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535 The Hearse

 The night sky was like a thick cloth, smothering all the light. Chen Ge sat on the e-bike and held his arms open. The rain fell into his open palms as he murmured, "Looks like the rain is picking up."

The buildings on the side looked rather blurry. It was not that late yet, but there was already no light in the neighborhood. "Do people in Eastern Jiujiang like to sleep early?"

Chen Ge had already noticed the anomalies. He parked the bike by the bus stop and took out his phone to look at the time.

"Not yet midnight. Normally, those things become active after midnight." Chen Ge had not brought a raincoat or umbrella, so he was worried of getting the comic wet. "Should I stay here and wait or continue moving before the rain picks up?"

After some thought, Chen Ge decided to keep moving. "If the rain gets too heavy, I'll find a place to hide from it. I cannot waste the whole night waiting for the bus to appear. The main mission for the night is to go to Jiang Long's apartment where Xiao Bu's mother was supposed to be trapped."

Chen Ge was a quick thinker and would move after he came to a decision. His bike was the only vehicle on the road, but he did not panic.

"Route 104 is the longest route in Jiujiang, and it has the most stops. Other than that, it is also the only route the goes from Western Jiujiang to Eastern Jiujiang. Back then, the city council opened this route to better connect Western and Eastern Jiujiang.

"Thinking back, of all the routes, the ghosts only targeted Route 104. This means that the culprit wished to use the bus to transport the ghosts and spirits between Eastern and Western Jiujiang."

Chen Ge was unclear what the culprit was up to, but it felt like they were preparing to make Eastern Jiujiang into a paradise for ghosts. They had even built a home for these ghosts at the fringe of Li Wan City.

"Eastern Jiujiang is more dangerous than Western Jiujiang; I have to be careful." The deeper he travelled into Eastern Jiujiang, the dimmer the streetlights became. The twisted light failed to provide him warmth and safety, but it made him even more nervous. The buildings by the road were things that one could see normally, but there was something off about them like the tenants were not living humans but something else.

When he passed a T-junction, Chen Ge stopped. He stood next to a bus stop. He looked at the forks of the road. He tried to comb his memory, but he could not remember which turn to take. After completing so many missions given by the black phone, Chen Ge had cultivated the habit of memorizing the routes so that he could have a quick escape. After visiting Li Wan City so many times, he had memorized the routes, but when he tried to follow the direction in his memory, he realized that this path was something that was not in his memory.

"Did I remember incorrectly, or have I entered the territory that is influenced by the door?" He took out his phone and opened the GPS. It took a long time before telling Chen Ge it failed to capture his location. "Looks like I've run into the situation that Doctor Pei mentioned."

However, Chen Ge did not repeat the patient's mistake. He parked the e-bike by the road and picked up his backpack to walk to the nearest shop and slammed heavily on the curtain door.

"Such a rapid hammering at midnight, but no one came out to check the situation, huh?" Chen Ge turned back to look. The buildings in the distance were receding into the darkness. The darkness was like a beast, preparing to swallow everything including Chen Ge.

"The longer the door is left out of control, the greater the overlapping of the despair and strangeness of the world behind the door and the real world." Chen Ge had gotten this information from Men Nan. He had not witnessed this before, so he could not tell for sure.

"Never mind, it's not the time to think." Chen Ge opened the zipper of his bag. He was about to take out the hammer to test the reaction of the citizens behind the door when something suddenly moved through the inky darkness. The broken appearance said plenty about the lack of maintenance. Instead of a bus, it looked more like a mobile coffin.

"Is this the bus?" Chen Ge looked at the bus that had appeared at the junction, and his eyes narrowed. At the same time, the black phone he kept in his shirt pocket vibrated. Like his usual habit, Chen Ge took it out to take a look.

"Congratulations, Specters' Favored! You've triggered a two-star Trial Mission-The Hearse!

"Would you like to accept this mission?

"Warning! If you give up this mission, the scenario will never be unlocked!"

Seeing the message, Chen Ge accepted it without hesitation.

"The hearse carrying dead people is already on the road. If you fail to leave within one hour, you'll be left on the bus forever!

"Mission Requirement: Take the bus on Route 104 to Li Wan City after midnight and disembark it safely.

"Mission Hint: After completing this mission, a new Trial Mission will be unlocked!"

After two seconds, Chen Ge put the black phone away. The mission information confirmed his speculation. "Of the few Trial Missions given by the black phone initially, the Hearse should be the key linking Western and Eastern Jiujiang! After completing this mission, the black phone should update me with more difficult missions from Eastern Jiujiang!"

Chen Ge carried his backpack and returned to the bus stop. He looked at the bus that was slowly coming in like a coffin, and his eyes narrowed. "There should be something above a Red Specter in Eastern Jiujiang. After completing this mission, the black phone will probably provide a four-star Trial Mission."

Taking a deep breath, Chen Ge was ready. He stood in the dark alone, and his expression was serious. "In a way, this is a new beginning, so I must be cautious."

The wind fluttered his sleeves, and the rain wet his hair. Chen Ge looked at the approaching bus, and his one hand reached into the backpack. The rain continued to fall. The eerie bus on Route 104 entered the bus stop, and Chen Ge's heart started to race. He heard the machine voice report the bus' arrival.

"It's finally here."

Chen Ge looked at the passengers inside the bus who had their heads lowered. He walked forward, but before he left the platform, the bus drove away. It picked up speed and sped into the darkness. Watching the bus scurry away, Chen Ge only came to after a long time.

"Is it not allowing me to get on the bus‽"

The black phone's mission requirement was for him to take the bus to Li Wan City and get off safely, but the bus did not plan to let Chen Ge get on at all. If he could not get on the bus, then the mission would naturally fail. This was something that Chen Ge had not anticipated.

To prevent the mission failure, Chen Ge hopped onto Fan Chong's e-bike and started to race down the street to chase after the bus.

"Wait, you left a passenger behind!"