Chapter 21 – Room 102, Cursed Room – ‘Mansion of Fear’ (7)
[User: Han Kain (Wisdom)
Date: Day 7
Current Location: Floor 1, Room 102 (Cursed Room – Mansion of Fear)
Sage’s Advice: 3]
Ahri was still in deep sleep even when we returned from the cathedral, so I laid her down on her bed.
A myriad of complex thoughts were filling my head.
The death of two people, a mansion full of bizarre phenomena, a girl with many secrets;
And most importantly, the devil who will be brought to life with enough sacrifice.
What was I supposed to do to escape from this place?
It was impossible to resolve all the problems in one go, so we had to go the simple route. We had already confirmed one of the definite escape methods, so there was nothing to worry about, right?
First off, let’s focus on the boat. I organised my thoughts and decided to tell everyone when it was the four of us at the dinner to immediately leave with the boat when the weather turned a little better.
Even if the lake was slightly dangerous, I judged that riding the boat to escape through the lake would be less risky.
And… even though there was one thing I was concerned about, Jinchul-hyung should be enough to restrain that problem by himself.
It was one hour later that my plans crumbled in the worst way possible.
“Cough… Keeek… Kuhukk…”
A clot of blood left Jinchul-hyung’s mouth as his agonised scream filled the mansion.
It was the death of a person, which we had even become used to at this point. From the second day of the mansion to the third day – in just the span of two days, we had the third victim, who vomited blood from his mouth.
After gathering together, I was going to talk about my escape plan. While I was quietly weaving my words together, Seungyub asked the butler for a light meal while Songee prepared a beer and several drinks. In the meantime, hyung was glaring at the butler in case he approached our two teammates in any way.
We sat in front of the prepared table and decided to have a little bit of food before sharing the plan, but after a minute, Jinchul-hyung started rolling on the floor.
I couldn’t understand.
The fact that there could be an issue with the food was something we were concerned about from the beginning. We had to avoid eating the same food and dying together at once.
That was why we asked the butler to have the food first by using the excuse that it wasn’t seasoned well enough, and Seungyub gulped the drink before we could even come up with an excuse.
Nothing was happening to the two of them, so what was wrong with Jinchul-hyung?
It was a scene of death which I was becoming increasingly more accustomed to. Although it might be nothing new, I did not want to see the crying Songee and the shivering Seungyub again.
But… I still wanted to hold onto his hand at the very least. Quietly walking up, I held onto Jinchul-hyung’s hands as he laid on the floor in pain.
He turned his quivering eyes towards me.
“Kain… Kuhaak, Kain… I, should have done better…”
Even though I couldn’t do it for the two who went before him, I consoled Jinchul-hyung.
“Hyung. Let’s meet again outside.”
“Ah… Huhu… Right. This is nothing, yeah? I’ll see you outside Kain.”
90% of our team’s strength disappeared just like that.
Standing behind the window of my room at the mansion, I gazed at the night sky. It was still storming outside. The ominous moonlight still managed to shine brightly in the midst of that weather and glimmered through the curtains to fill the room with its light.
What should I do?
The person whom I could discuss my plans with and our reliable strength were all gone.
All we had left except for me was a girl who couldn’t even cry anymore due to crying for 2 days straight, and a boy blindly dashing for love as an escape from reality.
Now that there was no reliable strength in our group, was it wise to try to escape through the boat?
Honestly, I had no confidence to contain the threat by myself. I was spending the night with a muddled mind when footsteps echoed from outside.
Was I the next target?
I picked up the silver dagger without hesitation and stood next to the door. If the one outside was who I thought it was, then me stabbing first could solve the problem.
But the person who came in was completely outside of my expectations.
“Ahri? It’s quite late right now… More importantly, when did you wake up?”
“No. Ahri is still sleeping. That is why ‘I’ was able to come see you.”
My heart skipped a beat in an instant.
This was not the Ahri we saw on the first day. She was the ‘different Ahri’ who I saw at the cathedral yesterday.
How was she able to come out even though we weren’t at the cathedral? Was the cathedral just a catalyst in lifting the seal cast on the ‘different Ahri’?
“Do you want to play a card game?”
What was she talking about?
“Now? Before that, can you explain what’s happening?”
“That is exactly why we need to play a card game.”
The ‘different Ahri’ dropped the pretentious mask and spoke both casually and nonchalantly.
I couldn’t understand what was going on. Why was she suddenly here, and what was she trying to explain all of a sudden?
When I stared at her with a skeptical gaze, the ‘different Ahri’ asked with a knowing tone.
“You’re suspicious of me, aren’t you?”
“Don’t you think it would be strange if I wasn’t?”
“You don’t have much information in the first place do you? Regardless of my identity, don’t you think you should first acquire some pieces of information from me?”
…She wasn’t wrong.
We sat down together on the bed, as I listened to her explaining the rules.
