Matryoshka Off-Limits Chapter 32 Part 2

Chapter 32.2 Big Factory

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Wen Shi left the drafty office without any reluctance. His first task was discreetly removing the dirt-stained part where the factory manager touched. Luckily, it was just at the edge and wouldn’t affect filling out the form.

When he stepped outside, the interviewer was unexpectedly gone, leaving only the man who had been in the office standing by the roadside.

As Wen Shi looked around, the man with lowered head finally spoke, “He told us to wait here.”

Seeing no one else around, Wen Shi took the initiative, “Let’s get acquainted. What’s your name?”

The man seemed naturally slow to respond. After a moment, he spoke slowly, “It’s in the factory newspaper.”

There was no factory newspaper by the roadside, but there was a promotional board not far away.

With some free time on hand, Wen Shi decided to take a look. The first thing that caught his eye was a photo of the man. The words “Beautiful Soul” were prominently displayed in large characters at the top of the promotional board, written in bold red ink, surrounded by a few small flowers, seemingly radiating warmth.

Wen Shi carefully read about the beautiful accomplishments.

“… On March 2nd, our factory worker Jian Qingrong suffered accidental burns. The factory immediately organized donations for treatment. With the care and support of leaders and colleagues, Jian Qingrong returned to work on September 6th. Grateful for the help he received, he carried this gratitude forward. Over the following years, Jian Qingrong truly embodied this principle…”

After a quick glance, Wen Shi saw things like a colleague’s child who loved painting but couldn’t afford art lessons, so Jian Qingrong sponsored them. He took leave to take care of a colleague’s sick family member and helped with extra work when someone was unwell…

Summed up in one sentence: An unfairly treated person.

Wen Shi walked back to the man’s side, and straightforwardly asked, “How did you get burned?”

The man: “I was on the night shift, and the machine malfunctioned.”

“…Comrade, isn’t this a work-related injury?”

The factory should be responsible for covering these expenses.

The man’s expression mixed with a hint of confusion, as if he didn’t grasp the connection between these two matters.

The chill he briefly felt back in the office seemed like a misconception. No matter how you looked at it, this person appeared to have some intellectual limitations, which might explain why he was taken advantage of so thoroughly.

Wen Shi blinked, wondering if there were genuine sheep among the participants in this scenario.

A cargo worker passed by the roadside, hauling raw materials without anyone supervising behind him. Seeing Jian Qingrong walking by, he hurriedly approached, “Qingrong, I think I might have heatstroke. Could you cover a night shift for me tonight?”

His energetic demeanor didn’t quite match someone suffering from heatstroke.

Jian Qingrong was about to nod when Wen Shi suddenly shouted, “There’s a bug!”

The cargo worker instinctively checked and searched his collar. “Where is it?”

Wen Shi discreetly stuffed the bug he had just caught from the tree inside. “It crawled in!”

The cargo worker also felt something crawling on his back. He quickly took off his overalls and shook them. As the bug fell off, he was about to bring up the matter of covering the night shift again.

Wen Shi, in a cunning manner that seemed like he was helping, actually nudged him at the back of his knee. The cargo worker’s leg went numb, causing him to stumble and hit a tree in front, bruising his mouth.

Calmly standing in place, Wen Shi waited for a notification that never came, sighing inwardly that helping Jian Qingrong escape the night shift wasn’t a profound act of kindness.

Their gazes met in midair. Wen Shi knew that the other person had noticed his subtle move, so he made a hushing gesture.

Jian Qingrong seemed surprised, “The interviewer just said you couldn’t finish talking about your acts of kindness and good deeds in forty minutes.”

Wen Shi smiled, his gaze seemed to tremble with his laughter. “The interview is a process of self-analysis.” He cryptically added, “Unfortunately, I only mentioned a tiny bit of good deeds from my life before the interviewer dragged me here.”

Forty minutes for just a tiny bit of good deeds, that didn’t add up. Upon closer inspection, one would notice that Wen Shi was implying he hadn’t had a chance to mention the bad deeds yet.

During the cargo worker’s miserable howl, the interviewer came out.

He had gone to the restroom earlier. Perhaps due to eating something bad recently, he had stomach troubles multiple times a day.

“What’s going on?”

Wen Shi glanced at the cargo worker. “He tripped accidentally.”

The interviewer looked disgusted and muttered an insult.

The dormitory building was quite far and fully in the shade. Coupled with being exposed to the wind, occasional gusts of scorching wind blew over, causing the interviewer’s stomach to churn again.

The interviewer held back discomfort and walked into the dormitory building with heavy steps.

Wen Shi followed. “Earlier, you mentioned we mustn’t violate the dormitory rules. What are they specifically?”

However, the interviewer acted as if he hadn’t heard, and went upstairs directly upon entering.

The staff rooms started from the fourth floor.

The interviewer turned back and told Wen Shi, “We’ll assign you rooms a bit later. Interns stay on the first to third floors, there’s no staff room there. Try not to go out at night.”

The man named Jian Qingrong lived in room 401, the innermost one.

The interviewer sarcastically said, “The factory takes care of him, even giving him a bigger room, yet someone still wants to move out.”

The man beside lowered his head even further.

Jian Qingrong opened the door to room 401. A faint smell came out, not too strong, but it was a blow to the already uncomfortable interviewer. He stepped back, exclaiming, “Damn, how long has it been since you cleaned?”

The interviewer didn’t want to go in himself, so he had Wen Shi follow. “Keep a close watch, make sure he takes out his passbook.”

