Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 3: In the Name of God, Part Two
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Prologue—translated by lucathia (proofread by Trespasserby & Taffygirl13)
Liu Yishi turned, wanting to rush downstairs to the school campus to save his son. Although there was nothing he could do about a fire, what father could leisurely eliminate demons over here when he clearly knew that his son was in danger?
However, the stairs were gone. The stairway had turned into a pool of water at some unknown point. Huge bubbles had formed in the deep and dark water, which appeared extremely thick, unlike normal, clear water.
“What’s going on?”
Hu Lican was rather calm. This was not the first time he had experienced something like getting trapped. The most recent occurrence was precisely that time when he and Lu Yang had been trapped together on the eighth floor of this place. Back then, there had even been an immobile corpse standing there! Although, they had later determined that it had actually been Jiang Ziya.
Liu Yishi’s face grew solemn. His usual gentle expression slowly faded. No matter how frantic he felt, no frustration showed on his face. This was due to his personality, as well as his many years of experience as an exorcist. The worse the situation was, the calmer he must be. Only then could he find a chance of survival.
He picked up a pebble from the floor and tossed it at the black water. While it was still mid-air, the water actually surged up a meter high, slithering like a snake, directly swallowing the pebble. Then, the water collapsed, returning to a bubbling surface.
“What in the world is that?”
The policemen hadn’t ever seen anything like it before, and they all began to panic. Only Hu Lican was a bit calmer. Although Fang Da had some experience and didn’t lose his composure, he was trembling all over.
At this time, Liu Yishi suddenly turned his head to look. The supposedly dead person standing there lifted a hand, pointing upstairs.
“You want me to go upstairs?”
Normally, Liu Yishi wouldn’t dance to the other party’s tune, and even more than that, he wouldn’t brute force it like his wife and son would. Rather, he would carefully search for the opponent’s weakness and strike there. That was his usual method. However, the possibility that his son was currently trapped in the scene of a fire made him decide to change his approach this time.
“I’m heading up to the eighth floor now.”
The policemen’s eyes widened. They stared in disbelief at Liu Yishi. Then, they watched as he actually did walk upstairs right before their eyes after shouting those words.
“Captain, Hu Lican, what should we do now?”
All the policemen looked toward Hu Lican one by one, but how would he know what to do? In the past, when he asked for Lu Yang’s help, Lu Yang would only have one request: if you don’t have to come, then don’t. If they had to be on site, then, they should pretend to be invisible people with no presence. Their only responsibility was to follow closely. They didn’t need to and shouldn’t do anything else.
While being stared at so intently by his own subordinates, Hu Lican could only force himself to say, “Follow him up! What else can we do? Do you guys want to stay behind and keep that fellow company?”
He gestured at that person who should have been dead. Everyone looked over. The person stood rooted to the spot, hand still pointing upstairs, completely immobile. At first glance, you wouldn’t notice anything off and might even think that the other person was normal, but if you took a closer look, you would immediately feel a chill down your spine. That person’s hand was lifted but was completely motionless, with not even the slightest waver, like a frozen frame out of a film.
As they shivered from the sight, that person actually stirred—with a “smile.” However, it was as if a formless hand were pulling those lips upward. Other than the corners of that mouth, there was no motion anywhere else at all, not even on the face.
The smile grew wider and wider, until it was slowly pulled into a huge grin, yet there wasn’t even a trace of that smile on the rest of the face, the gaze from those eyes empty. It did not stop there either. The corners of that mouth continued to be pulled outward, like they would be ripped apart in the next second…
“Come up, quick!”
The group jumped in great shock, only then realizing that Liu Yishi was standing on the stairs and calling out to them. The policemen couldn’t help turning and looking back. The person who should have been dead still stood rooted to the spot, completely motionless, with absolutely no trace of any smile on that face.
Hu Lican quickly took his team over, believing even more in what Lu Yang, that college kid, had said—follow closely!
We fucking fell victim the moment we didn’t follow closely. Not going to hesitate to follow him after this. I’m going to train my eyes entirely on Liu Yishi!
Although that was what he wanted to do, right when they got upstairs, everyone reflexively looked in the same direction but didn’t see anything there.
