1155 Please Come and Find Me 2 in 1
With his eyes closed and ears blocked, unable to share what he was doing with his employees, all he could do was repeat his name again and again. Chen Ge walked for a long time down the dark hallway. He tried to bring up the map of the haunted house inside his mind, but he slowly discovered something scary. It appeared like he was not inside the haunted house at all. He had no idea where he had landed. He was unable to communicate with anyone. He could not hear anything, and all that he could see around him was darkness. Piercing chills stabbed into his heart; Chen Ge finally stopped moving.
"Am I still inside the haunted house?" This was the first time Chen Ge had felt like he was unfamiliar with his own haunted house. "Is it possible that I exited the haunted house when I opened one of the doors earlier?"
Many different scary thoughts entered his mind. Chen Ge had no idea what was waiting ahead of him, and he had even less of an idea when he could push open that real door. Searching in the dark, when he could not see even the wisp of hope, he tried to open all the doors that he could encounter. Chen Ge felt like this whole experience was quite a déjà vu. The Nightmare Daily Mission with the name 'Door' appeared to wish to tell him something. In the absolute darkness and silence, time slowly lost all meaning. Chen Ge's body movement became more awkward and the surface of his skin was startlingly cold. Memories from his past flashed across his mind, and the strange sense of déjà vu became stronger and stronger.
"Chen Ge?" He called his name again and again while he kept repeating the same action. The surroundings became quieter and colder. Chen Ge's gait slowed down. A very scary thought overwhelmed his mind. If he continued walking, he probably would not find his way back. His mind became duller, and he could not stop his brain from filling his heart with ghastly and eerie imagery. Chen Ge was visited by an emotion that he had not encountered in a very long time—despair.
In the past, no matter how scary the enemy was, no matter how strong the opponent was, Chen Ge would not give because he had a firm determination holding him upright and pushing him forward, but in this Nightmare Mission, the determination was slowly being hacked away. There appeared to be a lingering voice in his mind that was trying to tell him that despair was the norm. It was not until then that Chen Ge realized hope was like a colorful soap bubble—it would burst with the lightest of touch. All this time, he had been like a child who was holding a soap bubble in his grasp. He stood stubbornly on the other side of the world and insisted on believing that the world inside the soap bubble was the real one.
His memory was flipped over by a pair of invisible hands. Along with the sense of chill, pain, and suffocation, many kind of memories that supposedly did not belong to him were churning in his mind. The feeling was very bad, but strangely enough Chen Ge felt they were also quite familiar. It was as if he had personally experienced a similar kind of pain in the past, and he had been through it more than once. His footsteps gradually slowed down. He seemed to be walking down a path that had no end. All his memory and experiences were 'polluted' by despair. They did not want Chen Ge to keep on going; they wanted him to just stop and stay there forever.
The road ahead was very dangerous, and the chance of returning could be zero. It was a world of darkness waiting to envelope him. When he could still think with his mind, Chen Ge's arms reached toward his eyes. He was hesitating over whether to take a peek or not. If he did look, the Nightmare Mission would definitely fail, but if he did not remove it, he could no longer standing the overwhelming anxiety in his heart.
"Is it possible that I am now inside the world behind the door? Someone other than the door pusher only can push open the door at midnight, but what if I am the door pusher? What if I was the one who pushed open the door in the haunted house?"
His fingers landed on the bridge of his nose. In the end, Chen Ge chose not to look, and his feet decided to keep on moving.
"I am currently experiencing pain that did not exist in my memory before. I am experiencing a despair that did not belong to me. I have no idea what the black phone is trying to tell me, but I know that when there is despair, there is also hope. The two cannot exist without the other."
For those in despair, even though they were surrounded by bliss, they would not escape the torment of despair. And for those with hope, even if they had lost everything, they would be able to see a colorful world inside a simple soap bubble.
"I have never been treated kindly by this world, but that does not mean that I do not love this world for what it is." For some reason, Chen Ge was reminded of Zhang Ya and the other employees at his haunted house. "Even when I am in the deepest despair, I can chance upon a very beautiful accident."
With his eyes still covered, Chen Ge suffered the pain that he had not experienced. He forged his way forward while suffering the double torment both on his mental and physical health. He no longer hesitated, and he spent no time on overthinking as he picked up speed. The pain on his body became more obvious, and the pressure on his mind grew heavier. The scenes of Chen Ge being killed slowly swamped his mind. Before he died, he struggled helplessly and pleaded for mercy, but every time, the thing that welcomed him was painful death. His compromise, kindness, and help had all been disappointed; his final result was only despair.
