Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 1: Human Doll Contract Part One
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 5: House Keeper Part 2—Barrier Dimension—translated by raylight (proofread by Trespasserby; C/E edited by lucathia)
Jiang Ziya did not come to the library often, though the university’s library was rather well-known. Not only did they have a large collection of books, the building was also fairly new, so every spot felt novel and comfortable. It could be said to be a great favorite among the students.
However, he would usually head straight to Jiu Ge for his part-time work after class. After finishing the stocking and cleaning, he would study as he manned the store. Therefore, he had completely no affinity with the library.
By this time, it was already past nine thirty. The library seemed to be closing, and the students were all leaving in groups. However, when they passed by Jiang Ziya, they all shot a few glances at him.
Jiang Ziya was carrying a large doll nearing seventy centimeters in his hands. It looked incredibly real, like a smaller scaled version of a human. The doll was wearing a shirt, a vest, and formal pants, appearing no different from a butler.
When he reached the highest floor of the building, Jiang Ziya intentionally waited until there were few people about before he sneaked to the door accessing the rooftop. The door wasn’t locked, though he was uncertain whether it was arranged ahead of time.
He pushed the door open and saw a flight of stairs leading upwards. Due to the fact that it was very dark, he could only see the first few stairs and was unable to see the end of them.
“Please place me on the floor.”
Jiang Ziya received a large scare at that, then realized that the one speaking was the “House Keeper” in his hands. He quickly followed his instructions.
Within seconds, the doll of seventy centimeters reverted back to a man of a hundred and eighty centimeters.
Jiang Ziya felt that he would never get used to it, even if he were to see it a hundred times more.
“Gēge, let him walk in front.”
Jiang Ziya looked back, and Xiao Xue’s head popped out from the backpack behind him. Of course, she was in the form of a doll. Though his backpack was not small, it was also not ridiculous enough to be able to stuff a child inside of it.
“Understood.” House Keeper nodded his head without any objections and took the lead as he ventured up the stairs.
After walking up a few steps, Jiang Ziya felt that the way the darkness fell around them was strange. It wasn’t like there was completely no light, for he was still able to see his surroundings, or at least he could still clearly see House Keeper walking in front of him. However, places about three steps away from him were completely shrouded in darkness, and he was even unable to tell how large this area was.
Even though this place should obviously only be a staircase…
“Don’t step on it!” Jiang Ziya growled.
House Keeper’s raised foot then paused in mid-air, unmoving.
Jiang Ziya quickly said, “Shift toward the side, and don’t step on that place. A strange design flickered just now, so I think it’s probably best not to step on it.”
When House Keeper followed his instructions, a picture suddenly emerged from the place he was about to step onto. It was red like the color of blood, and was in the ominous shape of screaming faces. It then abruptly burst and became a pile of red-colored lights.
However, that was not the end of it. Many similar designs appeared on the way up, and then promptly exploded in one breath. In that instant, a blood-colored road appeared.
Xiao Xue gasped in shock, “Gēge is so awesome! You broke their entrance to the barrier dimension!”
I broke what? Jiang Ziya felt completely bewildered. He did not know what had happened in the slightest. He had merely felt that since the situation didn’t look good for them, he should reflexively call for them to stop if he saw anything strange.
In conclusion, it’s a good thing, right? Jiang Ziya felt a little uncertain.
“If we had become trapped in the barrier dimension that they had set up, we would have been unable to see the truth of the situation. Since they had arranged to meet on the rooftop, they might have been harboring intentions for us to be deluded by the barrier dimension, and for us to then jump down from the rooftop on our own.”
House Keeper explained patiently, “However, even if we had not broken through it, the effect of the barrier dimension on you would not even be half of its original. Your eye can see through many things. If you were to practice well, barrier dimensions would be a joke to you. That is what the mistress said.”
Jiang Ziya decided that when he went back, he would cling to Yu Shu’s thighs and beg her to teach him how to make this “barrier dimension” a joke.
