The School of the Afterlife had changed; those hiding in the dark had surfaced as if sensing that their chance had arrived.
"Mr. Bai, do you mind if I ask you a question? The woman who left her presence on you, has she told you anything?" Zhou Tu's face was the color of chalk. He needed to rest with every sentence.
"I do not even know Chang Wenyu; I have no idea how she left her presence on me." Chen Ge did not wish to continue this conversation and rushed toward the library.
"So, you wish to keep it a secret?" Zhang Ju carried Zhou Tu, whose body was disappearing. He probably would not hold on until they reached the library.
"I can't control how you think…" Chen Ge ignored him and continued on his way. After taking several steps, he suddenly frowned. He really did not know Chang Wenyu. He was not trying to hide anything from the others, but Zhou Tu made it sound like Chen Ge had a secret to hide. Zhou Tu had been revealing information to Chen Ge. This was his first question, and the question was related to Chang Wenyu. This might have appeared normal to others, and Chen Ge did not mind it that much initially, but the more he thought about it, the stranger he felt.
Coincidence on top of coincidence, forming an accident. Looking at the whole process, it might appear like there's no problem, but something feels off, Chen Ge thought to himself. There are still many secrets surrounding Zhou Tu, but based on his condition, it doesn't look like he has the time to touch on those things.
The painter was entity who had harmed Zhou Tu, so if he hated the painter that much, he would try his best to tell them everything about the painter and not waste time asking questions. Perhaps this was really just a coincidence, but Chen Ge could not shake his mind off it. The library was close to the lab. Chen Ge's group arrived there without any incidents. They followed the trail and reached the entrance.
"I've been to this place before; the door is always locked. We'll need to jump through the window or use the side door if we wish to gain entry. Damn it, I am reminded of that bad memory again." Zhang Ju had a bad impression of Chang Wenyu. After all, it was Chang Wenyu who had betrayed him and shattered his only hope. With Zhang Ju leading the way, the group easily cracked open the side door and entered the library. The library on the eastern campus looked dated. The building felt more like a decoration. Students and staff rarely visited this place.
"It feels like a lot of time has passed, but nothing has changed here. It feels just like yesterday when she gouged my left eye out." Zhang Ju walked in front. By now, his jacket was already completely red. "I've walked down this path with her before. Technically speaking, she was my first love, and this is where we had our dates."
With a bitter smile on his face, Zhang Ju's fingers caressed the bookshelves that they passed. "Why would one pick a library at midnight to have their dates? I should have known it then. She never did like me; she was merely using me."
"That might not be a hundred percent true. The date's location doesn't necessarily mean anything." Chen Ge walked beside Zhang Ju at the front. "I've been in your shoes before. I've dated at an abandoned school, a mental asylum, and an underground morgue. Until now, she still loves me deeply."
"Is your date also Chang Wenyu?" There was a question in Zhou Tu's eyes. His eyes moved between Chen Ge and Zhang Ju. "Other than her, I can't imagine anyone else going to places like that to have their dates."
Everything was going fine, but with this observation from Zhou Tu, Zhang Ju stopped moving. He looked Chen Ge up and down and then shook his head. "That's impossible. That woman doesn't have the power and capability to love. She's a monster."
Annoyed, Zhang Ju walked ahead on his own. The library at midnight was very quiet, and the only sound was their heartbeats and footsteps. The whole building was sealed. The doors and windows were barred, but there was no strange smell, which was different from the other places that they had visited.
"By walking past this shelf, climbing to the top, and stepping on the fence next to it, we can reach the second floor without using the stairs." Zhang Ju remembered what had happened that night so clearly. Not one detail escaped his mind—everything was forever seared in his brain.
Zhu Long felt like Zhang Ju was in a bad mood, and he asked in a polite tone, "Why can't we use the stairs?"
"I asked her the same question. She said that a steel door was installed on the staircase, and the door is blocked with trash; there is no way we can get up the stairs that way." Zhang Ju was the first to climb up the racks. "I never doubted her words, so I didn't go up the stairwell. Shall we go and check it this time?"
"Let's find the mirror first." Chen Ge did not want to attract unnecessary attention. The group followed Zhang Ju's instructions and reached the second floor of the library. They only took several steps when they heard footsteps coming from the end of the second-floor corridor.
"That's familiar. I also heard footsteps when I came last time. Back then, Chang Wenyu told me a ghost story about the spirit in the library, and it gave me quite a scare. Now that I think about it, the footsteps should belong to the librarian." Zhang Ju signaled for the others to stay behind him. "Stick close and don't fall off. Follow my orders and try to avoid conflict with the other party."
"What should we do? The sound is getting close!"
"See the door to the second reading room?" Zhang Ju pointed at a door not far away. "From now on, close your eyes and walk that way. No matter what you touch or hear, do not open your eyes until we're through the door."
"Will that work? How's that different from lying to ourselves?"
"Just listen to him. The librarian is a member of the art club members. He will paint everyone who sees him into his painting." Zhou Tu was the first to close his eyes, and the rest followed suit. The last to close his eyes was Chen Ge. He listened to the approaching footsteps, signaled to his shadow, and then closed his eyes.
The footsteps came closer and closer. Chen Ge's group searched their way along the wall with their hands. It felt like they would run into someone anytime soon. The footsteps got closer. The person did not seem to notice Zhang Ju and Zhou Tu, keeping up his speed, but when he passed Chen Ge, the sound of footsteps suddenly disappeared.
Has it stopped next to me? Chen Ge did not open his eyes. He kept his hands on the wall and moved forward. Several seconds later, the footsteps continued toward the end of the corridor. Opening the door of the second reading room, Chen Ge sucked in a deep breath.
"I experienced all we've experienced earlier that night; this is such a déjà vu feeling." Zhang Ju closed the door after everyone got into the reading room. "If there's nothing wrong, the mirror should be hidden behind the last row of bookshelf."
The truth was about to be revealed, but before Chen Ge could approach, a familiar figure walked out from the last row of shelves.
"I knew you'd find your way here eventually." The figure was holding a large, tattered backpack. His head was lowered, and he was stooped like a hunchback.