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1088 White Rice, Chopsticks, Paper Dolls, Red Candle 2 in 1

 "Save me."

"I am right here. Behind you. Save me."

"Bring me with you. Bring me away from this place. Help me..."

Underneath the constant crying was the sound of a woman. Chen Ge felt that the voice of this woman sounded quite familiar. "I believe I heard this voice in Li Wan City."

In any case, it was not the time to meet some old friends. Chen Ge swore not to turn his head around. He had no idea what was hiding inside the black fog, and the best way to face the unknown was first to find a safe place to observe it from a far and not walk right into it while putting one's life on the line.

The voice came closer and closer, and Chen Ge walked faster and faster. However, the quicker Chen Ge moved, the more desperate and urgent the voice became. Just as he was about to reach the iron door, the woman's voice changed. All the words turned into screams, and they shot at Chen Ge's body like sharp arrows shooting through the black fog.

"Get out of the way!" Chen Ge threw caution to the wind and ran as fast as he could. The moment he stepped into the building, the scary voice disappeared without a trace. Chen Ge turned back to look. Everything had returned to normal inside the black fog; it was as if he had imagined everything that had happened to him earlier.

"Wen Qing, did you hear the voice of a woman when you were standing inside the building?"

"I do not think so." Wen Qing shook her head. "I merely saw your body disappear into the black fog. Your movement became very difficult to follow. However, there appeared to be something following behind you that was standing on their toes. I shouted very loudly to warn you, but you did not react at all."

"This black fog appears to be more dangerous than the red city. The city will cause one to go insane with despair, but this sea of blackness can make one lose oneself fully and completely."

Looking at the shadows lurking in the darkness, Chen Ge held his hand over his heart. For some reason, he felt like he had experienced this some time ago. This was not his first encounter with the black sea.

"Makes one lose oneself? Is that what happened to Xiang Nuan? He has lost his way in this black fog?" Wen Qing's eyes were overflowing with worry.

"As long as he still has not left this residential area, we have a chance of finding him." Chen Ge shut the door that led to the roof and shoved the headless mud statuette into his coat pocket. "It's time for us to leave."

Returning to the first floor, Chen Ge had just reached the door to Uncle Huang's room when the front door opened on its own. Uncle Huang, who had a serious hunchback, was standing at the door. It felt like he had been standing behind the door for some time already, waiting for Chen Ge to come.

"Did you know I will return to you?"

Uncle Huang did not answer. Instead, he turned and walked into the room. When he passed the dining table, he picked up the cleaver that was placed on top of it. The old man, who was thin as a stick, grabbed the cleaver and started to hack at the wall next to the bedroom. The blade cut into the wall, and the wall started to bleed. Strangely enough, as more cuts were left on the wall, more cuts also appeared on Uncle Huang's body.

As the old man continued to work, the wall was cleaved open, and the old man's body was also covered in ghastly wounds. The twig-like hand no longer had the energy to even hold the cleaver anymore. In the end, Uncle Huang collapsed to the ground.

"What in the world is going on‽" Xiao Sun put down Jia Fu and ran over to help Uncle Huang, but the latter appeared like he was at the end of his line already.

"To protect another person's secret, he has to suffer the torment of his conscience. You can say that the wall is practically made from his own flesh and blood." Chen Ge walked into the room while carrying the backpack. "Now that the murderers have all been exposed, Uncle Huang has no reason or excuse to help them protect the secrets."

Stopping beside the main bedroom, Chen Ge halted for several seconds before he continued moving forward. There were two bedrooms in this house. One was Uncle Huang's bedroom, and the other bedroom was blocked off by flesh and blood. This second bedroom was stuffed with dead bodies.

"Initially, the room was only occupied by the landlord's family members. The landlord did not wish to be separated from them, so he would occasionally come to visit them. But I did not expect the landlord to bring more and more 'people' to come and stay with his family." Using his literal last breath, Uncle Huang revealed the truth. "Perhaps from the very beginning, I should not have promised to help him guard this secret."

The scene inside the bedroom was straight out of hell. This was the location where all the sin at Jin Hwa Apartments Block A started. It was also the first secret that manifested there. Pushing away Xiao Sun, who was stunned beyond words, Chen Ge entered the bedroom and squeezed into the 'crowd'.

"I can tell that you believe the landlord is a good person, but have you considered the alternative? What if his family did not die from an accident?" Chen Ge managed to find the dead bodies of the landlord's family, but unfortunately, he failed to find anything useful on them. These carcasses were not the source of that horrible stench. "Just what exactly is the thing that has been radiating this stench that has troubled me for so long?"

Standing alone amid the 'crowd', what Chen Ge did next shocked the people around him.

