Safety Manual Labor Tips with a Twist of 2D Chapter 26

Chapter 26 Boundary

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Grandpa Lin—no, Lin Zhaohe—walked slowly into the office.

In the office, two guests were sitting on the sofa. One was Yuan Liang, who had previously visited the company for business. When the other guest turned her head, Lin Zhaohe saw her face and was surprised—why hadn’t this woman let him go? She was waiting for him here.

Lin Zhaohe stopped and turned around, intending to run, but Zhuang Lao called him back.

“Where are you going?” Zhuang Lao asked.

“Boss,” Lin Zhaohe cried, “I still want to receive my social security for this month.”

Zhuang Lao: “…” He sighed and said, “She’s not a female ghost, she’s an actress.”

Upon hearing this, Lin Zhaohe turned around. He took a closer look and noticed some differences in the woman’s appearance compared to the female ghost he had encountered before. Although they had similar faces, their personalities were quite distinct. She sat there with elegance and grace, resembling a beautiful painting—not the kind seen in horror movies.

Yuan Liang was an old acquaintance of Lin Zhaohe’s but didn’t recognize him. “Boss Zhuang, your company hires people of all ages. Even at such an old age, he can still find employment. It seems like you plan to work until you die without allowing anyone to retire.”

“He is Lin Zhaohe,” Zhuang Lao explained, raising his hands.

“Lin Zhaohe?” Yuan Liang was quite surprised. “Is this the result of his transformation into a magical girl?”

Lin Zhaohe: “…” He hadn’t expected Yuan Liang to also know about his identity as a magical girl. Fu Li, that Strawberry Girl, really couldn’t keep a secret. No wonder he got dumped.

“No,” Zhuang Lao said. “Don’t worry about it. Just explain the situation directly to him.”

“Hello,” the woman gently spoke with warmth. She said, “My name is Jiang Guan. Yuan Liang introduced me here.”

Zhuang Lao: “Miss Jiang, are you from R-country?”

“No,” Jiang Guan said, “I’m from our own country. It’s just that at that time, I wanted to pursue a career in horror films, so I took on a few horror movie roles… Is this old man an employee of your company?”

Lin Zhaohe’s tone sounded old and desolate. “Yes, I was as young as you last month, and now I can already receive social security benefits.”

Jiang Guan: “…” Your company is a bit terrifying.

Zhuang Lao pointed to the sofa, urging Lin Zhaohe to sit down and stop making unfounded claims. His quivering body and his attempts to defame the company made him seem like he was about to collapse on the ground and start extorting people.

“Miss Jiang, please explain your situation,” Zhuang Lao said.

Jiang Guan nodded and began to tell her story.

Ever since the apocalypse, life had been tough for celebrities too. They had appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, including popular sci-fi and fantasy dramas. However, when these popular works merged with reality, tragedy struck—countless individuals who looked exactly like them emerged in the real world. They each had their own life experiences, personalities, and hobbies. Apart from their faces, they had little resemblance to the original individuals.

If it were a righteous protagonist, it would be fine. But if a villain crossed over, then people in the real world would have to live with the face of a wanted criminal.

The only fortunate thing was that not every 2D works was merging. Only a small portion of works were appearing in the real world, and the triggering mechanism for the merging was still a puzzle, the ultimate answer that everyone was currently seeking.

Jiang Guan was a D-list actress. She acted purely out of passion, so she took on roles that ordinary actors didn’t really like. One could tell from her previous work, “Ghost Stains,” what type of genre Jiang Guan preferred.

After the apocalypse, most actors stopped taking roles. Even if they did not, it could only be mundane stories about everyday life or romantic competitions. Jiang Guan’s attempt at a career transition failed, resulting in complete unemployment.

But unemployment was trivial for Jiang Guan. She was more concerned about something else, like the current situation.

“Have you ever played a game?” Jiang Guan asked. “It’s called ‘Boundary,’ a survival game.”

“Boundary? I’ve heard of it,” Lin Zhaohe said. “Isn’t that a horror game?” He remembered watching his favorite streamer play that game, but he couldn’t recall the specific gameplay.

“Well, it’s not too scary,” Jiang Guan said lightly. “The person I insured, who is now trapped in the game and can’t come out, I need your help with that.”

Zhuang Lao: “What’s her relationship with you?”

Jiang Guan: “She’s my younger sister, Jiang Nan.”

“When did she enter the game?” Zhuang Lao asked.

“Three days ago,” Jiang Guan said, “She hadn’t played that game before, so the danger level is very high for her. I’m familiar with the game process, and I need a few people to accompany me inside…” She turned her head and glanced at Lin Zhaohe, hesitating. “Of course, I know your employees are highly capable, but… is it humane to have elderly people do this kind of job?”

Lin Zhaohe expressed strong agreement and looked earnestly at his boss.

Zhuang Lao remained firm-hearted. “Even elderly people need to work hard for their social security.”

Lin Zhaohe: “…” You despicable capitalists will eventually be tied to the cross and burned to death.

