Dong Zheng turned a page.
[May 20th // Monday // Sunny]
[In today’s physical education class, we were divided into groups, and no one wanted to go with me and Agatha.
Sure enough, as Chen Hao had said, they stopped playing with me because I and Agatha are good friends. Mom and Dad also told me to stay away from her.
But if I do this, Agatha would be truly alone, with no one to play with her. Even more, she is being bullied. She will definitely be very sad.]
[May 24 // Thursday // Sunny]
[Someone deliberately tore my clothes and poured water on my seat. The teacher also said that he didn’t have the homework book I handed in. It must have been taken away by someone.
Just because I played with Agatha, they started to bully me too, saying that I must be confused to be so good to the demon.
Agatha felt very guilty, and in the afternoon she secretly told me to stop talking to her during this time and to pretend that we no longer played together.
[May 28th // Tuesday // Cloudy]
[In these past two days, no one bullied me anymore, but things got worse for Agatha. Before class in the afternoon, I saw that her leg was hurt.
Although I know that it is wrong to think this way, my classmates are now willing to play with me and won’t tease me anymore. If I reconcile with Agatha at this time, I will definitely be excluded.
Then I’ll go find her in two days.]
[June 2 // Saturday // Light rain]
[Agatha’s mother came to me and asked me if I knew where she was. I didn’t know. Did Agatha not come home yesterday?
I walked home with Kong Lin when school was over and didn’t see her.
I took Agatha’s mother to the school to find her, and I even went to the secret base but didn’t see her. Agatha’s mother cried anxiously.]
[June 3 // Sunday // Cloudy]
Agatha has been found. It turned out that they locked her in the auditorium for two days. Fortunately, a cleaning auntie found her in the morning. How could they do this?!
If I were still playing with Agatha, things would never have come to this. Blame me, blame me, blame me, blame me, blame me, blame me, blame]
There were a few blank pages after the diary, and the content appeared again only half a month later.
[June 19 // Wednesday // Sunny]
Agatha and I have reconciled, but she was called to the teacher’s office between classes.
Agatha didn’t come to the next two classes. What happened?]
Allen sighed. “I suddenly have a bad feeling. I hope I’m thinking too much.”
[June 20th // Thursday // Sunny]
[Agatha didn’t come to class today.
Should I call and ask at night?]
[June 21 // Friday // Light rain]
[Last night, my parents thought I was asleep. They talked about the mine in town collapsing. Many people died. One of my mother’s friends was also in it. The rain and groundwater had permeated the mine. Even the corpse could not be retrieved.
[June 24 // Monday // Cloudy]
[Several classmates did not come to school today, and neither did Agatha. I hope she is fine.]
Here, the diary stopped abruptly, and the back half of the book was blank.
Dong Zheng turned the cover over and closed the diary, his heart inevitably heavy.
Although they were merely onlookers, they could still sense the loneliness and pain that both parties had experienced.
“It is almost certain that we will need to go to the secret base mentioned in the diary. We’d already explored the whole school and had already triggered what needed to be triggered. If there’s no accident, the Eye of Heaven should be there.”
Dong Zheng put away the diary and said to Dong Linhai, “Linhai, how’s your progress?”
Dong Linhai’s brows were wrinkled together. He raised his head when he heard Dong Zheng’s question. “This seems to be puzzle solving.”
Lin Hangzhi was leaning forward against the swing and looking over Dong Linhai’s shoulder. He said, “It’s probably about the Eye of Paradise’s location. But, it’s awfully confusing.”
Cui Zuojing looked at the first page of the booklet. On it was a map of the school. The auditorium, the teaching building, the equipment room next to the playground and the laboratory were all crossed out with an X, but there was a circle marking an area behind the cafeteria.
It should be the path where the two people found the secret base mentioned in the diary.
“These places refer to the coordinates of the keys.” Allen scratched his head and said, “It happens that we now have four keys, corresponding to the four Xs”
Dong Zheng frowned. “But my first key was given to me by the guard in order to open the security room. It’s not from the equipment room.”
The equipment room was right next to where they were standing. Cui Zuojing and Lin Hangzhi went to take a look. The door was hidden, and there were a lot of cushions and various balls inside. A box placed on the cabinet and was filled with table tennis balls that had fallen over, scattering yellow and white balls on the ground. But there was no trace of a key.
As they walked out, due to Lin Hangzhi’s bad luck, he accidentally knocked over a volleyball rack. This caused them to hurry out, for fear that something bad would happen if they remained any longer.
Cui Zuojing said, “Probably something went wrong? But it should correspond to a key. The position of the X on the teaching building is almost the same as the classroom we entered. There was also a pig drawn on the diagram of the auditorium, which happened to be Peppa Pig.”
Dong Zheng also agreed. With these doubts, he could only turn the page.
On the second page, there were a lot of numbers with unknown meanings, and there was a blueprint, which seemed to be of some kind of small mechanism.
There was a paragraph on the third page: After playing hopscotch and with wooden people, we buried the treasure nearby, in case we need this base.
Dong Linhai said, “This should be the answer to a riddle, but you need to see the riddle to know what it’s about.”
Dong Zheng addressed everyone, “Let’s go. First, let’s take a look at what’s behind the cafeteria.”
Victor jumped off the swing and walked in the front. Everyone put away the various props they carried and followed him. Of course, a group of people walking together on a haunted campus was much safer than being alone. No abnormalities occurred all the way to the back of the cafeteria.
Victor entered the narrow alleyway and bushes, and soon stuck his head back out to say, “There’s a narrow path to the woods behind the school, but the door is locked.”
