The Trial Game of Life

The Trial Game of Life – Chapter 63

Table of Contents | Character Guide

Chapter 63: Before Dawn (2)

Tang Cuo traded a chocolate bean for a xiao di1, so this deal was definitely not a loss. 

As for why the Character panel didn’t show any ‘Poisoned’ status after swallowing the pill, the big boss said that it was ‘delayed onset poison’. What’s there to argue?

“Where did you get the key to open the door?”

“Downstairs, in the butler’s room.” 

The xiao di was called Qi Hui. He landed in the butler’s room when he entered the dungeon and successfully got the key on the hook behind the door. The key was hung inside a steel wire bent into a circle, together with many other keys that would make a loud “ding ding” sound wherever he went. Qi Hui used three to open the attic door, so two keys weren’t used yet, but he had no idea where they would fit into.

Yu Mansion was a two-storey building with an attic. Based on the mission settings, the owner’s family lived on the second floor and the servants lived on the first floor. Tang Cuo walked down the stairs, the sound of his footsteps vaguely echoing in the empty house.

This was undoubtedly a magnificent mansion, having both Chinese-style aura and Western-style luxury. The wooden floor of the corridor was covered with carpets and chandeliers were hanging from the ceiling. Every few meters, there would be a painting.

It was just that the rooms on both sides of the corridor were locked. Tang Cuo tried the remaining two keys, but it was fruitless.

From the second floor to the first floor, almost all the rooms were locked, except for the kitchen, utility room, butler’s room and maid’s room. In addition, there was a common area that looked like a living room on the first floor.

There was an open-air balcony on the second floor, but the door to the balcony was blocked by the system. And it was not only that the system forbade them to pass through, but the owner’s family also installed iron bars to seal it tightly. There were also iron bars outside all windows, which were beautifully made and engraved with intricate patterns, but this wouldn’t change the fact that they were iron bars.

The whole mansion was like a cage.

The front door on the first floor and the back door in the kitchen were also locked. Tang Cuo made one round around the house and roughly studied the circumstance. He stood in the kitchen and fell into a short moment of deep thoughts.

[Before Dawn] was an Escape Room dungeon, but it was different from an ordinary escape room. Generally speaking, an Escape Room game was about unlocking one room to another before finally unlocking the entire map to escape. But for this mansion they were in right now, its lay inside a glitch of space and time dimensions.

Just then, the telephone rang with a shrieking sound.

Qi Hui was taken aback and was about to say that some poltergeists were playing on them, but Tang Cuo had already rushed out of the kitchen. Qi Hui quickly followed to see that the man had accurately located the source of the sound ― the telephone next to the flower rack in the living room.

Tang Cuo calmly picked up the phone: “Hello?”

Jin Cheng’s smiling voice came: “Hearing this voice, is it Mr. Tang Cuo?”

Tang Cuo: “Go straight to business.” 

Jin Cheng: “I’m looking for you, isn’t it business?”

Tang Cuo: “I’m hanging up.”

Jin Cheng: “No, I’ve finally managed to get through this call. If you hang up on me, we really will become Niulang and Zhinu that could only meet once a year on the Magpies bridge2.”

Tang Cuo was speechless.

Jin Cheng finally straightened his face: “I’m at the Yu Mansion in the year 1926, at 7 PM Beijing time. My initial observations show that the magnetic field here is very unstable, with electric lights flashing, ghosts crying and lots of wind gusts. More importantly ― there’s only one player here.” 

As he said this, Jin Cheng was looking up at a middle-aged female ghost poking her head from the ceiling. One person and one ghost looked at each other, then Jin Cheng leisurely leaned on the flower rack while the ghost clung to the chandelier and stared at him.

The lights flashed and the shaking metal frames made a crunching sound that would send chill down anyone’s spine. Four of the nine chandelier holders had broken, and the remaining five were illuminating the once-magnificent hall with a gloomy light. Looking around, there were dust and cobwebs everywhere on the sofa and the stairs.

