"Sir, I'm a young man who likes to explore, and I'm an outdoor livestream host." Afraid that the old man might not believe him, Chen Ge told out his phone and showed him the page with his videos. "I'm quite famous online. You can Google me if you want to."
He confused the old man since he kept saying terms that the senior could not understand. "Goggle you? How would staring at you help?"
The old man tightened his palms around the hoe, and he looked at Chen Ge with alarm.
"To put it simply, I'm a famous outdoor explorer," Chen Ge summarized. He did not care whether the old man understood him or not. He took out a banknote from his pocket. "I'm lost exploring this mountain, and it was lucky for me to run into you. Can you please tell me how to get back to Jiujiang City?"
The old man did not reach for Chen Ge's money. He kept his eyes on Chen Ge. Obviously, he did not trust Chen Ge. The two stood in the plantation. The weather in the mountain was prone to change. There was a chill in the air, and it soon started to rain.
"It's raining?" Chen Ge opened his palm and allowed the rain to fall on it. The moment the rain turned heavier, the environment in the mountain would turn complicated. It would be bad for him.
"I don't know where you're from, but this place is called Lin Guan Village. It is right in the middle of Jiujiang and Lin Jiang. It's far from the city, and there are no cars nearby. It'll be difficult for you to return to Jiujiang." The man leaned on the hoe. His legs were weak from the shock that Chen Ge had given him. Who would have thought that a man would suddenly appear behind him in the middle of the night?
"Then what should I do?" Chen Ge twisted his face like he was really worried.
"I can walk you to the foot of the mountain, but it'll probably take the whole night." The old man sighed. "Right, there's a village at the bottom of the mountain. I can walk you there, but do not go into the village. Head straight for the road."
"Why can't I enter the village? If there are some villagers, I don't mind spending a night there."
"Just listen to me! Why do you have so many questions?" the old man said sternly. This seemed to be especially important.
"But you've said so yourself, there are no cars. Even if I leave the mountain, I won't be able to return to Jiujiang. It looks like it's going to pour soon; I'll need a place to hide from the rain, right?" Chen Ge was telling the truth, and the old man could not come up with a retort. He glared at Chen Ge, and the silence stretched between them.
The rain picked up, and the old man sighed. "Since it's raining now, it'll be misty in the morning. If you don't mind, you can stay with me for the night."
He removed the lamp from the branch. He dragged the hoe for about three meters before asking Chen Ge, "Are you really an famous explorer?"
"Why would I lie?" Chen Ge did not feel afraid even though the old man could assault him with the hoe. He took out his phone with one hand while his other reached for the hammer inside his backpack. "You can search for me online. Look, this is me."
Chen Ge showed the video of himself inside the Third Sick Hall. It was the most normal video of himself that he could find.
"You've been on television before?"
"I suppose you can say that. I'm considered quite famous in Jiujiang."
Looking at Chen Ge inside the phone and the comments that followed it, the old man nodded. "No wonder. A normal person wouldn't come here so late at night."
After that, he realized that he might have let something slip, so he picked up the hoe and continued on. "Come with me."
Chen Ge and the old man exited the peach plantation, and after a few minutes of walking, they came across four wooden huts.
"You can take the first one. After I turn off the light, stay in your room. No matter what you hear, do not come out." The old man unlocked the first hut, but he did not give Chen Ge the key.
"That sounds scary. Is it because there are wolves here?" Chen Ge came up with a lie. "I hear wolf attacks are common in the mountains..."
"There are no wolves. Just lie down and sleep. Nothing will happen to you if you don't come out." The old man ushered Chen Ge into the hut. When Chen Ge was in the wooden hut, he added, "Remember, don't come out. Don't even push your hand or head out, remember?"
"Don't worry. I'm easily-scared. I will never purposely do things that are dangerous." Chen Ge sat on the bed inside the wooden hut honestly.
"Good. Then rest well. When the morning mist disappears tomorrow morning, I'll lead you out of the mountain." After the old man bade Chen Ge farewell, he entered the second wooden hut.
This place is just weird. Chen Ge looked around the room. There was not much furniture; there was only a wooden bed, and it did not even have a blanket. The first wooden hut had been vacant for a long time already. Dust was everywhere, and the corners of the room were filled with spiders' webs.
How does one live in a place like this? Did the old man purposely give me this hut, or are there problems with the other huts as well? Chen Ge walked to the door to inspect it, and he realized something weird. Normally, the door lock was inside the door, but the lock for this hut was on the outside.
He told me not to leave, but the door can't even be locked from the inside. Chen Ge felt like the old man had to be hiding something from him. He leaned against the door and yelled at the hut opposite, "Sir! I still don't know your name!"
"Can you please keep your voice down? I'm not deaf." The old man's voice was shaking. He seemed to be worried about something. "My surname is Bai. Quickly go to sleep!"
After twenty minutes, Chen Ge yelled at the hut next door again, "Master Bai, are you there?"
"Nothing, I just want to thank you and wish you a healthy life!"
"Go to sleep!"
Chen Ge leaned against the wall, and the expression on his face was serious. He yelled at the hut next door at twenty minutes interval. Normally, if someone was woken up, their voice would be mixed with anger or drowsiness, but Master Bai's replies did not sound like that. None of his replies sounded like he was asleep, and his voice was shaking. This meant that he was not sleeping. If anything, it felt like he was waiting for something to arrive!
Master Bai looks like an honest man, and he even warned me about the village at the bottom of the mountain. He doesn't seem like a bad person, but his curious activities make me worry. Chen Ge silently opened the wooden door a sliver. The rain was pouring, and darkness covered everything.
These four huts should be Jiang Ling's family's old home, but it's unclear which one is the hut where her parents died.
Pressing the play button on the recorder, Chen Ge pulled open his backpack to grab the handle of the hammer. He did not stay in his hut but slowly inched toward the three other huts.
The sound of rain muffled his footsteps. Chen Ge held the hammer and stopped before the old man's hut. He leaned his ear on the door.The original question here was "Backpacker?" which is a homophone for mule in Chinese, so the old man was confused that Chen Ge called himself a mule. Obviously, this does not work in English, so we tweaked it.