Chapter 27 – This ex-boyfriend is so pitiful
The Rule Setter seemed unfamiliar with manners, standing in the middle of the way without moving, but fortunately, Jiang Yujin was slim enough to pass by with a slight adjustment of his posture.
Under the Rule Setter’s watchful gaze, he walked to the window and glanced downwards, seeing the flat, round building that looked like a grand auditorium. From this angle, the building’s interior was visible, but it seemed poorly lit or perhaps completely devoid of light, engulfed in darkness.
However, the darkness didn’t matter; Jiang Yujin could see the people inside. He noticed individuals sitting in the audience and others standing on the stage. Their heads were bowed, no movements or words exchanged.
His gaze wandered inside for a while until he finally spotted a high school student wearing a white wig, a deep blue cloth skirt, and holding a small starry magic wand at the edge of the stage.
A faint smile formed at the corner of Jiang Yujin’s lips, reaching high. He turned to look at the tall, slender figure still standing behind him and said, “You didn’t choose the place quite well this time. My son is inside, and I wanted to see him perform as… pfft, the magic witch.”
The Rule Setter looked at him.
With a slight cough, he suppressed the rising smile, slowly rolled up his sleeves, and said, “So this time, you’ll have to leave first.”
His phone in his pocket vibrated, emitting a notification sound. Jiang Yujin glanced down at his phone.
It was a message from the game Xiaoxiaole saying a friend had sent him energy, with a time limit that required immediate use.
Jiang Yujin pondered slightly and then decisively pulled out a chair and sat down casually.
It wouldn’t be a problem if the Rule Setter withdrew later.
The sound of the Xiaoxiaole creatures being eliminated rang out, causing the Rule Setter to turn its head. Before it, a blank sheet floated as if an ethereal hand held a pen, slowly moving.
In the auditorium, the content on the paper in front of the people updated once more, this time displaying:
[3. No Standing Allowed].
Those who were originally seated dared not move. The stage emitted a red light that rapidly expanded outward, seemingly marking the area as off-limits for standing. People who were still on stage hurriedly descended.
The Observer positioned at the back of the audience area began to move slowly. Some individuals, too anxious, stumbled while coming down from the stage but, adhering to the previous rule, suppressed any outcry. Barely managing to take their seats, they trembled uncontrollably, drenched in cold sweat.
This time, nobody was penalized by the Observer, who returned to the original position.
In the vast silence, everyone bowed their heads, focusing on the paper in front of them.
[4. Fold a Paper Airplane].
A strange request. Upon reading the words, some people hesitated momentarily, struggling to comprehend.
In a flash, Chen Jing recalled a crime scene from the news where paper airplanes were scattered around a family of three. Realization dawned. Before others could grab the paper to fold airplanes, Chen Jing gestured to wait, swiftly grabbed a script nearby, tore off a staple, and passed the paper along.
As the script circulated rapidly, the Observer slowly approached. Some couldn’t wait, glanced at the script being passed, then looked at the nearing Observer. Finally succumbing to pressure, they hastily folded a paper airplane from the sheet, albeit crooked due to nervousness.
Despite its crookedness, it passed. As the Observer returned to their spot, those who hurriedly folded the paper airplanes breathed a sigh of relief.
The content on the paper updated again. People who had folded paper airplanes found it hard to read the new instruction and had to rely on those beside them.
[5. No Moving Allowed].
This was a simple request, easily achievable. As they relaxed, the words on the paper changed once more.
[6. Throw the Paper Airplane].
Those who used the script to fold paper airplanes unhesitatingly threw theirs, while those who had folded their own paper hesitated slightly and, upon seeing the Observer starting to move, also tossed their airplanes.
[7. Read Your Own Rule List].
The rule list was initially the paper handed to everyone, but someone had already thrown it moments ago. One person who threw it looked at the content on their neighbor’s paper, sweat instantly beading on their forehead.
Some attempted to reach for the thrown list but, upon turning, saw the Observer behind them. Ultimately, they didn’t dare to continue the action, lowering their heads to pretend to read the list, hoping to deceive and pass unnoticed.
Chen Jing probably knew how the family of three from the news had died.
The Observer resumed slow movement. Chen Jing quietly observed as the Observer approached those without the rule list, silently assessing.
