Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 3 Book of Exchange – Chapter 55 The Fall
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 55 The Fall
I was a little skeptical while following Mr. Cat. The path in the alley was quite different from the last time, it had become dark and narrow. I couldn’t see anything, so I had to put my hand on the wall to orient myself. However, Mr. Cat walking in front of me unhesitantly told me that he was confident and calm. Though I was suspicious, I followed him closely.
The narrow alley gradually widened and there were bright blue dots in front of us. When I got closer, I found that they were faint flames floating in the air.
“What are these…” I couldn’t help but whisper.
“These are ghost flames,” Mr. Cat, who was silent the entire way, suddenly answered, startling me a little.
“Ghost… ghost flames?” I stuttered.
“The human soul burns after a person’s death, it starts floating before turning into a ghost flame,” replied Mr. Cat. His expression remained the same as he kept walking. “It’s better to stay away from them.”
Although I had tons of questions, I didn’t know how to ask him. I just curiously looked at the blue ghost flames. They looked exactly like ordinary flames, but floated in the air and burned quietly.
“Mr. Cat…” Finally, I opened my mouth. “Is this the way to the noodle restaurant? Why is it different from the last time…?”
“Well, I didn’t say we were going to the noodle restaurant,” Mr. Cat answered with a smile.
“What?” I stopped. “Where are we going?”
“Well, I don’t think you want to know,” Mr. Cat replied as if it was not important. He didn’t slow down.
“But I want to.” I became vigilant.
“However, even though I didn’t tell you our destination, didn’t you still follow me until now?” Mr. Cat turned around and smiled kindly.
That’s right…Even though he didn’t mention it, I vaguely knew where we were heading. I nodded and caught up with him.
The deeper we went, the darker the alley became, and the more blue ghost flames appeared. They were like small lanterns, illuminating the way forward.
“Why are there so many ghost flames?” I muttered, looking around.
“Don’t worry, they won’t burn your clothes,” Mr. Cat teased.
“Er, I’m not worried about that…”
“The wind has changed.” I wasn’t sure if Mr. Cat was whispering to himself or talking to me. “The souls are crying and burning. The balance of Yin and Yang was disturbed, those poor innocent souls.”
“Mr. Cat, Wen Jiubo…” I couldn’t help but blurt out. However, Mr. Cat put up a finger and stopped me.
“Hush, I can’t say, I can’t say.” Mr. Cat shook his head. “This is your fate, and you have to face it on your own. I can’t leak its secrets. The path ahead, you need to explore it yourself.”
I was slightly annoyed. Mr. Cat, Bai, or even Zhu Xuan, they all apparently knew the truth, and I was the only one who was always kept in the dark.
“So is this so-called fate that important?” I frowned and raised my voice. “Is it more important than human lives, or losing a friend?”
“Human kid, don’t get anxious.” Mr. Cat kept the same smiling face no matter what I said. “In this world, everything has a cause and a consequence. Everything in this world has its own fate. Life or death, reunion or separation, everything is connected.”
As his words became more confusing, I got annoyed. “Of course, I know there is a connection, but honestly, I don’t give a damn. I only want to know what is going on here and why it happened. Also, where is Wen Jiubo, and why did someone attack him? I…”
Mr. Cat put his index finger on his lips, shaking his head. “Don’t trust what you see. Sometimes your eyes can deceive and mislead you. As for the truth, you need to find it yourself. I can’t help you.”
I restrained myself from rolling my eyes at him. However, I began to realize that this time, I was on my own.
“Fine, you all chose to stand on the sidelines. I can find him myself!” I said angrily. “You just need to tell me how I can get there!”
Mr. Cat stopped walking and stared at me. He waved his furry claws in the air, and then the ghost flames floating around us gathered together, lighting the way forward.
The minute the path was lighted up, I broke out in a cold sweat from the fear. Underneath my feet was an abyss, if I walked one inch forward, I would fall into it.
