Master Bai and Ol' Wei rushed ahead, but Chen Ge purposely slowed down to put some distance between them. This should be good enough. Ol' Wei and Master Bai are still in my sight; I don't need to worry about losing them.
Chen Ge placed the recorder in his hand but did not look back; he just pretended like nothing was happening. The wind in the valley stilled, and the surroundings became quiet, as if they had gone through some limit and entered a different world. The temperature dropped, and Chen Ge could feel a cold draft encroaching. It's coming.
Perhaps because he had the white cat as a meat shield, Chen Ge walked forward with ease. When the cold draft was just three meters away from Chen Ge, it suddenly stopped like it could sense something.
I haven't even turned the recorder on yet-why did it stop? Chen Ge gauged the distance in his heart. He pretended like he was afraid and scared, shaking too much to move forward. He slowed down again, trying his best to 'lure' the ghost to attack him.
Why isn't it coming? Does it want me to lean back to knock into it? Chen Ge was seriously considering walking backward. He had confidence in his acting, but he was afraid his unusual movement might scare the monster off. I should wait a little while longer.
The road narrowed, and it was almost swallowed up by brush and branches. Even Master Bai and Ol' Wei had to slow down to deal with the blockage. Chen Ge knew that he could not make it too obvious. If the monster was not going to take his bait, then so be it. He walked forward to help Master Bai.
However, the moment he picked up speed-perhaps panicking-the monster finally made its move. Chilliness climbed all over his heart, and this familiar feeling reminded Chen Ge of his first date when Zhang Ya stood behind him. The hairs on his neck rose, and the temperature dropped even more as iciness surrounded him.
Before Chen Ge could do anything, the white cat in his backpack suddenly squeezed its way out. It meowed at him twice before running away!
You coward! Don't they say cats have nine lives‽
Well, at least the white cat warned him before it left. The chill grabbed Chen Ge's shoulders like a pair of hands.
This feels familiar.
A woman's sobbing came from behind Chen Ge. It sounded scary and sad. Weirdly enough, it seemed like only Chen Ge could hear this. Master Bai and Ol' Wei were busy with their own stuff and did not seem to hear anything.
Iciness curled into his heart, and his shoulders slowly slumped from the pressure. Chen Ge was reminded of Master Bai's story. The old man's father should have been experiencing this kind of pain then. To protect Master Bai, he had forced himself to carry the ghost the entire journey. His body turned heavier, and there was a pulling force coming from behind him like it was trying to pull Chen Ge into one of the open coffins.
Is it what they call a scapegoat? The air seemed to freeze into ice, and it froze up Chen Ge's lungs. The crying beside his ears influenced Chen Ge's thought. The trees around him moved like they were coming alive. The sobbing echoed in Chen Ge's mind, and a pale white face slowly appeared from Chen Ge's back. It leaned toward Chen Ge's ears, but before it could say anything, Chen Ge suddenly turned around.
"You done crying?"
The face stopped on Chen Ge's shoulders, its dark abyss of a mouth wide open.
"If you're done crying, then be on your way." Chen Ge pressed the recorder, and Xu Yin appeared in half a red shirt to yank the monster off from Chen Ge's back. Before it could resist, it was torn into pieces and consumed by Xu Yin!
The screams echoed through the woods, and even Chen Ge thought Xu Yin was a bit cruel. "If you're not done crying, why didn't you tell me? I'm a reasonable person."
When Xu Yin finished his feast, the blood stain on his shirt grew. Based on this speed, it would not be long until he became a real Red Specter.
"Chen Ge! What are you doing back there! Don't stay too far from us!" Master Bai waved at Chen Ge. They did not notice anything weird until Xu Yin disappeared. With their sense of alertness, without Chen Ge, both of them would have been pulled into the coffins already.
"Coming!" Chen Ge pocketed the recorder, and the white cat, which had escaped earlier, returned. It jumped on Chen Ge's shoulder and refused to enter the backpack again.
"A life of contentment has dulled your survival instincts. You weren't this cowardly before. Looks like I'll need to bring you out with me more in the future." Chen Ge nudged the cat's face. "This is for your own good."
After catching up to Ol' Wei, Chen Ge suddenly realized that since the ghost had been eaten directly by Xu Yin, he was not even sure what kind of power it had. It's probably a normal ghost. There's so many coffins-it should have friends.
With Master Bai leading way, they used twenty minutes to exit the valley.
"Thank God nothing happened." Master Bai was covered in cold sweat. "We were lucky this time. We'll reach the place after ten minutes or so. Before entering the Coffin Village, let me go talk to them first." He stared at Chen Ge. "After we're in the village, no matter what happens, do not act rashly! I'm considered a village friend, let me handle this."
"You've been back here for decades already, do you think they will still give you face? Furthermore, the villagers knew you might not even be alive anymore." Chen Ge was telling the truth.
"In comparison, I know about their culture better than you do. We're here to find people, not to wage a war. It's better not to make enemies." Master Bai tried his best to advise Chen Ge. He was afraid that he might do something dumb.
"We'll do what you say." Ol' Wei dragged Chen Ge. "Finding the children is more important."
Master Bai didn't continue this topic. He pointed the cat on Chen Ge's shoulders. "Keep your cat inside your bag or else the villagers will kill it on sight."
"They don't keep cats to deal with rats? Don't you say every family has a coffin? Aren't they afraid rats might bite through the wood?" Chen Ge chased the cat for a long time before he caught it and shoved it inside the bag.
"There are not many living creatures inside this village. In fact, I've not seen them rear livestock." The old man said and thought about it, "I'll tell you about it as we walk. The village has many weird taboos and they look different from normal humans so you better be prepared."