Chapter 81: Haunted House (2)

Kkkrrr… The demonhead saber dragged along the ground, emitting a sharp, grinding sound. Wherever it passed, the layers of roiling darkness were immediately dispersed. He paused as soon as he arrived in front of room 123. 

This was the room he was at just a little while ago.

Dong! He kicked open the door, yet it was now completely empty behind.

It wasn’t clear whose room this was. The walls were covered with over a dozen photographs. A dusty, gray wall mirror hung on the left wall, while an empty closet sat adjacent to the right wall. Several old and tattered operatic costumes hung within the closet.

There was a desk right in front of Qin Ye. Qin Ye wiped off the dust on the mirror, and he noticed that the female ghost dressed in an operatic costume was already trembling all over and hiding her head behind Qin Ye’s back.

Qin Ye grew taciturn. After several seconds, he began to comb and neaten his hair.

“How are you possibly so handsome?” He exclaimed, “I can’t believe I’ve never noticed you before.”

“Why does it seem like you burst with confidence whenever you encounter ghosts?” Arthis chuckled contemptuously, “Are you finally discovering the benefits of your genuine proof of identity?”

The first thought on Qin Ye’s mind was that Arthis had contracted an illness.

An illness that she could only survive from if she continued to criticize Qin Ye on a daily basis.

Qin Ye thought - How can anyone possibly of their own volition dislike or criticize such a perfect person like I am?

I’m certain it’s the critic whose heart is in turmoil.

“Perfect.” He flicked his hair, “I’m going to be a lady in my next life and marry a man as handsome as I am.”

After saying that, he walked straight to the desk and pulled open the drawer.

Unfortunately, he didn’t notice that when he turned around, his reflection in the mirror continued to flick his hair.

It was only half a second later that his reflection in the mirror ceased moving and continued to look out into the mortal realm.

Then, four men with pale faces stepped out from behind the reflection in unison. They were the exact spitting images of Zhuo Qinfen, Li Runxue, Lin Han and Su Feng. All five of them arranged themselves neatly in the mirror frame, almost as though they had left a black-and-white legacy photo here ages ago.

Yet Qin Ye was completely oblivious to this because he was looking through the contents of the drawer at this moment.

There was a dusty diary.

“12 May 2001. Sunny.” He flipped open the diary and began to read from it, “I didn’t get to eat again. The lady who’s taking care of me says that I’m too noisy, so I’m not allowed to eat…”

“I’m so hungry… I’m absolutely famished… I haven’t eaten anything all day. This nursing home is no different from a hellhole! I thoroughly regret it. Why didn’t I have a child back then? If I did, I would never have come here.”

“And I wasn’t even noisy. I was incredibly obedient… I’ve already stopped practising my arias… and all I’ve done is to listen to the tape recorder and hum along to the tunes. I think I’m going to starve to death if I don’t get to eat tomorrow.”

The corner of Qin Ye’s eyes twitched slightly.

This was an elderly person’s diary.

And this was a nursing home.

That said, he couldn’t detect any trace of respect for the elderly from the diary’s accounts at all.

He flipped the page and continued reading, “13 May. I finally got to eat two cookies. The milk we got for breakfast seems to have already gone bad. It’s completely inedible… these people are too awful! If I were still mobile… if any of us were still mobile, we would most definitely sue them in court!”

“Everyone here is like a demon. I know each and every one of us here have already paid our dues to this place, yet none of the food we’re getting appears to be food fit for human consumption!”

“14 May. Old Li has departed. He’d been so hungry that he’s nothing more than skin and bones. I don’t know whether it’s because he’s eaten something bad. He used to love listening to my singing. I’m afraid my time is almost here as well…”

“That said, Old Huang came by today. I’m glad I finally have someone to keep me company.”

“He’s getting old and doesn’t have long to live either. It’s nice to lean on each other and support one another.”

“15 May. I’m so hungry… I’m truly famished. But… I’m incredibly happy today.”

