After a long while, Bai Yan finally regained his sight. His surroundings looked overcast, having a layer of clouds cover the sky, but at the corner of his eyes, he saw a faint glow emitting from his phone.
He slowly lowered his head to look at his phone and found out that this game level was a brand new type of level.
[Number of Players: 3 players]
[Level of Difficulty: Normal]
[Level Description: This game’s round is called ‘Story Adventure.’ Players will go through the level by selecting actions on their phones. These actions will be done by the players as they try to complete the game. Surviving until the end of the game will be considered a victory. Before the game starts, please answer the question.]
[You are a:]
Facing such a weird decision, Bai Yan sunk into his thoughts and contemplated on what to choose.
In the last game, Su Xiaoqian was specifically assigned a maid, which was generally a female role. He was sure that the app could discern the player’s gender. Then, this choice that had appeared out of nowhere was not to classify the player’s identity, but rather, it had a different goal instead.
Picking a specific gender may decide which so-called ‘plot’ the game might give him.
If all the players were to choose their real genders, Bai Yan would without a doubt choose Option A.
However, Bai Yan wanted to know how the game would handle it if he chose Option B, so without the slightest hesitation, his finger tapped on B.
[Player has chosen Option B. Arranging player’s identity.]
[Finished importing player’s backstory.]
[Backstory: Your name is Baiyan(1) and you are a slightly attractive newly wedded young woman. You and your husband, Wu Jingang, live in an old-fashioned house in a residential area. Currently, you are on your annual vacation and temporarily don’t have any work to do. Usually, you take care of the housework every day.]
- Fun fact: The ‘Baiyan’ used in the new game is a different name. The author switched the ‘Yan’ to a different character to make it more feminine. The direct translation of his old name (白言) is White Words, but the new name(白顏)’s translation is White Face. To prevent confusion, I will be using Baiyan for the female version.
[1. In this round of the game, players will get five resurrection coins each. Every time the player dies, one resurrection coin will be consumed and the player will automatically be returned to the moment before he or she made the choice. After all, five resurrection coins were exhausted, the sixth death would result in the player’s actual death.]
[2. The player’s actions must follow the character’s way of thinking.]
[3. After the player selects a specific option, the player is required to see through the corresponding action of their choice. Players should be cautious when selecting an action.]
Bai Yan didn’t have any particular thoughts after reading the character backstory.
In regards to his selection, the game was honest. When he chose Option B, the game gave him the profile of a newly wedded young woman, which was reasonably fair. The only thing he wasn’t sure of was if his husband was a regular NPC in the game or a ghost that recalled its wretched death.
As Bai Yan made his choice, his environment changed again.
In a blink of an eye, he was now sitting in a chair with a dining table in front of him. On top of the table was a widespread of aromatic and savory dishes that included braised spare ribs, crispy eggplant with soy sauce, hot tomato and egg soup, and chopped-up cucumber salad. All of these dishes had steam coming off them. Looking at them as a whole, they all looked like a home-cooked meal that had the perfect balance of meat and vegetables.
“Since the name of the game is ‘Story Adventure,’ this level was centered on the choices he made.”
Bai Yan casually picked up a piece of the eggplant dipped in soy sauce using his chopsticks and brought it to his mouth, chewing on it and tasting it. He found out that the flavor was only mediocre at best, “The game’s second rule required that players move according to their character’s way of thinking. I’ll wait for my husband to come back before I start doing housework like Baiyan is supposed to do, at least so the NPC husband won’t get suspicious of him.”
After Bai Yan tasted the eggplant with soy sauce, he quickly ate a piece of the piping hot spare ribs, “The foods’ flavors are only so-so. It was just barely good enough, but in home-cooked meal standards, it was rather good. If it were only this level of cooking, I can easily achieve this. Fortunately, her cooking skills are only subpar.”
As he stared at the steaming food, Bai Yan noticed that the plate in front of him didn’t have any traces of food.
Bai Yan gave a glance and instantly knew that the woman was waiting for her husband and didn’t like eating her meals alone.
