Don’t Close Your Eyes At Me
After You Huo gathered more information from the priest and the tattered witchcraft book, he was more or less able to piece together 80-90% of the truth.
After some thought, he returned to the dungeon and picked the witchdoctor up.
In order to set the dead free, two people must die.
The Duke and the witchdoctor.
The priest had said that if the castle is burnt down the moment the curse is lifted, maybe……..just maybe, the victims of this curse could be brought back.
Both the witchdoctor and Duke would not have been resurrected, and the victims wouldn’t have died.
It was worth a try.
And so, he had an idea, but it required the Duke’s help. Hopefully that madman would be more cooperative.
He boarded a carriage in town and dragged the witchdoctor back to the castle.
The castle was in chaos. The corridors were filled with examinees.
You Huo immediately sensed that something wasn’t right, but he didn’t stop his steps. Compared to the other things, the matter at hand was more urgent.
Dim candlelight peeked out from inside the room. You Huo who had one hand dragging the witchdoctor and the other holding a knife looked down at the light falling at his feet and suddenly felt his heart tremble.
The door creaked open.
He stiffly looked in and saw the Duke sitting in his armchair with a look of intense agony. He seemed to be experiencing pain and discomfort from the separation of his soul from his body and his entire body writhed around violently.
As if there was an invisible hand grabbing him by his chest, his entire body lifted upwards.
The buttons of his coat broke off, revealing the shirt inside and the blood-red stitches on his skin. It looked like those fine stitches……..were slowly being pulled apart by something.
The head, chest and limbs were all twisted into strange angles.
The next second, those limbs finally broke off and separated from the body……..
Once that body was abandoned, the owner found a new replacement.
The new duke had his back towards the door. Getting up from his knelt position in front of the armchair, his hand that was originally placed onto the Duke’s head was removed.
With his tall back illuminated by the candlelight, the man flexed his fingers as if experiencing something very novel.
As he flexed, the cracking of bones could be heard.
In an instant, You Huo felt like all the blood in his body was gone. His heart pounded rapidly.
It was clearly only warm candlelight, but at this moment he found it very blinding.
When he opened his eyes again, that new Duke had turned to look back…….
It was Qin Jiu.
The moment their eyes met, You Huo suddenly could no longer feel the knife in his hand.
It was only when the other party revealed a guilty and slightly surprised look that he was finally able to feel the pain around his knuckles……
The hand that barely had some intact flesh remaining had at some unknown point in time clenched tightly around the handle.
His jaw twitched. After clenching his teeth tightly for a moment, he called out: “Qin Jiu?”
His voice was hoarse. It was unknown whether it was because of the pain caused by the curse, or because he was nervous.
It wasn’t until this moment that he realised that he was actually nervous.
And he was even……..a little flustered.
The other party was silent for a moment. Perhaps it was because it was too unexpected.
After a few seconds, he answered “yes” with a similarly hoarse voice.
All the blood in his body returned.
You Huo’s face was extremely pale, like those of snow. He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths before approaching him with his knife.
Qin Jiu politely dodged a few attacks, but he almost didn’t fight back at all. With just a few blows, he was pressed down onto the ground.
You Huo knelt onto him, pressing him down. The knife he held was held less than two centimetres away from Qin Jiu’s neck.
“Are you crazy?!”
Qin Jiu wasn’t concerned about the knife that was threatening him. He rested his elbow on the ground to support his upper body and said reassuringly, “I’m not crazy, don’t worry. Don’t be angry. I only did this because I have a hidden card.”
His voice was both low and deep. It echoed inside the bedroom like a dull cello playing in the night.
He picked up a card and said to You Huo: “Remember this? The one I drew. I can learn any ability in an exam.”
When he heard Jiang Yuan’s words earlier, he had suddenly realised that there was a way for him to lead the Duke to his death.
To achieve eternal life, the Duke used other peoples’ body and because the other person didn’t have eternal life, when they die, he would subsequently be able to take over and become its owner.
