Xiao Xia heard the crashing noises from the attic, but assumed Lazy Three was in a drunken rage again. Therefore, she ignored it. However, the mournful sound of the window breaking made her feel something was wrong. She suddenly sat up in bed and turned on the bedside lamp. She sat there listening, a little frightened.
What drunken rage got so out of hand? Had something happened? Should she call the police? Perhaps there was an accident?
Right as she was hesitating, the light suddenly extinguished, making her suck in a breath. Even without the light, the thin curtain let the moonlight in. After her eyes adjusted, she could vaguely see the outline of the room. At this moment, there was a strange sound.
Scratch…scratch…it was like a hard object was digging against the wall.
“Who’s there?” She asked in alarm.
What answered her was a low and malicious laugh. Then, the digging sound sped up as though in a rush to get at her. This time, it even came from the ceiling and the floor. Simultaneously, urgent knocking sounded against the door and the window. There was even a dark shadow reflected against the window.
In an instant, the surroundings grew noisy. It seemed like the things outside desperately wanted to barge in, unwilling to leave before they got her. She leapt off the bed in panic. However, she had just landed on the floor when she felt something stroking her feet through the ground, making her leap back into bed. She did her best to remain calm but the feeling of being surrounded made her not know what to do.
Phone? There wasn’t one in the room. Cellphone? It had no signal for some reason. Call for help? It was drowned out by the ruckus. She was isolated without any help. At this time, the bed started moving as though something was hiding underneath, about to flip it over and crawl out!
She gritted her teeth to stop herself from crying and swiftly put on her clothes. She peeled off the talisman stuck to her bed and endured the tremors underfoot. She waited until a black claw that looked like a child’s hand stretched out before she swiftly stuck the talisman on it.
There was a sizzle accompanied by a tragic cry. The claw twisted violently before swiftly vanishing. The talisman fluttered to the floor. At the same time, a hole appeared on the wall and several miniature claws reached inside.
Almost instinctively, Xiao Xia jumped up and struck with the talisman. The same thing happened and the ghostly claws hissed and withdrew. The holes in the room grew more and more numerous. Xiao Xia tore down the talismans around her to stick on the intruding hands. When the hands withdrew, she picked up the talisman and placed them back on the walls and the door. She spent a period of time running around the room, using talismans to block ghostly hands. As for the ones that stretched from the ceiling, she had to drag over the large chair and climb up and down. Although the room wasn’t big, she still panted with exhaustion.
When the intruding hands grew less frequent, Xiao Xia noticed there were no holes on the walls, floor, window or door. Only then did she understand they had been trying to penetrate the might of the talismans, not any physical obstruction. Furthermore, despite the hands appearing from all over, she actually felt there was only one or two ghouls that were threatening her.
She stood nervously and waited vigilantly for the ghost’s attacks. However, the injuries caused by the talismans must have been relatively serious and it didn’t dare act blindly. Gradually, it stopped and the surroundings fell silent.
Xiao Xia let out a breath and fell back onto her bed.
Luckily Ruan Zhan had given her these talismans as gifts. It was also lucky she had set them up in advance. Otherwise, she didn’t know how tragically she would have died today! The amount of talismans were just slightly insufficient, which encouraged the ghoul to try and force its way in through the weaker parts. From what it seemed, it shouldn’t dare come hurt itself anymore.
But did the noises upstairs earlier indicate that something had happened to the owner of this place?
For a moment, she hated herself a little. She had clearly seen the omen of death on his face. Why didn’t she investigate properly? Perhaps if she had given him a talisman, he could have been saved. He said this place was haunted but she hadn’t believed him. She assumed him to be a drunk. If she had been braver and asked him some more questions, he might not have had to die!
Why wasn’t she Ruan Zhan? Why didn’t she have such awesome abilities? She could save so many people if she did!
But why did she encounter such things every time? She always had chance encounters with the supernatural!
She was criticizing herself when a different noise came from the door. It was a woman’s scream. The noise was loud and seemed to strike against her heart.
It was Sis Wang!
She leapt up and listened against the door. She heard Sis Wang’s loud voice repeatedly letting out cries of terror.
What should she do? Should she do something? She didn’t have the ability. Ignore it? Should she abandon her like she did Lazy Three? Was she really going to let someone die without offering help?
Xiao Xia anxiously paced around. Finally, she stomped her foot and swiftly tore down several talismans. She stuck them all over herself before bursting out of her room.
The hallway was dark, not even as well-lit as her room. At this time, Sis Wang’s cries suddenly stopped and became quiet sobs. It seemed a little sinister and weird.
Xiao Xia gathered her courage and groped along, following the sound towards Sis Wang’s room. As she approached, her hairs suddenly stood on end. She felt a chill.
She didn’t know if there was anything darker than black, but she felt as if something even darker than the darkness was staring at her. It just hadn’t pounced over yet.
It was afraid of the talismans on her body!
When she realized this, her pounding heart slightly relaxed. “Sis Wang?” She heard her own voice asking nervously. “Are you alive or dead? Say something!”