“Well then,” Jiang Guan chuckled, “I’ve already found the entrance to the Boundary. It will open in approximately two days, around four o’clock in the morning. If you have the time, you can study the game. Of course, my suggestion is to bring enough batteries for flashlights. Everything else should be available inside.”

After speaking, Jiang Guan stood up and left.

Zhuang Lao escorted the guest out, leaving Lin Zhaohe and Yuan Liang sitting on the sofa, staring at each other.

Yuan Liang: “Lin Zhaohe, it’s been a while, and I must say I’m impressed…”

Lin Zhaohe couldn’t be bothered to engage with him. “Did you and Fu Li reconcile?”

“No,” Yuan Liang honestly replied, “He’s now my ex-lover.”

“Why? Didn’t he cheat on you?” Lin Zhaohe thought they would continue to love each other after resolving their misunderstanding.

“He’s a magical girl, and I like men,” Yuan Liang said. “There’s been a deviation in my sexual orientation.”

Lin Zhaohe: “…” He never expected this tricky angle.

“It seems like you’re doing well in the company,” Yuan Liang chuckled, “You’re already retiring early.”

Lin Zhaohe: If you don’t stop being sarcastic, I’ll take your words seriously.

“Enough joking around, I’ll take my leave,” Yuan Liang said, “Take a look at that game. Jiang Guan is quite capable. She’s even seeking help from others, so it’s probably a complicated matter.”

Lin Zhaohe nodded, indicating that he understood, and thanked Yuan Liang for his kindness.

After Yuan Liang left, Lin Zhaohe searched online for information about the game called “Boundary.”

It was a multiplayer online survival challenge game where players were randomly assigned to corners of the map to progress through. The original game process was fixed, but random game rules and restrictions would be imposed, making the content of the game highly unpredictable.

The game had thousands of rules, and just flipping through them made Lin Zhaohe’s scalp tingle.

Rule 1: Do not enter.

Rule 2: If you unfortunately enter, do not enter the room to your right at even-numbered times. If someone accompanying you warmly invites you to enter, repeatedly confirm their identity.

Rule 3: The blue room is to the left of the red room, the blue room is to the left of the red room, the blue room is to the left of the red room.

Rule 4: Do not enter, do not enter, do not enter, do not enter, do not enter, do not enter…

Rule 5:…

These densely packed “do not enter” rules made Lin Zhaohe feel uncomfortable all over. He only glanced through a few of them, and it was impossible for him to remember them all in such a short time.

As he was reading, Zhuang Lao returned.

“How is it?” Zhuang Lao asked.

“I can’t memorize all of them,” Lin Zhaohe said, “Are there really so many rules in this game?” It was too difficult for an old man like him.

“You don’t need to memorize all of them,” Zhuang Lao said, “When you enter, there will be new rule prompts, and each entry will have different rules.”

Lin Zhaohe felt that this place was not good at all. From the “do not enter” rules at the beginning and the end, it was evident that it was not a good place.

He continued flipping through and started reading the background introduction of Boundary.

Boundary, the edge of the world, the crevice of time, where people discarded unwanted items, creatures, buildings, and even humans. Inside the Boundary, you would encounter everything you could possibly imagine. It was hoped that you abide by the rules and refrain from entering. If you unfortunately entered, then please follow the other rules.

“So, are the new rules selected from these existing ones, or are they entirely new?” Lin Zhaohe asked.

Zhuang Lao: “I’m not sure.”

Lin Zhaohe: “Why aren’t you sure?”

“The core game only has twenty rules, but the rest are created by the players,” Zhuang Lao explained. “That means we’re not sure if we’re entering the original game or a player-created version. The game’s flow is fixed, but different rules lead to different gameplay.”

Lin Zhaohe: This is troublesome.

“If it’s a player-created version, there could be more than a thousand rules,” Zhuang Lao said. “Because when Jiang Guan said she didn’t touch the game, there were already over a thousand rules. The game randomly selects from these rules, and I can’t predict them in advance.”

Lin Zhaohe pondered and asked, “Was her sister’s entry accidental?”

Zhuang Lao said, “I don’t know.” He tapped his fingers on the table, lost in thought. “Jiang Guan said it was accidental, but from what I know, entering the Boundary requires going to a specific place at a designated time.”

Lin Zhaohe: “It doesn’t seem like an insurance scam either.” Insurance scams were when people buy insurance and intentionally put themselves in danger to avoid payouts. It was unlikely that someone like Zhuang Lao’s customers would willingly seek death. Moreover, Jiang Guan, as the beneficiary of the insurance, was actively trying to rescue her friend. It didn’t seem like she was scamming the insurance company.

“Let’s discuss it later,” Zhuang Lao said. “When you go… remember…”

Lin Zhaohe: “Remember what?”

Zhuang Lao: “Remember to bring a walking cane.”

Lin Zhaohe: Boss, you’re so considerate.

“Otherwise, you won’t be able to escape for your life,” Zhuang Lao said gently. “You can get reimbursed for the cane by the finance department.”

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