7 was the first person that Lu Chu had seen, and he was also the person that he believed in the most. 7 knew about his past and the confusion he faced, plus, they had joined hands to escape a desperate situation during the end of the world.
Even choosing to work with Song Gui was simply because it was the best choice in that situation. There wasn’t any trust, and under the constraints of the ‘rules’, they would be unable to harm one another, That was enough.
If he calculated it carefully, it hadn’t even been a month since the man and Lu Chu knew each other, and it’s only been a few days since they broke off contact. But after going through the baptisms of all those life and death situations, Lu Chu had already gotten the illusion that he had known him for a long time. He only spent a night in the second ‘game’, and together with the two days that he had spent in the illusion and his room. However, now, when he saw 7, Lu Chu felt as if they were good friends who hadn’t seen each other for a long time.
The important thing was that Lu Chu still had a lot to ask the man.
No matter how many ways Lu Chu’s mind was turning, on the surface, he still appeared ignorant and curious, and followed the crowd to make way for the five youths.
When Song Gui and 7 walked past Lu Chu, and neither of them paused at all, as if they were strangers that had never met before.
The village wasn’t big, and it didn’t take long for the village chief to show the five young men around the village. Song Gui seemed to be the leader of the five people, and he grinned cheerfully then told the people behind him, “let’s live in this house, it’s near the village entrance, and looks big enough. Plus, it’s also convenient for our equipment.”
The others looked into the yard, and nodded with satisfaction, “Xiao Song1小宋 (Little Song). Nickname, since you’re our director, you can decide. It’s all up to you.”
Song Gui turned to the village chief and smiled, “which family lives in this house, is it convenient for us to live here?”
“Convenient, convenient!” The village chief smiled again, “there’s a lot of large rooms in this house, and there’s only two people living in there, Auntie Lu and her grandson. Auntie Lu has a very good temper too, why don’t I help you guys ask first?”
Song Gui nodded, “then we’ll trouble you.”
“No trouble, no trouble.” The village chief said, and went into the yard.
The other onlookers whispered, and said that the family was lucky.
Song Gui secretly looked towards Lu Chu, and revealed a sly smile.
That’s right, the house Song Gui chose, was the house that Lu Chu lived in.
Soon, the village chief led the old lady out in a hurry. The old lady first saw Lu Chu, and reached out to call him over to her side in a loving manner, then looked at the five young men who looked different from the villagers, and asked with a smile, “are you the children that came from the city?”
Song Gui gave a polite smile, “yes, Granny2奶奶, while also used by grandchildren to call their grandmothers, it’s also used as a term of address for elder women (of white-hair grandmother age) that you’re not related to., we’d like to stay at your place for a while, will it be disturbing you?”
“Ahaha, it won’t, it won’t,” the old lady waved her hands, “just nice, our place is big and we don’t have much people, if you guys don’t dislike it, just stay.”
The old lady really felt that it would be good if these young people were able to stay here, since they could be company for her grandson.
“Thank you very much,” they politely replied.
“You’re welcome, you’re welcome,” the old lady said, and pushed Lu Chu forward, introducing him to the five people, “this is my dear grandson, Lu Chu, you can just call him Xiao Lu.”3Same with Xiao Song, 小陆 (Xiao Lu/Little Lu) is a nickname.
Lu Chu gave a gentle smile, and nodded towards the people, “hello, I’m Lu Chu.”
“Qi Li.” 47’s name. 7 is Qi (七) in Chinese. While his fake name’s Qi is 祁.
In return, the young men also said their names.
Lu Chu glanced towards 7 a couple of times more, Qi Li…… In the end, it still started with a Qi, and he didn’t know whether it was his real name or not. He still remembered when they first met, the man had said that he only remembered that he was called 7, and he had forgotten everything else. In that case, was unlikely that ‘Qi Li’ was his real name.
After this, they were considered to have met each other. The village chief enthusiastically called several strong men to help the five move their equipment, and Lu Chu also went up to lend a hand.
During this time, Lu Chu found some time and secretly asked Song Gui how he knew where he lived, and Song Gui had said in an exaggerated manner, “Chuchu! I’m paying attention to you all the time!” Hearing what he said, Lu Chu instantly turned away.
