Chapter 38: Household God (1)

Wang Chenghao was incredibly exhausted.

He was currently approaching the border of Province E. From there, they would be no more than several miles from Insignia Province. In fact, they could already see in the distance a display board spelling out the words - “Insignia Province”. 

“You mentioned earlier… that people have to treat each set of circumstances with the appropriate attitude and personas..” He begrudgingly grumbled as he glanced at Qin Ye, who was playing games on his phone.

Qin Ye had already finished switching modes some time ago, and his energy-saving mode replete with an apathetic outlook on life was now in full bloom. Wang Chenghao couldn’t help but feel like he was talking to a completely different person.

He drove the car while Qin Ye enjoyed music.

He drove the car while Qin Ye played games on his phone.

He drove the car while Qin Ye idled about, counting the number of cars that were passing them by.

Why doesn’t this man learn how to drive?!

“Brother Qin, my father once told me that driving is an important life skill…” Wang Chenghao repeated himself for the umpteenth time. They were on a journey that lasted thousands of miles on end! Why is Qin Ye treating me like a mere driver?!

If only a philosopher would just appear in the backseat and teach him some life lessons!

How could he just sit there idly while I drive the entire journey?! It’s as though he’s floating in an idyllic ocean of lethargy!

“That’s right, so it would be prudent if you invested more attribute points into this.” As soon as he finished speaking, Qin Ye swore under his breath and threw his phone at the seat. Wang Chenghao saw out of the corner of his eye that Qin Ye had actually just placed eighth on the leaderboards of the game ‘Cool Running Everyday’.

“I say, you should get with the times and download some new games. For instance, I hear that whatchamacallit-Glory is a pretty good game.”

Arrrrgghhhh… You actually have the nerve to advise me now…

With gritted teeth, they cleared the toll booth and made their way straight towards the City of Salvation.

It had to be said that it was only after entering Insignia Province that they realized how much smaller the population size of Insignia Province was compared with Westriver - it was but a mere fraction! The roads were clearly less packed, and the traffic flow was far smoother as well.

The City of Salvation was located on the edge of the Insignia Province, just adjacent to the border of the Eastsea Province. Its economy wasn’t considered as developed as the other parts of the country. After driving for yet another day, they finally crossed the City of Salvation’s border. From here, it would take another three to four hours for them to drive past several counties and into the heart of the city.

“Hmm?” Just then, Qin Ye suddenly did a double take.

Strong County was one of the counties located on the edge of the City of Salvation’s territory. It was built around the national highway, and both sides of the county were densely filled with shops and service stations, as well as hotels and gas stations. Qin Ye snapped his fingers, “Let’s stop here. We’ll rest here tonight before completing our journey tomorrow. We’ll be able to rest properly once we make our way into the heart of the City of Salvation.”

It’s finally time to rest… Wang Chenghao heaved a huge sigh of relief as Qin Ye led him towards a row of hotels.

Ten minutes later, Wang Chenghao muttered, “Brother Qin… I’ve got money.”

“It’s called being discreet with your wealth.”

“... What I mean is that we don’t have to be so particular. Really.”

“Rodent, I’m not trying to nag at you, but you don’t really know the value of money until you start working for it. Are you earning any money now? Do you think hundreds of thousands is a lot of money? Have you already inherited your father’s estate? If not, it would be more prudent to use your present funds sparingly until the millions of inheritance arrives in your bank account.”

Wang Chenghao stared at Qin Ye for a few moments, before finally sighing in resignation and glancing in dismay at the guesthouse in front of him.

It was dilapidated.

It was absolutely decrepit.

The neon sign which read “Rujia Inn” glowed with a faint, red hue. The inn was located in the most remote corner of the street, just adjacent to an overgrown forest. None of the rooms were illuminated at the moment, and the two-storey building hardly looked inviting at all. Instead, the signboard was crooked, and save for the red hue, all other neon colours weren’t working at all. Given its current state, it was hardly any better than a shuttered, abandoned hotel.

In fact… even the main door was shut tightly, and not a single glow of light nor trace of sound could be seen or heard from outside.

Wang Chenghao shuddered. For some strange reason, he felt a chilling sensation wash over him just as he sized up the inn.

“Is this inn… alright?” He had encountered far too many bizarre incidents in recent times, and he couldn’t help but clutch pleadingly at Qin Ye’s sleeves as he weighed in on his concerns.

