The fog thinned, and the blood moon hanging in the sky became clearer. The blood moon showered its crimson glow on the small town, casting strange and ugly shadows on the ground.
A window close to Chen Ge was pushed open roughly from inside, and a strange man with his head completely wrapped up in gauze poked his head out. He had been eyeing Chen Ge for a long time, and he had been waiting for this moment to attack. He had no actual purpose to assault Chen Ge. He probably thought that the young man was blocking the view or that killing Chen Ge could bring him temporarily joy and relief.
Such was the logic of a murderous monster. The way that their brain was wired was different from a normal person-they never cared about others and never had any concern about the consequences of their actions. There was often no planning to their decision, and they were easily provoked and angered since they came with an almost natural sense of aggression.
Blood seeped through the gauze. Chen Ge had no idea what the man looked like underneath the bandage, but he could not have cared less. When the strange man extended his wiry, muscular arms toward Chen Ge, wishing to drag the latter into the room, Chen Ge took a small step sideways and raised his hammer in return.
Even in Li Wan City, this type of murder weapon was extremely rare. The shadow pushed those murderers into a corral of sorts to cultivate negative emotions, not to create some kind of coliseum, so the weapons used by these mad people to commit murders were often everyday objects.
The shoulder of the strange man caved inward, and the gauze on his face slipped down slightly to reveal two eyes that were filled with confusion. He had no idea from where Chen Ge produced such a large iron hammer. Indignation at his opponent cheating but him being able to do nothing about it arose in the man's heart.
The man leaned backward and retreated into his hiding place. Normally, when a person was on the run for their life, they would not be distracted by unimportant lackeys, but Chen Ge was obviously an exception.
"I don't care whether you are a man or a ghost, but since you wanted to kill, you have to be prepared to be taken away by me. That is only fair." He jumped through the window into the house and continued the chase with the hammer raised. "Since you planned to kill me, you're definitely not an innocent party. Saving you will not get me more rewards from the black phone. If anything, it'll only cause more chaos in society, so I shall make use of this opportunity to deal with you."
The previously quiet house was in an uproar once Chen Ge jumped into it. The normal wooden door was something that could be solved with a hammer for Chen Ge-even when he was stopped by a security door, the man brought it down with less than five swings.
The strange man had not seen this kind of reaction before. Chen Ge was already on his tail before he even got the chance to escape from the house. Jumping through the window on the left and crashing through the window on the right, the whole process took less than half a minute.
Holding the rough gauze that he yanked off the man's face, Chen Ge studied it for a while before tossing it into his backpack. "Guess, I'll keep this as souvenir."
In Xiao Bu's game, the streets would become very dangerous after dark, and it was not so different from what Chen Ge was experiencing now. However, the biggest difference was, in game, the main character was the weak and powerless Xiao Bu, but the person who walked down the street in real life was the new chairperson of the ghost stories society.
"The biggest issue at the moment is that I still have no idea what Doctor Gao's goal is, so for now, I can only hope that they'll continue to fight one another, exhausting themselves." There was no observable pattern to the route that Chen Ge took. If someone or some ghosts attracted his ire, he would instantly change his route to chase after the offender, cutting his way through the small town.
Most of the buildings in Li Wan City were hiding baleful Specters and murderous killers. For a normal person, just the sound of that was scary enough, but for Chen Ge, it felt more like some kind of a lucky draw. Before he charged into the building, he would be overwhelmed by some kind of anticipation. He could not explain why-perhaps it was because he had a great sense of curiosity.
"I feel like some kind of street cleaner. If only the door in Li Wan City had not gone out of control, then I'd have been able to come back to clean up this place at constant intervals." The blood moon shone, and the blood fog wavered. Chen Ge raced down the street under the scrutiny of countless evil eyes.
"The human-shaped shadows are still hanging around the junctions. The man with the tattoos once said that these shadows come from the shadow's physical body. Therefore, there might be some kind of connection between these souls and the shadow." Chen Ge understood that he had been given such a clear go at the monsters in Li Wan City only because the shadow was too busy dealing with Doctor Gao and could not distract himself to care about Chen Ge. If they found out that they were both pursuing Chen Ge, then the situation would drastically change.
"If I play this right, I should be able to drag this out further." Chen Ge grabbed Doctor Skull-Cracker's hammer and aimed it at a window. As long as he caught sight of human shadows in the building, he would cut through the building. With the hammer, wherever Chen Ge decided to travel, there would be a path. In other words, the man was cutting his own way through Li Wan City.
