She was so skinny she looked completely flat from the front. There seemed to be nothing under those beautiful clothes, merely a pile of bones. Despite this, seeing her drifting like leaves in the wind as she stood up tall was still very frightening.
I grabbed hold of Uncle Bao because he was getting too close to that female ghost!
“It’s fine.” Uncle Bao patted my hand and said softly.
Only then did I recall that she had given her inner core to that weird infant. Although she hadn’t suffered much damage, she still lost some of her powers. She was naturally no longer a threat in Uncle Bao’s eyes.
She slowly turned her body and struggled to drift over to us. Her long hair covered her face, hiding her expression. I felt a beam of pale white light shooting out from beneath the curtain of hair. It was filled with resentment, despair and wild hatred! Under the torchlight in the dark tomb, it was especially horrifying.
“Give it back!” She growled.
“Take it!” Unexpectedly, Uncle Bao stretched his hand out with the glimmering bead on his palm.
We three youths looked at each other, not understanding what Uncle Bao was doing. Was he really going to give it back?
“Give me back my child!” She cried out again with gritted teeth. The sharp, rattling voice echoed incessantly throughout the burial chamber!
“You don’t want it anymore?” Uncle Bao still spoke with an amiable tone. “This is good stuff. No? Then I’ll put it away.” He unhurriedly withdrew his hand as he spoke.
That female ghost shrieked and pounced over to snatch at the bead, but only managed to grab the air. Then she rose with a swish, sticking to the roof of the chamber like a painting. She was directly on top of the coffin, looking down at us without moving.
Her long hair hung down from the ceiling, swaying back and forth like jet-black weeds.
Below, we finally managed to see her face clearly. Well, it couldn’t really be called a face. It was just a skull. Strangely, something was glowing white in her right eye-socket. Although it was weak, it was extremely clear to see in this dark, enclosed space!
That white light gave off an extremely cold feeling. Whoever it swept over would feel uncomfortable all over, especially since it was looking at each of us in turn.
“Spread out! Guard your positions!” Uncle Bao said in a low voice. I realized that he had subconsciously lowered his voice ever since entering the tomb, as if afraid to disturb the spirits underground.
We spread out as instructed, cooperatively each taking a corner of the chamber and surrounding the enemy. We weren’t giving her any opportunities to go harm our friends or escape!
I stood at the corner left of the entrance and Ah Zhan stood on the right. The Bao father and son took the corners in the back of the room. Bao Da Tong stood close to the handmaid ghost who had been facing the wall the entire time. He wasn’t afraid and didn’t mind at all. It was like there wasn’t anything next to him as he stood in a casual manner. Uncle Bao stood close to Zhao Jiang. He even pushed Zhao Jiang to the side a little to get a better angle, and nodded to him as if in apology.
We had just gotten into position when a strange sound that was part laughter and part sobbing rang out…
“Oh, my son. Watch as mom avenges you. I’ll make them into pie for you to eat, alright?” I shone my flashlight at the ceiling, but her location remained dark as if something was sucking part of the light away. Only the outline of a person was visible. However, her voice could be clearly heard as she spoke to herself. It sounded like she was having a simple discussion over what to eat with her child. It’s just that the four of us were on the menu. Her gentle yet sinister words came from every direction, causing me to shiver in fear.
“Don’t be scared, mom will come with you! Which one do you want to eat first? The silent, cold person? Or the biggest one over there?”
The biggest one? Was that me?
Before I could figure it out, I felt an unusual chill assault me. The surrounding temperature plummeted, turning from a summer day into severe winter. I shivered involuntarily and saw Bao Da Tong was the same way. Although Ah Zhan was able to keep himself from shivering, I could hear his teeth chattering.
“What can you do without the Eye of Yang?” Uncle Bao’s steady voice rang out in the dark and gave me comfort.
“What can you do with the Eye of Yang?” She retorted resentfully. Then, without any warning, she suddenly shot towards me. She was so fast no one in the chamber had a chance to react.
In my panic, I raised my hand to block. The flashlight illuminated her and allowed me to see that the weird infant’s face was actually on her head! The infant’s face, which was one size smaller than her skull, was pale green and eerie.
