Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 2: Human Doll Contract Part Two
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 4: This Bookstore’s… Part 2—Talent of the Innerworld—translated by lucathia (proofread by Trespasserby)
Jiang Ziya bit and pulled and even rubbed his hand against the wall, but although the nylon rope around his hands appeared thin, the rope wasn’t loosening or breaking despite his relentless struggling. I won’t be able to break it.
The other person was truly a professional. There were no openings he could take advantage of.
Jiang Ziya could only give up on the idea of struggling free of the ropes. He turned to look toward the others. After Zhang Dongqi left, they began waking up one by one, baffling Jiang Ziya as to how the other person was making that happen.
Jiang Ziya’s target was Xie Peilun. He hadn’t forgotten that his goal was to find Fu Jun’s classmate. He just hadn’t thought that he would find several more people. From Zhang Dongqi’s tone, Jiang Ziya figured that these people’s capture had nothing to do with himself. So, why have they been captured?
He began taking measure of the other people. However, the dim lighting only allowed him to make out basic details. Xie Peilun was an elementary school student. The person huddled in the corner seemed to be female, and she wasn’t all that old. At least, she didn’t appear to be older than Jiang Ziya.
Other than her, there were also two males. One of them appeared not much older than Xie Peilun, while the other might be around Jiang Ziya’s age.
These people seemed like they didn’t know each other. If he had to connect them somehow, he could only say that they were all fairly young.
Not captured for mining, but maybe the sex industry. Jiang Ziya felt even worse about it.
He tried his best to nudge his body forward toward Xie Peilun. The latter was so scared that he kept shrinking into himself.
“Peilun, it’s me, the gēge from Jiu Ge Bookstore.”
Jiang Ziya spoke in a quiet voice. Thankfully, Zhang Dongqi hadn’t taped his mouth back up. From Xie Peilun’s expression, it was obvious that he was scared out of his wits. Don’t even mention the gēge from the bookstore, even if his actual gēge were here, he might not recognize him either.
Xie Peilun stilled. Finally, he calmed down and glanced at Jiang Ziya’s face. He recognized him. He was so emotional that he seemed to want to rush over, but his hands and feet were both tied, so he could only thrash around frantically.
Jiang Ziya immediately leaned forward, resting against Xie Peilun’s shoulder to comfort him gently. Only then did he stop struggling. The child’s soft wrists had turned bloody from his previous actions.
Xie Peilun’s tears dripped down his face like they weren’t worth anything. Even though this gēge was also tied up, as long as an adult he knew was present, he would feel that there was at least someone there for him.
Under the dim lighting, Jiang Ziya lowered his head and saw that Xie Peilun’s wrists were already an expanse of purple and black from the tight, nylon rope. Who knew how many times he had struggled? Right then, a surge of anger seized Jiang Ziya. How despicable, to treat an elementary school kid like this!
Jiang Ziya really wanted to ask Xie Peilun how he had arrived here, but the other’s mouth was still taped up, so he couldn’t speak at all.
“I’m going to use my mouth to pull off the tape over your mouth.”
Taking such an action toward a little boy would definitely look a bit perverted, so Jiang Ziya felt a need to clarify beforehand to avoid scaring Xie Peilun so much that he would frantically squirm backwards.
Xie Peilun immediately nodded his head hard. Only then did Jiang Ziya dare to approach and bite at his face. However, using only his mouth to rip off tape was, as expected, difficult. He felt like he had nearly slobbered a face full of saliva on Xie Peilun’s face before he finally managed to pull the tape off.
The moment the tape left his mouth, Xie Peilun let out a sigh of relief. He immediately asked, “Gēge, how did you get caught too?”
“Ah, actually, I was caught when I came out to search for you with Fu Jun.”
Xie Peilun’s eyes filled with tears again. Touched, he said, “Xiao Jun was searching for me?”
“Your mom is also frantically searching for you everywhere.”
Xie Peilun cried even harder.
Jiang Ziya could only use his tied up hands and his advantageous height to pat the other’s shoulder. He waited until Xie Peilun calmed down a bit and immediately asked, “Do you know why you were captured?”
