To Yan Fei, Chen Ge was just an unknown stranger whom he did not know, but it was a different case with Lee Bing; they had once been deskmates and friends. Yan Fei might not believe certain words that Chen Ge said, but it would take on a greater credibility when they came out of Lee Bing's lips. Chen Ge knew that it would be immensely difficult to break down Yan Fei's mental defenses, so he had focused his attack on Yan Fei's close friend first. Lee Bing told Yan Fei many things, and Yan Fei's eyes gradually took on a new shade. His heart and conviction had begun to shake, but Chen Ge had still not gained his full confidence.
This School of the Afterlife has already begun its change. I will transform this school right from its foundation.
Chen Ge took Yan Fei's hand and pulled up his sleeves. The child resisted on instinct; he did not wish for his secret to be openly witnessed by others. The sleeves were hiding a bandage, and the bandage was hiding a slew of wounds.
"The wounds on your body will heal with medicine and rest, but the wounds that are torn on your heart will stay forever. I know you are using physical pain to try to numb the psychological pain, but that is no solution to any problem.
"Why are you using your own pain to punish yourself? Even if you die from the process, those who bullied you will not shed a single tear on your behalf. They will stand by your grave and continue to mock you while looking at your black and white photo."
Folding back the shirt sleeves, Chen Ge held Yan Fei's palm. Human warmth that he had not felt for a long time travelled from Chen Ge to Yan Fei.
"I know you still might not believe me, but I will use actions to prove myself." Chen Ge stood at the side of the bed. "A giant change is coming to this school. It is far too dangerous for you to stay here alone, so why don't you come with me and Lee Bing? We will protect you."
"That's right, Yan Fei. This time, I won't run away. I will stand by your side." Lee Bing cooperated fully. He persuaded Yan Fei alongside Chen Ge, and Yan Fei's attitude began to shift.
"You, me, and Lee Bing, we have many friends. None of us are willing to suffer the pain silently anymore. I will find them and have them join us!" Chen Ge had rescued some students in the world inside the mirror and in this blood red world. Even though they had separated from Chen Ge, Chen Ge still treated them as partners and friends.
"There are other people on our side?" Lee Bing and Yan Fei turned to Chen Ge simultaneously.
"Yes, we are not alone." Chen Ge slowly picked up Yan Fei. "Kind people are like light, and those who have kindness in their heart attract each other. Just wait and see, I will not disappoint you."
It was about time for the school to adapt and change. Even though it had provided a home for these homeless children, the home was cold and unfeeling; it was not a suitable environment for them. "It is time for the owner of the home to change."
Chen Ge had Lee Bing look after Yan Fei for the time being. He had not decided to leave the nurse's office just yet. He walked to Yin Bai's bedside. This child knew the old headmaster from Mu Yang High School, so Chen Ge would not leave her there. Peeling back the white curtain, Yin Bai sat at the edge of the bed with widened eyes. She had been eavesdropping on Chen Ge and the boy's conversation.
"I... have not been listening to you guys..." She was like a child who was caught with her hand in the cookie jar when her parents were not home. Her expression was cute with guilt. This formed a great contrast to the pain and despair that was predominant in the world behind the door.
"Yin Bai, there is something that I have to tell you." Chen Ge used his coup de grace. He took out the comic from his backpack. "I know your grandfather; he is one of the people that I respect in the world."
"You know my grandpa?" This time, it was Yin Bai's turn to be shocked. Her small lips opened and closed, and her eyes were swirling with surprise.
"Yes, I do not wish to lie to you anymore. The old man once operated a private children's home and provided a sanctuary to many orphans. Then with the aid of the local government, he turned that organization into a school, and the school is named Mu Yang High School. I have personally been to that school before." These words that came out of Chen Ge's lips continued to shock the girl.
"Grandpa indeed operated a children's home before, but he was not involved in a school. Are you sure you've got the right person?" Chen Ge's words had successfully attracted Yin Bai's curiosity.
"I am not mistaken. Since you know your grandfather has operated a children's home before so you should recognize them." Chen Ge knew his persuasion would be successful. He walked out from the sickroom. He flipped through the comic and summoned out several students from Mu Yang High School. In a few breaths' time, when Chen Ge returned to the room, there were several students trailing behind him. Their faces were carved with smiles and curiosity. Even though they only had their lingering spirits left, they looked like they were very blissful and happy. For these homeless orphans, achieving societal success was not part of their wish. They were a family, and their wish was simple-it was to stay together as a family. That was bliss enough.
