IWBL: Chapter 129

Zheng Yi was very dissatisfied with this answer. [You should be more confident and at least say 6:4.]

Xiao Li smiled and changed the topic. He casually asked: [How are you doing?]

Zheng Yi: [I’m okay. I feel the instances are getting more and more difficult recently. Two people in my team died in the last world. Xiao Li, can I form a team with you next time? Let me hug your thigh.]

Xiao Li returned a ‘good’ emoji.

Zheng Yi’s atmosphere relaxed. [Thank you, big man.jpg.]

Xiao Li exchanged a few messages with Zheng Yi. Then the little black cat suddenly emerged from where he had been sleeping in the little yellow book. The cat wrinkled his small nose and headed to the cup filled with Coke.

Just as he was about to stick out his little tongue to try and lick it, Xiao Li placed a hand over the cup. The little black cat encountered air. He couldn’t help jumping to Xiao Li’s knee, wet nose touching him. “Meow.”

Xiao Li looked at the cat who had one paw pressed against the edge of the cup. The round cat eyes became wider like he wanted to make a deal with Xiao Li.

Xiao Li told him, “You can’t drink this.”

“Meow meow.”

Xiao Li opened the little yellow book and looked at the translation. [I can drink it, I’m not an ordinary cat.]

“Then the next time you take a bath, will you be good?”

The little black cat was hesitant for a moment. Then he moved his nose and sniffed. “Meow.”

[I will only wash once.]

Xiao Li extended his finger in a ‘1.’ “Then you can only lick one mouthful.”

The little black cat got permission. He held Xiao Li’s wrist with two front paws, soft meat pads on the back of the hands as he raised his head and quickly took a sip of the Coke. Then he released his claws and fell back to his knees. He licked his mouth like he was savoring the taste of Coke. Once he finished, the little black cat headed back to Xiao Li. “Meow.”

[One more bite.]

Xiao Li wondered, “Do you think this is a prize and you can get another bottle?”

He put the Coke on the other side of the coffee table and held the little black cat’s head with two palms, running it a few times. Cat fur was soft and felt very good.

The little black cat meowed, understanding that Xiao Li wouldn’t let him drink anymore. He paused Xiao Li’s hand away with his claws and then jumped onto the cat’s climbing frame at the window. He leaned down and started licking himself. This small appearance was very pleasant.

Xiao Li hung the old painting back on the wall and opened his mobile phone to play games.

The little black cat washed his face and jumped off the cat’s climbing frame, curling up by Xiao Li’s side.

Before Xiao Li went to bed, Shen Chenzhi’s sense of existence wasn’t strong. It was only after he went to bed that Shen Chenzhi sent him a WeChat message. [Good night.]

The phone was placed at the end of the bed. Xiao Li had fallen asleep and didn’t see the message. Before Xiao Li woke up, Shen Chenzhi withdrew the message.

***********

A few days later.

Xiao Li didn’t know when would be the next time he entered the instance world. He requested a long vacation from school and rested for a few days at home.

As a result, Zheng Yi ended his long vacation. Zheng Yi sent a message to Xiao Li: [Xiao Li, our school has a classmate who encountered something. She is suffering and I can’t help her. I want to ask if you’re free?]

Xiao Li: [What did she meet?]

Zheng Yi seemed very upset. [I can’t tell… are you free now? Can I bring her to your house to find you if I’m free? I haven’t been to your new home yet.]

[…Yes.] Xiao Li was happy to respond.

On the same day, Zheng Yi drove his arrogant sports car to Xiao Li’s place. He brought up a girl in a school uniform with a grey face and thick black circles under her eyes. At first glance, she was either haunted by a ghost or had insomnia.

This was the first time Zheng Yi had come here. He was born into a rich family and saw this small house was somewhat shabby. However, the owner of the house was Xiao Li. He had the right to experience life.

The girl sat down on the sofa and Xiao Li poured her a cup of hot tea. “What’s going on?”

