Chapter 49.2 The danger of straddling multiple boats
Once Lin Zhaohe arrived home, he finally breathed a sigh of relief, but his mind couldn’t calm down. He kept pacing around the room, leaving Little Red Square perplexed. It asked, “What’s wrong with you?”
Lin Zhaohe: “I remembered something.”
Little Red Square: “What is it?”
Lin Zhaohe: “Is it deserved when characters I create meet their demise at their own hands?”
Little Red Square was taken aback and asked, “Have you experienced such a thing?”
Lin Zhaohe forced a bitter smile and didn’t continue. He abruptly changed the subject.
The next day, Lin Zhaohe encountered A’Yao, whom he had seen being killed right before his eyes. A’Yao was dragging his own dismembered body out of the corridor, coincidentally meeting Lin Zhaohe, who was getting ready to leave for work.
The two stared at each other for a long time. Lin Zhaohe whispered, “Uh… Where are you planning to dispose of it?”
A’Yao appeared slightly embarrassed. He had moved before because his neighbors would see him disposing of bodies every day, resulting in his eviction. Unexpectedly, he now ran into Lin Zhaohe again. He awkwardly chuckled and said, “In the trash bin downstairs.”
Lin Zhaohe: “Is it considered recyclable or…?”
A’Yao: “I asked the recycling center, and they consider it recyclable waste.”
Lin Zhaohe: “…”
A’Yao: “Big Brother, please don’t chase me away. I truly have nowhere else to go.” His eyes welled up with tears, as if being homeless was more terrifying than being stabbed by several girls. It wasn’t his fault, as he had been evicted from multiple places due to such circumstances. Finally, he found a place to stay and neighbors who accepted him. How could he bear to leave?
Lin Zhaohe sighed helplessly, “Continuing like this won’t work. Can’t you just choose one and reject the others?”
A’Yao: “But how can a person hang themselves on one tree?”
Lin Zhaohe: “…”
Despite Lin Zhaohe’s persuasion, A’Yao remained indifferent, proclaiming that he would rather die than lose his freedom. Lin Zhaohe saw through his scumbag nature and told him to handle it himself, but not to leave bloodstains in the corridor as it would affect the living environment, especially with the hot weather approaching.
A’Yao was touched by having such an understanding neighbor. Another girl appeared in the room, and they began to drag the body together.
The girl asked him, “Does it hurt when you’re stabbed?”
A’Yao: “It hurts. But I know your heart hurts more than mine.”
Tears filled the girl’s eyes as she said, “I’ll be more gentle next time.”
A’Yao: “Thank you, you’re really kind.”
Lin Zhaohe: “???” Are these two people crazy?
Watching A’Yao and the girl acting in love, Lin Zhaohe found it increasingly difficult to understand the younger generation. Whether their spirit of bravely cheating on each other was worthy of praise or criticism, he couldn’t tell. Criticize them, and they would be happy. Praise them, but would a day with a lifeless body still count as a clean environment?
However, if they were willing participants, Lin Zhaohe couldn’t say much.
Upon arriving at the company, Zhuang Lao, who had been missing for a few days, finally returned. Alongside him was Lu Pingping, the person who had appeared in Zhuang Lao’s phone photos before. Of course, it was evident that Lu Pingping wasn’t there willingly. In Zhuang Lao’s office, Lin Zhaohe saw him tied up.
“Well, long time no see, old acquaintance,” Lin Zhaohe greeted him.
Apart from Zhuang Lao, there was Jiang Guan in the room. She held a thin cigarette between her fingers and squinted as she said, “Boss Zhuang’s efficiency is indeed impressive. Just a few days after sending you the photos, he’s already captured the person.” She looked at Lu Pingping with a smirk. “Oh, someone managed to resurrect you from the Boundary, huh? Lu Pingping, you’re amazing.”
Lu Pingping forced a smile, his face filled with flattery. “Boss Zhuang, please don’t arrest me. I’m just a small fry who knows nothing…”
Zhuang Lao: “Small fry? I beg to differ. Your dedication in organizing people is quite commendable. Which fusion zone did you target this time?”
Lin Zhaohe hadn’t expected that after the Boundary incident, Lu Pingping would still dare to engage in such activities. Moreover, judging by Zhuang Lao’s tone, it seemed like Lu Pingping was leading people into the fusion zone. Those who could be deceived by him were probably young children who hadn’t fully grasped the dangers of the world but were curious about everything.
Lu Pingping forced a dry laugh, clearly struck at the core by Zhuang Lao’s words. He lowered his head and remained silent.
“Will you still revive even if you die outside the fusion zone?” Jiang Guan exhaled a puff of white smoke from her red lips. Her eyes narrowed slightly as she said, “I don’t think there are any 2D props capable of resurrecting 3D humans yet.”
Zhuang Lao: “Perhaps there are, but we don’t know.”
It was widely known that unless within the fusion zone of a specific work, the power of all props would be significantly reduced. This led to a home-field advantage problem when two works clashed. For example, “Immortal of Shu” was only popular within the country, lacking the global popularity of “Code G.” So if Gu Xuyu entered the fusion zone of “Code G,” his strength would be greatly diminished. Otherwise, with Lin Yan’s power in the original work, he could easily fly to the laboratory and solve all problems without such trouble.
