Red Spectres' existence depended on the obsession in their heart but the life of a person was limited. Chen Ge was worried that his own time on earth was running out and once that happened, the bunch of workers at the haunted house would end up jobless and homeless again. Therefore, Chen Ge had to start planning for his future that he would be absent from. To be friends with so many Red Spectres and lingering spirits, it required the tenacity that was stronger than a normal person. A normal person would probably be scared to death just from hearing this news alone.
Of all the children the Chen Ge knew, Fan Yu was the most suitable candidate to take over Chen Ge's job. Be it the painter inside the door or Fan Yu outside the door, Chen Ge had a very good impression of the boy. With Chen Ge's current condition, he was not qualified to adopt any children, at least that was according to the law but he could register to become their guardian.
Lee Zheng did not understand all these, but when he heard Chen Ge said these things, he was quite touched. He thought Chen Ge wanted to adopt these children because he pitied Ying Tong, he had no idea the conundrum that Chen Ge was in. The ghost fetus trial mission had brought a lot of pressure on Chen Ge's shoulders. Behind Ying Tong's door, he was almost killed. If he had died inside that door, then what about the lingering spirits and the employees at his haunted house?
Honestly, Chen Ge did not have full confidence that he would be able to complete the ghost fetus' mission and he had even less confidence that he would be able to walk out from the other side of this ordeal with his life intact. After continuing the conversation with Lee Zheng, Chen Ge prepared to leave. He was not in a great mood. There were two nights left but until now he still had zero information about the last candidate selected by the ghost fetus.
"Chen Ge, wait a moment." Just as Chen Ge was about to leave the room, Lee Zheng suddenly spoke up. He switched off the recorder and quietly took out his phone. "Captain Yan forbad me from telling you about this, but I personally feel like it is better that you are warned about this."
He switched on his phone and showed Chen Ge the recording from a surveillance camera. That night, Ying Chen returned to his own residential area with a black plastic bag. Not too long after he entered his apartments, the street camera at the corner of the convenience store caught the shadow of a man wearing a large trench coat. The man had most of his head covered with a black cap, shielding his eyes and nose. However, the street light did reveal the lower half of his face which consisted of a mouth that refused to stop smiling.
"A non smiler?" Chen Ge recognized the person caught on surveillance. He did not expect the non smiler would have intercepted Ying Chen similar to him as well yesterday night.
"Se Xin's main physician is still in coma. According to the nurse on duty, a similar strange figure has appeared at their hospital that night." Lee Zheng put away his phone. "Captain Yan seems to know some information about this person. It was after he found out about this person that he decided to take over Ying Chen's case. The worry and concern on his face was obvious. I tried to ask him many times until he got annoyed by me but in the end, he only told me one thing. He told me to stay as faraway from this person as I can."
"Captain Yan seems to know the non smiler very well?"
"Yes, I believe it is related to a case from several years ago. When Captain Yan was young, he was once posted at Jiujiang. He was part of a serial killing that targeted young children. The murderer of the case had been caught and killed, everyone believed that the case could be closed already but only Captain Yan believed the murderer was still out there. They had gotten the wrong person. Unfortunately, at the time, he was too young, and too brash, he did not know how to hold his tongue and pick his timing. In the end, he was ordered to move to another city, one that was much smaller than Jiujiang. But to everyone's surprise, due to his exceptional talent, even at that small location, Captain Yan continued to rise in his ranks as his number of closed cases increased until his reputation got him transferred to Xin Hai." Lee Zheng respected Captain Yan very much, his every word was laced with admiration.
"Captain Yan has once worked as part of the law enforcement at Xin Hai?"
"Not only that... never mind, it is too hard for you to understand even if I explain it to you. All you need to understand is that at the most optimal point of his career, Captain Yan did not walk the path that others that arranged for him but he chose to return to Jiujiang."
"he chose to return here because he wanted to reopen the case on the serial children killings?" Chen Ge was confused. "How many years ago did that case happen?"
"About 20 years ago."
"20 years ago? The non smiler was already present at Jiujiang that long ago?" Chen Ge's interest towards this case was piqued, he wanted to know more details but unfortunately, that was the extent Lee Zheng was willing to share with him. "In any case, you have to be careful of your own safety. These monsters that won't stop smiling appear like they have been following you everywhere you go."
"I will be careful." Chen Ge nodded. "Help me take good care of Ying Tong and Zhen Zhen, the monster might come after these two kids as well." Chen Ge was about to leave the conference room already when Ying Tong who had been sitting obediently on his chair suddenly jumped out from his seat, he followed the direction of Chen Ge's voice and ran to grab at his shirt.
"Ying Tong, you have to cooperate with the doctor. After a while, I promise I will come back to see you."
"The police officer has taken something away from him... can you help me hold on to it for a while?" Ying Tong pleaded in a pitiable voice.
"What is it?"
