Bloody old granny… Qin Ye gnashed his teeth, “The good news.”
“The good news is that since this is a barrier set up by humans, you wouldn’t be in any form of danger as long as you don’t deliberately attempt to break into it.”
“And what’s the bad news?”
Arthis chuckled, “As the saying goes, humans die for riches, just as birds will for food. Notwithstanding the fact that the bunch of you have risked life and limb to break into this place, I’m afraid that you won’t leave with even a dime. The government has already laid down an entire system that is well beyond any of your ability to breach. So what if you’re lucky enough to locate the gate of life? The government will immediately discover you trespassers… When that time comes, you’d count yourself lucky if you’re not arrested. Merit points are certainly out of the picture.”
Shit… Qin Ye gritted his teeth.
Just then, Arthis suddenly raised her voice, “But--!”
“... I’ll say, can’t you finish whatever you’ve got to say in a single breath?!”
“Don’t you find it more interesting if I break up my messages this way?” Arthis responded in all sincerity, “There’s yet another way - and that is to somehow get the owner of this hunting zone to conform to you. The owner of this hunting zone knows this place inside out, and would naturally have the best idea of what exactly goes on here.”
“Others might not be able to do this, since a ghost’s thirst for flesh and blood is undeniable. But you might just be an exception to this rule.”
Suddenly, the duo paused and looked up at the exact same time.
A strange sound had abruptly appeared, cutting through the silence of the night.
“Wuuu wuu… wuu wuu…” A sobbing voice echoed from the room just next to theirs.
It was the bathroom.
A ghost bawling in the middle of the night.
Shk… Qin Ye unsheathed his demonhead saber, while Arthis muttered in a hush voice, “How about it? Ready to give it a shot?”
“... I’m an Emissary of Hell at any rate. It’s only right and proper to subdue these ghosts. There’s no harm trying.”
“And what if it doesn’t work?”
“Of course I’ll simply slip away and never look back again.” Qin Ye gave the soul sphere a vacant stare, as though that were naturally the only other option available to him.
How could you ask such a stupid question?
“... Very well. That’s just like you.”
“Wuu wuu…” The intermittent sobbing drifting through the corridors together with the wind. It didn’t show any signs of response in the slightest.
Qin Ye walked out of the room and headed straight for bathroom 124.
The door was covered with dust. It was evident just how long it had been since the last person had entered this room. As soon as Qin Ye placed his hand on the door, the sound of static buzzed in the air, and the lights of the bathroom flicked on automatically.
The electricity had already been cut from this entire building since eons ago. But the lights still came on at this very moment.
The dusty hanging light glowed dimly, while the corridor outside was completely dark. This was the only source of light amidst the vast expanse of darkness, yet the dim glow was hardly reassuring at all. In fact… it only made the room feel creepier.
Who switched on the light in the dark of the night?
He pushed on the door and walked in. Under the dim illumination of the light, he could immediately tell that the bathroom was completely different from the rest of the building.
The rest of the nursing home had black and red words scribbled and scratched all over the place. But this place… appeared practically like the scene of murder!
Blood was splattered everywhere. Yet after the effluxion of time, the stains had already oxidised into an unusual dark purple colour. It was on the mirrors, the ceiling, the cubicle doors, and even on the floor, covered by a thick layer of dust. There were even dead insects and vermin lying within the larger pools of dried blood. The smell was incredibly nauseating.
There were countless scratch marks on the wall, all of which were a grisly, dark purplish hue. One could only imagine the struggle that took place in the bathroom before perishing.
“Wuu wuu…” The sobbing voice came from the last cubicle in the bathroom. The cubicle door was slightly ajar, almost as though it were a Pandora’s box, inviting visitors to open it, only to be greeted by the true appearances of the evil ghost.
Qin Ye pushed open the door without hesitation.
The stall in the nursing home was deeper than that in any other normal bathrooms. It was approximately two meters deep. Right at the end, a white-haired person wearing an operatic costume sat on the closed lid of the toilet bowl, sobbing incessantly.
It was a green-coloured costume.
