Chapter 4 – Convenience Store Clerk (2)

When Jiang Yujin arrived for work the next day, he had the chance to hear from another clerk named Xiao Li about what had happened yesterday.

Xiao Li had family members hospitalized, so he couldn’t be too far away, which led him to work there. He happened to get some good melons from other patients in the hospital.

Yesterday, besides the usual emergency cases, an additional special patient was brought in by ambulance and was accommodated on the floor above them.

Rumors spread from an unknown source suggesting that the patient was physically fine but seemed exhausted to the point of being unable to move. Upon examination, it was discovered that their eyes were dry, as if they hadn’t closed them for a long time. Despite the rescue efforts, the patient remained unresponsive and still lay in bed.

Jiang Yujin listened intently, propping up his chin, and asked, “Has anything like this happened before with someone else?”

Xiao Li replied, “Yes, this is the third one this month.”

“The three individuals who had these incidents all worked in an office building. They were found collapsed at the building’s entrance at night. The police investigated several times but found nothing. I heard that many companies and shops in that building have temporarily stopped their night shifts.”

“I have a delivery to that building today.”

He paused for a moment, then continued, sounding like he was stating a fact but also perhaps reassuring himself, “I’ll go in the afternoon and return in the afternoon, won’t stay until the evening. Hopefully, nothing will happen.”

Outside the glass door, people were moving around. Xiao Li glanced outside as he spoke, catching sight of someone in a unique black uniform getting out of an oddly styled vehicle and swiftly entering the hospital.

Jiang Yujin glanced as well but wasn’t particularly interested. After a brief look, he withdrew his gaze.

Xiao Li, on the other hand, seemed quite intrigued. It wasn’t until the figure disappeared from sight that he turned back, sighing, “I heard the members of the Special Investigation Unit all returned from that game.”

Most of them still didn’t know the difference between those returning from the game and regular people, but they were undeniably powerful.

Jiang Yujin raised an eyebrow, “Is that so?”

He glanced at Xiao Li, nodded, and said, “We have a customer.”

The morning passed quickly. In the afternoon, Jiang Yujin received a call from Chen Jing.

Chen Jing mentioned having midterms these days and was going to a classmate’s house for a study session, so would return late.

As an understanding parent, Jiang Yujin agreed and instructed Chen Jing to get along well with classmates and to be polite when visiting someone else’s home.

Xiao Li was nearby during the call and heard a couple of sentences. His expression gradually shifted from calm to shocked.

After ending the call, Xiao Li hesitated before asking, “Do you have… a child who’s already in high school?”

His tone was incredibly incredulous.

With a quick nod, Jiang Yujin admitted, smiling, “Can’t tell, huh? Actually, I’m quite old.”

Xiao Li chose to believe him but seemed greatly shocked. He glanced at Jiang Yujin several times, then left with a wooden expression.

Jiang Yujin grinned, leaning on his hand.

In the quiet afternoon, Xu Gao, still in recovery, came by again, pretending to browse on a shelf. When the customers in line at the cashier had left, he swiftly approached the counter, his somewhat mobile hand reaching for something on the table, his face full of excitement.

That expression was too familiar to Jiang Yujin.

After all, not long ago, Xiao Li had shared hospital melons with that same expression.

Xu Gao asked him, “Have you run into your ex-boyfriend these past few days?”

Jiang Yujin withdrew his previously kind evaluation of this person.

Their relationship wasn’t significant, as it was evident this person primarily wanted some fresh melon.

“Sorry,” Jiang Yujin apologized, “I forgot he’s already deceased.”

Xu Gao: “?”

Xu Gao was greatly shaken.

The clock in the store chimed, followed by a series of light-hearted tunes.

Accompanying the tunes was the sound of the automatic door opening.

A guy in a floral shirt appeared at the entrance, squinting as he glanced inside the store, waving to Xu Gao by the counter:


Jiang Yujin glanced at him.

The guy in the floral shirt raised an eyebrow at the corner of his eye. When he smiled, he resembled a fox.

Xu Gao glanced at the guy’s attire and asked, “Aren’t you on duty today?”

This person didn’t look like he was on duty; he seemed more like he was on a leisurely vacation.

The guy in the floral shirt introduced himself as Hu Li, casually handing a pack of cigarettes to Jiang Yujin from a shelf while pulling out his phone to scan something. He said, “It’s not time for my shift yet.”

Xiao Li passed by with the goods, loaded them into the car parked on the side of the road, and got in.

Jiang Yujin waved at him.

Xu Gao and Hu Li left too.

Jiang Yujin yawned.

As the sky gradually darkened, the city’s skyscrapers stood against the descending orange sun, now a pitch-black silhouette, appearing like abrupt black pillars standing on the ground, cleaving the sky.

People came and went in the convenience store. Xiao Li, who was supposed to return in the afternoon, still hadn’t shown up. Jiang Yujin tried calling him, but there was no answer.

Raising an eyebrow, he dialed the hospital’s number.

After a few transfers, a doctor picked up, indicating that Xiao Li, who was supposed to come to the hospital that afternoon, hadn’t shown up.

