During the second half of the class, Zhang Tao continuously looked to be in a daze, and Bai Ruan also half heartedly did two things at once. When he spoke, he didn’t look around in the classroom, but walked off the platform and circled the classroom a few times. He kept trying to find out the possible hiding places of the avatar of the heart monster, but the heart demon had no physical entity. It could even hide in a bookcase table and no one in the class could see it except for Bai Ruan. The search was very difficult, so even when class had ended, Bai Ruan still couldn’t find it.
After the class bell rang, Bai Ruan was reluctant to let it go and went around the three aisles in the classroom to look around, but he still found nothing. Under the strange eyes of the students, he waved his hands towards Zhang Tao and said, “Zhang Tao, come here for a bit.”
Zhang Tao blankly stood up, Lang Jing Feng also followed suit, grabbed the papers of Friday’s physics test, and followed Zhang Tao and Bai Ruan into the homeroom teacher’s office.
As soon as Bai Ruan left the classroom door, the heart monster that had been caught in Zhang Tao’s math book dripped flat on the table, and then bulged round like a balloon filled with air, and grew small tentacles. Taking advantage of the fact that no one could see itself, it floated carelessly around the classroom, touching the students one by one, prying into their hearts.
Humans defined the concept of “fear” very broadly. They were afraid of parents and of teachers; they were afraid of homework because they were afraid of exams; they were afraid of being poor because they were afraid of hardship… But for these monsters, only the creepy, adrenaline secretion “fear” was the real fear.
The things that would make these ordinary high school human students afraid were more concentrated. It was either cockroaches, rats and insects that were small and easy to deal with, or it was the darkness, the deep sea, the huge celestial bodies that were difficult to realise; or the psychological shadows of childhood, local urban legends and campus strange talks.
The heart monster waved its tentacles and touched from the end of the classroom to the other end, and didn’t spare any of the students.
“Sit.” In the office, Bai Ruan dragged a chair by the table.
Zhang Tao sat down, and Lang Jing Feng stood behind him, looking as if he would also listen.
Bai Ruan’s gaze jumped over Zhang Tao and fell on Lang Jing Feng. “…What’s the matter with you?”
Lang Jing Feng smiled and waved the physics paper in his hand. “I’m going to ask Teacher He a question.” Turning around, he faced the physics teacher and his back was toward Bai Ruan. However, even from such a distance, he could still hear Bai Ruan’s conversation.
Bai Ruan didn’t think it was necessary to hide from Lang Jing Feng, so he didn’t care what the other did. First, he comforted Zhang Tao with non-painful and vague public relations terms. After chatting for a while, Bai Ruan continued the pretext and said, “…Have you been watching some horror films, television dramas or reading novels during this period of time and have been affected by that?”
Zhang Tao shook his head and nervously replied, “I didn’t watch. I just went home to study.”
Bai Ruan tirelessly induced, “Then have you heard any rumors about students jumping off this building?”
Zhang Tao pursed his lips and said, “I’ve heard about it.”
Bai Ruan said in the comforting tone of a confident brother, “You can tell me about it, and I’ll help you to smooth it out.”
He highly suspected that the heart monster had manifested some of Zhang Tao’s fears. If this were the case, then to deal with that jumper, it was best to ask Zhang Tao first. This was because the heart monster would 100% follow Zhang Tao’s “settings” and create the ghost, the time and place of their infestation, how aggressive they were, and where their weaknesses were are all restored according to the boy’s imagination. Although ghosts have self-awareness after being created, they might not be 100% in line with Zhang Tao’s original settings, but this was still the most important piece of information.
“Huh?” Zhang Tao was a little confused, “I’ve heard a lot, just all kinds of societal news.”
Bai Ruan tentatively asked, “After listening, which one scares you the most or leaves the deepest impression?” After a pause, Bai Ruan added, “News or stories are fine.”
Zhang Tao was silent for a moment, then smiled embarrassedly and said, “…The thing I fear the most is ghost stories.”
Bai Ruan’s smile was as gentle as a spring breeze. “Then you can also talk about it, it’s okay, we are just chatting today. Teacher will help you relieve this pressure.”
Zhang Tao whispered, “That, really telling huh…”
Bai Ruan said firmly, “Speak. It doesn’t matter.”
Zhang Tao pushed his glasses and said with a volume that only he and Bai Ruan could hear, “I heard someone talk about it before. When I was in elementary school…there was a student who didn’t do well on the exam. In order to scare his family, he jumped down from the third floor. He initially thought that he wouldn’t die, but because he fell head first, he ended up dying…”
As Zhang Tao spoke, he carefully observed Bai Ruan’s expression. When he saw that his teacher was still smiling and encouraging himself to speak, he continued, “He had a very serious grievance. After he died, he walked around in the corridor on the third floor of the school every night. Because he died and his head was crushed, he couldn’t walk on his feet after he became a ghost, but jumped and walked with his head on the ground. If a person was standing on a high place, he wouldn’t be able to see it. But if someone walked on the ground, he could see that person’s feet, grab it and throw them down from the third floor…”
Bai Ruan coughed uncomfortably and asked, “What time at night?”
Zhang Tao, “Huh?”
Bai Ruan, “…What time did he show up at night? Twelve o’clock in the middle of the night?”
“I don’t know, it’s at night.” Zhang Tao said. His small eyes hidden behind the heavy lenses rolled around anxiously and his face looked extremely ugly.
This act of retelling ghost stories and Bai Ruan’s “believe it as true” asking for details seemed to destroy Zhang Tao’s psychological defenses. He didn’t care about the appropriateness of this statement, and only emphasised to Bai Ruan in a panic, “Teacher Bai, I really saw it today… I definitely didn’t see it wrongly. I even saw what he looked like… He…” Zhang Tao gritted his teeth and twitched his masseter muscles. He threw out the fear that had severely tortured him for half of the class, and snapped, “He looks exactly the same as I imagined when I was a kid!”
