Chapter 52 - Financial Crisis 12: Nightmare Room
The young man shivered with fright, looking like a rabbit that had suddenly broken into a wolf’s den.
Xiao Lou, who was regarded as a ‘wolf’, couldn’t help laughing as he stepped forward. He said, “You don’t have to be afraid. We won’t hurt you. We just want to find out your purpose. Why place bugs on our bags?”
Shao Qingge’s eyes narrowed as he smiled faintly. “It seems that your card can’t teleport vertically?”
The young man looked away with panicked eyes.
Shao Qingge added, “If you can’t run away then be honest.”
Xiao Lou smiled. “You have been listening to us and should know that Police Officer Yu is a criminal police officer who specializes in arresting prisoners. You don’t want to be interrogated by him, right?”
The two people acted together while Yu Hanjiang maintained his cold expression, sharp eyes staring at the teenager’s face covered with dust. “Say it. I don’t want to do that.”
The teenager stared uncomfortably before bowing his head. “I-I will say it...”
Yu Hanjiang asked, “Did you eavesdrop on us to steal our strategy to clear the secret room?”
The teenager quickly shook his head and explained, “N-No, I didn’t copy you. I wanted to put the materials in the warehouse and use the construction site as a hiding place... I happened to think along the same lines as you.”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang glanced at each other, obviously not believing it.
Shao Qingge raised an eyebrow. “A coincidence? How can we believe there are so many coincidences?”
The teenager whispered, “It’s true... because this isn’t the first time I have come to the 3 of Spades secret room.”
This answer stunned the three people. It wasn’t his first time?
Xiao Lou immediately asked, “What do you mean? You have been to the 3 of Spades secret room previously?”
The teenager nodded. He seemed to be remembering some bad experiences as his lips paled and his eyes flashed with pain. “Last time, I didn’t pass. I only lived to the fifth day before I was eliminated.”
Yu Hanjiang followed up with a question. “You were eliminated from the secret room but not wiped out?”
The young man’s face paled even more and his voice was weak. “You... have you heard of the Nightmare Room?”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang glanced at each other. The keeper had repeatedly emphasized that once they failed a secret room, they would enter the Nightmare Room to accept the punishment. The Nightmare Room’s survival rate was less than 0.1% yet this little guy actually came back from a Nightmare Room?
As if confirming Xiao Lou’s words, the young man followed closely by saying, “I survived the Nightmare Room and returned to 3 of Spades to re-challenge the clearance.”
This amount of information was too big!
Xiao Lou hadn’t expected for the teenager to carry so many secrets.
If he had information about the Nightmare Room then this was undoubtedly extremely important to the three people. After all, the three of them had never experienced the Nightmare Room. If they were one day eliminated, it would be very useful to know the information in advance.
Yu Hanjiang glanced at Xiao Lou and whispered, “Tie him up and carefully ask him.”
Xiao Lou understood the meaning. He took out the compass and drew a few rings of different sizes. Then he gently lifted his fingers and the teenager’s feet, waist and body were covered with rings, almost like his entire body was wrapped.
The teenager trapped in the rings stared with a face full of fright. “What are you going to do? D-Don’t kill mek2026;”
Xiao Lou smiled. “Rest assured, this is just to prevent you from escaping. You can now explain slowly. If the information satisfies us then we will let you go.”
The teenager moved his arm. He found his entire body was surrounded by the rings and he couldn’t move at all. He wanted to cry as he glanced at Xiao Lou, “Can you let me go first? I will honestly explain it...”
Xiao Lou chuckled. “No. After all, there are too many strange cards on your body. If you run away then we can’t catch up with you at all.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Talk.”
The teenager stared at Yu Hanjiang and found that this man’s face was cold and his eyes almost staring a hole into the teenager’s face. The teenager had to quickly explain, “I don’t know about the other Nightmare Rooms. I only know that after being eliminated from 3 of Spades, all challengers will be thrown in a strange city without any money. The challengers have to live for 14 days.”
Xiao Lou was very surprised. “No money and live for 14 days?”
This difficulty was much higher than the ‘Financial Crisis’ secret room. Although the prices of this secret room soared, there was no price increase on the first day. Each challenger was given 100,000 gold coins and the initial funds were enough to obtain some materials. As long as they kept the materials, it wouldn’t be difficult to clear the instance.
However, if they were penniless then eating and accommodation would be a problem. Living for 14 days? How did this person survive?
Shao Qingge asked curiously, “How did you survive those 14 days?”
