The first thing Baal did when he returned to the dorm was pull the curtains shut.
The thick curtains instantly blanketed the room in darkness. Forget sunlight, not even air could come in. But he thought things over and still worried, so he made another space that was pure black and carefully put Wang Xiaoming’s soul inside. After everything was sorted out, the next problem he had to solve was what to do with Wang Xiaoming’s dead body.
Baal sat on the sofa and silently looked at the corpse floating in midair. The things Wang Xiaoming said while he had been alive constantly whirled through Baal’s mind—
“It’s because we don’t live as long as you do that we try so hard to live and cherish the process. Even if you tell me that I won’t vanish after dying, that I might go to heaven, that’s still not me. Not a human.”
“How do you know the pleasures of a fish if you’re the fish? You’re not me, so you won’t know. It’s just like how I can’t imagine what you’d want when you have eternal life.”
“Baal, even if I die one day and leave the world, I’d still love you the second right before I leave this world.”
“I told you, the greatest happiness in love is seeing the person you love being happy. So Baal, no matter how long I live, how long I get to keep you company… I hope that you’ll be happy forever. Even if your life no longer includes me.”
If Wang Xiaoming were awake at the moment, he’d probably be terrified, right?
Baal thought about the rumors that he had heard before about humans trying to achieve immortality through whatever means necessary. Eating raw human flesh, worshipping the Kindred, searching for islands of the gods, making pills… There were only things he couldn’t think of, not things that humans wouldn’t do. So if he had a choice, Wang Xiaoming would probably choose to be revived?
Baal’s lips slowly pursed tighter and tighter.
A small spiritual vibration came from the space. He lifted an eyebrow and appeared inside the space along with the sofa.
A call, as small as the sound of a mosquito buzzing, rang out in the endless darkness.
Baal, whose face had been stormy up until that moment, finally smiled his first smile since returning to his body. “You think any human would hear a call that quiet?”
“But you heard, right?” Wang Xiaoming quickly retorted.
“What makes you think I’m human?” Baal suddenly wasn’t in a rush to discuss reincarnation when he saw Wang Xiaoming standing in front of him, clear-minded.
Wang Xiaoming looked around and asked quietly, “What is this place? How come I can’t see anything? It’s so dark…”
Baal answered, “Because you’re dead.”
“…” Either out of shock or sadness, Wang Xiaoming stayed silent for a long time.
Baal waited and waited until he finally lit eight lamps around them.
The sudden light made Wang Xiaoming instinctively raise his hands to cover his eyes.
Baal crossed his legs and rested his right elbow on the sofa’s armrest. He rested his chin on his hand and asked as he looked at Wang Xiaoming, “What are you thinking?”
Wang Xiaoming squinted his eyes and tried to get used to it, then slowly put his hands down. “It was pretty fast.”
“I said, dying was pretty fast.” Wang Xiaoming slowly rifled through his mind to find the memory of what happened before as he answered with a forced smile, “As if I passed out immediately from the pain and when I woke up, you were telling me that I was dead. Really, it was pretty fast.” His voice became softer and softer the more he spoke.
“Actually, death isn’t such a bad thing.” Baal didn’t know whether his statement was comforting or not but it was definitely the truth. “Hell is definitely more fun than you can imagine.”
Wang Xiaoming’s face paled. “I’m going to Hell?” Clearly he had dragged too many people down before with his misfortune. Did those count as his sins and that was why he had to go to Hell? His entire mind was filled with the image of Hell’s burning flames and its countless weeping and howling souls.
Baal asked with a frown, “You want to go to Heaven?”
Wang Xiaoming mumbled, “If I have to choose, then I choose Heaven.” The fires and howls disappeared and his mind was filled with white clouds and naked miniature cherubs.
Baal’s frowned even harder.
Wang Xiaoming quietly asked, “Is something wrong?” He remembered Baal saying before that when he died, Baal would personally drop him off wherever he wanted to go, no matter if it was Heaven or Hell. Had he been making a promise he never intended to fulfill so he was now reneging?
Baal glanced at him. “I can’t stay in Heaven for too long.” Even if he wanted to stay in that place, which was so white even rice kernels were invisible, Michael and the others wouldn’t allow it.
Wang Xiaoming’s eyes lit up. “You can take me to the intersection?”
“You really want to leave me that badly?” Baal asked in a cold tone.
Wang Xiaoming’s eyes fogged over and then he forced a smile. “You did say you’d stay with me for life, but I’m unlucky and my life ended so quickly, just like that…” It had really caught him off guard.
He bit his lip and struggled to hold in his snot. “You said you had very important things to do. After you drop me off, you can do them. I…” He raised his head and wanted to show a perfect smile, only to discover that his face was first pressed tightly against Baal’s clothes and then passed through them.
Baal took a step back so that Wang Xiaoming’s head was out of his body. “What if there was a way for you to be revived?”
Wang Xiaoming was speechless for a while and the darkness in his eyes was chased away, bit by bit, by the light that came with hope. That hope lit up his entire face. “Really?”
“Heaven, Hell, or the Mortal Realm. What’s your choice?”
“Mortal Realm!” Wang Xiaoming answered unhesitantly.
