Safety Manual Labor Tips with a Twist of 2D Chapter 18

Chapter 18 The World Is Big

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Zhang Xiaoxiao stared blankly at the scene in front of him. The once powerful monster now appeared fragile and weak, gradually shrinking in size until it turned into a black pile of ashes on the ground. It seemed there was a vulnerable spot in the village that, if attacked, could eliminate it.

“What are you looking at?” The burning ashes floated down from above, transforming into golden sparks that landed on the tips of Lin Zhaohe’s hair, giving him a radiant appearance. Unaware of it, he extended his hand and waved it in front of Zhang Xiaoxiao. “Are you alright?”

Zhang Xiaoxiao regained his senses and felt that Lin Zhaohe had an exceptionally pure aura just now. He rubbed his eyes and said, “I’m fine…”

“Let’s descend the mountain,” Lin Zhaohe suggested. “It seems the poison has been cured, so we should hurry and go.”

Zhang Xiaoxiao sighed, “I wasn’t poisoned…”

Lin Zhaohe realized his mistake and quickly corrected himself, “Oh, right, right, right.”

Zhang Xiaoxiao: “…”

No longer willing to argue, the two decided to go down the mountain to investigate who was responsible for starting the fire.

As they approached the village, the flames grew larger, and it seemed that there were multiple locations on fire. The fire spread rapidly, engulfing the entire village in its fiery embrace.

Lin Zhaohe and Zhang Xiaoxiao pondered for a moment and decided not to continue descending. They found a high spot and squatted down, watching the scene unfold before them.

Lin Zhaohe took out his phone and called Zhuang Lao and the others. He didn’t expect to get through, but to his surprise, he heard his boss’s calm voice on the other end of the line. “Hello?”

“Boss—,” Lin Zhaohe greeted warmly, “where are you guys?”

“Behind you,” Zhuang Lao replied. “Is Zhang Xiaoxiao okay?”

“He’s been poisoned,” Lin Zhaohe said. “It seems similar to eating poisonous mushrooms. I’m not sure how serious it is, but we’ll have to examine him thoroughly when we get back.”

Zhuang Lao simply responded, “Okay.”

Lin Zhaohe couldn’t help but feel a bit aggrieved. “Boss, don’t you care about me?”

Zhuang Lao: “But you said you weren’t poisoned, right?”

Lin Zhaohe: “Well, I almost got slaughtered by a group of poisoned people.”

There was a three-second silence from Zhuang Lao, and then he said, “I’ll raise your salary.”

Lin Zhaohe: “Okay!!”

Zhang Xiaoxiao listened with wide eyes. Although he was new to the company, he had already heard about Lin Zhaohe. Everyone in the company praised Lin Zhaohe for having the best performance. Zhang Xiaoxiao had wondered how someone who seemed so ordinary could be so remarkable. Now, he realized that Lin Zhaohe’s success came from seizing every opportunity to ask for a raise. Who would bring up such a topic at a time like this?

This is workplace skill! Zhang Xiaoxiao thought to himself. Even if it were the end of the world, he couldn’t let his guard down…

Zhuang Lao and Qi Ming watched the entire process from a distance. Unfortunately, the scene seemed completely unexciting in their eyes, so they remained expressionless throughout. They even felt a bit bored.

It wasn’t until the fire ignited at the foot of the mountain that Zhuang Lao received a call from Lin Zhaohe. He glanced at his watch before calmly saying, “Let’s go.”

Qi Ming: “Boss, do you really believe it?”

Zhuang Lao smiled and replied, “Ghosts are like love, believing makes them exist, not believing makes them nonexistent.”

Qi Ming suddenly realized, “That’s true.”

This movie had no ghosts, which allowed it to be screened in theaters. The director revealed at the end that the ghosts and monsters were merely Xu Yuan’s delusions, and everything he saw was an illusion.

The identity of Xu Yuan’s killer was never revealed in the movie’s conclusion. However, the line thanking Xu Yuan for his sacrifice pushed the entire film to its climax.

The visuals, music, actors, and storyline of this movie were all top-notch. There was no initial promotion, relying solely on word-of-mouth from the audience, yet it miraculously achieved an astonishing box office revenue of over three billion.

Before this film, no one could have imagined that a horror movie without ghosts could be so successful at the box office. But was there really no ghost? Qi Ming recalled the film reviews he had read, and the one with the highest praise stated that Xu Yuan’s visions were all real. He didn’t experience any hallucinations. What he saw was genuine, but it belonged to another world.

Returning to the familiar place, Xu Yuan didn’t appear as helpless and weak as he did in the movie. He was filled with determination to find the killer of his parents.

Now, the answer was about to be revealed, but there was no hint of a smile on Xu Yuan’s face. In fact, he turned and left halfway through. Qi Ming asked where he was going, but Xu Yuan didn’t respond.

“Don’t mind him,” Zhuang Lao said calmly. “His parents are among the crowd.”

Qi Ming was taken aback. “But his parents are supposed to be dead…”

Zhuang Lao smirked, his smile ambiguous. “How do you define death? If the body has decomposed, does that mean they’re dead?”

Qi Ming was at a loss for words. Previously, when faced with this question, he would have answered without hesitation, “Of course.” But now, the boundaries between the two and three-dimensional worlds were completely blurred. He had no way of determining the definition of being alive anymore.

Sometimes, he even doubted whether those yet-to-appear two-dimensional beings were actually living creatures, existing in another dimension.

“That’s right.” Qi Ming sighed.

The two of them descended the mountain along the path and saw Lin Zhaohe and Zhang Xiaoxiao squatting by the roadside.

