Chapter 73 – Room 101, Cursed Room – ‘Common Sense Renovating Media’ (7)
[User: Han Kain (Wisdom)
Date: Day 23
Current Location: Floor 1, Room 101 (Cursed Room – Common Sense Renovating Media)
Sage’s Advice: 3]
The cheerful sound of a bell echoed as we opened the door leading to the rooftop, and on the other side of the door was the entrance to a completely different location.
It seemed that the place hadn’t been cleaned properly in ages; the surroundings were dirty and the air felt stuffy.
However, it still wasn’t that hard to tell where this was.
Most people would probably visit this place a few dozen times throughout their lives – it was a hospital.
The only problem with this particular hospital was the outer appearance of the nurses.
…A nurse that looked exactly the same as the strange-looking nurses I had seen until now, was standing behind the reception desk, pretending to be a normal nurse.
I wonder what it was trying to say. Maybe it was saying something along the lines of, ‘Hello’. It was evident that the nurses meant no harm – they were even bending their backs, suggesting a warm welcome.
Looking at the twisted nurses, I unconsciously brought my hand to the gun hanging on my waist.
That was when Songee held me by the arm and stopped me.
“Oppa. I don’t think we need to aggravate them.”
She was right – I had to be patient. There was something I understood from the looks of things. Just then, we had entered through the ‘entrance of the hospital’, and that seemed to be why they were treating us like guests.
I decided to see how things turned out without upsetting them.
Under the watchful eyes of the twisted nurses, we slowly started roaming around the hospital.
Would a hospital like this ever exist in real life? There were several rooms for patients deeper inside the hospital, and they looked very familiar. They looked the same as the strange places that appeared when I broke into the windows of the cars in the basement of the TV Station.
Those exact same rooms were the ones for the patients. Each room had beds of steel, and shackled on those beds were the patients, who had already gone insane.
They endlessly gasped and groaned in pain, and sometimes, a few of the nurses went into those rooms.
…I didn’t even want to imagine what went on inside them.
We were wandering around the hospital when one of the nurses approached us from afar. We were greatly startled for a while, but after stopping slightly away from us, the nurse let out some strange noises again.
Calmly, I thought to myself.
They had been treating us like guests until now, and there was no way they would suddenly start attacking us out of nowhere.
I decided to think of this as a normal hospital. What would the nurses say to a group of guests, who started wandering around the hospital after walking inside?
It would probably be something like, “Is there anyone you are looking for?”
Half in doubt, I shouted out just in case.
“Kim Sangmin! We are looking for Student Kim Sangmin.”
Please understand what I’m saying!
The twisted nurse nodded slightly, turned around and started walking forward as if it understood what I was saying.
Naturally, Songee and I, who each had the bracelet and the filter, walked at the front with Elena following us from the back. In that formation, we started walking after the nurse.
It was a lot easier after that. Now that we had a nurse guiding us from the front, the other nurses didn’t bother approaching us, and the one guiding us also kept a respectful distance. We continued walking like that for about 15 minutes.
Observing the hospital as we slowly walked forward, I realised that the strange places that appeared when going against the warnings of the TV Station were all parts of the hospital.
Only after walking down the corridor of the 4th floor for a very long time did the nurse come to a stop.
With its hands, it gestured at a large room.
…Was this the place?
The final goal we had been desperately looking for from yesterday was at last before our eyes.
Before walking inside, I earnestly begged for ‘advice’.
‘What would be the best thing I could do?’
[Give the gun to Songee.]
… I had a feeling I understood what this meant. Without saying anything, I handed the gun over to Songee.
We all resolved ourselves for the final time.
“Are we ready? Songee. I filled the gun with bullets.”
“I checked it. I can use the bracelet immediately if need be.”
“It would be great… if the enemy was a person. In that case, I’ll be able to use my blessing as well.”
After that, we headed into Kim Sangmin’s hospital room.
What in the world was this place?
I had seen countless inhumane scenes and horrible images, but… this place was different from any other place I had seen before.
It was like a completely different world. It was no longer a question of cruelty; it was just a fundamentally different place to Earth.
