Absolutely terrified, whole body shivering.
Other than these two phrases, He Mingde didn’t know how to describe what he was currently feeling.
Ever since Lu Chu said that sentence, it was as if invisible hands had constricted his breathing. In such a narrow space, his heart seemed to be beating fast enough to jump out of his chest.
Nobody dared to breathe loudly.
Even Song Gui, who had always been lazy and relaxed softened the sound of his breaths. He didn’t even blink, unsure of where to look.
Li Jiapeng simply shuddered and closed his eyes, as if he had accepted his own destiny.
Life or death.
Another moment later, Li Jiapeng couldn’t stand it anymore. He suddenly arched his back, began to scream and shout, and tried to climb from the back seat to the front in an attempt to take over the steering wheel in Qi Li’s hands. As he moved, he screamed, “stop the car! Stop the car! We’ll die! Die! Die! It’ll kill us all! All!”
Qi Li was exceptionally calm and didn’t let Li Jiapeng, who was trapped in a frenzy, get a hold of him as he controlled the steering wheel.
After a while, Qi Li had already found a safe place and quickly stopped the car.
“Get off the car.” He said.
Under this suffocating atmosphere, everybody heard his words and got down one after another. During this time, Li Jiapeng tugged at He Mingde’s sleeves, and his voice was trembling as he said from time to time, “Lil’Cheng, Lil’Cheng……”
He Mingde couldn’t believe it either. He patted Li Jiapeng’s shoulder and comforted, “calm down.”
Truthfully, he couldn’t really calm down either.
Lu Chu sighed, “don’t worry, we’re safe for now.”
Li Jiapeng didn’t believe it, and said towards the air as he tried to overcome his fear, “I don’t know anything, and just want to live for a while longer, Lil’Cheng, if you can hear this, then let me go……”
Lu Chu comforted him, “let’s go back inside the car. Since it wants to know the truth, then its normal for it to follow us. Didn’t we guess this before?”
That’s right, before, Song Gui had joked that ‘it might be following us all the time, and it might even be interested when we voted.’
But a guess was a guess, and even if there was a 99% chance for that guess to be true, as long as nobody said that it existed, the fear wouldn’t be as heavy; suffocating people until they couldn’t breathe.
Everybody knew that it was following them.
But nobody had confirmed this guess with facts, so they could blind themselves by saying that ‘it’s just a joke, how could it actually be nearby’ in their hearts.
Until Lu Chu said that sentence.
All those constructions in self-convincing were broken in an instant; collapsed.
This time, Song Gui didn’t remain a bystander. Instead, together with Lu Chu, he persuaded Li Jiapeng, because he had slowed down everybody’s progress, and it would only be more dangerous for them. Li Jiapeng had started to panic, and He Mingde wasn’t in a good state either, but he still supported Li Jiapeng to try and comfort him, then finally brought him into the car.
On the car, Li Jiapeng’s voice was hoarse as he asked, “has it always been there?”
Lu Chu replied honestly, “sometimes there is, sometimes there isn’t. Perhaps it left for a while, or the smell might be too faint, and I didn’t notice it.”
This smell, had always been surrounded them since before the village chief died. Only, at the time, Yang Cheng had just died, and Lu Chu’s attention was placed on other things, so he didn’t pay that much attention to it.
Truthfully, there were other details that pointed this arrow towards Yang Cheng, but they were too disconnected, and there were too many sub points. It would be too complicated and difficult to explain, thus, it was much easier to simply voice out the truth.
As for Song Gui’s judgement, since he wasn’t willing to say, and only wanted to watch the show, then he’ll just let him watch. Only, Lu Chu would let him know, that he wasn’t the only one that wanted to select a teammate.
The car was still bumping along, and Li Jiapeng had fell asleep after his mental state had become that tensed. He Mingde rubbed his eyebrows, and only felt extremely tired, both mentally and physically. Song Gui was looking out of the window thinking of something he didn’t know, Qi Li was calmly driving the car, and Lu Chu was rearranging the clues in his mind.
Nobody had asked another question about that smell.
