Chapter 44 – Room 104, Cursed Room – ‘Preparatory Selective, Hotel High School’ (4)
[User: Han Kain (Wisdom)
Date: Day 18
Current Location: Floor 1, Room 104 (Cursed Room – Preparatory Selective, Hotel High School)
Sage’s Advice: 3]
Day 3 at the school.
I looked at the timetable and found PE.
At the start, I didn’t really care about it, because I thought we would probably play with a ball or something.
Instead, I was more concerned about the test after the lessons and was relieved after hearing about how there won’t be any tests today. The teachers were still skeptical about Eunsol-noona, and it seemed that they would stop the tests until they had a countermeasure for her.
Thus, we were talking about how we should have some break today and focus thinking about how we should escape this place through the conversation tab in our heads.
And that was when the triathlon began.
“Stamina is everything! You guys, do you think sitting at the table and looking at your books all day will increase your marks? That is wrong. An exam is the same as a battle! And what do you think supports you in the heat of battle? It’s stamina, and the best exercises to build stamina are swimming, cycling and marathon for sure!”
The ‘fake’ Cha Jinchul standing on the stage was giving out a heated speech about how important stamina was.
“You see guys, if only I can, I would love to do a whole revamp of your awful stamina. I also do understand that you cannot exercise all day, but I still think that you need a full-on workout at least once a week for a long-term benefit to your stamina and college exams. All~ the other excellent teachers agreed with me.”
Where exactly were those excellent teachers in this crazy school?
“First off, there’s only 1 hour of PE so we will warm up with a bit of jogging. Come straight to the field immediately after the lessons are over, okay!? We had a rather scandalous event yesterday. I’ve done some wrong myself so let me apologise for that. Because of what happened yesterday, there won’t be any tests today and instead of tests, we will be doing a specially prepared mini triathlon to build stamina.”
After that, the fake Cha Jinchul didn’t say much. All he said was about how he reduced the individual lengths of the courses for the three triathlon activities: swimming, cycling and a marathon, and how we will be doing them ourselves.
A sigh unknowingly left my mouth. Why did they go to such lengths just to bother us? What was going to happen next was also very obvious. The few guys that come at the end would probably be sent to the ‘Old Main Building’ again.
I calmly thought about the few remaining members we had on the student’s side.
Me, Songee, Elena and Ahri.
I wasn’t into praising myself, but I still didn’t consider my physical abilities as something that was below the average mark of senior high school students. Elena was aiming to become an actor so my assumption was that she was one of our few female members with good stamina and I also couldn’t imagine Ahri failing from anything.
The problem was, as I expected, Songee. She didn’t look fit by any means and even her Inheritance was useless in an unsophisticated stamina battle like this. There would be a hundred of us in the sports field with everything being recorded so tricking one person using the Inheritance wasn’t going to help.
Songee appeared to be thinking the same thing.
Yu Songee (Student): I’m prepared.
Lee Eunsol (Teacher): Does it look rough?
Yu Songee (Student): Yes. I’ll save my stamina. Not bad. I can gain info from a different perspective to Jinchul-oppa.
We had to gather more information since one of us was going to be going to the Old Main Building anyway, but I still couldn’t help but feel ominous with the reduction of one person. How many would be escaping this time? I really didn’t want to be the last one alive like what happened back at the Mansion of Fear.
While thinking about this and that, I was completely ignoring the lesson because there weren’t going to be tests anyway as the lessons quickly came to an end.
The triathlon began.
The entire school turned quiet as soon as we were about to start swimming.
Although they might be NPCs, they still weren’t any different from normal high schoolers!
I had already seen a bunch of boys shiver whenever they saw Elena and Ahri. There were even some funny kids that blatantly offered Songee coffee from the canteen every recess so we were even wondering when we would have ourselves the first confessor. Songee’s appearance was something that was still within the common sense of high schoolers, but Elena and Ahri had a completely otherworldly appearance.
They were so otherworldly in fact, that the students parted like the red sea whenever Elena and Ahri were walking through the classroom. Thanks to that, it was very easy for us to hold our strategy meetings. We could go and sit anywhere we liked and there would be a vacant plot of land around us.
But a swimming pool and a swimsuit?
Honestly, this might be too strong of a stimulus for high school kids. I thought I became quite used to their appearances through all the hardships of the Hotel but seeing them in swimsuits was still quite a staggering experience even for me. Let alone the boys, even the girls were all dumbstruck.
