After the talent awakened, information about the talent also appeared in Lou Yan’s mind.
[Talent Holder: Lou Yan]
[Awakened Ability: Crisis Perception. (Allows the talent holder to vaguely sense crises within a certain range; each use consumes 5 mental points)]
[Mental Points: 20/20]
In the previous life, after obtaining the talent ability, Lou Yan conducted many experiments and verified that the current range of Crisis Perception was within 100 meters.
Lou Yan’s gaze focused on the mental points and sighed, “Almost forgot that when the talent just awakened, I only had 20 mental points.”
Mental points were crucial. The higher the mental points, the better one could resist the mental pollution brought by bizarre creatures. Once the mental points dropped to 0, Lou Yan would not only experience mental exhaustion, headaches, and dizziness but also, when facing bizarre creatures, would be easily deceived with just one glance, obediently rushing up to become the creatures’ prey.
“If Crisis Perception is used four times, my mental points will become 0.” Lou Yan’s Crisis Perception skyrocketed, and he tapped his arm with his fingers, pondering how to use these 20 mental points to gain the maximum benefit for himself.
The night was much quieter than the day, but this night was too quiet. It was so silent that there were no sounds of birds, insects, or the noise of crowds. Lou Yan looked outside, and the thin mist gradually thickened, making the distant lights invisible.
Not much time left.
Lou Yan decisively stood up, backpack on his back, placing the fruit knife in his pocket, fully armed, and walked out of the door.
This was a newly built residential area, with only one household per floor. Opening the door revealed the elevator and staircase corridor.
At the moment when the anomaly arrived, no one knew which was safer, the elevator or the stairs. Lou Yan glanced at the elevator, then at the “16th floor” floor sign, turned around, and chose to take the stairs.
If there were truly a anomaly in the elevator, there would be no space or opportunity for Lou Yan to escape. He would rather walk down one floor at a time from the 16th floor than be turned into a pile of flesh in a matter of seconds.
It was already very late, and each household’s doors were tightly closed. There was no one in the corridor, and the spiraling stairs descending from the 16th floor were swallowed by darkness, gradually shrinking into a small hole.
A cool breeze blew from the bottom of the building, blowing up Lou Yan’s suit jacket and the slightly long hair on his forehead. Lou Yan’s eyes were dark and frightening, like a color that had been painted black with a brush, appearing extremely indifferent.
The sound-controlled lights lit up floor by floor, and the green signboard marked “Safety Passage” emitted a faint light.
The open space magnified the sound of Lou Yan’s footsteps. He walked fast and steady, encountering no anomalies along the way. It wasn’t until his feet touched the 4th floor that Lou Yan suddenly stopped, squinting his eyes to look at the household on the 4th floor.
[Mental Points: 15/20]
Crisis Perception had taken effect, warning him of danger here.
And in the previous second, Crisis Perception had shown no abnormalities. This indicated that the danger on the 4th floor either appeared from a hundred meters away in the blink of an eye or suddenly formed something.
This was a bizarre ability that only bizarre creatures possessed.
Lou Yan touched the fruit knife in his pocket, didn’t hesitate for a few seconds, and made a determined decision.
He needed a bizarre creature as a standard to gauge the current strength of the creatures during the early stages of the resurgence. Crisis Perception allowed Lou Yan to vaguely sense that the anomaly on the 4th floor, although posing a danger, still had the possibility of escape. This was a moderate-level crisis, a good opportunity.
With a mental value of only 20, every use of Crisis Perception couldn’t be wasted. If he missed this opportunity, Lou Yan would have to find another bizarre creature to test their current strength.
Lou Yan walked lightly to the door, observing the door of this household. On the white wall to the left of the security door, he saw a row of bored graffiti: “Times I forgot to bring the keys QAQ.”
Below was a large character “正”, indicating that the recorder had forgotten the keys five times.
Impressive, forgetting the house keys so many times.
Lou Yan sincerely admired the memory of this person and decisively used this reason as an excuse. He raised his hand and knocked on the door.
Half a minute later, the security door was opened from the inside by a handsome high school student wearing a large yellow duck hoodie, with colorful gaming headphones on his head. His hair covered his ears as he asked, “Who’s there?… Oh, it’s you.”
