Two rows of scarlet lamps stood erect on both sides of the road.
Dark, dreary houses and shops sat right beneath the street lights, shrouded with wisps of misty Yin energy. Jade-green spots of netherflames burned brightly at the eyes of the humanoid paper effigies, even as they stared at Qin Ye from their respective houses and shops. Not a single living person could be seen anywhere on this wide road Qin Ye was on. If he had been any other ordinary human being, he would have been scared out of his wits by now.
Just then, a three-storey building that sat on a land area thousands of meters wide suddenly lit up all at once.
It was built in the architectural style of the early 1900’s, replete with white bricks and wooden doors. Nobody could be seen on the streets right now, but the wooden door still opened up.
Whoosh… A nethergale rushed past with a soft howl, causing all of the road signs to swivel around and point directly at Qin Ye. He could even hear the vague murmurs of conversations between countless women being carried along by the wind.
That said, he couldn’t hear exactly what they were talking about. Everything was hazy to him. He walked along the main street, listening intently as he desperately attempted to pick up clues from the conversations that were carried along with the wind, until… he finally found himself standing right before the massive three-storey structure. Then, he stepped through the external gate.
Bang. The main gate shut behind him.
Instantly, all of the sounds that he heard outside was completely shut off to him. Even the howling winds appeared to have completely ceased altogether.
The road outside had once again returned to its usual silent state, while the humanoid paper effigies swiveled back and grew motionless once more. It was almost as though the earlier peculiar sight had never occurred at all!
“A naturally-occuring space…” Qin Ye murmured to himself, “The Yin energy here is so thick that it has even condensed into the exact snapshot of the place as it originally was?”
He glanced around and stepped towards the only building that was lit right now.
The lights in the building were still blood-red in colour. He promptly walked up to the door and knocked gently on it.
Knock… There was a soft thud. But as soon as he knocked on the door of the building, every single humanoid paper effigy out on the street immediately lit up again and turned towards Qin Ye, almost as though they were glaring at him. The lights in the building even fizzled and flickered several times, and its red hue promptly deepened in intensity.
Knock, knock, knock! Nobody responded. Qin Ye knocked on the door several more times, before the door finally opened with a soft, muffled creak.
An endless nethergale immediately swept out from within, carrying with it endless amounts of paper money as well. It felt no different from standing in front of a mourning hall, where countless paper money was scattered everywhere in the sky, fluttering feebly wherever the wind took them.
Eeeaaaakk… The creak of the wooden door sounded like a cat’s claws on a chalkboard. Yet it only revealed a gaping darkness beyond the frame of the door that appeared no different from the orifice of a terrifying beast. Qin Ye peered in cautiously. He could see that the interior was designed in the style of the 40’s or 50’s. The great hall within had a ceiling that was a whopping ten-meters high. Both sides of the walls were covered with long, draping curtains, while a two-meter wide wooden reception counter was placed right at the front of the hall. A man appeared to be manning the counter.
He was dressed in a Nipponese army uniform. He sat upright at the wooden counter, surrounded by blood-red wall lamps that illuminated his desk.
That said, this man was also a humanoid paper effigy.
As Qin Ye slowly approached the desk, the humanoid paper effigy’s eyes suddenly shifted, and then… he began to speak!
“You’re late.” He pushed forward a wooden token, “There shall be no next time.”
“Indeed, there can be no next time.” Qin Ye received the wooden token and inspected it. The registration number on it read ‘0-81’. He casually tucked it under his arms, before casually dabbing the Judgment Pen in the air in the direction of the humanoid paper effigy. The humanoid paper effigy’s eyes widened instantly. Unfortunately, his head exploded before he could even react or scream.
Splutter! It looked no different from a bursting head. A fountain of blood instantly sprayed everywhere, and the exploded head instantly transformed into a stack of paper money that scattered everywhere in the sky. Qin Ye watched on with amazement.
