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    Being an Extra Actor in an Escape Game

    Vol. 1 Chapter 10


    Suspect Hostism

    Translated by boilpoil
    Edited by boilpoil


     

    When Glasses enters the bookstore alongside the video feed of the stream, the audience is in a heated discussion over the information attained.

    The three viewers happen to have three distinct views.

    “the wife looks like a bad person…”
    “That kind of setting really screams the distraction in detective novels!”
    “but she really didnt treat her daughter well, according to both the diary and the letters between the owner and his friend”
    “and isnt the owner sus? whats with the reaction when ppl talk well about his wife? it feels like guilt after committing a crime; also he was sleeping in his daughters room, isnt that just perverted? maybe he has ill thoughts towards his daughter”
    “His reaction may just have been because of him suspecting that these people are here to try to clean up his wife’s name for her, despite his well-established suspicions of her.”
    “never mind all that, which one do u think is true?”
    “owners wife +1”
    “The owner +1”
    “? so i get to decide? oh wow let me think”
    “Oh, a new scene. A bookstore? Interesting. Mm, but wait, this bookstore owner…”
    “looks like a bad guy”
    “hes so handsome tho!”

    Meanwhile, a new viewer has joined the stream, unaware of all the previous events, nor that the stream’s host has yet to appear at all. Seeing the camera pointed at the man behind the counter, the person makes a comment, “yo, that’s the host? handsome!”

    The three viewers that are still happily debating suddenly stops and is about to make a question mark to clarify when the dalao detective viewer has a spark of genius and thinks, ‘that… isn’t impossible?’

    Soon after, a new wave of comment barrage begins.

    “I give it a thought and this bookstore owner really does feel like he may be the host we’ve been searching for!
    It is his first appearance in the stream, despite all the details we’ve already gathered in this missing person’s case. All the potential suspects should have already been introduced, with the perpetrator among them!
    But to be honest, there haven’t been many characters so far.
    These three players that have always remained in our sight are definitely innocent. Well, that guy with the babyface is pretty much invisible, but his parts were too few and far in between, so it’s still unlikely. The owner himself is really too ugly to be streaming live himself; it’s bad business.
    In that case, this bookstore owner is awfully suspicious!

    (TL: The comments continue thusly, but it feels like it’s getting too long without a line break)

    Next, the geographical location of this bookstore, being right next to the Dollmaker’s. The day xiao-Chun went missing, he could easily have avoided all surveillance to take xiao-Chun into his store.
    If he and xiao-Chun already knew each other, and she isn’t on guard against him, then all the easier; not to mention that, as their neighbour, he may very well be aware that the CCTV camera in the Dollmaker’s is broken.
    And lastly, from a streaming host’s perspective, knowing that he’s the perpetrator after entering the game but the audience doesn’t know yet, then how can he best achieve a successful stream?
    Obviously, it’s to conceal his identity. Not just against other players, but also with us, the viewers, creating a battle of wits centred about our screens!
    And he also has to arrange for his erstwhile identity to appear at an appropriate time, while letting the audience join the game’s mystery-solving for increased viewer satisfaction (I admit that I’m really excited right now).
    Put simply, from my analysis of Suspect Hostism, this bookstore owner, is likely the stream’s host = the perpetrator!”

    And now, the rest of the viewers feel enlightened and all incline to agree,

    “dalao! i got it, i really understand now!”
    “hey, if nothing else the host really is good looking”

    Meanwhile, the latest viewer understood nothing, but the conclusion, “what? the host is the perpetrator?”

    Xü Beijin “…”

    He’s pretty sure this detective dalao would have a field day talking with Ponytail.

    And, what in the world is ‘Suspect Hostism’…!

    Xü Beijin is angry, angry!

    This causes him to show a slight frown when the three Missiontakers come in.

    Ponytail, looking at his expression, seems to fall into thought.

    Xü Beijin “…”

    What now!

    Xü Beijin finally realises that, humans, once they begin to suspect something of their own accord, they’ll manage to dig up all sorts of supporting evidence from them, discovering all sorts of suspicious points everywhere.

    The truth is, because of the strange behaviour from the dollmaker, Ponytail has leaned towards him being the perpetrator instead of the bookstore owner, though he remains entirely on the table as a suspect.

    Since, up to this point, the total number of NPCs has been the bookstore owner and the dollmaker. She could eeny, meeny, miny, moe her way out and still have a 50% chance to be right.

    Though for the Missiontakers, just knowing who the perpetrator is won’t resolve the Nightmare completely.

    After thinking about it, Ponytail tells Xü Beijin, “laoban, we just got chased out by the dollmaker.”

