This feels like an ending…but it’s not at all.
Translated by: TaffyGirl13
Chapter 8: Resurrection Gem
The feeling of pain gradually numbed. Drops of blood fell to the ground, forming a thin stream of blood. The tears had long since dried on her face.
Her eyes were barely open, her vacant gaze staring at the small, flickering flame in front of her. The breath coming from her lips gradually weakened as well, while also turning more frantic…
She quietly muttered this with a trace of yearning reflected in her trembling eyes. Then she lightly shook her head.
No…I…I can’t die yet…
I…I can’t just die like this…I need to find a way…to escape…
She weakly struggled and used all her energy to lift her head and blurrily scan her surroundings.
However, there was only empty space around her. There was nothing there, nothing she could use to cut the ropes. Only a single candle could be seen on the nearby wooden table, standing alone to light up the dark space with its flame.
Oh, no, wait-wait a minute…
Next to the candle…that glinting object…seems to be a surgical blade?
That’s right, that’s what it is. It’s a surgical blade. It had been used to cut the artery on her right wrist earlier. Now, the sharp blade was undoubtedly still dyed crimson…
She squinted, struggling to focus on it. Then she gritted her teeth while enduring the pain as she forcefully moved her body in that direction. However, her hands were still secured to the rack, and the upper half of her body could not move. She could only try stretching out her legs and use the tips of her toes to hook onto that surgical blade on the table.
Cold sweat poured down her forehead. With her teeth tightly clenched, she mustered all the strength in her body to try once, twice, thrice…No, it’s still just slightly out of reach. It’s really just a bit, but I can’t touch…
She took a deep breath, then used the last of her energy to thrust her leg forwards and kick the wooden table.
Clatter! The candle fell down.
She was stunned as she simply watched the flame begin to burn up the wood bit by bit.
It was unimaginable that the previously tiny fire could become a tiny spark to initiate a wild fire. The flames quickly began to rise, burning more and more fiercely…
Heavens, it’s on fire! The entire wooden table actually burned up!
Moreover, as the blaze intensified, she finally managed to get a clear sight of her surroundings.
Amidst the light from the fire, she spotted coloured glass and—and a cross…
This-this is actually a church?
No wonder this place is so empty. So that’s what it was.
She found it a bit hard to believe. However, her current situation made it difficult for her to think much into it. The fire was swiftly spreading to the nearby wooden pew, burning more fiercely. It showed no signs of burning out.
Thick black smoke billowed out, choking her and causing her to cough incessantly.
At this moment, a panicked sound rang out.
“A fire…is it a fire?”
Without a doubt, this voice was coming from the coffin in front of her.
“No…no…it’s a fire…it’s a fire…Daddy! Daddy! Save me!”
The voice seemed to be even more terrified than her. Choked sobs accompanied it in intermittent bursts.
She coughed hard, struggling to open her eyes and peer through the rolling smoke. She blurrily caught a glimpse of a pale, dried-up arm that looked as thin as a matchstick slowly reach out from the coffin.
Heavens! What is that? Is that a person?
She held her breath while frantically watching that arm hook onto the edge of the coffin with its sharp, claw-like fingers, then gradually take hold…
It seemed…seemed like something was just about to climb out of the coffin…
When Ye Xiao awoke, he discovered that he was in the front seat of the police car. And the one driving next to him was Su Mu.
“What-what’s going on? What am I doing here?”
He blinked in bewilderment, then sat up straight and turned to look out the window.
The scenery outside passed by like flowing water.
The car was currently driving down a remote path swiftly yet smoothly.
As it had just rained, the dark clouds had yet to disperse. The chilly winds that blew around them carried a cold moisture, and the roads were also still wet. They would occasionally drive through a puddle, the wheels creating small splashes as they flew over.
“Where is this? Why am I in the car?”
Su Mu kept his grip on the wheel as he shot the other a look and replied, “You were too tired and fell asleep.”
“Huh? Fell asleep?”
Ye Xiao held his forehead in his hands. He clearly remembered planning to go find Curtain of Dreams, prepared to get Wu Chang’s whereabouts from her even if he had to make threats and promises. However, how had he suddenly gone from being wide awake to sleeping in the car?
What in the world is going on here?
He blankly stared at Su Mu. However, the latter remained silent without a word the entire time.
After a while, Ye Xiao asked, “Where are we heading now?”
Su Mu indifferently answered, “To save someone.”
“Save someone?” Ye Xiao was stunned for a moment, then he hurriedly asked, “To go save Ling Dang, you mean? How do you know where she is?”
