1131 Some Friends Are Only Meant to Live in Your Memory 2 in 1
"Brother Ma, if you have anything to say, we can go inside this room next door first. It is too dangerous for us to stay outside here at the corridor." Xiao Sun grabbed Ma Feng by his arm and forcibly dragged him to the other end of the corridor.
"Stop, stop. Let me just think about this first, I believe we better…" Ma Feng was dragged weakly away by Xiao Sun. He had lost even the last bit of energy to resist anymore. With his head buzzing and the world spinning, his body aching and his eyes stinging, he was overwhelmed by the desire to curl up in the corner and cry.
"Brother Ma, there is no need for you to say anything. I can understand you perfectly well, but we have already reached the deepest part of the scenario. This is most likely the last sub-scenario of this haunted house. Do you really want to give up now? Won't that make all of our previous effort and the sacrifice of our other teammates a waste?" Xiao Sun held Ma Feng by his collar. "God will not deliver us unto a situation that we cannot overcome. Perhaps we are just that one final step away from victory."
Ma Feng's lips were pursed together. He looked at the darkness surrounding him numbly. Everything and anything could be hidden inside the darkness—monsters, ghosts, unknown danger, and of course, the exit. Strength gradually returned to his body. A small flicker of fire returned to Ma Feng's eyes.
"Those who don't believe in miracles will never create a miracle. The boss of the haunted house probably also thought no one will be able to escape from this place, but think about this, isn't the purpose of a haunted house for visitors to visit it? Is there a haunted house in this world that really cannot be cleared and escaped from?"
Xiao Sun's words were filled energy, and they helped give Ma Feng a direction. Gritting his teeth, Ma Feng also thought it was such a waste for him to give up now. He rubbed his buzzing head and slowly opened his lips to say, "Xiao Sun, let go of my arm first. I can walk on my own."
Using the wall as support, he slowly stood up. Ma Feng gradually sought his way down the corridor. "There will be a door at an interval of every three meters. We will stick along the wall. The moment we hear the cats, we will enter the nearest room. Once we enter the room, we will shut the door, and one person will block the door with his body while the other searches for the hidden pathway inside the room. We will cooperate closely and utilize the advantage that we have to its maximum potential."
"Okay!" Seeing Ma Feng with hope again, Xiao Sun felt tears pricking his eyes. It was so inspirational. In that moment, he was reminded of his living self that would never give up no matter what the world had thrown at him. Xiao Sun, who had always believed he was just a normal character in this world living a normal life, would often read 'inspiration' and self-help books, using the lessons inside to give him the energy to push forward another day.
"You reap what you sow. Brother Ma, I am sure we will definitely find the way to the exit!"
Xiao Sun and Ma Feng found support in each other, the two continued their difficult journey down the corridor. All the games had their way of solving them; Ma Feng was blessed with a brilliant mind and a gifted talent. Other than the flaw in his personality, he was truly a very capable person. With the aid from Xiao Sun, even though he had not gotten used to the darkness, he had still figured out the rhythm to the movement of the ghosts. After being scared five more times, he and Xiao Sun finally arrived at the bottommost floor of the Spire of Darkness.
Along the way, Ma Feng's body gained many new wounds. Other than the pain from his body, his soul was tortured even further by the most cruel and harrowing experience. Whenever Ma Feng was at the edge of losing his consciousness, Xiao Sun would immediately appear beside him to resuscitate him. He would revive to the sound of Xiao Sun calling his name, causing him to flutter between the line of nightmare and reality. With the large breath of stubbornness inside him, Ma Feng stuck it out until the end.
After entering the last room at the most bottom floor of the building, Ma Feng gave a very long sigh. Even Xiao Sun sighed along with him. "This is very difficult. I believe even a ghost would not be able to escape from this scenario."
