Mo Yi’s voice was very soft, as if it was a gentle gust of wind that blew past his ear, disappearing without a trace in the next moment.
However, the meaning of his words made Jiang Yuanbai go stiff, rigidly standing in place as if he was struck by lightning. Then a sudden chill arose from thin air making his whole body go cold and the fine hairs on his nape stand up.
He couldn’t stop himself from turning his head bit by bit, and it was as if he could hear rusty creaking of his neck bone. His ears felt like they were filled with the buzzing of white noise, and Jiang Yuanbai felt as though he was trapped in a nightmare. He couldn’t suppress the urge to look behind him at Shen Lei……
A hand suddenly pressed down on his shoulder
The fingers firmly grabbed onto his shoulder bone and the iciness from his cold palm, that was devoid of any warmth, penetrated through the thin fabric of his shirt.
He shivered then looked past the hand and to its owner, his gaze interlocking with Mo Yi’s eyes.
Calm, inky blackness.
He could hear his smooth and composed voice saying: “Thanks a lot.”
The tone was sincere and stable, as if he really was thanking Jiang Yuanbai for pulling him up.
But from an angle that the people behind couldn’t see, Mo Yi was imperceptibly shaking his head, as if warning Jiang Yuanbai not to act recklessly, and then naturally took back his hand.
At this moment, Jiang Yuanbai regained his composure and hurriedly tried to fix his blunder. He adjusted his stiff facial features, forcibly opened his mouth and showed a smile that wasn’t a smile. It could be regarded as a twisted expression: “……No problem.”
Mo Yi: “……”
——Might as well not call attention to this.
His facial expression remained unchanged and he inadvertently shot a glance behind to take a quick look.
Only to see the thing that looked like Shen Lei happened to be facing away from them and seeming to not pay any attention to them.
It was seeing that which caused Mo Yi to somewhat relax his tightened heartstrings.
Although Jiang Yuanbai had calmed down a lot, he still had not recovered from the explosive news of “Shen Lei is a fake.”
He took a deep breath, then furtively peeked at Shen Lei, only to see that he still had his back facing towards them and had no intention of changing his posture anytime soon. He slanted his body towards Mo Yi and mouthed the words at him: “How is that possible! Did you lie to me?”
“Shen Lei is left-handed”
Mo Yi glanced out at the corner of his eye and also mouthed back his reply: “But that thing’s tobacco stain is on the fingers of its right hand.”
——An image in a photo was naturally inverted.
The meaning of this was clear.
Jiang Yuanbai felt a layer of sweat appear on his back in an instant. Although he had already expected it, the actual chilling discovery of the figure from the photo being beside him, no matter what he had previously thought, would still cause him tremble with fear
In fact, there was another reason that made him suspicious but Mo Yi didn’t voice it out:
A moment ago, “Shen Lei” said that the reason this dead space was formed was because “most of the people had died here”, and so the question is, what on earth was there that had almost wiped out the entire group?
What could make even a veteran like Shen Lei to fall for it?
At this moment, Mo Yi’s heart felt extremely heavy, and the fear of the unknown was like a tremendously dense block of lead that was pressing down hard on his chest, practically making it difficult for him to breathe.
But right now, it’s not the time to be fearfully panicking.
He forcefully closed his eyes and let out a deep breath, banishing any negative emotion from the depths of his mind. Afterwards, he opened his eyes and surreptitiously surveyed this so-called “safety zone” that he’s in.
They were in a corner of the edge of a staircase which apparently seemed to be a buffer region within the winding staircase. A floating platform that wasn’t dissimilar to the one from where he first entered the illusion.
Mo Yi pondered for a few seconds, then slowly walked forward a few steps.
He was careful to not expose his body to the outside of the platform, and after that he turned his head and looked at the direction where he ran from earlier:
The long winding stairs seemingly vanished down into a distant whiteness, as if there was no end in sight to it. Numerous picture frames, both big or small, filled up the spaces beside the staircase, floating quietly. However, they radiated a hint of treacherousness among the quiet and the calm, which revealed their true intentions, as if they just were waiting for an opportunity to pounce.
Mo Yi gave a once-over of the place from where he first entered, and sure enough, that area and this area was almost the same. It was also a platform in the middle of the staircase, appearing to be a flat buffer region of the stairway as well.
It was like——the shape of a stairwell.
Mo Yi felt shocked and his eyes lit up. He quickly turned his head towards the floating picture frame that linked this illusionary space to reality, and as expected, it showed the corner of a staircase. That meant that this place should be the staircase!
Mo Yi’s whole body quivered as a sudden burst of realisation entered into his mind, and it was as if he had seen the moon shining brightly through the parting clouds and mist:
The places in the illusion were linked to places in reality!
Therefore, when they had moved from the first platform to the second platform in the illusion, they moved the equivalent distance of going from the flight of stairs of the second floor to the flight of stairs that connected the second floor to the third floor!
>Teh: For anyone who was a little confused, I’m guessing that there’s one long staircase with at least two flights of stairs (I can’t imagine it being longer than that) that connected the second and third floor and they’re on the second one right now.
So right now, they were trapped within a different dimension inside a whole flight of stairs, and although this different dimension did not resemble the outside world in the slightest bit, it was still the same geographically.
Mo Yi took a deep breath, suppressing the feelings of excitement in his heart and trying to calm his mind.
He turned his head but suddenly met Shen Lei’s gaze, his gloomy darkened eyes made his emotions imperceptible and he was watching him silently.
Mo Yi’s heart tightened in an instant.