Since he had Jiang Jiang and Xiao Xue at home and then Lu Yang at school, Jiang Ziya felt that he was desperately in need of “a joke.”
What followed after went smoothly. The surroundings were no longer strangely dark and became just an ordinary staircase. Not long after, the door accessing the rooftop appeared in front of them.
House Keeper turned around and inquired in detail, “Are there any issues with this door?”
Jiang Ziya looked up and down the door several times, and then shook his head as he said, “Nope.”
Xiao Xue coldly snorted as she said, “Looks like they are fairly clever. They didn’t put the pathway to the barrier dimension on the door, which is the easiest to be checked, but instead placed it on the staircase.”
Pathway? Jiang Ziya felt that this world was becoming even more complicated and confusing.
“Are we opening the door now?” House Keeper gently said, “Please be very careful. I am merely a low-level illusionary familiar and most likely would not be of much help.”
Jiang Ziya felt extremely nervous, but he could only force himself to boldly say, “Open the door!”
He pushed, and the door let out a creaking sound, having rusted for several years without repair. The sound was exceptionally ear-piercing in the silence of the night.
A shadow crawled over quickly, like a giant reptile’s. Upon closer inspection, Jiang Ziya then realized that it was a contorted human body, its limbs bending in impossible directions. It was crawling at an exceptional pace and was half-rotten, showing a large patch of flesh and white bone.
House Keeper stepped forward to block in front of Jiang Ziya, and the crawling corpse abruptly stopped. It looked at House Keeper in uncertainty and dared not approach carelessly.
Other than the crawling corpse, there was also a female corpse with her neck broken, and her head was lying on her shoulder horizontally. There was also a scarecrow with a torn mouth, and a pair of living human eyes was rolling around on its face.
If one were to see these three in the middle of the night, even being scared to death was a possibility.
As expected, it’s “those things” that appeared in the supermarket!
When Jiang Ziya had been trapped in the supermarket, he was so scared that he could only escape with Lin Zhixiang and even had to rely on Xiao Xue to lure them away. Only then did he manage to escape with his life. However, at the moment, he felt that these three things didn’t seem as terrifying anymore.
They were merely the same kind of thing as House Keeper, just that House Keeper was much more handsome than they were!
Also, was it due to the fact that they had broken that barrier dimension or something? Jiang Ziya felt that there were too many weak points about these things. He could see that the crawling corpse’s rotten skin was a fabric texture. There was even cotton wool coming out of its eyes. This is actually a broken burlap sack with cotton stuffing, isn’t it?
The scarecrow was a real scarecrow, and the eyeballs were also real. However, they did not move and were gray, resembling the eyes of a dead creature. Jiang Ziya hoped that they weren’t human eyes.
As for the female corpse, it was just a plastic model!
“Hehe, your guts sure have improved a lot.”
A figure emerged from the shadows. He was a middle-aged man who looked to be in his fifties. He had no distinctive features and was the type that you wouldn’t remember even after you saw him.
He coldly said, “Hand the artifact demon over.”
Jiang Ziya suppressed his anger and said, “Where’s Lu Yang?”
The other pointed behind his back.
A figure was hanging beneath the elevated water tower. Jiang Ziya had seen it the moment he stepped onto the rooftop.
“Nonsense. The one hanging there isn’t Lu Yang. Do you think I’m blind?”
The person froze and blurted, “You can tell the difference?”
Jiang Ziya flinched and remembered what Yu Shu had said before, not to mention the “truth-seeing eye”…
“I have already broken through your barrier dimension. Who wouldn’t be able to tell the difference!” He forcefully blathered, “Your skills are just too lousy!”
The middle-aged man’s face turned dark. He said, “So it seems I have underestimated you and thought that you were just an ordinary person who had lucked out and gotten your hands on an artifact demon. Now, it appears that you are also a practitioner. However, even if we’re in the same profession, I’m definitely getting that artifact demon! Hand it over, unless you don’t care for your companion’s life?”