Now that we’re on the eighth floor, there actually isn’t anything? Everyone relaxed yet felt that this wasn’t right. It unnerved them even more. Danger that could not be seen would only make people feel all the more paranoid.
“Is there some sort of smell?” Fang Da took in a deep breath but soon started dry-heaving for a moment. The air reeked too much, as if there was a… rotting corpse?
Once he thought of the answer, he immediately paled from fright. At that time, all the others seemed to have smelled it too, their faces all turning as white as a sheet.
Liu Yishi turned his head to look, discovering that it was that young policeman again. He seemed to have some talent but not too much, so he wouldn’t run into any problems normally. If he ran into a situation, his reaction would be a bit faster than those around him; however, this talent wasn’t a good thing with the current situation. It would even give the foe more of an advantage.
Yet Liu Yishi had no intention of admonishing or guiding him. For people who had not experienced things like this before, this group of policemen had already far exceeded expectations. Most likely, Hu Lican had helped them mentally prepare in advance.
Guidance was even more unnecessary. Such a high level barrier dimension meant that even practitioners would be affected. It was impossible for an ordinary person to escape the hallucinations induced by the barrier dimension just through a short period of guidance. Even if Jiang Ziya, who possessed the truth-seeing eye, were here, he would not be able to notice any oddities right away.
The skill of the person who created the barrier dimension is unbelievably high. If it is just like what my son has guessed, that this is a performance assessment…
Liu Yishi’s heart dropped. He braced himself and decided to let his son fend for himself. He had to stay here and think of a way to take care of the opponent. If he actually let this kind of person, who held no regard for human life, pass their assessment, who knew how many human lives would have to be lost before matters ended?
Liu Yishi moved forward one step at a time, the stench growing stronger and stronger, setting off an incessant alarm within him. Normally, scent was the most difficult sense to materialize in a barrier dimension. Moreover, the key to dismantling plenty of barrier dimensions was exactly that they had no “smell.”
Even knowing this weakness, few people would turn it around and use smell as the method to create a barrier dimension, as it was too easy to notice. A person’s sensitivity toward smell was more instinctive than sight, so it would actually be more difficult to trick someone that way. If it wasn’t done well, you could shoot yourself in the foot.
However, this time, Liu Yishi could not detect any flaws.
A female corpse leaned against the wall, appearing exactly the same as before.
The policemen actually let out a sigh of relief. This was the first time they had ever rejoiced so much upon seeing a corpse. However, a few sharp-eyed policemen immediately noticed that this corpse was identical to the one before. Their hearts skipped a beat right then, a sense of foreboding rising up.
At this second, it was still a sense of foreboding, yet in the very next second, it immediately came true. The female corpse twitched. At first, it was just the fingers, and the policemen could still comfort themselves that it was just a trick of the light. However, following that, the twitching extended to the arms until the entire corpse began jerking around madly like it was in the throes of a seizure.
The policemen’s faces also began to twitch at such a sight. One by one, they inadvertently backed up, shrinking behind Hu Lican. They also could not help but place their hands on the gun holsters by their waists. Even though Hu Lican had warned them again and again before they had come here that they should never fire without his command, at the critical moment, it was likely that no one would have the leeway to heed something like a command.
The corpse’s skin and flesh trembled incessantly. If not for how its blood had already dried up, even blood would probably be spurting out from all the trembling. The people present began to wonder if perhaps this corpse would tremble like this until it exploded. They couldn’t help but back up. However, it actually stopped. The transition from wild jerking to stillness took merely a blink of the eye. It was so fast that they began to doubt whether the sight they had witnessed just now was but a hallucination.
At this time, Liu Yishi abruptly turned his head and stared pointedly. Everyone immediately followed suit. An entire row of people now stood behind them without anyone noticing before this. Their apparel and facial features couldn’t be any more familiar—weren’t they exactly those homeless people who had stood on the seven floors below them?
They all gave an alarmed shout and backed up in the opposite direction, but they didn’t dare to back up beyond Liu Yishi, as there was still a female corpse that might jerk around over there!
They could neither move forward nor could they back up. Hu Lican immediately looked toward Liu Yishi, discovering that he was still calm and did not seem nervous at all. Even though Hu Lican felt that he might be pretending to be calm, it still relieved Hu Lican a lot. In the past, there had never been a mission that Lu Yang could not solve. Now that Lu Yang’s father was on the case, there was no way this couldn’t be solved, right?