Beads of cold sweat formed on Lu Pingping’s forehead, and he whispered, “Boss Zhuang, why make things difficult for me, a mere henchman?”
“Stop babbling,” Zhuang Lao said.
Lu Pingping hesitated, reluctant to speak.
Jiang Guan, not as patient as Zhuang Lao, stood up and directly pulled out a dagger from her leg, stabbing it into Lu Pingping’s thigh.
Lu Pingping let out a scream of agony as blood gushed from his thigh. He cried, “I’ll talk, I’ll talk…”
“That’s more like it,” Jiang Guan said. “Although the lives of 3D people are still protected by the law, the things you’ve done are worthy of dying a thousand times. Bringing so many innocent children into the game just to satisfy your own desires, such a person deserves no pity in death.”
Zhuang Lao: “Miss Jiang’s temper is still as fiery as ever.”
Jiang Guan: “I just prefer swift and decisive actions.”
Lu Pingping was in excruciating pain from the knife wound, stuttering as he explained why he had done such things.
It turned out that someone contacted him and offered a hefty sum of money to lead people into certain designated fusion zones, guaranteeing that Lu Pingping wouldn’t die inside.
At first, Lu Pingping was skeptical, but the price offered by that person was simply too tempting. Unable to resist the allure, Lu Pingping agreed to give it a try. To his surprise, the person didn’t lie. In the Boundary, Lu Pingping made a mistake, thinking he was doomed, but before long, he miraculously came back to life and received a generous reward. Therefore, Lu Pingping let go of his guard and wholeheartedly helped that person, inadvertently bringing Jiang Guan’s sister into the mix…
“How do you contact each other?” Zhuang Lao asked.
“It’s an email on a forum,” Lu Pingping weakly replied. “He doesn’t reply often, just occasionally…”
“What did he give you?” Lin Zhaohe, being a working-class person, was curious about what kind of reward could entice Lu Pingping to take such risks repeatedly.
“Money,” Lu Pingping said.
“Only money?” Lin Zhaohe expressed his surprise. “Even if someone wants to earn money desperately, most people wouldn’t take on such dangerous tasks, right?”
Lu Pingping: “But, I’m really in desperate need of money.” It seemed like he touched a painful memory, choking up as he continued, “At my previous job, I only had three days off in a year, working from ten in the morning until eleven at night…”
Lin Zhaohe: “……” His heart almost broke from listening to Lu Pingping’s story.
Jiang Guan clearly had no intention of empathizing with Lu Pingping. She sneered, “Just because of that, you’re willing to do such dangerous work for him? Don’t make me laugh…”
Lu Pingping wanted to say something, but Zhuang Lao interrupted softly, “Are you still hoping to get another hit on your leg?”
Jiang Guan: “I can’t stand looking at him. Why not just kill him?”
Zhuang Lao: “That’s an option too.”
These two were serious. If Lu Pingping didn’t reveal the information they wanted, he would truly die here today. Suddenly, Lu Pingping realized this and hastily said, “N-No… that’s right, he also gives me some things…”
Zhuang Lao: “What kind of things?”
Lu Pingping: “He resurrected my deceased parents…”
Upon hearing this, everyone’s interest was instantly piqued. Zhuang Lao urged him to elaborate, and Lu Pingping began to haltingly recount his encounter with that person.
It turned out that Lu Pingping was also from the same city. His parents tragically died in the Lin Yan accident, and his former residence was engulfed in fusion. Left destitute and feeling increasingly devoid of the will to live, he posted on an online forum, expressing his desire to end his life and asking for suggestions on a swift death. After posting, Lu Pingping received an email from someone claiming to be named Oedipus. In the email, Oedipus promised Lu Pingping a tremendous surprise if he helped him with certain tasks.
What kind of surprise was it? At that time, Lu Pingping was desperate and had no other options. So, he agreed to the person’s request. Little did he know that after successfully completing several tasks, that person truly delivered the surprise to Lu Pingping.
One day, when Lu Pingping returned home, he saw his deceased parents standing there, unharmed, in his house. They warmly greeted him, asking about his well-being as if they had just returned from a long journey.
However, as Lu Pingping described everything, there was hardly any joy in his eyes. Instead, a profound sense of fear permeated his gaze.
Lin Zhaohe noticed and asked in confusion, “He brought back your parents, aren’t you happy?”
Lu Pingping’s body trembled slightly, and he replied in a hoarse voice, “Indeed, I was initially happy.”
But soon, he discovered that although those beings looked identical to his parents and possessed their shared memories, they were entirely different creatures.
“They are not human,” Lu Pingping said, his face pale, devoid of any trace of color on his lips. Fear emanated from his widened eyes. “They are something else entirely. They don’t need to sleep, they only eat raw meat. They sit on the couch for entire nights, and when they see me awake, they smile and ask, ‘Pingping, when will you take Mom out for dinner?'” He choked up, “They… they are not my parents.”
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