Jiang Ziya angrily shouted, “I want to see a living Lu Yang! Otherwise, there will absolutely be no negotiation!”
Though the fake person had been seen through, the middle-aged man did not dwell on it. He gestured to the scarecrow and the female corpse, and the two walked to the side of the building and pulled up something from each side.
It was Lu Yang.
Both his hands were kept in handcuffs, and the chain in the center wrapped around the railing, keeping him hanging on the outer edge of the building. Because all of his body weight was supported by his wrists, the area around his wrists had already turned bloody.
“Lu Yang!” Jiang Ziya immediately shouted.
But the latter had his head lowered and did not reply.
Jiang Ziya glared at the middle-aged man fiercely.
“He is still living.” The man coldly continued, “However, it would be hard to say so if he continues hanging there. Hand over the artifact demon and I’ll leave and give you the keys to the handcuffs.”
Xiao Xue was hiding right in Jiang Ziya’s backpack, not moving a single bit. Jiang Ziya couldn’t imagine how she felt upon hearing this. Would she think that he really would exchange her for Lu Yang?
Jiang Ziya had already given up on the option of “exchanging her” long ago. He didn’t know when it had happened, but he was certain that he was unable to do so. Even if Xiao Xue wasn’t human, other than those ball-joints that proved otherwise, which part of her didn’t seem human?
Jiang Ziya started considering. What if I pretended to hand Xiao Xue over to get the keys to the handcuffs first, and then snatched Xiao Xue back?
No, it still won’t do. He only had House Keeper at his side, and the other person had three illusionary familiars… Wait, if the one dangling under the water tower is included, then it’s four! He didn’t have any confidence in snatching Xiao Xue back from the other person’s hands.
Then, what should I do?
“I’ll give you ten seconds. Give me the artifact demon!”
As the guy urged in front, a barely audible voice came from behind and reminded him, “Gēge, if you personally agree to hand me over to him, then it will be a contract, and I will really become his. But as long as you don’t agree, he will not be able to take me away.”
Jiang Ziya froze. He then understood the reason why the other had not gone ahead to snatch Xiao Xue even though he had four illusions at hand.
He was completely in a dilemma, stuck between a rock and a hard place. However, he was very clear regarding his decision. He merely could not accept that fact, for Xiao Xue herself had just followed him here so unguarded…
The middle-aged man did not start counting down. Instead, he reached into his possessions and pulled out a gun.
Jiang Ziya’s eyes turned wide in shock. In the course of these few days, he had always been living a “surreal” life. For a “very real” handgun to suddenly appear, he actually felt more shocked and afraid than seeing spirits and demons.
After all, regarding those things, as long as he understood them, they wouldn’t be as scary anymore. But for something like guns, even if he understood them, he would still die if he got hit by a bullet!
The middle-aged man pointed his gun toward the edge of the building, which was also where Lu Yang was. Jiang Ziya understood what he was about to do.
“Ten, nine, eight…”
Jiang Ziya slowly removed his backpack, his hands trembling as he placed it on the ground. He spoke softly, “I’m so sorry, Xiao Xue. I’m so sorry…”
She did not pop her head out, but soft sobs could be heard from within the backpack.
Glee showed on the man’s face and he asked, “So you’re giving the artifact demon to me?”
Jiang Ziya was about to nod his head and agree, when a sudden ringtone came from his chest. He could only feel vexed at that. Who would be in the mood to pick up a call at this kind of time!
“Toss the phone over!” The man flew into a towering rage as he roared, “Or else, I shoot his hand off!” He pointed the gun at the outer edge of the building.
“Don’t! I’ll toss it over immediately!”
Jiang Ziya dug out his phone, making a pose to throw it over, but in an instant he suddenly remembered what Fu Jun had said. He said that he would give a call, and he even said—
You must pick it up.
Jiang Ziya pressed the receive button without any hesitation.
In the name of the God of the Eastern Sky, pledged by the word of the God of the Eastern Sky, thou spirits and familiars art free, thou shalt not serve under any master, from this moment henceforth!
