FXDL V2C7

This chapter’s a mini roller coaster of emotions.

Translated by: TaffyGirl13

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Chapter 7: Possession is harder to cure than haemorrhoids, plus it’s contagious

“What’s going on?”

“Even Brad…”

“He’s very powerful among the werewolves too!”

Fearful and anxious discussions floated up from every corner of the campus, stirring up an uneasy atmosphere around Shalom.

Fu Xing and Zhu Yue originally wanted to go visit Brad, but since the cause was still undetermined, all visitors were prohibited without exception. When the two of them were kicked out from the medical centre, they were quite crestfallen.

“Hopefully he’s alright,” Zhu Yue commented in concern.

“Don’t worry, Brad is so strong that he’ll definitely recover.”

“Someone passed me a paper bag last night. It was full of soft toys and accessories.” Zhu Yue sighed. “There was a card inside that said: Wishing you an early recovery. The signature was just the letter B.”

Fu Xing nearly tripped. He immediately guessed the identity of the gift sender.

Brad! So that’s what you went outside for! Isn’t that a bit too considerate?!

“So, what do you think?” Fu Xing casually asked.

“I want to return it. Casually accepting a present of unknown origin doesn’t seem to be the best.” Zhu Yue then stated in a perplexed tone, “Also, I don’t like bears…”

“Oh, is that so…”

Brad, take care.

Upon returning to the dorm, Fu Xing headed to Emerald’s room. When he opened the door, he saw that the living room floor was covered in goods packaged in small bags. Emerald was sitting in the middle with his iPhone in hand as he counted inventory.

“What is this?”

“Combo bags for warding and eliminating evil. Selling as lucky bags gives better sales.”

Fu Xing carefully avoided the merchandise as he walked over to a chair to sit. “Are you not nervous at all? Two of us from the outing have already become victims. We might actually be the ones that the departed soul is looking for.”

“Don’t talk nonsense. Cough!” Emerald furrowed his brows and cleared his throat. “There’s not a departed soul at all.”

“You’re selling all these goods yet you say there isn’t?”

“If there really was a departed soul, it would have just instantly killed us rather than use methods like these.” Emerald calmly replied, “It’s not like we’re filming a movie. What’s most important in the real world is efficiency. Have you ever seen a beastman that only transforms during a full moon? It’s not their menstrual period or anything!”

“Should we go and report the matter to Grod?” Fu Xing was hesitant, which was precisely why he had wanted to find someone to talk to.

However, Emerald did not appear to be a very good audience.

“If you think it’ll help, then sure. Cough!” Emerald scratched his head as he picked up a sheet of labels. “Are you busy? Could you help me stick on labels?”

Fu Xing let out a heavy sigh and helplessly accepted the labels. He then sat down in the empty space behind Emerald.

“Thank you,” Emerald said in relief.

“Who asked you to be my friend?” Fu Xing exasperatedly glanced at the catalogue as he stuck the price tags onto each item.

“It’s great that I have you…”

Fu Xing froze, then suspiciously looked behind him.

“What’s wrong?” Emerald asked.

“Nothing, I’m just a bit surprised that you’d say something like that.”

Emerald paused and contemplated this for a few seconds. “Hm, I’m probably tired.”

“Mn.” This excuse makes sense.

After a while, he felt a weight gradually increase on his back, as if Emerald was leaning on him.

“Sorry.” Emerald’s voice came from behind. “Let me lean on you for a moment. I’m a bit tired; I spent the entire night preparing these.”

“Oh.” Fu Xing didn’t say much, letting Emerald go ahead. “You should take care of your health.”

“Mn…”

The room was silent aside from the rustling that came from touching the bags and paper.

“Fu Xing.” Emerald suddenly spoke up.

“What’s up?”

“It’s great that I have you.”

“Oh.”

The room fell silence once again, and neither of them said another word.

 

After finishing his afternoon class and eating dinner, Fu Xing returned to his dorm room.

