To use such a gentle caressing tone to say something as scary as 'you will die'… For a moment, the young man thought that there was something wrong with his ears. He sat where he was, frozen, and looked at Chen Ge blankly like his mind was unable to process the information.
"Tell me everything you know. The greater the detail, the greater the chance I have at saving your friends. Other than that, remember this—no matter where your home is, do not go toward the east once you get off the bus. Understood?"
What kind of person was Chen Ge? To say that he was someone who had climbed out a mountain of dead bodies would be stretching it a bit too far, but thinking back to his past experience, one would need to use more than two hands to count the crazed murderers that had fallen under his hands.
Traversing through haunted houses every night, having close contact with ghosts, that caused the essence of the Specters to eventually brush off on the man. Chen Ge had not done anything other than change the tone of his voice, but the young man already thought that something was wrong. Perhaps it was his intrinsic need for survival that compelled him to stay away from this dangerous person. Chen Ge's body temperature was lower than normal, but it should not have accounted for anything. Yet, the young man suddenly felt ravaged by an eternal chill. With both of his hands pressed against the cushion, he stealthily nudged away from Chen Ge.
"Bei Wen was the last to disappear. Perhaps because he was scared, he was acting differently from normal."
"That isn't useful information. I need clues about them. Did they leave behind anything useful? Like messages or a diary." Chen Ge cornered the young man into the corner of the last row. "Think about it seriously."
The young man's face was stressed, and after a long cogitation, he finally remembered something. "Before Bei Wen disappeared, he told me to not tell the police about the last bus on Route 104 no matter what. He also gave me a key and told me that if he didn't come back in three weeks to take this key to the last bus to find him."
"Do you have the key with you?" With Chen Ge's watching, the young man took out a rusted key from his pocket. It was stained with blood.
"Let me take a look." Chen Ge grabbed the key to inspect it. He could not believe it. He rummaged through his bag and found his own key in the inner lining of his bag. The two keys looked surprisingly similar.
"You have the same key?" The young man gasped in shock.
"Be quiet." Chen Ge placed both keys on the chair and frowned. He had obtained that key a long time ago when he finished Men Nan's second persona's mission. It had been a reward from the black phone, Self-perceptive Key. The key would be able to help him search for his real self should he fall under the effect of confusion and illusion.
Chen Ge had believed that this key would be useful when he explored the Third Sick Hall. One would easily be disturbed by the thick haze of negative energy behind the door when one entered it for the first time, causing a loss of self. Based on Chen Ge's suspicion, the key was to handle a contingency like that.
In the end, he did not have to use the key back then because Zhang Ya was too overpowered. She had charged into the door and chased after the president. Other than shock, Chen Ge did not experience too much of any other emotion, so he did not have a use for this key.
Since Chen Ge thought that he might have a use for this key in the future, he had kept it inside his backpack. But to his surprise, on the way to Eastern Jiujiang that day, he ran into a similar key. In terms of appearance, other than the bite mark, they looked identical.
"Does the appearance of this key signify something?" The key was able to stop someone from getting lost. Before Bei Wen went missing, he had told the young man to come find him with the key. Did this mean that the place that he was going to was somewhere one could be lost fairly easily?
"Do you know where Bei Wen got this?" Chen Ge very naturally placed both keys inside his pocket.
"He didn't tell me." The young man watched as Chen Ge snatch his key away. He answered honestly and did not dare ask for the key back.
"The key is quite important, but don't worry, since I've taken your key, I will definitely help your friend." Chen Ge leaned against the chair, and he suddenly felt like this was an omen. When the first key appeared, he had entered the Third Sick Hall and run into the toughest opponent since then—the ghost stories society.
This time, he was going to Eastern Jiujiang alone, and the appearance of the key probably signified that he was going to run into another powerful enemy.
The first key has to do with Men Nan. The child has two personas, and they are different personality-wise. The second key is related to the Bei twins, who look the same but act differently. Chen Ge touched the keys in his pocket and was suddenly reminded of the shadow who looked like this. Does this mean I'll eventually run into a third key?
Chen Ge turned to look at the window. No one spoke again, and the bus eventually reached the next stop.
"Get off here and walk toward the west; it's not so safe east of here." Chen Ge squeezed back to allow the young man to pass. The young man stood up. It seemed like he had something else to say, but as he looked at Chen Ge's face, he ultimately swallowed his words and jogged off the bus.
"Hey, you forgot your umbrella!" Chen Ge yelled out the window. The young man was so scared that even with the rain pouring, he ran westward without even turning his head around.
"Have I scared him? But this is a good thing. This way, he'll be able to focus on his exams and won't need to repeat a third time." Chen Ge walked back to his seat, and the doctor lightly nudged him. "What's wrong?"
"Now is not the time to care about others," the doctor whispered before winding the scarf tighter around his neck, covering his face fully.
"Understood." Chen Ge took the young man's umbrella and returned to his spot. When he lifted his eyes, he noticed that the mushroom head at the second row was looking at him. With the cracked lips and frozen smile, he was staring at Chen Ge so intensely that the latter felt like rewarding him with a hammer to the face. Considering the crowd on the bus, Chen Ge dampened that urge.
"Stop smiling, is it because you're too ugly once you stop?" Chen Ge's challenge was highly provocative, but the mushroom head did not react in any way other than to continue staring at Chen Ge, smiling all the way.
The atmosphere on the bus became tense, but at that moment, the front door creaked, and a bloody hand reached into the bus. Blood dripped, and a woman in a red raincoat stood at the front door.
Her hair was stuck to her face, blocking her eyes. Her lips were sewn shut by something, and she looked positively ghastly.
"Finally, you've arrived."
Seeing the woman, Chen Ge directly stood up from his seat. All the passengers on the bus had their attention turned to the woman in the red raincoat.