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1075 Strange Neighbour 2 in 1

 "Hey! Wake up!"

Her eyes slowly fluttered open. When she took in her surrounding, the woman sat up in bed immediately. "Where is Xiang Nuan‽"

"Calm down first. Do you still remember who I am?" Chen Ge silently put down Doctor Skull Cracker's Hammer.

"Chen Ge?"

"Where did we first meet each other?"

"At the Eastern Jiujiang Dam. Why are you asking me these questions? Can't you see that Xiang Nuan is missing? We need to go and find him before he injures himself!" The woman was desperate, but Chen Ge did not even budge from his position.

"What did I say specifically at the time that caused Xiang Nuan to finally stop causing all that fuss?"

"I do not think I heard you clearly at the time, but I believe it was ghost fetus?"

"One last question. Why would I want to kill Xiang Nuan?" Chen Ge stared closely at the woman's face. His last question honestly scared and stunned her. The expression was clear on her face.

"You want to kill Xiang Nuan? No!"

"Okay, looks like you are not one of the monsters behind the door. You are Xiang Nuan's real mother."

The woman's reaction and expression were all completely normal. Chen Ge did not stop to explain the reasoning behind his series of questions. Instead, he turned to walk out from the bedroom, and the first thing he did was check the front door of the living room. The door and windows were tightly shut. Only Chen Ge and Xiang Nuan's mother were inside the room.

"When I entered the world behind the door of the other children, there was a black iron door that gave off the smell of disinfectant behind me, but this time, that door has not made its appearance. From the moment I entered the blood door and when I opened my eyes, what really happened?"

Chen Ge was silently contemplating these questions when suddenly the woman's voice came from beside him. "How did I suddenly fall asleep? And where is Xiang Nuan? In my blurry memory, I remember seeing him enter through a door, and then I followed behind him."

The woman scratched her head. It appeared that she really did not remember what happened next.

"You sure are lucky. Only those who are dead and those who are dying are normally able to enter that door."

"Then, doesn't that mean my son is dying? Were those death notices all real?" The woman became worried and agitated again. It was clear that she was sincerely concerned about Xiang Nuan.

"Let's not worry too much about Xiang Nuan at the moment. First, I will help you understand the logical reasoning behind all of this. If we wish to find Xiang Nuan, the first thing that we need to do is ensure that we will be able to survive long enough to find him, right? If we die, won't the chance of Xiang Nuan surviving here all on his own become smaller and smaller?" Chen Ge planned to come clean with the woman just in case she did something brash and put both of them in danger. It would be too late to say anything then.

"Okay."

"Only by keeping ourselves alive will we be able to find Xiang Nuan. And to do that, you have to promise me that you will listen to my every word from now on; do not act on your emotions." Chen Ge lowered his voice. "This world is very different from the real world. In a way, you can see this place as Xiang Nuan's nightmare."

"Xiang Nuan's nightmare?"

"Even though we are technically in his nightmare, if you die here, you will be dead in every meaning of the word." Chen Ge gave the woman a quick and simple '101 course' on the world behind the door.

"But how come I do not see much difference between this place and the real world?"

"When you see the difference, we will be in great danger." Chen Ge stood inside the room and waved the hammer. He noticed that the physical exhaustion behind this door was incredibly high. He found his breathing catching from the simple exercise. It felt as if there was something lying on his back, madly sucking the life out of him.

"If this place is so dangerous, how can we leave Xiang Nuan all on his own? He is defenseless."

"I know you want to rescue Xiang Nuan, but I hope you remember this one statement-only by ensuring that you are alive will you be able to save Xiang Nuan. I will not repeat this again, so I hope you will have that memorized in your heart." Chen Ge took a deep breath. "Other than that, I have to tell you one more thing. If we run into any danger, if I can save you, I will try my best to do so, but if saving you is unfortunately not an option, I will choose to leave on my own. I hope you can understand that."

Chen Ge was being really realistic. After hearing that, the woman nodded. She replied in a soft voice, "Thank you. The fact that you have volunteered to follow me into Xiang Nuan's door has touched me greatly already. This is all because of Xiang Nuan actually. You could have stayed an outsider, but I have dragged you into this mess. I am so sorry."

Once the woman phrased it like that, Chen Ge did not know how to reply. There appeared to be some misunderstanding on her side. She had treated Chen Ge as an innocent bystander who was dragged into this dangerous incident.

"We should stop discussing this for now. Even though the world behind the door is very dangerous, it does not mean that it is a dead end. You know Xiang Nuan very well and are familiar with all his memories. That itself will be invaluable information for us to navigate our way through this place."

The world behind the door was weaved from the door pusher's memory. Exploration the scenario behind the door was in a way reading the past experience of the door pusher's despair. This time, Chen Ge had Xiang Nuan's mother as help, so he had a feeling that if they played their cards right, they should be able to avoid most of the danger.

