Safety Manual Labor Tips with a Twist of 2D Chapter 21

Chapter 21 The Person Who Will Kill Me

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Lin Zhaohe initially believed Zhuang Lao’s invitation to stay at his place was a joke, but to his surprise, his boss meant it seriously.

Twenty minutes later, Lin Zhaohe and Qi Ming found themselves facing a grand villa. They stepped out of the car and remained silent for a while, gazing at the impressive structure before them.

Despite living in the area for quite some time, Lin Zhaohe had never been aware of the existence of this place, which was actually not far from his own home.

“Come inside,” Zhuang Lao led his two subordinates into the residential complex.

The security measures in this neighborhood stood in stark contrast to the friendly old man who served as the mascot near Lin Zhaohe’s apartment. It was remarkable how the residents here managed to maintain their wealth and resources even during the apocalypse. Well, it made sense considering the high-profile clients of Zhuang Lao’s insurance company.

“Take a seat anywhere you like,” Zhuang Lao said. “The guest rooms are on the second floor. Qi Ming, choose whichever room you prefer. Lin Zhaohe, you can take the room at the end. It’s closer to my room.”

Lin Zhaohe obediently agreed without hesitation.

“It’s getting late. Let’s rest,” Zhuang Lao briefly gave them some instructions, and Lin Zhaohe and Qi Ming headed off to their respective rooms.

Lin Zhaohe didn’t dare to wander aimlessly and obediently went to the room arranged by his boss. The room was surprisingly spacious, with a large, pristine white bed as soon. However, what truly caught his eye was the towering bookshelf beside the bed.

The bookshelf was filled with a multitude of books, neatly arranged. Lin Zhaohe took a quick glance, noticing a mix of comics, novels, literary works, and popular internet articles.

Lin Zhaohe’s eyes brightened at the sight. In the pre-apocalyptic world, such a collection would have been nothing more than a testament to the owner’s vast knowledge and diverse interests. But now, these items were rare treasures.

At the onset of the apocalypse, people were actually filled with excitement. After all, having their beloved characters suddenly come to life before their eyes was like an extravagant celebration for fans.

However, this elation was swiftly overshadowed by other concerns. The world’s annihilation could be achieved with a single snap, while saving it required the tireless efforts of numerous heroes. This unconventional apocalypse had descended unexpectedly.

Public sentiments swung from one extreme to another. People began to harbor animosity towards all forms of creativity—novels, movies, animations—where every imagination became tainted.

All the previously popular works before the apocalypse were systematically eradicated—each source of enjoyment possessed the potential to change the world. Simultaneously, creative endeavors became a forbidden realm for humanity, with no allowance for new creations, and people’s imaginative powers were harshly suppressed.

Of course, you could engage in creative endeavors privately, but you couldn’t publicly publish them because your work might manifest in the real world, and fans’ adoration could become an accomplice.

Lin Zhaohe’s gaze settled on a particular spot on the bookshelf, where he saw the title of a book, triggering memories of the tragic event that occurred three years ago during the New Year holidays.

It was the time of the Spring Festival, and their city had the customary New Year’s Eve vigil. Countless people gathered in the central square, awaiting the chiming of the bells to welcome the new year.

The television was broadcasting the event while Lin Zhaohe enjoyed a steaming hot New Year’s Eve dinner, smiling as he watched the live coverage. He was even chatting with friends, discussing whether they should visit the city for a few days during the holiday break.

“Look, it’s Ayin! Ayin is here too!”

“Wow—Ayin is here! Quick, take a picture—”

“He looks so handsome, much better-looking than described in the novel—”

On the screen, the crowd suddenly became restless, and Lin Zhaohe heard a familiar name—Ayin, the protagonist of a bestselling book.

No, calling it a bestselling book wouldn’t do it justice. It was incredibly popular, especially among young adults, reaching a point where virtually everyone knew about it. With a protagonist from such a book, their popularity naturally skyrocketed.

“Ayin!” People shouted fervently as they watched the protagonist soaring high in the sky. They took out their phones, eager to capture their beloved character.

Ayin looked down upon the crowd from a great height, too far away for anyone to discern his expression.

Lin Zhaohe smiled and said to his friend, “Do you think Ayin can adapt to the real world?”

His friend replied, “Why wouldn’t he? So many people adore him… What is he doing?”

Lin Zhaohe’s gaze returned to the screen, where he saw Ayin and the terrified crowd beneath him.

Like Superman, Ayin unleashed a red beam toward the crowd. Wherever the beam landed, the fragile bodies of humans shattered like broken tofu, staining the screen with a vivid red color that also tinted Lin Zhaohe’s eyes.

“Help us!” The crowd scattered in a panic, trampling over each other in the chaos.

Ayin seemed to be smiling as he raised his hand—then the screen went dark.

That Spring Festival marked Lin Zhaohe’s final one. The exact number of casualties from this incident remains unknown to this day, as the authorities have never provided an accurate figure. However, those around Lin Zhaohe in this city were filled with people who had lost loved ones in the tragedy, including Lin Zhaohe himself—a victim.

