In Virtual Reality 12 ☆ Screaming Haunted House (8/12)

Updated: 16 hours ago


Liu Jiao Niang had willow brows, fox eyes, and a melon face in the earlier mirror reflection.
The “Liu Jiao Niang” in front of Xu Jin Yi had a round face and almond eyes.
She looked more like a girl next door than a “weak willow”.

She wasn't Liu Jiao Niang.

Or, more specifically, this was not Liu Jiao Niang' from the original story.

'Liu Jiao Niang' slowly approached Xu Jin Yi and walked straight through her body.

Xu Jin Yi soon realized that this might be Liu Jiao Niang's memory.
This kind of drama was also called “NPCs airing their dirty laundry in a cutscene.” (回忆杀)

Xu Jin Yi paused for a moment before turning around and walking behind.

'Liu Jiao Niang' walked through the unbroken wooden door and returned to the dressing table.

'Liu Jiao Niang' sat silently in front of the mirror, gazing at herself.

Those delicate, cat-like hands caressed her face from the side of her face to her exposed forehead, from her almond eyes to the tip of her upturned nose.

She stroked her face for a long time before taking lipstick from her small beauty box.

One light coat, so delicate that it's a joy to wear.

One thick coat that is both vivid and enticing.

Over and over and over…

The young lady applied it again and again.

Until her lips became so red that they seemed to drip blood, and it seemed like all that remained of her face were those lips.

She gazed at herself in the mirror for a long time.

Xu Jin Yi concluded that the cutscene ended here, as the woman sat in stillness, staring at the mirror.

Searching for further clues may be needed to advance the story.

With this in mind, Xu Jin Yi investigated the room, but it was still the same, except that the old things had been replaced with brand-new ones.

She turned around and walked to the village centre.

Time and scenes here moved and weren't frozen.
Xu Jin Yi began by inspecting the village's public well.

A circular wooden board was placed over the well.
Perhaps out of concern for young children falling in? She tried to push it away, but her hand went through.

'Hey, am I now a ghost?'

Xu Jin Yi couldn't help but chuckle.
She walked away from the well and towards the front.

The path leading to the village's end was blocked by an invisible wall.
She couldn't proceed any further.

There was just the alley where the Zhang family's house and the Paper Folding Shop were situated.

But how do they relate to Liu Jiao Niang?

Xu Jin Yi pondered.

She'd played “Screaming Haunted House” several times.
She put it on her favourites list to gather dust after beating all the branch lines and collecting all the achievements.

Didn't Zhang Huai, in the script, stroll at night, lose his footing, and fall into a water field, choking to death on the mud?

Didn't Liu Jiao Niang simply fall into the well and drown?

…and so on.

Xu Jin Yi suddenly remembered that the well had just been covered with a circular wooden board!

Why was the well in her memories covered?

Maybe Liu Jiao Niang didn't lose her footing.

Nor did Zhang Huai accidentally walk into a paddy field.

Xu Jin Yi recalled what the woman next door had just discussed.

'Zhang Huai has been pestering Liu Jiao Niang.'

There may have been a connection between the two plot lines that she hadn't seen.

'What was this, a TE (true ending) after HE (good ending) and BE (bad ending)?'

She patted her empty head and decided to check out The Paper Folding Shop first.


Xu Jin Yi found a few pieces of white paper money scattered along this green stone road as she walked down this alley.

When she arrived at The Paper Folding Shop, the two paper figures that had before fled stood honestly at the door.
A few floral wreaths were arranged on either side of the entryway.
Xu Jin Yi entered by taking three steps up.

The Paper Folding Shop that Liu Jiao Niang recalled was the same one that Xu Jin Yi and Tian Si De had visited.

The overhead electric lights had yet to be turned on, and she wondered if the ageing circuitry would cause problems in the future.

She looked around and noticed that, besides the paper-made villa, paper horses, and paper gold ingots, there were more than five paper-folded brides on that long table.

They lay calmly flat on the table.
Each face was painted differently.
Some were flirty, and some were innocent, but as they went further back, the paper figures grew more familiar.
Xu Jin Yi squinted at them for a long time before realising.

This was Liu Jiao Niang's true face!

With her thin willow brows, long narrow eyes, and slightly open vermilion lips, this paper figure resembled Liu Jiao Niang by at least 80%!

At this moment, a series of footsteps came from the inner room of The Paper Folding Shop.
Xu Jin Yi stretched her neck to see two men walking out.

One of them was Old Man Zhang, whom Xu Jin Yi had previously seen several times.
The other was the proprietor of The Paper Folding Shop, who was now alive and well in a human body of flesh and blood.

The two men passed through Xu Jin Yi as they made their way from the inner chamber to the shop's door.

Old man Zhang halted, glanced back at the paper brides on the large table, and then spat at them: “Pooh.
Unlucky thing!” He cursed indignantly, “How dare you kill my child!”

The shopkeeper lowered his eyebrows and bent over.
He only dared to follow his words: “You're right, you're right!”

“Don't try to get rid of us with this stuff, don't even think about it!”

Older man Zhang sniffed coldly, pointed at the shopkeeper's nose with his finger, and then pointed out the door, “You know precisely which one we want, which would be a good fit for my son! It's not only these phoney brides; even if you gave us another ten or ten hundred, none of them would suffice!”

