Chapter 16| Arc 1.
Xu Ziyue grabbed Sun Mo’s wrist and turned around to run out. There was no reason other than plain, acute fear.
All Xu Ziyue could think of at this moment was that this thing – which probably wasn’t even human – had escaped the mirror and had most likely replaced someone in the real world.
And no one knew whether this thing that emerged from the mirror was dangerous or harmless.
However, Xu Ziyue failed to pull Sun Mo away. The other stood his ground, causing Xu Ziyue to be jerked back from the force of recoil.
“Class is starting.” Sun Mo’s voice was as cold as ever, acting as if he hadn’t even seen Sun Xuebao.
Xu Ziyue didn’t even finished speaking when he was pulled back into the classroom by Sun Mo. However, the other didn’t lead Xu Ziyue to his seat, but rather to his own instead.
Sun Mo gave him a look and then said, “You sit here in my seat.”
It was like Xu Ziyue suddenly got hives – he was so itchy and agitated that he could not sit still. After a while, he could not help but glance back at Sun Xuebao.
However, other than the first glance he had given Xu Ziyue, Sun Xuebao spent the entire class glaring at Sun Mo.
Hate, viciousness, violence, and fear, filled Sun Xuebao’s eyes. His expression changed every few seconds, so turbulent that it seemed his face would tear away and fall off at any moment.
Xu Ziyue instantly got more goosebumps.
And yet, Sun Mo who was stared at so hatefully, acted like he didn’t notice anything. He sat there calmly like a mountain, his textbook opened and pen poised, listening intently to class.
Xu Ziyue felt very uncomfortable sitting at Sun Mo’s desk.
He glanced around and noticed that nobody else seemed to realize that anything was wrong. This was actually what Xu Ziyue found the strangest.
Only Lu Renjia was outwardly trembling. Because his table wasn’t entirely level, every time he shook, the feet of his table also made a clacking noise against the ground.
The sound wasn’t too loud, but because Xu Ziyue sat rather close, he could hear it clearly.
Lu Renjia was completely stiff; his back was ramrod straight, face tilted to the blackboard and not a millimeter to the left or right. Only his eyes kept swivelling to the left rear, but because he didn’t dare turn his head, he could not see anything.
He eyes bulged out from his strained efforts, and blood vessels were quickly becoming prominent. All in all, he appeared very strange and grotesque.
It really was too creepy.
But Xu Ziyue knew what he was trying to look at.
He was trying to observe Sun Xuebao, but he was afraid to look, afraid that he would meet the other’s eyes or see some other unclean thing.
Had Xu Ziyue been sitting behind Sun Mo, he might have felt extremely scared, but because he knew Sun Mo was behind him right now, he subconsciously did not feel that afraid.
He even had the courage to glance back at Sun Xuebao, only to find that Sun Xuebao had been staring dead straight at Sun Mo, not paying much attention to anyone else.
There was probably some great, deep hatred between these two individuals.
Xu Ziyue thought of the bloody words on these two people’s back, and gave a shudder. Who was it that first carved these horrific words and inflicted these terrible wounds onto the other?
It was still early in the morning, and yet Xu Ziyue’s stomach was already feeling queasy.
Xu Ziyue tore off a piece of paper and wrote on it [Has anyone else noticed anything strange this morning?] before throwing it at Lu Renjia when the teacher’s back was turned.
The teacher lecturing at the front was also very strange. Every day, the content he taught was the same. When students went missing, he just made a note of it, completely uninterested in the reason why or where they were.
It was as if he were a robot, with his only instructions being to show up for class and to lecture.
Xu Ziyue’s throw was actually pretty good, and it landed right on Lu Renjia’s table. Lu Renjia’s eyes turned down to see what it was, but his body remained still and motionless.
“Open it!” Xu Ziyue whispered urgently.
Lu Renjia struggled for a long time, but finally reached out a quivering hand and opened the note.
When he finished reading, he nodded stiffly at Xu Ziyue and then gripped his pen with trembling fingers, arduously beginning to write a sentence.
He very much want to know what Sun Xuebao behind him was like, but he didn’t dare to look. He was so scared that his throw missed Xu Ziyue.
Xu Ziyue very helplessly had to get Sun Mo’s help in picking up the paper from the ground.
[They’re all treating that person like a player.]
Lu Renjia’s words were crooked. It was obviously that he tried to control his trembling, but it was of no use – he was still scared to death.
Xu Ziyue could understand Lu Renjia’s meaning though. The biggest difference between Lu Renjia and himself, and the other players, was that they had shared a room with Sun Mo last night.
Xu Ziyue nibbled on his pen, losing himself in thought.
It seems Sun Xuebao and Sun Mo were two….. ghosts…. of opposing sides.
The gears in Xu Ziyue’s head turned and his eyes brightened. With only himself and Lu Renjia unaffected, this situation was very conducive to him finding out more about the game! Lu Renjia looked like he would be easy to get answers from right now.
Xu Ziyue knew almost nothing about their game, and the few details that he did know were also things they had carelessly revealed.