“Someone has died in this nursing home. Hahaha… dead! The head nurse who has been embezzling the funds is finally dead! She died in the bathroom!”

“And it happened in the bathroom located in room 124 just adjacent to our room as well. It was Old Huang who’d discovered it when she went to the bathroom… I’d even heard that the head nurse’s entire body was completely stiff with her tongue hanging out loosely and her eyes bulging wide, almost as though she had seen something terrifying just before dying.”

“16 May. I need to leave… I need to leave!”

“There’s something unclean in this place! I’m certain of it!!”

The diary entry had used a double exclamation for emphasis. And the entry had clearly been written while the author was immensely agitated. Even the page was slightly torn from the force used in scribing the entry.

“Tonight… I went to the bathroom. All of the doors were closed. But… there was one door - the door to the last cubicle! It’s the very same one that the head nurse had perished in. I… I heard crying sounds coming from that cubicle!”

“And it’s a young woman’s voice. I heard it extremely clearly! But… but we don’t have any young women here at all!!!”

The last few words were written with such immense manifestation of fear that the exclamation marks had even torn through the pages of the diary. The bottom half of the page was completely tattered.

Qin Ye flipped the page.

“22 May. Cloudy.”

“I might be dying soon…”

“I’ve been unable to sleep well these last few days. Only Old Huang remains by my side. Every night… we hug each other tightly. The crying sound would begin at midnight and end at 5 a.m. And… two days ago, I heard someone walking past our door!”

“That’s the sound of high heels… but none of us here wears those things at all! None of us, apart from the dead head nurse!”

“We’ve not slept well for three days straight… we… don’t even dare to shut our eyes now. Last night, even though I made sure that the door was locked, I heard it open at midnight when the sound of high heels stopped in front of the door. It… it felt as though a dead person were standing at the door, staring straight at our souls!”

“23 May. Sunny.”

“I can’t walk anymore. I’ve alerted them to this, but nobody cares. I’m afraid to sleep at night, and I can’t move out either. I’m going to go crazy even if I don’t die! But Old Huang is still here with me. He’s lost weight. All I can feel is skin and bones…”

“A doctor has finally come to see me. They’ve begun packing up my things, saying that I’m going to get better soon. Haha… but I know what’s going on. Only people who are dying get to shift out. That said… I thought that these caregivers were only going to shift my stuff out. Instead, they actually burned everything away!!”

“I… I’m going to kill them all!!”

“24 May. Sunny.”

“I think that the seventy years of my life is coming to an end today.”

“I haven’t been able to kill them because my withered hands no longer have the strength to lift a knife. I can’t find a knife either… My only wish is that Old Huang lives on well…”

“Thank you, world. I love you all.”

“Yu Qiuqing, 24 May. End.”

“Haa…” Qin Ye shook his head as he flipped through the rest of the diary. All of the remaining pages were blank.

Emissaries of Hell don’t interfere with the affairs of the mortal realm.

What they did was simply to arrest Yin spirits and escort them to Hell so that good and evil could each be repaid accordingly.

“Don’t worry.” He patted the diary gently, “None of the people running this nursing home will end well.”

“Are you deceiving her? Or are you deceiving yourself?” Arthis’ voice appeared somewhat downcast, “Good and evil must first be repaid before one can enter the cycle of reincarnation in accordance with the Heavenly Dao. But the system supporting the cycle of reincarnation has already collapsed. What’s the use of such consolation?”

“Rather than grieving over here, why don’t you channel your energy into reestablishing Hell instead… Kid, countless souls are lined up and eagerly awaiting to bring their grievances before you for redress. Simultaneously, there are countless spirits of evil people who remain at large. You have the power to right all the wrong in the mortal realm.”

“Punish everything that goes unpunished.”

“See and hear everything that goes unnoticed in the mortal realm.”

“This is the meaning of Hell’s existence.”

