TRA V1C5

Anyone else keeping count of the deaths? We’re only halfway through so far and I’ve counted up to 9 deaths by the end of this chapter…and still more to come.

Translated by: TaffyGirl13

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Chapter 5: Abnormal Change

He locked himself in the bedroom and used a thick blanket to tightly wrap himself into a ball. The sunlight from outside the window was completely blocked by the sturdy curtains. Everything was quiet inside the messy space. There was only the glow-in-the-dark second hand of the alarm clock on the dresser that would inexhaustibly jump at periodic intervals.

Amidst this silence that was enough to drive a person hysterical, there was a tall lump shivering unceasingly on the bed. This was already the thirty-sixth hour since he had first hidden inside the blanket, not eating or drinking in fear of going to the bathroom.

No, I can’t go on. Any longer and I’ll collapse. No—actually, I’ve already collapsed.

He shakily stretched out a hand from underneath the heavy, smothering blanket.

He could not get a clear look at the exact colour of this hand in this darkness. However, it was not difficult to determine that it was not at all the skin colour of any human. It was dark, nearly pitch-black, mixing together with the faint cold light scattered throughout the room. Upon closer inspection, one would discover that the back of the hand and the arm were covered in thick, densely-packed scales. The long and slim fingers were bent and could not be straightened. There was also a thin viscous substance between each finger like the fins of certain sea creatures. The abnormality was horrifying.

And currently, the severely deformed hand strenuously grabbed the cellphone resting atop the shelf at the head of the bed to press down on the tiny number keys one after another.

“Hey, Professor…” A cracking, hoarse voice came from his throat.

The person on the other end of the line paused for a moment, having not at all recognised who the owner of the voice was.

“Professor…it’s me…Xu Yi Feng…”

“Xu Yi Feng?” Yu Zhi De was somewhat surprised. A while passed, and his tone turned cold as he said, “You haven’t contacted me in so many years. Why did you suddenly think of this old and useless person?”

“Professor…” Xu Yi Feng struggled to grip the cellphone. “Professor, did you know, Ouyang, Jin Ping, and Xiao Hua are all dead…They all died…”

“Oh, is that so.” Yu Zhi De did not find this unexpected. This news had been told to him by the two young police officers that had visited his home a few days ago. However, now he felt a type of carefreeness as he chuckled and frigidly stated, “This is retribution.”

“Professor…we were wrong…sorry…Professor, save me, save me, I beg of you…”

Xu Yi Feng sobbed as he mumbled broken pleas. However, the only thing he heard was the other party flatly declaring, “I’m very sorry, but I cannot do anything,” before hanging up. The emotionless click signalled the end of the call.

“Professor? Professor! Professor Yu!”

Xu Yi Feng was beside himself in panic as he gave several shouts at the busy line. When he finally realised that the other end had without a doubt hung up already, he buried himself in the blankets and let out a hysterical scream like a beast that had fallen into a trap. It was a piercing roar filled with fear and despair.

A week later, Xu Yi Feng died in his own apartment. When he was discovered, his entire body had already started rotting away, making it nearly impossible to identify his face. The entire bedroom reeked with an unbearably foul stench.

At the scene of the crime, Ye Xiao used one hand to pinch his nose while using the other hand to carefully pull off the thick blanket. Then, he nearly jumped back in shock from the dark, repulsive mound of flesh inside.

“Fuck! What is that, is that seriously a human?”

Hearing this, everyone else’s faces turned more unsightly. It was evident that none of them had seen such an abnormal and disgusting corpse before. Despite having witnessed severely decomposed bodies, none of those had ever been as nauseating as the one before them now.

However, the work still had to be completed. Their colleagues from the investigation unit suppressed their strong urge to throw up and took the number cards and cameras with them to take photos of the corpse from various angles.

Ye Xiao opened the windows to ventilate the room and disperse some of the pungent rotten smell. But when he looked back, he was shocked to see Su Mu currently bending over to carefully examine the extremely revolting, decomposed body.

“What are you looking at?” He curiously walked over.

“Don’t you think this seems a bit familiar?” Su Mu used the tip of his finger to pick at the scale-like object on the corpse’s arm.

