The Trial Game of Life

The Trial Game of Life – Chapter 108

Table of Contents | Character Guide

Chapter 108: Realm of Mortals (11)

At the Second Gate, ‘Cemetery of Souls’.

Tang Cuo experienced another explosion while searching for the cell phone tombstone of ‘Teenager Deeply In Love’. At this point, 73 tombstones were left standing, and another five tombstones had a battery of less than 5%.

In these tombstones, Tang Cuo was certain there wasn’t a WeChat account called ‘Teenager Deeply In Love’, nor was there any video taken by the crowd that captured this guy’s face. But he must’ve been near Xishan Road, which meant he must be in this cemetery right now.

What else had a connection with Teenager Deeply In Love?

Tang Cuo couldn’t find any relevant clues, but he saw the plastic sisters’ group chat history on WeChat. However, Pao Qi wasn’t there this time.

Listener of The Wind: “Who of you can make Pao Qi shut up for me? What ‘I believe that none of us has any malicious intent’, what ‘we’re all friends’? Does she think she’s the only one who can talk? I almost vomited.”

Poems From Afar: “@Greedy Little Fox Don’t you know her better?”

Greedy little fox: “Didn’t you pull her into the group?”

Poems From Afar: “But she said that she was a friend of yours, that’s why I put her here!”

Greedy little fox: “I’m not acquainted with her. I’ve never seen her before!”

Listener of The Wind: “Wait, do you all not know her???”

After some discussion, they finally discovered a horrifying fact.

Listener of The Wind: “Who is Pao Qi? Have either of you ever seen her? Then why is she in our group?”

They were three very difficult questions. They all thought someone else in the group was familiar with Pao Qi, so they pulled her into the chat, yet it turned out that no one had seen her before. It was even more incredulous that they didn’t know her name!

Immediately afterwards, they thought about it carefully and felt a chill run down their spine.

A stranger infiltrated their group, kept saying that she was a friend and stayed with them for more than a month. Throughout the entire process, she didn’t show even the slightest oddity, as though she knew everyone very well.

Listener of The Wind seemed to have a violent temper, thus she @Pao Qi to ask who she was at once.

Pao Qi replied very quickly.

Pao Qi: “I am your friend.”

Listener of The Wind: “Bullsh*t! Where did I even get a friend like you?”

Pao Qi: “Don’t you want to be friends with me?”

Listener of The Wind: “Get out of my friend list, now! Why did you add me if I don’t know you? Are you sick in the head?”

Listener of The Wind said so and did so instantly, starting to delete Paoqi from her friend list. What Tang Cuo was looking at was her WeChat interface. He watched closely as her act of unfriending Pao Qi appeared on the screen.

But something eerie happened.

No matter how Listener of The Wind tried, this account couldn’t be deleted. It was as if a virus had invaded her phone, or no, it might be that the virus had been implanted.

After Listener of The Wind’s phone experienced this mysterious series of events, a chat box with Pao Qi suddenly popped up.

Pao Qi: “Don’t you want to be friends with me?”

Pao Qi: “Why do you want to delete me? I just want to be your friend.”

Pao Qi: “Why?”

Pao Qi: “Aren’t we good friends?”

Pao Qi: “Why do you treat me this way?”

Pao Qi: “You must’ve slipped your hand, right? We are best friends, right?”

Listener of The Wind: “You are crazy! Are you a lunatic?!”

Pao Qi: “I am not a lunatic, I am your friend.”

Pao Qi: “Let’s continue to be friends, okay?”

……

The words filled the whole screen and they were constantly refreshed, making his blood suddenly run cold.

Tang Cuo squinted at the similar sentences on screen. He suddenly got up and went back to Pao Qi’s cell phone tombstone. He quickly found the group chat window, drafted a sentence and clicked Send.

Pao Qi: “Do you know me? Do you know who I am?”

Half a minute later, the overwhelming replies almost smashed his WeChat. Of course, the cell phones in the Cemetery of Souls wouldn’t face a risk of crashing. Tang Cuo quickly browsed through the replies without needing to click on them one by one. He just had to look at the preview to know the rough content.

At first, everyone’s replies were pretty normal: “Aren’t you just Pao Qi?”

But then, who was Pao Qi?

Many people began to snap out of it.

Caramel Pudding: “Who the f**k are you? Why are you in my address book?”

Code 007: “Who are you?”

Et Cetera: “A Dai said you’re not his friend, who are you?!”

