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 1—Devil—translated by lucathia (proofread by Minthe & Trespasserby)
“Ziya, make sure to look carefully. What I should or shouldn’t slay all depends on your eye.”
Hearing such a request from Lu Yang made Jiang Ziya nervous. He nodded solemnly.
“Don’t worry, my Slay can’t kill a living person.”
Lu Yang suddenly felt that getting his request out there wasn’t ideal and would only put more pressure on Jiang Ziya; however, he had no choice but to remind him. He could only remedy it by adding the last part.
“I won’t let you cut down anyone who is alive.” Jiang Ziya resolutely promised he would not make a mistake.
Seeing Jiang Ziya’s determination, Lu Yang relaxed a bit without realizing it and said, “Then, I’m depending on you to see clearly.”
Jiang Ziya nodded and did his best to analyze their surroundings. He did not know whether or not it was because he was nervous, but he felt as if something was off. Just the fact that no one was on campus was already super strange.
He asked with some incredulity, “There is obviously something wrong about this campus. Wouldn’t your dad have been able to tell?”
Lu Yang frowned and said, “The barrier dimension might not have been so crude in the beginning. My dad has been here a while. The size of this barrier dimension is so large. Maintaining it for a lengthy period can’t be easy. At first, it could have been kept up meticulously, but later on only with minimal effort. After all, my dad most likely headed straight to one of the school wonders to lay an ambush.”
“Which one would he have gone to?”
“The library.” Lu Yang said plainly, “Since we know that Xu Xikai’s goal is the forbidden bookshelf, and my dad would definitely protect the most crucial location, he would for sure be at the library.”
Jiang Ziya felt this made sense. Besides, the library was not far. On the way, they would even pass by the basketball courts, the location of one of the school wonders.
Speaking of the basketball courts, they could already see them, having taken a brisk pace since they entered the school. Even though the light beside the courts was off, so the courts were rather dark, Lu Yang perceptively discovered a white shadow in the middle of the court. He quickly waved Jiang Ziya over to take a look.
A white cloth propped up by a simple frame and a basketball? Lu Yang knelt down to push the ball and did not discover anything strange. It was simply a basketball. He turned and asked, “Ziya, is this the school wonder with the human head basketball? Can you tell whose head it is?”
“It is.” Jiang Ziya averted his eyes from the basketball, feeling extremely uncomfortable as he said, “It’s your head. Yu Shu was spot on. Xu Xikai really does intend to use you to trick your dad.”
Lu Yang frowned and said, “This can’t possibly trick my dad. When we could still contact him, I called him. He knows I was at the school entrance, and I told him I wouldn’t enter the school. He was prepared. He wouldn’t easily be tricked by the legend of the basketball courts.”
Jiang Ziya hesitantly said, “Also, the propped up white cloth seems to resemble me.”
Lu Yang stilled. With a scowl, he said, “Let’s go. When we find Xu Xikai, even with only one hand left, I’ll beat him up!”
Jiang Ziya felt that if this scene really was of him handing Lu Yang’s head to Liu Yishi, then he was willing to lend both hands to Lu Yang to beat Xu Xikai up!
The two of them did not meet a lot of obstacles before arriving at the library. There was no movement, and no one was around either, not even a single policeman.
Lu Yang looked toward Jiang Ziya and asked, “Was there anything wrong along the way?”
Jiang Ziya shook his head and made a guess. “Maybe he didn’t expect we would come over?”
Lu Yang frowned and felt that wasn’t right. Xu Xikai had come to the hospital and seen his injuries. He would know that it wasn’t serious, and that Lu Yang would come over if communications with his father failed for too long.
“Pay close attention. He definitely knows that we would come here. It could be that the main setup is all in the library. That’s where the forbidden bookcase is located, and it’s also an enclosed space. I’m certain it will be even more powerful than the barrier dimension enveloping the entire school!”
