1149 Innocent Citizen, Mr. Chen 2 in 1
Chen Ge did not know where to put the eyeball given to him by Chang Wenyu. It did not feel like it was appropriate to keep it anywhere. After much deliberation, Chen Ge decided to hand the eyeball over to Men Nan. Of all the Red Specters, Men Nan had the highest IQ and EQ. In fact, Chen Ge would sometimes have him go off on some individual tasks. Therefore, he was not worried at all with Men Nan temporarily holding onto the eyeball.
"Now is the most vulnerable moment for Chang Wenyu. She does not dare stay too long around me, and she left the moment she found the opportunity to do so. Looks like she still has a problem trusting me. She is worried that I might really feed her to the other Red Specters."
Rome was not built in a day; trust was the same. Chen Ge believed that with enough time, he would definitely be able to win Chang Wenyu's trust. The sky was already slowly brightening, but Chen Ge did not hurry to leave. He continued to wander about inside the abandoned school. "The Red Specter at this abandoned school and the Red Specter at Cards Archway are so much more powerful than normal Red Specters, but neither of their hiding places have the presence of a 'door'. Is it because their despair is not strong enough for a door to appear?"
There was no absolute connection between Red Specters and the doors. A door pusher would always be a Red Specter, but not every Red Specter would possess their own door. Chen Ge did not think too much about it initially, but now that he stopped to consider it, he suddenly realized things did not add up.
"Could the doors be unique to Jiujiang?"
Entering the classroom where the Red Specter at the abandoned school first showed up, Chen Ge found that familiar statement on the table occupied by the Red Specter.
'This is a sickened world. Why have you not discovered that fact? I swear to cure you!'
The words were carved unevenly on the table. It was like a kind of psychological hint, and it kept appearing before Chen Ge's eyes. Eventually, even without realizing it, Chen Ge had already memorized the statement in his mind.
"The sentence is always the same, but the handwriting's completely different, so they were probably left behind by different people. But why would these people that seemingly had no connection with each other all write or carve down those same words?"
He really could not come up with a reasonable answer. Chen Ge summoned back all his haunted house employees, hailed a cab, and returned to Nightmare Academy.
"I will go for a nap. You guys find something to do. Be prepared for business." Chen Ge greeted his employees before entering the headmaster's office. Chi Ren had been staying inside the room and out of boredom. He was building a paper tower from a deck of cards. "In a few days, you will be safe."
Chen Ge entered the inner room, hugged his backpack, and entered his dreams. Without the need to worry about the operation of the haunted house and the safety of the visitors, he had the first relaxing sleep in a very long time.
At twelve noon, Chen Ge woke up and went out to purchase food for himself and his living employees. After lunch, he left the haunted house again. Xin Hai was, to him, an unexplored treasure trove. How he wished he could capture all the baleful Specters and Red Specters at once. "After I deal with the cursed hospital, should I go on a train ride all over the country to spread this kindness to different cities?"
Of course, that was just a thought. Chen Ge used the daytime to arrange his clues and information while preparing to visit the different locations to conduct his investigation at night. Before he had a full-on conflict with the cursed hospital, he needed to do everything he could to increase his own power. At around 6 pm, the employees were still discussing the plan for the Nightmare Academy, but as the boss, Chen Ge had already escaped to Xin Hai's countryside.
It was yet another sleepless night. Chen Ge's plan was to feed all the Red Specters that he found to the red high heels to help her become a Demon God, but she rejected Chen Ge's kindness. As a Top Red Specter who had a special talent in curses, consuming other Red Specters would not help her in her breakthrough to become a Demon God; only by consuming greater and more evil despair would her power improve. In other words, the red high heels herself knew very well that the key for her to become a Demon God would be at the cursed hospital. The red high heels did not need to consume Red Specters, so Chen Ge turned his attention to Xiao Bu.
Xiao Bu, who could unleash the power of a Top Red Specter, had a very powerful innate talent. She was the shadow selected by Chen Ge's parents and was a door pusher valued by the ghost fetus. After consuming a Red Specter, Xiao Bu went into hibernation. With her ability, she would awaken after one night. When Xiao Bu was hibernating, Chen Ge pushed the rest of the Red Specters that he found to Xu Yin. Xu Yin was weaker than the spider in the tunnel, and he was not the strongest among Chen Ge's Red Specters, but Xu Yin's heart was very special.
Every time it beat, his heart would gain little more of the black pattern. That pattern appeared to be the branding of memories. It contained some kind of unspeakable power. The hearts of the other Red Specters were the source of their power, but Xu Yin's heart was more like a germinating seed. After consuming one Red Specter, the black pattern on Xu Yin's heart grew to his chest, but to Chen Ge's surprise, even after Xu Yin had consumed a Red Specter almost as powerful as he was, he did not go into hibernation. Whenever Chen Ge pressed the play button on the recorder, Xu Yin still showed up.
