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Chapter 93: Mysteries Upon Mysteries
When Yan Hebi heard Xing Ye and Cao Qian were going to protect Guan Ling, he slowly trailed off, stopping to look at them pitifully every few steps. He looked at Xing Ye like a kicked puppy, abandoned heartlessly after being used.
Xing Ye ignored Yan Hebi's looks and spoke to Ge Kuangyi, "You have two options. You can work alone and once the CD's decrypted, we'll tell you its contents and our deal's over. Alternatively, you can work with us, but our team is full so it will only be a temporary cooperation."
Now that Ge Kuangyi was healed, his spirit was much better than before. He replied, "I think it's best for us to find clues separately and exchange information if we find any important leads. To tell the truth, I've gone through many worlds and worked with many players like that. I can guarantee trades will be effective, but no feelings are involved."
"That's fair." Xing Ye nodded, "If we find anything, she'll contact you. If you have anything you would like to share, you can also text her to contact us."
He pointed at Cao Qian. In this world, Cao Qian wasn't using her original name and Xing Ye didn't want to expose his teammate's real name.
After sending Ge Kuangyi off, Cao Qian changed into Xing Ye's clothes: a short skirt, tennis shoes, and a beret to hide her face from the surveillance cameras. This way, she wouldn't be recognized as the girl who needed her leg amputated.
The two took the stairs to the first building's 18th-floor department head's office. Now that they thought of it, it was strange. Why was the department head's office in the hospitalization building and not the outpatient building?
The 18th floor primarily consisted of specialist consultation rooms and offices for management-level staff. There was no area for patients. Xing Ye and Cao Qian cracked open the emergency exit door in the stairwell and listened to the sounds in the department head's office.
"Department head, you have to believe me! There was really a monster!" Guan Ling deliberately shouted loudly, his acting exaggerated as he cried, "I already talked to the patients. They agreed to not tell the media about it so our hospital's reputation is safe, but we need to investigate! Why is there a monster in our hospital?!"
The department head gave a kind smile that closely resembled the gynecology department's head Wang. "Guan, please take a seat."
Guan Ling took a seat on the guest sofa. The department head stood up and closed the door before locking it. Guan Ling's heart sped as he watched him turn the lock. He secretly prayed, God, please give me your blessing!
When he remembered Xing Ye and Cao Qian were waiting for him in the stairwell, Guan Ling felt a little bit better.
"Department head," Guan Ling's face was filled with sincerity, "I'm telling the truth, please believe me!"
"I know, I believe you." The middle-aged, half-balding department head said with a slight smile, "I've seen it too."
"Y-you have...?" Guan Ling forced himself to swallow dryly and felt his forehead start to bead with sweat.
"We have monitoring cameras in the hospital, of course I've seen it." The department head said, "I also know you've been with those three patients the whole day after."
There were at least 500 monitoring cameras in the entire inpatient department. The whole time their group's been together, they've been taking the old staircase, which had no monitoring cameras. If the department head wanted to use the surveillance footage to find them, it wouldn't be easy. He would've had to search through the footage frame by frame to find them.
Guan Ling forced a smile.
The department head continued, "Guan, what do you think that monster is? I want to hear your opinion."
He asked the question they had expected. Guan Ling recalled the ways Xing Ye told him to answer and replied, "At first, I was very scared. It was like instinct: when you see a monster, you run away. But after I calmed down, I remembered it had transformed from a patient. I couldn't help but wonder if it was actually a human, trying to ask me for help. So this morning, I accompanied that enthusiastic hemorrhoid patient and then paid a visit to the measles patient. I was very surprised when I saw he had already turned back to normal.
"I'm still worried, but if he really did fully recover, I'm happy for him and hope he won't remember what happened yesterday. That's why I didn't want such a big fuss to be mucked up and didn't tell my division head. I came to you, the department head, to request for this patient be put under observation for a few days.
The department head said, "Guan, you truly are a kindhearted and attentive doctor. I need to thank you for your conscientiousness and diligence in keeping quiet and comforting those patients. Let me ask you one more question. Let's say the measles patient has actually already died and what's currently in the hospital is a monster draped in human skin. However, it desperately wants to live like a human and when released into society, won't harm anybody. How would you treat it?"
Everything was just like the boss had said. The department head's question was one of the practice questions Xing Ye had prepared. Xing Ye had thought of three possible views the department head may hold against the parasite, each of which may be positive or negative. From this, Xing Ye devised six sets of possible questions and answers the department head may ask to probe him. Guan Ling went through them one by one, memorizing them so he could easily answer the department head.
Guan Ling said, "Department head, you just said I was conscientious and diligent, but that's not true. I'm actually a very cold and detached person. I tried to hide everything because I didn't want the hospital's reputation to suffer- this is, after all, my workplace. I do sympathize with that patient, but if he truly won't harm anyone and I don't have evidence to prove he's not a human, why not just let it be and everyone can be happy?"
He had to show he was harmless. He had sympathy, but his principles could be given up in face of benefits.