——The childhood psychological shadow, the details were all tallied. 100% of the things were done by the heart monster and Bai Ruan clenched his fists. The blood vessels on the back of his hand were slightly convex, and a fire ran around in his chest. He was even angrier than when he was cleaning up the wolves at home yesterday.
Lang Jing Feng, who had been listening, also reacted. He turned his head and glanced at Zhang Tao.
“I’m sorry, Teacher Bai…I was talking…nonsense.” Zhang Tao took a few deep breaths, and recovered, realising that he shouldn’t have said these messy things to the class teacher and hurriedly bowed his head to apologise.
“What is there to apologise for?” Bai Ruan slowly loosened his fist and smiled broadly. Two sunny and lovely little dimples appeared on his face. “I wanted to have a talk with you. I think this situation can actually be explained by science…”
Due to his status as a teacher, Bai Ruan had to popularize socialist materialism to Zhang Tao without his conscience, and used psychology to forcefully explain things. Zhang Tao had not been persuaded, but in any case, speaking out the fear was much more comfortable than holding it in his heart alone. Since Bai Ruan’s expression and tone when comforting others had healing effects, Zhang Tao’s emotions gradually relaxed. When the bell rang in the second class, his condition was almost restored. After thanking Bai Ruan, he went back to class.
After the jumping-off farce ended in the morning, no other strange things happened in the class all day, but Bai Ruan didn’t feel fortunate at all. He suspected that there were several ghosts manifested by the heart monster, and others might just be affected by restrictions such as, “ghost story setting”, “appearing at night” and “appearing on rainy days” which had not appeared for the time being. If this were the case, then there would be more trouble in the future.
The whole day, Bai Ruan carried a full trousers pocket with purification charms, and when he was free, he went to Class Four to patrol, but the heart monster cunningly didn’t turn up. Bai Ruan didn’t have Yun Qing’s special compass that could roughly help calculate fortune, and it was impossible to foresee the position of the heart monster, so he had to unwillingly give up.
The evening self-study ended and the school bell rang.
The students in the second and first year groups flocked out of school, but the third year students had to continue to fight in the school until half past ten in the evening.
Seeing that the students were almost gone, Bai Ruan took out two pieces white chalk from the chalk slot and stuffed it into his trouser pocket.
“Teacher Bai,” Lang Jing Feng walked to the desk with his schoolbag slanting, looked at Bai Ruan who was standing on the stage and asked with a smile, “What will you be doing with the chalk? Are we going home?”
“I have to go up to the third floor to take a look.” Bai Ruan asked, “Are you going with me…? If you don’t want to, just wait in my office.”
Lang Jing Feng glanced around and saw that his classmates were gone, so he asked in a low voice, “Are you going to find the ghost Zhang Tao saw?”
Bai Ruan nodded. The rare dignified look on his soft and cute face made him look a little adorable. “It doesn’t matter, the third-year high school students on the third floor leave school at 10:30 every night. Zhang Tao still doesn’t know the specific time of the ghost’s infestation. If the ghost starts haunting the third floor around ten thirty, it would be easy for the third-year students who walk slowly after school to get in trouble.”
Lang Jing Feng bit his lower lip lightly and asked, “Aren’t you afraid?”
“I’m not afraid of ghosts,” Bai Ruan’s eyes curled slightly, his round tail curled up proudly, “Ghosts are afraid of me.”
Lang Jing Feng’s heart was hot, and he suppressed the urge to kiss Bai Ruan in the classroom and said, “I’ll accompany you. I’m not afraid of ghosts, and I can help you fight if it creates wolves again.”
“…At the moment there are many people on the third floor and the yang energy is heavy. According to common sense, there shouldn’t be any problems.” Bai Ruan said as he walked up to the third floor with Lang Jing Feng. At this time, it was the end of the evening self-study for high school seniors. During this time, the corridors and classrooms were brightly lit, and students and teachers came and went, so they didn’t see anything that looked like haunted ghosts.
The two patrolled the third floor. Bai Ruan found no abnormalities, and led Lang Jing Feng down to the office on the second floor, saying, “We’ll go up again at 10:30pm… You do your homework first.”
Lang Jing Feng, “…”
Lang Jing Feng sat at Bai Ruan’s desk and resigned himself to his work. Bai Ruan sat opposite him, turned his mobile phone to silent, and played games under the table to relieve the nervousness that accumulated the whole day. Teacher and student both waited for the ghost’s appearance.
Lang Jing Feng used his pen to write for a while, closed the cap, took out a pen from the pen holder on Bai Ruan’s desk, and wrote for ten minutes, then closed the cap again. He then took out another pen from the pen holder to write and then these actions were repeated once again. After a few times, Bai Ruan asked in confusion, “My pens in the pen holder aren’t easy to use?”
“It’s all easy to use.” Lang Jing Feng said, as he quickly changed to another.
“Then why do you keep changing them around…” Bai Ruan blinked in confusion.
The corners of Lang Jing Feng’s lips raised, and he pulled out a handsome and childish smile, and said, “Teacher Bai…you can’t smell it.”
Bai Ruan raised his eyebrows. “What?”
Lang Jing Feng smiled like a young wolf occupying his only territory. “Now every pen of yours is covered with my smell.”
Bai Ruan, “…”
The author has something to say:
Lang Jing Crazy: It’s just a pen now. In the future, my scent will be in your body. 🙂
Bai Ruan Ruan (Eighteen kicks with his hind legs): 叽了个叽的！* not sure what it means but it should be something vulgar.*