Perpetually Running Chicken: “I’ve asked everyone on my friend list, no one knows you. My account is only for friends and relatives, how did you get in here? I remember now, you wished me happy birthday last time and said you wanted to send me something, and I gave you my address. But I’ve never seen you!”

Daydreamer: “Delivery man? Salesman? If you don’t reply, I’ll delete you!”

……

Countless questions and doubts flooded the phone.

Tang Cuo tried to visualise Pao Qi’s true face in his mind. As a third-rate detective, he hadn’t studied psychology and couldn’t outline the criminal’s state of mind, but he could roughly imagine what kind of person she or he would be like.

For the time being, he would assume that Pao Qi was a female.

She had no friends, and perhaps she hid in a room with no light all the time. She had a sloppy appearance, and she also lacked confidence in her own looks. But it eventually didn’t matter, for she found a lot of ‘friends’ on the Internet.

She wantonly invaded their friend lists, unilaterally declared to be their friend and maintained the image of a perfect person, all because she was lonely.

Did she do anything particularly evil? It didn’t seem so.

More accurately, she was one that peeped at people’s lives.

The message was sent by Tang Cuo, so of course Pao Qi wouldn’t reply. When Tang Cuo was about to leave, a reply caught his attention.

Happy Family: “Jiajia, what’s the matter? Why did you send that message suddenly, Jiajia?”

Happy Family: “Don’t scare Daddy.”

Happy Family: [Voice message]

Happy Family: [Voice message]

Both voice messages were longer than one minute. This person claimed to be Pao Qi’s father, so Tang Cuo guessed that he was the only person who was related to her in reality.

Tang Cuo immediately clicked on the voice message, and rushing into his eardrums was the hoarse, nervous voice of a middle-aged man. 

“Jiajia? Are you okay, Jiajia? Is something wrong? Reply to your father as soon as you hear this, okay? Did you see something on the Internet? Or did you hear what the neighbours said? Jiajia, don’t think too much. You’re a good child, just a little bit reserved. They don’t understand you. They say bad things, so it’s them who are bad people. You’re a good child, don’t listen to them, okay..”

“Jiajia, Daddy is still driving. After dropping off this passenger, I’ll head back immediately. Wait for Daddy at home, okay? It’s raining heavily outside and there’s a traffic jam on Xishan Road ahead. It may take a while for Daddy to come back, so don’t go out regardless of what you hear, okay? No matter who knocks on the door, don’t open it. If something happens, call 110, Daddy will be back very soon—”

Before the message ended, the sound of a door opening could be heard. The moment the door opened, the pattering of rain suddenly amplified, proving that it was still raining heavily on Xishan Road at that point.

It should be because of the car collision followed by the traffic jam, Pao Qi’s father’s car was among that long line of vehicles.

He was a taxi driver.

From what he said, there was already a passenger in his car. The voice messages were indeed mixed with a young man’s slightly jumpy mumbling, and there was a very small clicking sound from something Tang Cuo didn’t know. But at this juncture, the door suddenly opened.

As the door opened, the heavy rain drifted inside, and an uninvited passenger broke into a taxi that was already carrying another passenger. The reason why Tang Cuo deduced that someone got in but not that the existing passenger got off was because at the end of the voice massage, a third person’s voice appeared.

It was an icy cold single syllable of “don’t”, and the voice stopped abruptly with the rubbing of clothes and a young man’s gasp for air.

What followed the word “don’t”? Don’t move? Don’t make a sound?

Near Xishan Road, except for the murderer, Tang Cuo couldn’t figure out any other possibility for the uninvited passenger’s identity for now. The murderer’s presence was exposed because of a dog, so he had to abandon the corpse and flee.

The sea of ​​umbrellas amidst the heavy rain gave him a good cover. In a panic, he ran randomly and got into a taxi.

What did he want to do?

The taxi was blocked on the road, but if the murderer could get into it at this point, there was a high probability that the taxi was parked on the lane next to the pavement. Even if the road was congested, a car could still drive on the NMV lane1.

A brutal murderer never cared about the rules.

Coming up next would be — a car chase?

Wait.

Tang Cuo suddenly remembered something, and he clicked on the voice message to listen to it again. He listened very carefully, over and over again, until he picked out a faint “click” in the background sound.

“Click.”

“Da.”

“Da, da, da.”

“Click.”

