"A shadowless man?" If it was a living person, he should have had a shadow, unless he was not a living human, or he was someone's shadow out on a ride. Chen Ge decided to confirm it with the old lady again. "Granny, are you sure you're not mistaken?"
"Yes." In the old lady's memory, that person looked just like Chen Ge. She stared at Chen Ge, and a weird feeling overwhelmed her. "That day, he was just standing outside the door. I asked him what he was doing, but he didn't reply. He carried on mumbling someone's name on his lips."
"Someone's name? Can you remember what name it was?" To clarify the suspicion in the old lady's mind, Chen Ge took out his phone and shone the light on himself to show that he still had his shadow with him. "Granny, I come with a shadow. Look. The person you saw merely had the same face as I do."
"My memory eludes me. I'll call you to tell you if I remember it." The old lady exchanged phone numbers with Chen Ge.
"Granny, other than this, can you remember anything else about this person? How long did he stand at the door? After he left, were there any changes at this building?" Chen Ge was afraid that the shadow might have left a trap in the building. After all, his adversary had the whole of Eastern Jiujiang roped into his plot, so Chen Ge could not be too careful.
"After Jia Ming ran out, the person outside the door disappeared. After he left, I checked the building and couldn't find anything missing. Strangely enough, I was left with this feeling that something was amiss, but I couldn't tell what it was. It was as if something important had been taken away by that man." The old lady sighed. With a curved back, she shuffled around the room. "I looked around the building, but nothing was missing. Yet, that feeling wouldn't go away, and I wouldn't say it wasn't responsible for my lack of sleep."
"You feel like something is missing?"
"I've told you everything I need to. When you leave, remember to close the door for me." The conversation with Chen Ge seemed to remind the old lady of her sad memory, so she shuffled out, unwilling to continue the conversation anymore. Chen Ge was about to leave with the old lady when he felt a tug on his shirt.
Turning back to look, he saw five crooked fingers holding the edge of his shirt, and then the woman crawled out from underneath the coffee table.
"I'm not going to harm her..." Chen Ge's eyes scanned the woman and the boy; he was suddenly reminded of something. After he entered this building, he had only encountered the woman and the child, but he did not come across the old lady's son. "A family of three got into a car accident. The wife and the son remained in this building, so there is no reason for the husband not to be here as well."
He related that to what the old lady had said earlier. After the shadow left, she had felt like she was missing something important. Could the spirit of her son have been kidnapped by the shadow?
Chen Ge intended to find out. After a moment's silence, he asked, "A few years back, you should have encountered an evil spirit that looked like me. Can you tell me everything you know about him?"
The two ghosts stayed away from him. Their eyes studied Chen Ge closely, and they were thinking about something.
"If I don't kill him, one day, I'll be killed by him. If you were once harmed by him, then we should be friends because we have the same enemy." Chen Ge leaned down and actively reached out his hands to hold the woman's bloody and deformed fingers. "I can help you, and I'm not just staying that for fun."
When the female ghost sensed Chen Ge's intention to shake hands with her, she immediately retreated. Seconds later, the boy ran into the bedroom and dragged out a broken schoolbag from under the bed. He took out a pen and paper and placed them on the coffee table. The woman's hair curled around the pen, and crooked words started to form on the paper.
"He's alive, not completely dead. The shadow is just a part of him. My husband told us to leave, and he stayed back to help us escape. He ate my husband-he's growing stronger." Chen Ge read the words on the paper.
"What does it mean by he's alive? The shadow's physical form is still alive? He's a living human? But how could a person consume a ghost?" Chen Ge had no idea what the woman meant by dead, but he believed that it had a different definition from the medical understanding of dead. However, even so, the information was already shocking enough for Chen Ge. "The shadow's real form couldn't be defined as a ghost, or rather, he's different from a normal ghost. This enemy sure is a confusing one."
When he battled with the ghost stories society, even though the members were highly mysterious, at least Chen Ge could confirm that they were all living humans. The society was made up of living humans, and the ghosts were technically only tools. Yet, the feeling that this mastermind in Eastern Jiujiang gave Chen Ge was completely different. Even now, he could not tell whether the culprit was a ghost or a man. After reading the woman's message, that confusion had only deepened.
"Is that all?" Chen Ge put down the paper, and the woman controlled the pen to start writing again. "When he ate my husband, he said, with each death, the resentment in his heart would grow stronger, and each consumption would lead him closer to that man. One day, he would return to Western Jiujiang to personally push open that door."
The written words had little semblance of logic, but it caused Chen Ge's hair to rise. These sentences revealed plenty of information, especially the last sentence, where the shadow said that he wanted to personally open the door in Western Jiujiang. Chen Ge greatly suspected that the door in question was none other than the one inside the toilet at the Haunted House.
The business at the Haunted House was on the rise, but once the door in the toilet was opened, things would change overnight. Every effort that he had made after obtaining the black phone would go to waste.
"Just who is this person?" The door at the Haunted House was Chen Ge's bottom line. He would fight to the death with whoever dared target that door. There was no room for negotiation.
The woman had no idea what Chen Ge was thinking. She continued to write on the paper. "There are ten locales in Eastern Jiujiang that form the background for the scariest ghost stories. The man has consumed the ghosts of five of these locales, and he was injured for the first time at White Dragon Cave Tunnel. The shadow will only show up at night, and he hates light and children's crying."
After writing all that, the woman looked at Chen Ge and picked up the boy before they both disappeared.
"The people in Eastern Jiujiang are generally superstitious, and I've heard about these ten ghost stories before, but I had no idea only five of them remained. Then again, the first time that the shadow hit a roadblock was at the White Dragon Cave Tunnel, and last night, Jia Ming just so happened to be found fainted at the mouth of the tunnel. Could it have been on purpose that he fainted there to lure me into the tunnel to investigate and use my hand to deal with his enemy?" The shadow was an extremely cunning person in Chen Ge's mind, so he had to consider everything from the worst possible angle.
"But I can use his weakness of hating light and children's crying somehow, I'm sure." Chen Ge shoved the paper on the table into his pocket. When he prepared to leave, he remembered that he had forgotten to ask whether the mother and son wished to come with him or not, to move to somewhere more comfortable.
After some thought, Chen Ge took out another piece of paper from the boy's bag, and he used the pen used by the woman earlier to leave this message. "If you run into any trouble, feel free to come find me at New Century Park's Haunted House in Western Jiujiang. Please give it some thought. The boy is not young, and I have many professional teachers and children his age at my Haunted House. You should think about his future."
He placed the paper in the most conspicuous spot and turned to leave the room. His steps were soft, a result of his many Trial Missions. When he reached the first floor, the door to the old lady's room suddenly opened.
"Granny? How can I help you?"
The old lady looked at Chen Ge. Her lips moved, but eventually, she shook her head and returned to her room.
Chen Ge stood at the door, and he could guess that the old lady already knew that her family had not left, but neither party was willing to be open about it.
"They also wouldn't wish for you to stay in this lonely world alone."
Leaving the building, Chen Ge hailed a cab back to theme park and a new day began.