Watching the shuddering blood vessels around the window frame and the white clothes nearby that was stained with blood, Chen Ge had the impression that this was a one-sided slaughter. To be able to become the scariest presence at the Li Wan City's hospital, the boy at the very least should be a half Red Specter, but before the red high heels, he was so fragile and weak. The blood on the windowsill and the white clothes should have been left behind by the boy.
"I was wondering why the hospital was so quiet. So, someone dealt with the biggest threat before we arrived." Chen Ge's face was filled with regret, and this caused the three who followed him to frown.
"It's a good thing that they're fighting among themselves! Earlier, when we ran into ghosts, you did not even sigh, but after realizing they're fighting among themselves, you as an outsider appear so dissatisfied." The drunkard could not understand Chen Ge's thoughts at all. He had no idea that Chen Ge had already seen this place as his property. At least before Yan Danian's comic pages were filled up, he would not allow any of the ghosts to escape.
"The ghosts here aren't evil by nature. Unfortunately, they have fallen under the influence of the evil mastermind. It is out of kindness that I feel like they deserve a better home." Chen Ge looked around some more and confirmed that there were no more spirits in the hospital, so he left with the group.
"Where should we go now?" The drunkard, doctor, and Scissors followed closely behind Chen Ge. They knew that separating was not a good idea, so they decided to just move as a group.
"The smiling man once butchered a whole bus of people, and that ruined the mastermind's plan, so he should share a bad relationship with the mastermind in Li Wan City. The red high heels should be as strong, if not more powerful than the smiling man. Since she harmed a local of Li Wan City, it obviously means that she is not the same camp as the mastermind as well. These two are annoying presences around Eastern Jiujiang. Since they're on the move, they will be able to distract the attention of the mastermind for us," Chen Ge analyzed calmly.
No matter how dire their situation was, he would be able to spin it into a positive outlook like it was them who currently had the upper hand. "There's no need to rush. Why don't we go visit the doghouse that you mentioned earlier? I wish to see for myself this so-called smiling dog."
"You still want to go? If I knew this, I wouldn't have told you about it." The drunkard unwillingly led the way for the group. The 'doghouse' was very close to the hospital. When they neared the building, the expression on the few passengers were completely different. The drunkard was anxious, the doctor was cautious, and Scissors was pretending to be calm. Chen Ge wiggled the hammer in his hand and walked ahead, looking like a boy excited to go on the ride at theme park.
"Is this the place?" Chen Ge pushed open the gate of the courtyard. Before he even stepped into it, the white cat called out. It was acting very nervous, like there was something that it hated greatly residing inside the building.
"Are cats afraid of dogs? But that shouldn't be." Chen Ge patted the white cat's head, trying to calm it down.
"Big brother, you'd better be careful. This monster is very feral. I've run into it once. It was moving with its limbs on the ground like a hunting hound." The drunkard still had more to say, but when he saw Chen Ge already walking into the courtyard, his lips sealed instantly. "This man is too brave for his own good."
Chen Ge actually was more cautious than the group realized. They merely could not see his safety precautions. With protection from Xu Yin and the warning from the white cat, Chen Ge was as protected as he could be.
"There is really a doghouse here, and it is incredibly well made, but..." Chen Ge carried his backpack and stood at the corner of the yard. He studied the doghouse that was radiating the horrible stench. "This size is already big enough for a human being. So, there is a chance that this isn't made for a dog."
"I also felt that way when I first entered this place. The whole house is filled with air-fresheners. It was a place meant for humans, but it was decorated like it was meant for a dog. But the place that was supposed to be for the dog was built for the size of a human being." The drunkard was rambling. Just the thought of what happened to him earlier caused his body to involuntarily shiver. His mind was buzzing dully like he could collapse at any moment.
For a normal person, having this kind of reaction was totally acceptable. Seeing these reactions from the drunkard, Chen Ge nodded slightly. He was not agreeing with the drunkard per se, but he had finally confirmed that the drunkard should be a normal person.
Chen Ge had been silently observing the passengers from the bus, and so far, the people that he could take off his suspect list, the people that he was sure had no problem were only the drunkard and Scissors.
"It's fine. If you're really afraid, just stand together with them." Chen Ge walked through the yard and felt something itchy on his neck. He reached out to scratch it and realized that he came back with black dog fur in the middle of his palm. It was hard and prickly.
"Where did this come from?" Lifting his head up, Chen Ge narrowed his eyes and saw a man's face in the window of the second floor. The man was wearing dog's skin and carried a creepy smile on his face.
This was the first time that Chen Ge had seen a smile like that as well. It did not appear to be humanlike in any way. The musculature involved in that smile was completely different from the pull of the muscle when a human would smile. It caused the whole face to poke forward, looking extremely uneven.
Staring at the human face on the second floor, when it first appeared, Chen Ge's heart did start to race for a while, but two or three seconds later, he returned to normal. Raising his harm, he waved at the smiling face and returned a smile of his own. "Stay right there and don't move, I'll be there to get you in a minute."