The green veins on the back on his arms popped. Chen Ge suffered all of that silently. He did not stop his footsteps, and he kept on moving. "No wonder who is the owner of this despair, it will not stop me from moving forward."
Before Chen Ge obtained the black phone, most of the memories left in his mind had been beautiful and happy ones. His parents also wished that he could continue with his life in that manner. But in reality, when he obtained the black phone, Chen Ge had been given the chance to make a choice. If he had chosen to deny accepting the phone when he found it, then he would have kept on living with his happiness, being none the wiser about the other world around him. However, Chen Ge had chosen a different path. He wanted to know the truth, and for that, he had traded his blissful ignorance for despair and began his slow journey of searching for his parents.
As he slowly approached the truth, the despair that had been hidden away would slowly be brought back to the forefront, but Chen Ge had no regret. Along the way, only Chen Ge himself knew how difficult the path he had chosen actually was. His life schedule had been turned upside down. He worked more in the night compared to the hours in the morning, he had not had a good rest since forever, and he was always caught in between the line of life and death. He spent his days with Baleful Specters and Red Specters.
Dancing on the sharp edge of a knife was not enough to describe Chen Ge's situation, if he was a little careless even once, he would have become a dead body already. He had chosen the most difficult path, but at the same time, this was the path that would lead him the quickest to the truth. This was not some kind of good fortune or bad tragedy that someone had placed on him, it was a choice that he had made for himself in the wide path of destiny.
"I will not change due to this despair, and I will never abandon my path. No matter what has happened in the past, I am willing to face them openly!"
Images of his own death flashed across his mind again and again. Chen Ge felt like his body was being torn apart repeatedly. Suffering the dual torture on his physical and mental selves, he pushed forward with determination in the seemingly endless darkness. He could not see his surrounding, and he felt he was stranded alone in the world. He could not hear any sound and could not sense the passage of time. He kept on calling his own name as he opened one after another door.
"Chen Ge…" He pushed open another door before him. Chen Ge had lost count of the doors he had opened, but suddenly, another voice came from the space before him.
"I did not expect you to really come here one day." Chen Ge's own voice came from a spot that was only a few steps away from Chen Ge. At that moment, Chen Ge almost removed the eye cover, and his body could not help shuddering. "Everyone wants to kill you. You are my final hope. Please come and find me no matter what."
Something was slipped inside his palm, and the voice became smaller and smaller.
"I am in the haunted house within that city. Please, you have to come and find me!"
That city? The blood red city? There is also a version of the haunted house in the blood red city?
Gripping the thing in his palm, Chen Ge could not control himself any longer. He opened his lips and was about to voice out the question in his mind. "You…"
But when the first word escaped from his lips, the chill around him instantly disappeared, and the arm that he raised suddenly came into contact with something hard. It was the handle of a door. Pushing the door open, the memories that did not belong to him started to disappear. It was as if he had walked back to earth from hell. The phone in his pocket started to vibrate. After being stunned for several moments, Chen Ge slowly removed the eye cover and the earmuffs. The first thing he saw was all his haunted house employees standing before him in a circle. They were all looking at him strangely and curiously.
"This is… Wait, I'm still inside the toilet?" He looked around and realized he was standing inside the cubicle of the haunted house's toilet. His hand was still holding the door of the cubicle. "I did not leave this place and go to the underground scenario‽"
"You covered your eyes and then locked yourself inside the cubicle. Initially, we thought you were possessed by some kind of ghost, but then we thought about it among ourselves and felt like no ghost would do something that would waste so much of their energy and for such little gain." Men Nan was standing right at the door. Seeing that nothing was wrong with Chen Ge, he squeezed through the crowd of 'people' and left. "The party's over. The man is fine. Go back to your work."
I did not enter the underground scenario but have been standing inside the toilet cubicle. In other words, when I pushed open the door of the cubicle, I entered the world behind the door!
Chen Ge was covered in cold sweat. He lowered his head to glance at his palm. Before the other voice of himself disappeared, the person had shoved something into his hand. It was a key that was covered in cracks.
"A key? Wait, this is the self-preceptive key." Once Chen Ge tried to take a closer look at the sky, the rust covering the key in his palm peeled off in big patches, and then the key itself split in two. "I entered the world behind the door, and it was with this self-preceptive key that I was able to return back to this world from the haunted house behind the blood door?"
Chen Ge had obtained two self-perceptive keys from his missions in the past, but he had no idea what they were for.
"It should not be that simple. The person behind the door perhaps wanted to remind or warn of me something through this key."
The words that his own voice said kept appearing in his mind. Chen Ge's brows did not stop creasing.
