Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Shen Jize took Lu Rong with his left hand, straightened the collar of his pajamas with his right hand and said, “Come on, let’s go to the kitchen.”
Although the living room was large, there were only a few objects, and he didn’t find any additional furniture items that had suddenly appeared. The two of them had taken a step when the overhead light dimmed, as if it was covered with a layer of haze.
Shen Jize sensed something bad, and immediately pulled Lu Rong into his arms, vigilantly watching the surroundings.
The air particles were quietly gathering, gradually forming a black smoke, like a poisonous snake twisting and winding. Everything was the same as when the black shadows appeared, only now there were more, covering the entire living room. In just a few seconds, the black smoke had condensed into people, all wearing robes covered from head to toe. Their faces were ghastly white and hideous, twisting and turning their stiff bodies making a crunching sound of bones.
Shen Jize held Lu Rong back, full of vigilance. He was able to defend himself, but was concerned about Lu Rong at his side. If he couldn’t take care of himself, he was afraid Lu Rong would be hurt.
After a few twists and turns, the black shadows adapted to their bodies and were becoming more flexible. Just as Shen Jize wanted to turn and run with Lu Rong, a shriek came from the foyer not far away. Then, from under the shoe cabinet, a figure emerged, darting swiftly towards the two.
Shen Jize fiercely aimed a toothpick in that direction, but the figure ran and shouted, “Help! A ghost! Help!”
In the light, he was wearing a blue uniform of a neighborhood cleaner and a duck cap, screaming in fear, clearly a living person.
“Where did he come from?” Lu Rong couldn’t help but exclaim in shock.
Shen Jize was also shocked, but he had no time to react to the cleaner, because the black-robed ghost in front of him had pounced aggressively. He quickly turned around, pulling Lu Rong and ran towards the kitchen.
The whole room was ringing with all kinds of strange sounds, or sharp and ear-splitting cries and hisses, or rustling like a complaint, interspersed with the cleaner’s heartbreaking cry for help.
Lu Rong could only run and shout back, “Come on! Rush here, hurry up!”
Because of the desire to live, the cleaner also took out his life potential, running like he wanted to fly, finally catching up with Lu Rong.
The three ran past the table and the bar, but in the end they couldn’t leave behind the black-robed ghost’s fluttering speed as they were gradually drawn closer.
A few dozen meters ahead was a row of smooth cabinets, but the sides of the cabinets were designed with lines and irregular depressions on the surface.
“Rong Rong, follow those patterns and climb up.” Shen Jize shouted to Lu Rong as he ran.
“What about you?” Lu Rong asked.
Shen Jize didn’t answer as he dragged him over, before the black-robed ghosts arrived, and rushed to the side of the cabinet, picked up the man and pushed him up.
“Quick, climb up first.”
Lu Rong turned his head to look down and asked anxiously, “What about you?”
“I’ll block them for a while, I’ll be right up.”
The janitor also ran over, but Lu Rong blocked the way up. “Get out of the way.” He panted and pushed Shen Jize to the side.
Shen Jize, still holding Lu Rong, was pushed aside and stumbled two steps, and Lu Rong fell into his arms.
The cleaner didn’t even look at the two, before he stepped on the dented lines and climbed up the cabinet quickly.
Shen Jize couldn’t be bothered with him, because in that instant, several black-robed ghosts who rushed ahead had already arrived. He grabbed the wooden stick in his hand and stabbed it straight at the one in front of him. With a muffled sound, the sharp tip of the wooden stick immediately went into the chest of the ghost.
He quickly raised his hand, and the wooden stick broke open the chest of the black-robed ghost. The ghost instantly dissipated into a cloud of black mist, becoming a few drops of sticky black liquid, leaving a small puddle on the ground.
Swish, swish, swish.
He danced with the wooden stick in his hand and stabbed several other black-robed ghosts, and the black mist kept puffing out, and those ghosts all screamed and turned into black water.
“Go, go quickly.” Shen Jize used the wooden stick to block the front, and sternly ordered Lu Rong beside him.
