Chen Ge's voice seemed to possess some kind of magical power, and words became a weapon even sharper than a knife. In the dark forest, the air stilled to the point that it formed a suffocating barrier, strands of black hair dangled down from the treetop, and the blood vessels on the ground weaved together. Based on some unique rules, when the skull in the tree hole spotted the shadow, a flash of confusion crossed her eyes that were pupil-less.
"Don't hesitate! Any hesitation is a waste of time that we can use to escape! Do you wish to cancel out our hope with your own hands?" Holding the nails with both hands, Chen Ge stood behind the shadow. "No matter what happens, I'll face it with you!"
The shadow, which was originally smaller than Chen Ge, was now three meters tall. The resentment and hatred gathered in his heart was evoked by Chen Ge. His hands morphed into claws, and a beast-like roar escaped from his throat.
This shadow that had been pinned to Room 413 possessed huge potential. In fact, his potential was far greater than Chen Ge imagined, which caused him to become more curious about the shadow's past. "Everyone has hope, but to turn that hope into reality, it depends not on charity but everything you've got. Only by giving it your all might there be a chance!"
Chen Ge pointed at the skull inside the tree hole. "And that is our hope."
The shadow body was continually expanding, and when Chen Ge said that, the shadow's face cracked, causing many thin black lines to surface on his body. Then, the shadow charged forward.
The girl's scream filled the brush again. The decayed muscles that littered the ground carried an indescribable stench with them, and they tried to stop the shadow. At the same time, the black hair from the branches seemed to gain a life of their own as they curled toward Chen Ge.
"Coming at the two of us at once?" From his many experiences of being chased by ghosts, Chen Ge's body was very agile. This was a valuable skill that he had obtained.
"The girl can influence the neighboring grounds. If we don't deal with her, it'll be very hard to leave this place." Chen Ge had no idea what was behind him walking in circles, and he could not fix it. Therefore, he could only try to solve the problem from its basis. The battle between ghosts was extremely violent, and most of the time, it would only stop once one party was torn to pieces. After the shadow expanded, he was stronger than before, but he lacked fighting experience and was not as mad and as crazed as Xu Yin, so he soon was tripped by the girl.
"This guy has great potential, but he's too weak now!" Chen Ge knew that once the shadow was defeated, he would not survive on his own. Veins pulsed on his arms as he grabbed the bag and lobbed it as forceful as he could at the tree hole. Before the bag reached its target, it was stopped by the net of hair that dropped from the treetop. However, that was enough to buy time for Chen Ge. He grabbed the nail and ran toward the tree hole from another direction
"I can't stop! The ground here is soaked with her blood. I'll die if I slow down!" Ignoring the fear before his eyes, Chen Ge pushed forward with a powerful will. Compared to the shadow, he appeared more crazed. "Soon, the pain will be over. Soon, you will not be in the torment of pain and loneliness anymore!"
Chen Ge did not think about retreating, and he moved very fast. The girl sensed the threat from Chen Ge and pulled out part of her energy to stop him. The grass wilted at an incredible speed to expose a human skin-like ground.
"Since you're unwilling to save me, then get buried here alongside my body." Gashes opened on the ground, which looked like interconnecting wounds. The temperature dropped as something crawled out from the gaps.
Chen Ge felt both pain and numbness coming from his calves. He slowly lost feeling in his feet. The thing that had crawled out from the gaps earlier seemed to be various insects. He did not stop to take a look. He was temporarily ignoring anything that might slow him down. At that moment, the only thing in his eyes was the skull inside the tree hole.
"I know you're in great pain, but why unload your anger on innocent people? You aren't going after those that harmed you but trying to threaten us innocent passersby, isn't that a bit too much?" Chen Ge yelled loudly. He was not afraid of exposing his location. The most urgent matter was to undo the walking loop and killing this female ghost that he could communicate with. Even though he was losing control of his legs, he pushed himself forward.
The girl exhausted a lot of energy to deal with Chen Ge. The shadow made use of this opportunity to escape from her grasp and instantly reached the space next to the tree hole. He reached his sharp claws inside the hole. Following Chen Ge's order, the shadow tried to grab the skull out of the hole, but once he tried to issue force, the girl's skull issued a horrifying scream. As the skull was yanked out, Chen Ge and the shadow realized that underneath the skull hid innumerable blood vessels that looked like plant fibers.
"What kind of monster is this?" This was the first time that Chen Ge had encountered a creature like this, but he reacted faster than the shadow. "Chop off the vessels connecting to her head! Quick!"
The girl's eyes were white. The blood vessels under her neck were connected to the trees. The ground was slowly sinking like it was planning to swallow the shadow.
"Quick! Cut it off!" Chen Ge yelled at the top of his lungs. It was not looking so good for the shadow. He did not cut off the girl's blood vessels, and his body was slowly being entwined by them. "Why are you hesitating?"
With the ground sinking, Chen Ge was unable to turn and run away. Instead, he used the last ounce of his energy to pounce at the girl's skull. He did something crazy. His body rammed into the net made of the blood vessels and pierced the nails into the girl's eyes at a close distance!
"Quick! Now!" The eyes were poked through. The girl was on a complete rampage. The bloody net was closing in on Chen Ge and the shadow. "We don't have much time!"
At the last moment, the shadow made his first step toward transformation. His body turned illusory, but the two claws materialized physically. The shadow gathered all of his strength as he pierced his hands through the girl's skull. Blood splattered everywhere, and a piercing scream cut through the night sky.
The fog around them slowly lightened. The shadow exploded at the last moment, and his spectral nature compelled him to do many things that he had not done before. The night breeze blew. The shadow's body was returning to normal. He lifted his thin, weak arms. In the middle of his palms was a red heart yanked out from the deepest part of the tree hole.
"You've done a great job. We've passed the first hurdle." Chen Ge looked at the shadow with a smile. He was currently lying in the mud. There were many scratches on his body. The worms that had crawled from the ground earlier were not real worms but coagulations of the girl's resentment.
"Before you consume this heart, I have one last question to ask you." Chen Ge forced himself to stand up. "I wonder if you've experienced this before. How long will you hibernate after you consume something like this?"
After a Specter consumed another Specter's essence, they would go into hibernation. The period of hibernation was related to the consumer's and the consumed's power level.
The shadow had no idea what Chen Ge was talking about. He was too eager to eat the heart he was holding.
"Looks like you really don't know anything. Don't worry, I can teach you slowly," Chen Ge said with a smile and signaled for the shadow to leave the brush.