Chapter 23 ~ Third Game Pt.5 ~
While everyone was checking the news, the people in the kitchen also stepped into the dining room in succession, and everyone fell into silence.
Brother Yong broke this silence.
He said, enunciating every syllable distinctly, “She blocked the cameras!”
“She’s an investigator and she blocked the cameras. Did she forget what she did?!”
Brother Yong’s words seemed as if he hated how she didn’t live up to expectations.
Lu Zize’s gentle voice then rose, “Brother Yong, the incident has already occurred and it’s useless to say more. God’s Eye has given assignments. Are we going to go after eating or go right now?”
“You’re still going to eat? Fuck eating. We’re going.”
Brother Yong stood up with thunderous violence and windy swiftness and walked out the dining room.
Lu Zize lagged behind a beat before he hurriedly stood and said to everyone present, “Quick, keep up. If you feel hungry, I’ll buy some food for everyone after we come back.”
Matters were urgent and so no one delayed and immediately followed Brother Yong and Lu Zize to the parking lot.
Of the twelve people present, two players had car keys in their hands and, after some squeezing, two cars could still seat ten players.
Lu Zize and Brother Yong got into a car instantly, but they didn’t ask any players to come into their car. Moreover, there was Brother Young and, due to his terrible expression, the players didn’t dare to ask about their car.
They just silently agreed to seat one car with five people.
“You, surname Gu.”
Brother Yong’s voice suddenly sounded. He sat in the passenger seat and the car window slid halfway down, revealing his restless expression.
He looked at Gu Yian and Tang Jiu, who was beside her, before saying with an impatient tone, “You and your friend can come to our car. Hurry up.”
When Gu Yian heard this, she didn’t pay attention to Brother Yong’s tone. She and Tang Jiu immediately got into the car.
The car started right after they sat down.
Beside them, the two cars the players were riding in followed closely.
The atmosphere in the car that Gu Yian was in was, without a doubt, stiff.
Two people were at the front, one who was quietly driving and the other with an ugly expression that could scare someone.
The air at the front wasn’t good and so, naturally, the people at the back could feel this.
Tang Jiu nudged Gu Yian.
Gu Yian moved her gaze off of the cameras in the car and looked at Tang Jiu.
“Are you hungry?” Tang Jiu whispered.
“A little,” Gu Yian honestly replied.
She had been in this world for more than five hours.
Tang Jiu opened her hand and a candy lay quietly in her palm.
Gu Yian raised her eyebrow slightly and glanced at Tang Jiu.
Tang Jiu grabbed Gu Yian’s hand with her other one and placed the candy there.
“Brother Lu treated us and bought this for us. I ate one just now, there’s no poison.”
She pointed at her own bulging cheek.
The interior of the car was so small that, although Tang Jiu’s volume was not loud, she had no intentions of withholding this and so Lu Zize heard these words in the driver’s seat.
He responded with a laugh, “Such a large candy shop, how can there be poison in its candy?”
He paused for a second and then gently suggested, “Eat after we go back. What we’re going to see later might make you two feel uncomfortable.”
Lu Zize’s words carried a meaning.
Brother Yong suddenly asked, “Little Lu, do you think she did it intentionally?”
Lu Zize appeared surprised that Brother Yong would ask this question.
He thought about this seriously for a while before answering, “Sister Man normally doesn’t seem like someone who would do this sort of thing. It may be an accident.”
“Accident? It’s another accident.” Brother Yong repeated the word with a sneer and then said nothing more.
Tang Jiu and Gu Yian sat at the back and wisely made no sound.
Accidents, generally speaking, were extremely coincidental incidents.
The hint of this game already said that there were no coincidences in this world.
In that case, this homicide was also not an accident.
Twenty minutes later, Gu Yian and the others saw Sister Man sitting on the steps in the residential building stairwell and crying.
She was wearing the black uniform that belonged to an investigator.
Under the lights of the stairwell, her complexion was ghastly and the rims of her eyes were red and filled with tears.
Sister Man heard footsteps and saw Lu Zize and his group, who were going up the stairs.
“Little Lu. He Yong.” Her sobs choked her words.
Lu Zize called lightly and he stopped on the steps some distance away from Sister Man, lowering his eyes to look at her.
