"Similar to the person from my memory, do you know how hard I've been looking for you‽" Chen Ge remembered it very clearly. It was a night of heavy rain, and the clock on the phone showed it was 2 am. He was rampaging down the corridors of the abandoned school. When he passed the last classroom, that was the first time that he had encountered the old headmaster. The kind, rotund old man stood at the podium. His eyes met Chen Ge's, and their paths crossed for less than a second. Now, their paths were crossing again at the School of the Afterlife. The old headmaster probably did not expect that brief encounter to be something that would change his life forever.
His scalp turned numb, and a chill crawled down his spine. The figure who stood before Yin Hong's desk slowly turned around. When he saw Chen Ge, his expression was very unnatural.
"Chen Ge." Chen Ge took large strides toward the old man. "We have met in Mu Yang High School before. If you cannot remember it, I can show you the video because I was in the middle of a livestream back then."
"I believe I have an impression of you, but now I have something else to do. After I'm done, we can catch up and talk." The old headmaster seemed to know Chen Ge's secrets. He knew that he was different from his students' lingering spirits. Once his life entangled with Chen Ge, there would be endless problems, so he made up his decision instantly as he grabbed Yin Hong's arm and prepared to leave.
"What is more important than the children at Mu Yang High School?" Chen Ge took out the comic from his backpack. "Headmaster, everyone misses you. When you are away, the students lose their smiles. You are the backbone of Mu Yang High School. Without you, the home is not complete."
Be it from his expression or voice, the content or tone, Chen Ge was the epitome of sincerity. Seeing that his students were all on Chen Ge's side, there was a change to the old headmaster's gaze. His lips opened, but nothing came out instantly. Even though he had been alive for a long time, the old headmaster had not learned how to say no.
"Headmaster, I know that you have your difficulties, and I understand you have your own considerations, but think about this. You believe that you have given a safe home for the students and entered such a dangerous place alone. But do you think the students can rest easy not knowing how their beloved headmaster is doing? If they know their current lives are in exchange for everything you have, do you think they can continue to enjoy that life? You know your students best. If you do not wish for them to wallow in guilt, please tell us everything so that we can discuss it together." Chen Ge's every word crawled into the old headmaster's heart. He did not care about his own safety, but he cared deeply about those students. Those students were the old headmaster's weakness, so of course, they were also his best helper.
Without giving the old headmaster more time to consider, Chen Ge took out a ballpoint pen. He handed the pen to the old man and then got a piece of paper from Yin Hong's bag. "I'm not lying to you. I hope you can listen to their opinion."
The old headmaster held the taped pen in his grasp. The pen shuddered, and when the tip of the pen touched the paper, it started to move on its own. "No matter what other people think, I am willing to help you."
Chen Ge sighed under his breath when he saw the words on the paper. When the Pen Spirit found out Chen Ge was going to the School of the Afterlife, she had sworn to commit suicide if she was brought along, but now she had changed her statement after meeting the old headmaster. The old headmaster shook his head. He held the pen gingerly like he was afraid of damaging it. He looked at it like he was looking at his granddaughter.
"Not only her, there's everybody else." Chen Ge flipped through the comic and summoned all the students from Mu Yang High School. "They are all orphans, and you have given them a home. After they died, their lingering spirits remained in Mu yang High School because, for them, no matter how big the world is, Mu Yang High School will always be home."
Seeing the familiar figures, the old headmaster was silent.
About ten seconds later, he turned to Chen Ge. "I am going to do something very dangerous. You shouldn't have come, and you shouldn't have brought them with you."
"You have seen my parents and know about them. Since you are willing to leave the students to me, it means that you understand my personality." Chen Ge stood before the old headmaster. "The Haunted House is my home, and the people who stay there are naturally my family. How can I let my family suffer every day with guilt?"
Be it the lingering spirits from Mu Yang High School or Bai Qiulin who was carrying the mirror, when they heard Chen Ge, they were moved. Their sense of belonging to the Haunted House grew. This was not something that Chen Ge repeated daily, but it was a feeling that had slowly been impressed upon them day after day by the way Chen Ge acted around them.
"The thing that I'm going to do is very dangerous; it'll put you in danger, and it'll harm them." The headmaster's hair was white. He stood inside the burned classroom and looked at the familiar figures. He had not thought that he would see the children again in his life.
"I have spent so much time trying to get into this school. One of the reasons behind it is to help you." Chen Ge summoned the spirits back into the comic. They were just lingering spirits, thus very weak. If there was an accident, their souls would disperse, and their last trace on earth would be wiped out. Seeing the disappearance of his students, the headmaster had a complicated expression before he sighed in relief. "You are just like your father, meddling in other people's business, prone to causing trouble, and don't like to consider the consequences. However, you have a bottom line that you will not cross and a heart of kindness that glows in the dark."
This was the first time that Chen Ge had heard a comment about his father. It was completely different from his impression of his father. Afraid of stopping the old headmaster, he did not say anything to retort him.
"Looks like you're familiar with them," Chen Ge commented.
"Yes, it was your father who told me that Xueyin is trapped inside the School of the Afterlife. Without asking for anything in return, he helped me find a way to get in here. He helped me so much, and now you have personally entered the school to look for me... I owe your family too much."
Chen Ge's father was built up in the headmaster's words, but Chen Ge felt a bit unsettled hearing that. It was an accident that he had taken over the Haunted House, and he did not even consider that his life would be entwined with the old headmaster before this. Before, he had thought that everything was too coincidental, but now that the old headmaster mentioned it, Chen Ge suddenly realized that the headmaster appeared to have been scammed.
"Perhaps I am acting too selfishly, just thinking about myself and not anyone else." The old headmaster was reflecting, and Chen Ge did not know what to say.