A loud voice erupted from the phone, to the point where Jiang Ziya got a massive headache as well as a ringing in his ears. For a long time, all he could do was crouch on the floor while hugging his head. When he came back to his senses with much difficulty, Xiao Xue was clutching tightly to his leg, but he still heard cries and sounds of gunshots.
The crawling corpse, the scarecrow, and the plastic model were actually attacking that man!
The man had been tackled to the floor and could only open fire at them to no avail.
However, guns seemed to have no effect on those illusions. Even when their bodies were shot to pieces, they continued to use their mouths, their hands, and all kinds of methods, determined to tear the man to pieces and gobble him up!
Upon seeing this bloody scene, Jiang Ziya was scared stiff. House Keeper stepped forth, blocking him with his body so as to prevent Jiang Ziya from getting hit by a stray bullet.
Following that, he heard a series of gunshots, and Jiang Ziya finally realized what the man’s goal was in firing the shots—that was where Lu Yang was! To think that he wanted to drag others down even on his deathbed!
And his accursed marksmanship is even very accurate! Jiang Ziya pushed aside House Keeper, making a mad dash toward the edge of the building.
Xiao Xue jumped out from the backpack and ran toward Jiang Ziya. However, a series of gunshots caught them off guard. Everything felt as though it was in slow motion like a movie. Xiao Xue collapsed on the floor, and Jiang Ziya received a large blow to his left shoulder, sending him flying.
Coincidentally, he landed beside the railings, and he grabbed onto Lu Yang’s hand with his right hand. It was practically impossible to get a steady hold of him with only one hand. Thankfully, the handcuffs helped.
The chain between the two handcuffs was now barely connected.
Lu Yang’s hand was covered in blood, and it was so slippery that he could not get a good grip on it. Jiang Ziya could only hold onto the cuffs, and he even shoved his fingers into the gap between the handcuffs and the chains. Otherwise, he was truly afraid that his grip would not be enough.
At this point, he realized that he was burning in pain from his shoulders to his fingers. His left shoulder had already become numb from pain. He could not bring out any strength in his arm. His right shoulder was pressed against the railing tightly, supporting Lu Yang’s entire weight, and was hurting to the point that he felt like it would break.
He would not be able to hold out much longer. He turned and looked around, wanting to seek help, but he saw Xiao Xue sprawled on the floor, unmoving.
“House Keeper, quickly come over and help me!”
Hearing the call, House Keeper stepped forward but did not extend a helping hand. He only said in apology, “I am merely an illusionary familiar who is residing in a doll and cannot even compare to Xiao Xue. Therefore, I am unable to move anything above a certain weight. The two garbage bags that I normally help the mistress throw away is already my limit.”
Hearing that, Jiang Ziya felt his heart go cold.
House Keeper urged him with good intentions, “I advise that you let go of him and go to the hospital quickly. Your shoulder was hit by a bullet and is bleeding profusely.”
“Lu Yang!” Jiang Ziya was unwilling to do so and desperately roared, “Hurry and wake up, Lu Yang! You bastard, stop sleeping while you’re dangling in mid-air!”
There was no reaction at all from Lu Yang.
A sense of despair washed over Jiang Ziya.
He already had no more strength in his completely numb arms. By this point, the fact that Lu Yang was still hanging there was almost completely thanks to the handcuffs that were stuck. But he definitely could not let go. This was the rooftop, and the damn school library was actually seven stories high!
Lu Yang was still unconscious. If he fell down, he would definitely lose his life. Unless he was still hiding a secret like having a diamond-hard, indestructible body—his wrists were already all bloody, so no way was he indestructible!
“House Keeper, help me wake up Xiao Xue. The two of you can help me drag Lu Yang up. Please…”
House Keeper shook his head, saying, “I am afraid that she would not be able to help either. Though she is able to do many things, based on her type and the abilities that she has shown, I believe that strength is not one of her strong points.”