Besides, being someone that was aiming to become an actor, Elena appeared to be enjoying the surrounding gazes while I couldn’t possibly imagine Ahri being timid.
Thanks to that, the swimming pool turned into an external photo studio of models that was being watched by passersby.
The funny thing here was that even the ‘fake Cha Jinchul’ who should be progressing the triathlon was awestruck after seeing Elena. Actually, it might be nothing strange because even the real Cha Jinchul used to shiver in front of Elena…
Wouldn’t it actually be more productive for us to spend the rest of the time watching Elena and Ahri together until we had to return to the dormitory?
Wouldn’t relaxing our eyes be a lot better in fact than something like a triathlon which was useless for the college exam?
Unfortunately, the ‘fake Cha Jinchul’ ended up waking up.
“Hmm, hmm. Looks like everyone’s gotten a bit too excited. Everyone! I know you guys are at the pool and stuff, but we are not here to play around. Now! Go in order, starting from Class 1!.”
The triathlon thus began.
The happy and excited atmosphere of the swimming pool was gone. Our eye relaxation time which was 10 times more productive than the meaningless triathlon ended and waiting for us after that was hell.
How could there be something like, ‘Swim faster than others unless you want to be brought to the Old Main Building and die’ in this world?
I seriously swung my arms around as hard as I could.
Why did all the high schoolers have such good stamina in this freaking school? I wish the Hotel would make sure to stay realistic in these aspects as much as possible. Korean senior high school students have terrible stamina, okay!
After two mindless laps around the pool, I looked around while leaving the water.
My rank… Wow, holy fuck… it seemed that I wasn’t even close to being average!
I thought this was a preparatory selective school. How could these guys be so good at swimming on top of studying?
The stamina it took to swear was also a waste.
While collecting my breath, I desperately ran to the bicycle.
Honestly, I was quite confident with cycling.
What kind of country was Korea? Frankly speaking, it wasn’t the best country to cycle in. Most of the modern-day senior high school students would have trouble riding a bicycle properly, right?
That was what I thought, but what I wasn’t expecting was that the high schoolers of the Hotel were very different from Korean ones.
I had trouble breathing properly even though the marathon hadn’t even begun yet. I wasn’t even thinking of coming first or second in this meaningless triathlon and being average was my goal but this was definitely against my expectations.
I was already in my last lap but no matter how I saw it, I was closer to the back than the middle.
Like, how could high schoolers have such good stamina on average? How does this even make sense huh? You Hotel bastards!
That was when I saw someone that I shouldn’t.
Songee was in front of me.
What was going on?
I was extremely flustered for a second. Perhaps the high schoolers of the Hotel were completely normal and I was the one with a terrible stamina that was even worse than a regular high school girl?
While speeding next to her, I noticed something. Her swimsuits were still dripping with water.
She wasn’t in front of me because she was faster than me.
She was so much slower that she had finally reached the cycling section. Based on how the female students had started before the boys, Songee…
It seemed that she really had no plans on passing this triathlon.
In fact, Songee just put the bicycle next to her and left the track. She was blatantly telling the teachers that she wasn’t going to participate in the event anymore whether they were going to send her to the Old Main Building or not.
Judging from how I was gasping for breath despite having decent stamina, there would have been no possibility of Songee surviving against these fit high schoolers of the Hotel in the first place. It was probably a correct call to save stamina if she was going to fail regardless.
I was practically walking instead of running towards the end but I barely managed to complete the triathlon. Although I was near the back at the end of the cycling section, I somehow made up for it during the marathon and managed to come in the middle. With this, I should be able to survive for now.
The thing that surprised me the most was how Ahri almost came first even after taking into account the time gap between boys and girls. Considering how even the lady who was aiming to be an actor, who should have better stamina than average people, was barely at the top 30 percentile of female students, coming almost first was a remarkable feat.
Well, from what I heard from Songee, she could apparently fly as well! It would be weirder for her to lose to students in something as trivial as a triathlon.
At the end of the hellish triathlon the reports began.
Yu Songee (Student): Can protect my mind. I will watch without any retaliation.
The core of Songee’s plan was different from Jinchul-hyung’s in that she wasn’t planning on fighting back in the first place. By using her Inheritance regularly to protect her mind, she was just going to figure out what exactly was happening at the Old Main Building.
