Chang Gu's whole life was a tragedy, but this was because of the appearance of the School of the Afterlife. This school not only took his little sister away from him but also indirectly caused the death of his parents. However, in comparison, the School of the Afterlife was merely a mission to Chen Ge. For Chang Gu though, this school was akin to a cage that had entrapped his whole life.
He was more desperate than Chen Ge to know the secrets of the School of the Afterlife, and that was one of the reasons that Chen Ge had chosen to cooperate with him. After hearing Chang Gu's story, there was still a question in Chen Ge's heart. "But what does that have to do with the other parents? Why would they target you?"
"Initially, I had no idea that Wenyu's incident was an isolated story. Through my investigation in the dark, I paid visits to many families who went through the same experience as me. I asked about their stories and tried to find clues from them. This was to help them and to provide salvation for myself. Unfortunately, I greatly underestimated the complexity of human thought. Human beings can easily abandon their hearts due to hatred and can do anything for the sake of love. They started to refuse to cooperate with my investigation and turned on me. They interrogated me, hoping to find out everything that I know. In fact, some of them tried to gouge out my left eye." Chang Ge did not go into the details, but it was definitely not a happy memory, or else he would not have gone into hiding even though he had the protection of a Red Specter.
"If I have some residual strength after locating my little sister, then of course, I will not hesitate to help them, but in reality, I am now almost blind in both eyes. With this fragile body, I can barely manage to look after myself; I simply do not have the capability to spare any more energy to help them." Chang Gu's voice slowly rose. He dared to vent like this because he was hiding in this old house deep inside the mountain.
"What you did wasn't wrong." Chen Ge leaned against the door. He still wanted to say something else, but he was cut off by Chang Gu.
"Actually, there is something that I have been hesitating about. I wish to come to a decision before both of my eyes are completely ruined." Chang Gu turned to face Chen Ge and opened both of his eyes. His right eye was completely white while his left eye looked on the surface to be no different from a normal eye. However, once one looked closer, one would realize that the spot where the pupil was connected to the rest of the eye was covered in clusters of blood vessels. "The hesitation has stayed with me for a very long time, but your appearance has given me the determination I needed. I cannot allow this to drag on anymore."
"This is somehow related to me? Did I trigger something?" Chen Ge had no idea what he did wrong. "But I need you to calm down first. We are now partners. No matter what this is, we can sit down and discuss it first."
"You won't be able to help me with this."
"How can you know that if you refuse to tell me anything about it? Even if I cannot help you, I have a bunch of friends and buddies. You met them that night."
The mention of the incident that night caused Chang Gu's expression to turn green. He was silent for a very long time before he opened his lips once more. "Since the eye transplant surgery, the eyesight of my right eye has continued to deteriorate. I cannot see anything out of my left eye, and all it gives me is day after day of torment. I have been suffering it quietly, but one day, the pain became so intense that I was woken from my sleep. In the blurriness of the night, I seemed to catch a glimpse of a door. To allow myself a better look at it, I subconsciously closed my left eye and only looked out from my right eye, but to my surprise, when I closed my left eye, the blurry door completely disappeared!"
Chang Gu's emotions were raging. He turned to exclaim at Chen Ge. "Do you know what that means?"
"That door was only visible out of your left eye?"
"That's right! I saw a door using my sister's eye!" When Chang Gu said those things, green veins popped up on his face. The eye protruded, and it looked like it could fall out of the man's face at any moment. It honestly looked quite scary.
"What does the door that you saw look like? Was it completely blood red with pulsing blood vessels on it?" When Chang Gu mentioned the term 'door', he had Chen Ge's complete focus. 'Door' carried a very special meaning for Chen Ge.
"Blood red?" Chang Gu shook his head. "The door that I saw was a very normal door, but when I woke up fully, the door had already disappeared."
"A very normal door? Did you come across that door again?" Chen Ge had no idea why the door that Chang Gu saw would be different from other blood doors.
"I did, but every time, it was when I was half-asleep. I tried to get close to it, but once I was conscious enough to do that, the door would immediately disappear."
"Based on what you've said, seeing the door does not seem to have any use."
