Xiao Xia didn’t even dare breathe too loudly, deeply afraid of being discovered. Thinking of the unseen face under the straw hat, cold sweat silently trickled down.
She was extremely anxious and felt time was passing very slowly. However, she was also afraid it would pass too quickly and the raincoat weirdo would arrive before Ruan Zhan! Yet as her thoughts were a mess, the crisp bell from her dream sounded out.
Within the muffled sounds of thunder and rain, the ringing directly entered her ears! It felt very distant yet also almost within reach.
Was this a dream? Was her previous dream about to repeat itself!? Xiao Xia couldn’t tell for the moment, and she didn’t have time to determine it either. She merely tightened her grip on Wan Li while holding the bloodwood sword with her other hand. It was the only thing she could rely on in this dangerous situation!
The door opened automatically without a sound. Then, a pair of legs entered Xiao Xia’s sight along with the wind and rain.
Xiao Xia could only see the lower hem of the raincoat. The raindrops kept rolling down but no water appeared on the ground.
“He” stood by the door for a moment before slowly heading towards the table. Xiao Xia’s heart tightened and she involuntarily shrank further inward, sticking tightly to the wall and Wan Li.
“He” wore a pair of brand new shoes embroidered with various flowers. It was no longer possible to tell what color the original cloth was. Many colored threads were overlaid on top of each other in an extremely vivid display. They had been out in the rain but there wasn’t a single speck of dirt on them.
The strangest thing was that there were no feet in the shoes. Between the raincoat and the shoes, there were no legs!
He wasn’t human. It was a ghost, just like the family of three! But why did the bloodwood sword not react normally and reveal its beautiful red light? Only the hilt was releasing some slight heat!
Xiao Xia didn’t know whether the bloodwood sword was broken. She watched as “he” approached the table yet didn’t sit down. He merely stood there rigidly. He was close enough for her to see the patterns on the woven raincoat and the trickling yet not falling raindrops upon it.
He shook his bell and a row of “people” hopped inside once again. They lined up in a row to the side. It was obviously those weird people who were tied together with rope. Their heads were covered in white cloth bags. The problem was that from where they stood, they formed an encirclement along with the raincoat ghost and the ghost family, with Xiao Xia in the middle.
The scene was extremely weird. The inn was completely dark and silent. However, it was also extremely busy. It seemed at a glance like a normal inn that was receiving guests. However, the innkeepers weren’t human. The guests weren’t human either.
Xiao Xia was covered in sweat despite being in the cold mountains. She also had to desperately suppress her increasingly rapid breathing. She could only hope for these ghosts to hurry and leave after resting their legs, assuming they were truly human enough to need a rest. Hopefully they didn’t have any ill intentions towards her.
A flash of lightning lit up the night. Xiao Xia who was trembling under the table saw the raincoat ghost slowly bend over. The unseen face was “looking” right at her!
He knew she was hiding there!
“Don’t…let…them…touch…your…head!” He spoke one word at a time, making a weird vibrato sound!
What did that mean? Xiao Xia was stunned.
Before she could react, with the crackle of thunder, the raincoat ghost suddenly flipped the table!
Xiao Xia had no idea how to react. She felt like a lamb hiding in the grass that had suddenly been exposed to a predator.
She was frozen in fear, but realized the things around her weren’t moving either. They were merely staring in her direction as though they couldn’t see her. They could only sense her! She tried to move. The ghosts seemed to have recognized their target and hopped forwards!
Only then did Xiao Xia realize that Ruan Zhan’s invisibility talisman prevented them from being seen. However, it couldn’t conceal their breathing or the sound of movement. Therefore, these ghosts knew the general direction, but not their exact location!
Furthermore, despite being a little irregular, the bloodwood sword was still an incomparable threat for these ghosts!
But why did the raincoat ghost seem to see her? Was he just more powerful and could sense her due to proximity? Or could he really see her? What did his words mean? Don’t let them touch her head?! And why didn’t he attack? Was he also scared of the bloodwood sword?
The seconds ticked by and Xiao Xia had to make a decision.
If these ghosts were sent to kill them, Wan Li was in the biggest danger. He was currently unconscious and couldn’t defend himself at all. The bloodwood sword could maintain a defensive perimeter but there were too many of them. If they all rushed forward without care, she would still get overwhelmed.
She also had no spirit power and couldn’t make the bloodwood sword hard as steel. It was fine against incorporeal spirits but what if they were solid like zombies? Those hopping ghosts with covered heads didn’t look easy to deal with. She couldn’t let Ruan Zhan’s inheritance from his father be destroyed in her hands!
Besides, something seemed off about the bloodwood sword today.
Therefore, the best thing to do was to lure these things away while keeping the bloodwood sword by Wan Li’s side. That way, even if the raincoat ghost could see him, he couldn’t do anything!
Despite being terrified, she still forced herself to act!
