Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 68: Scavenger Hunt
King Yama’s movements were smooth, flicking the xanthium into the air.
With a turn of his body, he picked up his leather shoe and kicked the xanthium into the toilet with precision. The next moment, the dirty toilet seat was stepped on by Zhong Chengshuo.
The xanthium didn’t have time to react, only being able to leave a few soft thorns outside—they were pressed into the gap between the toilet and the toilet seat and feebly stretched.
Zhong Chengshuo had cruelly stepped on the lid, tore off a piece of adhesive tape with a scoff, and taped up the toilet lid tightly.
After confirming the xanthium couldn’t escape, Comrade Xiao Zhong wiped his hands with satisfaction and looked at the hole that was poked open.
In the coin-sized hole, a human eye slowly moved. The whites of those eyes were bloodshot, and the pupils were cloudy and lax, without any luster. It turned slowly, looking at Zhong Chengshuo without emotion.
It seemed that the “person” on the other side didn’t have that many xanthiums in stock.
Zhong Chengshuo didn’t hesitate at all. He quickly walked forward and stopped opposite the hole.
King Yama kept a step away. He raised his dark eyes and looked at the thing without fear. The muscles in his body were tense, and he clenched the scissors used to cut the tape tightly in his right hand, ready to attack the hole at any moment.
The distance between the eye hole was less than half a meter.
They looked at each other for an extremely long time. Zhong Chengshuo’s heartbeat was smooth, and there wasn’t any disturbance in his breathing.
The intimidation of the monster’s eye gradually deteriorated, turning into faint doubt, which then turned into slight fear. Under Zhong Chengshuo’s gaze, the “person” on the opposite side slowly retreated and disappeared without a trace.
It seemed that the “person” on the opposite side wasn’t part of the set but also wasn’t a “living person” like them. Zhong Chengshuo turned his dark eyes. He only had time to see the figure of that thing.
It was a humanoid. Wasn’t tall, thin, and looked like a teenager.
Unfortunately, it was still night, so it wasn’t convenient for him to open the door and chase. Zhong Chengshuo shook his head regretfully and took out a sample box. He looked at the clinking toilet seat with satisfaction as he twirled the small scissors in his hand.
The sharp scissors touched the soft thorns, and a moment later there was a click.
Ge Tingting, who was outside the door, instantly covered her ears: [Something screamed in the bathroom just now. It sounded worse than being electrocuted!]
“Zhong Chengshuo is there, so there shouldn’t be any problems.” Yin Ren firmly guarded his corner with a serene expression. “He’s probably taking samples.”
Besides, he didn’t hear the sound, so it wasn’t Zhong Chengshuo who was screaming. Since the xanthium was a physical entity, he could only take a few seconds to mourn for it.
Not long after, the bathroom door creaked open. Zhong Chengshuo stepped out contentedly, carrying a small tool bag.
“I believe you have discovered that day and night here alternate much faster than outside. The ‘dark night’ symbolizes the unstable mental state of the file’s owner.”
The short night was coming to an end. The parade outside the window was nearing its end. Huang Jin had almost calmed down as Lu Xiaohe’s distant voice came from the headset.
“The ‘things’ you just saw will only act in the dark and are only present in the minds of those who are mentally disturbed.”
“Their specific causes are unknown. They can affect people’s emotions to a certain extent. Everyone should have seen Huang Jin’s situation.”
The three of them surrounded Huang Jin’s bedside while Huang Jin lay on the bed like a corpse. The entire scene resembled some kind of funeral for the body.
On Lu Xiaohe’s screen, Huang Jin’s emotion readings of “Regret” and “Doubt” remained high.
“That thing is very powerful,” he explained to the ceiling in melancholy. He looked a lot better than he did just now. “I didn’t notice it at all. I felt… I suddenly felt anxious, and it was difficult for me to think, as if all the troubles in my life were stuffed into my mind.”
Huang Jin considered himself to be the calm type, but in just those dozen seconds, he had absolutely no way to control his thinking. Before Lu Xiaohe unleashed the electric shock, he even had a vague impulse to self-harm.
The electric shock was like a pot of ice water, which completely woke him up and made him numb.
“This is what I want to say.”
Lu Xiaohe’s voice became solemn.
“Don’t touch those things. They can cause extremely strong emotional disturbances. Judging from current research, long-term exposure may cause psychological collapse and even induce serious mental illness. In the minds of the mentally ill, they are the greatest danger.”