On the phone, Tang Cuo asked: “How did you call here?”

Jin Cheng: “I found a phone book next to the flower rack. Now that we’re scattered, it proves that there exist multiple time and space dimensions. But this wasn’t a dungeon that a single player could clear. We’re now teammates, and different time and space dimensions must communicate with each other. I’ve looked around but it seems that there’s only this phone.”

So, Jin Cheng did something that seemed to go against logic ― he called the mansion using the mansion’s phone.

He tried for ten minutes but there was only the sizzling electric noise on the phone, and it couldn’t go through at all. In the end, the signal finally stabilised and Tang Cuo’s voice came.

“Remember this well: The number is 1446.” Saying that, he asked again: “When is it on your side?”

“My time should be before you, that is, between 1923 and 1926. The mansion is still well preserved. There’s nothing unusual for the time being. There’re two players including me, and there’re no ghosts.”

“That is to say, there’re other dimensions.”

“At least one more.”

“Is there anything I can help?”

Since they could talk between different time and space dimensions, the clues each of them needed might be in the other person’s hands. They had to help each other. Tang Cuo hadn’t found anything that needed help yet, but there was one thing he had to bring up.

“The time is wrong. Here, it’s 10 o’clock in the evening.”

“10 o’clock?” Jin Cheng raised his eyebrows.

“Yes, my sunrise will be three hours earlier than yours.” As Tang Cuo said this, Jin Cheng understood immediately.

The mission required them to escape from the mansion before dawn. If the time of dawn was different in each dimension, by the time Jin Cheng saw his dawn, Tang Cuo would have already met his end. The clues from Tang Cuo’s dimension would then be cut off and there was a high probability that Jin Cheng would also die.

Thinking of this, Jin Cheng said: “But it doesn’t match the information we got. From the three players that got out, the longest clearance time is about 24 hours. There are two possibilities: the time can be adjusted, or the players can travel between dimensions.”

Tang Cuo basically agreed with this inference, and at this point, a sizzling noise came on the phone. He frowned and was about to speak when Jin Cheng interrupted him: “I have to hang up, there’s a female ghost here who wants to dance with me.”

Tang Cuo: “…”

Jin Cheng: “She wears a maid’s dress, aged 40 or so, with a square face and a wound on her chest ― Beep ―”

The phone was hung up.

At the last moment, Tang Cuo could hear some clashing sound. It should be a fight. He immediately put down the phone to look for the phone book but couldn’t find it.

Qi Hui finally found a chance to step forward: “Tang ge, was it Jin ge who called you just now? Have you found a way to communicate so soon?”

Qi Hui had a lot of awareness of his role as a xiao di. He called Jin Cheng ‘Jin ge’ when he hadn’t even seen him yet, and he called Tang Cuo ‘Tang ge’ when Tang Cuo apparently looked younger than him.

Tang Cuo asked back: “You entered the dungeon without having any plan on how to deal with it?”

Qi Hui was lost for words, embarrassed to say that their plan was to hug the bosses’ thighs.

Tang Cuo didn’t ask any more questions. Jin Cheng’s words had pointed him to a direction ― the middle-aged maid who had turned into a ghost. When they briefly searched earlier, they could only enter the rooms of the butler and the maid. The wardrobe in the maid’s room was filled with young ladies’ clothes. In other words, if there was a middle-aged maid, she lived in another room.

Most likely next to the young maid’s room.

Tang Cuo located the room by judging from the door style and the room size. If any room was obviously larger, it was unlikely for a servant to live in it.

The key point was the key itself: Where was the key to open this?

The map was too big to find a small key. Tang Cuo tasked Qi Hui to look for it by rummaging through the carpets, while he himself paced along the corridor unhurriedly.

After a while, he went to the butler’s room again.

Apart from the mandatory bed, desk and wardrobe, the butler’s room had basically no other furniture or decoration. A small blackboard was hung on the wall, and the schedule for the day was recorded in neat chalk handwriting on the blackboard.