As they approached the library, they immediately discovered something wrong. It was actually bright inside. After exchanging a glance, they immediately rushed forward.
They merely opened the door and the scenery changed completely. What used to be a hallway was now an endlessly twisting whirl. Human faces twisted with pain were stuck within, unable to escape, only able to reach out with countless hands that were scorched black, trying to grab onto anything they could to pull themselves out of this painful eddy.
What in the world is this? The hallway looks like it connects right to Hell! Jiang Ziya stared with wide eyes. Lu Yang was about to ask if Ziya was seeing the same thing, but he already had his answer from Ziya’s expression.
Jiang Ziya asked with a stutter, “Lu Yang, is it normal for it to look like Hell? Isn’t this too ridiculous?”
Am I just too sheltered, or is this sight that looks like the scene of a movie really overdoing it?
Lu Yang calmly said, “Very ridiculous, especially within the country. Our main beliefs are different from Western ones. It’s much easier to create spiritual monsters instead of a scene like Hell from Western beliefs.”
Jiang Ziya came to a realization and said, “Do you think it’s for the sake of manifesting ‘Resurrection,’ so creating ‘Hell’ is necessary?”
Lu Yang nodded. “That’s right. Myths about something like resurrection have actually appeared among stories from all over the world. However, it is more well-known among Western religious mythology.”
“But even Western religions don’t actually have resurrection, right?”
Jiang Ziya felt that if someone wanted something like resurrection, they would have to seek the religion from Hold Keeper’s book to believe in.
“The Bible actually doesn’t mention the seven deadly sins either. My dad has emphasized to me many times before that there’s nothing like that, but many seemingly plausible rumors have been passed around, while movies and novels keep bringing it up. In the end, everyone feels like there’s such a thing. Overseas, my dad often deals with a bunch of unorthodox spirits.”
Lu Yang gestured at the hallway and said, “Instead of claiming this to be Hell from religion, it is more like the Hell depicted in movies. It’s not real at all. Ziya, you have to keep this in mind. Everything here is a setup from Xu Xikai!”
Lu Yang had no choice but to keep his worry for his father at bay. He had to clarify these things for Jiang Ziya, afraid that his left eye would instead assist the foe.
“Don’t worry, I know this is all fake.” Jiang Ziya understood Lu Yang’s intentions. He firmly said, “We are walking into the library, not some other place. I won’t forget this fact. Right now, the most important thing is to find your dad.”
Lu Yang nodded and looked toward the hallway. It was still a frightening, whirling hallway of human faces; however, the charred arms that had originally packed the hallway vanished after Jiang Ziya spoke. He dismantled this barrier dimension so quickly. Anyone who worked hard at making barrier dimensions would really be angered to death by him.
They walked into the hallway. Jiang Ziya tried his best not to look at the floor. It wasn’t just the walls; even the floor was covered in human faces. Walking across it felt squishy and unsettled him a lot.
They hadn’t walked for long when booming sounds came from nearby. Both of them halted simultaneously. After hearing the sound again, Lu Yang couldn’t help but frown. He felt that they sounded familiar, but under the influence of the barrier dimension, even sounds had distorted. Not only could he not discern what the sound originally was, he felt as if it sounded like the howling of a devil…
“Gunshots!” Jiang Ziya cried out.
That word abruptly shook Lu Yang awake. This was not the howling of a devil. These “bang bang” sounds were gunshots!
He could also faintly make out the sound of a person shouting, “Don’t shoot!” Only after that did the gunshots stop.
Jiang Ziya grabbed Lu Yang’s hand and ran in the direction the sounds had originated. As he focused his entire attention on running toward his destination, the pained faces surrounding them gradually sank into the walls and disappeared. The whirling walls also slowly stopped, finally changing back into normal walls. Exquisite wooden walls appeared, with glazed metal lamps adorning them, appearing rather old-fashioned and gorgeous.
