CH 736

What would be the first thing a horror movie actor did after waking up? Check their popularity online? Check their box office? Or learn about murders and law?

At 8 pm, Han Fei sat before the computer with a pen and paper. As he tuned into the livestream of Perfect Life’s maze, he started to analyze the cases. Everything looked so normal that the netizens felt nothing was out of place. Han Fei was not the child of Death. He merely used the time others used on entertainment to study murder cases.

Different from the peace at Han Fei’s place, Perfect Life was a mess. The managers, players, and all kinds of AI NPCs gathered at the theme park maze. They were all discussing how to level the ‘cryptic world’.

Han Fei looked at the livestream and felt sorry for these players. As long as they didn’t really step into the cryptic world, even if they died inside the path, only their in-game characters would die. Their brains wouldn’t be affected. However, the death penalty in Perfect Life was very serious. One would lose everything. It was no different from starting a new account. This was the reason why so many players who died in the path felt so angry. Their hard work since the beta was gone just like that. They turned their anger on Han Fei. However, as Han Fei started his livestream, the players turned their anger back to the path. Everyone was waiting for the masked devil to appear. Many players waited outside the path.

“In the past, I saw in Fu Sheng’s altar that the first-generation ghost is sealed under the theme park. The managers used humanity’s happiness to wear down the first-generation ghost’s negative emotions. Fu Sheng and Fu Tian had brought that idea further. They built Perfect Life, this ultimate theme park, and tried to use all the players’ happiness to heal the scar of the cryptic world.

“The idea was good, but the overlapping of the two worlds was inevitable. However, it can’t be now because the players still can’t fend for themselves. Opening the path now will only bring more despair.”

After Han Fei was done analyzing the cases, Han Fei glanced at Perfect Life’s official livestream. Deep Space Tech and Immortal Pharma were dealing with this too, but they hadn’t provided a reasonable explanation. The big companies had professional PR teams, but there was a crack on the inside too.

At 8.30 pm, the managers of various player communities appeared at the maze. They led their most elite players and held the best position. The few bosses greeted each other. Each guild would handle a different section of the maze. However, after they were done, there was still the east side of the maze, which was left open. The normal players had no idea what the bosses were planning, but they seemed to have agreed to leave that place open.

“Aren’t we going to make a move yet? There are so many of us. Even if we just spit, we can drown out that masked devil.”

“Don’t rush. Even the bosses haven’t made a move yet. They seem to be waiting for someone.”

“Who is the VIP that they have the top bosses waiting for them?”

“Perhaps it’s him…”

No one moved until it was 9 pm. The temperature in the game seemed to drop. The clouds covered the moon. The mist was torn apart, and a figure appeared down the horizon. He came alone. All the elite players looked down the east direction to look at the living legend. The top player in five rankings—Huang Yin!

His black cape had obscured his attributes and abilities. Level 33! The monster in Perfect Life that had three hidden professions!

A lot of players crowded the theme park but they left the eastern part empty for Huang Yin. When the bosses saw him, they sighed secretly in relief. With Huang Yin there, they felt better. All the top players had held an emergency meeting before. They even communicated with Deep Space Tech’s representatives before. The reply was that the super photon computer was acting normal. In other words, this hidden map could be something personally designed by the former Immortal Pharma director. Compelled by the black box and the director’s will, the big bosses couldn’t wait anymore. They started to form groups to explore the tunnels. Many ghosts called the path home. No matter what the players tried, they would die mysteriously once they ventured more than 50 meters into the tunnel. Seeing their elite players being eaten by the abyss, the bosses felt heartache. However, they had no better choice. This was their chance to gain a reputation and fame. As long as they could cross the path, it would make history among gamers. This ‘hidden map’ was the perfect chance for the guilds to flaunt their muscles and make their names.

“Is 50 meters the limit for current players?”

“What is on the other side of the path? How is this map so difficult?”

“How can we challenge the boss if we can’t even cross the entrance?”

“This fits the reward of the former director. Do you think the original share of Immortal Pharma is so easy to claim?” The players discussed happily. However, only a small portion dared to venture further.