Ye Xiao approached closer to study it, then couldn’t help but laugh. “Hey, isn’t this the treasure you found from your grandfather’s remnants?”

Su Mu rolled his eyes.

Ye Xiao chuckled as he scratched his head and turned serious again. “The unknown object you picked up from Yu Xiao Yu’s car is identical to this?”

“I can’t be certain about the item’s composition, but judging from external appearance, it is indeed similar. Both in terms of colour and shape, they seem like some type of creature’s…scale.”

“Scale…how could scales grow out of from a dead body?”

“That’s something you can only ask the person himself.”

“It’s a pity that the dead cannot talk…Now that even Xu Yi Feng is dead, there’s no doubt that something happened that year when Yu Zhi De brought out six people with him to sea…”

“It doesn’t seem as if he was murdered either. When he was discovered, the room was even locked from the inside. Nothing can be determined until after the autopsy results are out. Perhaps it’ll reveal some type of common point that he shares with the previous three deceased.”

“But currently only two of the six people remain. And Zhu Nan has already gone missing. Do you think something will happen to that woman Qin Ni too? Should we increase her protection as an important witness to the case?”

Ye Xiao couldn’t help but worry as he contemplated this. Hua Xia’s words from before death echoed in his ear—None of us can escape…we’ll all die…all die…

Now, they really had lost their lives one after the other.

“Before we have sufficient evidence, the higher-ups won’t dispatch people to provide 24-hour guards. Moreover, Qin Ni would not necessarily agree to cooperate, seeing as she has been avoiding us from the beginning up until now. She has no intention of telling us the whole story.”

“Then what do we do? Don’t tell me we can only wait here to collect her corpse?” Ye Xiao furrowed his brows and narrowed his eyes in thought. After a while, he suddenly snapped his fingers, as if having thought of something. He hurriedly asked, “That’s right, do you still remember the missing persons cases reported several weeks ago?”

“Missing persons cases?”

“Yeah! That jewellery merchant named Qin that reported his son having gone missing. His son’s name was Qi Yang. At the time, I thought the name sounded very familiar, as if I had seen it somewhere. Thinking back on it, that Qi Yang person is Qin Ni’s ex-husband! And last week, a delivery company reported to the police that a worker had escaped with funds. When I checked afterwards, I found that the worker had disappeared during a delivery. Guess who the last person he delivered to was?”

Ye Xiao looked at Su Mu with a burning gaze. Su Mu raised a brow and asked, “Don’t tell me it was Qin Ni’s home?”

“Bingo! It was precisely Qin Ni’s home!”

“How could it be a coincidence for both cases to have a relation with her?” Su Mu was taken aback for a moment, but he immediately shook his head and said, “No, this shouldn’t be a coincidence.”

“As expected, you think the same.” Ye Xiao grinned as he blinked at Su Mu and slyly stated, “That’s why, we currently have enough reason to go investigate the beautiful woman called Qin Ni!”

As soon as he declared this, Su Mu’s face immediately darkened. He shot a sideways look at Ye Xiao’s radiant expression and couldn’t help but jokingly taunt, “Seems to me like you just want to go look at the beautiful woman, right?”

Ye Xiao’s mouth opened to show a glittering smile.

 

Unfortunately, he did not even get to see the beautiful woman in the end. Qin Ni was dead, dead to the point where practically all that remained was a bare skeleton. If Ye Xiao and Su Mu had not gone over to investigate, there was no knowing how long it would have taken for her body to be discovered.

The corpse had not rotted much. An important reason for this – aside from the fact that majority of the body’s flesh had been gnawed off – was that the house was too cold, as freezing as an icehouse. Qin Ni’s corpse was like fresh meat being stored in an icehouse, which was very useful in preventing decay.

“Brr, how is it so cold?” Ye Xiao’s neck curled in on itself.

Su Mu was currently standing off to the side to notify the criminal investigations unit at the general headquarters.

No one had imagined for Qin Ni to already be dead, in such a bizarre way at that. If it were not for recognising the red scarf tied around what barely remained of the dead body’s neck, Ye Xiao could not have possibly believe that this tattered female corpse with exposed bones to have been that beautiful Qin Ni.

