IWOL Chapter 224: After the Fire

The building must have encountered a fire at some point in time….Cui Zuojing stepped forward and walked to the nearest room. He gently gripped the blood-stained doorknob‌.

‌And open the door.

——

Dong Zheng stood behind the counter and watched the group of young people who had just entered the hotel, talking and laughing in relaxed manners.

After an unknown assailant had pierced him in the heart with a dagger, Dong Zheng fell into the next scene in severe pain. He could see and hear different sounds, but he could not control his body at all. The scene before him constantly changed, and it soon became clear that he was seeing through someone else’s vision.

He saw the dark confinement room with its mottled walls, saw the nurses with impatient faces, saw all the strange people in the lounge, saw the man and woman sitting in front of the fireplace, talking. He gazed at the crowded dining hall, and he watched the doctor in the operating room.

He listened as the fat, middle-aged man told his story and talked about his plan to escape; he heard the woman struggling as she was being suffocated late at night; and he caught the sound of a knife stabbing into a body.

The last thing he saw was the corpse thief lifting up the iron rod, and a familiar, blood stained hand closing the door without hesitation.

Dong Zheng suddenly woke up and found that he was lying on a bench in the back lounge. Only then did everything that had once been so clear in his memory quickly blurred. Just like every time when he woke up from a dream, the memories of it slipped away like a fish disappearing into the sea.

Soon, the only thing he could remember was that he just had an impressive dream, but he couldn’t remember the content of the dream at all.

Dong Zheng surveyed his surroundings. The light in the lounge was turned on, shining down into his retina and leaving lingering dark spots. There was a wardrobe pushed up against the wall and unopened pastries rested atop a long table. There was a jacket draped over the back of a chair. He looked at all this for a while, a little confused. Was he still in a dream or was he inside a box?

Dong Zheng pinched himself hard and pain flared.

There was something wrong with the prisoner link. Although Cui Zuojing felt close to him, as if he was still inside the prisoner space, he couldn’t be found at all. Now matter how much he called, Cui Zuojing remained unresponsive.

Was something wrong? Dong Zheng vaguely felt that he should know where Cui Zuojing was at this moment, but when he thought about it, he couldn’t hold on to anything long enough to figure it out. It seemed as if there was a tangled line squeezed into his head, and the end of the thread was hidden in the chaos.

Temporarily letting go of the doubts in his heart, Dong Zheng got up from the bench and patted himself from head to toe. In the pocket of his black pants was a rectangular, golden lighter with a flippable lid, which was engraved with the initial VC.

Dong Zheng picked up the jacket on the back of the chair and put it on. He arranged his cuffs and collar. The nameplate pinned on the chest of his clothes read: Vincent Campbell.

This should be his current identity. Finally, a box prompt appeared in the upper left corner of his field of vision:

[Task update: Go to the lobby and greet the guests]

The previous task [Find the murderer] had disappeared. Since Lois poisoned him and he left the hotel scene with fatal injuries, Dong Zheng didn’t know if he would be punished for failing the previous mission.

There was nothing to search in the lounge. Dong Zheng opened the door, walked to the front desk, and stood behind the counter. He didn’t have to wait long before he heard the sound of people approaching from outside.

This was an extremely luxurious hotel with an overall European style. The marble floor was so bright that it could illuminate faces. The load-bearing column was carved with a statue of the Virgin Mary, and a spiral staircase rose up the building at least four stories high.

The automatic door slowly slid open when the guests approached, and the group of young men and women walked inside. They were all mostly in their twenties and consisted of two pairs of sweethearts and two girls.

“Hello,” the girl in the couplehood spoke to Dong Zheng first. “We made reservations yesterday.”

She had a pear-blossom hairstyle, was petite, and wore cute clothes.

Dong Zheng scanned the corresponding instructions in the upper corner of the computer. He was used to staying in hotels during his business trips so he was very familiar with what a hotel staff would say and act at a time like this. After obtaining the girl’s identity card, he used the computer to register their rooms to them.

