Chapter 629 The Culprit
Amidst the eerie giggling that had filled the twisted corridors of her nightmarish creation, Alice's mirth abruptly ceased as a familiar voice pierced the air.
Her heart skipped a beat at the sound of Ren's voice, followed closely by Leonel's.
"Alice? Where are you?"
An exasperated sigh escaped her lips. "Figures. Just when I was having my fun," she muttered to herself, her amusement now tinged with annoyance.
With a resigned breath, Alice addressed the cowering players who had unwittingly stumbled into her twisted realm. "Apologies, but it looks like I'll have to cut our little party short. Duty calls," she declared, her tone shifting from mischievous to businesslike in an instant.
A flick of her virtual wrist was all it took to disperse the nightmarish illusions that had been tormenting the intruding players.
Suddenly, those who had been trapped within the depths of her creation found themselves violently expelled from the headquarters, tumbling out onto the virtual ground in disarray.
Dazed and disoriented, the players scrambled to their feet, their faces etched with terror. A collective chorus of panicked screams filled the air as they hastily distanced themselves from the once-inviting entrance of World Conqueror's HQ, now transformed into a gateway of horrors.
The players who had managed to escape Alice's illusory nightmare were left traumatized, their voices reduced to mere whispers as they exchanged horrified glances.
Outside the ominous door, a small group of bewildered players gathered, their faces etched with a mixture of confusion.
One of the bolder players seized the arm of a fellow survivor, desperation evident in his eyes. "Hey, what the hell just happened in there?"
The player he addressed stammered, his voice trembling as he attempted to convey the horrors he had witnessed. "T-t-t-that . . . g-g-g-ghosts!"
His words hung heavily in the air, sending a chill down the spines of those who heard them.
The player recoiled, snatching his arm away as if the mere touch had infected him with the same terror. With a horrified shriek, he bolted away, his cries of "GHOST!" echoing in his wake.
The remaining players exchanged incredulous looks, struggling to make sense of the situation.
"Ghosts?" one of them repeated, his voice tinged with disbelief.
The players' curiosity piqued, another player stepped forward, eyes fixed on the sealed door. A surge of determination filled him as he attempted to open it, only to find it stubbornly locked.
"Back away. I'll blast that thing," he declared a hint of bravado in his voice. He brandished his weapon, a mighty hammer, and swung it at the door with all his might.
The impact reverberated through the virtual space, but to his astonishment, the door remained unyielding, unaffected by his powerful strike.
Undeterred, the players banded together, their collective efforts focused on breaking through the barrier that had been erected before them.
They tried everything, summoning their skills and employing various tactics, but the wooden door remained resolute, its surface showing no signs of giving way.
Frustration and bewilderment grew among the players as their attempts continued to prove futile. With each unsuccessful endeavor, their determination waned, replaced by a sense of futility.
As the reality sank in that they were trapped outside this impregnable gateway, a heavy silence fell over the group, punctuated only by the occasional clang of weapons against the unyielding door.
Little did they know, their struggles were being observed from within the headquarters by those who held the key to their torment, their captor's amusement evident in the wicked grin that played upon her lips.
Amidst the tumultuous scene outside, the interior of World Conqueror's headquarters stood in stark contrast, as quiet as a tomb.
Ren's voice cut through the silence as he confronted Alice, his tone laden with concern and a touch of annoyance. "What on earth are you doing?"
Alice emerged from the shadows, her demeanor oddly nonchalant given the chaos outside. "Cleaning out some pesky rats. They seem to have swarmed in today."
Suspicion colored Ren's inquiry. "Did Saya visit here recently?"
Alice pondered the question for a moment before nodding with enthusiasm. "Yes, indeed. She paid us a visit while you and the others were away on your missions. She even chatted with me!"
Leonel's tone was more pointed as he continued the interrogation. "And did you happen to share any sensitive information with her? Specifically, Ren's other identity?"
Alice's expression shifted, her finger tapping her lips in thought as her gaze wandered upwards. "Hmm, I might have . . . I can't quite keep track of all the tidbits I gossip about. There's just too much going on."
A shared look between Leonel and Ren conveyed their growing realization. "So, it's Saya then . . ."
Curiosity twinkled in Alice's eyes as she queried, oblivious to the implications of her actions. "Is there a problem?"
Ren's voice carried a definitive note as he laid down his decision. "From this moment on, Saya is strictly prohibited from entering this place, as are any individuals who are not part of World Conqueror. Understood?"
Alice's demeanor shifted from casual to slightly bewildered.
"But . . . I enjoyed gossiping with Saya," Alice grumbled, a touch of genuine disappointment in her voice. The prospect of losing her gossip comrade weighed on her.
Ren's retort was sharp. "Do you want to be exorcised?"
Fear flashed in Alice's eyes, and she quickly changed her tune. "I'll ban her from the premises right away!"
However, her curiosity got the better of her, and she couldn't resist probing further. Her narrowed eyes reflected her determination to uncover the drama that had unfolded. "What's going on? Is something happening? Did she do something wrong? Is that why there's such a commotion with players trying to get inside?"
It was Leonel who took on the task of explaining the situation to Alice, his patient tone conveying the gravity of the matter.
Alice's gasp was audible, and her eyes widened as she absorbed the details. "No way . . . I had no idea she had some evil plans involving Ren. But, well, given what Ren did, I can't exactly blame her."
Ren fixed Alice with a pointed stare, causing her to promptly clamp her mouth shut.