Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 67: The Walls Have Ears
Inside the black door was pure darkness.
“Have a nice trip, everyone,” Fang Yuanyuan said.
A weird smell of dust and flesh floated from the door. The breath-like wind blew out a warm feeling. Yin Ren glanced at Zhong Chengshuo as he stood in front to go first.
He tentatively stretched out his right foot toward the darkness. After making sure there was solid ground inside the door, he moved forward with confidence.
Zhong Chengshuo trailed Yin Ren with light and alert steps. Yin Ren subconsciously wanted to grab the other’s hand, but thinking about touching Zhong Chengshuo’s skin that day, he came to an emergency brake and retracted his hand that was about to move.
The strange sense of uneasiness resurfaced with a kind of subtlety.
…However, Great King Yama was so close that he wouldn’t lose him. Yin Ren scratched the tip of his nose and continued walking forward.
At the beginning, it was darkness that completely obscured his field of vision.
It was like being immersed in viscous, warm water. Yin Ren’s entire body was supported by buoyancy as he moved forward with strange ease. There was a little flickering light in the distance that swayed quietly, like a faint sunlight shining at the bottom of a lake above the surface water.
Yin Ren continued to walk towards the light. The temperature was just right, and the shade was gentle. Walking in this darkness, he had an unprecedented sense of relaxation, even feeling a bit drowsy.
“Zhong Chengshuo…” He tried to call Zhong Chengshuo but found that his voice was muffled as if there was a water film between them.
Zhong Chengshuo’s footsteps sounded steadily behind him. After making sure that the other party didn’t react abnormally, Yin Ren stopped talking and accelerated his pace.
The piece of light was getting closer, and finally, as if stepping out of the water sideways, Yin Ren walked out of the darkness.
The “buoyancy” suddenly disappeared, and his entire body became heavy.
At this moment, Yin Ren didn’t have time to care about this—he looked at the scene in front of him and held his breath.
Even with the most absurd techniques, he had never seen such an illusion.
He was standing at the entrance of a street.
The street looked brightly lit at first glance, with plenty of light, and there were pedestrians walking around—that was, if you only looked at the vague outline.
Upon closer inspection, the street seemed endless. The buildings on the streets were distorted, intersected, and fused into an impossible formation. They were so high that they stretched into the sky, and he couldn’t see the top.
These buildings were more dilapidated and dirtier than the streets of Haigu. The surface was covered with blood vessels-like “creeping vines” that twitched and deflated.
Yin Ren reached out and touched the wall of a convenience store closest to him. It was uncommonly warm to the touch, like steaming internal organs.
He raised his head and looked in the direction of the “growth” of the building.
In this world, there was no sky or sun. There was only a vortex full of darkness above Yin Ren’s head. A viscous gray mist exuded from the edge of the vortex that kept turning all the time, stirring the top of the building that leaned in. The mess floating weightlessly, disappearing into the depths of darkness.
The vortex was like an eyehole that looked down at all beings, silently.
Yin Ren raised his head and stared in fascination at the void. When Zhong Chengshuo shot out from behind, Lord Ghost King’s hair almost exploded.
When Yin Ren turned his head, he was taken aback.
The clothes of the other three people had changed.
Ge Tingting had an extra set of hypertrophic school uniforms from some unknown school. The bright blue was lined with white, looking a bit rustic. Huang Jin’s clothes became a maintenance worker’s uniform, and he was wearing an additional cap on his head.
Huang Jin took off the cap suspiciously and threw it away. After a while, an identical cap appeared on the top of his head again.
Zhong Chengshuo’s outfit had become an extraordinary formal suit. Unlike the uniform of those sales staff, this black suit was just the right cut and it clearly outlined his figure.
The shoes he was wearing became leather shoes that were polished and shiny. Coupled with Zhong Chengshuo’s frameless glasses, this person looked like an elite who had just left a meeting.
Zhong Chengshuo knocked on his leather shoes uncomfortably and unbuttoned two buttons on his neckline. He rarely wore slim-fitting clothes as he didn’t like the excessive restraints.