After working for a while, they finally moved everything into the house, and the two cars were simply parked in front of Lu Chu’s place. The few of them weren’t worried that the cars would be stolen, after all, not many people in this village knew how to drive.
By the time they were finished their work, it was long past lunch time, and other people, whether they were helping out or just watching, had returned to their own places. The old lady had taken advantage of the time when they were moving all their things to make a bunch of dumplings, and they all had a hearty meal.
In the afternoon, the five young men carried their equipment around and made several rounds around the village. Finally, they decided to use the abandoned courtyard that used to be a school as their main shooting location, and tried their very best to persuade the village chief to give them the keys of the office and the other room.
After hearing the news, Lu Chu thought that he really made the right decision to give up the idea of smashing the window since he wasn’t in a hurry.
They busied around, and by the time they were finally ready to shoot, it was already the next morning.
Because the room hadn’t been cleaned, the five people swept the room. During this process, Lu Chu didn’t manage to find the opportunity to talk with either 7 or Song Gui alone.
When they arrived at the abandoned yard carrying their equipment, Lu Chu asked them curiously, “what kind of film are you planning to make?”
Other than Song Gui, Yang Cheng was the most talkative one out of the five, and he laughed, then leaned over to Lu Chu’s ear in a mysterious manner, then lowered his voice and said, “what we’re going to shoot is a…… ghost…… story……”
Yang Cheng looked simple and honest, and had an outgoing personality, but he always liked to play tricks on others.
He Mingde had the appearance and temperament of an intellectual, he pushed his glasses, and told Yang Cheng, “don’t always scare other children.”
The easy-going Li Jiapeng also echoed, “that’s right, that’s right.”
They talked for some time, and soon, they reached the classroom door.
A gust of wind flew by, the grass and leaves rustled, and the classroom door which moved slightly by the wind creaked.
Yang Cheng laughed, “this place has a quite a good atmosphere.”
He said, then Song Gui opened the door and took the lead to walk in while the rest of the people followed.
7 and Lu Chu were at the end, and when 7 walked passed Lu Chu, he lowered his voice and said, “be careful.”
Lu Chu was a little startled, then his lips slightly curved up, “you too.”
After Song Gui entered into the classroom, he searched through the classroom just like Lu Chu had done. After flipping through the assignment books, he pulled out the keys and told the others, “the atmosphere isn’t bad, let’s go to the other two rooms to see.”
The first room to be opened was the office, and the moment they opened the door, the smell of dust mingling with the smell of decay spread out, and choked them until they coughed. There were many things in the office, and Song Gui entered and looked around, then casually started talking to the rest as he flipped through the things.
In the eyes of the rest, Lu Chu was simply someone that Song Gui looked favourably upon, and an assistant that he had brought. It wouldn’t be too good if he started flipping through things, so Lu Chu could only stand and watch as Song Gui searched, and the others had also started searching.
“You guys are planning to make a movie, but you don’t have actors?” In this ‘game’, he and Song Gui were teammates, and in order to ensure that Song Gui’s searching wasn’t too obstructive, Lu Chu deliberately guided his conversation with the rest.
They had only known each other for a while, but Yang Cheng particularly liked to tease Lu Chu, he smiled and joked, “we haven’t found the right person yet, why not be our actor, maybe after you become a huge star, you’ll thank us.”
Lu Chu quickly waved his hands and shook his head, “this, I…… I really can’t.”
Yang Cheng continued to joke with him, “you’re still young, and might not understand, but let this big brother teach you an important thing, no matter what, a man cannot say that he can’t.”
Li Jiapeng hit Yang Cheng on the shoulder and said, “go go go, go do some actual work, and don’t talk nonsense over here.”
He Mingde patted Lu Chu and said, “we’re making a documentary, so there’s no need for actors, and the more realistic it is, the better. When the time comes, we’ll interview the people in the village, and maybe we’ll interview you……hm? If it’s like this, then you might even become a star.”
As always, 7 didn’t speak much, and he just stayed on the spot and fiddled with his camera, as if totally uninterested in the outside world.
While they were happily chatting here, Song Gui had almost finished searching. Lu Chu noticed that he had secretly put something in his pocket, and thought that he probably found something.
