Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 4: In the Name of God, Part Two
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 5: Library, Part 2—Angel—translated by lucathia (proofread by J Tao)
Liu Yishi’s eyes were completely bloodshot.
Any father who watched his son die right before his eyes countless times—and, in particular, deaths that involved getting chopped into pieces—would end up with eyes as red as blood.
The human head basketball at the courts in the beginning had been too crude, so he knew at a glance that it was not real. He was certain that the opponent had not planned for the basketball to successfully trick him and had only used it to pave the way for the car accident that happened afterward.
The moment he saw Lu Yang get run over, he had truly been scared; after all, his son had just been in a traffic accident. But, when that “Jiang Ziya” began to lead him toward thinking about Resurrection, the inconsistencies became immediately apparent!
Newly suspicious, Liu Yishi realized that the “son” in his arms was too light. Although Lu Yang did not have a stocky build, he was actually quite muscular. Ten out of ten people would find his weight unbelievable, yet the son he held in his hands, his son who had just been in a car accident, was light as a feather. Even Liu Yishi could easily pick him up.
Right then and there, Liu Yishi decided that he would play along. He followed “Jiang Ziya” to the library, hoping to lure out the person behind Xu Xikai. He had not thought that the policemen stationed at the library would all be gone. He turned right away to grab “Jiang Ziya,” but the other person had stolen ahead and pulled a gun on him. Liu Yishi could only watch as he fled.
With no other choice, Liu Yishi took the two remaining policemen who were with him into the library to find Hu Lican and the others.
Still, even though they found the others, they got stuck in the basement and could not leave. Liu Yishi could only watch as a devil descended from the stairs over and over again. Shining the Bible on the devil made it turn into Lu Yang, and shining the Bible on him again turned him back into the devil. No matter what happened in the end, Slay would always slice Lu Yang to pieces, and those pieces of his corpse lay all over the floor.
Seeing no other solution, Liu Yishi could only pretend to lose his mind and shoot at Slay crazily, following the fallen angel’s lead. Only then was he able to escape the basement.
Liu Yishi was forced to admit that seeing his son’s tragic death over and over again dealt a heavy blow to his heart. He had to quickly resolve this, or else the policemen he had left in the basement and his son at the school gates would all be in danger. Besides, he did not know how long he could keep going like this…
“Dad! Be careful—”
When Liu Yishi turned, he saw another “Lu Yang” chase after him. However, Slay was following right behind him, and Lu Yang was entirely unaware that what should have been his companion was slicing downward, right at his head.
Liu Yishi fired three shots in a row at that damn sword without any hesitation.
Slay broke into pieces across the floor.
Lu Yang glanced behind him, then slowly turned his head back. A smiled pulled across his face, and he chuckled. “Don’t fire in a barrier dimension—it’s easy to mistakenly hit those on your own side. Mr. Liu, don’t you understand these rules?”
Liu Yishi froze. The broken pieces of Slay laying on the ground slowly gathered together, forming the sight that broke his heart more than anything else could.
“Lu Yang’s” appearance slowly changed into that of a tall, pale, and slim man—Xu Xikai.
“Mr. Liu, aren’t you wishing for Resurrection to exist now?”
It took Jiang Ziya a bit of time to pass through the hallway. He felt like it was a lot more difficult than last time, and he did not even know what had happened at the end for the hallway to suddenly regain its original appearance, as he had not tried anything—No, he could not call this regaining its original appearance.
Jiang Ziya did not know what was going on. This extravagant, old-fashioned hallway definitely could not be the school library. Even though the place did look like a library, it was the kind that qualified as a world-class tourist destination. His school was just a local university that couldn’t afford a library of this quality without selling the entire student body!
Jiang Ziya jumped in shock. He lifted his head to look at the person who had spoken. The other person was leaning against the carved handrails of the stairs and appeared relaxed.
His outfit was completely different from before. With small, golden-framed round glasses perched on his nose and a vest plus dress pants combination, which both resembled House Keeper’s previous style and suited the old-fashioned surroundings, he did not at all appear like a modern young adult. If not for his pale, slim body type that was the same, along with his face, which hadn’t changed much either, Jiang Ziya really would not have been able to figure out his identity.