In a way, the blood fog was representative of the shadow's presence. Now that the blood fog had thinned and there were strange echoes travelling through it, many trapped Specters and murderers realized that their chance had arrived. Initially, the strange noises only came from behind Chen Ge, but slowly, the whole of Li Wan City was filled with terror and screams.
The town was thrown into chaos. Li Wan City, which the shadow had managed for a long time, plunged into madness. The craziness that had been forcibly reigned in finally had a chance to explode as the maddened individuals crawled out from their hiding places.
Whether it was to escape or to release the darkness in their own heart, these human beings and Specters that represented the darker reaches of the human heart started to move. If the shadow had not been bogged down by Doctor Gao, he could have killed a few Specters to warn the rest and forcibly press them back into submission. However, he was unable to allow himself to be distracted, and the more he allowed this to happen, the more chaotic the situation became. The fear that the shadow instilled in their heart slowly dissipated as they gradually became consumed by negative emotions.
Wails and laughter echoed around the small town. The sound of fighting came from everywhere. The blood fog continued to thin, but the smell of blood only thickened.
"This is pure madness. It's quite unsettling." Chen Ge leaped over an unconscious murderer. At the same time, Xu Yin rolled up the lingering spirit that blocked their way into a ball. They split up their responsibility clearly-Chen Ge dealt with the living humans while Xu Yin faced off against the lingering spirits and baleful Specters.
In just a few minutes, many strange items were thrown into Chen Ge's backpack. For example, there was a detached showerhead that had been yanked out from a bathroom. It was possessed by a man's lingering spirit; he had a habit of leaning on the showerhead to sneak glances at other people when they were taking shower. His fighting ability was lower than zero, but the man looked scary. Chen Ge had a feeling that he had the potential to be a great employee, so he had decided to bring the man home.
Other than that, there were many other things, like a flashlight that would turn on by itself, the spirit hiding underneath the water glass, the female ghost that preferred to hide under the table, and so on.
Those easily portable, Chen Ge would collect as they were. Those less easy to handle like the female ghost who hid under the table, Chen Ge smashed the table into pieces and had the ghost possess a piece of the broken wood. He promised the woman that he would build her a new table in the future.
The reward from this mission was far greater than Chen Ge had anticipated. Opening the black phone, the page for the employee had a few new messages.
"Congratulations, Specter's Favored! You have just obtained a special-type lingering spirit-Lee Gui (Lingering spirit). Lascivious activities can lead to bitter consequences. He was electrocuted when he was trying to install a webcam inside the bathroom above the shower. His special power is Bad Karma, and it is able to influence the luck of himself and the people around him. Will you like to hire him as your employee?
"Congratulations, Specter's Favored! You have just obtained a special-type lingering spirit-He Beibei (Lingering Spirit). Killed in an accident by the water glass that fell down from the sky when she was walking through the residential area, she was very unsatisfied with her death. Until she finds her actual murderer, she can only hide underneath the water glass. When other people drink from the glass, she'll be able to observe the person from underneath the glass. Special power, photoscope. Will you like to hire her as your employee?
"Congratulations, Specter's Favored! You have just obtained a special-type baleful Specter-Wang Mei (Baleful Specter). She suffers from a psychological problem where she prefers claustrophobic spaces over large, open areas. The smaller the space, the more secure she will feel. The cause of her death is a mystery. The police found her body inside a wooden box under a table, no one knew how she got in there, and they could not find a single fingerprint for a second person at the crime scene. Her special power is contortion. Will you like to hire her as your employee?
"Congratulations, Specter's Favored! You have just obtained a special-type Red Specter-??? (Red Specter)! Heavily injured and on the verge of disappearing. Real name unknown, power unknown, history unknown. Before you complete her quest, you are unable to hire her as your employee."
Chen Ge glanced at the page and realized how big the reward was. There were at least three spirits with special powers and one headless woman who was a Red Specter.
"I'll leave the question of hiring them after completing this mission." To ensure the quality of a team, mere focus on the number alone would not work-the more important thing was that each member should be able to hold their own. Putting the black phone away, Chen Ge glanced around him.
Li Wan City was at the height of its madness-the shadow probably would not be able to tell where the origin of the problem was. The appearance of Doctor Gao was the factor that changed everything. As clever as the shadow might be, as careful as his planning was, he would not be able to predict that Doctor Gao would turn into a Red Specter and, more than that, show up at a time like this.