Zheng Yi didn’t care to explore Xiao Li’s new home and sat down beside Xiao Li. “She is a junior called Qi Zhu, a friend of a friend. I don’t know how to say it so I’ll let her explain it.”

The girl called Qi Zhu raised his head. The steam of the team covered her eyes but couldn’t erase the fear in them. She spoke slowly, “Xiao Li, do you believe in ghosts?”

Xiao Li replied, “I’ve seen them. What have you encountered?”

Qi Zhu hadn’t expected this and glanced at Xiao Li. After a long time, she picked up the cup of hot tea, took a sip and started to tell her story. “Since last month, I have been staying late at school because I want to participate in a math competition. I have gone back after 10 o’clock every night.”

“My family isn’t good and I had to get a scholarship to enter school. My parents’ stall close early in the morning so I take the bus home.”

“The bus I take is 20 minutes away from school on the side of the road. The last bus is at 10:35 so I’m usually stuck waiting for the last bus.”

“The weather was bad that day. It rained and I didn’t bring an umbrella. I was slightly delayed due to borrowing an umbrella and by the time I arrived at the bus stop, it was very late. However, I couldn’t afford to take a taxi and it is too far to walk back. I thought I would wait just in case and as a result… a bus arrived.”

Qi Zhu recalled the scene and her entire body got a chill.

“The bus looked like an old-fashioned bus. It was old in every way and there was no bus number in front.

“The platform had another bus apart from the one I normally use but its last bus is at 7 p.m. It was long past that time but I didn’t think much. I went straight onto the bus.”

The girl spoke slowly. As she was speaking, she suddenly gulped the hot tea in her hand and coughed a few times.

Xiao Li handed her a few paper towels. “Speak slowly.”

The little black cat was attracted by Qi Zhu’s experience. He lay on the group and quietly pricked his ears, looking more and more like a rabbit. Tan Li originally hanging on the curtains was also curious. No one noticed her turning her head to the living room to stare at Qi Zhu.

Zheng Yi heard this and felt some resistance. He took his eyes off Qi Zhu, who was wiping water off her face, and saw the painting above her head. “Did this painting… move?”

At Zheng Yi’s words, Qi Zhu’s entire body jumped and she started trembling nervously.

“It’s nothing, you were dizzy.” Xiao Li hinted at Zheng Yi with his eyes and reached for the little black cat, stuffing the cat into Qi Zhu’s arms. “You can rest assured that you’re safe here.”

The warm fur of the little animal in her arms called Qi Zhu. Sweat flowed down her forehead as she slowly continued, “The driver was a middle-aged man and very thin. He had strange spots on his skin. I thought it was skin disease but now that I think about it… he was clearly a corpse.”

“I put in money and sat down at the seat in the back.”

“There were very few people on the bus, only four people. The entire bus was speechless and quiet, like a coffin.”

“I didn’t know why but I felt a bit uneasy so I started to observe the other people. Sitting in front of me was an old lady with a hunched back who did nothing. She only stared straight ahead.

“The other people were sitting in the last row. There was a woman whose face couldn’t be seen clearly but she was strange… she st on the bus with an umbrella!”

“How could someone hold an open umbrella on the bus? The umbrella covered her face so I couldn’t see it clearly. I also didn’t dare to look and moved my gaze away.”

“Apart from the two of them, there was also a young man in hospital clothes. His entire body was shaking and he didn’t do anything, like he was afraid of something.”

“The last person was sitting in the double seats opposite him He wasn’t wearing shoes and his feet were purple and green. I looked at him and… he was watching me!”

“I can’t describe his eyes. They were indescribable… it was as if he was a dead man. I realized at that time that this bus absolutely wasn’t normal.

“The man looked at me and asked me, ‘Where are you going?’ I spoke the name of my bus stop and he said that I got on the wrong bus.”

“I didn’t understand what he meant so I asked him why. As a result, he said nothing and just sat there.”

