Chapter 26 – Investigating the Elevator, Entering Room 103
[User: Han Kain (Wisdom)
Date: Day 9
Current Location: Floor 1, Room 105 (Room of Rest)
Sage’s Advice: 3]
7 am. As always, everyone gathered at the dining room for a meal when the display screen turned itself on.
/Today is a day off at the hotel. Meals will still be provided./
“What is this about all of a sudden?”
“It’s a day off but they’re still giving out meals? What does this mean?”
“Hmm… I think I can answer that question.”
A clear voice echoed as everyone turned towards Ahri.
“Do you know something about this?”
“According to the information we have gathered, the hotel regularly gives out ‘safe days’ like this. Simply put, it means there won’t be any penalties even if we don’t enter a Cursed Room today.”
“So you mean they’re telling us to take today off?” Eunsol-noona asked as grandpa (he told us to call him grandpa) replied to her.
“That is exactly correct. ‘Good work half-clearing two rooms. Take today off.’ That’s essentially what it is.”
The rare good news from the hotel brightened up everyone’s faces.
A pure day off with nothing terrible happening to us!
After that, everything happened in a flash.
Everyone excitedly finished their meals in an instant, and like the day when we had an incident at the pool, everyone went off to the facilities at the basement.
The whole group of girls walked off while discussing between the bar and the pool, whereas Jinchul-hyung and grandpa, who had been having a cold war just yesterday, headed to the gym together for a workout.
Seungyub looked keen on following Ahri but when it looked like the girls would be playing by themselves, he immediately became dejected and walked off somewhere.
And as for me…
Watching everyone get off the elevator to head to different areas of the basement, I stayed behind by myself.
I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do during the break, and besides, the elevator which had been broken from the first day still weighed on my mind.
I had a strong feeling that something was still hidden inside.
‘Some functions are deactivated.’
What functions was it talking about? Firstly, it was clear that it couldn’t go to Floors 2 and 3.
But was there something else?
I carefully scanned the elevator from top to bottom.
At a glance, it wasn’t all that different from a normal elevator. There was a small display above the doors displaying the floor number, and the panel on the right hand side had labels from B1 to the 3rd floor, but Floors 2 and 3 didn’t have any lights on.
And… at the bottom of the panel was a red button with the word ‘Escape’.
Usually, wasn’t the button on the bottom of the panel in an elevator a warning bell that alerted the security in case someone was to get locked inside?
Seeing the word ‘Escape’ immediately caught my interest.
Should I press it? Just in case, I slowly brought my hand towards it while keeping a close eye on my status screen.
A warning would pop out if it was dangerous.
Nothing happened until I touched the button so I decided to press it.
In an instant, the area below the red button suddenly flipped upside down as a display screen popped up. There was a screen with numbers and a place for the password, and next to the numbers was a warning written in small letters.
/Enter the Password while wearing the Protective Suit./
Protective Suit? What did that mean? And what should I press for the password? As soon as I brought my finger towards one of the numbers–
[You will be scorched to death if you type in the wrong Password.]
I immediately took my hand off after seeing those vicious words. ‘Scorched to death’. There were seriously all sorts of human-killing devices in this damn hotel.
Even though I was dumbfounded, that gave me a big piece of information.
This was real. It really was a device that let you escape as long as you somehow earned the item called ‘Protective Suit’, wore it and typed in the correct Password!
With this, I discovered one more escape route from the hotel.
[You have understood a little bit more about the hotel.]
I was thinking of sharing this good news to everyone with a happy mind when I saw something engraved next to the small, newly-appeared panel.
<Escape Route 1. Do not tell others.>
Immediately, I felt stifled. My heart rapidly began to thump with noise.
What did this mean? Who wrote this? And why was it telling me not to tell others about it?
Blankly standing still, I was thinking about all those questions as the panel disappeared, perhaps due to not touching it for a certain amount of time.
What was I supposed to do?
To be frank, it had only been about a week since we met each other but due to going through all sorts of hardships together during that short amount of time, we felt extremely close and attached.
It was obvious that I should trust them and share every information I had.
However… it also raised a doubt in my mind.
If only one person was able to use that escape route, and if that was why it was warning me not to tell others about it, then…
Wouldn’t talking about that instead become the seed of a conflict?
For now, I decided to bury that doubt in a corner of my mind and left the elevator.
