Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 3: In the Name of God, Part One
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 2: Practitioner, Part 2—I’ll Help You See—translated by lucathia (proofread by Lala Su)
This isn’t real. This isn’t real…
Jiang Ziya took several deep breaths and finally discovered what was wrong. What happened to the stench that’s so terrible that I was scared to even open my mouth? Even if I’m more used to it, I can’t possibly take several deep breaths here, right?
“This isn’t real.”
Jiang Ziya walked back and continued drawing the picture that was on the wall. The corpse actually stood up. First, it wandered all around the room it was in. Then, it even walked out of the room, circling around Jiang Ziya. However, there was no change in the smell. The closest the corpse got to him was twenty or so centimeters, and it looked like it was taking measure of Jiang Ziya.
After that, a strange, dragging sound came from behind him. Jiang Ziya froze. When he turned his head to look, an arm stretched out from the entrance of the dark staircase. Two rotting corpses crawled out and then stood up with the same stiff posture, slowly rocking back and forth while ambling to Jiang Ziya’s side.
Jiang Ziya sucked in a deep breath, reminding himself that “no stench meant it wasn’t real,” and then he stopped paying any attention to those three walking corpses. He earnestly continued drawing.
After he finally finished drawing the picture, Jiang Ziya closed the notebook and turned around, preparing to head downstairs. Suddenly, from behind him came hurried footsteps. He jerked his head back and saw that one of the corpses had rushed forward. What kind of rotting corpse has that kind of speed? You might as well call it a sprinter!
With the opponent’s attack came a strong wave of unease. Jiang Ziya felt that if he didn’t run, he would truly get killed. He hurried toward the stairs not caring that it was dark. He rushed right down them.
The moment he stepped into the darkness, light burst before his eyes. Lu Yang and the other two people were still standing in the staircase. When they saw him, Lu Yang smiled and said, “Done drawing? Then, let’s go.”
Jiang Ziya’s feet came to a stop. He halted a few steps down and looked at the three of them.
“Why aren’t you coming down? It’s time to go?” Lu Yang asked in confusion.
Jiang Ziya opened his mouth, no mirth in his tone at all as he said, “I don’t believe that Lu Yang would have me stand and draw all by myself in a place where there’s a corpse! What the hell are you?”
Lu Yang’s mouth pulled into a wide smile, wider and wider, until his mouth pulled right apart, all the way to his ears. Blood dripped down his cheeks, and through the gaping chasm that was his mouth, white teeth could be seen…
Jiang Ziya’s face darkened. Even though this wasn’t all that scary compared to all he had seen before, this time, it was a very familiar face, making him feel that it was a bad omen. Looking at it made his heart tremble with anxiety. He felt like Lu Yang might truly be in danger… Blarghhhh!!
He roared, “You’re nothing! Don’t you go around pretending to be anything!”
Sunlight suddenly streamed through the empty windows, shining on the humanoid figure, which immediately disintegrated into dust.
In an instant, all three of them vanished until no one was left. Jiang Ziya wasn’t surprised. He had known it wasn’t real. He frowned. The question now was, where had Lu Yang gone? Were the two policemen who had arrived earlier real or fake? When had they fallen into a barrier dimension?
“Jiang Ziya! Ziya?”
At this time, hurried footsteps came from upstairs, accompanied by Lu Yang’s voice.
Jiang Ziya turned around. He watched as Lu Yang, Hu Lican, and Fang Da rushed down from the floor above. Only then did he say in shock, “So you were actually upstairs?”
Lu Yang said anxiously, “I followed behind you to go upstairs, but the moment we stepped foot onto the seventh floor, you disappeared! When I turned my head to look downstairs, even the stairs were gone. No matter how I searched, I couldn’t find the exit!
“Then, these two guys came to crash the party!” Lu Yang glared at the two policemen.
He was searching around on the seventh floor? Jiang Ziya looked at the three of them. Then, he thought about the corpse that had crawled up and walked around him, followed by the two corpses that joined it later on. Don’t tell me that was the three of them?
