“There are no clocks on the 4th floor.”
The ticking sound of the second hand stopped abruptly with my small muttering. Then…
“Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tick-tick-tick-tick!”
The sound became so fast that it was scary, and it was getting closer and closer.
Soon, I found myself face to face with a woman with red eyes who was clinging to the ceiling with her arms and legs, her mouth wide open in a smile… no, torn apart, and making an incredible speed towards me.
“Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.”
The sight of the woman making the sound of a clock’s second hand with her mouth was truly shocking.
At that moment, one of the doors behind me opened as if it were a lie.
“Come in quickly!”
Someone shouted urgently behind the door.
Who could that be!?
I turned around again, unable to enter hastily. The woman who had crawled up to me was approaching with a big smile. There was no time to hesitate.
I quickly went into the room and locked the door.
“If she knows she can’t come in, she’ll wander around for a while and then leave. She can only crawl around.”
“Th-thank you. Thanks to you…..”
I was about to gasp and thank the person who saved me when my body froze at the system window that came to mind again.
Astella’s heart rate is increasing! Be prepared for danger!
There was only one reason why this guide appeared. It must be because the identity of the voice in front of me is definitely not human.
It was then, as I stood close to the door where the ticking sound was still coming from, swallowing my saliva nervously.
“Opening that door would mean death.”
Before I knew it, I realized that my hand was on the doorknob. Outside was a ghost making a ticking sound, and inside was an unknown ghost. Either way, it was death. I gathered my courage and moved the candlestick in the direction of the sound.
“What, what is it?”
There was a single bed in the room. The pillow and blanket were neatly arranged, and there was only one small doll on top of them. There was no one else there.
Even after looking around a bit more, there was nothing unusual in the child’s room.
…..Judging by the presence of toy swords and a chessboard, it seems like it was a boy’s room.
I still felt uncomfortable with my heart pounding, so I looked around with the candlelight, but there was no one there.
Upon hearing a small sound coming from the bed, I quickly turned the candle holder in that direction. There, a small doll was fluttering.
The yellow puppy doll stood up and sat down, shaking its front paw with a stupid and very small movement.
I didn’t even realize it, but my fear disappeared with the small and precious greeting of the 25-centimeter cotton doll. At the same time, the system window appeared again.
Astella overcame her fear. She is no longer afraid of Puppy.
New character (?) information is added. The doll 「Puppy」. It might be helpful to bring her along. Puppy: Tell me I’m pretty!
Astella feels fear towards the ghost outside and her heart rate remains elevated.
“What are you, anyway? You’re a ghost, right? But why did you help me?”
I spoke in a nervous voice due to my pounding heart.
Then, the doll named Puppy moved her soft feet and rolled towards me.
Puppy sat at the end of the bed and stretched out her small and adorable two front paws towards me.
“Take me with you too. I have to go to that child.”
“That child? What do you mean?”
Puppy’s short tail wagged as she jumped up and down in place.
Despite being a ghost, her cute appearance couldn’t help but catch my eye.
“My friend is very scared. We have to help that child. I promised.”
“I’ll help you, so take me to where that child is. Only that child can destroy this place. That’s the only way for you to survive.”
“How can I do that?”
I approached the bed and roughly lifted one of Puppy’s feet.
“Ah! That’s not it! You have to support my b*tt with one hand and my back with the other! Are you a stupid idiot?! Puppy, uncomfortable!”
Not wanting to hear the squeaking sound, I embraced Poppy as it suggested, and it wagged its tail again, seemingly satisfied.
“Thank you! Now it’s good! You’re a good girl too!”
“So where is that person? What do you mean by destroying it?”
“Huh? Don’t you know where you are? Doesn’t your heart race with the desire to save Leu?”
“Not at all.”
Puppy fluttered its ears at my response and made a whimpering sound.
…Looking at her like this, she really looks like a puppy.
Puppy tapped my hand with her cotton fist and said:
“That’s impossible! Everyone who came here was someone who loved Leu! They couldn’t all save him… That can’t be true, right”
“Has anyone else come here besides me?”
