Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Shen Jize pulled him toward the bedroom door, saying, “I just checked the wardrobe, and it’s clean, so the passage should be in the other room.”
It was just like the other room, but it was a lot bigger. The whole apartment was one floor, with a garden and gym on top. Lu Rong’s heart estimated that by the time they finished checking every place it would already be morning.
They went through the bedroom door gap, walked in the cathedral-like empty passage, then Shen Jize looked at the distant darkness, thinking that now the first task was to turn on the lights. There was a whole house lighting switch in the passage, they just had to open the switch box embedded in the wall.
Shen Jize looked up in the air, and reached out and touched the smooth wallpaper, wondering what could be done to reach that location. Climb up with a rope? Find a small stick or something, poke some holes in the wallpaper to climb up? His left hand propped up against the wall, his right hand tapping the side of his leg, thinking hard.
Seeing Lu Rong standing beside him, also tilting his head to look at the switch box, he admonished, “Rong Rong, wait here for a while, I’ll go find some tools. Stay in this corner, I’ll be back soon.”
His so-called tools were toothpicks. Yesterday, when eating fruit, he dropped a few on the low table. The low table was just around the corner, so it wasn’t difficult to get to, and then he could use the toothpicks to poke some holes in the wallpaper to climb up.
Lu Rong, half-heartedly not wanting to part with Shen Jize, was about to say he would go along, when he suddenly thought of something else and immediately changed his mind, “Then you go, I’ll wait here.”
His tone and expression were so very well-behaved, and his eyes were full of so much trust, that Shen Jize’s heart swelled, and he leaned down and kissed him on the lips, saying, “I’ll be back soon.”
Lu Rong watched Shen Jize walk away and hid behind the flower shelf in the passage. This was a carved wooden shelf that Xiao Chu bought specifically because he didn’t like the new house being empty, with greenery on the top and bottom three levels.
The small potted plants were now bigger, perfectly hiding Lu Rong’s figure, and he hid behind it as a white deer.
The slender white deer shook his head, his silver horns giving off silver light in the darkness.
He looked up from this position to see the switch box, but his vision was blocked by a few green leaves. It was a pot of greenery, just emerging from the tip of the leaves but the size of a bowl, looking fine and juicy.
Lu Rong swallowed his saliva.
Seeing that Shen Jize still had some time to return, he took a bite of the leaf hanging in front of him and ripped off a large piece, which immediately filled his mouth with fresh aroma.
When he was a child, he followed the instructions of his Uncle Bai and Wang Tu, and never turned into a deer easily. But when he grew up, he would change once or twice from time to time, depending on the situation.
For example, on a quiet night, he would quietly leave the courtyard door, leave town and run on the mountain road to Longquan Village. After a good run, he’d then stop for a nap and pull a few of the most tender leaves to feast on.
But when he arrived at the capital, he couldn’t eat any green leaves anymore. Not to mention the fact that there were people all over the place, he didn’t dare to turn into a deer, and even if he did, the shrubs along the roadside were gray and puffy, so the deer didn’t have any appetite.
The pot of greenery now tasted so good that he took several bites. Because of the fear that Shen Jize would return at any time, he fondly ripped a large piece with his mouth, chewing while jogging to the bottom of the switch box.
With the white deer’s front legs slightly curved, and his athletic hind legs stomping hard, his four hooves with a red stripe of light, light as a white feather, soared to the air. At the midway point, he stomped on the wall again and continued to leap upward with that force, rushing to the bottom of the switch box. He used the horn on his head to lift the lid of the box, and his front hoof extended, swiftly making a point of touching the switch.
Swish, swish, swish!
All of the lamps and lanterns were lit, the darkness was instantly dispersed, and the whole house became as bright as day.
Shen Jize climbed up to the low table with great difficulty, picked up a toothpick and swung it. It felt like a baseball bat with a sharp tip. He leapt down from the one-story-high low table and walked back with the toothpick. When he was just around the corner, the house suddenly lit up and it was all bright and shiny.
He reflexively closed his eyes, and when he opened them again, he saw a white deer falling from mid-air in front of him. His body was white, his silver horns glowing, and with those four hooves with meandering red lines, who else could it be other than Little White?