    Xü Beijin knew what happened to them, therefore he is doing his best to put on a very convincing ‘surprised’ face, asking, “chased out? Why?”

    Quarrelsome explains, “because we told him that, we thought it was unlikely the owner’s wife could have done something to her own daughter.”

    Xü Beijin seems to mull over his words for a little bit before answering, “I’m actually inclined to agree.”

    All three Missiontakers turn towards him. Xü Beijin explains, according to the information the Server has provided, “I haven’t moved here for long so I didn’t know them very well, but I know that the missus always left for work early and returned home late. She was always busy.
    Once, I was about to shutter the store when I saw her return from work with lots of bags in her hands… I asked if she needed help.
    She seemed impatient and in a hurry but still told me that she bought it all for her daughter. She complained that the daughter was really high-maintenance and always wanted the sweets and whatnot, so she had to make a detour to buy them every day when she got off work;
    She does love her daughter very much, I think.”

    After Xü Beijin has finished, Ponytail slowly nods and then asks curiously, “but when we asked, it seemed xiao-Chun… the daughter, after she went missing, it was the owner that was more in pain and was adamant about searching for her, but the owner’s wife wanted to give up early… Is that true?”

    Xü Beijin quickly concludes from only the pieces of information provided by the server to say, sighing, “that’s right. Before they divorced, the owner complained to me once that his wife always said xiao-Chun might have already… Perhaps she is just more rational.”

    Ponytail furrows her brows. Her mind is suddenly telling her something is off.

    What is wrong here…

    During their conversation, all the words of the diary and the letters they read… Something, something is terribly off!

    She is mired in her thoughts when Quarrelsome suddenly yelps.

    “Wha…” She turns her head around reflexively only to widen her eyes in shock.

    Outside of the bookstore is wave after wave of dolls, rushing forth into the bookstore in nought but a few seconds.

    The narrow, cramped store provided them nowhere to escape. A countless amount of dolls are squeezing on their bodies. She feels like she is running out of hair. Endless pairs of frigid little hands are touching her. is overwhelming her senses.

    The next second, her eyes go dark.

    Did she die? Did someone else die?

    Was that her death…?

    A long while later, she snaps her eyes back open. Her fear, shock and regret make her cuss out, “fuck!”

    They all forgot one important thing!

    True, after they went to the second floor, the girl doll follows after them, and the first-floor dolls settle down.

    Yet after they left the second floor, equivalent to avoiding the girl doll’s kill condition… Then, would the first-floor dolls reactivate?

    Well, they do.

    Not much grace period after they return to the first floor and before the army of dolls rushes for them.

    Their carelessness has caused a death and a restart, making Ponytail unable to subdue her anger anymore. She has maintained her calm up to this point, but now, she’s had enough, spouting, “shit, I’m taking back what I said! The dolls’ chase is a Difficulty for sure!”

    On their fifth run, they were making good progress already. The letter, the talk with the dollmaker too, but because they completely ignored the problem of the dolls’ chase, the problem of time, they failed.

    Worse, on successive runs after the first few, the dolls quicken and increase in quantity. And… they would eventually switch to targeting all the Missiontakers, not just picking a random one.

    On this sixth run, almost as soon as they have opened their eyes, an endless sea of dolls are already rushing out of all the godforsaken corners of the Dollmaker’s to grandly rush at them like a raging river.

    Truly a terrifying scene.

    Ponytail and Quarrelsome both can’t help but scream; Glasses is trembling. Lin Qin stands up straight, looking impatient.

    The next second, they all rush outside the store.

    Even if Lin Qin’s strength can easily deal with these weak-ass dolls, but the numbers also mean there is nothing he can do, unless he’s willing to deal with them one-by-one patiently… which he clearly isn’t.

    Xü Beijin can see them being chased through both the stream and the entrance of the bookstore.

    Therefore, for now, nobody will be here to divert his attention.

    After hesitating slightly, he resolves himself and switches the stream’s video source back to the bookstore.

    The four viewers seem confused by the sudden change in perspective, as they come face-to-face with the man directly in the camera’s view.

    The man greets them, “hello. I’m your host, Xü Beijin.”


    Read only at Travis Translations


     


    boilpoil's notes:

    The 'suspect hostism' thing makes sense in Chinese even as a made-up term, but can't be helped the translation is awkward in English. Do let me know as a feedback if you have a better translation, though.

    boilpoil

    This should go without saying, but considering the nature of this novel, please think twice before posting a comment on any chapter in order to avoid spoiling any possible future plot points or twists from later chapters.

    Travis Translation

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