Lu Haoxiu swallowed the jelly in his mouth with a cute expression. His round eyes stared at Lou Yan curiously. He had seen Lou Yan several times in the neighborhood and remembered that Lou Yan was his upstairs neighbor.
In fact, anyone who had seen Lou Yan found it hard not to leave a deep impression.
With his flamboyant and handsome appearance, tall and slender figure, his demeanor made Lu Haoxiu hesitant to approach. When classmates bragged to Lu Haoxiu about the three essential treasures for men – a watch, a suit, and a lighter – Lu Haoxiu didn’t care at first. It wasn’t until one day when he saw the tired neighbor leaning on his car after work, smoking lazily in a suit, that he admitted this statement was absolutely true.
The powerful and sexy confidence of a mature man’s temperament made Lu Haoxiu, who was wearing chicken leg-patterned socks, silent and self-conscious.
In the few encounters they had, Lu Haoxiu spoke to Lou Yan for the first time. Facing such a successful person, he couldn’t help but straighten his posture, put on a serious face, and lowered his voice, trying to ask maturely, “Hello, may I ask if you have any business?”
But with his tender face and a student-like temperament, it ended up having a somewhat comical feeling. Lou Yan chuckled, “Hello, I’m the neighbor upstairs. I forgot to bring my house keys today. The locksmith will come in an hour, and I was wondering if I could sit at your place for a while?”
This excuse had many loopholes, but Lou Yan’s thick skin allowed him to say it without changing his expression. Lu Haoxiu, a high school student, didn’t have any suspicions. After hearing Lou Yan’s story, he empathetically revealed a painful expression and said sympathetically, “Oh, you forgot to bring your keys. It happens. Big brother, come on in, wait until the locksmith arrives, and then you can leave. Don’t be polite.”
Lou Yan immediately knew who wrote the words on the wall at the entrance.
Following Lu Haoxiu into the house, Lu Haoxiu warmly invited Lou Yan to sit down. He even handed the TV remote control to Lou Yan.
“Haoxiu, who’s here?”
The main bedroom door opened, and a middle-aged couple in pajamas walked out. The man held a mobile phone playing short videos, and the woman had a white mud mask on her face. Both of them curiously peeked into the living room.
Lu Haoxiu explained, “It’s our neighbor who forgot to bring the keys. He’ll be here for a while.” After that, he turned to Lou Yan and, with a happy face, said, “These are my parents, very easygoing. They are easy to get along with.”
After introducing each other, Lu Haoxiu’s family demonstrated their hospitality. His mother insisted on going to the kitchen to make supper for Lou Yan, and his father sat with Lou Yan on the sofa, chatting animatedly. Lu Haoxiu also stopped playing games and joined them on the sofa, taking turns chatting with his dad and Lou Yan. He was speaking so much, he must be parched.
Lou Yan’s eyebrows twitched, handing the water cup in his hand to Lu Haoxiu, instructing him to drink some water and close his mouth.
This family behaved as normal as possible. Lou Yan didn’t see anything unusual, and he couldn’t figure out where the anomaly was.
Where exactly is the anomaly?
The living room, study, balcony, and bathroom were all briefly examined by Lou Yan. The only places in the house he hadn’t seen were the two bedrooms and the kitchen.
“Lu Haoxiu,” Lou Yan suddenly spoke, “can you take me to your bedroom?”
“Sure, sure,” Lu Haoxiu didn’t hesitate and led Lou Yan to his bedroom. Before entering, he looked a bit embarrassed, “The room is a bit messy, don’t mind it, Brother Lou.”
Lou Yan thought he was being modest, but when he entered, he realized it was true. “Your room is messy like this, and your parents don’t scold you?”
“What Lou Xiuhao said about it being ‘a bit messy’ was a huge understatement, it’s way more than just ‘a bit’. Blankets rolled up, half on the bed and half on the floor, socks and underwear flying around, clothes scattered everywhere, and tissues with snot forgotten on the bedside table. There were also several packets of snacks and beverage bottles on the bed.
Various action figures were displayed on a table, with a few scattered around the corners of the room. Some unopened parcels were stacked behind the door, forming a small mountain.
This was the room of a completely normal male high school student, even the subtle smell of shoes was incredibly normal. After multiple tests, including touching him to confirm his pulse and temperature, Lou Yan was about 80% sure that Lu Haoxiu was indeed a real person, not some mysterious means used to deceive him.
