“I want to go with you two!”
I said as I looked at them, determined. I didn’t care about their refusal, I was still resolute.
Yang Yi did not agree and looked at me anxiously: “It’s very dangerous inside, you should stay outside. Don’t go in.”
I was not even looking at him. I looked at Pervert, wanting to get his opinion.
To convince him to let me go with them, I turned away, with my face heating up and my eyes shining and said in an embarrassed tone, “I’m not brave enough to stay out here by myself. Look, it’s so dark here. If you two go in, you’re going to leave me here all by myself… I don’t care. If you two are going in, I’m going in too!”
Yang Yi looked around, he seemed swayed. Then, he looked at Pervert, as if waiting for him to make a decision.
Pervert stayed quiet for a long time, before nodding and motioning in my direction. “You have to follow closely behind me, don’t run around.”
I immediately smiled and ran to him, grabbing his arm with both hands and looking up at him.
Yang Yi, seeing that Pervert had agreed, didn’t say anything and instead, pushed open the half closed door and walked in first.
As the door slowly opened, I could see that everything inside was pitch black. Even as the orange yellow light flooded in, the inside of the house seemed unaffected and remained dark.
Inside and outside the walls seemed like two different worlds. The light from outside seemed incapable of reaching inside, and I had no way of knowing what was waiting for us on the other side of the dirty, old door.
Maybe it would just be an old courtyard with old dried up grass that didn’t look anything like the beautiful summer vegetation outside. That would be the best possible option.
The worst possibility would be meeting something unclean. I wasn’t worried about normal evil spirits because Yang Yi and Pervert could both exorcise them easily.
But if it was a powerful spirit, I feared for Pervert and Yang Yi’s safety.
I was angry. If it wasn’t for some youths looking for excitement and then, breaking into this old site, then we wouldn’t have to go in to make sure that the thing trapped inside had not escaped.
I gripped tightly onto Pervert’s arm. Everything was pitch black. When I stepped through the wooden doorway, I could clearly tell that the sounds of the birds, frogs and crickets had immediately dimmed.
It was like my ears were suddenly filled with cotton, separating me from the rest of the world.
I felt myself slowly heading towards a place that did not belong to the living world.
The heat did not ease up, and anxiety made my whole back wet with sweat.
My mind flew back to the roiling black cloud that I had seen through the wall some ten minutes ago, with a pair of glowing red eyes inside that were as big as lanterns. The intimidating pressure made my hair frizz.
Was that thing the evil spirit that was sealed inside the old site?
“Such a strange aura, it’s more than ten times stronger than what had seeped outside.”
Yang Yi’s voice was tight. Just by hearing it I could tell that he was very nervous. I could even hear the sound of him swallowing.
Pervert’s hand grabbed mine, his palms were cold, without even a trace of warmth that should have been present in a human. This did not scare me, instead it settled my heart.
He was always by my side. He wouldn’t leave me. I was safe, and Pervert would protect me.
He was gripping my hand so hard it hurt, and I felt him stop at the doorway. I looked at him and asked worriedly: “Are you alright?”
Had he sensed something?
Pervert squeezed my hand twice to signal that he was fine, however his masked face indicated that he was looking at Yang Yi: “I don’t know what your ancestors did, but this price, someone has to pay.”
I froze in place. Although Pervert’s words seemed unimpressive and did not even continue on from what Yang Yi said, I understood what he was implying.
Yang Yi turned on the flashlight app on his phone. His smile was more bitter than a Coptis Chinensis*.
The situation was definitely not good, otherwise Pervert wouldn’t say something like that.
I could not sense the “aura” they were talking about, but because of Pervert’s “blessing,” my body had changed fundamentally, so I could sometimes see spirits. However, as I was not an Eclipser, I could not detect auras.
But based on the behavior of the two people beside me, I could tell what kind of environment we were in.
When I thought back to our earlier conversation, I remembered that they had both used the word “ritual”.
What kind of ritual could make Pervert act like this?
The light coming from Yang Yi’s phone illuminated the inside of the courtyard.
As I expected, it was completely desolate. Although the main house’s arched double door was wide open, I couldn’t tell what was inside, because I was too far away, and the light could not reach that far.
We walked in. There were two Huai** trees, one on the left and one on the right, but they both seemed sickly, leaning crookedly to one side. Their green leaves had turned yellow and grey, with heaps of decaying leaves and branches on the ground, rotting where they fell.
Huai trees? Why Huai trees, out of all trees?
My eyes narrowed as I thought.