Before her voice fell, Sis Wang suddenly let out a loud scream and rushed out of her room. Although it was still dark, she was too familiar with this place. She merely knocked into a couple of things before managing to burst out. However, she didn’t realize Xiao Xia was standing there and knocked into her. The two of them fell at the same time.
She had suffered too much fright and thought Xiao Xia was the thing trying to harm her. She shoved and scratched at her. Xiao Xia felt heat across her face and her clothes were torn open at the front.
The talismans wouldn’t have fallen off, right? They were what was protecting her.
She had just thought this and shoved Sis Wang away when she felt a cold wind grasping towards her. However, right before it made contact, the amulet around her neck once again released a gentle yellow light, knocking the ghoul back. Since it had rushed forward so fiercely, the force it suffered was also heavier. It seemed to have shattered into several pieces as it shrieked continuously.
It had gotten close when it pounced, so Xiao Xia had been able to clearly see its appearance in the light of the amulet.
It had the body of an eleven, twelve year old child. It was crooked and completely black. Its features were completely blurry. Not only was it grotesque, it was also particularly disgusting!
“Over here!” A male voice suddenly rang out. From the stiff tone, she could tell it was that Japanese person. Then, a hand grabbed Xiao Xia’s arm and practically dragged her into a room. Sis Wang also scrambled in behind them.
A bright ray of light suddenly illuminated the room. It was a large flashlight.
“I’m a cautious person so I usually have such things prepared.” Kenji Ganmura explained. He raised the flashlight. The light shining up at him from below made his face seem pale and made him look eerie.
Xiao Xia had yet to speak when a knocking sound started up. Sis Wang screamed and swiftly crawled under the bed.
“Don’t worry. It won’t be able to get in.” Kenji Ganmura comforted quietly. “I’ve placed my family’s heirloom dagger at the door. No fiend can enter.” He pointed at the door, where a dagger was suspended on the clothing hook.
“But this is China. Will that thing be effective?” Xiao Xia asked, sticking the fallen talismans back on her body.
Ruan Zhan was better. She could only trust his things.
“Fiends are all the same. As long as they are spirits, exorcist objects will be effective. This is passed down from my ancestors, and was once used by a senior monk. It’s a treasure!”
“Then why didn’t you go help earlier!?” Xiao Xia grumbled, thinking he was putting on a false act of kindness.
“This is a treasure so I naturally keep it secured. Before, I assumed Mister Lan was just drunk and ignored the noise. Only after hearing Sis Wang scream did I get it out. However, I had secured it too well so I only managed to bring it out now. Don’t worry. With this here, as long as it’s in the room, fiends cannot enter from anywhere.” Kenju Ganmura explained. “However, you are really a brave young lady. You actually came out by yourself to save others!”
“You’re overpraising!” Xiao Xia cocked her head to listen as she answered. She felt the continuous knocking from the door seemed to be growing fainter, as though it had no more strength.
“This thing of yours…” Kenji Ganmura pointed at the talisman on Xiao Xia. “It seems pretty good. I’ve never seen this before. Is it what protected you?”
“That’s right. Without it I’d be dead for sure.”
“You are acquainted with a Daoist? Can you introduce me? I’m very interested in China’s Daoism.”
“He doesn’t like interacting with others. I’m afraid it’s not too convenient to introduce you.” Xiao Xia said politely.
In any case, this Japanese person had helped her and Sis Wang. Her attitude should be a little warmer. “However, there are Daoist Associations in China. You can go study there. Otherwise, you can go to the Laoshan district in Shandong. There are Daoist practitioners there.”
“It’s fine, I’m just looking to make new friends. Thank you for the tip. However, can you let me take a look at this talisman?”
If Xiao Xia didn’t agree to this, it would be too unreasonable. However, this was Ruan Zhan’s gift to her. Apart from using it to deal with ghouls and fiends, she was unwilling to let it be passed around by others. However, she still let him take a look. She watched as he closely examined it as though he was an expert. Xiao Xia kept her eye on him, afraid he would break it. When he gave it back to her, she carefully stuck it back onto her body.
“It’s really quite good. I only knew about single-use talismans. I didn’t know some could be reused multiple times!”
Well of course. As expected of Ruan Zhan! Xiao Xia thought proudly. Her expression was not overlooked by Kenji.
At this moment, Sis Wang who no one had paid attention to seemed to have calmed down. She crawled out from under the bed.
“What did it do to you?” Seeing her frightened appearance, Xiao Xia was angry and sympathetic.
“It…it’s a perverted ghost. It groped me wildly and then tried to strangle me!” Sis Wang was still panicked. “I heard the boss’s window shatter. He might be dead. Just like those four people from before. He’s definitely dead. He definitely died tragically!” She started crying as she spoke.
So it turns out four others have already died here?
Xiao Xia wanted to ask Sis Wang about it but she wouldn’t stop crying. There was no way to ask anything or to comfort her. She could only let her cry until the sky started brightening. She realized the signal was back and hurriedly called the police.
Kenji Ganmura took the opportunity while Xiao Xia was calling the police and Sis Wang was crying quietly to open the door a crack, secretly bring inside an extremely beautiful and exquisite painted box. He hid it in the bottom of the closet.