The fading world had its color seeping out. Chen Ge could see his hands turning gray. He noticed that this door was more complicated than he had expected. "My brain is getting duller by the minute. This can't go on any longer."
Fang Yu's world was much bigger than Wu Sheng's world. Other than the orphanage, most of the other buildings looked the same, so it was easy to get lost in the city. Chen Ge looked for a long time before he found a way to exit the city. It was a small path hidden among a gray forest. There was no smell of flowers, no chirping of birds-everywhere he looked, there was gray foliage and white trunks. His limbs were turning white. Chen Ge could sense his movement slowing down. He had no idea why that was happening.
"No matter what, I need to find Fang Yu soon!"
The forest went deeper than he thought. The road was winding, and it appeared to go on endlessly. Chen Ge trekked forward because he had no other choice. The longer he stayed in Fang Yu's world, the more he would forget. Therefore, he could not repeat what he had done in Wu Sheng's world; he could not wait at a stop for Xu Yin and the rest to come before he made his move. Every second was precious, just like Fang Yu's life. From the moment she opened her eyes in the morning and wrote down her memory, her life entered a countdown. She had to find the people in her memory before midnight because she knew that once she lay down, it would be a clean slate the next morning.
After a very long walk, until Chen Ge became numb to the surroundings, the scenery suddenly opened up. There was a wooden house at the end of the road. It was surrounded by fresh flowers and littered with toys. Pushing open the door, Chen Ge's hands that grabbed the backpack tightened. He saw a little girl sitting in the middle of the house. She wore pure white clothes and had long gray hair. She was carrying a small fishbowl, in which a blood red goldfish was swimming. The fish moved agitatedly, but the fish bowl was only so big.
"Fang Yu?" Hearing him, the girl in the white dress turned to look at Chen Ge. She looked just like Fang Yu, but her eyes were like lifeless as if she was a puppet.
"I finally found you. It's time to go home." The girl's body shivered. Her lips moved, but she made no sound. It appeared like she was repeating the term 'home' soundlessly. Chen Ge looked at the girl before his eyes wandered to the fishbowl. The only thing that had color in this world was that goldfish. Entering the room, Chen Ge pulled up the girl from the floor. The girl did not resist, like a shell that had no self.
"There are many people missing you back at home. They have not forgotten you." The girl hugged the fishbowl while Chen Ge put his hands around her as they walked out from the wooden house. Once they stepped out, the goldfish became more agitated like it was trying to jump out from its small enclosure.
"Why are you hugging that fishbowl? Is the goldfish that important to you?"
"Yes." A simple word, but that was the first voice that Chen Ge had heard in the world behind Fang Yu's door. Realizing that he could communicate with her, Chen Ge smiled. "You must be lonely, staying here alone, right? Do you remember a boy who always stay by your side, a boy who is a chatterbox?"
The girl shook her head, but her eyes stayed glued to the goldfish. It was hard to tell what she was thinking.
"He helped you at the most dangerous moment. For you, he gave his life." Chen Ge carried the girl, but he was also studying the goldfish. "Do you know what it means by the end of one's life?"
The girl did not answer.
"The opposite of life is death. After we die, we cannot hear his voice, see his face, or touch his palms anymore." Chen Ge was not just chatting with the girl. He was testing her out. Fang Yu only had one day of memory, but that did not mean that she had forgotten everything. There was one person that she had not forgotten, and that was Zhang Yi. Chen Ge knew what Zhang Yi represented for Fang Yu. Before entering this world, he predicted that Zhang Yi would be the only light in Fang Yu's world. But after meeting Fang Yu, Chen Ge realized that things were not that simple. The only color and light in this gray and white world was a goldfish, a blood red goldfish.
"In this world, has anyone spoken to you, other than myself?" Chen Ge carried the backpack and walked next to the girl. They walked side by side, but neither of them was looking at each other. Their eyes were focused elsewhere.
After a long time, the girl replied, "No."
There was no expression on her face, and her gray eyes carried no hope. There was no despair, either, only a still silence.
"Then, am I your only friend?" Chen Ge spoke very slowly like he needed to think for a long time before he could construct the sentence in his mind.
"Friend?" The girl stopped moving. Her gray eyes looked at Chen Ge, the latter reflecting in her eyes. For some reason, the world in her eyes appeared to become more barren. "You, no."
"Fine, perhaps I got the wrong person." Chen Ge's hand landed on the girl's shoulder lightly. "I used to have a friend like you. He is very lonely and always alone. I forgot how we met, but I knew we were always seen together."
The clear fishbowl started to crack, but the girl continued to walk slowly ahead like nothing had happened.
"Why would such good friends end up like strangers?" Chen Ge looked at the winding road as he summoned Xu Yin's name in his heart. The employees were trying hard to break through. They were trying to cooperate to break down this world.
"I have forgotten many things, all the pain, despair, and experiences that I have enjoyed with my friend. When I came to, the friend had already left."
"What is the name of your friend?" The girl's voice was soft. She kept her head lowered.
"I can't remember anymore, but I believe it is Chen Ge." Chen Ge stopped moving. "He wants to have the same name as mine."
The girl did not stop, and she moved along without waiting for Chen Ge. The cracks on the fishbowl became more obvious. The goldfish swam about in anxiety, and the clear water became muddled.
"I also know someone with that name." The girl's voice was slightly different from before. "He has no friends. No one is willing to be his friend, including me."
"Is the child that repellent?"
"No, it's the opposite. He is a very good kid." The girl kept her head lowered. The voice did not seem to come from her lips but somewhere else inside this world.
"Why would such a good kid have trouble making friends?" Chen Ge spoke slower and slower. Half of his body was now gray.
"Because he carries a deep secret." The girl slowly lifted her head that had gotten blurry. "He is a child that refuses to die. No matter how you kill him, he will always return. Would you befriend someone like that?"