Chapter 71 – Room 101, Cursed Room – ‘Common Sense Renovating Media’ (5)
– Cha Jinchul
In shock, I quickly turned around, only to realise that the entire TV Station was gone. All I could see were steep cliffs and a single dangling rope that was connecting those cliffs. By the time I came to myself, I was barely keeping myself balanced on top of that rope.
On one of the cliffs was a young girl.
…Seeing her made me certain that she – that monster – was the cause of this strange phenomenon. All I had to do was kill that thing!
Kicking off the rope, I flew into the air. After about 5 seconds, I reached where the girl was.
Now that I was looking at her face from this close, I could tell that she was a fairly cute-looking girl. She must be quite popular at her school.
However, she looked a bit creepy – like a mannequin, she was glaring at me without a single facial expression on her face.
But that had nothing to do with what I was going to do. She was still but a monster; one punch was going to be enough!
I hurled my fist forward.
Once again, the world crumbled down.
Suddenly, I was in the middle of a forest. Monkeys were pouncing at me from all sides.
Using all of my strength, I dealt with the monkeys. With a punch, I blew their heads out and grabbed onto one of their legs before smacking them down on the ground. Then, I carried two of them in my hands and threw them away at once.
After I killed about a dozen or so monkeys like that…
Everything started to crumble again.
This time, I was surrounded by a mountain of rocks. Left, right, front, back – rocks were stopping me on all sides. I thought to myself while swinging my arms around to open up a path.
At this rate, it was going to be impossible for me to beat her. It seemed that I had fallen into the inescapable pit of hell.
Was this because of that female student from before? How was she doing this?
— Bang! — Bang!
…I lowered my head.
There was an intense, shredding pain in my chest.
My consciousness started to fade.
Slowly, I noticed myself waking up from the nightmare.
…Wait what? What have I been—
Wiping the tears off of my eyes, I glanced across the TV Station.
It appeared like a warzone.
More than 10 staff members of the TV Station were crushed and torn apart to death, while Grandpa Mooksung was groaning in pain with his leg half-destroyed.
Meanwhile, Songee was walking around making sure everyone was dead.
While watching that unfold, I recalled what happened just then.
Jinchul-ssi, who couldn’t wake up until the end, left Grandpa Mooksung half-disabled and I belatedly tried to shoot his ‘mother’ with the gun but failed.
Right when I was thinking to myself that this was going to be the end of it…
Songee suddenly appeared from the entrance and settled everything.
She moved her fingers and made a gesture at Jinchul-ssi, who then suddenly jumped in a completely different direction and went on a rampage. He stumbled by himself and bashed himself into walls.
Staff and securities of the TV Station ran in trying to stop him but they were all bashed to death.
When he was doing that, he looked more like a gorilla throwing people around than a human. Songee, who had been silently watching King Kong destroy everything nearby, walked up with the gun after a while and shot Jinchul-ssi on the chest to end the chaos.
Jinchul-ssi’s mother had been long dead in the chaos of the battle but he was showing no signs of escaping the curse due to being at the centre of a bunch of staff members, so that was probably why she had no choice but to pull the trigger.
After that, Songee continued killing everyone with the gun.
I was blank-mindedly watching that unfold when a camera and a microphone suddenly started to approach me from a distance.
“Nice to meet you! Miss Elena Ivanov? I am Producer Cha. We have received a bunch of reports that an interesting event has occurred just then at the TV Station. Can you please tell us what—”
Songee killed everyone including the producer and the cameraman before they could even react.
If this was the real world, it would have been hard for Songee to kill everyone like this even with a gun in her hand, because they would have ran away at the very least.
However, this was a strange world where they considered death as an event or a show because of the curse.
No-one ran away. Despite the people next to them being shot to death, they smiled and stood there waiting for the inevitable.
A question popped up in my mind. Why was Jinchul-ssi so upset in spite of being under the effect of the curse?
Killing someone’s mother surely wasn’t something that serious in a world this crazy right? I thought it was something that people would usually laugh off according to the ‘common sense’ of this world, but… he must have been an overly filial person.
