As Bai Yan returned to the real world, he felt his temperature become abnormally high.
He slowly lowered his head and stared at his clothes. The worn-out butler uniform he wore the past seven days was nowhere to be seen. Instead, he was wearing the clothes he originally wore before the second game started.
At the same time, the bag of tools he brought with him was resting across his chest, good as new and not an item out of place.
Bai Yan remembered that because of his work, he stored his tool kit in the servants’ quarters and didn’t carry it around while he worked. The night the master and the madam recalled their memories of dying and completely transformed into ghosts while losing their heads, he didn’t have the chance to retrieve this bag, only bringing a table knife with him as he ran off.
Then, why was the tool kit still on him?
Also, where was the knife he was carrying around?
Bai Yan’s temperature rose and subtlely came into a daze, observing that his tired body started to become sluggish.
After standing still for a while, he gradually felt more lightheaded as time went on. It seemed that he could pass out at any given moment, so he could forget even thinking about the series of questions he had circling his head.
Feeling that his condition was far from good, Bai Yan steadied himself and took a hot bath before taking his temperature.
He waited for the thermometer to be done measuring his temperature and read the numbers written on it. It was 38.5°.
He had a fever.
Bai Yan had already expected this from the beginning and so, he brought out some fever medicine and quickly swallowed it with warm water. After, he found some food and forced himself to eat it.
Even though he ran in the rain and didn’t eat anything all night long, he still didn’t have the appetite to eat anything.
Unfortunately, he lived alone. He didn’t have any family or relatives to take care of him, even more, so with friends. Furthermore, this high fever would accelerate his metabolism and would result in him using up more calories than usual. If he didn’t eat anything, he could faint then die in this lonely room with no one there to help him dial 120(1).
- 911 in China is 120.
People who lived alone needed to learn how to take care of themselves.
Simply stuffing his mouth with random food would suffice in preventing him from starving to death. Bai Yan swiftly grabbed his quilt, tucked himself in it like a silkworm, and laid down on the bed, preparing himself for a good night’s rest.
After a long and deep slumber, Bai Yan was still a bit drowsy when he woke up. He checked the date on his phone and saw that it was already tomorrow afternoon.
Bai Yan quickly touched his head and sensed that the fever had finally subsided.
He then got out of bed to take a shower and made some porridge, drinking it at a calm and steady pace.
As he drank his porridge, he opened the app to browse the new posts in the forum for the past two days.
During the time he was asleep, numerous players had died. There were also a lot of players that published new game strategies for others to read. He lightly skimmed them over all of them until Bai Yan saw a feed entitled, “Second Level Analysis.”
Bai Yan clicked on it and soon realized that the post was explaining about his experiences in the second game.
From the narrator’s perspective, Bai Yan narrowed down to be non-other than An Qing. An Qing told what happened from start to finish and when she typed in her accounts, she referred to the other players as A, B, C, D and didn’t mention everyone’s real name or appearance.
While the two people at the backseat were replaced by the headless ghosts and forced Bai Yan and Su Xiaoqian to jump out of the moving car, An Qing and the other player exchanged places with the master and madam’s and were suddenly transported inside the villa.
After returning to the villa, An Qing and Lu Tianyi, unfortunately, came across the younger master. The disaster started with the younger master’s complete abandonment of his fake identity as he finally revealed himself as a faceless ghost.
Due to the faceless ghost’s tricks, the two couldn’t escape the villa. Even if they did, they would instantly be teleported back inside. In the end, An Qing discovered the older young master’s secret tunnel that was hidden inside his room in the cellar, giving the two people a chance to escape.
Bai Yan looked pensive after reading through An Qing’s post.
In the game, he inadvertently mocked Lu Tianyi for being part of the NPC Protection Society because he was busy driving the car at that time and said it without thinking. But, he too felt that the NPCs were too real.
They could cry, they could laugh. They could even feel scared enough to make a nauseating expression. If this kind of person wasn’t considered a human being, then this world’s people shouldn’t be counted as humans either.