It was supposed to be a man standing on the second floor, but Chen Ge could not get even a sense of a living human from him.
"Li Wan City is so big, and I don't think I will have the time to look through the buildings one by one." Chen Ge entered the two-story building. Just as the rest of the group moved to follow him, he raised his palm to say, "Why don't the rest of you stay outside and wait for me?"
"We should stick together. Now is not the time to act like a hero!" The drunkard knew how powerful or rather how scary the monster was, and he was worried for Chen Ge.
"I guess you're right, but the space inside the house is rather cramped. Try not to stay too close to me-I'm afraid of accidentally injuring you." The unexpected reminder from the drunkard comforted Chen Ge. His impression of the man improved greatly, and he swore to try to keep the man alive until the end.
"Understood, we will be sure to not create any trouble for you." The drunkard glanced at the skull cracker's hammer that Chen Ge was holding, and he sighed internally-this man before him was definitely one who treated his life with less importance than he should. The group all entered the room. They walked down the small corridor and were about to head upstairs when the sound of a wind chime entered their ears, and the half-open doors slammed shut on their own.
"Damn!" The drunkard and the doctor looked behind them at the same time. Their exit had already been cut off. The few stopped where they were.
Scissors' face was unnaturally white, and he whispered darkly, "This is the most common scene in a horror movie. The doors close on their own, and not long after this, the ghosts will appear. In fact, they might already be hiding somewhere close by watching us already."
"This is why I said we shouldn't rush into things!" The drunkard was panicking. "We should find a room to hide inside first. As long as we stick together, the ghost probably won't assault the four of us."
"You have a point." The doctor nodded in agreement. After the few finished their discussion, they all turned to Chen Ge, wishing to get his approval.
"What are you guys talking about? Why should we go into hiding? If the door is closed, then why don't we open it?" Chen Ge shook his head slightly. He really had trouble catching up to the thoughts of these passengers.
Hearing Chen Ge's reply, the drunkard wanted to say something else, but Chen Ge did not give him the chance. He charged to the door and raised the hammer to slam into the door. That created a loud boom that echoed through the entire building. After the door was slammed open, Chen Ge did not stop. He aimed the hits at the hinges until he removed the door from the frame completely.
"Now he won't be able to close the door even if he wants to." He kicked the warped door to the side. Dragging the hammer, he walked back to the group. "Don't just focus on running or hiding-you have to learn to analyze the situation."
Chen Ge thought that Scissors had quite the immense potential, so he decided to pass down some knowledge to him. "The man that I saw earlier was on the second floor, but since the door on the first floor closed on its own, it probably means that there is more than one ghost in this house. This supposed classic scene from a horror movie can give us plenty of information about the ghosts that we're dealing with. We need to learn to make use of them to come up with analysis that is beneficial to us."
Hearing the wind chime that was still going as if there was someone pacing up and down the corridor, Chen Ge turned to look at it and said, "Sometimes, the ghost will try to increase the fear in our heart through the usage of everyday items in our lives. For example, that wind chime. But the solution to that problem is actually very simple."
Chen Ge walked to the door to remove the wind chime and placed it inside his backpack. After the wind chime was removed, that strange sound disappeared completely.
"It's that simple." When Chen Ge said that, both the doctor and the drunkard's faces were frozen in fear. They both pointed at the space behind Chen Ge.
"Big brother! Behind you! It came out from inside the wind chime!"
"There's a ghost! There's a ghost!"
Chen Ge turned back to see a face filled with hatred and anger. Interestingly enough, this man's face was similar to the face that he had seen on the second floor. At the moment, the man's lower body was trapped inside Chen Ge's backpack. The upper body tried its best to crawl out, but endless hands reached out from inside Chen Ge's backpack, holding him into place before roughly pulling the man back into Chen Ge's backpack.
After the man's pained spirit disappeared, Chen Ge turned back with a smile, telling the rest of the passengers, "That was merely an illusion. This is the second point that I wish to tell you. Ghosts often rely on tricks of the sight to toss us into self-suspicion."
The other passengers were silent. Honestly, when the male ghost showed up, they had been afraid, but when they saw the ghost struggling and screaming before it disappeared behind Chen Ge, their scalps were numb, and even the blood in their veins curdled.
"If you're really that afraid, then just stay on the first floor." Noticing the air fresheners that littered the ground, Chen Ge did not give the others much time to think as he headed up the stairs alone. The man inside the wind chime looked exactly like the man on the second floor. Chen Ge suspected that the male ghost should be the original owner of the body, but due to some strange reason, the soul of the man and the dog had been swapped, and it was now the dog who was possessing the body of the man.
"This sure is an interesting ghost story." As the chairperson for the ghost stories society, Chen Ge felt a responsibility to collect all the ghost stories he had come across. After reaching the second floor, he summoned Xu Yin to stick by his side. He was ready for a battle, but the scene that unfolded by his eyes surprised him.
