In the silence of the night, a dark shadow moved slowly through the living room. The clock hung on the wall ticked rhythmically. It was now three o'clock in the morning. His fingertips scratching the surface of the wall. The man finally stopped before the door to Ying Chen's bedroom. The doorknob slowly turned as the door was gradually pushed open.
The icy gaze pierced through the darkness, staring at the man in bed wearing his pajamas. He was in a very deep sleep. The corners of his lips were curled up into a smile, as if he was indulging in some kind of happy dream. The shadow from beyond the bedroom slowly approached the bed. It moved silently, and it was standing right beside the bedside.
Suddenly, the sound of a book's pages flipping echoed in the dark bedroom, and the stinging, pungent stench of blood spread. The man who was lying in bed frowned. He tossed his body around, and his face turned right to face the person who was standing beside his bed. Quietly kneeling before the man, the shadow was titling its head as he studied the man who was sound asleep as he raised the gory-looking doctor skull cracker's hammer that he was holding.
"Ying Chen?" With a soft call of his name, Ying Chen's eyelids fluttered slightly. The man was slowly called out from his wonderful slumber. He saw the blurry outline of a person standing beside his bed. Both of his eyes started to focus. An iron hammer that was covered with spikes and carved with blood grooves was speedily heading toward his shoulder. Sucking in a cold breath, Ying Chen's body supercharged, and he leaped up from the bed instantly as he rolled to the side to avoid the onslaught. The spikes slashed through the pajamas before it fell on the bed, shattering the frame!
Ying Chen did not dare imagine what would have happened to him if he did not narrowly avoid the attack earlier. He would probably have been left disabled.
"Who are you?" Standing on the other side of the bed, Ying Chen's forehead was covered in cold sweat. The scare had gotten the better of him; even his voice was shaking.
"You were able to avoid that because I never meant to hit you in the first place. As you've done to others, I plan to take my time with you."
The voice from the darkness caused Ying Chen's body to be covered in goosebumps. At the same time, he found the voice very familiar, like he had heard it somewhere before. He had just been woken up from his sleep and dropped into a nightmare. His mind was too fuzzy to focus on too many things. Before he could piece everything together, the figure charged at him again.
His hands reached toward the study table, and Ying Chen grabbed a fruit knife. However, before he could use it, his arm was smacked into by a heavy force, and he instantly lost all feeling of his limb. The arm dangled weakly by his side, and the fruit knife clattered to the floor with a cling. A foot kicked the fruit knife to the side. The figure that stood in the dark stared firmly at Ying Chen. At that moment, Ying Chen did not dare move an inch. He was leaning against the wall. He had no idea how this scary monster had gotten into his bedroom and how he had ended up in this situation.
"I am not good at bullying those weaker than me. The games that you play and like so much are so boring in my eyes." The figure took one voluntary step backward and lightly shook his head. Dragging the heavy scary-looking hammer, he walked out of Ying Chen's bedroom, and he closed the door behind him.
His heart still palpitating, Ying Chen held his arm that had become as useless as a limp noodle. He pinched his face to figure out whether he was still in a dream or not. The smell of blood intensified. Blood vessels spread and crawled all over the surfaces of his room. Pale faces slowly appeared on the walls as they stared down at him.
Leaning against the bedroom door, Chen Ge put away the hammer and listened to the screaming that came from Ying Chen's bedroom. Half an hour later, the screams stopped. Chen Ge reopened the door, went in, and dragged the fainted Ying Chen out.
"This one is not as strong as I anticipated. He is so much weaker compared to the Ying Chen possessed by the ghost fetus."
When Chen Ge was dragging Ying Chen through the living room, the sounds of the cats kept coming from the room that Ying Chen kept the adopted stray cats in. One of the cats cried extremely loudly, which reminded Chen Ge of the cats' call behind Ying Tong's door. It was because of the warning from the cats that he had been able to discern Ying Chen's location.
"I almost forgot. You guys are also his victims." Chen Ge smashed the door down with the hammer. Once the door splintered and cracked, endless streams of cats rushed out. They phased through Chen Ge's body before they dispersed and disappeared into the darkness. "Those are the spirits of the cats who have died in this room, huh? Good, it is time for them to gain their freedom as well."
Chen Ge walked into the room. There were a few wounded strays in the room. They were very afraid of Chen Ge. Once Chen Ge entered the room, they moved to curl up in the corner. Their instinct to run was as clear as day.
"You saved me behind the door, and now it's my turn to save you." Chen Ge was not a vet. He decided to send the cats to the pet clinic after the sun came up. After dealing with their treatment, he would then return to New Century Park.
"Chen Ge..." Ying Tong walked out from his bedroom. His hands were on the wall. The boy had not gotten used to using his eyes.
"There is a dead body hidden under Ying Chen's bed. It's our stepfather." The stepfather in question should be the relative that Ying Chen mentioned earlier. Actually, the relative had done well by them, but unfortunately, that was not what Ying Chen thought. "Also, Mr. Wood, Miss Dress, and Auntie Wu... I know where they are."