There were no NPCs in his first game, only ghosts, so he couldn’t relate to the several posts about NPCs. He saw that the descriptions of NPCs in the forum were normal, but after experiencing a game full of NPCs himself, he was deeply impressed by the life-likeness of the characters but then found some weird discussions in the forum.
Regarding the origins of the game, many people in the forum theorized that it was made by aliens using their sinister technology. Other’s guessed that it was all organized by a higher being that wanted to amuse itself with its toys. There were also some speculations about this was the doing of this world’s God. But either way, everyone unanimously agreed that the native people of the game were NPCs. Their life’s purpose was to be used for the player’s accord and be sent to death. They should also offer players clues for them to avoid losing the game.
Even some of the veteran players encouraged the newbies to take initiative to harm the NPCs and constantly use the NPC’s life to save your own or make a better path. These posts’ comments were all full of support and advocation from others. There wasn’t a single comment that had a different stance on the matter, which was quite weird.
Bai Yan thought that without a doubt, there were people who were like the Virgin Mary. If there was someone like that, then that someone would express a different point of view. Humans were empathetic creatures. In this modern society they lived in, only a few people were truly perverts that enjoyed killing cats and dogs, let alone killing these human-like NPCs.
People should know that ‘watching someone die and not giving them help’ and ‘outright killing someone’ was two entirely different concepts.
With the nature of the app, the player community all coincidentally abuse the NPCs, but these NPCs acted like they were real people. When they see ghosts, they would even feel scared and cry miserably. Under the influence of empathy, someone will surely be like Lu Tianyi and oppose this kind of maltreatment treatment to the NPCs. At the very least, they would help the NPCs by advising the other players to not harm them. But, strange enough, Bai Yan couldn’t find replies like these.
Additionally, the united front that these selfish players had in the forum was irregular.
After his first game, he was worried that his actions would face a mountain of criticism from other players. Bai Yan regarded himself as someone aware of who he truly was as a person and knew that people would resent him for his shameful behavior.
Yet, in this anonymous forum, it was impossible for someone who didn’t have these dark thoughts to not appear. His actions during the first game were only a bit out of line, but he was alone. There were surely some closet perverts in the game, but no one posted about it, even if it were just something neutral about it.
Since before, anonymous forums were always a hostile environment with commenters going back and forth with their arguments, but this forum’s online community was as harmonious as a stagnant ball of water. It was chillingly amazing how everyone agreed with this opinion.
It was as if there was an administrator that reviews the posts and comments in the forum.
To test his hypothesis, Bai Yan quickly finished his porridge and tried to make a post about ‘How to get rid of idiot players.’ In a few moments, he sent it out but discovered that the post was strangely deleted without a trace.
The post was deleted within seconds of posting but Bai Yan was hardly discouraged. He also sent out a post on ‘How to take advantage of NPCs to find another path.’ Subsequently, this post was properly posted and was safely displayed in the forum. After half a day had passed, it still didn’t show any signs of being deleted.
After completing this little experiment, he finally understood what values and culture the app advocated.
In the next few days, apart from going downstairs to have his hair dyed black again, Bai Yan didn’t leave his house and only used this time to rest at home, trying to avoid getting sick again.
At next Monday’s noon, Bai Yan opened the app and readied himself to enter the game alone.
From his last game, he had gathered the contact information of the other players, but Lu Tianyi had the mindset of someone who joined the NPC Protection Society. An Qing, on the other hand, couldn’t move freely because of her injury and so wouldn’t be a good teammate. The only plausible choice was the ever-cautious Su Xiaoqian, who had previously noticed his faded hair, but he couldn’t risk getting exposed.
After considering it for a while, Bai Yan going in alone was still his safest option as it would be less likely for acquaintances to target him. Furthermore, in a normal difficulty game, teammates weren’t that useful, so he didn’t need to find some now.
So, with his trusty tool kit slung over his shoulder, Bai Yan propped up the laptop’s camera and started videotaping as he clicked the ‘match’ button.
His sight turned pitch-black as he entered the game once more.