Through the veil of the blood fog, Chen Ge could only make out the shape of a field, but the scene before his eyes slowly overlapped with his memory of Mu Yang High School.
"The well is over there." The old headmaster cared for Chen Ge. He was worried that an accident might happen to Chen Ge, so he guarded Chen Ge behind him and walked ahead. Walking through the field, with the headmaster leading the way, Chen Ge finally found the well. Once he got near, he could hear the many crying sounds coming from inside the well. There were male, female, and children's-it sounded scary.
"Is the exit at the bottom?" With the thick fog, even with Yin Yang Vision, Chen Ge could not tell what was at the bottom.
"Is this how you entered the School of the Afterlife?" Chen Ge stood at the edge of the well. Xu Yin reached out to stop him; the well made him uneasy.
"Yes, the blood fog at the bottom is very thick. It is basically palpable. That is probably how the well escaped the school's detection." The headmaster signaled for Chen Ge not to stay by the well for too long to prevent attracting the school's attention. "There is only one way forward when you reach the bottom of the well. Follow that path, and after a three- to fifteen-minute walk, you can leave the School of the Afterlife and enter the blood red city. There, we will need to find a way to go back to the surface."
The whole process sounded easy, but there were too many uncertainties. Chen Ge held the rim of the well and turned back to look at the headmaster. "After entering the well, you need to walk for three to fifteen minutes? Why the time difference? If the journey is the same, even if you slow down a lot, the time should not be so different!"
"I have no answer to that. Every time the path is the same, but sometimes, it takes longer to travel through it, and sometimes it's shorter. Do you want to go down to take a look?" The old headmaster did not get it himself. If this was someone else giving the suggestion, not only would Chen Ge not go down, he would suspect that it was a trap. He would toss the person down first. But the old headmaster was different; he trusted this old man implicitly.
With this back-up plan, I will have nothing to lose. I can go on to do things that I might be afraid of, but the condition is that this is not a dead end.
Chen Ge thought for a long time and asked for Xu Yin's opinion. After getting Xu Yin's approval, he decided to go down the well with the old headmaster.
"I used this path alone, and there was no one to help me. This time, there's so many of us, and with the accompaniment of a Red Specter, there won't be any problems." To help Chen Ge calm down, the old headmaster was the first to walk into the well. Just as he was going to jump, Chen Ge stopped him.
"Wait a minute." Chen Ge took out some rope from Lin Sisi's bag. This was the leftover from when he jumped over the wall between the western and eastern campus. "Tie this to your waist so that we won't get separated."
"Why do you have everything?" The old headmaster was no longer that surprised.
"How deep is this well? Will two ropes be enough?"
"Should be." The headmaster held the rim of the well with both hands. His old jacket slowly bloomed with black-red flowers, and his eyes were slowly consumed by redness.
Seeing the change in the old headmaster, Chen Ge only noticed how different this Half Red Specter was to the other Specters that he had encountered. The old headmaster gave him a strange feeling that was hard to describe. Standing next to the headmaster, he would not treat him like a ghost but a living person.
Even a Red Specter hasn't given me this kind of feeling before. Is it because the old headmaster has done so much charitable work in his life that even though he turned into a ghost, he doesn't have the ghost's cruel nature?
Seeing the old headmaster slowly disappearing into the well, Chen Ge rushed over. He had Xu Yin walk at the back, and he took the middle spot. Once he entered the old well, the smell of blood hit him like a wall. The blood fog inside the well was much thicker than outside. It was unclear why, but the well appeared to be a natural spot for negative emotions to gather, and thus, a thick layer of blood fog was found there. Entering it was like falling into a pool of blood. His clothes stuck to his body, and Chen Ge felt prickling pain coming from his skin like someone was biting him. However, when he looked with his Yin Yang Vision, he could not see anything.
Xu Yin did not give a warning, so it should be safe. Everything is still within control.
Their surroundings were completely enveloped by blood fog. Nothing could be seen clearly. If not for Xu Yin, Chen Ge would not have gone down there no matter what.
"We haven't reached the bottom?" The well was deeper than he thought. No wonder the school could not detect this loophole. The lower they went, the greater the pressure. Chen Ge was worried that something might happen to the old headmaster. He was afraid that when he reached the bottom, it would not be the old headmaster at the other end of the rope. The rope stopped being pulled taut, and the old headmaster's figure clarified. They had not reached the bottom of the well, but the headmaster had stopped.
"Why aren't we moving anymore?" Chen Ge was confused, he noticed something wrong about the old man.
"We can't go on..." The headmaster's voice was shaking. Chen Ge moved his body to get close to the headmaster. He followed the man's gaze, and cold sweat slid down his face. It was no longer a red fog under the headmaster's feet but a red pool of water, and human faces could be seen poking out from the water!
As the blood fog gathered, the water level inside the well was rising at a visible rate. The monsters hidden in the water had their mouths gaping like they could not wait to sink their teeth into Chen Ge.
"When I came last time, there aren't these monsters..." The old headmaster was desperate.
"It's fine." The reason Chen Ge said that was because Xu Yin showed no reaction. "I saw them in the school in the mirror created by the painter. They have no skin, and they're covered in blood and guts, surrounded by a horrible stench."
These monsters were hardly any different from those that Chen Ge had seen. The only difference was that they were not walking upside down.
How did these monsters appear? Did they come from the blood city outside the school, or is this well their place of birth? If the monsters come from the city, why would I encounter them in the painter's school? And are they all upside down, or has the painter been rearing them? Is it because of him that strange things have been happening to the school?
Chen Ge felt like he was getting closer to the center of the secret. He yanked on the rope lightly. "Sir, let's go back for now."
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"I feel like I've seen them somewhere before." The old headmaster stared at the monster inside the well. "They're harvesting the blood fog. They survive on human's negative emotions. I've heard about them before! But... this is strange. Why would they show up here, and why are there so many negative emotions gathered here?"
"They survive on human's negative emotions? Appear inside the well?" Something occurred to Chen Ge. He was reminded of the hint given by the black phone regarding Mu Yang High School.
Everyone has a deep well inside their heart where shameful and unknowable secrets stay buried.