The Observer moved slowly, but its punishment for violators was swift, almost immediately upon reaching the person.
It was fast, but he should be able to keep up.
This game of rules had no end; it would continue until everyone died, slowing death down by following the rules. Survival meant taking proactive action.
Although many labeled the Observer and Rule Setter’s dungeon as a certain death scenario, objectively, the pass condition was too straightforward—adhering to all rules guaranteed success. The actual difficulty level of the dungeon was low, only accessible to low-end and novice players. The high death rate was also due to the composition of these players. For those beyond the low-end category, the scenario might not hold much relevance. Chen Jing needed to assess the Observer’s true capabilities.
This time, quite a few fell, and those remaining couldn’t suppress their trembling hands and profuse sweating upon seeing the updated content on the rule list.
[8. No Breathing Allowed].
Jiang Yujin’s energy in “Xiaoxiaole” depleted, and he raised his lifeless eyes.
Well, a short gaming session had already eaten up most of the morning; a full rehearsal for the play was impossible now.
It’s just a shame not to witness Chen Jing’s magic witch performance.
After pocketing his phone, he glanced out the window again. People in the auditorium were still frozen in place. Turning around, he looked at the content spread out on the Rule Setter’s paper.
“How utterly dull.”
Approaching the Rule Setter, Jiang Yujin grabbed the hand holding the pen, forcibly altering its trajectory, and said with a smile, “Let’s play something more interesting.”
The people in the auditorium collapsed one after another due to suffocation. Upon fainting, their bodies automatically began to recover oxygen supply–then they were punished by the Observer.
The individuals still struggling to hold their breath witnessed those beside them collapsing into two halves. Their eyes widened in shock, teetering on the brink of collapse, the delicate balance they maintained finally gave way. Unable to resist any longer, they involuntarily took a breath. Once they moved, it became difficult not to take in large gasps of air.
Eventually, Chen Jing’s gaze swept the room, finding himself the sole occupant.
In his peripheral vision, something seemed to subtly change. As he turned, he saw the content on the table’s paper beginning to rewrite itself.
All previous rules were wiped out, leaving only a single line on the paper.
[Kill the Observer]
Chen Jing acted instantly. Leaping from his seat, he swiftly grabbed a sword lying nearby, meant for a knight’s use. As he wielded it, the fake sword turned real. Blocking the Observer’s attack just in time, he was pushed backward until he stopped at the edge of the stage.
The Observer was formidable.
Chen Jing slightly loosened his grip on the sword, then swiftly shifted downward, delivering a horizontal kick. The Observer’s form staggered momentarily, and Chen Jing took the chance to distance himself.
The audience seats in the auditorium were now largely demolished.
The deep blue fabric of the magic witch’s skirt had already torn open wide; the previous wounds hadn’t completely healed yet. Chen Jing turned to evade the Observer’s attack, preventing any new conspicuous injuries from appearing on his body.
In another collision, the Observer blinked away, swiftly maneuvering behind him, moving at a speed that almost made their afterimage vanish.
Still recalling the icy sensation from the beer can hitting the back of his head, Chen Jing hadn’t turned around yet, but the long sword in his hand had already thrust backward, producing a loud “whoosh.”
He used to never guard his back, but now he had learned.
As the sword pierced its body, the Observer’s movements slowed down.
The Observer died in the center of the stage, impaled by a knight’s sword.
The red light outside the auditorium windows disappeared, and the eerie and peculiar discomfort dissipated. The people inside the auditorium suddenly blinked awake and instinctively began breathing heavily.
They were still in their original positions, in their original bodies. There were no monsters here; everything seemed normal, as if nothing had happened.
But they could now clearly see the scratches on the walls and the destroyed seating area. There was also a trace of something punctured right in the middle of the stage.
—The destruction wasn’t caused by a strange species; it was solely due to Chen Jing’s lack of control. Successfully clearing the level, all traces left by the Observer vanished, leaving behind only the marks caused by human actions.
The first person to regain composure was the teacher in charge of staging the entire play. She took out her phone and immediately informed the Special Investigation Unit.
The Special Investigation Unit arrived swiftly, questioning the individuals at the scene about what had happened. Everyone shook their heads, claiming no understanding.