Jiang Ziya pulled his gun out. Even though he did not know how to use it, he still had to bite the bullet.
“Has no one told you not to fire in a barrier dimension?”
Xu Xikai flippantly said, “No one listened to Lu Yang’s warning. What a pity. The most obedient one is always the most unfortunate; just look at what happened to him. It isn’t wrong for you to take the shot. Hitting the wrong person is better than getting shot yourself.”
Those words made Jiang Ziya freeze—but then he thought of how Lu Yang always told him not to get shaken up by the opponent. Else, it would be even easier to succumb to the barrier dimension and be unable to tell apart truths from falsehoods. He shouted, “Cut the crap. I won’t be tricked.”
Xu Xikai lazily said, “I know, you have that eye. Who could trick you?”
Even though Yu Shu had guessed that the opponent knew that he had the truth-seeing eye, Jiang Ziya had still been holding onto a sliver of hope that he could keep hiding it. After all, no matter who it was he had come across, they had all told him that this eye was very dangerous and would easily make him—no, his entire family!—a target for practitioners.
Xu Xikai laughed. “Don’t worry. I only have one intention for your eye, and that’s to help me materialize Resurrection. After that, I promise I won’t bother you. Even if your secret is revealed, it definitely won’t be from my lips.”
Xu Xikai smiled. His posture gave Jiang Ziya a sense of wrongness, like… He still resembled House Keeper with his pale and elegant appearance, yet he no longer seemed to be from the same world as Jiang Ziya.
“Haha—you are all the same. You all claim that Resurrection should never be actualized, but once a loved one passes away, even an angel can fall and become a devil. How can a mere human choose differently?”
Jiang Ziya was alarmed. This tone still sounded like House Keeper’s—No, it actually sounded more like Hold Keeper’s. The tone was meaner than House Keeper’s, but although the words were derisive, they were definitely still elegant.
What House Keeper and Hold Keeper had in common was that they were definitely not within the boundaries of what was considered human.
Xu Xikai tilted his head and leaned forward. He asked, “Jiang Ziya, Lu Yang died. Do you want him to disappear? Hm? Will you choose differently?”
Lu Yang… How is that possible? Jiang Ziya’s eyes widened. He kept telling himself not to be swayed. This is definitely false. My hands, stop shaking!
“You wouldn’t dare kill Lu Yang. If you had the nerve to even touch him, Master Ah Lu wouldn’t overlook it!”
Xu Xikai was ecstatic. He gave a chuckle and said, “I wasn’t the one who killed him. He died at the hands of his own father in three consecutive shots. You can only blame the father for violating the rule of not firing in a barrier dimension!”
Even though Jiang Ziya did not want to accept this as the truth, he understood that Xu Xikai was not making it up. Everything that had happened tonight had indeed revolved around a single person. Xu Xikai’s target had not been anyone but Liu Yishi!
“Does he know?”
“Does Liu-shūshu know he killed Lu Yang?”
Xu Xikai smiled slightly. “Who did you think I was going on about for so long just now? Not only does he know, he has even made his choice already. You are the last one left. You know, finding all these people and spirits with powerful abilities wasn’t easy.”
Jiang Ziya found himself lowering the muzzle of the gun.
“Lin Zhixiang makes curses come true. After years of endlessly cursing herself, day after day, to be existence’s bane, her special ability has become extraordinary. If she had not left his side in time, her crippled brother would surely have died.
“The angel turns wishes into blessings, an ability both rare and powerful. A mere illusory familiar actually had the ability to keep Jian Zhi on the path of morality all these years as his guardian spirit. Unfortunately, the angel was just an illusory familiar and wasn’t strong enough, so I gave it some motivation to level up beyond an illusion. At first, I would have been more than satisfied if Jian Zhi’s death pushed the angel into becoming a lie, but the angel was unexpectedly capable. Even though it did not become a truth, the angel is far above most lies, becoming an existence between lie and truth.
“Liu Yishi can emit holy light and reveal the truth behind anything. There is nowhere for falsity to hide from him!
“Finally, we have your truth-seeing eye.”