“How did this happen? Even the innards are gone…”

After encountering Xu Yi Feng’s foul and rotten body, he had built up some general tolerance to now face this bare-boned corpse. Ye Xiao crouched down on the floor and put on a pair of white gloves before carefully touching some of the ribs jutting out from the torso. There was still some bloody, torn flesh on them, like spare ribs that hadn’t been cleanly chewed off. It was an extremely ghastly sight.

“Oi, come over and take a look at this.”

Su Mu stood in the corner of the living room. Ye Xiao turned to look and belatedly noticed that there was a very large deep freezer placed there, the type that a common household would never have. The freezer door was wide open, the -10°C air endlessly leaking out to form blurry, white mist. This gradually enshrouded the entire house.

“Fuck! No wonder this place is so cold!” Ye Xiao crossed his arms and asked curiously as he walked over, “What’s stored inside?”

He simply saw Su Mu take out something very hard from the freezer, wrapped in a ziploc bag. A thin layer of frost had formed around it. He patted it a few times to shake off the broken shards of ice to reveal a deep-red object inside, like…frozen meat…

A terrifying thought instantly flashed through Ye Xiao’s mind, and he suddenly felt the urge to throw up.

“This…can’t be…”

The words “human flesh” were at his lips, but he forcefully swallowed them back down. After all, this was not a conclusion one could randomly draw before any analysis. However, looking at the completely ravaged dead body and thinking back to the previous few deceased that had bitten off their own hands, it was hard for one to not think in that direction.

Su Mu thoughtfully stared at the lump of meat with questionable origins in his hands, but did not say a word.

At this moment, movement suddenly came from behind them.

Su Mu and Ye Xiao tacitly looked backwards in unison. A small figure flashed past before their eyes extremely quickly, hiding behind a door.

“There’s someone else in this house!” Ye Xiao shouted. Weird, why didn’t we notice earlier?

He immediately chased after it, running into the master bedroom. However, he saw a completely vacant room with no one there. Only the clock placed on the wall quietly moved, making mechanical ticking noises.

Ye Xiao stood at the doorway and slowly scanned the wide master bedroom that was approximately six ping large. Everything was surrounded by a stifling silence. After a while, he faintly heard low whimpering come from under the bed, like a child’s quiet sobs.

Ye Xiao slowly walked over and bent down to sprawl onto the carpet and reached out to lift away the bedsheets that nearly touched the ground. Amidst the hazy darkness, a pair of tear-filled eyes appeared. This was a small boy. He had shrunk back to the further corner below the bed, hugging his body that shuddered and trembled.

Who’s this kid? Ye Xiao swiftly searched his memories for the name of Qin Ni’s son. Fortunately, his ability to remember things he had seen was quite good, and he soon remembered it.

“You, are called Qi Jia Bao, right?”

The boy froze and lifted his face to look at Ye Xiao lying across from him, then slowly nodded.

Ye Xiao warmly smiled and stretched his hand out while saying, “Don’t be scared. We’re not bad people. We’re police officers.”

The boy blankly stared at him, his tightly sealed lips not speaking.

Ye Xiao tried his best to stick his body in deeper under the bed as he patiently coaxed, “Good boy. No need to be afraid. Come out. If there are any bad people, we’ll protect you.”

The boy blinked as he unmovingly watched the stranger in front of him. After a long moment of hesitation, he finally extended a small, shaking hand to place in Ye Xiao’s hand. Ye Xiao grabbed hold of him and carefully pulled him out from below the bed. However, the moment they contacted the light, he discovered that this child was actually covered in blood.

“Are you hurt somewhere?” Ye Xiao worriedly looked him over.

Su Mu stood off to the side with slightly knit brows as he quietly sized up the child. After a minute, he said, “Shouldn’t be. The bloodstains seem to be stuck onto him.”

Ye Xiao bent down to wipe off the half-dried blood from the boy’s face, then softened his voice as he asked, “Xiao Bao, can you tell me what exactly happened to your mommy?”

Although asking the child like this was a bit cruel, the situation was already like this. Unfortunately, there was a high chance that this child was the sole eyewitness. Only he knew what in the world had occurred.