"After Xiao Bu and Zhang Ya consumed Red Specters of the same level, they went into hibernation. How come it is so special when it comes to Xu Yin?" Chen Ge tried to ask the young man directly for the reason, but all he got in return was silence. It was as if Xu Yin himself did not know the reason.
By 3 am, Chen Ge had already investigated eleven ghost stories. He had collected the information in the day and come up with the best route to visit all of them. Just as he was about to go to visit the twelfth ghost story, the sky over the horizon of Xin Hai's countryside was curiously dyed red as if a bloody hole had been torn open in the night sky. Initially, Chen Ge did not think much of this paranormal activity, but when he used the wedding ring on his ring and realized that Xiao Sun's current location was right under that bloody tear, he started to get a little bit panicked. "Brother Sun has already made his move? I only sent him in there two days ago. Will he be exposed doing something so obvious?"
Xiao Sun was moving too fast. Chen Ge was still training and preparing, but something had already happened at the cursed hospital.
"There's no use in me worrying about this. I'd better focus on the things that I have to do." Xin Hai's population was several times greater than Jiujiang's, so there were a lot of ghost stories. But most of them were just smoke without fire; only a very small portion of them really had actual ghosts behind them. For a professional like Chen Ge, he could sometimes tell the authenticity of a ghost story just from the description, but even so, Chen Ge was still tricked multiple times.
In two nights, he had investigated twenty-five ghost stories in total, and among them, eight were fake. Of the remaining seventeen ghost stories, however, there were five Red Specters. This probability was rather scary. But the thing that worried Chen Ge the most was that all the Red Specters that he encountered were on the verge of a mental breakdown. Every single one of them had a curse on them, and the statement about the sickened world could be found without fail at the location that they haunted. Now, Chen Ge felt that perhaps the statement itself was a curse. Every Red Specter, normal Specter, and human being who was given the statement would eventually lose their mind. After working hard for two nights, Chen Ge was quite satisfied with his haul.
Of the five cursed maddened Red Specters, two were used to awaken Chang Wenyu, one was fed to Xiao Bu, and the last two were fed to Xu Yin. As he fed on more Red Specters, the changes to Xu Yin became more obvious. The black pattern growing from his heart stuck on his body like a second layer of skin; it gave him a very dangerous feeling.
Of all the employees, other than Xu Yin, there was another employee that underwent a huge change, and that was Zhang Yi. As a Specter that possessed a very unique power like him, if he became a Red Specter by consuming other Red Specters, it would seriously impact his natural talent. That would be more of a loss than a gain. Therefore, Chen Ge did not have Zhang Yi feed on any Red Specters but provided him with the Half Red Specters that they encountered.
Before consuming two Half Red Specters, Zhang Yi asked Chen Ge to call Fang Yu, and then he talked on the phone for a very long time with Fang Yu. This was the first time he had actively called Fang Yu. It was a call that traversed death and life, memory and the past. Chen Ge had no idea what the content of the conversation between Zhang Yi and Fang Yu was. He did, however, manage to see Zhang Yi's body slowly becoming more transparent. Just as the man's body was about to fade away, a drop of blood appeared at the middle of his heart. Zhang Yi's power was deleting memories, but he could not recover deleted memories.
Luckily, even though Fang Yu had already forgotten all the memories related to Zhang Yi, she had not forgotten the sense of presence of the man who had been protecting her. She had stubbornly waited at the garden for ten years and tattooed Fang Yu's name all over her body. She had tried everything so that she would never forget until she eventually met the person that she had been waiting for. Ten years ago, Zhang Yi had saved Fang Yu, and ten years later, Fang Yu had become Zhang Yi's salvation.
After consuming two Half Red Specters, Zhang Yi sank into a slumber. The drop of blood inside his heart continued to spread until it formed a name, and it was seared at the bottom of his heart. Fang Yu tattooed a name all over her body while Zhang Yi branded a name at the bottom of his heart. It crossed the distance between life and death. They had chosen this method to remember each other.
"After Zhang Yi wakes up, he should be a Red Specter. His talent will improve again. Perhaps he will even gain a new power."
Zhang Yi had a very powerful talent, and Chen Ge had high expectations for him. With this in mind, he turned to glance at the comic with helplessness in his eyes. Danian was still hiding inside the empty page. His ears were closed to the world outside his comic, and he only had his attention on completing his work.
