Chapter 80: Haunted House (1)

Whoosh… Wind billowed against their ears as they shot straight down below. As they shot forward towards the nursing home, all five figures extended their arms in a concerted fashion and shot a grappling hook straight towards the nursing home. 

Simultaneously, Zhuo Qinfen puckered his lips and softly whistled a bird’s call. The captain of the soldiers gathered below turned around promptly and immediately ordered the soldiers, “Go patrol the first floor. I think I heard something.”

Qin Ye’s group moved like a well-oiled machine. As soon as the guards entered the building, the grappling hooks latched onto the window frames of the nursing home, and all five figures swung through the air in a beautiful parabolic arc like Tarzan until they landed within the premises of the nursing home.

They were in the rear of the nursing home. This was also the least guarded part of the nursing home.

This place had ostensibly already been put through several bouts of investigations. Even their windows were no longer existent. Thud, thud, thud… ssshhaaa… All five figures landed within the nursing home, rolled on the ground to break their fall before clambering back to their feet immediately. Each of them held a gleaming dagger in their hands as they half-crouched on the ground, glancing warily at their surroundings.

Nobody said a word for three whole minutes. During this time, the only audible sounds were the whistling wind and the rustling leaves outside that were casting dark shadows over the interior of the building.

They were in a room that had been abandoned by the living a long time ago. The broken furniture around was covered in cobwebs and smothered in thick dust. Old-fashioned desk lamps sat around, while the walls were covered in shoddy decorations. The stifling silence in the nursing home made the atmosphere feel no different from an old graveyard.

Su Feng unraveled a map across the ground, revealing a cross-section of the entire hunting zone. The map glowed in the dark, “The entire hunting zone is divided into five floors, with thirty-six rooms on each floor. None of us have ever entered this hunting zone before. Therefore, I suggest splitting up the search.”

He continued his explanations, “Here’s the thing. If there’s truly an existence with energy readings of thirty million Yin, it’s got to be sealed in a separate realm altogether. The Special Investigations Department has a specific name for this - a dimensional realm.”

“It’s a realm that exists in the rift between the mortal realm, or the Yang realm, and the netherworld, or the Yin realm. Unless one comes into contact with the entrance itself, there’s simply no way of sensing its existence altogether. Furthermore, the entrance could be in any form, be it a mirror or a lamp or otherwise. In other words…”

He drew a circle around the map, “We’ve got to go through every single object in all five floors!”

Li Runxue opened the chest on her back and pulled out five walkie-talkies, “There’s no signal in the dimensional realm, so we’ll complete our search of each room every fifteen minutes. Report your name and room number over the walkie-talkie. Anyone who doesn’t report in within the fifteen minute interval…”

She didn’t finish her statement, but Qin Ye understood. He praised her intelligence in his heart.

As long as a person’s signal vanished, it would necessarily mean that the person had found the entrance to the rift between the Yin realm and the Yang realm. Given the location he had earlier reported, they would immediately be able to ascertain its location!

“Regardless of how the search goes, we’ll reassemble here at 4.30 a.m. sharp.” Su Feng picked up a walkie-talkie and nodded at everyone, “Everyone, take care.”

A thirty million Yin existence was hidden right here. Even if it were under a sealed, suppressed state, none of them could afford to be complacent!

As soon as he finished speaking, he left the room.

Everyone picked up their own walkie-talkies, each of which were enumerated one through five in red lettering. Qin Ye’s walkie-talkie was numbered ‘one’.

After picking up his walkie-talkie, he made his way to the first floor. However, he didn’t immediately begin his search. Instead, he simply surveyed his surroundings.

It was eerie.

The bright moonlight shining through the broken windows of the hallway illuminated his surroundings with a pale, dreadful glow. The walls were covered in stains, and sentence after sentence of incoherent, meaningless words were scribbled all over the walls. In fact… some of the words even appeared to have been carved out with a person’s nails! There were even traces of grisly purplish black bloodstains!