After that, they opened the room where Guo Jianping used to stay.
Guo Jianping had only lived here when he first came to the village. Later, he bought a long-uninhabited courtyard in the village, and he also got married with his two wives here. Up till now, the crazy Wei Rong still lived in the courtyard that he had bought later.
People weren’t actually allowed to live in the rooms of this school building, and it was a place for him to rest for a while if he was tired after teaching. Furthermore, it wasn’t as convenient compared to going back home or resting in the office. However, the opposite was true here. Even if the room had accumulated a lot of dust, and was extremely dirty, one still could see traces of people living here. There were clothes for spring, summer, autumn and winter, daily necessities…… there were all there, and even in certain areas, they found some women’s products.
Yang Cheng joked, “we heard that strange incidents had happened in this village before, so we chose to come here to film it, and we’ve heard a little about what happened twenty years ago. They said that this man who died in a strange manner always thought about his ex-wife, and I feel that these things might belong to his ex-wife. After all, men. The best ones are those they can’t control or get.”
The others didn’t comment.
After walking around the room, as the director, Song Gui clapped his hands and said, “let’s shoot some scenes here in the day to see what it’s like, and we’ll come by again when it’s dark, and take a creepier night view.”
Everybody heard his words and started to work separately.
After shooting, they returned home and ate a simple lunch, then carried their equipment to the village chief’s house.
The first person they were going to interview was the village chief.
The village chief had no experience in facing the camera, and was awkward for a long time before he calmed down slightly and sat in front of the camera with a somewhat normal mood.
Song Gui was sitting and controlling the camera, while the rest stood behind him, and waited in silence for everything to start.
After he started filming, they first went quiet for a few seconds, then Song Gui asked, “how many years have you been the village chief here?”
“More than ten years.”
“How’s the current situation in the village?”
“Still okay, all the young people have left to make a living……”
The two of them asked and answered, and the atmosphere was just right. A moment later, Song Gui asked, “has anything strange ever happen in your village?”
Song Gui smiled, “it’s like this; we’re interested in these type of rumours, and the film we make will also attract more people.”
“So it’s like this……” the village chief nodded, and told them somewhat on and off about folklores and legends.
Seeing that he didn’t speak about what they were interested in for a long time, Yang Cheng was somewhat anxious, and he interrupted, “do you know what happened in this village twenty years ago?”
As soon as he heard ‘twenty years ago’, the village chief’s gaze immediately changed. First, he was shocked, then he said, “twenty years ago, it’s true that something strange had happened here before, but that’s all in the past. I know that young people are curious, but it’s better to ask less about this thing.”
“That……” Yang Cheng still wanted to ask something, but was interrupted with a wave of Song Gui’s hand.
Song Gui put away the equipment, and politely said to the village chief, “thank you very much for today, we’ll just be filming until here.”
The village chief wave, “no problem, no problem. Find me in the future if you need anything.”
They thanked him and left the place.
On their way, Yang Cheng wondered, “Xiao Song, why didn’t you let me finish asking? The more they try to keep their mouths shut, the more interesting it is, and we can’t give up such good filming material.”
He Mingde replied on behalf of Song Gui, “we’re not only staying here for a day. There will be opportunities in the future, and if the village chief is unwilling to say, we could still find other people. It’s not worth it if the village chief kicks us out for this.”
Li Jiapeng added, “besides, we still have to prepare for this evening’s shooting, and to be honest, I feel that the abandoned courtyard gives off a scary feeling, and no matter whether you believe in it or not, it’s better to pay some respects before you go.”
Lu Chu didn’t participate in their conversation, but instead, he in inadvertently looked in 7’s direction. 7 noticed it, looked back towards him, and gave a nod.
Somehow, Lu Chu felt relieved.
The author has this to say:
I thought when I returned home, there would be nothing to do and I could write freely. Didn’t expect that other than having to prepare for new year’s, I must also guard against surprise attacks from my mother.
Me, who was typing–
My mother, who pushed the door open and entered: What are you doing?
Me: Type…… typing words.
Curious Mother: What story, let me see.
Me: …… Gay, gay stuff?
Author died, at the age of three and a half.
Feel a little scared ahahahaha
The translator has this to add:
Don’t worry author, I get that feel.