IWOL Chapter 87: Stowaways

The man lay on his back on the bed, his eyes firmly closed. If it weren’t for the blood flowing out of his ears, nose, and mouth, staining the bedsheet red, he would look more like he’d merely fallen asleep.

There was a large pool of blood by the door. Aside from that, there was no trace of blood anywhere else in the room.

Many pilgrims saw Cui Zuojing and Dong Zheng enter, and they couldn’t wait to follow behind them, for fear that they might miss some important clues.

Wang Que didn’t dare to enter the room. Allen and Dong Linhai accompanied her outside while Lin Hangzhi entered to inspect the corpse. As soon as he stretched out his hand to check the most fatal areas, he was stopped by someone.

The man was Heinrich. He smiled and reminded Lin Hangzhi, “If you rush to check it, you will destroy the corpse’s original appearance, right? It’s better to find someone professional.”

“I’m a doctor.” Lin Hangzhi pushed his hand aside and opened the corpse’s clothes for examination. He said, “Graduated from Z University Medical School, with eight years of undergraduate, master, and doctoral studies. I worked in the top three hospitals for nearly four years after graduating in 2012. I think I’m probably the only person here qualified to examine the corpse.”

Heinrich was impressed. Seeing that Lin Hangzhi’s techniques were very professional, he stopped talking.

There was also a man and a woman standing behind Heinrich, ensuring that no one would be able to make trouble. They were obviously his teammates.

Cui Zuojing turned around in the room, and his peripheral vision swept across the door. He happened to see the indifferent man he’d met in the afternoon standing among the crowd. He was staring at the corpse on the bed, frowning.

The deceased was a pilgrim who’d entered the box like him. He was probably afraid that he would also be killed?

Cui Zuojing didn’t know what was going on either. He thought about it as he looked at the man’s expression. When he realized what he was doing, he rolled his eyes.

He was too free.

“Male, about 35 years old, 177 cm tall, Asian, doesn’t have any fatal wounds on his body, and symptoms don’t resemble poisoning…” Lin Hangzhi carefully tilted the corpse’s head to one side. There was a light, unknown liquid slowly flowing out of his ears.

Lin Hangzhi’s expression changed immediately.

Lin Hangzhi opened the corpse’s eyelids and pressed his temples again. Then, he stood up and told Dong Zheng, “His brain tissue was destroyed.”

At this point, Cui Zuojing had already checked the room. “What?”

Lin Hangzhi adhered to hospital rules and pulled a side sheet to cover the corpse. “What I mean is that the brain tissue in his skull has become a pool of paste. As a result, the cerebrospinal fluid will flow out after shifting him.”

Cui Zuojing: “…….”

“The corpse was obviously a pilgrim. He definitely didn’t die before noon today. That is to say, he was killed in this room not long after he’d entered the box.”

Lin Hangzhi turned around and told the pilgrims who were watching him, “The deceased died from the destruction of brain tissue. Apart from that, there were no other signs of injuries, especially to the skull, which was very intact.”

“What do you mean?” someone asked.

“The skull plays the most important role in protecting the brain. We can rule out the possibility that he was originally ill. All cases of accidental brain tissue damage are typically accompanied by certain damages to the skull. According to the crew, they didn’t receive any distress messages before the body was found. The body posture and the blood on the scene also revealed that the deceased died instantly after suffering damage. So, if it is murder, then the murderer must not have relied on external methods, such as physically hitting him, to kill him.

“In other words, there were no physical altercations between the murderer and the deceased. So, the deceased was killed at a distance?”

“Yes.” Lin Hangzhi wiped his hands on the sheets vigorously and said, “That’s probably the case. If you don’t believe my inspection results, please take a look for yourself.”

In the past, Lin Hangzhi would have never believed that this conclusion was possible, but now they were in the Pure White Realm. In a monster box, nothing was impossible.

