Due to its bad reputation, the Azalea House had fallen into disuse. Although this was the case, the Hong Kong government had chosen not to tear the building down, and had instead left it to its fate.
I raised my head and looked around. The building was full of cracks, and there were large holes between the various floors. I was afraid that everything would just crumble down if a strong wind blew over...
Once we were inside, we found ourselves in a hall filled with garbage and excrement. It seemed that people had been using the first floor as a public toilet. The stench was unbearable, and there were flies everywhere.
We had no choice but to quickly head to the second floor.
The second floor turned out to be even worse. The corridor was filled with rotting stray cats and dogs, with the corpses of other animals also lying around.
Although it was daytime, the bodies of those animals made the place look gloomy and dark.
When we reached the third floor, things got a little better. There wasn't any excrement or animal bodies, and we even found two cotton-wadded quilts.
Yin Xinyue muttered, "Some beggars or homeless people probably live here..."
The higher we went, the more desolate the place got. After going past the fifth floor, we didn't find any traces of human activity.
I could easily guess the reason. Those that had committed suicide by jumping off the building did so from the fifth floor or above. Therefore, no one dared to come here.
The sun outside was setting, and the corridor was already pretty dark. Maybe the bad lighting had also contributed to making the Azalea House this gloomy.
The current situation was outside my anticipations, and I was forced to cut out some of the unnecessary steps and told the others, "Look for a room without a bathroom."
Yin Xinyue asked curiously, "Why are you specifically looking for a room without a bathroom?"
I replied, "In these places, the majority of the negative energy concentrates in bathrooms. Therefore, it's relatively better if we find a room without one, lowering the chances of meeting foul spirits."
Li Mazi was scared out of his wits. "A-Are you admitting that there are spirits in this world? Do you think we’ll be able to meet one tonight...?"
When we’d dealt with the embroidered shoes, Blue Head, and Snake-Fostering Blade, while some strange things had happened, we hadn't really met a ‘ghost’.
This was the reason Li Mazi had such a big reaction.
Maybe Li Mazi is afraid that he’ll lose face if it got out that he’s a merchant of antiques that hasn't ever seen a ghost...
I shook my head. "The foul spirits I was talking about aren't the same spirits you’re thinking of. They aren’t necessarily ghosts and might just be evil spirits."
"Evil spirits?" Li Mazi suddenly got curious. "What do you mean by that?"
I had no time to bother with him and kept searching the place. If we waited until it was too dark we’d be at a disadvantage.
In the end, Li Mazi shut his mouth, and we started to inspect the rooms on the fourth floor.
Yet, all the rooms in the building were identical, and it wasn't easy to find one that was different from the others. My plan was to look for a storeroom or staffroom, both places that shouldn't have a toilet.
But, the building had been abandoned before the various facilities could be completed. As such, there were only rooms to accommodate people.
Luckily, we managed to find a public bathhouse on the eighth floor. The public bathhouse seemed to have been reconstructed some time after the completion of the building. That was where we would be staying tonight.
I heaved a sigh of relief and brought Li Mazi and Yin Xinyue downstairs to have a meal. My sixth sense was telling me that the Human Bones Necklace would appear in this place over the next few days!
After going downstairs, we ate some shrimp-filled dumplings and bought a few things. Then, we returned upstairs.
The door of the bathhouse was still intact, but the windows had been ruined. The three of us curled up in one corner and patiently waited.
To avoid giving away our position, we didn't even switch on the flashlight.
Yin Xinyue felt somewhat uneasy at first, but after I comforted her, she finally calmed down, with her complexion turning for the better.
Nonetheless, she was still scared, and she tightly pressed her body against mine. After feeling her soft and warm body, I started to indulge in flights of fancy, and the primitive desire buried in my heart started to resurface.
But, I quickly suppressed it. Now wasn't the time to think about this stuff, we were in Hong Kong's dwelling of the dead!
