It hadn’t even been half an hour since something happened to the village chief, yet everybody in the village knew.
With tears on her face, the village chief’s wife came to the Lu family’s door with a shovel to pound on the door, crying as she pounded, “it’s all your fault, you sons of a bitch, you were the ones that touched the negative energy of the ghost and gods, but how did this retribution fall on my husband’s head, get the hell out of here! Give me an explanation, return my husband back to me, give him back!”
The sound of other peoples’ conversation and shouts were also mixed into it.
Lu Chu already knew that the situation was bad from listening to a few words.
The impact couldn’t be considered small when the second one something like this happened to was the head of the village.
One should know, that in a poor village like this, the most powerful one was usually the village chief. Most of the time, the village chief was the one that dealt with all the major and minor matters in the village, and the amount of prestige he had would be quite high. If the next victim was somebody else, it would still be okay, but if it was the village head, this would maximise the fear that the villagers would end up feeling towards the ghosts and gods. Also, in a village, if nobody with authority came out to pacify the situation, it would only end up becoming more chaotic, and at that time, there wouldn’t be a need for ‘it’ to take revenge, for this village would collapse on its own.
Lu Chu quickly helped Granny Lu to the room at the side, and closed the door after repeatedly urging her, to ensure that the old lady didn’t get affected.
After all, this matter needed them to settle it face to face.
They looked at each other, and He Mingde went up to open the door.
The moment they opened the door, the shovel that the village chief’s wife was waving about came down. Fortunately, He Mingde’s actions were quick and he had anticipated it, so he avoided it. If he hadn’t, there would have been blood.
The village chief’s wife entered the courtyard, and in an instant, a large group of people also crowded into the courtyard from behind her.
Looking at the way things were, even if Lu Chu and the rest were five men, it still wasn’t that good. Before, if the villagers had simply gathered before just to watch, this time, they were really angry, as if they couldn’t wait to eradicate the people in front of them.
Out of the five of them, Lu Chu was the only one capable of talking with this group of villagers had had lost their minds, after all, he was a part of this village.
Lu Chu stopped in front of the village chief’s wife, who seemed as if she had lost her mind, and asked sincerely, “auntie, what happened?”
“What’s wrong?!” As soon as he said those words, the village chief’s wife started crying so hard she became out of breath, “you ask those bastards behind you, what kind of thing did they do to provoke those unclean things. It’s fine if they caused their own person to die, but why did my husband end up getting implicated?!”
Next to the village chief’s wife, another old woman pulled Lu Chu over to her side and said, “I say, Lu family’s young man, you should stay away from these few, they’re all plagues. Nothing happened in our village for so many years, yet ever since they came, the trouble never stopped. I heard that they brought you to the old yard last night? Oh, hope they didn’t pass that negative energy to you too!”
Lu Chu tried to explain, “Auntie, it’s not……”
“All of you shut up!” The shrill voice of the village chief’s wife stopped everybody else’s, “today I’ll grab you bastards that came from outside and bring you in front of our ancestor’s tomb to burn!”
Song Gui frowned, “are you sure? It’s a law-based society now. If you really do something like this, I’m afraid you’ll be invited to the police station for tea before you can do anything to us.”
“Police station? As if I’ll be scared of that you scoundrels!” The village chief’s wife had obviously lost her sense of reason, and her features were extremely ferocious, “my husband’s already dead, what’s the point of me being alive? If you guys were the ones who got in touch with the gods and ghosts, then the ones that should die are all of you, all of you!”
Then, she pointed towards Lu Chu, “and you, Lu family’s brat! You’re not that good either, if not, why would you hang out with these people, I’ll catch all of you together!”
“What did you say? Who are you going to catch?”
The village chief’s wife’s voice was loud, and Granny Lu in the side room had heard everything clearly. When she heard her targeting her grandson, she instantly forgot the words her grandson had comforted her with, and didn’t care about anything as she rushed out of the room to question the village chief’s wife. When he saw this, Lu Chu immediately went up to support her.
In more remote and backwards places, the difference in status amongst people were much stricter, and older people tended to have more of a say in things. Even if the village chief’s wife and Granny Lu weren’t from the same ancestral clan, she still had a lot of respect for her. Now, since the old lady had spoken, even if the village chief’s wife was still in an emotional state and not calm at all, she didn’t point or scold at anyone anymore, and only said, “please move aside, if these few don’t return my husband to me today, I’ll make them all go down an accompany him!”