“The bus drove for a long time like it would never reach the next stop. I looked out the window into the way and found that I didn’t recognize the surrounding scenery. This wasn’t the way to my home. I was afraid so I stood up and told the bus driver that I wanted to get off the bus. The driver asked me why and I said I took the wrong bus. The driver said this reason wasn’t enough. The bus could only stop at the station and I could only wait for the next station.”

“I didn’t know if it was my illusion but when I said I took the wrong bus, the other people looked at me and didn’t want to let me off.”

“I was very upset and waited a long time. Finally, we arrived at the next stop. I immediately stood up, ready to rush off the bus.”

“Through the window, I saw a woman standing on the platform. Her head was split in half from the middle but she could still walk and still stand. She even… wanted to get on the bus!”

“The bus stopped at the station and opened the front and back doors. I wanted to rush out crazily but the old lady reached for me. She wanted to drag me back and make me a ghost in order to get off the bus herself. I madly scratched at her and finally rushed down before the doors closed.”

“The stop was in the suburbs of the city and too far away. I was forced to have my parents close their stall early to pick me up. I thought it was all over but it was just the beginning.”

“Once I went back, I found a circle of marks where the old lady had grabbed me. I started having a fever and when I lay down, I could see a blurry shadow. I couldn’t even stay safely in class.”

Qi Zhu stopped at this point and rubbed her eyes.

Zheng Yi added, “I have been collecting information about supernatural events. She found out about me through a friend and asked if I had a way to help her ward off evil. I have her a few charms but they didn’t work, so I thought of you.”

Xiao Li listened to this story and thought of the ghost train instance where he encountered Wang Huai. It also shuttled through worlds. If it wasn’t for him finding a special method, they would’ve travelled forever. This bus… was it the same?

Xiao Li shifted his gaze to Qi Zhu. The girl was very thin and clearly looked tortured. If it was regarding exorcism then Xiao Li actually had no way. However, he had Xie Zeqing who should be a master in this regard.

Xiao Li sent a message to Xie Zeqing. He roughly described the situation and asked if Xie Zeqing was free.

Xie Zeqing: [It’s rare for you to beg me. Even if I’m not free, I would have to free myself up. I will come immediately.]

Xiao Li put away his phone and told Qi Zhu, “I’m not good at exorcisms but I found a friend to help you. Don’t worry, he’s a master.”

“Thank you… after it happened, my parents said I was crazy.” Qi Zhu smiled bitterly. “I know that I’m not crazy and that it was real.”

Zheng Yi told her, “Before I saw it, I also didn’t believe. Now I have become the only spiritual expert in my family.”

Perhaps it was due to the existence of the same kind but Qi Zhu looked a bit better. She started to try to talk to Zheng Yi.

After half an hour, Xie Zeqing rushed over. Xie Zeqing was from a family of exorcists and was no stranger to this type of thing. He exchanged greetings with the people present and took out a charm with strange patterns on it from his pocket.

He touched a lighter to it, turned the paper to ash, mixed it with water and gave it to Qi Zhu. “Drink this.”

Qi Zhu’s face shook a bit. However, perhaps she was truly scared and she directly poured it down her throat without hesitation.

“Give me your hand.”

Xie Zeqing held Qi Zhu’s wrist and watched the circle of handprint marks. Then a tattoo-like black shadow moved down his arm and onto Qi Zhu’s hand. Strangely, the fingerprints on Qi Zhu’s hand were absorbed by Xie Zeqing’s ghost. It quickly faded away and her original colour was restored.

“It’s fine,” Xie Zeqing replied.

Qi Zhu moved her wrists and seemed to detect the change in temperature of her body. There was a surprised smile on her face. “It’s really good… thank you, thank you.”

Xiao Li also spoke to Xie Zeqing, “Thank you.”

Xie Zeqing looked at him helplessly. “…You’ve had enough.”

Zheng Yi sensed that Xie Zeqing was also a reincarnator and asked curiously, “This is?”

Xie Zeqing spoke coolly, “Yanluo.”

