As large as the female boss was, her heart was disproportionately small. It glistened and refracted the light like a blood red ruby. It was not discolored or tainted in any way. "Who would have thought an ugly monster like that would have such a pure heart?"
Chen Ge reached out to touch the glutton monster's heart. He wished to study and find out what exactly a Red Specter's heart was. However, when his fingertip landed on the heart, negative emotions swept at him like a wave. Blood rushed through his body, and an indescribable desire to feast echoed in his brain. He was so hungry that he could have taken a bite out of himself.
"So hungry!" The desperate snarl escaped from Chen Ge's lips. The man had to take several steps back from the heart before he felt more like himself again.
"Just how many living humans and ghosts has this thing ingested?" Gasping hungrily for air, Chen Ge's back was soaked in sweat. He held his hands back and swore to not easily handle anything related to Red Specters anymore.
"The heart of the glutton monster is the pure desire to feast. It is an endless need that can only be satisfied with maddened consumption." Chen Ge understood why Xu Yin did not take in the glutton monster's heart directly. This was not something that could be handled by a normal Specter. "Back when we killed Xiong Qing, Xu Yin gave Xiong Qing's heart to Bai Qiulin. Now I wonder if Bai Qiulin has been affected by Xiong Qing or not."
Feeling Chen Ge's gaze on him, Bai Qiulin thought that it was time for him to report to duty, so he dragged the barely-surviving boy over. In a perfect contrast to Xu Yin, for Bai Qiulin, only his heart was dyed red by blood.
"Ol' Bai looks perfectly normal. Perhaps it's because Xiong Qing was too weak to leave any effect on him." Chen Ge opened the comic to pull the boy into it. He planned to slowly interrogate the boy and get more information about Xin Hai Central Hospital from him after the Trial Mission was over. After dealing with the boy, Chen Ge turned back to look at the heart in Xu Yin's hand.
He could see that even just carrying the heart put a great amount of pressure on Xu Yin. He would definitely end up in trouble if he was ordered to consume the heart. Furthermore, Xu Yin had never shown any interest in consuming another person's heart. Instead, he wanted to find a heart that belonged to him.
"Then, what should I do with this?" The glutton monster's heart was a very valuable reward. It technically contained everything that was about the glutton monster. With this in Chen Ge's possession, he might even have the chance of cultivating a Red Specter who could have a better handle of the hunger in the future!
This thing was too valuable. Even the shadow and Doctor Gao would definitely be interested in it.
"If Xu Yin is tasked with acting as the keepsake of the heart, he would separate out a part of his power to resist the negative emotions the heart will bring. That will definitely affect his ability during battle." During dangerous situation, Xu Yin was Chen Ge's main fighting force, so having Xu Yin handle the glutton monster's heart was a giant waste.
"But other than him, who would be able to resist that overwhelming wave of negative emotions?" Chen Ge had Bai Qiulin give it a try, but he only persisted for several minutes before his expression became contorted. He had gone under the influence of gluttony, and it was clear that he was slowly spiraling out of control.
"Is there no other way than to give this away? But it will be such a loss." The red high heels probably desired the glutton monster's heart. Gifting it to her would probably earn Chen Ge a valuable ally, but the man thought that was such a ridiculous waste of resource.
"Normal Specters are too weak to sustain a consumption of such a powerful heart. They will most likely disperse from eating this heart. Only a Red Specter is able to resist that enormous will to feed." Chen Ge stared at the beeping heart in Xu Yin's hands. The blood red heart was buried deeply inside the meat mountain and was thus spared the effect of the blood curse.
"Leaving it with Xu Yin will only create a burden. The only choice I have left is Zhang Ya." Chen Ge called Xu Yin to get close to the candlelight and had Xu Yin place the glutton monster's heart on his shadow. Ever since he entered Li Wan City, Chen Ge's shadow had gradually been changing. It was not until he was trying to madly summon Zhang Ya earlier that he had noticed this change. He had no idea why Zhang Ya was doing this, but he believed that Zhang Ya would not harm him.
The candlelight cast its flame on Chen Ge's body, but the strange thing was that the shadow that he formed was in the shape of a woman. Chen Ge looked at his own shadow silently. Xu Yin had the obvious desire that he did not wish to get any closer. After getting permission from Chen Ge, he finally placed the glutton monster's heart on Chen Ge's shadow.
Then a strange thing happened. Once the heart that glistened like a ruby left Xu Yin's grasp, it started to bounce violently, and soon, a woman's shadow appeared above the heart. Chen Ge felt the woman looked so familiar. Eventually, he matched it to the woman that he saw in the boss' room, the woman in the pictures, the woman that he called his mother. That should be the real appearance of the ruby ghost.
"So, she still had this trick up her sleeves." Cold sweat poured out of Chen Ge's forehead. If he had made his employee consume this heart, that employee might have transformed into a second glutton monster.