“Coloured glass, a cross…hmph, I should’ve guessed this place ages ago.”
“Huh? What are you talking about?”
Su Mu calmly kept his eyes on the road as he slowly stated, “I’ve been wondering this whole time where exactly Shen Guo Zhong hid his daughter’s body forty-nine years ago.”
Ye Xiao stared at him in confusion.
Su Mu continued, “Shen Guo Zhong was a surgeon. However, when he was younger, he had experienced the chaos of civil war. Studying western medicine at the time was not a simple task. If he had not learned overseas, then the other possibility would be that he had been a medical volunteer at a church.”
“A medical volunteer?”
“Yes. During the war, a few churches served as temporary shelters, so they required large amounts of medical personnel. At the time, the Western Red Cross would dispatch multiple full-time doctors to these churches. On the one hand, they would be able to aid the injured; on the other hand, they could train new medical personnel. Shen Guo Zhong, who had originally learned Eastern medicine, began to learn Western medicine in this way.”
At this point, Su Mu paused for a moment before adding, “I checked the medical aid group that he had previously served in. They had volunteered at the Heavenly Grace Chapel in the suburbs here.”
“Heaven Grace Chapel?” Ye Xiao considered this for a moment. “I know that Christian church. It was struck by a missile in the previous war, leaving it mostly destroyed. There were only remains buried in the collapsed rubble.”
“Indeed, that’s the church. Forty-nine years ago, Sheng Guo Zhong stole his daughter’s body from the hospital morgue and hid it inside that abandoned church.”
Ye Xiao was still somewhat lost as he asked in confusion, “But…what does the church that Shen Guo Zhong hid in back then have to do with us going to rescue someone now?”
Su Mu looked at him. “Do you still not understand? The person you want to save is there.”
Ye Xiao frowned as he couldn’t help but feel indignant. “What kind of joke are you trying to pull? Don’t tell me you still think that the perpetrator behind the serial killings is Shen Guo Zhong? He was already executed forty-nine years ago!”
Suddenly, the brakes were slammed down with a screech, and the car stopped in the middle of the road.
Ye Xiao lurched forward from the momentum, nearly crashing into the glass windshield.
“If you don’t believe me, you can get off the car right now.”
Su Mu turned his head to coldly look at Ye Xiao.
Ye Xiao was taken aback for a moment, similarly staring at Su Mu without a word.
The two remained locked in silent confrontation for a few seconds, both of their expressions equally unsightly.
After a while, Ye Xiao slowly lowered his gaze and smiled bitterly in a self-derisive manner. “Perhaps in your eyes, I am only a burden. But as your partner, I still choose to believe you.”
He did not utter another word afterwards. He merely gritted his teeth and turned to look at the road in front of them.
A trace of astonishment seemed to flash in Su Mu’s eyes. However, he did not speak either, his face as aloof as always. After a moment of silence, he started the car again.
Along the way, the pair remained completely quiet. The only thing that could be heard in the tranquil car was the low hum of the engine. Their surroundings outside the window continued to whiz past. The car sped up faster and faster until it was practically flying along the road.
It did not take long for them to arrive at the Christian church that had allegedly been destroyed in the war: Heavenly Grace Chapel.
As expected, it was the remains of a building that had been struck by a missile. Nearly seventy years had passed, yet this historically significant church still looked the same as before when it had been reduced to rubble that year. The iconic, gothic-style steeple was tilted at a forty-five degrees angle, while the cross on the roof had long since snapped in half. The entire building was mostly collapsed; the walls were severely eroded, revealing the mottled red bricks with broken pieces scattering the floor.
The worst part was that the bottom half of the church had already been completely buried into the upturned ground, with only the rusted frame from the shattered coloured glass window showing. However, the semi-circular frame was wide enough for a grown adult to walk through it.
Seeing the half-collapsed church in the distance, Ye Xiao could no longer sit still, his heart caught in his throat as he fidgeted about. He gripped the handle of the car door tightly, taking deep breaths to try and calm himself down. However, the ominous foreboding spinning around in his head only intensified.
Before the car had even come to a complete stop, Ye Xiao pushed the door open and dashed out, racing frantically to the front of the church in a single breath. Completely ignoring the “Do No Enter” warning sign, he stepped over the iron fence and raced over to the semi-circular window frame.
From what he could see, this was the closest – as well as the only – entrance. But at the moment, there were actually tongues of fire constantly spitting out from the dark window along with waves of heat billowing outwards.