The boy lowered his head as he stood there, chewing on his lip, remaining silent from beginning to end.

Ye Xiao warmly patted his hair before turning to tell Su Mu, “This child might be traumatised. Maybe we should first send him to get some psychological therapy. I think we can delay recording a testimony by a few days.”

Su Mu did not respond, but the gaze he used to look the boy carried a piercing light.

“What, you don’t suspect that this child caused his mother’s death, do you?”

Ye Xiao punched him in annoyance and said, “Alright, stop being overly suspicious. This child’s father just recently went missing, and now his mother’s dead too. He’s pitiful enough already.”

Su Mu still did not reply. He slowly walked back to the living room to stare at Qin Ni’s corpse in deep contemplation.

It did not take long for the staff from the criminal investigations unit to arrive at the scene and carry out their work of investigating and retrieving evidence.

Ye Xiao took off his jacket to wrap around the boy’s skinny frame and picked him up. The police had just notified the boy’s family – Qi Yang’s parents, who were also this boy’s grandparents. Despite the fact that Qi Yang and Qin Ni had already divorced, blood was thicker than water. The two elderly should still agree to take in the poor child.

As for the deceased Qin Ni’s parents, they had both remarried after divorcing and the couples had settled abroad, rarely in the country. There was no way to contact them. Currently, the police were trying to find a way to connect with her other relatives.

When they left the crime scene, it was already almost evening. Ye Xiao brought Qi Jia Bao, prepared to drop him off at the grandparents’ home. This was a pretty troublesome job that no one was willing to accept, but Ye Xiao volunteered to accept the task without a thought.

Before going, Su Mu looked at Ye Xiao, then at the child, seemingly wanting to say something. However, in the end, he did not speak and turned to leave. Though, Su Mu did not head home. Instead, he headed directly back to the police station, since there were some speculations that he urgently needed to confirm.

The gentle setting sun spilled out on the horizon like a bucket of gold fragments that God had accidentally overturned, flowing out to dye everything in the mortal realm a glitteringly bright golden.

Ye Xiao walked down the street while holding Qi Jia Bao’s tiny hand.

The boy’s blood-covered clothing was truly too shocking. Thus, when they passed by a children’s clothing store, he specially used a portion of his scarce life savings to purchase a set of clean clothes for the child to change into.

The two female staff at the shop counter surveyed him curiously. Since Ye Xiao was only twenty-four years old this year and had a baby face with thick eyebrows and large eyes, he seemed a bit too young to be the father of a four or five-year old child.

However, he paid absolutely no attention to the gazes from onlookers, his smile as brilliant as usual as he knelt down and helped put on the small jacket for the child. Then, holding the boy’s hand, he calmly strode out from the shop.

Throughout the entire journey, the boy had not uttered a word. No matter how much Ye Xiao coaxed him, he kept his head lowered, his lips pursed together. Sometimes, he would raise his head to secretly glance at Ye Xiao with a round face that wore a contemplative expression.

On the other hand, Ye Xiao was also deep in thought. How should he relay the news to the elderly that their son and his wife had already passed away?

Sigh, what a headache. The worst part of being a criminal investigator was the moment of informing a relative of the deceased. Sometimes, he seriously could not face the scene of the family members’ anguish and despair.

However, contrary to expectations, this scene did not appear. Ye Xiao did not even get the chance to explain things face-to-face – he was rejected by the Qi family outside the front door.

Angry denouncements came through the communication device next to the door.

“Bring that child away! It is forbidden from entering!”

“Wait, listen to me—”

“Go! Hurry up and leave! You don’t need to say anything. We don’t want to see that child ever again!”

“But, he’s your grandson—”

“We don’t have a grandson like that! We no longer have any connection to that child!”

“But—”

“Please bring him away! The further the better!”

Leaving no room left for discussion, the other party firmly cut off the line with a clack.

Ye Xiao was stunned as he stared at the tightly shut front doors of the Qi house. Then he glanced at Qi Jia Bao, who stood there quietly while looking downwards. For a moment, Ye Xiao was somewhat at a loss. He truly could not comprehend why the other party had been so adamant on severing ties.