He secretly sighed. While it could be said that he was an excellent doctor, but how come he was now doing forensic work?

The three of them walked out of the room together and made a walk gesture to Dong Linhai and the rest.

There were too many people in the corridor so everyone entered Dong Zheng’s room on the upper floor. After making sure that the door was closed, they were finally able to openly discuss the recent turn of events.

Cui Zuojing: “You said there were only 29 people at today’s luncheon. He was the one who wasn’t there.”

Dong Zheng said, “Mmn, I have no impression of him.”

Lin Hangzhi murmured, “It’s a bit scary. It was like some kind of mysterious power destroyed his brain in an instant. He didn’t even have time to resist and could only simply die.”

“The murderer may not necessarily be human.” Allen leaned against the table and added, “Currently, we don’t know what kind of monsters exist in the box, but if it’s related to this, then you all have to be extra careful. Except for Dong Zheng, we don’t have enough mental power to resist.”

The deceased had entered the box alone. No one knew who he was or what his name was. He simply died once more in a corner of the world, unobtrusively.

This incident made the people in the ship panic. Except for the pilgrims, that was. To them, this was nothing more than tearing away the illusion of extravagance and prosperity.

The next day, news came from the captain. Because of the program shooting requirements, cameras were installed in many corners of the ship. Probably only the director knew the exact location of each camera. The crew checked all the surveillance records during the time of the incident, but no one seemed to have exited the victim’s room at all.

As if the murderer never existed.

The existence of monsters was becoming more and more of a tacit fact.

Even so, the filming for the show would continue as usual. Such a luxurious voyage was quite valuable. The director also had a mission to complete. If he couldn’t produce a good show, neither he nor the sponsors could bear to see the consequences.

As a prisoner, Cui Zuojing wasn’t given a room and had to sleep with Dong Zheng. Fortunately, the bed in the room was more than large enough for two people.

He liked sleeping without clothes and so he only wore a pair of pants under his body. Anyway, he and Dong Zheng were acquainted with each other for almost three months now. There was nothing to avoid.

But Dong Zheng didn’t seem to think so.

“Obviously there are pajamas, why not wear them?”

“Wearing clothes to sleep is so tiresome and uncomfortable.” Cui Zuojing took it as a matter of course. “If it weren’t out of consideration for you, I wouldn’t even wear pants.”

Dong Zheng: “…..”

Without giving him a chance to protest further, Cui Zuojing quickly undid his suspenders and kicked his pants aside. Then, he rolled on the bed and covered himself with the comforter.

“I’ll trouble you to turn off the lights,” he said.

For Cui Zuojing, it was a very comfortable night of sleep. Dong Zheng didn’t grind his teeth or even turn over at all. He was very quiet.

When he woke up the next day, Dong Zheng had already gotten up. He was standing by the door, taking his identity card for this first round of games and information about his assassination target from the staff.

Half of Cui Zuojing’s face was pressed into the pillow. With squinted eyes, he watched as Dong Zheng closed the door and turned around. The morning sun spilled in through the curtains, brushing over his cheek and exposed shoulder and arm.

This bed, this quilt, this slight jolt of feeling, was actually very comfortable.

“Your mission card?”

Dong Zheng looked up and saw that most of Cui Zuojing’s body was exposed outside the comforter. He couldn’t bear to rest his gaze too long on the youth’s collarbone and quickly looked down at the text on the card. “Mmn, my goal is to assassinate the watchmaker and it must be done with a water cup. There was also a reminder that Ta’s native language is not English.”

“Do you want me to help?”

“No, it shouldn’t be too hard to deal with the program. This isn’t the main plot of the box.”

Cui Zuojing nodded. He rubbed his eyes, got up, and put on only a pair of pants. Taking Dong Zheng’s sunglasses, he ran out into the balcony to bask in the sun.

The shooting for the film extended to all locations except for the power cabin and the dwelling areas. Almost everyone performed cooperatively. Cui Zuojing simply put up his feet, drank lemonade through a straw, and watched the play with Victor, who was lying on a small, round table.