The sight brought about a thread of doubt in Lu Yang. He was unfamiliar with the library, having only come by two or three times, and each time was for the sake of finding Jiang Ziya. He always left after finding him, so he had never stayed for long. But from what he recalled, the library wasn’t built like this.
However, he did not have time to ponder over his suspicions. Jiang Ziya was already leading them down.
Lu Yang asked, “What was the basement originally?”
“Audiovisual and research section. The great hall had dozens of single movie theater seats for watching films, while the surrounding area was all small private booths where many people could gather together to review audiovisual materials. Graduate students would also book them.”
Many small separated areas, what a troublesome setup. Lu Yang felt it was a great bother.
However, when they were still on the stairway and could only see part of the hall, they could already see Liu Yishi and the ten or so policemen behind him. They appeared apprehensive, as if they walked among the depths of Hell, while in reality, they were just standing in the hall of the basement.
Liu Yishi froze.
We found my father so easily. Even though Lu Yang could not spot anything off, he still felt uneasy. He turned to look at Jiang Ziya. Is this really my dad?
Jiang Ziya looked up and down but did not find anything wrong. He nodded.
Unexpectedly, he had only just nodded when Liu Yishi lifted the gun in his hand, aiming it right at his son.
Lu Yang’s eyes widened. He immediately had Slay block horizontally before him, and shouted, “Dad, I’m Lu Yang. Look carefully. This is my Slay!”
In a barrier dimension, people saw hallucinations and could perceive people they knew as someone else or even the devil. That was why no one should fire a gun in a barrier dimension. It was too easy to be led astray, resulting in killing one’s own. But no matter what kind of barrier dimension it was, it was very difficult to explain away an existence like Slay. Slay was a huge weak point for a barrier dimension.
Liu Yishi possessed many years of experience as an exorcist. He should know this fact better than anyone else. Lu Yang did not understand why he would raise his gun in a barrier dimension.
“Slay…” Liu Yishi panted and roared, “don’t touch my son!”
A gunshot sounded. Lu Yang had not expected that Liu Yishi would actually fire in a barrier dimension. He immediately pushed Jiang Ziya down. Fortunately, Liu Yishi’s target wasn’t them—it was Slay who was floating in the air!
With this shot of his, all of the policemen gained a target. They began firing crazily at Slay.
Lu Yang did not dare to bet on whether or not Liu Yishi’s target would suddenly switch from Slay to his own son. Slay wasn’t afraid of bullets, but he was! He could only hide behind the single seat and desperately shout “Dad,” hoping he could wake him up.
Meanwhile, after getting shoved to the floor by Lu Yang, Jiang Ziya stayed clinging to the floor, afraid to climb back up. Even though he had not become the target, the sound of gunfire raining down upon them made him unable to move even a muscle. Real gunshots are so much scarier than the gunshots in movies!
He turned toward Lu Yang who was hiding beside him and shouted, “Lu Yang, could I have seen wrongly? Is that really your dad?”
Lu Yang really did not want to acknowledge this dad who was shooting at his son, but… He clenched his teeth and growled, “Even if hallucinations can create gunfire, it can’t create such loud sounds to accompany it. This volume would directly shake us out of the hallucination. This is definitely gunfire from actual people who are firing!”
So, it’s definitely my very own dad who is shooting at his very own son!
The policemen were probably so scared that they had long been unable to tell apart reality from hallucinations, but Liu Yishi wasn’t the same. This volume should have shaken him awake. Lu Yang really did not know what could have happened to make him succumb to this irrational state.
Lu Yang knew that he could not allow this situation to continue. Jiang Ziya would not be able to search for the barrier dimension’s weak point under these conditions. He could not even lift his head, so how could he do any searching? Just as Lu Yang was about to start chanting and have Slay cut indiscriminately, Liu Yishi finally lowered his gun, whether it was because he was out of bullets or some other reason.
