Ch54 - Indigenous People
(Mommy went crazy)
Many thanks to sleepymango123 for the Ko-Fis!!
The colour of the sky darkened slowly.
The ghost bride was still lying in her coffin quietly when drips of blood emerged on the white paper covering her face, contouring her facial features.
It seemed like she was going to break the paper and jump out at any given time.
The candle lights in the main hall flickered, adding to the dismal atmosphere.
In the side hall next door, several human figures were standing in a circle with their heads lowered, and their faces were obscured in the darkness save for the visible glints in their eyes.
Looming voices sounded one after another.
“What exactly is going on.”
“Hurry up and explain clearly.”
The player surrounded Uncle He: ……
Why did it feel like their roles had been switched
Besuited Uncle said: “How did the ghost bride come about”
Holding onto the idea of saying ‘I don’t know’ to every question he was asked, Uncle He kept his mouth shut no matter what he was asked and did not utter a single word.
Seeing as to how the sky was about to darken, the players could not stop the anxiety from rising in their chests.
Perhaps they had been influenced by Shen Dongqing, because the players’ courage had become significantly larger, and Hipster clenched his fist to threaten: “I do respect old people more, but if you don’t speak, don’t blame me for being tactless when I act against you.”
Uncle He had seen hundreds of university students who had arrived at Four Water Village to sightsee and collect cultural materials, but this was the first time he had seen such violent ones and his cold sweat started dripping immediately.
“I really don’t know,” Uncle He said upon realising that there was no trick he could pull.
He confessed, “This is a custom the Four Water Village has been passing down for a long time and we make an offering to the ghost bride every year.”
The thing being offered was naturally live humans.
“If we don’t give our offering, some terrifying things will happen.”
He did not know what curse the forefathers of Four Water Village had incurred but they had to use live humans every year as the sacrificial offering.
Gradually, Four Water Village became cold and desolate and only a dozen household families remained now.
Just as the indigenous people of Four Water Village were about to become extinct, however, a group of outsiders would arrive at the village intermittently without any rhyme or reason, and these outsiders would attract the ghost bride’s favour.
Thus, they allowed the other people to die; it was enough that they could survive.
Such a profitable transaction; who would be unwilling to do it
Uncle He’s voice gradually tapered off, “I only know these……”
Hipster did not really believe him and wanted to threaten him again, but no matter how much Uncle He said later, it was roughly the same bits and pieces of information.
The other players could only give up.
JK Belle was anxious.
“The ghost bride is going to regain consciousness soon.”
Shen Dongqing let out a cold snort and said: “Just what I was waiting for.”
She actually dared to have ideas about his man, she must dislike being a ghost.
JK Belle gave the murderous-looking Shen Dongqing a short glance before she thought, Perhaps I should be worrying about the ghost bride instead.
Hipster asked in a soft whisper: “Should we prepare something”
Besuited Uncle nodded: “Everyone gather whatever talisman you have, maybe we can take down the ghost bride in one fell swoop and solve the puzzle.”
They pooled together their resources and tidied it into one stack before they made JK Belle their representative to give it to Shen Dongqing.
Looking at her strangely, Shen Dongqing asked: “What are you giving me these for”
JK Belle said: “These preparations are for the sake of the big battle against the ghost bride.”
Shen Dongqing nodded his head, “You’re right.”
However, he did not receive the stack of talismans.
Rather, he spoke to Uncle He: “I’m hungry, go and prepare some food, let’s have hotpot again.”
Uncle He’s expression deepened and he walked out in faltering steps.
Still holding onto the talismans, JK Belle was dumbfounded, “What are you asking for food for”
Shen Dongqing: “Aren’t we preparing for the battle I can’t exhibit my strength on an empty stomach.”
JK Belle: “Huh”
Thus, the players watched as Shen Dongqing happily ate his steaming and boiling hotpot.
The eerie atmosphere in the main hall was swept away cleanly and it was superseded by the exceptionally aromatic hotpot fragrance.
Midnight was around the corner.
Shen Dongqing had eaten too much again, and as he waited and waited, he fell asleep.
To keep themselves away from the danger, the other players had gone to hide themselves earlier on and only the two of them remained.
Zhou Wenyan would occasionally pat Shen Dongqing’s shoulders as he raised his eyes to stare at the coffin placed in the centre of the main hall.
The thing in the coffin was starting to get restless and it would produce a “zi la za la” noise as if it was scratching at the interiors of the coffin.
It continued for a period of time before the cracks of the coffin started oozing muddied blood which dripped on the limestone floors, wriggling and twisting as it flowed to the side hall.