But what if the person the Duke tried to take over would never die?
The Duke wouldn’t be able to control that body.
And so, he used the “Last-minute Cramming” card and learnt the Duke’s “Eternal Life” ability.
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You Huo’s breathing was still very heavy and his expression was still icy. He was clearly still angry.
Grabbing Qin Jiu by the collar, he threw out a few words with great emphasis: “The card mentioned ‘a certain probability’. Where did you get the confidence that it would definitely work?”
Qin Jiu opened his mouth.
He wanted to say that he shouldn’t underestimate his willpower; if Jiang Yuan could last that long, he shouldn’t be worse than him.
He also wanted to say that no one can be 100% certain about anything. All things require taking some risks and he should be familiar with that too.
With his usual character, those were words that he would’ve normally said.
But when he saw You Huo’s tightly pursed lips and tensed figure, he suddenly felt like he could understand his anger.
He suddenly reached out and rubbed the corner of You Huo’s lips with his thumb.
Because of the curse, and also because of his extremely pale skin, the veins on the side of his neck had become clearly visible. A blue vein travelled up along his chin, stopping at the corner of his lips.
Qin Jiu finally said, “I promise. I won’t do anything this risky in the future.”
You Huo had his eyes lowered. When Qin Jiu reached out to rub his lip a second time, he turned his head away: “Save those words to deceive the others.”
Suddenly, there were scratching sounds from not far away.
When the two looked up, they saw the Duke’s separated limbs scratching frantically at the door trying to get out. It was as if they wanted to find other body parts to combine with.
The door was soon scratched open by them and earth-shattering screams and cries instantly rushed into the room.
It was more terrifying than those black shadows.
This time it wasn’t just the walls. The entire castle had started shaking.
In a place that couldn’t be seen by them, Gao Qi and Zhao Jiatong had cleared out a bloody path for the other examinees. From the third to the first floor, they desperately tried to send the examinees out safely.
All the dead souls that had died in the castle had appeared. Severed bodies, spirits…….They attacked everyone with overwhelming hatred.
“Why did they suddenly go crazy?!” Zhao Jiatong kicked one down.
Gao Qi shouted back: “The Duke must be about the die!!! 001 said he has a way!!!”
“What? You actually believed that?! When has he ever not gone overboard???”
Gao Qi: “What can you do if he goes overboard?! Also, who am I to worry about that???”
Zhao Jiatong thought about it and decided to shut up.
Gao Qi contined: “Trust in him. I think he’s actually quite reliable! Let’s get the other things sorted so he would be less distracted!”
Zhao Jiatong readily agreed: “Okay!”
They used to be from the army, so they knew about division of labour and they also knew about the importance of trusting one another.
“That’s right, what about A?!” Zhao Jiatong then remembered, “How long has it been since confinement? Why hasn’t he returned yet?”
Gao Qi froze for a moment. He suddenly rubbed his face: “I have a bad feeling.”
“When those two go overboard, they have always been together.”
Now that they’re separated, something would definitely not be right if anything was to happen.
What if they each went more overboard than the other?
Soon afterwards, the door to the castle was knocked open. A large group of bloodied humans rushed in.
Even those from the church had come to join in on the fun.
Some spirits who had caught onto the Duke’s and the witchdoctor’s scent rushed over to the west tower like beasts chasing after the scent of fresh meat.
The bedroom door was knocked open and a large mass of spirits and severed body parts rushed over towards the two people inside.
You Huo stored away his knife and pulled Qin Jiu up.
“No longer angry?” Qin Jiu kicked aside a spirit as he asked.
You Huo cut three down without saying anything.
Qin Jiu wanted to say something else but he suddenly felt a chill.
It was a very strange feeling. It was as if……a soul was slowly pulling away and gradually disappearing.
He grabbed You Huo but in the end it was bone coming into contact with bone.
Both froze. Through the gloves and sleeves, they could both seemingly picture the almost non-existent and bloody flesh underneath.