These sounds weren’t the same. Some were crisper while some were more coherent, sounding like — a Fidget Cube. Tang Cuo remembered Xiao Tiantian – Europe Purchasing Agent once said that he wanted to keep the generous customer who bought the rain boots, so he gave him a Fidget Cube as a small gift. [T/N: ‘Fidget Cube’ was translated as ‘Rubik’s Cube’ in the previous chapter. I’ve fixed its mentions in both c107 and 108.]

Tang Cuo once had such a gadget, which was about the size of a walnut and could be played in his hand. Every side of the Fidget Cube was different. There were marbles, cogs, joysticks, et cetera. The sounds they made were slightly different.

In other words, Teenager Deeply In Love was in the car, and he was the original passenger.

The rain boots bought by the Teenager Deeply In Love were worn by the murderer, and the murderer happened to get into his taxi. Was this accidental or specifically arranged? Tang Cuo never felt that Teenager Deeply In Love belonged to the same gang as the murderer, but he also didn’t think that the guy turning up near Xishan Road was accidental.

So, what was the relationship between the two of them?

Tang Cuo stroked his chin and started his deduction once more — From the murderer being hit by a dog to him getting into the taxi, the time must not be long. This event happened within a short period of time.

The spreading of information on the Internet took time, which meant that by now, the identity of the rain boots shouldn’t have been picked up yet. News about the dismembered body in the foam boxes had just begun to spread.

There were three people in the car: Pao Qi’s father, Teenager Deeply In Love and the murderer.

Here, only Pao Qi’s father seemed to have nothing to do with this matter. Tang Cuo had no impression of a WeChat account called ‘Happy Family’, but he had seen a related account on another cell phone tombstone.

It was a map application whose login name was ‘Happy Family’. A map application was also very fitting for a taxi driver.

He quickly located that cell phone tombstone, opened the map application and saw the owner’s real-time location. His location was on a bridge one kilometer away after the turn of Xishan Road. A red symbol was placed on the bridge, indicating that an accident had occurred here and one person had died, thus reminding the car owner to drive with caution.

The time was 1:54 in the afternoon.

Once again, Tang Cuo reorganised the timeline.

At 13:03, the game live streamer was killed.

At 13:15, her audience called the police.

Immediately afterwards, the murderer appeared at the intersection of Xishan Road, pushing the foam boxes containing the corpse, and the police who received the call passed by this spot. Taking into account the time for the murderer to dismember the corpse and the time for the police to turn up, the timing must be after 13:30 at least.

At 13:54, the taxi stopped on a bridge not far from Xishan Road. In other words, if the murderer was really in the taxi, then he didn’t run away very far before coming to a stop.

Whether it was an accident in the taxi or an accident that stopped the taxi, the most important value of this clue lay in the fact that the third victim had finally appeared.

Who died?

Today’s map application was very developed. With the support of big data, warnings regarding accidents could be updated very fast. If the taxi skidded and hit the roadside, causing accidents and congestion, it would quickly be reflected on Pao Qi’s father’s phone.

Tang Cuo was inclined towards the possibility that one of the three people in the car died, rather than an innocent passerby.

After this daring reasoning, he needed to boldly verify it.

Tang Cuo decided to make a bet. Relying on reasoning and concrete evidence for everything was terribly slow. As a third-rate detective, he had to take an unusual path.

At present, the cell phone tombstones of the murderer and Pao Qi’s father had been found. Under the premise that Tang Cuo trusted his own judgment, there was a two-thirds probability. He could try this.

At this time, three and a half hours had passed since the start of the dungeon, and there were still two and a half hours before the game ended. They had progressed more than halfway.

At the First Gate, ‘Branching of Life’, 24 out of 28 players remained.

At the Second Gate, ‘Cemetery of Souls’, one player was still alive and kicking.

At the Third Gate, ‘Mortal Realm Message Forwarding Company’, 25 players had all perished.

At the Fourth Gate, ‘The World Is An Asylum’, 23 out of 42 players remained.

Out of 96 players, 48 died and 48 remained, making exactly half.

It was rare for Xiao Tong to see such a coincidental number. He thought that perhaps even in Hell, Heaven could still bestow its will. The gods must have wanted him to do something, and if he didn’t follow their wants, it wouldn’t be interesting.

But when he stood up from the seat and reached out to Tang Cuo’s monitoring screen, he suddenly sensed something and looked back at the direction of the prison gate.

A long moment later, his lips tugged up into a smile that seemingly carried a very deep meaning. At the same time, he withdrew his hand and sat back in the chair again.

