murderer or ghost would wait until night fell to conjure up a despairing atmosphere and then slowly close in the trap, pushing their target to the brink of despair. Very rarely would someone act like Chen Ge and start to move as soon as the door opened enough.
"Big brother! The boss is still cooking dinner for us! Are you already planning to kidnap his guest?" The drunkard quickly followed Chen Ge into the room. He was afraid that they might make too loud of a commotion and attract the attention of other people.
"This old man is not a guest." Chen Ge dragged the old man to the table while keeping him quiet.
"Then who is he?" The drunkard had the impression that Chen Ge knew more than he let on, and at that moment, he could not help but wonder if the old man was indeed a dangerous character.
"He is the father of the boss." Chen Ge opened the drawer, and like he had returned to his own home, he took out the key, teeth, and all the other things from within.
"His father‽" The drunkard had started to stammer. "Then, why are you kidnapping his father since we've just met the boss for the first time tonight‽"
"Why do you have so many questions? Come and help me. Tear open the bedsheet and curl it up. We'll use that as rope to tie this old man up." Chen Ge cleared out the drawer. He placed all the teeth inside a bag and kept it inside his back. He turned to the old man whose eyes were widening and said, "I will not harm you. In return, I hope you'll cooperate with us and stop with the pointless struggle."
Even though the drunkard said that he was unwilling, ultimately, he was Chen Ge's ally. He followed Chen Ge's orders and turned the bedsheet into a makeshift rope to tie up the old man.
"Alright, now that we have the teeth, we only need to be careful of the pistol that the boss might be armed with." Chen Ge sighed in relief and used the pillow cover to gag the old man. Hearing the commotion, the doctor and Scissors came over.
"Don't look at me, he told me to do all these." Helplessness was written all over the drunkard's face.
"I have no idea how many living humans are required to feed a Red Specter touched by gluttony, but one thing is certain, there is no one in this hotel whose hands are not dyed by blood." Chen Ge did not have the time to explain the situation to the rest. "We'd better leave this place first. It's too easy to have our location exposed when we gather like this. I'll explain the situation to you later."
The group had just left the room when the fat boss' voice came from the kitchen.
"It's time for dinner!" The fat boss and a large man wearing a chef's hat appeared while putting a meal cart. The meal cart was painted a rare red color. It looked quite festive, with nine pieces of cake and a pot of red tea placed on top of it.
"A cake?" Seeing the cake, Chen Ge was reminded of the scene from Xiao Bu's game. How were four people supposed to share nine pieces of cake fairly with just a cut of the knife?
Perhaps it was coincidence that history repeated itself. Chen Ge, the doctor, Scissors, and the drunkard-there happened to be four of them.
"I suppose this is not dinner but supper. If you're hungry, feel free to eat first." The fat boss had no idea what had happened inside Room 1 and looked at the guests with a big smile on his face. Under his scrutiny, Chen Ge, the doctor, and Scissors acted like nothing happen. Only the drunkard revealed some apology on his face.
"Please take your seat." The fat boss was very friendly. He worked with the chef to place the cakes on the table. The doctor, the drunkard, and Scissors took their seat one after another. Just as Chen Ge planned to take the seat, his heart raced because the sound of static appeared in his ears.
"Xu Yin is warning me? Is there some problem with the chair?" Chen Ge stood up again and dropped the backpack on the chair instead. None of the guests moved to touch the cake. Even the drunkard knew how dangerous it was to consume strange food at such a dangerous location.
"Don't tell me you think I've done something with the cakes." The fat boss chuckled good-naturedly. "This is a famed establishment. Please enjoy the food without worry. Everything served on the first night is free, but if you wish to stay longer, then I'll have to take some compensation from you."
Then, the fat boss and the chef worked together to push the cart away, leaving Chen Ge's group in the lobby.
"The boss doesn't look like a bad person." The drunkard's gaze kept wandering to Room 1. "If he knew that we've kidnapped his father, he would explode in fury."
"Look at this table before you come to that conclusion." Chen Ge moved the plates of cake away to reveal the many knife marks on the wooden table. Some of the marks looked deep like they had been made with the full strength of the wielder. "Do you know why there are nine pieces of cake when there are only four of us?"
"Why?" The drunkard just finished his question when he felt a sudden lightheadedness and almost collapsed to the ground.
"This is bad!" The doctor and Scissors noticed something was wrong instantly. They struggled to stand up but noticed that their strength refused to come to them.
"How did we trigger the trap?" Chen Ge thought that he was being very careful already, but there was still accident. "How come I don't feel dizzy at all?"
Chen Ge moved the backpack away and used Yin Yang Vision to inspect the seat, and he finally found something. The chair was old, and the seat was uneven. Hidden by the stains was a very small blood red pin. Upon closer inspection, Chen Ge realized that it was a human nail that had been soaked in blood.
With the cakes placed on the table, everyone's attention would be pulled to the cakes. The chairs were pulled out from the table, and very rarely would someone pay attention to the seat of the chairs.
"No wonder this is a 3.5-star scenario. Even with the guide, there's a chance of failing the mission." Chen Ge held his backpack and looked behind him. The kitchen door was open, and two heads poked out from it. The fat boss and the chef had been observing them. After realizing that three guests had fallen for their trap, the fat boss and the chef walked out from the kitchen with bright smiles. They held bone-flaying cleavers in their hands.
"You're the only one left." The fat boss' tone changed. He had taken off the disguise.
Seeing the cleavers in the fat boss and chef's grasp, Chen Ge slowly revealed a smile. "They're coming at me with cleavers, so this means that it is highly probable that the boss is not equipped with a gun. I'll make my move once they get closer, and then they will have no chance to turn this around anymore."