As soon as Qin Ye entered the cubicle, the door slammed shut behind him and bolted itself.
Simultaneously, the ‘person’ seated on the toilet bowl slowly looked up.
The person’s pale, disheveled hair parted slightly, revealing a striking pair of eyes.
They weren’t human eyes. Rather… it was a pair of bloodshot eyes with bloodstains all around it!
“There’s still no Yin energy… are you sure you’re a ghost? That’s way too unprofessional, isn’t it?” Qin Ye took aim at the ghost in front of him. Then, just as he was about to cleave down with his saber, he suddenly heard a sound - Woof?
The white hair on the head parted yet even more, revealing the face of an old dog with yellowish fur.
Its entire body was nestled in a set of operatic costume, giving it the illusion that it was a humanoid creature that was seated on the toilet bowl.
The fiendish hound wasn’t afraid of Qin Ye at all. Instead, it immediately leapt out of the costume, made its way to Qin Ye’s side and began to rub its body against his leg. Its tongue hung out of its mouth, and it wagged its tail joyfully.
It was incredibly skinny.
It was so skinny that one could even see the ribs on its side.
“This is?” Qin Ye picked up the chain behind it and tugged lightly at it. After seeing where it tied down to, he finally loosened his grip.
“Oh? Have you discovered it?” Arthis smiled knowingly.
With a somber expression on his face, Qin Ye nodded, “The chains have already rusted so much that it’s even turned yellow. And it’s been tied to the sewer pipe, which means that… this chain has already been here for several years.”
Shk… He pulled out his demonhead saber and aimed it at the yellow dog, “But it’s not dead yet.”
“What are you?”
Unfortunately, the yellow dog couldn’t understand a single word that Qin Ye was saying. It simply continued to wag its tail and stare at Qin Ye with its large, round, bloodshot eyes.
“This is a corpse fiend.” Arthis explained, “It has already died a long time ago. And you can tell from its eyes that… it has killed someone before. The stench of blood has obscured its eyes, and the corpse energy has transformed it into a fiend. This beast has likely killed more than just a single person. But after the incident, it was tied to this place by somebody, and it has never left since then.”
“If it has killed someone before, why isn’t it aggressive towards me at all?”
Arthis’ voice was somewhat laced with emotion, “It must have been very loyal to its master when it was alive. Since its master hasn’t released it, it chose to remain here obsequiously. Don’t worry, its wish has already been fulfilled, and I’m quite certain it will never attack anyone again.”
Qin Ye blinked his eyes in surprise, and a sudden realization dawned upon him. He abruptly grabbed the dog by its neck and picked it up. The dog was cold to the touch and devoid of any body heat.
The chain was attached to a worn leather collar. The leather on the collar had faded considerably, revealing some yellowish brown fraying underneath the surface. A tag hung loosely at the base of the leather collar.
Qin Ye brushed away the dust on the tag, revealing two words.
“Old… Huang?” After reading aloud the words on the tag, he immediately exclaimed, “So that’s it.”
Old Huang had massacred all of the caregivers and nurses within the nursing home!
I’ve tied him up…
This was Yu Qiuqing’s swansong!
“All along, I’ve thought that Old Huang was a human being. I really didn’t expect it… to be a dog.” He sighed, “I finally understand now. The real owner of this hunting zone isn’t Yu Qiuqing. It’s… Old Huang.”
After all, only a corpse fiend could possibly massacre so many people!
That’s the only way the nursing home could have become a hunting zone to begin with!
All the pieces of the puzzle finally came together at this very moment. He sighed soullessly, “Yu Qiuqing had never mentioned that Old Huang was a dog. Furthermore, she had referred to the dog as ‘he’, and not ‘it’. She had even made mention of tying Old Huang up, and not tethering Old Huang. I imagine… she must have thought of Old Huang as her one and only kin while she was alive, right?”
