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Chapter 35: The Haunted Mansion By The Tarn (II)


Soon afterward, the mission log displayed the mission:【Explore the Mansion and look for a way to escape.】

Feng Bujue finished reading and, without another word, turned to open the entrance. The entrance was a pair of hinged doors made up of two wooden doors. Feng Bujue grasped the both of the door handles and pulled, but it only made a stubborn grkkk sound. This entrance was evidently deadlocked, and wouldn’t let him open it so easily.

Unrivaled Brave One gave a cold humph, “Amateurs are really just amateurs, how could this door actually be opened?”

Kacha, kacha…

Wang Tanzhi filed in next to Feng Bujue. He held a kitchen knife in one hand, which he aimed at a small crack between two of the door’s planks and casually stabbed at. His other hand also pulled at one of the door handles. This was him using actions to express his support in Feng Bujue.

“This Lil’ Bro with the Title “Panicked”, are you trying to be funny? I’ve already said…” Unrivaled Brave One spoke up once again.

Kuang kuang kuang…

The two became more intense; each grabbed a handle in one hand, and spared no effort to separate the two door planks.

“I said you guys…” Unrivaled Bro was nearly speechless.

Bam! Bam! Two consecutive sounds rang out, but it was the two door handles snapping off. Now, even if there were a key, it couldn’t be opened anymore.

“Hey! What are you guys doing!” Unrivaled shouted in alarm. For that one second, his Terror Value had inexplicably spiked.

Bang bang bang…

They used their shoulders to chaotically ram in at the handleless doors.

Finally, after the two had made a ruckus for two to three more minutes, Feng Bujue turned around, straightened his collar, and cleared his throat. “Seems like it really can’t be opened.”

Unrivaled hissed from the bottom of his heart, “Fuc————”

But he couldn’t curse like this at someone, and could only angrily shout, “Stop spouting crap! Didn’t I say so from the start?”[1]

“You were just saying.” Feng Bujue correction, “Yet, I verified it through practice.”

“You punk! Why didn’t you go verify the feasibility of a midway team retreat, and the subsequent System’s penalty, ah?” hollered Unrivaled

“Hm… as expected, the door seems to be sealed through some supernatural force…” said Feng Bujue as he pensively rubbed his chin.

“You can’t ignore me this time!” The blaze that was slowly growing inside of Unrivaled Bro’s heart rushed out directly.

Rain watched from the sideline for a bit, then without a word, turned towards the first floor’s dark corridor. Since someone had already gone through the trouble of proving that the door couldn’t be opened no matter what, she also no longer continued to watch the farce. Sorrowful also followed after her, and they left the parlor.

Seeing the two people walk away, Long Aomin hesitated. At that moment, the enraged Unrivaled Bro also noticed their actions, and yelled out, “Hey! You shouldn’t wander around; what if you trigger something…”

“No problem.” Feng Bujue suddenly interrupted him from behind. “Looking at the Mission’s contents, the more things we trigger, the better.” As he spoke, he walked over to a window by the door. It was a rectangular window that was about one meter high, and a bit more than a foot wide. The top of the window was a bit pointed in shape, and the window frame was wooden. Looking out from the window, one could only see a layer of fog on the other side of the window, which blocked the scene outside the room from their view.

Feng Bujue fished out his Pipe Wrench and swung. As a result, after it flew heavily toward the window pane, Feng Bujue only felt like his arm had vibrated to the point of numbness when it struck; as if his Pipe Wrench had struck some sort of reverberating metal thing.

“Hn… this window pane seems to be the same as the door; there’s some kind of force that’s formed a barrier around their surfaces.” stated Feng Bujue.

Unrivaled shook his head and sighed, “That’s why I said that you amateurs don’t have any common sense… How could the System create the sort of Scenario where you could use brute force right at the start to escape?” He turned to walk towards the stairs. “You three are together, right? I beg you, you all had better not follow me. Carrying three newbie hindrances under these circûmstances indoors… who knows, maybe even I wouldn’t be able to pass. You guys can be in charge of the first floor, alright? I’ll settle the second floor by myself.”

Unrivaled had already determined that, in his heart, these three were a super trash group. Besides the one called Long Aomin【Squad Defender】, who looked like he was still a bit strong, the other two were severely unreliable. That one with the【 Panicked Sneak Attacker】title already looked trash enough, and that【Cold-Blooded Headshot Psychopath】title’s meaning was unclear. His attitude really made people pissed off, even more so now that he’d expressed all kinds of ignorant actions.

And the thing that irked Unrivaled the most was that other people were asking him things about Fearless Brave One being the first to reach Level 20. Those amateurs who didn’t understand their Studio really liked to asked about these things—to ask about everything actually. In actuality, to the social order inside of their Studio, leveling up quickly didn’t mean anything, since it was nothing more than the results brought about by their division of labor.

In the year 2055, the “pro player” profession had already become a very developed industry. Among this industry, the greatest number, and most common, were small-scale studios. These studios liked to think of themselves as professionals, but in actuality, both their ability to plan and their power to implement these plans were completely lacking. Often the business proprietor would take on two jobs: managing financial affairs, and group leader duties. In addition, most owners of these studios still harbored a simple gamer’s heart, and often abused their authority for private means by exploiting team resources, and staked them on their own false reputation they’d built online and such. Studios such as like this were as abundant as the hair on an ox.[2] Establishments and dissolutions were equally common, yet income was very unstable at the same time. These teams made up the aforementioned industry’s lowest rungs.