“Master Zhang, I'm merely the proprietor of The Paper Folding Shop; this,” the shopkeeper grumbled anxiously, “I wouldn't dare to do such a harmful thing.”

“What would be the harm in her marrying my son? This is her lucky break! Look at her; who else except my son would dare to marry her? Aside from that, how could my child have gone out that night? She had to be the one who asked my son out! This snake-hearted, poisonous woman killed him!!!”

The old man Zhang couldn't even catch his breath as he slapped the door frame and yelled furiously, “Isn't it simply writing her birthday on it? It's not like killing someone!”

“Oi, oi!” The shopkeeper shouted in a low, urgent voice, “What you said is no different than murder!”

Xu Jin Yi was shocked, outraged, and sickened as she watched the drama.
When she learned of this scheme, she couldn't wait to smack them twice.

What a way to give face!

“What age is it,” With a glint in his eye, Old Man Zhang shifted his tone, “It's only eight characters on a piece of paper.
It's not like she is buried with him.
We wanted to acquire a paper bride to keep him company in the ground since his mother, and I felt sorry for him.
Huai had a thing for that pretty girl in the east end of the town before he passed away.
I'm only looking for a paper bride to grant him his wish.
Didn't people come to the village a few times to promote something…
scientific? Let's talk science!”

Zhang Lao Han smiled hypocritically: “Tell me, what's the problem with writing the girl's eight digits? Nothing would happen! It's simply a small desire to make us poor parents feel better.
It won't harm Liu Jiao Niang.”

Xu Jin Yi, who stood behind him, kicked him in the buttocks, which expectedly went through his back without harming Old Man Zhang.

'What nonsense are you spouting?'

Xu Jin Yi exclaimed fiercely.

'If you truly believed in science, you wouldn't want to bury your kid with a paper bride with Liu Jiao Niang's eight characters!' You would not think your son would be lonely hereafter if you genuinely believed in science! If you truly believed in science, you would not have come up with the idea that could only originate from someone whose mind is filled with superstitions pee.'

'In this little community, folks thought with their buts and farted with their mouths.
Everyone in the hamlet would know if you inscribed the person's birth date on a paper figure and buried it with Zhang Huai.
Who would marry a woman already married to a dead man?'

'Could she still stay alive in the gossip spittle of this village?'

The cutscene in The Paper Folding Shop stopped at two men maliciously discussing.

Xu Jin Yi inhaled deeply and slowly exhaled.

If this was the true story, Liu Jiao Niang was probably pushed to jump into the well by the stares and gossip of these folks.

…she didn't accidentally slip.

It was a murder.

Everyone in this community was a murderer.

Xu Jin Yi walked quickly up to the proprietor of The Paper Folding Shop, and while knowing she couldn't touch it, she raised her hand and smacked the air hard.

“Serves you right for turning into a paper man yourself! In the end, you're one of the bullies! Earning your money with a black heart! I assumed you were just making paper brides for the Zhang family's funeral, but you even inscribed a live person's birth date on the paper bride!”

She eventually stopped cursing and turned around to leave this remote place.

As she walked out the door, Xu Jin Yi noticed a familiar child running out of the alley.

'It's a paper man from The Paper Folding Shop, right…? No, that's a youngster who hasn't yet turned into a paper man!'

Xu Jin Yi was accustomed to seeing story characters in their paper man shapes, so the transformation into actual humans took her by surprise.
She quickly lifted her foot, too, and followed.

With a firm goal, the kid dashed into Liu Jiao Niang's courtyard.

“Lili! Lili!”

Liu Jiao Niang's cutscene resumed.

“Little Ye, what's wrong?” the woman whispered, turning her head.

The child spoke eagerly, “Run away! My master is going to turn you into a paper man!”

“A paper man?”

“Oops, no,” the kid slapped his mouth and said urgently, “He's going to write your birth date on it and make a wife for the ruffian Zhang!”


“Lili, Lili, Lili! Why are you not reacting?”

Liu Jiao Niang seemed to have recovered, but her expression remained unchanged.
“I see, Little Ye, thank you.”

“Don't just sit there! You must flee!”

'Run? Where can I run?'

'Even if there wasn't this village and the shop, where could I run? Wouldn't the new place be the same? A man-eating hole? I'd just be swapping one hole for another.'

'I'm merely beautiful.
Was it wrong to be born this way?'

'Is it because I'm pretty that I had to endure this?'

Xu Jin Yi stood behind her and observed the real Liu Jiao Niang's face in the mirror.
Her demeanour was tranquil, but the room was filled with a suppressed voice about Liu Jiao Niang's inner monologue.

'What am I doing wrong?'

'I'm just mildly attractive; besides that, I have nothing.'

'I have no mother or father.
I have no field.
I was raised on the generosity of the villagers.'

'…I deserved to suffer in silence because of their charity since I owe them a debt.'


——— Translators Notes ———

The whole village viewed her as a child bride.
They were friendly to her on the outside, but on the inside, they regarded her as “a poor thing” and not a person.
She had to put up with their gossip because they fed her, and she had to obey when the Zhang family needed her.
From beginning to end, she was nothing more than a lovely little thing who owed them.


回忆杀: “Memories killing,” a buzzword on the Internet, refers to the desire to commit suicide when recalling embarrassing moments about oneself.

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