The boy seemed to have long since grown accustomed to this. There was no trace of disappoint and sadness on his calm face; he merely stayed silent.

What do I do now? It looks like it’ll be dark soon, and there isn’t any place that can take in this child. All I can do today is bring him back first. I can try thinking of another solution tomorrow and see if the child’s other relatives can be found. If there’s really no other way, I’m afraid the only choice will have to be a children’s welfare centre.

Ye Xiao helplessly sighed as an inexplicable sadness for this child rose inside him.

In the end, he still brought Qi Jia Bao home with him.

For the first time ever, he stood in the kitchen to turn on the stove and make fried rice that night. The boy sat on the living room sofa. The TV was playing a cartoon; the chitter-chatter of the animated characters in the cartoon blended in together with the sizzling of the frying pain.

After a while, a young and delicate voice appeared without warning from amidst the clamour. “Xiao Bao’s hungry…”

Ye Xiao froze, thinking he had misheard. After confirming that the voice had not come from the TV, he immediately spun around and saw that the boy had unknowingly appeared at the kitchen doorway and was currently watching him with wide eyes.

“Ah, wait a bit longer, I’ll be done soon.”

Ye Xiao smiled at the boy and then clumsily sped up his actions of making fried rice. However, when he finally finished producing the plate of yellow fried rice and placed it before the boy, the boy remained still for a long time without eating.

“Eh, although the colour is a bit weird, the taste is still decent. Try a bite.” He scratched his head in embarrassment, then took a mouthful himself and said, “Mm, very good. Go on, eat while it’s hot.”

However, the boy did not give him face at all, merely staring at him as if having zero appetite for this strange fried rice. With lack of better option, Ye Xiao grabbed the potato chips he had specially bought from the convenience store and pushed it into the boy’s hands. “It won’t do to not eat anything. You must be starving. Here, I’ll give you this.”

The boy studied the snack in his hands with an odd look but did not make any move still.

“What. You don’t like potato chips? What about chocolate doughnuts then?”

Ye Xiao hurriedly flipped through the plastic bag in search for snacks. When he glanced back, he saw the boy currently eyeing his neck like a tiger watching its prey. The boy’s lips were pursed together as he kept swallowing his own saliva.

Ye Xiao furrowed his brows in confusion but did not give it a second thought as he placed the doughnut before the boy. The boy lowered his head and curled his small body up on the sofa. His starving stomach let out a series of gurgling noises.

Without any idea what to do, Ye Xiao called the only female in the criminal investigations unit: Mei Mei.

“Um, what do I do if a child refuses to eat?” He asked.

Mei Mei chuckled on the other end of the line and said in a skin-crawling, eerie tone, “Try mixing chicken blood into rice. Apparently, fresh chicken blood is sweet. Children love it…”

Ye Xiao’s face instantly fell. His lips twitched as he replied, “Sorry, asking you this type of question was my mistake.” He then hurriedly hung up and called Su Mu’s cellphone.

“What, you brought that child home with you?” Su Mu let out a low shout.

Ye Xiao jumped in fright as he answered, “Yeah, why?”

“Keep your distance from that child. The evaluation report on my side hasn’t come out yet. Don’t act blindly without thinking and wait for my call.” Without waiting for Ye Xiao’s reply, Su Mu ended the call with a slam.

Ye Xiao was completely mystified as he stared at the beeping cellphone. He muttered to himself, “What is going on? They’ve all gone crazy…”

At this moment, the boy’s stomach made another series of growling noises, clearly hungry. However, even up until they went to sleep, he stubbornly refused to eat anything.

With no solution, Ye Xiao could only carry the boy to the single bed in the bedroom to let him peacefully sleep. Upon seeing the child close his eyes, Ye Xiao quietly retreated out. He found a random blanket to cover himself with and slept on the living room sofa.

At night, everything was surrounded by silence. Tonight was another full moon. Outside the window, the silver circle was suspended high-up in the air emitting a bright and lonely glow. After turning off the lights, Ye Xiao continued flipping side-to-side, unable to fall asleep. In the end, he pulled out his cellphone and called a number.

