When Li Mazi saw my strange expression, he ran behind me. “Little Brother Zhang, is everything okay? We can still leave...”
I turned and glared at him. “If you want, you can leave. Don’t linger here and talk nonsense. It’s not like we have to leave together. But let me tell you something... If you walk out that door today, you should never come back to my door again.”
Li Mazi was stunned and couldn’t speak. After a long time, he sighed. “All right, all right! I’m not leaving! After all, I’m a nice guy. I’m too nice, and I have a soft heart.”
He hummed ‘Heart Too Soft’ by Richie Jen as he headed toward Old Gang’s bedroom.
I grabbed his collar and pulled him back. “Why do you have to follow us in?”
“What should I do then?” Li Mazi fumed. “Since I’m here, I might as well see that otherworldly item.”
I sniggered and shot him a strange look. “Oh well, you can see it, but…” I purposely stretched my words.
“But what?” Li Mazi became tense.
“But… if that otherworldly item curses you, don’t come looking for me.”
As soon as Li Mazi heard that, he turned around and returned to the living room. “Little Brother Zhang, be safe. Remember that your brother’s waiting for you outside. If things go wrong, just scream. I’ll storm in with an ax to hack that evil thing!”
He moved so quickly that I almost saw afterimages. A second ago, he was still right before me. In the next second, he was in the corner of the living room, happily unboxing Old Gang’s packages.
I ignored him and followed Old Gang to his bedroom.
His bedroom was also dark with loosely hung curtains. It was so dark that I couldn’t even see my fingers. However, the ticking sound from the clock was very clear. It felt like water droplets gently falling on a stone. Each ticking felt both distant and near.
Old Gang sat on the edge of his bed, his face emotionless. “Here it is. I’ve been tortured so much that I’m about to lose my mind. If it continues, I will die soon…”
I found the switch on the wall and turned on the lights.
To Old Gang’s surprise, all the sounds in his ears stopped. The instant the lights in the room were turned on, the clock stopped moving.
The hour, the minute, and the second hands all halted. The surroundings were now deadly silent, and Old Gang dropped his jaw in shock.
A clock was displayed by the bedside table. Its dark brown wooden case looked smooth and shiny due to the age. In the middle was a glass cover that had many scratches. It looked like a top-quality jade piece with some flaws. The hands were made of pure bronze. Due to humidity and improper storage, the hour hand and the minute hand had dabs of patina.
At the top of the clock, there was a sign similar to the Chinese character ‘一.’ It was like an abyss that had suddenly appeared in the middle of a meadow. It was rather eye-catching.
Old Gang stared at the clock with a disbelieving look. “I-It stopped moving!”
It seemed this strange otherworldly item had a fatal flaw. It was afraid of light.
As long as it had a weakness, we could deal with it. I heaved a sigh of relief.
But before I could relax, the familiar ticking noise began again. However, this time, it was much faster.
Old Gang, who had just felt a glimmer of hope, was scared again. He tried to gasp for breath like a goldfish out of water. He was breathing desperately, terrified of the incoming death.
The last beam of light in his eyes seemed to have vanished.
I wasn’t afraid of him not having any hope, but rather him not having any fighting spirit. If he didn’t even have the will to live on, I could do nothing to help him.
I was worried about Old Gang. I couldn’t let him stay in the bedroom for too long.
“Li Mazi! Li Mazi!” I called Li Mazi, who was in the living room.
However, he didn’t answer me. Feeling puzzled, I walked out of the bedroom.
Li Mazi was standing at the main door, cautiously looking inside the villa.
I was furious. “You bastard! You told me that you would wait outside and storm in with your ax if I needed help. Is this how you planned to help me? By watching the main entrance?!”
Li Mazi wore an aggrieved face and pouted his lips. “Little Brother Zhang, you can’t blame me. I… I couldn’t find an ax!”
What an excellent excuse! I hated that I couldn’t just kick him to death.
“You’re such a coward. Luckily, you were born at the right time. If you had been living during the Resistance Era, you would have labeled a traitor!” I shot him a disdainful glance.
Li Mazi hated the term ‘traitor’ the most. When I said that, his face reddened. He screamed, “Who’s a coward? I... I was trying to explore the exit for us. After all, if that thing was too strong and we couldn’t deal with it, we would have to escape!”
He then straightened his back and tried to look valiant. He walked in and said, “Who’s a coward? Do I look scared?”
If Old Gang wasn’t in critical condition, I would have loved to give Li Mazi a proper scare.
For Old Gang’s sake, I decided to spare Li Mazi for the time being.
I asked Li Mazi to help Old Gang come out of his bedroom.
As soon as Li Mazi entered the bedroom, he saw the clock and smacked his tongue. “It’s just a small item. Is it that powerful?”
I was losing my patience. “Get him out of here and close his bedroom.”
I turned around and went to the living room, where I saw the things Li Mazi had unboxed on the floor.
They were the same items. They should be the things Old Gang had ordered before this happened.
Everything was so strange!
All of a sudden, I heard a loud noise from the bedroom. I turned around and ran toward it. Li Mazi was on the ground, growling in pain. Old Gang looked as though he had lost his mind. He was standing in front of the clock and meticulously rubbing the character ‘一.’
Li Mazi scolded weakly, “Old Gang, are you crazy?! You hit me so hard that you almost broke my rib. You’ll have to pay for my medication!”
I suddenly remembered Old Gang’s great strength. I had noticed this about him when I first saw him at the gate.
Old Gang was now approaching madness. I worriedly called him, “Old Gang, are you okay?”
After a short pause, Old Gang abruptly picked up the clock.
“Old Gang!” I wanted to stop him.
The man raised his head and smiled at me. I could see all the green veins on his face. His face twisted strangely. At that moment, I felt that Old Gang was now another person. When he opened his mouth, it was like a bottomless dry well, so dark that I couldn’t see the bottom.
The clock fell to the ground.
With a loud bang, I felt a sharp twinge at the nape of my neck. I felt as if someone had just punched me hard, which gave me head-splitting pain. I then fell and blacked out.Previous Chapter Next Chapter