All the illusions faded away. This small town was nothing but a nightmare used to trap Yu Jian. In this nightmare, Yu Jian was wrapped up in a thick shell, and the ghost fetus became his own mother, the person that was supposed to be closest to him. Perhaps the ghost fetus wanted to use this method to get Yu Jian to understand him, to have the boy see the effort that he had made for him. After all, they shared the same perspective and background; they were both 'monsters' that emanated evilness from the bottom of their hearts.
The ghost fetus believed that Yu Jian was the same kind of person as him; Yu Jian believed that the ghost fetus could help him accomplish many things. They were like the shark and the remora, feeding off each other and committing multiple crimes.
But one day, Yu Jian found the teacher that would change his life. He started to go against the ghost fetus and violate his order.
When Chen Ge saw Yu Jian trapped inside Du Ming's body, all the questions that he had so far were cleared up and answered. He was thankful that he did not resort to violence the moment he entered this world. If he had gone against his principles and ruined this small town, he might become one of the bargaining chips the ghost fetus would use to convince Yu Jian. The ghost fetus would definitely have told Yu Jian that everyone had a demon living inside their heart, that it was something normal. Everyone would go for destruction and despair-that was human nature. There was no need to follow what the female teacher said.
The ghost fetus would manage to convince Yu Jian, and if the ghost fetus succeeded, Chen Ge would not only need to face the ghost fetus but also Yu Jian, who was empowered and taken over by the ghost fetus.
"The worst situation has not appeared. My effort so far has not been wasted." Chen Ge used actual actions to give Yu Jian a lesson that he would never forget. If meeting that teacher was the only stroke of light in Yu Jian life, a light that granted him a glimpse into the real world beyond the despairing mist, then Chen Ge offered him a pair of hands, wanting to pull him out of the devouring mist. The ghost fetus ultimately failed to gain Yu Jian's approval. Everything he did, if anything, only caused Yu Jian to resist him even further and harder. The black threads that were pulsing with curses crawled all over his body. The ghost fetus could not understand it. The eyes that looked at Yu Jian started to take on the flavor of evil and resentment.
"I've treated you so well and given so much to help you, and this is how you treat me?" The baby's face was twisted. The hatred in his heart was at its maximum. He could not understand why this would be the result after he had done so much for Yu Jian. He kept saying these things like a broken record. It felt as if he had repeated these exact words to another person before. He repeated them again and again. The pressure that pulsed around him became scarier and scarier. Soon, he became more terrifying than a normal Red Specter.
"This isn't the real ghost fetus, right? Has he been hiding behind this door all along?" Chen Ge could not really tell. One thing that he could not rely on was his luck. After all, during the spinning of the Wheel of Misfortune, he always got the unluckiest prizes. He would always form these unbreakable bonds with unknown Specters and Red Specters.
Yu Jian had lost consciousness, wrapped in layers of curses. Chen Ge was unable to shatter the shell of curses, but leaving him there alone would not be a good idea. After giving it some thought, Chen Ge took out the comic from his backpack. Whether the ghost fetus before him was real or not, he decided to deal with the ghost fetus here and now. This time, he had spent too much time submerged in the world behind the door. His mental state was strained to the maximum. Both of his eyes were bloodshot, and the man himself was about to collapse.
"It's time to call an end to this." Flipping through the comic, Chen Ge called the names of his employees. The pages of the blood-stained comic fluttered like a bloody sea. The heavy scent of blood powerfully overwhelmed the horrible stench that previously occupied the room. The Red Specters were fighting the curse inside the teacher's lounge. Two terrifying forces collided. This sight would have snapped the mind of a normal person.
"Du Ming's mother is much stronger than the woman from Wu Sheng's world. They are not even on the same level." There was no place to hide in the enclosed space. As more and more blood red figures appeared, this curious world took on a sheen of redness. Blood flowed. A pair of pale hands pierced through the cage weaved by the curse and attempted to pull Yu Jian out.
