Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Shen Jize’s scalp tingled at that instant, and his first reaction was to shake off his left hand and rub it on his body, wanting to rub off a layer of skin. Then he swung the baseball bat held in his right hand and smashed it straight at the woman’s head.
The bat moved with the whistling wind, came close to her head, but the woman instantly disappeared. The fog seemed to thicken, the light overhead couldn’t penetrate the thick barrier, the sky darkened, like it was about to turn into night.
Shen Jize’s left hand was hanging on the side of his pants, his right hand holding the bat, his eyes downcast and averted, as he was standing still like a statue. Suddenly, he burst up like a cheetah, raised the bat in his hands, the muscles on his back under the T-shirt pulled out a perfect line, containing a powerful explosive force.
The bat quickly arced through the air, breaking through the layers of fog, with a thousand pounds of force, striking heavily at a place. With a cry unlike a human being could make, the woman disappeared again in the fog, but her head had sunk in in a patch, like it was burned with black gas coming out of it.
Her mouth was wide open, and her cloudy white eyes stared at Shen Jize as she lunged with a face full of resentment.
Shen Jize swung again, hitting the other side of her skull, only to hear a crack. The other side was also dented and the left and right sides became almost perfectly symmetrical.
The woman’s head was now triangular in shape, with black gas coming out from both sides, her eyes squeezed together at the bridge of her nose, tears of blood hanging from the bottom of her eyes, and her whole face looked miserable. Shen Jize didn’t give her a chance to catch her breath, lifting the baseball bat ready to add another blow, as soon as possible to solve the problem, so he could go and find Lu Rong.
He didn’t know where Lu Rong had gone, whether he would be in danger or hurt. Just thinking of it made his face gloomier with an anxious look, vaguely violent. Because of the anxiety in his heart, when he hit the woman again, he didn’t notice a gust of wind behind him.
The bat swung out heavily and hit the woman’s face again. She was like a rubber man crushed by a wheel, her whole face flattened like a pancake, and her features collapsed into an unrecognizable mass. Then, the whole person dissolved inch by inch without a sound as she became a puddle of black water.
Shen Jize didn’t have time to retrieve the bat, when a pair of hands with sharp nails noiselessly pinched the back of his neck. When he sensed something wrong and wanted to swing the bat to stop it, it was already too late. The thin fingertips were only an inch away from the back of his neck, and they were about to touch the skin with a fine layer of sweat.
In the light of day, a white streak suddenly leapt out of the fog. The shadow was as swift as an arrow, only a split second behind him, and with a sharp hiss, the coolness at the back of his neck also disappeared.
Shen Jize quickly turned around to see the scene in front of him, so shocked that his mouth opened slightly, and his eyes suddenly glowed.
A rotting corpse with a streak of saliva dripping from its mouth and without a single piece of healthy flesh was howling miserably, lying on the ground as it twisted and rolled. Her chest had several black holes that were rapidly expanding, but after a few seconds, her entire rotting body dissolved.
What surprised him wasn’t this, but the white deer standing next to the black water.
The white deer’s fur was soft and shiny, and its body was as clean as snow, with only four hooves bearing a red pattern, like four blooming flames. Shen Jize immediately recognized that this was the deer he had encountered in the illusionary world when he was a child. He hasn’t seen it again for years, and never thought he’d run into it here.
The white deer had obviously grown up a lot more than then, no longer having a naive puppy look. Its body had become slender and graceful, its limbs looked slender but strong. The silver horns on his head also grew a lot, and even sprouted a small fork, like the shining coral in the depths of the sea.
The white deer noticed his gaze, so it tilted its chin up a little haughtily, turned slightly sideways, and moved his smooth body lines and silver horns to the best angle to show off. If replaced with a person, then he was lifting his chest and raising his head and tucking his belly at this point, slanting his 45-degree side face to gaze ahead.
“Little White.” Shen Jize was surprised, but used no effort to go forward to catch up, he must first find Lu Rong.