Qin Ye’s gaze quivered slightly, but he maintained, “It’s fine.”

“It’s just that there’s some outstanding business... and I’d thought to close the loop while we’re here…”

As soon as he finished speaking, he pushed open the door and marched right in.

Wang Chenghao followed closely behind him.

“Is anybody in?” Qin Ye leaned over the counter at the concierge and knocked on the table, “Where’s the boss? I’m looking for a room.”

No response.

The entire inn was as quiet as a tomb.

“Brother Qin… should we look for another place to stay at?”

Yet before he could finish, a desk lamp suddenly switched on with a loud buzz.

A man with pale face, a small goatee and somewhat reddish eyes sat right under the light, staring straight at them. The man was beside them, and less than a meter away from Wang Chenghao.

“Bloody hell!!” Wang Chenghao got the shock of his life. When did this old man show up? I can’t even hear his breath! No… he didn’t even make any sound that a normal person should be making, like fidgeting on his chair!

It was as though the man had sat as still as a corpse, waiting silently in the dark for the next guest to enter the inn.

Yet Qin Ye remained completely unfazed, and he pulled out his identification papers, “Two people, king-sized bed.”

The old man didn’t pick up Qin Ye’s identification card.

He was approximately fifty years old, yet the fact that his hair was already completely white made him appear as though he were close to seventy years old. The sheer number of years under his belt had left an indelible scar on his face - his wrinkles were deep, and he was so thin that he was practically skin and bones. Right now, he continued to stare transfixed at the two students in front of him.

Approximately ten seconds later, he finally spoke up with a hoarse voice, “We’re not accepting guests.”

“The other inns are full.” Qin Ye snapped his fingers indifferently, “Otherwise, do you think I would want to stay here either? Look at how run down your shop is. I’ll just make do for one night.”

The old man suddenly laughed, revealing a row of dark yellowish teeth. His voice sounded incredibly harsh to the ears, almost like a cat scratching on glass, “Do you really want to stay?”

Qin Ye nodded his head, while Wang Chenghao shook his head fervently.

The old man took Qin Ye’s identification card and didn’t say any more. Just then, it suddenly dawned on Wang Chenghao that this inn didn’t even have a computer for registration purposes. The only thing remotely electronic was the desk lamp. Even the registration of guests was handwritten.

“201.” As soon as the old man reported their room number, he switched off the light. Then, with the click of another button, the lights to the stairs came on immediately.

It was dim and yellow.

Both the lights and the hallway were dim and yellow.

The building was incredibly old. It appeared to have been built in the style of the nineties. The walls were painted with a two-tone finish - turquoise below and white above. Unfortunately, the sheer number of years the building has seen meant that the vibrant colours had faded, and everything was simply yellowing.

Countless autumn insects hovered about the lights in the inn. The lights were incredibly dim, and they barely illuminated a two meter radius around them. Apart from that, the rest of the inn appeared as dark as hell.

Gulp. Wang Chenghao swallowed his saliva and clung tightly to Qin Ye’s arms as they made their way up the stairs together. Then, just as they arrived at the corridor, the old man’s voice called out again, “There’s a room beside the window… No matter what, don’t enter it…”

“At night… do not open the door… and do not go to the toilet… use the chamber pot if need be…”

What kind of outdated hotel from the history books is this?! How could you still be using a chamber pot?!

The more Wang Chenghao thought about it, the more uncomfortable he felt. The unsettling feeling in his heart only escalated as soon as he entered the room.

The entire room stank with a thick, musky smell.

The bedding was fine, but there was no TV. The window overlooked the wild forest just outside the hotel. When the night breeze blew, the gently swaying trees cast menacing shadows over the room, as though foreshadowing the arrival of a dreadful beast.

Wang Chenghao immediately shut the windows at once.

“Let’s turn in.” Qin Ye lay down on his bed and prepared to sleep. Wang Chenghao was incredibly tired, and he, too, fell asleep almost immediately.

Time passed by. When Wang Chenghao woke up again, rubbed his eyes and glanced at his phone, he saw that it was only 4 a.m.

He woke up with the urge to pee.

“This stupid hotel doesn’t even have a stupid kettle!” Having lived like a prince for his entire life, Master Wang had never spent a night in an inn like this before. Cursing and swearing under his breath, he quickly got dressed and prepared to leave his room to head to the toilet.

