Chapter 45 They Mountain Pool and the Haunted Mansion 12
The process of leaving the house was surprisingly successful. After the magic circle lost its effect, the House of Usher turned back into a normal house. On the way back, they managed to see the obvious changes, one of them was the paintings hanging on the wall. They all changed into scribbles like the paintings of children. The illusory space was naturally neutralized, and the five soon found themselves back at the entrance in the living room.
This time, Long Aomin kicked the door open, and a cold draft swept into the room. However, even if the outside was running a blizzard, the five refused to stay in the house any longer. The group exited through the front door, and the system said, "Current quest completed. Main quest completed."
Feng Bujue, who was carrying Madeline Usher's body, also heard, "Hidden quest completed."
"So, it only wants me to carry her out of the house," Feng Bujue said as he placed the body on the ground. After being left there for a while, the dead body started to decay with impossible speed. It decomposed into a pile of bones, and the bones soon turned to dust. A barely noticeable wisp of energy danced on the wind before dissolving in the reddening sky.
"You have completed the scenario. You'll be automatically teleported out of the scenario in sixty seconds."
"Good game, guys," Laughing Soul said with a smile.
"Indeed, that was quite enjoyable," Feng Bujue added.
Long Aomin stretched lazily and sighed. "Phew… This scenario sure is something else; it's filled with scary things. This time, my rating is going to suck, I just know it."
"Brother Long, you still have hopes for the rating? I get Trembled with Fright or Scared Witless with Fear practically every time. My personal best was Seized by Panic, and even then, I only got it once!" Xiao Tan said.
"Goodbye." Passing Rain dropped a casual goodbye and tapped Laughing Soul on her shoulder, signaling her meaning to depart. Then she disappeared before the group's eyes. Laughing Soul waved at the three of them.
"Bye bye." Then she looked at Xiao Tan and grumbled with some dissatisfaction, "By the way, thank you for your flashlight."
Before Xiao Tan could answer, she teleported away in the white light. Feng Bujue then said, "Let's go as well then. After calculating the reward, we'll queue for the next scenario."
"Brother Feng," Long Aomin said, "I'm going to call it a night for now. I logged on at 11:40 pm. Before you came online, I played about ten hours, and this scenario took more than three hours. If I continue any longer, there'll be a raging headache for me to endure tomorrow."
"Okay then," Feng Bujue replied. "See you next time, Brother Long."
Feng Bujue and Wang Tanzhi bade Brother Long farewell, and the three left the scenario.
The autumnal wind swept past this lonely house next to a pond in the mountain. This world was as oppressive and as silent as ever. The blood moon sunk below the horizon. At the twilight moment before the advent of dawn, the entrance of the House of Usher was once again flung shut by some mysterious power.
Long Aomin glanced at the review screen before logging off. After all, the reward could be gained before he started the next scenario, so it was fine leaving them in the log-in lobby. After he logged off, his name became grayed out in the team tab.
Before Feng Bujue could check out the rating review, he noticed two friend requests. He clicked them open, and unsurprisingly, they came from Passing Rain and Laughing Soul. At the same time, Wang Tanzhi exclaimed excitedly in team chat, "Brother Jue!"
"I know, they've added you as friends," Feng Bujue said directly.
"How did you know?" Xiao Tan asked. "Oh, wait… they would have added you as well."
"You are a simple man to read," Feng Bujue said. "Plus, why are you acting so excited?"
"Aren't you excited having a friend request from beautiful ladies?" Wang Tanzhi asked in a righteous tone.
"At the very least, you're a veritable bachelor in real life. How can you be so superficial?" Feng Bujue asked. "Furthermore, they could be ugly betties in real life; the game comes with the function to edit one's looks."
"Brother Jue, if you keep treating others that way, you'll end up alone…"
"There are many other questions in my life than to consider whether I'll end up alone or not," Feng Bujue countered. "Furthermore, I made the conscious decision of always assuming the worst when I was ten; that's the only way to face every problem calmly."
He did sound calm when he said that. "See, when my parents passed away, and when I found out I suffer from an incurable disease, how calm I was."
"Alright… fine…" Xiao Tan's lips twitched; he was speechless.
"Then again, that female warrior sure is impressive. Just from fighting capability alone, from what she's shown, I can say confidently that… she is stronger than Brother Long," Feng Bujue said as he accepted the friend requests from the two ladies. "Currently, we've run into only a small handful of players, but so far, she's the strongest of all that we've met."
"Shall we ask them to join us for the next game?" Wang Tanzhi asked.
"Of course not. I just said in the previous sentence that we need to meet more players, and you're already coming up with a suggestion to counteract that."