“Little White!” he cried out in surprise.
But Little White didn’t meet him when he landed, he just gave him a frightened look and bowed his back, like a child caught by an adult who had done something wrong, and hurriedly ran behind the big flower pot.
Shen Jize saw Little White’s actions, stunned, and then found the hallway empty, Lu Rong was also gone. He couldn’t care less about Little White, and called out Lu Rong’s name while he was searching.
The only thing in the passage was the large flower stand, which was where Little White had just hid. He had just walked around a flower pot when he saw Lu Rong standing there.
Lu Rong was tugging at his freshly dressed clothes, and looked a bit flustered, shrinking back when he saw Shen Jize. But Shen Jize didn’t notice this, he caught up with two steps, pulled the person into his arms, and secretly breathed a sigh of relief.
“Why are you hiding behind this?” The moment he didn’t see the person, his mind immediately came up with all kinds of speculation, his heart was still beating fast, his face also showing his worry.
“I… I just… I just hid.” Lu Rong was pressed to his chest, the flesh on his face was squeezed out of shape, as he stuttered nervously.
“Hiding? What were you hiding from?” Shen Jize heard this and immediately became alert. Could it be that he only left for a moment, but Lu Rong had encountered some unusual situation?
“Ah… I wasn’t hiding from anything, I was just… hiding.” Lu Rong picked at the seam of his pants with his fingers.
Shen Jize realized, “Did you see Little White and were hiding from Little White?”
Lu Rong didn’t know how to answer the question, grunting and giggling twice.
“That’s Little White, why are you hiding from it?” Shen Jize smiled dotingly and looked around for the white deer, but he didn’t see it. “You’ve been here all this time, have you seen where he’s gone?”
Lu Rong wrapped his arm around his waist and shook his head, “No, I didn’t see him, I didn’t notice.”
“Didn’t see?” Shen Jize pushed him away from his arms and looked down at his face, but Lu Rong’s gaze drifted away from his eyes. He was clearly not telling the truth, and Shen Jize looked at him suspiciously, narrowing his eyes.
“Let’s go, now that the lights are on, we can check the other places.” Lu Rong sheepishly pushed him out, saying repeatedly, “Let’s go, let’s go.”
Shen Jize was pushed forward two steps and turned sideways to continue to look at him.
“Brother, what are you doing, let’s go～～” Lu Rong began to pout, trying to divert his attention.
Shen Jize, however, stopped and suddenly turned around, looking at him steadily.
Lu Rong didn’t push him a second time, but asked nervously, “What are you looking at me for?”
Shen Jize’s back was to the light, so he couldn’t see the expression on his face, only his deep eyes shining light. He suddenly reached out his hand and touched Lu Rong’s cheek. Lu Rong couldn’t figure out what he wanted to do, so he stood still and let him twist a small piece of something from the corner of his mouth and hold it in front of his eyes for a closer look.
“Is this a piece of leaf? How did you get leaves on the corner of your mouth?” Shen Jize frowned slightly and asked.
Lu Rong suddenly reached out and slapped the green off his fingertips, then put his hand behind his back and said, as if nothing had happened, “You’re mistaken.”
“Mistaken? Is this not from a leaf?” Shen Jize looked over at the trellis and saw the leaves of the greenery hanging down outside the large pot.
The bottom one was gone, and the one next to it was broken, as if it had been chewed up by something.
“You chewed the leaves of the greenery?” Shen Jize asked in shock.
Lu Rong’s heart was pounding and he shook his head frantically, “I didn’t… I didn’t chew it. I didn’t eat the leaves, I’ve been standing here without moving.”
He was about to ask a follow-up question when a dark shadow suddenly passed in his vision. He looked behind Lu Rong, his pupils suddenly tightened, grabbed him by the shoulders and brought him into his arms, while bending backwards.
Lu Rong was leaning back with his arms around him, and his back was pressed against Shen Jize’s chest, and a dry arm was brushing his face and shrinking back.
Shen Jize didn’t wait for the arm to reach out again, as he raised his waist and wrapped his arms around Lu Rong and took several steps backward, then pushed him behind him, holding a toothpick and pointing it forward.