"Yin Bai, I have been looking for you for a long time now." Chen Ge's tone was regretful. He stepped to the side. Only then did the students from Mu Yang High School finally see Yin Bai in bed, who was as thin as a stick. Her bones were practically protruding through her skin. The students were stumped; it was as if they could not believe their own eyes.
"You guys..." Tears instantly fell from Yin Bai's eyes, and her voice was shaking. "Long time no see."
Chen Ge did not interrupt the reunion. He carried the backpack, walked out, and guarded the door. He found a corner that was rather isolated and took out a ballpoint pen that was covered in tape from his backpack. He dangled it above a piece of white paper and asked, "Pen Spirit, can you tell me the story between that girl and your headmaster? You guys should be old friends, right?"
The pen stopped above the paper for a long time before it started to move. "Thank you."
That was out of Chen Ge's expectations; the Pen Spirit, who had a rather unapproachable personality and hard to please attitude, this time, put herself down to thank Chen Ge.
"Please don't act like that. I might think that you're possessed by another spirit."
The Pen Spirit did not mind the mocking from Chen Ge, and she continued to write on the paper. "A charity home and a private school are two wildly different concepts. Even though the old headmaster always had this idea in mind, it was incredibly hard to put into action. That was until the incident that happened to Lee Xueyin, then his intention to create a school for the orphans that he housed was made firm."
"Her name is Lee Xueyin? Isn't her name Yin Bai?"
"I am not mistaken; she is Lee Xueyin. She is the child of the first child adopted by the old headmaster."
"Wait, that is a bit confusing. Can you please be more specific?" Chen Ge held the pen and stared with extreme focus at the white paper.
"Lee Xueyin's mother was the first child taken in by the old headmaster. Because of her physical deformity, she was unable to do any work, and the old headmaster took care of her until the day she got married. Seeing the girl that he treated as his own walk down the aisle was incredibly touching for the old headmaster. He believed that his daughter had finally found happiness in life and could live a normal life, but who would have thought those horrible incidents would happen later? Lee Xueyin's mother's condition deteriorated. Her cold-blooded father made the decision to abandon the mother and daughter who were becoming more of a burden. In the end, it was the old headmaster who sent Lee Xueyin's mother away on her final journey at the hospital."
Chen Ge nodded. "I know about all that. You only need to tell me what happened to Yin Bai later."
"Lee Xueyin's mother's passing brought about a huge impact to the old headmaster. He was swallowed by guilt. He felt like it was his fault for failing to pick a good man for his daughter, and it was his own hands that pushed his daughter into the fire pit. The old headmaster adopted Lee Xueyin. He turned the heavy guilt that pressed down on him into love, and he put all his affection and attention into caring for Lee Xueyin.
"Xueyin was a precocious child. She got excellent results at school. To ensure that she would have a bright future, the old headmaster sent her to the best school in the state, but something that no one could have expected happened.
"Halfway through the first semester, the news that Xueyin had left the world came. It was only when it was all too late that the old headmaster knew that Xueyin had been subjected to horrible bullying at her school. The people from her class envied Xueyin because she always scored the best in class. Their envy slowly turned into hatred. In their mind, she was merely an adopted child; she had no father and no mother. During the parent-teacher conference, it was the staff from the children's home who came to attend on her parent's behalf.
"The old headmaster cherished Xueyin dearly, so he had no idea that this kind of thing would even happen. The man who had been living for half a century collapsed just like that. He pointed at those students who had on masks of innocence, yelling at them that they were murderers!
"This incident caused a lasting impact on the old headmaster. He adopted all these children because he wanted to give them happiness, not watch them walk step by step into a dark abyss.
"Death is irreversible. To ensure that the same thing would not happen to the rest of his children, to make sure that this kind of tragedy did not reoccur, he stopped at nothing to turn the children's home into Mu Yang High School."
The pen in his grasp was still moving. Chen Ge really did not expect there to be such a detailed backstory to Mu Yang High School.
"When Mu Yang High School was completed, the old headmaster's hair was already all white. He was still so kind and generous, but it was as if a part of his soul was gone. He was not as talkative as before, and the smile on his face became smaller and smaller.
"If my memory serves me right, it was around that time that he often started to go out at night by himself."
"Wait a minute." When Chen Ge saw the last sentence that the Pen Spirit wrote, he felt that something was off. "The old headmaster often went out at night on his own?"
"If I'm not mistaken, he took the last bus to Western Jiujiang. The old headmaster was very busy in the day, and his only free time opened up at night."
"Do you know why he would travel so far to Western Jiujiang?"
