Wang Xiaoming stared at the giant pool of blood in front of them and the two walls that reflected the red hue from the bloody pool. After a long moment of stunned silence, he said, “I didn’t bring swimming trunks.”
Baal instinctively looked down and his throat became dry. After a long while, he said, “It’s alright if you don’t wear any.”
“…” Wang Xiaoming’s mind supplied an image of himself bathing in blood and his throat also became dry.
The two of them stood in place and looked at each other.
Suddenly, Wang Xiaoming felt like his previous remarks were not quite right. “Shouldn’t we be thinking of how to get across?”
Baal’s eyes squinted slightly. For him, it would be a piece of cake to cross this bloody pool. But… He looked at the other side of the pool and into the pitchblack tunnel. Though he couldn’t see it, he could clearly sense a pair of eyes staring in their direction. The way he flew was clearly not quite to Kindred standards.
Wang Xiaoming noticed Baal’s concentrated expression and asked quietly, “Something up?”
Baal stroked Wang Xiaoming’s head and then suddenly whirled around to look behind them.
A bat flew in.
Baal lifted an eyebrow and then reached out a hand.
The bat landed on his fingertip.
Wang Xiaoming had always thought that bats looked alike, but this one felt a bit different to him. He wondered for a moment and finally realized it was because its gaze felt extremely friendly, like someone waving at him in greeting.
“Prilli,” Baal introduced.
Wang Xiaoming looked at him in surprise. “How do you know?”
Baal answered, “By touch.”
Wang Xiaoming, “…”
Prilli flapped his wings, clearly remembering the painful experience of being tossed out by Baal, and instantly gave Baal an accusing glare.
Wang Xiaoming declared in surprise, “He looks like he can see you.”
Baal concurred, “He’s not blind.”
“But he’s a bat…” Wang Xiaoming scratched his head. He didn’t remember where he had seen, some time ago, the fact that bats’ eyes were useless.
Baal replied, “He’s a Kindred who looks like a bat.”
“… Oh.” Revelation dawned on Wang Xiaoming’s face.
Prilli, “…” Did they forget that he had appeared in front of them the first time in human form?
“Do you have any good suggestions for the situation we’re in right now?” Baal looked down at him. Those eyes clearly said that if he didn’t have any good suggestions, it would be easy to figure out the end result…
Prilli recalled the experience of being tossed out and innocently ducked his head. Then he flew into the air and around Baal’s head, then around Wang Xiaoming’s head. Then he gripped Wang Xiaoming’s collar with his claws.
Wang Xiaoming was so scared he practically leapt into the air.
Prilli feared Baal so he quickly retracted his claws, but he kept circling around them.
Baal’s eyebrows knotted and, a moment later, he said in weary resignation, “Fine.”
Wang Xiaoming realized his intentions. “You’re going to grab me and fly me over?”
Prilli landed back on his collar, grasped it, and slowly lifted. Wang Xiaoming instantly hung in midair and the collar tightened around his neck like a noose, cutting off his breath. He could only make “ugh, ugh” sounds from his throat.
Baal’s eyes squinted and he hurriedly embraced Wang Xiaoming while simultaneously flicking Prilli far away.
Wang Xiaoming leaned into Baal’s embrace and rubbed his own neck with two hands, panting the entire time.
Baal suggested, “Or maybe we…”
“No problem.” Wang Xiaoming waved a hand to interrupt him. “The position just wasn’t right. This is a good idea; at least he can actually lift me.”
Three bats could lift an extra-long Cadillac, nevermind a person—much less a person as skinny as Wang Xiaoming.
Baal put Wang Xiaoming down and pinched the human’s cheeks in dissatisfaction.
Wang Xiaoming turned around to tell Prilli, who was still reeling from being thrown, “Why don’t you pull on the belt on my pants?”
Baal’s eyes swept involuntarily downward.
“The back.” As if sensing Baal’s burning gaze, Wang Xiaoming carefully shifted his body to the side.
Baal stroked his chin. “Back” had even more implications.
Prilli cautiously flew back over. This time his movements were even more careful and he basically spent the entire time watching Baal’s expression.
Wang Xiaoming felt the belt behind his back tighten and then his body took a nosedive.
Baal reacted at the speed of light and grabbed his shoulders.
Prilli waited to be flicked away.
Unexpectedly, Baal simply let go slowly. Wang Xiaoming worked hard at balancing his own body.
Prilli wobbled as he set off with Wang Xiaoming.
Since it was his waist that was being grabbed, Wang Xiaoming was looking downward. Actually, he had been afraid when Prilli lifted him. This type of fear was different from flying in an airplane. His feet could touch something solid when he flew in an airplane and, in the worst case scenario, he could wear a parachute. But if Prilli let go at that moment, he’d tumble down without a question. When Wang Xiaoming looked at his own ghost-like reflection in the blood pool, the fear in his heart rose to new heights.
The bloody water was as still as a mirror’s surface, but Wang Xiaoming’s mind kept supplying images of him falling down and shattering the mirror.
Wang Xiaoming felt his body tense in midair and the pull on his belt vanished. In the blink of an eye, both his feet were firmly planted on the ground.
His legs buckled and both hands instinctively shot out to either side. Very quickly, he landed in that utterly familiar embrace.