"Xu Yin and Ol' Bai, I need you two to stay beside me. Temporarily, don't go anywhere." He had been calling them for almost ten days before the defense of the world behind the door was broken. As the employees appeared, it also pointed at the final collapse of this false world behind the door. The scenario that was weaved from Chen Ge, the ghost fetus, and Yu Jian's memories was about to collapse, and it was Chen Ge himself who was going to shatter it with his own power.
"The two of you should go and give it a test." Chen Ge summoned the Stage Costume Red Specter and the water ghost that he had met in Jiang Yuan Apartments. They had been locked inside the comic for a long time. This was their first time in the open, but the first thing that they saw was the ghost fetus who was getting stronger. The increasingly scary presence added a lot of pressure to the two Red Specters.
"The snail behind Jiang Ming's world had a tough shell, and it needed the cooperation of ten Red Specters to break through it. The faceless woman behind Wu Sheng's world knew how to control blood, and she could perform multiple task very well. The ghost fetus behind Fang Yu's door was very calm and collected; she was an expert at setting traps and controlling curses. Every variation of the ghost fetus behind each door possesses different talents. The ghost fetus before us now has an indeterminate power. I should use the Stage Costume Red Specter and the water ghost Red Specter to feel him out first."
Chen Ge was very cautious. He had held on for so long behind the door. He would not allow himself to make a careless mistake at the last moment.
"Xiao Bu, watch for the opening and aim for the kill whenever you can!" Of all the Red Specters that Chen Ge had, the strongest one currently was Xiao Bu. After becoming the real door pusher of the door in Li Wan City, this little girl had not really shown her true strength. After all the Red Specters showed up, Chen Ge could not try to communicate with them during the brief moments when they were not fighting. The battle between Red Specters was extremely gory and cruel. They were entities wrapped within layers of resentment. Unless there was a serious imbalance in power level, once they started fighting, no one would be able to pull them apart until one of the parties was killed and consumed.
A Red Specter with rationality and reasoning like Men Nan was an exception.
The water ghost Red Specter and Stage Costume Red Specters appeared before Du Ming's mother. They had to attack. If they don't, they would be attacked by Du Ming's mother. They had no other choice. The Stage Costume Red Specter did not mind it that much. She possessed a great resentment toward the ghost fetus. After all, it was the latter who had forcibly occupied her altar.
The water ghost, though, even thought of abandoning Chen Ge to join the ghost fetus. This was different from what he had imagined.
"Chen Ge, our promise did not include a fight with another Red Specter, right?" He wanted to stay out of it. After all, Du Ming's mother who was actually the ghost fetus gave him a very dangerous feeling.
"No, it is hundred percent within our promise. Did you not ask me to find the door pusher of the door at Jiang Yuan Apartments for you? The ghost fetus is the door pusher. After you kill him, you will be the real door pusher." Chen Ge did not lie, or at least, he believed he had not said a single statement that was false before.
"Our promise was that we would kill the door pusher together!" The water ghost Red Specter was only powerful in water. He was unable to gather his full strength on dry land. Soon, his body was cut and wounded by the curse. "Help me! Help me!"
"That given by others is called charity. That fought for and earned by oneself is called dignity." Chen Ge kept his eyes on the water ghost Red Specter. The black thread of the curse slipped through the water ghost's body through the open wounds, and it made its way to his heart. The water ghost slowly lost his rationality. All the negative emotions in his mind were amplified. If this continued, he would turn into a collection of negative emotions that could not be communicated with. Other than hatred, murder, and resentment, he could not feel any other emotions.
"The ghost fetus behind this door can use the curse to corrupt others, huh? To pollute the other Red Specters' hearts?"
The heart of the Red Specter was the basis for their existence. It was an object crystallized from their last wish and resentment. Chen Ge did not expect the curse of this ghost fetus to be so powerful.
"We need to end this battle as soon as possible! Work together! Be careful of being injured by his curse!"
After getting to know the ghost fetus' power, Chen Ge stopped holding back. The ghost fetus' curse was too scary. With this kind of power, if the ghost fetus managed to survive the initial onslaught, after the curse took effect, Chen Ge would lose its advantage in numbers. Red Specters who had their hearts corrupted would destroy everything before them, including their former colleagues and even their boss.