As expected, when he checked the black rice cooker at the side of the table, it was packed with freshly cooked rice.
Since Baiyan had the habit of waiting for her husband to eat together, Bai Yan didn’t intend to change this practice. So, he gently put his chopsticks down, got rid of any traces of bone from the spare rib, and calmly wiped his mouth clean with a paper towel. Since the NPC husband hadn’t arrived yet, Bai Yan would scout out this new environment, checking every nook and cranny in the room first.
Bai Yan departed from the dining table and started to rummage through the room in a disorderly fashion.
This house was extremely narrow, only amounting to around 30 square meters. The place also had a kitchen and a separate bathroom, but overall, the area wasn’t big.
The house didn’t have a living room but had a master bedroom and a dingy second bedroom.
The dining table was neatly placed inside the master bedroom and beside the table, there stood a massive double bed with a huge wedding picture displayed on its headboard.
In the wedding picture, the groom joyfully held his lovely bride in his arms, while the bride bashfully smiled.
Bai Yan carefully observed the bride’s expression on the picture and gathered that the bride looked attractive. She was a beauty that could even compete with some top celebrities in the real world and didn’t look like what the app had described to him at all. Because of this revelation, Bai Yan suspected that the image was masterfully retouched by a professional. They must have used P-Photos(2) excessively to make this slightly good-looking woman into such a beaut.
- P-Photos mean photos that have been retouched or edited using Photoshop.
After looking at the wedding photo for a long time and successfully memorizing the image of the husband and wife in his heart, Bai Yan started to look through other objects in the room.
“The newly wed’s room was newly renovated for sure. The walls and floor looked spotless while the bed sheets used on their bed were incredibly soft and emitted a fresh fragrance. Baiyan must have been a woman who had quite good tastes.”
Bai Yan then quickly walked to the end of the bed and saw a table on it with a cute and silly teddy bear resting on top of it.
Bai Yan slowly raised the stuffed bear and immediately found that the bear was tall as a person. He gently held it in his arms and felt its soft fur tickling his skin, the sensation wasn’t bad at all.
According to the more experienced players, there was a high chance that toys contained hidden objects inside it.
With this in mind, Bai Yan lifted the giant teddy bear, violently shook it around, then moved his hands to feel if there was anything inside the teddy bear’s belly but didn’t feel anything solid. He couldn’t find a zipper at the back to take a closer look either.
Bai Yan felt around for a while and was preparing to let it go and rip it apart, but as he was lowering the bear, he found an almost unnoticeable tuft of hair near the teddy bear’s tail that didn’t have the same color as the rest of the fur.
“A dark brown color. Is this blood?” Bai Yan cautiously leaned in closer to smell it and got a whiff of a foul odor, “Why is there blood on this teddy bear?”
“Is this menstrual blood or blood from a dead body?”
Although the couple’s room was warm and fragrant and that the atmosphere in the room strongly overflowed with their sweet love, this blood-stained teddy bear told another story, which Bai Yan knew was not that simple.
“What does the couple have to do with the ghosts? With the dried up blood on the teddy bear, could it be that the couple murdered someone?” Bai Yan’s hand touched his chin, “There’s also the other two players, but I don’t know where they are. This couple doesn’t have a child, so they could be a relative or have a different relationship with the couple.”
There were only a few clues located inside the house, like how the arrangement of the dishes on the table hinted that the wife was waiting for the husband to come back. Even if Bai Yan was to find the other players and share the clues they found with each other, he still didn’t know where to look for them first.
Other than the blood on the teddy bear, there wasn’t any other information that could be found. So, Bai Yan let the bear go and quickly walked towards the second bedroom, starting to search through the room.
Inside the second bedroom, there was an armoire, a table, and some junk items that were scattered all over.
Bai Yan found an old photo album after he rummaged through the drawers. The contents inside were full of pictures of Baiyan’s husband when he was younger. Some of these photos were even taken inside this very house.