Splat! Fresh blood flew through the air, staining the electric lights that hung in the vicinity. The wall lamps around flickered madly with a soft, buzzing sound. Just then, the front door of the building shut tightly behind him.
Qin Ye couldn’t be bothered about that. He pushed on the door to the dressing room and promptly walked in.
It was dark. There wasn’t even an electric lamp to illuminate this room. Fortunately, Qin Ye’s infernal eyes allowed him to peer right through the darkness. He could see that both sides of the room were lined with closed closets, each of which bore a particular serial number. Then, there was a two by one-and-a-half meter iron door with a round handle that lay right at the end of the room.
The dressing room was rather large. The length of the dressing room was approximately twenty meters. Then, just as Qin Ye walked along the corridor of closets, he suddenly heard… a terrifying sound reverberate through the corners of the room.
He paused and glanced around him, only to realize that the closets that he had just passed… had all been silently opened.
The open closets were filled only with dirty work clothes. They hung within the closets motionlessly, almost as though they were each a corpse that were just hanging around, observing the lonesome human being in this desolate place.
Qin Ye could see nothing else noteworthy apart from these things.
He retracted his gaze and continued walking forward. Everytime he walked past a closet, it would open up with a terrifying creak. Eeeaak… eeeaak… Door after door opened up in the dark, faster and faster in accordance with Qin Ye’s increasing pace. Even Qin Ye couldn’t help but be drawn into the increasingly tense atmosphere in the room. His heartbeat accelerated. He walked quickly to the iron door and turned back vigilantly even as he placed his hand on the handle.
Not a single soul could be seen in sight.
That said… a series of bloody footprints had bizarrely appeared on the ground, almost as though something… had followed him straight to the door!
In fact, these footprints appeared incredibly dense and chaotic, almost as though hundreds of people had followed him and were now standing right around him. A stifling, cold nethergale swept by, bringing with it a strong, nauseating stench with it.
Who’s there… Is someone gazing at me from another dimension?
“Not bad… You’re stirring up a pretty decent atmosphere over here.” Qin Ye drew a deep breath to calm his emotions. And then, he turned the doorknob, “But you’re not even Operative-class Yin spirits, so what can you possibly do with all of these wandering spirits?”
Ka-ka-ka-ka… The iron door slowly opened with a clattering sound, and Qin Ye’s olfactory senses were immediately assaulted with a musky, dank stench. Simultaneously, he also began to hear a wave of conversations among countless women.
It was a large room.
It was evident that the dressing rooms on both the left and the right of the earlier reception counter led to the very same space. The room was approximately four hundred meters or so, and it was further subdivided into dozens of stations. Each of these stations had a long workbench, upon which were placed pots and steamers, and other similar implements. A large wooden machine was placed at the end of the workbench. This machine appeared to have some pedals on it, and a large wheel to its mechanism.
Beyond that, there was a massive pond that lay right in the center of the large room. A complex series of pipes ran overhead, replete with several exhaust holes that opened up on the sides. There were a number of mirrors that were hung neatly at the same height, with sinks right below them that were now covered with dust. This was probably where the washroom used to be.
A nethergale swept through the vents, causing it to howl softly like the whimper of ten thousand ghosts. White steam rose from the pots and steamers, while the wheels of the wooden machine spun and shifted. A cacophony of sounds suddenly filled the air, brimming with conversations between women, and yet… not a single person could be seen in the factory at all!
Logically speaking, the temperatures in this room should be incredibly high. However, it was not. In fact, the temperature here was already below zero degrees. Specks of dust were swept about by the rushing nethergale, almost as though the thin veil of the mortal realm were soon to be lifted to reveal an entire factory filled with evil ghosts.
“Old fashion silk-reeling machines.” Qin Ye turned his gaze to the machines, before promptly nodding his head.
This was undoubtedly a silk factory. He’d seen many of these in the past.