“Baal?” He looked up at Baal in surprise. He was intimately familiar with Baal’s skills and totally believed that Baal could take him across the bloody pool. However, he had agreed to Prilli’s plan, which meant there was no reason for him to do so. So what had changed?
Baal’s eyes glared coldly in the direction of the bloody pool.
After a moment, a bat spluttered its way up to the surface.
Wang Xiaoming cautiously called out, “Prilli?”
Prilli flew up from the bloody pool and landed on the other side of it. He kept staring straight at Baal. Though his eyes weren’t big, Wang Xiaoming could still see the brightly burning flames inside them.
Wang Xiaoming pulled on Baal’s sleeves.
Baal snorted, “Hmph, it dares show off these abysmal skills.”
Wang Xiaoming’s mind blanked for a moment. After he figured out that Baal must have acted because he had seen how terrified Wang Xiaoming had been deep down, a thick layer of sweetness covered up any lingering fear. He softly said, “He didn’t do it on purpose.”
Baal remarked, “Unintentional manslaughter still kills.”
“But the sentence is lighter than intentional murder.” After Wang Xiaoming said that, he realized he had gotten off-track by a lot and made himself get back on-track. “Prilli just wants to help.”
Baal raised an eyebrow. “So that means he’s still useful?”
Wang Xiaoming, “…” Though that sentence wasn’t wrong per se, to describe a bat… oh no, a Kindred, as “useful” or “not useful” was clearly inappropriate.
Naturally, Prilli turned around with his pride damaged and prepared to fly toward the door.
But Baal was quicker than him.
Wang Xiaoming looked at the place where Prilli had been and said slowly, “Is the bed still there in your space?”
“Yes.” The bed they had taken from Noah’s Ark the last time was still in his space.
Wang Xiaoming nodded. “That’s okay then.” The pitiful tiny bat shivering in the darkness that his mind imagined was quickly replaced by a snoring bat who was sleeping the day away on a luxurious big bed. As for whether bats could or could not snore… why would imagination care about real life?
“What should we do now?” Wang Xiaoming stared at the giant black tunnel that took up half a wall.
“This is an amusement park,” Baal answered.
The light from the outside only reached about two or three meters into the tunnel. Wang Xiaoming poked his head in and remarked, “Then this is…” He paused and said in surprise, “Rollercoaster?”
“We’ll find out when we go in.” Baal wrapped an arm around Wang Xiaoming’s waist and jumped up to the edge of the tunnel. The sensation of being watched had vanished, so the other party must have jumped down already and was waiting for him somewhere. He gave a cold laugh and stared at the winding little path in the tunnel that extended into darkness.
Wang Xiaoming squatted down and looked at the wooden board, about a meter wide, that rested in front of him. There were four wheels on the bottom. He said, “This seems like a car.” He pushed the “car” a little bit and the wheels scraped on the floor, making a soft rumbling sound.
Baal kicked with his foot and the “car” rolled away from Wang Xiaoming’s hand, rapidly accelerating to somewhere in front of them.
About two or three seconds later, sparks suddenly flew out from the wheels under the car and sprayed about the tunnel like a meteor shower, lighting the tunnel up.
The car had moved fast and crashed even faster.
Around the part of the tunnel where it twisted, the car rushed straight at the wall like a blind man. Then, it disappeared. The sparks disappeared as well and the tunnel reset itself.
Stunned, Wang Xiaoming stared and asked quietly, “Did you see that?”
“Yeah.” Baal frowned.
They heard the sound of wheels rolling near their feet and another car appeared in front of them.
“Does it mean for us to sit there?” Wang Xiaoming asked.
Baal answered, “A driverless car won’t be able to turn and will only crash against the wall. Which means, this car needs to be controlled by someone.”
“How? There are no steering wheels.” Wang Xiaoming moved his hands all around the car and then called out suddenly, “Hey.”
Baal looked toward where he was pointing.
Wang Xiaoming’s finger was pointing at a groove that was about the size of a fingernail. The grove was a deep and dark red.
Baal contemplated for a moment and then took out the big bottle that held Xiang Wenjie’s blood. He used space movement and directly placed three drops of blood inside the groove.
The groove clicked and a tall handle slowly extended out.
Since there was some distance between them and the car, Wang Xiaoming said, “I suppose that’s the steering wheel.”
Baal said, “We’ll know it when we try it.” He stepped forward and into the car, then stretched his hand out behind him. “Come.”
Wang Xiaoming used Baal’s hand to steady himself as he stood in the car and then wrapped his arms around Baal’s waist.
Baal tried to push the handle forward.
Before he could react, the car rushed forward like an arrow loosed from the bow.
And slammed directly into the wall.
Wang Xiaoming could only hear the sound of wind rushing by and feel the chill on his face, as if his body had crossed some kind of barrier. Immediately after, the stinging pain of light met his eyes and the car under his feet jerked to a sudden stop. He kept moving because of the momentum and his nose slammed forcefully into Baal’s back.
He stroked his nose and slowly straightened up, only to see Baal gazing to the side with a stormy expression.
There, Singh stood with a humble smile as he said, “I think that we have enough time to enjoy dinner together.”