"I feel like it was because he had to go and meet up with someone, but one time, I saw the ticket for our Haunted House on his office table." Even though the Pen Spirit did not admit it directly, she treated herself as part of the Haunted House, and that was quite evident from her choice of words.
"The old headmaster came to Western Jiujiang's New Century Park's Haunted House at midnight?" Chen Ge's eyes widened. He was reminded of something else at that moment. When he entered Mu Yang High School the second time, he had seen a donation record inside the old headmaster's office, and it had contained both the names of Doctor Gao and his own parents!
"The old headmaster knew my parents!" Chen Ge's eyes narrowed. He felt like it could have been his parents who acted as the old headmaster's guide, and that was the reason the old headmaster was able to reach Yin Bai in the School of the Afterlife!
"I get it now; I understand everything now." Chen Ge took a deep breath. "The old headmaster knew how dangerous the School of the Afterlife was, and he was still worried about the students at Mu Yang High School, so he did not come to the decision to enter the school to rescue Yin Bai. Then, when I came to the school, he knew about my parents' personality, and he had confidence in me. On the surface, it looked like I had taken the students away from him, but in actuality, he wished for me to find a permanent home for them."
After getting that all cleared up, Chen Ge did not get angry from being lied to. If anything, his admiration of the old headmaster only increased. Even after death, he still cared so greatly about these kids. After obtaining the black phone, Chen Ge had seen the other world. He had seen the deepest darkness and actual hope, like the old headmaster of Mu Yang High School and Doctor Wei, who donated his body to Jiujiang Medical University for the advancement of medical science.
"With nothing to lose, the old headmaster has entered the School of the Afterlife to try to figure out a way to save Yin Bai. He should be in this school at the moment." After knowing that the old headmaster was familiar with his parents, Chen Ge's desperation to find the old headmaster increased. If he could meet him in person, many mysteries about himself would be resolved.
"The old headmaster passed the care of the students from Mu Yang High School to me. Looks like he is determined to even die. But why? We're all family. I wish he would have come to discuss things with me first."
Chen Ge had understood the whole story. He was about to put the pen away when he saw suddenly reminded of something. "Pen Spirit, does Lee Xueyin have any siblings? Other than Yin Bai, there is a girl called Yin Hong at this school. She looks almost identical to Yin Bai, but her personality is completely different. She appears to be more cunning and careful with her words."
"Lee Xueyin does not have any siblings; her only family is the old headmaster," the Pen Spirit answered honestly on the white paper.
What the Pen Spirit wrote was similar to the story told by Yin Bai. Chen Ge nodded. "Looks like something else happened to Lee Xueyin after she entered the School of the Afterlife. Yin Bai, Yin Hong, Lee Xueyin... Looks like I will have to bring her around with me."
Chen Ge no longer cared about how complicated this scenario was. With the aid of his own employees, he was confident that he would be able to overcome any trouble. Putting the ballpoint pen away, Chen Ge walked back into the sickroom. Once he did, Lee Bing rushed over to join him. "Chen Ge, are these all people like us? We already have so many friends?"
"Yes, they are all our friends. You should try to communicate with him. In the future, there will be plenty that you need to learn from them." Chen Ge patted Lee Bing on his shoulder lightly. The child appeared very harmless; he could be considered a unique presence among all the specters and lingering spirits. Many of classmates did not like him, but Chen Ge thought that he was quite a lovable fellow.
"Okay!" Lee Bing did not understand the hidden meaning in Chen Ge's words. He only felt thankful. He did not expect there were so many people like him at the school. Walking past Lee Bing, Chen Ge came to Yin Bai's bedside. "Now do you believe me?"
"Yes." Yin Bai recognized her former friends. She had forgotten many things. Her memory was stopped at the time when she was still at school. For her, this was like many friends coming to visit her at the hospital. She had forgotten about her own death and did not know that her friends were also all dead.
"Please leave for now. I have something that I wish to talk to Yin Bai about in private." Chen Ge looked at the students from Mu Yang High School. They were merely lingering spirits who refused to leave the school after they died. They were not even Specters. In a real fight, they could perish so easily. Chen Ge was trying to protect them. Following the students out of the room, as the door closed, he summoned all the students back into the comic. When he met the old headmaster, he hoped that these students could put in a good word or two for him.
The sickroom became quiet again. When Chen Ge returned, he noticed that Yin Bai was getting off the bed. She was winded and looked frail, but she tried to get to Chen Ge as if she had treated Chen Ge as part of her family as well.