“Yeah, people who loved Leu were all drawn here by Leu’s power. That’s why I thought you were one of them too.”
I don’t even know who 「Leu」 is, why do I have to go through this?
I wasn’t even a good person to risk my life to find someone I’ve never even seen before.
As I shook my head quickly to deny it, Puppy made a stupid but cute face and shook her head slightly.
“You don’t know who Leu is, the only son of the grand duke? Well, he is now the grand duke. I never imagined Leu would grow up like that. Time flies…”
While looking at Puppy, who was gazing into the distance with a nostalgic feeling, I secretly grabbed her head.
With a small sound, the cotton in Puppy’s head was pushed inward.
“Don’t do that, you idiot! Puppy’s cotton is precious!”
The ghost that was tapping outside the door stopped for a moment and then burst into a chilling laughter.
The ghost didn’t stop there and kept doing something.
Then, a chilling sound of scratching was heard. That was definitely the sound of scratching the door with a 100% probability.
“That idiot will leave soon, so if you want to get out of here, you have to find Leu!”
“What do I have to do once I find this Leu?”
“You really don’t know anything. This place is created by distorting the memories that Leu was afraid of when he was young. Those ghosts are the beings that Leu was afraid of”
“We have to somehow take Leu and get out of here! Only he can find the way out of this place!”
My heart was pounding and my mind couldn’t keep up with the complicated story.
So, to summarize, I entered the dream of the Grand Duke? So, this is the background of the game?
‘Okay, I got the gist of it.’
I said as I nodded my head while organizing my thoughts.
「Detective’s Notebook」 record complete!: This place is the Duke’s dream, filled with ghosts that distort the fears in his subconscious. To escape from here, you have to find the Duke.
I nervously waved my hand towards the system window popping up above my head. The system window seemed to be mocking me as it became even darker.
At the same time, with a peculiar sound of “ding,” my body was surrounded by light.
Astella / Level: 2 / Occupation: Detective who roughly understands the identity of this place.
Astella’s abilities have been enhanced. Her ability, 「Outstanding Instincts」, now manifests in a more concrete way. Whenever she gets closer to strange beings, her heart rate response gradually changes from yellow to red.
“Ah, you have such a bad temper! Puppy is scared!”
Don’t be vague when you’re trying to make me understand someone’s identity!
I couldn’t stand it and cursed again, ignoring Puppy’s whining.
I hated this situation where I had to whisper quietly because the ghost outside might linger at the sound.
Suddenly, a heart icon appeared in the upper right corner, colored red. My heart was still pounding irregularly.
“How long will my heart keep beating like this…!”
After what felt like 30 minutes, I was finally able to calm down. At least, the first ability was quite helpful.
As the ghost moves away, Astella’s heart rate slows down.
The sound of the ticking from the system window gradually faded away.
Seeing the red heart icon in the upper right corner change to yellow, it seemed like it was finally gone.
Finally, I let out a sigh and sat down on the small bed, almost throwing Puppy onto the bed.
“I’ll sue you for this. Leu used to think I was so pretty…”
“Okay, so where is Leu exactly? Give me some helpful clues, my amazing ally.”
I remembered Puppy’s introduction from earlier and chuckled.
“It’s not because of you, it’s because of Leu! If Leu wasn’t in his room, he would either go to find his sick mother or visit his father’s office.”
“So, there’s a high chance he’s in one of those two places?”
“Right now, the 5th floor is closer, so let’s start by checking his father’s office.”
Now that the ghost was gone, it was the perfect opportunity. I hugged Puppy, who was whining again, and stood in front of the door.
I knew that if I opened the door and went out, those things would come running towards me, but there was no other way.
“Where is the Duke’s office?”
“It’s the innermost room on the right side of the 5th floor staircase. You really are full of desire to save our Leu, aren’t you?”
After silencing Puppy’s chatter for a while, I grabbed the doorknob.
I had to leave now. There was no point in staying here any longer.
My goal was clear: to beat the game and return safely. I made a small vow and opened the door again.