IWOl Chapter 160: The Spirit’s Return

Dong Zheng could only wash up first. The handgun he’d picked up in the basement last night was still under his pillow. He picked up the old-style handgun and removed the bullets inside. Three bullets fell into the palm of his hand. He reloaded them, hid the gun in his waistband, and covered it with his clothes.

He walked out of the bedroom and discovered that Ficks had woken up earlier than him and was sitting there drinking coffee. 

“You’re awake.” Ficks put down the newspaper in his hands and said, “I’m too tired today. I didn’t make breakfast. We can just eat some toasted bread later.”

Dong Zheng responded with an “mmn,” sat on the sofa, and poured himself a glass of water. After Ficks’ status was cleared, the relationship between them seemed to be more relaxed. 

Dong Zheng was actually a little concerned. The box didn’t give a clearance prompt, which meant that there must be something important he still needed to do. 

He hoped it wouldn’t be too much trouble. 

The deboning knife Dong Zheng took to defend himself last night had already been put back in the kitchen. Dong Zheng glanced at the newspaper and saw the big black letters on the headline that said Ferdinand was arrested last night. 

There were still many policemen gathered at the mansion, which had been cordoned off from the public. Ferdinand’s family was involved in crime for a long time, which was followed by a total of eight murders. It needed to be liquidated for a while. 

For a time, neither of them spoke. Dong Zheng slowly recalled his every move in the box, trying to determine whether he’d inadvertently made any mistakes.  

After a while, Ficks stood up and went to look out the window. Since the murderer was caught, the residents finally appeared on the street with peace of mind. They gathered at the gate of the yard and chatted in low voices about the shocking scenes that had been coming for days.

Everything seemed to have gone back to its original comfortable appearance. 

Ficks turned his head and said to Dong Zheng, “By the way, didn’t I tell you not to enter the basement? Do you want to see what it looks like?”

The basement?

Dong Zheng frowned slightly and then quietly remembered. Indeed, Ficks hadn’t allowed him in the basement. Might this be regarded as an unsolved mystery? 

Dong Zheng stood up. Ficks took out the key from his pocket and threw it to him, saying, “The keyhole is at the top of the basement door. Go ahead and open the door and take a look.” 

Dong Zheng caught the key, but didn’t immediately go to satisfy his curiosity about the basement. He looked at the traces left by the lack of picture frames on the wall, and suddenly asked, “Are you really Ficks?”

“What do you mean?”

“We haven’t seen each other for 20 years and can’t remember how each other looks. There are so many traces of photos on the wall. If you kill the real Ficks and pretend to be him before I come, and then take down all his photos, I wouldn’t know it.”

Ficks wasn’t angry. Instead, he laughed, “Your conjecture isn’t true at all. If I kill the real Ficks as an imposter, wouldn’t the neighbors find out? As for whether I am the real Ficks …Would you like me to talk about a few things from when we were kids?”

“I have almost forgotten those.” Dong Zheng laughed. Ficks may be ​​the real Ficks, but he wasn’t the real John. 

“Those pictures… belonged to my wife.” Ficks paused and then whispered, “She died last year from an illness. I couldn’t accept it at the time, so I took down all the pictures of me and her.” 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t expect it to be like this.” This was actually aligned with Dong Zheng’s guess.   The last doubt so far was cleared. Dong Zheng found the key, walked to the door of the basement in the stairwell, and asked, “You’ll really let me go in and see? Doesn’t it contain the evidence you’ve collected over the years?”

“Satisfy your curiosity,” Ficks said. 

So Dong Zheng stopped talking nonsense. He lowered his head, turned his back to Ficks, and inserted the key into the keyhole. 

However, at this moment, a small bell placed on his shirt pocket grew hot and began to jingle. Cui Zuojing in the prisoner’s space suddenly shouted, “Get down!”

Dong Zheng’s reflexes were exercised by having gone through many boxes and by Cui Zuojing’s training. The moment the bell let out a small ringing sound, he immediately dropped down. The sound of a gunshot exploded from behind him. The bullet that was aimed at his head missed and entered the basement door instead, leaving a dark bullet hole. 

Dong Zheng immediately pulled out the gun hidden in his waist and shot Ficks right shoulder just as he was about to shoot again. 

The man fell to the ground, reminiscent of what had happened to the manservant in the basement last night. 

Blood gushed from the bullet hole, and Ficks let a pained moan. Dong Zheng pointed his gun straight at him, alert to any other movements. Everything that happened at that moment finally slowed down. Replaying it in his mind, a cold sweat came out all over his body in hindsight, almost soaking his clothes. 

Had it not been for the bell and Cui Zuojing’s warning, he would be dead now. 

 “Why?” Dong Zheng could only ask this sentence. 

Ficks glared fixedly at Dong Zheng. The wound on his shoulder was bloody, but at this moment, it was as if he couldn’t feel the pain. His face showed a hideous and crazy smile. When his voice came out, it wasn’t the voice of a middle-aged man at all. “You killed me! You killed me!”