“My parents’ bedroom is messy too,” Lu Haoxiu nervously scratched his face, explaining like a little animal, “Like father, like son, the son of a mouse will dig holes, it’s all hereditary.”
“You brat—” A roar came from the living room, Lu Haoxiu’s father had heard it, “What nonsense are you talking about!”
Lu Haoxiu snorted and secretly told Lou Yan, “Brother Lou, come, I’ll take you to see my parents’ room. When you see it, you’ll know I’m not lying.”
This statement hit the mark with Lou Yan. His lips curled slightly, and without showing any difference, he casually said, “Okay, let’s go quietly. Don’t let your parents know, so you won’t get a beating.”
Lu Haoxiu felt it made sense. He peeked to see if his parents were paying attention, then quickly took Lou Yan into the master bedroom.
The master bedroom was slightly larger than the guest bedroom and had its own attached bathroom. However, as soon as Lou Yan entered, he stepped into a thin layer of accumulated water.
He looked down and saw a thin “stream” that had already flowed to his feet from under the bathroom door.
“What’s going on?”
Lu Haoxiu exclaimed, looking surprised at the water on the floor. He was about to call his parents over, but Lou Yan covered his mouth.
“Don’t make a sound for now,” Lou Yan whispered, lowering his voice. His eyes flickered as he stared at the bathroom door. “I’ll go check.”
Lou Yan’s cautious attitude puzzled Lu Haoxiu. He glanced at Lou Yan’s profile, then at the frosted glass door of the bathroom. Suddenly, a sense of unease rose in his heart.
This unease came suddenly and violently, causing Lu Haoxiu to shiver involuntarily.
Lou Yan released Lu Haoxiu and approached the bathroom, gripping the door handle.
In his mind, Lou Yan counted silently… and abruptly twisted the doorknob, pushing the door open!
The sound of flowing water suddenly increased, and apart from the running tap, there was nothing in the bathroom.
Disappointed, Lou Yan pressed down on the corners of his lips, but quickly regained his composure. He turned back to Lu Haoxiu and said, “It’s okay.”
Lu Haoxiu didn’t know why but felt relieved. He followed Lou Yan into the bathroom, closed the tap, and the water flooded his slippers, creating ripples. He sighed, “I don’t know if it was my dad or mom doing something. Well, the water bill will go up again this month.”
Next to them were tools for clearing the drainage. Lu Haoxiu picked them up and cleared the drain. There was a foul smell coming from the drain, and Lu Haoxiu held his breath. After extracting a few strands of hair that were blocking the drain, he hesitated and asked, “Brother Lou, why were you so nervous just now?”
Lou Yan glanced at the spiral on Lu Haoxiu’s head, not saying much. “I thought there might be a thief in your house.”
“Scared me,” Lu Haoxiu said trusting whatever Lou Yan said. Feeling reassured, Lu Haoxiu earnestly explained, incessantly talking, “The security in this neighborhood is quite good. You need to swipe a card to use the elevator. Thieves can’t get in. Besides, my parents don’t keep valuable items in the master bedroom. Even if a thief came in, they wouldn’t be able to steal anything. Plus, the master bedroom is deep inside. Look…”
Lou Yan, while he spoke, unconsciously walked out of the bathroom to the window of the master bedroom, focusing on the view outside.
Lu Haoxiu finished washing his hands and followed, curiously looking outside with him. “Brother Lou, what are you looking at?”
“The fog is thicker,” Lou Yan said thoughtfully, “and the color has changed.”
Upon hearing this, Lu Haoxiu carefully looked for a moment, then exclaimed, “Indeed… the fog seems to have turned red. What strange weather.”
In the previously white fog, something seemed to be mixed in, revealing a few faint traces of a bloody hue, in the pitch-black night, illuminated by the dim room lights, lending an unsettling and eerie color.
Lou Yan sniffed the air, then turned to Lu Haoxiu, his eyes flashing with an inexplicable light. He lowered his voice, each word seemingly coated with the venom of a nightmare, “Lu Haoxiu, can you smell it?”
Lu Haoxiu, bewildered, sniffed, “Smell what?”
Lou Yan said, “The smell of blood.”