Chapter 30

Xie Yuchen crawled back to the fish room. The smell was just as strong as before and Zheng Jingyin was still huddling in the corner of the room. He crawled over and checked the other man’s pulse.

It was very chaotic, but he was still alive.

Zheng Jingyin was wearing a black windbreaker. Xie Yuchen looked it over and realized that he should have noticed it long before. It must have been bought by a woman who knew about fashion and aesthetics.

Xie Yuchen checked Zheng Jingyin’s fingers next, which were now firmly dug into the ground, the fingernails bent back.

It looked like he was trying to resist whatever had a hold of his mind. He had violated the rules but since he only knew what the first three rules were, he could only violate the third one—in other words, he saw what he had lost and didn’t ignore it.

It was obviously too late to leave here and go thirty kilometers away, but they couldn’t stay here either.

Xie Yuchen didn’t know what kind of changes would occur when he left the house with someone who had violated the rules, but he grabbed Zheng Jingyin and started dragging him towards the door.

After crawling out of the door and reaching the end of the corridor, Zheng Jingyin suddenly sat up like a living corpse and then slowly turned his head.

Xie Yuchen looked at him and saw that only the whites of his eyes were showing. “Don’t—worry—about—me!” He said each word with difficulty, as if he were fighting to get them out of his throat.

As soon as he finished speaking, Xie Yuchen saw that the entire corridor and room they had been in just now suddenly began to distort, and a violent stench filled the air.

“Run!” Zheng Jingyin shouted in a low voice.

Xie Yuchen picked Zheng Jingyin up and slung him over his back. Since his finger joints were dislocated and he couldn’t utilize his full strength, he had to pick him up by the collar before making his mad dash out of the corridor.

Even though he had to crawl and he kept falling, he still managed to make it more than a hundred meters away due to his strong core strength. But in the midst of escaping, Xie Yuchen found that the structure of the house here was very chaotic and all of the porcelain Orthodox statues that had led the way before had disappeared. Unable to find his way back, he started to panic.

Given time, he would’ve been able to remember the details of every turn, but without this reaction time, he had no other choice but to rush into the closest room and keep going through the rooms one by one.

All of the rooms were full of clutter, which he quickly dragged Zheng Jingyin through. While doing all of this, his brain was quickly running through numerous calculations and he quickly extracted what he wanted from the junk piles.

Soon, he didn’t know where he was.

He eventually stopped in a room that appeared to be a temple teahouse. It was full of more junk piles, among which were a few camp beds. It seemed that many people had slept here before.

He looked behind him and saw that the overwhelming stench was practically tangible as it made the air twist and distort. Under the flashlight’s glow, this distorted cloud of air drifted from room to room, getting closer and closer as it followed their trajectory.

Xie Yuchen was now holding three bottles of foreign wine in his hand. He set two of them down, took the top off of the third one, sprinkled it around himself, and then conjured a lighter seemingly out of thin air.

This was the maximum number of items that he could grab since he had to carry another person with him. The lighter had been stuffed into his sleeve when he snagged it from a junk pile.

The lighter no longer had any fuel to make a flame but it could still make sparks. Xie Yuchen squatted down and aimed the sparks towards the wine on the ground. In just a few seconds, a circle of fire spread around him, illuminating the room and all the junk within it.

As Xie Yuchen quickly threw all the flammable paper into the fire, the whole room soon began to burn. Moreover, the room was dry and there were tatami mats underneath so the fire spread quickly.

As the intense burnt smell and the heat wave from the flames began to surge up, Xie Yuchen stared at the distorted air in the firelight. It was approaching fast, but the heat wave was so overwhelming that it couldn’t get closer despite being so close to the flames. The two opposing forces caused the burning scraps of paper around them to swirl through the air, just like flaming snowflakes.

Although the flames wouldn’t go out in a wooden house like this and the stench couldn’t get closer, there was still the danger of burning to death.

Xie Yuchen closed his eyes. In fact, he only needed three minutes to come up with a good plan.

With his eyes closed, he was able to visualize all the routes he had used when he came in, the characteristics of every intersection, the several rooms he had passed through when making his escape just now, and the few piles of junk he had bypassed.

Now that everything was instantly restored in his mind, he opened his eyes. He took Zheng Jingyin’s windbreaker and tore it into strips to use as a rope. Then, he used the strips to tie Zheng Jingyin to his back and lowered his head.

He couldn’t use the flashlight anymore so he threw it aside and kicked the remaining bottles of wine into the fire with one foot. The two bottles hit a hard object and shattered, causing the flames to explode.

It was at this exact moment that he jumped over the flames on the side, crashed his way out of the room, and came to another corridor, where there was a courtyard outside. With Zheng Jingyin tied to his back, he climbed onto the roof and started running wildly in the dark.

Distance…how many steps did he run in a straight line just now? If he turned left at a certain point, that would probably put him on the right path.

He couldn’t see anything since the starlight was extremely dim but he could hear the cracking sound of the tiles behind him. With Zheng Jingyin on his back, he continued running wildly on the dark roof, relying solely on his distance perception.

He kept falling down and was soon covered in scratch marks from the tiles, but he would immediately get up again. He could only see whether there were obstacles directly in front of him because the roof wasn’t flat and many of the buildings had high roofs, which made the roof’s overall structure like an obstacle course.

Under the starlight, those obstacles looked like huge lumps of flesh. As Xie Yuchen rolled over them, it almost looked like he was dancing.

After reaching a certain section of roof, Xie Yuchen felt that he was back in the right area. He immediately jumped up and forcefully slammed his knees into the roof tiles, breaking through to the space below.

He fell directly into the corridor below, flicked on the lighter(1), and immediately took in the situation around him.

He was back on the right path!

He immediately closed his eyes and started running wildly in the dark, relying entirely on the number of steps he had counted when he first came here.

He wouldn’t fall down here, nor were there any obstacles to get in his way. In the dark, he made every step with extreme precision and turned quickly in the right direction at every turn.

Finally, he ran straight into that first Buddhist hall and immediately rushed out the door.

But almost as soon as he rushed out, he saw that all of those porcelain Orthodox statues had been placed in front of the door. They were all facing the door and had a candle in their hands. Beliak, who was crouched among the porcelain statues like a large white porcelain statue himself, suddenly looked at him and smiled.

<Chapter 29><Table of Contents><Chapter 31>


TN Note

(1) Plot hole? He definitely said earlier the lighter could only be used for sparks, not flames (which I took to mean it didn’t have lighter fluid). NPSS, you silly goose.

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