"This is the last room, so the hidden pathway has to be here. We need to inspect this room closely." Ma Feng's voice was wispy and airy. If there was light, one would see that his face was blanched, and his lips were purple. He looked just like the workers at the haunted house after Chen Ge had put make-up on them. The two entered the room; they had just found their way to the bedroom door when they suddenly heard a man's voice coming from the entrance.
"You are going to be the ninth person that I will kill. Let me think, what should I take from you? Nose? Ears? Never mind, I think I will settle with your eyes. I know you have been searching for the hidden pathway. Actually, that exit is hidden inside my house, in the bedroom where all the cats' bodies were. Do you feel despair coursing through your veins?
"I have already told you the location of the exit, but you will never return to find it. How I wish I could see your expression now."
After the man said all that, the sound of something being slashed by a knife rang out inside the bedroom. Then, blood leaked out from the gap in the door. Ma Feng felt there was something sticky pooling around his feet.
"The murderer is giving us a hint. The exit is hidden inside the room with all the cats' bodies!" Ma Feng's face was indescribable. The exit was inside the room that he had once hidden in, but he had been led by Xiao Sun all the way to the bottommost floor of the building. He felt the breath catch inside his throat. Ma Feng was about to faint from fury. He stumbled a step back, and his shoes squished loudly as he stepped on the blood.
"Who is that‽" The man's voice echoed inside the bedroom, and it was swiftly followed by the wailing of the cats!
Knowing that they had been discovered, Ma Feng and Xiao Sun started to race toward the exit like crazy. "We have to the go back to the room with all the cats' bodies!"
Being chased by the ultimate crazed murdered, the scenario of Spire of Darkness had officially entered its most intense and horrifying moment. The cats' calls reverberated against the walls as Ma Feng and Xiao Sun raced down the corridor like their lives depended on it. Ma Feng's heart was palpitating; this was the most intense moment he had experienced in his life.
"I can't do it anything. My legs won't carry me further. This is where I die!"
"Brother Ma, believe in yourself!"
"I really cannot run anymore!"
"Do not stop! We can do this! I know we can!"
Xiao Sun's voice kept coming from in front of him. By now, Ma Feng had completely lost his sense of direction. Xiao Sun's endless encouragement was the path that he had been heeding along the darkness. Following Xiao Sun's voice, Ma Feng activated all the potential that he had inside his body. He tried his best to keep up with Xiao Sun's speed. The crazed murderer was just right behind him, following them like a shadow. Now, leaving this scenario through the hidden pathway was the only chance they had at survival. The sense of pressure that pressed down on him could not be described in words. There was only one thought left in Ma Feng's mind—run!
After moving up and down the stairs so many times, Ma Feng's muscle memory had remembered the height of each step. Even without looking, he was able to prevent himself from tripping when running up the stairs.
"Keep on going. Do not be afraid of the darkness! After all, eventually, the darkness will fade away, and sun will rise for another day!
"Humans are creatures with endless possibilities. We must not give up on this gift that is provided to us! Trust and believe!
"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up!"
The human language was unique in the sense that it was capable of granting enormous energy. Ma Feng, whose body was shaking and whose mind was flaking somehow, found his way back to the top floor of the building with Xiao Sun's endless encouragement. He raced like the wind. All the other unimportant thoughts in his mind were left in his wake. His spirit appeared to have joined to both of his legs. There appeared to be no more Ma Feng in this world—all that remained was a pair of legs that kept on running in search of the exit.
Ramming the door open, Ma Feng and Xiao Sun rushed into the room stuffed with cat carcasses. The two of them turned the room upside down looking for the exit as if madness had taken over them. The calls of the cats became shriller from the corridor. The whole scenario appeared to be changing. The walls started to crack as the building started to shake. Mouths started to gape on the ground like they would swallow the visitors at any moment.
Various strange voices also began to appear. The voice that scared Ma Feng and Xiao Sun the most was one similar to Chen Ge's coming from outside. They did not hear clearly what the voice was saying because all their attention was focused on the search. They moved the carcasses of the cats away like this was the only thing that they knew to do in this world. In the endless darkness, there was suddenly a flicker of a very faded light. That pushed Ma Feng to move even faster.
