Chapter 50.2 School Festival
After much contemplation, Lin Zhaohe suddenly recalled something. He hesitated for a moment before quickly descending the stairs and knocking on his neighbor’s door.
After a short while, A’Yao, clad in undershorts and a tank top, opened the door and asked Lin Zhaohe what he needed.
Lin Zhaohe: “A’Yao, do you play those romance games where you pursue girls?”
A’Yao: “Sure, I do. Aren’t I one of the main characters?” Although lacking in other areas, he had great confidence when it came to romantic endeavors.
“Can you help me clear a level in the game?”
“Of course,” A’Yao pounded his chest, “Where’s the game? Let me take a look.”
Lin Zhaohe invited A’Yao into his room.
As expected, the professional immediately made an impact once he took over. The girl who had slapped Lin Zhaohe multiple times swiftly developed a fondness for A’Yao’s controlled character. Bewildered Lin Zhaohe asked, “Have you read a guide?”
Indeed, Lin Zhaohe had searched online for a guide but couldn’t find one. “Why does she say ‘good night’ when it doesn’t mean ‘good night’?”
A’Yao: “If you have an argument with a girl, and she says ‘good night,’ what should you do?”
Lin Zhaohe pondered and replied, “Go to sleep and apologize the next day?”
A Yao patted his shoulder and said, “Brother, stay single.”
Lin Zhaohe’s eyes welled up with tears as he muttered, “But… why…”
There was no explanation. Some things were innate, like emotional intelligence and romantic skills. Despite being a scoundrel, A’Yao, whose romance skill was maxed out, showed Lin Zhaohe a whole new world. In just an hour, A’Yao had maxed out the favorability of two girls and was starting to pursue the third.
Lin Zhaohe watched him handle everything so skillfully, but all he could envision was his own battered corpse… Truly, actions have consequences.
A’Yao casually asked, “Why are you playing this game?”
Lin Zhaohe: “Well, it’s because the fusion zone of this game has appeared…”
“What? The fusion zone of this game has appeared?” A’Yao’s eyes lit up upon hearing the news. “Where is it? Can you take me there?”
Lin Zhaohe: “Forget it. It’s not just a simple game fusion. There’s more to it.”
A’Yao: “I’m not necessarily interested in pursuing romance. I mainly want to experience it.”
Lin Zhaohe: Haven’t you experienced enough already? The downstairs janitor is traumatized from collecting corpses. Just this morning, she was shouting at the people upstairs not to throw garbage around. How did the corpse end up in the recycling bin?
“The problem is, there are ghosts,” Lin Zhaohe said. “Do you understand? Ghosts.”
A’Yao:”Are they female ghosts?”
Lin Zhaohe: “???” Are you alright, dude?
A’Yao: “Actually, I’m not really afraid of them. They are all pitiful girls…”
Lin Zhaohe: “……” At this moment, he truly understood what it meant to be at the mercy of one’s desires.
“And besides, I can’t die, right?” A’Yao whined playfully. “Brother, just take me to broaden my horizons.”
Lin Zhaohe: “Hold on, hold on. Don’t use your flirtatious tactics on me. It’s making me nauseous. You go back first, and we’ll discuss this later.”
A’Yao reluctantly left. Lin Zhaohe complained to Zhuang Lao about why some people were unafraid of even ghosts and wanted to play “School Festival.” It truly left him astonished.
Zhuang Lao asked, and Lin Zhaohe replied, referring to his neighbor—a protagonist in a dating game. Every day, this eccentric neighbor would be dismembered without fail, yet he still believed that the girl dismembering him was the most wonderful girl in the world. He had no intentions of seeking revenge and insisted on juggling multiple relationships.
Zhuang Lao responded with a series of ellipses and said that bringing Lin Zhaohe to meet the neighbor wouldn’t be a problem.
Lin Zhaohe: “?”
Zhuang Lao: “Well, since he can’t die, it doesn’t matter. But why are you looking for him? It’s not because you can’t find a strategy in the game and can’t progress, right?”