Xu Xikai’s face darkened and he coldly said, “Do you understand now just how serious I am about making this Book of Resurrection come true? No matter how many obstacles there are, I will overcome them all. If you feel that Lu Yang is simply a classmate and not important enough to you, I can trouble your family instead. I am certain there will be someone even more important to you there.”
Jiang Ziya could only lower the gun completely.
Xu Xikai’s hand was on the handrail of the stairs. He indifferently said, “So, aren’t you all the same?”
“Then, what about you?” Jiang Ziya shouted, “Are you the same, too? Who do you want to resurrect?”
Xu Xikai responded with a cold smile. From high above, he looked down on Jiang Ziya and said, “That’s none of your concern. Come up now. If you delay any longer, dawn will break, and those policemen will come. They’ll mess things up and disrupt the acquisition of Resurrection. I won’t even need to do anything then; Liu Yishi will make you wish for death.”
Jiang Ziya could only obediently follow Xu Xikai up to the second floor. This was actually an open stairwell. One could look down on the second floor by leaning over the rails of the lofted floor above. He had no recollection of the school library having an open stairwell.
Everyone was in front of the bookcase. Hearing footsteps, they turned to look at Xu Xikai and Jiang Ziya.
Lin Zhixiang, who had been missing for days, was silently crying. The angel was sitting on the floor with blank eyes, half a disembodied arm sticking out of the mud forming its lower body, grasped tightly within the angel’s hands.
Liu Yishi did not turn his head, but Jiang Ziya could tell that it really was Liu Yishi from seeing his back. This was the first time he could sense someone’s sorrow with just a glimpse from behind.
“Liu-shūshu, where is Lu Yang?”
Liu Yishi finally turned his head. However, he only turned his head a little bit, and his gaze did not even focus on Jiang Ziya. Both eyes were bloodshot, and he did not blink at all.
“In the private booth beside us.” Xu Xikai helped explain, “Without finding a place for Lu Yang to rest, he can’t do anything.”
Jiang Ziya nodded and did not say anything about wanting to see Lu Yang. After seeing Liu Yishi, he no longer doubted that this was a trick. Lu Yang had truly died.
Aren’t you supposed to be superhuman?
Jiang Ziya forced himself to blink back tears from his burning eyes as he lined up in front of the bookcase. What surprised him was that Xu Xikai also lined up with them, which suggested that perhaps he also possessed some sort of special ability. Otherwise, he could not have led them by the nose all night long.
“It has begun.”
Hearing this foreign voice, Jiang Ziya’s eyes widened. He looked toward the third floor. A person stood there. Behind him was a large expanse of stained glass, and from beyond the glass, strong sunlight was streaming in. Due to the backlighting, the man’s appearance could not be made out, and the voice he had used to say the words “it has begun” was very hoarse. Other than determining that he was male, Jiang Ziya could not figure anything else out.
However, it was clearly nighttime right now.
Just where have we gone?
“One…” Lin Zhixiang started them off.
Jiang Ziya could only follow suit and call out “one.” The group of them called out the numbers in such a fashion, counting the bookcases row by row as they passed by them.
Their footsteps were all heavy. Jiang Ziya’s only thought about Resurrection was whether or not it could really revive Lu Yang. And would the resurrected Lu Yang actually be Lu Yang?
Jiang Ziya had not forgotten about Li Yao. If that “Li Yao” who was able to recognize me and Lu Yang was just a spirit, then how are we to determine whether the resurrected Lu Yang is real or false?
Jiang Ziya looked toward Liu Yishi. Compared to the other people or that spirit, the angel, he seemed to be even more resolute and unshakable.
Seeing that twelve was right before them, Jiang Ziya halted his steps and stopped calling out. He struggled to tell Liu Yishi, “Master Ah Lu once told Lu Yang that what is impossible is impossible. He told him not to randomly believe in it. If the person who gets revived isn’t Lu Yang anymore, then what should we do?”
Liu Yishi scowled at him and gripped Jiang Ziya’s arm tightly. He grit his teeth and was pretty much forcing his words out through them, “Call out the number!”
Jiang Ziya’s arm smarted and almost felt like it was able to break, but Liu Yishi’s gaze was neither a threatening one nor an intimidating one. It was a beseeching one. It was a father’s plea.