After Chen Ge detained the cursed Half Red Specter, the first person that he thought of was Yan Danian. He had the red high heels comprehend the Half Red Specter and then sent the Half Red Specter into the same page as Yan Danian. Then, something that no one expected happened. Both parties shied away from each other as far as they could. One was hiding in the corner, and the other was facing the wall. The image looked curiously harmonious.
After Yan Danian passed away, he had never harmed anyone, and he had never considered consuming other Specters. In fact, he was very reluctant to do things like that. Chen Ge had tried very hard to persuade him to overcome that mental block, but Yan Danian still unable to make that first step. In the end, Chen Ge had no choice but to give up.
After the old headmaster at Mu Yang High School passed away, he had not consumed a single Specter, but he had managed to become a Half Red Specter. From that, one could see that there were many ways for a Specter to increase their power; it was not limited to the consumption of other Specters. In comparison to other methods, however, consuming Specters was the most effective way. Actually, Chen Ge had realized in the few months prior, the presence radiating off Yan Danian had been getting stronger, but because Yan Danian had too low confidence in himself and would never leave the comic, very few people noticed this about him.
Chen Ge suspected that the change in Yan Danian was probably due to the fact that he had been sending multiple Red Specters into Danian's comic. Even for a normal object, if it was housing more than ten Red Specters every day, it would definitely change. The comic was originally Yan Danian's item of possession; now, every single page was filled with various Specters. Inevitably, that was also going to improve Yan Danian's own power. Chen Ge could sense that Yan Danian's power was increasing, but the speed was too slow. He had to face the cursed hospital soon, and he had to turn Yan Danian into a real Red Specter as soon as possible. He had very high expectations for Yan Danian. After all, when he was in the School of the Afterlife, even the painter had said that Yan Danian's talent was above his own.
After comparing the painter who had managed to build a heaven behind the door with his own power and then Yan Danian who cowered in the corner inside his own comic, Chen Ge did not know what to do. "Danian, if you are ever hungry, please tell me."
Pulling all the employees into the comic, Chen Ge waited until sunrise before he returned to Nightmare Academy. He did not sleep a wink throughout the night. He was just about to go and rest, but once he opened the front door of the Nightmare Academy, he saw all of his living employees waiting for him inside the lobby.
"Are you guys waiting for me?" Chen Ge soon noticed that something was wrong. Other than his employees, there were a few other police officers present. He had met one of them before when he first came to Xin Hai. He believed the officer's surname was Cai.
"Mr. Chen, do not worry. We just have some questions that we wish to ask you." The leading officer walked toward Chen Ge. "The night before last, the Cards Archway at the old city collapsed. We saw you on camera at the street right outside the area. I am just very curious as to why you would appear at that location during that time."
With the presence of so many police officers, Chen Ge instantly realized that the mass grave inside the Cards Archway had been found by the Xin Hai police.
"Even if you did not come to me, I was planning on going to you." Chen Ge's expression was even more serious than the police officer's. "There are some words that are not so convenient for us to discuss here. How about we go to the station to slowly talk this over?"
"You want to follow us to the station?" The leading officer shared a look with his colleagues next to him. They were just there to ask some questions, but the man had voluntarily requested to follow them to the police station. What was the motive behind this?
"Trust me, I really have something very important that I need to tell you." Chen Ge stressed this again. The few officers finally decided to bring Chen Ge with them back to the station. Seeing Chen Ge leave with the police, Zhang Jingjiu signaled for Qu Changlin and Xiao Die to return to their work. "Don't just stand there. Go and do what you are supposed to do."
"Brother Jiu, the boss has just been apprehended by the police! Why are you so calm‽" Xiao Die was very worried. "Would something happen to the boss?"
"There is no need for you to worry. It can't change anything either way. We have to believe in our boss. Eventually… you will get used to it."
After he got into the police car, Chen Ge's expression became even more serious. He sat on the backseat next to the two other police officers, and his demeanor made the two other officers quite uncomfortable.
"Okay, the night before last, why would you show up around the Cards Archway?" Captain Cai was curious, and he desperately wanted to know the answer.
"Other than the Cards Archway in the old city, I went to an abandoned skyscraper in the new city, a construction site in the countryside, and some barren land near the border." Chen Ge had taken a cab between these places. The police would be able to trace his route easily, so he offered this information to prove his innocence.
"Why would you go to so many different places that night?"
"Not only that night. The night before last, I spent the whole night moving around the old city of Xin Hai and its countryside. I have barely slept for the past two nights." Chen Ge was forceful. He was the one being interrogated, but he was extremely assertive, so it felt like it was him interrogating the police officers.
"You still have not answered my question. Why would you go to these many different places?"
"I am investigating the disappearance of a doctor. His surname is Fang." Chen Ge grabbed Captain Cai's hand. "Things are more serious than I thought. I might need your help."