“You heard them mention that?” Chen Ge’s interest was piqued.
“Yes, the day before your parents’ disappearance, they came to me, saying someone wanted to give me a present. However, due to various complications, said person could not be there and thus entrusted the task to them.” Director Luo took a wooden box from the nearby bookshelf. After opening the box, it revealed a roughly-hewn roly-poly toy.
He held the toy in his palm. “Even though the making is rough, I appreciate the meaning. No matter the difficulty, it will stand up again.”
Chen Ge was anxious, and he urged, “What did my parents say after that? Where did you hear those few words?”
“Your parents left after they gave me the gift. Since I have a habit of not closing my office door, I accidentally overheard their conversation in the corridor.” Director Luo thought to himself before continuing. “At the time, they had not wandered far from the door. Your father said something like… ‘The door to the Third Sick Hall has been opened again.’ And your mother replied, ‘The door wasn’t closed in the first place.’”
“That’s all I could hear. They did continue the conversation, but I could not hear them clearly.”
After chatting for a few more minutes and confirming that there was nothing more Director Luo could give him, Chen Ge exited his office.
The door to the Third Sick Hall has to be something more than a literal door, could it be similar to the door in the Haunted House’s mirror? Could there be another world behind the door?
He could not understand why his parents would say something like that. He pulled out the black phone to read the mission hint again.
It said ‘he’ came from the Third Sick Hall. Does it mean that he came from the bloody world, similar to the mirror monster?
The day before their disappearance, Chen Ge’s parents had been discussing the Third Sick Hall; did this mean that their disappearance was related to it?
He knew that his parents had disappeared around an abandoned hospital. The police had searched all the nearby buildings but found nothing. Now, Chen Ge suspected that his parents had entered the door and travelled to the other world.
It’s still too soon to confirm the mission venue for the Third Sick Hall is the hospital that my parents disappeared in. Chen Ge patted his face lightly to force himself to calm down. Since it was related to his parents, his emotions were unsettled. The mission has three stars, so it must be dangerous. Even if I accept it now, I might not be able to complete it. I’d better focus on the immediate mission for now.
The Trial Mission at Hai Ming Apartments was related to the Third Sick Hall. Completing this mission would provide more understanding of the Third Sick Hall, so it was not a bad place to start.
At 4 pm, the number of visitors slowed. Chen Ge handed the key to the Haunted House to Xu Wan, and he crawled into the props room to prepare for the Trial Mission that night. The doll left behind by his parents was the park’s guardian spirit, so it was only useful inside the park. Therefore, Chen Ge did not bring it along with him this time.
Looking at his choices, Chen Ge eventually settled on the phone charger, lighter, safety rope, and the incredibly handy multi-purpose mallet.
That should be enough. He thought about it before shoving the reward money that he had left from the Ping An Apartment case into his backpack. It’s early. Perhaps I should go to the mannequin shop first. If the price is right, I can directly give the down payment.
The quicker he finished Mu Yang High School’s Hidden Mission, the earlier he would reap the reward. After some cleaning up, when Chen Ge passed the dressing room, he accidentally saw Xiaoxiao, who was hiding behind the door. The fake blood was splattered all over the floor, and there was some on Xiaoxiao as well.
“What are you doing?” Chen Ge picked up Xiaoxiao and asked Xu Wan to help clean the place before returning to the staff breakroom. A roomful of fake blood, Xu Wan must have thought it was my handiwork. Will she think her boss has lost his mind?
Chen Ge used a towel to wipe the fake blood off Xiaoxiao’s body. He pinched her face, threatening, “If you continue to be naughty, I’ll…”
He was stuck because he could not figure out what Xiaoxiao was afraid of. Eventually, he huffed and shoved Xiaoxiao into his backpack as well. After everything was ready, Chen Ge exited the Haunted House and the park.
The park visitor number was dwindling, and the open air carpark was empty. There was not even a line at the bus stop.
Maintaining the park requires plenty of money; with so few visitors, it mustn’t be easy for Director Luo.
After crossing the road, Chen Ge looked for the mannequin workshop using the information on the internet.
He saw the sign hanging above a door that led underground. When he asked the hawker on the street, Chen Ge was told that the workshop was underground.
Walking down the steps, the walls on both sides were covered in scrawling that he could not appreciate, and at the end of the step was a glass door with the sign ‘FOR RENT/SALE’.
“Is anyone in?” Chen Ge looked through the glass room. The interior looked like an underground storeroom; the place was huge but empty. After waiting for some time, a slightly overweight man answered the door in his slippers.
He looked roughly the same age as Chen Ge. He was in very casual attire and had some baby fat on his face. The glass door opened, and Chen Ge was blasted in the face by the air conditioning.
“You are the boss? I wish to order a set of custom-made mannequins,” Chen Ge explained.
“Okay, come in.” The man invited Chen Ge into the shop. “How big do you want it? If it’s under thirty centimeters, you can get it under three days.”
“That’s too small. I want something the size of a real person, and the joints all need to be moveable; can you do something like that?” Chen Ge looked at the equipment inside the workshop; the place was more professional than it appeared on the outside.
“Similar size to a real person? With moveable parts?” Comprehension dawned for the man. With an understanding look, he asked, “How many do you want?”
“Twenty-four, when you can finish the order?” Chen Ge answered.
“Twenty-four‽” the man asked in a raised pitch.
The shout scared Chen Ge. “Why are you screaming so suddenly? Is twenty-four too many for the workshop to produce?”
“All for your personal use?”
“What use would I have for the mannequins?” Chen Ge realized the man had misunderstood him, so he explained, “I own a Haunted House; the mannequins are part of the set design.”
“Okay…” The man sighed in relief. “If it’s for a Haunted House, I don’t suggest using too expensive filler. After all, the exhaustion rate is too high. We can make two types here, solid base and half-solid base. The most expensive 12,000, cheapest 3,000. Also, I have to remind you, all the workers have left, and I’ve been left alone to look after the place. So, twenty-four custom-made mannequins will probably take a month to be completed.”