The bell became hotter and hotter still, such that Dong Zheng could keenly feel it through a layer of clothes. He pulled out the bell. 

The bell was very small, like the kind of decoration that hung on the neck of a pet dog. However, Dong Zheng had to spend 40 points in order to borrow it from Heinrich. He had always lacked magical tools that would work on spirits. After visiting Heimdall’s prop rental store, he took fancy to this small prop, and since the box had a scary label, he brought it along just in case. 

The bell had a detection effect on the body. When there are spirits around, it would gradually heat up as the spirit approached. Once the spirit is close enough, the bell would ring. 

There were advantages and disadvantages to the ringing. The advantage was that it would warn the user in an emergency like just now, but the disadvantage was that if the user was hiding, once the bell began to ring, it would directly reveal the user’s location.

“Who are you?” Dong Zheng asked. 

Ficks didn’t answer and just repeatedly yelled, “You killed me! You killed me! I’m going to kill you!” 

Dong Zheng frowned, and then he had an unbelievable guess in his heart. “George?”

Ficks became quiet the moment Dong Zheng said the name, and then he began to yell even more crazily. 

When Dong Zheng saw this, he knew that his guess was correct. George’s soul had possessed Ficks and wanted to kill him at all cost. 

For… revenge? 

Deciding not to think too deeply about this issue for the time being, Dong Zheng took away the gun that Ficks had dropped after he’d been shot. He went to the bedroom and took out the cross he’d left on the nightstand.

He’d always carried this thing that Ficks gave him. The moment he held up the cross in front of “Ficks,” the man yelled hysterically, as if he’d seen something extremely terrifying. With unconcealed fear in his eyes, he dragged his injured arm and struggled to retreat. 

Dong Zheng placed the cross on his chest. 

“Ficks” screamed and fell straight to the ground with his eyes rolling, his body unmoving. 

The bell in Dong Zheng’s hand gradually lost its heat. However, Dong Zheng cautiously stood some distance away, making sure that there wasn’t a problem before he finally squatted down beside Ficks and helped him up. 

It seemed that the man had temporarily lost consciousness. 

He dragged Ficks to the sofa and temporarily stopped the bleeding from his injury. After this, Ficks would have to go to the hospital to have the bullet taken out. 

Dong Zheng stared at the cross. The logical clues became clear in his mind, connecting together. 

“Actually, the witch succeeded in bringing George’s spirit back.”

“It was just that George’s spirit appeared to have never shown up because he was full of resentment and he wanted to find his killer.”

“When I went to Ferdinand’s house to attend his memorial service, he saw me and finally found who he assumed was his killer. In order to kill me and avenge himself, he ended up possessing Ficks.”

Cui Zuojing listened quietly and said, “So how did this kid determine who his killer was? Was it because you gave Mons the gun, which Mons gave to him, and he ended up being killed by the gun so he assumed you were the murderer who killed him?”

“I guess so.” Dong Zheng smiled bitterly. “Maybe when he was summoned back by the witch, he lost his sanity. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have thought it was me. Or maybe…the police are wrong and Mons isn’t the real killer?”

At this moment, Ficks groaned and slowly regained consciousness. 

“What’s wrong with me?” Ficks grimaced painfully the moment he opened his eyes. Seeing the gunshot wound on his shoulder, his face was full of questions. 

Finally, Dong Zheng heard the sound of the long-lost prompt indicating that the box was completed.

[You have cleared the main tasks of the single-player box “Good Neighbor.” The door is open. Please leave within five minutes] 

The door of the living room emitted a shining white light. As long as he pushed it open, he would be able to return to the outside world . 

“George’s spirit possessed you just moments ago and wanted to kill me. I used the cross you gave me to drive him out. Sorry, I shot you as a last resort.”

Ficks propped himself up and sat up, looking unsurprised. He merely smiled, picked up the cross, and said, “This is the baby I spent several years finding. It really didn’t disappoint me.”

Dong Zheng didn’t say a word. 

Ficks ignored the wound on his shoulder. He lit a cigarette with some difficulty, took a deep breath, and said to Dong Zheng, “You’ll be going now. You’re actually not John, are you?”

When Dong Zheng gave him a surprised look, Ficks waved his hand and said, “I know that this world is not the real world. Everything is prepared for you people who come and go in a hurry. In your eyes, what am I called…NPC, right?”

At this time, even Cui Zuojing snap to attention. He straightened his back and listened to Ficks’ words with full concentration. 

After a short silence, Dong Zheng asked, “How do you know this?”

“I don’t remember which day I suddenly remembered. My memory was erased, but it didn’t seem to be very thorough, or maybe it was because I’ve been an NPC in so many worlds, my consciousness became confused, so I remembered it.”

“Someone washed away all of my past and injected the memory of Ficks into my mind, so I ended up playing Ficks here.”

“Kether,” Cui Zuojing muttered. 

