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1077 Smelliest Room 2 in 1

 "Female underwear?" Wen Qing did not notice these details. But after hearing the warning from Chen Ge, she felt a shiver run down her spine. "So, he is a pervert that goes around stealing people's underwear?"

"Wu You probably saw his secret as well. That is why he came out to warn us about the boy after he knew we had a chat with Wu You." Chen Ge and Wen Qing stood inside the staircase. Both of them spoke barely above a whisper and ensured that their words were only heard by each other. "But the thing that worries me the most is not the man's habit of stealing underwear but the words that he told us. Wu You has kept his door open because he has been waiting for his parents to come home, and he stated quite clearly to us that his parents have merely gone out for a walk. However, according to what the middle-aged man told me, Wu You caused his parents' death. Wu You's father and mother are dead because of the boy."

"You mean to say the person who killed Wu You's parents is the middle-aged man?" After following Chen Ge for some time, Wen Qing's way of thinking slowly matched up with Chen Ge's.

"I suspect it was a group effort. Perhaps no one dealt the killing blow, but everyone was related to the death of Wu You's parents." After meeting the three tenants, Chen Ge realized that the apartment had its own inherent rules, and the rules had been agreed upon by the tenants. If anyone dared break the rules, they might be targeted by the rest of the tenants. "After a person witnessed a murder, if they did not come forward to report to the police but instead maliciously tried to keep it covered up, then they can be considered an accomplice to the murder."

"Then based on what you said, I feel like Wu You is one poor boy. After we find Xiang Nuan, how about we bring him away with us as well?" Wen Qing was a very kind woman, but kindness was the most useless thing for the original tenants of the world behind the door. To survive and flourish there, the first thing one had to abandon was the kindness that resided within humanity.

"We will discuss that after we find Xiang Nuan." Following the stairs down, Chen Ge and Wen Qing stopped when they reached the second floor. Inside the dim second-floor corridor stood an old lady. She was holding a dirty china bowl, and inside the bowl were some coins and some leftovers. The old lady was originally standing outside one of the doors, and she was trying to turn the doorknob as hard as she could, but no matter how hard she tried, she was unable to get the door to open. When Chen Ge passed by, the old lady spotted him, and she started to make her way toward him. The stained hands waved before Chen Ge. She held the bowl as she made this gargling sound. The whole incident just felt creepy and absurd.

"Granny Lee?" Wen Qing recognized this old lady before them, but when she saw the old lady's actual appearance, she was given quite a shock.

"You know her? Is she one of the tenants of your neighborhood as well?"

"She used to be, but later, her son told us that she had wandered off one day. I personally have not seen her in years." Wen Qing's eyes were filled with shock. "The old lady led an orderly and prim life. Her hair was always in a neat bun, and you would not find a crease on her clothing. She was often spotted alone in the garden taking care of the plants and flowers."

"Could it be that her son finally lost patience of looking after her, so he told you guys that the old lady had wandered away, but the truth was he had abandoned her?"

"That was his mother, not an object. How could someone abandon their mother just like that?"

"Do not overestimate the good in humanity. It was just a few days ago that I read on the news that a man had buried his incapacitated mother alive. Sometimes, real life is stranger than fiction."

Wen Qing and Chen Ge stood where they were. The old lady appeared to have suffered from some real trauma. Her mind was not there, and she was unable to be communicated with. She just kept pushing the bowl toward Chen Ge.

"Are you hungry?" Chen Ge did not mind the old lady's dirty appearance. He walked toward her and said, "Do you want me to lead you home?"

Through Wen Qing's brief description, Chen Ge felt like this crazy old lady was one of the 'good guys' and was therefore one of the candidates that he could try to cooperate with. The old lady did not appear like she could even string together a complete sentence. She very urgently shoved the bowl toward Chen Ge, and her throat kept making these strange noises. Chen Ge took out a bill of money and placed it inside the bowl, but the old lady still stubbornly held out her bowl. Her hands were gesturing. Even though Chen Ge still had no idea what she meant, but at least for now, he was sure that she was not looking for money but something else.

The commotion that they made was quite loud. After they had stood there for about ten seconds, the door of Room 206, the room that was closest to the stairs, suddenly opened.

"You again." It was a young man who pushed open the door. He was wearing a pair of headphones, and his face was pale like he had not seen the sun for a long time already. "I just chased you away. Why have you returned so soon?"

He looked at the dirty and disheveled old lady with undisguised disgust in his eyes. He walked out from his room and forcibly pulled Chen Ge away from the old lady. "Do not get entangled with this crazy woman, or else she will follow you forever like a shadowy ghost that refuses to leave. I have never seen such a disgusting person in my life."

