Chapter 43: The Haunted Mansion by the Tarn (X)
“Feng Xiong… aren’t you way too calm….” Even Long Aomin was left in horror after witnessing such a thing.
Surprisingly, Lil’ Tan had a calm expression on his face this time, because he wasn’t scared by the sight of organs and such.
Sorrowful didn’t show much of a reaction either besides a slight knitting of her brows; she thought it was a bit disgusting. Rain, on the other hand, was just as calm as Feng Bujue.
“Let’s assume for a minute that Unrivaled Bro was also faced with such a scene while he was on the second floor…” Feng Bujue began, “He thus would’ve encountered the same corridors repeatedly appearing, and the mirror suggesting that he was trapped in his own writhing intestines. Given that he was on his own… what would he have done?”
“Run.” Rain’s words were simple as always, treating each as gold.
“Yes.” Feng Bujue nodded. “So, we shouldn’t run. Instead, we should take our time.”
“Did he die because he ran around flustered?” mused Long Aomin. He continued “If that’s the case… maybe the floor will suddenly break away revealing a trap? Or, maybe, there’ll be a nearly invisible steel wire strung across the walls midair?”
Lil’ Tan said, “We’ve already passed this section a moment ago; why haven’t we come across a trap or run into…?”
“Was there a mirror here a moment ago?” Feng Bujue interjected. “The surroundings can change at any time. Your question is pointless.” He stretched out a hand to knock on a wall in the corridor. “A wall here can look like anything: a wall, a door, maybe a window. It might even look like nothing at all, just pure emptiness.” He took out a baseball bat from his inventory and said “Starting from now, we cannot make assumptions about things around us based on what we ‘see.’”
Feng Bujue walked in front of Long Aomin. “From now on,” he said, “I’ll lead the way with my eyes closed.” He took the baseball and used it as a guide cane, stretching it out in front at an angle. “You all don’t need to close your eyes, just follow behind me.”
“No matter if it looks like I’m about to hit a wall, or am about to step on nothing but air, don’t warn me; just follow me.” He mused for a moment before speaking again, “I will do my best to concentrate on going somewhat quickly through this, so I’ll delegate the task of memorization to you all. You don’t need to remember the whole route, just remember the last few turns. If I turn the same direction for the third time, just shout and stop me.”
“I say… this Jue Bro, what exactly is it that you do?” Sorrowful couldn’t help but asked the same question Long Aomin asked before.
“A great writer,” shamelessly responded Feng Bujue.
Immediately after hearing what was said, Rain’s expression changed minutely. She asked with an air of doubt, “A novelist?”
“Wow, Heroine Rain, you’re pretty great to be able to guess his job from that,” said Lil’ Tan.
Feng Bujue was also baffled, thinking to himself. “This is the umptheenth time she’s seen through me… what’s going on?”
“Eh? Then are you a famous novelist though?” asked Sorrowful.
“My level of fame is still just a little better than a B-List actor.” bluntly said Feng Bujue.
Sorrowful blanked for a moment, then immediately opened up her menu to look at the player names in the team window and thought to herself, “Feng BuJue… Feng BuJue… It can’t be? He’s really that ‘BuJue’? Both his pen name and his username are Bujue?”
“Cousin… he’s your….” Sorrowful turned her head around and lowered her voice, seemingly wanting to tell Rain something secretly.
“I know.” but Rain cut her off. Then in a slightly louder voice said, “Now is not the time to chat. Lead the way then Great writer.”
Feng Bujue didn’t notice anything at all. He simply shrugged and turned away. He then began his plan by hunching over while reaching out with the baseball bat and started to walk. He had no choice but to stoop. Generally speaking, guide canes can be adjusted appropriately (to around the height of one’s stomach) [the height you want to comfortably use the stick] but a baseball bat only just passes waist height: 100 centimeters give or take.
Naturally, their speed became much slower than what it was before, but it was pretty quick for walking blind.
Everything was normal up until the first corner when Feng Bujue bumped into the wall at the end of the corridor and took a left. The bizarre thing was when he turned, he didn’t head straight down the corridor on the left, rather he headed slightly to the right. The four (they hadn’t closed their eyes) then watched something shocking unfold as they continued to follow him: Feng Bujue’s body gradually sunk into the right wall. None of them said anything and just followed in after him. Everyone passed through the wall at the intersection of Feng Bujue’s path and the corridor’s wall.
A person’s eyes are very easily misleaded, but a human body’s own sense of balance is completely capable of letting it walk in a perfectly straight line without the aid of sight.