"That's what I thought initially, but later, I discovered something very weird. The distance between me and the door was slowly drawing close! It felt like it was trying to draw me into it!" Chang Gu's voice took on a creepy undertone. "A few months ago, the door was already next to my bedside. Once I woke up from my dream, my left eye would see the door standing next to my bed! I only needed to lift my hand to push on it and possibly enter it!"
Chang Gu gasped greedily for air. This should be the secret hidden at the deepest part of his heart. "I have no idea where the door leads to and know even less about the possible existence living behind the door. I have been afraid, but I don't want to run anymore. Since this door is only visible through the left eye, it is very likely that it leads to the School of the Afterlife!"
Chang Gu's supposition surprised and shocked Chen Ge, but he quickly calmed down. He had entered the world behind the 'door' before, and he had done so more than once. He had seen many doors, and every single one of them was painted blood red.
"Your analysis is very logical, but I feel like that door might not lead to School of the Afterlife. We need to investigate this further." Chen Ge had not attempted a four-star mission before. He had no idea what the difference between a three-star scenario and a four-star scenario was. So, he could not say sure that the door for a four-star scenario would definitely be blood red in color.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
"I don't have much time left." Chang Gu left his finger to point at his left eye. He moved his eyes around. The muscles connected the eye socket and the eye had all atrophied, and only a single dark red thread was holding the two together.
"Okay, if you insist on trying that, then I won't stand in your way. I only hope that you will fulfil a small favor that I have." Chen Ge himself did not have much time left. There were only twenty hours or so left until the expiry of the four-star scenario.
"When you push open the door tonight, I wish to stay by your side to prevent any accidents from occurring. Think about it before you reject me. This is the last thing that I can do for you." Chen Ge's attitude was sincere, and his eyes were shining with authenticity.
"Tonight?" Chang Gu was stunned, but he soon agreed. "No problem, tonight it is!"
When Chang Gu gave him the promise, the black phone in Chen Ge's pocket suddenly vibrated. He turned around to take out the phone and click on the new message.
"Congratulation Specter's Favored for obtaining Chang Gu's trust. The third part of the Left Oculus mission has been unlocked-???
"Warning! This mission is filled with uncertainty, and it might lead to serious consequences. Please consider it fully before making your choice!"
Reading the content of the new message, Chen Ge's heart raced. He read the message again and again. This mission detail is so strange. The description of the mission is just question marks, and the warning states that the mission itself will be filled with many uncertainties. The biggest confusion is that it warns me to make a careful choice, but it didn't give me any options to pick!
Putting the black phone away, an indescribable worry spread through Chen Ge's heart, and for once, he was feeling apprehensive.
"Are you alright? You don't look so good." Chang Gu poured a glass of water for Chen Ge.
"I'm fine, you should get to bed. I will guard beside you." Chen Ge summoned Xu Yin back into the recorder. He pulled over a chair and sat blocking the entrance.
"Thank you." Chang Gu crawled into bed and pulled on the thin cover. Time moved slowly. Even though two hours had passed, Chang Gu was still wide awake. "Perhaps I'm being too nervous. I don't feel sleepy at all."
Then again, almost anyone would have trouble falling asleep being directly stared at by someone else in the room.
"How about I go back into town to buy some sleeping pills for you?"
"Don't bother. The trip going up and down the mountain will take more than three hours. Furthermore, the pharmacies will be closed at this hour." The thought that he was going to open the door that night caused the drowsiness to abandon Chang Gu immediately.
"Probably it's because there is a stranger in the room with you. I will go stand guard outside, so you try your best to relax." Chen Ge stood up, opened the door, and walked out. The insects flitted about in the dark, and Chang Gu tossed and turned, but he was no closer to falling asleep. He kept glancing at the clock, and soon, 2 am arrived. "The body is very tired, but I simply cannot fall asleep. This is so strange."
This continued until the sun rose, and Chang Gu was still awake. He exited the wooden hut with an embarrassed smile, and he realized that Chen Ge had been guarding outside the door throughout the night. "I'm so sorry. I have no idea why I cannot fall asleep tonight."
"It's fine." Chen Ge was not doing so well mentally either. Because he was worried that he might miss the moment that Chang Gu would push open the 'door', his nerves had been taut. "Looks like we will have to wait for the coming night. Chang Gu, try not to fall asleep in the day, and I will come back again later at night."