The girl was paying attention to Dong Zheng’s movements, while her boyfriend had his head lowered to look at the news on his phone. After a while, the boyfriend moved over to the nearby sofa and sat next to a long-haired girl, whose mobile phone suddenly issued a notification sound.

No one noticed this except for Dong Zheng. The young men and women were chatting with each other excitedly, discussing their plans for this journey.

After opening the room, Dong Zheng handed three room cards to the girl with the pear-blossom hairstyle. The couples each had their own room, 301 and 303 respectively, while the other two girls were assigned to 304. 302 was already booked last night by a family of three, and 305 was reserved for a guest who would arrive at six in the evening.

In order to adhere to the European style as much as possible, the floor wasn’t too high so there wasn’t an elevator installed. Six people walked up the spiral staircase, exclaiming at the hotel’s luxurious decorations.

Soon, the lobby became quiet again.

[Mission Update: Go to the third floor at 12:00 and ‌check room 305.]

Dong Zheng looked at the time in the computer’s lower right corner, which displayed 9:37. He still had about two and a half hours left. What should he do in the meantime?

Just as this thought came to him, the plot jump option appeared, similar to how it’d been in the [Good Neighbors] box.

Dong Zheng weighed the pros and cons and finally chose yes.

In the [Good Neighbors] box, the plot jump option had tried to trick him. Luckily, he quickly discovered it, which minimized his loss. Faced with this choice again, Dong Zheng determined that since the plot of the box was different from [Good Neighbors ], there was a high probability that it wouldn’t try to apply the same trick.

Even so, he must be very careful, especially since he didn’t know Cui Zuojing’s current situation. He was alone and his power was limited. Even though his ability was developing in a mental direction, Dong Zheng couldn’t maintain a long-term, high concentration usage.

This box was full of killing intent. The sooner he could leave, the better.

After jumping forward, Dong Zheng looked at the time and found that it’d changed to 11:58.

Intuition told Dong Zheng that since he was tasked to go upstairs, something unusual would happen.

He walked up the spiral staircase to the third floor. There was a painting of a sunset hanging on the wall of the hallway next to the stairs. Dong Zheng had just taken the last step when he saw the girl with the pear-blossom hairstyle coming out from room 301. She seemed to be holding back her anger, but when she saw Dong Zheng, she stopped in a hurry.

Dong Zheng noticed the oddity. “Hello, what can I do for you?”

A cold light flashed in the girl’s eyes. She took a deep breath, smiled at Dong Zheng, and said, “Can I borrow a lighter? My friend is celebrating his birthday today. We wanted to light a candle but couldn’t find anything to light it with.”

“Okay.” Dong Zheng took out the golden lighter engraved with VC from his pocket and handed it to the girl. “Please pay attention to safety when using fire.”

The girl smiled and thanked him. Holding the lighter tightly, she turned around and walked toward the closed door of 304.

Dong Zheng followed behind her. As the girl knocked on the door of 304, Dong Zheng used the universal key card to open room 305. He walked in but paid close attention to the movements next to him.

The next door finally opened after a few minutes of silence. The girl walked in, and the sound of the door closing cut off any information.

Dong Zheng checked the room with peace of mind. The things here were no different from the most standard hotel. It contained a small balcony with good lighting and a round bathtub in the corner where the curtains could be drawn for a bath at night. Seeing nothing unusual, Dong Zheng walked to the closed bathroom door and pushed on the handle without using any force.

He had an inexplicable hunch that there was something in there.

——

After surveying the extent to which the fire had distorted the hallway, Cui Zuojing tried the door to room 301 on his left, and the door slowly creaked open.

The room was burnt all out of shape, but he could still see the previous luxury. There was a surprisingly intact mobile phone on the charred bed. Cui Zuojing pressed the lock screen button and the screen lit up, prompting him to enter the password.

With the mentality of trying, Cui Zuojing entered 8520. The small lock image on the screen unlocked, and the secrets inside the mobile phone completely opened up to him. The background had a snow-white Samoyed dog with its tongue hanging out.

Cui Zuojing:………

It was really just a random guess. Some people were lazy and simply set their password as a vertical line across the keypad. Even if he made a mistake the first time, there were at least five possible passwords that he could input after waiting out the one minute lock penalty. But he didn’t expect for it to actually work.