"We will start our exploration inside this room. I need you to go and take a good look around and see if there is anything that is different from your house in real life. Check every corner of every room. Do not miss a single detail. Even the smallest details will be able to help us find Xiang Nuan."

After he said that, Chen Ge walked out from the bedroom. He looked through every single object in his backpack, and he noticed two things that were out of the ordinary.

The despairing diary entries in Zhang Ya's bedtime stories had disappeared. Only the last entry remained. The other thing was related to the red high heels. The other objects in Chen Ge's backpack appeared to be covered in a layer of dust, but the pair of red high heels was an exception. Under the blood red surface, it appeared like black threads were slowly congregating.

"The limitation upon the red high heels behind the door is weak. Is that because she has managed to consume a lot of the ghost fetus' residual curses?" The ghost fetus had chosen nine children as his candidates, and the curses behind most of these children's door had been consumed by the red high heels. Especially after Ying Tong's door, her power had increased in intensity. She had become much stronger.

"This can be considered the only good news that I have for now." Chen Ge was about to go and explore the other places when Xiang Nuan's mother's voice suddenly came from Xiang Nuan's bedroom.

"Chen Ge! The chopsticks that I placed under Xiang Nuan's bed have completely disappeared!"

Hearing that, Chen Ge rushed into the bedroom. He saw Wen Qing kneeling next to Xiang Nuan's bed. Her hand was pulling back the bed covers to show the emptiness underneath the bed. Where there should be a huge bag of chopsticks, there was nothing.

"What do those chopsticks represent to the Xiang Nuan?"

"I honestly cannot tell for sure. The child has a problem communicating with others, and he does not know how to express himself. It feels as if he has been trapped inside his own world where the logic and rules are only understandable to him alone."

"Other than the chopsticks, did you discover anything else that is out of place?" Chen Ge picked up the white cat and took out the death notice from the cursed hospital from his backpack. He gave the cat a good sniff of the document, but the white cat did not respond in any way. There did not appear to be any curse lingering on the cursed hospital's death notice.

"The death notices that have Xiang Nuan's name on them have all disappeared as well, as did the school bag that I bought Xiang Nuan..."

"A school bag?"

"Yes, when I first brought Xiang Nuan to a special ed school, I bought him a school bag. I had such great hopes on that day. I thought that things would finally return to normal."

"Sounds like the schoolbag is a symbol of hope for a better future, but what do the chopsticks represent? Why are these two the only missing things inside this house?"

He thought for a long time but could not come up with an answer, so Chen Ge eventually gave up. He gave the same house a close inspection and found a key to the front door and a fruit knife inside the house. Chen Ge pocketed the key and handed the knife over to Wen Qing. "Here, take this in case you need to defend yourself."

The non-smiler will have entered the door as well. They might appear anywhere. If only I can find them first.

All the Specters would be limited by the boundaries in the world behind the door. Either the people from the cursed hospital would not be able to show up, or if they did, they would have lost most of their power, meaning they would be in about the same position as Chen Ge, so this would be the perfect opportunity to get rid of them.

"This house should be safe, but we are going to leave this place soon. Follow close behind me. No matter what you see or hear, do not make any noise to attract attention to ourselves."

"Understood."

Chen Ge carried his backpack, but he did not leave from the front door immediately. Instead, he walked to the window to pull open the curtains.

"This is..." The scenery before his eyes could only be described as horrifying. The buildings were all mangled and twisted together. The surfaces of their buildings were mottled like wounds and scabs that were recovering. Narrowing his eyes, Chen Ge looked further into the distance. The few buildings were all covered in a thick black fog. It appeared that they had fallen into a sea of darkness.

"The windows can be opened, so this means that we might not necessarily need to use the door enter the other rooms. But it should be extremely dangerous outside the building now. There appears to be something incredibly scary hiding inside the rolling black fog." Chen Ge could not tell for sure what was hiding inside the fog. The presence that this thing gave off was different from a Specter or a ghost, but it managed to evoke the innate fear within the human heart. "Are they the original tenants behind this door?"

Pulling back the curtain, the heart palpation finally stopped after a long time. "This place is too dangerous and scary."

Chen Ge called Wen Qing. The two of them headed to the living room front door. Seeing that Chen Ge was ready to leave, the white cat, who had been playing dead, suddenly 'came back to life' and followed him.

Upon opening the front door, Chen Ge was hit by a horrible stench. He had a feeling that the stench that had been bothering him all this while originated from this neighborhood.

Pushing the door one quarter open, Chen Ge walked out first. There were many different objects crowding the corridor, and the floor was filled with black stains and not so obvious blood stains.