“A fire broke out inside?”
Ye Xiao was stunned for a moment, but he immediately lowered his body to charge in. However, he was grabbed by Su Mu, who had caught up.
“Are you crazy? Going in like this is too dangerous. We have to find another—”
But unexpectedly, before he even finished speaking, he was forcefully shoved away by Ye Xiao.
Ye Xiao took off his jacket to cover his head while he urgently shouted, “Get out of my way!”
Then he gritted his teeth and, facing the extremely hot flames, jumped down through the shattered window without caring about anything else.
With a dull thud, his back hit the ground. He didn’t know what he had landed on, but it painfully stabbed into his back.
Ye Xiao crawled up from the ground. Right as he tried to take in a breath, he was choked by the billowing smoke and he couldn’t stop coughing. His eyes were burning so much that he could barely open it. He struggled to peer through his squint, only to see the blinding sea of fire around him. Glass and wood continuously burst with clear crackling sounds.
Ye Xiao walked a few steps forward in panic as he shouted, “Ling Dang!”
The instant he opened his mouth, he choked on more burning smoke. He couldn’t help but bend over and cough furiously, his chest hurting so much that it felt as though he was suffocating. At this moment, someone suddenly grabbed his collar from behind and pulled him up. A half-soaked handkerchief was pressed tightly against his nose and mouth.
Ye Xiao was finally able to breathe. When he turned his head, he heard Su Mu quietly say, “Don’t speak for now, just walk in that direction.”
As he spoke, he pulled Ye Xiao’s clothing while quickly leading them both towards an area where the fire was smaller.
Ye Xiao stumbled behind Su Mu, dodging the engulfing blaze while scanning around until he unconsciously spotted a cellphone on the ground.
The cellphone was deformed as the metal had been melted by the fire, and the colour was practically impossible to discern as well. However, Ye Xiao instantly recognised the small cat ornament dangling off the phone.
That’s Ling Dang’s cellphone!
He suddenly grew frantic. He struggled free from Su Mu’s grasp and lunged forwards to pick up the boiling cellphone, clutching it tightly in his palms while completely ignoring the pain. He began to shout as though he had lost his mind, all the while coughing fiercely.
“Ling Dang! Ling Dang…cough, cough…Ling Dang! Cough, cough, cough…Ling Dang…”
The burning flames quickly spread, and thick smoke surrounded them.
He did not know exactly how long he shouted for, though he continued until his throat gradually grew hoarse and he could no longer utter a sound. Ye Xiao finally lost broke down entirely, collapsing onto his knees in despair.
It was right at this moment when a barely audible voice suddenly came from the corner.
The voice was extremely soft, to the point where it was practically swallowed by the roaring blaze. However, Ye Xiao still heard it.
He squinted in the direction the sound had come from and, after freezing for half a second, abruptly stood up and raced through the intense flames in a single breath, undaunted by the danger.
He hoarsely shouted out once more, then immediately saw the girl tied to the metal rack in the corner.
“Ling Dang, Ling Dang…”
Ye Xiao scrambled over, his hands fumbling as he helped untie her ropes and hugged her against his chest.
At this point, Ling Dang was only semi-conscious. Her originally white face was covered in soot, her long hair a complete mess. Her right wrist was still bleeding, and her entire body was trembling.
Ye Xiao ripped a piece of cloth from his clothes and firmly secured it around her bleeding wound.
Ling Dang weakly gasped for breath, opening her eyes to blurrily look at Ye Xiao. However, she had no energy to say anything as tears rolled down from the corners of her eyes one after another.
“Be good, don’t cry. You’re fine now, you’re fine…” Ye Xiao held onto her tightly as he tried to wipe away her tears.
“The fire’s spreading here, there’s no more time. We have to go now!” Su Mu urged from the side.
Ye Xiao lifted his head to see that the tongues of fire emitting thick black smoke were moving towards them along with the wind.
He hurriedly picked up Ling Dang. Just as he and Su Mu were about to run out, they spotted another figure racing towards them through the sea of flames.
“Wei Wei! Wei Wei!”
Screams tore out from that person’s throat as he wildly stumbled over. When he spotted Ye Xiao and Su Mu standing before them, he couldn’t help but freeze for a moment before taking a step backwards. Then he turned and stared at the blaze in shock, before glancing upwards and muttering, “No! No! Wei Wei! Wei Wei!”
He continued shouting into the fire, but he could do nothing about the intense flames. He could only stamp his feet urgently while wailing in anguish, “How could this happen? Why did it catch fire? Why did it catch fire?! Wei Wei! Wei Wei!”
