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745 Weight of a Fathers Love

 The light in the staircase seemed to dim, and cold wind blew from above his head; the operator of Nightmare Academy seemed to have switched the air-conditioning to its lowest setting. When Chen Ge returned to the previous floor, he realized with a shock that the safety door that led from the staircase to the corridor had been locked, and a new seal had been taped across it.

"It's locked? They plan to trap me inside the stairwell?" Chen Ge stood at the door and looked out through the glass panel on the door. Shadows flitted across the dim corridor. They were of various sizes and appeared to be armed with various tools. When his attention was distracted by the shadows out in the corridor, the footsteps echoing down the stairwell returned.

"Someone is following behind me, huh?" Chen Ge was not worried. He listened carefully and realized that it was a child's voice underlying the sound of footsteps. The boy seemed to have been separated from his father and was crying for help.

"This voice sounds weird; it doesn't sound like that of a child but is much shriller than a normal adult's voice. It's like an adult with a prepubescent voice."

Closing his eyes, Chen Ge tried to pinpoint the boy's location. "The sound of the boy is mixed with a very weak sound of static, so it should be coming from a speaker. Even though the sound that came from downstairs is equally scary, it sounds much clearer, so the child should be located at the lower part of the building."

As he went down the stairs, the light became dimmer and the walls dirtier. There were more conspicuous stains on the walls, and they made one feel uncomfortable. Other than that, Chen Ge discovered something interesting. At every landing between each floor, there was a black joss stick urn where three joss sticks sat. There had to be a purpose behind them, but for the time being, Chen Ge had no idea what they were for.

"The joss sticks are too damp to be lit, and some of them are even snapped..." Chen Ge squatted down next to the urn and picked it up in his palm to study. To his surprise, there was a picture placed under the urn. He picked up the picture. It was that of a man in his thirties, wearing a mask and keeping his head lowered like he was very afraid of being seen.

Chen Ge noticed that the man's left hand was holding someone's arm, but that part of the picture had been torn off.

"Daddy..." The voice suddenly came from behind Chen Ge.

"Are you calling me?" Chen Ge turned back to look, but there was nothing there. Narrowing his eyes, Chen Ge walked in the direction that the voice had come from, and he spotted a mini speaker hidden inside the stained wall.

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"No wonder there are so many dirty stains on the walls-it makes it more convenient to hide these mechanisms." Chen Ge's finger swiped the front end of the speaker. "Something like this must be very expensive. If there's a chance, perhaps I should install some in my own Haunted House. One of the reasons Nightmare Academy has grown so big is because it has mixed technology and ghost story, and that seems like the way to go."

Chen Ge was not a prideful man. His willingness to learn was how he had managed to survive thus far.

"I haven't checked my account for so long. I suppose there should be quite a healthy sum inside it. After unlocking the four-star mission, I should approach Director Luo to ask for a loan to purchase a set of the latest equipment for the Haunted House. Having my people control the latest equipment, hiding a scarier horror behind the darkness, that should be able to give the visitors quite an experience."

Holding the picture in his hand, Chen Ge carried his bag and headed further down the stairs. The sound of footsteps and the boy's crying came nearer and nearer. Nightmare Academy wished to create this impression that the ghost was catching up to Chen Ge. Using the various mini speakers installed in the stairwell and the manipulation backstage, that was exactly what they managed to do.

For a normal person, after they entered the stairwell and realized that the strange sounds were moving closer and closer, their confidence would slowly crumble, but unfortunately, that day, Nightmare Academy met their match.

After noticing the sounds getting closer, Chen Ge not only did not panic; he headed directly toward the source of the sound like he could not wait to meet the ghost in person, and that proved such a headache for the person manipulating the system in the background. He communicated nonstop with the actors to stop Chen Ge from entering the next scenario before the preparation was done.

"Using the sounds to discern the source is pointless. Each floor has been installed with those speakers, and the sounds could have come from any of the speakers." Chen Ge stood inside the stairwell patiently. He focused. He attempted to pinpoint the third source of the sound amid the disturbance of the footsteps and the crying to triangulate the worker's location.

Seeing this, the person thought that Chen Ge had given up. He quickly barked orders at his workers, telling them to get to work.

Chen Ge did not know about the things happening backstage. He utilized his superhuman senses and picked up two sets of footsteps coming from the lower floor, one heavier than the other.

"One of them comes from the speaker, and the other probably means that the actor is on the move."

Without any warning, Chen Ge charged forward. The moment that he grabbed the doorknob of the safety door, there was another pale hand that grabbed the same doorknob from the other side. Two hands fell on the doorknob at once, and they lifted up their heads at the same time to look at each other through the glass.

In the corridor, there stood a girl wearing Nightmare Academy's uniform. She wore very thick make-up, and her cheeks were pale. A purplish strangle mark was visible across her neck. The scariest thing was her eyes. A finger was stuck through her pupil, and both sides of her lips were painted with red dye.

Inside the stairwell, Chen Ge tightened his grip on the doorknob, and his eyes were glowing coldly. The image of a woman was reflected in his eyes, and a unique presence radiated off him. It was hard to describe, but in any case, he did not look like a living person.

The girl did not expect that someone would suddenly grab the door and appear behind it. Her face twitched, but she maintained her professionalism. To prevent the finger that stuck in her eye from sliding down, the girl titled her chin upward and looked at Chen Ge in this strange posture.

"Are you the spirit inside the stairwell? The evil spirit that I will meet once the thirteenth step appears?" Through the door, Chen Ge studied the girl carefully. Hearing Chen Ge's words, the girl was confused. It felt like Chen Ge was more in character than she was, but soon, a difficult conundrum was placed before her.

As a Specter born out of resentment and despair, how was she supposed to respond to Chen Ge?

If she said yes, then it would appear like she was more easily persuaded than required. Why should a Specter answer his question simply because he asked it?

But if she said no, then how was she going to explain the way that she was dressed?

The girl turned her neck to glance at the camera at the side. The script had not provided her the necessary lines should this situation arise.

"If you won't answer, I'll take it as a silent admission. However, I have a small complaint-where is the thirteenth step that you promised me?" Chen Ge pulled on the safety door, and it swung open just like that. However, at that moment, something strange happened.

The girl seemed to have received a new order from the backstage through her earpiece. She looked behind Chen Ge, and her expression was fearful like she saw something very scary behind Chen Ge. "He has returned!"

After saying that, the girl turned and ran away; she did not even stop to pick up the prop finger that had fallen to the ground.

"He has returned?" Chen Ge turned back to look. He assumed that it was Ol' Zhou or the Pen Spirit who had appeared.

He glanced at the girl that soon disappeared, and he was confused. "Is this some kind of a story within a story, or has a real Specter appeared? Then again, this place is built at the spot where Yin energy gathers, so the possibility of that is not zero."

Chen Ge was still thinking when the sound of footsteps and the boy's crying came from the staircase again. After hearing them for so long, it started to annoy him.

"Are you done? Fine, you want to find your father? After I find you, I'll let you experience once and for all the weight of a father's love!"