Lu Rong originally thought he couldn’t hurt these ghosts, but when he saw that he was able to slice and dice them, he didn’t delay any longer and decided to climb up to the next cupboard.
While climbing and watching Shen Jize’s situation, as long as he was in danger, he would immediately jump down to help.
Seeing more black-robed ghosts coming, Shen Jize stabbed two more in front of him and then quickly turned around and climbed up behind Lu Rong. Although the black-robed ghosts moved quickly, they were obviously stiff and couldn’t climb up after them, only hissing around the bottom.
Lu Rong rolled up to the top of the cabinet cooking table, and turned his head to pull Shen Jize up.
“Don’t be afraid, they can’t come up for now.” Shen Jize wiped the sweat from his forehead and panted.
Lu Rong stared at him with shining eyes and said, “Brother, you’re great! How did you manage to kill those ghosts?”
He remembered that when he was a child, Shen Jize’s attacks weren’t very effective against the ghosts in the illusion.
Shen Jize laughed bitterly, “Maybe because this is my illusion, so my attacks are effective against them. Otherwise, I would’ve died in it countless times over the years.”
Lu Rong’s heart trembled when he heard this, and he hugged Shen Jize’s waist tightly.
Shen Jize sensed his worry and patted him soothingly on the back, “It’s okay, look at me, I’m fine, right?”
Shen Jize coaxed Lu Rong and looked up to see the cleaner who had climbed up first, standing next to a silver spice bottle twice his size, looking at the two with a shady expression. But the moment their eyes met, he averted his eyes in panic.
Shen Jize’s eyes sank as he remembered the way he had just pushed him away. And why was he, a neighborhood cleaner, in his house?
He took two steps toward the cleaner, and the man shrank back, hiding himself behind the spice bottle.
This silver spice bottle was round, and if he ran circles around it, he believed Shen Jize would not be able to catch him.
“Who are you? Why are you hiding in my house?” Shen Jize also didn’t go after him, stopping to ask in a cold voice.
The cleaner looked at him from the bottle, showing only one pair of eyes. The eyes were sinister, and hid a flash of madness.
Shen Jize narrowed his eyes and suddenly said in a stern voice, “You’re not a cleaner, you’re the one who followed me and sent me those weird things!”
The cleaner was recognized and didn’t hide his identity, only gritted his teeth and said, “You’re right, I am the one who wants to clean you up.”
“Do I know you? Have I ever dealt with you before?” Shen Jize looked at him, but couldn’t find any information about this person in his memory, so he asked in confusion.
The cleaner replied with a resentful face, “You want to steal the role that should belong to Chen Yu, and since he can’t protect himself, I will do it for him to level the garbage that is in his way.”
“Chen Yu… Who’s Chen Yu?” A trace of bewilderment surfaced under Shen Jize’s eyes.
Lu Rong, who had been interested in entertainment news for some time, was familiar with the name that appeared frequently in the entertainment section and he was said to be on a par with Shen Jize. He tugged at the corner of his shirt next to him, “Probably the actor who was in Secret Kill and Chasing Nia.”
Shen Jize looked at him with a complicated expression, “You still care about other actors? You even remember what they were in so well?”
“No, I was looking for information about you, and I came across it.” Lu Rong decisively denied, “How can I care about other people who are not related to me? Besides, I didn’t like his award-winning movie “Secret Kill” either, he didn’t look as handsome as in “Under the Wind” where he played a supporting role…”
Just as Shen Jize’s face was getting uncomfortable, showing a jealous husband’s expression when he heard his wife praising his colleague, Lu Rong’s mind clanged and he hurriedly said, “I just noticed him because people were always comparing you two. Don’t worry, Brother, he’s nothing compared to you.”
Shen Jize was just about to say he had nothing to worry about when he heard the cleaner roar from a distance, “Bullshit! He can’t even compare to one of Chen Yu’s toes! All he has is that face and besides that, he has nothing.”
