Putting down the greeting card, Chen Ge picked up the key from the table and studied it quietly. After his parents disappeared, the visitors that came to the Haunted House gradually dwindled, causing the Haunted House to face the threat of closing down. At that extremely dangerous time, Xu Wan had chosen to stay behind. She was the only employee who was recruited by Chen Ge's parents and chose to remain until the end.
"Is it possible that the girl has sensed something?" Chen Ge put the key away and opened the cake box. Compared to the box that it came in, the cake inside could only be described as an unmitigated disaster. The middle part was sinking, and there were black spots from leaving it in the oven for too long. The whole thing looked so wobbly that it might crumble with a touch.
But one could see how attentive the baker was. She used cream to evenly slather the cake's surface to try to cover up the flaws. During this process, the cake probably crumbled once, so the cream acted as both the decoration and the glue holding the whole thing together. It seeped deep into the cake. Just looking at this cake, the image of Xu Wan baking it appeared in Chen Ge's mind.
"No wonder she is my employee. Even baking a cake can be made into such a horrifying experience." Picking up the knife inside the box, Chen Ge cut out a small piece and took a bite. "Hmm, the texture is horrendous, too hard on the outside, and the inside appears to be undercooked. It sticks to the teeth, and it's so oily. As I suspected, this would benefit from a longer time in the oven with a lower temperature so that the outside wouldn't be charred, and the inside would be cooked. Wait a minute, she used bread flour? Doesn't she know baking a cake requires cake flour‽"
Even though Chen Ge kept criticizing it, he still finished almost half the cake in record time. Seeing how much Chen Ge was enjoying himself, the white cat was curious, but as it poked its head toward the cake, it was shoved back into the backpack. "Cream is not good for you. When it's your birthday, I'll make you a cat food cake instead."
Ignoring the cat's protest, Chen Ge wiped his lips, lugged the backpack, and left the staff breakroom. The birthday party took up some time, but that did not cut into Chen Ge's plan for the night too much. He had already searched for everything that he could on Left Oculus, and he planned to go take a look that night.
Leaving New Century Park, Chen Ge waited at the roadside for a long time, but no taxi passed. The taxi drivers in Jiujiang seemed to have come to a consensus-do not approach New Century Park after midnight, and do not pick up any passengers from that place.
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"Unfortunately, my bus is now stuck behind the door in Li Wan City."
After walking two more streets, Chen Ge finally encountered a taxi. After he got into the car, he gave the address. "Sir, I want to go to Yong Ling Mountain's bungalow."
"Yong Ling Mountain?" The driver was briefly confused. "There's a bungalow there?"
"Why don't you open the GPS to take a look?" Chen Ge was not sure either-that was simply what the internet said.
"What is the full name of the location?" The driver keyed in the term Yong Ling Mountain, but the GPS did not show any place that resembled Yong Ling Mountain Bungalow.
"The full name..." Chen Ge narrowed his eyes. He focused on the few names that appeared on the GPS-Yong Ling Mountain Petrol Station, Yong Ling Mountain Flower Market, Yong Ling Mountain Holiday Villa. "Then we'll go to Yong Ling Mountain Holiday Villa."
"Huh? Your destination is decided so casually?" The driver glanced at Chen Ge through the rearview mirror. He felt like Chen Ge look quite familiar, and the ghost stories that had been making its way through his colleagues entered his mind. The engine started, and they drove for half an hour before the light of the city faded away. There was a large shadow at the end of the road, and that would be Western Jiujiang's Yong Ling Mountain.
According to the GPS, the taxi should be arriving at the destination soon. The driver gripped the steering wheel tightly. A few times, he opened his mouth to chat with Chen Ge, but every time, he gave up at the last minute. He did not really know why-perhaps the man in the back appeared much too unapproachable.
After the taxi climbed the mountain, the lights around them disappeared completely. People would rarely go to that place at night, so the place was deserted. After driving for another five minutes, the GPS app on the driver's phone said, "We've arrived at the destination."
The car parked by the road, and there was only darkness around them. One could see the blurry shadows of branches swaying in the dark and the rustle of the leaves as the wind blew. The driver's hands that held the steering wheel were drenched in sweat, and his face was pale. This 'journey' had not been enjoyable for him at all.
"We're here. The GPS says that this place is Yong Ling Mountain Holiday Villa." The driver turned his head awkwardly around to look at Chen Ge. His eyelids kept twitching; he was afraid that this suspicious character in the backseat would suddenly pull out a weapon to take over his car.
"This is the holiday villa? There's not even a building around; it is a complete wasteland." With his Yin Yang Vision, Chen Ge could see through the darkness. He realized that they were surrounded by woods. "Are you sure that you are not lying to me? You drove me to middle of nowhere in the middle of the night?"
"Why are you doubting me? Boss, I was just following the GPS!" The driver turned all the lights on, but the light still could not banish the fear in his heart.
"Okay then." Chen Ge paid his fare, grabbed his backpack, and got out of the taxi. He activated the flashlight on his phone. He walked down the road and saw a small path that was overgrown with bushes cutting through the forest. "I need to go in deeper, do I? Is Yong Ling Mountain Holiday Villa inside there? How come it feels like the place has been abandoned for a long time already?"
Chen Ge turned back, wishing to ask the driver about it. But when he turned, he saw the driver already turning the car around and speeding down the mountain with his foot firmly on the gas pedal.
"Is this place that scary?"
Unable to rely on others, Chen Ge had to trust in himself. He raised his phone and walked down the path. He trekked for a few minutes before his sight opened up. Chen Ge was greeted by a line of low walls and a few buildings with strange architecture.
"The holiday villa? Who would come here for their holiday? This place looks more like my Haunted House than anything." Holiday was for relaxation, not a heart attack. The more Chen Ge walked toward the place, the more confused he became.
"The location is recorded on the GPS, but it feels like this place has been forgotten by the locals for a long time. I wonder if it's still open for business." The road was filled with holes and cracks. The trees on the sides were wild and slanted; they desperately needed a good trim.
The walls were overgrown with vines, and they covered up the words on the wall. Chen Ge explored for a long time before he found the entrance to the villa about ten meters away. On the rusted iron gate hung a sign that said no entry, and next to it was a dark-brown, wooden mailbox.
"Do people still use mailboxes these days?" The wooden sign and mailbox were both handmade. Their craftmanship was rough and did not match the overall style of the place at all.
"The words on the signs can be read easily, and the iron wires that hold it to the gate aren't rusted. So, these should be new." Chen Ge tried to push the iron gate. The hinge creaked noisily, and as he pushed harder, the iron gates fell away under his force.