The phone had barely even rung once before a tinkling voice came from the other end.

“Xiao-gēge1!”

“Ha, you’re still not asleep, brat?”

“Mn! Not asleep, not asleep! It’s rare for you to think of calling me, how could I possibly sleep!”

“Haha, you little brat!”

“Don’t call me brat anymore, I’m only younger than you by four years! Call me Ling Dang!”

“Ok, ok, ok, little Ling Dang.” Ye Xiao couldn’t help but chuckle. “Did you receive the money I sent last month?”

“I received it. Xiao-gēge, actually…you don’t need to send so much. I have enough for tuition already.”

“Hehe, girls in university love dressing up. You should buy yourself a pretty dress once in a while too.”

“…” The opposite end suddenly went quiet.

“That’s right, is the institution’s old head still healthy? How are the children doing?”

“Mn, fine. It’s just his old hip pain flaring up again. The children listen well. The head said that they’re a hundred times better than you were back then.”

“Damn brat, you’re getting more and more flippant.” Ye Xiao chuckled and asked, “Now that the weather’s turning colder, do the children have enough clothes? Do they need to buy any more textbooks for studies? If there isn’t enough money, let me know.”

“Yeah, yeah, do you think of yourself as an ATM? You’re a criminal investigator, not a rich upstart. You still have to keep some [money] for yourself! Plus…plus, you’ll have to get married eventually…at least save some for your wife…”

The voice on the other end stumbled over these words while becoming quieter in the latter half of the sentence.

“Heh, little brat, to think you’d start caring about me now.” Ye Xiao laughed as he teased, “What about you? You must’ve already gotten a boyfriend at university, right?”

The other party seemed to freeze before suddenly shouting angrily, “As if I have! So annoying!”

Then, with a click, she ended the call without further explanation.

Ye Xiao blinked in bewilderment and shook his head, amused. He stowed his phone away and flipped over to gaze at the round moon outside the window. Gradually, he fell into deep sleep.

Perhaps it was because the living room sofa was too small, to the point where he couldn’t stretch his legs out and was forced to curl his body up tightly, that he felt as though his sleep was extremely unstable. He had a series of bizarre dreams until he semi-consciously felt a liquid drip onto his face out of nowhere.

What’s going on…where’s the water coming from…am I dreaming…

He automatically reached out to wipe his face, then turned his head to continue sleeping.

However, that viscous fluid increased in amount and frequency, dripping down ceaselessly onto his face before sliding down his cheeks. It even had a faint stench.

Wait, this-this doesn’t seem to be a dream!

Ye Xiao abruptly woke with a start. He wanted to sit up, but instead felt an unknown heavy object pressing down onto his chest.

“So hungry…Xiao Bao is so hungry…”

The sweet child’s voice was like a wisp of smoke that slowly entered his ears.

Ye Xiao shook his head. Once his eyes had completely adjusted to the darkness, the sight that was right before his eyes shocked him so must that his mind blanked out for a few seconds.

He was stunned to see the little boy sprawled across his chest in the darkness, curiously sizing him up. The innocent and adorable face that was like a large-headed doll was right next to his face.

The boy smiled sweetly. The smile was pure and innocent, but hidden behind those curved lips were extremely sharp, white teeth, just like a small beast that had not yet reached maturity. While infantile, they still shone with a cold and sinister glint.

And leaking out between the cracks of the canines was a clear liquid that slowly flowed out through the corners of the mouth to drip down.

That was his saliva. It was actually Qi Jia Bao’s saliva that had fallen onto Ye Xiao’s face just now!

Ye Xiao was completely shocked. He had no idea what was happening as he stared in astonishment at the boy before him.

An avaricious light faintly flashed in the boy’s eyes.

“Xiao-Xiao Bao?”

Ye Xiao was frozen. He murmured the name, but the boy did not hear it at all. The drooling mouth only repeated the same words over and over:

“So hungry, so hungry, Xiao Bao is so hungry…”

Suddenly, the boy swooped down at Ye Xiao.

Ye Xiao cried out and quickly tumbled down from the sofa in fear. He turned back to see the boy chomp down onto the sofa’s armrest. With a clear Kssssss, the hardwood was snapped by the bite before falling onto the ground.

