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 3—That Angel, That Demon—translated by lucathia (proofread by Taffygirl13 & Trespasserby)
As he picked up the feathers, Jiang Ziya found that he had strangely returned to the location of the first school wonder. Did the angel disappear so early on?
A sudden flash of light made Jiang Ziya lift his head to look up at the rooftop of the department building, only for him to discover a figure standing beside the fence of the roof.
Jiang Ziya shouted a few times, but the other person didn’t react at all. The only thing Jiang Ziya could do was begin to dash toward the roof. As expected, all the doors were open on the way there, as if someone had gone ahead of him.
He rushed straight to the rooftop, gasping for air. It felt like he had done a whole month’s worth of running today.
He tried pushing the metal door to the rooftop, and it swung open just like he thought it would. The moment he walked in, Jiang Ziya’s gaze was drawn by the most eye-catching thing there—the angel.
The angel was not hovering in the air like usual and was instead kneeling on the floor. It was struggling violently, as if tied down by an invisible rope, and its face was full of anxiousness. Even the angel’s eyes had reddened, its beautiful face twisted in fury—still, there was no escape.
Jiang Ziya peered closely, and only then did he discover that a circular sigil had been drawn on the floor around the angel. The shape was very similar to the drawing on the wall of the abandoned campus.
If the angel is here, then was the person I saw earlier Jian Zhi?
Jiang Ziya looked toward the edge of the building. Like he had thought, a figure was there. As he made his way over, he shouted, “Jian Zhi, it’s Jiang Ziya. Don’t be reckless. No matter what you’re seeing now, don’t move for any reason…”
The angel, who hadn’t ever made a sound before, spoke up with a hoarse voice, “N-no Jian Zhi.”
Jiang Ziya froze and turned his head to look at the angel. Tears streamed down the angel’s face, hands seemingly plastered against a formless cage that the angel could not escape from.
Jiang Ziya abruptly began to feel suspicious. Who caged the angel? Are the school wonders capable of doing this? But there was no school wonder about anyone getting captured.
Following the shout, Lu Yang shoved open the metal door. Upon seeing the situation, he yelled in shock, “Don’t move. Not even an inch!”
Jiang Ziya froze and asked in confusion, “Why are you telling me that? Shouldn’t you tell that to Jian Zhi instead? He’s already standing outside the fence. Don’t you see him?”
Lu Yang carefully said, “I don’t see Jian Zhi at all, just you standing on the edge of the building. Don’t move. I’m coming over right now.”
Since when was I on the edge of the building? I haven’t even reached Jian Zhi’s side! Doubtful, Jiang Ziya turned his head to look, only to discover that there was nothing in front of him. Below was the far too distant ground.
He paled, the height unexpectedly bringing about a wave of fear and dizziness. His foot slipped and didn’t find purchase. He slid downward, hand reaching out to grab the railing barely in time. Sharp waves of pain came from the hand that had been injured by Slay, and his wrist also protested. But this action delayed his fall by a bit, enough for Lu Yang to rush over and grab his hand.
Jiang Ziya dangled in midair, abruptly feeling that this situation was way too familiar. Last time, he too had grabbed hold of Lu Yang like this. Now, the situation was reversed, and it was Lu Yang’s turn to grab him in the nick of time.
“Ah Yang, if you can’t hold on…” Then, let go of me!
Before he even finished saying that, Lu Yang grabbed him with one hand, while the other hand held the fence, and easily pulled Jiang Ziya back up onto the roof. Of course, it was inside the fence.
…All right, comparing yourself to others can really anger you to death. This is inhuman!
However, last time, he had gotten shot before grabbing Lu Yang, so a comparison like this wasn’t fair. Jiang Ziya tried to redeem himself.
Lu Yang took measure of Jiang Ziya. Seeing that he was fine, he then summoned Slay to circle Jiang Ziya, who didn’t mind, letting the spiritual sword fly around him.
Looks like it really is Jiang Ziya. Lu Yang relaxed greatly.
“What were you doing?” After relaxing, he grew angry. Lu Yang scolded, “I told you to find Jian Zhi, yet you came here to jump. Did you think tonight wasn’t exciting enough, so you planned to scare me to death?”
Jiang Ziya said in puzzlement, “But I really did see Jian Zhi just now. Weird, was my eye acting up? Why couldn’t I see clearly this time?”
“No, your eye is fine. If not for you, we probably would have left a long time ago and wouldn’t have discovered that anyone had disappeared at all, at least, not until tomorrow when someone finds the bodies.”
Lu Yang frowned and continued, “Besides, it was possible for you to hallucinate and be guided to return here to jump off the building because you discovered that Jian Zhi had disappeared. So, the reason was to find Jian Zhi. If we hadn’t discovered the truth, it might have been some other reason, like receiving a call from me telling you to come here.”
“Why do I have to jump?” Realizing where he currently was and connecting that with jumping, Jiang Ziya abruptly recalled that he had seen a figure fall past the east-facing classroom while even smiling at him. Coming to this realization, he said, “I was…the victim of the first school wonder?”
