Chapter 66 – Room 101, Cursed Room – ‘A Strange Family’ Re (4)
A question appeared in my mind the moment I saw Grandpa Mooksung in a corner of the first floor of the TV Station. How did he come here without neither the bracelet nor the filter?
He said it was an ‘easy method that anyone can do’.
Don’t tell me…
“Sir. Is that method you were talking about related to cutting off a part of your family’s—”
“Goodness gracious! What kind of atrocious act are you thinking about? And did I not tell you that it’s something anyone can do as long as they know how to?
How would Miss Eunsol or Ahri take a body part of a security guard or the ‘powerful mum’? Besides, there’s no certainty whether a cut-off body part would count as a part of the ‘Strange Family’ or not.”
“Seeing how detailed your explanation is, it looks like you did think of that too.”
“So, how did you come here?” I asked.
“I teleported here.”
I was immediately lost for words. What was he talking about? Teleport? I might believe it if this was Ahri we were talking about, but Grandpa Mooksung didn’t have any abilities, did he not?
“You look confused. In fact, I’m surprised I was the only one who thought of this. It’s probably because I was working at the Administration and became used to these supernatural events.”
“Can you please explain?”
“It’s my first time coming into Room 101, but I do remember what you guys told me before. Back then, you told me you left your house with your family and travelled everywhere from a botanical garden to a restaurant and a resort.
How did you travel back then? Were you on a train? Or did you travel by car?”
His words reminded me of something.
During the first attempt of Room 101, how did I move between places?
I wasn’t on any form of transportation including cars and trains. All I did was think, ‘Let’s go here!’ with my family which had immediately changed the time and place!
“The common sense of the world in Room 101 has already been modified by something unknown. And we already know that the Hotel has the power to play with the time and location of everything happening inside a room like the creator.
In Room 101, you can teleport to places even without relying on the traditional methods of transport. Of course, considering how there are still public transports like taxis and trains, it’s safe to assume that there is a condition for teleportation.
I believe it’s only available for ‘participants’ like us, and only when we are infected by the curse.
There’s no need to dwell on the principles. What is important is that it is possible, and that you have all experienced it already.”
“…I didn’t even think of that possibility before. Seeing how it’s only you and me, sir, it looks like no-one else was able to reach that line of thought either. But now, I do understand that it’s possible to teleport, because I experienced it myself when I first entered Room 101.
And that also makes sense for cases like Ahri’s, because she can’t physically leave where she is in right now.
But how do you teleport? I’ve never consciously teleported in my life so I have no idea.”
“I don’t know either,” he said.
“Sorry? Didn’t you say you teleported here?”
“I just declared to my fake family that I had to go to the TV Station. Then, I walked closer to them and got myself swept away by the curse, and when I came to myself, I was already here.”
“So you used the fact that you can only teleport when infected by the curse. I understand that part, but weren’t you still infected by the curse even after arriving here? How did you wake up from it?”
In response to my question, he waved his hand and replied while looking around.
“Do you see anyone here?”
“I can see some securities over there, but there’s no-one near us.”
“You see, I’ve been to ABS several times and I know people don’t tend to come to this specific area of the 1st floor unless there is a special function going on. So before I was swept away by the curse, I set my plans that I would ‘definitely come here’.
Thanks to that, I really did come here even when I was under the effect of the curse, and woke up after some time.”
This was the method Grandpa Mooksung used to come to the TV Station.
1. When sane, set plans that you will go to the TV Station.
2. Intentionally get yourself infected by the curse.
3. Follow the scheduled plans and teleport to an uncrowded place of the TV Station.
4. There are no people nearby, which will then let you wake up after some time.
That was a set of eccentrically creative procedures that was crafted while taking all the characteristics of this room into account.
As he said himself, it was something only he could have thought of as an agent of the Administration who had to deal with all sorts of supernatural incidents.
If it was this, it would be possible for people like Ahri, who couldn’t physically leave the place she was in, as well as those who couldn’t keep themselves sane through a long period of contact with their family to arrive at the TV Station.
“Alright. I have one more question though. We don’t have any family members nearby already, and the people from the TV Station are all far away from us, so why isn’t it telling us we have escaped?”
“That’s the exact proof that proves we have arrived at the right place.”
We were currently in a corner of the 1st floor of the TV Station where there was no-one near us to infect us with the curse.
It would be normal for us to be chased out of the room for a successful escape and yet we had yet to get any notifications.
Sensing a change, I checked the system window.
[Current Location: Floor 1, Room 101 (Cursed Room – A Strange Family)]
[Cursed Room – ▢▢▢▢▢▢ ▢▢▢▢▢ ▢▢▢▢▢▢▢▢▢▢ ▢▢▢▢▢]
[Cursed Room – Common Sense Renovating Media]
A Strange Family, or rather, Common Sense Renovating Media.
We were on the right track, and had arrived at the next stage.
It was therefore normal for this to not be considered an escape.
When you think about it, the family was nothing but secondary victims of the infection. We were now closer to the primary victims of the curse and the ‘Origin of the Curse’, so that was obviously nowhere near an escape.
“Looks like you understand the situation now. We better start exploring now.
I have been forming plans while waiting for someone else to arrive, so follow mine for now. Think of ourselves as agents of the Administration that are here to inspect the TV Station. Please stop anyone that tries to approach me, and we can then search everywhere we can. Does that make sense?”
