After the living humans left, Chen Ge took out his comic to summon all his employees. He did not explain that much and strode directly to the back of the bus. The crowd of 'people' swarmed the tight space. The couple was scared. They did not expect to run into something like this. "It will get dangerous here. You should come with me for now."
Chen Ge did not ask for the couple's opinion and had Yan Danian pull them into the comic directly. The couple was just stronger lingering spirits-they were similar level with Duan Yue and Ol' Zhou-so Chen Ge was not worried about them creating trouble.
After dealing with the couple, Chen Ge led his people to surround the driver, Tang Jun.
"Speak, why wouldn't you let me get on the bus at the bus stops?" The driver did not expect Chen Ge to be so resentful and would not forgive him after they had reached the last stop. The driver cowered into himself, sensing the pressure coming from all sides, and he uttered softly, "Red Specters are not allowed on the bus. The bus is only for despair-filled people and spirits."
"How did you know that I have a Red Specter with me?" Chen Ge glanced at the driver, but he did not dwell on that and instead asked, "Who asked you to drive this bus?"
"I don't know," the driver answered carefully. He had not been surrounded like this before. Without waiting for Chen Ge to ask, he told him everything, "I was just a normal bus driver; I used to drive the last bus on Route 104. Our company had many ghost stories related to this last bus, saying it would run into many strange things, so many people refused to drive it. In the end, the leader had no choice but to offer extra money for those who were willing to drive it. I was rather brave, so I took up the offer."
"Then, what happened to you?" Chen Ge looked at the driver's face. The man was probably not lying.
"Route 104 is very long; it cuts through Jiujiang, joining Eastern and Western Jiujiang. When I reported for work on the first day, the old driver who got off his shift gave me a few pointers." The driver looked at Chen Ge, and regret overwhelmed him. "He told me, whenever I reached a bus stop, regardless of whether there was anyone on the bus or at the bus stop or not, I have to open both the doors and wait several minutes. Other than that, he warned me from stopping at any place that doesn't have a bus stop sign and told me to not stay at a bus stop for more than three minutes. The last tip, which was also the most important, was to drive as slow as I can on rainy days."
The sweat collected on the driver's face. He kept using the towel on his shoulders to wipe it, but it was no use. After a while, Chen Ge realized that it was not sweat but water. As the conversation continued, the driver's face paled. His skin started to bloat like it had been submerged in water for a long time.
"I remembered the pointers by heart. For the first few weeks, I followed his orders to the tee. No matter what, I would stop the bus and wait at the bus stop. It was not until one month later that things changed. It was raining that night. After entering Eastern Jiujiang, no one got on the bus.
"I was the only one on the bus. I followed the old driver's advice for the first few stops, but after a while, I thought, if there was no one on the bus and the bus stops was empty, why should I open and close the doors? It was a waste of time.
"The day was similar to today. The rain continued to pour, and I was in a rush to go home, so when I passed the later bus stops and saw that they were empty, I would drive past them. When I passed the bus stop for the fresh water plant, I suddenly heard someone talking inside the bus. I couldn't tell for sure what they said, it sounded like they were telling me to stop.
"The world outside was so dark, and I was nowhere near a bus stop, so I did not stop. After driving for a while, I realized that something was wrong. There was no passenger on the bus! So, where did the voice come from?"
At this point, the driver's shoulders started to shiver. He lowered his head, and his hands gripped his hair. The 'sweat' from his forehead slid down his face. "I felt like my whole body was frozen. I raised my head to look at the rearview mirror, and I saw someone standing behind me. His skin was white and bloated; his eyes were popping out of their sockets."
The driver slowly raised his head. His skin was blanched, and his eyes were popping, similar to his own description.
"In my panic, I turned the steering wheel, and the bus flew into the river." The driver had a talent for story-telling. After he finished, he glanced at Chen Ge, he realized that Chen Ge did not go on the offensive, so he continued, "I saw myself fall into the water. Then after who knows how long, when I opened my eyes, I realized that I was still on this bus. There was a shadow standing next to me, and it told me that I would get my freedom after ferrying one thousand passengers."
"A shadow? Describe it for me."
"The shadow was my size, it felt like my own shadow had come alive. I could not describe its voice, or rather, I forgot all about it after hearing it." Based on the driver's tone and expression, he did not seem to be lying.
This ghost sure is something else. It's much more cunning compared to the other ghosts I've faced.
"If you want to investigate that shadow, I can provide you with one extra piece of information." The driver's face was expanding and scary-he had shed his disguise. "But you have to promise me one thing."
"What is it?"
"Let me go." The driver looked at Chen Ge expectantly. "My family must be worried about me. I want to go back to take a look at them."
"I will definitely accompany you to go back home. Tell me if you have any other wish, I will do my best to help you fulfill them." Chen Ge's attitude softened aplenty; he already treated the driver as one of his own.
"You will follow me home?" The driver had no idea what Chen Ge was up to. He had a feeling that this man before him might go after his family. After a long hesitation, the driver sighed and gave up on his struggle. "I once asked the shadow why it needed me to transport the passengers to Li Wan City. It told me it was rearing something there, and it needs a constant supply of pain and despair."
"Making a door lose control and sending all the pained souls from Jiujiang to this place just because he's cultivating something?" Chen Ge remembered what the driver said. He asked a few more questions before pulling the driver into the comic.
The middle-aged woman was the only passenger that remained. She had witnessed Chen Ge's 'acts of violence', and she was shivering like a leaf.
"Don't waste my time. Tell me everything you know."