Yan Hebi’s face filled with horror, but he still acted strong, “Yiyi, don’t be afraid. I’ll protect you!”
Xing Ye’s face was calm, “I’m not afraid, just bringing up ideas. There are many different ways for parasites to spread, but all of them require physical contact. The easiest way to spread it would be through bodily fluids, such as sneezing or saliva. Then the parasite could be transmitted through air. If the parasite wants to, it could easily infect everybody in the hospital very quickly. However, the parasite we’re looking for can only infect one person a day so it definitely transmissible through bodily fluids.
For the same reason, if it takes over others by biting them, it shouldn’t have any reason to go one per day.”
Yan Hebi said cautiously, “It could be like a vampire’s embrace. In order to convert humans into vampires, they have to exchange blood. The ability can only be used once per day, or it’ll weaken them.”
Xing Ye replied, “It’s possible, but then it should be two people that get infected every night. Why would two parasites only infect one person? The only thing I can think of is reproduction. This transmission method is very slow and ineffective compared to the other two possible transmission alternatives, but why weren’t you afraid of those two and found the egg one so frightening?”
“Because it’s disgusting… eating its eggs…” Yan Hebi looked like he was about to puke.
“Did you finish copying the hospital records?” Xing Ye asked.
“Yeah,” Yan Hebi jumped on the chance to change the topic, “I designed a software to automatically filter through the hospital records according to your suggestions. All the ones that looked suspicious have been copied.”
His hand moved the mouse busily. Xing Ye spotted his own hospital record among the files. His face didn’t change as he asked, “Do you have a USB? Give me a copy of the files too.”
“You said the same yesterday, so I ordered one by express delivery.” Yan Hebi said as he took out a USB from his pocket.
“Let me,” Xing Ye said, “That way I can skim through them real quick before I copy them.”
“Alright.” Yan Hebi gave Xing Ye the USB.
While Yan Hebi was distracted, Xing Ye took the chance to quickly glance over his hospital record before deleting it.
Sure enough, his current condition was different from the medical card by his bed. It said his episodes of mania would appear irregularly, but before, it would rarely occur two days in a row. According to his medical record, if he wasn’t injected with tranquilizers and just bound, he would return to normal after 30 minutes. However, when his illness flares up, he would become much stronger and very difficult to restrain. That was why the doctor had decided to use tranquilizers yesterday.
After deleting his information, Xing Ye quickly scrolled through the list of patients and hospital staff who had been on-duty for the past two days. He quickly made a second list of people he found suspicious and used the printer in the office to print it out. He then made another copy of the data so it’d be easier to compare for any changes tomorrow.
Yan Hebi picked up the printed papers. It was more than a dozen pages long, filled with names and text.
“So many? This will take a long time to go through.” Yan Hebi said anxiously.
Xing Ye said, “There are 5 doctors and 9 nurses who have worked both today and yesterday. Among them, 2 doctors and 5 nurses are continuing on day-shift today without taking a break. Those 7 are the most suspicious.
“There are altogether 15 patients who should be discharged, yet stay in the hospital. 7 of them had their conditions suddenly worsen while the other 8 just refused to leave the hospital no matter what.
“In addition to them, there are also 13 patients whose conditions suddenly improved. 3 of them are very interesting: one is a cancer patient who suddenly refused chemotherapy today and said they were fine, forcibly stopping their treatment after 17 straight days of chemotherapy. The second person was originally supposed to have an amputation, but she suddenly seemed to go crazy, refusing to undergo the amputation or leave the hospital. The third patient has measles and is hospitalized in the isolation ward. He wasn’t supposed to be able to leave his hospital room, but this morning, the hospital staff found him in the emergency room and brought him back.
“Finally, there is a patient whose condition worsened to the point of paralysis and can barely move, but their numbers are all normal. Those are all the people I’ve printed out.”