“It’s all that alley’s fault! Xiao Jun said that that alley was bad news. I should have listened to him and avoided it, but I was a big idiot and didn’t listen to him. Sob, sob…”
Xie Peilun cried as he recounted what had happened back then. He resolved to obediently listen to Fu Jun from now on, even more than he listened to his mom!
At this time, the other people around them started taking notice of them and began closely listening in.
What had happened to Xie Peilun didn’t take long to recount. He finished talking about it in no time at all. Jiang Ziya couldn’t figure out much from it either. He only knew that Xie Peilun’s run in with danger should have nothing to do with that alley. What Fu Jun meant by “bad news” was that old beggar. However, Xie Peilun had never stepped foot into that barrier dimension, and he hadn’t met any old beggars.
He couldn’t get an answer from Xie Peilun, so Jiang Ziya could only turn to look at the others. The moment he saw the tape on their mouths, he felt a huge headache coming on. He could only pick out that guy who was around his age first. He looked to be calmer than the kid, and he was a guy. It was much better than slobbering over the girl’s face.
“I’m going to pull off the tape.”
The other person immediately nodded.
After the tape was removed, he blurted, “I saw the same thing as the kid, but I saw it in the parking lot of a building. I was also chased until I couldn’t run anymore. Then, I was captured.”
When Jiang Ziya heard that, he figured that the other two had experienced something similar. Just as he thought that there was no need to remove more tape, he lifted his head and saw the girl and the kid stare at him with imploring, tear-filled expressions.
“…Peilun, go pull off the tape over the big sister’s mouth.”
As for Jiang Ziya, he rolled over to the kid, and face against face, began slobbering… Ah no, it should be ripping off tape. At first, he had thought that it wasn’t a good idea to plaster his face against a girl’s, so he had told Xie Peilun to do it, but now, he abruptly discovered that it was simply even more perverted to plaster his face against a little boy’s!
After the tape was removed, both of them spoke of happenings that were almost the same. Only the location was different. The time frame was about the same. It had all occurred within the past few days.
It seems that these people really have nothing to do with me. Jiang Ziya was a bit confused over why Zhang Dongqi had kidnapped these people.
Jiang Ziya looked at the guy and asked, “How about we inch over to the other end of the room to take a look?”
“I’ve tried several times already. I couldn’t find the end of the other side at all. I only know that there’s a portable restroom to this side over here.”
Even though this man was calmer than the rest, his face was still full of fright. Besides having to face getting kidnapped, he also had to face all sorts of weird occurrences. It was already rather strong of him not to collapse on the spot.
Now that they had his left eye, the situation was of course different. Jiang Ziya held back his urge to say that. No matter if it were Yu Shu, Lu Yang, or the boss, all of them had uniformly told him that he was never to tell others about his truth-seeing eye. Therefore, he had to keep his mouth sealed tightly.
“I’m going to take a look anyway.”
After he said that, Jiang Ziya heard the guy give an unhappy snort. He didn’t pay him any mind. He used a fairly ridiculous pose to inch over, appearing just like a huge crab.
Having left the vicinity of the light bulb, it was truly very dark in front of him. Jiang Ziya nearly couldn’t see anything. In addition, the guy had said that he couldn’t find the end, so Jiang Ziya moved fairly quickly, until there was a “bang”—his head had knocked into a wall.
Jiang Ziya felt so much pain that he was nearly about to swear. Didn’t he say he couldn’t find the end? I didn’t even have to crawl for very long to find it.
He turned his head to look. He could even see their figures under the light bulb still!
“Dà-gēge, are you okay?” Xie Peilun shouted in a panicked voice.
“I’m okay.” Jiang Ziya hurriedly said, “My head just hit the wall. I’m going to look around. Be good and wait under the light bulb. I can see you from here.”
Xie Peilun obediently agreed and shrank into the big sister’s arms with the other kid. The three of them hugged each other, forming a lump. Their tears were plentiful enough to be drunk as water.
