Chapter 25 – Intermission – Who in the world are you?
[User: Han Kain (Wisdom)
Date: Day 8
Current Location: Floor 1, Room 105 (Room of Rest)
Sage’s Advice: 0]
“Hoh, that looks quite delicious. Hey, young buddy! Hand me a piece of that big Jokbal over there.”
“…I don’t think this is Jokbal. It’s probably that Schweinshaxe or something.”
“Right. Hand me some of that Schwein Jokbal.”
I was trying to pick up the large Schweinshaxe when the large piece of meat suddenly disappeared.
“Aigu. This looks amazing.”
Without any hesitation, Jinchul-hyung took the whole thing from my side.
There was no way Jinchul-hyung would suddenly pick a fight against me so… it was obvious who he was showing that attitude to.
“Hohoh. Don’t you think you’ve been crossing the line a bit too much? I’m sure I explained myself already though…”
“Haha. Of course not. Aren’t you an esteemed agent from the Administration Bureau? I just didn’t want you to have a pig’s foot.”
“Ahh, this little brat. You look like a boar but your mouth is very light, don’t you think?”
“Hah, what an elegant manner of speech considering your damn age–”
“Please, let’s not do this while we are having our meal. Jinchul, please shut up. You too, sir.” Eunsol-noona chimed in.
Wouldn’t we hug each other and cry because of all the hardships we went through? That was what I was expecting but the atmosphere of the meal was very different from what I thought.
Two new people.
The addition of two people who everyone had been thinking of as an enemy inside the Mansion of Fear was making things very stressful.
“Ahri-noona… This, it’s roasted eggplants and it’s very delicious. You should have some.”
“Oh my, Seungyub. Thank you.”
Of course, there were some people who paid no attention to the war of nerves happening on the other side of the table.
Inwardly heaving out a sigh, I checked the teammate information tab on my status screen.
[1. Han Kain (20) – Wisdom. Freshman at K University
2. Cha Jinchul (31) – Courage. Former professional boxer.
3. Yu Songee (17) – Affinity. Raises numerous animals
4. Elena Ivanova (23) – Justice. Daughter of a diplomat seeking asylum. Currently wanting to be an actor.
5. Park Seungyub (14) – Fortune. An unstoppable juvenile boy
6. Lee Eunsol (32) – Wealth. 3rd child of the chairman of Daeyang Group
7. Kim Mooksung (68) – Communication. Agent of the Calamity Administration Bureau
8. Kim Ahri (16) – Allusion. Probationary agent of the Calamity Administration Bureau]
Absurdly enough, the two new people were actually agents of the Administration Bureau.
The Administration Bureau was the most secretive organisation in the world. Their actions weren’t very well-known, and from what I knew as a normal citizen…
It was that there were devils and ghosts in the world which normal people would generally never come across in their lives, and that the Administration was the organisation dealing with them.
What we were going through right now was that supernatural event, so I guess it wasn’t strange for those agents to be here.
After quickly finishing her meal, Eunsol-noona clarified the situation.
“So, you are saying the two of you were trying to stop the civilian disappearing incidents caused by the hotel, and somehow ended up being brought to the hotel, right?”
“Well yes, but to be exact, we sneaked inside using our method but the hotel took us hostage as characters of Room 102 the moment we came inside. We are thinking of this as some sort of ‘punishment’.”
“Like a punishment from the hotel against illegal trespassers?”
“Something like that. Getting stuck in our roles and not being able to do anything ourselves, and praying for the official participants to pass would be a harsh punishment in itself. It was actually fairly challenging.”
“Anyway, moving on, old man, you and–”
“Hey. Cha Jinchul!” Eunsol-noona shouted as Jinchul-hyung rephrased his words.
“Kuhum, so sir, there is a method you and that probationary lady used to enter the hotel, right? Is it possible to leave using that method?”
“I’m sorry but we can no longer do that.”
“What even was that method?”
…For an instant, the old man closed his mouth. It might have been a sensitive question, but we needed to know anything related to our escape.