It had been raining continuously since they went up the mountain. Lin Zhaohe and Zhang Xiaoxiao had taken off their raincoats, and they squatted on the wet mountain path, looking more like ghosts than actual ghosts.

“Boss, you’re here!” Lin Zhaohe heard footsteps and turned to see his boss. He wiped the water off his face and asked, “Where are we going now?”

“The matter has been taken care of. Of course, we’re going home,” Zhuang Lao replied. “Let’s go.”

Lin Zhaohe nodded and obediently followed behind Zhuang Lao as they descended the mountain. He had been worried that their car might have been burned, but it seemed he was overly concerned. The car was still safely parked at the village entrance, although the village itself was gone.

Xu Yuan, who had been missing, stood at the village entrance smoking. The faint red glow of the cigarette butt became the only source of light in the village.

The living people were all gathered here, and there was no doubt that Xu Yuan was the one who started the fire.

Lin Zhaohe wasn’t a curious person. Even though he was sitting in the same car as Xu Yuan, he had no intention of asking any questions. It was Xu Yuan himself who couldn’t hold back any longer and said, “You saw it too, right?”

Lin Zhaohe asked, “Saw what?”

Xu Yuan gave a sarcastic smile. “Of course, I’m talking about those things.”

Lin Zhaohe thought to himself, “You better go to the hospital with Zhang Xiaoxiao. In the movie, you were already acting strange. Now that you’re in the real world, still acting strange, how can you make progress in work and have a family?”

Seeing Lin Zhaohe’s silence, Qi Ming handed him his phone without saying a word. He pursed his lips, gesturing for Lin Zhaohe to take a look.

Lin Zhaohe took the phone and saw it was a movie. Just as he was about to ask what it was, he noticed three big words on the screen: “The Misty Grudge.” Immediately, he understood and glanced at Xu Yuan before lowering his head to watch.

This movie was indeed well made. Lin Zhaohe vaguely recalled hearing about it somewhere before. Upon careful consideration, he realized that there was a time when many people were talking about this movie, praising it as the pinnacle of domestic horror films, excellently crafted. Lin Zhaohe wasn’t particularly fond of watching ghost movies. He didn’t have a strong constitution and tried to avoid creating psychological shadows for himself.

The movie was truly well done, with beautifully controlled shots and music. The protagonist’s gradual descent into a quagmire was perfectly portrayed, from initially being a naive non-believer in ghosts to becoming suspicious and finally firmly believing…

Xu Yuan seemed to have stepped into a carefully crafted lie. Until the day of his parents’ burial, he was in a constant state of anxiety, being placed into a coffin…

“You must believe in them to become a sacrifice,” Xu Yuan’s voice rang out beside Lin Zhaohe.

He was still dripping wet, and compared to his fragile and vulnerable state in the movie, he appeared pale and frail like a sheet of paper. “If you don’t believe it, you won’t see it. If you can’t see it, you’re not qualified to become a sacrifice.”

Lin Zhaohe widened his eyes. “I thought you were all poisoned.”

Xu Yuan seemed a little annoyed by Lin Zhaohe’s remark. “…Are you intelligent or just foolish?”

Lin Zhaohe: “No personal attacks, please. Let me tell you, I have a certain level of artistic appreciation.”

Xu Yuan remained silent, but Lin Zhaohe faintly heard the grinding of his back teeth.

Xu Yuan: “Anyway, if you fcking believe in this thing, you’ll be sacrificed, you know? If you don’t believe, you won’t—”

Lin Zhaohe: “Then why are your parents’ names on the wall and not yours?”

He had already seen this plotline in the movie.

Xu Yuan: “Because they are already its followers, but I am not.”

The movie didn’t mention it, but when he was very young, he was sent outside the village to study. Therefore, he was unaware of the village customs. Perhaps the list of sacrifices had already been decided from the beginning, or else his name wouldn’t be missing from that wall.

Bringing an outsider back this time only made the villagers more delighted. After all, when it came to sacrifices, the more, the merrier.

Xu Yuan had already watched this movie countless times. The only fortunate thing was that he fused with the timeline a few years before his parents’ incident. It took him a whole year to assimilate into this absurd world. Even in the beginning, he thought he was a three-dimensional person until he accidentally opened a certain horror film…

Xu Yuan’s eyes were gloomy as he looked back and saw the end of the mountain road. There was no village left, only a sea of fire. Within the sea of fire, next to the burning deity, were the followers turned to ashes. They had wanted to save their deity even in their final moments, but instead, they descended into hell with it.

Ghosts were like love. They existed if you believed, and disappear if you didn’t.

Lin Zhaohe turned off the screen of his phone, pressed against his pounding chest, and trembled as he spoke, “Thank goodness you didn’t show it to me…”

Zhang Xiaoxiao’s eyes were filled with admiration as he looked at Lin Zhaohe. He had been completely impressed by Lin Zhaohe’s courage just now, so he respectfully asked, “Brother Lin, are you scared too?”

Lin Zhaohe replied, “If I had watched the original play, I would have been the head of the mood-setting team.”

Zhang Xiaoxiao: “…”

Lin Zhaohe: “I would have screamed even louder than you.”

Zhang Xiaoxiao: “…”

Lin Zhaohe: “Thank goodness we’re back home. Sob, sob, I miss home.”

Qi Ming, sitting in the front seat, enjoyed the spectacle without considering the gravity of the situation. “Missing home? Doesn’t someone at home still waiting for you?”

Lin Zhaohe: “Damn, how could I forget about that!”

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