The instant he heard this sentence, Lu Chu immediately wanted to look in Qi Li’s direction, but he resisted this impulse and secretly used his nails to pinch his palm.
He had Song Gui had entered into this ‘game’ according to the ‘rules’, and he didn’t think that they would be noticed by the others inside this game. Within this game, Li Jiapeng and He Mingde also looked normal, and Yang Cheng was the victim. Thus, Lu Chu easily thought of Qi Li, who had been an extremely mysterious presence ever since the first ‘game’.
Only two people could enter in this ‘game’, and they were him and Song Gui. Clearly, Qi Li wasn’t a native from inside the game, so, what identity did Qi Li use when he came here?
When Granny Wang said that “four people came from outside the village” did she mean that there was someone who originally belonged to this village, or was she implying in within them, there was – a ghost?
Li Jiapeng, who had been extremely stressed because of the bizarre events that kept happened, directly asked what Lu Chu was curious about, “are you saying, that amongst us, there’s a traitor?”
Granny Wang looked up at him, and her pair of eyes on her bare-bones body were as bright as a pair of torches, and with a stare that made people’s hair stand on their ends, she said, “not a traitor, but a ghost.”
After the shock of hearing those words, He Mingde returned to his senses and shouted angrily, “how could it be? We all know a lot of people, so how could no one have noticed that someone was a ghost? Aren’t ghosts scared of light and fire and a lot of other things? Also, if there really was a ghost among us, then why didn’t you say so easier, instead of saying it now. Could it be that the people in your village want us to carry this blame?”
“Carry this blame? What’s there to carry.” Granny Wang calmly moved her neck around, and it let out a cracking sound, “as for why I’m only telling you now, it’s because I’m not omnipotent.”
“You’re not omnipotent?” He Mingde laughed, “then, how did you come to the conclusion that there’s a ghost among us?”
Frowning, Song Gui pulled back He Mingde, who still wanted to continue questioning, and signalled for him to stop talking. Then, he himself asked Granny Wang, “sorry, we’ve just lost a good brother of ours, and everybody’s emotions are a little high strung. But I really want to understand this matter too, why did you only tell us now that there’s a ghost amongst us?”
When she heard that, the little girl who hadn’t been talking and was always standing beside Granny Wang became angry, “all of you who came from the city, you’re all bad people! Granny even used a forbidden technique to help you tell your fortune, and she needs to recuperate for a long time, yet you still don’t believe in Granny, and scold her, you, you get out!”
After that, she started to use her thin and small body to push Song Gui and the rest, and she said as she pushed, “bad people, bad people—”
This little girl was the one who helped them open the door the previous time they came. Because Granny Wang’s sense of existence was too strong, they didn’t really pay that much attention to her. Now, they realised that she was wearing a red dress, and wasn’t out of place in this closed and dark space, and suited it.
Song Gui stopped the little girl’s harmless hitting and said, “we didn’t mean that, it’s just that what happened was really unexpected, so our tone was a little blunt.”
But the little girl wouldn’t listen, and looked at Song Gui and the rest with hatred on her face.
Granny Wang called her, “Xiaoyun.”
Only then did the little girl lower her head, and she went back to stand beside Granny Wang again. Only, her hands were intertwined together, and she was continuously mumbling.
Granny Wang stood up, and little girl quickly went up to help her.
Taking a few jade amulets from the table behind her, Granny Wang passed them to Lu Chu and the rest, and they all took it.
Lu Chu took the amulet, and knew that it wasn’t an ordinary item after feeling how heavy it was, so he tucked it into an inside pocket.
Granny Wang waited for them to keep away the amulet with a calm expression before she said slowly, “at the beginning, when first I saw you guys, I only felt some strangeness that couldn’t be described. Do you remember the incense that you left that day? After all of you left, a wind from the underworld blew, and the incense went out. When a wind from the mortal world blows on an incense stick, the incense would only burn brighter and stronger. At that time, I knew that what I felt was correct, it had returned.”
