Chapter 68 – Room 101, Cursed Room – ‘Common Sense Renovating Media’ (2)
[User: Han Kain (Wisdom)
Date: Day 22
Current Location: Floor 1, Room 101 (Common Sense Renovating Media)
Sage’s Advice: 3]
The second warning I had to go against was this.
2. You must not turn around in the staircase to the basement.
I headed to the 2nd basement floor, and started walking down the stairs leading to the 3rd floor of the basement.
— Kagak… Kagagak.
— Clink, clank.
Hearing it the second time made me certain.
Something was following me from behind. Whenever I took a step or two forward, the one behind me took an equal number of steps.
If I were to turn around after reaching the corridor, the thing behind me would probably disappear, so I had to turn around while walking down the staircase.
Heaving a deep breath, I was about to turn around but it was then.
An alarm popped up.
[You will be attacked upon turning around.]
It was the first ‘Sage’s Advice’ that came up after we entered Room 101 again.
Why, I wondered.
Why was the advice so limited? If this was indeed coming from a ‘Sage’, shouldn’t they be able to tell me a much wiser method?
I recalled the first time an advice showed up.
Back then, after being attacked by a man-eating monkey, I was frightened and was desperately wishing for a way out, and the advice told me ‘how to survive’.
Ever since that point, the Sage’s Advice told me what to do whenever my life was at risk.
A piece of advice for a better chance at survival was not bad. It had indeed saved my life quite a few times, but in the Hotel, there were times when I had to figure things out even at the cost of my life.
“Give me better advice.”
One that’s not for immediate survival, but one that’s actually ‘wise’.
‘Tell me what to do to know more about this room.’
The second advice popped up.
[As soon as you turn around, lower your head, shoot the opponent in their leg with the gun and check the name written on the cap.]
It was the second time I figured something out about my ability after entering this Hotel. Apart from the way to use the filter, I realised ‘how to use the Advice’.
Immediately after turning around, I lowered my head and pointed my gun down at where their legs would be.
The sound of something heavy slicing through the air resonated across the staircase as a sharp blade barely missed my head.
– Bang! – Bang!
Without even the time to breathe, I mindlessly shot my gun at the ‘legs’. My skills with a gun might be horrendous but the opponent was so close that it was very easy to land the shots.
The opponent stumbled and I finally had a chance to look at their overall figure, but seeing it made me gasp for breath.
Its entire body that was taller than 2 metres was wrapped in bandages. What I thought were blades were its fingernails that were longer than 30 centimetres.
And the screeching sound of metal that had been echoing behind me was from the legs of the monster. It looked like the metal blades of an ice skate were glued to their feet.
The most horrifying part of the monster was that it still had a rather ‘feminine’ body. There were evident lines of a female body and although the clothes were half-ripped and wrapped in bandages, it resembled the outfit of a nurse if anything.
It looked like an awkward imitation of a human which added to the horror.
— Bang! — Bang!
The monster was floundering its arms around on the floor so I shot its head on repeat, and soon, it stopped moving.
‘Check the name on the cap,’ was it?
New World Hospital
Was that what I had to remember?
There might be several hospitals with that name so I also looked at the symbol next to the name, which resembled some clouds. After memorising the rough shape of the logo, I took a step back from the corpse.
I then noticed something which I couldn’t due to the heat of the battle.
The area around the staircase had ‘changed’ to something else.
It was clearly different from that of the TV Station.
With ‘me’ as the borderline, behind me was the strange location whereas it was still the clean staircase of the TV Station in front of me.
Both the cars and the stairs were signalling the same thing.
Was this TV Station overlapped with some weird place?
What I discovered from the staircase was the monster in the form of a nurse and the word, ‘New World Hospital’. The former was simply the appearance of the monster but the latter was most certainly a keyword related to the Origin of the Curse.
Should I look it up? Should I search the name on the Internet?
It was debatable. It would be difficult for me to return home this late in the game, and it was hard for me to use the computers on the upper floors of the TV Station as well. For starters, I decided to finish looking at the warnings.
The third and the last warning was this.
3. Do not turn the lights on when looking for something in the storeroom of the basement. Use a flashlight instead.
I headed to the final destination, the storeroom in the basement.
Before, when I used a flashlight to have a look at the storeroom, it wasn’t much different from a normal storeroom that you would see in company basements. It had supplies for printers, piles of A4 paper, spare chairs and desks.
What would happen, however, if I turned the lights on?
I checked the status screen in front of the storeroom.
[Sage’s Advice: 1]
One of them was used to tell me that I would be attacked upon turning around, and the other was used up to tell me how to defeat the monster and find out more information.
There was only one left.
I reflected on the real method to use Sage’s Advice that I recently realised.
If I strongly wished for ‘something I wanted to know’, maybe it would tell me something?
After some thought, I had a feeling that it wouldn’t work yet.
Before, there were some basic clues such as the metal noise behind me that something mysterious was targeting me, but this time, I had not a single clue on what would happen from me turning the lights on, so I didn’t even know what to ask about.
Resolving myself, I grabbed my gun and…
Flicked the switch.
That was when everything changed.
An incredibly cruel scene was unravelled before my eyes.
If this was when I first entered the Hotel, I would have probably fell back and screamed my guts out, but now, the horrible sight in front of me instead woke me up and put me on guard.
In front of me were 8 beds. Rather than beds, however, it was probably more correct to call them torturing racks.
8 people were tied to each of the beds.