“The way to hide is simple. Find the nearest building, close the doors and windows, and wait for the ‘night’ to pass. Don’t deliberately provoke, let alone think about taking samples for research—those samples will dissipate as soon as ‘day’ comes.”
Given that there was only one science post present, Yin Ren instantly looked at Zhong Chengshuo, noticing the dewy look of satisfaction on his face had disappeared.
Comrade Xiao Zhong slowly looked at the sample in the glass tube, which was now empty. Zhong Chengshuo shook it in silence with an expression like he had lost his wallet.
His “excitement” index took a big dive, reaching a freezing point.
“I see. No wonder the basin is so quiet. It turns out that this thing will disappear automatically.” Seeing Zhong Chengshuo frozen, Yin Ren hurriedly changed the subject. “Xiaohe Jie, we most likely understand the situation. It’s a mess outside now. How can we get Guo Laifu back to normal?”
The buildings on the entire street had changed shape, so they didn’t have any masonry work. At night, there were messy monsters running around, and they couldn’t be touched.
How could they save him? By standing in the middle of the street and expressing their feelings to Guo Laifu loudly?
The problem was that Guo Laifu wasn’t a sleeping beauty waiting to be rescued, but a vicious murderer. They were only helping him regain his sanity, not only to investigate the cause but also to allow the police to put him on trial and sentence him to death.
With this in mind, it was difficult to say whether Guo Laifu himself was willing to become sane again.
“You have to look at the source of the distortion.” Lu Xiaohe seemed to have anticipated this problem some time ago. “Guo Laifu murdered five people, then fled under police pursuit for nearly half a year. This person is cruel and vicious by nature, so it stands to reason that he won’t be so easily collapsed.”
“People’s consciousness is very complicated. In order to protect themselves, the brain will hide huge stimuli. There must be some abnormal phenomena on this street. If you find the source of the distortion, you can determine the cause.”
So it turned out to be a scavenger hunt! Lord Ghost King was instantly energetic.
Finding “the cause of Guo Laifu’s madness” was much more interesting than “exploring the past of this scumbag”.
Guo Laifu, 47 years old, killed and mutilated five people in an extremely cruel manner. One of the victims was even his own son.
The case was clear, and the evidence was sufficient. Yin Ren wasn’t interested in this guy’s experience. If it weren’t for Shian and the police watching him, he wouldn’t mind directly smashing Guo Laifu’s skull right away.
“So that’s how it is. As long as you can avoid those monsters, this task isn’t dangerous by nature.” After listening to the explanation, Zhong Chengshuo’s attention was successfully distracted from the “lost sample”. “…What happens after the cause is found?”
“Record, and then destroy.” Lu Xiaohe lowered her voice. “Guo Laifu will wake up soon after that irritating memory is erased.”
Zhong Chengshuo stared at the empty test tube without blinking. “I understand.”
“Everyone, take a break. I’ll have lunch too.” Lu Xiaohe’s voice became lighter again. “The time inside is chaotic, but it’s always good to have three meals regularly!”
Hearing this, Huang Jin took out the compressed biscuit and broke off a small piece, then gnawed on it expressionlessly. Ge Tingting also followed suit and quickly swallowed her noon quota.
“Zhong Ge and I will go out again and take a look.” Yin Ren casually grabbed a packet of dried mangoes. “I can fly, so I have a larger field of vision. Maybe I can find something suspicious.”
Ge Tingting nodded while Huang Jin turned away and waved his hand weakly.
Outside the hotel, there was still plenty of light on the street. Except for the street being more distorted, they couldn’t see any slight traces of monsters.
Colored pedestrians and vehicles passed by from time to time, and the green trees in the flower beds looked hazy like cobwebs. Incomprehensible words floated on the signboards of shops, and the desserts in the window kept twisting non-stop, their edges were quivering.
They exuded a thin and sweet fragrance intermittently, which didn’t make them look attractive at all.
Yin Ren stretched his waist and cracked his joints. He opened Nail Coffins, and as expected, all the messages sent out had small exclamation marks.
It seemed that he couldn’t summon ghosts in this place.
A ghost master was useless here, a spirit smith couldn’t bring too much material, while it would be difficult for a corpse servant to dig up remains in the minds of others. The restrictions on all metaphysical occupations in this world were quite large. Even if there was an enemy invasion, most likely people could only fight purely through physical combat.