Lin Zhaohe’s smile stiffened, and he replied, “Hahahahaha, how could that be? I’ve already conquered three girls!”
Zhuang Lao: “Getting slapped seven times by the girl with pink hair on the fourth floor triggers a hidden plot.”
Lin Zhaohe: “What plot? Why haven’t I seen it?”
Zhuang Lao: “Then, you were indeed slapped seven times.”
Furious, Lin Zhaohe angrily threw his phone, calling Zhuang Lao a cunning fox. Every word he spoke was a trap! Truly a lapdog of capitalism! No, he was the embodiment of capitalism itself! He angrily lay down on his bed and began to review the plot of the novel “The Twisted Path.”
Indeed, it wasn’t an exceptionally outstanding novel. The plot was somewhat clichéd, revolving around a thrilling story set in a school. It described a group of girls who inexplicably began to experience supernatural events, ultimately leading to their deaths. After investigating, they realized that the ghost was among them.
The depiction of horror elements in it was average at best. If it weren’t for the series of real-life stories derived from it, it probably wouldn’t have caught anyone’s attention.
Lin Zhaohe didn’t find it captivating either. He grew drowsy while reading it and couldn’t resist falling asleep halfway through. He managed to finish the remaining plot the next day, but the novel was incomplete, ending just as the female protagonist headed to the academic building to rescue her comrade.
Lin Zhaohe pondered how the plot seemed to reek of complete annihilation. He thought to himself that it hadn’t escaped the shackles of clichés. He was considering giving it another read to study the details when he heard a knocking sound at the door. Lin Zhaohe opened the door and found that it was none other than A’Yao.
“Good morning, Brother Lin,” A’Yao greeted enthusiastically. “Do you plan on going out today?”
Lin Zhaohe: “Don’t think I don’t know what you’re thinking.”
A’Yao: “Please take me with you. Pretty please, I really want to experience the fusion zone of the dating game.”
Their dating game, which wasn’t particularly popular, didn’t have a fusion zone. In other words, the characters were directly inserted into the three-dimensional world. Only with a certain level of popularity would a fusion space be formed. This fusion zone was a holy place for those who loved dating games. As for Lin Zhaohe’s mention of ghosts, A’Yao didn’t pay it any mind. Ghosts were just ghosts. Weren’t they once adorable girls in their previous lives?
Lin Zhaohe initially wanted to ask A’Yao if he wasn’t afraid of death. But then he remembered that A’Yao couldn’t die, leaving him momentarily speechless.
“Alright, let me confirm with the boss,” Lin Zhaohe had no other choice and said, “Won’t your female friends come looking for you?”
A’Yao: “It’s okay, I’ll explain that I’m going on a business trip. They should understand.”
Lin Zhaohe expressed doubt about it.
It was their personal matter, and Lin Zhaohe couldn’t be bothered to inquire further. After confirming with Zhuang Lao, he received Zhuang Lao’s agreement. He mentioned that if A’Yao insisted on going, he could accompany him, but at his own risk.
Upon hearing the news, A’Yao immediately cheered and jumped with joy. If it weren’t for his female friends watching him closely, he might have even hugged Lin Zhaohe and spun him around.
Observing his reaction, Lin Zhaohe understood why there was always a swift full quota whenever Lu Pingping invited people to their doom.
Love and curiosity were the steps of human progress, but they were also the source of danger.
So, on the evening of the third day, the group, guided by Lu Pingping, arrived at the entrance of the fusion zone.
Although it was called a fusion zone, from the outside, it appeared to be a serene school. The white academic buildings, lush trees, and warm sunset felt so familiar. Before Lin Zhaohe could recognize it, A’Yao excitedly exclaimed, “Isn’t this the cover of ‘School Festival’?”
As soon as he mentioned it, Lin Zhaohe recalled that the scenery before his eyes was identical to the opening scene of the game.
A’Yao: “Remember every detail so that you can surprise your loved one.”
Lin Zhaohe: “Don’t you think you have too many loved ones?”
A’Yao: “You don’t understand, it’s true love.”
Lin Zhaohe: “……” Scum.