Brother Yong passed Sister Man without an expression and reached the door to Room 201.
“What are you still sitting there for?”
He then looked at the players below him. “You guys aren’t coming over yet?”
Sister Man sobbed out, “The door’s not closed.”
The players also didn’t know how to face Sister Man, who should have been the team leader but was now a murderer. They hesitantly passed straight beside Sister Man and Lu Zize.
Sister Man said to Lu Zize with tears, “Little Lu, don’t be an investigator anymore.”
There was a bit of helplessness in Lu Zize’s expression.
He sighed, “Sister Man—”
“Little Lu, stop talking nonsense with her. You come in too and leave two newcomers to watch her,” Brother Yong roughly interrupted Lu Zize.
Lu Zize hesitated, looking at Sister Man.
She held back her tears and told him, “Go in with him. I’m fine.”
Lu Zize said softly, “Sister Man, don’t run. Only if we investigate things clearly will there be a high chance that you’ll be cleared of the crime.”
Sister Man cried quietly, “I won’t run.”
Lu Zize nodded and then looked towards the players.
The players realized he was going to choose people to stay and watch Sister Man, and some of them immediately averted their eyes.
Gu Yian took a step in the direction of Brother Yong, making her stance clear. Tang Jiu followed her and also walked towards Brother Yong’s side.
Upon seeing this, Lu Zize pointed at two players, a man and woman, who had intentions to remain behind and said, “You two can keep Sister Man company.”
Those two players were a new female player and a veteran male player.
With a veteran player present, the other players were not too worried about whether or not Sister Man would run.
Brother Yong saw that Lu Zize had made arrangements and he slammed the door open, stepping inside.
Gu Yian was close and so she was the second person to enter.
The entrance was an entryway.
She saw a closed shoe cabinet, as well as a man’s leather shoes and woman’s high heels placed on the ground right next to the shoe cabinet.
There were strong signs of life here.
Brother Yong threw a box of things over and stiffly ordered, “These are her disposable shoe covers, everyone put them on. The disposable gloves I gave everyone when we got off the cars, put those on too now.”
It was only after Gu Yian and the others did this that they walked through the entryway.
To the right of the entryway was the living room, to the left was the dining room,
The ground was clean and tidy, not like a place where something had happened.
The sofa, coffee table, TV cabinet, and the dining table were all in their places.
At first glance there was no problem, but Brother Yong stood in the living room and scrutinized his surroundings for a while.
Gu Yian saw Brother Yong’s reaction and so she carefully looked at the room again.
This time she finally discovered the abnormality.
She didn’t see any cameras in this room!
Or, in other words, the cameras were all blocked!
Brother Yong seemed to realize this point at the same time. He walked to a part of the wall and ripped off what looked like a pillowcase there.
Once the pillowcase was gone, a pitch-black lens appeared in front of everyone.
Brother Yong angrily threw the pillowcase in his hand onto the ground.
His eyes swept across the room and found another blocking object in another place, and he immediately walked over to rip that off.
Underneath that was still another dark lens.
Lu Zize entered the room later and happened to see Brother Yong’s crazed actions of searching for cameras.
He reminded Brother Yong, “We should find the body now.”
What he said was actually what Gu Yian was thinking right now.
Why wasn’t Brother Yong looking for the body, but instead blindly searching for cameras?
Brother Yong dropped the thing in his hand and pressed down his rage, saying, “She did it on purpose. She covered all the cameras.”
Lu Zize’s behavior was very calm and, facing the upset Brother Yong, he patiently calmed him. “Sister Man and her husband are a married couple. There are inconveniences and we cannot doubt her just on this point. Let’s search the other rooms first and find the body.”
He motioned to Gu Yian and the other players. “Everyone can act alone, but remember not to destroy the crime scene.”
Brother Yong’s expression looked like he already determined something and he charged through the corridor, slamming open the doors to the other rooms.
Lu Zize’s eyes were filled with helplessness and he could only follow him.
With these two leaving, the players naturally chased after them right away.
To be honest, the players were at a loss in this moment and didn’t know what they were actually doing.
What was the connection between what they were doing and the game?
The players couldn’t figure it out and so they could only follow Lu Zize and Brother Yong’s arrangement.