“Yu Qiuqing treated it as family; and Old Huang felt the same way about her as well. It must have witnessed Yu Qiuqing experiencing years of abuse and mistreatment in the nursing home. And so… after dying, it transformed into a corpse fiend, murdering the head nurse and massacring all the rest of the caregivers as well.” He stroked the top of Old Huang’s head. Almost as though it understood what Qin Ye was saying, Old Huang rubbed its head gently against Qin Ye’s hand.
It was cold.
And yet it was also incredibly warm at the same time.
“And Yu Qiuqing, fearing that Old Huang wouldn’t end well, shackled him in the last cubicle in the bathroom. Unfortunately… she wasn’t aware that Old Huang was already dead by then…”
“Killing everyone who had mistreated its master… I imagine this was the obsession that kept it going…”
Qin Ye didn’t feel repulsed by Old Huang just because it had perished a long time ago. Running his hand across Old Huang’s ribs, Qin Ye could clearly sense that it was completely skin and bones. It was hard to imagine what kind of life and environment the duo - one woman and one dog - had experienced back then.
They probably only had each other to rely on.
“I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong.” He patted on the dog’s head as he stood up, “If I were a judge, I wouldn’t sentence you to the path of the beast in your next life.”
“After all, you’ve already fulfilled your duty in your present lifetime.”
He undid Old Huang’s shackles, but it didn’t scamper away. Instead, it simply laid down at Qin Ye’s feet obsequiously.
Qin Ye’s eyes quivered. He could never have fathomed that the owner of this hunting zone was in fact a corpse fiend dog.
“You’re really lucky.” Arthis exclaimed, “You’re obviously a cunning person, yet you’ve still been blessed with such immense fortune… This must be why people often say that the wicked live long.”
Qin Ye smiled.
That’s right. He also felt incredibly lucky today.
Who could have known that the owner of this hunting zone was not a human? And now, with Old Huang around, it had unlocked a new variable.
A variable… that might result in breaching the barrier successfully!
“I know you can understand what I’m saying. You’re the owner of this place. Can you tell me what changed you into a corpse fiend after you died? Do you know where my teammates are?”
Old Huang perked up its ears and listened to Qin Ye’s queries. Then, it suddenly got back onto its feet. Its body trembled, and it immediately hunched its bony back and started growling. The hairs on its back stood up menacingly as it stared transfixed at the door to the cubicle.
Qin Ye’s gaze froze, and his demonhead saber abruptly ignited with a green blaze. Then, he turned around and looked at the door to the cubicle as well.
Clack… clack… A clear sound echoed from the corridor. At the same time, an incredibly strong wave of Yin energy filled the entire first floor instantly!
It was the sound of high heels clacking against the ground.
“Hunter-class level of Yin energy…” Qin Ye squinted his eyes, “Arthis, who’s this?”
Arthis was also equally bewildered, “I don’t know… This hunting zone… is absolutely peculiar, even by my wealth of experiences. Could this be the effect of the thirty million Yin existence on the hunting zone? A hunting zone with more than one ‘owner’? Moreover, this hunting zone most certainly didn’t have any Hunter-class ghosts just a few days ago. Yet… these ghosts had attained a breakthrough in just a matter of days?”
The thirty million Yin existence must have been triggered or stirred by something that night.
Clack… clack… The sound of the high heels were incredibly clear against the juxtaposition of the deafening silence in the hallway. The owner of the heels entered the bathroom in no time.
Kkkrrr… The hair-raising sound of sharp nails scratching the wooden doors of the cubicles filled the air. The door to the first cubicle was opened.
Qin Ye peeked under the gap between the cubicle door and the ground.
The dim light flickered eerily. Yet no matter where Qin Ye looked, he couldn’t see a single shadow on the ground!
They were in a dark, abandoned nursing home in the middle of the night, and something was opening the cubicle doors one by one.
The second door. The third door. The bathroom only had four cubicles. Then, just as the third cubicle door was pulled open, Qin Ye heard the sound of high heels stop at the door of his cubicle.
He could now see the snow white high heels in the gap between the cubicle door and the ground.
It was stained with splotches of dark red blood.
And it stood there silently, unmoving, and separated from Qin Ye by a thin wooden door.Previous Chapter Next Chapter