The teenager bowed his head and whispered, “The people in that world are very indifferent. They will never give money to challengers and challengers can’t find a job. Fortunately, I could sing and found some children on the street who liked my singing and gave me snacks. I pretended to be a garbage collector and slept on the street every day. I want to the bakery to eat expired food and drank only boiled tap water...”
His shoulders trembled slightly, apparently reluctant to recall the experience of the Nightmare Room. “The most difficult time was when I only ate a small piece of bread over three days. I was so hungry that I couldn’t walk. After a few days without food, I ate a lot of leaves... I saw some challengers starve to death and in the Nightmare Room, finally, only I lived alone.”
Terrible hunger would torture a human’s spirit and destroy their will.
Appetite was part of human nature. What was the experience of being hungry for several days? People in the real world would find it hard to understand. After all, living conditions were good now. Don’t talk about going hungry, people were eating big pieces of fish every day.
However, this young man had no money and had to rely on eating expired bread, singing for snacks and eating roadside leaves to live for 14 days.
He was as tenacious as a cockroach.
At first, Xiao Lou thought that this little guy was cautious like a small animal but now he admired this teenager’s willpower. IN the forest where beasts were everywhere, the little animal that could survive wasn’t simple.
After experiencing such a terrible world, it was no wonder that the teenager would pretend to be a garbage collector here, put materials in the garbage truck and dirty his face... in order to survive, he could endure this extremely hard environment.
Xiao Lou’s attitude towards him was milder. “You were eliminated in the 3 of Spades room, went to the Nightmare Room and then returned to 3 of Spades after surviving the Nightmare Room?”
The teenager nodded. “The rules are like this.”
Xiao Lou took back all the rings, walked over and patted the shoulder of the young man. “It isn’t easy to survive the Nightmare Room. I heard the keeper say that the survival rate of the Nightmare Room is only 0.1%.”
The teenager smiled bitterly. “Fortunately, I can sing and relied on singing to get snacks from children. Otherwise, I might’ve starved to death.”
Yu Hanjiang was more concerned about another question. “Since you could survive the Nightmare Room, why were you eliminated in 3 of Spades?”
The teenager’s expression darkened as he lowered his head. “I matched with a teammate in 3 of Spades. He and I happened to be from the same university and I trusted him very much. We bought goods together and stayed in the Shanshui Guesthouse. The next night, 80% of our supplies were stolen, leaving only a box of milk and a box of instant noodles. It wasn’t much but we could barely survive if we saved it.”
The teenager paused for a moment. “I didn’t think he would only live for himself. He left me and took away the batch of supplies overnight.”
Xiao Lou, “......”
Selling a teammate at a crucial moment.
In this world, trust had become the cheapest thing.
“Fortunately, I met a kind girl who gave me some food and I could live to the fourth day. However, the challengers’ materials were frequently stolen at the Shanshui Guesthouse and people started to suspect that there was a traitor among our group. There was a powerful lawyer who decided to bring all the challengers together. He found the construction site and we collectively transferred the materials to the construction site.”
“Gather the remaining materials together, distribute it in a unified manner and live together until the seventh day.”
“Then on the fifth day, the entire City A was in chaos. There was a large number of prisoners who escaped from prison. They carried weapons and searched properties in the city, burning, killing and looting. Some of the challengers didn’t listen to orders and at night, they lit firewood to boil noodles. This fire led the prisoners over and finally... the challengers were directly wiped out.”
The three people heard this and were shocked.
Yu Hanjiang had guessed that there would be problems in the prison but he didn’t expect for the prisoners to directly escape and burn and kill everywhere. This wasn’t a financial secret room and was more like the chaos of the end of the world.
Xiao Lou wondered, “Since you have experienced the 3 of Spades secret room and know the plot, you can find your own way to hide and clear the instance. What was your purpose for bugging us?”
The teenager explained “I not only put a bug on you, I placed it on the backpacks of all the challengers. This card can release three bugs at the same time and I listened to the conversation of the challengers to find out the identity of the traitor.”
Yu Hanjiang immediately reacted. “You mean, the thief we caught tonight, the one who killed his teammate to escape, was probably the traitor mixed among the challengers?”
The teenager nodded. “We didn’t know until the end when we were eliminated that there was a traitor mixed among us. He was the one who stole the goods and his real identity isn’t a challenger but a free person of this world, seeking to profit from the financial crisis.”
Xiao Lou concluded, “In other words, the 3 of Spades room isn’t only a financial crisis. There is also a hidden boss to be dealt with? If the challengers aren’t alert enough, have their materials stolen and don’t realize there is a traitor inside the team, it is possible for their group to be destroyed?”