[6 AM: Preparation work

7 AM: Breakfast

9:30 AM: Reception of guests

12 PM: Lunch

3 PM: Afternoon tea for the young miss

6 PM: Dinner and medicine decoction for the lady

12 AM: Piano room]

From this schedule, there was a miss and a lady in the mansion, so there should also be a master. Except for the fact that the lady had an illness, nothing else could be learnt at the moment.

But what did ’12 AM: Piano room’ mean? This timing was too weird.

There was still an hour and a half before the clock hit 12 AM.

The piano room should be on the second floor. Such a large family should own a relatively large piano room, but there was no such large room on the first floor. However, the rooms on the second floor were all currently locked.

He went back to the living room and dialed 1446, but the phone didn’t respond.

It seemed that this was a one-way connection.

Qi Hui was still searching in the corridor and lifting the carpets. Tang Cuo looked at him a few times with his arms folded, then turned around and walked into the kitchen, looking for medicine through boxes and cabinets.

The lady needed to take medicine because she was sick. The medicine packs should be kept in the kitchen. The butler was a man, so it was impossible for him to walk in and out of the lady’s room every day. It was more likely the job of the middle-aged maid or the young maid to bring medicine to her.

After a while, Tang Cuo pulled out a square metal box from the cabinet, which exuded a faint smell of Chinese medicine. This was a box with a four-digit password.

This was very strange; what medicine must be kept in a box locked with a password? Were they afraid that it would be stolen? Or afraid that people would see its contents?

What was the password?

Tang Cuo looked at the lock and squinted. The person who set the password must be the person who was responsible for the decoction every day. The butler might not necessarily be responsible for delivering the medicine to the lady, but decocting the medicine was definitely his job.

Otherwise, he wouldn’t specifically record it on the blackboard.

Holding the box, Tang Cuo went back to the butler’s room again to look for clues, but this rigid and meticulous butler really had pitifully few items in his room.

His clothes only contained suits of the same style, and his book collection only had one copy of ‘Classic of the Way and Virtue’3, which didn’t look like it was read often. He didn’t keep a diary and there was nothing that showed his year of birth, so no clues about the numbers could be spotted.

Wait.

Tang Cuo flipped to the title page of ‘Classic of the Way and Virtue’, where he saw a few lines written with a fountain pen.

[A Bai:

This is the first day you came to the mansion. I’m gifting this book to you, hoping that you can be enlightened on something. 

6th June of Jia Yin year4, Yu Wangnian.]

Yu Mansion, Yu Wangnian.

This Yu Wangnian was either the master or the young master of the mansion. The only Jia Yin year around this period was 1914. Knowing the date 6th June, 1914, Tang Cuo carefully recalled the historical events that took place that year, then he compared the lunar calendar with the solar calendar and deduced that the solar calendar date that should match 6th June of the lunar calendar should be — 28th July.5

On the first day when the butler entered the mansion, the owner gave him a book. He also put this only book on his bedside, which showed that this day must be important to him.

Tang Cuo immediately used 0728 on the lock, and with a ‘click’, it opened right on the first attempt.

“Holy shit.” This scene deeply shook Qi Hui. Even when he played an Escape Room game in the real world, he rarely saw anyone cracking a lock in one try.

Tang Cuo ignored him and checked the contents of the box. There were five medicine packs and a key.

Seeing Qi Hui approaching, Tang Cuo threw the key over and asked him to try it on the maid’s room door, while he tore open the medicine packs for inspection. The five packs of medicine were all the same, containing ginseng, astragalus and a few common ingredients. As for the others, Tang Cuo couldn’t recognise them.

At this moment, Qi Hui shouted from outside: “Tang ge, come, the door is open!”

The maid’s room was similar in size and layout to the butler’s room, but it was a lot more stuffy and full of miscellaneous items. After Qi Hui entered the dungeon, the only thing he had been doing was searching for things. Thinking that there might be more rooms to look through in the lower floor, he suddenly felt that this dungeon was way different from what he had imagined.