So he had only shouted Little White before he hurriedly dove into the fog and ran in the direction he came from. He was halfway there when he noticed that the person he was holding had changed. If Lu Rong wasn’t in danger, then he found that his brother had suddenly disappeared and most likely turned around and went back to the dormitory building to find him.
Shen Jize ran two steps forward, then cupped his hands around his mouth, while looking around and shouting Lu Rong’s name. The fog was so thick that he could only see two or three meters around him, but couldn’t see Lu Rong’s figure. He took a few steps backwards, but his foot suddenly stumbled, like something was wrapped around it. Shen Jize looked down, his blood instantly turned cold, and his heart seemed to have stopped beating.
It was a white short-sleeved T-shirt, the fabric slightly yellow because it was a bit old, exactly what Lu Rong was wearing as pajamas tonight. His face was pale for two seconds and he squatted down. His body was as stiff as a puppet, his joints felt rusted, which made this simple action very difficult.
His fingers trembled in the air as he tried to flick the T-shirt, but just before he touched the fabric, his fingers curled up like they were on fire. Finally gathering up the courage, he quickly clutched the T-shirt in his hand and realized there was a pair of shorts and a pair of sneakers underneath the shirt.
Shen Jize’s eyes were red, his jaw tensed into a cold, hard line, and he quickly flipped the T-shirt in his hand to look up and down. He was grateful that there was no blood or stains on the shirt, it was as clean as if he had taken it off and put it here, which made him feel a little more relaxed.
When Lu Rong was held by Shen Jize in the beginning, and suddenly a fog blocked the way in front of him, later that fog cleared, and he found his hands empty, and Shen Jize was nowhere to be found.
“Brother! Brother!” Lu Rong shouted a few times and got no response, Shen Jize just seemed to disappear into thin air. He stood confused, twitched his nose and sniffed, and smelled an extremely dangerous and cold scent in the air.
No good, brother is in danger.
He turned into a white deer, and his clothes fell to the ground with a fwump. He didn’t tie his clothes into a bundle and hang it around his neck like he did in the old days, but only concentrated on looking deep into the fog.
He could see through the fog and saw everything clearly. He saw the school building across the school yard, the boys’ dormitory behind him, and Shen Jize, who was on his immediate left, across the ground.
Shen Jize was still walking cautiously forward, but was holding a female demon who was obviously not human, and he didn’t seem to notice. Lu Rong’s heart tightened and he dashed off in that direction.
As he ran, he saw Shen Jize finally realize that something was wrong and lift his baseball bat to start smashing the demoness, and also saw a rotting corpse not far behind him, with a withered hand reaching out from the ground and slowly crawling out of the mud, lunging at Shen Jize’s back.
Lu Rong was desperately running, the deer was about to fly, and just when the demon was about to approach Shen Jize, he leapt, his bright horns stabbed her hard in the chest. As the carcass was picked up, he swung his front hoof and struck another blow, cursing in his heart, “I told you not to bully my brother.”
After finishing the carcass, Lu Rong posed with some pride but not too subtle, waiting for Shen Jize to show a stunning look and be charmed again. But who knew why, he just looked at him, called out Little White, turned his head and ran away in a hurry.
Lu Rong froze in place for a few seconds, a pair of cocked deer ears slowly drooping down, the whole deer looking lost. But at that moment, he heard Shen Jize’s voice calling out to him from the fog, and the two wilted deer ears, like antennae, perked up again.
He turned his head and saw Shen Jize running in the direction of the dormitory, lifted his hooves and went after him. Only after running a few steps did he realize that he was still a white deer, so he hesitated a little and changed back.
Lu Rong stood naked on the ground and reached for the roll of clothes hanging around his neck, but he didn’t feel anything.
Oh no, the clothes fell on the ground, he must hurry and put them on.