“I was also on the seventh floor earlier. I saw three corpses walking around. Was that you guys?”
Hearing that, Lu Yang stiffened and asked, “Did you stand there without moving?”
Jiang Ziya nodded and said, “Yeah, I was drawing the sigil that was on the wall.”
To the side, the two policemen said in disbelief, “How can you still draw under those circumstances?”
Jiang Ziya didn’t know how to explain it. There were always strange things happening around him. Just now when Jian Zhi had been there, an angel had kept hitting him in the face with wings!
Lu Yang’s expression turned extremely ugly. He coldly said, “I’m not going to class today. I’m going to head back to Qing Wei Gong. Ziya, help me take leave.”
Jiang Ziya was taken aback. How rare, this eternally obedient student actually wants to skip class. “Okay.”
“Can we still have the investigation team come over here?” Hu Lican was still wary of the paranormal phenomenon from just now. Even though it wasn’t the first time he had run into something like this, and it was how he had gotten to know Lu Yang, this kind of shit was something he could never get used to. The newbie Fang Da was even shivering to the point that his teeth were clattering!
Lu Yang said impatiently, “No problem, as long as there’re lots of people. If that practitioner can ensnare an entire team of police, then you don’t have to seek me out anymore. Seal the case and call it closed. Better that than to have more lives lost.”
Hu Lican rubbed his nose. He could tell that this brat was furious, so he didn’t make a fuss over it. He just said, “Roger.”
“We’ll be leaving now.” Lu Yang pulled Jiang Ziya, wanting to leave. He was choking with anger because of this first mission. He must be a moron to have chosen this mission for Jiang Ziya to join him on.
After walking halfway, Lu Yang couldn’t help but turn his head in worry and warn them, “Hu-gē, you guys should follow me out right away. Don’t wait here. When your people come here, make sure none of them end up by themselves. Don’t have any of the police patrol at night. Let me keep an eye on things here.”
“Can we patrol outside?” Hu Lican said helplessly, “There have already been six deaths before this. Reporters have already been eying this place. Now that there’s a seventh victim, I don’t think we can keep it under wraps anymore. If we don’t patrol, I bet someone will sneak in. If you meet any reporters, I doubt you can do anything about them, right? I’m afraid that the eighth floor will also get its share then.”
Lu Yang frowned. He really couldn’t do anything about them. He could only say, “You can patrol outside, but don’t stay stationed anywhere.”
After that, Lu Yang pulled Jiang Ziya to leave.
He was dragged all the way out of the building. Only then did Jiang Ziya ask in confusion, “What’s wrong? Why are you so angry? Don’t you get caught in barrier dimensions a lot? You even called me in amusement last time. You weren’t angry then.”
Lu Yang was silent for a while before he said, “Earlier, I couldn’t find my way out, and I couldn’t find any clues either. There was only the corpse that stood in the center of the room without moving. At first, I was afraid to approach it, afraid that it was a trap, but since I couldn’t find the exit, and I didn’t know your situation, I grew worried. When I saw that corpse start to move, looking like it wanted to go downstairs, I rushed after it with Slay…”
“So you were the one who chased me?” Jiang Ziya said in amusement, “Good thing I ran fast. If you had stabbed me, I would never let you hear the end of it.”
“You’re still laughing?” Lu Yang snapped, “I almost stabbed you for real!”
Seeing that Lu Yang had truly grown furious, Jiang Ziya no longer dared to laugh, afraid that the next thing out of his mouth would be, “you best not follow me in the future after all.” Then, he could only listen to Lu Yang get stuck in another barrier dimension again with nothing he could do to help. One day, he really might be unable to get out.
Jiang Ziya asked, puzzled, “Ah Yang, but can Slay really injure me? I often bump into all sorts of illusory familiars and don’t feel anything at all. I’d walk straight through them. Would your Slay actually kill me?”
Just like that angel’s wings. Even though it kept hitting him in the face, Jiang Ziya actually didn’t feel anything from it. He just felt a bit odd.