Although they might be meaningless for our current escape, every piece of information will matter for the eventual resolution.
Yu Songee (Student): Similar to what we heard. Song, light.
Yu Songee (Student): A bizarrely beautiful–
Yu Songee (Student): Almost lost my mind. Like an angel or a fairy even. I will call her the ‘Guider’.
Yu Songee (Student): At the basement. A lot of people. The ‘Guider’ is pretty much being worshipped.
Yu Songee (Student): …
Yu Songee (Student): These people are the teachers and students of the school. They seem to be the ‘original’.
Yu Songee (Student): The Guider giving a strange speech.
Yu Songee (Student): The world is full of pain. There is no need to have any feelings for this place. The ascendance is near. Lord is watching over us, and salvation is near. Shed your outer skin – your trivial attachment to the world, weak hearts, and evil thoughts. Embed all of that into your outer skin and return to your purity. Lord has prepared a paradise for us.
Yu Songee (Student): Almost reaching my limit.
Yu Songee (Student): Last report. The ‘fakes’ sent to the school from the Old Main Building are called ‘outer skins’ at this place. They’re not there to simply deceive others and it’s a very important procedure of their ‘religion’ – shedding their outer skin for salvation. Can’t handle anymore. I’ll try fighting the ‘Guider’.
The reports came to an end.
[User: Han Kain (Wisdom)
Date: Day 18
Current Location: Floor 1, Room 104 (Cursed Room – Preparatory Selective, Hotel High School)
Sage’s Advice: 3
Teammate Location Information (*)
Yu Songee: Dead]
Even Songee was dead.
Let’s organise what we knew. As expected, she was able to gather more ‘useful information’ than everyone else.
1. The real state of the Old Main Building
-> It really was a building possessed by a strange religious group.
2. The reason why killing five was meaningless.
-> Most of the people inside the school had already been ‘substituted’. There were hundreds of students in this school, so that meant there were at least several hundred inside the Old Main Building.
3. The reason for ‘substituting’ and sending fakes.
-> According to their ‘religious view’, it was a procedure of salvation. Before being chosen by the ‘Lord’ to go to paradise, they had to discard their ‘outer skin’ as humans. Those ‘outer skins’ were the fakes that we had been seeing the whole time. What happened to the real body after shedding their ‘outer skin’? This was something that was still very unclear. Do they really go to some type of paradise? And would they lose their ‘real body’ after shedding their outer skin? But for that to be the case, didn’t Jinchul-hyung meet the original Seungyub? I had no idea.
4. What exactly was the ‘Guider’?
-> No clue. An extremely beautiful existence with supernatural powers.
There were a lot of things we discovered but they weren’t anything usable for the time being. Our first objective was to escape, and these would come in handy later when we came back to resolve the curse of this room.
Lee Eunsol (Teacher): Strange. Discarding the worldly desires for enlightenment? Slightly similar to buddhism as well.
Kim Mooksung (Teacher): Deal with the analysis outside. Cha with strength and Yu with Inheritance have both died. Resolution is impossible; escape is our goal.
Lee Eunsol (Teacher): We should attempt escaping this school.
Han Kain (Student): A lot of securities that are constantly on guard.
Lee Eunsol (Teacher): Students are the ones being supervised. Teachers can move freely.
Kim Mooksung (Teacher): How about I drive and the students hide inside?
Lee Eunsol (Teacher): Is there a car?
Kim Mooksung (Teacher): I snatched the chief’s key last time.
Lee Eunsol (Teacher): You must’ve been living an honest life yourself.
Kim Mooksung (Teacher): That’s mean.
Kim Ahri (Student): STOP. Ready when?
Kim Mooksung (Teacher): Strike while iron is hot. Go tonight.
We came up with our first escape plan.
Since we stole someone else’s car key, the teachers could drive the car to hide from the eyes of the security and the students would be riding at the back of the car.
At a glance, it seemed like a perfect plan. There was no reason for guards to scavenge through a teacher’s car, right?
However, it was still very worrisome. Most of our team’s power level had already gone down.
We no longer had Jinchul-hyung’s strength and Songee’s disappearance as well as her ‘Diverse Perspectives’ was a detrimental hit.
Maybe we had to rely on Ahri’s supernatural powers that she still hasn’t revealed.
That night, we saw the most ‘overwhelming ability’ that we ever saw after arriving at the Hotel.