"I can see it now! I think I see the exit!" Moving the guts and the intestines of the cats away, under the carpet that was sewn together by death, there was a hidden ray of light!
The ray of light shone into the room through the gap of the hidden door. The edge of Ma Feng's eyes were wet, and tears were churning in his eyes. "It's light. There's light!"
He reached out to grab the door handle of the hidden door and used every ounce of energy that was left inside him to pull it open. "Thank God I did not give up! Every sacrifice will lead to a reward! The pain and tragedy that I have experienced will become the reward that destiny gives me!"
Gritting his teeth, Ma Feng was already coming up with ideas to mock Chen Ge after he got out from his place. Ma Feng lifted the door open. The weak light chased away the darkness. He extended both of his hands like a flower that had bloomed proudly in the dark.
"There is no real despair in this world. No matter how many difficulties we have to endure, no matter how many hurdles we have to overcome, as long as there is a seed of hope in your heart, then eventually, there will come a day where you will be able to overcome everything and have flowers bloom in your life."
The inspirational quotes that Xiao Sun had learned from the self-help books echoed perfectly with the feeling inside Ma Feng's heart. He followed the light and ran down the corridor. He had never run as fast as he did in this moment!
Running down the stairs, an iron door that was painted black appeared before him. After going through so many ordeals, Ma Feng dragged his 'wounded' body and stopped before the black iron door.
"What is failure? It is nothing but a step to head toward success; what is success but having treaded all the roads that led to failure. When only the last road is left, that will be the road that leads to success!"
Removing the chain from the door, Ma Feng used the energy in both of his hands and pushed the iron door before him open!
"It's finished! Everything is finally over!" Tears that were filled with various emotions slid down the corner of his eyes. This was a man who had never shed a tear in his life, but at that moment, he could not help himself.
The black iron door slammed against the wall, and Ma Feng also took a good look of the scenario behind the door. The rolling black fog rushed at his eyes until he found it difficult to keep them open. The tears of joy were blown dry almost immediately.
His legs buckled, and Ma Feng crumbled to the ground.
A simple question was more than enough to express the cocktail of emotions that Ma feng was currently feeling. Hope collided with despair as all his anticipation morphed into a fog of darkness. Looking at the dark fog before him and the flickering ghost light that floated in the black fog, Ma Feng felt his sight slowly pull away. It was as if he was going through an out of body experience as he stared dumbly down a direction.
"Brother Ma…" Xiao Sun pressed lightly on Ma Feng's shoulder. When a Specter wanted to materialize their body into corporeality, it required a continuous exhaustion of negative emotion and accumulated resentment, so most Specters chose not to waste their resources on having physical interaction with living humans, but Xiao Sun felt like Brother Ma needed the support of physical touch at that moment. This experienced entrepreneur had encountered a large hurdle in his life. At that moment, he needed as much help and encouragement as he could get.
"The hidden path leads to the hidden scenario. We have discovered the source of the black fog. This also means that we are already very close to the exit!" Xiao Sun grabbed Ma Feng by his shoulders and shook the man repeatedly. "Brother Ma, you need to pull yourself together!"
"Don't worry, I am fine." The calculation and cunningness had already disappeared from Ma Feng's eyes. All that remained was numbness.
"Brother Ma, are you sure you're alright? I am worried about you." Xiao Sun felt like Ma Feng was currently in a state of suspended shock. He was hoping that he could change the prejudice that the futuristic theme park held toward the New Century theme park through Ma Feng, but before the prejudice could be corrected, the leader of the futuristic theme park was already at the edge of insanity.
"Brother Ma, just remember how many adversities we have conquered to reach this place. It is such a waste for you to give up now. I was also hoping that it would be the exit behind the previous door, but perhaps the boss realized that, so he purposely designed this last scenario so that people would break down just as they flew through what they assumed to be the final exit." Xiao Sun did not know exactly what he was saying. All he wanted was to help Ma Feng regain his confidence. "No matter what, we cannot stop moving now."
