By the backdoor of the basketball facilities.
After Ruan Zhan finished drawing a spell between Xiao Xia’s brows, he started working on his own complicated enchantments. He sealed off all his signs of life, including the heat emitted from his pores and the unique aura of the living.
Wan Li was fine but Xiao Xia’s heart was beating nervously. She touched the mahogany sword hanging on her waist and then looked at the small bottle of enchanted water gripped tightly in her hand. She suddenly wondered whether this small amount of water was sufficient to restrict Bloody Mary.
However, it was too late to say anything at this point. She could only go along as Ruan Zhan gestured and the two men silently entered the building. None of them noticed several paper cranes with red eyes like fireflies silently following them in the night. After they were shut out of the building, they still responsibly hovered around stealthily, looking for a window where they could continue observing. One of them stuck to the glass on top of the doors and watched as Wan Li stood outside the changing room doors holding a sword. The other two went inside.
With a click, the door lightly closed behind them.
In the silent darkness, this sound carried long and far, as though it would stretch for an eternity. Then, the sky streaked with a threatening flash of lightning, faintly illuminating the whole row of lockers that stood silent and sinister. A world-shaking peal of thunder followed after, the wind picked up heavily and a heavy downpour started.
Xiao Xia turned and burrowed into Ruan Zhan’s arms in fright. However, she immediately felt as if she was hugging a block of wood, a piece of metal, a chunk of ice. There was no warmth at all. With his vitals sealed, it seemed he was truly like a corpse.
He would probably be this way once he died. Thinking of this, Xiao Xia suddenly shed tears.
A large, cold hand lifted her face. The indistinct expression within the darkness seemed to be inquisitive. Xiao Xia shook her head, wiping away the pain in her heart and the moisture on her face. Using the faint light of the streetlamps outside, she walked resolutely towards locker number one.
Ruan Zhan walked silently like a spirit next to her and reached the locker a step ahead of her, hiding off to the side.
Xiao Xia took a deep breath and steadied her trembling hand. She took the key and opened the locker door. The crisp sound of the lock turning rang out and she immediately saw the ordinary round mirror hanging on the door.
Subconsciously, she had chosen her angle so she wasn’t immediately reflected in the mirror. She merely looked at it hanging there silently from the side at a distance, glowing with faint light. It seemed completely ordinary, but felt extremely disquieting.
Suddenly, the mirror tilted and encompassed her unavoidably within.
Xiao Xia’s blood stopped flowing from fright. Her appearance slowly surfaced within the mirror. Behind her head, another face appeared. It was just a face….pale, bloated, eyes blood red.
She swiftly turned her head but nothing was there. Looking in the mirror, the face was still there. She turned around once again, but there still wasn’t anything. Turning back, the mirror was suddenly pitch black and even her own reflection could no longer be seen. However, she felt that pale face was following her like a shadow. She almost pulled out her mahogany sword and slash behind her head.
A sigh sounded from the locker, resentful and melancholy. It was so close that Xiao Xia could even feel the light brush of cold air. Then, the mirror started moving and separated from the door. It was as though an invisible hand had raised it and gradually approached Xiao Xia who was retreating…
She could no longer retreat further, or the hidden Ruan Zhan would be exposed.
Xiao Xia gritted her teeth and stood still. The mirror seemed to be looking her over as it moved up and down, left and right, reflecting her from various angles. It seemed to assume she had stopped because she was scared stiff.
After a disdainful, sinister laugh, red light flashed across the mirror. As it expanded, Xiao Xia suddenly realized the entire mirror was an open eye, a red eye without pupil that stared at her unblinkingly.
“You came again. Give me your face.” A hoarse, muffled voice rang out from the mirror. Its abruptness almost made Xiao Xia jump in fright. She couldn’t tell if the voice was male or female, and she didn’t know why it was actually speaking Chinese.
“I….won’t.” She retorted while trembling.
The response was that after a short silence, the mirror suddenly smashed over at her.