So far, this young man from Room 206 was the most normal person Chen Ge had met since he entered the world behind the door. Be it his words, appearance, or physique, he looked similar to a normal person outside the door.

"Xiao Sun?" Wen Qing also recognized this young man, but the young man was unable to recognize her.

"Do I know you? Never mind, I do not have any interest in making a new friend. I do not need to get a briefing on your life. What I need is for you guys to keep quiet. I am recording a song in there." The young man then shut the door after saying all that.

"Is that young man the old lady's family?" Chen Ge asked softly.

"No, Granny Lee stayed in Room 205. Her son has a very ugly grimace on his face like the whole world owes him something. He is completely unlike Granny Lee."

"Then, who was that Xiao Sun? The feeling that he gave me was completely different from the other tenants that we have met so far." Chen Ge looked at the door to Room 206. As he interacted with more and more tenants, he became more and more confused. This was Xiang Nuan's world behind the door. How exactly were these people linked to Xiang Nuan? What was the nature of their relationship with the little boy?

"Xiao Sun was a university student, and he liked to sing. He used to stay in Room 206 of Jin Hwa Apartments. At the time, he paid a half year's rent in one go, but strangely enough, he moved away on the second month without any notice. He did not ask for the rest of his rent or the deposit back. He even left behind most of his items and furniture. The landlord complained to me about it quite a lot back then."

"What did you think of Xiao Sun? What kind of person is he?"

"He rarely left his room, and now that I think about it, I did not remember seeing him going to class. He did not like to speak to others and would only occasionally leave his room to go and buy some everyday groceries in bulk. To me, he is a quintessential shut-in."

"A very normal shut-in that disappeared mysteriously from your residential area after two months." When the door opened earlier, Chen Ge had used Yin Yang Vision to look into the Room 206. He noticed that there were several cracks on the wall, and the wallpaper had peeled back a lot. The interior of Room 206 was lacking and needed some good refurbishing.

"Why would you say that he mysteriously disappeared? Perhaps some emergency came up and he had to leave without informing the landlord. By the way, I heard from the landlord that Xiao Sun's room was a mess, and his furniture was seriously damaged. Perhaps he was worried that he would be forced to pay the repair fee, so he sneaked away in the middle of the night."

"When a sheep is staying with a herd of wolves, what do you think will happen to the sheep?"

"What is it that you are trying to say?"

"If he does not turn himself into a wolf, then he will become the wolves' dinner. When everyone is an accomplice and you are not willing to come one, you will end up as a victim."

Granny Lee heard what Chen Ge said clearly. Interestingly enough, the apparently mad Granny Lee started to calm down. She seemed to understand Chen Ge. Granny Lee's reaction was within Chen Ge's expectations. He was purposely discussing Xiao Sun's situation before Granny Lee because he wanted to see and test her reaction.

It was difficult to survive behind the door. Every 'person' had their own way of survival, their own method of not being killed. Wu You was a born liar, and Granny Lee became a mad woman. Xiao Sun appeared the most normal, and thus, he was also in the most dangerous situation. Of course, if he had 'compromised', then it would be a different story.

The hands that were holding the china bowl shook violently. Granny Lee was unable to speak, but at least she had stopped her strange action. She merely followed quietly behind Chen Ge and refused to leave. Everything was similar to what Xiao Sun had described. Granny Lee was like a 'shadowy ghost' and could not be chased away no matter what.

"Xiao Sun should have experienced something similar. If my guess is not wrong, Granny Lee was actually trying to warn him, or rather, she was trying to use this kind of method to get help from Xiao Sun." Chen Ge was curious as to why Granny Lee had lost the ability to speak. In Wen Qing's memory, the old lady did not have any problem with her voice.

Is it because she can't speak, or is she too afraid to speak?

They did not stop for long on the second floor. Chen Ge and Wen Qing, with Granny Lee trailing behind them, arrived at the first floor.

"Uncle Huang stays in Room 104. There are three rooms that are occupied on the first floor. The other three rooms have been modified into a storeroom and a garage." Wen Qing also believed that Uncle Huang was a trustworthy person, so she showed more desperation than Chen Ge. She ran straight to Room 104 and knocked on the door.

While Wen Qing was doing that, Chen Ge took his time to study the corridor of the first door. Unlike the world behind Ying Tong's door, the interior of this apartment was not knotted in an endless circle. The exit to the staircase was right before them, but the way that should lead them out was blocked by a rusted iron door. And the door was locked. To leave, one needed the key.

"The way out has been locked. If Xiang Nuan does not have the key, then he should still be somewhere inside this building, but what if Xiang Nuan is the one who has been holding on to the key?"

Chen Ge had been inside this door for quite some time already, but he still had no clear idea what was going on. He could not see a clear sign of Xiang Nuan's despair. What he saw instead was the source of despair for the other tenants. In a way, Xiang Nuan was more like a spectator of other people's misery.