I was walking down the corridor of the basement with uneasy thoughts muddling my mind when someone started walking towards me from the other side.
“Weren’t you going to look for something? Did you find out anything?”
It was something I thought of every time she spoke to me, but I was 20 while she was 16, and yet she always naturally talked casually to me whenever it was just the two of us.
Well, I didn’t want to fight about something so trivial in this exhausting hotel so I disregarded it.
“I don’t know. Just going through what we already knew, I guess? Floors 2 and 3 are still turned off.”
“That’s probably going to stay that way until we clear a specific room in Floor 1.”
“A specific room?”
“We call it the ‘Gate Room’. It is a room that can only be entered when you achieve some level of accomplishment in every other room, and clearing it lets you go over to the next floor.”
“What do you mean by some level of accomplishment?”
“That’s different every time. Sometimes, all you need to do is escape every other room but it could also tell you to acquire complete resolutions for 1~3 rooms.”
“So far, we have barely passed two rooms. The goal of this party has been to survive and escape until now. But… if you want to leave this hotel, then you will need to ‘eliminate the root cause of the curse’ for a few rooms at least. That’s how you get the ‘treasures’ that the hotel always talks about, and using that treasure will help you proceed later on.”
“That’s one thing after another we have to worry about… By the way, using the Mansion of Fear as an example, do we have to kill that monster for the elimination of the root cause? From what I felt looking at the memories you sent me, that didn’t seem like something a ‘mere human’ could retaliate against.”
“I don’t know. That might be what we really have to do, but we can look at it from an easier perspective.”
“An easier perspective?”
“To be frank, our main enemy at the Mansion of Fear is not that arch-devil under the ground, is it? According to the scenario, the devil is just buried inside the ground, and our enemy was that ‘Sir’ right? It could be as simple as eradicating Sir…”
“That would be a bit better off, but in the end, that’s still something we can’t tell without trying.”
We were discussing the future plans and soon realised that we had been talking alone for a fair bit of time.
“Looking back, weren’t all the girls going to the bar and the swimming pool? Why are you here by yourself?”
“I’m underage so I can’t drink. And I don’t like swimming either.”
“Seungyub must be looking for you then.”
“And that’s why I’ve been running away the whole time.”
I was dumbstruck. I definitely wasn’t expecting her to openly say that. There was a boy who wanted to be Romeo, but it seemed that Julliet had no plans of becoming one.
We naturally parted ways as I then experienced some of the things that I wanted to try.
I went to the zoo Songee was talking about to watch a few of the strange animals, went to the bar for a mysterious cocktail, returned with everyone to Room 105 for a meal and had a fun time talking and laughing with everyone.
Like that, our day off came to an end.
Towards the end of our dinner, everyone had a disheartened look on their faces.
We all knew it in our hearts.
From tomorrow onwards, we had to go back to our intense schedule.
[User: Han Kain (Wisdom)
Date: Day 10
Current Location: Floor 1, Room 103 (Cursed Room – Animal Farm)
Sage’s Advice: 3]
What in the world was this? Was this sound seriously coming out of my own mouth?
The day after our break, we entered Room 103 together while feeling somewhat used to it already, and lost our consciousness. When I woke back up–
I had become a black cow.
I was under the impression that I had already experienced all sorts of bizarre experiences but something that was completely outside of my expectations happened, making me almost lose myself. Fortunately, that was when a message appeared in my head.
Mooksung: Wow! What a damn retarded fucking hotel, right? All of you, report your states!
Eunsol: I think… I’m a snake.
Songee: A goose…
Elena: I think I’m a golden retriever.
Kim Ahri: A cat. Probably a Norwegian forest?
Park Seungyub: I’m a wolf! Super cool!
Han Kain: MOOOOOO!
Cha Jinchul: I’m a pig… A boar, actually.
Mooksung: So you’re the same, huh.
Stupid Pig: Hey, let’s not pick a fight. Ahh, you changed my name in that split second, you senile old man.
Clever Snake: First, let’s focus on looking at our states and locations, and leave the conversation for later. We don’t have much leeway, do we?
Rat King: Yes, we’ve already used more than half. Everyone, take a look at your surroundings, and let’s talk again in 2 hours.
Stupid Pig: What the heck is Rat King. Far out!
Ahh… What was it going to be about this time?
I felt like I would lose my mind already. In the midst of my distancing senses, I loosened my mind.