“Mr. Liu, what exactly is the current situation?”
Hu Lican still could not help but ask. Though he had some more experience than the other policemen, he still had never come across anything this weird before. If every case were as outlandish as the current situation, then in the future, he probably wouldn’t ever be willing to touch cases like this again. The moment he encountered it, he would seal the case and considered it closed.
Compared to how nervous the policemen were, Liu Yishi remained calm, as this was the type of case he specialized in. It was just that he had wanted to lure the person behind the case out, and so he had let the situation play out until now. However, with current conditions, he was a little hesitant about whether or not he should let it continue.
He and five policemen were at the scene. This number of people far exceeded the norm. The hallucinations induced by a barrier dimension would have different results depending on the person. With more people, it was inevitable that discrepancies would arise. As long as someone grew doubtful, then the barrier dimension would start to become unstable.
Moreover, they were all people who had come mentally prepared. Hu Lican had experienced his share of these kinds of cases. Liu Yishi was even a practitioner. This would make it difficult for the barrier dimension to take effect.
From the start, Liu Yishi had not disallowed Hu Lican from bringing so many people partially because he wanted to test the limits of this barrier dimension. However, the results exceeded his expectations. The barrier dimension’s influence was beyond the norm, and given that no updates were coming from his son’s side, they were probably stuck in the barrier dimension, too. With how large the barrier dimension was, even if this were a performance assessment, then it was just a side benefit. This could not possibly be a mere performance assessment.
Liu Yishi deliberated over what the truth was to himself over and over, until he heard Fang Da cry out in shock. He was staring at the homeless people, his eyes as wide as saucers. The other officers could not help but follow his gaze to stare at the homeless people. Every single policeman crowded toward Liu Yishi in fright.
One after another, the homeless people rotted. First, they turned deathly pale, their eyes glassy like fisheyes. Their blood vessels rose to the surface of their skin, which was so pale that it was translucent. Their abdomens began to swell, forcing the policemen to back up, so as to prevent themselves from getting splattered if those stomachs were to explode.
When the first homeless guy rotted until only white bones were left, Liu Yishi came to an understanding. He turned to look. The female corpse leaned against the wall, as if motionless, but Liu Yishi astutely realized that something was wrong. The female corpse’s skin was not as ashen as before.
Behind him came the sound of heavy objects crashing against the floor, one crash after another. With each sound of a corpse collapsing, the female corpse’s metamorphosis grew more and more evident. First, the wounds healed, and blood actually flowed backward, glassy fisheyes closing…
Once the final corpse rotted and fell, the policemen also knew by then where to look. They were just very reluctant to turn their heads, deeply afraid they would see an even more frightening sight—even though there were few things that could be scarier than watching a live person rot away into a corpse.
However, no matter how scary something was, it could not be scarier than their imaginations. The policemen really couldn’t stand the feeling of “there’s something behind me.” They shared several glances with each other and with resolve, abruptly turned their heads. Then, they let out sighs of relief.
The female corpse was no longer like a corpse. She leaned against the wall, head lowered, appearing just like a woman who was sleeping or unconscious. No matter who looked at her, they would not think she was a corpse.
Hu Lican was just about to ask, “Mr. Liu, what’s going on,” when he saw the female corpse move. She twitched several times, hands touching the floorboards, as if investigating them. Soon after, her knees bent, and she tried to crawl up, but she did not seem to be in full command of her limbs. Her movements were odd, as stiff as a robot’s.
All of the policemen pulled out their guns. Even Hu Lican, who had given the command that they were not allowed to shoot, pulled out his gun. He resisted the urge to shoot with great difficulty and gestured at the others not to shoot just in time.
Liu Yishi walked forward and ascertained that none of the policemen were closer to the female corpse than he was. Then, he quickly drew a cross with his hand in prayer.
As he gave voice to his prayers, Liu Yishi extended his right hand, holding his fist upwards. As he opened his hand, glowing light appeared in his grasp, which slowly and faintly took the shape of a book. The pages opened flat as the book floated above his hand. It was not actually lying on his hand—it was a presence that could not be touched, just like Lu Yang’s sword.
The female corpse stood up crookedly, head turning with a clack, clack—then, her head lifted…