Candleman Festival (11)
An alarm sounded immediately in Old Yu’s heart. He quickly got up and walked to the door. It was too quiet, and he could hear the faint footsteps in the corridor through the door panel.
It was the sound of only one person’s footsteps…
Old Yu fought fiercely with himself in his heart. Judging from his experience and intuition, Xia Wei would definitely die right now if left alone. However, if he intervened, then what waited for him outside the door was unpredictable danger…
To save or not to save. In the Nightmare World where everyone was in danger, no one would blame him no matter what choice he made. Everyone could only depend on themselves.
As he was struggling and weighing his choices, several screams came from the corridor.
They were Xia Wei’s voice!
“What the hell are you… D-Don’t come over, don’t come near me—”
Old Yu paused his movement of twisting the doorknob. He saw a stronger light than before through the gap in the door.
His heart skipped a beat. This was…the light of a humanoid candle.
Under the domination of his desire to survive, he stopped and moved to the side to avoid the candlelight touching him.
He believed the most sensible and correct thing to do now was to silently pray for his unfortunate roommate.
Just as he thought that Xia Wei was going to die, there was a loud noise from the corridor. The door of Room 101 next to him seemed to be pushed open, followed by messy and swift footsteps. Xia Wei’s panicked cries continued.
“Put it out, hurry and put out the candle! I don’t want to turn into a candle!”
“Stay away from me… I’m not sure about you now…”
The light in the corridor gradually dimmed.
Chi Nan and Ye Chang lived in 101. If the door had just opened… Old Yu put his ear to the door again to listen to the movements in the corridor.
To tell the truth, Old Yu was relieved when he heard that Xia Wei could still speak. It wasn’t easy for this person to live.
“Who are you? Why did you just…?”
“I didn’t mean to hurt you. It should’ve been my shadow who acted just now.” It was Ye Chang’s voice.
“It’s you… No, not you… It seems to be Chi Nan… The one who wanted to turn me into a candle…” Xia Wei’s voice lowered and was replaced by intermittent whimpering. “W-What’s going on? My hand… Unconscious…”
Old Yu confirmed that the light had disappeared from the crack in the door before opening the door with confidence. “What’s going on?”
He turned on the flashlight he was carrying. The cold white light that was different from candle light shone on the three people in the corridor. Old Yu sucked in a breath when he saw Xia Wei’s current situation.
Xia Wei had fallen to the ground, the back of his head against the wall as he trembled. His left hand on the ground was gone… To be precise, it had turned into yellow wax with red impurities.
Chi Nan and Ye Chang stood by Xia Wei’s side. They were a bit helpless facing the vigilant and hostile Xia Wei.
“What is going on?” Old Yu made sure there was no danger before walking out of the dormitory and checking Xia Wei’s condition more closely.
Xia Wei’s arm had become the ‘special and precious’ wax block that the female foreman had shown them before. His heartbeat and pulse were still there, and the temperature and touch of the other parts of his body were normal. This was a phenomenon where the transformation to wax was taking place and it was forced to stop…
“I was tricked outside and almost turned into a humanoid candle…”
Xia Wei held his wax arm. He didn’t care about any embarrassment as a boy and whimpered while crying.
Old Yu crouched down and directly reached out to touch the wax limb.
The feeling was very strange. It had the smoothness of a candle, but due to the wax transformation happening not long ago, it still retained the temperature of human skin.
Old Yu quickly withdrew his hand. “Who is the person who tricked you out? Did you see clearly?”
Xia Wei nodded before shaking his head. “The voice was Ye Chang’s voice, but I caught a glimpse of his face… It seemed to be…Chi Nan’s appearance…”
“What? Ye Chang’s voice but Chi Nan’s face?” Old Yu couldn’t understand these confusing words and confirmed it again.
Xia Wei whimpered. “I don’t know… I’m also confused. However, this is indeed what happened just now. It was as if the two of them were one!”
Chi Nan looked at Ye Chang. Ye Chang just happened to be looking over, so Chi Nan saw himself in the other person’s glasses.
He thought that the appearance of his body didn’t look like Ye Chang.
Old Yu felt helpless and dumbfounded. “Did you fall asleep…?”
Xia Wei held his arm and cried without saying anything.
“It should be that shadow that attacked Xia Wei,” Chi Nan said.
Old Yu looked at Ye Chang with complicated eyes. The other person’s lips were pursed in a straight line, and he didn’t seem to intend on defending himself.
Therefore, Chi Nan helped explain for him. “Ye Chang and I were dealing with the humanoid candle in the room when we heard the movement in the corridor. We came out and saw a shadow grabbing Xia Wei.”
Old Yu looked over keenly. “Was it Ye Chang’s missing shadow?”
“Yes,” Ye Chang replied, “I can recognize my shadow. It should be that it couldn’t act against me, so it decided to act against Xia Wei.”
His words were basically a denial of the eyewitness Xia Wei’s statement that the shadow that attacked him had Ye Chang’s voice and Chi Nan’s face.
It was better to not let people believe this type of thing. It was troublesome that he had to wipe the butt of the shadow.