A fog rose up ahead in the passage, with several trails of black smoke lingering in it,and a man was standing in it in a long blac robe, long hair hanging down, blocking his face.
“Fuck, these dogs are here again.” Shen Jize couldn’t help but curse.
“Don’t be afraid, stand aside until I clean him up first.” He twirled the toothpick in his hand and watched the ‘black robed ghost’ with a hawk-like gaze.
Lu Rong obediently stepped aside.
“Go and wait behind the flower pot, don’t get too close to me, lest you get hurt by mistake.” Shen Jize admonished without looking, “It will only take a few minutes to clean up this kind of thing, so you just watch how your brother takes care of him.”
“Okay.” Lu Rong’s voice was full of trust.
The black-robed ghost slowly raised its head, revealing a ghastly white face with white eyeballs bulging outward and blue and purple veins all over its face.
Shen Jize paused, looked at Lu Rong and said, “Are you scared? If you’re scared, close your eyes and don’t look.”
Lu Rong shook his head and said, “I’m not afraid.”
Shen Jize knew that he was looking at him, so he sneered, his left hand stroked his forehead and slowly stroked it back, combing his bangs backwards.
It was an extremely dashing and photogenic pose.
Then he twirled the toothpick in his hand a few times, lowered his voice and said loudly as if he were reading a line, “You think this fucking face can still scare people? I’ve been immune to it for a long time.” When the words fell, he rushed out like lightning towards the black-robed ghost.
In Lu Rong’s eyes he was really handsome and brave, and as he was about to shout “Brother!”, he saw him suddenly brake sharply, skidding a few steps on the smooth ground, emitting an ear-piercing screeching sound.
The several black smoke clouds that surrounded the black-robed ghost suddenly began to twist and wind, and formed a dozen figures in just a few seconds .
The figures had not yet fully formed and were still converging.
Lu Rong was alarmed, afraid Shen Jize would suffer, and was about to jump out to help, when he suddenly turned and rushed over, grabbed his hand and ran back.
“Run! There’s too many of them!”
Lu Rong was pulled to a stumble, stood firm and rushed after Shen Jize towards the living room.
As Shen Jize took Lu Rong and ran away frantically, a woman’s shrill cry sounded behind him, a miserable scream, mixed with men’s malicious whispers and children’s eerie laughter, accompanied by a gust of wind, like he somehow arrived at a ghost movie set.
“Let’s go hide in the living room!” Shen Jize kept his footing and yelled out to Lu Rong.
Lu Rong didn’t answer him, only followed him running, but when he heard these strange sounds, he shuddered in shock, and running has become a subconscious action.
The sound reminded him of the night when he was four years old and Wang Tu drove him through the snow-covered streets in his car. He was sitting in the car, passing over a bumpy pothole, and exaggeratingly screaming to Wang Tu, “Ouch, my ass.”
That was the sound… Those were the weird voices…
Then after that night, he never saw Wang Tu again. Lu Rong stopped abruptly and turned his head to look behind him, with a flash of red in his eyes. Several black shadows followed them, drifting and speeding, but there was no black curtain like that night.
Shen Jize felt him stop suddenly, it was too late to care about the reason, so pulled him violently, “Run!”
Lu Rong was pulled and staggered, and then followed him running.
The living room, which was already too big for its own good, was now like a giant square, and only the aircraft carrier-like sofa could be seen towering in the middle of the square. Two people ran like a gust of wind, straight to the gap under the sofa. The ceiling was also more than two meters high above, a layer of cream leather over their heads, but also blocked the outside light, casting a darkness.
Shen Jize ran and turned back, watching the group of black shadows also enter, chagrined, “We shouldn’t have come in, it’s not good to run in the dark.”
Hearing the strange sounds behind him getting closer and closer, he knew it wasn’t a good idea to run on like this, he would be overtaken after a while. He stopped and said to Lu Rong, “Keep running, I’ll hold them off.”
As soon as he spoke, his hand became empty, as Lu Rong’s hand slid out of his palm. He grabbed after it, but it didn’t work, so he stopped and shouted, “Rong Rong!”
Under the sofa was dark, the light couldn’t penetrate the thick leather above. He kept yelling ‘Rong Rong’ several times, but didn’t get any response.
