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4 Surprise Reward

 It seemed that the toilet's windows were not closed because Chen Ge could feel a cold draft enter the room. It was like an invisible hand was brushing past his face.

The door of the toilet cubicles creaked as they were moved by the wind. The water that had gathered at the corner of the ceiling fell onto the floor, causing the insects to scatter. The sound made Chen Ge feel like they were crawling all over his skin.

All sorts of noises were amplified by the general silence, which would have heightened the sense of anxiety in most people, but not Chen Ge, who had been trained to have a strong heart since he was young and had a slightly slower than normal sense of perception.

He cleared his mind of thought to focus on counting down the time.

About twenty minutes had passed, and for some reason, Chen Ge could sense the temperature of the room dropping like someone had placed several blocks of solid ice around him, causing him to shiver involuntarily.

Calm yourself! Don't overthink it and scare yourself! There's only ten minutes left; Chen Ge, you can do this!

There was a curious draft flowing beside his ear like something was circling him. He gripped his hands so tightly that the veins on their backs were protruding, but his body seemed to have petrified into immobile stone.

"Chen Ge, Chen Ge, Chen Ge..."

He continued to mumble to himself. At only five minutes left, Chen Ge could tell the flickering light of the candle had died off, and there seemed to be another presence in the dark calling his name.

Echo? Impossible!

"Chen Ge..." The voice seemed to be summoning him, and it felt urgent like it had something crucial to tell him.

The voice seems to be coming from outside the door, shall I go to take a look?

However, very soon, Chen Ge rejected this thought from his mind. The rules were explicit; he was required to stand before the mirror and not do anything else.

He continued the count-down in his heart, and the voice beside his ear started to warp. He was now certain that there was someone else calling his name, and that person was standing outside the toilet door.

The person sounds so urgent, but I'm the one playing this game, so why do they sound so damn hurried? This is obvious a trap, such a cheater.

Chen Ge turned his lips down with disapproval.

The set-up and atmosphere are not bad, but alas, the scare tactic is too straightforward and simple.

During the final three minutes, there was a shrill noise coming from the toilet door like someone was scratching their nails against it or gnawing their teeth on it. The door creaked subtly like it was about to open at any moment.

1,798 seconds, 1,799 seconds, 1,800 seconds!

The half an hour limit was up; all the noises disappeared at once, and silence reigned once more.

To prevent miscalculation, Chen Ge did not open his eyes immediately. He counted for an extra three hundred before he took a step back, placed both his hands over his chest, and fluttered his eyes open.

The candle in the toilet had been extinguished, and the place was dark. For some reason, Chen Ge felt like something had shifted. He turned on the flashlight, and when light appeared once more in the cramped area, he was stunned.

The mirror before him was filled with cracks, and several images of himself stared back at him. It looked extremely hallucinogenic, but the thing that gave him a bigger scare was the appearance of a broken doll in front of the mirror!

The eyes that were made from buttons were shining, and the patchwork body was filled with cotton. The doll was not by any means new, but it held a special meaning for Chen Ge; it was his very first creation and something left at the scene of his parents' disappearance.

The doll was leaning against the mirror like it was trying to stop the thing in the mirror from coming out.

"Wait, but the toilet door was already locked, how did you come in? Through the window? No wait, the bigger issue is how you moved on your own!" Chen Ge felt like his world was falling apart; he needed some time to process the situation. The man and the doll were locked in this stare for about three minutes before Chen Ge felt more like himself again. He moved his cold fingers and slowly moved toward the doll.

For some reason, it felt like the button eyes of the doll seemed to be following him. Chen Ge's lips twitched involuntarily as he looked at this doll of his. He gave the doll a wide berth to pick the phone next to it. "Thankfully, I was clever enough to prepare for this."

The phone had finished recording. Chen Ge made a second copy before starting to look through the video.

The video quality was not that great. The single candle fire danced in the darkness, and while the Chen Ge in front of the mirror looked rather cautious, the Chen Ge in the mirror seemed weirdly at ease.

The first ten minutes were fine, but things started to turn weird at the eleven-minute mark.

The sound of the wind wasn't captured by the phone, but one could see the cubicle door moving in the video.

Then the video was interrupted by white noise. It was a video that was at most a bit curious, but for some reason, it was weirdly scary. Perhaps this was humanity's inherent fear of darkness and the unknown.

As the video continued to play, Chen Ge's face turned increasingly pale. He remembered clearly that he had not moved when his eyes were closed, but on the video, he saw his body slowly leaning forward like he was trying to lean into the mirror.

At the twenty-five-minute mark, his upper body was already at a seventy-degree angle, and the tip of his nose almost touching the surface of the mirror.

Several seconds later, without any warning, spidery cracks started to form on the mirror. It caused even Chen Ge's heart to skip a beat. Then, the most unbelievable thing happened. The Chen Ge in the mirror's expression changed. He grinned wickedly as he slammed crazily against the mirror!

Right at that minute, the candle went out and the video ended.

Due to the camera angle, the video did not show any scene relating to the doll, and Chen Ge himself had no idea what really went down in that last five minutes.

"From the looks of things, the thing in the mirror wanted to get out, but it was stopped by this doll? In that case, the doll saved me?" Chen Ge picked the doll up from the counter and asked in a serious tone, "Can you understand me? Do you know what happened to my parents?"

Naturally, the doll did not answer, but its button eyes seemed to glow in the dark.

He cradled the doll in his arms and turned to look at the toilet door. Afraid of going out, he shrunk underneath one of the windows and pulled out his phone. The mission success message was waiting for him.

"It has to be said that you're incredibly lucky. Congratulations for completing the Nightmare Mission! Obtained Mission Reward-Elementary Skill: Mortician's Make-up.

"Mortician's Make-up: I hope you will treat this talent with the respect it deserves. Unlike beauty make-up, a mortician only deals with the make-up of the dead. Your hands breathe life into death visages, bringing them everlasting beauty.

"First Nightmare Mission completed, unlocked the title: Newcomer at Nightmare Town. Obtained additional reward: Unlocked the Trial Mission for the 1 Star scenario, Murder by Midnight! Completion of this Trial Mission will add this scenario to your Haunted House!"

Looking at the messages on screen, Chen Ge thought to himself, the success of a Haunted House had plenty to do with a good make-up artist. Be it actors or props, they needed a make-up artist to make them come to life, a good make-up artist can easily create authentic effect to add to the overall scare factor.