That was when Ahri opened her mouth.
“I think we should just say it, grandpa. The hotel has been kidnapping people for a long time, and some people with luck and skill were able to escape while keeping their abilities. When you successfully escape this place, the hotel gives out an ‘entrance ticket’, telling you to come back if you ever want to.”
“Did you come in using that ticket?”
“If we did, we wouldn’t have been deemed as ‘trespassers’. You see, only the escapees themselves can use those tickets and we… tried to ‘replicate’ them in our own ways. That’s why the hotel labelled us as trespassers.”
Is it because there were a lot of people nearby?
Ahri looked a lot more respectful and polite compared to my memories of her at the mansion. She looked 2-3 years older than her appearance at the mansion as well.
In any case, we were pretty much finished with inquiring about their identities.
“Next up, let’s discuss how everything happened at the mansion and have some feedback together. There will be plenty of even more dangerous things happening to us in the future, so we should clarify what happened first. I assume the last one alive would know the most, so Kain, can you explain for us?”
This time, it was my turn to speak. Feeling that I should take some time to calmly analyse what happened, I first wrote a few words down on a white plate we got from somewhere.
1. Songee’s possession and the murdering process.
“Then, let’s put everything together in the order they happened. Firstly, when exactly were you possessed, Songee?”
As soon as she became the centre of the topic, Songee deeply lowered her head.
“I actually don’t remember anything after touching the statue…”
“So touching the statue was the trigger huh. If we go there again, we won’t touch it this time. Alright.”
“Next, let’s talk about how we all died. Firstly, can you start us off, Miss Elena?”
“Songee came in the middle of the night saying she was scared… and I fell asleep while talking to her. It suddenly felt painful so I woke up, but I was already being strangled.”
“Oh, no, it’s not your fault, Songee.”
“Is it me next? There’s nothing much,” said Eunsol-noona. “I came out after seeing the documents and saw Songee waiting outside even though it was already late. Back then, I somewhat felt like I was going to die. I was already quite… suspicious that Songee was the one who killed Elena. I was prepared to die the moment I went inside the study but when we met, she was acting tremendously well so I thought maybe she wasn’t the killer, but when I turned around she immediately went ‘stab’.”
“I’m really sorry unni.”
“Let’s stop saying sorry. We all know you didn’t mean it.”
“I have absolutely no idea how I died.” This time it was Jinchul-hyung. “I just died all of a sudden in the middle of a meal, right? What was that about?”
“I think I know. Back then I wasn’t sure but looking back, we checked the food and the juice beforehand but we didn’t for the beer you drank. Something must have been done to the beer.”
“Hah, seriously, can I not even have beer anymore?”
“For me, noona called me so we went to the lake for a walk together but she suddenly pushed me off…”
While we were describing how we were each killed by Songee, she looked like she would burst into tears with one tap.
2. Meaning behind the memo.
“Next is something I seriously wanted to ask after leaving that place. Why did you write [c, cathedral, maid, bell]? Did you not have time? It was hard for me to decipher that you were telling me to take Ahri to the cathedral and ring the bell.”
“Uhh… Is that what happened?”
“I wasn’t trying to be that specific at all. If I was trying to say that, I would have been more clear as you said; I was just writing down the keywords I saw on the documents. I didn’t even know there was a bell in the cathedral. However, there were some lines about ‘Sir’ detesting the cathedral and the bell so I wrote that, and I also wrote down ‘maid’ because there was a line about brainwashing the maid. Looks like you somehow made it work with what I wrote.”
“What was that ‘c’ then?”
“For that, I was trying to write capital S for Songee but I stopped in the middle. Back when I was writing the memo, the only clue we had about the murderer was that it had to be ‘someone Elena would invite into the room and sleep with on the same bed,’ right? Songee was the first person that came to mind but Seungyub is also quite young and… I didn’t want to risk giving you the wrong idea.”
“Judging from how you left behind a memo, were you aware that you’ll die?”