The woman's wail gradually weakened before dissolving into droplets of blood that landed on Chen Ge's shadow. His shadow was like a lake whose bottom could never be seen. The droplet of blood landed on the shadow and caused a ripple before disappearing completely.
After the glutton monster's heart completely melted, Chen Ge's shadow became even darker, and the silhouette of a woman became clearer. For some strange reason, Chen Ge's heart started to race. He looked at his own shadow and had this sensation that a young lady was waving at him from the other side of the shadow. If he reached out toward the woman, he would be dragged into the shadow and stay there with her forever.
"Zhang Ya?" The name floated up in Chen Ge's heart. The hair in the shadow bloomed like it was being caressed by the wind-this, Chen Ge accepted as a response.
"She seems to have grown stronger..." Chen Ge had been trying to increase the power level of his employees, but after such a long struggle, he realized that the combined strength of all of his employees still would not match that of Zhang Ya. To make matters worse, the difference between the power level only continued to grow. "Perhaps this is what they call talent."
At Jiujiang Medical University's underground morgue, even though Zhang Ya had been injured in the battle as well, she had still managed to get something from Doctor Gao's wife. It was the same thing when she crossed swords with the shadow. Then, she forcibly stole a few drops of blood from Doctor Gao. Now, she had consumed the glutton monster's heart. Just how strong Zhang Ya had become, even Chen Ge himself could not tell.
"I am not someone who likes to rely on others, but based on this situation, it does not appear like I have a choice." His lips turned involuntarily upward. Chen Ge glanced at the headless woman and the pair of red high heels. "If you're naughty, I'll feed you to her."
The red high heels were collapsed on the ground, and they looked no different from a normal pair of shoes. The woman had probably exhausted so much of her energy that she had trouble even holding her form. After all, during the battle with the glutton monster, she had single-handedly suffered seventy-five percent of the damage, and it was she who managed to land the crucial blow on the glutton monster, which provided Chen Ge with the opportunity that he needed.
"You've helped me once, so I'll treat you in kind. I'm not going to take advantage of you. When the mission is over, I'll bring you back to a safe place and even purposely construct a home for you." Chen Ge had personally witnessed the terror of the red high heels' curse. He picked up the heels using an abandoned table cloth and placed them on the counter.
"Then, it's your turn. You chased me for a whole damn street, and I think you owe me an apology." Chen Ge had Xu Yin, Bai Qiulin, and Men Nan apprehend the headless woman before he dared get close to her. The headless woman seemed to have some prejudice against men, and she refused to even look at Chen Ge's group.
"It's fine if you don't want to communicate with males. I have female ghosts in my employment as well." Chen Ge summoned Duan Yue to communicate with the headless woman. After a long communication, Duan Yue returned to relay the information. The headless woman's condition was definitely not good. She had lost half of her body, and her head was heavily injured. She had trouble maintaining her form from dispersing, much less getting into battle.
"Even though you've chased me for a long time, I am a generous person who will put aside most grievances. After we leave this place, I'll find you a safe place to allow you to recover." Chen Ge pulled the headless woman into the comic.
"Hey! I know you have limited space at your Haunted House. Why don't you just give her the spot that I normally occupy?" Men Nan said in the tone of an adult. He jogged with his short legs to stand behind Chen Ge. "I've not returned home for a long time already. There might be some problems at the Third Sick Hall. Once the door goes out of control, the consequences will be imaginably bad."
"I promise you, after the sun comes up, I'll immediately take you back to the Third Sick Hall." Chen Ge squatted down and very seriously reached out his hand. "Here, pinkie promise."
"My God, can you be more childish‽" Even though he grumbled on his lips, Men Nan still pinkie promised it with Chen Ge. "But why did you suddenly change your mind? I swear you must be up to something since you granted me this so easily."
"I merely realize how dangerous it will be for a door to go out of control, so I understand it's for the best if I send you back as soon as possible." Chen Ge stood up and voiced the thought that was inside his heart.
"Yes, that is what I've been telling you since the beginning, but you refused to believe me. If something really happens, it'll be too late to start undoing the error." After getting the promise from Chen Ge, Men Nan finally sighed in relief. "Seeing how sincere you are, I'll help you one more time. By the way, where are we? Why are there so many Red Specters inside a small hotel?"
"We are currently inside a door that has gone out of control. This is Eastern Jiujiang's Li Wan City." Chen Ge said that in a matter-of-fact tone. He waited for a long time but did not hear a reply from Men Nan. He turned back to look. "What's wrong?"
Men Nan, who was only slightly taller than Chen Ge's knees, froze where he was. He seemed to have a hard time believing his ears. "We're inside a door that has gone out of control?"
"Inside the world behind the door?"
After this simple exchange, Men Nan collapsed to the ground. He looked at Chen Ge blankly, and no words came out of his lips. It was as if the boy's mind had suddenly short-circuited.
