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2 A Curious Daily Mission

 The app with the Haunted House icon looked similar to many popular management mobile games; however, instead of managing a hotel, aquarium, or pet store, it was to manage a haunted house.

Chen Ge stared at the screen, and a single question was on his mind.

Why would the phone left behind by my parents have this curious app on it?

He looked through the interface of the app, and all the information on it matched the conditions of his actual Haunted House like the daily visitor numbers and available scenarios. This gave Chen Ge a weird sensation, as if the Haunted House managed in-game was no different from the one he was managing in real life.

They were both down on their luck and facing closure; there were simply too many similarities between them.

"Could it be that this game is built using my Haunted House as its basis? Then does this mean that if there're changes in the game, it'll also happen in real life?" Chen Ge muttered.

Chen Ge continued to read; the current scenario of the Haunted House, Night of the Living Dead, was brutally criticized. Even the Minghun scenario that got onto the papers before only managed to get a 0.5-star rating.

"If Minghun only gets 0.5 star, I shudder to imagine how scary those unlockable scenarios are." He tried to click on the options, and when he did, a window appeared on screen, telling him that he needed to finish a certain number of daily missions before he would be able to unlock the scenarios.

"Looks like the daily missions are the key to this; it is only by completing daily missions that I'll be able to unlock the haunted scenarios. By unlocking more scenarios, I'll be able to attract more customers and, consequently, expand the Haunted House." Chen Ge was an avid player of mobile games, so he soon grasped the rules of the game-the rate of completion for daily missions was going to influence the development of the Haunted House.

After clicking on Daily Missions, three options surfaced:

Easy Mission: There are three main elements to the design of a good Haunted House-Story, Scenario, and Mood. A Haunted House without a story is a Haunted House without a soul, please complete the background story to the two scenarios, Night of the Living Dead and Minghun.

Normal Mission: Fix all the mannequins inside the Haunted House before midnight.

Nightmare Mission: I know you're still not wholly convinced about the existence of ghost in the world; in that case, how about a little game? The truth will be revealed when you open your eyes.

Daily Missions will refresh every day at midnight. User can only apply for one mission each day, and the reward corresponds to the difficulty of the mission.

(Beware! The more difficult the mission, the more dangerous it'll be, so please choose carefully!)

After looking through the mission details, Chen Ge gasped with surprise. "The missions in the game have to be completed in real life? Isn't this the perfect proof that this game can influence real life‽"

To test this speculation, he decided to pick a mission. Since the reward was given according to difficulty and he could only pick one each day, for the sake of the biggest reward, he had to pick the most difficult mission. However, the warning attached to the end of the missions did make Chen Ge worry.

"This is hard to choose. The description for the Nightmare Mission is so vague; it just speaks of a trap. Why don't I start with a Normal Mission? Fixing all the props will be difficult but not impossible."

Chen Ge was a man of action, after he had made the decision, he started to move. He grabbed his toolbox and a bucket of unopened fake blood and started to inspect all the mannequins around the Haunted House.

Night had fallen. To save electricity, Chen Ge didn't even leave the lights in the corridors open. Squeezing a flashlight in his armpit, Chen Ge twisted through the large Haunted House, fixing all the mannequins that needed his attention.

If there were any outsiders who saw this, they would probably be so spooked that they would call the cops directly.

"I really didn't expect so many mannequins will require maintenance; I should not have slacked off earlier!"

At 11:45 pm, Chen Ge received the mission completion alert on his phone. "You've completed the Normal Mission. Paying attention to details will contribute to the perfect scary atmosphere. Congratulations, you've gained the mission reward-Background Music, Black Friday."

"Wait, wasn't Black Friday a banned song in foreign countries? According to rumors, it has the uncanny ability to instill suicidal tendencies in its listeners, and the original score was lost a long time ago." Chen Ge discovered the picture of a CD in his item storage. "What kind of mission reward is this, don't tell me this is all some kind of prank?"

He clicked on the CD image, and a melody that he had not heard of started playing beside his ears. The melody spoke of darkness, melancholy, and loneliness. Chen Ge felt the world around him falling away, and he had landed himself in a long corridor with no end in sight.

When the song ended, Chen Ge's back was drenched in cold sweat. He was thankful he didn't choose to have the song on repeat or else he really didn't think he would have been able to escape the influence of the music on his own.

"F*ck, this is real! This should be the original track!" After completing the game mission, he really did acquire a reward that he could use in real life. This gave Chen Ge a ray of hope. He stopped the music and saved it carefully. After dealing with everything, Chen Ge returned to the break room to rest.

Lying in bed, even though he was tired, he didn't feel at all sleepy. After all, the things that he had experienced that day required a bit of time to digest.

Without knowing it, it soon passed midnight, and Chen Ge was still staring aimlessly at the ceiling.

"Can't sleep at all!" The man who was bored out of his mind pulled out the black phone. "Midnight has passed, so there should be a new set of Daily Missions, right?"

He opened the app, and as he expected, there were some changes on the Daily Missions screen.

Easy Mission: If you want to provide the visitors a scary experience, then first you have to pay notice to the rhythm and tempo of their experience in the Haunted House. Setting off the scare too early might cause the visitors to lose their interest, so I suggest you install some sound detectors or surveillance cameras in the Haunted House to keep track of your visitors' progress.

Normal Mission: A single hand cannot clap; a good Haunted House requires a good team to run it. Recruit more talents to aid in your journey.

Nightmare Mission: I know you're still not wholly convinced about the existence of ghost in the world; in that case, how about a little game? The truth will be revealed when you open your eyes.

Daily Missions will refresh every day at midnight. User can only apply for one mission each day, and the reward corresponds to the difficulty of the mission.

(Beware! The more difficult the mission, the more dangerous it'll be, so please choose carefully!)

The three new Daily Missions put some kinks in Chen Ge's plan.

The easy mission was to install new surveillance devices in the Haunted House; this could be done with money, but the issue was... Chen Ge's budget was currently limited.

The normal mission also wasn't that easy for Chen Ge. His two senior workers, who had been through thick and thin with him, had just resigned. Even if he went to set up a recruitment ad right this moment, it would require days to complete the training. When the new employee could help at the Haunted House, the place probably would have closed already.

Since the easy mission and normal mission were impossible, Chen Ge's eyes settled on the last Daily Mission.

"Since the harder the mission, the better the reward, shall I give this Nightmare Mission a try?"