Jiang Ziya shuffled left and right, trying to figure the place out. Why isn’t there even a window?
This place seemed to be rectangular, and the area was rather large. He couldn’t figure out what material the surrounding walls were made of. They didn’t seem to be concrete walls. However, he couldn’t write off that they might just be veneer over permanent walls.
He slowly touched the three walls, wanting to figure out how that Zhang Dongqi had been able to appear soundlessly and disappear after that. Even if this place were a barrier dimension, there had to be a door for that guy to be able to enter, right?
If that guy could walk through walls, then Jiang Ziya would surrender, rub his nose, and accept getting kidnapped.
After touching around, he couldn’t find anything that resembled a door. He didn’t even find anything that jutted out. The walls around him were all flat.
There was nothing more he could do. Jiang Ziya could only begin inching back, but halfway there, his butt suddenly sat on a place that was odd. That part of the floor seemed to be a bit different from the rest of the floor.
He immediately stopped. At first, he couldn’t see anything different. Then, he lowered his head and closed his right eye, looking only with his left. He immediately saw a shadow. It was much darker than the rest of the floor. He carefully touched around the black shadow and actually found a small dip. The size was just right for a hand to reach in.
The exit is actually below our feet!
Jiang Ziya excitedly reached his hand in, trying his best to lift the door. Then, he discovered that he couldn’t lift it…
All right, I was too stupid. If I had thought about it, I’d have figured out that it had to be locked. It was just that that guy had been dismissive of guns just now, so Jiang Ziya had been a bit hopeful that he would also be dismissive of using locks and would only use barrier dimensions and the like to keep them contained.
It was evident that the other party hadn’t entirely cast away the real world.
Jiang Ziya could only return below the light bulb. Xie Peilun nearly threw himself at him, bringing with him the girl and the kid, who had also shuffled closer.
“Did you find anything?” The guy asked with a tone that was enjoying Jiang Ziya’s failure.
Jiang Ziya shook his head. He had found something, but it wasn’t useful in any case. Besides, that guy was actually enjoying his failure, so he wasn’t someone who wanted to help. Therefore, there was no need for Jiang Ziya to elaborate, or the secret of his left eye might come out.
They could only obediently wait for the neighbor to come save them.
Jiang Ziya felt a bit depressed. It was great that his left eye could see through things, but the problem was, after he figured things out, he couldn’t do anything about it. That’s even more depressing than not being able to see anything in the first place!
Next time, if anything that seemed even the least bit unnatural were to happen, he was definitely going to chain Lu Yang to his waistband before leaving.
Zhang Dongqi sat in front of the surveillance monitor, staring at the screen without breaking his gaze. When he saw the person on the screen hit the wall, he laughed.
“Looks like out of these captured people, only that guy is the least bit useful.”
There were actually two people sitting on the sofa behind him. One of them was Zhang Nanzhu. She was Zhang Dongqi’s younger cousin, from the same side of the family as him. The other person was her older cousin, Liu Jing.
Faced with Zhang Dongqi’s mocking, Zhang Nanzhu kept silent and didn’t react much.
As for Liu Jing, he snorted coldly. He was very unhappy about what Zhang Dongqi had said because they had captured all of the others. Only that guy had been captured by Zhang Dongqi’s own hands. Yet he just had to have captured a useful one!
That guy hadn’t even been captured as new blood. It was just that the Zhang family had learned of Zhang Dongping’s death, so they had sent Zhang Dongqi over. As a side benefit, he could watch over Zhang Nanzhu, who was still learning her way around, while he avenged Zhang Dongping.
Even though Zhang Donqi was powerful, leaving no doubt as to this mission’s success, Liu Jing really didn’t like the guy. He disliked the entire Zhang family even more. Even Zhang Nanzhu irked him.
Normally, if Liu Jing were to see a hot babe on the level of Zhang Nanzhu, and she even wanted him to handle some business with her, he would have long since sidled up to her, since the pavilion closest to the water enjoys the moonlight first. He wouldn’t let go of such a good chance.
