Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 3: In the Name of God, Part One
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 4: School Wonders, Part 1—Step by Step—translated by lucathia (proofread by Trespasserby & Taffygirl13)
Lu Yang gave a big yawn and said, “Time to head to the next location, yeah?”
After he said that, everyone finally relaxed completely.
A whole fifteen minutes had already passed since twelve. Even claiming that their watches were off couldn’t pass muster. Nothing had happened. Not even a bird had flown by, let alone someone falling.
There was just an angel flying around, according to Jiang Ziya.
“Did you see anything?” Lu Yang asked Jiang Ziya lazily, as if he were joking around.
However, Jiang Ziya knew he wasn’t joking around, just that he was being watched by Lin Zhixiang and Jian Zhi and could only ask in a flippant tone.
“Same here.” Lu Yang turned to look out the window again but glanced at Jiang Ziya out of the corner of his eye. The latter shook his head lightly.
Xu Xikai didn’t appear disappointed. As he always said, he just wanted to confirm whether it was real or false. The actual result, truth or sham, didn’t matter much. He said, “Looks like this legend is just a ‘legend.’ Let’s go. The next location is the closest one to here, the Pond of Meditation. We still have many places to visit. Let’s clean up quickly.”
Having met failure right off the bat, everyone was downhearted as they cleaned up. However, someone suddenly cried out in alarm, “Oh my god! The infrared camcorder caught something!”
Lu Yang looked toward Jiang Ziya, who frowned and reflexively looked toward the window.
A shadow fell past from above with extreme speed, so fast that the actual shape couldn’t even be discerned. All that could be seen was a mouth stretched into a wide smile.
Jiang Ziya’s eyes bugged out.
“It’s true!” Everyone surrounded the small camcorder and replayed the video again and again, becoming restless.
Lu Yang calmly pulled Jiang Ziya over to look at the replay. A black shadow had been caught falling down at a quick speed in the video, but it was blurrier, and the smile couldn’t even be seen.
Lu Yang glanced at Jiang Ziya. This time, the latter nodded.
Someone asked doubtfully, “Could it just be something that fell from above?”
“But we were all staring at the window just now. There was nothing!”
It was chaotic for a while until Xu Xikai said, “Everyone, for now, use your cell phones to make a copy, in case something happens to the file. Then, we should head to the next location. We don’t have much time.”
Hearing that, they took out their cell phones to record the video. Someone even immediately uploaded it to their club’s website, and even Lu Yang naturally took out his cell phone to record it.
He also pressed send, but it wasn’t to upload it. Rather, he was sending it to his father.
“So weird.” Jiang Ziya thought about it again and again. Before the recording, he hadn’t seen anything at all. It was recorded first, and then I saw it?
Seeing that he received no response, Lu Yang put away his cell phone and clapped Jiang Ziya’s shoulder as he said, “Don’t think about it for now. Let’s get through all of the locations from the wonders first.”
“The new member is right.” Xu Xikai said, “Let’s go.”
The group began to switch locations.
The Pond of Meditation was just a small pond with a small bridge in the middle. Even fitting twelve people on it was difficult, let alone several camcorders along with them. They could barely move. This time, they couldn’t even make it to ten minutes before they couldn’t stand it anymore.
“I feel a bit stupid.” Someone laughed.
“I know… I’m going to wait by the side of the pond. I mean, the Pond of Meditation is so small. It’s just as clear from over there as over here—”
“Ahhh, something is in the water!”
Suddenly, someone shrieked. Everyone immediately looked over at the pond… A koi fish flipped around, as if mocking the people on the bridge, and then leisurely swam off to a different location in the pond.
“…” One after another, they cuffed the guy who had randomly shouted.
Lu Yang wasn’t very concerned. He had even spent an entire night plastered against a roof before. This bit of a tight squeeze was nothing. It was just that Jiang Ziya might not be able to handle it. He lifted his head to glance at Jiang Ziya, who was staring intently at the surface of the pond, not even daring to blink.
Seems like there are no problems there. Lu Yang rubbed his nose, only to discover that Lin Zhixiang, with her small stature, was almost being squished off the bridge. She was using both of her hands to cling onto the bridge, her face red from the effort.
Lu Yang moved behind her, silently creating some space. Lin Zhixiang turned to look and showed a grateful expression.
Several people began moving off the bridge, complaining, “I-I can’t. It’s too hot!
Now that there were fewer people on it, the bridge was finally not as crowded.
Seeing that his good friend was still staring at the pond so intently, Lu Yang laughed and patted him on the shoulder. He said, “Relax. Your eyes are almost falling out.”
Jiang Ziya turned and said with a sigh, “Nothing’s there.” Other than a mermaid sleeping deep in the pond.