Lu Chu, who knew that he was getting closer to the truth, asked, “it?”
“The thing that killed Guo Jianping twenty years ago.”
As soon as those words were said, even if everybody somewhat it, they still broke out in cold sweat. The Lu family’s grandmother asked sincerely, “will it continue to kill like this? Then what will happen to my dear grandson…… Granny Wang, do you have any way to get rid of it?”
Granny Wang sighed, “this is the reason I’m only saying that there’s a ghost within you all now. It’s not that I didn’t want to tell you before, but because I didn’t know. I can only rely on my feelings to tell if something weird might happen, but I wouldn’t know where the source would be. Now, I’ve used a forbidden art, and lost a few years of my life in vain, only to know that out of the five people who came from outside the village, one is a ghost. As for who, exactly, I do not know.”
Li Jiapeng muttered to himself, “is there really a ghost…… amongst us?”
He turned to look at his former friends, from He Mingde to Song Gui and then to Qi Li, then, he roared, “why?! Even if one of you is a ghost that’s been lurking around for many years, did Lil’Cheng treat you badly? Do ghosts really have no empathy?!”
He Mingde was particularly upset by his sudden questioning, “what’s that supposed to mean, you think we’re ghosts? Let’s not talk about if there really is a ghost in the first place or not, if there really is one, then why can’t it be you?”
“Me? How could it be me?!”
“You might be creating a diversion; ghosts should also have some IQ.”
Song Gui interrupted and snapped at them, “shut up.”
When Li Jiapeng and He Mingde calmed down, Lu Chu turned to ask Granny Wang, “that means, Granny Wang, you’re not its match.”
When Granny Wang heard those words, she nodded her head, “twenty years ago, maybe it could be cured, but now, indeed, I am far from its match.”
Qi Li said, “if there’s a ghost amongst us, and you are not its match, then aren’t we in danger?”
“No.” Granny Wang opened her eyes, and they were still as bright and shining as before, “although I’m not match for him, but once he fully appears, I could still burn it with jade. It’s waited for twenty years, naturally, this isn’t to make trouble for itself, but to take revenge for twenty years ago. It’s not going to expose himself so easily, and you all are simply the starting point for its emergence, and not its target.”
Lu Chu asked, “is it the baby in Wei Rong’s belly?”
Granny Wang shook her head, “no.” Then, she stood up and continued, “what happened 20 years ago wasn’t as simple as we thought. This old lady also only heard some truths from the already crazy Wei Rong, yet I couldn’t put it together. If you all want to know, you could go and ask her, the requirement, of course, is if she can say anything in the first place.”
“Go, go. All of you leave.” With the help of the little girl, Granny Wang walked back into the inner room, and left one last sentence, “Karma is a cycle, and both good and evil have their consequences. Today, I’m afraid it’ll change. This divination hurt me, and I won’t be able to hold on till the end.”
Finally, Song Gui, Lu Chu and the rest all looked at each other.
“Now, what do we do?” He Mingde took the lead in breaking the silence.
Song Gui touched his chin, and looked around, “let’s go back first, whether it’s a ghost or a person, they’ll always show their true form.”
Grandmother Lu had been holding onto Lu Chu’s hand, reciting their ancestor’s blessing.
“I think,” Lu Chu said, “there’s a need to go to Wei Rong’s place.”
Then, he added, “it’s best if we go now.”
Li Jiapeng nodded, “seconded.”
Things were getting more complicated, and nobody would be able to rest assure until they knew the truth. If ‘it’ from twenty years ago started its revenge, who could predict who its next victim would be?
“Okay, let’s go now.”
The Lu family’s grandmother was old, and shouldn’t be overworked. Lu Chu tried every possible way to persuade her to go home and rest, and the rest of them went to Wei Rong’s place.
Most of the villagers on the road were unwilling to pay attention to them, and some children even threw stones at them, which made Li Jiapeng so angry his eyes turned red. Fortunately, Lu Chu had asked Granny Lu where Wei Rong lived, if not, they probably wouldn’t be able to find someone to lead the way.