She held her breath and slowly, slowly lay Wan Li flat on the floor. She pulled up the collar of his sweater to cover his already faint breathing. This would make the ghosts lose sight of their target. Then, she put the bloodwood sword in his arms.
She kept her eyes on the raincoat ghost and the row of “enemies” who were ready to attack at a moment’s notice. The raincoat ghost didn’t move and it wasn’t clear what he was planning due to his unseen face. The other ghosts slowly drew closer, following Xiao Xia’s extremely light movements.
At this moment, the bloodwood sword started giving of a faint red light. Xiao Xia let out a breath. This meant Wan Li could stay here safely, especially with Ruan Zhan’s protective talisman on the wall.
She watched as the encirclement grew smaller. There was no longer an opportunity to escape. She took off a shoe and threw it outside the circle!
With a rush, the family of three and the five connected zombies rushed to the stairwell where the shoe had fallen. The raincoat ghost however shot towards Xiao Xia.
She dodged instinctively and the raincoat ghost almost fell onto Wan Li. Due to the bloodwood sword in his arms, the ghost jerked back like a puppet, drifting far away!
Xiao Xia was now completely at ease knowing the bloodwood sword could keep Wan Li safe. Therefore, she no longer hesitated. While the ghosts were still distracted, she ran for the door. She wanted to run into the woods since there would be more room to maneuver!
However, she couldn’t get out!
The raincoat ghost was a step faster and blocked her path!
Only then did she recall the raincoat ghost could see her. Her method would only work on the other ghosts. She could now only run around randomly and try to escape!
She no longer hesitated. She crouched down and narrowly avoided the raincoat ghost’s grip. She couldn’t even see clearly if he had hands. She pretty much rolled towards the storage room door. The monsters which were strung together reached their arms towards her as though they really were zombies!
Don’t let them touch her head!
Xiao Xia didn’t know why she recalled these words but she felt they had a special meaning. Therefore, she did her best not to let her head get touched. She had intended on avoiding their attacks by holding her breath and not moving, but since the raincoat ghost could see her this plan no longer worked. She could only scurry around wretchedly.
However, the raincoat ghost didn’t go after her. He merely circled around the unconscious Wan Li, the bloodwood sword’s light preventing him from getting close. However, he seemed unwilling to give up, forcing Xiao Xia to keep looking over while running. She was almost caught several times.
In the dark inn, a roomful of ghosts pursued her. There were five zombie-like things with their heads covered in white cloth and a family of three. They were all deathly pale, almost green in the dim light. They bled from their seven orifices!
It was too late for fear. She had to keep an eye on Wan Li as she ran. She watched as the raincoat ghost paced for a long while before suddenly going prone and stretching out his hand.
His hand slowly stretched out from beneath the raincoat. It was dark, like glutinous rice rapped in lotus leaves. Similarly, she couldn’t see any arms. The formless hands stretched forwards. They were extremely flexible, stretching beyond human limits and directly touching Wan Li’s head.
As though suffering a heavy blow, the raincoat ghost shrunk back upon contact and didn’t get up!
Xiao Xia froze. She forgot to run and forgot to breathe. Without the raincoat ghost pointing her out, the others lost track of her and stopped their attacks. For the moment, the inn was extremely silent!
In the dim light, Wan Li suddenly opened his eyes!
He was awake! Xiao Xia was initially overjoyed, but her body started shivering subconsciously. Her heart froze in fear and despair.
Wan Li’s expression was off. It was really off. He was no longer himself, but rather someone else entirely. Wooden, rigid, horrifying, emotionless!
There was a gust of wind and he seemed to drift along with it. The tall, bulky man stood up without a sound.
“Wan Li!” The sudden turn of events caused Xiao Xia to forget her surroundings. She immediately cried out.
Movement exploded around her as her voice fell.
The ghosts started coming for her and Wan Li suddenly turned his head, staring right at her!
She knew Wan Li could see her. Since Ruan Zhan had drawn both of their talismans, they could see each other even if no one else could see them.
But that was no longer Wan Li! Although it was Wan Li’s body and face, he had never looked at her so emotionlessly. He had always been gentle and warm, making her feel the entire world was warm when she saw him!
She wanted to cry. Especially when he rushed over like the other ghosts, she almost burst out crying as she ran!
That wasn’t her Wan Li anymore!
The pursuit in the inn continued but the misses were nearer and nearer. Xiao Xia’s heart was in pain so her movements slowed. In the end, her hand was gripped fast by that ethnic girl.
“She slept in my bed!” She screamed! She stretched out her claw-like hand and seized Xiao Xia by her throat!
Xiao Xia had trouble breathing and her mind was a mess. She looked at Wan Li from the corner of her eyes but he actually showed no reaction!
If she was going to die, so be it!
Xiao Xia closed her eyes and no longer tried to struggle in her despair. The Wan Li before her was no longer her Wan Li!