This wasn’t enough at all.
Although Xu Ziyue had a different CLEAR condition from the other players, he needed to figure out if they had an antagonistic, opposition relationship, or if they could perhaps work together.
He needed to know what the other player’s CLEAR conditions were.
Not to mention, after these days, Xu Ziyue’s curiosity was also piqued, and he really wanted to know what was going on.
Between classes, Sun Xuebao did not move. He remained seated in the same position. Xu Ziyue had observed him for a whole class period, but didn’t witness the other change his posture even once. It was really strange.
Xu Ziyue called up the petrified Lu Renjia and then dragged Sun Mo out with them to another classroom.
The matter of the fan falling down yesterday seemed to have caused no lasting effect. Even the classroom had been magically cleaned, not a trace of blood to be seen anywhere.
The students milling about in the corridors also did not seem to be affected by the series of deaths happening on campus.
This appearance of normality though only served to make things appear more eerie.
Xu Ziyue tried to calm Lu Renjia down with his words, but it seemed to have no use.
In the end, he decided to just be straightforward and ask his questions.
“What are the CLEAR conditions?” Xu Ziyue asked.
Lu Renjia still had his senses. He did not look at Xu Ziyue, but instead stared at the classroom door, deeply afraid that Sun Xuebao would appear.
“Why are you asking this?” Lu Renjia’s voice was dry, as if each word was squeezed out of his throat.
“I’m afraid you’ve been replaced by something, so I need to ask you a question that only we know the answer to.” Xu Ziyue had long ago thought of the perfect excuse during class.
“Find the BOSS and seal him. Or, successfully rehabilitate him….”
Xu Ziyue’s mouth twitched, but he managed to suppress his smile. This really wasn’t the time to laugh.
“Generally, shouldn’t it be to kill the BOSS?”
Ever since he had left the classroom, Lu Renjia had regained a little of his calm. He snorted and answered, “Who knows why it’s like this. Maybe the data has to be recycled or something.”
Xu Ziyue didn’t really understand, but that didn’t hinder him too much in his deductions.
There were so many NPCs in a game that finding the BOSS right off the bat was a very difficult thing to do. However, it was evident that the other players already knew of the current situation of Shangyang High School, and knew that the goal was to discover the reason behind the abandonment, so they must have had some sort of clue or mission issued.
As for the Beginner’s Guide, well, it was probably a record of a few default rules of their game.
Something like: Once the game starts, gather together and discuss the scenario.
Lu Renjia suddenly stated, “Oh yeah… Yesterday, when you weren’t with us, we went to meet Sun… Sun Xuebao. Afterwards, we visited the other classes of this school and there we met a special NPC.”
“Mhmm,” Lu Renjia nodded, “This building was abandoned, right? Well, he had been here before then – he was a student teacher.”
It was probably because all the other players had fallen under some sort of hypnosis that Lu Renjia actually revealed some information they weren’t planning to share with Xu Ziyue.
He might not be able to survive by himself, but if he could get Xu Ziyue – and hence, Sun Mo, this NPC who appeared to be on their side – to cooperate, then he might actually survive.
“This student teacher told us something.”
Xu Ziyue nodded, indicating that he was listening.
“He said that after the incident, the mother of the first child committed suicide. That is, that child who died from the fan. And then afterwards, two more students died, and the third and last missing student… well, he’s the one sitting in the classroom right now.”
When the Lu Renjia said that the mother committed suicide, Xu Ziyue glanced at Sun Mo. However, Sun Mo’s face did not show any expression, making him wonder if the woman really was the other’s mother. Or had he been so sad that now all he felt was emptiness?
“So Sun Xuebao hadn’t died? He was just hiding in the mirror?” Xu Ziyue was a bit confused. “How can people hide in the mirror? Also, he kept asking people to save him. But he seems like a bad guy ah, and now he has possessed a player as well… also, if he is hiding, then what is he hiding from?” Xu Ziyue grabbed at his hair – he felt that his brain was reaching its maximum operating capacity.
It’s just that Xu Ziyue could still remember Sun Xuebao saying the method to save him was to find a jar, and then to burn the ashes within the jar… This was very much in line with what the other players’ CLEAR condition was… to seal the BOSS ghost.
But whether Sun Xuebao had spoken the truth or not was still uncertain.
Assuming that Sun Mo really was the big BOSS, then the path to achieve the CLEAR condition for the other players was quite obvious.
But when Sun Xuebao’s eyes full of hatred and negativity surfaced in Xu Ziyue’s mind, he subconsciously felt that the other was not trustworthy at all.
At this very moment, a male walked out of the classroom.
His gait was stiff and uncontrolled, as if he hadn’t walked properly in a long time.
He even had on a stiff smile as if two iron hooks were forcing the corners of his mouth up.
“What are you guys chatting about ah…”
Sun Xuebao narrowed his eyes, his tone a strange and eerie rhythm, instantly causing shivers to all those who heard him.
Translator: Lone Wolf Translations