He wanted to do something. And, no matter how much he thought about it, only one person was suited to act with him—

He took a deep breath to gather his courage and opened the door. Fu Xing then forcefully spat out his request.

“Come with me to Sunset Forest!”

Leon, who was sitting by the window, unhurriedly put his book down as he turned to glance at Fu Xing in the doorway. He did not respond, waiting for the other person to explain.

“So much has happened in the academy recently. Brad and Zhu Yue were both attacked. These incidents only happened after we went to Sunset Forest. I think that these events have some kind of relation with us. Even if it isn’t Countess Lee Kirst’s departed soul, we might have provoked something else.”

Fu Xing gulped as he checked Leon’s face. Once he confirmed that the other person’s mood had not changed, he continued, “So I want to go back to the castle in Sunset Forest. There might be some clues there.”

Leon stared at Fu Xing for a silent moment. Then he shut his book and walked into the bed area.

Fu Xing’s shoulders dropped dejectedly.

Sigh, rejected…

He slowly walked towards the bed area to toss his backpack to the side. Weakly collapsing onto his bed, he listlessly rolled around.

So frustrating.

“What exactly do you want to do?” A cold voice rang out from the doorway.

Fu Xing stopped rolling around and raised his head in astonishment. Leon stood there with a long black leather coat, two short blades hanging from his waist and a Mauser on his back. He was just like a swordsman, dangerous yet cool.

“What are you doing?” Fu Xing asked dumbly.

“Didn’t you want to go to Sunset Forest?”

“You’re going?!” Fu Xing happily sat up. “When?”

“Now.” Leon furrowed his brows impatiently.

“Eh!” Bro, isn’t that too rushed?! “Then your equipment is…?”

“To guard against the unexpected.” Leon pulled out one of the blades to inspect it, then sheathed it again in satisfaction. “Going or not?”

“Yes, yes!” Fu Xing hurriedly put on his shoes.

Though he had quite a few questions, Fu Xing didn’t dare to voice them, afraid that randomly asking would make Leon give up on the idea.

Before Leon could change his mind, the two swiftly headed out, quietly passing through the campus and heading towards their destination.

When they entered Sunset Forest, the atmosphere was as dark and sinister as before. However, it was a full moon tonight, and under the moonlight’s illumination, the visibility was significantly better. Relying on his memory, Fu Xing crossed through the forest to arrive at an overgrown area filled with a jumble of historical remnants. The path they had walked previously did not have any turns; by going straight down the main road, they had easily found Countess Lee Kirst’s castle.

The scenery along the way had not changed, but Fu Xing discovered that while the most common large structures such as temples and palaces had not changed, the smaller homes and buildings did not seem quite the same. Some had even disappeared entirely.

Maybe I just didn’t see them clearly last time. Or I might have remembered wrong.

Halfway through, Fu Xing stopped in his tracks.

“What’s wrong?” Leon asked.

Fu Xing stared at the enormous stone arch next to them and said with absolute certainty, “We didn’t see this last time.”

There was no way he could’ve missed such a huge structure!

Looking inside past the arch, one could see a wide plaza. It was completely empty, and there was an elevated platform in the centre. Atop this was a gigantic cauldron and a step.

An abnormal feeling rose up from the depths of his heart, an emotion he could not name. It was as though something was drawing him in, calling him over. It was both foreign yet slightly familiar.

“I want to go in and take a look,” Fu Xing stated. Without even waiting for Leon to respond, he strolled in of his own accord.

The vast plaza seemed like a stone altar from China’s ancient era. Aside from a cauldron, the centre of the platform also had a towering stone tablet full of tadpole-like words carved onto it.

Next to the tablet was a statue of an ancient animal. Having been eroded over the ages, a small part of the outline was somewhat worn down. It looked like a crouching deer, but there was a protruding part in the middle of its head that seemed as if it was originally a horn that had already been broken off. There was a balance placed in front of the right foot of the stone creature, and a compass in front of its left foot.