Yan Hebi stared as Xing Ye explained. He frowned, “Yiyi, all of these records are scanned. The doctor just casually notes down the patient’s condition before scanning it onto the computer to keep a record. I can’t even read most of these words, how did you manage to read all of records and filter through them in only 30 minutes?”
Xing Ye shrugged, “Well, I can read it.”
Yan Hebi was speechless.
Xing Ye clicked on the three people whose conditions had suddenly improved, “Let’s find these three tonight.”
“Why?” Yan Hebi asked, “How can you tell they’ve been taken over by parasites?”
Xing Ye shook his head, “I don’t think they have parasites, but I’m pretty sure they’re players. Do you think a cancer patient who has already undergone 17 days of chemotherapy would suddenly say they were healthy and refuse treatment?
“As for the person who was supposed to be amputated, her left leg had frostbite that developed into gangrene. If they amputated the limb now, they could save her knee and she could be rehabilitated with prosthetics. Otherwise, the gangrene would continue to spread up and her entire leg would have to be amputated. Everything had already been prepared yet just as the patient was about to be rolled into the operating room, she suddenly vehemently changed her mind. Wasn’t that suspicious?
“The worst one is the measles patient. If it weren’t for something very important, why would a patient with a highly-infectious disease be walking around the hospital in the middle of the night?
“With how unlucky these three players are, I suspect they’re players. To be specific, opposing fate players.”
Yan Hebi, “Geez, um… Yiyi, you didn’t go through all the hospital records, right? There’s no way you could’ve read through all of them like that…”
“Yeah,” Xing Ye nodded, “I didn’t see you were hospitalized for hemorrhoid surgery.”
Yan Hebi: “...”
“Then Yiyi, how were you hospitalized?” He asked, flustered and embarrassed, “Your face looks healthy and all your limbs seem fine. Your movements are nimble and you don’t seem sick at all. You don’t also have hemorrhoids, right?”
“Amnesia.” Xing Ye said calmly, “Couldn’t you tell something so obvious? I don’t even remember my own starting abilities.”
Yan Hebi said regretfully, “I don’t know if I should be admiring you or envying you.”
“You’re lucky compared to those players.” Xing Ye said, “According to the luck values you mentioned, even if following fate players are patients, their ailments shouldn’t be too serious. It’s more likely they’re hospital staff. Let’s go find the three patients first.”
He still remembered the little mirror said he had teammates. He should go see if any of them were his teammates.
Xing Ye looked at the hospital map. The one closest to them was the amputee on the 19th floor. The two decided to go up the stairs to find her.
As for why they were going down the stairs, yesterday’s Xing Ye had already explained to Yan Hebi that elevators were sealed spaces, making it easy for others to tamper with. If one of the people who entered the elevator in the middle of the night was a parasite, they would be in big trouble.
They climbed from the 12th floor to the 19th floor. Yan Hebi clutched his butt painfully.
As soon as Xing Ye arrived at the 19th floor, he saw a girl in a wheelchair struggling to roll up the stairs. One of her legs was covered in gauze but even with her body ruined, she stubbornly tried to go up the stairs instead of using the elevators. … Wasn’t she a bit too strong?
She noticed Xing Ye and stared at him as she gestured towards her chest.
Xing Ye walked past her expressionlessly. Yan Hebi had just caught up behind him and shouted, “Yiyi, wait for me! My body is just…”
“Call me Xing Ye.” Xing Ye glanced at the girl in the wheelchair, intending to both remind Yan Hebi and test the girl.
The little mirror called him Xing Ye, meaning his real name was the same as his name in the game world. If they were teammates that deserved to be trusted, they should know his name.
“Just calling each other by name makes us sound like strangers! I told you, just call me Yan- wait, what are you doing? How are you so strong?”
Yan Hebi was pushed aside by the girl in the wheelchair. The girl faced Xing Ye, an expression of disbelief on her face as she stared at him dressed in women’s clothing, “Xing Ye?!”
