Chen Ge's initial plan was to find Ying Tong, but from the clues that he had found so far, the plan might need to change. He probably needed to locate all four children: Ah Ying, Ah Mu, Ah Tong, and Ying Tong.
"Ying Chen should know about the existence of the three brothers. In fact, one could say that the existence of the three brothers is deeply linked to him. He alone created this tragedy. The three children each suffer from a different type of mental illness, and it is most likely Ying Chen who caused this to happen. They correspond to respectively the fear of sharp objects, imprisonment in a small room, and being scared.
"He asked 'dead bodies' to look after the three kids, and if we relate this to real life, it means that he has hidden the dead bodies in his home. Ying Tong spent too much time with dead bodies, and the pressure on his mind probably caused this split personality and the birth of the three distinct personas. That explains why the three children are unable to leave their homes, but Ying Tong alone has been trying to escape non-stop.
"The other thing worth noting is that Ah Mu is not blind, but Ah Mu's current age is only six. If my previous analysis is not wrong, Ah Mu should be one of Ying Tong's suppressed personalities. Then it indirectly proves that Ying Tong was not blind before he was six, or at least, he had not lost his sight completely then."
The more he analyzed the situation, the more Chen Ge felt unsettled by it. He took a deep breath and turned toward the direction of the living room to ask, "Miss Dress, are you still there? Do you mind telling me when Ying Tong first ran away from home?"
"That was so long ago. It was maybe five years ago, I believe. At the time, Ying Chen's relative had just moved away. Ying Chen and Ying Tong were the only ones who stayed in their house." Miss Dress yet again revealed a very important piece of information.
"Don't you think there is a problem that Ying Tong chose to run away the moment their relative moved away? If Ying Tong was treated nicely, why would he attempt to run away from home for no reason? His elder brother, Ying Chen, must have done something horrible, something that has deeply traumatized his younger brother, Ying Tong."
Chen Ge was unable to see Miss Dress' expression, so he could not tell whether the woman agreed with his reasoning or not.
"Other than that, here is one more thing for you to think about. When Ying Tong ran away from home, he was about the same age as Ah Mu. As you told me, Ah Mu suffers from aichmophobia. After Ying Tong ran away from home, he was probably captured by Ying Chen and then was threatened by the latter by having the nails poke at the spots near Ying Tong's eyes. Isn't a nail a sharp object? And hasn't Ah Mu been dreaming about people wanting to use sharp objects to blind his eyes?"
"What is your point exactly?" Miss Dress asked.
"Ah Mu is Ying Tong from back then," Chen Ge replied. "The reason he suffers from aichmophobia is because of the trauma Ying Tong received when Ying Chen did those things to him. That's the reason he is so afraid when he sees any sharp objects. That is the source of his phobias!"
The world behind the door was often absurd and weird; one could not view them with a logical eyes. However, after combining them with the memory and experience of the door pusher in real life, one would realize that the layer of absurdity often hid a deeply wounded heart. To persuade Miss Dress, Chen Ge volunteered all his analysis.
"If you do not believe me, you can bring me to see Ah Tong and Ah Ying. The combination of these three children's experiences will be the injuries and traumas that Ying Tong has once experienced."
"I still do not quite understand it," Miss Dress said. "Ah Mu is a living individual. He is a complete and separate existence. How could a person represent a part of a memory from Ying Tong's childhood?"
As an original tenant of the world behind the door, Miss Dress herself was made from memory. The purpose of her existence was to look after Ying Tong, to accompany Ying Tong, and to be his friend.
"You will get the answer to this question after you find Ying Tong. Even though his face is ruined and he is blind, he should have no problem communicating with others." Chen Ge paused. "Neither of you have been given a chance to seriously listen to what the boy has to say. The strange mumblings that you heard might be the boy's cries for help. The tragedies keep on repeating, but unfortunately, all of you have been tricked by Ying Chen. The kindness and passion are a disguise that is put on by the b*stard. His real persona is something that will disgust all of you."
All the tenants inside the building believed that Ying Chen was the second coming of Jesus, and they thought that Ying Tong was just a burden that he had to carry. In reality, though, this was an illusion that Ying Chen had been trying to perpetuate. It was because they believed in this lie that most of the tenants in the building had been turned to dead bodies.
"I do not expect you to believe me fully without further evidence, but I ask that you give me a chance to prove myself." Chen Ge pleaded with the most sincerity he could muster. He was out of ideas. Ying Tong's door was the most difficult door that he had ever experienced. He had to grab any chance that came his way; that was the only way he could find the path to survival amid the many traps that would lead to his death.
The room became silent. After a long time, Miss Dress opened her lips to speak. "But how do you intend to prove what you said? You want me to help you find Ying Tong?"
"Or at least do not tell Ying Chen of my presence before Ying Tong is found. Other than that, you have to take good care of yourself." The tenants inside the building all treated Ying Chen as a good neighbor, but in Ying Chen's eyes, they were merely puppets on the stage. Once he tired of them, he would not hesitate to remove them from the stage.