“You’re the one who put— Chen Yu can’t even compare to a hair of my brother, he doesn’t even have a human face.” Lu Rong also yelled back all red, ignoring the fact that he had just praised that person’s handsomeness.
Shen Jize thought for a moment and then realized, “So you’re a fan of Chen Yu’s and you’ve been trying to deal with me, and tonight you snuck into my house and were brought into the illusion.”
“I don’t care about the illusion or not, anyway, if you threaten Chen Yu, I will not allow your existence.” The cleaner’s expression was getting more and more exuberant, and his eyes were full of madness.
“If you dare to threaten Brother, I will not allow your existence either!” Lu Rong also let out the rage of being a crazy fan.
Shen Jize snickered, “Do you think you have a chance?”
The cleaner froze and realized that he was right. He didn’t know what the hell this place was, but hearing An say it was an illusion meant there’s still a way out after all. And An had seen what he looked like, so it was only a matter of time before he got caught when he got out.
He bowed his head in silence, a glint of sinisterness in his eyes. When he raised his head again, he looked at the wooden stick held in Shen Jize’s hand and suddenly roared and rushed forward.
The result was that before he could take two steps, he was dragged back by a hand behind him. Immediately after, the grip tightened around his waist, his legs were in the air. Before he could react to what was going on, his head was dropped in a variety of ways, giving him a black eye, and something on top of him was making a loud clanging sound.
Lu Rong appeared panting at the spot where the cleaner was standing and gave Shen Jize a big smile.
He had just taken advantage of their conversation to dart around behind the janitor from the other side of the bottle, toppled him into the bottle, and then jumped up to close the open cap.
Shen Jize was stunned, then laughed and said, “That’s pepper in there.”
As soon as the words left his mouth, he heard a steady stream of sneezes and loud curses coming from the spice bottle.
“You guys… Ah-choo… Let me out… I want… Arrrrrrr… Fuck you guys up.”
Lu Rong ran up to Shen Jize, just like when he was a kid, and reached around his waist, tilting his head up, his eyes shining brightly at the man, with a face that begged for praise.
Shen Jize smiled and gave him a peck on the lips, “My wife is so good.”
Since the two of them met, he used this name for the first time. When Lu Rong was a child, it sounded all right, but now suddenly he was a little embarrassed. He buried his face in Shen Jize’s chest and rubbed against it, then twisted his body and fell silent.
Shen Jize knew that he was shy, but he deliberately said it again, “Wife, you were really good just now.”
Lu Rong stammered, not knowing what to say in response, Shen Jize buried his head to listen. When his eyes skimmed the front, his pupils suddenly shrank, his muscles tensed, and he reached out to grab Lu Rong’s shoulder, taking him back a few steps.
Lu Rong perceived the danger, abruptly raised his head, following the line of sight of Shen Jize turned around, saw just behind him, the air again was filled with the distorted black fog.
The black fog coalesced into shape very quickly, and a dozen black-robed ghosts appeared on the cooking table, their faces covered with blue and purple veins, their ghastly white eyes staring at the two.
Shen Jize held the toothpick that never left his hand across his chest and whispered to Lu Rong, “Get behind me.”
Lu Rong hesitated, but stood behind Shen Jize.
The black-robed ghost in the middle suddenly let out a sharp whistle, his deep black mouth revealed decaying, sharp teeth, covered with a sticky liquid. Lu Rong was disgusted, seeing all the black-robed ghosts move at the sound, towards his direction.
Shen Jize twirled the toothpick as fast the wind and stabbed it at the most forward black-robed ghost. The black-robed ghost was obviously more nimble than the one he had just encountered, disappearing from the spot in a flash and reappearing at Shen Jize’s side.
Lu Rong was suddenly frightened, and almost became a deer to block Shen Jize’s side. But Shen Jize moved just as quickly, sidestepping the claws, before sending the wooden stick forward to stab the black-robed ghost in the chest.
With a heart-breaking scream, the black-robed ghost turned into dust and mist, and Shen Jize didn’t hesitate to swing the wooden stick at another one.