Chen Jing remained quiet in the crowd, offering only silent shakes of the head when questioned.
The leading team on-site quickly confirmed the creature described by the teachers and students as the Observer.
With the Observer’s presence, there had to be a Rule Setter. They swiftly dispersed around the auditorium, seeking places to observe the interior.
At a distance, someone spotted a faint shadow emerging from the third floor of a nearby classroom building and hurried upstairs to surround it.
Someone carefully pushed, and the door of the storage room slowly opened.
The storeroom was converted from a classroom, cluttered with assorted tables and chairs. In the center stood a figure, tall and slender, reaching the ceiling, their pure white eyes fixed on the direction of the auditorium—undoubtedly the Rule Setter.
Close to the window next to the Rule Setter was a chair, sitting silently and conspicuously in the light.
Capturing the Rule Setter wasn’t particularly challenging. It could only harm within a specific range under the Observer’s watch. Outside of this range, it showed no overt aggression. As long as its pen wasn’t touched and its rule-writing process remained undisturbed, it could be considered the mildest among the strange species.
Chen Jing watched from outside the crowd as the Special Investigation Unit escorted the Rule Setter away, his gaze finally resting on the quiet chair inside the classroom.
Someone had undoubtedly sat there before. If his guess was right, this person forcefully altered the rules here, ultimately commanding the Rule Setter to kill the Observer.
The fact that someone had altered the rules while the Rule Setter remained alive indicated that it occurred while the Rule Setter was conscious.
The Rule Setter, when its pen was touched, was far more terrifying than the Observer. However, there was no sign of struggle in the classroom, suggesting that the Rule Setter didn’t oppose the individual.
Or perhaps the individual’s power vastly surpassed that of the Rule Setter.
With a silent furrow of his brow, Chen Jing withdrew his gaze from the storeroom, casually glancing downstairs. Suddenly, he spotted a familiar figure.
It was the person who had been sound asleep in the room earlier that morning, probably just waking up. Arriving at school, unaware of what had happened, he peeked around outside the auditorium, his tousled hair lifting and falling.
Seemingly refreshed from a good sleep, he turned his head, instantly spotting him and waving.
As Chen Jing raised his hand to wave back, he paused, noticing the other person’s face smiling uncontrollably.
He slowly lowered his hand.
Eventually, the high schooler ended up meeting Jiang Yujin face to face.
When they met, the high schooler wore a cold expression, while Jiang Yujin struggled to suppress a smile, earnestly explaining the reason for the delay.
He chose to retain some truth, mentioning seeing a car accident on the way and taking a closer look. Upon arriving at school, he received energy and went to the restroom in the teaching building. If he didn’t play Xiaoxiaole, he’d die; he accidentally spent a little extra time playing.
And that led to this situation—perfectly plausible.
Then, cautiously, he asked, “Can I still watch the rehearsal today?”
“No, the auditorium will be closed off. I guess we won’t be able to go in for the next few days,” Chen Jing replied.
The damaged walls and seats would also require time for repairs. Some students were still affected by the shock and hadn’t fully recovered.
It was understandable—no one remains unaffected after experiencing their own demise.
Jiang Yujin sighed regretfully.
A teacher called out Chen Jing’s name from the other side. Jiang Yujin glanced over before withdrawing his gaze, saying, “You should go.”
Without the rehearsal, there was no need to linger at the school. Chen Jing nodded and said, “Be careful on your way back.”
Jiang Yujin left, slowly sneaking out of the school gates as if he were an old man. Later, he found his electric scooter and leisurely cruised along the roadside, trying to find some amusement.
Just as he wandered far enough from the school, his phone in his pocket vibrated. Checking it, he found a short yet intriguing message from Xu Gao:
[There’s a melon at the door of the Special Investigation Unit—exciting!]
This online friend always notified him promptly when something interesting occurred.
Now, the fun was about to begin.
Donning his helmet and riding his electric scooter, Jiang Yujin hurried towards the scene.
He had visited the Special Investigation Unit for questioning before, barely recalling the location. For the love of gossip, he followed the scant memory, maneuvering through twists and turns until he reached the entrance of the building.
He parked his electric scooter, and his gossip buddy was already waiting for him at the entrance, wildly waving when he spotted him.