Fu Xing’s eyes remained fixed onto this destroyed stone animal statue and he dazedly reached out to touch the snapped off part jutting out from the head.

“Want to leave now?”

Fu Xing studied the statue. “Is this a qilin?”

“I don’t know.”

“Oh,” Fu Xing responded, then lifted his head to survey the entire altar.

His mind was completely blank. All he felt as that there was an invisible yet powerful energy that surrounded them, circulating. It was like a vortex appearing in swamp that had already been solidified for a long time, the mud starting to flow and sluggishly gathering in the middle—

“It is not yet time.” A low voice came from the observer in the darkness.

Fu Xing returned to his senses. Like a TV that had suddenly been switched off, the unusual sensation spinning in his mind instantly vanished.

Eh?! What’s going on? What was I thinking just now?

He scratched his head in confusion as he scanned the surroundings. The eerie buildings only made goosebumps form on his body.

This place is strange…

“Let’s go.”

The scenery after they left the altar and continued walking did not have any major changes. Around twenty minutes later, the towering, luxurious castle appeared before them.

“This is Countess Kirst’s palace.” Fu Xing and Leon crossed over the front yard to arrive in front of the door.

Leon reached out to push open the door but was immediately stopped by Fu Xing. “Wait!”

“What’s wrong?” Leon alertly retracted his hand and defensively stared at the door.

“It’ll open by itself.”

“Hm?”

Thus, the two stood before the front door, quietly waiting.

One minute passed.

Two minutes passed…

There was no movement at all.

“Are you sure it has this ability?” Leon frowned, his complexion ugly. He felt angry, as though he had been made a fool out of.

Fu Xing hurriedly explained, “It was like that last time!” Could it be that we’re not in the right position?

He neared the door and waved his hand up and down.

“May I ask what you’re doing right now?”

“I wanted to see if it would sense anything if I got a bit closer.”

“This isn’t an automatic door, there isn’t any infrared sensor involved.”

Leon ignored Fu Xing’s stupid actions and unabashedly raised his foot to strongly kick the door open. Then he smoothly pulled out his blades and held it in front of him.

The door let out an ear-splitting screech. The inside of the house was dead silent without any signs of movement.

Fu Xing led Leon into the living room they had previously visited. There were no changes inside; the condition had been maintained perfectly.

Finally, they arrived at Countess Lee Kirst’s master bedroom.

“We came here last time.” Fu Xing pointed at the corner of the wall. “There’s a painting there.”

Leon walked forwards to pull the cloth away, revealing the portrait of the bewitching woman. “There’s a hole.”

“Er, I ripped it by accident.” Fu Xing scratched his head in embarrassment and then subconsciously bowed his head at the painting to apologise, “Sorry.”

Leon glanced at Fu Xing and let out an exasperated sigh. He could more or less guess how Fu Xing had ripped it. He shone a flashlight on it and carefully scrutinised the painting inch by inch, as if trying to see through something from it.

Fu Xing felt extremely uneasy next to him. That painting was too realistic, seriously human-like in the night.

His thoughts wandered all over the place: Leon’s completely defenceless while studying the painting. Suddenly, the woman sticks her head out from the painting and bites Leon’s neck…

Fu Xing shuddered from his own horrifying imagination. The deep, pitch-black pupils in the painting seemed to host a soul as it honed in on him.

“Er, Leon, thank you for coming here with me.” Fu Xing started to speak in order to stop his mental imagination. “Honestly speaking, I was a bit surprised when you agreed!”

“It was just along the way of my search.”

“Ah?”

“I heard that Sunset Forest has some holes that connect with the outside world.”

“Oh.”

So that’s how it was. However, Leon was at least still willing to come along with him.

“There unexpectedly are a few similarities….” Leon quietly muttered to himself.

“What did you say?”

Leon did not reply. Suddenly, he crouched down as if he had sensed something.

“What-what’s the matter?”

“A breeze just blew past here.” Leon closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. “A breeze that carries the scent of blood.”