Xu Xikai said, “Try playing the infrared camcorder.”
Those words immediately shook everyone awake. That’s right. Wasn’t it the infrared cam that caught something on film just now?
Unfortunately, there was nothing this time, only an occasional ripple across the tranquil surface of the pond due to the wind.
“Seems like this legend is fake.” Xu Xikai smiled as he said, “No need to feel disappointed. If all of them turned out to be true, that would be too terrifying.”
Sparse laughter sprinkled among them, but they couldn’t help feel a bit disappointed. After all, what had been caught earlier on film couldn’t even be seen clearly. That it had appeared at all was suspicious.
A guy laughingly said, “Since it’s a wishing corpse, then how about I make a wish right now?” After he said that, he dug out his wallet from his pocket, took out a coin, and tossed it into the pond.
“I hope I won’t be disappointed by the rest of the itinerary.”
Someone said uneasily, “You sure about this? The legend behind the wishing corpse is scary. If the wish comes true, the person who made the wish will take the place of the wishing corpse.”
“I mean, nothing appeared, right?”
“Let’s clean up and head on out. The next one is the legend of the mirror in the bathroom of the school administration building.”
As they cleaned up, Jiang Ziya was finally able to relax. He rubbed his eyes. Only now did he feel that his eyes were so dry, they were about to tear up.
Lu Yang patted him on the shoulder and said with a chuckle, “Let’s go. Don’t forget to blink later. This is only the second legend. Don’t wait until after you look at six of them. You won’t be able to open your eyes at all by then.”
Jiang Ziya also felt a little foolish. He awkwardly gave a “yeah.”
At this time, the sound of rushing water suddenly came from behind them. Jiang Ziya froze and slowly turned his head. He looked at the pond. Something white had drifted to the surface.
Lu Yang had been walking when he discovered that his friend hadn’t followed. He had only said “Zi—” before he remembered the taboo of using anyone’s name. He quickly swallowed down the rest of the name, but then he found out that Jiang Ziya was currently looking at the surface of the pond, as if he had seen a ghost. Lu Yang looked toward the pond, faintly seeing a white figure floating in the water.
It actually appeared?
Lu Yang stared suspiciously at that figure that looked like a person yet not.
“Why aren’t the two of you mo—” Puzzled, Jian Zhi was halfway through his question when he abruptly realized they were looking at the pond. He immediately looked over as well and gave a shocked yelp, shatteringly sharp in the silence of the night.
The group in front all halted and turned to look at Jian Zhi, nervous and suspicious. If he was playing a joke shrieking like that at this kind of time, they would probably even have the urge to murder him.
“In the pond…” Jian Zhi gestured at the pond and couldn’t finish the rest of his sentence. The pond was still with nothing in it. He stared with wide eyes. Then, he looked at Lu Yang and Jiang Ziya, as if they were his saviors.
“You saw it just now, didn’t you? The two of you stopped to look at the pond. You must have seen that there was a person there?”
“Might’ve been a plastic bag.” Lu Yang calmly said, “I didn’t see it very clearly earlier.”
“There really is a wishing corpse?” The guy who had just tossed in a coin asked nervously.
Someone to the side shouted, “Oh my god. You just made a wish, too!”
“It was probably a plastic bag!” Lu Yang said with conviction.
“It wasn’t.” Jian Zhi angrily said, “If it were a plastic bag, it wouldn’t have disappeared so quickly!”
Lu Yang was stumped.
Jiang Ziya suddenly chuckled and said, “It was a fish, a huge, white koi. Just now, the entire thing was floating on the surface, looking just like a person. It gave me a huge shock, but then I realized there was actually a fish tail where the feet should be. The size was insane. Didn’t you see it clearly?”
When he heard that, Jian Zhi froze. Come to think of it, the proportions just now really weren’t that of a human. Could it really have been a fish?
Everyone relaxed and scolded Jian Zhi one by one.
“Are you trying to scare us to death?!”
“Take a closer look! Wasn’t there already a fish scare earlier?! It’s not like you don’t know there’s fish in the pond!”
Jian Zhi opened his mouth, but in the end, he didn’t explain himself. Although he didn’t want the others to think that he had made a mistake, he subconsciously felt… he should just treat it as having seen incorrectly!
He awkwardly apologized while scratching his cheek, “Sorry!”
They just berated him half-heartedly. Truthfully, no one blamed him, and the guy who had thrown the coin even breathed a sigh of relief, glad that Jian Zhi had admitted that he had been mistaken.
“Let’s head to the next place.”
They set off at a rather quick pace. Lin Zhixiang turned to look at Lu Yang and Jiang Ziya, spotting that they were walking in the very back. Understanding that they wanted to speak to each other, she just pulled Jian Zhi to the front so as not to disturb them.