“Stop looking. What did you want to say?” You Huo urged.
The spirits around them were endless. Qin Jiu said as he dodged, “The Duke is dying. I can feel that he is almost at his limit.”
You Huo frowned.
“If he really dies, then no one can kill the witchdoctor.” Qin Jiu continued, “I have to hurry. Otherwise I risked it all for nothing.”
Those words of his reminded You Huo of something.
His expression was strange for a moment, as if he also felt a little guilty.
With this, that cold anger of his could no longer be maintained.
You Huo narrowed his eyes and threw a severed limb away, “Before I came, I also had a plan……..”
Qin Jiu froze. He turned around and saw the witchdoctor in the corner that was surrounded by the spirits.
He immediately frowned: “No!”
You Huo: “Who was the one who went crazy first?! What right do you have to say no?”
Qin Jiu couldn’t speak.
With You Huo’s personality, if he wanted to do anything, he would do it without giving anyone an explanation. This time however, he looked at Qin Jiu and pulled out a piece of parchment paper, “The curse has reached this point now. We’re practically spirits.”
Since he was already dead, what was wrong with taking another knife?
“No.” Qin Jiu continued to insist stubbornly. He stared at You Huo and said seriously, “Even if you’re a spirit, you can’t.”
You Huo looked back at him. After a short pause, he finally frowned and nodded: “Up to you.”
The spirits sensed the Duke’s scent and rushed over to surround Qin Jiu in a frenzied state. For the first time, You Huo didn’t immediately go over to help. Instead, he went to the door and dragged the witchdoctor over.
The screams and wails were very painful to listen to.
Qin Jiu glanced at the witchdoctor through the corner of his eyes.
The other party was indeed in a very weak state. He was curled up in the corner and trembling gently, like someone who was seriously ill.
Qin Jiu stretched his leg out and kicked the witchdoctor into the ring of candles.
In fact, he had already thought about it. Since he had acquired the immortality ability, if he could do the change once, he could do the change twice.
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And the riskiest part of it was, he wanted to do an exchange with the witchdoctor——
Before the Duke’s soul could leave completely, he would let the witchdoctor’s soul in and stab himself.
That was the most convenient method.
Although the feeling of multiple souls squeezing inside his body was extremely uncomfortable, and almost on par to death, it was only for a short moment.
He already has experience.
In fact, he also knew that You Huo’s method was feasible. Apart for a short moment of pain and an imminent sense of death, it wouldn’t cause any substantial or irreversible damage.
But he still didn’t want to agree to it.
The moment the witchdoctor entered the ring of candles, the flames rose instantly. It was as if it could sense the soul and it resonated madly with it.
Those spirits also appeared to similarly sense it. Its attacks became more intense.
For a few seconds, there was a blind spot in Qin Jiu’s vision.
He faintly heard a quiet voice that sounded like a witchcraft incantation.
That hoarse voice made his heart grow cold.
The moment he managed to push away the spirits around him, a hand rested on his shoulder. Soon afterwards, a body with slightly lower than average body temperature moved closer. The collar was a little damp, and it carried the scent of rain from a midsummer’s night.
“Big Invigilator, is it raining outside?”
This phrase suddenly flashed through his mind.
A cold object was stuffed into Qin Jiu’s hand. It was the knife handle.
Immediately afterwards, the other end of the knife stabbed something.
You Huo’s hoarse voice rang from beside his ear: “Don’t go crazy a second time.”
Gao Qi had not seen such a big fire in a very long time.
The last time he saw one was many, many years ago when he was still in the army. It was for disaster relief or something……..he no longer remembered.
Ever since he entered the system, there were a lot of things he no longer remembered.
Fire enveloped the entire castle. It burned brightly to the point the sky had even turned red.
Zhao Jiatong looked at him worriedly. She wiped away the ashes from his face and asked: “How are you? Hands still shaking?”
Only God knows how panicked he was when he came out of the castle.