All of a sudden, the ghost bride became animated and sat up.
Her feet lifted from the ground, and she drifted over gently like a kite.
Accompanying her movements, the white paper covering her face peeled off, falling onto the blood saturated ground.
The ghost bride’s hair adornments hung down from her head, and from behind the golden tassels, a pair of eyes without whites opened.
She drew back the corners of her mouth and stinking sludge poured out from her lips.
A cold wind blew past and the old mahogany cracked and rattled.
Shen Dongqing furrowed his brows slightly and woke up from the noise.
When he raised his head to look over, he met the ghost bride’s lifeless eyes.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Qtfc rtf olcjiis rjk atf qfbqif lc atf rlvf tjii mifjgis, atf utbra yglvf’r ybvs kfca glulv jcv rtf ogbhf ja ktfgf rtf oibjafv.
C wbwfca ijafg, atf utbra yglvf aegcfv jgbecv jcv gjc, jcv la kjr jqqjgfca atja rtf kjr vfrqfgjafis klrtlcu atja rtf tjvc’a fzlafv tfg mboolc.
However, the ghost bride’s speed was a little lacking because before she could drill back into her coffin, someone pressed down her shoulder.
Shen Dongqing smiled slightly, causing a cute dimple to emerge on his cheek and he looked utterly harmless.
The ghost bride shivered instinctively.
She still remembered the terror of being pressed back into her coffin forcefully and being unable to move.
Shen Dongqing exerted more weight under his hand: “You’ve taken a fancy to my man”
The ghost bride might be a resentful ghost that sustained herself on collected grievances, and although it did not have much intelligence to speak of, it could still feel fear.
Under Shen Dongqing’s smile, her fingers laced together and she almost knelt down to prove that she neither possessed such intentions nor did she dare to have such thoughts.
If she had known that she was robbing someone from the Big Boss, she would not have left her warm coffin at all.
Seeing that she was sincere as she admitted to her mistake, he snorted coldly once before he retracted his hand.
“Do you know that a yin marriage is an act of feudalistic superstition”
The ghost bride blanked out.
She was a feudalistic superstition herself ah……
However, due to the disparity in their strength, the ghost bride could only accept the lecture obediently.
“Marriage is a very important matter,” Shen Dongqing enforced strictly, “Both parties have to be mutually consenting, forcibly marrying someone is unethical, and additionally, yin marriages are not legally protected!”
As Shen Dongqing continued to prattle on, he recalled the ghost who had married Zhou Wenyan, and he felt a greater need to crack down on acts like yin marriages.
It was only after he had given a full lesson that he remembered the proper business: “Why do you want to have a yin marriage with people”
The ghost bride was like a daughter-in-law as she stood by Shen Dongqing with her head lowered.
She wanted to explain but the sludge poured out from her lips every time she opened her mouth, incapacitating her to the point where she could only issue some “ah ah” sounds.
Zhou Wenyan said: “Bring us to the place where the memorial tablets are kept.”
Fortunately, this was something the ghost bride could accomplish.
Turning around, she floated to their fronts and brought the pair towards the recesses of the Shen Family’s old compound.
Behind the locust trees was a well-concealed hinged door and it was even blocked up by various extraneous bits and pieces.
Had it not been for a person, no, a ghost leading the way, they would not have discovered it.
Zhou Wenyan did a short run-up before he leapt onto the enclosing wall in a relaxed fashion.
Then, he bent his waist and pulled Shen Dongqing up with one hand, allowing the pair to jump down together and land inside the courtyard.
It had been a long time since a person set foot in the courtyard behind the door and a thick layer of fallen leaves had accumulated on the ground, thus issuing a stinking odour.
The ghost bride pointed at the small building in the middle of the courtyard.
Compared to the other dilapidated and out-modelled buildings, this small building appeared bright, new, and beautiful with its white walls and black tiles.
The two main doors were closed tightly and there was a lock hanging outside.
The ghost bride made a gesture to express that she did not have the key.
Hence, Shen Dongqing walked forward and kneaded the bronze lock with one hand, causing the lock to answer with a “kacha” sound.
Were they joking What door had been left unbroken when Shen Dongqing touched it Even if it was a burglar-proof door, it could be settled with one leg, to say nothing of an outdated lock standing in his way
Shen Dongqing dropped the lock and took the lead in entering.
This was an ancestral hall.
Right in front of them was a pile of memorial tablets stacking up to the height of a small hill and they were closely arranged together, filling up an entire wall face.
Additionally, there were oblations, joss sticks and candles offerings placed in front of the memorial tablets as if someone had consistently made offerings to these ancestors.