“What is this place down there…” I looked down into the abyss, but it was too dark to see anything.
“It’s the place you are heading to,” Mr. Cat stood behind me and said casually. “You asked me to tell you how to get there.”
“What?” I turned back, but before I could understand what he meant, he abruptly pushed me from behind. I lost balance and fell into the abyss.
“Wait, Mr. Cat! Hey!” I struggled a little but failed to grab the edge, and I fell directly into the dark. The fear brought by the fall forced me to close my eyes. There was only one thought in my head: This is it, this time I am absolutely going to die. I will die in an odd place not because I got eaten by some monster, but because I fell into the abyss!
However, the pain I expected never came. Instead, when I opened my eyes, I found myself standing steadily on the ground. However, the dizziness wasn’t gone. I grabbed my head and staggered for a few steps.
I seemed to be in a confined space surrounded by walls made of grey bricks, it looked like a labyrinth or an underground palace in an adventure novel. There was no ceiling, but I couldn’t see anything except for pitch-black darkness.
Where am I?
There were torches on the wall, however, their flames were not red, but blue, like the ghost flames. I didn’t even dare to think about what fuel they used.
I began to walk towards the torches, and at the same time, I heard the sound of splashing water. I looked down and found that I was standing barefooted in the water. The floor of the entire labyrinthian building was covered by water, but strangely, I couldn’t feel its presence or its temperature.
I couldn’t feel cold or warmth, as if my body’s sensory system was shut down. I couldn’t feel anything.
I had no time to think about that. I pulled out a touch to light the path ahead and went on.
The surroundings were so quiet that I couldn’t hear anything besides my breathing and the sound of water, which echoed in the long corridor while walking.
What is this place? And where is Wen Jiubo?
And… why is such a massive place empty?
I don’t know if you had such an experience before. The quieter a place was, the less you dared to make a sound. Even though you actually knew that you were completely alone, you didn’t even dare to breathe heavily.
Because subconsciously, people would feel that there was a presence looking at them in the dark.
I swore, a second ago, a black shadow flew incredibly quickly in front of me. Although it didn’t make any noise, I was pretty sure that something ran across the intersection.
However, when I turned around to check, there was nothing behind me besides the endless walls stretching to the horizon.
My heart was beating fast as I hastily ran to the intersection. However, nothing was there, it was a dead end with a wall that seemed to stretch to the heavens.
I gulped and kept walking through the labyrinth with the torch in my hand. I began to believe that this place was endless, because no matter where I went, turning to the left or the right, all the paths were exactly the same.
I didn’t know how long I walked, but all of sudden, I heard the sound of splashing water.
The sound came from behind me, but I was standing still.
“Who is it?” I quickly turned around and saw a shadow sprinting before disappearing around the corner.
“Wait! Come back!” I chased it without hesitation, the water beneath my feet spattering due to my movements. I ran as fast as I could, but when I reached that corner, I couldn’t see anything.
This time, I was really scared. I had goosebumps all over my body. I was convinced that there was something else besides me in this tortuous corridor. And it might not be human.
Where am I? And where is Wen Jiubo?
I sighed and gave up. However, as I turned around, I saw a little girl dressed in white standing right behind me. She was staring at me.
The little girl gazed at me with an innocent look on her face. She repeated, “Help me.”
I subconsciously took a few steps back. The little girl showed up from nowhere and without any sound. After a closer look, I realized her feet did not touch the ground. She was floating on the water surface. She was definitely not human.
But then again… How could a human live in the gap between the two worlds? I was afraid that I was the only human being in this enormous place.
“Please, help me,” The little girl opened her mouth again, begging.
“Er…” I cautiously moved a step forward, but I still kept a certain distance from her. “What’s the matter? Are you in trouble?”
However, she was expressionless and repeated this sentence over and over again, “Please, I’m begging you, help me. I’m so scared, I don’t know what to do.”