Ying Tong should be talking about the location of their dead bodies. This caused Chen Ge's heart to squeeze. He touched Ying Tong's head. "Of course, we will go and find everyone."
Sitting on the sofa, Chen Ge called Lee Zheng on his personal number. When the call was connected and Lee Zheng's blurry voice came through the line, Chen Ge only then realized that it was not yet even four in the morning.
"It's like this, Inspector Lee. I am currently at Ying Chen's home."
"Didn't we decide that we'd go and investigate his house together in the morning? Why are you there now?" Lee Zheng had completely woken up. He could hear a trace of something unpleasant in Chen Ge's tone.
"As you know, I hate evil and uphold justice as the absolute value in my life. The thought of an evil man walking free prevents me from having a good night's sleep."
"Stop going around in circles and get to the point-what have you found?" The sound of Lee Zheng putting on his clothes came through the phone.
"As we suspected, Lee Zheng was indeed torturing those strays cats, but more than that, I have evidence that he is a heartless murderer. I found a dead body under his bed. I hope you guys can get here as soon as possible. I have found both the physical evidence and a trustworthy witness."
"No matter what, you have to ensure the safety of yourself and the witness! We will be there in a minute!"
The call was ended. Listening to the busy dial tone from the phone, Chen Ge took a glance at the unconscious Ying Chen beside him.
"After all, I have single-handedly apprehended such a vicious and crazed murderer. Shouldn't I appear to be more disheveled myself?" Chen Ge quickly tore open parts of his jacket and his shirt so that he would look more the part. While waiting for the police to arrive, Chen Ge took out the black phone from his pocket. He clicked on the screen and started to read the few new messages.
"Congratulations, Red Specter's Favored, you have completed 7/9 of the Trial Mission, Ghost Fetus. The ghost fetus has lost the eyes that can look into the human heart. He will not be able to study your thoughts anymore! Warning, Red Specter's Favored, you do not have much time left!
"Congratulations, Red Specter's Favored, for surpassing the limit for the affection level of a unique-type Red Specter. Blood heart mission activated-the red high heels!
"The Red High Heels (Bloody Heart Mission. After completing this, there is a very high chance that the Red Specter possessing the red high heels will officially become your employee): Have you heard of this cursed game? This game is called... the red high heels.
"Mission requirement: Enter the cursed hospital at midnight to look for a pair of bloody red high heels.
"Mission hint: Am I beautiful?
"There is no time limitation to the Bloody Heart Mission. As the level of affection continues to increase, the relative difficulty of the mission will decrease."
Lee Zheng arrived at Ying Chen's home with the rest of his team at around 4 am. Ying Tong was given full protection, and he was handed over to the professional doctor to be given a thorough check up while Chen Ge stayed at the crime scene to provide his full cooperation to the police. From collecting the evidence to conducting the investigation, it went from 4 am to about 8 am. At around 8:30 am, Chen Ge was finally given a chance to rest. He had provided more than enough cooperation, so the rest was left to the police.
"Brother Zheng, I am going to open for business soon. Do you mind if I go back to tell my employees about what is going on and then come back after that?"
Lee Zheng was familiar with Chen Ge's quandary, and he knew how hard it was for Chen Ge to juggle so many things at once, so he nodded his agreement. "I will have someone drive you back to the park."
"There is one more thing." Chen Ge pointed at the few strays in the small room. "Can I take them along with me?"
"There is no problem should you wish to adopt them, but not now. We found traces of human blood in their fur, so temporarily, we can't let them out of that room."
"Then, can you find a vet to take a look at them? Some of the cats had their bones poking through their skin. It really pains my heart to see them in this condition."
"Don't you worry about that. Just leave it to the police." The law enforcement of Jiujiang was very reliable. Chen Ge thanked them profusely. The workforce at the police station was drawing thin, so Chen Ge did not wish to trouble them. He took a cab and returned to New Century Park on his own. He had just approached the haunted house when he heard the voices of Xiao Gu and Wu Jinpeng.
"How come Boss Chen has not arrived yet? Doesn't he spend his night at the haunted house? Is it possible that something bad has happened to him?" Wu Jinpeng sounded extremely worried. He knew that Chen Ge often did dangerous things in the search for his parents.
"Initially, I was as worried as you are, but after a while, you get used to it. Our boss has a habit of going jogging at night, and he often jogs through the night. This morning, when I woke up to check my phone, I noticed that our boss has clocked in four digits on his pedometer..."
"Xiao Gu." Chen Ge's voice erupted from behind him, and that caused Xiao Gu to jump out from his skin. "Hurry to the dressing room for your makeup. We are going to open for business soon."
Pushing open the gates, Chen Ge followed the employees into the dressing room to help the employees with their makeup. Then he personally trained Wu Jinpeng and taught him many secrets about how to scare people inside the haunted house. After that, he released parts of the employees inside his backpack to their positions.