"Oh, right…" Wang Tanzhi said. "If we're a group of four, at most we'll run into two more stranger players, and the least will be none."
"In any case… I'll need to look at the rating first. When I'm done, I'll call you. You can go and rest for now," Feng Bujue said.
"Understood," Wang Tanzhi replied. "I have to look at that as well."
At the same time, Passing Rain was in her log-in lobby. She was communicating with Laughing Soul.
"Cousin, it shows that they've accepted my friend request," Laughing Soul said. "Hmm… That Brother Long logged off soon after accepting the request."
"Same," Passing Rain added.
"Eh, eh, cousin, you've noticed it already, haven't you?" Laughing Soul asked.
"You're talking about that Feng Bujue?"
"Yes, he's that novelist. He has 'Bujue' in his name, and he said that he's not that famous; it befits the characteristic of that Bujue perfectly."
"Perhaps you're right, but we cannot base anything on an IGN," Passing Rain noted. "However, the fact that he referred to himself as a Great Scribe… that was indeed what Bujue would have done. Plus, when I asked if he was a novelist, it was that rather naïve friend of his who confirmed it for me. Then again, we cannot accept that one hundred percent as the truth."
"He he… but what if it is him?" Laughing Soul asked with a wicked giggle.
"So what if it's him, and why are you laughing like that?" Passing Rain asked.
"Cousin, aren't you his biggest fan? Isn't meeting their idol the biggest dream of every fan?"
"I just enjoy reading his novels," Passing Rain answered. Her tone was level, and it did not sound like an argument. "I know nothing about him, so I doubt you can call him my idol.
"Besides, if it is like what you've said… then there is more the reason for me to not know him."
Laughing Soul shook her head and said, "Hmm… In other words… a ko ga re wa ri ka i ka ra mo to mo to o i kan jyo u da yo (Admiration is the furthest relationship from understanding)?"
"You think just speaking in a foreign language won't make me realize you're borrowing the quote from Sosuke Aizen?" Passing Rain exposed Laughing Soul.
"Humph… He's your idol, not mine. In the future, perhaps he will stop talking to you because you've made yourself ugly." Laughing Soul made a funny face at the monitor even though she knew that her cousin would not be able to see it.
"I just didn't want to stand out so much, but currently, it seems like the plan's failed," Passing Rain commented. "If you show that you're a good player, you'll still get plenty of friend requests. Unfortunately, you cannot edit your appearance anymore after completing a scenario, or else I would have made myself look worse, to fend off the pervs."
In the breakroom of Regulation Studio, Invincible Champion drank a cup of the coffee, but it felt like he had some deep-seated hatred against the drink. His shift with sleep-mode was already over, and he had to rest for an hour before continuing with non-sleep mode.
"What's wrong? Brother Invincible, did you die in-game?" A lanky teen who looked around sixteen sat down next to him. He was one of the players attached to the studio. His IGN was Sky-swallowing Phantom Dawn.
In the studio, the employees referred to each other with their IGNs as well because their IDs were fixed across all games, kind of like their work reference. For a top gaming studio like Regulation, they normally did not need to worry about other people stealing their IGNs because they would be the first to log into the game when the server first opened. In fact, sometimes, the game company would reserve some accounts for them.
"Ah… you got that right, but it was my own mistake. I immediately went to queue up for another scenario, and after beating it, I realized the scenario that I died in was cleared and it was done by three plebs and two female players. I didn't gain any EXP, proving that I barely did anything in that scenario…"
"Then how did they manage to clear it?" Phantom Dawn asked.
"I was just thinking about it," Invincible Champion said. "I believe I was scammed by an experienced player who acted like a newbie… That level eleven player, Feng Bujue, he was probably acting dumb, luring me into thinking he was a dead weight and thus urging me into attempting the scenario alone…"
"Oh… I think I get it now. Initially, you thought other people were an added weight, but in the end, you realize you're the useless one," Phantom Dawn concluded.
"Hey, whose side are you on?" Invincible Champion roared.
"Fine, fine… I'll stop talking." Phantom Dawn stood up with a smile. "I guess I'll go home to sleep then."
"Why? Is your shift over?" Invincible Champion asked.
"Nah, the team leader told me to leave and gave me a full day's holiday," Phantom Dawn replied.
"What? A holiday during these few days of closed beta?" Invincible Champion's eyes were round. "Have you also reached level twenty already?"
"Nah, just fifteen." Phantom Dawn shrugged. "It's like this… I murdered Brother Fearless and his two friends in the Killing Game mode. They complained to the team leader, saying I'm not cooperating with them to help them raise their mastery level," he said with a smile. "Aiz… The adults these days… they are so hard to work with."