Jiang Ziya helplessly called out, “Eleven.”
The final row of bookcases.
Lin Zhixiang choked, unable to call out the number. At first, she had felt guilty because she had caused the deaths of her classmates, but now, she realized something was wrong. Xu Xikai, the person who encouraged me to atone for my sins, is actually the mastermind!
How can he claim that everything is my fault, that those people died because I’m existence’s bane? He’s clearly the one at fault for everything!
If it wasn’t because I heard that Lu Yang died, if it wasn’t for the angel’s plea to resurrect Jian Zhi, if it wasn’t for Xu Xikai threatening to kill my brother…
But Jiang Ziya’s words just now had shaken her. Could Resurrection truly revive someone who has died? How could that be possible? If resurrection becomes possible, then who would want to die? Would the entire world fall into disarray over this Book of Resurrection?
Lin Zhixiang eyed the gun by Liu Yishi’s waist. She had given it some thought. If she wanted to keep her brother safe without following through with the ritual, the only solution she had would be to kill herself. This way, there would be no meaning to killing her brother, so perhaps Xu Xikai would let him go…
“I will kill him.” Liu Yishi pulled out the gun and pressed the muzzle against Lin Zhixiang’s forehead. He repeated, “I will kill your brother.”
“Liu-shūshu!” Jiang Ziya cried out in shock.
Lin Zhixiang stared at Liu Yishi, who was threatening to kill her brother, but she could not blame him at all. The sorrow in his eyes was too deep.
She closed her eyes and called out, “Twelve.”
“Twelve,” Xu Xikai called out without any sorrow or cheerfulness.
Liu Yishi’s eyes found Jiang Ziya’s. Without a single word, Jiang Ziya knew what he meant: Don’t make me threaten my son’s best friend.
“Twelve,” Jiang Ziya called out weakly. Lin Zhixiang had her brother. He had his sister. They could not afford to be threatened.
Now, there was only the angel left. With no family and no home, there was nothing the angel could be threatened with.
The angel caressed the arm within the mud and lifted its head in a daze. Tears of blood dripped down, and it opened its mouth…
“My child, why do you cry?”
Jiang Ziya reflexively followed the voice and lifted his head, his eyes widening. Gentle light had unexpectedly appeared above them, enveloping a person’s figure—with three pairs of pure white wings behind him!
If Ziya was seeing clearly, there was even a halo above the person’s head.
Jiang Ziya’s mouth twitched. Because the light was gentle and did not hurt his eyes, he could clearly see the person’s well-lit face. If it weren’t for that, he really would have thought that god had descended upon them. Unfortunately, he could see too clearly. This was not God descending upon them…
It was, in fact, a charlatan who descended upon them!
Hold Keeper, you really are quite something!
Xu Xikai’s expression changed. He was quicker than Liu Yishi. He pulled out his gun and shot at the charlatan floating in the air, hitting his target.
To Jiang Ziya’s eyes, however, it was the arm of a doll that got blasted off. Yet, his actual body’s lack of an arm did not seem to affect Hold Keeper’s maintenance of his heavenly appearance much.
To everyone else, it looked like the gunshot had been completely useless and had gone right through without hitting anything.
“Jian Zhi… is no more…”
Hold Keeper tenderly said, “All believers go to Heaven. Does Jian Zhi believe in God?”
The angel blinked, its tears of blood stopping. It opened its mouth, completely shocked, sudden realization taking over.
The angel cried out, “Yes! Jian Zhi, believes!”
“Since it is so, Jian Zhi is already in Heaven. Why does my child weep? You should celebrate instead. Once you have finished your mission in the mortal world, you may enter Heaven and see Jian Zhi.”
“Mission?” The angel looked at God in confusion.
No, not god, but a godly fake. Jiang Ziya revised in his mind.
The charlatan gently said, “You must bless this world with hope and beauty. Once you have completed your mission, you may enter Heaven and reunite with Jian Zhi.”
This was clearly to the angel’s liking. A smile that had been missing for too long appeared with a prompt nod, the angel eager to immediately spread love and hope everywhere to quickly welcome the day it could enter Heaven and see Jian Zhi.
