Chapter 60: School of Death (12)
It was about to be night in a few moments, and the people were not careless. They quickly chose a bed to rest on, intending to discuss other matters later.
Lin Zhen wobbled for a moment, jumped down from the upper bunk, grabbed the lower bed, and said, “The probability of seeing a ghost on the bottom bunk is higher. Don’t fight me for it.”
Yu Feizhou responded, “…Then I’ll sleep on your top bunk.”
Gao Ming and Zhou Tian also slept on the higher bunks, leaving an upper and lower bunk. Yan Mingguang removed his jacket and lay down on the bottom bunk.
The dormitory was already quiet, and everyone was ready for the night with a dozen seconds left. Yan Wei walked to the bed and glanced at Yan Mingguang lying on his side.
He closed the projection, and instead of climbing to the upper bunk, he raised the lower bed’s blanket and slipped inside.
The dormitory bed was a regular single-person size, becoming even more crowded with two male students like them. Yan Wei rushed in, catching himself off guard in Yan Mingguang’s arms.
The man moved in to make room for Yan Wei, but his limbs were quite stiff, apparently not expecting Yan Wei’s sudden move. Yan Wei leaned face to face against Yan Mingguang, smelling the freshness of this person that was always unaffected by the filth in the instances. He lay on the pillow sideways, looking at Yan Mingguang with slightly raised eyes.
Yan Mingguang was also staring at him, his eyes unfathomable, as if he could see through anyone.
Yan Wei’s face felt a bit hot for no reason, his neck contracted, his cheeks half hidden in the blanket, and he whispered, “I’ll discuss with you what to do tomorrow. Constantly using a skill will consume my stamina. I can sleep with the whip.”
The sunlight had vanished behind the starry night the instant he had finished speaking.
The campus, bustling just a few minutes ago, ushered in deadly silence. Darkness descended, and an eerie wind blew across the hallways.
Yan Mingguang moved his hand under the blanket, and the long whip silently wrapped around Yan Wei’s wrist.
There was no light, and Yan Wei could not see Yan Mingguang’s expression, but he could guess what it was — heavy1 and opaque. After coming out of the space, Yan Mingguang remained silent. Before there would be some one-word, two-word responses, but since returning to the dormitory building, Yan Mingguang had not spoken anything.
【Teacher Yan, you’re acting strange. 】He said.
Although the other party didn’t answer, Yan Wei immediately sensed Yan Mingguang’s emotions.
【I lied to you just now. What is there to discuss? Just get up and go to class to continue looking for clues and props. I was only wondering if you… have something on your mind?】
Chenxi High School took place in the spring, and the nights were somewhat chilly. Yan Wei shrank back subconsciously.
After some time
It was better than not answering.
【Your words sound to me like a confession.】
【Aren’t you going to tell me about it, Teacher Yan? After all, we are each other’s most trusted teammates. You are not in the best shape today. Was it something that happened when we were apart? Or did your saintly heart kick in again, and you have complicated thoughts about those people in Yuemang?】
【That’s what happened when we separated?】
Yan Mingguang didn’t answer again.
In silence, people’s senses magnify significantly. Yan Wei could feel himself and Yan Mingguang huddled together, the mutual transmission of temperature, and the steady sound of each other’s heartbeats and breaths.
In hindsight, he realized. He was initially averse to sleeping in the same bed as Yan Mingguang, but this time he slipped into Yan Mingguang’s bed without hesitation.
His obsession with cleanliness had always been severe, yet now, he felt no repulsion.
Yan Wei noticed a slight confusion in his thinking. He clenched his fist, and the hand under the blanket unconsciously gripped the whip and pulled it.
While urging him to answer, Yan Mingguang finally said: 【I didn’t encounter anything.】
Yan Wei blinked. 【It seems that you don’t want to talk. Forget it. Anyway, I don’t think you’ll hurt me. You don’t want to talk about what’s on your mind, but I want to.】
Yan Mingguang moved slightly, and in the darkness, the man’s eyes slowly focused on the outline of Yan Wei’s face under the moon’s desolate luminescence.