As Ye Xiao stared at the man’s hunched back, he finally noticed that there seemed to be a hazy object amidst the fire. It looks like…looks like a coffin?
But now, the coffin had been lit ablaze.
The man knelt in front of the coffin, covering his face as he cried silently.
“Wu Chang, you arrived just in time. It saves us the effort of looking for you.”
Su Mu was right about to walk up to him when the man suddenly leapt up from the ground, a glinting surgical blade gripped in his hand. He ferociously glared at them while roaring out hoarsely, “Who are you guys? Was it you that set this place on fire? Was it you that burned my Wei Wei to death? I…I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you all!”
Wu Chang let out a shout and charged over with the blade.
Su Mu and Ye Xiao simultaneously dodged to the side, causing Wu Chang’s attack to only strike empty air as he stumbled past the space between them. Then he immediately turned around, baring his teeth as he glared at them vengefully, unwilling to let things go.
“Ye Xiao, you bring the injured person out first,” Su Mu said.
Ye Xiao hesitantly replied, “But—”
“There is no but, hurry up and go!”
Su Mu mercilessly commanded.
Ye Xiao furrowed his brows. He really hated Su Mu’s forceful attitude that gave others no room for discussion.
However, he did not have the time for a dispute either. The Ling Dang in his arms was at death’s door and she needed to be sent to the hospital immediately. Moreover, Su Mu’s skill was honestly more than sufficient to deal with Wu Chang alone. Thus, Ye Xiao did not say anything more. He settled on an area with less fire and turned to head in that direction with Ling Dang in his arms.
However, he had only managed to take two steps before something wrapped around his feet, causing him to stagger and nearly fall. When he caught his balance and looked down to check, he was immediately dumbstruck.
What-what is that?
Amidst the rolling smoke were five thin fingers fastened firmly around his feet like chains.
Heavens! Is that a hand?
He shook his feet, trying to extricate himself from the chilling hand. However, he hadn’t imagined for it to clutch onto him even more tightly, pulling him back with all its might.
With a thud, Ye Xiao lost his centre of gravity and tumbled onto the ground with Ling Dang in his hold. Before he could crawl back up, he was shocked to see…A person?
He did not know how to describe it, since the person was unnaturally skinny, like they were only being supported by bones. Perhaps using the word “skeleton” was a bit more suitable. However, how could a skeleton grab him with their hands? Moreover, its strength was beyond shocking.
Ye Xiao waved away the smoke in front of his eyes to take a closer look. Indeed, it really was a person.
However, the person was merely a skeleton covered with a layer of pale human skin. It did not have any muscles or flesh, the ribs around its chest jutting out clearly. Its limbs were as thin as matchsticks, and their entire body just looked like a moving skeleton. This skeleton also had a head of long black hair messily spilling downwards, covering its entire face.
Its fingers refused to let go of Ye Xiao, its body crawling out from the corner inch by inch like a gigantic lizard. Its movements were slow, but not clumsy.
Ye Xiao stared at it in astonishment and could not help but move backwards. However, it continued maintaining its deathlike grip on him while slowly climbing onto his body. It then gradually lifted its head and, under the dry, scorched hair, barely revealed a horrific face.
“Daddy…Wei Wei wants Daddy…Daddy…”
It quietly muttered this, its deeply sunken cheeks expanding and contracting with the mouth that revealed the white straight teeth.
“Dad…Daddy…Where are you…Wei Wei is so scared…”
It seemed to be crying, whimpering with sobs. However, it did not have eyes. The face on the skeleton’s skull only had two dark circular cavities that somehow had two streams of clear fluid slowly leaking out from them.
“Holy shit! What is that? It can even speak?”
Ye Xiao tightly clutched onto the unconscious Ling Dang with one arm while using his other to push it away. But contrary to his expectations, this thing’s strength was abnormally great. With no other choice, he could only viciously kick it.
With a crunch, its right arm was snapped like wood by Ye Xiao’s kick. The entire shoulder joint fell, and the broken junction did not show any traces of blood.
Ye Xiao started in fright, but this thing did not seem to feel any pain. It remained sprawled there, searching around blindly.
At this moment, a wild cry suddenly rang out from behind him.
“Wei Wei! Wei Wei! Daddy is here!”
Wu Chang charged out from the bright fire, lunging towards the “skeleton” on the ground without caring about anything else. However, before he could get close, an ear-splitting gunshot drowned out all other sound.