"There is another haunted house inside the blood red city, and he is currently hiding inside that other haunted house, huh? Why does he treat me as his final hope?" Chen Ge leaned against the door. His back was already soaked in cold sweat. He felt like the energy had been fully drained from his body.
"This door inside the haunted house should've been pushed open by him." Chen Ge looked at the cubicle door. He pushed on it lightly, but nothing changed inside the cubicle. Only the door pusher could control the door. Chen Ge himself was unable to open the door, but the fact was, he had been able to enter the door earlier, so the real 'door pusher' had probably opened the door for him through some method.
"Wait a minute! Is there a possibility that the door pusher has been split in two? Only when both parties are touching the door at the same time can the door be opened?"
Climbing up from the ground, Chen Ge gave a brief explanation to his employees and then had Ol' Bai continue guarding the toilet while he ran back to the staff breakroom. The moment he opened the door, Chen Ge saw the white cat, who was munching on the high-class cat food inside the cupboard. But he was in no mood to be training his cat. He took out his black phone and swiped on the screen.
"Congratulations, Red Specter's Favored, for completely the Daily Nightmare Mission—Door! You have obtained the unique special talent—Lips of Tragedy!
"Lips of Tragedy (Natural Talent): As they say, tragedy comes from the lips. Now that you have gained this talent, you will be able to hear all that they converse about among themselves.
"Congratulations, Red Specter's Favored! This is so impressive. You now possess Mortician's Make-up, Spirit Sniff, Ghost Ear, Yin Yang Vision, Lips of Tragedy, and Dollmaker's Talent, all six natural talents. The current you can now produce the version of yourself that you want."
Looking at the message on the black phone, Chen Ge shuddered involuntarily. He had a feeling that the last sentence was hinting about something incredibly horrible.
"The current me can now produce the version of myself that I want? I need to personally make another version of myself? What does it mean?"
Chen Ge had not used most of the six talents to their maximum potential. Other than Yin Yang Vision, he did not use the rest of the talents much. All this time, he thought the rest of the talents were rather weak, but from the looks of it, that was not the case.
"Never mind, it is too early to consider something like that." Chen Ge knew very well that to unleash the full potential of the dollmaker's talent, he would first need to capture a living human to experiment on them. A perfect living door needed a fresh human life. This was something that Chen Ge would never attempt to do. "Perhaps in the future, I might change my mind, but I hope that day never comes."
Chen Ge put the black phone away. The nightmare daily mission that night had given him more questions than answers. He needed to lie down to slowly work over the information that he had gathered.
"Is the despair that I experienced when I was doing the mission the despair that was experienced by my other self? What exactly is my other self anyway? Has he been shouldering all the despair that should have fallen onto me?"
Chen Ge found it impossible to rest. His mind was too active with questions. At that moment, Chen Ge's eyes glanced at the white cat, which was still sneaking toward the pack of cat food. Chen Ge sat up to drag it away from the cupboard and forced it to join him on the bed. He tussled the cat's furry coat, and his heart slowly calmed down.
"Even the cat knows when to run away from danger, but someone like myself insists on walking down the most dangerous past. However, the most despairingly, this appears to be the only path that is given to me."
Being hugged by Chen Ge, the white cat appeared to be frozen in fear. It seemed to have realized that it had done something wrong earlier, so it was acting like the best pet in the world. It did not dare move in Chen Ge's grasp, playing the role of a fluffy doll.
"The white cat has consumed the blood vessels from the Ghost Stories Society. The blood vessel was prepared by Doctor Gao for the woman in the well, so technically, it belonged to Doctor Gao." Chen Ge scratched the bottom of the white cat's stomach. "Is it possible for me to trace Doctor Gao through the blood vessels in the white cat's body? Or can I somehow make Doctor Gao actively come to me through the blood vessels in the cat?"
There were at least two Demon Gods at the cursed hospital. Chen Ge knew that he was too weak to deal with the cursed hospital on his own, so he wished to gain the assistance of Doctor Gao. His finger moved up and down the white cat's belly like a surgeon drawing out the lines before the surgery. The white cat was so scared by Chen Ge's action that it could not help convulsing.
"The blood vessels have probably been digested by the white cat's body already. Looks like I will have to bring it with me behind the door in the future."
Looking at the time, there was still some time before dawn. Chen Ge carried the white cat in one hand and found the graduation certificate from the School of the Afterlife inside the prop room.
"It has been quite some time since I last returned. I wonder if anything has changed at the School of the Afterlife."
The cursed hospital had placed a ton of pressure on Chen Ge. He decided to combine all the sources that he had to deal with the hospital together.
"The blood city is very close to the School of the Afterlife. If I am lucky, perhaps I will run into a lost Red Specter."