He wasn’t a deer now and couldn’t see through the fog, and could only follow the direction by feel. But he could smell the ground was safe for the time being, and there were no terrible demons and monsters, so he didn’t have to maintain his deer shape.
The fog was gradually dissipating, the light leaking from overhead, and he could already see the shadowed buildings in the distance.
Lu Rong followed the direction for a while and then suddenly stopped. He saw Shen Jize crouching not far in front of him, his head hanging down like he was overwhelmed, his back arched, making the person look dejected.
Lu Rong’s heart thumped. Did he meet something in this short period of time, and then get hurt? Not caring about his own nakedness, he called out anxiously, “Brother.”
Shen Jize’s body trembled before he slowly turned his head. His eyes were red and his expression was a bit frightening, and Lu Rong actually jolted after seeing his expression.
“Brother.” He mumbled again in a small voice.
Shen Jize looked at him unblinkingly, his eyes had waves of shock in them, mixed with some emotions that Lu Rong couldn’t understand. He was momentarily at a loss for words, until a cool breeze brushed his body and he realized he was still naked, surprisingly not wearing anything.
“Ah.” He gave a short cry and immediately reached down to cover his bottom, looking around in panic, trying to find a place to hide.
But by then Shen Jize was already on his feet, striding towards him, walking faster and faster, finally taking a few running steps before wrapping him up in his arms. Shen Jize’s arms were tightening, making Lu Rong a little breathless. He remembered his current situation, so while covering himself with both hands, and then painstakingly turning his face sideways, he opened his mouth that was squeezed out of shape, “Brother, I want to put on my clothes.”
Shen Jize buried his head on his shoulder, took a deep breath and said in a hoarse voice, “Don’t move.”
His voice was still trembling, like he had just suffered an extreme panic attack, so Lu Rong stopped struggling, and quietly crouched in his arms.
It took a while before Shen Jize raised his head, stared at his face and asked, “Is everything okay? Did you encounter any danger?”
“No, I didn’t encounter anything, but you were missing and I was looking for you everywhere.”
Shen Jize breathed a sigh of relief and his face eased up, only to find that Lu Rong had no clothes on and stepped back in surprise, “Why are you naked again? Go and put your clothes on.”
“Oh.” Lu Rong maintained his original posture and ran in small steps to the pile of clothes, scrambling to get dressed.
Shen Jize just kept watching, his gaze slowly sliding down from his long neck, down the white back, the shallow nook on his waist, all the way down to his upturned peaks.
Lu Rong, although having his back towards him, could feel the two burning lines of sight, like they were blazing, from his back all the way down.
He quickly turned his head to look, but saw Shen Jize turning his head in the other direction with a calm face.
“I’m dressed.” Lu Rong put on all his clothes, smoothed out the hem of his slightly wrinkled T-shirt, and walked over to Shen Jize. Following his line of sight to the building again, he asked curiously, “What are you looking at?”
Now that the fog had mostly cleared, he could barely make out the outline of the building across the yard. There were only four floors in total, and not too many classrooms.
Shen Jize squinted slightly, “I didn’t know there was an additional water room in my high school.”
“This illusion should be based on my memory of the school, so everything will be arranged according to my memory, however I don’t remember a water room on top of the school building during my high school days.” Shen Jize pointed to a concrete hut on the rooftop of the school building that still had thick water pipes attached to the roof. With his right hand still holding the baseball bat, he took Lu Rong’s hand quite naturally with his left. “Let’s go and check it out.”
As they walked hand in hand across the wide school yard, Shen Jize asked, “Why did you just take your clothes off again at the drop of a hat?”
Lu Rong gave a slow ‘ah’ and began to think of a response in silence.
Shen Jize stopped and turned his head to look at him suspiciously, “So?”
Lu Rong looked at him innocently for a few seconds before he slowly replied, “I was just walking when you disappeared, and then a ghost pulled at my clothes. I could only run away by taking off all my clothes.”