He responded faster than before. 【What?】
【I don’t know why. I kept feeling something indescribable and heavy when I entered the space. Especially when I got the Fragment of the Full Moon, the attributes of this legendary item were very positive, but when I held the fragment in my palm. Not only was I unhappy. I felt as though something was crushing against me…】
Yan Wei thought for a while and finally thought of an appropriate word: 【very breathless. And I kept feeling familiarity. It shouldn’t be I touched it before and forgot, right?】
Yan Mingguang immediately retorted: 【You’re thinking too much.】
Yan Wei silently rolled his eyes at the other party.
However, Yan Mingguang didn’t give him a chance to fight back, and when he withdrew the whip, the connection between them cut off.
Yan Wei tried to use his skill to connect with Yan Mingguang’s perception, but the man didn’t respond and slowly shut his eyes as if about to sleep.
Yan Wei: “…”
Maybe he was thinking too much.
He curled his lips, closed his eyes, emptied his mind of everything, and began to rest.
It was unknown how late it was. The night grew deeper and deeper with several yells amid the silent campus. The voices pierced the darkness but vanished quickly.
Not long after, a few familiar screams rang out.
Those voices came from the third floor.
—Players from Yuemang.
The screams continued for a while, and the sound of running came from a distance, accompanied by Yue Wenxing’s cry, “Help!! Li-ge, save me!!!”
He ran and stumbled, hitting the hallway’s railings several times, making a dull crashing sound. But the sound of footsteps was not unitary, and it seemed that something with heavy steps was chasing him.
The hurried footsteps of Yue Wenxing passed 407 and stopped in front of 406’s door.
Then there was a violent knocking on the door. “Li-ge! Li-ge, save me!! It’s coming! It’s coming! HELP—!!”
He spoke with heavy pants, his breaths trembling violently, obviously injured and shedding lots of blood — Yan Wei was leaning against Yan Mingguang’s arms, and he could hear the faint sounds of dripping blood.
But room 406 was silent.
And what was chasing behind Yue Wenxing neared.
“Li Qing!! Don’t think I-I don’t know. You knocked me out and sent me to 303 so that you can stay in 406 safely!!”
There was another violent crash.
The thing seemed to have caught up, and Yue Wenxing might have had somewhat of a trump card to save his life. He even hit 406’s door, but nothing changed — since Li Qing did this, how could he not place any protection at the door?
A crisp sound, like bones breaking, was heard, with flesh and blood ripping away.
It was like something suddenly tore his limbs.
Yue Wenxing was in the hallway outside the door, and these sounds that seemed to be enveloped in the smell of blood were especially near Yan Wei and the others. Yan Wei slowly opened his eyes, staring ahead unfocused and listening intently to every movement outside.
It was everything he expected. What will Yan Mingguang think?
The focus in his eyes converged and turned to Yan Mingguang.
He couldn’t see anything clearly in the darkness, not even whether the person was asleep or awake.
Yue Wenxing screamed heart-wrenchingly, “Li Qing!! You are not benevolent, all right!!! I won’t let you have an easy time after I die! The little brothers inside can hear it clearly! Li Qing himself asked me to set up a ghost formation in 303. In the end, someone calculated against us, and we couldn’t get back to 407, so they knocked me out and threw me to 303!! He — AHHHHHHHH!!!”
Another sound of tearing.
“…He-he did this to me today and will do the same to you tomorrow!”
“LI QING!!! YOU WILL END UP WITH ME SOONER OR LATER — AHHHhhh!!”
The screams became quieter and weaker this time until they were nearly non-existent and drowned by the wrenching noise.
Gradually, the sound returned to calm.
Yan Wei gradually closed his eyes again.