In the novel, Ayin was upright, courageous, and relentlessly kind. No one could fathom why, in reality, he had transformed into a malicious devil, treating the crowd as mere ants, deriving pleasure from their lives.

As a result of this incident, all two-dimensional works faced resistance and hatred from everyone. But fusion had already begun, and emotions couldn’t alter the world. People gradually realized that this was not a divine gift but an inevitable and painful disaster.

Lin Zhaohe’s finger paused on a particular book as he gazed at its title, sighing deeply.

He actually had many beloved works and characters, but it had been a long time since he had engaged with them.

“Knock, knock.” Someone rapped on the door, bringing Lin Zhaohe’s thoughts back. He turned his head and saw Zhuang Lao standing at the door in pajamas.

Compared to his demeanor at the company, Zhuang Lao appeared much softer now. He had just washed his hair, and the damp strands hung disheveled on the side of his face. His beautiful eyes gazed at Lin Zhaohe like a lost deer.

Lin Zhaohe’s heart stirred slightly, calling out, “Boss—”

Zhuang Lao asked, “Do you have any favorite books?”

Lin Zhaohe smiled and said, “Of course, I have quite a few favorites.”

Zhuang Lao: “Which one is your absolute favorite?”

Lin Zhaohe: “Absolute favorite? Well, I like them all.”

Zhuang Lao: “No ultimate favorite?”

Lin Zhaohe: “No…” In truth, he did have an ultimate favorite, but that book was a bit special, and he didn’t feel like sharing.

“Alright then,” Zhuang Lao said, “Goodnight, sweet dreams.” After speaking, he slammed the door shut.

Upon witnessing this, Lin Zhaohe immediately felt a tinge of regret. He should have just casually mentioned a book. Now he had upset his boss… sigh.

After flipping through the books for a while, Lin Zhaohe decided to go to bed. After returning from the village and going through so much, he hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in a long time. He wondered if that thing would come to him again tonight. Lin Zhaohe closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep, feeling drowsy.

Fortunately, the night passed without any dreams. Lin Zhaohe finally had a good night’s sleep.

Early the next morning, the three of them set off towards their destination in a car.

The place they were headed to was an hour away by high-speed train or a three-hour drive, neither too far nor too close.

Lin Zhaohe sat in the car and reviewed the movie once again, rubbing the goosebumps on his arms as he watched.

Qi Ming was munching on a meat bun. “Weren’t you brave before? Why are you so scared now?” 

Lin Zhaohe cried out, “The previous movie was a domestic one, but this one is from R-country. Can they be the same?”

Qi Ming nodded. “Makes sense.” He glanced at Lin Zhaohe’s screen and noticed that he had paused it when the female ghost appeared. The entire screen was filled with her pale face. “Why are you staring at her face like that?”

Lin Zhaohe said, “You don’t understand. Fear comes from the unknown. If you take a good look at what she looks like, familiarize yourself with her face, you won’t be as scared.”

Qi Ming looked skeptical. “Really?” After watching so many horror movies, why didn’t he feel the same way?

Lin Zhaohe sobbed uncontrollably. “Of course it’s not true. I just wanted to remember the face of the person who will kill me—”

Qi Ming remained silent.

In the midst of the heavy atmosphere, the three of them finally arrived at the location shown on their tickets.

It was a small county town with a small population, and the level of integration didn’t seem high. There weren’t many 2D characters to be seen on the subdistrict.

Lin Zhaohe had printed out the appearance of the building where the woman died in the movie and went around the streets asking people one by one. After a long while, he finally managed to gather a slight clue.

“They said it should be the small community up ahead,” Lin Zhaohe said. “Let’s go in and ask.”

Zhuang Lao: “You and Qi Ming go ahead. I’ll observe the area nearby.”

Lin Zhaohe and Qi Ming entered the community first. The community wasn’t well-maintained, with no security guards in sight. The trees inside the community were dense, and even in the middle of summer, it felt eerie to walk through.

The buildings inside did resemble the ones in Lin Zhaohe’s photos, but the problem was that there were twelve buildings like that, making it impossible to find the specific location.

“This won’t do. We need to find someone to ask,” Qi Ming said after wandering around for a while, feeling that it was a waste of time.

Lin Zhaohe said, “Hey, there’s a woman over there. I’ll go and ask her.” He happened to spot a resident coming out of one of the buildings and quickly approached her with his question.

The resident was a beautiful woman with long hair. Upon hearing Lin Zhaohe’s question, she glanced at him and said, “They all look pretty similar. How would I know which one?”

Lin Zhaohe said, “Please, take another good look. We’re really in a hurry.”

The woman probably noticed his friendly demeanor and looked at the buildings for a while. “It seems to be the eighth one over there. Where are you guys from? You’re not planning to do something bad, are you?”

Lin Zhaohe: “Why would we? Look at me, do I look like a bad person?”

His appearance was indeed quite approachable, especially when he smiled. It was the kind of smile that could charm girls.

“Well, let me take you there,” the woman said, not sure if she was moved by Lin Zhaohe’s smile. “It’ll also prevent you from doing anything bad.”

“Great, thank you,” Lin Zhaohe said with a joyful smile, quickly calling Qi Ming to walk towards the eighth building together.

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