Shen Dongqing leaned closer to inspect the rows of characters written on the memorial tablets and noticed that all of them were Shen Family members.
It looked like the Shen Family was long standing and well-established and just counting the memorial tablets alone, there was at least a hundred.
When it was viewed under the candlelight, it was certainly a dazzling sight.
There was no problems when these memorial tablets were briefly scanned, but as Zhou Wenyan carefully examined two full rows, he noticed a particular detail.
“The names written on all these memorial tablets go by the surname of Shen.”
Logically speaking, the offerings made in an ancestral hall was for all the elders inside the big clan.
Whether it was men from the original family or daughters-in-law that married in from the outside, all of them could enjoy the offerings.
But in this ancestral hall, it was apparent that no one had another surname because every one of these memorial tablets went by the surname of Shen.
And there was another peculiarity: whenever Shen so-and-so’s daughter was written on the memorial tablet, all of them would die young without exception and the oldest did not even live past the age of eighteen; it was like only the male children were capable of living on in the entire clan.
Where did all the females go
Zhou Wenyan gazed at the ghost bride who was standing at the side.
A drop of muddy water dripped down from the ghost bride’s body, and it could be perceived that any exposed skin and muscle was mired with sludge.
Zhou Wenyan looked at her pensively, “Pond”
At this moment, a gust of wind blew in and knocked down a single memorial tablet which landed by Shen Dongqing’s feet.
He stooped over and picked it up.
When he flipped it over to take a look, he was directly met with a carved name and he exclaimed in surprise: “This is actually my memorial tablet!”
If a normal person saw their own name appearing on the memorial tablet, they would have been terrified.
Thankfully, Shen Dongqing was not a normal person; he had already died once and he did not mind such things.
In fact, he even brought the memorial tablet closer to scrutinise it carefully.
“Why did they use such poor-quality wood” Shen Dongqing was extremely dissatisfied, “And the carved characters are too ugly.”
Zhou Wenyan stepped forward, “Is my memorial tablet there”
“Nope, hmm,” Shen Dongqing waved his memorial tablet, “Do you want me to carve you one”
Zhou Wenyan stopped Shen Dongqing’s hand before he informed him helplessly, “That’s for dead people.” He did not need such a thing yet.
Shen Dongqing suddenly saw the light.
“Does this mean I’m already dead”
Issuing a low laugh, Zhou Wenyan stretched his hand to pinch his cheek.
“How does it feel”
Shen Dongqing could clearly feel his rough fingers brushing across his skin and muscle.
There was a tactile sensation, which meant that he was not dead.
“Itchy,” Shen Dongqing smacked away the hand that was touching his face.
Putting his hand down, Zhou Wenyan remarked: “However, why is my memorial tablet missing”
According to the game’s so-called character design, he and Shen Dongqing were “brothers”, but one was an indigenous person of Four Water Village, while the other had been fostered outside ever since he was a child and both of them were placed in opposing camps.
Could the problem lie with the memorial tablet
Zhou Wenyan could not figure out why that would be the case, so he decided to leave this place first.
On this particular night, no one dared to fall asleep.
The other players were huddled together in a room and they waited for daylight with much fear and trepidation.
In the silence, someone suddenly said: “Could something have happened to the two of them”
Besuited Uncle replied: “Who knows, this game has always been dangerous, no one can say for certain how long they will live.”
Despite hesitating for a moment, Hipster decided to speak: “If the two of them were to suffer a loss at the hands of the ghost bride, wouldn’t we be in danger as well…..”
Leathered Man said: “They didn’t die for nothing; at least we know the conditions for establishing a yin marriage, we just have to be careful and ensure that our names are not written.”
Hipster interrupted his words.
“It’s not dawn yet, how can you be sure that something has happened to them”
Leathered Man: “It’s something we’re all not sure of.
What, we’re not allowed to say it”
As they were about to get into a fierce quarrel, the completely silent JK Belle pushed open the door lightly and walked out without making a sound or attracting anyone’s attention.
In the deep and quiet passageway, JK Belle was akin to a spectre as she traversed down a stretch of land with spiritless eyes.
“Come over here……”
JK Belle’s was awake in consciousness but her body was not her own as she followed the numerous calls for her to go over.
She wanted to resist but her entire body was languid and she could not muster any strength.
A drop of putrid liquid landed on the ground.
JK Belle raised her head and saw a pallid woman, who was swollen from soaking, leaning on the wall as they beckoned her forward.
She would be fine once she went over.
JK Belle only struggled for a moment before she walked over in a trance-like state.