“What’s going on…am I dreaming?”

Ye Xiao’s eyes widened in disbelief. Before he could react, he saw the boy spit out the pieces of wood. The boy then swallowed his saliva while his gaze locked onto Ye Xiao. That expression was exactly like that of a wild beast that had gone hungry for centuries; it was beyond sinister.

Crap! The situation’s not looking good!

Ye Xiao finally realised the danger. He scrambled to crawl up in one breath. The boy bent over like a bow, and then pounced at him head-on at a very terrifying speed.

He hastily dodged and accidentally knocked over the teacups behind him. After taking two steps back, he tried his best to maintain his calm. However, before he could even take a breath, the boy once again launched an attack like thunder that struck before one could cover their ears. Ye Xiao could only continue dodging left and right, shouting as he desperately darted around the house to escape.

At this moment, the cellphone that had dropped onto the floor began to ring, the happy chiming song filling the entire space. However, he had no way of answering it. The music continued echoing through the room – once, twice – until it finally connected to the automatic answering machine.

“Hello? Ye Xiao, where are you? Why aren’t you picking up the phone?”

It was Su Mu’s voice, his tone sounded a bit anxious and also slightly angry. In addition, there was heavy breathing, as if he was currently running as he called. “Ye Xiao, don’t go near that child! Qin Ni was bitten to death by him! Hello? Do you hear me?!”

Ye Xiao was plastered against the corner of the wall. He understood these words loud and clear, but it was already too late.

“Fuck, why not call five minutes earlier?!”

He mumbled to himself and dropped his guard for a bit, only to get tackled to the ground by Qi Jia Bao the next instant.

The boy’s strength was abnormally high, not at all the amount of power a child at this age should have. Ye Xiao tried to shove the boy off, but the moment he looked up, he instead saw the boy already open the mouth full of canines towards his neck.

He inhaled sharply in shock and rushed to tilt his head. With a fwoosh, the sharp teeth instantly pieced through his shoulder, and a bone-deep pain spread out from the wound like a tide.

“Damn it!” He let out a low curse.

Warm blood gushed out. The boy’s teeth continued to sink into his shoulder, refusing to loosen hold. Any longer, and Ye Xiao might end up with his entire arm being ripped apart from him alive.

Ye Xiao struggled to search around the floor with his other hand. Finally, he grabbed the fruit knife that had fallen. He gritted his teeth as he clenched the hilt and raised it before aiming it hesitantly above the boy’s back. Right before he could stab it downwards, he suddenly heard a soft sobbing next to his ear.

He instantly went still.

The little boy was crying quietly while biting him. The anguished sobbing instantly made his heart soften.

The tip of the blade stopped a centimetre away from the boy’s back.

“Xiao Bao, good boy, listen to me and let me go.” Ye Xiao endured the pain as he patiently coaxed.

The boy did not release him, the sharp teeth sinking in a few centimetres deeper instead, tearing through bit by bit.

Ye Xiao let out a groan of pain, but he still could not bear to stab the knife down. The boy’s crying filled with more anguish, as if he was doing something he was extremely unwilling to do, yet had no other option but to.

Right at that moment, the front door was unexpectedly slammed open with a bang.

Ye Xiao turned his gaze and was astonished to find Su Mu currently panting for breath while standing at the front entrance. There was a gun in his hand, the black muzzle aimed at the boy’s back.

“Wait, don’t shoot!” Ye Xiao hurriedly shouted.

As soon as he spoke, he heard a soul-shaking gunshot explode next to his ear. The boy’s body gave a violent shudder, the teeth holding onto Ye Xiao biting down a bit harder.

Bang! Another gunshot.

“Bastard! Don’t fire!” Ye Xiao roared out.

Finally, the boy let go and slowly lifted that pure, little face, devoid of any malice. He blankly looked at Ye Xiao, the wide eyes actually filled with tears. However, that mouth full of blood slowly split open once again to reveal the fierce fangs as he uncontrollably targeted Ye Xiao’s throat.

Suddenly, a third gunshot shattered the silence.