It was no wonder why Lu Xiaohe said it was safer here.
Since he couldn’t recruit his ghosts, he would need to hug Zhong Chengshuo as they fly to do their science post and non-science post double inspection.
Yin Ren looked at Zhong Chengshuo’s clothes and suddenly felt that the material was too tight and he didn’t have much room to grab on to. Now that Shian was watching them, Yin Ren couldn’t arbitrarily transform, but he couldn’t naturally pick up his partner.
Should he just hug him from behind? Zhong Chengshuo was about his height, so his vision would be obstructed, and his posture would be uncomfortable.
It was a bit silly to carry him on his shoulders, though, and while princess carrying was possible, Zhong Chengshuo might not like such a constrained posture.
…Or would he prefer to be carried on his back?
Lord Ghost King fell into deep contemplation. Has this problem ever been so difficult before?
“Yin Ren, I’m ready,” Zhong Chengshuo said.
At some point, Zhong Chengshuo had taken out a parachute strap-like equipment that was firmly fixed to his body. At the end of the strap was a handle for Yin Ren.
Yin Ren: “…..”
Yin Ren picked up his partner in silence and rose into the air.
Like two unaware flying insects, they rushed toward the huge vortex overhead. Twisted buildings came crashing in, and countless wrecks swept across their sides. The deformed street became smaller under their feet, curving around like a brain trench. The buildings looked like they were copied and pasted, as each block looked the same, forming a certain irregular pattern.
The only thing left in the sky were the ever-expanding, twisted skyscrapers that looked like hair. Yin Ren nimbly passed through the gaps in the floor, ignoring the deformed faces and crimson handprints pressed against the glass.
The sky and earth rotated, and the colors blended into a mass.
Yin Ren flew faster. It was probably because they were in the world of someone’s consciousness that there was no wind resounding in their ear and their breathing was unusually smooth.
It had been too long since Yin Ren had felt this way—soaring between the heavens and the earth, as if he had turned into wind. Unlike before, there was a heavy weight in his hand, and another person’s heartbeat was close by.
Even if the scenery was weird, Yin Ren couldn’t help flipping in the air a few more times. His long hair drifted away, and his figure broke through the cloudless sky like an exceptionally happy bird.
An inexplicable sense of relief embraced him.
…As if he were born to belong here.
“How’s it going, Zhong Chengshuo?” Under the huge vortex, Yin Ren smiled happily. “Is it enjoyable?”
At this moment, Zhong Chengshuo took advantage of his strength and grabbed onto Yin Ren’s arm. He hooked Yin Ren’s ankles and put his arms around Lord Ghost King’s waist. The two of them were entangled in the air for a few seconds before Zhong Chengshuo’s entire body fell on Yin Ren’s back.
Yin Ren’s laughter got stuck in his throat. A large area of body heat clung to his back, causing him to nearly hit the glass wall in front of him.
The tips of Zhong Chengshuo’s ears were slightly red, but his movements were firm—
He put his chin on Yin Ren’s shoulders, trying to ensure that his eyes were level. After holding Yin Ren firmly, Zhong Chengshuo stretched out a hand and pointed to the building the size of a grain of rice under his feet.
“There’s a building over there that’s not repeated anywhere else.”
Yin Ren: “…Oh.” He tightened his body, not daring to move. The flexible bird had instantly turned into a humanoid kite.
As always, Zhong Chengshuo was fully focused on the task. For some reason, the sense of enjoyment Yin Ren just felt had disappeared without a trace, leaving him a little lost.
He stopped speaking and landed sideways at a uniform speed near where Zhong Chengshuo was pointing.
As a result, within a few steps after landing, Yin Ren’s subtle anger became heavier. He turned around and shook Zhong Chengshuo off his back, then grabbed him.
“Hug my waist and step on the top of my feet when we’re up there.” Yin Ren avoided Zhong Chengshuo’s gaze. “It’s too conspicuous if you’re on my back.”
Zhong Chengshuo spat out a long hair and let out a muffled “Nn”.
A few minutes later, the two hovered in the air and looked at a building under their feet.
This was a school.
Unlike the rigid and repetitive buildings around, the outline of the school’s building was particularly clear and out of place.
There were many students on the playground. Though they were blurred color blocks, they were much clearer than the pedestrians on the street. At least they could see the blurred and crooked eyebrows. The color block students ran and played on the playground to the tune of the class bell that interspersed with the dismissal bell, which made an unpleasant melody that swept through the playground from time to time.