"Okay." Chang Gu felt quite guilty for having Chen Ge wait outside his door the whole night.
They decided the time that they should meet later that night, and then Chen Ge left with Qiumei in tow. It was not that he needed Qiumei as a hostage-it was simply that Chen Ge did not know the way back. He trekked through the mountain for forty minutes before he finally left Yong Ling Mountain. He pulled Qiumei back into the comic and caught a cab to get back to New Century Park.
Chen Ge arrived at theme park at around 8:30 am. All of his employees had already arrived, and they could not wait to start a new day of work.
"Come, I'll help all of you with your make-up." Chen Ge did not have even a second to rest. After helping his workers with their make-up, Chen Ge went to inspect all of the scenarios one by one. He busied himself until the theme park opened for business. Finally, he thought he could get some rest. However, once he stepped into the staff breakroom, before he could even touch his bed, he was pulled away by Uncle Xu.
The theme park was readying up for a busy holiday. Chen Ge's haunted house was the major promotional point, so Director Luo had many things to discuss with him. From the simplest promotional slogan to the channels that they should use to promote the haunted house, and finally, the plan regarding Xin Hai's Haunted House-the discussion between the two lasted the whole morning.
Director Luo hoped that Chen Ge's haunted house would open a new scenario to the public in conjunction with the promotion and advertisement. That was exactly what Chen Ge was hoping, but due to the uniqueness of the School of the Afterlife's mission, Chen Ge did not give the promise easily but instead told Director Luo that he would need some more time to think about it.
They finally came up with two concrete plans by around lunch time. One was the projected plan, and the other was a backup plan.
After a tense night up in the mountain and then a whole morning of discussing the promotional plan and future direction of the haunted house with Direction Luo, Chen Ge was understandably very tired. He decided to skip lunch because the desire to sleep was far greater than hunger. He rushed back to the staff breakroom, hoping to take a quick nap, but before he even arrived at the Haunted House, he was interrupted by yet another incident.
"Boss Chen!" A rather familiar voice appeared behind Chen Ge. He turned back to look, and surprise was plainly written on his face.
"Qu Changlin?" This genius mannequin designer who worked at Nightmare Academy had appeared at New Century Park, apparently to meet Chen Ge. "After our previous encounter, I asked for your information from my colleagues, and then I went online to look up your story..."
Qi Changlin's facial expression was hard to read. This caused Chen Ge to be quite worried; he realized that the man was not as easily fooled as he had previously thought.
"So, what did your colleagues say?"
"In only a few months, you managed to turn a Haunted House facing bankrupt into the Haunted House with the highest daily visitor count and the highest number of positive reviews online. You have singlehandedly created a miracle; undeniably, you are the best Haunted House operator that I have ever met. To have my design complimented by you is truly an honor. I am glad and thankful."
"Everything I said was the truth. Your overall ability is far beyond that of a normal haunted house worker, and you have a genius-like talent when it comes to designing mannequins; you deserve a better stage to show off your talent." Since the man had come to find him, naturally, Chen Ge was not going to let him go so easily.
"Compared to the information that I found online, you are kinder and more understanding in person. The things that you told me that day, I will forever remember in my heart. You gave me the ability to regain the trust in myself, to push myself further, to wish for a better version of my life." Qu Changlin did not see Chen Ge as his enemy. No matter which perspective he viewed him from, Chen Ge had been helping him, and everything that he had said was out of a kind consideration toward him.
"You came all this way to tell me thank you?" The sunlight fell on Chen Ge's face, and his smile was radiating warmth and energy.
Qu Changlin hesitated for a very long time before uttering the words in his heart. "Boss Chen, I wish to interview to work at Haunted House. I wish to learn more things from you."
"A man will be faced with many decisions in his life, and today, you have made a correct decision that will be instrumental in changing your life." Chen Ge led Qu Changlin into the haunted house and handed him the employee's manual.
"Do I need to memorize everything?"
"You only need to understand the rules. After all, you have years of working experience, and you have the necessary talent; what you lack is a stage for you to shine." Chen Ge led Qu Changlin to the entrance to the scenario for Night of the Living Dead. This scenario was on the first floor of the haunted house. It had been abandoned. Since there were more than enough scenarios underground, Chen Ge had allowed it to go unattended.