Well…then he might as well be the European Emperor¹ himself. The first thing Cui Zuojing did was to open the social media software. He immediately saw the message box at the top of WeChat. It was sent to the owner of the mobile phone from someone named “Little Girl.”

When he clicked on the message, he saw a very explicit and vulgar photo. The long-haired girl in the photo was wearing only underwear and was smiling seductively at the camera. The top-down shooting angle showed her figure to its fullest advantaged and behind the image was a very provocative word.

Cui Zuojing scanned up and down the chat log, which were basically full of unsightly photos and words. Based on the conversation, the owner of the phone already had a girlfriend and their relationship seemed to be very good.

This person’s circle was truly quite messy.

Cui Zuojing quickly clicked out of the two people’s risque chat. His gaze skimmed down and immediately saw that underneath their chat was a message box with the name “Wifey.”

This person, ah, chatting with the other woman so blatantly and openly. His password was so simple, wasn’t he afraid of being discovered?

Cui Zuojing put the mobile phone into his pocket, not hearing the faint knocking sound coming from next door. As he walked out of room 301, the sound became clearer. Behind the scorched door of 302, the sound shook violently, as if the thing inside was desperately trying to come out.

He stopped in front of the door, and the sound abruptly stopped.

He lifted his hand to knock on the door, but there was no response.

When he tried to turn the door knob, he discovered that it was locked.

He still had the knife he’d brought out from the lunatic asylum, but he didn’t cut the lock. Instead, he turned to room 303.

Although it would be very easy for him to break through the lock, he didn’t know what was inside the door. If it was something difficult to handle, wouldn’t he just be asking for trouble?

Since the box didn’t want them to meet now, it was best to show some forbearance.

As he walked away from 302, the knocking sound came again and again and again. Cui Zuojing ignored it. However, he didn’t open 303 either, because in the gap between the door and the floor, he saw a small, familiar card.

Cui Zuojing leaned over to pull out the card. A string of letters were written in black ink on the card.

[Opr vvhmj ie ubpdp]

Cui Zuojing didn’t understand it. He guessed it might be some kind of password, but there weren’t enough clues for him to glean more information out of it.

————
Translation Notes:
(1) European Emperor — someone who is very lucky.


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crimson
crimson
3 years ago

Thank you for the chapters~

The boxes are becoming stranger and stranger O.O And it seems like it’s been so long since we saw the others. I really, really hope Cui Zuojing and Dong Zheng will manage to meet >.< I wonder how many other NPCs are like poor Rudolf and managed to realize that the world they were living in was fake and chose to end their lives. It mkes me feel better that Cui Zuojing tried to help him till the end. I’m a bit worried that Wang Que will become a loose cannon in Kether’s hands after everything. I wonder what she’s doing now… Why was there a note in the painting pointing to Dong Zheng’s current identity though? And I suppose the girl used his lighter to set the fire after learning of her boyfriend’s cheating? The plots are becoming increasingly directionless and fragmented though, so who knows how much significance knowing anything will have…

crimson
crimson
3 years ago
Reply to  Xixi

Phew, that’s a relief then~ 😀

Qi Qi
Qi Qi
2 years ago

Are Cui Zuojing and Dong Zheng in the same building but in a different timeline/timeframe? Cui Zuojing saw traces of fire, a girl borrowed a lighter from Dong Zheng and the room numbers are the same… But then, how can they even meet up? o.O
What about the others, I hope they’re okay. é_è

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago

The plot on this filler arc has become so messed up. wonder why the author did not give DZ a chance to use the gift that Murphy left on him :))))) author, is everything a jk to u? ToT readers are literally having an anxiety attack orz

yel
yel
2 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

i think murphy’s gift to dong zheng is the ability to communicate mentally. he was able to do that with cui zuojing, though not sure if it’s only with him or he can also communicate with others. he can’t use it right now maybe because either his abilities or the prisoner link are blocked.

theeggmonger
theeggmonger
1 year ago

What is happening my head hurts lol
Thank you for the translation!