After looking at Comrade Xiao Zhong, Yin Ren looked at himself speechlessly. His long hair was scattered again, and at some point, his t-shirt was replaced with an old-fashioned tunic.
Fortunately, it was still black, so it didn’t make him look like Fu Xingchuan No. 2.
“Hey, hey. Can you hear me?” Lu Xiaohe’s voice came out from the one-sided headset. “Don’t worry if you find that the clothes you’re wearing have changed. That’s Guo Laifu’s consciousness correction—based on your appearance, he transformed you into a more understandable image.”
Ge Tingting tugged at her high school uniform with a trace of fascination on her face. However, when she looked at the crest on the school uniform, the young girl’s expression slightly changed.
[%#@#% High School]
The text in front of it was a string of garbled code. The pattern structure looked like words but wasn’t, and they couldn’t make out any meaning.
Yin Ren also discovered this.
The signs of buildings, the street advertising posters, and the packaging of vending machines were full of garbled characters—at first glance, they looked normal, but they didn’t exist in the world.
The pedestrians on the street were even more wrong. When they looked closely, they only had a vague human shape. Those “people” had no facial features, and all their clothes and belongings lacked details, like a few scribbled color blocks spliced together, looking extremely off-putting.
Ge Tingting stood closer to the outside of the street and was almost knocked down by a “person” who was quickly walking by.
She wanted to apologize but found that the person didn’t even stop. The thing first maintained the appearance of being bumped into, and then continued to move forward with extremely awkward movements. After a dozen steps, its posture gradually returned to normal.
The young girl’s face turned a little blue. She silently retreated behind a convenience store’s sign, trying to hide herself.
“Don’t be afraid. Those are not real people. They have no thoughts,” Huang Jin said succinctly. “You guys can also—”
Huang Jin looked in the direction of Yin Ren and Zhong Chengshuo, and his words of comfort got stuck in his throat.
Zhong Chengshuo was scraping the wall skin with glowing eyes as he put it in a sample box. Yin Ren was poking a vending machine with interest, trying to make it spit out some mysterious items.
Huang Jing: “…….”
Huang Jing: “Miss Lu, do you have any new instructions on your side?”
“Find a base and get familiar with your surrounding environment first. It’s not recommended to spend the first night outside.”
Lu Xiaohe’s voice sounded a bit distant.
“I suggest using an office building or a hotel. What you see are Guo Laifu’s impressions. The architectural characteristic should be obvious.”
Shian building, Unit 9 Office.
After saying that, Lu Xiaohe looked at Guo Laifu’s brain waves on her screen.
The entry of living things into the brain would cause it to react. Her teammates should soon usher in the first “night”.
Lu Xiaohe clicked her mouse worriedly as she cast her gaze onto another big screen.
There were four sets of data jumping on it.
That was the mood swing of the four members of Unit 9.
Emotions were roughly divided into two basic categories: “Fear” and “Satisfaction” with “Sorrow” and “Hate”, and “Joy” and “Love” extended below.
Under the four categories, various smaller branches such as “Disgust”, “Anger”, “Shame”, “Relaxation”, and “Curiosity” branched out, creating a dazzling array of data.
In the Archive, emotions would become easier to monitor. If the person inside had a different mind, no matter how superb their acting skills were, it was difficult to fake their true emotions when facing their companions.
Hatred, malice, disgust… These suspicious emotions would be directly quantified and transmitted through the wristband the four were wearing.
To be honest, Lu Xiaohe didn’t like the feeling of monitoring her teammates, but this was an order from her immediate boss. Lu Xiaohe now deeply realized the necessity of this kind of monitoring.
Ge Tingting looked excited and nervous, while her fear readings weren’t too high or low.
Huang Jin’s mood was relatively stable. He seemed numb to this strange scene. His readings had only a faint “Helplessness” and a slight “Hope”, which was a standard working state.
Yin Ren’s emotional reading seemed to be dancing.
His “Curiosity” was like a roller coaster going up and down, interspersed with “Happiness”, “Nervousness”, “Worry”, and a sporadic “Confuse”. What was suspicious was that Yin Ren’s “Love” reading at this moment was a little higher than those of teammate love and friendship. She didn’t know where this increase came from.