Ever since twenty years ago, Wei Rong had long lost her ability to live alone. However, her parents had passed, and other family members were reluctant to accept this trouble, so till now, she had been living in the same old dirt house. After all, they were all fellow villagers from the same hometown, so they would take turns to bring her food every day.
When Lu Chu and the rest arrived, they finally realise what it meant when they said that she ‘didn’t have the ability to live alone’.
They could already smell a pungent smell when they stood in front of the small wooden door, and when they entered they yard, they saw that it was so dirty to the point where one couldn’t bear to look. The smell of the thatched cottage and food mixed together, making it really unbearable for people to breathe in.
There were only two rooms in the courtyard, a kitchen and a bedroom. The outhouse was nothing more than a pile of jumbled and broken stone bricks.
Standing in the courtyard, they could vaguely hear Wei Rong talking to herself, it was nothing more than ‘retribution, retribution’, and other kinds of illogical nonsense.
Lu Chu raised his feet, and wanted to enter the house first, but he felt Qi Li grab his arm.
Qi Li said, “I’ll go.”
Then, he lifted his feet and walked in.
Lu Chu followed closely behind, and the moment he entered, he felt the scene before his eyes blur. A pungent stench went straight to their faces, and a mouldy smell coupled with the odour of something being left uncleaned mixed together, and the next second, he saw a long strip of something rushing towards Qi Li, and Qi Li didn’t avoid it, but directly used his hand to defect the projectile.
The thing that was thrown over fell onto the ground, and Lu Chu could finally see that it was a sickle.
Noticing this, he quickly stepped forward to grab Qi Li’s hand to check, and only after he saw that Qi Li was uninjured did he let out a sigh of relief.
When Song Gui saw this, there was still the same look of disapproval in his gaze. In his eyes, Qi Li was nothing more than a non-essential NPC that could be betrayed at any time in this process of fighting monsters and upgrading, and giving real ‘concern’ to people like this was nothing more than a joke.
However, he didn’t know that the relationship between Lu Chu and Qi Li wasn’t as simple as he imagined.
The sickle was thrown by Wei Rong, and towards a mad person’s actions, they naturally weren’t angry, but instead, approached her slowly, wary of angering her. If they did, they might not be able to ask her anything when the time came.
Ever since she became insane, Wei Rong often ran to the village to scream and shout by herself, and on many occasions, people would surround and point at her. Long accustomed to this feeling of being surrounded by onlookers, she didn’t get angry, but instead started to cry towards Lu Chu and the rest.
“It’s not me! It’s not me!”
“Why do you not like me? Is it because I’m not good looking?!”
“Ahhhhhh! What part of her do you like, what part of her do you like!”
“I didn’t do it. I really didn’t do it!”
They didn’t interrupt her, and tried to find some useful things from her words.
Suddenly, she became even more emotional, stood up, and threw herself on He Mingde, and took advantage of him not paying attention to strangle him, “Guo Jianping…… Guo Jianping! You won’t have a good death; you won’t have a good death!”
He Mingde was caught by surprise, and couldn’t breathe for a while. The others quickly rushed up to push Wei Rong away, but never expected that Wei Rong was so strong, and it took a lot of effort for them to do so.
Wei Rong, who had been pulled away, was still cursing, “Guo Jianping, you beast, you bastard! You’re worse than a pig or dog! Retribution, it’s all retribution!”
Song Gui and Qi Li, two adult men, held Wei Rong down, and let her kick her legs about, and when she had calmed down a little, Lu Chu went up to look at her, and said in a gentle tone, “can we talk for a bit?”
When Lu Chu used to be an internet psychologist, he had interacted with a lot of emotional people. Although he hadn’t dealt with anyone who had already gone crazy, but generally, he could calm them down a little.
His voice was calm and clear, his gaze was gentle, and he talked slowly while looking at Wei Rong.
Wei Rong completely calmed down, and her tears began to fall.