Yellowed flyers filled up the walls, and the flyers were all insulting words about Wen Qing, but different from the ones in real life, the black and white picture of Wen Qing on the flyers was no longer one of herself but replaced by a headless woman. The whole corridor was filled with the flyers of this headless woman. Just from a glance, it would be able to make a person's heart skip a beat. The sound of a breath being held came from behind Chen Ge. Wen Qing's face blanched as her eyes straight fixatedly at those flyers stuck to the wall.

Signaling for Wen Qing to keep quiet, Chen Ge slowly walked ahead a few steps. The stench in the corridor was very heavy, and the air was damp. Occasionally, something would fall on their heads. They felt like little spiders or the catkin plants. They could feel them, but they could not touch or see what they were.

"Every single door has a number on it. Xiang Nuan's house is still Room 401, so we can assume that we are on the fourth floor of Building A."

In this world behind the door, all the apartment buildings at Jiu Hong Apartments and Jin Hwa Apartments had been mangled and twisted together. The first thing Chen Ge needed to do was reconfirm his current location.

"401, 402..." When Chen Ge reached Room 405, he suddenly stopped. There were many black trash bags placed next to the door. He opened one of them and saw it was stuffed with bloodied bandages and toilet paper as well as an exorbitant amount of broken needles.

"Why are there so many broken needles?" He was about to open the other bags to take a look when the door to Room 405 suddenly creaked open, and the iron door was pushed open from within. A tall and fat middle-aged lady appeared at the door with a black plastic bag in her hand. Her body was practically overflowing with meat, and she had makeup caked on her face. Her hands were covered in band aids and traces of what appeared to be oil were left on the tips of her fingers. She reeked of cheap perfume, and the smell was heady enough to cover up the horrible stench that came from the black plastic bags.

"What are you doing?" The middle-aged woman's voice was rather scary.

"I am so sorry. My cat is a rather fussy little thing. He likes to go around and scratch things." Chen Ge picked up the white cat. At the same time, his eyes leaped past the middle-aged woman and looked into the interior of Room 405. The whole room was painted pink. On the tiled floor were some bloody needles and threads. The screen of the television in the living room reflected the shadow of a boy. The boy looked so well, and the lower half of his body was covered in a blanket. It was worth noting that the middle of the thin blanket was stained red by blood.

"Why do you keep it if it refuses to be trained? I hate these small critters so much." The woman dropped the plastic bag by the door and then slammed the door closed.

"The woman looks quite hostile," Wen Qing said softly, "but I am familiar with her face. She looks quite similar to the real tenant in Room 405."

"Then she should be the tenant from Room 405, but her appearance has been tweaked somewhat." Chen Ge lowered his voice. Earlier, he had just opened the black plastic bag for a few seconds when the middle-aged lady came to open the door with the appearance of throwing out rubbish. The higher chance was that she had been hiding behind the door, and she heard the commotion from outside.

"If it is really her, perhaps we can ask her for help."

"Is this woman trustworthy?"

"In real life, the tenant of Room 405 is a woman living alone. She has a slight frame and is quite reticent. But she has a good personality and is especially kind around children. I think she is one of the few tenants who does not mind Xiang Nuan. She often voluntarily comes to talk to Xiang Nuan and play with him."

"You have been tricked by her appearance. The tenant of Room 405 is most likely a human trafficker." Chen Ge lowered his voice even more. He leaned into Wen Qing's ears and said, "When the door opened, the television screen in her home reflected the sofa. On the sofa lay a boy with a starkly pale face."

"A boy? Is it Xiang Nuan?"

"He is slightly older than Xiang Nuan, and he looks completely different from your son."

"It is not Xiang Nuan? But how can you tell she is a human trafficker?" The neighbor that she saw day in and day out was a human trafficker; Wen Qing still had trouble accepting that as a fact.

"The part below the boy's waist is covered up by a blanket, and the blanket was sliding down the sofa. The key part was that the middle of the blanket was soaked in blood, and the stain was spreading. Obviously, the blood was coming out from inside the blanket."

"He's injured?"

"He is not only injured. His legs have been amputated, and the bleeding has not stopped." What Chen Ge said caused Wen Qing's hair to stand on end.

"In real life, these people hide their real personalities under the disguise of humanity, but behind the door, their real self will be exposed. We must be extremely careful, or else we will face a horrifying death."

After leaving Room 405, Wen Qing still looked no better. Her eyes kept consciously and subconsciously wandering to the black trash bags that collected around the door of Room 405. "Chen Ge, I am now very worried about Xiang Nuan."

"There is no reason to get so worked up. What we need to do now is go and find Uncle Huang on the first floor. He might be the only person who is willing to help us in this neighborhood." Chen Ge's mind was sharp and clear. His determination was as tough as steel, and he would rarely be interrupted by any outside influences.