Shen Jize’s brain rumbled, thinking Lu Rong would at least squeak if he ran away, but he was silent, so could he have been caught by the group of black-robed ghosts? His heart fell straight down, so heavy that his hands and feet began to weaken, and he searched blankly in the darkness for Lu Rong’s shadow.
He could only turn around and shout Lu Rong’s name, hoping to get a response. At the same time, holding the toothpick in his hand, he lunged at the place of the strange sound. But at that moment, four red lights suddenly rose in his field of vision, like burning flames, cutting through the sticky darkness.
Illuminated by the red light, Shen Jize saw a beautiful white deer leaping ahead, weaving rapidly through the ghosts and spirits. It waved its hoof to scatter a black shadow, and brought out a red band of light on its leg, which was now very bright and dazzling.
The white deer rushed left and right, and where it passed, the black shadows issued a harsh scream, and then like smoke, dissipated in the air. After only a short time, all the black shadows were dispersed by it.
When the last black shadow disappeared, the four points of red light in the air also went out.
Shen Jize held the toothpick and shouted in a tense voice, “Little White! Little White!”
But Little White, like Lu Rong, was lost, and the whole couch sank into darkness again.
“Rong Rong! Little White!” Shen Jize looked around with wide eyes in vain.
At that moment, Lu Rong’s clear response came from closeby, “Brother, I’m here.”
Shen Jize, happy and anxious, groped over to the source of the voice, “Where have you been? Did you encounter any danger?”
“No, I just saw those black-robed ghosts and hid.”
Shen Jize touched Lu Rong’s body, but as his hands touched only skin, his heart froze. “Why did you take off your clothes again?”
“I… I took them off to make ear plugs, the sound they just made was too scary.” Lu Rong replied sheepishly.
Shen Jize didn’t make a sound in the dark, so Lu Rong hurried to change the subject, “Come on, let’s go out.”
“Where are your clothes? Can you find them?” Shen Jize asked.
“I found them, they’re right next to me, I’ve picked them up.” Lu Rong replied smoothly.
The reason of plugging his ears was too ridiculous, he was afraid Shen Jize would continue to ask questions, so he quickly went forward to take his arm, but Shen Jize was silent.
The two of them walked towards the sofa surrounded by darkness, unusually quiet, they could only hear their breathing around them. Shen Jize was next to the naked Lu Rong, and although he couldn’t see anything, the delicate warmth of his skin touched him, and with the lingering feeling of the kiss just earlier, a lot of charming images emerged all of a sudden in front of his eyes.
He remembered the last time he saw Lu Rong in the school illusion, white as porcelain jade skin, the lines of his undulating back, the wings of his butterfly bone… and his mouth went dry.
Lu Rong said in an innocent and pure tone, “Brother, did you get anxious when I hid just now? I’m sorry.”
His body smelled so inviting and warm, but he was so unguarded against his arm, so soft that Shen Jize’s heart swelled and many thoughts were running through his head, but he cursed himself for being nasty and tried to push them out of his mind.
He was aware of his own shameful reaction, but fortunately there was darkness to hide it, so he moved to the side, keeping a step away from Lu Rong, who followed him and wrapped his arms tighter around him.
When they finally got out from under the couch, Shen Jize immediately let go of Lu Rong’s hand and walked ahead without looking, saying, “Just stay here and get dressed, I’ll wait for you ahead.”
“Mn okay, don’t go too far, I’m scared.” Lu Rong’s voice clearly didn’t sound as timid.
“I won’t go far.” Shen Jize walked ahead at a stiff pace, staring at the tall table legs in the distance. The air conditioning breeze blew through, bringing a refreshing coolness that gradually calmed his hot mind.
It also cleared his head a bit and he began to remember what was odd about that scene earlier.
When it came to Little White, Rong Rong was clearly lying, but why would he lie? Could it be that something happened between him and Little White that he didn’t know about? And the leaves in the corner of his mouth, why would he be so nervous about it being mentioned?
Shen Jize felt a flash of suspicion pass through his mind, but it was too fast for him to catch. There was no chance to think about it, as Lu Rong had already dressed, trotted up and shoved his hand into his palm.