He forced himself to remain composed and his facial expression stayed calm: “Is there anything wrong?”
The countenance that was exactly the same as Shen Lei’s was facing straight at him, then suddenly the corners of his mouth pulled upwards, his face split into a wide smile and his eyes were deep and sinister.
This strange smiling expression would’ve shaken anyone to their core. Mo Yi’s heart jolted, there was a sense of foreboding danger that caused a layer of fine hair to stand up on his back and his forehead began to be beaded with sweat.
He saw the thing that looked like Shen Lei slowly approaching him with a smile that got wider and wider till it almost reached the bottom of his ears, revealing gleaming sharp teeth:
“You’re very clever.”
Mo Yi resolutely stayed calm, showing a courteous smile:
“Thank you, I think so too.”
Shen Lei stopped smiling: “……”
Jiang Yuanbai was already a tangled mess of nerves at this point and bursting with anxiousness, but the scene in front of him caused an accidental laugh to squeeze out from his throat.
“Shen Lei” has completely torn off his disguise by now as he looked at Jiang Yuanbai menacingly, his face contorted into a malevolent deformed smile:
“Since you won’t let yourselves be easily eaten, I would have to do it using force.”
As he said those words, countless pale white ghostly hands stretched out from every direction in the distance. Seemingly, not even a drop of water would have been able to trickle out of the platform and both the stairs that led upwards and downwards were blocked off.
At this moment, Yu Li, who had been sitting on the ground by the side, stood up, her face was expressionless and her joints were stiff like a puppet’s. She extended her ice-cold hands and grabbed onto Jiang Yuanbai’s arm, who was standing near her. Even if he struggled desperately, he was still not able to move half a step away.
“Shen Lei” unhurriedly walked towards them. His face has now completely changed shape, his bright red mouth took up almost half of his face and his eyes were narrowed into two thin opaque white slits.
As if to play with his prey, he prowled in a leisurely pace closing the distance between them, appearing to enjoy every bit of fear he induced in his victims.
Mo Yi’s mind was muddled and messy, and every cell in his body was screaming in danger but he could not think of any ideas.
All exit points were blocked.
There was no possibility of escape.
He was forced to retreat step by step until he reached the end of the platform.
Half of his heel was suspended on air and a trace dust and gravel dropped down into the abyss. Mo Yi blankly turned his head and stared.
The bottomless abyss.
In the split second when he had his head lowered, he saw a streak of silver in the corner of his eyes.
It appeared to be a rather familiar silver picture frame that was hanging upright in the air, its lower left corner was missing and the cut seemed to be quite new.
An image flashed before Mo Yi’s eyes:
There was a photo of a man enclosed with a light silver frame that was hanging on the wall of the staircase between the second and third floors with thick black foul blood dripping down from the picture frame.
That was the picture of the best teacher of the year!
And they were chased by the gaping wide mouth that was sticking out from the picture frame!
Mo Yi turned his head to look at deformed wide-open mouth on “Shen Lei’s” face and the familiar sharp teeth.
A bold and daring idea gradually formed in his mind.
He whirled around and leapt at the photo frame!
Unexpectedly, it was lightly and easily taken down my Mo Yi, as if it was actually still floating in mid-air.
Mo Yi raised the frame, then smashed it onto Yu Li’s arms that were grabbing Jiang Yuanbai.
An ear-piercing shriek erupted from Yu Li, as the picture frame touched her arms, they both became weak and limp.
Jiang Yuanbai took the opportunity to pry open her hands.
He also noticed the unusualness of this photo frame, so then he threw himself towards where the fire axe had been tossed, then he brought it upwards and swung it down to smash through the picture frame!
It was at this moment, Mo Yi caught Shen Lei, who was standing at one side, in the periphery of his vision.
It stood by, not even batting an eyelid as it watched them struggle with a secretive smile on its face.
Mo Yi’s heart suddenly tightened. He instinctively stretched out his hands to wrap them around the picture frame and rolled to one side, narrowly avoiding the sharp edge of the fire axe that was brought down swiftly by Jiang Yuanbai.
——His finger by chance was stuck in the newly made crack of the picture farm.
Jiang Yuanbai was in shock: “What are you doing!! I almost cut you!!”
Mo Yi did not answer, he only dumbfoundedly stared at the photo frame for a second, and then his eyes suddenly lit up. As if he had made up his mind, he shouted at Jiang Yuanbai without looking back: “Follow me!”
After he finished speaking, he carried the picture frame and rushed forward in a courageous manner into the dense wall of moving arms. What was astonishing was that those arms appeared to be afraid of the frame, and one by one they all shrunk back, giving way to Mo Yi.
Mo Yi’s heart, which was raised up, was slowly moving back into the middle of his chest.
His gamble was correct.
The small shiny silver thing that "Shen Lei" threw into that pack of arms before was indeed a corner of this frame, and since the hands in those photos were afraid of it, they would naturally avoid them, creating a path for their escape.
As his and Jiang Yuanbai’s figures were running further and further away, “Shen Lei’s” appearance had already slowly faded away, revealing a face——it was the man in the picture in the corridor.
The difference between him and the picture was that his mouth was split until it reached behind his ears, showing his gleaming sharp teeth. It was strange and terrifying.
He looked at Mo Yi’s distant figure with his pitch-black deep eyes indiscernible of any human emotion. Then, his gaze moved, and his figure slowly dissipating into the air, leaving behind only a soft whisper like the hiss of a poisonous snake:
“Running away? In your dreams.”