"Director is trapped inside the movie, huh? This has to be a ghost story." Chen Ge felt like this fell within his job scope, so he could not just let it be. He raised his head to glance at the clock on the wall; it was already 2:30 am. "Even with a cab, going to Yong Ling Mountain will take half an hour. It's too late now, so I shall wait until tomorrow to pay it a visit.
"There is never enough time. The time limit for School of the Afterlife is almost up, but I don't have an available Red Specter with me at the moment. That can't be allowed to continue. I should visit the crew and, if possible, help the writer finish his wish as soon as possible. Hopefully, that'll persuade the hotline operator to join my Haunted House."
After everything was prepared, Chen Ge switched his phone off and, for the first time in a long time, slept early that day. At 8:30 am the next morning, Chen Ge was woken up by someone knocking on the window. He peeled open his eyes blurrily and heard Xiao Gu's voice coming from outside the window.
"Boss probably went out last night again. Let's wait at the door."
"Does boss go out late at night often?" It was Zhang Jingjiu who asked. He was quite curious about Chen Ge.
"I'll put it this way, the social app that we often use has a real-life pedometer, and whenever I arrive in the morning, boss will have logged around ten thousand steps already." Xiao Gu's tone was calm. "But today it's rather weird. Since last night until now, boss only logged in three thousand plus steps. I wonder if anything happened to him."
"If boss heard you say that, he would skin you alive." Xu Wan's voice followed. All the workers seemed to have arrived already.
"I would never physically injure my employees. I'm hurt that you even consider that possibility." Chen Ge crawled up in bed, pulled the thick curtains back, and opened the window. "At most I would only dock their pay."
"Boss!" The four stood next to the window-they seemed to have been waiting for a long time already.
"Wait a minute, I'll open the door for you." Chen Ge glanced at his phone; it was already 8:40 am. He had fallen to sleep so quickly that he forgot to set his alarm. Opening the Haunted House's gate, Chen Ge herded the four employees into the dressing room and helped them with their make-up one by one.
"Since you're all here, I wish to have a simple morning meeting while we do our make-up." Chen Ge expertly placed the make-up on his employees faces. One would suspect that he was not straight given the ease with which he wielded the many make-up brushes. "Xu Wan and Xiao Gu, you are both senior workers and are looking after the two scenarios aboveground. Our Haunted House is split into different star difficulties, and many visitors won't attempt the more difficult scenarios, so in a way, you have the most important responsibility because you represent the face of the Haunted House and will influence the visitors' first impression of us."
"Boss, don't worry, leave everything to me and Sister Xu Wan." Xiao Gu patted his chest and promised. His sunny disposition meant that he could befriend everyone easily.
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"Scissors and Zhang Jingjiu, you two are responsibility for the underground scenario. I need you to focus on your given task. If there are any accidents with the visitors, inform me immediately." Chen Ge exchanged a look with Zhang Jingjiu and Scissors. "The underground scenarios are very big, so you two need to improve on your acting."
"Understood." Scissors and Zhang Jingjiu had entered Li Wan City with Chen Ge, so they knew what he left unsaid.
"One final thing, I will officially hand over the spare key for the Haunted House to Xu Wan. If there's a situation where I'm not around, just keep the place running with the responsibility that I've given you." Chen Ge handed the spare key to Xu Wan and looked at the girl in the mirror. "If there's any issue with the scenario aboveground, come and ask Xu Wan. If Xu Wan cannot handle it, find theme park director, Director Luo. Do not go to anyone else, and do not trust anyone."
Before Xu Wan answered, Chen Ge stood up. "I'll handle the underground scenarios. Now, Scissors and Zhang Jingjiu, come with me, I still have many things to teach you."
After Chen Ge and the two walked away, Xiao Gu noticed that Xu Wan was still spacing out looking at the mirror. "Sis, it's time to go. The visitors will be arriving soon."
"Hmm, okay." Xu Wan held the key in her hand tightly like she was afraid that she might accidentally lose this very important object.
Chen Ge led Zhang Jingjiu and Scissors underground and stopped before one of the rooms at the underground morgue. He knocked on the door, and an old man wearing a white coat came out. He had a head full of white hair, but he had a straight back, like a pine growing on the cliff face.
"This old gentleman is Wei Jiuqin, he is our Haunted House's best doctor. If I'm not around in the Haunted House and you come across a problem that you can't resolve, come and find him, he will help you." Doctor Wei was the oldest and had the most experience. There was no way to criticize his personality, and he was one of the few people in the Haunted House who could handle a crisis perfectly.
"Why are you suddenly bringing this up?" Doctor Wei felt like something was off.
"It's nothing, just in case."
"You have to tell me if you have anything worrying you! I am living quite comfortably here, especially given the chance to see my old friends and lecture them as I used to." Doctor Wei was not one for jokes, but he lightened the mood for Chen Ge's sake.
"Don't worry." Chen Ge returned to the surface. After the visitors filed into the scenarios, he led Scissors and Zhang Jingjiu for a spin underground and introduced them to most of the ghosts.
Scissors and Zhang Jingjiu's lips were hanging open throughout their 'tour'. There were students, teachers, doctors, patients, and other types of 'people' at this place; it was truly an underground town.
"What you see is merely a part of the underground scenario. This whole place is very huge. My parents used a decade to build this place." Chen Ge shared more secrets with Scissors and Zhang Jingjiu before sending them back to Li Wan City.
"Only those who I've experienced life and death with am I going to allow to be my employees. They are going to be hard to recruit." Chen Ge tried his best to cultivate Scissors and Zhang Jingjiu. When they were able to run the place on their own, he would have more time to go and do more things.
Exiting the scenario, Chen Ge was summoned by Uncle Xu when he walked to the Haunted House entrance. "Chen Ge, Director Luo is looking for you."
"Looking for me?"
"Yes, be careful, there are outsiders in his company," Uncle Xu reminded him in a whisper before turning to his duty. Chen Ge ran to the office building, and as he pushed the door open, the laughter hit him immediately. Director Luo was in the middle of a joyous conversation with a middle-aged man. One would think that they were old friends from the way they seemed to enjoy each other's company.
"Xiao Chen, come and take a seat." Director Luo was friendly toward Chen Ge. He stood up and walked toward him. When he was facing away from the middle-aged man, he gestured with his hands, but he kept his voice upbeat. "This is CEO Bai. I've introduced you to him before. He has something that he wishes to ask you."
"CEO Bai?" Chen Ge understood immediately that this was not a friendly visit.
"There's no need to stand on ceremony-we've met each other a few times already after all. This time, I'm here on someone else's behalf, so I shall not talk in circles," CEO Bai said with a smile. "Earlier, people from a Haunted House from Xin Hai came to visit, and all of their employees were scared until they needed medical attention. Their boss is my friend, so he had me come over to ask a question.
"How did you manage to do that, Boss Chen?
"Those are all professional Haunted House actors who have been in the business for at least five years. They are essentially the best that the market has to offer."
"CEO Bai, are you here because of that?" Chen Ge thought about it before turning to CEO Bai. "Perhaps they are not as good as they say. I personally don't think my Haunted House is that scary. The threshold for horror differs between people. How about you enter my Haunted House and see for yourself, CEO Bai?"