Shen Jize: …
“What about you? Where did you just go?” Lu Rong deliberately played dumb.
Shen Jize gave a cursory account of what had just happened, and mentioned the deer warrior, “Do you remember? I once told you about Little White. I just saw it again.”
Lu Rong said calmly, “Wow, that’s great.”
As the two walked toward the school building, Shen Jize remembered that whether as a child or now, Lu Rong would always take off his clothes at the drop of a hat. He didn’t know if it was a nervous habit.
The next thing he knew, he was stammering about ghosts pulling on his clothes, so it seemed he’d grown up and knew how to make excuses for being shy.
Lu Rong was looking around when he heard Shen Jize let out two soft laughs. He was surprised and asked him what he was laughing at, but Shen Jize kept his mouth shut and just glanced at the young man next to him, his eyes full of teasing.
Less than halfway through the walk, the fog on the ground thickened again, even more than before. This time, not to mention a few meters away, it was even difficult to see the other’s face clearly. The entire space was like a steam room, where white gas was floating around, blocking all sight.
“Rong Rong, something might happen, so you have to hold on to me.” Shen Jize admonished Lu Rong in a serious tone.
Lu Rong said, “But I just held on to you earlier.”
Shen Jize moved his lips, “Then don’t hold my hands, come up and wrap your arms around my waist.”
Lu Rong obediently let go of his hand and came forward to wrap his arms around his strong, thin waist. Shen Jize’s waist muscles, because of his usual fitness, were firm and smooth. Lu Rong’s hand paused on them, and he could feel the skin with warm body temperature through the thin layer of T-shirt, it was smooth like velvet, and he couldn’t help but feel it more.
It felt so good.
He looked around vigilantly, not moving while he sniffed in the air, to identify the smells, and kept slowly stroking up and down, not caring whether his actions were wrong. It was only when he felt the muscles tense up and Shen Jize stopped and looked at him sideways that he reacted as an afterthought. But he still didn’t want to let go, and only tilted his head to open a pair of watery eyes, looking very innocent, locking gazes with Shen Jize.
“Forget it, let’s hold hands.” Shen Jize turned back and said, “If you suddenly turn into a female ghost and hold me like this, and I turn my head and see her face… It’s scary to even think about it.”
Lu Rong touched his waist twice more before reluctantly letting go, “Let’s go then.”
Shen Jize stood still, looking at his waist and then at him, with a meaningful gaze.
Lu Rong met his gaze, slightly tilted his head, his pair of round eyes innocent and ignorant, and She Jize couldn’t see any bad intentions in them. As the two of them walked for a while, Lu Rong smelled that unusual smell again, but it was different from the previous kind of indefinable vague sense, this time the smell of fish hit his nose, making him want to vomit.
Shen Jize obviously also felt the danger, so he held Lu Rong’s hand tighter, the other hand held the bat across his chest, and his every step forward was very cautious. Suddenly, there was a rustling sound from somewhere, like clay breaking open a crack or something breaking through the earth. Then there was movement in all directions, and the sound of cracking clay resounded incessantly.
Lu Rong remembered the rotting corpse that had burst out of the earth and pounced on Shen Jize, and a bad suspicion came to his mind; Shen Jize obviously thought the same thing as he did and shouted, “Run! Go to the top floor of the school building.”
He grabbed Lu Rong and ran in the direction of the school building, waving a baseball bat along the way. The fog had revealed dark shadows that would suddenly reach out across the sky with dry, claw-like hands.
Those hands were gray-black, their long fingernails stained with dirt, and some even revealed white bones, with dirty rotting flesh hanging sporadically on them.
Shen Jize had to run and swing his baseball bat at the same time.
The rotting corpses made a ho-ho sound in their throats as they surrounded the two.
The two of them were surrounded by the rotters with hoots coming from their throats, but the rest of the way wasn’t too far, so Shen Jize swung his bat and knocked down a rotter in front of him, then pulled Lu Rong into the building.