“I was prepared for that too, but most importantly there was a line about a ‘grimoire that would drive normal people insane by just seeing it’. I thought it was somewhere inside the study though. Maybe it’s in a different place.”
Hearing that, I sneaked a peek at Ahri, who gave me a wide smile as if she was wondering why I was looking at her. Maybe the hypothesis I made was wrong.
3. How were the 2 agents able to wake up?
“Let’s resolve our biggest question now. The hotel has controlled our minds several times until now, and we couldn’t fight back a single time. So how were the two of you from the Administration able to come to your senses?”
“Firstly, it is because we are trained at resisting mind control, and secondly, it’s because of my blessing.”
“Your blessing? Communication?”
“I’ll make it simple for you. My blessing is ‘Discord’.”
We all became speechless for a second.
“Why are you saying ‘Discord’ all of a sudden. What do you mean by that?”
“It’s a comparison. Just like the word, ‘communication’, it is an ability that is optimised for communication. A picture paints a thousand words. Come here and hold my hand once.”
With bewildered looks on our faces, we held his hand one by one.
Mooksung: Can you hear me?
Songee: What! What is this? There are words popping up in my head!
Mooksung: This is my blessing. We can chat by thinking to ourselves. In normal situations, it’s not any better than an actual conversation, but we can chat even when our bodies are being restricted. By using this to talk to each other, Ahri and I were able to keep our sanity.
Kain: This is… a really interesting ability. It looks very helpful.
Seungyub: Wow! Can we talk using this the whole day?
Eunsol: For example, when we are outside of mealtimes at Room 105?
Mooksung: Sorry but there is a limit to the conversation. We have already used up about a half of it, and it’s not an ability suited for everyday conversation. A day needs to go by for it to be replenished.
Kain: I see. Are there any other restrictions?
Mooksung: Haven’t found any so far. Ah, and I can also do this. Jinchul-gun? Say something.
Stupid Pig: What do you mean? Huh? Wait, what is this?
Mooksung: The owner of the server can assign names.
Eunsol: …There’s a limit so let’s stop here.
After a short yet interesting experience, we returned to having a chat in the real world.
It definitely was a very useful ability, but the fact that a conversation that lasted less than a minute took up most of the day’s worth of messages was a big downside. The restrictions were about as big as its usefulness.
“And what blessing was yours, Ahri? Kain said it’s called ‘Allusion’, right?”
“I was locked in Room 102 straight away, so honestly, I’m not too sure.”
Not too sure?
For that to be the case, she seemed very skilled when casting something similar to hypnosis on me, though?
It was a fairly questionable reply, but I didn’t bother delving deeper into it.
“Well, I think that’s pretty much everything we have to say for each other. And seriously, great job everyone. I want to say a touching line or something but I’m just too tired right now, and I think we are all very exhausted. Let’s all take a rest because we still need to enter another Cursed Room tomorrow. See you tomorrow, everyone.”
After dinner, we were transferred over to our respective locations.
I wanted to take a good rest for today. Tomorrow will worry about itself.
Ahri: Can you hear me?
Ahri: We can’t talk for long.
Kain: What do you want to talk about? You pretending like a nice kid?
Ahri: Oh my! I don’t know what you are trying to say. It’s about what I last saw at the mansion.
Kain: Why didn’t you talk about that during the meal?
Ahri: Because it’s better off for everyone else to not know about it except for you.
Kain: What do you mean???
Ahri: Looks like you don’t know much about your own blessing. ‘Wisdom’ lets you accept knowledge that humans cannot comprehend. I’ll show you now. We can also do things like this by mixing grandpa’s and my blessing.
From an ever-so-distant place, I saw something.
Simply seeing it threatened to burn my brain.
An endlessly deep pit,
A pit reaching far and wide to no end like intestines,
And a horrendous thing crawling towards me.
An unbearably intense pain ached my head.
I guess I would probably have a horrible nightmare today. Why did she have to show this to me now, when I was just about to go to sleep…?
Please no spoilers… Thank you