It was New Year’s Eve in winter. At around five in the afternoon, the sky had dimmed, the street lights were on and the major shops on the streets were blasting lively and exciting songs. The lanterns and colored banners made it bustling with noise and excitement.
This winter was particularly cold but it didn’t hinder people’s enthusiasm for New Year’s Eve.
Xiao Li held a cup of milk tea and walked on the sidewalk.
He might’ve been a god for some time and was familiar with all the abilities of a god but he still preferred to be a human being. Apart from when he went to the reincarnation world and pretended to be a reincarnator to play games with ghosts, when he built a certain instance or when he followed Shen Chenzhi into the main universe for friendly visits with the other gods, he usually converged his authority in reality and became an ordinary citizen.
As he walked around, he felt hot. Xiao Li let out a breath and pulled open the dark scarf around his neck to reveal a delicate collarbone.
He hadn’t wanted to wear a scarf but when he was at the door, Shen Chenzhi insisted that he put it on. After Xiao Li refused to let Shen Chenzhi come with him, he was hugged and his heart softened. It was just wearing a scarf so he took a step back.
Xiao Li thought up to here and looked down at the bag he was holding. It contained something that was his purpose for avoiding his hapless, clingy boyfriend.
He quickly averted his gaze and sped up his pace. He passed the bustling crowds and walked home.
Thanks to the continuous efforts of the surviving reincarnators, the current population had completely walked away from the shadow of the previous apocalypse. The damaged buildings had been renovated and the aftereffect was a high number of visits to the surrounding temples and churches.
In addition to reality, Xiao Li also fulfilled his promise to the soul of Atlantis. He found a rainy night and attacked the territory of the god of dreams with Shen Chenzhi. There was a friendly exchange (robbery) and he gained the town of Atlantis. After waking them up, he placed them in another small world deep in the ocean, leaving a passage into reality. Of course, there were restrictions on the passage so they wouldn’t do bad things to reality.
The sunset completely ended and night enveloped the earth. It was different from the fear caused by ghosts. At this moment, the sky was clear and there was a small amount of snow falling from the sky. They fell on the lampposts and Xiao Li’s eyelashes like floating butterflies.
He turned left and walked toward his own building. He opened the security door on the first floor and started to walk up while looking down at his phone. His screen was showing the chat record between him and Zheng Yi. Zheng Yi had asked him when he was coming home and Xiao Li said that he was on the way. If he scrolled up, apart from some ordinary messages, there were a lot of screenshots of forum posts that Zheng Yi sent to Xiao Li.
The dilemma of reality being invaded was resolved but the reincarnation worlds of the gods were still present, so the forum was still open to all reincarnators. The only difference was that when encountering danger, the reincarnators had an additional object to pray to.
Due to this, Xiao Li’s title was widely circulated in the forum and there were many posts about him. The title of a post pinned to the top of the forum was: [Sherlock, eternal great god. Save us in the front, eternal great savior.]
If someone entered this post then they would see reply after reply:
[Why is there a typo in the title? Are you a fruit ninja? Is it fire and water?]
[Moriarty, eternal great god! As we all know, Moriarty is the god of fear and bad luck. Don’t try to scam him.
[You say this but as a Hercule believer, I’m not very convinced, As the last identity of the god of fear, it should naturally end with this. The other two old names, don’t join in the fun.]
[You support yours and I can do all. I am chaotic and evil. I eat Sherlock and I eat Moriarty.]
[What’s going on with the upstairs person?]
[You know, I really thought Moriarty was secretly in love with Sherlock. You are my longing, walking down the road you have walked on etc… it was abusive.]
[Well, who didn’t? In the beginning, I also visited Sherlock to see Moriarty.]
[Oh, I thought I was dead! It was a shame that I didn’t rush to help everyone at that time. It was great to be able to see the sun the next time.]
[Me too. I was hugging my parents and crying.]
[I called my first love who I vowed never to see again. Then she said she still loves me and we got back together. I now have a child. I love Sherlock!]