Just looking at the changes in his emotions, Yin Ren was more energetic than Huang Jin.
…The problem was with Zhong Chengshuo.
There was a bit of “Curiosity” and “Excitement”, with some “Love”, but nothing else.
Starting from the top with “Fear”, all the subordinate branches of “negative feelings” for Zhong Chengshuo were zero.
Is Zhong Chengshuo’s wristband malfunctioning?
Lu Xiaohe made several remote restarts and reconnections, but the emotional branch for Zhong Chengshuo still remained zero.
Facing such an incomprehensible vision, Zhong Chengshuo had no fear, nervousness, or uneasiness at all.
This person was simply curious.
This kind of data couldn’t be explained by “personality disorder” alone. Lu Xiaohe frowned and unconsciously bit her pen.
“Xiaohe Jie, we only came in the morning, so it’s far from night. Isn’t it too early to prepare a base right now?”
Yin Ren’s voice came from the device, and at the same time, his “Curiosity” reading rose again.
Luo Xiaohe quickly collected herself. “Oh, oh, oh. The days and nights in his head don’t follow real life. Everyone is regarded as an invading foreign body, so his subconscious will definitely react. You still have about half an hour. Hurry up.”
15 minutes passed. The four of them had gathered in a hotel room.
Guo Laifu didn’t seem to have ever stayed at a good hotel. While the outside looked like a hotel, his impression of the interior seemed pretty bad.
This hotel was the closest to four of them and only had two floors. The interior was close to a third-rate hostel, with big white painted walls that were peeling, exposing that muddy-gray color behind it.
The curtains were dark purple, stained with dirt, and were closing tightly. There were cheesy decorative paintings hanging on the walls, and the cement floor was full of cracks and covered in dust.
Under the flashing incandescent lights, the four single beds reeked of dampness. There were suspicious stains on the sheets, and the bedside table was filled with dirty Coke cans and birth control supplies.
Zhong Chengshuo blankly took out a dust-proof plastic cloth from his backpack and covered it on one of the beds, then put over a sheet. After preparing all this, he sat upright on the edge of the bed.
Ge Tingting and Huang Jin, who just sat directly on their beds: “……”
Huang Jin: “There shouldn’t be any germs in the human mind”.
Even if the “Archive” could materialize the world inside the mind, it couldn’t conjure living viruses or bacteria out of thin air. Things in real life couldn’t be so well constructed. As a spirit smith, Huang Jin knew this well.
Zhong Chengshuo replied solemnly, “I know. It just looks uncomfortable.”
Huang Jin looked at the “mental health is also health” thought floating over Zhong Chengshuo’s body and then at the alcohol wipes that he took out speechlessly for a while.
Yin Ren took the opportunity to glance at Zhong Chengshuo’s luggage. Very good. Zhong Chengshuo didn’t bring any waterless cleansing wipes. A good start was half the battle.
He paced to the window in a good mood and pulled the curtains…
Peeping eyes were plastered outside the glass window.
They grew neatly on a piece of skin and tightly blocked the window. Following Yin Ren’s movements, those eyes turned their overly large pupils and looked at Yin Ren.
The well-informed Lord Ghost King: “…”
While the other three children didn’t see it, Yin Ren smoothly fetched a broom from the corner of the hotel. He opened the window with a smile and poked at the cobwebs full of eyes. Tears welled up when the eyes were poked, and they fell resentfully away from the window, drifting to who knew where.
When he first entered Shian, he himself had played this trick. How could he put this… Guo Laifu’s impression of a “hotel” was quite sick.
Without the cover of the cobweb skin, the room suddenly became much brighter. From this angle, he could see the weird street below.
It was only around 10 a.m., but the streets were already showing signs of nightfall.
The light from unknown sources disappeared during the day, and under the dim street lights, the clothes of “pedestrians” became a little shorter. They staggered around, laughing and cursing much louder than during the day, but it was just repeated loops of the same sound, like background noises recorded in advance.