These corridors all seemed to meet at right angles, but they were actually crooked.Feng Bujue, with his eyes closed, walked all the way to the end of the hall and relied on his own judgment to turn 90 degrees, thereby deviating from the corridor’s orientation.
Under his lead, the group of five passed through the intersection. The ground underfoot, the stairs, and the decoration on both walls all should be doubted. The second floor of the mansion was a strange space. Getting a sense of what was true or false here was more difficult than it would be in most labyrinths. Whether it was the doors, windows, or even the gaping holes in the ground, every single bit of scenery looked real. Even a seemingly straight corridor was actually curved, and what looked like a wall was actually traversable.
It’ll only be possible to walk straight if you close your eyes and follow the path in your mind. Otherwise, you’ll be thrown off course.
The strange procession continued for a full thirty minutes. During this time, they did not encounter any traps nor did the meet up with any ghostly attacks. Apparently, even ghosts who could phase through walls did not dare enter this seemingly endless illusory realm.
Small little changes in the surroundings meant to disorient the players began to manifest. All along the way and all over the walls in the same frequency as before, were the mirrors that showed one’s intestines, and accompanying them were the many warped portraits that could make a man dazed with just a glance. It could be said that this path was one that the further down a person goes the more uneasy and fearful they would become.
If it were just one person in this Scenario, a person who’d need to keep their eyes open to slowly probe their way forward, it would not be impossible to clear (the level), however, they’d need to have a tenacious mentality for any remote chance of success.
The pregnant silence greatly brought down everyone’s morale; fortunately, all of this finally came to an end.
Feng Bujue arrived in front of a door, a real door flanked by real walls. It seemed this was the “end” of the series of illusionary corridors.
Actually, if this corridor were an ordinary one, then this distance to the door could be covered in just fifteen minutes. But at the moment, even if it took ten minutes let alone thirty just to finish walking to the end, Feng Bujue was already mentally exhausted. His Stamina was still ok but the main thing was his mental fatigue. He’s not really blind nor has he received professional training; walking for so long with eyes closed is extremely onerous. Dear readers, if you are interested, you can also give it a go. Close your eyes—don’t peek halfway— and meander through every room in your house. Probably only then would you understand how challenging the situation was. Oh yeah… please remember to stay safe.
“Seems like we’ve arrived,” said Long Aomin who was second in their procession.
Feng Bujue opened his eyes and took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the dim surrounding lights. Immediately, he saw what seemed to be a door made from human flesh at the “end”.
On that “flesh door”, depicted by some grooves that looked like veins was a stanza of “The Haunted Palace”:
【And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.】
【Side mission progress has been updated】
【Find all six stanzas of “The Haunted Palace”; current progress 5/6】
“This is the fourth stanza, then… now there’s only the sixth one left,” said Feng Bujue as he indifferently stroked the doorknob that was made of bone.
“Feng Xiong, from here on leave leading the way to me, alright?” suggested Long Aomin.
“No problem.” Feng Bujue already retrieved the baseball bat, and this time he wasn’t even wearing【Eyes of Hatred】.
Earlier in the dining hall when Roderick manipulated the chandelier, Eyes of Hatred simply did not latch on to him because he was hiding in the darkness. And afterward when he manipulated the chair, Feng Bujue detected that Roderick’s aggroed target was the chair itself. From this, it’s clear that against these monsters that use this kind of indirect attack, Eyes of Hatred is useless.
Pushing open the door, they saw before them a medium sized, windowless, and lightless room. The only things to be seen were four walls made of flesh and a floor built from arranged bones. The ceiling was padded full of long black hair. The hair was used in a particular way: plaited together to form an arching ceiling.
Besides this door, the room had no other exit.
And hung on those room’s ridgepole made of human bones were two corpses: one male, one female. Both were suspended in midair, completely bound up by something that looked like intestines.
The male was dressed in all black western clothing, the female similarly in all white. There were no signs of decomposition whatsoever on both the corpses, except their ghastly pale skin. Their eyes were closed tightly, and their whole bodies gave off a hard to describe distinctive “deathly air”.
This makes sense as Feng Bujue is probably around 170 to 180 cm tall. Given that the average human leg is about 48.9% of total body length, and our assumption that he’s on the shorter size, his waist should be around 76.5 cm (170 x 45% = 76.5). The max length of a baseball bat in America is 42 inches. If we convert that to cm we get 106.7 cm. Given that he is reaching out with the baseball bat, and the bat touches about 1 ft or 30.5 cm ahead of him, Feng Bujue must slouch a bit to use the baseball bat as a guide cane. If he’s taller, he’ll have to slump even more. To put this in perspective, guide canes can be anywhere between 48-56 in or 121.9-142.2 cm.