A bullet passed cleanly through the back of Wu Chang’s head before flying back out from the front, forming a small circular hole. Thick blood immediately spurted outwards.
Wu Chang’s eyes widened as he went completely still for two seconds. Then he fell straight down.
“Daddy? Daddy! Daddy!”
The “skeleton” screamed in shock, its piercing shrieks nearly erupting their eardrums.
Su Mu strode over with a gun in his hand.
Ye Xiao stared at him in astonishment. “Why…why did you kill him?”
Su Mu shot him a sideways look. Instead of replying, he only asked, “Why haven’t you left yet?”
Ye Xiao shook his head. He had no time to organise his thoughts, so he only gritted his teeth and picked up Ling Dang as he said, “I’ll come looking for you once I get her onto an ambulance. Wait for me.”
Then he ran out of the sea of fire without looking back.
Su Mu watched Ye Xiao’s back disappear before coldly shifting his gaze back onto the still-crying skeleton. “You’re Shen Wei, aren’t you?”
The skeleton sprawled across Wu Chang’s body slowly lifted it head. It stared at Su Mu with its vacant eye sockets, yet anyone could sense the undeniably venomous hatred it was emanating.
Su Mu met its gaze and expressionlessly said, “Shen Wei, you are already dead. You should not have appeared here.”
“It’s you…you were the one that killed my Daddy…” The skeleton’s screams turned piercingly sharp.
Su Mu sneered back, “Your father, Shen Guo Zhong, was originally a dead person, just like you.”
“Shut up! You clearly killed him just now!” The skeleton furiously shrieked back.
Su Mu took a step forwards and replied, “I only sent him back to where he should be. As I will with you.”
Then he grabbed the skeleton’s chin and forced its mouth open.
The skeleton violently struggled, wildly flailing its remaining arm and kicking its match-like legs. An eerie clattering sound came from the depths of its throat.
Su Mu held the skeleton firmly in place with one hand while using his other hand to reach into its mouth. A moment later, he pulled out a small piece of exquisite jade from underneath its viscous, pitch-black tongue.
“Heh, Resurrection Gem? Just as I thought.”
Su Mu glanced downwards and frigidly stated, “Shen Wei, although I don’t know where your father obtained this thing, this object definitely does not belong to you.”
The moment he said these words, the skeleton let out a shrill scream. Then its body collapsed, the bones instantly falling apart and disintegrating into black powder that then poured out from its mouth, eye sockets, ear holes, nose, and every other place that had a hole. It was like a ruptured sandbag.
The black powder gradually all poured out. Soon, the only thing remaining of “the person” was a layer of skin that was loosely folded on the ground. It looked both disgusting and eerie.
However, this skin, this hair, these teeth, these ears, this tongue, and the nails on its hands and feet, all did not belong to Shen Wei.
Shen Wei had already completely vanished from this world.
Su Mu stared at the skin on the ground, then turned to glance at Wu Chang’s body again. Then he slowly stowed away the glossy, transparent jade and turned to silently leave.
Outside the building, the sky was turning dark as the moist, chilly wind blew past.
When he strode out of the burning church, he spotted Ye Xiao nearby, as well as the ambulance and two police cars parked next to the road. It appeared that the reinforcements from headquarters had arrived.
Ye Xiao was sprawled across the semi-circular window that they had previously entered from. The entrance was now blocked by falling stones and dust. He was currently using his hands to dig out the rubble, his hands now covered in blood.
“Su Mu! Hurry up and get out here! Oi! Do you hear me?!”
Ye Xiao shouted hoarsely at the window, his forehead sweating profusely from worry.
“Tch, what are you doing, you idiot?”
Su Mu frowned slightly as he strode over with a slightly exasperated expression.
Ye Xiao’s voice had gradually turned hoarse with choked emotions.
“Bastard! Did you die in there? Do you hear me? If you hear me, just give me a response!”
“I hear you. So noisy.”
Su Mu walked up to stand behind Ye Xiao as he indifferently replied.
Ye Xiao stiffened, his head whipping around. His eyes widened as though he had seen a ghost, and he stared at Su Mu for a long while before finally letting out a bated breath. He rested his forehead in his hands for moment and closed his eyes. Then he shot up from the ground and threw a punch viciously at the other’s face.
“Bastard! Where the fucking hell did you appear from?!”
With a thud, Su Mu raised his hand and easily caught the other’s fist. With an arched brow, he coolly asked, “Did you think I’d give you another chance to hit me?”