The corridor of the first floor has the most blood stains, and the black and red blood has seeped into the tiles. Even blood thread-like patterns have appeared on the wall. This floor might be more dangerous than the previous floor.

While Chen Ge was busy analyzing all that, the door to Room 104 was opened, and then Chen Ge heard a shocked gasp from Wen Qing.

"What happened?" Chen Ge turned back to look, and he too was given quite a shock. The iron door to Room 104 was open, and an old man with a serious hunchback stood at the door. His body was practically bent in half like there was something very heavy pressing down on him on his shoulders. If that was everything, Chen Ge would not have reacted so drastically. The scariest thing was the old man's face. The face that was filled with wrinkles was covered in bite marks. The bite marks were of different depths and sizes; they appeared to have come from different people.

"Uncle Huang?" Chen Ge asked uncertainly. He tried to make himself sound as normal as possible.

"My surname is Huang. How can I help you?" The old man shuffled out of his room. An indescribably horrible smell came out from inside his room.

"Uncle Huang, I am Wen Qing..." Wen Qing explained with her brows deeply furrowed.

"Wen Qing?"

"Do you not remember me? I often cook lunch for you. One time, when you were sick, I even took you to the hospital. I spend every day taking care of you whenever I can."

What Wen Qing had just revealed was news to Chen Ge as well. He had no idea she had been taking care of Uncle Huang.

"I am sorry, but I am so old that my mind is not working so well. Are you a tenant here as well?" The old man was totally confused. His body appeared to be incredibly fragile, and he would cough between every word.

"Of course, I live at room..."

"Uncle Huang, we wish to ask you something." Chen Ge stepped in to interrupt Wen Qing. He did not allow her to continue. Actually, he had already noticed this anomaly a long time ago. All the people that they had met behind the door appeared to have no knowledge of Wen Qing. This woman who was supposedly the most important person in Xiang Nuan's life was a complete blank in his world behind the door. The flyers that insulted Wen Qing all had her pictures turned into the picture of a headless woman.

Earlier, Xiao Sun had no memory of Wen Qing, and now even Uncle Huang could not recognize Wen Qing. This was definitely not a coincidence. It was Xiang Nuan who opened the door. Chen Ge had a feeling that Xiang Nuan was purposely trying to protect Wen Qing. He did not want Wen Qing to have any connection with his world of nightmares. Even if he had fallen into the darkest abyss, he wanted his mother to stay in the world of warmth and kind humanity.

The idea is not bad, but he probably did not expect that Wen Qing would follow him through the door.

Chen Ge did not voice this out loud. He was merely thinking about it in his mind. The most important thing now was to figure out whether Uncle Huang was on their side or not.

"What do you wish to find out?" The old man's condition appeared to worsen. With his hand on the door, his back was bent even lower.

"Sir, has someone left from the exit before?"

"I don't think so. Recently, it has been quite chaotic outside this building, so the landlord added a lock to protect the tenants from the outside threat. The key is with the landlord, so to leave, you will need to find the landlord."

In one single sentence, Uncle Huang had revealed so much important information. The outside world was chaotic, so they at least knew something of the other apartments. This whole residential area was communal, and they were related to each other.

The lock was applied by the landlord, so if Chen Ge wanted to leave, they had to get the key from the landlord. Finally, what Uncle Huang said reminded Chen Ge of something. At least inside this apartment, the landlord was an important character. Chen Ge might have completely forgotten about him if not for Uncle Huang's reminder.

Before entering this door, due to the time constraint, he did not have the time to get to know the landlord. Now he could only try to assess the situation through Wen Qing's understanding of the landlord.

"Is there anything else? If not, I am going to go to rest. At my age, my legs get tired after standing for too long." Uncle Huang was about to close the door, but halfway through, Chen Ge reached out to grab at his door.

"Sir, can we go inside your place to rest?"

The stench inside Uncle Huang's room was heavy and thick. It was the smelliest room they had encountered. Chen Ge had a feeling that there was a secret hidden there. Even if Uncle Huang did not give his permission, he would figure out a way to get in to investigate.

"Be my guest." Uncle Huang surprisingly did not deny Chen Ge's rather unreasonable request. He appeared to be really tired. After saying that, he held onto the wall and returned to his seat in the living room.

Looking at the couch, Wen Qing felt her head go numb. The back of the couch was filled with sharp needles that appeared like blood vessels.

When Uncle Huang leaned into the couch, the expression on his face relaxed with satisfaction.

Wen Qing wanted to warn Chen Ge, but Chen Ge had already stridden into the room. It was as if he could not see all these scary and creepy things. He treated the place like his own house and very casually found a seat opposite Uncle Huang.