“Be careful, unni.”
“…Ah. T, thank you.”
Songee slowly walked up to Grandpa Mooksung, who had somehow partially attended to his wound.
“Can you hold on?”
“I managed to fix one of my legs, but I can’t do anything for my other one. I need assistance.”
“Just take a rest. I can deal with them.”
After that, Songee collected the blood of the surrounding corpses to use as bullets and continued making sure everyone was dead.
Seeing that, grandpa muttered to himself.
“We have another awesome agent candidate here. Is this normal for young ones these days? I guess sunbae was being overly concerned.”
Soon, someone walked into the TV Station.
[User: Han Kain (Wisdom)
Date: Day 23
Current Location: Floor 1, Room 101 (Cursed Room – Common Sense Renovating Media)
Sage’s Advice: 3]
Just putting it out there, I think I’m actually the one doing everything in this room! I practically gathered all the clues, and did most of the exploring by myself did I not?
Maybe this was my chance to obtain an Inheritance?
The next time I went to the Sanctuary of Blessings and saw that stupid owl, I had to show off my Inheritance and give it a good scolding.
It was putting me in a good mood already. Besides, I had already discovered a bunch of helpful hints in this attempt!
Even though I wasn’t sure what kind of power the ‘villain’ was in possession of, I had a rough idea of who the villain was, and what the overall scenario was like.
Going through a fun simulation of what to say made the painful time inside the taxi feel a lot shorter. There were a lot of things to share with everyone.
Like a head of the family going home carrying pizza and chicken after getting paid, I arrived at the TV Station with a bright smile on my face.
What? Why the hell was the TV Station looking like a battlefield?
I was too dumbfounded to express my thoughts into words.
What was going on?
After belatedly arriving at the TV Station and hearing the explanation of what happened from my teammates, I was lost for words.
It seemed that Jinchul-hyung’s mother had come with him. He probably created plans to visit the TV Station by himself when he was sane, but his mother must have successfully persuaded him when he was under the effect of the curse to go together.
That was what led to this completely unexpected disaster.
Because of that, Jinchul-hyung was dead; Grandpa Mooksung was injured in his leg and had trouble walking, leaving just me, Elena and Songee.
The three of us gathered at the half-demolished TV Station.
“What do you think we should do?”
“It’s looking pretty clear that we must give this another shot. We have way too big of a hole in combat power because of the death of that stupid boar.”
Elena voiced her concerns.
“But grandpa, this is already our fourth attempt. It apparently becomes harder from the fifth attempt onwards, right?”
“Well, what else can we do? We just have to give it a shot.”
“Do you think you’ll be able to move, sir?” I asked.
“You have to be honest with this.”
“I won’t be able to move without receiving someone’s help.”
His response was met with a short silence, which was then broken by Songee being the representative to speak for us all.
“Then grandpa, how about you leave the TV Station just like this and escape? The reason it’s not considered an escape even though there is no family member nearby is probably because we are inside the TV Station, so I think it should be seen as a successful escape if you leave the building and walk for about 10 minutes.”
“…I will do just that. That’s probably better than me being a nuisance.”
“Wait for us outside, sir. We will find as many clues as we can, and try to finish it if possible.”
“Good luck. Oh right, I know I’m going to hear it outside anyway, but is there anything you found on the Internet?”
Was I the only one who searched the web extensively? Everyone turned towards me with questioning eyes.
“First off, I have no idea ‘how’ the curse started to spread, but I do know ‘who’ and ‘why’ this happened.
In Shin Dong High School, there was a student called Kim Sangmin. Based on the news articles I found, he seemed to have been bullied quite severely at school. There were 8 main students who harassed him the most.
Even after being bullied for a long time, he couldn’t get any help inside the school so he started to reach out to the people outside, sued them and his parents were really supportive as well.
However, they lost the case at the court. Looking at the article, it seems that the verdict was that he imagined the non-existent bullying incidents because of his mental illness, but there were some other articles suggesting that he might have gained a mental illness because of the extreme harassment he received from the group.
