The force of the anomalies pounding on the door was too strong. With each hit, the wardrobe shook significantly. Lou Yan and Lu Haoxiu tightly pressed against the wardrobe, feeling the tremendous force with each impact on their backs.
Turning his head to speak to Lu Haoxiu, Lou Yan remained surprisingly calm even in such a moment. “This won’t work. After a few more hits, they’ll break through the door. You continue to hold the door and buy me time; I’ll prepare the rope, and we’ll escape through the window.”
Lu Haoxiu exerted force against the door, stabilizing his stance with his feet spread apart. He nodded firmly, “Okay.”
Lou Yan took a long step and quickly reached the window with the backpack in hand.
He swiftly tore the bedsheet into a twisted rope with a fruit knife, creating the necessary length. Each floor was over three meters high, and the fourth floor had a height of over ten meters. A rope length of ten meters would be sufficient.
Continuing his actions without wasting time, Lou Yan asked, “How much do you weigh?”
Lu Haoxiu shouted, “136, can it handle it?”
Lou Yan relaxed his brows, “It’s fine.”
In no time, Lou Yan had the bedsheet tied into a rope. Without wasting a moment, he took out tools from the backpack and started dismantling the iron mesh on the window.
Without Lou Yan’s help to resist, Lu Haoxiu bore a greater pressure. The door panel trembled more intensely with each hit. Lu Haoxiu used his back to press against the wardrobe, and the anomaly’s force pushed his feet backward like a small boat being continuously pushed by waves on the sea.
He was covered in sweat, unsure if it was cold sweat from fear or sweat from exertion. The sweat gradually blurred his vision, making his eyes itch, but Lu Haoxiu didn’t even dare to rub his shoulder for fear that some ghostly thing might sneak up behind him.
A loud noise came, and the wooden door finally couldn’t withstand the force. It snapped abruptly from the middle.
From the upper part of the broken door, two anomalies grinned and peered in. Their pale blue arms, like inflated balloons, attempted to reach in and grab Lu Haoxiu.
“Son, son, I see you…”
“Come out quickly for dinner, haha. Mom made your favorite supper; hehe.”
Their malicious intent was no longer hidden. Sticky saliva dripped like spider silk from their mouths, attempting to crawl in. Black bugs continuously crawled out of their eyes, mouths, earholes, and noses, swiftly approaching Lu Haoxiu.
Watching these two familiar yet grotesque faces and the rapidly approaching bugs, Lu Haoxiu couldn’t help but scream.
A bug jumped onto Lu Haoxiu, quickly trying to crawl into his ear. Lu Haoxiu frantically slapped it away, goosebumps forming all over him. “What the h*ll is this thing!”
He didn’t even care about pressing against the wardrobe anymore. Without his resistance, with another “bang,” the wardrobe had been pushed half a person’s length away.
“F*ck!” Lu Haoxiu gritted his teeth. This was bad!
At this critical moment, Lou Yan was ready. He shouted towards the door, “Lu Haoxiu!”
Lu Haoxiu’s spirits lifted. Using all his strength, he pushed the wardrobe forward again, turning around and running towards the window. Lou Yan had already completed the preliminary preparations and climbed outside using the bedsheet rope. Urging Lu Haoxiu, he said, “Hurry over.”
Lu Haoxiu, very agilely, bent down and squeezed out of the window, imitating Lou Yan and holding onto the rope to climb down. In the split second that the two of them had just left the window, the wardrobe was completely knocked down by the anomalies. The two anomalies, expressionless, walked to the window, looking down at the escaping pair.
Lou Yan looked up at them for a moment and decisively said, “We need to speed up. Pay attention to how I do it.”
After speaking, Lou Yan firmly wrapped the rope around his hands twice, keeping them stable with one hand above the other. Then, he pushed off the wall and rapidly slid downwards.
His rappelling technique wasn’t exactly textbook, but it flowed smoothly, conserving energy. This was a survival instinct honed through numerous life-or-death situations. Lou Yan didn’t need stringent safety standards; he just needed to be fast. As long as he was fast, he had a chance at survival.
In a matter of seconds, Lou Yan had descended to the ground floor, leaving Lu Haoxiu dumbfounded by his speed.
Lu Haoxiu swallowed hard, looking up at the two monsters. They seemed unsure of how to undo the rope knot Lou Yan had tied, but they weren’t about to let the two humans go so easily. Black little bugs crawled out from their bodies, swiftly approaching Lu Haoxiu along the twisted rope.
They inched closer, making Lu Haoxiu feel like he was facing a sinister gaping mouth.
In that moment, Lu Haoxiu’s mind went blank, except for Lou Yan’s rappelling posture.
The human brain is truly a remarkable thing. Previously, Lu Haoxiu would take three or four days to memorize a passage of text. Yet, in this brief moment, he remembered every detail of Lou Yan’s performance.
He clumsily mimicked Lou Yan, loosening his fingers slightly, feeling the weightlessness instantly.
Lu Haoxiu slid downward rapidly, no, it was more like freefalling now! Lou Yan’s voice pierced through the thick fog, stern as if trying to pierce through Lu Haoxiu’s nerves, “Hold on tight with both hands.”
Lu Haoxiu reflexively tightened his grip on the rope, and a moment later, his arms felt the excruciating pain of dislocation, but it stopped his uncontrolled descent.
“…” Lu Haoxiu’s face turned pale, sweat beading on his forehead. He gritted his teeth, suppressing the pain.
Fortunately, he was already a little below the second floor by now, less than three meters above the ground. Lou Yan instructed him to let go of the rope directly. Lu Haoxiu rolled on the ground a few times, dissipating the force of impact.