"Okay, before Ying Tong is found, I promise to help you keep your secret. But after Ying Tong is found and what you just said is proven false, I will not hesitate to hand you over to Ying Chen."
"That is a fair deal. I will accept it." After getting the confirmed answer from the woman, Chen Ge sighed in relief. He leaned against the wall for support. "Ever since Ah Mu came to live with you, has he not left the room even once?"
"Yes, ever since Ying Chen dropped Ah Mu off with me, the latter has not moved one step away from his room."
"Is this one of the orders given to you by Ying Chen as well?"
"Yes, he is worried that Ah Mu might be injured." Miss Dress had no idea what Chen Ge was planning, but she told him all she knew.
"Ah Mu suffers from aichmophobia. It is understandable that he has been asked to stay inside the room, but what about Ah Tong and Ah Ying? As you told me earlier, Ah Tong suffers from serious claustrophobia. How could one trap a child like that inside a small room and not allow him to leave? Imprisoning a child with claustrophobia inside a room will cause his condition to deteriorate-is that really the best solution to help the boy?" Chen Ge cut straight to the point. The woman thought about it and suddenly realized that Chen Ge was not wrong there.
"It was not really for Ah Mu's real good that Ying Chen did not want him to leave the room. Only by hiding him away would he not be found by Ying Tong." Chen Ge used his hands to search around for a long time before he found a chair. He took a seat. "Ah Mu should be a part of Ying Tong. I suspect once Ying Tong finds Ah Mu, his body will somehow change."
Ying Tong did not dare open his eyes because he had to disguise himself as a blind man, or else he would die. He would be poked blind, and thus, the existence of Ah Mu was born. If the Ying Tong behind the door was reunited with Ah Mu, perhaps Ying Tong might recover part of his sight. As an outsider, Chen Ge should be living through the most traumatic events that had happened to Ying Tong. If Ying Tong's condition turned for the better, he would have plenty to gain from it as well.
"When the boy pushed me down the stairs, I noticed a problem. They did not call me a blind man. They were just curious about why I've been keeping my eyes closed. At that moment, it crossed my mind that I may not be blind. Who would have known I was so close to the truth? There is a very high chance that Ying Tong is not completely blind. He simply does not have the courage to open his eyes. I must try my best to help Ying Tong walk out from his fugue of despair and make him try to open his eyes."
Chen Ge's voice was determined and confident. He had never been so desperate to help someone. Only by walking in one's shoes would one be able to experience what said person had lived through, and that was why Chen Ge was able to empathize with Ying Tong so deeply. He had to walk out of this door alive to save Ying Tong in real life and deliver the necessary punishment and judgement to Ying Chen. It was what they deserved.
Chen Ge's voice was filled with gentleness but also a font of strength. It carried with it a determination that would not waver in the face of adversity. That helped improve the woman's impression of him greatly. It was why she said, "I will first bring you to meet Mr. Wood, but he is not as easily persuadable as I am. He is one hell of a stubborn person, just like his name suggests."
"Thank you so much."
"There is no need to thank me. I am merely curious about what you have said." When she was still alive, Miss Dress had probably been a young woman with a sparkling personality. She opened the front door and held Chen Ge gently by his elbow. "Mr. Wood lives on Tuesday. We will have to go up a floor."
"Lives on Tuesday?" Chen Ge stopped moving. "What do you mean by that?"
"I suppose you can see it as the second floor. The ground floor is Monday, and the second floor is Tuesday. The seven floors correspond to the seven days of the week." Miss Dress did not elaborate further on this strange naming system. Chen Ge wanted to ask her more about it, but he was already being dragged away by Miss Dress into the stairwell.
The floors are named according to the days of the week, and the day itself might represent the day the tenant died.
Chen Ge could feel the chilling wind blow from any corners. He felt very unsafe and exposed. "Miss Dress, can you promise me one thing?"
"What is it?"
"If there is an accident, I will give you the direction to run in. I will need you to take me and run in that direction without asking any question and without making any noise."
Perhaps Ying Chen was still dealing with the middle-aged man's body-Chen Ge and Miss Dress did not run into him. The two successfully reached the third room from the left side stairs on the second floor. Knocking lightly on the door, Miss Dress called Ah Tong's name softly, and then the door was soon opened.
"Weren't you here not too long ago to take the medicine? Why are you here again?" The person who spoke sounded like a middle-aged man. His tone was even, as if he could not bring himself to be interested in anything.
"I have something that I need to ask you." Miss Dress helped Chen Ge step into the room.
"Who is this? A blind person?"
"He just told me a story. I think it's quite interesting. I thought you'd like to hear it as well." Miss Dress had Chen Ge sit on the couch while Chen Ge was more concerned about whether they had closed the front door or not.
"Can I also hear the story?" Another voice came out from the room. The voice was about eighty percent similar to Ying Tong. Based purely on the voices, Ah Mu sounded like a kid about four years old, and the owner of this voice should be around seven or eight. The voice had lost its naivete, and it sounded softer in nature.