Qi Ming, being an expert in horror movies, also joined them and looked at A’Yao in confusion. “Is this our new colleague in the company? Why haven’t I seen him before?”
Zhuang Lao: “It’s a one-time thing. Whether you see him or not doesn’t matter.”
Qi Ming: “……”
A’Yao didn’t feel anything strange and continued to happily suggest, “Let’s go inside quickly. We can have a beautiful encounter with them under the sunset.”
Qi Ming felt like he had grabbed the wrong script and asked, “Encounter? Encounter with female ghosts?”
A’Yao: “I won’t allow you to refer to them like that!”
Qi Ming: “Then how should I address them?”
A’Yao: “You should call them beautiful female spirits.”
Qi Ming: “……” Are you out of your mind, devoured by female ghosts?
Lin Zhaohe: “Isn’t it too early to go in now? Didn’t you agree to meet at twelve o’clock?”
Zhuang Lao: “No, it’s not too early. This entrance disappears after eight o’clock. It’s just the right time to go in.”
It was now 7:40, and the sun still hung in the sky. There was no trace of horror within the school grounds. Instead, it truly resembled a pure love dating game.
“Well then, let’s go.” Since it was the case, they had no choice but to enter.
The group entered the school one after another, stepping into its premises.
Perhaps the students had finished school for the day, as there was no sign of them anywhere. The nearby convenience store was open, but the owner was nowhere to be seen. Only the freshly cooked sausages continued to roll on the machine, emitting a tempting aroma when the casing was broken.
A’Yao grabbed one and took a couple of bites, commenting that it tasted good. He asked if anyone else wanted to try.
Everyone politely declined. In this kind of environment, who knew what they were actually eating? Only A’Yao, who had no fear of death, would casually indulge.
Based on A’Yao’s description, the sausages tasted good, and they would be perfect with some chili flakes. Lin Zhaohe suddenly realized that A’Yao was genuinely here to play a love mini-game.
They were unfamiliar with the school’s layout and couldn’t find the exact location of the academic building. They had thought of asking someone for directions, but to their surprise, the entire school was deserted, without a single student in sight.
“How strange,” Qi Ming said. “Did all the students leave? Over there seems to be the student dormitories. Why don’t we go and see if there’s anyone we can ask about the location of the academic building?” He pointed to the two tallest buildings in the school, which resembled apartments.
“Sounds like a plan,” Lin Zhaohe agreed.
The group arrived at the entrance of the dormitory building. The door to the apartment was wide open, but there was no sign of anyone inside. Lin Zhaohe cautiously stepped in and called out, “Is anyone here?”
“Who is it? Whom are you looking for?” A girl seemed to have heard Lin Zhaohe’s voice and emerged from the stairwell. She was wearing the school uniform, clearly a student of this school. As Lin Zhaohe looked closely at her face, he immediately recognized her identity—it was the pink-haired girl who had slapped the protagonist seven times in the game. A shiver ran down Lin Zhaohe’s spine as a reflex.
“We wanted to ask how to get to Building 13,” Lin Zhaohe whispered from the doorway.
The girl didn’t answer his question. Instead, she looked at them with suspicion and asked, “Where are you guys from? What’s with all these men wanting to find the dormitory? It seems suspicious.”
“We were invited by the school to perform a ritual,” A’Yao spoke up, “Didn’t they say your school is plagued by ghosts? The school specifically invited us to come.”
The girl furrowed her brows upon hearing this and asked, “Is that true?”
“Of course, it’s true. Otherwise, let me tell you,” A’Yao pretended to be mystical and started counting on his fingers, “You’re eighteen years old, a Capricorn, and your name is… Qin Ruanruan.”
The girl’s eyes widened. “How did you know?”
A’Yao chuckled and replied, “Didn’t I mention that I’m a fortune teller?”
His actions left Lin Zhaohe and the others silent, thinking to themselves that he truly deserved to be the protagonist of a dating game. With love as his profession, he had gained the girl’s trust in just a few sentences. He seemed like a potential human trafficker.
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