Up one level were the industry’s middle-ranks, most of which were medium-scaled studios. However, these studios had a certain level of management and talent reserves. Amongst these were some small teams and low rungs whose only difference was that they had one or two “celebrity players”. This was namely, some expert level master of some other game. In competitive gaming teams, every now and then, one or two of these kinds of celebrity would carry the whole studio’s prestige. But most of the studios who mingled in this ring had all already broken away from the “bandits joining a triad” managing method and were now able to use team resources in a more planned out manner.[3]

Truthfully speaking, no matter what business, if they wanted longevity, they needed to have long term plans. A gaming team with no plans was fundamentally no different than a bunch of congregated amateurs; the team would just have more time to spend gaming, nothing more.

And at the highest rung, like a sort of “organization”, were the industry’s first-class studios. They had specialists take charge of and supervise the overall project, and individual teams split up and tackled the individual game components; six-men teams that were primarily in charge of power leveling, with each individual specialized in very clear-cut niches; items, resources, information, intel, and so on were also all shared. All equipment, skills, and such obtained by members of the studio had to be given to the power-leveling group due to their priority,

Solo Players like Unrivaled, who were “scattered about”, all had assigned tasks. Just take Unrivaled for example: his level was in fact unimportant, since his primary task was to both raise his fighting proficiency, and to gather intel. It didn’t matter whether or not he trained in other proficiencies or if he had good equipment—these could be passed on to other teams in the studio, for them to upgrade later. What the “organization” wanted right now was first-hand intel. To be more specific, Unrivaled was actually in charge of testing the results of raising one’s fighting proficiency.

As a result, every time Unrivaled was asked about the studio’s affairs by a stranger, he felt that he could sum all of his feelings in one word—”Vexed”.[4] In the first place, they were trade secrets; he had obligations to keep them confidential. Besides, even if he could speak of them, he wasn’t interested in doing so, nor did he feel that it was necessary for him to explain things to others.

“Alright, but Unrivaled Bro, since you’re going alone, you should take care.” Feng Bujue said with a friendly expression.

When Unrivaled heard these words, a sudden shudder passed through him. A strange, indescribable feeling forced his Terror Value to once again, spike slightly. It was as if Feng Bujue’s words foretold of some terrible thing that had yet to happen.

He twisted his head around to shoot a glance towards the three in the living room, drove away the strange thoughts in his mind, then turned back to enter the second floor alone.

Watching his back disappear around a corner on the second floor, Long Aomin asked, “Feng Xiong, why did you deliberately act so stupid?” His face betrayed his doubts. “There’s no way you didn’t know about the System’s meticulous nature… the door and window obviously wouldn’t be openable. Even if you just wanted to test them, you didn’t need to do it so exaggeratedly, right?”

“Only by making the ruse a bit more excessive could we make Unrivaled believe that I don’t understand anything.” Feng Bujue said. “Only then will he have this kind of reaction. Only then would he try to get rid of us ‘deadweights’, and move on his own.”

“Jue Bro, you wouldn’t happen to be planning to manipulate people behind their backs, would you… you know we can’t attack people on our own side in this game.” Wang Tanzhi replied. When he’d gone over to help tear open the door just now, he actually hadn’t done it out of support for Feng Bujue, or to put on a performance. Rather, he did it because he really had believed that the door would open….

“I’m not trying to harm him, it’s just that I believe that, in this sort of Scenario, splitting up has the highest rate of efficiency.” Feng Bujue stated. “Those two ladies’ actions actually coincided with my intentions when they left on their own. But this jerk… I’m afraid that he isn’t the type of person that discusses things with others on how to do things.” He paused for a moment. “Looking at it from his point of view, seeing that his Level is the highest, and seeing how gaming achievements are his profession, he probably felt that he should have the most speaking authority. If I’d suggested we split up and explore, he’d have most likely immediately been in opposition. When I tried to pull open the door, he was even trying to prevent the other two from leaving the group. From this, you can see that he’d originally planned for the team to act together.” Feng Bujue walked over to a wall at this moment, and squatted down, seemingly observing something. “The situation at present is the best one, where he left on his own.” He used his palm to lightly brush the cobwebs and dust off of the wall. “Let’s split up to search too, until the notification that the Main Mission has changed. When that happens, meet back up here.

Lil’ Tan fearfully asked, “We should also split up and explore?”

“Didn’t I just say that splitting up would be the most efficient approach?” Feng Bujue retorted. His line of sight didn’t seem to stray from the wall. “Don’t worry, this kind of mansion is basically haunted, with no escape. Generally speaking, it’s unlikely that an abnormal monster will appear. Ergo, this Scenario’s primary goal is to frighten people and to rely mainly on riddles. The things that will bring physical harm are most likely going to be things such as pitfalls. It’ll be fine if you guys just pay attention.”

The sound of his voice hadn’t yet died down before a System notification rang out again, 【Side Mission has been triggered】

The three of them all looked at their Missions menu. The original mission was still there, but underneath an extra mission had appeared.【Find all six sections of “The Haunted Palace”; current progress 1/6】


Footnotes:

[1]Remember, the System doesn’t allow any potty mouths!

[2]Chinese Idiom. Similar to “as numerous as the stars in the sky”

[3]山贼好汉开香堂式 refers to Triad initiation ceremonies. New initiates would have to bring things, really expensive meaningful things, as offerings or rite of passage

[4]Vexed: OH hohohohoho, I had the chance and I bloody well took it. (I’ll allow just one TL comment note…)


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6 thoughts on “[TP] Chapter 35: The Haunted Mansion by the Tarn (II)

  1. Dexta says:

    What’s the release schedule for this like? NovelUpdates says 14.8 days yet it seems like the lull that that is based on is over. I hope it is at least a couple a week as I really want to see where this goes in the future 😀

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