"A mud statuette made from clay, it has my name on it." When Ying Tong said that, a weak glint of light crossed Chen Ge's eyes. The latter turned his head to look at Lee Zheng, "Brother Zheng, have you seen such a statuette?"
"On the dolls and toys inside Ying Tong's bedrooms were traces of the victims' DNA, and they were probably all hand-made by Ying Chen. Through the make up and design of the dolls, we hope that we will be able to predict and speculate the psychological state of Ying Chen."
"I am afraid there is some misunderstanding, do you mind letting me take a look at the list of dolls? No matter what, Ying Tong and myself are witnesses in this case." After getting the permission from Captain Yan, Lee Zheng led Chen Ge into the evidence room. They found the mud statuette that Ying Tong mentioned at the corner of the room.
"Where did you guys find this mud statuette?" Every candidate chosen by the ghost fetus would have one of these mud statuettes with them. Before the police arrived, Chen Ge had searched Ying Chen's house upside down but he failed to find it.
"Ying Tong was carrying it with him. The boy had been hiding the statuette on his body, we thus believe that the statuette must be related to his elder brother's murder cases somehow." Lee Zheng stood to the side and explained.
"No wonder I was unable to find it that night."
"What did you say?"
"Oh, I believed you guys are overthinking this, the doll is probably an item for the child to vent his emotion. If there is no trace of anything on it, why not return it to the boy. Perhaps it might come in useful in his psychiatric treatment." A whisper of a cat's call echoed in Chen Ge's earlier. He used Ghost Ear and confirmed that the voice was coming from inside the mud statuette.
"That is not unreasonable. As long as Ying Tong is willing to cooperate, we are willing to hand the statuette back to him." The forensic doctor and the investigators had done a thorough sweep on the mud statuette, they did not find any clues on it. If that was the case, why not follow Chen Ge's suggestion and give the doll back to Ying Tong to try to get Ying Tong to open up and earn his affection.
"Thank you." Chen Ge held the mud statuette and then asked, "Brother Zheng, do you mind giving me some private time with Ying Tong?"
"You sure are one person with a lot of request. Other people cannot wait to leave the police station but once you came, it is like you refuse to leave. You really treated this place as your own home?" Even though that was what Lee Zheng said, the man still walked out of the room to give them the privacy.
"The uncle has a sharp tongue but a soft heart. He looks stern but he is a very nice person." Chen Ge held the mud statuette and his eyes slowly narrowed. Then he asked in a whisper. "Ying Tong, tell me honestly. After Miss Dress, Mr Wood and Auntie Wu all inside this mud statuette?" When Chen Ge spotted the mud statuette earlier, he noticed something was not right with it. It was twirling with curses that kept on torturing a few lingering spirits.
After a while, Ying Tong finally answered. "Miss Red is also in there."
"Miss Red?" Chen Ge nodded. "You wanted to ask for the mud statuette back because you wanted to protect them?"
"Ying Tong, this mud statuette is just like the room that you have been trapped in. Their souls are trapped inside this thing and they are tortured day in and day out. Do you wish for that to continue for these people?"
"Of course not."
"Then, I will release all of them and try to help them complete their final wishes." Under Ying Tong's confused gaze, Chen Ge bent down and placed the mud statuette on his own shadow. The black thread that represented the curses started to collapse. The temperature in the evidence room dropped for several degrees. Three cold drafts caressed Chen Ge's body before they stopped beside Ying Tong. With the aid of Yin Yang Vision, Chen Ge could see clearly that they were precisely the cleaning lady Auntie Wu, Mr Wood and Miss Dress. They made up quite a scary spectacle. The three of them retained their appearance when they died.
"Looks like it was ghost fetus' mud statuette that has been used to suppress the three of their lingering spirits..." Chen Ge was still thinking when a shrill cat wail appeared. Then following the cracks on the statuette, a cat that was covered in mud tried to escape from the statuette but its whole body was bound by endless cursed threads. The black blood in the statuette seeped into Chen Ge's shadow. The threads that bound the cat snapped at that moment. When she leaped out from the statuette, the wounded cat turned into a thin and lanky woman who wore a red dress.
"What are you? Are you a cat or a human?" The woman in red did not reply. She still had not recovered from the shock. After she escaped from the mud statuette, she searched out the corner to hide like a stray cat who had seen way too much suffering in her life.
"She appears to be different from all the red spectres that I have met so far." Chen Ge was trying to form a communication channel with her when the mud statuette placed on his shadow suddenly shattered. When the last drop of black blood was absorbed by the shadow, an indescribable scary presence started to overwhelm the room. Time seemed to have stopped in that second!
When everyone in the room recovered, everything had seemed returned to normal.
"Zhang Ya has finally woken up?" Chen Ge turned to look at his own shadow. When the light hit his shadow, they were twisted around it. Earlier, when he used Yin Yang Vision, he could still look into his shadow somewhat but now he could not see anything anymore. The three lingering spirits in the room already had their soul torn open on the spot. The strange Red Spectre who acted like a cat was given quite a shock as well.