Gu Yian was with the group of players and also walked towards the rooms.
But it happened when her gaze swept across the cameras above the corridor that were wrapped in cloth.
She suddenly figured something out.
Gu Yian grabbed Tang Jiu’s arm hard.
“Wait, they’re in danger.”
She turned around without hesitation and walked in the opposite direction.
Tang Jiu reacted a beat slow to how Gu Yian wanted to go outside but then she immediately said, “Leave the fighting to me.”
She sprang ahead of Gu Yian and rushed out the door in two to three steps.
The other players were dumbfounded.
“Hey, where are you guys going?”
The players called out behind Gu Yian.
Gu Yian ignored them and, gripping the small coffin that she had just taken out in her hand, she sped up to run to the door.
After Tang Jiu had gone out just now, there was still no movement at the door at all and this made Gu Yian extremely uneasy.
The distance wasn’t far and, after Gu Yian changed from walking to running, she reached the door in a second.
Two corpses instantly jumped into her sight.
Tang Jiu stood beside the bodies and looked at Gu Yian, who had just arrived. “Their throats were slashed. We came too late. She already ran.”
They came too late.
Gu Yian looked at the bodies and then withdrew her gaze.
She asked, “Is there anything missing on them? Their work badges? That shouldn’t be the case.”
Gu Yian rejected her own conjecture.
Tang Jiu shook her head and said honestly, “I took the veteran player’s props and their work badges are still there.”
The other players were a bit slow in rushing over and they poked out their heads from behind Gu Yian.
“What’s going on? How did they die? Did that Sister Man kill them?”
There was that earlier car accident and so these players didn’t react much to the bodies and, in this moment, each person competed with another in terms of being at a loss.
“Who else but her?”
Tang Jiu shrugged, “I don’t understand why Sister Man wanted us to come over before she ran. She even had to kill two people before escaping.”
Gu Yian thought for a while and then said, “She did it on purpose. Let’s not use normal people’s thoughts to guess about her.”
Tang Jiu’s eyes lit up. “You’re smart so, tell me, how did you know they were in danger?”
The other players were also of the same mind and created a ruckus. “Yeah, pretty girl, tell us.”
“If you don’t tell us, I might not even know how I’ll die in this game.”
“Goddess, please clear up our confusion.”
When these people flattered someone, they didn’t keep any respect for themselves.
Gu Yian turned her head to glance at them.
Those people, realizing they were too close, quickly backed away and then looked at Gu Yian with flattering eyes.
She felt a bit helpless when they looked at her like this.
She herself wasn’t someone who liked withholding information either and so she explained, “I guessed, because Brother Yong said she did it on purpose.”
When Brother Yong tore off the covers on the cameras, he said Sister Man did it on purpose.
If one started thinking from this point…
Then Sister Man deliberately blocked the cameras to carry out an intentional murder. She deliberately called them, said she was afraid of law enforcement, and deliberately leaked information for them to come and investigate.
Gu Yian remembered the first notification message that the God’s Eye System sent them in the dining area. It said that a murder was committed between 8:42 AM and 8:42 PM. This time period was an entire twelve hours!
She didn’t know how long the cameras were blocked before it made the God’s Eye System issue an investigation mission to investigators.
But Sister Man deliberately called them at 8:42 PM and so it had to be suspected that she did it on purpose.
God’s Eye should be able to monitor people’s calls.
All the cameras had been covered in the room, even the ones in the hallway were covered. The God’s Eye System could only know about Sister Man’s homicide through the call and this was why it sent them an investigation text message.
And this was why, after Brother Yong saw the blocked cameras, he would say that phrase about her doing it on purpose.
“But what does her doing it on purpose have to do with her killing these two people and escaping?” Tang Jiu asked.
“Buffer time against law enforcement.”
A gentle male voice answered Tang Jiu’s question.
At some unknown time, Lu Zize appeared behind the players.
Furthermore, the gloves of both hands were stained with blood at this moment.
The gazes of the players swept across the blood unwittingly.
Even if Lu Zize looked as gentle and intellectual as always, the players were very vigilant towards him.
Lu Zize didn’t care about the small glances of the players and he still patiently explained, “Our investigation cannot give out results too quickly, otherwise it will be seen as us just going through the motions. The shortest time is two hours before we can hand it over for law enforcement to handle. This gives her time to escape. She can evade law enforcement during this time.”
