Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The text on the paper was intermittent as if the writer's mental state was deteriorating. But what he could read made Zhou Bai feel very strange:
Mike sits up every night to look at the door.
His condition is worsening; will he eat him?
Today, Mike didn't sleep again. He just stood at the door, as if he would go out at any moment. I was too scared to get up…I think he already found out.
Mike tried the door, opening it and going out. I hugged my blanket close, forcing myself not to look outside.
Mike didn't return the next day. Another person is gone. What shall we do?
I'm so dizzy. I feel like I'm in a daze every day.
I'm sleeping more and more. He keeps staring at me in class. I think I've been discovered.
This morning when I got up, I found the paper I put on the doorknob fell. Who moved the doorknob last night?
My chest is hurting more and more. I can feel something inside…
I'm too tired. I didn't go to class. He came to see me.
Everyone will be eaten; we've lost hope.
He's watching me. At night, he watches me through the keyhole. He's waiting for me to come out!
I've decided not to sleep. I can't be eaten!
Not sleeping is the right decision. I feel better and better…
Zhou Bai furrowed his brows. This person was an insomniac. The rest of the text was mostly babble and was hard to understand.
Alice asked, "What are your thoughts?"
Zhou Bai glanced at the girl who was only 12 or 13 and said softly, "Don't stay up. Sleep more."
"That's not what I'm asking," Alice said with a harrumph. "Who do you think the 'he' on there is?"
"I don't know. There are too few clues. It could even be you."
Alice pursed her lips. "Don't you think teacher and the entire base are suspicious? I found this piece of diary between the bedboards. This person probably used to sleep in my bed."
Zhou Bai looked at her in surprise. This little girl had grown up in this underground base—this environment had shaped her entire worldview—yet she still suspected something. How unusual.
But Zhou Bai wasn't planning to discuss it with a child. He nodded and said, "Sleep early at night. Don't be like him; he's turning into a god."
Seeing Zhou Bai was about to leave, Alice stomped her feet in anger. "Don't you want to leave the base? Don't you want to see what's outside? Maybe there's no Doomsday out there!"
When Zhou Bai continued to ignore her, Alice said, "Since last month, Bando's personality has completely changed, as if he's a different person. He saw this diary before too, but when I asked him again, he'd forgotten about it."
Zhou Bai paused and looked at Alice. "What else do you know?"
"The laboratory at level five—Bando went there," Alice explained. "After he came back, he was a completely different person. I even suspect he's not Bando!"
"How did he get to level five?" Zhou Bai rubbed his chin. "I asked Elsa. The door there has a fingerprint sensor. Only teacher can enter."
Alice said, "If we want to go out, we have to open the alloy door in level one. If you want to open the alloy door, you need an electronic card. Bando and I looked over the entire base and couldn't find it so that electronic card can only be in the lab.
"We found a vent duct that connects to level five. Bando and I spent months cutting the bars inside.
"But after Bando came back from the lab that day, he was like a different person. The bars in the vent duct were also fixed."
Alice's continued, horrified. "We wondered what happened. Did teacher find us out?"
Zhou Bai was deep in thought. "Do you want to go outside?"
"Then take me to that vent."
Whether it was the electronic card or the cat associated with the auxiliary system or teacher's secret—they all seemed to link to the underground laboratory. Zhou Bai decided to see for himself.
So with Alice's lead, he came to a vent duct on the ceiling of the cafeteria. Then he told Alice to go back.
That night, after glancing at Elsa, who was sound asleep, Zhou Bai quietly got out of bed.
As expected, he had to go at night."
But the moment he reached to open the door, Elsa's warnings flashed across his mind: "Don't go out at night."
"It's fine, the strange face I saw before was just that cat," Zhou Bai comforted himself. "And I'm a man capable of telekinesis. Alice and Bando cut open the vent duct at night too. What am I afraid of?"
Walking out of the room, he closed the door softly. Looking into the pitch-black hallway, Zhou Bai frowned.
Because there was no light underground, the hallway was completely dark. Zhou Bai realized he couldn't see anything.
He had to reach out and feel the wall, walking to the cafeteria from memory.
Zhou Bai swallowed. In the silence and nearly absolute darkness, each second was harder to bear than he had imagined.
After a few steps, Zhou Bai felt like something was watching him in the dark.
After he finally made it to the cafeteria, Zhou Bai felt his way to the vent duct.
In the darkness, Zhou Bai's hands inched up the sturdy wall. Suddenly, he felt something soft on his fingers.
Zhou Bai was shocked. What was this? His palm climbed up the soft thing, and a hand grabbed Zhou Bai's mouth. He was so scared he nearly used telekinesis.
"It's me," Alice whispered. "I figured you would come at night. How do you plan to go down? I'm coming with you this time."
Zhou Bai rolled his eyes. Alice continued. "This time, I must see what's going on with my own eyes. If you don't take me there, I'm yelling…"
"All right, all right. I'll take you along," Zhou Bai said helplessly. "Loosen your hand. You're hurting my neck."
Alice went blank, then said slowly, "I'm not grabbing your neck."
In the darkness, Zhou Bai's hair stood on end. He used Primordial Spirit power to push off the palm on his neck.
Then he reached out and grabbed Alice, nervously looking around in the darkness.
Alice said fearfully, "What? What happened?"
Zhou Bai asked, "Who's there?"
He looked at the pitch-black space, his Primordial Spirit power sweeping the space around him. But he didn't feel anyone else's existence again.
In the silent darkness, no one answered Zhou Bai.
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