The department head was satisfied, "Guan, you truly are a smart man. To be honest, I've had my eye for quite a while. I want to invite you to participate in a grand project that could change mankind completely. Are you interested in joining?"
Guan Ling pretended to be excited and gripped the department head's hand tightly, "Department head, are you promoting me?"
Xing Ye told him he had to act utilitarian. Such people were easy to control and favored by those in a position of power. However, these chess pieces are also easy to discard. Because of that, though, it's easier for them to be exposed to secrets. After all, there was no reason to hold back from a dead person.
"Yes, you deserve to be promoted." The department head opened a safe. There wasn't any money in the safe. Instead, there was a set of documents and a few vials of blue liquid. The vials were the same as the ones the head of gynecology gave to the three following fate players.
Guan Ling recalled what Xing Ye said, "If he opens the safe in front of you, you have to be careful. He's testing you."
The department head put a vial of fluid meant to be consumed orally into Guan Ling's hand, "This drug will protect you from the parasites. Drink it."
Guan Ling accepted the vial, his face hesitant, "Department head... can I please think about it for a while?"
"Of course," The department head said understandingly, "I'll give you 24 hours to think about it. However, you can't leave the hospital. Why don't you just stay in your department's workroom and give me your answer at this time tomorrow?"
"Thank you, department head!" Guan Ling took the blue vial and left.
As soon as he left, he wiped his sweat, his body trembling with fear.
Even though he had experienced so many worlds, Guan Ling felt like he could never adapt to living like this. He didn't know how long these days would last or if he would ever be able to leave.
At first, Guan Ling was determined and wanted to win a lot of points so that after he paid back his debt, he could get his wife back. But right now, he didn't even have the courage to become a high-level player, scared of turning into a prop. There was no way he would invite a close friend into this game so when the time comes, he didn't know what he would do.
Sigh, in any case, he would just follow Xing Ye and take it a step at a time. All he could do was put all his chips on Xing Ye's shoulders. He hoped somebody as intelligent as Xing Ye could beat the final level with the mirror and tell him how he could be rescued.
After entering the staircase, Guan Ling's legs turned so soft, they felt like jelly. With a yank, Cao Qian hauled him up.
"Boss, I got the antibodies." Guan Ling handed the medicine to Xing Ye.
Xing Ye said skeptically, "He doesn't trust you, so why didn't he send somebody to keep you under watch? Nurse Lin and the others too, they're allowed to move around the hospital and use their phones freely. What if you use your phone to spread the news?"
"Maybe the department head thought without evidence, nobody would believe him?" Guan Ling said.
Xing Ye shook his head, "It can't be that simple. Let's go back to the room first. Yan Hebi just texted me saying he's convinced Nurse Lin.
"He's done already? No wonder his starting ability is Ladies Man, he sure is good at coaxing girls!" Guan Ling sighed in admiration, "If I had that ability, maybe my wife wouldn't have divorced me."
"Why don't you be quiet, no woman would want a man who even gambled their house away." Cao Qian kicked him and inwardly bemoaned, "Why do I always have such bad luck with male teammates? My previous teammate... never mind. But out of my current teammates, one's a gambler that lost everything and one's a ladies' man. Only one man is handsome, rich, smart, disciplined, doesn't have any bad hobbies, and seems to live a clean life, but is a... sigh..."
When the group returned to the room, Nurse Lin was sitting on the bed crying beside Yan Hebi, who was trying to comfort her.
"Well, well, aren't you amazing? You directly brought her over." Xing Ye looked at Yan Hebi.
"Little Yiyi, let me explain." Yan Hebi gently pushed Nurse Lin towards Cao Qian and hurriedly explained to Xing Ye, "I didn't say anything or even use my abilities. I swore that I would never use my starting abilities on players. I didn't want to hurt their feelings. But she hasn't been doing well mentally. When I encountered her, she was having terrible morning sickness and was about to collapse."
Xing Ye looked at Nurse Lin and saw her eyes were swollen with tears. She sobbed, "I don't want to have a child! I've never even had a boyfriend, why do I have to be pregnant, sob..."
Cao Qian tried to comfort her, "This is all fake, you won't actually give birth. If you really can't manage, you can always go back to the game world. There are options."
Cao Qian understood Nurse Lin's pain. As a woman, suddenly turning pregnant was truly a terrifying feeling. But in the end, this was a game world and everything was fake. If they exited the game world, everything would disappear. In the last world, they weren't even human. If they all cried like they couldn't go on in every world, then wouldn't they have just cried to death?
As Xing Ye watched Nurse Lin cry despite knowing everything was fake, he couldn't help but think of the mirror, who had turned into a prop yet remained so optimistic. He recognized that not everybody could withstand such a blow. Cao Qian also said her swan crystal Linda still couldn't accept she had turned into a prop. Her mood was very low and when nobody was there, she would secretly cry, missing her home.
When he thought of that, Xing Ye couldn't help but reach into his bag and rubbed the mirror.
To his surprise, the mirror wasn't closed and his fingertip landed right on the cool mirror's surface. The moment he touched it, Xing Ye felt his face turn hot.