“Xiao Yang, come back…”
The gunfire had stopped, and he had heard his dad call out. Lu Yang knew that it could be dangerous, but he still could not help but peek out, discovering that his dad was walking toward the stairs in a daze. There was a mound of black in front of the stairs with a hand reaching out toward Liu Yishi.
“Jian Zhi’s angel?” Jiang Ziya said in shock, “Why is he here?”
Seeing that his dad was about to be kidnapped by a fallen angel, Lu Yang shot up to his feet to give chase, but he saw Slay’s blade point behind him. He immediately threw himself to the ground. A bullet whistled past him. If not for Slay’s prompt warning, Lu Yang really would have died inexplicably by the hand of someone on their side.
“D-devil! I dare you to come at me!”
Hu Lican had clenched his teeth and was trying to control his shaking, like he was about to go to his death like a martyr.
Huddling back behind the single seat, Lu Yang felt enraged. I told them so many times they’re not allowed to fire! A gun can’t kill a hallucination, only our own people. Yet, they all turned a deaf ear to my advice, huh? Even my own dad broke the taboo this time. What the hell is going on?!
Lu Yang closed two fingers together and began chanting. Slay flew to the middle of the hall, scaring the policemen so much that they all hid behind the single seats like Lu Yang had and fired crazily at the sword. Who knew what they mistook Slay for?
“Natural order of Heavens and Earth, disperse the foulness from the air, mighty gods of the eight cardinals, cut down demons and bind evil. Let the evil impurities dissolve away, let Taoism last for all eternity, let this imperial decree of Taishang Laojun be heard and obeyed—Slay, eliminate all deceptions that shouldn’t exist!”
Slay rotated in the air with a speed that grew faster and faster, until the sword turned into a circle. Even the air at the scene distorted, as if sucked in by the sword’s flight.
Lu Yang had not seen any hallucinations from the start when he came down the stairs. He could only tell from how the air had stopped distorting that the clean up should be done.
“Where is this?”
“Weren’t we stuck in a maze after entering the library with Mr. Liu?”
“Where is that devil?”
The policemen were in a daze. They looked all around them, unable to figure out what was going on.
Lu Yang immediately rushed over and slapped Hu Lican hard, throwing his head to the side. Half of his face immediately turned red.
“Carefully look at who I am!”
Who told you to shoot randomly? I can’t hit my dad, but it’s not like I can’t hit you!
Hu Lican winced in pain. When he turned his head back, his eyes widened, and he shouted in surprise, “Lu Yang? Wait, are you the real Lu Yang this time?”
Real? This time? Lu Yang frowned. Did they see one hallucination after another of me?
Jiang Ziya stood up. He shook his head. He felt like he was about to go deaf, and even now he was still trembling. That was so scary. Real gunfire is so much scarier than what’s shown in movies!
He told about what he had seen. “Lu Yang, before you used Slay, there were a lot of you on the floor… a lot of pieces of you.”
When Jiang Ziya had been pushed to the floor by Lu Yang, he had almost jumped back up in fright because of the bloody floor covered with broken limbs. However, the endless gunfire afterward prevented him from daring to get back up at all. Then, he thought of how he could help find the weak point. Dismantling the barrier dimension should wake Liu Yishi up, right?
As he lay flat on the floor, he tried his best to look around. However, when he turned his head, he saw half of Lu Yang’s face. The other half was a blurry bunch of flesh, with scattered pieces all over the floor.
If Lu Yang wasn’t hiding behind the single seat right beside him, Jiang Ziya would be half out of his mind with fright. After that, he turned and saw six hands, four legs, and two brains. If all the scattered flesh was gathered together, they would form at least five Lu Yangs!
Lu Yang was speechless. I must have died again and again? No wonder my dad went crazy! With such a dismembered death along with what my dad said earlier, Slay must have turned against me and cut me into pieces, leading my dad to fire desperately at Slay.
