The atmosphere in the Room 413 turned curious. Ah Li was Lan Dong's best friend, so he naturally would not help the Haunted House scare Lan Dong. Therefore, he probably really did see a real ghost earlier.
However, were there actual ghosts in the world? Liu Gang shook his head to chase this unrealistic thought out of his mind. He did not believe Ah Li's words and picked the phone up from the ground.
"A few years ago, I saw a similar app on the app store. It can add scary pictures into normal photographs. Many people used it to prank their friends and families." The camera was still on, and Liu Gang aimed it at Lan Dong. There was nothing on Lan Dong's neck, but instead, the wall behind him was a bit strange. The human-shaped stain pinned to the wall seemed to be moving.
"There is nothing around your neck." Liu Gang showed everyone. "It's all a lie."
"Brother Gang, I've used that app you mentioned, but it has been taken off most app store. Do you know why that is the case?" For some reason, Xiao Chun had a bad impression of Liu Gang. Perhaps she disliked this kind of slippery old man who liked to act and postulate.
"Because someone really saw an actual ghost through that app. Those kinds of reason naturally wouldn't be broadcasted by the app store, but a personal friend of mine experienced it." Xiao Chun glanced at the camera. "Brother Gang, I know that you do not believe in ghosts. That is your freedom. But you have to respect them, especially... in a place like this."
"Girly, you're quite young, but you sure have a tongue on you." Liu Gang did not think much of this.
"Our relationship is not close enough for you to call me girly." Xiao Chun was a sensitive person. She did not like to speak, but someone like her would sense the smallest change around her. Ever since they entered this Haunted House, she had noticed that everyone's emotions had been purposely led a certain way; the darker side of their personality had been elicited. The Haunted House was like a maze that made them sink deeper and deeper. "When we were outside the Haunted House, everyone was fine. How come it changed when we came in here? Is it due to the background music, or is the scenario itself too suffocating?"
Xiao Chun did not know how to comment on a Haunted House like this. It was good that those who were suppressed for too long in real life could go to the Haunted House to release themselves and return to their most original self in this scary underground place. Then, they could pick up their masks and continue working hard at life after they left this place. The bad part was that the process of transmutation would definitely be filled with screams and terror.
"Supernatural app?" The people in the room were arguing. Lan Dong touched his neck and knelt on the bed. "Based on what Ah Li said, I did feel some chilling pain around my neck like a pair of invisible hands were trying to pull out my head, but when Brother Gang shone the phone at me, the feeling disappeared."
"There aren't real ghosts, right?" Muscle whispered. He was a professional cameraman. Under normal circumstances, he would not comment during shooting unless he could not help it.
"I don't know whether there are actual ghosts in this world, but I am sure that there is someone acting as a ghost here. Perhaps he is laughing behind the camera at this moment." Lan Dong looked at the corner of the room. "He is waiting for us to make a fool of ourselves, but I will not allow that to happen."
Lan Dong jumped down from the bed. "Let's go, we've obtained the key to most rooms in this Haunted House. We only need to open the rooms one by one, and eventually, we will find the exit."
"We're stopping the investigation? I've looked at the phone, and there seems to be a case of school bullying in this dormitory. The bullied boy is called Lin Sisi, and he should be the owner of the phone."
"Ah Li, we're looking for the art club. Don't get disturbed by unrelated things." Lan Dong's face was stern.
"But I just looked at the phone. There were a few messages inside that were related to the art club." Ah Li activated Lin Sisi's phone and opened the messages.
"Sender, Mr. Bai-Lin Sisi, from today onward, you will stay in Room 413. Befriend your classmates and do not disappoint your parents."
"Sender, The Painter-Lin Sisi, why do you hide a knife under your pillow? Do you know you have the habit of sleepwalking?"
"Sender, The Painter-Lin Sisi, what is your favorite color? Deep red? Or dark red?"
"Sender, The Painter-Lin Sisi, I have seen your painting. Welcome to the art club."
Ah Li showed everyone the messages. "This Lin Sisi is a member of the art club. We can find several clues from their messages. The president of the art club should be the Painter, and this club is not a simple hobby club. They are probably a group of madmen. I have a feeling that the quest that we drew is not as simple as it seemed."
"You're overthinking things." Before hearing what Ah Li had to say, Lan Dong cut him off. "The mission has been drawn, and that is a fact. The most imminent task now is to find the art club within the time limit."
"Wait a minute!" Ah Li did not follow Lan Dong out the room. He pulled off Lin Sisi's bedsheet and opened Lin Sisi's armoire. He finally found a handmade, wooden box in the bottom drawer. "Lin Sisi is a member of the art club, so there might be an oil painting hidden in his room."
The wooden box that Ah Li found was similar to the wooden box from which they had drawn their quest, so they should have been made by the same person. Opening the lid, a scent of blood drifted into their nostrils. A folded oil painting had been brusquely shoved into the box.
"Such folds damage a painting a lot. Never mind, the boss probably doesn't know how to appreciate art. This painting is probably just a prop that is completely replaceable." Liu Gang opened the painting to take a look. Even though they had no sense of art, they were stunned by the painting. In the inverted painting, the red and white formed a great contrast and pulled at their hearts. It was unclear what the material of the canvas was, but it was cold to the touch. When the canvas was fully spread out, the folds on it slowly recovered on their own like human skin that would close up and heal after it had been cut.
"Ah Li, well done." Liu Gang's group had been in the Haunted House for ten minutes, and they had finally found their first painting.
"Let's go. We still need to find twelve oil paintings." Lan Dong left the room without turning around.
Ah Li carefully placed the painting back into the box. When he closed the lid, the image of Lin Sisi being beaten up appeared in his mind. The thin boy pleaded for help, but no one answered him. With a shiver, Ah Li looked around. "Please don't come for me. I'm just an errand boy."
His eyes moved around, and when he saw the wall, Ah Li was startled again. "How come one of the stains has gone missing? I remember Brother Dong sitting there earlier."
He had a bad feeling, so he took out Lin Sisi's phone to aim at Lan Dong. Everything about the man looked normal, but his shadow was conspicuously tilted to the side. "Nothing is following him. Looks like I've been overthinking things like he said."