“Yeah.” Lu Yang nodded.
Jiang Ziya scratched his face. He hadn’t thought that he had actually been the first to fall victim. Luckily, he had not disappeared without a trace like what had happened with the bathroom mirror and the wishing corpse.
Then again, this might’ve been because Lu Yang had been beside him. Lu Yang may not have noticed anyone else disappear, but if Jiang Ziya had disappeared, Lu Yang would definitely have realized right away. Therefore, he had ended up coming back to jump after they had split with the group.
Lu Yang frowned. “I think, we’re inside a barrier dimension.”
Jiang Ziya nodded and said, “Is it this rooftop? It should be, or else why would I mistakenly think that I saw Jian Zhi?”
“No, the barrier dimension should be the entire campus.” Lu Yang calmly said, “You didn’t notice the pathway this time because the pathway was our goal. Ever since we began investigating those school wonders, we walked step by step into the barrier dimension. That’s why my texts to my father all failed. We’re stuck in a barrier dimension, cut off from communication with the rest of the world.
“Moreover, once inside a barrier dimension, even your eye would become clouded. It’s just that your left eye can see through the truth too well, so you can’t be completely tricked. That’s why you kept feeling that something was off, and finally discovered that someone had disappeared.”
Jiang Ziya turned to look toward the angel, who was growing more and more frantic, its pain and anxiety splayed across that beautiful face.
Lu Yang asked in confusion, “Is this Jian Zhi’s guardian spirit? What’s wrong?”
“The angel is calling for Jian Zhi.” Jiang Ziya looked at the angel. If not for that cry of “no Jian Zhi,” he might have jumped before Lu Yang arrived. He turned and asked Lu Yang, “Did you go over to the anatomical model?”
“Yeah.” Lu Yang told him about it and even brought up that Lin Zhixiang hadn’t found Jian Zhi.
Jiang Ziya walked up to the angel, no longer hiding the fact that he could see the angel, who had been panicking but now looked at Jiang Ziya in slight bewilderment.
“J-Jian Zhi.” This was all the angel seemed to be able to say.
Jiang Ziya looked at the sigil on the ground. He looked up, saw Slay, and reached out, thinking to snatch it to destroy the sigil, but Slay twisted and dodged Jiang Ziya’s random grab.
Seeing that, Lu Yang growled, “Stop trying to grab Slay. Is the injury on your palm not bad enough? Just watch, your fingers will get sliced off next.”
“Um.” Jiang Ziya rubbed his nose. This was Lu Yang’s sword, and he had intended to grab the hilt, so he just felt that nothing would go wrong. He pointed to the floorboards and said, “Have Slay slice a few times here.”
Lu Yang followed as instructed.
Once the sigil was destroyed, the angel escaped from imprisonment right away. It rushed into the air, looking in a certain direction and shrieking in a piercing voice, “Jian Zhi—”
Seeing the angel about to fly off, Jiang Ziya immediately shouted, “Wait for us! Take us with you to where Jian Zhi is so we can help him!”
But the angel didn’t pay him any attention, flying away directly.
I don’t think we can communicate…
“That’s the direction of the medical campus. It should be where the anatomical model is.” Lu Yang tapped Jiang Ziya and said, “Let’s go!”
The two of them once again began the exercise of running in the middle of the night.
Jiang Ziya asked in near disbelief, “Are we still in the barrier dimension? Even the streets outside the school are part of it?”
“I don’t know. I’m not skilled at distinguishing barrier dimensions.” Lu Yang simply said, “But as long as you’re on your toes, no barrier dimension can easily trick you.”
So everything is up to me. Jiang Ziya suddenly wondered just how Lu Yang had been able to survive this way up until now over all these years.
“No wonder you keep getting trapped in barrier dimensions.” That he had stayed alive up until now must be thanks to Slay.
Lu Yang frowned and said, “Actually, a barrier dimension of this caliber is rare. I should say that rarely have I ever come across this kind of barrier dimension, other than that world of ash that we mistakenly entered last time. Creating a barrier dimension is hard, and practitioners rarely specialize in barrier dimensions because it’s too difficult and also too disadvantageous in a direct confrontation. That’s why those with high skills in creating barrier dimensions are more often than not specially raised by the family. These kinds of people wouldn’t carelessly commit a crime, especially homicide, as using their abilities to murder would be too much of a waste.”
Jiang Ziya felt that whether they were in a barrier dimension or not was really complicated and scary, and so he sent Lu Yang a worried look.
Lu Yang laughed and said, “With Slay’s help, most barrier dimensions pose no harm to me. They would just trap me for a period of time until the other person can no longer maintain it. See, even with this barrier dimension, they didn’t dare to pick me as a target.”
“That’s good then.” Hearing that most barrier dimensions couldn’t harm Lu Yang, Jiang Ziya relaxed and nodded. As for himself, all he had to do was follow Lu Yang decisively in the future.
The two of them returned to the medical campus. When they passed by the basketball courts, they once again saw several male students playing basketball there. It was nearing four AM. Just what is going on with the internal clocks of these medical students?