“It seems that Wu Jingang grew up here since he was younger. This place should originally be his parent’s house but after he married, his parents gave this house to him as a wedding gift and wanted him to have a house for his marriage.” Bai Yan lowered the photo album and continued to talk to himself, “Since this house belonged to Wu Jingang and his wife, then where are Wu Jingang’s parents staying at? This place is too small. If the newly wedded couple could afford a new house, they wouldn’t be living here. As for Wu Jingang’s parents, they should be renting an apartment right now.”
Based on his observation, this other world had astronomical housing costs. Even a working couple couldn’t afford a nice place and had to resort to living in their parent’s house.
After putting the photo album back to its original place, Bai Yan left the table and was prepared to look through the other items.
But as soon as he walked towards the armoire, he suddenly heard heavy footsteps coming from outside. The footsteps echoed louder and louder but immediately stopped then sharp and urgent knocks resounded from the main door.
“Knock, knock, knock.”
“Knock, knock, knock.”
Bai Yan quickly walked towards the door, wanting to check out who was making the sound.
At this moment, his phone started furiously buzzing and gave off a continuous buzz while the knocking from the other side of the door and the systematic ‘tick tocks’ from the room’s clock abruptly came into a halt.
Bai Yan curiously turned his head to look at the wall clock and discovered that the hands of the clock stopped moving. He immediately realized that the game has suspended this world’s time, so he lowered his head to look at his phone, seeing text appearing on the screen.
[You are a newly married young woman. Today, you are done preparing dinner and as usual, you waited for your beloved husband to return home. It is 8:25 PM and there are knocking sounds coming from outside the door. Considering the time, you figured that this must be your husband, so you got up and intended to open the door for him.]
[However, as you drew near the door, you suddenly hesitated. The matter you found out about a few days ago left your soul flying away and getting scattered(3). Even after a couple of days to recuperate from the shock, you still have lingering fears about it. As a woman who doesn’t even have enough strength to strangle a chicken(4), you need to be more careful when deciding what to do.]
- Soul flying away and getting scattered: To be frightened stiff or scared out of your mind.
- Lacking the strength to strangle a chicken: To be extremely weak.
[So, you decide to:]
[A. Ask aloud who the person outside is. If it is Wu Jingang, you let him in.]
[B. Look through the peephole to see who it is. If it is Wu Jingang, you let him in.]
[C. Don’t open the door and pretend you didn’t hear the knocks. Your husband has the house key, so if he wants to come in, then he can open the door himself.]
Seeing the three options presented to him, Bai Yan now knew why it was called “Story Adventure.”
There was a timer counting down under the three options. The game gave him five minutes to think things through, and now, he had already used up 30 seconds.
In the prompt the game gave before showing the choices, Baiyan had encountered something traumatizing a few days ago, so she should be extremely on guard right now.
Bai Yan wanted to know what happened a few ago, but now was not the time to think about that. After five minutes, he needed to make a decision, or else the app would make it for him, which would mean leaving his life in the hands of fate.
He reread the set of options and concluded that Option C was the safest one.
Yet, judging by the table full of earnestly prepared food, he knew that this couple loved one another dearly. If it were indeed the husband knocking on the door, there’s no way that the wife wouldn’t greet him at the door.
Therefore, Bai Yan disregarded Option C and began to go back and forth on Option A and B.
“According to the game’s sequence, Option B would most likely result in meeting another’s eye when looking through the peephole, but Option A would expose that I am home. If the person outside isn’t Wu Jingang, but rather a ghost, I would be in imminent danger.”
Bai Yan indecisively hovered his finger over Option A and B, but in the end, he chose Option B.
“Forget it. Creepy is creepy, but I need to play it safe. Five resurrection coins aren’t much to work with and the fact that the game dared to give me five resurrection coins means that it definitely plans to kill me after making five bad choices.”
After pressing on Option B on his phone screen, a mysterious force suddenly took control of his body.
Under the app’s absolute control, he walked towards the door, tiptoed, and quietly looked through the peephole.