Lu Yang asked Jiang Ziya in a quiet voice, “What was it?”
“The mermaid died and drifted to the surface. Then, she sank back down. There was even a coin on her forehead. Was the coin that had been thrown earlier one yuan?”
Lu Yang’s face darkened, and he nodded.
If the mermaid died, does that count as the wishing corpse? Jiang Ziya hadn’t thought of it like that, and he didn’t want to see it either. He had been coming to school for over a year now and would always see her as he passed by. Now, she had suddenly died. He felt disturbed and saddened, and he even hoped that the mermaid was just playing a prank on them to scare them.
But he knew she wasn’t.
The mermaid had drifted to the surface face-up, eyes wide and glassy, appearing so wronged.
“Someone made a wish. What should we do now?” Jiang Ziya asked worriedly.
Lu Yang was also worrying over this point. Logically speaking, school wonders should at most only involve a bunch of illusory familiars and wouldn’t cause anyone to lose their life, but there had already been eight lives lost at the abandoned campus. Now, they had only investigated two school wonders so far, and both of them were actually true?
“We’ll keep an eye on it for now.” He lowered his voice and said, “If it can’t be helped, then we’ll interfere and disrupt the remaining itinerary. This way, his wish of ‘not getting disappointed’ wouldn’t count as coming true.”
Jiang Ziya nodded. Now that there was a way to solve it, he finally didn’t feel as nervous anymore.
After arriving at the bathroom of the school administration building, Xu Xikai said, “Since the legend mentioned seeing a huge group of people in the mirror, I thought it should be a very large mirror. Only the bathroom on this side of the school administration building uses large, long mirrors. The others only have individual mirrors. As for which floor, that can’t be determined, so I just picked a floor that was the easiest to ask permission for. I hope that it’s here.”
They looked at the entrance to the bathroom. Someone said with a dry laugh, “The bathroom in the middle of the night really isn’t a place I want to enter!”
“Should we turn on the lights?”
“We shouldn’t, right?”
“But it’s so dark. What can we even see if the lights are off…”
Xu Xikai said, “Let’s head in first. If it’s too dark, we’ll turn on the lights.”
The moonlight was rather plentiful this night, and the bathroom had a large window facing outwards. Even with the lights off, it wasn’t so dark that they couldn’t see their fingers if they stretched their hands out. After discussing it for a moment, they decided not to turn on the lights.
The large group set up their camcorders and silently looked at the mirror. This situation was beyond odd. Even Lu Yang, someone who often ran out in the middle of the night to slay demons, wondered what kind of club activity this was. No wonder Jiang Ziya had said that this club was about to go defunct!
“Can we hurry it up? Is it just a ‘hello,’ and then we can leave? I’m about to pee myself because of the me in the mirror!” A girl grasped both of her arms as she said, “The reflections of us in the mirror look so scary. Don’t you feel the reflections don’t even look like us? I feel like she’s glaring at me.”
“If you’re about to pee yourself, the toilet’s behind you.”
“Like I’d dare to use it!”
“You don’t have to close the door…”
Xu Xikai gave a cough. “Then, shall I give the greetings now?”
They began to feel nervous.
Xu Xikai took a deep breath and said, “Hello, everyone.”
They all looked at the mirror. No one extra had appeared.
“Good evening?” Xu Xikai tried a different greeting.
As before, there were no more and no fewer in the mirror.
“Nice to meet you?”
After several minutes passed, Xu Xikai turned his head and asked, “What about the camcorder?”
The person operating it replayed the scene and gave a negative.
Unexpectedly, no one felt all that disappointed this time. Earlier, the wishing corpse business had already given all of them a scare. Inside their hearts, they rather wished that the remaining itinerary would be disappointing instead.
Xu Xikai nodded and said, “Then, let’s go. We have to pick up the pace. Following this will be the medical department and the basketball courts. The library is the farthest, so it will be last.”
The group could not wait to leave the bathroom. The bathroom in the middle of the night was really too eerie. Even though nothing had happened, it still felt wrong.
Before leaving, Jiang Ziya felt a gaze on them. He turned to look at the mirror, eyes widening. He couldn’t help but grab Lu Yang, who had walked ahead of him.
“Don’t worry about it.” Lu Yang glanced at the mirror. There really were figures inside of it, and even a whole bunch! He quietly said, “There are a lot of illusory familiars in mirrors. It’s pretty common, especially in bathrooms. They’re nearly always there.”
Jiang Ziya said in a quiet voice, “They’re our reflections.”
“…That’s not odd either.”
“But I feel that something’s off.” Jiang Ziya looked at the mirror but couldn’t say what was off about it—everything was off about it!
“Is there someone extra?” Lu Yang just wanted to know if it matched the school wonder.