Ma Feng appeared to have been given too many inspirational talks, and he had had enough Ted Talks for a while. He sat down on the ground with a dumb expression on his face. He wanted to faint, but he could not; he wanted to move, but he could not gather energy anymore; he wanted to leave this place, but he knew that was a wish unlikely to come true. So, what else could he do but sit there and wait for the end to come.
"Brother Ma! Do you really think there is a scenario that will be scarier than one that deprives you of your sight? We have just escaped from a completely dark scenario. That building was placed in the deepest area of the small town, so obviously, it was the scariest scenario. Therefore, we might be both figuratively and literally one step away from victory." Xiao Sun turned to logic in his persuasion.
Ma Feng slowly lowered his head. His hands moved instinctually to his ears. He had already raised his hands, but suddenly, he realized how dumb that would seem.
The only one who is helping me is Xiao Sun. Perhaps he has taken me as his only reliance in this place. If I fall here, then he will not be able to survive any longer on his own. He has helped me so much; I cannot disappoint him now.
He felt a grip on his arm. Ma Feng turned his head subconsciously to look, and Xiao Sun's honest face entered his eyes.
What is wrong with me? Since when did I become so proud of myself that I started to resist a helping hand from another person?
Ma Feng hated the person that he had become. He gathered the last spirit that he had to grab Xiao Sun's hand and slowly stood up.
"The cross section of the two scenarios is the most dangerous. We might be attacked by ghosts from both scenarios at the same time, so we'd better hurry up and leave this place." Xiao Sun also did not know where the exit of this scenario was. In fact, perhaps the exit of this scenario had not even been designed yet. "Clearing this scenario is already impossible. We should find a place to hide and survive for the time limit of sixty minutes tour, and it will all be over."
"Six… sixty minutes?" Ma Feng's legs weakened, and he almost tripped again.
"We have already been in here for forty minutes already; twenty minutes is not that long." Xiao Sun looked around and made his decision based on his memory. "There are man-eating monsters hiding in the black fog. The only safe place in this world is the apartments. So, we only need to hide inside the apartment building and hold out for the remaining tour time."
"I will listen to you." Ma Feng's spirit was half missing, as if the half was scared away and had not returned. Just like that, he was dragged by Xiao Sun and raced in the black fog. Cursed faces appeared in the fog. Ma Feng's facial muscles were going crazy. Occasionally, he could not control himself and started laughing. Looking at the scary monsters around him, he slowly forgot where he was and who he was. At the moment, he only had Xiao Sun who was running beside him. His heart went out toward this young man. In this tragedy of a tour, Xiao Sun was the only person that he realized he could rely on.
Along the way, they had seen many scenes taken right out from hell. Finally, Xiao Sun carried Ma Feng through the black fog and came to the apartment. Pushing open the entrance of Jin Hwa Apartment Block A, Xiao Sun led Ma Feng into the corridor.
"I know one room that is definitely safe. I am one hundred percent certain that there will be no ghosts there. We can rest there until the end." Xiao Sun led Ma Feng into his own room. Once he pushed open the door, they heard strange noises coming from the corridor.
"The other neighbors are coming! Please do not make any noise." Xiao Sun pushed Ma Feng into the room while he hid at the door and paid close attention to what was happening outside. The room they were in was very neat and clean, and it looked perfectly normal. Ma Feng finally sighed in relief. He dropped to the ground and noticed the posters of many singers pasted on the walls.
His eyes moved around until Ma Feng's eyes landed on a picture frame. Inside it was a young man carrying a guitar. He felt that the young man in the picture looked very familiar, so he forced himself to crawl toward the table. When he picked up the frame, a death certificate slid down from behind the picture.
An indescribable horror instantly swallowed Ma Feng; his whole body was shaking.