“Then why didn’t she run earlier? Why did she have to wait for us to come?” A player wondered.
“Because killing someone and dismembering them requires time. Much more than you can imagine.”
Lu Zize calmly narrated this fact.
He continued, “Brother Yong and I just found a part of the corpse that she hid. Brother Yong is still searching for the rest.”
A new female player covered her mouth and ducked out of the door, not daring to listen to Lu Zize more.
He also noticed that female player’s reaction and said, “Why don’t you all head back first? Brother Yong and I will return after we piece everything together.”
The gagging sound of the female player came from outside the door.
One player rolled their eyes and then said, “We can’t just let you and Brother Yong be busy. Us newcomers can also do some things.”
Gu Yian glanced over and it was that new male player who said they had offended God during the day.
Lu Zize smiled and it was quite an innocent one. “Then you can stay. The rest will head back first.”
The players present felt a familiar routine.
Wasn’t this a repeat of what happened in the day?
That new male player jerked his mouth with a look of regret but he still insisted, “Alright, Brother Lu.”
Lu Zize looked at the other players and instructed, “It’s late and, when everyone passes a midnight meal shop, buy something for yourselves to eat. I’ll pay.”
He spoke and his eyes stopped on Gu Yian. “With regards to money, Yian, come and get the card. It’s not convenient for me to take off my gloves.”
Gu Yian already realized something far from good would happen when Lu Zize looked at her.
The moment the other players heard Lu Zize call Gu Yian they tactfully made way.
Gu Yian walked over calmly and, under Lu Zize’s instructions, took out a bank card from the upper right pocket of his uniform.
“Don’t move. I’ll tell you the password.”
Gu Yian stood still in place.
She could feel that person approach.
He said a series of numbers, his voice gentle and pleasant to hear.
“Have you remembered it?”
Gu Yian nodded slightly.
Lu Zize chuckled, “Don’t tell anyone else.”
Then, bracing herself against the gossipy eyes of Tang Jiu and the others, Gu Yian set foot on the way back with them.
The night in the City of Innocence was quiet and harmonious.
Countless 24-hour non-stop cameras monitored the public order of the city at all times.
Children were playing wildly in a plaza.
Adults sat on roadside benches and chatted.
Gu Yian and the others found a late-night stall, ordered a few dishes, and then waited for them to be served.
Waiting was generally boring, and so some players started talking to the players beside them.
“I have an oral ulcer and bought some vitamins today. I hope it can heal quickly.”
Another player asked, “You didn’t just buy medicine?”
“This is nothing and Brother Lu said using medicine only addresses the symptoms but not the root cause. My body’s lacking vitamins.”
Gu Yian didn’t join the player conversations. She looked at the distant children and suddenly thought of something, asking the person next to her, “Was the funeral home called?”
Two players died but their bodies weren’t taken care of.
Beside Gu Yian was Tang Jiu and she said indifferently, “I forgot to do that, but who cares? Once they’re done piecing the body together, they have to call the funeral home. One has to be carried, so three can be carried too.”
Customers who passed behind them heard the contents of Gu Yian and Tang Jiu’s conversation by chance and they looked at them with incredulous eyes, and their minds probably came up with something very terrifying.
Gu Yian glanced at those people and took out her work badge.
Tang Jiu also brought out her work badge without hesitation.
One of those customers looked at both their work badges and then pulled out his phone to use.
After a while, he saw the results that he wanted to see on his phone.
That customer immediately smiled apologetically at them and then pulled his companion away.
When they left, Gu Yian took out her phone and unlocked her screen while saying, “We forgot a very important matter.”
“What matter?” Tang Jiu asked cooperatively.
“We can use the internet!”
So long as there was a network then they didn’t need to learn the rules of this world from Lu Zize and others.
Investigators and law enforcement were all things Lu Zize told them, but who knew if he concealed something or not.
As far as Gu Yian was concerned, she felt that there were many places where Lu Zize’s words were inconsistent.
After Lu Zize saw the text messages the stranger, Liu Han, sent on her phone, it seemed that law enforcement was dispatched in less than two hours.