At the First Gate, sharp-eyed players also noticed that Mr. Crow had suddenly disappeared. Jin Cheng glanced back and thought of something, but the enemies were ahead, so he didn’t have the leisure time to investigate.

No matter what happened, they would only find out after their dungeon was cleared.

Without Mr. Crow, [Ruleless] returned to Xiao Tong’s hands after its holder was dead. Jin Cheng didn’t have any ambition to keep [Ruleless] with them. In any case, players and NPCs in Yong Ye City weren’t from opposing sides, so there was no need to fight each other for a piece of equipment.

After [Ruleless] vanished, the pressure everyone had been put under dropped sharply and the team’s speed accelerated, passing two forks in the road within 20 minutes.

Of course, casualties were also inevitable here.

At the straight road ahead, there were multiple forks relating to mid-life crisis. As the players looked at the different road signs, their hearts were once again shaken.

“Can we stop and rest for a while?” A man in his 30s and soaked in sweat called out to Jin Cheng, who was walking in front of him. He was desperately gasping for air, and upon looking closely, it could be seen that his hands were trembling ever so slightly, showing that he hadn’t yet recovered from the battle.

As soon as these words came out, everyone looked at Jin Cheng in unison with expectation on their faces. Jin Cheng turned around with a calm expression and said: “No.” 

The man’s expression changed at once, and he said anxiously: “Why not? We’ve been fighting for almost four hours, everyone has reached their limit. There are only two more hours until we can clear the game, isn’t it okay to take a rest?”

“He’s right.” Another person hurriedly joined in: “There’s no need to rush. If we can’t rest, the casualties will be worse!”

“Do I need to be responsible for all of you?” Jin Cheng asked back.

The players were stunned, and for a while, no one spoke.

“This road is very long. I know everyone is tired, you can choose to rest, but I want to go to the end of the road. Since I want to, it means I must.” As Jin Cheng said so, he suddenly smiled and shrugged: “You may not want to go, but you can’t stop me from going, right?”

Everyone couldn’t refute.

Jin Cheng didn’t give them a chance to spew more nonsense. He turned around and left, simply and neatly. Leng Miao didn’t say a word from the beginning till the end, and his expression didn’t flinch. He even walked away a tad earlier than Jin Cheng.

With the two big bosses leaving, the rest of the players looked at each other. Merely a few seconds later, several players clenched their teeth and stood up, following behind Jin Cheng and Leng Miao with resolution.

The remaining players were hesitant to take steps, not knowing where they should go. Everyone discussed and discussed, but because of many disagreements, they burst into a quarrel. After about ten minutes, a few players who obviously belonged to the same team broke away from the big team and went to the leftmost path which they believed was the easiest.

“Mr. Crow said that the more people there are, the more monsters we’ll encounter. It’s okay for us to disperse. Moreover, without Jin Cheng and Leng Miao, our strengths are now more balanced, and things like [Ruleless] shouldn’t turn up again.”

From that moment on, the team dispersed.

24 players were separated into three routes. But there were forks after forks in the road, so how many paths were awaiting them in front, no one really knew.

At the Third Gate, ‘The World Is An Asylum’.

The woman finally survived. Zheng Yingying’s dagger went down and successfully killed the thing in her belly. Her belly was still bulging up, but at least it wouldn’t hurt anymore. After gulping down two potions, her blood also stopped pouring out.

After this incident, the atmosphere in the ward improved a bit and was no longer drenched in hostility, but Zheng Yingying still didn’t team up with them in the end. On one hand, she was confident enough to suppress Meng Yufei once, but wasn’t so sure that she could suppress him all the time, which meant that Qian Wei might not escape death eventually. On the other hand, would the people in Ward 304 really not turn against them later?

Not necessarily.

Taking advantage of the time when the monster doctors were busy making their rounds after the one-hour limit was up, Zheng Yingying took Meng Yufei straight to the director’s office on the top floor. It looked like there was no way to kill all the monsters, and they got entangled in the incident in Ward 304 that took way too long, so they might as well head for the biggest fish. As they said, ‘destroy the leader and the gang would collapse’.

That year, she was locked up here because she was young and weak and couldn’t escape. At this moment, she had the [Nameless Blade] and she could take vengeance. She not only wanted to escape from here, but also to kill.

She didn’t have the ability to kill all the monsters, but now there was only one target. Even if there was a chance that she would fail, she had to do it.

The Trial Game of Life - Chapter 107
The Trial Game of Life - Chapter 109.1
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11 months ago

The developments are as fun as always! Thank you so much for translating <3

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