The villagers who followed behind also started discussing the matter, and said that these people were all jinxes, and they were afraid that they would end up implicated next.
The situation seemed as if it was going to be out of control, and both sides were at each other’s throats, as if there was going to be a huge fight at any moment, when a path suddenly appeared outside the yard.
Lu Chu looked up, and the one who came turned out to be Granny Wang.
Before, Granny Wang said that she had harmed her body and lifespan because of the divination, so she needed to rest and recover. Now, she actually came here in person, and he felt that she probably must have heard what had happened.
The villagers believed in ghosts and gods, and every New Year’s or during other festivals, they would burn paper offerings or incenses, and although they weren’t willing to spend money on a day to day basis, when it came to big matters such as marriage, their children’s exams, bereavement, they would always go to Granny Wang’s place to get a divination, to avoid or change any disasters. Granny Wang was rather skilful, her divinations were accurate, and even the neighbouring villagers would come over to get a divination, thus, the villagers believed in and respected her very much.
At this moment, when they saw that the Granny who didn’t normally go out specially came to this place, everybody unconsciously made a gap large enough for one person to pass through, and let her go to the front, and the originally noisy crowd also calmed down.
Granny Wang was supported by the little girl who lived with her, she glanced at the crowd, and her gaze landed on the village chief’s wife.
The village chief’s wife first took a moment to react, then she cried out towards Granny Wang, “Granny Wang, you have to help me, my husband, he…… he, it’s all the fault of these outsiders!”
Granny Wang stopped her from continuing on and said, “the reason I came here is to settle this matter.”
Once they heard that she was going to take care of this matter, the worried and fearful villagers all put down their worries, and they asked one after another, “Granny Wang, what are we going to do about this matter?”
Granny Wang shook her head, “when I said settle, it’s not to settle the matter of the unclean thing, but to resolve your current stalemate.”
The village chief’s wife asked, “what do you mean?”
“Everything that happened in our village since last night, didn’t start because of these people. In fact, since twenty years ago, I already knew that there would be such a day.”
“Twenty years ago…… hasn’t what happened twenty years ago long been settled?”
“It wasn’t settled, and it has always been here.”
The village chief’s wife didn’t believe, “even if that unclean thing had always existed, it’s only because these people provoked it.”
Granny Wang ignored her and only said, “whether you believe in it or not, just now, I made another divination, and it was for our village. These outsiders aren’t the source of all the disasters, and instead, they might be the thing that could stop the root of this disaster.”
“In other words, if we let them investigate this matter, most of the people in this village are likely to escape this disaster.”
The village chief’s wife said, “Granny Wang, please make yourself clear. Why does our village have to encounter such a thing, who’s sin is it?”
Granny Wang said, “if you want to live, then just let these young people go out and check. If they find out the truth, and the unclean thing gets subdued, we will be safe, if they can’t find out—”
The other villagers quickly asked, “what will happen if it isn’t found out?”
Granny Wang looked around, “those people will know what will happen.”
“It’s too resentful, our village, can’t escape.”
After saying that, she ignored everybody else, and walked unsteadily away with the help of the little girl, and the villagers also unconsciously made a path for her.
“Can’t escape, can’t escape.”
These three words echoed in everybody’s ears, and when a few villagers heard the words ‘too resentful’, a flash of horror crossed their faces. Lu Chu secretly observed, and remembered these people.
That night, the villagers loitered around the Lu family’s house for a while, but eventually dispersed, as they were really convinced by Granny Wang’s words. They all still remembered that Granny Wang had said that something was going to happen to “the whole village”, so those that could leave the village did, and those that couldn’t closed their door and refused to go out.
For some time, the whole village didn’t seem alive at all.
After Lu Chu and the rest discussed, they still didn’t manage to get much useful information. Right now, only one thing was for certain; the girl in Song Gui’s black-and-white photograph, was Guo Jianping’s first wife. She was the one in the rumours, the good-looking but vain, and later, ran away with another man from the outside and didn’t return.
As for who the other girl was, and when she appeared at Guo Jianping’s side, might be a key to whether this mystery could be solved at all.