A lie tricked a lie that’s almost a truth. Jiang Ziya really did not know if he should deem Hold Keeper too powerful, or if he should consider this angel too naïve.
Liu Yishi growled, “He isn’t God! He’s just a spirit! In the name of the Lord, I command all falsehoods to vanish without a trace!”
He summoned the Bible. Hold Keeper paled but did not know what he should do. He could only summon his own book in response.
Jiang Ziya wanted to stop him. He had no doubts about Yu Shu’s love for this pair of brothers, House Keeper and Hold Keeper. No matter how much she claimed to despise and hate it when they leveled up, her actions told a completely different story. If Liu Yishi were to kill Hold Keeper, Yu Shu would most definitely go crazy.
Jiang Ziya had not been able to help Lu Yang. He could not watch Lu Yang’s father Liu Yishi clash with Yu Shu!
He leapt at Liu Yishi, pushing him to the ground and paying no heed to the fact that Liu Yishi was still holding a gun in his hand, but it was already too late. The holy light shone toward Hold Keeper. Hold Keeper could only cover his face. At that moment, his book actually flew up before him and shone with light, and its brightness did not lose to Liu Yishi’s book.
The two divine texts met, but their lights did not fight against each other. Instead, they combined into one giant ball of light. The angel had been between the two books and bore the brunt of the clash. The muddy bottom half of its body sizzled from the light. The angel’s shrieks likewise sounded like it was being roasted over a fire.
“Stop it!” Lin Zhixiang cried out anxiously.
After spending a night together, she was no longer afraid of this fallen angel. It was just overwhelmed by Jian Zhi’s death. Even though it had become muddy and dirty, as long as no one touched Jian Zhi’s corpse, it simply huddled in the corner without moving.
Lin Zhixiang paid no attention to whether or not the light would hurt her. She rushed in to hug the angel and pulled the angel out by falling to the side, both falling right out of the light.
Lin Zhixiang’s fall caused her eyes to spin. When she regained her senses, she immediately looked at the angel held tightly in her arms and asked, “Are you okay…”
Before she could finish asking, she discovered something odd, and could only stare blankly at the angel.
The angel also stared back at her and was no longer shrieking. The muddy bottom half of the angel’s body was no longer muddy, but it had also not returned to the half-transparent, ghost-like state it had been in when the angel had still been a guardian spirit.
The angel possessed an actual pair of legs, as well as an extremely beautiful but real, androgynous face, looking just like a real person—a westerner who possessed the beauty of an angel.
No one else knew what had happened, but Jiang Ziya could tell at a glance. The angel’s state was exactly the same as Hold Keeper and House Keeper’s. That pair of brothers had become much more real after possessing the bodies of dolls.
The angel was the same, only what it had possessed was not a doll but Jian Zhi’s corpse.
Suddenly, a shadow covered the angel. The angel looked up.
“Call out twelve.” Liu Yishi commanded, “Or else, even as you are now, my holy light can make your true visage appear.”
True visage… The angel grew furious because the angel’s true body was Jian Zhi’s corpse. To the angel, that was a treasure no one was allowed to touch!
“Liu Yishi, please stop! Don’t you know what you’re doing?”
He didn’t! Liu Yishi could not allow himself to think, or else the sorrow in his heart would burn his body up. How could he be so foolish so as to commit a crime that could never be forgiven…
That shout was House Keeper’s voice. Jiang Ziya was not surprised. Since Hold Keeper was here, House Keeper would definitely be around too. Ziya just didn’t know why he had not appeared earlier.
“Dad, you’re in big trouble. If Mom knows you shot at me, how do you think she’ll respond?”
Liu Yishi and Jiang Ziya both jolted. They immediately turned to look at the door.
Lu Yang was leaning against House Keeper, his face pale. He was barely able to stand, and only thanks to House Keeper gripping his shoulder and supporting his waist. But he was clearly alive!
“Your mom would say…”
Liu Yishi’s voice was hoarse.
“It was just three gunshots. Why are you lying there playing dead? Do you want to scare your dad to death? Quick, get up already.”
Lu Yang grinned with his teeth showing.
“Haven’t I gotten up?”