This girl would probably be screaming if it wasn’t the middle of the night. Xing Ye thought inwardly.
The girl supported herself on the wheelchair as she looked at him like a sight too terrible to behold. Suddenly, she said, “My name is Cao Qian. With how you look, it makes sense why you always have a makeup mirror now.”
Cao Qian. That name was different from the one on the hospital record. But with that sentence, Xing Ye knew Cao Qian was his teammate and even knew he had the mirror.
He told Cao Qian, “I have amnesia and mania. Every day at 12 am, I lose all my memories. I also get random episodes of mania. It triggered yesterday, forcing the doctor to inject me with tranquilizers and wasted a day. I can’t get tranquilized again, so if I have another episode, I need someone to restrain me. It’ll stop by itself after 30 minutes.”
Cao Qian nodded, “There’s no problem when it comes to strength, but my body’s not in a good condition right now. I need to find Guan Ling as soon as possible and have him heal me. Yesterday, I forcefully canceled the surgery and tried to find Guan Ling using the wheelchair, but couldn’t.”
Xing Ye rubbed the mirror, who was shaking in his bag.
The mirror believes her, so we are indeed teammates. However, was this teammate worth trusting? Right now, I can’t even trust the mirror. Xing Ye narrowed his eyes as he looked at Cao Qian.
Fortunately, Cao Qian didn’t notice and continued talking, “Oh right, you don’t remember Guan Ling. We’re a group of 3. You and I are opposing fate players, while Guan Ling is a following fate player. His situation should be better than ours.”
“There’s not many people hospitalized in good situations.” Xing Ye glanced at Yan Hebi who had just had hemorrhoid surgery, “According to what you said, our other teammate should be part of the hospital staff or a family member of a hospitalized patient. We should start looking for him among the hospital staff.”
He didn’t trust Cao Qian, but his former teammates would always be better than a stranger like Yan Hebi. At the very least, Cao Qian’s expression proved she knew he was a man, which meant they did indeed know each other.
Xing Ye pushed Cao Qian’s wheelchair downstairs. Yan Hebi tutted, “Goodness, it’s not easy for two girls like you two. Let me help.”
He endured the pain from his butt.
Cao Qian’s eye twitched when she heard “two girls” and couldn’t help but look at Xing Ye, only to see his expression didn’t change at all. She couldn’t help but admire him- the boss really was the boss. Even when the system forced him to crossdress, he could still keep calm.
They couldn’t find any information about family members of hospitalized patients in the hospital database, so they could only search among the hospital staff.
Xing Ye’s first goal was the first building’s isolation ward on the 20th floor, where the measles patient was staying.
“The measles patient should be an opposing fate player, right?” Yan Hebi knew they were looking for their teammate and insisted on wanting to protect “the two girls”. Xing Ye couldn’t drive him away. Yan Hebi pushed Cao Qian as he asked, “Isn’t your teammate a following fate player?”
Xing Ye said, “The measles patient might not just be an opposing fate player. He might even have the parasite.”
Yan Hebi thought back to the hospital record and couldn’t understand how he had reached that conclusion at all. Cao Qian, on the other hand, looked completely calm. If the boss said he might have the parasite, there was a 99% chance it was true.
“W-Why?” Yan Hebi asked.
Xing Ye said, “According to the hospital records, the measles patient was found in the first floor emergency room of the third building. He had a high fever and was only semi-conscious. Measles is often accompanied by high fevers. The doctor thought the cold winds from while he was walking around worsened his condition, but I find it very suspicious.
“A patient with an infectious disease walked from the 20th floor of the first building to the first floor of the third building, meaning he had clearly found some sort of clue. The chances of him being an opposing fate player is very high. But as an experienced player, no matter how dizzy he felt, how could he let himself faint in the emergency room? How could he stay in such a weak, unguarded position? This in itself shows something is wrong.”