Just as she was about to enter those women’s embrace, she suddenly heard a voice ring out.
“Is she sleep walking”
Immediately after, JK Belle’s eyes went black and she lost all consciousness.
Shen Dongqing had his hand poised into a knife and he cut straight to the point by knocking JK Belle out to stop her sleep walking behaviour.
Then, without the slightest intention to show pity and tender love for the fairer sex, he directly allowed her body to fall on the ground.
Thus, the back of JK Belle’s head knocked against the ground and she was forcefully awoken again by the pain.
“Yi, why does my neck hurt so much” JK Belle rubbed her neck as she stood back up, feeling puzzled.
Shen Dongqing stuffed his hands into his pockets, pretending that it had nothing to do with him.
Meanwhile, Zhou Wenyan directly jumped over the topic and asked: “What did you see just now”
It was alright if she did not have to speak about it, but now that it was being mentioned, JK almost cried from the lingering fear she felt: “Just now, I saw numerous women leaning against the perimeter wall…” She turned her head, only to see the bare wall because there was nothing there.
JK Belle was stupefied.
“Where are the ghosts”
Zhou Wenyan walked over to take a look.
While there were no ghosts on the wall, there were numerous shapely marks that were damp and it even left behind some of the odorous sludge.
It was the pond again.
Zhou Wenyan said: “It looks like we have to check the pond.”
There was definitely something in the pond but it seemed like they could not dig out the things inside the pond if it was just them alone, and they needed to find a few coolies to lend them a helping hand.
The sound was not heavy but it was particularly abrupt in the middle of the night and it made people’s heart stutter upon hearing it.
The players in the building who had been conversing nonstop went stiff as they twisted their head to look over.
Underneath the moonlight’s illumination, a long figure could be seen standing outside.
“It isn’t the ghost bride, right”
The players froze, unmoving.
There was only one exit in the room, if the door was being blocked by the ghost bride so she could do an open-door slaughtering, then they would really have no chance to escape.
Besuited Uncle suggested: “Charge up.”
There was only this plan left.
Hipster shut his eyes and shouted: “Life and death are ruled by fate! Whoever dies is out of luck!”
Just as his voice landed, he rushed out of the door, wanting to successfully flee in one sustained effort.
However, when he slammed opened the door, Hipster realised that the person standing there was not the ghost bride but Zhou Wenyan.
He tried to put on the brakes immediately but what could be done when his charging momentum was too fierce His sudden slam on the brakes made him tumble to the ground, implicating and dragging the person behind him down.
Zhou Wenyan went silent: ……
He had no choice but to admit that this was the worst batch of players he had ever brought.
However, it was fine because he did not need to rely on them to decrypt the puzzle.
Rather, he only needed them to be his coolies and it was alright if their intelligence was a little lower.
Having witnessed the entire sequence of events, Shen Dongqing could not help but slap his thigh as he laughed.
JK Belle was no different as she snorted and burst into a fit of giggles.
Similarly infected, a subtle smile lined Zhou Wenyan’s lips as he said: “Come out and help.”
Hearing that, the players covered in grime stood up and followed the two big bosses out.
Before they officially stepped out, however, Shen Dongqing stopped in his steps.
Zhou Wenyan asked: “What’s wrong”
Shen Dongqing said: “Previously, the game said that my character role wasn’t allowed to leave the Shen Family’s old house.”
As he contemplated the implications, he fished out a memorial tablet from his bosom.
Prior to this, he had taken it in the passing but it seemed like it was right for the occasion.
“It seems like it’s okay once I have this.”
Zhou Wenyan’s gaze swept past the memorial tablet, and he did not choose to stop him either.
The streets at night were dead silent.
It was as if the entire Four Water Town was devoid of its living people due to its silence, and not a sound could be heard.
Rubbing her arms, JK Belle lowered her head as she trailed after her group.
When they were walking past a house, she sensed something and she lifted her lantern to catch a glimpse of it.
It was fine if she hadn’t looked at it, because one glance was enough to make her jump in fright.
There was a human figure standing behind the window and he was looking at the group of people passing by quietly.
The fear coursing through her rooted her to the ground, and she felt like something was lodged in her throat because she could not choke out a single sound.
Hipster was the first to notice that something was wrong with her and he stopped in his tracks.
JK Belle raised a trembling finger and pointed towards the window before she stammered out, “T-T-There’s someone there.”
Upon hearing what she said, the players looked in the direction she was pointing at.
Hipster exploded into a curse subconsciously, “What the **.”
Not only was their peeper not afraid, he even met their eyes from his position by the window with a cold gaze, as if he was staring at the dead.