It was naturally me in the lead.
Unlike me, sir didn’t have a filter. He was able to keep himself sane because we were staying in a corner of the 1st floor with no-one nearby, but that wasn’t going to be the case anymore. Once we entered the TV Station, we were bound to come across a bunch of ‘infected people’ without an end.
My job was to play the role of a tank and stop people from approaching us.
That was when sir handed me something.
“What is this?”
“It’s an agent badge. The securities working here should recognise it.”
It was a badge made of a particular type of wood, and engraved towards the bottom was the word, ‘Agent’.
Me from a few months ago certainly wouldn’t have imagined that I would ever pretend to be an Administration agent in my life. It made me feel slightly strange.
In any case, we started exploring the TV Station.
What I learned from a short introduction to ‘How to Act like an Agent of the Administration’ was very simple and straight-forward.
Level 1: Simply show the badge and pretend to be mysterious.
“Young man! This area is for authorised personnel only—”
“What are you— Wait! Are you from the Administration? May I please ask why you are here?”
“I’m sorry, but you need to provide the reason at the very least.”
“If it is regarding a secret operation, a simple explanation will do.”
Level 2: Persistently ask if he can take responsibility.
“Are you in a high enough position to take responsibility?”
“No, that’s not what I mean, sir. But you need to provide us with a reason for us to—”
“If you keep on trying to interfere with our business, I will have no choice but to ask you to take responsibility.”
“I am not trying to interfere, sir. We need to write at least something down when we send people through.”
Level 3: Downright threaten them.
“You’ve wasted a minute of my time already. Show me your business card. Let me see how much of a bigshot you are.”
“Haht! What do you mean all of a sudden? A business card? Why would you—”
“Oh, you have a name badge there. Mr. Cha SeungMook from the Securities, is it? I have remembered your name. When I return to headquarters I will surely–”
“P, please come through. I am very sorry for my stupidity.”
All I had to do was force my way through.
We were walking into the TV Station when sir tapped me on the shoulder.
“That was excellent. That was one hell of an abuse of power that one would expect from a veteran with 10 years of service. You have a talent for this – even I learned from that just then. It’s my first time getting goosebumps just from someone reading out a name.
Very profound and frightening! He must be thinking, what is he going to do with my name? It sparks all sorts of possible implications!”
“When we leave the Hotel, think about finding a job at the Administration.”
I pledged to myself that I would never get myself involved in any of this again after leaving the Hotel.
On the way there, a ‘communication tab’ appeared in my head. It had been a while since I last saw it.
Kim Mooksung: Can you hear my voice?
Han Kain: It’s been a while since we last used this.
Kim Mooksung: Save letters. Thank goodness it works.
Han Kain: Probably because we are close.
“Let’s just talk. We are right next to each other, so it’s better to save words.”
“Actually, I already tried calling you guys before.”
“I didn’t get anything though.”
“It’s probably because you guys were too far away from me. I was assuming there was a limitation in distance, and it seems I was right.”
It was then.
Someone was walking towards us, so I immediately stood in front of sir.
“Who is it? Only the authorised—”
I immediately took out the badge and glared at them.
After seeing the badge, the staff took a step back with a flustered look on his face.
“Move aside,” I said.
“M, my apologies. So you are from the Administration. What brings you here?”
“Don’t make me repeat myself.”
When I opened my eyes into circles and glared at them, the person that was talking to us as well as three other workers that were observing us from nearby stepped back with a scared look on their faces and opened up a pathway.
Even in this distorted world, the badge of an Administration agent was still as powerful as always.
It was a short conversation, but I got a strong headache even with the filter on. I wondered if Grandpa Mooksung was alright.
We were walking around the 1st floor for about 10 minutes when a message appeared on the communication tab.
Kim Mooksung: Bathroom.
Why bathroom all of a sudden… and why did he use his ability when we were right next to each other?
I wasn’t sure but we still headed there, and I noticed why he had to use his ability upon arriving at the bathroom.
Immediately after entering the bathroom, sir started vomiting in the toilet. It looked like he was about to empty his guts out, and there were some clots of blood mixed into his vomit.
“Are you okay?”
“Do I look alright?”
“Is it because of the curse?”
He replied after taking some time to calm himself down.
“It’s surprising that you can even hold a conversation with them. I am really jealous of that ‘filter’. Even when I was behind you, it felt like my brain was about to melt and my guts were churning inside. How do you feel?”
“My head hurts a little.”
“That’s remarkable. Remarkable. It’s a shame that my ability is not as helpful as that…”
I stayed there tapping his back.
This wasn’t going to be easy. I had been getting a headache for a while, but the situation seemed a lot worse for Grandpa Mooksung who didn’t have a system filter like me.
Did I have to proceed by myself?
That was when something cold was placed into my pocket.
“You hold onto this pistol. You know how to shoot it, right? I believe you should continue by yourself.”
“I’m sorry; I cannot go any further. And if I accidentally get infected by the curse when I’m with you, I might even try to attack you. Let me just stay here in the bathroom by myself.”
“This will be hard even if we bring everyone here. It looks like only Songee, Ahri and I will be able to proceed here.”
“There might be another option. We can talk about that outside.”
I left the bathroom.
From here on, I was all by myself. Where was I supposed to go?
Did I have to go upstairs?