However, this Zhang Dongqi just had to follow along and interfere. He was so full of it, it was like he’d gotten the winning tiles at mahjong. He always had a gaze that looked down on everyone. The sight of it made Liu Jing seethe!
The only comfort Liu Jing had was that even Zhang Nanzhu didn’t get any better treatment from Zhang Dongqi.
“He’s the target of your vengeance, isn’t he?” Liu Jing mocked, “What freaking use is there for a guy you’re gonna kill?”
Zhang Dongqi couldn’t answer that.
Even though his thoughts toward Zhang Dongping, his useless older cousin, was that it was no big deal that he was gone—he wasn’t even sad about it—his cousin had been killed. Therefore, the Zhang family had to avenge him. He agreed with that point. If they didn’t avenge someone in the family who got killed, then who would think anything of them in the future? A bunch of people might start looking for trouble with them.
“He discovered the exit,” Zhang Nanzhu suddenly said.
At first, Zhang Dongqi didn’t understand what she was talking about. Then, he looked at the screen. Jiang Ziya was flat against the floor, hand touching here and there. Then, he made a pulling motion. It was obvious that he had found the trap door on the floor.
“He could actually discover the location of the exit?” Zhang Dongqi exclaimed in shock, “He’s not a practitioner, is he?”
Zhang Nanzhu said quietly, “No, I looked into it. His brother-in-law started a feng shui business, but he can’t be considered a practitioner. He only uses some tools to take care of small problems.”
“He might have stumbled upon it.”
Liu Jing didn’t at all believe that the brat would have the ability to find the exit. Besides, he wasn’t the one who had captured him, so anything gained from this wouldn’t be credited to him.
Zhang Dongqi sneered, disinclined to pay attention to Liu Jing. If breaking through a barrier dimension could be done through stumbling upon it, then that brat had to have unbelievable luck. In the innerworld, luck like that could be considered part of one’s strength.
Could this brat be the cause of Zhang Dongping’s death?
Zhang Dongqi abruptly felt some things clear up. Without his barrier dimension, his useless cousin’s underlings, those artifact demons and illusory familiars, wouldn’t be able to scare someone to death but would rather make them laugh to death.
If this were truly the case, then it would be such a waste to kill the brat!
The Zhang family had plenty of talented individuals who could subdue demons or engage in fights, but they had few experts at creating barrier dimensions, and even fewer talented at breaking barrier dimensions. This kind of talent was pretty much a rarity in every family. Everyone fought tooth and nail for it.
Killing such a talent was pretty much a waste of natural resources!
Zhang Dongqi grabbed his head, unable to decide. Even though he knew the Zhang family lacked a talent like Jiang Ziya, and Zhang Dongping hadn’t been some expert in the family that they would miss because he had died, Zhang Dongping came out on top because he had had connections. If Zhang Dongqi didn’t kill this enemy of theirs, his family would definitely be unwilling to let this matter go.
…Forget it. I’ll wait and see. That brat might not even be the culprit behind this. From what he said in his phone call, he was definitely calling for backup.
Zhang Dongqi had been waiting for Jiang Ziya’s backup from the start. He had never thought that the brat would have had the ability to kill Zhang Dongping, so he had only captured him as bait. He hadn’t thought that this bait was actually a huge, delicious fish, almost making him unwilling to use him to catch other fish.
Zhang Dongqi was undecided until an idea struck him.
The backup that the brat called might also be big fish. He could capture them together and take them straight to the Zhang family. He could let those old guys stress over whether to kill or keep them. Then, he’d have nothing to do with it. After all, it didn’t matter if they killed or kept them. He would have made a great contribution either way!
After thinking it through, he turned and asked, “Nanzhu, are you done with the barrier dimension?”
Zhang Nanzhu nodded and said, “I’m done. Like you asked, I made it doubly secure.”
“Good! Double it again.”
Zhang Dongqi had a feeling that the big fish he was luring in this time was definitely going to be crazily big!
As someone of the innerworld, in regards to something like premonitions, he didn’t hold the opinion that he would rather believe in them than not. Rather, he definitely believed in them!