He was extremely picky about his sleeping environment. He rested in this same dormitory the night before, although people from Yuemang surrounded him. He’d slept on the bottom bunk alone, and his sleep had been very shallow. It was much like every other day when he slept alone, full of vigilance, unable to let go of all his thoughts and concerns, and feeling as if he had much to accomplish — but there wasn’t.
Yet every time he huddled with Yan Mingguang, even if it was on a narrow single bed, Yan Wei could drift off to sleep in the crowdedness.
His dream, this time, was no longer faint and muddled with ignorance.
He seemed to dream of being with Yan Mingguang again. The surroundings were still as dangerous and urgent as the tower’s instances, with blood everywhere. Yan Mingguang was not as silent as he was now, and although he still did not say much, he would occasionally even analyze the situation of clues and discuss possible tactics with Yan Wei.
They seemed to be in an instance, but once each screen flashed, he couldn’t remember what had happened on the previous screens. Yan Mingguang had been there and standing beside him.
He was at ease and dependable.
Yan Wei wanted to observe the flashing images of the instance clearly, but something prevented him from doing so. He couldn’t see anything and could only recall a scene where Yan Mingguang appeared to be talking to him.
Based on his impressions of the three instances, Yan Mingguang was unlikely to take the initiative to discover anything. But in this image, the man was standing at the window, cigarette in hand. Yan Wei couldn’t see the other’s expression since the heavy smoke obscured much of the man’s profile.
There was smoke in their midst, hazy and indistinct.
The man asked, “…So you want to climb to the top, for what?”
When Yan Wei and the others opened their perspectives, nearly all the players stared in surprise at the sight in the projections.
—They were watching the game between Yan Wei and Li Qing.
That night, after Yan Wei and others turned off their projections, the players in the casino began to discuss.
They slowly acknowledged the information that Yan Wei had previously hidden. This obedient young man, who appeared in front of everyone for the first time after revealing his true colors, dramatically changed the impression of all the players who had previously regarded him as a waste.
He seemed completely different from the young man who cried for help as ghosts chased him.
Intently, everyone watched as he drove Li Qing into the trap, and Li Qing eventually took the “last choice” as Yan Wei had wished.
In the end, Yue Wenxing reluctantly opened his projection before he died and informed all the players of the ins and outs of everything. Then, Yue Wenwing was torn apart by the ghost, the projection screen turned completely gray, and there was an uproar before the projection.
Yan Wei exploited Yuemang for an entire day without any harm, acquired all of Yuemang’s valuable information, and didn’t even have a head-on conflict, letting Li Qing pit Yue Wenxing and the other three Yuemang players.
Even if tomorrow had not yet dawned in the instance, everyone knew that the seed of distrust had taken root in the hearts of the players still living in Yuemang, impossible to extract. This image was evident to the Yuemang players outside the instance, who were well aware of the type of seed players their organization possessed.
It was an effortless victory2.
After the death of Yue Wenxing, calmness was restored in front of the loud projections. Lin Qing still sat there with a casual expression, as if not interested in what was happening in the instance.
Zhao Jingchen turned around, dragged a player behind him, viciously kicked them to the ground, and exclaimed angrily, “This is the person you chose?!”
Ning Yi remained cold-faced, and the rest of Yuemang’s countenances were not very good-looking.
Zhao Jingchen gritted his teeth. “Li Qing can’t come out. What are we still doing here? Let’s go.”
Yuemang’s players hurriedly followed Zhao Jingchen and left.
Another moment of silence.
A moment later, a perplexing question broke the atmosphere of the scene.
“Yan Mingguang, Yan Wei… Could it be that from the beginning, Yan was not Yan Mingguang, but — Yan Wei?”
- Couldn’t find a better word; 沉甸甸 could mean heavy or worried. The author might mean something similar to a heavy heart or a feeling of unhappiness
- From the idiom “there was no blood on the men’s swords” (兵不血刃)