A pair of firm, cold ghostly hands wrapped around my neck, making me feel even colder. The chill spread from my neck throughout my body. My limbs became rigid as if frozen and a sense of suffocation assaulted me at the same time.
At this moment, a shadow flashed from my right. I saw Ah Zhan holding the bloodwood sword like a dagger as he stabbed towards the female ghost.
“Scram!” He shouted.
The female ghost clearly hadn’t expected anyone to escape the influence of her chill to come save me. She was struck by the formless exorcist powers of the bloodwood sword and hurriedly retreated, releasing me as she did so. She accurately leapt into her own coffin. Ah Zhan didn’t speak further and quickly returned to guarding his side of the door.
The surroundings fell deadly silent once more.
I cleared my throat nervously, feeling it extremely inappropriate to make a sound at this time. However, I had to say it. “That weird infant hasn’t died.” I told them what I had seen. “They’ve fused.”
“Wan Li, don’t panic. That was just an illusion of hers.” Uncle Bao said.
“What’s going on with her? She wasn’t so fierce when I scouted things out as the sword earlier!” Bao Da Tong suddenly spoke. “Did she not see the bloodwood sword? Why would she make such a rash move?”
“Anyone would be stunned after suffering the shock of losing someone before wildly trying to get revenge, idiot.” Ah Zhan scoffed.
“What should I do? Dad!” Bao Da Tong unexpectedly did not retort. His voice was a little off.
“That won’t work! Dad, cough, cough…that little handmaid is….choking me!”
At his words, the three beams from the flashlights moved from the coffin onto Bao Da Tong’s corner. The little handmaid ghost had gotten onto his back at some point and was viciously choking his neck with both hands!
Bao Da Tong grabbed at her hands with one of his while stretching for his cloth bag with his other hand. He appeared to be under extreme duress, unable to muster any strength. His tongue was even sticking out.
“You idiot! Throw her off, quickly!” I cried urgently.
“That’s why I’m…asking my dad!” He was still chattering under such circumstances. “I can only…kill….her, but don’t have the ability to…subdue her!”
I almost rushed from my spot out of anxiety but managed to halt my steps. I suddenly realized I couldn’t afford to be tricked and moved the beam of light back onto the coffin in the middle of the room. I kept an eye out to see whether the female ghost would climb out again, while watching Bao Da Tong at the same time.
I saw that after moving my beam of light away, another still remained shining steadily on Bao Da Tong. It was coming from Ah Zhan’s direction. Under the light, Bao Da Tong continued to try desperately to struggle free. However, he wasn’t using any spells and merely relied on his own strength.
Uncle Bao’s light was shaking somewhat. In the darkness, I could see him twisting a few times. He swatted at something and then flung out a hand. A black shadow was flung onto the wall. It turned into a frail silhouette and stopped moving. There was naturally a piece of talisman paper stuck to it.
Zhao Jiang had clearly attacked Uncle Bao at the same time the handmaid ghost made her move. However, how could someone like Uncle Bao be so easily ambushed? Therefore, Zhao Jiang was now sealed into the wall.
“Don’t move!” Ah Zhan cried towards Bao Da Tong. “I’ll shoot the bloodwood sword over and stab her!”
“No, don’t kill her!” Uncle Bao hurriedly stopped Ah Zhan after getting free of Zhao Jiang. Then, he yelled towards Bao Da Tong urgently. “Use talismanic fire to make her withdraw her hands and I’ll suppress her!”
After a muffled agreement, two small clumps of fire suddenly appeared by Bao Da Tong’s neck. The moment the handmaid ghost let go, she was struck and sealed in the wall by Uncle Bao’s flung talisman. Only then did Bao Da Tong take in a long breath.
From the distance, the two human-shaped shadows in the walls were silent and featureless. However, they looked like they were eavesdropping and made me feel extremely uncomfortable.
But why did those well-behaved and frightened spirits suddenly attack the father and son? Did that female ghost force them to help while we were distracted with her?
If that was the case, would she perhaps use those enchanted people outside? They were our friends. Would what had happened last night repeat itself? Back at the clearing there was room to run and hide. If the same thing happened in the dark, enclosed tomb, what would be the result?
“Wan Li, Wan Li, are you there? Why do you think Ah Zhan hasn’t returned yet?” I had just thought of this when I suddenly heard a familiar voice calling me.