[Wait, Sherlock abused ghosts when he was human. Now that he has become a god… the other gods…]
[What bad heart can the god of bad luck have? (Image of a hand-drawn chibi version of Sherlock.JPG)]
[Mourning for them in advance.]
[Speaking of which, who knows how Sherlock became a god? Was there a huge phantom in the sky at the last moment? I didn’t see it clearly. Did anyone see it?]
[There was a great deal of pressure like… when I previously met the god of prophecy. F*k, it wouldn’t be the other gods right?]
[They came to witness Sherlock becoming a god?]
[It is really uncomfortable to think of that time. It was a dead end and there were so many people (ghosts?) on the other side while there was only one person on our side! Hug out boss, we are your strong backing.]
[Are you sure he is a person? Oh, yes, truly a person. After all, his boyfriend and friends aren’t human… (irony)]
[It seems that little sister Tan Li was injured and Sherlock’s other friends were also injured. I hope everyone is fine.]
[I’m curious about the changes after becoming a god. Can he fly? What is the difference with a ghost?]
[Five times taller, handsomer, stronger, faster and longer.]
[Longer? What is longer?]
[Can this also be talked about?]
One time, I entered an instance and ran into a ghost who seemed to know God Moriarty. I said I knew him and the ghost didn’t kill me. It gave me a way to summon God Moriarty. Just write his name in my task book and I can contact him if he allows him. Thus, I met him. He is so handsome. Brothers and sisters, he is a handsome guy but there is his legendary boyfriend accompanying him. His boyfriend is too difficult to approach. He is very cold and I was inexplicably scared.]
[I’m envious of the person upstairs. It might be because there are too many people who know God Moriarty’s contact information. Now it is really difficult to summon him.]
[In fact, think about it. If so many people called me at once then I would also be troubled and not answer.
[Still, since Hercule became a god, the death rate of the reincarnations has indeed decreased a lot.]
[I just heard that the god of lies wanted to find Sherlock for a PK. He wanted to compete to create a new world but God Sherlock never cared about him.]
[How can the god of lies win against bad luck? The world created by God Sherlock must beat him.]
[In any case, it is a must win. The god of lies is no match.]
[What is this speech? The god of lies wants to deceive himself.]
[The god of lies is shouting that he is invincible!]
[I used to think that the gods are unattainable. Now I think that some of them are quite fun, just like the bigshots.]
[I really want to see the goddess of beauty. Is she so beautiful?]
[I want to read the masterpiece of the goddess of words.]
[Of course, this premise is only for certain gods. It is better to frustrate the god of the underworld.]
This was just one of the posts. There were many more posts filling up the forum and the popularity hadn’t died down.
Now let’s leave these posts behind and return to reality.
After Xiao Li replied to Zheng Yi, he put his phone in his pocket and continued walking up the stairs. Everything was normal except that when he reached the second floor, Xiao Li stopped and raised an eyebrow. Then he stared deeply at the stairs.
Since that day, Xiao Li had shut most of the ghosts in reality into the reincarnation worlds. There were almost no ghosts in reality, let alone his home—
Yet now Xiao Li sensed the existence of a ghost.
He slowed down and took another step. This time, his footsteps were very loud but the sensor lights in the corridor didn’t respond. The area in front of him made no sound like it was another world.
Xiao Li let go of his suppressed divine power. If there were other people or ghosts then he would almost instantly feel fear. However, it still didn’t work. There was a power ahead of him that didn’t want to come into contact with his power. It dispersed like flowing water. There was no breath but Xiao Li couldn’t see through it.
Was it another god or… a new ghost?
Xiao Li took a sip of the pudding in his milk tea and instead of using his strength to push forward, he restrained it until he was like an ordinary person. He deliberately suppressed his divine power and kept walking up.
One floor, another floor.
Xiao Li only stopped when he reached the 13th floor. This wasn’t the top floor. There were more stairs above this floor but Xiao Li paused.