Then he carefully probed around the edges of the painting in a meticulous search. Eventually, he discovered a button underneath the edge of the frame.

When he pressed the button, they heard something heavy drop behind the frame. The sound of rotating gears came from the wall as the frame shifted to the side and the hidden door behind the painting moved with it.

A strong rusty smell wafted out.

“A mechanism!” Fu Xing shouted in wonder. “Is-is there something inside? A person?”

“No.” Leon took the first step into the secret room. “However, I’m not certain if this blood is from a person’s body or not.”

He angled his body to let Fu Xing get a clear look of the scene inside.

The concealed chamber was completely empty aside from two chairs placed on the side and an enormous bathtub in the centre. The flashlight shone onto the tub, illuminating the inner contents.

“This needs to be reported to the higher-ups, right?”

Fu Xing covered his nose as he nervously stared at the tub.

The white porcelain bathtub was filled with dark liquid.

 

Upon returning, the two immediately headed to Grod’s dormitory to report what was inside Kirst’s castle, as well as confess about the previous night adventure.

They had originally expected to be severely reprimanded, but Grod’s reaction was unexpectedly calm.

“You little brats really are quite naughty…” Grod was wearing silk pyjamas, half-laying down on a chaise sofa. As his half-painted fingernails were not yet dry, his long fingers rested on the arm of the sofa in a lady-like manner. “You said there was something odd inside the castle?”

“Yes, Leon found a secret room. There was a bathtub inside filled with liquid. Based on its colour and smell, it should be…blood.”

Grod fanned his hands. “Got it. I’ll send people over tomorrow to check it out. You guys can go back, don’t wander around as you please anymore.”

Fu Xing was taken aback. “Eh?” That’s it? “But the opponent is Countess Kirst’s departed soul!”

“Countess Kirst? Not very likely.”

“Why?”

“First of all, based on Lee Kirst’s ability, she would have become a demon after death, not a mere spectre. Similarly, a darkblood at Lee Kirst’s level cannot die that easily even if she wanted to. Do you understand if I put it that way?”

“You’re saying she’s not dead?” Should I be happy to hear this news?! It seems even worse!

“It’s just a possibility. There’s no direct proof that she died, nor any proof that she is alive.” Grod paused for a second. “Besides, if she really wanted to cause a disturbance, she wouldn’t come looking for Shalom – at least, not now.”

“Why?”

Grod did not reply, only contemplatively glancing at Leon. Leon gave a slight nod.

That’s enough! Why are you shooting amorous looks at each other?!

“In short, we suspect more that it’s White Triangle’s shenanigans. Or some other reason.” Grod stood and bluntly ordered them to leave. “You can return to your dorm now.”

“But—” Isn’t that handling things too casually?! So many students have been injured!

“Don’t overestimate the matter.” Grod said to the unresigned Fu Xing, “If you are curious, go and find the answer yourself.”

On the way back to their room, Fu Xing indignantly complained, “What kind of crappy answer is that! How could his attitude be so nonchalant! There have already been so many people harmed, yet the school hasn’t actively done anything at all! What use is just strengthening the defence system? If this scenario happened in human society, Shalom would’ve long since been forced to stop school!”

“That’s human society.” Leon, who had been silent the entire way, suddenly spoke. “We are not humans.”

“Eh, but people have gotten hurt at this point. Regardless of if they’re human or not, shouldn’t they regard the injuries as important?”

“To special animate beings, only deaths are regarded as important. We are different from weak humans; we won’t deliberately emphasise our pain to portray ourselves as victims. And then we search for crueller reasons to get revenge.”

Fu Xing looked at Leon with the feeling that Leon’s tone carried hatred, as well as some helplessness. Maybe he’s reminded of his sad past again.

When the two returned to their room, they did not speak anymore and headed to their individual bed areas to do their own things.

I’ll just find others to help tomorrow…it feels like the professors are a bit unreliable.