The strange man who was smiling at him from the second floor earlier was now standing in the middle of the second-floor corridor. He was still wearing dog skin and that strange smile on his face. Strangely enough, Chen Ge could not feel any hostility from him-it was just like Chen Ge had met this man before, and more than that, they were old friends.
"He chose to show himself earlier because he spotted me wandering in from outside?" Chen Ge's alert went up since this was so out of the ordinary. Chen Ge had Xu Yin test the man, but the man did not resist at all. In fact, he looked at Chen Ge with confusion in his eyes like he was asking, 'Why are you attacking me, aren't we supposed to be friends?'
"This man used to know me? That's impossible! This is my first time meeting him, or is it the effect of the title, Specter's Favored?" Chen Ge walked closer to the man, and the latter did even try to evade. He was very obedient like a tame pet.
"This sure is curious." Chen Ge was one who was more conducive to persuasion than force. The fact that the man was so pliable and did not even resist any possible attack from Chen Ge confused the heck out of Chen Ge. He tried to use the comic on the man, but it had no effect. The man had the body of a living human, so naturally, he could not be pulled into the comic.
In other words, the man was actually still alive, but he had survived using the soul of a dog. Chen Ge tried to communicate with him, but unfortunately, no communication could be formed.
"What is this man up to?" Chen Ge had Xu Yin look after the man while he walked into the room next door to conduct his exploration. He found something in the room where the man was staying in earlier. One of the walls in the room was full of pictures. It recorded the life story of a man, or rather, a dog.
The start of the pictures recorded a young man torturing various kind of animals. He used all sorts of cruelty, and the pictures were an indelible record of his sin. This continued until one day, he came back with a black puppy. The puppy was surprisingly tenacious; no matter how hard he tortured it, the puppy would manage to survive.
The man saw the potential in the puppy to become a permanent vent to release his stress, so he kept it as his own. While torturing the puppy, the young man did not stop his assault on other animals.
The puppy saw the string of his master's torture of other animals with his own eyes until he one day grew up. One time, after the man went through another session of cruel torture, he thought that he had finally managed to kill the dog, so he did not chain it back to its doghouse.
That very night, the dying black dog crawled up on his limbs and slithered into the young man's bedroom through the window.
Chen Ge studied the last few pictures. The black dog used the little remaining energy it had to kill the man, and in the end, both the man and the dog lay in a pool of blood. Then, the black dog collapsed for real. However, when the man sat up from the pool of blood, the expression on his face had already changed to that of a dog.
Seeing the pictures, Chen Ge finally understood why the man would act this way, but there was still one more question that remained unsolved. Why would the dog act so friendlily around him?
Going through the pictures again, Chen Ge believed that he had found the answer. When the black puppy first appeared, other than the young man and the puppy, there was also a shadow that looked suspiciously like his own. He inspected the rest of the pictures, and almost every single picture had the shadow's presence in them somewhere.
The reason the black puppy was able to survive so much torture is because the shadow has been protecting it? The shadow looks just like me so this could explain why the black dog does not have any hostility against me-it has gotten the wrong person! It mistook me for the shadow!
Then a brave speculation entered Chen Ge's mind. Could the shadow really be the younger version of myself? He grew up in isolation, in a completely different manner?
Being mistaken by an outsider could be explained as a coincidence, but even the locals in Li Wan City could make this mistake, which made Chen Ge realize the severity of the problem. The shadow one hundred percent had something to do with him!
Perhaps he really looks like me, but that is merely in terms of looks.
Looking at the pictures on the wall, Chen Ge could see the similarity. He had once rescued a tortured animal before-the white cat on his shoulder was the perfect example. From this angle, he was indeed similar to the shadow, but the way their personality differed could also be seen from how they dealt with the extenuating circumstance.
After saving the white cat, Chen Ge gave it a home at the Haunted House. But after saving the black puppy, the shadow not only did not save it but allowed it to be continuously tortured until it was pushed to the necessary outcome of murdering its own order.
Hatred, pain, despair, and hostility. From the way the shadow aided the black puppy, one could discern his personality.
This thing is too dangerous.
Chen Ge replaced all the pictures and walked out from the room. The man was still squatting on the ground. He titled his head to the side as he studied Chen Ge. It was as if he had finally noticed something was wrong.
"I should keep this poor soul with me. The shadow can morph into many different shapes and disguises. Perhaps I may be able to use the black dog's help to help me ascertain the real identity of the shadow. If possible, I wish to sit down for a serious chat with that shadow."
Chen Ge stooped down before the man. Using Yin Yang Vision, he stared into the man's eyes, capturing the soul that was hiding underneath the skin of a man.
"It's time to come out now, you need a new home."
After a lengthy persuasion from Chen Ge, the expression on the man's face slowly changed. Several minutes later, a seriously wounded black dog struggled to claw its way out of the man's body.
Using the comic, Chen Ge collected the black dog. The moment that happened, the black phone in his pocket vibrated. He took out the phone to take a look. There were, in total, five unread messages.