Chapter 2 Samsara
Mr. Cat held my gaze for a while, and then he sighed and smiled.
“Aiya, you’re really full of surprises. But since you insist so strongly, then there’s nothing I can say to make you change your mind, right?”
“In that case, I won’t stop you. But before you go, please take this,” While speaking, he straightened up, slowly turned around and took a dusty mask down from an old shelf behind him.
The mask looked very strange. I did not know what kind of creature it was; it looked like a mix between a sheep or a cow at the same time. The mask was made of metal and felt pretty heavy.
“What is this?” I turned around and looked at Mr. Cat, confused.
“Put it on,” Mr. Cat said calmly. “This mask can hide your human scent, so that demons and spirit won’t notice you so easily. This is the only thing I can do for you.”
I picked up the mask and glanced at Mr. Cat to show my gratitude.
“Go.” Mr. Cat went into his small noodle restaurant and lifted the curtain inside the restaurant. You couldn’t see a kitchen behind the curtain, the only thing you could see was… nothingness.
It was the void.
“From here on, I will not be able to escort you,” Mr. Cat said. “Once you enter, you’ll be on your own. We will meet again if fate allows.”
I smiled. “Well, I hope to see you again, though I don’t know if we will have that chance, but you should see ‘me’ again very soon.”
Mr. Cat gave me a gentle smile. “I hope so.”
“Well, if you meet the ‘me in the past’, please show him the way. The guy doesn’t know anything yet, he’s fearful and confused now,” I said sincerely.
“That’s for sure.” Mr. Cat nodded.
I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and jumped off into the dark abyss of the void.
Who am I?
Where do I come from?
I gradually lost consciousness while running. Now I could clearly feel that my consciousness was disappearing, I had to constantly remind myself of the purpose of this trip so that I could keep moving.
Yes, I need to find him. No matter what price I’ll pay, I must find him!
Water splashed all over my body as I was running. I could not hear anything in the empty corridor except for my rapid breathing and the sound of water splashing.
It was the same endless corridor. Although it was empty, once I closed my eyes, I could feel countless dark shadows wandering in front of me. I was by no means alone.
Fortunately, the mask Mr. Cat gave to me seemed to have the power to resist evil spirits. I was not haunted by anything strange along the way.
However, even so, it was almost impossible to find Wen Jiubo by myself in this long and endless corridor. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
My memories like dust to the wind, became blurry and scattered.
The person I am looking for is Wen Jiubo, but … who is he?
I can’t remember.
The loss of memory really made me irritable. No matter how hard I thought, how desperately I tried to remember, I just could not recall his appearance.
He must be a very, very important person to me. I must find him. I come here to find him. If I fail, everything will collapse!
However, where is this place?
Where is this place… and who am I?
I had to stop running. I leaned against a wall and tried to calm down.
I tried hard to recall something, but those memories were like sand on the beach. The harder I tried to get a hold of them, the more easily they’d slip through my fingers.
You have to find that person… but, what is that person’s name?
I couldn’t remember when I actually forgot the name of the person I had to find.
Besides that, even my own existence gradually became blurry. If this went on, it would not take long for me to disappear from this world.
I began to walk forward aimlessly. The corridor in front of me was extending with no end in sight. Small branching paths would appear on both sides of the corridor from time to time.
For instance, I began to think that it might be a good choice to disappear in this unknown place.
Just at this moment, I suddenly heard a voice in this quiet place. It was the voice of a young man, and it sounded unusually familiar.
“Hello! Where are you? Wait!”
That person’s shout was accompanied by the sound of water in front of me. I turned around and saw a little girl, who was obviously a spirit, passing through the corridor ahead. She giggled creepily.
Is this guy a moron? That is obviously a trap, why would he be stupid enough to follow her?
No, no… that person, the young man who followed her, it’s me!
I rushed up without hesitation and grabbed his wrist. He seemed to be startled, and I covered his mouth before he could scream.
But… he kicked me in the stomach.
It hurt so much that I almost swore. I held my stomach as I bent over in pain.
Damn, this kick reminded me of many things. How could I forget? The last time I was here. I was so terrified that I harshly kicked that stranger.
But, how could I know that the stranger was actually myself?
Just as I was taking deep breaths to try to clear my mind, the me from the past spoke timidly, as if he had finally gathered up some courage.
“Umm, that, that…”
“What the fuck!” My stomach hurt so much that I cursed.
“I’m, I’m sorry.”
I saved him out of kindness, but not only was he not grateful for this, but also kicked me——wait, he was me, should I curse at myself?
Forget it, my head was a mess now. To be honest, recognizing that person was the best I could do now.
At least I need to give him a warning so that he will not be in trouble again.
“This is the conjunction of Yin and Yang, and there are cracks created by void everywhere.” As I gasped, I warned my stupid self. “If you had caught up to her, she would have led you to a void crack. Once you fall in there, you will disappear forever. And when I say ‘disappear’, it’s not just death. Cracks will erase your entire self from the world and make it so you never existed in the first place.”
‘Gu Yu’ looked at me in surprise, and he stammered, “But … why did she do that? Also, who are you? Why are you here?”
Yes, the mask.
I was still wearing that mask, of course, he could not recognize me.
“Because she is the most dangerous thing in here; she gains her demon power by sending souls into the cracks. And it doesn’t matter who I am.” I awkwardly fixed my mask before leaning on the wall to stand up. “What matters is, who are you?”
“Who am I?” ‘Gu Yu’ mumbled and repeated my question, and then he shook his head and eagerly asked, “Who I am is not important! The important thing is, do you know a man named Wen Jiubo? Or, or a soul? Have you seen him? I came here to find him!”
Hearing that name made me shiver uncontrollably.
A vague figure suddenly flashed in my mind. A slender man dressed in a robe as if he came out of a historical period drama. His beautiful long hair falling like a waterfall on his shoulders. He stood under an old tree as if he was born from the moonlight.
That’s… he’s the one I have to find!
However, I was running out of time.
“I don’t know!” I suddenly raised my voice, which seemed to startle the young man in front of me.
I don’t know.
Where is he? Who am I? How can I find him? Where the hell is he?
“I’m sorry, I don’t know. Because I’m also looking for the most important person for me here. I really can’t help you.”
I began to feel dizzy as if a hand strangled my neck from behind, and my vision became blurry.
You have to find him.
Save him. You must save him.
“Uh, okay.” I heard myself from the past saying. “Then I won’t bother you. Thank you for saving my life…”
“Be careful. This is not the world you are familiar with, anything can happen here. Don’t get lost, or you may never get back. And, follow the fragrance.”
I gave the last advice to myself in the past, and then walked away without looking back.
I must find him…before I disappear from this world.
In front of me was the endless corridor, like my personal hell with no end in sight. I could only rely on my fading memory to slowly move forward.
I tried my best not to forget the altar I once saw. That was the only clue to find Wen Jiubo. He once said that the altar came from his memory. Which means, the altar was the lifelike illusion formed by the wandering spirit of Wen Jiubo.
So as long as I can remember the altar, I can ——
I did not remember how long I had been walking, nor where I had been. I even had this illusion that if I kept going on indefinitely, I would soon become the same dark shadows that I could see linger around in the corner of my eyes and become an evil spirit that wandered in the gap between Yin and Yang forever.
However, just when I was about to give up, I suddenly heard a voice.
“… I’m a dead man. What you’re seeing is just a spirit. It’s not your fault. It’s an established fact, and you can’t change it.”
“But, but!” Another voice tried to refute.