Fu Xing lay there in his bed for a while, his thoughts a mess. He imagined what might have happened inside the ancient castle in the past, imagined what the departed soul looked like, then which student might end up suffering an attack next. Amidst his chaotic thoughts, he gradually entered the land of dreams.

The darkening night was similar to tar – deep and dense. Affected by the departed soul incidents, the students were anxious. Most returned to the dorms after midnight. The previously lively and noisy nights were now covered by an indescribably disturbing mourning garment.

“Ugh…”

In the middle of his dreams, the sleeping Fu Xing suddenly felt a bit unsteady and unwell. He twisted from side to side for a while, but the abnormal sensation grew increasingly distinct.

Did I drink too much water… A rational answer automatically floated through his mind.

He originally wanted to get up, but his body was so heavy that he could not move. Fu Xing blurrily squinted, only to see a pair of fire-red eyes meet his amidst the hazy darkness.

What is that…

So sleepy, I’m probably still dreaming. He slowly closed his eyes, allowing his consciousness to slip back into his dreams, sinking into sleep.

 

The next morning, Fu Xing was woken up by the blinding sunlight. The warm golden colour from the sun gave the impression that spring had arrived.

He stretched his sore waist as he usually did and got off the bed to wash up. Suddenly, he stopped in his tracks.

Hm? Something seems odd.

Fu Xing glanced at the desk, then the entire bed area. It was identical to how it had been last night; nothing had changed.

I’m probably just being oversensitive.

The living room was drenched in sunlight. The rays shining through the windows cut through the air in brilliant arcs.

On the way to the bathroom, as he passed Leon’s bed area, a faint groan caught Fu Xing’s attention.

“Leon?” Still not asleep?

Inarticulate groans continued sounding from inside.

“Leon? Are you alright?”

Feels like something’s wrong!

“I-I’m coming in! You didn’t oppose! You can’t get mad!”

Fu Xing cautiously entered Leon’s bed area. A shocking scene immediately appeared before him.

“Leon!”

Leon lay in the middle of his bed with no covers. There was smoke coming out from his flimsy shirt, and the exposed bare skin had become severely burned and inflamed.

Five minutes later, the medical group arrived at Fu Xing’s dorm. They put up a special light-blocking screen around the stretcher before placing Leon inside and bringing him to the medical centre.

Fu Xing followed the rescue personnel, staying by Leon’s side the entire time. When they arrived at the medical centre, the screen was taken down. Fu Xing caught sight of the injured Leon and felt his heart clench once again.

“Are you alright?” Fu Xing stared at the skin covered in burns, his tears betraying him as they filled his eyes. “It looks so painful! I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry.” The medical personnel next to him patted Fu Xing’s back and calmly comforted, “Special animate beings are physically strong. Even if their arms and legs were cut off or their stomach was slashed open, they would still survive.”

“But it would still hurt!”

“Shh…” A faint voice came from the bed.

“Leon?!” Fu Xing immediately approached him. “What’s wrong? Do you need something? Relax, everything’s fine! The doctors are ready now! Once you go upstairs, you’ll immediately receive treatment!”

Leon pried his eyelids open to glance at Fu Xing. His chapped lips parted to slowly croak out, “So loud, idiot…”

“Leon!”

“I’m fine.” Leon closed his eyes. “Don’t worry…”

Once they went up to the special treatment ward, Fu Xing was blocked outside the door and forbidden from entry.

He stood in the hallway and hesitantly paced back and forth for a while. Once he came to terms that he was at his wits’ end, he dejectedly left the medical centre.

I’m so terrible. How could he be so slow…something had happened to his roommate yet he had not sensed a thing…

Just how long will you be incompetent for! He Fu Xing! An amateur as both a human and a monster, and absolutely no use!

When Fu Xing returned to the dorm, he took a seat on the chair next to the front door, paralysed. The moment he sat down, he suddenly felt that something was unnatural.

Wasn’t this chair always next to the window? How did it run over here?

The medical group probably moved it.