The whole building was very quiet, and the bustling streets started to become deserted. The street lights also went out one after another.
Earlier, the lamplights of the building in front would cast their light over here, but now, there was only darkness.
I felt a chill in the air, and my back was covered in sweat. Yin Xinyue also reacted and leaned closer to me.
I comforted her, telling her to sleep for a while.
Yin Xinyue nodded and lay in my embrace, looking sleepy.
Li Mazi took out his phone and started to play mobile games.
Nothing happened before midnight, which made me feel relieved. It meant that my choice had been correct.
However, the calm didn't last long. While I was attentively watching Li Mazi playing Tetris on his phone, I heard a sound coming from the head of the stairs.
I returned to my senses and patted Li Mazi's hand, hinting at him to stop playing games.
Li Mazi also heard the sound coming from the head of the stairs and even forgot to blink.
I shook Yin Xinyue to wake her up. Then, I pointed toward the head of the stairs, hinting for her to stay silent.
Yin Xinyue listened carefully and subconsciously held onto my arm. "What... what’s that sound?"
I said, "It seems as if something is crawling on the ground..."
Li Mazi commented while shaking, "I recall that scene from the movie [Ju-On: The Grudge], the one where the ghost lady crawls upstairs with her face covered with blood..."
I inwardly cursed Li Mazi's eighteen generations. Great. Now, even I’m afraid!
The rustling sound didn't stop, and it really felt as if something was crawling upstairs.
The sudden noise had caused my heartbeat to speed up.
Fortunately, that thing didn't crawl toward the bathhouse and moved in the opposite direction after reaching the head of the stairs. I heaved a sigh of relief and whispered, "As long as you don't make a sound, no one will discover that we’re here."
"Rustle, rustle, rustle..."
The rustling sound moved further and further away until it finally stopped. Then, the heart-stopping sound of a knock echoed.
After the knock, there was silence. Around two or three seconds later, a hoarse voice, gender unknown, asked, "Daughter, are you here?"
Yin Xinyue clung to my arm even more tightly, shivering all over.
I took her in my arms, gently patting her just as you would do with a baby.
After the sudden noise, there was silence again.
Then, the creeping sound continued. This time, it was moving toward the bathhouse!
There was another knock, and that person repeated, "Daughter, are you here?"
The other party seemed to be reiterating the same actions in front of every door.
I was very anxious. Are we dealing with a human or a ghost?
I didn't really believe in ghosts. At most, I thought that some things were strange and hard to explain. Yet, when faced with such a situation, these thoughts couldn’t help but run through my mind.
I knew that the other party would knock on the door of the bathhouse sooner or later, and there was a chance we might get discovered. What to do in that case?
The three of us were trembling like criminals waiting for their sentence.
At last, the creeping sound closed in on the bathhouse, and the familiar knocking sound echoed again.
My heart almost jumped out of my chest as I stared at the door without blinking.
Afterward, the hoarse voice echoed again, "Daughter, are you here?"
We quickly covered our mouths, afraid of getting discovered.
Just like the previous few times, after determining that there was no one in the room, the opposite party left.
I heaved a sigh of relief. The other party didn't discover us.
Still, I felt that there was something wrong, but I couldn't tell what...
Li Mazi asked in a low voice, "How... how come it didn't keep knocking on the other doors?"
After Li Mazi had mentioned it, I realized that the other party had disappeared after knocking on the door of our room.
What did that mean? Why did it stop knocking? Were we discovered?
I realized that things might take a turn for the worse. I got up and looked at the door with rapt attention.
The door was slowly pushed open with a creaking noise, identical to the one heard in movies.
Then, a gust of cold wind blew inside the bathhouse, making me shiver all over. I fixed my clothes and grabbed a handful of royal salt.
Royal salt was finely cut salt gifted to the Emperor in ancient times.
If the other party was really some kind of evil spirit, a handful of royal salt would be enough to suppress its power, giving us a chance to escape!Previous Chapter Next Chapter