Fortunately, Chi Nan didn’t take Xia Wei’s confused words seriously. Instead, he started to sort it out in his heart. After the shadow of the sleepwalker was alienated, it had to achieve turning the body to wax in order to appear on the ghost wall to receive the candlelight offering of the locals. The shadows of Gu Xiao and Bai Chuan confirmed this.
However, if the body successfully extinguished the human candle before turning into wax, then the alienated shadow would mutiny and even attack other people’s bodies in order to create more human wax.
In other words, Ye Chang’s shadow lurking secretly had become one of their biggest threats.
Chi Nan hesitated for a moment. He didn’t say his own guess, but Old Yu was observant and experienced. He also speculated about these rules at almost the same time. He looked at Chi Nan and asked, “What do you think should be done?”
Chi Nan didn’t speak, but Ye Chang took the initiative to answer. “I can only think of two methods at the moment to deal with an uncontrolled shadow.”
He paused, as if he made up his mind, and finally looked over at Chi Nan. “The first way is to let me turn to wax completely. According to the experiences of Bai Chuan and Gu Xiao, my shadow should be sealed on the ghost shadow wall after my body is turned to wax and it can’t kill people at will.
“For the other method, the existence of the shadow relies on the body. If the body dies…the shadow might not be established any longer.”
The air froze instantly. In the cold white light, Ye Chang’s eyes were hidden behind the lenses and his facial expression became blurred.
Old Yu slightly raised an eyebrow. “You mean that you are willing to die in order to suppress the shadow’s activity?”
Ye Chang nodded firmly. “If it can stop it.”
Old Yu was silent for a moment. “It does make sense. If you voluntarily…”
“Now isn’t the time,” Chi Nan interrupted Old Yu. “In order to avoid more victims from appearing, we will hand it over to Ye Chang if we encounter the matter of needing to extinguish a candle.”
He paused before adding, “After all, there is still the possibility that extinguishing the human candle will cause the shadow to be taken away so that more victims will appear.”
“What about Ye Chang’s shadow?” Old Yu questioned.
Chi Nan was silent for a moment before replying, “Try to be as cautious as possible about him and things related to him.”
“What about yourself? You live in a room with him and you’re in more danger than any of us,” Old Yu asked Chi Nan again.
Chi Nan shook his head. “That is fine. I can keep an eye on him and handle any situation in time.”
Chi Nan glanced at Ye Chang as he said this. The moment their eyes met, he felt that Ye Chang was smiling at him.
Then he thought that he had seen it wrong. Even if Ye Chang wasn’t surprised by this situation, he shouldn’t be able to smile.
“Thank you, Brother Nan,” Ye Chang told him.
At this time, the two girls in Room 109 were finally alarmed and the young mother in Room 105 also pulled open the door. Old Yu looked at them with a complicated expression. He was sure that the three women had listened to their conversation and only showed their heads when they were sure there was no danger.
Dyson Sen asked Xia Wei in a confused manner, “I remember that everyone locked their doors before going to bed. How did Ye Chang’s shadow enter your room? A shadow shouldn’t be able to move on its own without light. How did it take you into the corridor?”
Xia Wei’s expression changed slightly and Wu Ying continued speaking, “We just want to find out how the shadow did this so we can be on the defense against it.”
Xia Wei’s mouth twitched, but he didn’t intend to show embarrassment. “What else can I do? Little brother Ye’s voice appeared outside my door in the middle of the night and invited me to sleep. Can I refuse?”
They all instinctively looked at Chi Nan. Chi Nan stood there blankly, not knowing why they were all focused on him when Xia Wei was talking about Ye Chang.
Xia Wei shrugged and continued in a self-deprecating tone, “How could I know it was the shadow? It was through the door and I didn’t expect the shadow to imitate the voice of the body. It was really exactly the same, even his actions and behavior… The shadow was wearing a black trench coat and was tightly wrapped, but he didn’t cover his eyes. He turned around and…I saw him as Chi Nan.”
“I was probably dazzled due to the light.” Xia Wei wiped his eyes with his only remaining hand, weeping elegantly and sadly.
Ye Chang secretly looked at everyone. Fortunately, they were convinced by Xia Wei’s words about being dazzled.
Chi Nan silently observed the ground. He noticed that the shadow Xia Wei cast on the ground was incomplete and missing an arm.
In other words…would the body parts that turned into wax disappear with the shadow?
Old Yu complained to Xia Wei, “This is a world where our lives are always in danger. Do you still have the heart to think about sleeping with someone?”
“…I was just thinking about death and don’t know what will come tomorrow. I became so shameless.” Xia Wei hugged his waxed arm and cried. “Who expected the shadow to gain the ability to imitate sound and movement?”
This was indeed unexpected by all of them.
The young mother, who was silent for a long time, finally opened her mouth. Her voice was very calm. “In the future, everyone must lock their doors and windows. Don’t trust the voices of your companions, and you can’t even trust the people you are close to. These alienated shadows can imitate us and act, so they should have the ability to think.”
