Striving for ScienceChapters List
Chapter 19: The Man Who Opened the Door
"I want to leave this horrible place, I must leave this horrible place!"
A man in a leather jacket frantically smashed the closed hotel door, but the door seemed to have a life of its own. The moment the chair hit the door, it was swallowed up by the door.
"Sir, loud noises are prohibited here, please keep quiet." A pale-faced waitress walked up to the man. She was wearing a well-fitted cheongsam, and her graceful figure was enough to enchant any man.
Yet, when the crowd of men present saw her, none of them showed infatuation. Instead they were filled with fear and didn't even have the courage to look at her.
Three days, they had been trapped here for three days, their cell phones couldn't call out and they couldn't search for any signals. It was as if this Mountain Springs Spa Resort had turned into a forgotten world, where they would all die silently.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please don't worry. After four days, each and every one of you will be able to leave here." The beauty in cheongsam turned around and looked at the trembling crowd huddled in the corner of the lobby, her lips cracking into a stiff smile. "Everyone… every single one of you will be able to leave."
In what way would they leave? Would they leave as living themselves, or as their lifeless bodies?
"Ah!" Finally, a girl's spirit collapsed, and she let out a high-pitched scream, "Help, someone, help! I don't want to stay in this horrible place!"
"Why are there always people who don't listen?" The stiff smile on the cheongsam beauty's face gradually faded away. "Miss, this mansion belongs to my master's private estate. No matter how much you scream for help, no one will hear you, and no one will come to save you."
"Those who do not abide by the rules of the mountain villa must be punished."
As her words fell, two men dressed in last century's short jackets walked out from a side corridor. They took measured steps toward the emotionally shattered young girl.
There were a few guests who hid in fear at the sight, while a few young men and women, with pale faces, stood up to shield the young girl.
The staff in this mountain villa clearly did not look like living people. If they were taken away by them, who knew what the consequences would be. The legs of the young men and women standing in front of the girl were trembling, showing that they were also quite afraid. The young man standing at the front looked a little better than them, at least his trembling was more subtle. He at least managed to squeeze out a stiff smile, "Beautiful young lady, we will never violate the rules of the mansion again. Can you forgive her just this once?"
"Heh." The corners of the cheongsam beauty's mouth rose, forming a "smile." She stiffly raised her hand and said, "Remember, in this place, no one can defy the will of the master, and no one can come to save you."
"Knock, knock, knock."
A knock sounded on the door, polite yet not light.
The crowd looked at the door in unison, with a mixture of anticipation and fear in their eyes. For no one knew whether what awaited them beyond the door was a person or…
With a creak, the door was slowly pushed open, and a young man wearing a white long-sleeved T-shirt and casual pants appeared at the door. He had a radiant smile on his face, as if the thick fog behind him had receded into the distance.
"Sorry to disturb you." The young man stepped one foot inside the door and considerately pushed open the villa's gates further with his foot. "Excuse me, is the villa open for business today?"
The entire lobby fell into silence. All the trapped tourists stared blankly at the person who appeared at the door, unsure if this was another malicious game or an innocent traveler who had been unwittingly swept into this place.
The young man who had just stood in front of the young girl earlier shook his head slightly when he recognized the man at the door. Unfortunately, it seemed that the newcomer didn't notice him, and he stepped inside with his other foot as well.
The light of hope in everyone's heart extinguished the moment his other foot also stepped in. Even if the one who came was a person, after entering this mountain villa, they would never be able to get out again. There was no one here to send word of their distress to the outside world.
The beauty in cheongsam seemed to have never thought that someone would push open the gate of the villa at this moment, she froze and looked at the young man for a long time, and then took several steps backward, the sound of her high heels hitting the ground.
Shen Changan noticed the cheongsam beauty. Why is this waitress' face so pale, and why is she walking so strangely? Is she sick?
He couldn't help but frown. He had reason to suspect that the staff of this Mountain Hot Spring Resort didn't have health certificates.
"Hello, sir. Our mansion is open as usual." A tall and thin man wearing a long gown, short hair, and glasses walked up to the cheongsam beauty, "I am the lobby manager of this villa. May I ask if you would like to stay here or enjoy the hot springs?"
The attendant is in a cheongsam, and the lobby manager in a long gown – Is this mansion going for a Republican era style? No wonder the entire villa has the architectural style from the last century, combining Western and Chinese elements. It all looks a bit strange.
He didn't immediately answer the lobby manager. He turned around and said a few words outside the door. After about a minute or two, he returned with another person pushing a wheelchair, with a man sitting in it.
What puzzled the guests in the lobby was that when this young man whispered something outside the door, all those eerie beings in the hotel didn't approach him at all. Instead, they took a few steps back, as if they couldn't wait for him to leave.
"Both staying at the hotel and enjoying the hot springs and meals." Shen Changan casually scanned the people in the lobby, then quickly withdrew his gaze. He walked to the front desk and said to the attendant standing there, "Do you have a price list for the various services? I'd like to take a look."
"O-Okay." The front desk attendant trembled as she brochure outlining the price list of the mansion to Shen Changan, then quickly withdrew her hand.