"So far, I have found out so many powers that the ghost fetus boasts. The more I discover, the scarier he becomes in my mind."
None of the red Specters held back. They attacked at full force. The ghost fetus' body was mangled and weakened. He barely looked human, but he still hung on for dear life. He did not disappear. The black threads that were hidden in various spots behind the door crawled into his body to help him recover.
"The world behind Yu Jian's door is helping him?" Chen Ge knew that he did not have much time left. He grabbed the shoulders of the boy who was lying on the ground. "Yu Jian, can you hear me? Your resistance and determination has paid off. I am here to bring you home! Wake up! The mother in your heart is a version that has been maligned by the ghost fetus. She is not your real mother!
"Have you really lost all hope in this world? Do you not wish to see your own teacher one last time? There are many people like her in this world. The ghost fetus hid them away from you. He only showed you the darkest side of the world. But you must understand that with darkness comes light. Without the light to shine, where does the shadow come from!"
As if hearing the term teacher, Yu Jian's eyelids flickered slightly. His brows slowly moved into a V. He seemed to be struggling in a nightmare.
"Yu Jian, if you really believe that you have encountered love, it is time to stop letting yourself sink behind the door. Do not let her down and use every inch of power that you have to change yourself into someone that would make her proud." Chen Ge picked Yu Jian up from the ground and gave him a powerful slap. "Snap out of it! Perhaps she is just waiting for you on the other side of the door!"
The flesh that caved in slowly recovered. Yu Jian's eyelids moved slightly, and then he slowly opened his eyes. Chen Ge picked up the phone from the ground and showed the picture of the screensaver to Yu Jian. "Live! I beg you to give life another chance! It is not that hard. In the future, you might have a chance to see her again!"
The fuzzy eyes started to focus. The past incidents crossed Yu Jian's mind. The boy's hands reached out to grab the broken phone, and his expression stopped being so blank. Chen Ge removed his jacket and placed it around Yu Jian. The boy was a prideful man, but he was completely naked behind the door. This was probably a symbol of his once state of mind.
"The ghost fetus infested himself inside you and kept luring you to the edge of the darkness. He blotted out all the light and only allowed you the glimpse of darkness and despair. Thankfully, you ran into that teacher."
"Miss Zhang..." Light started to gather at the bottom of Yu Jian's eyes. The connection between the ghost fetus and the world behind the door was weakening. He found it more and more difficult to summon energy from Yu Jian's world.
"Yu Jian!" The ghost fetus' body was disformed and covered in wounds. He was wailing like a wounded animal. "It was me who accompanied you when you were all alone! It was me who stood by your side when your father abandoned you and your mother blamed you! When the adults were fighting and shouting in the name of 'love', it was also me who was shielding you from all the pain!"
A shrill voice was coming out from the ghost fetus' lips. He had shed the disguise of Du Ming's mother but started to remind Yu Jian of the things that they had gone through together. From what Chen Ge gathered, Yu Jian appeared to be a b*stard son. His mother fell in love with a man who already had a wife. The argument between his parents and the whisperings of the neighbors twisted Yu Jian's understanding of 'love' from the moment he was born. Combined with the influence of the ghost fetus, Yu Jian gradually lost the power of love.
"He was not protecting you. He merely wanted to turn you into his tool, to turn you into a machine who would not know what love is." Chen Ge guarded Yu Jian behind him. "If you still retain the memory of the period after I entered your door, you should think about it. What is love? What should you do when you really love a person?"
The ghost fetus was unable to get any more help from the world behind the door. At that moment, he looked aggressive, mad, and crazed. Compared to the physical wounds on his body, he was more angered by Yu Jian's attitude toward him.
Seeing the ghost fetus in this state, Yu Jian's lips were pressed in a thin line. His hands that were raised earlier were finally lowered again.