The information decided the direction that one took when coming up with a plan. The shadow had traded blows with Doctor Gao before. The shadow was a master at psychological manipulation, and coincidentally, Doctor Gao was the best psychologist that Jiujiang had ever seen. In the battle between the two, even though it was the shadow who secured a narrow victory, Doctor Gao must have left a deep impression on the shadow, and he was extremely cautious of this 'man'.
Three quarters of the blood fog in Li Wan City was gathered at a specific spot. Flashes of blackish-red chains cut through the fog, leaving deep gashes on the surrounding buildings.
"The shadow is guarding a four-star mission behind him, so he must have other trump cards that he hasn't used yet. I wonder how far Doctor Gao will be able to push the shadow." Chen Ge paid close attention to the shadow and Doctor Gao's fight. At that moment, a loud boom echoed out from the building where Fan Chong stayed. One could see that the blood vessels covering the surface of the building had started to shrivel up and die.
"Who did this? Their target seems to be the door that has gone out of control as well." Chen Ge was quite surprised. Other than himself, Doctor Gao, and the shadow, there appeared to be a fourth force. "Is it the woman in the red raincoat, or have some of the murderers ganged up to form a group?"
The door was the source of all the blood fog in Li Wan City, so the shadow would never allow anyone to harm the door. A strange voice rang through the chains and the fog, it felt like it was calling a name.
"The shadow is finally going to reveal his second trump card?" Chen Ge was on high alert. He soon noticed that something was wrong. Even since the voice rang out, human-shaped stains had started to appear on the surface of the buildings of Li Wan City. It felt like they were the real occupants of these buildings.
"These look similar to the stains in Fan Chong's building. Does the shadow plan to awaken all the people who have died a horrible death in Li Wan City?" Most of the murderers and Specters had been ferried there from other parts of the country. The human-shaped stains seemed to represent the actual locals of Li Wan City. They had died from an epidemic and been buried deep beneath the city.
The things all seemed to be moving. Chen Ge turned to look, and he saw a human-shaped stain behind him. It showed the shape of a girl, who looked around seven or eight and on the lanky side. Her hair was pulled into two ponytails.
Initially, it was just a faded shadow, but as time moved on, the shadow started to darken until Chen Ge could see the shape of the girl rather clearly. Her body was contorted into a ball. Perhaps to lighten to the pain, her arms hugged her body tightly, so tight that her bones had started to alter.
Creak, creak, creak...
The eerie sound kept occurring, and whenever it sounded, the stain on the wall would gain clarity like it was trying to peel off the wall. The static came from the recorder, and the white cat in the travel bag kept meowing at Chen Ge. They were both warning Chen Ge to stay away from this little girl.
"Why won't Xu Yin allow me to stay near her?" The girl's presence was far weaker than a Red Specter. In fact, she did not feel as strong as a powerful baleful Specter, but such a stain had alerted both Xu Yin and the white cat. The color was still darkening, and perhaps it was an trick of the eye, but Chen Ge felt like he could see the girl's curled up body shudder. Then the girl lifted her head that was previously deeply buried inside her chest and slowly turned to look at Chen Ge.
It was a faceless face. However, being stared by that emptiness, Chen Ge felt like he had been dropped in cold water, and the hair on his body all stood on end. After being visited by specters, Chen Ge's body temperature started to drop, and he had not experienced such a spine-piercingly chilly sensation in a long time already.
"This thing does not appear to be a Specter..." Chen Ge's own definition of a Specter was that they were a kind of lingering spirit left behind by once living humans.
There were good and bad spirits, so there were understandably good and bad Specters. However, the human stain before his eyes did not appear to possess any emotion. Instead, it was filled with a pathological desire to destroy. Rather than saying it was a ghost, it was more like a living form of a curse. The purpose of its existence was merely to spread disaster and bad luck, to turn everything into a version of itself.
When the stain in the wall saw Chen Ge, the girl's body slowly unfurled, and her distorted limbs started to expand outward as she walked out from the wall.
The faceless features looked right at Chen Ge. The girl took steps forward, and she started to pick up speed before suddenly leaping forward to fly at Chen Ge!
At the same time, endless screams echoed around Li Wan City. The shadow seemed to have started an indeterminate attack-all the murderers and Specters in Li Wan City were his targets.
"I should retreat for now." Chen Ge had no idea what might happen should he come into contact with the stain. He did not even order Xu Yin or Bai Qiulin to deal with it, but he evaded the girl and decided to observe the situation first before making his next move.