“We, we should leave,” JK Belle urged.
The others gave their acquiescence, wanting to leave this place as soon as possible.
When all was said and done, that person truly looked too strange and it was giving them goosebumps.
But their group just had to have a person who acted in a completely different manner.
Shen Dongqing strode past the group directly and came to a stop in front of the house.
Although Besuited Uncle was standing beside him, he could only watch as Shen Dongqing’s back figure stepped closer to the window.
He asked, “What are you going over for”
Shen Dongqing looked over his shoulder, “What are you afraid of We have so many people, the person who should be afraid ought to be him.”
Saying that, he pulled open the window and gave the person standing inside a friendly smile.
It was evident that the peeper inside did not expect that he would make such a move because he shrank back into his house in an instant.
However, Shen Dongqing responded by grabbing the person before proceeding to drag him out forcefully.
He threw the noticeably frail man on the ground and raised his chin.
“Aren’t we going to dig the pond Coolie.”
The other players were stunned.
Stroking his jaw, Shen Dongqing mused, “It doesn’t feel like one is enough oh.”
He lifted his eyes and surveyed his surroundings and collided with the many pairs of eyes hiding in the dark.
Thus, the other players watched with wide eyes as Shen Dongqing went to knock on each and every door and pull out all the indigenous people in a simple and crude manner then gathered them in an open and spacious place.
The indigenous people were then separated into two teams and a rough estimate of their numbers was around forty to fifty in total and they were all in the prime of their lives.
In the entirety of Four Water Village, there was not a single woman.
These people were all pale in complexions which contrasted with their heavy and dark under-eye circles, making it obvious that none of them had been sleeping since they had chosen to stand by the window to peep at them.
When the players internalised the fact that so many eyes had been staring at them in the dark, they could not help but shiver.
“That’s too scary…” Someone muttered.
Soon after, the group of indigenous people immediately learnt the price of peeping— they were all made to dig the pond.
It was unknown why but terror emerged on the indigenous people’s faces when they got closer to the pond, and they looked like they did not want to be near it at all.
But when they saw Shen Dongqing pick up a person and throw him into the pond effortlessly, the other natives could only waddle themselves into the pond albeit unwillingly.
The pond was not deep and the forty to fifty people were squeezed inside and made to toil laboriously.
By the time the first glimmer of dawn arrived, the water inside the pond was drawn dry, revealing the thick layer of sludge underneath.
JK Belle pointed at a certain corner: “There seems to be something there.”
The forty to fifty indigenous people gave the corner a glance.
A chunk of white phalanx jutted out of the sludge and it looked like a human finger.
Seeing that, the indigenous people’s faces changed and they could no longer care less about the big boss’s oppression as they all ran away like they had gone mad.
“Such a huge reaction”
Shen Dongqing did not stop them either; their jobs as coolies were already done, and the only thing they had to do next was dig out the objects in the sludge.
Thus, the three male players submitted to their fates and got down to digging.
However, when they officially started digging, they realised that the bones buried underneath the sludge were too many to count and even after digging for an entire morning, they only found a portion of it.
They feared that even if they utilised the rest of their time to dig, they would never excavate the pond fully.
Hence, they could only stop first and go up on shore to rest.
All the bones that had been dug out were placed by the side of the pond in a tidy manner and there was no place for them to rest their feet at all.
Zhou Wenyan noted, “All of them are female bones.”
The memorial tablets in the ancestral hall did not have any woman who married in, all the bones buried in the pond were female bones, and there were only men in the population of the indigenous people.
There was definitely a relation between these factors but there were not enough clues and they could not piece together the complete truth.
Shen Dongqing yawned: “Maybe we should go back first.”
After slogging through an entire night, he was getting sleepy.
Once he said that, all the players seemed to be infected as they started yawning.
Having worked for a full night, the players went back to their rooms and fell into deep sleep soon after, even forgetting about the possible dangers that surrounded them.
Instead, it was Shen Dongqing – the first person who had said that he was sleepy – that did not manage to sleep.
He lied on the bed, tossing and turning before he suddenly felt that there was a hard object jabbing at his waist.
He pulled open the bed covers and saw that a notebook was hidden underneath.
It was a notebook again.
It seemed like the collection of clues in the game all relied on notebooks.
Other than primary school students, who would still write diaries
Shen Dongqing flipped open the book.
The owner of the book was rather young and they might actually be a primary school student judging from their crooked handwriting.
Then, he flipped to the first page and saw a huge row of written words, which oozed a strange feeling.
— Mommy went crazy.