“Hit your comrades and wake them all up. Don’t you dare shoot again!” After Lu Yang bellowed that, he called out to Jiang Ziya, “I’m going to chase after my dad. Ziya, take them to the exit and then come find me.”
After saying that, he ran toward the stairs, hurriedly following after them.
Jiang Ziya quickly followed Hu Lican to wake the policemen up. Fortunately, most of them had returned to their senses. Only two were still in a daze and required the aid of two hard slaps to wake them up.
Compared to entering, they did not meet any trouble while leaving. Unlike what Lu Yang had told him to do, Jiang Ziya did not leave right after taking them to the exit. Instead, he pulled open the library door and took a careful look outside. After ascertaining that nothing was wrong, he then let the policemen through.
Hu Lican took up the rear. After stepping outside the door, he turned and held out his sidearm to Jiang Ziya.
Jiang Ziya froze and quickly said, “You don’t need to give me a gun. You shouldn’t shoot inside a barrier dimension, and guns can’t hit hallucinations anyway.”
Hu Lican immediately explained, “It’s not a hallucination. There is someone who is actually inside. At first, he took on Mr. Liu’s appearance and said something about how Lu Yang was captured and that he had to head in to save his son, tricking us all inside. After that, we got stuck in a large maze and couldn’t find our way out. Then, the real Mr. Liu came and got us out. I’m sure the one who tricked us in was a real person!”
“That guy should be Xu Xikai, right?”
Hu Lican frowned and said, “Even though I can’t be certain, I feel it might not be him. These real and fake hallucinations are such a pain in the ass. At first, I thought he was Mr. Liu. The way he speaks and acts really doesn’t seem like how a youngster would behave, more like someone from Mr. Liu’s generation.”
Hearing that, Jiang Ziya recalled how Lu Yang had said that there definitely had to be someone behind Xu Xikai.
“The important point is that he has a gun.” Hu Lican said, “I gave Mr. Liu a gun. That person also had a sidearm by his waist. I suspect that it’s a real gun, so you should take this gun. If you don’t know how to use it, give it to Lu Yang, just in case.”
“Okay, you should go and find the policemen at the other school wonder locations. Just don’t head into any of the locations. I have a feeling that the library will be the only location tonight that will have something happen.”
The library was already such a large battle site. If something also happened at the other locations one by one, then they would practically be a criminal syndicate! But going along with what they had seen so far, it should just be Xu Xikai and that unknown benefactor.
Jiang Ziya took the gun. As he was about to close the door, a shout stopped him.
“Jiang Ziya.” Hu Lican said uneasily, “You said the broken limbs all over the floor were Lu Yang’s? But what we saw was a devil that kept getting sliced into pieces by a sword. We thought it was Mr. Liu’s handiwork, though he did appear odd at the time. Other than using his book to reveal the devil’s true appearance, he was pretty much immobile the entire time after. We were behind him and didn’t know what was going on. We could only watch on as the devil got sliced into pieces and reformed…”
Jiang Ziya thought about how Lu Yang always worded it and explained, “Hallucinations often change depending on the person. To all of you, a scene like this should have a frightening devil appear. To Liu-shūshu, his son getting killed is a lot scarier than the devil.”
“I see.” Hu Lican sighed in relief and mumbled, “I was wondering if it was some sort of hint. I was scared out of my wits. Originally, it was Lu Yang. Then, Mr. Liu revealed that it was the devil in disguise. But later, the corpses on the ground were Lu Yang. What a mess! So it was because we saw completely different things…”
Jiang Ziya sighed. It had not been long, yet he had already become someone who explained things to others instead of being someone who got things explained to him.
Once he closed the door, the door frame shone with light. The light encircled the sigil of the seven deadly sins that was on the door, and Jiang Ziya discovered that it had clearly grown dark behind him.
He sucked in a deep breath and turned his head. It was that twisting hallway of human faces again, and even the hands that had originally vanished were back. Jiang Ziya’s face darkened.