The walls weren’t lined with marble like the newly-renovated apartments in modern day society. Rather, they were plastered with dated, emulsion paint, most of which were already peeling off in large patches like a rotting, festering face. The rows of tattered windows appeared so eerie that it felt as though rows and rows of eyes were watching and staring at each passerby.

Qin Ye walked slowly along the corridor, surrounded by an oppressive silence that was occasionally cut through by the sounds of scampering mice, amongst other things. It was a hair-raising experience.

Qin Ye gently pushed open a room. It was an old fashioned layout with rooms lining both sides of the corridor. He picked the door on the left, room number 123.

The left side of the building was still intact, while the right side of the building had already collapsed. Qin Ye had taken his time, and approximately ten minutes had already lapsed by the time he had arrived at the room.

The door was slightly ajar. As he pushed on it, the door made a cringeworthy squeaking sound. Just then, the walkie-talkie buzzed, “Li Runxue, room 201.” “Lin Han, room 301.” "Su Feng, room 523.”

Qin Ye nodded his head. Just as he was about to completely open the door, his gaze suddenly froze, “Where’s Zhuo Qinfen?!”

He paused.

He peeked through the crack from the half open door and saw a figure standing just behind! 

The dim glow of moonlight shone from the window across the room, revealing a black figure, replete with flowing, shoulder-length white hair.

Its back was facing the door. Qin Ye could see that it wore a blue costume with white coloured sleeves. Both of its hands were hidden within the sleeves. Its entire body was covered in dust. It was impossible to see its appearances with the moonlight gleaming behind it. That said, it was apparent that it had just turned its head one hundred and eighty degrees around, and it was staring straight at the crack between the door and the frame with its bloodshot eyes.

“Haa… haa haa haa haa…” A series of peculiar sounds came from his throat, almost as though his throat was completely parched. Qin Ye was standing just behind the door. Just then, it slowly extended a hand that appeared no different from a chicken’s claw.

After a moment of silence on the walkie-talkie, Su Feng’s voice grew stern and somber, “Old Zhuo, this isn’t a laughing matter. Fifteen minutes is up. Report your position.”

However… nothing!

Three minutes. Five minutes. The walkie-talkie remained completely silent.

Qin Ye drew a deep breath, pulled out his phone and glanced at the screen.

11.40 p.m. They were exploring the depths of an abandoned nursing home that had gibberish scribbled all over its walls. And right in the midst of the darkness, one of their team members… had just vanished as quickly as they had entered the premises!

He turned back abruptly and rushed straight towards the fourth floor where Zhuo Qinfen had earlier gone to!

Meanwhile, just as Qin Ye took his leave, a pale white hand silently opened the door to the room, and a head with long, flowing white hair peeked out silently.

“Haa… haa haa haa…”

Even though Qin Ye was ordinarily incredibly sensitive to the fluctuations of Yin energy around him, he didn’t sense a single thing this time. Qin Ye charged straight towards the fourth floor. However, when Qin Ye arrived at the fourth floor… he discovered that there was nobody there at all!

Thud… The only sound that reverberated endlessly through the dank and dark hallways was the sound of his military boots. Pale, gloomy moonlight splashed across the corridors, accentuating the black and red words that were scribbled all over the walls. Not a single person was in sight.

Qin Ye’s gaze quivered. His hands were already primed at his waist, while his back was already hunched like a prowling wolf that was ready to strike at the moment’s notice. He had run up from the first floor earlier. Logically speaking, there should already be others around right now.

Where’s everyone?

“Something's wrong!” Arthis whispered. Qin Ye agreed, “Of course something’s wrong… I haven’t been able to detect a shred of Yin energy so far. But… we’re right in the midst of a hunting zone right now…”

Just then, the walkie-talkie that was hanging along his waist buzzed yet again, cutting through the silence in the hallway. It was the sound of a woman’s singing, “Dreams of orioles tittering. A new age comes amidst chaos; institutions are established. The end of a wick goes up in smokes; tattered threads are tossed away. Yet how the new spring resembles the year that’s passed…”

Kunqu opera.[1]

After singing these lines, the female’s voice suddenly became higher-pitched. With her shrill, operatic voice, she continued, “Li Runxue, room 201.” “Lin Han, room 301.” “Su Feng, room 523.”