Jiang Ziya took a look and didn’t see any unfamiliar faces. Even though he wasn’t all that familiar with the club members, not counting himself, Lu Yang, Jian Zhi, Lin Zhixiang, and Xu Xikai, there were only seven others. They weren’t hard to remember.
He double checked and shook his head. “There aren’t any unfamiliar faces.”
Lu Yang nodded. “That’s good then. This way, we won’t have to interfere with the itinerary. The bathroom is already a ‘disappointment.’”
Jiang Ziya hesitated for a moment but still nodded.
The medical department was in a separate campus. They had to leave this campus first. When they got to the streets and left the school, everyone inadvertently gave a sigh of relief.
Even though it was already past two, there were many shops selling late night snacks about, as expected of an area near the campus. There were even students inside eating the late night snacks. It didn’t feel desolate at all—much better than the eerie campus behind them.
Someone lamented, “Man, I never knew that the school could be so scary.”
Xu Xikai laughed and said, “All in all, we didn’t receive any decisive evidence either.”
Hearing that, no one could say whether that was a good thing or a bad thing. Anyone who would join a supernatural studies society was more likely than not hoping to prove the validity of the supernatural. Only a strange guy like Jian Zhi would join for the sake of disproving the supernatural. But if something strange actually happened, they would all still rather it didn’t…
Lu Yang heard the sound of a notification. He lowered his head to look at his cell phone, only to discover that the video he had sent to his father earlier had failed to send, and so he tapped to resend it.
“Boys, come and sit inside!” A female shop owner welcomed them warmly, “One table is perfect for your number!”
Jiang Ziya lifted an eyebrow. I’d hope so. Twelve people at one table would be so crammed. We’re all guys too, with only two girls.
Xu Xikai urged them, “Let’s hurry. There’s not much time left until three. The time limit for the basketball courts is three. Before that, we still have to go to the medical department first.”
The rest laughed as they said, “Thought we could have a late night snack first. It smells so good!”
Walking along the big streets, the atmosphere wasn’t as stifled as earlier. The group lightheartedly walked over to the campus of the medical department.
Jiang Ziya and Lu Yang followed the group to the medical building. This was a location unfamiliar to them both. It was the farthest from the campus where the literature department was located. Normally, they didn’t have any classes that required them to come over here either.
One of the guys sighed in appreciation. “President, you’re way too powerful. You were even able to borrow the medical building?”
“Just a room with a model.” Xu Xikai said, “It’s all about connections. I know a few students from the medical department, so it wasn’t hard.”
“The model is fake, right?” someone asked uneasily. “It’s not a real person, right?”
Xu Xikai patted the other person’s shoulder and promised, “Relax. It definitely isn’t real. The medical department would never lend me a classroom with an actual body. Even their own students wouldn’t have an easy time borrowing one.”
Hearing that, the other person relaxed.
Jiang Ziya looked toward Lin Zhixiang and asked in concern, “You okay?”
She’s a girl, after all, so she might be more scared?
Lin Zhixiang nodded. “I’m okay. I’m not scared.”
As he looked at her, Jiang Ziya frowned. He couldn’t help feeling anxious, his gut feeling of something being off growing even stronger.
“What is it?” Lin Zhixiang looked at him, flummoxed. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
Jiang Ziya hesitated for a moment. He shook his head and said, “Nothing. I just don’t like this kind of club activity after all.”
Lin Zhixiang smiled as she said, “I can see that. The two of you are so nervous. Nothing has happened, really, and we’re almost done. Bear with it a bit longer! Most club activities are actually just watching a movie or using the internet to research information on ghost houses. We rarely investigate in person.”
Lu Yang patted him on the shoulder. Jiang Ziya also felt that he was being too nervous. Compared to the eight lives lost over at the abandoned campus, the oddities that had happened over here weren’t worth mentioning. Truthfully speaking, it wasn’t much different from what he usually saw everyday with his eye.
Jiang Ziya relaxed and nodded.
The group soon arrived outside the medical building.
“It’s the first floor again.” Xu Xikai opened a door and explained, “They didn’t dare to lend me any floors above. There are too many dangerous things within. I was only able to borrow a general classroom from the first floor. Fortunately, there is a model there, too.”
The group entered the classroom. A single glance revealed the anatomical model standing by the podium. The plastic model looked rather old, and it wasn’t high quality either. The reflections in the bathroom had been much scarier.
As before, they set up the camcorders. The group didn’t know what to do after that.
“Do we just watch the model now?” Someone asked hesitantly. “But this legend requires saying… to the model. If that phrase isn’t spoken, then nothing will happen, right?”
“You’re so fake.”
The group froze. Jian Zhi had actually told the model exactly what the legend dictated.