"Please don't be afraid, actually she is a very gentle woman. We will be a family from now on." Chen Ge shared the experience Ying Tong and he had inside the world behind Ying Tong's door. Chen Ge did not need to use much time to convince them that he was the good guy. The black phone in his pocket vibrated, signalling that he had received some new messages. After everything had been settled, Chen Ge took out the clear cellophane tape that he prepared for the pen spirit from his pocket, he gave a quick 'fix' to the mud statuette and then pulled Miss Red and the gang into the manga. He told Ying Tong some things and then left the police station. On the cab going back to New Century Park, Chen Ge opened the black phone and clicked on the new messages.
"Congratulation, Red Spectre's Favored for obtained Miss Red's affection!
"Miss Red (Unknown type Red Spectre): She has no name, everyone who knows her refers to her as Miss Red.
"Congratulations Red Spectre's Favored for obtaining the aid of three cursed spirits!
"Mr Wood (Lingering Spirit): The man who was viewed as stubborn and boring in other's eyes stood out to help without hesitating after knowing the truth. Because he was worried about the poor child, his spirit refuse to disperse, he was trapped inside the mud statuette by the ghost fetus' curse.
"Miss Dress (Lingering Spirit): Carefree, open-minded, straightforward and sunny, the woman who will pull everyone's attention wherever she goes chose to face the truth. Because she was concerned about the poor child, her spirit focused and lingered. She was trapped inside the mud statuette by the ghost fetus' curse.
"Auntie Wu (Baleful Spectre): The middle-aged woman who was stingy about the smallest of things like the price of rice and oil did not expect that one day she would become a hero. The woman who almost rescued Ying Tong was the target of Ying Chen's anger. Of all of the man's victim, Auntie Wu had the worst ending and that also meant that her resentment was also the deepest. After she died, she was trapped inside the mud statuette by the ghost fetus' curse."
"When I am done with the ghost fetus' mission, there is a chance that 9 scenarios might be unlocked at the same time. When that comes, I will be seriously understaffed so they have come at the perfect time." Chen Ge put away the black phone and shut his eyes while riding the taxi to take a short rest. When he arrived at New Century park, the first thing Chen Ge did was to crawl into the staff breakroom.
"The ghost fetus will birth in another two night. I have now confirmed the location of 7 children. Of the remaining two, one of them is me but I have no clue about who the other one is." Chen Ge sat on the chair and he spun the ballpoint pen that was covered in clear tape in his fingers. "Should I do a prediction with the Pen Spirit?" He knew that this probably would not work but at this point, what other choices did he have. He tried to ask the Pen Spirit for the name of the ninth child but the Pen Spirit was running out of air after putting down a few dots on the white paper. Her body was turning transparent like she might go at any moment.
"Just how weak can you be? From the first time I have met you until now, how many questions I have asked you in total? Ask yourself, which of question you have answered me truthfully before? Which time you have provided me with actual aid before?" Chen Ge knew that he was venting his emotion on the Pen Spirit. He knew that this was not her fault, it was way beyond her capability. In the end, he sighed as he put the ballpoint pen away. Then he started to get agitated again. "The hint that the black phone provided me about the ghost fetus trial minute is that I am only one step away from the truth, could that be a hint that the door inside my haunted house is the real place where the ghost fetus is hiding?"
Shaking his head, Chen Ge still could not tell for sure. For some reason, Chen Ge was very unwilling to face the face inside the toilet at his Haunted House. It was as if his own heart had been subconsciously resisting it.
"Should I enter the door inside the toilet tonight?" When that thought appeared in his mind, Chen Ge immediately chased it out. "I better take this slowly. Since I have no more clues now, why don't I go to Coffin Village tonight and find the lady of the well to discuss this over. If only the non smiler will choose to follow me tonight. As they say, camping and hiking in the woods are the best method for two men to get to know each other better and form a bond."
If Chen Ge had already found 8 children by now, then he would definitely enter the door at his own haunted house to take a look but the key problem was there was one more child that was undiscovered. The chance of the ghost fetus hiding inside that child was very high.
"Each of the children represents one thing, the five senses, love, heart, what else does the ghost fetus need?"
After the sun fell down the horizon, Chen Ge packed his bag and took all of his employees and hurried towards Jiujiang Children's Home.
It appeared like Coffin Village was only accessible to those who were once a villager at that place. So Chen Ge tried his best to persuade Jiang Ling's elder sister to follow him before they started the trek into the mountain. They walked for 3 hours in the mountain before the scenery before Chen Ge's eyes started to change.
White paper lanterns hung high in the air, like wandering souls drifting through the forest. The fire wavered and lit up a row of tattered old houses.
"When I was here last, I was practically frightened to death by this scenario."
Chen Ge stood beside Jiang Ling's sister and behind them were Xu Yin, Xiao Bu, the boy with the Stench and a few other red spectres.