Simply put, I had to use the ‘Attack Cards’ to either destroy Ahri’s ‘Defence Cards’ or reduce her HP.
Ahri had to withstand using the ‘Defence Cards’ while drawing cards from the deck, and upon drawing a ‘Sacrifice Card’ she could eliminate it.
It was Ahri’s victory if she managed to eliminate 6 out of the 8 Sacrifice cards, and my win if I lowered her HP to 0 before she did.
We took several turns.
By lowering Ahri’s HP and destroying her Defence cards, I tried my best to defeat her but it wasn’t easy. She constantly blocked my attacks, and in the end eliminated 6 Sacrifice cards and won on repeat.
I lost a game and the next one, as well as the one after that. I thought to myself after 5 consecutive losses.
The rules were just too favourable for Ahri in the first place.
“Do you think it’s too favourable for me?”
She suddenly asked as if she read my thoughts so I replied in a fluster.
“No. M, more than that, isn’t it just because I’m not used to it?”
“It’s both. You are not used to the rules but it is also designed to be favourable for me.”
This girl who abruptly started this strange card game was nonchalantly telling me all of a sudden that it was intentionally designed to give her a higher chance of winning.
What kind of reply did she want from me?
“You are not used to the game, and you’re also at a disadvantage because of the rules. What should you do then?”
“Well, should I rack my brain a bit more?”
“Won’t the opponent do the same?”
I had no clue. I couldn’t come up with a decent counter-plan.
“How about you change your strategy?” she asked.
“Change my strategy?”
“Just accept the fact that it is not a game you can win with your current skills.”
Finally – I realised what this girl was trying to tell me.
“But even if I were to… I’m pretty much the only one. Everyone will die if I lose, so how can I accept my loss?”
“Why do you think not winning equals death? You can survive even with a draw.”
I replied to her. “I know what you’re trying to say, and I’ve been going for a tie from the beginning. My only goal was to escape, but now I don’t even know how to approach that. The boat–”
“Don’t be obsessed with the boat. Think back to the card game. For you to win, you had to lower my HP. But there is an easier way for a tie, isn’t there?”
An easier way.
Only then did I understand the point she was trying to convey.
“Let’s play one more game.”
In our last game, I gave up on lowering her HP. I also gave up on destroying her Defence cards.
Instead, I destroyed her ‘Sacrifice cards’. Ahri’s win condition was to ‘personally’ eliminate 6 of the 8 Sacrifice cards.
There was no reason to bother defeating Ahri to stop her from winning. All I had to do was destroy more than 3 Sacrifice cards before she won.
After the last game, Ahri showed a faint smile for the first time and walked outside as I realised what the other escape method was.
But, was it okay for me to trust her?
This was a place filled with deceit. What was I supposed to believe in?
I came to a conclusion after a deep contemplation.
Let’s trust Eunsol-noona. She discovered something before her death, and a change occurred to Ahri after I followed what she wrote in her message.
So at this point, trusting the ‘other Ahri’ would be the direction Eunsol-noona had intended.
[User: Han Kain (Wisdom)
Date: Day 8
Current Location: Floor 1, Room 102 (Cursed Room – Mansion of Fear)
Sage’s Advice: 3]
On the morning of the 4th day after arriving at the mansion.
I woke up in the morning and noticed the storm was finally starting to go away. Quickly washing myself, I tried to go discuss with hyung and noona but immediately remembered that there was no-one left to talk with. Discussing with Seungyub and Songee was honestly quite meaningless.
From now on, I had to resolve myself to proceed alone.
Going outside, I saw the butler who was cleaning the garden.
“You woke up very early, Mr. Kain.”
“Because the rain is finally starting to dwindle, you see. I was hoping to escape as soon as possible.”
“It’s great that the rain is starting to stop, but that doesn’t mean the water level will go down in an instant. We still need one or two days before we can use the boat.”
“That might be true for the boat, but is there a way out through the mountain? In a weather like this, I think it would be possible to climb the mountain with a raincoat.”
“Hmm, if it was sunny, climbing the mountain might be possible, but we had a storm until yesterday and… the mountain is probably very messy right now, and I’m not sure if climbing the mountain would be possible or not. Hiking in the rain, is actually an extremely risky thing to do.”
“Of course hiking in the rain is dangerous, but honestly I think this mansion is a lot more dangerous than that.”
“It is a shame that I cannot even refute those words. In that case, shall we head to the mountain and see if there is a way out?”
“I think we should do it alone with just you and me, Mr. Butler. I’ll go get prepared then.”
“Let me get myself ready as well then.”
Now that the rain was starting to dwindle, the butler and I decided to have a look at the mountain instead of the lake to see if there was a way out.
Going back to my room, I wore the best clothes for hiking and added a few layers of thick towels under my clothes.
And after placing a silver dagger into my clothes, I walked out of the mansion.
Today, I might have to kill a person.