Beneath the shadows of the trees, someone lifted up a ball and said, “Hey, want to play together?”
Lu Yang had only just said, “No time,” when he saw Jiang Ziya stop in his tracks, staring suspiciously at the other person.
“Come on, don’t turn us down!” Several university students were all holding balls in their hands and laughingly said, “We were just about to change balls.”
Lu Yang froze and looked toward those people but couldn’t see their faces, just a mouth cleaved wide open. That so-called basketball wasn’t a ball at all either, but rather a human head plastered with hair and blood.
He was so furious that he smiled. They actually dared to approach us? Now, I finally have something I can destroy!
“Slay, destroy them!”
Slay flew into the air, piercing straight toward those spirits. The opponents were clearly afraid of this spiritual sword. Not only were they unwilling to approach, they even retreated in a hurry.
Lu Yang himself wasn’t slacking off either. He closed the index and middle fingers of his right hand together, pointing them straight forward, while he touched his thumb and ring finger together. At the same time, he muttered, “Natural order of Heavens and Earth, disperse the foulness from the air, let the evil impurities dissolve away, let Taoism last for all eternity, let this imperial decree of Taishang Laojun be heard—Obey!”
A silver ray of light shot out from his fingertips, piercing straight into one of the spirits. The spirit let out an ear-splitting shriek before its body burst apart from the middle, scattering into silver particles of light.
After that, Slay dispatched another one. Lu Yang, who had held back the entire night, finally felt a sense of freedom. As long as he knew where he could point his sword, he was fearless!
Jiang Ziya was inwardly anxious. Normally, he probably wouldn’t stop and wait for Lu Yang to finish off these spirits and would continue forward right away. But no matter how worried he was, he was wary of taking any rash actions, given how there had been one victim after another, he had nearly jumped to commit suicide, and he had learned that he was in a barrier dimension.
However, when he saw the flickering lights from the medical building, an alarm sounded through his head, and he hurriedly shouted, “Lu Yang, quickly finish them!”
Lu Yang responded, and Slay flew high up, circling several times and leaving expansive afterimages in the air. Following that, countless phantasms of the sword rained down from above, destroying all the spirits in a single breath!
Jiang Ziya was practically speechless. Just what kind of crazy production are you putting on here?
Jiang Ziya looked toward the medical building, his face paling. Lu Yang stilled. He hadn’t clearly heard the words “Jian Zhi,” but he had heard the wailing cry.
The two of them glanced at each other and immediately dashed wildly into the medical building. They even saw some students along the hallways, who all looked worried and helpless, not knowing what exactly was happening.
“What’s that noise?”
“Is it an earthquake?”
“Such a strong wind…”
To Jiang Ziya’s ears, that cry of “Jian Zhi” had been extremely clear, but Lu Yang had only heard a shriek. To these normal students’ ears, it was even more indistinct, akin to the howling of a tempest.
“It’s the fire alarm!” Lu Yang shouted. “Hurry outside! Call the police right away! The two of us are going to warn everyone else.”
Once someone explained, the sound in those people’s ears immediately turned into the wail of a fire alarm. As they learned that it was a fire, they paled and followed what Lu Yang said, rushing out of the building.
Lu Yang led Jiang Ziya, arriving at the classroom with the anatomical model with familiarity. This was his third time here. He would know the way even with his eyes closed.
He kicked open the classroom door, face darkening right away. He had clearly destroyed the anatomical model, yet there was currently still one propped up on the stand. It was just that the classroom had poor lighting, so he could not make out the true appearance of the model.
Lu Yang placed his hand on the light switch but hesitated. Before turning on the lights, he reminded, “Ziya, you best not look.”
Jiang Ziya sucked in a deep breath but didn’t plan to run away. He just said, “Turn on the lights.”
With the lights on, it was clear that a person was standing there, but they couldn’t tell if it was Jian Zhi or not from their angle. Half of the anatomical model didn’t have any skin, the structure of the muscles exposed. A portion of the chest cavity was even open, revealing the organs inside. This was for the sake of easier observation for the students, but what had originally been an extremely fake plastic model was now more real than ever.
Even though he had been mentally prepared, Jiang Ziya still could not help but tremble from seeing such a terrible sight. He could not bring himself to believe that this was the classmate he had only just left: Jian Zhi, who had dragged him into joining the club, Jian Zhi, who had secretly harbored a crush on Lin Zhixiang… yet this was reality. He didn’t even need to walk over like Lu Yang for a better angle to see the side of the “anatomical model’s” face that had skin.
It really was Jian Zhi. Even though another classmate had died under his supervision, Lu Yang didn’t have time for guilt or grief. He just walked forward by a bit, to block off Jiang Ziya from the front, and quietly asked, “What does the black demon by Jian Zhi’s feet actually look like?”
“No, it’s not a demon.”
Jiang Ziya looked at the pitch black lump of a person that was endlessly shrieking “Jian Zhi” while kneeling by the “anatomical figure’s” feet. His heart felt heavy with grief.
“It’s the angel.”