Yin Ren and Zhong Chengshuo were actually not that far from the ground, but the students were unresponsive to them, going on as if they were just two invisible people.
“The reason for Guo Laifu’s madness is related to the school?”
Yin Ren pondered for a bit, unable to imagine how a serial murderer could be driven crazy by an ordinary school.
“Guo Wei, 17 years old. The last victim was Guo Laifu’s own son.” Zhong Chengshuo frowned as he looked down. “When he was killed by Guo Laifu, Guo Wei had just started his sophomore year in high-school.”
Guo Laifu himself only had a junior high school education, and he had never set foot in a proper high school before. The impression of the high school in front of him was clear, which meant it couldn’t have originated from Guo Laifu’s own schooling experience.
“Guilt? Seems unlikely.” Yin Ren hissed.
If Guo Laifu had such a conscience, he wouldn’t have chopped up his own son’s body into minced meat and then calmly hid for six months.
“I don’t think so. There must be other reasons.”
Zhong Chengshuo didn’t look at Yin Ren. As if looking for something, his gaze moved back and forth across the playground and the windows of the teaching building.
“…It may also be that, for some reason, his ‘cause of illness’ is hidden nearby.”
Yin Ren nodded and cooperated by lowering his altitude.
The two of them descended to a height of about 10 meters before the bottom of Yin Ren’s foot gave a “thud”. He had unexpectedly bumped into a barrier, and nearly broke his ankle in the void. Luckily, Lord Ghost King reacted quickly, and he urgently regained his balance to prevent the tragic case of “tumbling in mid-air with Zhong Chengshuo”.
“Idle people are not allowed to enter the school,” a hoarse voice said.
Yin Ren lowered his head and saw a severely deformed face.
It was an elderly security guard, but his face was distorted like melted wax. His neck was twisted at an incredible angle, as his face was directly staring at them. The old man’s facial features were terrible, but his tone was extremely stern.
“Idle people are not allowed to enter the school,” he repeated. In his pair of deformed eyes, there was only a deep and dull black.
Yin Ren stomped hard on the barrier under his feet. It had no traces of evil qi or spiritual energy. The school just simply “rejected” them.
It seemed impossible to break through.
Yin Ren and Zhong Chengshuo looked at each other and flew to the entrance of the school. Zhong Chengshuo buttoned up his suit, while Yin Ren straightened the hem of his shirt. After fixing their appearance, the two politely walked towards the gatekeeper.
The half-human-high metal folding door was closed. The guard booth window opened, and the distorted old face poked out.
“What are you doing here?” he asked bluntly.
“Visiting the campus,” Zhong Chengshuo replied calmly.
The chubby face that looked like melting wax trembled. “The school is not open!”
“…Hey, wait a minute. We are writing an interview with the senior management of your school, and we have to greet your leaders.” Yin Ren quickly rubbed the window. The glass felt real and made a sound under his hands. “Today, we’re just taking in the scene first and we’ll quickly leave.”
“I haven’t heard of this.” The old man glanced at the two of them, then mercilessly closed the window.
Yin Ren and Zhong Chengshuo: “…..”
The old man really didn’t give any maneuvering room.
Through the sliding door, the students wore big blue and white school uniforms and were laughing and jumping around in the playground. In the hoarse tone of the changing bell, the sky gradually darkened.
“Well, at least we have a target. Let’s go back first.” Zhong Chengshuo stared at the group of students. “It doesn’t seem impossible to get in here… We just need to have a ‘reasonable enough’ reason.”
Yin Ren let out a sigh.
He turned his head and looked at the weird campus behind him.
There was no problem with Zhong Chengshuo’s judgment. To figure out the specific situation on campus, it was better to bring Ge Tingting and Huang Jin as well.
It was just…
The atmosphere here was indescribably strange. He could feel a kind of hostility, but he couldn’t tell where it came from.
Inside the teaching building, behind a certain window.
In the shadows, a pair of eyes quietly stared at the two of them. The whites of those eyes were congested, and the pupils were muddy and lax without any luster. After a while, the owner of those eyes picked up a ballpoint pen and pressed his thumb to the end of the pen.
It was like turning off the lights of the entire world. All of a sudden, the surroundings were completely dark.
The author has something to say:
Xiao Zhong: _(:з”∠)_
Xiao Yin: _(:з”∠)_
Probably they flew like this (×
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