"Yu Jian! Yu Jian!" The ghost fetus' body was torn into pieces by the Red Specters. All the black threads were washed away by the wave of blood. Du Ming's mother, who was disguised by the ghost fetus, disappeared, and what remained on the terrifying distortion of a mother's love was a watercolor painting of a child.
A family of three stood before a haunted house with happy smiles on their faces. In the sky was a sun that was painted red. Around the house were green trees with brown trunks. The family wore colorful clothes, and the whole picture was filled with various bright colors. Chen Ge remembered painting this when he was young. In fact, he noticed his name was signed in his still untrained handwriting in one corner of the painting. It was a homework assignment that had been given by the teacher. It was to draw a painting with theme of family.
"The ghost fetus is also in possession of this drawing?" The painting looked normal, but after Chen Ge studied it closer, he noticed that something was off. There was a small part on the painting that he did not remember putting in. The family of three stood before the haunted house happily. Under the blazing glaze of the sun, behind the caricature that represented Chen Ge, there was a dark shadow that was added by someone other than Chen Ge.
"The shadow?" Chen Ge placed the painting inside his backpack. He carried Yu Jian, and with the accompaniment of the Red Specters, they walked out from the teacher's lounge.
"It is time for us to leave this place." The small town no longer looked like the idyllic place that it appeared to be. The dream had turned into a nightmare. Chen Ge looked blankly out the window as if looking for someone. The streets were filled with cracks, and the rain continued to pour. This world was about to collapse. Chen Ge still did not see the person that he was looking for. He walked to the black door that was in the school's equipment room.
Just as he was about to push the door open with the rest of his employees, his phone suddenly rang. Chen Ge did not hesitate and answered it immediately. He placed the phone next to his ear and held his breath. Moments later, Zhang Ya's voice came through the phone. "I promised you that I would definitely tell you before I leave, Chen Ge..."
"Where are you now?" Chen Ge grabbed the phone and ran to the nearest window. "I will meet you now!"
Without taking the umbrella, Chen Ge grabbed the backpack and rushed into the pouring rain while holding the phone. He ran down the cracked street, flying through the crumbling world. Finally, he saw that lonely shadow standing at the crossroad. Zhang Ya stood by the road, holding a red umbrella. She still had not hung up the phone that she was holding. Gasping for air, Chen Ge's body was soaked by the rain.
"I did not want to call you, lest I interrupted your study, but once I have decided to leave, I seemed unable to control myself." Zhang Ya pushed the red umbrella over Chen Ge's head and stood beside him. "Will you ever forgive my selfishness?"
The gray town started to crumble and fall. The black cracks were tearing through the world. Chen Ge did not answer Zhang Ya. This was the first time that he had been able to be so close to her. "If the incident at the dance studio did not happen, if we were not teacher and student, if you were just Zhang Ya and I was just Chen Ge, how good would that be?"
Zhang Ya did not say anything once she heard Chen Ge. She took another step forward. She stood on her tiptoes and leaned lightly against Chen Ge. Raising both of her hands, Zhang Ya whispered in Chen Ge's ears, "Hug me."
Under the red umbrella, before Chen Ge could raise his hands, Zhang Ya's body had started to turn illusory. The red umbrella tumbled to the ground. Chen Ge hugged nothing but air. He stood alone silently as the rain poured down around him.
The world behind the door collapsed. The Red Specters herded Yu Jian and Chen Ge to the iron door, and they worked together to push it open. Just as they left the world, droplets of red rain fell on Chen Ge's backpack. They seeped through the material and finally dyed Zhang Ya's book red.
After stepping out from the iron door, gravity pulled him sideways, and he stumbled into Yu Jian's bedroom. His eyes were red. Without missing a beat, he pulled open his backpack and took out Zhang Ya's bedtime story. He flipped through the many pages until he found the last page.
"X Year X Month X Day, I had a dream today. In the dream, I was a teacher, and he became my student.
"I dreamed that we shared the same umbrella going home. I dreamed that we stood at the bus stop waiting for the bus together. I dreamed that we were living and cooking together.
"I dreamed that I hugged him, and he returned a tight embrace."