"Are you Ah Tong?" Chen Ge turned toward the source of the voice. Of course, all he could see was a screen of darkness, nothing else.
"Yes, do you know me?"
"Not only do I know you, I also know your mother and father," Chen Ge said with a smile in his voice. "I need to discuss something with Miss Dress and Mr. Wood. Do you mind going back to your room for now?"
"Okay." The boy was very obedient. Chen Ge paid close attention to the sound of the footsteps. After the boy walked away, Chen Ge whispered to Miss Dress, "Do you mind closing the door to his room? I do not think it is wise for him to hear what we are going to discuss."
"I am sorry, but I cannot do that. The child suffers from claustrophobia. To help with his condition, I have removed all the doors in the house. The only door that remains is the front door." Mr. Wood did not have a good attitude toward Chen Ge. He felt like he was a scam artist.
"That's fine then. There is nothing we can do about it."
Chen Ge repeated what he had told Miss Dress earlier to Mr. Wood.
After hearing everything Chen Ge had to say, Mr. Wood did not reply immediately. He was deep in thought for a long time. In the end, it was Ah Tong who ran out from his room. The boy had also heard what Chen Ge had to say. He pitied Ying Tong in the story, and he instinctually begged Mr. Wood to help Ying Tong.
"I still cannot trust you fully. What you hear can be false, and nothing is more trustworthy than what you see." Even though Mr. Wood was a nice person, he could be ridiculously stubborn. Miss Dress' earlier warning was not unfounded.
"What you can see with your eyes might be a front that someone purposely constructed to show you. His actual personality has already decayed and corrupted under his shining exterior." To convince Mr. Wood, Chen Ge revealed another secret. "There is a middle-aged man living on the fourth floor. Ying Chen should have just killed him. The reason I can wander around the building so freely at the moment is because I know he is currently busy dealing with the dead body on the fourth floor."
"I still think that is impossible unless you let me see the carcass with my eyes."
"There is a headless body hidden under Ying Chen's bed in his bedroom. If you do not believe me, you can go and see it for yourself, but I would advise you not to do so. Once you see the body, the next person that Ying Chen will target is you."
Chen Ge must try his best to fight to gain Mr. Wood's trust. If the man did not listen to him, there was a great chance that he would expose Chen Ge's location to Ying Chen, and the situation would go seriously out of control. Chen Ge did not look like he was lying, and with Ah Tong putting in some good words for him, Mr. Wood eventually decided to compromise and temporarily placed his trust in Chen Ge, agreeing to help him find Ying Tong.
"No matter what, do not tell Ying Chen of my existence, and do not bring up the fact that we are trying to help Ying Tong. You guys have to try to act normal and give Ying Chen the illusion that the whole world is still isolating Ying Tong. Only then will we be able to survive."
After leaving the facts, Chen Ge prepared to leave. He was in the hurry to find Miss Red.
"Ah Tong and Ah Mu are just like normal kids when they are not acting up. If anything, I feel like they are cuter and more obedient than normal children their age." Chen Ge sighed under his breath, and then with Miss Dress holding him, he walked into the left staircase. "Which floor is Miss Red staying on?"
"The sixth floor?" Chen Ge frowned for the umpteenth time behind this door already. "Ying Chen might be still on the fourth floor dealing with the body. To get to the sixth floor, we will need to pass the fourth door. It will all be over if we are discovered by him. And sixth floor is very close to the seventh floor."
His heart was beating wildly. Chen Ge felt like he was walking on a tightrope dangled between two cliffs. He moved up the steps, and Chen Ge and Miss Dress soon arrived on the third floor. When they were about to move toward the fourth floor, a wisp of a cat's meow suddenly rang out.
"Stop moving!" Chen Ge grabbed at Miss Dress. "Ying Chen is on the fourth floor."
"How do you know that?" Miss Dress whispered to ask, but Chen Ge did not answer. He held his breath and tried to focus on the direction of the cats. But strangely enough the calls of the cats did not grow louder or weaker. It felt like Ying Chen was standing at the same spot and had not moved.
"What is he up to?" Chen Ge leaned against the wall. "Is he hiding in a room, armed with the murder weapon, and waiting to jump those who walk past?"
Chen Ge signaled for Miss Dress to keep quiet. He climbed up to the fourth floor carefully. The cat's calls still had not changed.
"Could the b*stard have perceived the fact that I have the ability to predict his location, and he is currently conducting some kind of experiment?"
The more he thought about it, the more unsettled he felt. Chen Ge pointed to the fourth floor. "Miss Dress, do you mind helping me see if Ying Chen is standing in the fourth-floor corridor?"
"No, the corridor is empty."
"Okay, then we will hurry to the sixth floor." Chen Ge pointed above them. He did not dare stay there for too long. For now, the plan was to reach Miss Red on the sixth floor and talk to her.