He trained his focus by closing his eyes. Chen Ge used the talent gifted to him by the black phone, Spirit Sniff, and followed his instinct to start to search inside the bedroom. Slowly but surely, he followed the trail that would lead him to the source of the stench in this building. When he opened his eyes, Chen Ge saw the arm of a rag doll. The rag doll's arm was covered in blood and other dirty stains. Chen Ge had a feeling that the arm of this doll was not stuffed with a common material like cotton but probably trash and the carcasses of small animals.

"What is this?" Chen Ge was about to pick up the doll's arm when an extremely sense of danger arose from his mind. Then there was something like a shake, and the whole building shook underneath him. It felt like the trembling of an earthquake.

"Is this rag doll's broken arm the source of the horrible smell?"

Before Chen Ge could understand the importance behind it, he heard rapid knocking coming from outside.

Dong, dong, dong.

It was the apartment's front door. Someone was knocking against it from outside. Chen Ge stood up and stayed away from the broken arm. Instantly, the knocking on the door and the tremors disappeared.

"This thing is able to affect the entire residential area. When I was about to pick it up, something in my mind warned me of an imminent danger. This does not belong to Xiang Nuan. It probably belongs to the ghost fetus."

This situation had not happened in any of the other doors that Chen Ge had entered, so he could not afford to be too careful.

"Back when I was in Li Wan City, the shadow used this method to cut open Xiao Bu's body and kept them hidden in different buildings, making use of Xiao Bu's power to complete his own conspiracy. This is too similar to be a coincidence. This rag doll's severed arm is probably the same as what happened to Xiao Bu. The ghost fetus cut it up and placed different parts in different building as a foundation to steady this residential area."

Chen Ge memorized the location of the broken arm. He decided to leave immediately to go and look at the other buildings.

Walking out from the 'crowd', the stench lingered on Chen Ge's body. The smell would probably follow him until he left the door.

"Moments earlier, there was someone knocking on the front door. Have they noticed the change that has happened inside the building?"

"We will know for sure when we go out." Chen Ge turned to look at Xiao Sun. "Are you going to follow me and leave this place in search of the truth, or are you going to stay to wait for the other tenants from the other buildings to come find you?"

"How come it feels like you have not given me a choice in your statement at all?" Xiao Sun carried Uncle Huang to the bed. "I will go with you, but someone has to stay to look after them, right?"

He was talking about Uncle Huang and Jia Fu.

"Granny Lee can stay and do that." Chen Ge placed Granny Lee's bowl beside Uncle Huang. "Granny, I will leave them in your care. If we can find a way out, we will definitely come back to fetch all of you."

He gestured for a long time before Granny Lee stopped following him.

"Is this old lady not really crazy?" Xiao Sun whispered softly beside Chen Ge.

"This whole act is just her way to survive inside the building. What is so surprising about that? There are more scammers and people acting crazy in real life compared to this place behind the door." Chen Ge came to the entrance and found the key that would open it. "This stretch of road between the two buildings will be very dangerous; you will need to stay close to me. Grab hold of my elbows and do not let go no matter what."

The key entered the keyhole. The spring sprung for a release, and the iron lock on the door was opened.

"Follow me and stay close!" Chen Ge took out Doctor Skull Cracker's hammer from his backpack and strode into the black fog without any hesitation. Xiao Sun and Wen Qing stayed close behind him. His extremely good sense came into use here. Before Chen Ge opened the door, he had already confirmed his destination through the window. The closest building to Jin Hwa Apartments Block A was a small building that was six stories tall. This building was situated right between Jin Hwa Apartments Block A and Block B. The location was strange indeed.

The residential area behind the door was different from how it was situated in real life. Even though the number buildings had not changed, the appearance and the overall location of them had shifted. A few of the smaller buildings that should be at Jiu Hong Apartments surrounded the two apartment buildings of Jin Hwa Apartments. They twisted and leaned like the Tower of Pisa. They teetered like dead bodies being arranged in grotesque poses. They had only walked a few meters when Chen Ge saw a human shadow not far away from them. The shadow did not appear to have noticed them.

"I think I hear someone calling my name," Xiao Sun whispered.

"Shut up if you do not want to die." Chen Ge answered without turning his head back. Grabbing the handle of the hammer, he walked faster and faster. The front door behind him was slowly swallowed up by the black fog. The buildings around them turned blurry. The world appeared to have been corrupted by the black fog, and everything appeared behind a sheen of blackness. Two different forces were applied on his elbows. Chen Ge could feel from this physical contact that both Wen Qing and Xiao Sun were extremely afraid; they held onto Chen Ge like he was their only hope. The distance between the two buildings was only several dozen meters, but it felt like they had been trekking forever.

"We are almost there!" With his Yin Yang Vision, Chen Ge managed to see the outline of the building's front door. It was open and he could look into the building. The building before them appeared much older and tattered than Jin Hwa Apartments Block A. "This is one of the buildings from Jiu Hong Apartments. Even in real life, it is a much more chaotic and dirty place compared to Jin Hwa Apartments."