It was because the corridor in front of him was no longer the corridor of an ordinary residential building. The usual mottled walls had become clean and tidy and they also had an ancient atmosphere. The walls were solemn and elegant with candlesticks with burning candles attached to the walls.
There was no wind in the corridor but the shadows caused by the candles swayed brilliantly, stretching toward the shadow of the young man around the corner. Xiao Li approached one of the candlesticks. He didn’t keep moving forward but instead reached out to grab the flames, extinguishing the candle.
The moment the candle was extinguished, a card fell into his hand. The card was originally at the junction of the candle and the candlestick. It was difficult to see its existence if the candlelight wasn’t put out.
This piece of paper was very exquisite. There was a flame pattern imprinted on the back and complex thorns were wrapped around the corners. It was like a mark and Xiao Li felt it was quite familiar.
On the other side of the paper, a character was written. [Kuai (quick)]
The font was crooked like a primary school student had written it. He didn’t recognize who wrote it.
Xiao Li, “?”
The word kuai. In the broad and profound Chinese language, it actually had many meanings and could form many sentences.
For example: You will die.
For example: You are so quick.
Then the ‘kuai’ on this card…
Xiao Li thought about it. Then he put the card in his pocket and continued walking up. Once the card fell, the candlestick-like projections disappeared instantly and the corridor returned to its original appearance.
Xiao Li’s face was blank as he continued to go up. He had just taken the third step when there was slight movement behind him. The footsteps were very light but they existed. It was like a person was following Xiao Li in the darkness.
The footsteps were slow and grinding. It was like torture. One didn’t know when it would completely catch up and this was deliberately drawing out the time for torture.
If Xiao Li sped up then the ‘person’ following would also speed up. Every time Xiao Li slowed down, it would also slow down. If Xiao Li turned back and lay on the railing to look down the stairs, the owner of the footsteps retracted.
Xiao Li tried a bluff. He pretended to walk forward before quickly turning around. This time, he saw a shadow. It was a pure black figure. Once it entered his field of view, it quickly retreated into the darkness.
In fact, Xiao Li even felt it trembling slightly when it retreated.
Xiao Li, “……”
Was he so scary?
Xiao Li tried several attempts and coaxing words but it didn’t work. Therefore, Xiao Li simply used his divine power to bring bad luck to the shadow. The next time he approached the shadow, it stepped back and due to bad luck, it twisted its ankle. Its entire body fell down the stairs in an extremely indecent posture.
Now Xiao Li was able to see the appearance of the black shadow. It was a pure black shadow. The ghost energy on its body wasn’t strong and it looked strange. The black shadow was afraid of him. It shook even more as it was watched by him.
Xiao Li wondered, “Are you here to find me?”
The moment he spoke, the trembling shadow took out something from its pocket. Perhaps due to nervousness, it took three full times for such a simple action to succeed.
It was another card. It was completely different from the first one. It was just a piece of white paper but the back of the card had the character [xin (new)] written. The handwriting was much more beautiful than the previous one but it was still unfamiliar.
Xin and kuai.
If this was a letter puzzle then the answer must already be clear.
As Xiao Li looked at the card, the black shadow carefully got up from the ground. It cocked its head and poked him with a finger. It didn’t actually poke. It was just a fake movement.
Xiao Li, “…”
He didn’t move but withdrew the curse of bad luck. The black shadow poked the air and was very happy. It held its finger in a satisfied manner and left reality. Once the black shadow left, Xiao Li received the remaining two cards in similar manners on the way home.
[Nian (year)] and [le (happy)].
The first one came from scattered dust and a piece of paper with the character ‘nian’ was written on it. The latter was accompanied by a magical and strange laugh. Xiao Li had taken apart the radio and found this card.
All four cards combined said:
Xin nian kuai le (Happy New Year).
Was this paying respects early?
Xiao Li held the cards in his hand and took out the key to open the door of his house. Before he could insert the key, the door already opened. He reached out to push it open but it wouldn’t open. Something was blocking the door from behind.
A familiar voice called out in a sing-song manner from inside. “The password.”
