"Why are you so intent on jinxing us?" Master Bai still minded these things, but Chen Ge was the complete opposite.
"It'll be fine. Just follow behind me." He walked through the courtyard with the hammer and entered the main room.
The layout of the old house was very interesting. There were bedrooms on each side of the main room, but there were no beds. Instead, each bedroom had a coffin in it.
"Have you noticed something peculiar about these houses?" Chen Ge leaned against the hammer and scanned his surroundings.
"You mean the coffins inside the house?" Master Bai pushed the door open through his clothes; he did not want to touch anything there.
Chen Ge shook his head. "Not that.
"The houses don't seem to have an oven or a fire starter."
Ol' Wei looked at Master Bai. If Chen Ge had not brought that up, they would not have noticed this problem.
"The fire starter is the place where people a light fire and cook meals. Without that, how are they supposed to eat?" Chen Ge sat on the chair, and his tone slowed down, "Or do the villagers not need to eat? Is this a dead person's home? If that is true, then it would make sense to have coffins instead of beds."
His voice was calm, but it sent chills up his two listeners' spines.
"The white lanterns, white paper on the door, coffin in the room, could this whole village be a Ghost Village?"
Chen Ge thought back to the information he found when he was building the Minghun scenario.
"There was a story about a massacre that happened to a village deep in the mountains during the war period. Several years later, people got lost inside the mountain, and they accidentally wandered inside the village. Then they saw every family was having a funeral, and the villagers looked weird. The outsiders didn't dare ask any question and escaped the village in the middle of the night. When they returned to the village in the morning, the place had been abandoned for a long time already, and there was no sign of people living there."
"You mean, we're now inside a Ghost Village?" Ol' Wei asked uncertainly.
"Coffin Village is scarier than that. I feel this place has a bigger secret that we haven't uncovered yet." Chen Ge placed the hammer on his feet and cupped his chin in his palm. "The people in this village are much more complicated than we think. There are original villagers that turned into ghosts, escaped villagers who were captured, and then us outsiders. The old lady's soul had no need to lie to us about the outsiders. Other than us, other people are also trapped inside this village. No matter who they were, I think we should meet up with them."
"But how do we do that? We can't even find a way out ourselves."
"I think we need to be more careful of our surroundings then." Chen Ge then turned to look outside. He accidentally saw half a human face lying on the wall.
"Someone's there!" He jumped up immediately. The sudden warning alerted Ol' Wei and Master Bai.
"What did you see?"
"There was a human face on the wall. I saw it once inside the previous home. At the time, it flashed past temporarily, and then I saw a set of graveclothes walking out the door; it was following us." Chen Ge told the situation to Ol' Wei and Master Bai.
"He's just next door; shall we go take a look?" Ol' Wei was just suggesting that; he did not want to wander off.
"If the person wants to run, we won't be able to catch it." Chen Ge looked at the wall. "I have a feeling it has a reason for following us, and it didn't seem like it's going to harm us."
He just finished when the front door slowly opened and bright red graveclothes stood in the middle of the door.
"Don't fret. This is the thing that has been following us."
In the middle of the night, the door was pushed open, and the graveclothes stood alone. Anyone would have been scared looking at this.
"Are you a person or a ghost?" Chen Ge stood inside the room and hid the hammer behind him. The person seemed to struggle for a long time before coming to a decision. The graveclothes were opened from the middle, and they were hiding a thin, short man. His lips fell open, and after a long time, he said, "I'm here to help you."
"Help us? Wonderful, why don't you come in first?" Chen Ge smiled kindly. He gripped the hammer; he wanted to trick the man to come into the room first. The man shook his head. He had been following Chen Ge, so he knew Chen Ge's tricks.
"I'll just stay out here." The man removed the graveclothes, and when his body completely removed itself from the graveclothes, Chen Ge saw that the man had one large arm and one small arm.
"I've seen you when you entered the village, but before I could accost any of you, you were tricked away by the ghosts. I was worried, so I trailed behind you while wearing the ghost's graveclothes. I wanted to find the chance to save you."
The man sounded sincere, but Chen Ge did not believe that the man would put himself in such danger for a stranger. "You followed us just so you can save us?"
"Saving you is saving me. You might not believe me, but if we are unable to leave this village tonight, we're all going to die." The man lowered his voice, and fear and anxiety were apparent in his tone. "The door will open tonight, and the thing will come out from behind the door again."
"The door will open tonight?" Chen Ge frowned. "You're one of the original villagers here, right? Can you tell us what happened to Coffin Village? Why did it turn into its current situation?"
"Coffin Village? I guess the name fits." The man closed the door and walked to the middle of the courtyard. It was hard to tell how old he was from his looks. "No one can remember this village's original name. The reason it has become like this has plenty to do with a woman.
"Our village is hidden deep inside the forest, and this isolates us from the rest of the world. It was very difficult for a man to find an unrelated wife, so we settled with close marriage. However, that led to many abnormalities.
"The elder at the time worried that we would die out eventually, so after a discussion with the villagers, they decided to 'kidnap wives' from the outside. The first few times were perfectly fine. If the new wife refused to listen, they would be locked up, starved, and beaten. Eventually, they would learn.
"However, the last time, they caught the young lady of a scholar's family. She was stubborn and refused to submit. She escaped several times, and she was almost beaten to death every time. It was not until she was pregnant that she stopped running away. The villagers thought that was the end of her resistance.
"But just as the girl's new family was preparing to celebrate the happy occasion, she jumped into the well."