Jiang Yujin made another call.

Half an hour later, the barber shop owner stood at the convenience store entrance, cigarette unlit in his mouth. His expression carried a chill as he said, “You better have a good reason for calling me here.”

Jiang Yujin smiled.

The barber shop owner successfully transitioned to become a distinguished convenience store clerk.

Facing the cold stare, Jiang Yujin pocketed his phone, waved, and said, “Good luck.”

He swiftly left.

Outside the store, the air felt heated. The second rush hour was in full swing, causing a series of traffic jams emitting a stifling gasoline smell.

Jiang Yujin checked the store’s records and found the building Xiao Li had gone to today. He glanced at the route on his phone, pondered for a moment, then procured an electric scooter.

The scooter was small but fast. The wind whistled by as his slightly long hair flew backward, revealing relaxed eyes.

In the immobile traffic, the scooter maneuvered through and attracted the attention of other drivers. Finally breaking free from the gridlock, it sped away.

By the time Jiang Yujin reached the building, the sky had turned completely dark.

City lights illuminated, forming a collective brightness among the surrounding buildings.

At night, the city transformed its appearance.

Carefully parking the scooter, Jiang Yujin patted its handle and looked up at the towering building before walking to the entrance.

The building’s gate was shut, a sign reading “No Entry” placed in front.


After a moment’s contemplation, Jiang Yujin glanced at a nearby camera, then at the ground, and staged a fake stumble.

Stumbling forward a few steps, he grabbed the door handle with precision and exerted a bit of force, successfully tripping himself into the building.

Different from the other buildings around, this office building was devoid of people. Only the emergency exit signs glowed faintly in the darkness, emitting an eerie greenish light.

Because his phone had run out of battery from playing games for too long and forgetting to charge it, Jiang Yujin didn’t force it and navigated blindly on the ground floor.

There were five elevators on the ground floor—three were for passengers, and the last two were for goods. Despite the building being dark, the elevators still had power, their red numbers glaring in the darkness.

Apart from the innermost freight elevator, which remained on the fourth floor, all the other elevators had stopped on the first floor.

It seemed necessary to make a trip to the fourth floor.

The situation wasn’t clear at the moment. Logically, the most cautious method would have been to take the stairs.

However, contrary to ones better judgment, Jiang Yujin confidently stepped into one of the elevators.

He never opted for walking when there was an option to take the elevator, always aiming to conserve energy.

Fortunately, the elevator was still operating normally and stopped on the fourth floor.

Exiting the elevator, Jiang Yujin patted the neighboring elevator door, calling out, “Xiao Li?”

There was an instant “clank” sound from inside the elevator, like something colliding with it.

“Ah… I’m here! I’m here!”

Jiang Yujin found himself involuntarily taking a deep breath.

That sound was a bit unsettling.

He attempted to find something to open the elevator door from the outside. Perhaps it was the fear that arose from being alone for too long that made Xiao Li, still inside the elevator, speak continuously:

“This afternoon, I had an accident while delivering goods. When I was going downstairs, everyone on this floor had left. As a result, the elevator got stuck, no signals inside, and the emergency bell was broken.”

Most shops on this floor were still under renovation, and there were only a few that were actually open for business. After they closed, this place became completely deserted. No matter how much they shouted, no one would hear them.

Jiang Yujin continued searching for something suitable.

Xiao Li inside the elevator momentarily sighed in relief, “Thank goodness you’re here.”

Not finding anything suitable, Jiang Yujin directly reached out and pulled at the elevator door.


The enormous metal door slowly opened, allowing light to seep out, illuminating the dark space.

Xiao Li’s eyes widened gradually inside the elevator.

Supporting himself against the elevator door, Jiang Yujin appeared even more surprised than Xiao Li and said, “Isn’t this elevator supposed to be fine? Just press a button and it opens.”

Being trapped inside the elevator for too long had made Xiao Li dizzy. Upon hearing this, he nodded and rushed out of the elevator, using both hands and feet.

Suddenly transitioning from brightness to complete darkness, his eyes took a moment to adjust. Xiao Li took out his phone and turned on the flashlight to see more clearly.

Once the person was found, it was time to leave. Xiao Li was in no state to consider taking the elevator again, so Jiang Yujin guided him to find the stairs.

Following the signs for the emergency exit, finding the stairs wasn’t too difficult.

Even though it was already dark, having someone beside him made things progress smoothly. Xiao Li let out a slow breath, directing the light towards the stairs.

Jiang Yujin was still observing other parts of this floor. As he turned his head, he noticed the person beside him had stopped.

Looking at the area illuminated by the phone’s light, Xiao Li trembled and raised his hand, asking, “Was this thing originally here on the stairs?”

Jiang Yujin followed his finger’s direction.

A small puppet stood in the middle of the stairs, dressed in a blue uniform, a face oddly familiar.

It was Xiao Li’s face. The puppet smiled, the corners of its mouth forming an eerie and oddly cheerful arc.

Observing for a moment, Jiang Yujin finally gave his assessment:

“Really ugly.”

<< _ >>


Melons – meaning gossip or news / eating melons = listening to gossip or gossiping

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