Filming wasn’t as simple as Dong Zheng imagined. Since the monitors installed on the ship couldn’t capture all the images the director wanted, a cameraman was arranged to follow them around. During the filming, everyone needed to ignore the cameras that were always behind them, along with the filming teacher and the camera crews.

After a discussion with the ship’s management, the victim’s body was cleaned up and thrown into the sea. Their voyage would last for two months. Even if the body could be refrigerated in a freezer so that it could be buried ashore, it would take too long.

The sea was the most natural grave.

Two days had passed since filming began, and the first round of activities soon ended. Dong Zheng was the 21st person to be eliminated. He “died” after being “assassinated” by an umbrella while he was eating–In fact, he was hit in the head by an umbrella that was thrown over.

The one who killed him was the Argentine girl who had been following Heinrich. She blew a kiss to Dong Zheng, picked up the umbrella, and went to find her next target.

During the filming, casualties were allowed. However, up to the very end of the first round, someone only sustained a small knife injury.

Everyone was a pilgrim and knew that it was better to save their strength. As a result, they wisely chose not to create an internal friction, particularly when the main storyline had yet to be announced.

But seeing this harmonious scene, the director was quite disappointed.

On the fourth day, in order to prepare for the next round of games, the program team took the time to sort out the materials that had already been shot.

It was also during this time that the crew taking care of the food warehouse discovered that something was wrong. The food on the ship was consumed more than at the restaurant.

He carefully counted the remaining reserves and estimated that the missing food was enough to feed three people for five days.

It’d been precisely five days since Gabriel II left Canada.

The crew reported the incident to the chief mate. After carefully questioning all the restaurants and bars, the first mate came to an obvious conclusion.

There were at least three stowaways on board.

“Stowaways? Then get them out!” Director Akers said without a second thought. He was extremely angry. In his mind, he’d already placed the blame of killing one of his guests and destroying the perfection of the show on those nasty stowaways.

“You think too simply.” The first mate shook his head. “The ship is too big. On a cruise ship with a capacity of 4,398 passengers, there are less than 600 crew members. There is not enough manpower. Even if a full search is made, there are still many areas that couldn’t be searched.”

“Otherwise, let them stay on the boat, steal our food, and land in France in two months?” Asker waved his hands in agitation. “Please! They already killed one of our people. Who can guarantee that there won’t be a next one? Can you do it?”

“Don’t be so anxious.” The first mate frowned and pressed him back down on the seat. “We have already figured out a way. Next, the crew will strictly control the food on the ship. With no food, the stowaways will sooner or later show themselves. When the time comes, wouldn’t hundreds of us be able to catch just the three of them?”

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Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago

Thank you for the chapter~

I'm enjoying the lack of unnecessary conflict and hostility between the pilgrims. It's rare to see characters react so reasonably in survival-type stories. And this might be irrelevant here, but I just wanted to say that I really appreciate the way this story takes the psychological impact of events seriously, especially with the way our MCs' team handles things with giving the team members counselors and all. The stowaways wouldn't be referring to the pilgrims' prisoners, would it? After all, like Cui Zuojing, they can just eat at the restaurant. I wonder if they really are the monsters of this box.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago

Ack I wonder if Cui Zoujing is one of those stowaways?

Nabong_uwu
Nabong_uwu
2 years ago

Cui Zuojing is such character, at least he was considerate enough to wear underpants and not sleep naked XD Poor Dong Zheng I feel like he didn't sleep that night…

Dreamer
Dreamer
1 year ago

Dong Zheng even didn’t grind his teeth, such amazing display of discipline and willpower kekek But understandable, CZJ is still forever 16 and off limits for now.

At this point, I’m leaning more to trust the blond man than Heinrich. Idk he gives a different vibe despite that suspicious first encounter with CZJ.