"Your task is to redesign this entire scenario. You will be managing everything. I wish to see the limit of your talent." Chen Ge and Qu Changlin stood at the entrance to the Night of the Living Dead. This scenario was far larger than the toilet that Qu Changlin had been responsible for. The environment was also far nicer than a toilet.
"What? I can't do it! I just arrived here. I don't even know anything, and you wish to hand such a large scenario over to me? Boss Chen, I have no experience dealing with such a large scenario, and this scenario is on the first floor! This is the first scenario that the visitors will encounter when they enter the haunted house. If I fail you, it will leave a negative impression on your visitors, and it might even ruin the reputation you've built for your haunted house!" Qu Changlin was really panicking.
Before he arrived, he had run through many possibilities in his mind, but this one was definitely something that he had not imagined would ever happen.
"It's fine if you don't trust that you are capable. It's enough that I believe in you." Chen Ge patted Qu Changlin's shoulder. "Be bold and don't hold back-this is my test for you."
Actually, Chen Ge had a very clear plan in his mind. There were too many secrets in his Haunted House, and certain things were too early to reveal to Qu Changlin, so he decided to allow the man to redesign this abandoned scenario.
"Your expertise is mannequin design. I have the phone number of a mannequin workshop. If you need anything, you can contact him directly. Just tell him that it was me who sent you."
The scenarios opened by the black phone were usually empty, and he would need plenty of mannequins to hold them up in the future. He was incapable of coming up with so many mannequins alone. So, he needed a worker to share the burden with, and Qu Changlin was just the person that he was looking for. "By the way, how much money do you think you will need to redesign a scenario of this size?"
"How much money?" Redesigning naturally would cost money. Qu Changlin was very cautious. He walked around the scenario for almost half an hour before returning to Chen Ge. He opened his lips and uttered cautiously, "This scenario originally had a zombie theme. The current props and mannequins are already severely damaged. I wish to update all of them and redo them with a whole new design..."
At this point, he sneakily lifted his head to steal a glance at Chen Ge. Seeing that Chen Ge had not tutted in impatience or annoyance, he dared himself to continue. "I have made a quick calculation in my mind, and even the smallest budget will require three thousand RMB."
When he gave this number, Qu Changlin was worried that Chen Ge would reject him instantly, so he sneaked another glance at the man. After all, when he was working at Nightmare Academy, he had only asked for one hundred to upgrade the mannequin, and the boss had rejected him outright.
"I am going to give you a budget of thirteen thousand, but you can always come to me to ask for more," Chen Ge said casually. "I only have one request. I need you to do your best and revive this scenario."
"Thirteen thousand‽" Qu Changlin was stunned in disbelief.
Actually, Chen Ge also wanted to see what the limit of a 'normal person' was and what the difference the scenario designed by a normal person compared to that unlocked by the black phone was.
Qu Changlin started to busy himself inside the scenario. He threw himself fully into work. He was completely different from the Qu Changlin whom Chen Ge had met at Nightmare Academy.
"He has the talent and is probably the most professional worker in my haunted house other than Xu Yin. However, I cannot place my trust in him fully yet. To become a full member of the haunted house, he has to pass a few more trials." Chen Ge did not wander off that afternoon. He listened to Qu Changlin's design direction and project framework inside the scenario for Night of the Living Dead. He also filled the man in on things that were not listed in the rulebook, hoping that Qu Changlin would mix into his new working environment as soon as possible.
At 6 pm, the haunted house closed for the day. After sending out the last batch of visitors, Chen Ge did not introduce Qu Changlin to his other existing workers but told him to leave work earlier.
After he left, Chen Ge called for a simple meeting. He told his workers some stuff and then told them to go home.
He was the only living person left inside the haunted house. He used the broom to clean the toilet. He took a spin around all the scenarios before sitting on the steps outside the haunted house entrance. The sky was darkening, and the theme park was quiet. Chen Ge took out the black phone and fell into a silent thought while staring at the countdown for the mission for School of the Afterlife.
"There are only four and a half hours left." Chen Ge was unwilling to give up just like that, but to force himself to attempt the mission, he might not even return alive. He teetered between the two choices until it was about 8 pm, when he received a call from Chang Gu.
"Chen Ge, I am currently at Jiujiang Psychological Illness Treatment Center. I need you to get over here now!"