“Yes, this person knows a lot about challengers. He calls us foreigners.”
The real difficulty of the 3 of Spades room wasn’t just the financial crisis.
Xiao Lou had found it strange at first. Before the financial crisis began, every challenger received 100,000 gold coins and this was equivalent to 1,000 yuan of capital. If this money was used at the supermarket to buy goods, it wouldn’t be a problem to buy enough food for a week.
Compared to the residents of the city who were caught off guard by the financial crisis, the challengers knew in advance that it would break out and stored materials in advance. It wouldn’t be difficult to survive for seven days.
Moreover, people like Shao Qingge who had an economics-related profession, might be able to make money from the financial crisis.
Would A of Spades and A of Clubs be so kind? It seemed that the two keepers had already dug countless pits for everyone.
The challengers’ materials being stolen wasn’t an accident but an inevitable event.
A of Spades arranged for a free person to pretend to be a challenger to steal everyone’s materials. If the challengers didn’t realize this then they would be easily eliminated.
Only those like Yu Hanjiang, who were cautious enough to store supplies separately, would be able to survive in 3 of Spades.
The teenager’s eavesdropping device wasn’t to copy the instance clearance plan but because he had experienced too many things. The betrayal of his teammate, the temporary alliance of challengers and the terrible hunger in the Nightmare Room where he spent 14 days surviving on expired food and leaves.
An average person would’ve probably long collapsed psychologically.
He couldn’t trust any challenger, which was why he didn’t match with a teammate when entering the 3 of Spades room again. He placed a bug on the backpack of all challengers in order to find out who was stealing supplies, avoid the thief and pass the instance.
Yu Hanjiang’s idea was undoubtedly the correct way to clear the instance and this coincided with the teenager’s idea.
Xiao Lou looked at the dirty-faced teenager and asked, “You dared to tell us these secrets. Aren’t you afraid we will kill you?”
The teenager smiled bitterly, “You are a police officer, a university professor and a business’ boss. If even you have to rely on killing to clear the instance then will there be any humanity left in this world? If I don’t go the distance and am eliminated early then at least I’ll have fewer sins.”
Looking at the loss in his eyes, Xiao Lou couldn’t help feeling distressed. This child was only 17 or 18 years old yet he was thrown into such a cruel world and experienced many hardships.
It was hard to imagine how he survived during the days when he ate leaves.
Xiao Lou sighed softly. “You are right. We don’t want to clear the instance but we won’t kill as long as other challengers don’t provoke us. After all... the world might be crazy but we aren’t crazy yet.”
Xiao Lou’s last sentence stunned the boy and his eyes instantly reddened.
He obviously remembered his experience of being betrayed.
At the time, he randomly matched a teammate in the 3 of Spades room and it happened to be a school senior. He was happy enough to go crazy and handed over his gold coins in a trusting manner. He listened to the senior’s arrangements and lived in the Shanshui Guesthouse, hiding all his materials under the bed.
Once his materials were stolen, he had spoken optimistically. “I only need to eat a small amount of food. I will eat only one packet of instant noodles and milk every day. Senior, you can eat more. Once we can’t afford this room, we will go out to sleep while protecting our supplies. We will barely be able to survive the seven days with this much food.”
The schoolmaster promised on the surface but when the teenager woke up the next morning, he was the only one in the room.
He thought something had happened to the school senior and anxiously looked everywhere. Later, the sister next door told him that the school senior had left the hotel early in the morning with his travel bag and the teenager finally understood that he had been left behind.
The rest of the supplies weren’t enough for two people to eat but it was more than enough for one person.
He was disheartened and completely desperate. Fortunately, the girl next door was very kind. She didn’t have many supplies left but she willingly gave him food. The guesthouse had a calm lawyer who decided to unite all challengers. Everyone moved to the construction site and replenished their energy every day with milk, bread and chocolate.
However, there was a disobedient fool who didn’t want to eat bread every day. He secretly cooked food at night and cooked ham to place in the noodles.
The fire late at night and the scent attracted the gang of prisoners.
These people were armed and he saw one challenger after another being cut, blood flowing to the ground.
The girl who gave him instant noodles was pierced in the chest and had a big hole. He wanted to save her but couldn’t do anything. He tried to escape by teleporting but couldn’t escape the encirclement of the thugs.
He was stabbed to death.
In the days of the Nightmare Room, he lived desperately. If it wasn’t for his strong desire to survive and his talent that allowed him to get snacks from children by singing, perhaps he would’ve already starved to death.
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