With Victor in the lead, they located a small path sandwiched between two walls about 50 to 60 centimeters wide. It was easy for children to pass but quite a bit difficult for a group of men. Thus, they could only go one by one. Allen, who was the tallest, had to walk a little sideway so as not to jam his shoulders into the walls.
The iron door at the end of the alley was locked. Dong Zheng studied it and noticed that there was a circuit board with several wires attached to it. It seemed that the circuit board had to be repositioned in order to connect the wires.
The walls on both sides were about three meters high. Dong Zheng looked up at the visible line of night sky overhead, picked Victor up, and said, “Victor, help see if you can climb the wall.”
After saying this, he pushed Victor up. With his front legs raised over his head, Victor lifted his head to look at the dense iron thorns and glass fragments on the wall. “No good. There is broken glass on it. The plot obviously wants us to solve the puzzle in order to advance.”
Then they must solve it. Dong Zheng leaned against the wall and said to Dong Linhai, who was following him, “Linhai, you come.”
Dong Linhai said, “Huh?”
After a moment of surprise, Dong Linhai realized that Dong Zheng was deliberately giving him the opportunity to train. He didn’t refuse this opportunity and squeezed to the front of the team against the other wall and began to study the circuit board.
He’d played a lot of puzzle-solving games. As long as the puzzles weren’t too strange or difficult, they shouldn’t be a problem.
As Dong Linhai was concentrating on solving the puzzle, the others exited the alley. With everyone crowded together, the alleyway was too cramp and too uncomfortable. There was only Victor left at Dong Linhai’s feet to accompany him.
Regarding Dong Zheng’s intention to train Dong Linhai, Cui Zuojing had no opinion. The box wasn’t difficult anyway, and they weren’t in a hurry to finish the plot. It didn’t matter if they spent some time on puzzles.
Except for Dong Zheng, the whole team was very verbose. Dong Linhai, Allen, and Lin Hangzhi had an easy time talking to each other. In Fu Zhe’s castle, the dinner table was very lively on a daily basis. Even inside the box, with the situation no longer being so urgent, Lin Hangzhi and Allen took advantage of this rare free time to chat.
Cui Zuojing didn’t join them. He and Dong Zheng stood silently to the side. Suddenly, he heard Dong said, “Before, when we fell into the illusion inside the laboratory, I entered the program kernel again. The illusion had forced itself in and was treated as a virus. The moment it breached the firewall, I fell into the kernel.”
The abilities of those with the brain domain development type were rarely the same. This was the first time that Cui Zuojing had heard of his situation. He became interested and asked, “In other words, everything in the kernel represents your spiritual world. Anything that adversely affects your spirit will be blocked by the firewall and be considered an intruder, like a type of Trojan horse?”
Dong Zheng nodded. “But, my firewall is obviously still very fragile and easily destroyed. So, I was thinking that when I train again in the future, maybe I can re-enter the kernel and use external force to train and strengthen the firewall? Fu Zhe’s ability is creating illusions. With his help, maybe my progress will advance much faster.”
Cui Zuojing said, “Try it after you go back.”
On the other side, Dong Linhai finally assembled the circuit board after some studying and several experimental attempts. The electric door was energized, indicating that the light was on. Dong Linhai pressed everywhere, but there seemed to be a button missing.
“It’s powered on, but I still need a button.”
Dong Zheng hadn’t found any traces of buttons along the way. He thought about it, took out the toy bear that hadn’t come in handy until now and carefully touched along it’s previously severed arm.
There seemed to be a small lump inside.
Dong Zheng used the tip of a knife to slice through the stitches and pierce the teddy bear’s arm through the gap. He reached in and pulled out the cotton stuffing. After a while, he knocked against a hard object.
He took out the button and handed it to Dong Linhai. They didn’t have any needles and threads and couldn’t sew the teddy bear back together. Dong Zheng could only stuff the cottons back in. Fortunately, the gap wasn’t too big and the arm was still connected to the body.
Dong Linhai pondered for a while and pressed the button. The electric door made a “beep,” and finally opened, revealing the road leading to the small crop of woods behind the school.
“Go.” They went through the electric gate one after another and stepped into the small woods. The woods in summer were very dense, but the strange thing was that there seemed to be no birds or insects. Except for the rustle of their footsteps walking across the grass blades, there were no other sounds at all.
Dong Linhai looked around and suddenly saw from within the shadows of the tree the movements of a circular, white banner with green decorations. He looked closely and recognized that it was a garland.
“There is actually a forest here.” Dong Linhai poked Dong Zheng’s lower back and lowered his voice, as if he was afraid of alarming something.
In Dong Zheng and Dong Linhai’s hometown, because most of the wild tombs were built in the woods, out of taboo, it was customary to call it a forest cemetery. Dong Zheng looked in the direction he was pointing and saw a lone mound with a garland leaning on it.
Cui Zuojing smiled and said, “Do you think the people in there will come over and say hello to us?”
Everyone got goosebumps when they heard this, and Dong Zheng’s lips twitched unbearably. As the team leader who was the most afraid of ghosts, he took a deep breath and said, “Don’t talk nonsense.”
Cui Zuojing blinked innocently, and no longer tried to intentionally scare him.
Victor, who had been walking in the front, suddenly stopped at this moment.
The antlers on his forehead glowed, and the white cat raised his back vigilantly. After looking around, he suddenly turned his head and looked behind him.
A slender ghost floated behind Lin Hangzhi, who was at the back of the group, and placed its hands on his shoulders.
The others noticed Victor’s movements and turned their heads. They all grew silent as they took in the lonely ghost with blood trickling out of its lower body. The arms exposed from its shrouded sleeves were pale as paper, and its face was hideous to look at.
Lin Hangzhi: “???”