If a household wanted to plant trees, there was a reason they would not plant Huai trees. The character “Huai” had the characters for “wood” and “ghost.” When I was younger, my grandmother had said that the Huai tree attracted ghosts, making spirits more likely to attach themselves to this type of tree, so if it was planted in the home, it would negatively affect the household.
The Yue Family had planted this type of tree?
That too, at the front door?
When I thought of how the faction that worshipped ghosts persecuted the faction that worshipped gods to their deaths, I knew that these trees were probably planted by that faction.
“Are we still going in?” Yang Yi asked
Pervert held my hand and walked in. The door was wide open, but did not look like it had been blown open by the wind, but rather like someone had opened it.
The double doors were opened almost to their limit and the paper that had been plastered in the cracks were all gone.
As we walked further inside, the sounds of nature coming from the outside gradually disappeared. All I could hear was my frantic heartbeat and both Yang Yi’s and my own breathing.
Pervert suddenly stopped walking and bent down, looking at the ground. He then signalled for Yang Yi to aim the phone flashlight where he was looking.
“Shine the light here.”
When Yang Yi pointed the flashlight where Pervert indicated, I saw a backpack covered in a layer of dust.
Next to the backpack there were some modern snack packets, the food inside was gone. It had probably been eaten by cockroaches or rats.
Someone had actually come here. I could still vaguely see half a shoeprint in the corner.
Maybe this place had many other shoeprints, but under summer conditions where it rained frequently, the shoeprint in the corner was extremely important.
It didn’t indicate how many people had entered, but it proved that at least one person had definitely come in.
In front of the house’s door, there were three stone steps. At either side of the steps was a stone statue.
The stone statues were not of lions or other “lucky” animals that attracted fortune and repelled evil, instead, they were a type of animal that I had never seen before.
It was hideous and resembled a canine, but had three heads. It’s expression was savage and the carving was so intricate that I could see just how sharp the claws on its feet were. I believed that if this type of animal really existed, its claws could definitely slice off a person’s head!
The surrounding area was lit up by Yang Yi’s phone, but everything else was swallowed up by darkness. The eerie, hot wind blew ceaselessly.
I wondered whether I should tell Pervert about the roiling black mass that I had seen. As each second passed, the silence seemed to press down on me with more pressure and terror. I pulled on Pervert’s sleeve.
“How about we… we leave, there’s nothing here…”
I began to regret my earlier decision. I should have listened to them and stayed outside. I should have gone back to the villa and gone to bed and try to convince myself that everything that happened was a dream.
But with how things were developing, turning back now would be difficult.
Yang Yi’s expression was terrible, with tinges of green and purple on his face. His mouth opened and closed. His eyes looked in one direction, eyeballs rolling in his sockets.
Pervert suddenly spoke. I wasn’t willing to guess the emotions hidden in his deep voice.
“No. It hasn’t left. It’s still here.”
His words were like a huge hammer, smashing on my heart. We had only gone in a few steps, but I was already at my limit. I didn’t want to keep going.
I felt like if I walked in any further, I would be crushed by the pressure and fear.
Yang Yi lowered his voice, almost whispering. His eyes were still directed in one place, and when I turned to see where he was looking, all I saw was where the right arched door lead, pitch black, only showing part of a path paved by smooth round pebbles.
“It’s here. Luckily it didn’t escape. Let’s hurry up and leave before it senses us.”
Pervert nodded and turned, pulling me towards the exit. I don’t know why, but as we walked away, I turned to look at the arched door.
A pair of round red eyes appeared in the darkness. The eyes were rapidly coming towards us, the two red lanterns getting closer and closer.
“Damn it, how did it sense us?!”
Yang Yi grabbed my free hand and started running towards the wooden door. His other hand pulled a paper talisman from his pocket and he mumbled to himself: “Luckily I had enough foresight to draw the talismans before we came in.”
Pervert almost flew towards the doorway. He was extremely fast, but the pair of red lanterns behind us were even faster!
The door was almost close enough to touch. Pervert’s arm was tight around me and his other hand gripped Yang Yi’s collar, dragging us both outside!
A gust of wind slammed the wooden door closed. The owner of the red eyes was already extremely close. Its whole body was covered in a black fog, and I could hear the sounds it was making.
Sharp and piercing, as if tens of thousands of men and women were screaming, but also like nails raking over metal.
The door closed with a ‘thud.’ Yang Yi disregarded Pervert’s hand which was still on his collar. With his pointer and middle fingers, he threw the talisman towards the doorway and it stuck!