After getting off, Jiang Yujin shook hands with his fellow melon-eater, Xu Gao, and asked, “What’s the melon?”
Xu Gao guided him to a chair behind a small flower bed and gestured for him to look at the three people on the right side of the main gate.
Three individuals, two men and one woman—the woman stood in the middle, while the two men faced off, occasionally glancing at her.
Xu Gao elaborated intimately, “Take a good look. The one in the middle is from the Information Management Department in the bureau, let’s call her Xiaomei. The taller guy is her ex-boyfriend, and the shorter one is her current boyfriend… or perhaps both are her boyfriends.”
The situation was bizarrely dramatic. Xu Gao happened to witness them arguing while he was planning to take a stroll and grab a snack.
At present, there was little movement in and out of the bureau. It seemed quiet around, but in reality, even those who appeared to be casually chatting on the roadside and the security guards at the entrance were all ears, more attentive than in a meeting.
Xiao Mei used to date Tall Guy, but one day, Tall Guy got hit by a car and suffered amnesia. At that time, she was already tired of him, so she took advantage of his memory loss and pretended they had broken up.
Coincidentally, Short Guy pursued her. He was devoted and well-off, so they quickly became a couple. But suddenly, Tall Guy recovered his memory with a slap, realized they hadn’t actually broken up, and came looking for Xiao Mei. At the same time, Short Guy arrived to deliver a caring lunch to Xiao Mei. When the three of them crossed paths, it triggered a massive explosion of emotions.
Indeed, it was dramatic and scandalous. Jiang Yujin nodded, saying, “Exciting.”
Xu Gao agreed, “Absolutely.”
Now the three individuals at the entrance were completely tangled up. Xiao Mei stood in the middle, attempting to calm everyone down. But Tall Guy and Short Guy couldn’t keep their cool and started shoving each other. Xiao Mei watched for a moment before ultimately joining the fray. The three of them pushed and shoved, making it hard to tell what exactly their relationships were.
Xu Gao, who initially wanted to buy a snack, quickly decided on a pack of sunflower seeds upon seeing the commotion. He kindly handed a portion to Jiang Yujin, along with a small pocket for the discarded seeds.
While watching, Xu Gao remarked, “Dumping your boyfriend right after he loses his memory is quite heartless.”
Jiang Yujin replied, “Is it?”
Xu Gao nodded, adding, “But at least she called him her ex-boyfriend. If she pretended to be a stranger, the ex-boyfriend would be too miserable.”
Mechanically munching on the seeds, Jiang Yujin responded, “I see.”
Glancing at him, Xu Gao continued, “It’d be great if your ex-boyfriend were here. We could all watch together.”
“What are you doing here?”
A voice suddenly emerged from behind, startling Xu Gao and even Jiang Yujin, who was fully engrossed. They both turned to see Captain Xu standing there.
Before Xu Gao could come up with an excuse, Jiang Yujin promptly grabbed Xu Tonggui’s sleeve and pulled him aside, whispering, “Sit down first, you’re too conspicuous.”
Under Xu Gao’s gaze, Captain Xu actually sat down. To comply with Citizen Jiang, he even slightly lowered his head, his chiseled jawline and prominent nose making him an absolute handsome and imposing figure.
Jiang Yujin generously shared half of his sunflower seeds with Xu Tonggui, explaining, “We’re trying to analyze how human emotions and memory correlate with behavior in specific situations.”
Suddenly, the previously considerable amount of seeds seemed meager once put into Xu Tonggui’s hands.
Jiang Yujin spoke so seriously that even Xu Gao was stunned for a moment, as if he didn’t realize that they were doing such a sophisticated thing.
Outside the gate, the three individuals escalated their conflict, attracting more onlookers. Even heads popped up over the Special Investigation Unit’s wall, trying hard to peek in. Among them was an unexpected middle-aged man with a shining bald head—a senior official.
Amidst the chaos of the scuffle, Tall Guy, the ex-boyfriend, got accidentally stepped on twice by Short Guy.
Xu Gao commented, “Poor guy.”
Jiang Yujin nodded, his unruly hair swaying as he moved, “Indeed.”
The person nearby with light grey pupils glanced over briefly, then averted his gaze.