In other words, it was a dispute between ‘Did he get a mental illness from being bullied?’ and ‘Was all the harassment a part of his imagination?’ and the court seemed to have decided on the latter. The case was resolved by the victim being sent to hospital.”
“But how is that related to the TV Station?”
“Apparently, the biggest reason why the victim lost the trial is because of the news. One of the reporters from ABS reported that the victim had a mental illness for a long time and had a consistent tendency of going berserk at the school, and that the other students were the actual victims. Those reports were then used at the court as evidence.”
“But isn’t there a chance that the court was actually correct?” asked Songee. “The kid called Sangmin might have been actually crazy; he might have been creating chaos at the school and could have been deluding himself that the other kids were harassing him, right?”
“You are right. I don’t know what’s true, but the villain of this ‘scenario’ seems to be Kim Sangmin, so I am just explaining it from his point of view. Because we need to figure out where he is hiding and what he is up to.”
“Go on,” urged Grandpa Mooksung. “I get the TV Station part. Where did the ‘New World Hospital’ come into play?”
“After losing the trial at the court, Kim Sangmin was sent to the New World Hospital for therapy, and that seemed to have been the start of news articles that were in his favour. Simply put, Kim Sangmin started to gain allies.
New World Hospital was a mental specialist clinic, and the director of the hospital seemed to have been the one who personally carried out the treatment. During the process, he heard the victim’s side of the story and was partially persuaded by his argument.
So he stood on the side of the victim and said, ‘The severe harassment of the perpetrators was what caused the mental illness of the victim.’ Since the head director of a famous hospital was saying something completely different, there were a bunch of articles about that as well.
And suddenly, that was when the hospital disappeared, and the world turned crazy in just 3 days.”
“The hospital disappeared?”
“Yes. It was a huge thing back then – 3 days before the world turned out like this. The hospital literally vanished. The whole building just disappeared.”
“Maybe that’s when Kim Sangmin gained a supernatural power?”
“I assume so.”
After hearing my explanation, they began thinking to themselves. It was Grandpa Mooksung who broke the silence.
“So, do you think the one behind this incident is that little kid called ‘Kim Sangmin’?”
“Yes. That would explain the students that were being tortured in the basement, and why both the hospital and the TV Station got involved in the incident.”
“Hmm. Let’s say from his perspective, the students in the basement, the TV Station and this whole world itself are all targets of his revenge.
But then why was the hospital the first one to be involved? From Kim Sangmin’s point of view, isn’t the hospital one of his few supporters? Why did he change the hospital into something strange? From what you said, both the nurses and the patients seem to have turned into monsters, right?”
“We would have to look into that a bit more. It might be because he went completely crazy.”
“A pretty straight-forward scenario, I would say. I don’t think there is much point in discussing who the real villain was here. What is important is figuring out how a normal human high schooler managed to turn the world into this state.”
“Do you think it could be someone else that gave him the supernatural power?”
“Who knows. There might be someone else, or that kid might have laid his hands on a powerful treasure that’s out of his ability to control.”
“Where do you think we would have to explore next, oppa?” Songee asked.
“It has to be the upper floors of the TV Station, right?”
“What do we have to find?”
“I will tell you exactly what you need to find,” said Grandpa Mooksung. “You only have to focus on one thing – find the brat called Kim Sangmin, who is presumed to have caused this to happen.
He will be somewhere in this TV Station, or inside that ‘vanished hospital’ which should be accessible through the TV Station. If possible kill him, and if that seems hard, then we can come again next time and kill him to end it once and for all.”
After the conversation, Grandpa Mooksung heaved a sigh before walking out of the TV Station.
Left inside the building were just the three of us.
Our job was to explore the upper floors of the TV Station and the ‘vanished hospital’ that can be accessed through the TV Station, and find the culprit behind this incident.
Thanks for all the feedback on kun and gun. There was a bit of both and I understand both sides of the argument. For now, I will keep it gun but it is open to changes. Please don’t hesitate to tell me if you find it disturbing.