The silk cocoons had to be boiled first, and then fished up. The smell of this process was incredibly familiar to him.
In fact… it was distinct, because this process usually also generated a somewhat salty and otherwise indescribably disgusting stench.
Clang… Just then, a clanging sound came from behind him. The thick iron door had just been slammed shut. At the same time, the electric lights of the entire factory immediately flickered and buzzed wildly.
Bzzt! Bzzt! The entire room flickered between darkness and redness, almost as though the entire realm straddled the mortal realm and the world of the dead. Then, moments later, when the lights came back on again, Qin Ye was greeted by an incredibly startling sight. Even he couldn’t help but gasp in horror and feel goosebumps creeping up all over his skin!
The entire factory was now filled with people!
He could see everything with his naked eyes. There were hundreds of women wearing work clothes from the 30’s and 40’s who were standing at their workstations with their backs to him. Some touted short hair, while others sported braids. All of them could be seen in the brief moments when the flickering lights came on. But before he could get a good look at them, the lights fizzled out once more.
A split second later, the light flickered back on again. It was no different from watching a frame-by-frame horror movie. And this time… all of the women who were working had turned around, and were staring straight at him right now!
To make matters worse, he could tell that none of them were of the mortal realm!
Every single one of them had bodies that were completely charred and black - a clear sign of being burnt to death. Their grisly raw flesh peeked out from their cracking, black skin, making each of them look no different like the vilest of spirits of the underworld!
Ka-ka-ka… Everyone’s heads swiveled around a full hundred and eighty degrees. They were still working on their tasks at hand, and yet their head had turned all the way around to look right over their backs, staring at the single, unexpected guest that had just showed up.
Bzzt. The lights went out again.
Just then, Qin Ye gasped in horror, and an electrifying sense of terror shot surged from his spine and into his mind!
This was because he could sense a hand caressing his face in the dark.
Urrrkkkk… uurrrrkkkkk… There was a throaty, guttural sound right beside Qin Ye’s ear. In fact, he could even feel someone’s breath tickling the hairs on his ear.
Fear was an integral part of the human instinct that nobody could disengage, unless and until they become Yin spirits. Thus, notwithstanding the fact that Qin Ye was also an Emissary of Hell, he, too, felt the emotion of fear and terror. To that end, it had to be said that the sights and sounds he experienced within the pit of a thousand ranked first among all of the supernatural incidents he had ever encountered.
His adrenal glands soared through the roof. Unfortunately… there was more! Before he could even turn around, someone suddenly grabbed his hand in the darkness.
Urrrkkkk… uurrrrkkkkk… The same throaty, guttural sound could be heard right beside him. In other words, more than one ‘person’ had arrived by his side within the last fraction of a second.
Pat, pat, pat… One by one, Qin Ye sensed a series of hands reaching out for his body. Some of them held him around the waist, while some held him by the legs or hands. He soon lost track of the number of ‘people’ that had surrounded him. And then, the lights came on with a soft buzz once more.
In that instant, Qin Ye saw a series of burnt, blackened and bleeding faces staring at him from no more than a foot away. Each of these faces were twisted and contorted in grotesque manners as they did so.
Their disheveled hair covered their faces, barely concealing the fact that the sclera of their eyes were completely black as well. Faces, faces, and faces! Everywhere Qin Ye looked was filled with faces, almost as though he were surrounded by a horrific wall of faces that were staring intently at him!
Urrrkkkk… uurrrrkkkkk… The guttural sounds continued almost mechanically. The wall of black eyes looked deep as the oceans. Bzzt… The lights flickered once more, and the next frame that was visible to Qin Ye reminded him of the sight of a prey being surrounded by a ferocious pack of wolves!
The women had all opened their mouths wide.
Wider, and wider, almost as though they were a python that was poised to devour a human whole. He could even see the grisly teeth within their mouths.
And this time, the lights didn’t come on again.Previous Chapter Next Chapter