Ge Tingting plucked up the courage and leaned in front of the window to look at the weird scene outside.
“It’s getting dark.” Zhong Chengshuo looked at the sky as he broadcast his statement.
“Good,” Lu Xiaohe said. “Make sure the doors and windows are closed, and then go to the front of the window to look out. Remember, no matter what you hear or see, you must never leave the room.”
“What you see next is extremely important for you to understand this mission.”
Huang Jin had just locked the door when Ge Tingting let out a cry of alarm.
Yin Ren had just run to his suitcase to get out some jerky when he hurriedly straightened up and looked at the scene outside the window.
It was completely dark, and shadows engulfed both sides of the streets. As the streetlights came on, many “things” suddenly appeared on the spacious street.
The street seemed to grow a layer of mold in an instant. Those things covered the entire street as they squirmed forward.
They all looked different, but they were far from the evil things that Yin Ren knew. This strange procession advanced unhurriedly, surging past the window in turn—
Four lone spider feet stuck together, stomping around and hugging each other in the dense mass. Something like a slimy fern, bent and stretched in every direction. Mixed in with them were a number of twitching gray “xanthium“, which squirmed like worms as they crawled slowly along the side of the street.
In the shadows were more writhing things that couldn’t be clearly seen.
This category of monster wasn’t large. They were about as tall as someone’s calves, and they just squeezed through the streets in a mighty way.
Wherever they went, the already chaotic buildings would become more distorted. The “pedestrians” on the street were stained with these things. They were quickly torn into scattered colors, seeping into the stone bricks on the street like sewage.
Slightly taller, somewhat vague human figures—about three meters tall, looking like scorched corpses with their arms raised high. These things stretched out their dark and long limbs, swinging frantically in the night.
The laughter and cursing all disappeared. The street was now crowded with all kinds of monsters, but there was a strange, dead silence. Ge Tingting subconsciously covered her mouth and nose while Yin Ren put down the half-eaten bag of jerky, politely keeping quiet.
None of these were the worst.
In addition to these weird, unknown things, there was also a huge monster on the street.
Yin Ren squeezed his face against the window and barely managed to see the entire thing.
It was an orange cone covered with huge holes.
It floated in the air with a texture that was similar to that of a snail’s shell and was larger than the hotel building they were staying at. There were circles of jellyfish-like tentacles on the bottom of the conical shell. Its huge body floated on the street, aimlessly bumping around.
Where it collided, the building became even more distorted and exaggerated. The straight office building twisted into a spiral and looked like it was about to break.
As if sensing Yin Ren’s gaze, the snail shell suddenly approached the window where the crowd was, and something jutted out from its bottomless hole…
It was a dark, moist eyeball. It had no pupils and only bits and pieces of viscous material.
The eyeball was several times larger than their window.
The next moment, the eyeball whizzed back into the depths of the snail’s shell, as if nothing had happened.
At some point, Zhong Chengshuo had walked to Yin Ren’s side. He frowned and stared at the giant object outside the window that was clearly visible.
These things weren’t evil beings. Yin Ren knew this in his heart.
He didn’t feel any evil qi, let alone Evil Force. These things were almost integrated with the current environment and were essentially no different from the “pedestrians” on the street.
…But if this was really Guo Laifu’s imagination, like Lu Xiaohe said? Wasn’t this imagination too odd?
A muffled sound interrupted Yin Ren’s thinking.
It sounded clearly like the movement of flesh colliding with hard objects. Yin Ren quickly turned around.
Just two steps behind them, Huang Jin knelt on his knees. At some point, a fleshy gray “xanthium” had stuck to his head.
Its long thorns mixed with Huang Jin’s hair and were twitching like a sick little animal.
Oddly enough, Huang Jin was unaware of it. He collapsed on the ground and pressed his temples with both hands as his eyes darted randomly. His complexion was blue, and he looked so anxious that he was on the verge of vomiting.
