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823 Search for Children with Despair

 Chen Ge was shocked by his own thought. An ownerless door going on an endless search for a despairing child, and after several years, it transformed itself into a four-star scenario. That sounded impossible, so Chen Ge warned himself from getting ahead of himself.

"There are thirteen easels in the art room, so there should be thirteen painters. They know about the school's secret. They might be the thirteen door-pusher candidates that the door has found for itself."

A person's energy would have a hard time supporting an entire four-star scenario, unless that person had surpassed the limitation of a Red Specter, or it was the cooperation between many Red Specters. No one knew how this would end. After all, Chen Ge had not encountered so many Red Specters in one place before.

"Thirteen, this sure is an unlucky number." Chen Ge glanced at Zhou Tu. He had been looking for the art club and had dreamed about the scene inside the room with the oil paintings. He should be one of the thirteen painters.

"The door should have its requirements. Zhang Ju obviously doesn't fulfil those requirements, but Zhou Tu does." Chen Ge had not expected much from the art room initially, but now after giving it some analysis, he changed his mind. "Zhou Tu's memory will be key."

Of the club members, Zhou Tu was the most unique, and Chen Ge was going to face two possible developments. After Zhou Tu's memory awakened, he might tell Chen Ge everything, or he might become Chen Ge's enemy.

"This is a big fish. Perhaps I should pay him more attention." Chen Ge narrowed his eyes at Zhou Tu until the latter shivered from his gaze.

"Mr. Bai, I'm going to go there to take a look." Zhou Tu found an excuse and scurried deeper into the room.

"Why are you running away? I'm the one who should be scared." Chen Ge continued searching the room. He believed that the filing room had more surprises for him. Very soon, Chen Ge found more articles about fires inside the room. Flames seemed to have a special significance in the school. They represented destruction but also rebirth.

"There was a fire at Mu Yang High School. There were burn marks on the stairs, and the school used to house a crematorium. Now I've discovered that there was also a fire at Western Jiujiang Private Academy. Are these mere coincidences, or is there a deeper meaning behind it?"

Other than the articles about the fire, Chen Ge also found a few rather well-preserved student files. Two of them were quite unique. One of them had Lin Sisi's name, and there were many comments given about him by the teachers and other students.

Other classmates refused to be his friend, and the teachers ignored him for the most part. The child had lost his mother, and his father was a murderer. He had been adopted when he was young, but for some reason, he always ran away from home and created a lot of trouble. From his perspective, the only person who sincerely wanted to help him was an intern at the children's home. The young man who had just graduated from university sponsored Lin Sisi through primary school even though he had not settled down himself. He even attended Lin Sisi's parent-teacher conferences.

Based on the teacher's observation, only in the intern's presence would Lin Sisi's 'hyperactivity' improve. The document did not have any actual information or even a picture of Lin Sisi, but there was a handwritten signature-Gu Youjia. The document was moldy and been eaten by bugs. Only the spot with the guardian's signature was clean and untouched.

"Gu Youjia, Jiujiang Children's Home. If I can leave this place alive, I should go pay the place a visit." Chen Ge seemed to be talking to himself, but at the same time, his words appeared to be meant for other ears as well. Then he turned to the other selected document. This document's date was earlier than every other file. There was no name, and there was no content; there was only one line written on it.

"Just one more minute, one more hour. It will get better. They won't bully me forever. One day, I will grow up." The handwriting was uneven and tilted. They did not appear to be written by an adult, more like the handwriting of an injured child.

"Patience and refusal to fight back will only make the bullying worse. It is the same no matter what. Those who gain joy from inflicting pain on others will not practice empathy and self-reflection." Chen Ge used Lin Sisi's phone to take a picture before putting the files back.

"The earliest file should have been left behind by the real door pusher. After he pushed open the door, perhaps his personality underwent a drastic change, and he shot down to the other end of the spectrum. If he was the person whom Zhang Ya had consumed, after he perished, the door that he opened might have continued to operate based on his lingering spirit. "If I wish to increase my survivability behind the door, I should try to follow his ideology."

Bullying never happened to Chen Ge. The closest he had come to being bullied probably happened when he was still in primary school. The teacher had told the students to bring their old toys to school so that they could donate them to the local children's home.

After everyone had made their donation, Chen Ge had been the only one left who had stood there wordlessly holding his bag. The naughtier kids in class had started to grab at his bag, and in that process, they had accidentally yanked down the zipper. A bloody intestine and a whole bag of decapitated fingers had burst forth like a foundation. The realistic fingers had rolled on the ground like hot dogs. The plastic bloody intestine had bounced several times on the table. It had definitely given the teacher and his classmates a day to remember.

When the vice headmaster came to the class, he had asked the teacher about Chen Ge's family background. That afternoon, Chen Ge's parents had been called to the school and then been led to the police station for some questions. In a way, Chen Ge should have been the only kid who got bullied in class but ended up with his parents interrogated by the police. Looking on the bright side, from then on, no one dared bully Chen Ge.

"One shan't ever bow down to bullying." Chen Ge had another meaning in that statement. At this school, some of the victims had restarted the cycle. The School of the Afterlife kept expanding. The door that was not completely dyed red would approach all despairing children and incorporate them into the world behind the door. It would repeat their nightmare behind the door and use their souls as bricks to create a giant tomb that could capture real life.

They looked through the data filing room for a long time until the familiar stench returned. Chen Ge quickly led the members away from the room.

"Sir, our luck is not bad. The stench only came to find us after we'd looked through so many things," Zhu Long whispered.

"It's not luck. Someone distracted the monsters for us." Chen Ge was not sure whether Chang Gu was helping him or not. However, he knew that something was happening in the school, and those things were probably related to the Chang siblings.

"Let's go. We're heading to the lab building next." Chen Ge turned to Zhou Tu. "Have you come to a decision?"