Zheng Yi had obviously heard his name. Xie Zeqing was a young master of the Xie family who was born with a ghost body. He also had some reputation among the reincarnators. However, Zheng Yi knew that Xie Zeqing’s biggest label was a Mo boaster. This man was frantically touting Moriarty in the forum.

Meanwhile, Zheng Yi was touting Sherlock. Zheng Yi’s enthusiasm faded once he knew this person’s identity. He didn’t understand why Xiao Li was friends with a Mo boaster but he spoke with normal etiquette. “I’m Zheng Yi, Xiao Li’s classmate.”

Xie Zeqing could detect his coldness. He didn’t remember Zheng Yi’s account name but he still took the other person’s strange attitude to heart. he didn’t show it but he gave a cold nod.

Xiao Li didn’t care about the war of words between the two men. He asked Qi Zhu, “Qi Zhu, where is the stop that you usually take?”

Qi Zhu found it strange but still replied. “Just across from Yongshou Road 107. It is dangerous and you should try to avoid it.”

Xiao Li nodded and chatted a bit with Qi Zhu. Then the girl reluctantly said goodbye to the little black cat and left.

Xie Zeqing didn’t leave. He looked at the girl’s back and wondered, “Xiao Li—do you want to?”

Xiao Li confirmed the statement. “Go and see.”

Before Xie Zeqing could speak, Zheng Yi jumped up. He and Xiao Li hadn’t partnered up in a way and hearing this, he understood they wanted to take the strange bus and was puzzled. “Do you want to take that bus?”

Xiao Li wondered, “You aren’t curious?”

Zheng Yi replied, “…I’m not curious. I think my life is the most important thing.”

Xiao Li praised him. “You are doing the right thing.”

Zheng Yi, “…”

He didn’t feel complimented at all.

*******

That night, in front of the platform.

The night was deep and the number of passing pedestrians changed from rare to completely none. There were three people standing t the stop at this time, including Xiao Li and Zheng Yi. Zheng Yi regarded his life as the most important thing but followed curiously. “I’ll take a look but I absolutely won’t board.”

Xie Zeqing was used to Xiao Li’s style and had become bold recently. He thought that he was Xiao Li’s partner and shouldn’t run away. The night wind was a bit big. The stop was against a tree where the dry branches were like the claws and teeth of some creature. It was somehow a bit strange.

This wasn’t an instance. It was reality. This fact cast an even more frightening tinge over the scene. It was unknown when but there was a light drizzle that fell to the ground, watering the flowers.

There was the roar of a car in the distance. There was a bus slowly moving. Its right light was broken and the body was worn out. The entire bus seemed to be covered with a strange fog. This was a hearse for the dead.

The driver was grim-faced as he stopped at the station and pressed the door button. The bus didn’t stop in front of Xiao Li. It was facing Xie Zeqing. Xie Zeqing was prepared but in the face of such a scene, his hair still stood up. Due to his physical condition, he felt the horror of the ghost bus more than anyone else.

“Do you really want to go up?” Xie Zeqing glanced at Xiao Li.

Xiao Li thought about it, “This isn’t an instance. I can do it and you wait for my messages.”

However, Xie Zeqing already came here. Didn’t withdrawing mean he was afraid? How could a strong person be afraid of this challenge? Since the bus stopped in front of him, he couldn’t say to Xiao Li, “Please go first.”

Xie Zeqing said that sooner or later, he would have to seek death. Thus, he got on the car and took out two coins from his pocket. Xiao Li stood behind him. He had just raised his feet to board the bus when the door closed.

The driver acted like he encountered a flood of water or a fierce beast. He heavily pressed the ‘close’ button and the door closed right in front of Xiao Li’s nose. He stepped on the accelerator again and this type of spiritual bus was launched forward. The back looked like it was somehow running away.

Xiao Li who was left at the station, “……”

He hadn’t got on the bus yet. What was this? Was it refusing a passenger?!


The author has something to say:

Driver: There is a strong desire for survival.

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