Dong Zheng didn’t interrupt Ficks, who seemed to have a lot to say. He’d been Ficks in this world for so many years. He had a job, a wife, and his own life, but it was only for the purpose of people like Dong Zheng and Chen Jianguo. 

He must have a lot to say. 

“I waited here day after day, year after year, and every night when I go to bed, I could grasp some memories of the past that had been washed away. I was once a diver, a king, a mecha, and had died in a war. Once, I hid like a mouse in the sewer pipe of the Wasteland World. Gradually, I discovered something.”

There was still two minutes left before the door closed, but Dong Zheng still chose to listen to Fix. His intuition told him that this was very important. 

“I found that the worlds I’ve lived in have invaders like you. After they left, no matter what the end result was, the worlds began to develop in a more chaotic direction.”

“After the chaos spiraled out, all NPCs will be recycled and reused, just like me. I witnessed with my own eyes worlds originally maintained a perfectly delicate balance began to stutter and fall apart, becoming chaotic in an instant. I could vaguely feel…that this may be the ultimate goal of whatever that unknown existence was.”

Dong Zheng whispered, “It’s making everything in the box more disorderly.”

“So do you call these worlds boxes?” Ficks smiled. He glanced at the clock that was re-hung on the wall yesterday, and said, “If you have to hurry and leave, just go. That’s all I know.”

Dong Zheng was indeed in a hurry. He stood up and said, “I’m sorry. I’m only given five minutes to leave once the task is completed.”

Ficks nodded to express his understanding. Finally, he told Dong Zheng, “After you leave, all my memories will be washed away and filled with new ones. Like I told you today, I’ll forget everything, but maybe I’ll begin to slowly remember them again. Who knows.”

Dong Zheng saw a little unwillingness in Ficks’ eyes. He put his hand on the doorknob and in the last half a minute, he asked, “I’m leaving. Do you have any wishes?”

Ficks thought for a moment and said, “I don’t have the ability to find the truth, but I hope someone will search for it.”

“I will.”


Xixi’s Corner:

No wonder. I thought that Ficks seemed too calm and accepting, and he wasn’t even the least bit annoyed that Dong Zheng was sticking his nose in something that was supposedly none of his business, much less seriously ask Dong Zheng why he didn’t think he was the murder. It was as if he was expecting it.

This brings the question of how the boxes even work. Does the specific setting and the plot in each specific box stay fixed or does it change but follow a consistent theme/pattern outside of the box type (mystery, adventure, horror, etc.)? From the info gathered here, I’m more leaning toward the latter.  


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3 years ago

Thank you for the chapter~

And that was…something O.O At least Dong Zheng had the chance to use the cross. Poor Ficks though >.< And in the end, it seemed like the real killer was the man whose identity Dong Zheng took over? O.o I wonder how many more NPCs have started to realize something's wrong. And I agree, it does seem like each box seems to have its own theme.

3 years ago

….I wish Ficks could go with Dong Zheng to the real world.. 🙁

3 years ago

This box shattered my world views more than once. More plot twists at the end like the ghost of George showing up, and then Ficks revealing he’s been self-aware of his situation as an NPC.

My question is, were boxes originally like this? Were they malicious from the start? According to Ficks, everything in boxes would be peaceful until the outsiders suddenly comes in creating chaos.

In Doll House, Agatha was supposed to be protected in paradise but the moment they went in, all her horrors repeated itself. In Dusk Island, instead of actually sealing the demon seed they released it into the world. For Snow Parasite Trail there really wasn’t anything that can be said to be ruined because of the pilgrim’s actions. Maybe once they sent the SOS signal, a terrible event would happen to be the downfall of all of humanity. I can no longer recall much of Hamelin, only the rats taking control of the castle.

What exactly is the purpose of the Pure White Realm? What changed in the years?

Haruki Natsuyu
Haruki Natsuyu
2 years ago

Why do I feel the chaos got something to do with the Queen’s new heir? The boxes are already depressing as it is but this new heir wants to add more chaos for more despair once they inherit the Queen’s throne… and become the King? Hoho

Haruki Natsuyu
Haruki Natsuyu
2 years ago
Reply to  Haruki Natsuyu

For example like Ficks. He has awakened and realized he became an NPC but know that he couldn’t leave and his memories will reset so this makes one despair right? Ugh poor Ficks 😢

1 year ago

So is it not only thr clearers of the boxes the queen collects dispair from, but also the people in the box? That’s horrible. I hope all of the people in the boxes have their worlds back to relative peace and without having their memories wiped. Thank you for the translations!

1 year ago

That’s why I always thought that he’s a pilgrim!!!! What a twist!

1 year ago

That was not what I was expecting, and I really like it. Chaos envelops the box once it’s ‘solved’, so is this a symptom or a deliberate effect by CZ’s Chaos-bound teammate? Is she good pretending to be evil, to get close to the queen to kill her, or has she gone full-on dark side? Is she doing this against Kether’s wishes, or am I mistaken and the boxes are supposed to collapse into chaos once they’re done?

11 months ago