“Will Ding Lizi be okay after I leave? She has no relatives to take care of her, and her memories haven’t been erased. I should spend more time with her…”
“But I have no position to reject Shian now. I don’t want to go to jail, which is an even worse situation…”
“Did I forget to lock the door before I left? I can’t go back in five days to confirm…”
He was muttering quickly to himself as his wristband on his right arm emitted a ticking alarm.
“Huang Jin?” Zhong Chengshuo pressed Yin Ren behind him as he tentatively called out. Huang Jin turned a deaf ear as sweat continued to trickle down his cheeks.
“Something has invaded the room? Don’t panic guys.”
At the sound of the alarm, Lu Xiaohe took the initiative to speak in a calm tone. “Zhong Chengshuo, go and confirm the point of invasion. Yin Ren, Ge Tingting, stay away from Huang Jin—”
The next moment, only a loud noise was heard. Huang Jin’s wristband buzzed. His entire body shivered twice, and his gaze froze for a few seconds.
He seemed to have just recovered from a nightmare. Gasping for breath, his eyes still looked glazed.
The fleshy xanthium slid across his back and fell to the ground with a snap. Its sharp thorn was twitching constantly in the air.
It seemed like an electric shock seemed to work on that thing.
Determining that Huang Jin was safe, Zhong Chengshuo dutifully left the window and found the invasion point. Ge Tingting was like a frightened cat. She rushed to a corner of the room and tried to stay away from that thing.
[Ear Person: It’s screaming.] After making sure she had shrunk to the tightest corner, she texted a message to her companions.
“It’s okay. Don’t panic. They can’t cause you any harm,” Lu Xiaohe comforted her. “Leave it alone. When the time comes, it will disappear by itself.”
Following her explanation, Huang Jin convulsively stood up. He rubbed it away and fell toward the dirty bed, leaving the strange thing alone to twitch in place.
Seeing that Comrade Huang Jin was extremely capable of taking care of himself, Yin Ren took out his phone in silence. He was about to comfort Ge Tingting but found a dozen messages had popped up on the screen.
[Siren: Can I eat it?]
[Siren: Can I eat it?]
[Siren: Can I eat it?]
[What is that?] Yin Ren quickly replied.
[The weak that can be eaten.] It gleefully explained.
Yin Ren smiled. [I see. Don’t eat it.]
Dog Thing was stupid, so Yin Ren never believed all the information it gave. It dared give this thing a similar rating to his own, so what exactly was he? A weak thing that couldn’t be eaten?
But if Dog Thing’s words were credible, this thing was by no means a simple illusion.
Yin Ren looked deeply at the fleshy xanthium that was twitching on the ground. He thought for a moment, then slipped to the door and picked up a basin under the sink.
Next, he pressed the basin and a heavy object together in one motion, breathing a sigh of relief.
The fleshy xanthium crackled and fluttered inside; there was a little fatigue in its thumping sound.
Yin Ren ignored it. He imitated Ge Tingting’s movements and leisurely hid in another corner.
Well, at least he was stronger than this weird little thing.
At this moment, Zhong Chengshuo was following Lu Xiaohe’s instructions and blocking the peephole in the bathroom…
When he looked around, he really found such a flaw. The hole was the size of a coin and was hidden behind a tattered poster that still had dry mucus on it. The “xanthium” probably came from there.
Zhong Chengshuo tore open some tape and neatly blocked the hole.
He was just about to go into the living room when he heard a click. The hole he had just sealed was poked open by something.
A thin human finger pulled back from the hole, then a sound of squeezing was heard, and another “xanthium” had pushed itself in.
At this moment, Zhong Chengshuo saw it clearly. The thing was painfully drilling itself in, looking like it came in involuntarily. However, as soon as the xanthium discovered Zhong Chengshuo, it suddenly became energetic and rushed over.
At the same time, there was a soft hum that came from the peephole.
Zhong Chengshuo whipped the xanthium that was flying towards him and narrowed his eyes at the hole.
‘Interesting,’ he thought.
In addition to them, there were other “people” here.
The author has something to say:
Xiao Yin: Is this the new era? (Holding jerky with shakily pupils)
Xiao Zhong: It’s not hygienic.jpg
<<< || Table of Contents || >>>