Lu Rong wanted to help, but couldn’t turn into a white deer, so he was anxiously glancing around, also looking for a toothpick or other suitable weapon.
But they were on the cooking table, the large pots and pans were too big and there was a several meters long spatula that he couldn’t swing.
While watching at Shen Jize’s side, he attempted to climb up to the knife rack. There was the sterilization cupboard, and maybe he could open the door and drag a stainless steel fork out of it.
This was a set of German brand-name knives, the bright edge of the knife through the gap in the rack shone with sharpness. The handle of the knife stuck out from the rack, with a bumpy pattern on it, making it so he could climb up.
Shen Jize, although surrounded by a group of black-robed ghosts, was always aware of the situation on Lu Rong’s side. As soon as anyone tried to go towards Lu Rong, he immediately dodged to block, and the toothpick was even more fierce to greet its body.
But although he was very brave, poking, chopping and stabbing, the toothpick danced out like a lance, with so many evil spirits, he was also struggling to fight.
A black-robed ghost saw an opening and hissed at Lu Rong. Shen Jize just cut off a claw to his neck, the afterimage caught the scene. He was about to block it, but another black-robed ghost lunged ahead with its dark, rotting mouth open.
Shen Jize turned the head of the toothpick and stabbed it back, pulled it out with a swish, and went after the black-robed ghost that had lunged at Lu Rong without looking.
Lu Rong was clutching the handle of a small sharp knife and climbing up, when he saw the black-robed ghost rushing towards him, followed by Shen Jize who was in hot pursuit.
“Don’t mind me, you should pay attention—”
Before he could finish an urgent sentence, Lu Rong’s eyes widened. He saw two black-robed ghosts had lunged at Shen Jize in the air, flashing their lean, sharp claws in mid-air, their long nails glowing with a black, hard, cold aura.
Shen Jize only stared at the one in front of him, and didn’t care about his own back, only to see Lu Rong’s face changed dramatically, showing a face of panic.
But it was too late. In that instant, he felt a chill brought up by the black-robed man behind him, which smelled of decay and festering, and also felt a layer of goose bumps on the back of his neck, as a deadly danger was approaching.
Just as Shen Jize gritted his teeth and prepared to take the blow, Lu Rong suddenly disappeared in his vision from the handle of the knife he was lying on.
Before he could be startled, he saw a beautiful and familiar white deer that appeared in the same place where Lu Rong had disappeared.
Time seemed to freeze at this moment, and in Shen Jize’s dilated pupils, he saw the white deer leap up gently, its fur resembling soft white silk in the light, and the red stripes on its slender legs changing shape slightly as it moved, while also emitting a dazzling red light.
The white deer leapt over his head, he could feel the wind brushing his cheeks, his eyes were shining with red light and closed at that instant.
At the same time, behind him came the muffled sound of a black-robed ghost being struck by a hoof, followed by the sound of smoke bursting into the air.
Shen Jize stood still, listening to the screaming and hissing of the black-robed ghosts, and the sound of fluttering that followed.
Lu Rong leapt around the cooking table, weaving in and out of the black-robed ghosts with agility.
He looked at the black-robed ghost in the middle, recognizing him as the one who appeared first in the passage and who was giving the orders earlier, probably the leader of this group of evil spirits.
He didn’t care about the evil spirits coming up behind him, he just chased after that one and hit it with a hoof, then met it in mid-air and hit it in the chest with his horn.
The black-robed ghost’s hands scratched in the air in vain, his mouth emitted a shrill howl, with a face full of resentment, it finally turned into a black mist. The other evil spirits also scattered in the air with his demise.
Lu Rong ran around the cooking table again to make sure there were no more evil spirits in the house, and then turned back to Shen Jize.
Shen Jize had already turned around and was looking at him with an inscrutable expression, and Lu Rong was just about to go up to him and jump into his arms to pamper him when he saw his own reflection on the cooking table.
It was over.
He turned into a deer in front of his brother.