“And the last one shall perish now!!”

It was incredibly bizarre!

However, as soon as she finished singing, the doors across the entire fourth floor immediately opened at the same time with a cringeworthy creak!

Sssss… Eeeeeek… The protracted creak was unduly long and made one’s hair stand on end. There wasn’t a single person in sight, yet the juxtaposition of the noise against the deafening silence of the night made it seem like countless people had appeared all at once!

Just then, a female figure wearing a traditional operatic dress appeared on the moonlit corridor!

The slender figure was dressed in resplendent, elaborate garments replete with, full, flowing sleeves, and she hurtled straight towards Qin Ye like a bolt of lightning!

Qin Ye’s pupils constricted, and he immediately turned around and ran without hesitation.

This wasn’t an Operative-class evil ghost…

This was undoubtedly a Hunter-class ghost!

Furthermore, this evil spirit was ostensibly stronger than Cao Youdao! In fact… it even gave Qin Ye the same vibe that the Assassin of the Underworld he encountered earlier did!

He desperately retreated downstairs as quickly as he could. The building was far too peculiar. Of the five Hunter-class agents that had entered the hunting zone, four had mysteriously vanished into thin air. Then, just as he turned the corner, he suddenly stopped dead in his tracks.

There was a dressing mirror located at every corner of the building.

There was one here as well. The mirror looked incredibly old, and it was covered so much in dust that one could only vaguely make out his own reflection. And yet Qin Ye noticed from the reflection that… there was something else just behind him!

Furthermore, he noticed that there was a walkie-talkie located just in front of the mirror!

Dead silence.

The sound of the kunqu opera had vanished. The night gale whistled through the vacant building, reverberating eerily as though a ghost were whimpering. The escalating gale forced windows to slam against their frames with dull thuds from time to time.

He took a deep breath, picked up the walkie-talkie, and then wiped the dust off the mirror.

In that instant… he discovered that the female figure wearing the traditional operatic dress was just leaning over his back!

It was the same resplendent, elaborate garments replete with, full, flowing sleeves. Yet the hair on her head, and her entire body… rather, her entire corpse looked completely withered as though she had been hung out to dry just before dying! She was nothing but skin and bones, and her hair was dishevelled and all over the place. Just like that, she leaned silently over as her drool dangled dangerously across his chest. Her head was situated right above his shoulder!

The slender figure hurtled straight towards Qin Ye like a bolt of lightning!

Tzzt… Just then, the walkie-talkie buzzed once more. The sound of static crackled, drowning out other sounds.

He held the walkie-talkie closer to his ear and finally heard its contents.

“124… 1… 24…”

Seconds later, he put down his walkie-talkie and smirked.

“Mr Su.” Qin Ye yelled again, “Mr Lin? Ms Li? Mr Zhuo?”

No response.

“I can’t detect any traces of their true energy either…” He licked his lips. With a loud bang, the Yin energy in his surroundings suddenly began to converge around him, forming a Yin domain within a three meter radius around him,

“Then… I don’t have to keep up my pretences any longer, right?”

Whoosh… The pale, gleaming edge of the demonhead saber was pulled out of the depths of the roiling Yin energy. Qin Ye’s Hell’s Emissary uniform fluttered wildly. In that instant, the previously silent corridor was filled with the howling sounds of a thousand ghosts, as though they were bowing down in worship of their king.

“By Hell’s dictum, all rabble must disperse.” He pointed his saber diagonally towards the ceiling. The roiling dense Yin energy around him vanished in an instant, as though an unseen force were backing away in terror.

“A mere Yin spirit dares to cause trouble in front of an Emissary of Hell?” He patted the invisible entity leaning over his shoulder, “Be good. We’ll see in just a moment what you’ve been hiding here all this while.”

1. This is a type of musical theater that originated in the Yuan dynasty that stood from 1206-1368 AD.

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