This place appeared like the cave of a foreign planet.
The surroundings were full of large translucent rocks that appeared like strange crystals. There were no sources of light nearby, and yet the entire place was bright, as if there were microorganisms in this place that gave out light.
The power of the curse was overwhelmingly stronger here.
Even though there was no-one in front of us, it gave me a head-splitting headache. A bizarre notion of ‘common sense’ started seeping into my head despite every attempt done to stop it.
I forced myself to turn around. The only one that looked normal was Songee, who used the bracelet on herself immediately after entering the room.
Elena was already on her knees.
Songee looked quite delicious. Now that I thought about it, her name already sounded delicious, did it not*?
Her name was exactly the same as one of the mushroom species, and Songee mushrooms… happened to be one of my favourite mushrooms of all time.
They were pretty expensive and hard to get on top of that. How should I eat it?
For good ingredients, it would be foolish to add sauces and condiments. If I were to get a good-quality Songee mushroom, I would wash it, bake it in the oven and dip it in salt.
I remembered hearing the story of a celebrity that got trash-talked for putting those expensive Songee mushrooms into instant noodles, but honestly, that made me very jealous.
Pouring a generous amount of shockingly expensive ingredients into instant noodles and having a big mouthful of it! Didn’t that just sound lovely?
Apparently in Japan, there’s a dish called Dobin Mushi where they steam it in a teapot, and that appeared quite delicious. It was one of the dishes I wanted to try ever since I saw it on TV.
Songee should taste just as good, right? That’s what her name suggests after all!
But wait a second. Maybe Songee was a bit too big to go into a teapot. Should I buy a big teapot? Or maybe I should make her a bit smaller—
…That was when I felt my consciousness fading away.
Even with the filter, this place was impossible for me to handle.
I had a gist already so it wasn’t that surprising. The meaning of the advice telling me to give the gun to Songee was very simple.
‘You can’t do anything here no matter what you do.’
– Yu Songee
— Bang! — Bang!
I had no other choice.
Although I didn’t mind shooting the cursed people of the Hotel, I really did not want to shoot my teammates. Why was ‘I’ always the one who had to do this?
But what else could I have done?
Kain-oppa suddenly walked towards me and stroked my hair.
At the start, I was startled wondering what was going on, but…
‘Maybe I can put her in a teapot if I take the head off?’
I shot him immediately after hearing that.
Elena-unni had also started saying something strange while holding onto my legs.
‘Slow-cook this along with beef and—’
I also shot her after hearing that.
…I had no idea why both of them thought about eating me.
Seeing them reminded me once again just how powerful the power of the curse was. Kain-oppa even had the filter, but it seemed that he couldn’t keep himself sane inside this place either, just like Elena-unni.
Honestly, personally I couldn’t feel anything different, so I wouldn’t have known that the curse had become stronger without hearing what they said.
This bracelet might be more powerful than every other mind control abilities of this Hotel. But if no-one could keep themselves sane apart from me, how were we supposed to solve this room?
…I had no idea, but there were people a lot smarter than me, so I decided to talk about it outside.
For now, I decided to see this to the end even just by myself.
It didn’t take that long.
After walking for about 3 minutes, I reached the end of the cave and found something resembling a large chunk of flesh.
What was this, I wondered. Was this the one behind everything going on outside? Wasn’t this just a large, wriggling heart?
Next time we came in, maybe all I needed to do was protect Jinchul-oppa’s mind, while he destroyed this with his fists.
Remembering the gun I had, I decided to try shooting it.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
It started to show some response after I shot 3 bullets in a row.
‘It hurts! It hurts! It hurts! It hurts! YOU ARE HURTING ME AS WELL.’
A sharp voice pierced directly into my head.
That was when I heard the sound of something running behind me. Looking back, I found the nurses rushing to me in a hurry.
Ahah, so it really was this guy. It seemed that our job was to somehow destroy this thing.
I did more than enough, right?
It was scary to do anything more than this, but I said one last thing before going.
“It’s nothing compared to everything you did to the world, you know that?”
Then, I shot all the remaining bullets at the large flesh except for one, which I had to use to kill myself.
– Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
‘Ahhh! Sir! Where are you! There’s another one here to hurt me, sir!’
Sir? I know a ‘sir’ as well. Who is this ‘sir’ that you are talking about?
The nurses were just around the corner.
…This should be enough.
…My consciousness slowly started to fade.
[User: Han Kain (Wisdom)
Date: Day 23
Current Location: Floor 1, Corridor
Sage’s Advice: 2]
– Han Kain
Kung! We woke up in the corridor just like every other time, but it was more painful this time around.
I looked around with my fingers pressing down on my temples, and found everyone waking up with exhausted looks on their faces.
It was around nighttime. We went in in the morning, and it seemed that we had used up the whole day.
And immediately after waking up —
Many of us turned our eyes to the same person.
The man, who had the biggest build and muscles from our group, lowered his head with a dead look on his face.
When working in a group, it was inevitable for some people to make mistakes. People would tease, rebuke and scold that person if they made a small mistake.
However, it was sometimes extremely difficult to say anything if that mistake they made was an enormous one.
At times like that, everyone else tended to be so busy with cleaning up the mess, and the person in question also tended to shrink from an immense sense of guilt (unless they were very shameless), and that made it even harder to blame them for it.
This was very common, especially when you had to work with the same people after the event.
The person in question was already blaming themselves for it, so how would blaming them on top of that be any helpful?
It was more productive to console them and think about the next plan.
That was exactly what we were going through.
“Hey! Buddy! It’s not like we’re all actually dead or anything. What are you doing? Hurry up and eat something!”
“Why are you so down?” said Ahri. “All you did was be a good son. I was in the Rest Team and the Give-up Team from the start, and I was super relaxed; playing games with my mum.”
Ahri. I don’t think that’s something to be proud of.
“You know what happened to me? My fake father died, and I had to fight with my family after the funeral and ended up like him. I literally got buried alive with him. Why are you so depressed by something so small?”
You got buried alive? Noonim? What in the world is up with your family?
“Oppa! You still have the red capsule, right? That’s good enough. I saw it till the end, and I think you just have to take the pill and destroy that flesh.
By the way, Kain-oppa, can you please tell me what you were thinking at the end?”
Songee suddenly threw the hot potato at me. This was already her third time asking me after leaving Room 101 about the ‘teapot’.
Rather than explaining to her about the steamed Songee mushrooms in a teapot, I decided it would be a better idea to pretend ignorance.
“I actually have no clue. My mind turned blank the moment we entered the hospital room.”
She didn’t seem convinced, so I decided to have a social distance with her for today.
Thus ended our chaotic dinner.
“So, this is going to be our final strategy conference. Of course, there’s no guarantee that this will be our last one, but I think so at the very least. We know what our goal is; we know where it is, and have a rough idea of the power it has. If we take a long time to solve this after knowing this much, that would just be proving our incompetence.”
“Eunsol-noona. This is already our fifth attempt…”
“Yes, and that’s our biggest problem. We would have cleared it 100% if this was our 4th attempt instead, but this is our 5th. Ahri, do you remember ‘how’ exactly it’s going to change?”
“Sorry, I was really young during my first time at the Hotel, and I can barely remember anything.”
Ahri said she was born at the Hotel. That meant she must have been a tiny kid during her first time, so it was understandable that she couldn’t remember anything clearly.
“And because this is our 5th attempt, there’s an agenda that we need to discuss before anything.”
1. Do we continue attempting Room 101?
“Depending on how you see it, it might be correct to skip Room 101, considering how it’s going to turn harder, and go with either Room 102 or Room 104, and come back once we’re stronger.
Of course, you might also ask the question, ‘Would it even make it easier even if we did change to a different room?’
Our fundamental specs are still the same. Would we be able to clear another room if we jump in just like this? What if we struggle and end up making it the 5th time for all the other rooms?
Maybe it would be better to finish Room 101, since we know the most about it?
No-one knows. It’s hard to make a good call because we don’t even know ‘how’ it’s going to change.
Everyone, share your thoughts.”
*Songee mushrooms = Matsutake mushrooms