Everyone looked at her in surprise. This young mother was too unfathomable. Previously, she made a fuss like a newcomer, but now she was calm and sharp like an experienced sleepwalker.
Old Yu looked at her, but didn’t ask anything else. He added, “We must also pay attention to obscuring the light source.”
Ye Chang said, “The shadow should be the one who can best understand the body’s behavior, habits, and manner of speaking. Brother Nan, you must be careful of me.”
He looked at Chi Nan and Chi Nan corrected him gently, “Yes, I will be careful of your shadow.”
That night, Ye Chang’s shadow tormented everyone enough. After the panic was over, Xia We stopped crying and started to talk about how he would have to learn a handicapped craft after leaving this world in order to make a living. Old Yu, who was planning to comfort him, heard this and saved a lot of effort.
The rest of the group went back to their dormitories. They confirmed that there were no abnormalities in the room and locked the doors and windows tightly. Then, they covered the windows with towels and other items to prevent light from entering the room.
In the case of complete darkness, shadows couldn’t exist. They could relax a little bit.
After returning to the room, Chi Nan had a thoughtful expression. Ye Chang took the initiative to ask, “What’s wrong? What are you thinking about?”
Chi Nan unknowingly cocked his head. “I was thinking about what happened to that mother.”
Ye Chang also thought about it. “My guess is that after Rui Rui passed away, she went to the Nightmare World in order to revive her daughter. Then, after achieving her wish, something went wrong with her memory…”
His expression became focused. “Maybe she had an additional wish, such as…forgetting the desperate day she lost Rui Rui or erasing her painful memories. Generally, people who have experienced trauma will have the tendency to choose this. Therefore, her memory disappearing after she resurrected Rui Rui makes sense. As the one who was resurrected, Rui Rui automatically inherited her mother’s experience with instances in order to protect her mother, who has lost her memory.”
Chi Nan wondered, “So in Rui Rui’s setting, she is the sleepwalker who passed through countless instances and her mother who resurrected her is a newcomer who knows nothing?”
Ye Chang nodded. “Then Rui Rui’s disappearance forced the mother to recall the loss of her daughter, whether she wanted to or not. The memories are returning, but it might be intermittent, like contact with a bad radio signal.”
Chi Nan nodded in agreement after hearing this, but he didn’t speak. Ye Chang stared at him for a few seconds before asking with a smile, “What’s wrong? Do you think it is unreasonable?”
Chi Nan shook his head. “I’m just a bit curious about how you came up with this.”
Ye Chang froze for a moment before smiling. “I guessed randomly according to the rules that Brother Cha previously told me.”
Chi Nan: “……”
“However, I have always been very accurate in my answers. Believe me.”
It was the fourth day since the group of volunteers had arrived in Candleman Town.
Out of the 10 sleepwalkers, two were completely turned to wax while one person had a hand turned to wax. He might be disabled, but his life was temporarily preserved. The little girl called Rui Rui had disappeared and hadn’t been heard from so far. Meanwhile, her mother was in a semi-awake and half-confused state and she was unpredictable.
At dawn, it was rare for Chi Nan to wake up early, wash up, and go out with Ye Chang.
Old Yu saw Ye Chang holding a sharp steel chisel and asked strangely, “…What are you going to do?”
“Do an experiment,” Chi Nan answered.
Old Yu had seen Chi Nan playing tricks in the past and became interested. He put on his coat and followed. “Where are you going? Take me.”
“I’m going to the ghost wall.”
Old Yu found it even stranger. “Why are you taking a steel chisel to the ghost wall?”
He had an incredible idea. “Don’t tell me that you are digging at the wall?”
“Yes.” Chi Nan nodded slightly. “I just don’t know if the wall is strong or not.”
Old Yu: “……”
Ye Chang told him, “It is okay. It is enough to exercise. The weather is good this morning.”
“…Are you serious?” Old Yu wondered.
Chi Nan answered, “Yes.”
Despite his complaints, Old Yu still followed them to the ghost wall.
“Where do you want to start digging?” Old Yu asked.
Chi Nan told him, “First look to see if there is an extra hand.”
Old Yu heard this and realized that Chi Nan was looking for the shadow of Xia Wei’s hand that turned to wax last night. He didn’t know Chi Nan’s ultimate purpose, but Old Yu had a hunch that it would be a good decision.
However, he looked at the black shadows criss crossing on the ghost wall and had a headache… These ghostly figures overlapped their torsos and limbs. It was hard to tell them apart. It was difficult to find any extra arms, and there was no way to be sure which hand was new.
Before Old Yu could speak, he saw that Chi Nan had Ye Chang take another panoramic photo of the ghost wall. Then he opened the mobile phone’s photo album and compared it to the photo taken two days ago. He played a live version of ‘spot the difference.’
It took less than five minutes for Chi Nan to find an extra hand on the wall where the shadows overlapped. “This should be Xia Wei’s hand.”
He spoke while pointing to the lower right corner of the ghost wall.
Ye Chang nodded and skillfully handled the steel chisel. “Brother Nan, you lean to the side. I’m afraid that the rubble will fall on you later.”