Baal lifted his eyebrows and said, “Alright, revival it is.” Though it was more complicated for humans to gain immortality, staying in the mortal realm was preferable to going to Heaven and seeing the faces of Michael and Raphael.
Wang Xiaoming raised a hand and slowly stretched it forward. Then he pressed his hand and watched as it slowly passed through Baal’s body. He asked, frustrated, “How do I get revived?”
Baal answered without any hesitation, “No idea.”
Wang Xiaoming laughed dryly, “I know you want to comfort me, but this method really sucks.” To be disappointed after having hope was definitely just as bad as sinking straight into despair.
Baal pursed his lips. “Who said I was comforting you? Besides… who said this method sucks?”
Wang Xiaoming asked, “But didn’t you just say that you didn’t know how to revive me?”
“Just because I don’t know doesn’t mean others won’t know.” A light flashed through Baal’s eyes. “One thing Hell does not lack is bored people.”
Wang Xiaoming asked in surprise, “We still have to go to Hell?”
“You can consider it a tour.”
“Can I bring a camera?” Since they were going on a tour, at least he could take a few photos.
“If you can hold it then sure.”
Wang Xiaoming looked down at his hands with a pained expression and then suddenly looked up, his face filled with confusion. “How did I die?” He only remembered that his heart had hurt so much as if it were exploding. He couldn’t bear it and then…
Baal looked skyward.
“Ah?” Wang Xiaoming asked nervously, “If I’m dead, then what happens to your body? Can it not recover?”
“…” The reason was actually quite simple but why was it so hard to say? Baal wondered.
Wang Xiaoming tried to think of various reasons by himself. “Could it be that I had a sudden heart attack?”
“Actually it was…” Baal pretended to haughtily turn his head aside and then told the story from beginning to end.
Wang Xiaoming listened slightly.
Baal didn’t even leave out the part about Reapers A and B. At the end, he even made a point of taking the hook out for Wang Xiaoming to examine.
“This is the hook that reapers use to reap souls?” Wang Xiaoming very calmly accepted the series of strange and unfair events that had happened to him. He even examined the hook curiously. “Try hooking me.”
After a moment of silence, Baal gently put the hook onto Wang Xiaoming. “Does it hurt?”
“No.” Wang Xiaoming’s entire body was stiff as he answered, “I just can’t move.”
Baal pulled on the chain and Wang Xiaoming involuntarily took two steps forward. “What’s going on? I don’t have control anymore.”
“That’s great. Very useful.” Satisfied, Baal packed the hook away.
Wang Xiaoming asked in confusion, “I can walk by myself now, what do you need it for?”
“It’ll come in handy.” Baal’s mind provided countless ways of using it.
“…” Wang Xiaoming tried really hard to move his gaze away from Baal’s smirking face and continued, “This means your body’s fully recovered? Your powers as well?”
“Yeah.” Baal lifted his chin haughtily. The ample power inside his body filled him with confidence.
Wang Xiaoming asked happily, “Then can you save President Xiang’s brother?”
Baal frowned. “What?”
Wang Xiaoming scratched his scalp and said, “I mean, I don’t feel uncomfortable anywhere so we can set aside reviving me for now. But President Xiang’s younger brother might become a bloodsucking monster without humanity at any moment. So let’s save him first?”
“Did you know that your corpse has an expiration date?”
Wang Xiaoming shook his head in a daze. “I didn’t. It’s always been fresh for me.”
“But from the moment you died, it started to count down to the best-by date.” Baal threatened, “If you can’t be revived in time, then you can never again be revived.” Actually, he was exaggerating, but he just couldn’t stand the way Wang Xiaoming worried and fretted over Xiang Wenxun at all times of the day.
Wang Xiaoming hesitated and asked, “Then do you have any way of slowing down the process of him turning into a bloodsucking monster?”
That sentence pleased him somewhat. Baal thought for a moment and answered, “I can lock him up inside my space. Aside from me, nobody would be able to let him out.”
“Then what are we waiting for? Let’s go.” Wang Xiaoming remarked and prepared to walk away, but he took two steps and then turned back with a sheepish smile. “Where’s the door?”
Baal lifted an eyebrow.
The scene around them instantly changed. Wang Xiaoming was back in the utterly familiar dorm room and all the lights in the living room and bedroom turned on in the same instant.
He turned around to see his own body floating in midair. At first he was frightened, but then a curious sensation came over him. “If I return to this body right now, will I turn into a zombie?”
“You can try.” Baal pointed downward with his finger and Wang Xiaoming’s body was slowly lowered to the ground.
Wang Xiaoming walked over and then, based on the position, slowly lay down so that he merged with it.
After a while, he sat back up. “I don’t feel anything at all.”
“That’s normal.” Baal put his palms together and then slowly drew them apart again.
Wang Xioaming watched in surprise as a transparent bubble grew between his palms and an image slowly formed on the bubble…
“Ah, that’s the living room in President Xiang’s dorm.”
Baal cupped the bubble with his palm and then gently tossed it into the air and fixed it there. “Call me when Xiang Wenxun gets back.”
“Where are you going?” Wang Xiaoming watched in confusion as Baal walked toward the study.
“To play the game. I refuse to believe I can’t clear the level!” Baal cracked his knuckles and stormed angrily into the study.