Cao Qian nodded, “I understand. He lost consciousness because he was infected by the parasite last night. Now, he is no longer a player, but a host for the parasite. But we really do need to find Guan Ling. Shouldn’t we avoid meeting the parasite until we have enough manpower? I can’t fight right now.”
Xing Ye said, “There are 7 hospital staff that have been working non-stop for the past two days. Two of them, a doctor and a nurse, work in the infectious disease department. Working in the infectious disease department is a very dangerous job to begin with, so why would they insist on continuing to work without rest?”
“You suspect those two are following fate players.” Cao Qian suddenly understood.
“The measles patient makes me even more certain that at least one of them must be a following fate player.” Xing Ye said, “There’s a possibility that the parasite is from the infectious disease department, resulting in the measles patient becoming the parasite’s host. We know two parasites can only infect one person a night, so those two are safe. Furthermore, their close proximity to the parasite makes it much easier for them to get clues than us and they were also very lucky to have not been chosen by the parasite. What else would they be but following fate players?”
Cao Qian was already used to it. She didn’t have pen and paper at hand, so she could only use her phone to record it to take notes later.
Yan Hebi had turned stiff with shock. He didn’t dare to speak with Xing Ye directly, instead turning to ask Cao Qian, “Qianqian, has Yiyi always seemed to know everything like this?”
His nickname for Xing Ye, “Yiyi”, struck Cao Qian like a thunderbolt. However, she saw Xing Ye had no intentions of revealing his true identity and didn’t expose him, respecting the boss’s decisions.
She sighed, “Her IQ’s already been crippled quite a bit by the system’s malice. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have taken us two days to meet. If she had her memory, she should’ve been able to gather Guan Ling and I on the first day.”
Yan Hebi blinked, “... I hope Yiyi won’t micromanage her husband to death when she gets married.”
Cao Qian looked at Yan Hebi like he was a ghost. What was this guy thinking?
Xing Ye pretended he didn’t hear the two and continued to explain, “I can’t determine which following fate player is Guan Ling, but we’ll at least be able to find clues if we go to the infectious disease department. If we can find our teammate there too, it’ll be a pleasant surprise, hitting two birds with one stone.”
“I got it.” Cao Qian recorded everything he said.
Xing Ye saw Cao Qian was recording and thought of how all the information on his phone had been wiped out. “I can’t guarantee the recording will still be there tomorrow, so you’d better write all of it down and show it to me tomorrow. That way, I might be able to trust you.”
“Alright.” Cao Qian completely trusted Xing Ye, “I believe even if you lose your memory, you’ll still be able to tell whether we’re sincere and truly your teammates instantly. I trust your judgment. Guan Ling is the same, he’s definitely in some corner wailing and waiting for you to save him right now.”
Even though Xing Ye had lost his memory, just the sight of him made Cao Qian feel like she had found her pillar of strength, putting her mind at ease.
My teammates trust me that much? Xing Ye inwardly thought. He felt a little bit happy.
The current Xing Ye trusted others far easier now than when he had his memories. The current him had absolute confidence in his IQ and had never experienced being betrayed. He accepted others more easily. Even Yan Hebi, he had slowly started to view as his teammate.
They carried Cao Qian to the 20th floor as they talked. Fortunately, it wasn’t too far from the 17th floor to the 20th floor. Otherwise, Yan Hebi would’ve had to go in for surgery again.
This was another reason why Xing Ye chose to go to the infectious disease department. It was hard for them to get around, so naturally it would be best to go to the most convenient place.
The smell of disinfectant on the 20th floor was especially strong. Yan Hebi frowned, “We should be careful or we might catch some disease before finding the parasites.”
Cao Qian and Xing Ye both stared at him. Can an opposing fate player not say stuff like that?
The three went straight to the nurse’s station, where on-duty nurses would take their breaks.
The nurse’s station was empty. They found three masks and put them on to avoid Yan Hebi’s jinx from coming true.