He had prepared all the wood and oil as requested but when he hurried to the Duke’s bedroom to get the signal, he saw A with a knife in his chest and Qin Jiu holding him up.
The moment he saw that, Gao Qi’s heart almost stopped!
Fortunately, the effect soon took place.
The witchdoctor had willingly let the Duke kill him, so all the witchcraft had been reset.
He watched the blood on Qin Jiu and You Huo gradually lessen, the mutilated flesh slowly heal up and the colour slowly restored onto their pale complexions.
You Huo who was leaning on Qin Jiu’s shoulder furrowed his brows and reopened his eyes.
All the examinees evacuated the castle one after another. In less than a few minutes, the fire burning the castle could almost reach the sky.
On the field outside, the bloodied patients slowly recovered and regained their humanly appearance. They slowly sat up and looked at their arms and legs in daze.
Light pierced through the dark clouds in the sky, falling onto these people.
These people had been hiding away inside the church for a very, very long time and had almost forgotten what the sun was like.
Now, they no longer had to hide and could stand tall under the light they had been missing all this time……….
After a very long time, several people suddenly appeared from within the fire.
Those with sharper eyesight cried out with surprise: “Zhang Pengyi???”
More people stood up. They all looked over with disbelief.
While almost all the examinees were gathered together, there were two who stood far from the crowd.
At the end of the field was a row of tall metal fences which looked like the generic fences one would see surrounding a manor. Behind those fences was a thick fog, and through the thick fog you could see the invigilator’s cabin located at the top of Carlton Mountain.
But You Huo didn’t go through it. He just leaned against the fence watching the excited people in front of the castle from afar.
After the soul withdraws, one would feel tired and fatigued.
He didn’t like noise. Right now, he didn’t want to hear the exclamations and shouts.
He also didn’t want to move. What’s more, there was another person next to him who appeared to be in a bad mood.
Ever since Qin Jiu came out from the castle, his face had been held taut.
Like it was on the verge of exploding but was forcefully restrained, he silently suppressed his anger.
In fact, the same was true for You Huo.
He remembered Qin Jiu’s risk taking, Qin Jiu remembered his. They were no better than the other and were both holding in their anger with nowhere to vent.
You Huo for some reason felt irritable.
His heart was still racing from the aftermath of doing something so risky, and drowsiness and exhaustion surged through him, but his mind was still exceptionally clear.
The silk shirt and tall boots that had yet to be changed out of were still covered in traces of blood that emitted a rusty scent.
There was something in his pocket. When You Huo noticed it, he reached inside and pulled it out.
It was the packet of cigarettes and lighter Gao Qi had given him.
He normally didn’t smoke but at this moment he suddenly wanted one to refresh himself.
Qin Jiu suddenly said: “Lend me one.”
You Huo handed him a cigarette and then flicked open the lighter to light his own cigarette.
The thin cloud of smoke from the cigarette almost connected with the fog behind him. It stung his eyes slightly.
You Huo closed his eyes and didn’t suck it in.
He had intended to remove the cigarette and just watch it burn when the person next to him suddenly leaned over.
Qin Jiu leaned forward into the cloud of smoke with his eyes narrowing slightly.
Held in his lips was the cigarette. He lowered his head and the end of his cigarette met with You Huo’s.
A red ball of fire brightened.
The figure before him soon moved back. Qin Jiu had straightened himself back up.
A moment later, he removed his cigarette and once again leaned over.
You Huo had his back against the fence. Fog travelling through the gaps brought along ambiguous humidity.
The worries and anger from earlier, the suffocation and irritation that couldn’t be voiced; at this moment they all finally could be vented.
As the effect of the curse dissipated, the last piece of flesh on Qin Jiu’s wrist healed.
The red warning light that had been silent for a long time was flashing wildly at this moment. Beeping sounds of warning rang nonstop in between the interspersed sounds of breathing.
Far ahead was the crowd and the fire.
Behind them was the invigilator’s cabin separated by the fog.
They kissed under the warning alarm.
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