“Not me…… it really isn’t me……”
“Guo Jianping, that beast, they’re all beasts, each of them, all beasts……”
“That person won’t forgive you all……”
“That person?” Lu Chu tried his best to soften his voice, “who?”
“Won’t forgive, won’t let all of you go……”
After that, no matter how much Lu Chu tried to talk to her, Wei Rong was still immersed in her own world, talking to herself, and unmoved by the outside world.
Helpless, Lu Chu took out a group photo.
Indeed, that was the photo from the book on the podium. The man in it was calm, the girl was young and bright, and Lu Chu guessed that it was Guo Jianping and his first wife, who was the one who looked extremely good, according to the rumours.
If Wei Rong really loved Guo Jianping, then she was bound to become crazy again upon seeing their group photo, and in case her emotions went out of control, Lu Chu folded the photograph in the middle, separating the two people on it. Then, he brought the side of the photo with the man on it to Wei Rong, and asked, “do you recognise this person?”
When Wei Rong saw the person in the photo, first, there was a flicker of nostalgia, then, she immediately started to glare at the photo and yell, “Guo Jianping, Guo Jianping, you beast, you beast, you’re a beast!”
He Mingde asked, “it seems that this is really Guo Jianping’s photo, but, where did you get it from?”
Lu Chu answered in a brief manner, “picked it up in the classroom.”
He Mingde didn’t ask again, only, he looked at Lu Chu, puzzled.
Lu Chu brought the photo behind him and started to comfort Wei Rong, and after Wei Rong’s mood stabilised again, he placed the other side of the image in front of her.
Surprisingly, this time, Wei Rong stared at the photo for a while, didn’t react, and simply continued muttering ‘retribution, beast’.
Lu Chu was surprised by her reaction. At that time, when Guo Jianping and that girl got married, everybody in the village knew, and coupled with the fact that the girl was good-looking, Wei Rong should have a strong impression of her, but then, why didn’t she have that much of a reaction?
Unless, the one on the photo, wasn’t the girl who married Guo Jianping.
Song Gui, who had been holding Wei Rong back all this time had a reaction. He called He Mingde over, and asked him to help and restrain Wei Rong.
Then Song Gui, who had gotten the freedom to move, took another picture out of his pocket. It was also a group photo, the man in the photo was still Guo Jianping, yet the girl wasn’t the one before.
He had found it in the office, but hadn’t taken it out.
He did what Lu Chu did and folded the photo in half. First, he presented the side with the man to Wei Rong, and got the same reaction; a fierce struggle, and cursing.
After that, he showed the other side to Wei Rong.
This time, Wei Rong’s reaction exceeded everybody’s expectations.
First, she widened her eyes, then, she struggled like crazy, tears ran down her face as she cried, and her eyes were filled with fear. The curses that came from her mouth changed into cries that were begging for mercy, “it’s not me! Not me! Retribution, retribution, Guo Jianping, you bastard, they should all die, all die!”
Wei Rong became so crazed that no matter what Lu Chu did, he couldn’t calm her emotions down, and could only get Song Gui to put the photo away, and wait for Wei Rong herself to calm back down.
After a long time, Wei Rong suddenly became silent, and started to laugh. Her eyes were red as she said, “the cycle of karma, it’s all about retribution, retribution. She won’t forgive you all……”
This time, no matter what they did, they could no longer cause Wei Rong’s emotions to fluctuate.
Lu Chu sighed, “I’m afraid we won’t be able to ask anything more today, it’s already dark, let’s go back first.”
Song Gui thought about it and said, “indeed, we still have many things we need to clarify.”
So they left Wei Rong’s courtyard, and by the time Lu Chu returned, it was time for dinner, so he packed a meal and sent it to Wei Rong’s place.
After dinner, they gathered and took out the two photographs to compare, and got ready to organise their clues.
As for whether the ghost was within them, this matter was put to the side first, and they would move one step at a time
However, before they could even talk more about this matter, the next victim had appeared in the village.
Nobody expected that the next one something would happen to was the village chief.