“I’m afraid I cannot agree to that.” Inspector Lee shook his head. “Capturing a fugitive is the police’s responsibility; how can we allow you to take this unnecessary risk?”
“Staying behind at the Haunted House is merely to create a false image for Zhang Peng to think he hasn’t been exposed. This way, he’ll follow through his plan to seek me out. When he returns to the park, you will be able to detain him,” Chen Ge explained after much contemplation. “If we fail to catch him this time, I’ll need to spend the rest of my life in fear, looking over my shoulder every moment, since he could strike at any given time.”
“In any case, the actual plan will have to be decided only after we discuss it with the city’s investigation team. The case at Ping An Apartments is their responsibility; we from the western station are merely providing assistance, but I will relay your request to them.” Inspector Lee packed up his laptop and made a call before leaving the security room with the two other officers.
Uncle Xu wandered over after the police left. He was worried about Chen Ge. “Xiao Chen, I think you should listen to the police and go find somewhere else other than the Haunted House to stay for a few days.”
“Hiding from the problem is not going to solve anything, but I appreciate the concern, Uncle Xu.”
After taking another look at the surveillance, Chen Ge returned to the Haunted House.
Xu Wan was leaning against the gate, and when she saw Chen Ge walk toward her from the security office, she pointed at the boxed rice left on the table. “Boss, today’s menu is stir-fry green chili with pork and rice. When the canteen auntie wasn’t paying attention, I added another scoop of meat for you.”
Chen Ge thanked Xiao Wan for the rice. He looked at the girl but decided not to reveal any information about Zhang Peng. He finished the rice with big mouthfuls and began the afternoon service. Xu Wan acted as the ghost inside the Minghun scenario while Chen Ge stayed at the entrance to sell tickets. He kept his head low, but his eyes swept every corner of the park.
Zhang Peng’s appearance can be a curse or a blessing depending on how I use him.
After completing several missions on the black phone, Chen Ge’s logical thinking had improved tremendously, and his tolerance for stress had been given a power up.
There’s a mirror monster hiding inside the Haunted House currently. The thing can pass through the mirror world and reality freely. In other words, if there’s a mirror, it is invincible. Chen Ge sold the ticket mechanically while his brain worked on overdrive to process the information. The attacks on He San and He Feng were very similar. Based on He Feng’s description, the monster’s aim was to possess their body and swap out their consciousness. Temporarily, we have no idea what the purpose of that is, but one thing worth considering is, if the monster enters a person’s body, does that mean that it won’t be able to escape the body at least for a short period of time?
Chen Ge had discovered this phenomenon when he conversed with He Feng, but there was no danger-free method to test out this theory. He had prepared to give up on this idea, but then Zhang Peng had decided to show himself that morning.
When he confirmed it was Zhang Peng on the camera, the plan had been settled in Chen Ge’s mind. He planned to use Zhang Peng as bait. He had to figure out a way to lure Zhang Peng inside the Haunted House and enable the mirror monster to possess his body.
This way, he could kill two birds with one stone. It was also why he insisted on staying at the Haunted House.
This is the plan. It’s dangerous, but if it’s successful, I’ll be able to remove two threats at once.
At 5 pm, Chen Ge called Xu Wan out and let her leave early. He went back inside the Haunted House to prepare various stuff for Zhang Peng. At 5.30 pm, Chen Ge received a call from Inspector Lee, telling him that the police had set up a perimeter around New Century Park. If Zhang Peng showed himself, he would definitely not get away. After dinner, Chen Ge carried Doctor Skull-cracker’s outfit and hammer as he entered the Haunted House’s main control room. He locked the door and sat before the monitors. If there was no accident, he was going to spend the whole night inside the room.
There are indeed too few cameras. There are too many blind spots, so I mustn’t let my guard down.
The sun dipped below the horizon, and as daylight left, New Century Park felt weirdly eerie. Chen Ge wrapped the outfit around him as a cover as he sat inside the control room. At midnight, those who should not be there had arrived, but those who should have been there had not.
Similar to the previous night, the sound of sawing came from the Murder by Midnight scenario.
Is the creature taunting me? Chen Ge shrugged the outfit off and walked to the door, wondering if he should go meet the creature. I’ll let it be for now.
Putting back on the ear-mic, Chen Ge hugged the doll left behind by his parents to his chest and returned to the surveillance monitor.
At around 1 am, when Chen Ge was at the verge of giving up, he saw the door to the bathroom rattle on screen.
He focused on the monitor, completely rejuvenated. Not long after, the door fell open a sliver and a lanky man wielding a twenty-centimeter-long boning knife slipped through the opening.
That bathroom is where I did my first Nightmare Mission. The window leads outside. He probably prepared some stepping stone beforehand and messed with the lock earlier.
Chen Ge looked at the surveillance calmly. The door to the control room was still locked. The control room’s location was well-hidden, and those unfamiliar with the Haunted House’s layout would not be able to reach it anytime soon.
On screen, Zhang Peng travelled down the corridor, holding the knife in one hand and his phone in another. He had no idea he was being watched as he focused on side-stepping the random stuff and unknown props that littered the corridor.
After fifteen minutes traversing the obstacle course, Zhang Peng finally reached the staff breakroom. He could be seen hesitating at the door. His chest rose and fell unevenly, and his hand that held the knife shivered. He reached out to push on the door multiple times, but every time, he pulled back just before his finger touched the door. It was obvious that he was caught in a conundrum.
Zhang Peng dithered for about twenty seconds before he came to a decision. He did not even notice the camera that was looking at him.
He raised the knife in one hand while the other grabbed the door knob. With a deep breath, he shoved the door open, and like a leopard pouncing on its prey, he jumped into the breakroom!
One minute later, Zhang Peng came out carrying the knife. There was a bit of red on the blade, he seemed to have accidentally slashed his arm. He tossed the knife to his other hand. Zhang Peng’s expression turned more grievous. He glanced at the stairs before picking up the pace as he went down the corridor.
From the surveillance feed, Chen Ge could see Zhang Peng was heading toward the control room. Chen Ge messaged Inspector Lee and held Doctor Skull-cracker’s hammer as he hid behind the door.
He was about to surprise Zhang Peng with a horror movie classic—the scare behind the door—but Zhang Peng merely wandered past the control room’s door before heading into the workers’ passageway.
What is this man up to? Chen Ge was confused by his opponent’s actions. He hurried to the monitor and saw that Zhang Peng was using his knife to pry off the wooden planks that had sealed up the trap door at the end of passageway before heading in without a second thought.
Why is he heading into the Murder by Midnight scenario? Chen Ge peeled off his ear-mic as his eyes widened with shock. There have been sawing sounds coming out from the scenario… does he think I’m sawing stuff inside?