Chen Ge's group of three looked at the man before them, and each of them had a different expression.
"Is what you're saying real?" Master Bai was shocked. He and his father had come to Coffin Village a long time ago. At the time, he had only thought the villagers looked weird, but other than that, they were no different from normal people. He did not expect they would be hiding such a scary secret.
"Yes, it's all real." The man took several steps forward and stood inside the inner room's door. "I could keep all this to myself, but I told you everything. This is proof of my sincerity."
It was quite curious to hear a deformed man saying these words inside a village filled with coffins. Master Bai and Ol' Wei looked at each other before their gaze collectively fell on Chen Ge.
"Wait a minute, I want to ask him a question first." Chen Ge asked for the man to move forward. "How shall I refer to thee?"
"You can call me Ah Qing."
"Okay." Chen Ge walked to the man, dragging the hammer. "You can get us out?"
"Yes, I know the way, and I have that power." The man was urgent, like he was running out of time.
"In that case, why didn't you leave the village with your son on your own?" From Chen Ge's perspective, they were using each other. Since Ah Qing had volunteered his service then there had to be something useful on the outsiders for him, "You're afraid of being chased by the spirits, so you're planning to use us as bait?"
"No, that's really not my intention!" Ah Qing waved his hands. He was trapped inside the village and had little interaction with the outside world. His expression was obvious, and it showed his real thoughts easily.
"Then, why do you need us?"
"The first month after a baby is born, the Zhu woman pays the family a visit personally to inspect the baby. If the baby is normal, she takes the baby away, but there was an exception." An Qing counted on his finger. "Every year, on the day the female ghost jumped into the well, the village will hold a sacrificial ceremony. Around that time, the Zhu woman collects all the babies born in the village for the past three months. She will carry them into a room and let the female ghost choose the sacrifice."
"Let the ghost choose?" Chen Ge frowned. This female ghost is possibly the scariest Red Specter!
"Today is the day she jumped into the well. The ceremony is starting soon; this is our chance! When the ceremony starts, everyone will be summoned by the ghost, but as long as we manage to sneak into the building to steal the baby away before she wakes up, it'll be fine!"
"You sure are optimistic." Chen Ge interrupted the man. "The female ghost, you're saying, has the power to wipe out an entire village with her own power. Even if we manage to escape, I don't see why she would leave us be."
"This is the best solution." Ah Qing's nails dug into his flesh. "The female ghost's resentment is only directed at this village; she doesn't seem interested in outsiders."
"Is that true?"
Ah Qing nodded with difficulty. "Just as she has never harmed the Zhu woman, I've never seen the female ghost attack an outsider. When you see my child, bring him away, and I will go back to the village. If you're accidentally exposed, I'll try my best to buy you some time."
"But the key problem is, your child is a villager. If we bring him with us, it might get us targeted by the female Specter."
"If she chases after you..." Ah Qing released his tightened hand and sighed with resignation. "Then you can put my son down and run away on your own."
Master Bai felt pity for the man. "Why don't we promise him for now? After all, we don't have any better options."
"The man's words have too many holes," Ol' Wei commented. "He said that female ghost wouldn't hurt outsiders, but count the amount of times we've been assaulted since we entered this village. I believe he just wants to take our lives as bet. If we're really chased by the female ghost, both us and the child won't be safe."
"The things that happened to you so far have nothing to do with the female ghost." An Qing sighed. "There are fewer and fewer living souls in the village, and this attracted plenty of Yin energy. This is not something that I can explain easily. In summary, the population of this village is ten percent living, ten percent dead and eighty percent ghost."
Ol' Wei still wanted to ask something when Ah Qing put the graveclothes back on. "The ceremony is starting soon. If you miss this chance, there will be no chance of leaving in the future!"
"Why don't we follow him? After all, it's unsafe to stay here, and the ghost baby knows that we're here." Chen Ge put the hammer inside his backpack.
"Er... why don't you leave your bag here?" Ah Qing's voice came out from the graveclothes. "The graveclothes of Coffin Village can hide you from the detection of the ghosts to a certain degree, but your backpack is too obvious."
"It'll be fine." Chen Ge took out the recorder and walked into the adjacent bedroom.
"What are you doing? We don't have much time."
"Taking some graveclothes. It won't take much time." Chen Ge closed the bedroom door and hit the play button. One minute later, Chen Ge exited the room with two sets of graveclothes he found inside the bedroom.
"These are for both of you. Consider putting them on when the situation calls for it." Chen Ge passed them to Ol' Wei and Master Bai. Master Bai had the protection of the jade necklace, so Chen Ge did not worry that much about him. The issue was Ol' Wei; he did not want something bad to this retiring policeman.
"You took these from the coffin?" Ah Qing looked at the clothes Chen Ge was holding. The fabric still had signs of nail clawing. Since the man was perfectly unscathed, the claw marks were probably made by the original owner of these graveclothes.
"Yes, I saw them deserted, so I picked them up." Chen Ge smiled. "Don't worry, if there's a chance, I'll return them in the future."
Ah Qing moved his gaze away, not daring to meet Chen Ge's eyes. The man gave him a unique feeling. Standing in the dark, he was filled with power and hope, like the sun was surrounding him.
"Follow me closely, and put on the graveclothes or you might run into ghosts," Ah Qing said as he moved forward. He stuck to the left wall and turned left at every corner. After eight minutes, different buildings appeared on both sides of the street.
"We've left the maze?" Wearing the graveclothes, Ol' Wei looked so tired.
"I'll bring you to the center of the village; the ceremony will start there." Ah Qing led Chen Ge's group into an old home. "I hear outsiders will be participating in this year's ceremony. I will find some way to contact them, to hear what they have to say."