Chen Ge finally reached his limit at around 10 am. He went outside and found something simple to eat before returning to the staff breakroom, crashing on his bed, and sleeping. The mission for the ghost fetus lasted nine days. He had entered multiple doors over consecutive nights, and that had taken a serious toll on his body. He slept until three in the afternoon, when he was woken up by his phone. He glanced at the caller ID and hurried to answer it. "Brother Zheng, why are you calling me?"
"Sorry, but I need you to come the police station. Ying Tong refuses to tell us anything. He said that he will only talk to you. The child suffers from some serious psychological problems. This is the first time that I have encountered such a poor child in the years I have spent on the force."
"Okay, I will be there in a minute." Chen Ge grabbed his backpack and ran out of the haunted house. Under the awed gaze of the visitors, he hailed a cab to hurry to the city's police station.
The large and spacious conference room at the police station had four people sitting in it, two of whom were small children. Ying Tong sat next to Chen Ge with his eyes closed while Lee Zheng sat on the other side of the table with Zhen Zhen.
"Chen Ge, this case has already been taken over by Captain Yan. After he found out about the incident with Ying Tong, he was very angry. I've rarely seen him so angry." Lee Zheng opened the laptop that was on the table and then took out the recorder. "This time, I have called you here because I need to clear up some details with you."
Lee Zheng sighed softly. "How did you manage to figure out that there is a murder case behind the dream of a small boy? Chen Ge, I hope that you won't see me as a police officer at the moment and treat me as a friend. Please tell me everything you know."
Ying Tong was the seventh child handpicked by the ghost fetus, and Zhen Zhen was the failed project of the shadow. That was the connection between the two, but these were the things that Chen Ge could not tell Lee Zheng. This was because the ghost fetus was too dangerous. The fewer the people that knew about him, the better.
"I do not wish to probe into your secrets; I am merely worried that other people are still in the same despairing position as Ying Tong once was. We wish to rescue them." Lee Zheng looked right at Chen Ge, hoping that he would say something, but the conference room was eerily quiet. This continued for another ten minutes before Lee Zheng broke the silence again. "After the truth about the Ying siblings came out, we approached Zhen Zhen again to ask him if he's dreamt about anyone else recently."
"So, has he?" Chen Ge's interest was piqued. The ghost fetus had chosen nine kids, and there was only one child left that was still hidden in Jiujiang.
"Well, he certainly did." Lee Zheng's expression was confused. "The person that he dreamed about the most is you. The scenarios that he described were the experiences from your childhood. We did not purposely try to look into your background. Earlier, when we were trying to find your parents, we looked into some information about you."
"I don't quite get it. Zhen Zhen has dreamt about me?" Chen Ge knew that he was one of the nine children selected by the ghost fetus, but he did not think that the ghost fetus would be hiding inside him. Yes, the ghost fetus was a Demon God, but Zhang Ya was no weaker than him. If the ghost fetus was really hiding inside him, Zhang Ya would have warned him about it.
"Recently, all of Zhen Zhen's dreams have been about you. His dreams are about... how you are murdered in different ways." Lee Zheng entered the content of the recorder into the computer and then played it for Chen Ge. Chen Ge's palms were soaked in blood as he listened to Zhen Zhen use his juvenile voice to describe such gory content. Zhen Zhen had dreamt of different ways Chen Ge would die. In other words, Chen Ge had been killed nine times in Zhen Zhen's dreams.
"No wonder, when I came to visit him last time, he was so afraid of me." Chen Ge did not answer Lee Zheng's question but posed a question of his own. "Brother Zheng, other than myself, did Zhen Zhen dream about anyone else?"
There was one more missing child among the nine candidates, and there were only two nights left until the awakening of the ghost fetus.
"No." Lee Zheng shook his head.
The conference room sank into silence again. Lee Zheng stared at Chen Ge, who was frowning. When they were talking about other people, Chen Ge would be able to peel back the layers to discover the truth, but should it involve the man himself, he would clamp up and refuse to say anything.
"It is fine if you are really uncomfortable in sharing, but I hope that you will at least show us some trust and know that you do not need to shoulder everything on your own." Lee Zheng poured a glass of water for Chen Ge. "There is one last thing that I need to tell you. You will have to cooperate with Ying Tong's psychological counselling session. The boy only shows trust around you."
"There is no problem with that." Chen Ge easily agreed. He touched Ying Tong's head. "By the way, Brother Zheng, what kind of procedure do I have to go through to officially adopt a child?"
"Adoption is not something that can be done easily. You'd better go and think more about it before you come to a hasty decision." Lee Zheng was more like a worried big brother. "Feeding a child is easy, but educating them and helping them to recover from their childhood trauma will probably take a lifetime. Even a professional doctor would not dare to guarantee that they will come out the other side as a normal person. I am sure you know how difficult this process will be."
"The difficulty can be overcome." Chen Ge counted on his fingers. There were quite a few children that were closely related to him-Fan Yu, Jiang Ling, Ying Tong, and so on. Even though these children were victims of trauma, once they walked out from their shadows, they would definitely grow up to become exceptional citizens.