They looked as if some artist from another dimension had created a sculpture from human body parts. Some of them had legs and arms glued to one another; one of them had a head popping out of their belly; while some didn’t have a tongue. There were endless screams coming out of two of those mouths – those lips weren’t necessarily attached to their heads though.
The reason the other 6 couldn’t even scream, was because their mouths did not have a vocal cord attached to them.
It seemed unbelievably unrealistic.
How could humans be alive in such shapes and forms?
People weren’t made of clay… or were they?
Walking up, I was observing them when one of the male – could have also been a female – looked at me with their eyes.
…Even though their eyes were attached to each of their hands, those eyes were still facing me.
That was when I felt a piercing pain from my stomach. Ignoring the pain, I looked back at them.
“W… who? Y… you… are… not… a… nurse.”
“I am an agent from the Administration. Is there anything you can tell me?”
“Pl… ease kill me…”
This was already my second time today being requested to kill.
Looking at their horrendous states, I was going to kill them and free them from their pain even without them asking for it but…
How was I even supposed to kill them?
Their bodies were twisted and contorted as if they had been made by clay and yet somehow they were still alive. It was clear that there was some supernatural power at hand that was stopping their death so how was I supposed to kill them? Would they die from a gunshot to their heads?
In fact, their bodies were so severely distorted that I couldn’t even guess where their heads were.
The ‘thing’ that was talking to me was looking at me with eyes attached to chunks of flesh that resembled hands, while speaking with its mouth that was hanging on its belly. I was quite surprised by my own self, in fact, that I was holding a conversation with them looking like this.
Nevertheless, I gave them an empty promise.
“I will definitely kill you, but before that, is there anything you can tell me?”
Was that conversation just then the limit of their rationality? After a short conversation lasting only 2 to 3 seconds, he – or she – started screaming out in pain again.
Left with no choice, I decided to look through them myself. Their bodies were contorted so badly that I couldn’t figure out their identities let alone their gender.
However, there were some leftover traces of their clothes.
Was this… a school uniform?
After scanning through everyone, I was made certain that they were wearing school uniforms. I could see remnant signs of shirts and jumpers and judging from the size of their clothes, I noticed that they were probably high school students.
And if these indeed were Korean school uniforms, they were bound to come with name badges.
Squirming my hand through the wriggling pieces of flesh, I rummaged through the uniform looking for a name badge.
Doing this made me remind myself once again, that I would ‘never’ become an agent or anything similar after leaving the Hotel, because if I did, I would probably have to do things like this for the rest of my life.
That was when my stomach cried out from another sharp pain.
Did I get a scratch somewhere? I held myself back from looking at the wound in fear that it would be disheartening.
After a long and arduous attempt, I barely managed to find a name badge.
“Lee Hyuk… and what’s the last word? It’s too damaged and I can’t—”
“It’s Lee Hyukjin.”
It was a lot clearer and composed than the voice I heard from before, and was from a different direction. When I lifted my head, I noticed that a pair of eyes and a mouth from another equally jumbled-up person were facing my way.
“Can you talk for a while?”
“I keep falling asleep and waking up, but I can talk for a bit. Hyung, you need to leave right now. A nurse is going to be coming very soon.”
“Where is this place? Who are you? What have you gone through, and who did it? Tell me everything you know.”
“I don’t know. Sangmin suddenly turned into a monster and locked us in here. After that, the ‘nurse’ came here everyday and made us like this.”
“Sangmin? Who is that?”
“…Kim Sangmin. He’s from our school and— Grrrhhhhhhhhh”
He was about to say something but suddenly closed his mouth and started letting out a strange noise. Maybe he fell asleep again.
These kids didn’t know where they were at either, but I could guess where this was.
They had been talking about a ‘nurse’ for a while, and the monster that appeared behind me in the staircase also resembled a nurse.
And the name written on the nurse’s cap was ‘New World Hospital’.
Maybe that was where this was?
But why was the hospital connected to the TV Station? It was hard to understand why.
And these kids.
No matter how I saw it, it was clear that the objective was to give them endless pain without letting them die. Only the one student that was occasionally falling asleep was able to barely maintain their consciousness, and everyone else had long turned into subconscious chunks of flesh.
Suddenly, an unbearable sense of pain in my stomach made me crumble down to the ground.
What was going on? When did I get such a big injury to my stomach?
Let’s calm down.
Calming myself down, I quickly went through everything that I figured out.
There were quite a lot of new things I discovered.
New World Hospital, mentally ill people locked up in beds, high schoolers who turned into monsters, Lee Hyukjin and Kim Sangmin.
At the very least, there were enough clues to get us started on the Internet in our next attempt.
Was there anything else that I could do?
That was when echoes started reverberating from the other side of the door.
— Kagagak! — Kagagak! — Kagagak!
The sound of metal sliding across the floor started resonating from everywhere.
It was the nurse – several of them at that.
It seemed that those nurses had the ability to contort people like clay and turn them into undying pieces of flesh to put them through endless pain.
I decided to stop here.
I just couldn’t imagine myself fighting against those nurses.
Lastly, I made a strong wish.
‘Is there anything else I can do?’
The last and final advice appeared on the system window.
[Lift your shirt and check your stomach]
I did as told and lifted my shirt.
…That completely eradicated any leftover wish for me to stay alive and try doing anything.
Without me even realising it, my stomach was fully distorted, twisted and turned. This seemed to be the cause of the sharp pain that had been harassing my stomach.
…It looked absolutely horrific.
It seemed that this hospital had the curse of twisting and distorting the human body.
I felt my consciousness fading away with the pull of a trigger.
/You have failed!/
…I kind of did everything though. Wasn’t it too harsh calling that a fail?