Once he heard that, Jiang Ziya thoroughly lost all hope.
“My utmost apologies.” House Keeper kept his head down, looking completely apologetic as he said, “I wish to help, but I truly have no means to do so. Even if I reached out to grab him, he would only fall.”
Seeing that, Jiang Ziya gave a wry smile.
“I believe you. Your expression really does look very apologetic… very like a human.”
House Keeper froze.
“How are you all not human? Xiao Xue even blocked a bullet for me! How are you all not human? How many humans would block a bullet for another?”
Jiang Ziya was on the verge of tears.
First, he had sought out someone to burn Xiao Xue. Then, he had sold out Xiao Xue. However, Xiao Xue had blocked the bullet for him in the end—he really was a huge bastard!
However, now was not the time for tears yet. He held them back as he instructed House Keeper, “If anything happens to me, please tell my brother-in-law that I leave my sister in his hands.”
House Keeper opened his mouth but didn’t know what to say in response to that. He was a little puzzled as to why he was hesitant. At this point of time, wouldn’t an “understood” be fine?
Jiang Ziya tried his best to stand up. This was an extremely difficult task, especially when one was grabbing hold of another in their hands. The only fortunate thing about the situation was that the sensation of pain wasn’t as strong as before, though he was uncertain whether it was due to blood loss or because he had become numb due to extreme pain—hopefully it wasn’t a last spurt before death.
The gap between the railings was narrow, so he could not squeeze Lu Yang through them. Therefore, he had to raise him up above the railings and then grab him from the top and over the rails.
After exhausting all his strength, Jiang Ziya finally managed to stand up, and Lu Yang was raised mid-way up the railings. However, he felt his whole body going cold, and there was already no feeling in his left shoulder. Most likely, he didn’t have much time left.
He pressed himself onto the railings. In order to grab Lu Yang and pull him up, he could only bend over the rails and reach for him. However, he had greatly overestimated his own strength, or perhaps he had just run out of energy. Either way, Lu Yang wasn’t raised upwards. Instead, Jiang Ziya felt his feet leave the ground, and only his stomach was still pressed against the railings. However, this would not stay for long.
In that instant when his whole body started tilting downwards, the only thing that Jiang Ziya could think of was to shout, “House Keeper, your name is Charles!
Jiang Ziya slid down—
At this time, the only thing he could do was close his eyes tightly.
But though he waited, the sensation of falling did not come.
Could it be that I’m dead already? Was it that quick?
Jiang Ziya opened his eyes, perplexed. He immediately saw House Keeper’s handsome face, which was so gorgeous it could belong to a magazine model.
House Keeper was grabbing onto him and Lu Yang.
Moreover, his strength was unbelievable. With one hand, he held onto Jiang Ziya, and with the other, he held onto Lu Yang. However, he did not seem like he was forcing himself, and he could even give the two a gentle smile. Then, he carried both of them up safely and put them on the ground steadily.
Jiang Ziya sat on the floor for a good long while. His brain was still a complete blank from the scare just now, and he raised his head to look at House Keeper. He asked in a daze, “Didn’t you say that you can’t lift us?”
House Keeper was currently studying his hands with his head lowered. On his face, a shocked expression appeared—shocked but happy.
Seeing that, Jiang Ziya understood too. “You leveled up?”
“Indeed, I believe I have ‘leveled up.’” House Keeper broke into a smile and could not hide his happiness as he said, “I have become a ‘lie,’ and this is all thanks to you.”
After saying that, House Keeper turned to look at the four illusions who were eyeing them. He merely gave a faint smile, but it was enough to terrify them into fleeing.
This sounds like a good thing.
House Keeper’s expression was much more human than before, and he even took the initiative to protect them by scaring off those demons. However, Jiang Ziya had a feeling—Yu Shu would definitely strangle him to death! Absolutely!
“It hurts a lot, Gēge…”
Nearby, Xiao Xue slowly crawled to her feet as she cried. Jiang Ziya then finally fainted, with a smile on his face.