This dormitory was indeed relatively spacious, with an additional small room, its curtains drawn, casting dim light inside.

Jian Qingrong walked ahead of him, crouching by a glass table and slowly rummaging through things.

“Your Soul Purity is decreasing.”

Wen Shi opened his attribute panel. His Soul Purity had gone from one hundred to ninety-nine.

Lost a point painfully!

There weren’t many decent pieces of furniture in the room, and a faint, musty odor drifted from the small chamber. The door wasn’t fully closed, and in the dim light, Wen Shi could make out a frail, elderly man seated in an antiquated chair.

In an instance filled with monsters, Wen Shi couldn’t help but entertain the thought that the old man might have already passed away.

He deliberately acted as if he were choked by dust, coughing incessantly, but the old man remained motionless.

The door to the dormitory suddenly closed on its own with a ‘bang.’ A cold breeze passed through Wen Shi’s white coat, chilling him to the bone.

The interviewer was clearly at the door. Such a heavy door-closing sound should have prompted a reaction. On the way here, the guy had been holding his stomach, intentionally or not. Wen Shi’s lips twitched, suspecting he might have headed to the restroom again.

The staff room was at the corridor entrance, a good distance away from room 401. Wen Shi had to find a way to save himself.

He took a few steps back, discreetly placing his hand on the doorknob, softly pushing and trying to pull, but there was no response. He tried again…

Amusingly, it wouldn’t budge.

“Found it,” the slightly kneeling figure muttered.

Jian Qingrong stood up, step by step approaching Wen Shi in the dim, chilling darkness. His black and white eyes were covered by disheveled hair. He asked slowly, each word enunciated, “Do you want to say hello to my father?”

Wen Shi hadn’t figured out yet whether the decrease in Soul Purity was due to staying in this room or because of Jian Qingrong himself.

His initial Soul Purity was almost at the ceiling level. Normally dropping from one hundred to ninety-nine wouldn’t have much impact, but Wen Shi distinctly felt that this was different from his health points. Each drop brought about a mild discomfort.

“Want to say hello?” Jian Qingrong’s voice was hoarse as he asked again.

The distance between them was too close, his icy breath spraying onto Wen Shi’s face. He felt a chill run down his spine. “I…”

Just as he was considering whether to summon the Wandering Corpse, urgent knocking sounded from outside the door.

For Wen Shi, this was like a timely rescue. He stared at Jian Qingrong without blinking, prepared for any sudden moves.

During those few seconds of standoff, the dormitory door was knocked loudly.

“Open the door!”

A voice unfamiliar to both of them sounded from outside, tinged with a hint of impatience.

Jian Qingrong looked at Wen Shi for a moment, then finally moved. Wen Shi poised himself defensively, but unexpectedly, Jian Qingrong’s arm brushed past him and pressed down on the doorknob.

The work overalls, washed one too many times, had become thin. Wen Shi could faintly see the muscles beneath Jian Qingrong’s clothing—taut and well-defined, not overly exaggerated. They were as smoothly perfect as his jawline.


This time, the door opened smoothly.

To their surprise, the one knocking wasn’t the interviewer, but the dormitory supervisor.

“Aaron? Who’s Aaron?” The dorm supervisor asked irritably.

In truth, this was a redundant question. Besides the elderly person of unknown fate in the inner room, there were only two people standing in the dormitory. As an old employee, the dorm supervisor must be familiar with Jian Qingrong.

“It’s me,” Wen Shi replied amicably.

The dorm supervisor said, “Your little brother is looking for you.”

Wen Shi was taken aback.

My… little brother?

What little brother? Where did this little brother come from?

He only knew that something was off about this dormitory, about Jian Qingrong, and that this place wasn’t safe for long stays.

In the next moment, a slender figure emerged from behind the burly dormitory supervisor. The figure wore a cap and a mask, and had silver hair that didn’t appear to be artificially dyed. The cap’s brim was pulled low, concealing a pair of star-like eyes that gazed fixedly at his own feet. After a moment, he timidly spoke:

“Big Brother.”

The teenager’s voice was enough to send shivers down one’s spine. The dorm supervisor, despite his muscular build, suddenly developed goosebumps.

Under normal circumstances, relatives visiting their family members would be asked to wait in the guardhouse at the entrance. However, not long ago, a security personnel had directly brought this person into the dormitory building. At first, the dorm supervisor was quite displeased and ready to unleash a torrent of anger. But for some reason, when the teenager begged him to help find his big brother, the dorm supervisor found himself inexplicably swayed. By the time he realized it, he had already led the teenager to the door of room 401.

Wen Shi had a hunch about the teenager’s identity.

Despite the unfamiliar appearance and attire, the only thing he recognized was that uncontrolled feeling of familiarity.

Wen Shi suddenly had a headache. It was difficult to imagine this was an alternate version of himself from a parallel world. Despite the differences in gender and time period between him and Xie Tangyan, Wen Shi could sense a similarity in their souls.

But this person…

“I arrived a bit late, Big Brother. You won’t blame me, will you?”

“……” There was no sense of convergence whatsoever.

The teenager spoke affectionately, “I have to thank the dormitory supervisor here for bringing me to you.”

While the dorm supervisor was puzzled, the teenager finally looked up. His gaze first settled on the ceiling, his movements closely mirroring what Wen Shi had done earlier in the manager’s office–like a radar scanning its surroundings. Once he confirmed there was only one camera in the corridor, seemingly not operational, he nodded slightly, appearing quite satisfied.

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