“Let us try.” One of the five founders of Absolute Truth walked out of the crowd. Their guild originally held 20 posts on the top 100 players, but since their players had gone missing in the maze, they only had 9 players left on that ranking. Technically speaking, Absolute Truth hated the maze the most.

“All light will be swallowed, and all flames will be extinguished when they enter the path. A normal explosive will only destroy the theme park on our side. We’ve tried poison gas, flooding, and so on. We’ve reached a conclusion.” The founder didn’t hide the secret, “Only supernatural-type power would be able to affect the world on the other side.” He raised his hand, and 9 players walked out. The players didn’t have high levels. They didn’t look like professional players either. “They are players with supernatural talents that I’ve tried so hard to find. Every one of them has a rare talent. Absolute Truth might not clear the path, but I hope everyone can remember our contribution.” The founder then signaled for the 9 players to enter the path. “Go ahead. If your account is gone, I’ll compensate you with the price we have agreed upon.”

The nine players moved. What they needed was not courage but money. The path led downwards. It looked only a few hundred meters long, but once the players stepped into it, their senses would be distorted. The nine players looked normal at first, but when they were about 10 meters in, one of the players screamed. He pointed at an empty shadow, and his face was pale. “Who are you?”

No one responded to his scream. Then, he grabbed his head, covered his eyes, and collapsed to the ground. “Impossible! You died three years ago! How can you be here? Is this why you’ve been haunting me? Are you waiting for this moment?” The player rolled around in pain. The other players looked at each other. “You should have stayed under the garden! You should still be there!” He screamed and crawled back out the path. He didn’t even notice that his hands were bloody.

“What’s wrong with him? He used 3 minutes to walk 10 meters but ran back using only 5 seconds.”

“Is there something wrong with his head?”

The people around gossiped. The founder of Absolute Truth felt ashamed. He wanted to check on the guy, but the person went offline the moment he escaped the path. He had something important to check.

“Don’t be influenced. If you can reach the other side of the path, I’ll pay you twice the money.” Once the remaining eight heard that, they didn’t feel fear anymore. After all, if they died in-game, they wouldn’t die for real. Soon, they reached the 50 meters mark. The tunnel became darker. Four of them held each other’s hands, mumbling something as they protected an old oil lamp between them. The light of the oil lamp flickered. The black smoke appeared to form a smiling face.

“Be ready.” The light chased away the darkness. One of them took a deep breath and moved further. Before his shoe touched the ground, something wound around his ankle from the dark. Before anyone saw anything, the man was dragged into the darkness. There was not even a scream.

“Don’t be scared. You won’t die in-game if you die here. However, we’re going to get real money once we get offline.” A man in a patient’s clothes picked up the man’s equipment. “I can store his stuff in my inventory. It looks like he’s really dead.” The other players were not as optimistic as he was. They hesitated for a long time before they started to move again. The players went past the 50 meters mark. The players outside the path also watched them closely. The light from the oil lamp became everyone’s hope.

“Do you feel the temperature dropping?”

“Shush. Keep praying.”

“What God is useful in this situation?”

“Shush. Look!”

When they were at the 59th meter, they noticed a human shadow inside the path. The person stood facing away from them. The person was very thin.

“Was that a player too?”

“Ignore him! Our goal is to go deeper! Don’t waste time on these uncertain dangers!”

“Boss, there are several million people watching. Is it okay for us to be so cold-blooded?”

“I’m trying to save you.”

The path became steeper. They avoided the figure, stuck close to the wall, and continued to descend. They looked around, and the path became stranger. The walls started to populate with outlines of tourists playing. They were all facing away from the players. Their bodies twitched and convulsed as they played various cruel games.

“Why would such a place exist in an Iyashikei game?”

“Midnight Theme Park is a horror-themed locale. It’s normal for it to have a hidden map like this.”

“Tie your safety rope. We’re entering the 60th-meter mark!”

The darkness felt like it could consume the flame. With the oil lamp’s protection, they reached the 60th-meter area. The surroundings became very different from the surface world. Marks of despair were everything. The tourists’ games became more gory and crazy. They were more like death displays.