It was Nana!
I forgot my responsibilities when I heard this. Ah Zhan was the same way. The two of us crowded towards the door at the same time.
Tap. The sound of footsteps rang out. A figure could be seen in the outer chamber under the beam of the flashlight.
She slowly walked towards us, calling out “Wan Li” and “Ah Zhan”. The two of us were frozen, completely unable to think straight. Of course, we also had no idea what to do.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap….
More footsteps rang out repeatedly. Even more figures appeared from the darkness of the outer chamber. They followed steadily behind and walked towards us!
The person in the lead got closer and closer until we could see her face. Who else could it be but Nana?
She was smiling, but her usually beautiful smile was now indescribably eerie. Although her lips were smiling, her eyes were completely emotionless. Her eyes didn’t even reflect any of the light, let alone react to it.
What sort of smile was the most horrifying? Not a sinister, vicious or calculating one. It was when the eyes and brows remained expressionless and sluggish while a rigid smile was painted on the face!
“Close the door quick!” Uncle Bao shouted from behind. “Don’t let a single person get inside!”
The cry made us snap out of it. We realized if our friends managed to get in, we would become their targets and they in turn would become the targets of the malicious female ghost. They would even become hostages!
We awoke as if from a dream and hurriedly pushed at the wooden doors on either side. They had been opened wide when we first entered, and we didn’t know if they had even been shut before. They were also extremely thick and heavy and refused to budge despite all our efforts. We watched as Nana and the group of students approached the doors.
“Dad, handle that vicious character by yourself. I’m going to go help!” Bao Da Tong’s voice rang out and he bounded over.
He stood in the middle of the doors, gesturing, stomping and hopped around as if having a seizure. He chanted something and shoved his hands out forcefully at the same time. The enchanted students truly slowed their steps.
Bao Da Tong let out a long breath. I also wiped away some cold sweat, thanking our lucky stars. However, right as he was about to start bragging, the sinister laugh of a woman came from behind us. The halted students started moving once again.
“Hey old man, can’t you do your job properly?” Bao Da Tong complained and started his “ritual” again. However, he had only made a few moves when he realized he wouldn’t make it in time. Nana, who was in the lead, was two steps away from the doors.
“Damn it!” He sighed and leapt outside the doors. He sized Nana and shoved her forcefully. His move caused the other students to stumble back as well!
“Hurry and close the doors! I can hold them off for a bit!” He shouted without turning his head.
We didn’t have time to hesitate. Although I knew he would be in more danger outside the doors, we still desperately shoved at the doors. My wrist and ribs were in extreme pain and the flashlight had fallen to the floor.
Two thuds rang out, and I knew that Ah Zhan had thrown his flashlight and the bloodwood sword to the floor as well. His injuries were worse than mine and pushing these heavy doors took an even bigger toll on him!
We shoved desperately as weird banging and thumping sounds rang from the outer chamber!
Finally, with a rumbling sound, the doors moved and started closing gradually.
The flashlight on the floor lit the ground outside and I saw Bao Da Tong falling to the floor. His previously injured face was now covered in fresh wounds. I saw him scrambling around on the floor. Although he wasn’t seriously injured, the legs around him grew more and more numerous. He had been tightly surrounded by those students. He had to pull and shove while trying to escape, looking extremely wretched. This made Ah Zhan and I hesitate to fully close the doors.
Should we shut him outside by himself? He knew those were our friends and that they were still alive despite being enchanted. He definitely wouldn’t hurt them. Yet those people were completely unconscious and possessed unusual strength. They would hurt him!
“Bao Da Tong, hurry and get in!” I shouted.
“I’d love to! Ah…bastard, you dare hit this daddy’s handsome face!?” He responded.
I did my best to distinguish his figure from the rest, but with the mess of legs I couldn’t tell where he was. I could only hear his voice.
“Hurry!” I shouted again.
“I can’t…fucking…get in. Hurry and close the doors! Deal with the head ghost quickly….and then come help me!”
“Hurry! This daddy can’t hold them back much longer! Close the doors!” He desperately urged.
Ah Zhan and I looked at each other and knew he was right. The faster we acted, the less danger he would be in. Dragging our feet like this wouldn’t solve anything.
With a crash, the doors fell shut!