stepped out first, stood outside the door, held on to the frame, and shouted, “Swoop!”

Tian Si De, who had already raced so hard that his heart and lungs were burning and he was on the verge of passing out, faltered and rushed over, kicking the unconscious boy at the Zhang family's high threshold and fell right through.

A big blade grazed his hair and sliced deep into the vermilion door frame.

Hoodie hurriedly pulled Tian Si De out of the Zhang family's reach.

Tian Si De collapsed and used his elbows to soften the fall, avoiding a bloodied nose.

Tian Si De's knees were still feeble when he was lifted, but he pointed forward and muttered shakily, “Run……
to run……”

He appeared to be frightened.

Hoodie chuckled and patted him on the shoulder, motioning for him to turn his gaze.

The guards and servants vanished once Tian Si De had passed past the Zhang household gates.

The only trace left was the freshly cut sword mark.
A narrow but deep sword mark proved that Tian Si De's recent chase was not a hallucination.

“Disspawned.” Hoodie said, “But don't think that's the end.”

“The servants and guards of the Zhang House will now appear at random across the village.
The enemy's short-range line of sight is no longer valid.
They will pursue you for as long as they can see you until you escape the haunted house.”

Tian Si De's face had become blue.
His lips shook as he struggled to find the right words.

“Looking at your stamina, I reckon you'll be caught after wandering around the village.” Hoodie said, “I'll walk you out of the haunted house.”

“No way!” Tian Si De dismissed the decision unconsciously, adding, “Wen Wen hasn't been found yet!”

What would happen to his girlfriend if he left now?

And Tian Si De had deduced that this was not an ordinary haunted house.
That huge blade that swung down! He would have died on the spot if it hadn't been for Hoodie!

What would happen to Wen Wen if he was so powerless as a man here?

Wen Wen was so delicate.
He was even afraid to squeeze her hand too hard.

He had to find her…

“But you're hardly alive after running this little distance, eh?” Hoodie rubbed their disheveled hair and stabbed Tian Si De in the heart with their comments, “You would sooner drop dead than rescue anyone.”

Tian Si De: “……”

Indignantly, he blew a heated breath.

“Well, then, I'll take you to the village's outskirts first, and you may wait for me there.” Hoodie offered, “I'll return after I've found Fang Wen Wen.”

This appears to be the best option at the moment.

But this made Tian Si De feel guilty.

But before he could say anything, Hoodie climbed down the steps and attempted to return through the alley.

Tian Si De: “……
Wait for me!”

He took three steps and swiftly came up behind Hoodie as the silence between them started to stretch.

“That,” Tian Si De said tentatively after a short stroll, “why don't we switch on the lights?”

He hadn't found it terrifying as he went with the lights on, but without the dim glimmer of the flashlight, it felt like the road ahead was a dark, gloomy abyss.

Every step he made felt like there was no way ahead, and he was afraid he'd take a step and tumble into a pit.

His heart was in his mouth, and his spirit was stiff.

“It's not that I didn't want to,” Hoodie said, spreading their hands, “but I broke the rules, and the haunted home banned my flashlight.”

As they spoke, they handed something to Tian Si De's eyes, only to hear two “clicks” and no light came out.

The flashlight didn't work anymore.

Tian Si De was a bit disappointed.

“Did you just say…
you broke the rules?”

“You didn't know?” Hoodie seemed astonished, then explained, “It's a haunted house safety measure.
You are not allowed to assault the staff of a haunted house.”

'You're the only one who treats those monsters like they're employees!' Tian Si De muttered inwardly, but swiftly reacted.
“Did you beat them up?”

Hoodie gave a lazy “hmmm”.

“I was in a rush and had act quickly.”

'So you were the one who caused those muffled noises.
It's no surprise that everything went so smoothly when we came out!' Tian Si De pondered.
He pursed his lips and felt a bit touched when he realised this.

However, without the flashlight, they could see much less.
The journey ahead would be significantly more challenging.

“If you're afraid… here—” Hoodie handed over the broken flashlight, saying, “Hold it.”

Tian Si De: “……”

He adjusted the flashlight and steadily grasped the grip at the flashlight's broad end.

Tian Si De immediately grasped Hoodie's concept.
Holding the flashlight backwards reduced the likelihood of it falling off, even if it slid due to cold sweat.

He might now use it as a weapon.

This hoodie kid was so nice!

Tian Si De was almost moved to tears after he met such a fearless and resourceful young pal in this terrifying haunted house.

“This alley is only slightly darker, and when we come out, the moon overhead will be significantly brighter than a flashlight.”

Hoodie rambled on, as if feeling his anxiety, and said, “I'll leave you off at the end of the village later, and you can find a safer place to sit there……”

“Brother.” The boy behind them sniffled and choked out a sob, “You're my real big brother!”

Hoodie didn't even look back, “Even if you call me daddy, I'm not going to give you a piggyback ride.”

Tian Si De choked: “……”

——— Translators Notes ———

I modified a few of the jokes as they had slipped past MTL and sounded awkward, but i tried to keep the spirit.

cǎo, literally “Grass”

Often used as a homophonic of “肏cào”/fuck

草泥马 cǎo ní mǎ (grass mud horse) = 肏你妈 cào nǐ mā (fuck your mother)

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