“Evil must be punished with evil. Good must be rewarded and encouraged!”

Qin Ye remained silent, but his Adam’s apple trembled slightly.  He appeared stiff as a sculpture.

He had already experienced a change of heart earlier at the press conference.

Having experienced the vicissitudes of life spanning well over decades, he was like a war torn hero who had seen all too much - both good and evil, and both the beautiful and ugly sides of humanity. That said, he has never had to bear such heavy responsibilities before.

However, he now possessed the shards of King Yanluo’s Seal.

And he was the only one who could restart the process of repaying good and evil accordingly. He was the only one who could convict the ghosts masquerading as humans and finally avenge the aggrieved and put to rest all forms of inequality.

The simple act of going through the old, ordinary diary today was like a catalyst that triggered the fermentation process of the festering emotions in his heart. Everything began to sour, yet deepen in flavour.

Life always has a way of presenting the most impactful images in the most unexpected ways, and in so doing trigger the innermost feelings of a person’s heart at a time when he is most vulnerable.

“The tragedy experienced by That Amorous Affair was also like this…” He sighed wistfully. For the first time ever, Qin Ye didn’t resist the notion of reestablishing Hell proposed by Arthis. In fact, he even felt a momentary compulsion to go along with her suggestion.

The fact that she was able to motivate such a lethargic person to action, even for a single moment, made Arthis smile widely…

Whoosh… Qin Ye continued to flip through the pages of the diary. And then, he suddenly paused.

There’s still another entry!

“12 December 2013.”

“Old Huang has killed all of the nurses and caregivers in this nursing home! Hahaha!!”

“It’s all just a matter of time before evil is repaid with evil, and good with good!”

“I’ve also tied up Old Huang. He won’t kill anyone anymore… right?”

“Good and evil will be repaid accordingly…” Qin Ye’s voice quivered slightly as he finally closed the diary.

The room was filled with silence. After a long time, Arthis finally spoke up, “There should be some form of barrier here.”

“This barrier possesses the ability to conceal and obscure all Yin energy from the rest of the world. At the same time, it can distort one’s vision and perception. The one who had set up this barrier is truly a remarkable expert.”

Qin Ye frowned, “Does this mean that I’ve got to break the barrier if I’m to find the others and locate the mysterious thirty million Yin presence?”

“Be cautious.” Arthis warned, “All barriers, also known as formation arrays, have two gates -  the gate of life, and the gate of death. You’re as good as dead if you enter through the gate of death. Right now, you’re still safely on the outside of the barrier because you’ve not fulfilled the barrier’s trigger conditions. Forcefully attempting to breach the barrier without understanding its rules might lead to… disastrous consequences.”

Qin Ye gasped, “It’s that serious?”

The soul sphere hovered in the air and glanced around as she spoke with a soft voice, “Even though I can’t sense the energy fluctuations from the barrier, we can still trace the source of the barrier back to its main purpose. Let me ask you something - what’s the purpose of this barrier’s existence? Who’s the one who set it up?”

Qin Ye deliberated, “Purpose? That should be to contain the Yin energy emanating from this place. After all, there could very well be a Ghost King with immense, unsuppressable powers hidden here…”

He paused as soon as he finished speaking.

Yeah…

So that’s it.

Only the government could possibly have set up a barrier in this place to prevent the Yin energy from leaking out. At the same time, in order not to alert the terrifying presence hidden beneath, the government chose to cordon off the fourth hunting zone and keep it as it were, without breaking it. Given the extent of preventive measures undertaken by the government, how terrifying would it be if the hidden entity below got out?

He took a deep breath and glanced about the surroundings. At this moment, the otherwise silent nursing home suddenly felt like a danger zone.

It was as though there were land mines all around him, and a single misstep could very well lead to a chain explosion!

Arthis shifted slightly and spoke with a wry tone of voice, “I’ve got a piece of good news, and a piece of bad news right now. Which one do you want to hear first?”

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