They didn’t know Cui Meier’s exact address, but they knew from Granny Lu’s words. Granny Lu had once gone to find some people of her age group to talk with at the bottom floor of the home estate, then met Cui Meier’s mother, and found out that she had just bought groceries while they were talking.
She was probably going home after buying those groceries, then, naturally, her home should be nearby.
Neither Granny Lu or the village chief’s wife remembered Cui Meier’s formal name, and they didn’t even have much impression of her father’s name. After all, they had moved away twenty years ago, but Granny Lu had told them that ‘Liu’ was the surname of Cui Meier’s father.
The few of them found a hotel to stay in near that estate, booked a huge room, and the five of them tried their best to live together.
After that, they went to find if there were any families surnamed ‘Liu’ living in the area.
He Mingde didn’t feel assured enough to let Li Jiapeng move alone, so they formed a group, while Song Gui, Lu Chu, and Qi Li moved alone.
After a few hours, they gathered back at the hotel.
He Mingde said, “surname, age, as well as time they lived in this area, I have three that fit the criteria. As for whether they moved here from a village, normal neighbours wouldn’t know too much.”
Qi Li said, “two.”
Song Gui said, “one.”
Lu Chu smiled, “two. One of them apparently moved here with their whole family from a poorer village.”
Song Gui patted Lu Chu’s shoulder, “great, let’s go find that house first.”
Their luck was quite good, and coincidentally, there was someone at home. After asking some questions, this person was indeed the one that had moved out from their village twenty years ago.
Lu Chu politely asked, “excuse me, is Cui Meier your daughter?”
The instant they said this, the old man’s expression changed, “en.”
Lu Chu and Qi Li glanced at each other, then said, “it’s like this, there’s some things we have to ask her, may we know if she’s free?”
The elder glanced at Lu Chu, then said, “forget it, since you’re old man Lu’s grandson, and I believe that you’re not some sort of scoundrel, just come in first.”
The old man served them some tea, “this daughter of mine, I haven’t seen her for a few years.”
Lu Chu said, “is it convenient to tell us the reason?”
The old man opened his mouth to speak, hesitated, then sighed, “forget it. I’ll tell you guys. Quite a big deal was made of this matter, all my neighbours know about it, and till now, they’re still treating it like a joke. Even if I don’t tell you guys, you could find it out from them.”
“Although I do not know why you’re looking for my daughter, but it’s the truth that I haven’t seen her for a few years. I couldn’t control her anymore. Twenty years ago, she wanted to be with a man that had a wife, and even moving houses didn’t stop them from going out. Afterwards, there was nothing definite left, and a few years later, she’s thirty-plus, with children and a husband, but she took her family’s money and ran off with another man. Before she left, she even tricked away the money from our surrounding neighbours by saying that she had to go to the doctor…… Now, I…… even if I return all the money she took, it still won’t be able to stop the neighbour’s mouths.”
When Lu Chu heard those first few sentences, he quietly met eyes with the others.
The elder got up to turn the gas stove heating up the water off.
Lu Chu took the photo out, and on it was Guo Jianping and Cui Meier’s group photo. He thought about it, and still nearly tore off the half containing Cui Meier. After the elder returned, and only took out Guo Jianping’s photo and asked, “do you any impression of this man?”
The elder only glanced at the photo and said, “yes! Isn’t this the man that tricked Cui Meier despite having a wife?”
“Then, did he come and find Cui Meier after that?”
“He did. I’ve got quite an impression of this kid. He looks like a good person, yet his character isn’t that good. He had come over to find Cui Meier before we moved, and said that his wife had ran away with another person, and he wanted to be together with Cui Meier. We didn’t agree and dragged Cui Meier to A City. I never expected that after some time, he came again. At that time, I was still busy with my career, and had basically lost all contact with the people in the village. Additionally, Cui Meier insisted, so I thought it would be fine to try it out. I never expected that he would end up dying later, and he had remarried by then.”
“Do you know how Guo Jianping had died?”
The elder shook his head, “not sure about it, after all, I’ve already moved my household register out, and the village had covered it tightly, so I only heard that it was a sudden death.”