But when he was about to search, Tang Cuo suddenly stopped him: “You go to decoct the medicine.”

Qi Hui was stunned: “Decoct the medicine? What is it for?”

Tang Cuo: “I ask you to decoct medicine, just decoct medicine.”

Qi Hui was completely confused. They were here to clear the dungeon, so why would they suddenly start decocting medicine for an NPC? However, his life was in the hands of Tang Cuo and he didn’t dare to resist, so he had to take the medicine packs and head to the kitchen.

Within the next ten minutes, Tang Cuo turned the maid’s room upside down. To save time, he used the crudest and most trouble-free method, which was: throwing everything out until the room was empty.

After searching like this, he found a small blue floral bag in the depths of the closet. This was actually a handkerchief with several things wrapped in it ― a silver Chinese hairpin, three silver coins, a pearl, an old gemstone necklace and a golden pocket watch.

These things didn’t look like something a maid should own, nor did they look like rewards from the owner.

Tang Cuo carefully checked the hairpin and the gemstone necklace but found no clues, then he picked up the pocket watch. The pocket watch could still be considered 80% new, and it felt heavy in his hand. The material should be pure gold and the face was lined with precious stones, which showed that it must be very valuable.

But the watch no longer worked and its face was smashed, its chain faintly stained with dark red blood. This blood stain likely had been wiped away, leaving only a little trace behind, but it was noticeable enough.

This was the first blood stain that Tang Cuo saw in this mansion, or more precisely, in this mansion before 1926.

In Jin Cheng’s dimension, Yu Mansion of 1926 had become a residence of ghosts. But the Yu Mansion right now was still intact, so what happened in those two or three years?

Tang Cuo looked at the pocket watch again and found two small characters engraved on the back, near the bottom ― WY.

Were they someone’s initials?

Without further clues, Tang Cuo temporarily put away the pocket watch and turned around to scavenge through the other items. However, it turned out that this room had many items, but very few proved useful. After a long while, Tang Cuo found nothing except for the fact that her name was Wenjuan.

Qi Hui took this time to decoct the medicine. He was incredibly puzzled and was still trying to guess if there was any NPC inside the lady’s room. What if this medicine was decocted to prevent her from becoming a game boss and going berserk on them?

But what the big boss did next was even more shocking than he had guessed.

“You, why do you drink it yourself?!” Qi Hui was so startled that his eyes almost wanted to drop out.

Tang Cuo calmly put down the medicine bowl, wiped off the residues from his lips and opened the Character panel to check the results.

[Character]

No. K27216: Tang Cuo

Character points: 0

Strength: 72

Intelligence: 34

Charm: 8

Rating: A

HP: 99

Yu Wangnian’s Hatred: Additional weakening, all attributes -10.

[Survival is not easy, please never stop trying.]

The mystery was solved. This wasn’t a cure at all, but a weakening poison that wasn’t fatal.

Someone was locked in the attic, the windows were blocked by iron bars, the lady was sick and the maid stole things. What secrets were hidden in this magnificent mansion?

Suddenly, the phone rang again.

The Trial Game of Life - Chapter 62
The Trial Game of Life - Chapter 64
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Aruwaaa
Aruwaaa
7 months ago

Why does the ghost part appears when I’m alone at home aaaaaa 😭😭😭😭

redspiderlily
redspiderlily
1 year ago

Tang Cuo is generous enough to test unknown stuffs himself and others only get choco beans xD

Konse
Konse
1 year ago

Hahaha the second Jin Cheng spoke my first thought was “he’s going to say something stupid & Tang Cuo will reply with something like ‘I’m hanging up’” 😆

Maschenny
Maschenny
1 year ago

Ohh I love this escape room things!! Murder mystery eh

Thanks!

Hotaru
Hotaru
1 year ago

Thanks for the chapter update!

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