 

Fu Xing had no heart to attend the language class that morning. He just sat there next to the front door of the dorm in a quiet daze as his mood settled. Only when Emerald and Rocort came looking for him at noon to eat together did he finally leave the dorm.

The matter of Leon getting injured had quickly spread. During afternoon’s compulsory class, Fu Xing was immediately surrounded.

“How’s Leon doing?”

“What happened yesterday?”

“The departed soul went to your room?”

“Did you see the departed soul?”

“Even the darkblood Leon has been struck by the calamity, why are you fine?”

“How did you avoid it?”

Fu Xing furrowed his brows, his expression not the best as he faced the chaotic mass. His slightly calmed down emotions were disrupted once again.

“I don’t know, don’t come—”

Right when he was about to respond in anger, Fu Xing’s words were cut off by another sound. Emerald suddenly materialised next to Fu Xing with various protective amulets hanging from his arms.

“The reason this brother is alright, cough—” He spread his arms out to display the goods. “Is because he used the Three Evil-Warding Treasures that this humble shop sells. Right, Fu Xing?”

“Emerald…” Fu Xing replied in annoyance. He wasn’t in the mood to play along right now.

“One set for five Euros, including a necklace, bracelet, and cellphone strap…cough! Cheap and…cough…good quality. If you buy now, you’ll also get…cough…a weather-proof guard to wear so you don’t have to worry about…cough, cough!…a departed soul’s assault.”

“Emerald!” That’s going too overboard!

A crowd of people immediately swarmed around him, fighting to pull out their wallets and pay.

“There won’t be any once they’re sold out! Cough, cough!

Fu Xing plopped down next to him in a sour mood as he said to Rocort, “I really can’t stand him.”

Despite thinking that Emerald’s actions were a bit discourteous, seeing Emerald remain entirely unaffected by the circumstances and very enthusiastically do what he enjoyed helped Fu Xing relax too.

“Mmm.” Rocort’s desk was covered in sweets. He swallowed his fifth pastry into his stomach and took a sip of juice before focusing his efforts on eating the remaining pie.

“Are you very hungry?” You clearly just ate a ton of things at noon!

“I’m ok.” Rocort replied as he ate, “I have to finish eating everything before going back to the dorm.”

“Why?”

“Or else it’ll go missing, like every time I’ve kept it in the dorm!” Rocort frowned as let out a vexed sigh and continued eating.

“Probably a rat.”

The tide of people receded, and Emerald happily took a seat to count the money.

Cough, cough! Small profit but rapid turnover.” Emerald patted Fu Xing’s shoulder. “It’s all thanks to you, cough, cough! Next time we go out, I’ll treat you to a meal! Cough!

“Er, are you okay, Emerald?” He realised only now that Emerald’s complexion was very poor. The other’s originally snow-white skin was now looking ashen, and his eyes were bloodshot.

“I’m fine, I’m fine. Cough, cough!” Emerald voice was hoarse and breathy as he spoke.

“Do you want to go to the medical centre?” Honestly speaking, Emerald looked more like a spectre than an elf at the moment.

“No need! Cough!” Emerald straightforwardly refused and took a deep breath. “I have to go back to the batch. This money is the medicine that will cure me! Cough, bleugh—” As soon as he said these words, he let out a heavy cough.

Crimson blood and darker blood clots spewed out all over the desk.

“Emerald!”

“Ahhh!” Screams rose in waves, staring from around Emerald and then spreading outwards. It was not long before the entire classroom was filled with fear and apprehension.

“Oh, damn it…now I’ve destroyed my own name.” Emerald let out a sigh and gazed at Fu Xing, a self-mocking smile forming on his deathly pale face. “But since the goods were already sold, they shouldn’t be returned.” Then, his body tilted and fell onto the ground.

Fu Xing stood there with wide eyes. He had no idea how to react.

He had watched two of his friends collapse in succession, yet he was at a complete loss.

Blankness, helplessness, worry, and anger – many emotions simultaneously surfaced in his heart.

At what point will this finally all end?!


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