“This feels so real.”

“I feel like I’ve dreamed of this scene several years before. This is so strange.”

“Do you hear crying?”

“How deep is this path?”

60 meters, 70 meters, 80 meters…

Absolute Truth’s unit broke all the players’ records. However, their state wasn’t so well. When they reached the 80th meter, the flame of the oil lamp looked like it was about to go out.

“Are we going to continue?”

“Why not? If we die on the path, we can get a lot of money, and we’ll light the way for the other players.”

“Indeed. At least our deaths will have meaning then.”

At that moment, the oil lamp went out. Darkness swallowed them instantly. Screams echoed inside the path. The players appeared to have experienced the most despairing events of their lives. The players outside shivered just from hearing their screams.

“Only 81 meters?” The founder looked disappointed. He had spent a lot to form this unit, but they only ventured 31 meters more than normal players.

“Don’t give up. At least they’ve moved further than most players.” The leader of another guild walked over. “They will not sacrifice for no reason. Humans have been progressing using the sacrifice of their predecessors, right?”

“A small guild like us can’t compare to the Merchant Union.” The founder of Absolute Truth retreated. The man from Merchant Union smiled and then made a call. “We do not have any supernatural talent players, but I believe money can move even ghosts. Money can solve all the problems in this world.”

A large group of players rushed into the maze. “And today, I’ll solve this problem.”

The man gave the final order. With large guilds as the leaders, the players entered the path from eight different directions. They were not afraid of death and darkness. When one fell, another would take their place. Merchant Union was a union of more than 10,000 business guilds. They ran the economy of Perfect Life. They had a lot of members, but the army this time was made up of mostly newbies.

“Let’s see if this hidden map kills people faster, or I can buy new accounts faster.”

The players logged in batch after batch. Merchant Union planned to use human lives to brute force their way through the path. This shocked most players. Darkness was scary, but the spirit was uplifting. Some of the players voluntarily joined the army. Merchant Union used money and pushed the safety zone forward for another 10 meters. One among ten players would move another meter forward. Before they died, they would leave behind their light. With the assault of the endless players, they started to see the killer in the path.

“Pay attention to the paintings on the walls!”

The figures on the walls turned around. They looked at the players with cold gazes.

“Charge! Destroy them!”

There were some players who still hadn’t lost their mind when they reached over 60 meters. They used their tools to destroy the wall. However, even if they hacked down the wall, the tourists were still imprinted on them. They were not paintings but ghosts standing inside the wall. The deeper they went, the scarier things were. It was not easy for light to survive there. The hidden map extinguished the light and hope easily.

Half an hour passed, but no one managed to pass the 70th-meter point. The players died and fell, but the path didn’t seem blocked. The path appeared to be connected to an endless sky.

The confident man started to sweat. The army dwindled in size. It was not that he ran out of money but because his people told him that once a player died for the third time, they started to show signs of mental instability.

The man didn’t expect the path would impact the players in real life. When a player reached the 80th-meter point, the man called for the army to stop. He knew when to fold. “Millions of accounts are gone, but we only manage to push to 80 meters. This path is more than several hundred meters long. It is really an endless hole.” The boss of the Merchant Union communicated with the other bosses. They reached a conclusion. They all agreed that current players were unable to break through this path. This path was a mistake of the two giants.

After that, a few big guilds also gave it a try. After paying a lot and sacrificing a lot, the players reached the 90th-meter mark, but that was their limit.

“97 meters. The player with almost maximum luck only manages to reach that point. There’s really no hope anymore.”

Then everyone turned to the east side to look at the man standing there.

“Huang Yin, it’s your turn.” The man from Merchant Union and the founder of Absolute Truth said. This simple name grabbed everyone’s attention. Even the people outside the game sat up straighter.

No one had seen Huang Yin in action before. Huang Yin was the most mysterious player in Perfect Life.

He would prove once and for all if he could live up to his mystery that night.

“You’ve done very well already.” Huang Yin walked to the maze alone. He stood beside the abyss, opened his arms, and fell.