"Fried seven orifices heart, chilled eyeballs..." Shen Changan flipped through the menu pages and couldn't help but say to the trembling attendant, "Halloween is still half a month away, and you guys already started offering holiday specials?"
The lobby fell into an eerie silence. Faintly, the suppressed sobs of a young girl could be heard. Shen Changan put down the menu and pointed towards the tea house on the left side of the lobby. "I'll go over here with my friend to have a seat first."
"Okay, please follow me." The cheongsam beauty seemed to have come to her senses. She attempted to help Dao Nian with his wheelchair but was stopped by Shen Changan.
Seeing Shen Changan approach, she quickly tiptoed a few steps backward.
"Sorry, my friend doesn't like people getting too close." Shen Changan smiled and glanced at the beauty in cheongsam.
"I-I'm sorry," the woman in the cheongsam quivered, her complexion growing even paler.
After sitting down in the teahouse, Shen Changan looked at the cup of steaming hot tea in front of him and didn't make a move to take it. He looked at Dao Nian with a hint of apology in his eyes, then he said aloud, "If you don't like tea, let's not drink it. How about we enjoy the snacks I brought? Is that okay?"
Liu Mao: "......"
Sir didn't even blink, when did he say he didn't want tea?
Shen Changan placed the snacks from his backpack on the tea table, even using the lid from the thermos flask as a cup for water for Dao Nian.
He looked around to make sure that those waiters were not close to their side before he cupped his hand over his mouth, hiding his lip movements. "Something's not quite right with this lodge. Don't use their stuff, I've already sent a message to my friends and the police."
Those few young girls in the lobby looked clearly out of sorts, as well as the waiter and the lobby manager looked at him with fear they couldn't conceal. It indicated that they were afraid of him discovering something wrong here.
"Mr. Liu, later on, you pretend to have an argument with me and take Dao Nian out of here." Shen Changan said in a low voice, peeling pistachios with his head lowered. "I'll be here, waiting for the police to arrive."
Dao Nian quietly looked at Shen Changan, "What about you?"
"There are still so many innocent people here. If we leave together and they realize something is wrong, they might harm the victims or relocate them. We can't bear the consequences of that." Shen Changan peeled a few more pistachios and placed them in his palm. "Don't worry, the fortune teller said I'll live to be a hundred. I won't be in danger."
"You don't believe in fate." Dao Nian said firmly.
"I don't need to believe in the bad ones, but I can still trust the good ones a bit," Shen Changan took a deep breath and stuffed the remaining snacks into Liu Mao's hands. "Mr. Liu, cooperate later."
Liu Mao: ?
Cooperate? How should I cooperate?
"What's so great about you, isn't it just a few stinking pennies?" Shen Changan suddenly slapped the table and stood up, pointing toward the entrance. "I won't serve you anymore. Now get out of here!"
"Not leaving huh?" Shen Changan angrily pushed Dao Nian to the entrance, pulled open the massive door that had been quietly closed earlier, and lifted both Dao Nian and the wheelchair in his hands, "throwing" them outside.
"Mr. Shen, you don't have to ......"
"Heh." Shen Changan turned his head and sneered at Liu Mao, who had followed them. "Don't think I don't know. You two are snakes and rats in a nest, none of you are good things. Get out!"
After saying that, he single-handedly pushed the slightly chubby Liu Mao out the door, and slammed the villa's gate shut with a loud bang. Turning to look at the crowd staring at the gate, he cursed loudly, "What are you looking at, haven't you ever seen people arguing before?!"
The crowd of tourists: "..."
No, we were just watching how you could open and close the door, and then open and close it again.
"Damn, I hate it when people show off their money in front of me." Seemingly not relieved, Shen Changan reached out and kicked the door again, causing the heavy door to make a heavy rattling sound, as if it might fall down at any time.
The hotel staff shuddered in fear. Their already pale faces seemed almost translucent.
"Sorry, I was a little impulsive just now." Shen Changan looked around and found the lobby manager who was cowering in the corner, and pretended to take out his wallet. "How much is the repair cost? I'll compensate you. Do you prefer a mobile transfer or cash?"
"Never mind, never mind." The lobby manager hastily said, "As the villa's entrance, it is its duty to let guests vent their frustrations."
"Well, how can I accept that?" Shen Changan retracted his hand that was about to take out his wallet. After all, he was just making a gesture. "I'm not a person without conscience."
"Of course, you are not." The lobby manager took a few steps towards Shen Changan but didn't dare to get too close. "Besides, isn't the door still intact?"
As soon as the words left his mouth, a piece of carving fell from the door, smashing on the pristine floor with a mocking crisp sound.
The manager took a few steps forward, kicked away the fallen carving, and said to Shen Changan with a smile, "I just checked with our logistics department. There seems to be an issue with our heating system today, so we won't be able to offer the mountain spring bath. Would you like to come another day?"
Shen Changan sat down on a sofa in the lobby. "I don't want to leave and bump into those two jerks from earlier."
The jerk Liu Mao, who was thrown out of the door, cautiously looked at the other jerk, Dao Nian, and swallowed hard. "S-Sir?"
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