Xiao Li, “……”
“Stars light up.”
“I can play with you all day.”
“……” Xiao Li sighed. “Happy New Year.”
“Yes, Happy New Year. Congratulations, you are right!” The voice inside became cheerful and released the hands keeping the door shut.
The house was crowded with people and ghosts. All the people Xiao Li was familiar with were here, including Zheng Yi and Ye Zeqing. The TV was showing the New Year’s Eve party and the two hosts were introducing the next show.
Tan Li still wasn’t quite used to her stitched body. She put her hands together in a crooked manner and held red petals in her hand. The moment Xiao Li came in, she raised her hands and threw the petals into the air.
Fu Zige was singing into the microphone in the midst of the petal rain. “Happy New Year. Boss, let me be BGM music for everyone. I will sing Unforgettable Tonight…”
“What Unforgettable Tonight? Wait a month or more to sing this.” Zheng Yi who was already familiar with him interrupted it. Then he greeted Xiao Li. “What are you doing? Come in.”
Bloody Mary was here as well. The noble evil spirit was leaning against the window, a goblet in her hand contained a blood-red liquid. Seeing Xiao Li’s gaze, she raised the goblet at him.
Shen Chenzhi was sitting on the sofa. He got up and walked toward Xiao Li, wanting to take the bag from him. However, Xiao Li avoided his hand and put the bag on the table. The young man’s body stiffened for a moment and he didn’t move.
Xiao Li grabbed his hand, brought him back to the sofa and hugged him. “I’m back.”
Shen Chenzhi’s expression softened. He wanted to ask Xiao Li, ‘Why didn’t you let me go with you? Do you regret being with me?’ However, he didn’t dare to ask lest he gets an unacceptable answer.
He squeezed the hand so tightly that Xiao Li felt pain. Even so, Xiao Li didn’t speak.
Zheng Yi only saw the scene where Xiao Li hugged Shen Chenzhi and shook his head. “You are too clingy. It makes me want to fall in love.”
Xiao Li let go and casually replied, “I can introduce you to someone. Let’s look at my family… there is our Bloody Mary.”
He glanced back and forth before pointing to Bloody Mary. “How is she?”
Bloody Mary who had been bored and just wanted to come over to play, “……”
Could this also be talked about?! Also, since when did she become his family?
The blonde beauty crushed the goblet in her hand.
Zheng Yi had been looking forward to it at first. Then he met the evil spirit’s gaze and coughed. “No, I don’t deserve her, I’m not worthy…”
The time was getting closer to midnight with every minute and second.
In the lively atmosphere, Xiao Li was in a daze as he remembered this time in the past.
He didn’t want to stay in the Xiao house during the holiday so he would come back here and sit in the empty living room alone. Programs played on the TV in front of him while he played games on his phone. Even if he felt cold, he just thought it and wouldn’t get up to cover himself with a blanket. No one ever said Happy New Year to him, nor did he say it to anyone.
Xiao Li closed his eyes. Then he took advantage of when the midnight bells were ringing and bright fireworks appeared outside the window to take out a box from the bag he had brought back.
Inside the box were a pair of rings. The men’s rings were simple and elegant. There was a row of diamonds inlaid on it in a black and white pattern.
He held Shen Chenzhi’s hand and put the ring on it. Then he whispered to Shen Chenzhi, “You don’t need to be so upset. I love you too.”
He smiled as he spoke. The young man’s beautiful jaw was the dividing line between darkness and light and the pure black in his eyes brought hope and love.
Love was never one-way. Love was the only sure answer in countless choices. It was the subtleties in the cycle of life and death.
In the countless intertwined and separated lines of causality, you have caught me so I will hold you tightly.
TL: This is the official last chapter and IWBL is finally finished! Thanks to all those who supported and loved this story up to now. There was a period of time when I thought the novel would never be finished but here we are! Thanks once again and it is time to say goodbye to Xiao Li, his clingy boyfriend and his family of ghosts.
Tofu: I’ll miss this family for sure QAQ Thanks for having me~