Perhaps Wen Qing and Xiao Sun had helped distract the things in the black fog, but Chen Ge was not influenced that much by the monsters in the black fog this time. However, after he strode into the building, he noticed something was not right. "Are you two okay?"

Chen Ge's elbow was bleeding slightly because of how hard Wen Qing was holding on to him. The woman's face was blanched, and her eyes were hollowed. It looked like she had seen something incredibly horrible during the small journey earlier, and she was still too shock to complete a simple sentence.

It was even worse for Xiao Sun. Five new wounds appeared on his back. It looked like a claw had scratched him on his back, but strangely enough, the young man did not feel anything at all. Blood kept leaking. Xiao Sun's shirt was dyed red. The wounds were extremely shallow, but for some reason, no amount of bandaging would help stop the bleeding.

"When I turned back to look, I saw a person following behind us. He was so close to us, but I was unable to see his face. It was like he was not real but a coagulation of the black fog itself." Xiao Sun had a very close encounter with the monster inside the black fog, and his words provided Chen Ge with valuable clues.

"Do you feel anything coming from your back?"

"There is this pain, a pain that drills straight to the heart."

"Try your best to hold on." Chen Ge had no better ideas. He then turned to Wen Qing. "Are you feeling better? Did you see something scary in the fog as well?"

"I saw that above our heads..." The fear was palpable in Wen Qing's eyes. "Many human heads were floating. They were biting and chomping on a large shadow. A few of the heads spotted us, and they were looking at us through the fog..."

"Human heads? Can you be more specific?"

"I really can't explain it. Just the sight of them caused my heart to roll with revulsion and fear. If not for the fact that I was holding onto your elbow, I probably would have lost the courage to move any further." Wen Qing looked as pale as a sheet of paper.

"Both of you have seen something in the fog, but I saw nothing. That is strange because my five senses should be sharper than the two of you." Chen Ge took note of that peculiarity. "In any case, we are out of the fog. We should pay attention to this new building. The front door to this building is not locked, so the situation here might be wildly different from Jin Hwa Apartments Block A, you two had better be alert and stay close to me."

"Based on the walls and the corridors, this should be one of the buildings under Jiu Hong Apartments." Wen Qing held onto the wall and started to stand up. She lifted her head to look around her before she finally found the thing she was looking for. "Chen Ge, look over there. What is written on that sign?"

"I think it reads Jiu Hong Apartments Block One?"

"That sign is used to number the buildings of Jiu Hong Apartments. It was nailed there many years ago." Wen Qing was the estate agent for the apartments, so she had a clear understanding of these two residential areas in real life.

"Let's go in and take a look. Hopefully, this building is different from the one that I currently rent, and there are not that many strange neighbors." Xiao Sun felt like he had been 'inoculated' after experiencing so many things that night. Nothing was able to scare him now.

"I hope that there are people like that staying here. In the world behind the door, the tenants back there were considered easier to deal with already." Chen Ge walked ahead with Doctor Skull Cracker's Hammer. Just as he entered the building, he was hit by a familiar smell. The smell was similar to the one radiating from the doll's broken arm. "A part of the rag doll's body should be hidden inside this building as well. What does the rag doll represent to the ghost fetus? Could it be that the ghost fetus has once possessed that rag doll?"

There was no light on the first floor of Jiu Hong Apartments Block One. It was incredibly quiet. It felt like the building was unoccupied. As they walked down the corridor, Chen Ge stopped suddenly after a few steps.

There were four rooms on each floor of this building. Chen Ge saw that in front of all four doors on this floor, there was a bowl of white rice with two chopsticks stuck vertically into each of them.

But that was not the strangest discovery. Chen Ge slowly and carefully moved closer to study them. He realized that the chopsticks that were stuck into the bowls of white rice were similar to the ones from Xiang Nuan's home.

A bowl of rice represents a family, and a pair of chopsticks represents a dead person?

Chen Ge looked at the four bowls of rice that were arranged neatly in the corridor, and he was instantly reminded of the bag of chopsticks hidden under Xiang Nuan's bed. The boy covered the floor of his bedroom with chopsticks, his favorite toy.

"Hey, don't you think the bowls are very similar to the one Granny Lee was holding the whole time?" Xiao Sun asked. With a wound on his back, he used some time before he squatted down next to Chen Ge.

"They are quite similar." Chen Ge thought further than Xiao Sun. He was reminded of the recording that they saw in the landlord's room on the tenth floor. Granny Lee's son, who was in his fifties, had thrown Granny Lee's black and white picture and the sacrificial food on the altar at Granny Lee and then moved to strangle Granny Lee.

"What is this trying to express? How come I have a very bad feeling about this?" Chen Ge avoided the bowls on the ground and stuck his body close to the gap of the door.