The toilet was on the first floor. He resented the notion of using the chamber pot at all costs. Thus, he opened the door and marched out at once.

“Sss…” He couldn’t help but gasp nervously as soon as he opened the door, “Bloody hell, why is it so cold… Insignia Province isn’t even considered the north. This rickety inn is so unnaturally cold.”

The hallway was enshrouded in pitch-black darkness. There was a light switch in front of the door to every room. As soon as it was switched on, the corresponding light in front of the room would come on. In other words, a person would have to flick four switches in order to reach the end of the corridor. It was a peculiar design that hardly made any sense. 

And the end of the corridor was where the gloomy window was located.

Wang Chenghao rubbed his palms together nervously. The hallway was dimly lit with a faint yellow light. His surroundings were horrifically silent. The night breeze gently caressed the forest outside and stirred up a soft, rustling sound. A vast expanse of darkness hid beyond the local street lighting… almost as though it were concealing a terrifying secret.

He shuddered. If not for the fact that the need to take a leak was simply unbearable, he would never deign to consider using the toilet at this time of the night! This was practically a scene right out of a horror movie.

Click… The second switch flipped, and another portion of the hallway was illuminated once more. The feeling of gradually illuminating an otherwise completely dark hallway was incredibly gripping and tense. Then, without any warning, his heart began to race.

It was as though… as though… something was hidden in the darkness.

Then, just as he flipped the third switch, he immediately froze.

A wave of immense terror washed over him, shooting straight from his tailbone into his mind and causing all of his pores to flare up with chills!

“Ahhhhhhhhh!!!” The screams of extreme terror echoed throughout the entire inn. Qin Ye was playing the game ‘Cool Running Everyday’ on his phone when his lips twitched uncontrollably, “Didn’t the boss tell him not to go out at night? Why is he acting in such defiance when he’s such a coward?”

In the hallway. Wang Chenghao was so frightened that he leaned heavily against the wall. Just now… it happened just now! Generally, there should be a soft clicking sound for every button that was pressed. However, no clicking sound rang out when he attempted to flip the third switch earlier.

This was because… when he attempted to flick the light switch… he touched another person’s hand instead!!

He wasn’t the one who had flicked the light switch!

There’s a ghost… there’s a ghost!!

He was so frightened that his hair stood on end. Right now, the only thought on Wang Chenghao’s mind was to rush back to his room, cast off his pride and cling tightly to Qin Ye! However, the moment he turned around…

Click…

The first light switch went off.

The light in front of their room had suddenly gone off. His pupils constricted immediately.

He saw it. In that instant that the lights went out... a lady wearing a long black dress was standing right there, just under the light!

She looked up. She was beautiful. However… her face was as white as snow, and her foot-long tongue hung out from her mouth!

Just like that, she stood silently under the dim yellowing lights, in the middle of the deathly still hallways.

At four in the morning.

“Ahhhhhhh!!” Wang Chenghao was completely scared witless! Yet this was just the beginning. In the very next second, as soon as the second switch clicked and the second set of lights were extinguished, he suddenly noticed that… the lady… that horrifying lady with deathly pale appearances… was now suddenly standing only two meters in front of him!

It was as though she were moving forward just as the lights went out!

And she didn’t make a single sound at all!

“AHHHHH!!” The only thing he knew to do right now was to scream for his life. He didn’t dare to run back to his room at all, so he turned around and began running to the end of the corridor!

Click… The third light switch went off. It was now completely dark behind him. It was practically yelling at him to flick the fourth switch right in front of him.

This time, there was no woman around.

“Haa… haa… haa…” He was shaking madly and sweating profusely as he leaned against the railing. Wang Chenghao was on the brink of tears.

“Left… h-h-has she left?” He wasn’t even conscious of the fact that he was muttered aloud with a trembling voice.

However, his voice immediately stopped.

Sha… sha.... A light rustling sound came from right behind him.

T-t-t-t-t-t-t… His teeth began to chatter uncontrollably. He was shaking so hard it was as though he were having seizures. Then, Wang Chenghao mechanically turned his head around and looked at the tightly shut door at the end of the hallway.

The innkeeper had mentioned never to approach this room at night.

Sha… sha....

He heard it clearly this time, and he immediately knew… This was the sound of something on the other side of the door… scratching the door with its nails!

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