"What's wrong with you?" Chen Ge quickly get down to look after the boy. He still cared about Men Nan after all.
"It's nothing." Men Nan waved his hands. "I just want to feel the ground underneath my feet. I fear I might not have the chance soon."
"Stop being so dramatic. There's no need to be afraid. I'm here, aren't I?"
"It's because you're here that I'm so afraid! If not for the fact that I wouldn't reach your neck, I would have jumped up to strangle you at least twice already! Have you lost your f*cking mind? It's one thing for you to find your way into a door, but you had to choose one that has already gone out of control! I was wondering how you managed to find somewhere so dangerous! Is it so hard to live your life peacefully? What is so wrong with wanting a peaceful existence‽" Men Nan was finally acting his age. He was on the verge of tears as he threw the tantrum.
"Understood, I know what you're saying. Don't worry, if we manage to survive this, I'll definitely send you home." Chen Ge was quick to console Men Nan. After a long time, when the boy's emotion was stabilizing, Chen Ge tried to ask probingly, "Is it so dangerous inside a door that has gone out of control?"
"Of course! Think about it. It is an enclosed building behind a single door, so the number of Red Specters and monsters that you have to deal with is limited, but things are different for a door that has gone out of control. It will pull all the buildings around the area into the nightmare world, and no one is able to tell how many Red Specters and monsters are hiding here." Men Nan waved his hands weakly and pain was clear on his face. "I am not good at fighting, and I've been tricked by the ghost stories society at least once. My power is incredibly weak, and that is why I want to quickly fix the window in the Third Sick Hall. If anything outside infiltrates the Third Sick Hall, then my home will be ruined."
"But that's perfect, isn't it? If that's the case, I can prepare a new home..." Chen Ge was halfway through his sentence when he noticed that the boy was going to go berserk again, so he quickly stopped himself. "You have a point there. After leaving Li Wan City, I'll immediately send you back to the Third Sick Hall."
After pulling Men Nan into the comic, Chen Ge summoned all of his employees to give the hotel a quick scrub. The curse of the red high heels was more powerful and terrifying than he had anticipated. The blood veins and the remains of the glutton monster that came into contact with the curse dissolved into ashes and dispersed into the wind, leaving behind the four iron chains.
"There are still many issues with the glutton monster; I need to get to the bottom of this." Chen Ge entered Room 1 to untie the old man. "Do you see the iron chains on the ground? Are you the one who locked up the woman behind the fridge?"
Experience came with age. When the old man saw the situation at the hotel, he summed up everything in his mind. Therefore, he explained everything to Chen Ge.
The family of three were not locals of Li Wan City. They operated a rental apartment at another spot in Eastern Jiujiang. The upstairs apartments were rented out while the ground floor was made into a restaurant.
Then, one day, the old man's wife suddenly contracted a strange disease. She would not be full no matter how much she ate, and once they stopped her from eating, she would be hurting and panicking like they were torturing her. They had taken her to plenty of doctors, but it was no use. The wife's illness became more serious, and during extreme hunger pangs, she would even bite at other people.
They exhausted all their savings to cure her illness. Until one day, the wife and the old man who just came back from another doctor visit rode the last bus on Route 104, and they arrived at Li Wan City.
The old man was too cowardly to get off the bus, but his wife was led by a blurry shadow into a ghost apartment. When she returned, the wife's illness had a conspicuous improvement. He was overjoyed, thinking that they had run into their savior, but that was just the beginning of the tragedy.
The wife would always wander out at night, and the old man eventually found out that his wife had gone out in search of 'food'. To prevent discovery by the police, their whole family moved to Li Wan City, and what happened next matched the details in Xiao Bu's game.
"When she was alive, it was me who locked her up. If I didn't do that, she might even bite at her own flesh. After she died, it was a shadow who locked her up..." The old man glanced at Chen Ge and had trouble continuing. "That shadow has the same silhouette as you. He brought some 'food' to come and feed my wife regularly until she became the thing that you saw."
"The shadow looks like me?" Chen Ge nodded. He had understood everything. The glutton monster was the shadow's creation. The meaning of her existence was to stay guard over the center of Li Wan City.
"I've basically visited all the locations pinpointed by the black phone. It is about time to visit Fan Chong's residential area." Chen Ge's motive had been achieved. He pulled all his employees into the comic and used the rope to retie the old man and placed him in Room 1.
"It's time to leave." Chen Ge walked out from Room 1 and planned to go upstairs to find the other passengers when something unexpected happened. The entrance of the hotel was suddenly pushed open, and two men strode into the room.
"Don't run your mouth, and do not do anything extra! Understood?"
"Yes, I understood all that! But the problem is you've got the wrong person! Trust me! He has already left my body!"
Hearing these familiar voices, Chen Ge basically lifted his head out of habit. When he saw the two at the door, his pupils narrowed instantly.
"Lee Zheng? Jia Ming? Why are they here‽"