Lu Yang shook his head as he said, “No, at most, you’d be sick for a while. My Slay doesn’t cause any true damage to real people.”
So it really can’t? Jiang Ziya rubbed his nose. He had truly felt his life to be in danger at the time. It looked like it was just his misperception. “Then, why are you so nervous? Even if you really stabbed me, all you’d have to do is get the day off for me.”
Hearing that, Lu Yang frowned. Slay was appearing more and more like a real sword lately. Truthfully, he was no longer certain whether or not Slay was still harmless to humans. He hadn’t tried. It looked like when he went home, he should try it on his dad—it wasn’t that he was unfilial. Slay really couldn’t hurt its master, so he could only use someone else as the guinea pig.
Jiang Ziya suddenly reached his hand out, catching Lu Yang off guard. Lu Yang was still stuck on why he had reached out when Jiang Ziya actually closed his hand around Slay and then gave an “ah,” pulling his hand back right away.
Lu Yang’s eyes widened. He couldn’t respond immediately. Only when he saw blood drip down between Jiang Ziya’s fingers did he grab his hand right then. He held Jiang Ziya’s palm up to see. The blood all over the hand rendered him speechless for a long time.
Jiang Ziya said wryly, “You sure Slay really can’t kill me? I feel like it’s sharper than the kitchen knife at home. I only touched it gently.”
“It shouldn’t be like this!”
Lu Yang panicked. He had never thought that Slay becoming more real would have this kind of side effect. It was sharp enough to kill someone! Although it wasn’t like he hadn’t slashed any practitioners with Slay before, it had never caused any physical harm to them. More than slashing someone, it was more like he was cutting off the opponent’s power. At most, they would feel weak for a period of time.
With one hand, Jiang Ziya found the keys in his backpack with difficulty. He tossed them to Lu Yang and said, “Drive me over to the school’s infirmary.”
Lu Yang could only nod. He put Slay away and swung his leg over the motorbike. He looked in vexation as Jiang Ziya wadded up a pile of napkins to stop the blood. “Don’t be so stupid next time. If you used any more strength, your fingers might’ve gotten sliced right off.”
Jiang Ziya rubbed his nose. He couldn’t help explaining, “You’re the one who said Slay can’t hurt me. So I just wanted to test it out.”
Lu Yang was also angry at himself for answering before he had figured things out. He angrily revved the engine and the motorbike zoomed forward.
“If you’re giving it a try, can’t you do it more gently? Why’d you use your entire hand?!”
Jiang Ziya could tell that Lu Yang was pissed. He didn’t want to keep arguing over it, so he just admitted his wrong and apologized, “Fine, I was too careless. I’m a space cadet. It’s not like you didn’t know that already.”
“You see random things day in and day out. How can your head not blast into outer space? I’m thinking you should just wear an eye patch over that left eye of yours!”
“An eye patch? Do you want everyone to gawk around me?”
“Do sunglasses work?” Lu Yang knew that eye patches weren’t realistic. It was practically announcing to everyone that something was off, attracting more attention.
“Nope. Glasses don’t work either. Prescription, non-prescription, I’ve tried them all.”
Lu Yang fell silent. After seeing random things for so many years, Jiang Ziya had probably tried everything he could other than “digging his left eye out.”
“Ah Yang, Slay is so strong now. You won’t have to be afraid of practitioners anymore, right?”
Lu Yang was full of worries, yet Jiang Ziya happily said, “Even though you still need to take cover when there’s a gun, maybe someday, Slay will even be able to block bullets? Slay looks very mighty, a true flying blade! It’s like a weapon that a deity would use. Blocking bullets probably isn’t anything out of the question, right?”
Hearing this, Lu Yang almost wanted to cough up blood. He said, “Please, stop making it even mightier. Doesn’t your hand hurt? I almost killed you in that building just now!”
The passenger fell silent for a long while, before his voice drifted over.
“In the future, what you can slay and what you can’t, I’ll help you see it clearly. If I say to slay it, then you can slay it. I promise you there won’t be any mistakes!”
The corner of Lu Yang’s lips quirked up.