There were two nurses working in the infectious disease department right now, yet nobody was in the nurse’s station. It was strange indeed.
The lights in the corridor were very dim, giving a horror-movie-like ambiance.
Xing Ye didn’t go to the doctor’s office and instead inspected the nurse’s station.
“Why aren’t we going?” Yan Hebi whispered.
Xing Ye found a record of the measles patient’s medication in the nurse’s station. He was prescribed oral fever-reducers that would be delivered daily by a nurse.
Xing Ye found the measles patient’s pills in the storage room and counted the number of pills in the bottle. “I noticed today’s dosage hasn’t been inputted into the records yet. From the number in the hospital records, he should’ve taken five pills, but this bottle was just opened and only four were taken. One is missing.”
Yan Hebi thought of Xing Ye’s earlier theory about parasitic eggs and felt his blood run cold, “Then that missing pill, it can’t be... right?"
“We can’t eliminate the possibility, so we must be careful.” Xing Ye said, “Don’t eat any medications the hospital gives you. Food and water should also only be bought from the supermarket downstairs. Right now, we don’t know anything about the parasites so we have to be cautious about what we consume.”
“I just had hemorrhoid surgery, so I need anti-inflammatory pills every day. What if it’s poisoned?” Yan Hebi asked.
Cao Qian looked at his face and couldn’t help but shake her head with a sigh.
No matter how you looked at him, Yan Hebi was a handsome young man, yet the system forced such a disease upon him. It was tragic beyond words.
“Unless you can buy your own medicine,” Xing Ye sighed, “You’ll just have to endure.”
“I…” Yan Hebi was about to cry.
Xing Ye didn’t pay attention to him and continued, “Do you think the doctor that’s been working for the past two days could’ve not noticed?”
Cao Qian said, “Maybe he did, but by then, it was already too late. Let’s go find him.”
She pushed the wheels on her wheelchair to leave only to be stopped by Xing Ye.
“What are you running for? We can just use the phone.” Xing Ye said confidently.
“The phone? Do you know the doctor’s phone number?” Cao Qian asked, “Where did you get his phone number from?”
Yan Hebi immediately raised his hand, “Me! I hacked into the hospital’s database and records. Little Yiyi found you by going through all the records. But there were so many phone numbers, Yiyi, did you really memorize all of them?”
“Yeah.” Xing Ye nodded like it was nothing.
Cao Qian looked like it was only natural. Wasn’t it normal for Xing Ye to memorize the phone numbers? He could even memorize QR codes.
Xing Ye fished out his phone and quickly dialed. A ringing sound came from the bathroom.
The person on the other end picked up and screamed, “Help, save me! There’s a monster!”
Xing Ye and his group shared a look before cautiously making their way to the source of the ringing. They found a man in a white hospital gown fallen on the floor in front of the sink. He was facing a… a very disgusting creature.
It had a human body, but was covered in pustules that were oozing with pus. Its arms had become tentacles and its mouth was open wide enough to swallow a man, lined with rows of sharp teeth. Saliva dripped from its mouth, turning the floor black where it made contact. It was acidic, but didn’t seem very strong.
“S-Save me!” The doctor was curled under the sink. He stared at the three desperately, “My starting ability can only last for three minutes, it’s almost already up!”
With that, Cao Qian immediately confirmed the other’s identity. “Xing Ye, he’s Guan Ling!”
“Xing Ye?” Guan Ling almost screamed when he saw Xing Ye in crossdress. How was the sight of the boss with his long, beautiful, slender legs somehow even more terrifying than the monster?
Xing Ye nodded expressionlessly before saying doubtfully, “Weird, why is the monster only attacking him? It didn’t even look at us.”
“Are you supposed to be so calm right now? We have to save him!” Yan Hebi’s expression fell, “That monster’s so gross!”
As he spoke, he opened his phone and activated a QR code.