Tang Jiu also said that Lu Zize used the method of threatening to call law enforcement to persuade the quarrelling butchers.
Then why did Sister Man’s matter have to be investigated for two hours before it could be handed over to law enforcement?
The whole thing was suspicious.
Gu Yian tapped on the browser icon in her phone, typed in the Special Zone under God’s Eye, and tapped search.
In the next second, the search engine showed that nearly 100,000 search results were obtained.
“Huh? Use the web?”
Tang Jiu was a beat slow in reacting to Gu Yian’s words, and then she saw the search results on Gu Yian’s phone.
Tang Jiu blurted out, “We really can go online!”
The other chatting players noticed their movements and looked over one after another.
“Our phones can go online?”
“Can they play games then?”
The player who asked about playing games was glared at by the other players.
Gu Yian stared at her phone screen.
It clearly showed that the Special Zone under God’s Eye had the reputation of the City of Innocence.
She swiped the screen and scanned through the search results one by one. She discovered that the contents were all complimenting the happiness of the Special Zone under God’s Eye; they said public order was good, people were wealthy, people could live in peace and work happily, and she couldn’t see a single shortcoming.
But there was no perfect place in the world.
Gu Yian’s eyes inadvertently glanced around and she saw a camera hidden in the fake plant on the table.
She thought about how just the lack of privacy for intimate acts should be enough to be unbearable for people.
Gu Yian added a word and then searched again.
This time she only got thousands of results.
These results were nothing more than residents of the City of Innocence complaining that they had no sex at all and that they lived in an age of no privacy.
Gu Yian felt like she still hadn’t caught the point.
These didn’t seem like direct clues related to clearing the game.
She was contemplating this when the owner came to serve their dishes.
Tang Jiu told her, “If you can’t figure it out, then don’t think about it anymore. You’re completely stuck now, but when you think back on this maybe you’ll solve it all at once.”
Another player also said, “Let nature take its course; when the boat gets to the bridge, it’ll naturally pass under. If you can’t figure it out, just set it aside. Speaking of which, this game is much better than my previous game of ghost tag. My legs don’t hurt as much.”
A new player asked, “Why did your legs hurt? Did it only tag legs?”
“Gods, no, running! I was running for my life.”
At the dinner table, everyone chatted, and the distance between everyone shrunk invisibly.
Gu Yian already settled the bill in advance. Everyone else used facial recognition, so it was uncommon for her to swipe a card.
She saw that there was a supermarket nearby.
“Everyone, sit here and wait for me. I’m going to the supermarket.”
Tang Jiu heard this and asked, “Are you buying toiletries? When we were buying them, Lu Zize had us grab you a set.”
Gu Yian’s plan really had been to purchase necessities.
She didn’t expect her own matters to already have been considered by another person.
Her eyes flickered, “Let’s go back then.”
The day could be counted as finally being over.
Everyone went back to the room on the second floor of the office building.
Before sleeping, everyone washed their faces and brushed their teeth in the washroom.
There was a female player who mumbled about wanting to wash her hair, but it was just complaints and she didn’t really dare to shower.
The seven players discussed for a while and, in the end, four players would keep watch for the first half of the night and then three players would keep watch for the second half of the night.
Gu Yian chose to keep watch for the first half.
Tang Jiu and two other male players were with her.
Those three people found the snacks they bought during the day, put them together, and gathered around them like a tea party. They also called Gu Yian over to come and eat.
Gu Yian responded as she eyed the cabinets against the wall. She didn’t go over.
Brother Yong only said she couldn’t move them, but he didn’t say she couldn’t look at them.
Gu Yian looked them up and down and finally saw what seemed like a bloodstain at the bottom left of a cabinet.
A male player suddenly shouted, making the people in the sleeping bags start to shift.
Gu Yian, Tang Jiu, and the other player immediately looked at him.
Only to hear him say, overwhelmed with grief, “I played games until my phone ran out of battery. Why weren’t we given chargers?”
Gu Yian and the others could only feel helpless and find it laughable.
One glance and it was clear this male player had too little experience.
He didn’t see that everyone wasn’t playing with their phones.
Since it wasn’t a big matter, Gu Yian withdrew her gaze.
Strange movements suddenly came from behind the curtain.