The feeling of touching the ground was so comforting. Lu Haoxiu felt a surge of relief. He breathed heavily and saw Lou Yan directly pull out a lighter and ignite the sheets.
The sheets were made of pure cotton, highly flammable. When the bugs crawling towards them saw the hot flames, they emitted shrieks and swiftly fled upwards.
Lou Yan helped Lu Haoxiu up and led him towards the direction of the neighborhood gate. “How are you holding up?”
“My arm seems dislocated,” Lu Haoxiu grimaced in pain, lips turning blue, “but I’ll manage, it doesn’t affect walking.”
Lou Yan nodded. “Good.”
After walking for a while, Lu Haoxiu couldn’t help but glance back. The thick fog obscured his vision, but he could faintly see two black figures standing beside the window of his bedroom, staring at them as they left.
The familiar figures and their watching posture as Lu Haoxiu moved away reminded him once again of his parents seeing him off to school.
The hateful fog suddenly took on another layer of pitying meaning, shrouding the two eerie and murderous figures, leaving Lu Haoxiu with a final gentle farewell in the blur, allowing him to pretend it was the last farewell from his parents’ warmth.
Lu Haoxiu even imagined their words and voices.
[Goodbye, my child.]
[Mom and Dad hope you live well.]
Lou Yan suddenly stuffed something into Lu Haoxiu’s hand.
Turning his head, Lu Haoxiu looked into his palm and saw two simple gold rings.
Lou Yan, looking ahead into the fog, said lightly, “While you were washing your face in the bathroom, I found these two rings in the closet. Your parents’ bodies are too large to take with us. But these two rings can at least serve as a keepsake for you to take away, for remembrance.”
Lu Haoxiu stared at the two blood-stained rings, suddenly choked with emotion. “Thank you, Brother Lou…”
Lu Haoxiu was full of gratitude but couldn’t articulate complete sentences through his sobs. He had never cried so wretchedly before, feeling both pain and coldness, but clutching the rings tightly brought him peace.
He wiped his face on his shoulder, crying convulsively. Like a small animal, he confided his fears to Lou Yan, “I want to invite a Taoist priest to perform a ritual for my parents. I want them to rest in peace. Brother Lou, I’m afraid that because they were killed by ghosts they won’t be able to reincarnate.”
Lou Yan chuckled, “Do you still believe in that?”
Lu Haoxiu shook his head at first, then nodded with a complicated expression. “I didn’t believe it before, but now I have to. I’m afraid my parents won’t find peace after being killed by those two ghosts, and I’m afraid it’ll harm their souls or something. Isn’t that what horror movies and novels say? I can’t properly handle their bodies, I just hope they can pass peacefully after death.”
Lou Yan explained, “Rest assured, once your parents are dead, they’re just dead. They won’t suffer anymore. The anomalies we encountered today haven’t formed a strange domain, so even if they were killed by it, they wouldn’t become its thralls.”
“Strange domain? Thralls?”
“Powerful anomalies can form their own anomaly domains, which people call ‘strange domains,'” Lou Yan said. “A strange domain is an independent space, you can think of it as the ‘home’ of anomalies. In the ‘home’ of anomalies, they are the only masters. They can change everything within the scope of the strange domain. People who are killed by anomalies within the strange domain will either become their thralls or be absorbed as nutrients by the anomalies. If we were swept into a strange domain, it wouldn’t be so easy for us to get out like we did today.”
Lu Haoxiu nodded thoughtfully. “So, does the thick fog covering the neighborhood count as a strange domain?”
Lou Yan directly denied, “No. It doesn’t count. It’s because they are hidden within this neighborhood that they cannot form its own strange domain, so it uses thick fog as a means of concealment.”
“This world is really dangerous…” Lu Haoxiu forced a smile, trying to cheer up, but he failed. Finally, with a wry smile, he asked, “So, Brother Lou, are there many anomalies with strange domains?”
Lou Yan took the fruit knife from his pocket, removed the sheath, and a cold gleam swept across his handsome brows. With a chilling aura, he said, “Not many. As far as I know, only A-level horrors can form their own domain. You don’t need to worry too much. A-level horrors are rare, and they won’t exist in the early stages of the supernatural resurgence. At least for a while, we won’t encounter anomalies with domains.”
Lu Haoxiu breathed a sigh of relief, but when he saw Lou Yan’s movements, his recently relaxed nerves tightened again. “Brother Lou, is something wrong?”
“Nothing, it’s just a habit of mine, a habit I’ve recently developed,” Lou Yan smirked, his smile handsome yet tainted with a hint of venom. “Someone taught me recently that the closer you are to success, the more you should stay vigilant. Who knows if something disgusting might suddenly jump out and disrupt the original winning situation?”
Lu Haoxiu felt Lou Yan’s words were eerily chilling, and it seemed to carry a hidden meaning. But he dared not ask further, just nodded enthusiastically, “Brother Lou is right!”
He also heightened his vigilance in the surroundings. However, to his surprise, after a few steps, Lu Haoxiu suddenly felt a stabbing pain in his head. His legs went weak, and he collapsed to the ground.
The pain in his mind was intense, even surpassing the previous dislocation. Lu Haoxiu felt dizzy and painful, curling up and struggling to say, “Wuwu, Brother Lou, my head… hurts!”
Lou Yan almost thought that black insects had crawled into Lu Haoxiu’s brain. However, after seeing Lu Haoxiu’s condition clearly, Lou Yan raised an eyebrow and chuckled.
“Congratulations, Lu Haoxiu, you’re awakening your talent.”
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