She fell over from fright, but hastily threw the bottle of enchanted water over. She heard the sound of shattering glass.
Thank goodness. She completed the task entrusted to her by Ruan Zhan, she blurrily thought.
Then, as though trying to give her a blow, another disdainful laugh rang out. A dark shadow surrounded by a burnt smell seemed as though it was about to tear her apart as it burst from the locker and pounced towards her.
She screamed in fright and wasn’t able pull the mahogany sword out in time. However, the instant the dark shadow seized her, another wooden sword split it apart.
“Run.” There was only one word.
Xiao Xia heard it and swiftly climbed up from the floor and ran out of the changing room.
Outside the door should have been the long hallway guarded by Wan Li. However, the scene left Xiao Xia confused.
Why was she still in the changing room? Furthermore, she was deep inside the room, enclosed by two rows of lockers. There was a small path in front of her, and theoretically if she walked along it she would reach Ruan Zhan again.
Was this another nightmare?
The scene before her had appeared once before in a dream, making her dazed for a moment. However, she understood this wasn’t a dream, but rather the ghost-built wall phenomenon that Wan Li had described. Bloody Mary didn’t want to let her escape.
She didn’t know what to do. There seemed to only be a single path in front of her, forcing her to hesitantly take a step.
Creak. The sound of a locker opening rang out behind her….
She didn’t dare look back and could only keep walking forwards. However, she heard more and more lockers opening and it gradually approached her position. Then, it passed her and kept going, as though all the doors had opened at once.
A wave of damp chill air assaulted her senses, wrapping around her like a black fog, increasingly blurring her sight. She could only sense things coming out of the lockers, and seemingly fall to the ground with thudding noises.
She felt goosebumps behind her neck. Something tripped her, making her fall to the floor. A sharp pain shot through her arm, reminding her that the wound mind have opened again. However, it also reminded her of the radiance spell Ruan Zhan had given her.
She stood up, raised her arm and loudly called out Ruan Zhan’s name. The bandages immediately lit up. Although it wasn’t very dazzling, it was enough to illuminate her surroundings.
She was no longer in the changing room but a different sort of place filled with lockers. The metal lockers were long and horizontal, cold and lonely without any life.
It was a morgue.
At this moment, every locker was wide open with the corpses struggling to crawl out. They had died in all sorts of ways, but none of them had faces. They were wrapped in white cloth and their hair was scattered. They wriggled towards her.
The closest corpse to Xiao Xia had already wrapped its cold and rigid hand around her neck.
Heart beating and short of breath, a rush of emotions flooded through Xiao Xia in an instant. Her survival instinct caused her to swing the mahogany sword, making the corpse let out a tragic cry and fall to the floor.
Then, they swarmed over from every direction continuously, forcing Xiao Xia to keep one arm raised and swing the other around wildly. Gradually, she realized she had returned to the door of the changing room.
Inside was Bloody Mary and Xiao Xia’s appearance would be a hindrance to Ruan Zhan’s plan. Not going inside would mean an endless wave of corpses. Even if she cut them down, they would still climb back up until she got exhausted and swallowed up. Furthermore, when she cut them she could feel her hand turning numb from the shock, as though she were hitting solid objects. The mahogany sword would break sooner or later at this rate.
In desperate straits, Xiao Xia suddenly recalled Wan Li’s story about the abandoned residence. Wasn’t her situation similar to his back then? Perhaps there was just a thin layer of black fog obscuring her senses.
“Wan Li!” She yelled loudly while approaching the right side of the door. According to her knowledge, that side should be the hallway, although it was currently a morgue filled with corpses.
Suddenly, a sword penetrated one of the lockers and appeared in front of Xiao Xia.
It was the bloodwood sword. Without thinking, Xiao Xia stretched out and grabbed the sword. She was pulled by a force into the locker.
She closed her eyes and submitted herself to her fate.
There was no feeling of pain. She staggered as she was pulled into the hallway. Wan Li was next to her.