This time, the bullet directly pierced through the back of the boy’s head. A bloody hole appeared on his forehead.

Ye Xiao was dumbstruck as he stared in shock at the boy that gave him one final, sweet smile. Then, with eyes still open, the boy slowly collapsed, landing in Ye Xiao’s arms. After a few twitches, the boy stopped moving.

Ye Xiao sat there in a daze for a good while. Then, with a strained voice, he furiously demanded, “Why did you open fire? Could you not hear what I said?”

Su Mu did not reply, merely stowing away the still smoking pistol with methodical movements.

“You bastard! Why did you shoot?!” Ye Xiao let out a low roar.

Su Mu looked at him and calmly replied, “If I hadn’t shot him, would you still be alive to shout at me?”

“But he’s just a child! How could you bear to do it?”

“Do you think a normal child could bite his own mother to death?”

Ye Xiao’s reply got stuck in his throat.

Indeed, no matter how dense he was, he had also sensed that Qi Jia Bao was abnormal.

“The DNA of the saliva on Qin Ni’s body matched Qi Jia Bao’s. In addition, there were abnormal fluctuations in his DNA testing. According to the final test results, this child’s DNA is nothing like a normal human’s. In other words, it showed the phenomenon of gene variation.”

“Gene variation? What does that mean?”

“Strictly speaking, this child may not even count as a human. It’s just a monster.”

“Shut up!” Ye Xiao suddenly blew up. “When he attacked me just now, he was crying. Only a human would have that kind of emotion to shed tears with such anguish. How could you call him a monster?!”

“I’m merely stating the reality.” Su Mu coldly glanced at the boy’s body as he stated, “Aside from wearing a human’s skin on the outside, this child is not a human at all.”

“Shut up! Are you done talking?!” Ye Xiao furiously grabbed Su Mu by the collar and angrily shouted, “How could you be so cold-blooded?!”

Su Mu’s face remained blank as he silently met the gaze of the rarely mad Ye Xiao. Hidden behind Su Mu’s serene eyes was a sliver of conflicted emotion.

A minute later, he pushed Ye Xiao away, fixed his clothes, and commented, “Remember to call the general headquarters to have them come collect the body.”

With this, he turned and left without looking back.


1. gēge = form of address for older brother (not necessarily biological)


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4 thoughts on “TRA V1C5

  1. The boy so pityful, he is just a Kaneki that got out of a book. He isnt monster! He is the most innocent one, after all he ia just a child…
    I understand Ye Xiao thought and feeling but i understand Su Mu’s as well. Just like Ye Xiao choose the boy, Su My also choose. Between Ye Xiao and the boy, he choose Ye Xiao first….
    I hope their relationship wont break after this. They will have fight, i understand but i hope Ye Xiao will understand Su Mu too after that.
    Thank you for the chapter Taffy~!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You described my thoughts perfectly! The boy did nothing wrong except for existing, and he wasn’t even old enough to truly understand why he was rejected by so many people, even his own family. Since I had already read the series before, translating all the scenes with the boy always made me feel sad, knowing his backstory. I also understand both Ye Xiao’s and Su Mu’s perspectives – the boy did not deserve to die (I think his mother did though), but in that specific situation, Su Mu’s action wasn’t wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel so bad for the child😭. Isn’t it human instinct to want to survive. I don’t know how he became like that, but… but…I was in such a good mood before and now I feel like crying😭.
    Well beside that😥, I kind of do get a Yu Yin vibe from Ye Xiao. Up to now, I saw him more as someone with a careless vibe. But I see it now.
    And I didn’t expect Qi Ni to be killed off so quickly😓. So many people died in one chapter that i’m curious to know how all of this came to be.
    Thanks for the chapter😭😅

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trust me, this entire series is a major sobfest; the angst level is insane. I think the worst part about the child is that he was rejected and hated by Qin Ni even though she was the same as him (or rather, he’s the way he is because she gave birth to him). I’m honestly glad she died…she deserved it. But still really sad for the child…from the beginning, there was really no way he could live happily 😭 But yeah lol, 3 deaths in just one chapter and more to come still. 🥲

      Liked by 2 people

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