Additionally, Lu Chu was concerned about another matter, that was Granny Wang’s “those people will know what will happen.” This sentence obviously referred to some people who were there at that time. If that was the case, then, what exactly did these people know?
And what connection did they have with what happened twenty years ago?
It was one thing after another, and everybody who had no clue in the first place became even more confused.
He Mingde and Li Jiapeng started to argue again, because at the time of the village chief’s accident, about half-an-hour before they started their discussion, He Mingde had gone to the toilet, for about ten minutes.
Li Jiapeng’s mental state was quite tensed, and insisted that He Mingde was the ghost, and that the reason he went to the toilet at that time was to go and kill the village chief on the other side.
He Mingde scoffed, “I wonder if something’s wrong with your brain, if I’m the ghost, would I take the trouble to leave so obviously? And you simply said it out like that, aren’t you afraid that I’ll end you on the spot? Don’t you understand such simple logic? You really need to calm down.”
Song Gui said, “Jiapeng should calm down a little, none of us have seen a ghost before, and we also don’t know what means it has, what if it doesn’t need to go there in person to kill?”
Lu Chu supported, “everybody should calm down.”
“Heh,” Li Jiapeng sneered, “although Granny Wang said that there’s a ghost amongst us five that came from outside, but I don’t think that there’s no chance of you being one.”
Lu Chu raised his eyebrows, and maintained a gentle and warm smile, “me?”
“Of course,” Li Jiapeng said, “you look younger than us, but you were only a little bit surprised when you encountered this matter, besides, who else would carry along photos of other people around with them?”
Lu Chu laughed, “of course there are, for example, Song Gui.”
Seeing the this matter had gone in circle and was back to himself, Song Gui rubbed his eyebrows, “you guys really think there would be a ‘ghost’ that would have the time to play a ‘It’s night, please close your eyes and find the real culprit’ game?”
He Mingde asked doubtfully, “what do you mean?”
“At present, I still believe in Granny Wang, and at the same time, the most unlikely thing is often the truth.”
Song Gui opened his hands, “I vote Qi Li as the suspect.”
Immediately, the others turned to look at Qi Li.
Qi Li said, “reason.”
Song Gui laughed, “I just think that you’re a little out of place.” Obviously, he tone showed that he was joking.
It’s true that he’s a little out of place, because from the start, Qi Li wasn’t an NPC.
Then Song Gui continued, “but if you really are, then why would you still continue to be around us after killing two people, and why not kill us all together. I believe, towards a ‘ghost’, it would be a simple matter.”
Lu Chu tapped the table with his fingers, “I was also thinking about this problem, no matter who this ‘ghost’ is, it clearly has the ability to kill all of us, so why would it hide in the dark? Could we understand it in this manner; it’s in the dark, because it’s looking for something, whether it’s a person or the truth. After it finds this thing, it won’t have any regrets left, so it’ll then go and reincarnate, or kill us all until there’s nothing left?”
Song Gui thought for a moment, “it makes sense. So, we’re safe for now, and even if something does go wrong, we’ll disappear one by one, instead of being slaughtered altogether.”
“Therefore,” Lu Chu continued, “do the people who get murdered have a connection to what it’s looking for? Or, the ones who get murdered stopped it from getting the clues it needs…… I think, it’s not just us who wants to know the truth about what happened twenty years ago.”
Their trail of clues ended here, and although it was getting late, they still decided to go to the village chief’s place to check out his body.
They didn’t even know if there was a dead body left.
Lu Chu stood up, and wanted to go over to Granny Lu to tell her first, when Qi Li also got up, “I’m going with you.”
When they entered the courtyard, Qi Li said in a low voice, “do you think it’s me too?”
Lu Chu paused, “en?”
Then, he realised that this was referring to the fact that Song Gui had suspicions that he was a ‘ghost’.
Before Lu Chu could express his opinion, he heard Qi Li said, “I’m not.”
Qi Li continued, “remember the note I wrote for you?”
The piece of paper with only two sentences on it, Lu Chu still carried it with him.[From life to death, don’t trust anyone.
I will find you.]
“From life to death, you cannot trust anyone else, not even yourself.”
Saying that, Qi Li stopped, it was dark in the courtyard, and neither of them turned on a flashlight, and it took a while for Lu Chu to see Qi Li’s expression; deep, and resolute.
He said, “but, you can trust me.”