Xie Chi came to the room they were first introduced to by the servant. The old woman was still lying motionless on the bed. Xie Chi had already learned her identity. She was the real body of the tarot witch.
The dying tarot witch followed the requirements of the tarot reincarnation method and turned herself into a living dead, starting the game smoothly. Then during the game, sacrifices were offered to the heavens and earth in the death order. Once the sacrifices reached a certain number, the witch would be successfully reincarnated once the game was over. This was a complete process.
Thus, the theme was to die and to live. It was because the witch had to dedicate herself to death for the reincarnation to start.
Two crows stood on the dry branches by the window, shaking their heads back and forth and watching alertly. In his current state, Xie Chi wouldn’t be discovered.
He learned from the previous conversation with the hermit that the crows were the players who failed in the last round of the game. After they died and became sacrifices, they were turned into the crow servants at the beginning of the next game and were responsible for helping the witch monitor the players. They were also part of the rules of the game. A servant corresponded to a crow and also to a player. It was because the servants once also had identity cards.
During the time when the crows danced, the servants were arranged in a certain order. This order was the order of their identity cards in the previous game. The first servant was the last Fool, the second was the Magician and etc.
Thus, the crow in the servant’s hand flew to the actor. This meant the actor had inherited their identity card. The crow on the second servant’s hand flew to Xie Chi. The second servant was the Magician so Xie Chi’s identity card was the Magician.
This was a type of game transfer. The crows dancing was actually the handover ceremony for the next game. In the dance content, the crows were in groups or alone. This hinted at the interpersonal relationships between players in this round of the game.
Everything had a path to follow.
Xie Chi walked toward the iron fence around the bed and touched his wrist. He still remembered the tarot witch previously grabbing him and wanting to say something to him, only to be stopped by the servants who rushed in. The servants also included the beautiful and weird maid who was transformed by the witch. He couldn’t exclude the possibility of the witch directing and acting herself but there was a possibility that the old woman really had something to say.
Currently, he was in this state and couldn’t be seen by the crows. This meant the witch couldn’t come to stop him. However, the witch left two crows to guard this place. This indirectly showed how important the old woman was. If he was discovered now, the witch couldn’t kill him but she could cause a huge hindrance to his next actions. Thus, he should do this as quickly as possible.
“Brother, let’s go in,” Xie Chi instructed.
Xie Xinglan understood. He held onto the edge of the iron fence, gently flipped over it and bent down. Then he shook the old woman sleeping on the bed. The crows outside the window called out when they saw the old woman’s shoulder moving strangely.
Xie Chi’s heart sank. He turned to look at the door while the shaking of his hands increased. Not far outside the door, there was the sound of footsteps. It should be the witch rushing over. Xie Chi lowered his head. The old woman had already opened her eyes and they were staring at him. She seemed to recognize his identity. She could see him!
“Wu wu wu—” The old woman raised her head excitedly in order to talk. She opened her mouth to speak to Xie Chi only for him to find she had no tongue! According to the hermit, she was clearly the witch. After the witch joined the reincarnation game, she even cut off her own tongue! What exactly was she afraid of revealing?
Xie Chi’s thoughts flashed and he asked calmly, “Are you not the witch?”
The witch was clearly outside the door. Unless she could control two bodies at the same time, the old lady in front of him wasn’t the witch at all. The old woman was stunned but shook her head. At Xie Chi’s dazed eyes, she shook faster.
Xie Chi froze. He asked, “Are you not the witch?” and the old woman gave a negative answer. In other words… she was the witch?
How could that be? If she was the witch then who was outside?
Xie Chi was stunned as he suddenly realized something. His eyes tightened and he spoke quickly. “You are the tarot witch who was the first to discover the tarot reincarnation method. The one outside is a player who seized your power and successfully reincarnated? She is the one who successfully reincarnated but part of your soul remains with her?”
This time, the old woman started nodding desperately, her tearful eyes full of excitement.
Xie Chi was horrified. Therefore, before joining reincarnation, the current witch cut off the old woman’s tongue mercilessly. She was afraid the original witch’s soul remaining in this body would reveal unfavorable information to the players!
For the player who first came here to meet the old woman, she grabbed his hand to tell him that she was the real tarot witch. The one outside was a player, a player who had successfully killed many sacrifices to obtain the chance to reincarnate.
The hermit didn’t know very much. It wasn’t that no player had ever succeeded! It was that the successful players were no different from the evil witch! They had different positions. The successful players had long stood on the opposite side of the hermit! This was the cruel truth.
Xie Chi figured out everything and asked coldly, “You want to kill the witch?”
The old woman nodded wildly.
“Help me. Tell me a clue.”
The footsteps stopped at the door. Xie Chi and the witch were only separated by one door. The old woman on the bed struck her body desperately against the bed board and made a sound like she was hinting at Xie Chi.
Xie Chi frowned before inspiration struck. “Brother, the bed board! Hurry!”
Xie Xinglan instantly understood. He directly lifted the old woman off the bed and fumbled around the bed. There was a small bump under the lacquered red bed.
“I found it.”
This was why the fence surrounded the bed and kept players away. Xie Xinglan pressed the bump and the bed board banged open, revealing a dark tunnel underneath. He jumped into the secret tunnel in the midst of the crows’ cries.
The witch had already rushed over. Xie Xinglan was quick and pulled the bed board down on top of himself. His body fell rapidly. Xie Xinglan tried to find something to grab but found that the wall was too smooth. He could only endure the sense of weightlessness and wait to land.
A small light appeared above his head. Xie Chi looked up and saw the face of the witch who had already opened the bed board. She had half her foot stuffed in and was about to jump when Xie Chi called out to her, “If you are so free to chase me, it would be better to kill a few more sacrifices!”
The witch jumped down without hesitation. Seeing the witch’s choice, satisfaction overflowed from Xie Chi’s eyes. “Brother, the secret here is more important to the witch then killing the sacrifices.”
Xie Xinglan didn’t relax at all. He seemed to be reaching the end of the secret path and there was faint candlelight. Xie Xinglan landed on the solid stone ground, looked around and saw a downward stone staircase. The stairs were so narrow that the thin Xie Chi could barely walk on them.
In the dark silence, Xie Chi heard a clear knocking sound. He frowned and turned back. It wasn’t the witch. The witch was behind him while this sound came from under the stone stairs.
“Brother, let’s go down.”
Xie Xinglan moved intently and silently.
The surroundings were dark and damp. The walls on both sides were made of greasy stones and every few meters, there were candles with worrying levels of brightness. Oxygen was thin here and Xie Xinglan’s chest was stuffy. He knew he didn’t have much time and rushed down the stairs.
The further down he went, the scarcer oxygen became. Xie Xinglan’s heart sank slightly. If he didn’t move quickly, he might suffocate and faint.
The witch chased after him.
He didn’t know how long he ran until the ground below him became wider. He came to a huge stone door. The scene in front of him was chilling. It wasn’t so much a secret room as it was a mass grave. The small open space was full of corpses. Some of the corpses were weathered and turned into a pile of white bones. Some still had a bit of flesh and blood remaining and were densely covered with the bite marks of unknown creatures. Perhaps it was the devil.
The soles of his feet were sticky due to the thin layer of blood on the ground. The bloody stench filling his nose was disgusting. This should be the place to deal with sacrifices. Those who died should be the sacrifices that were offered.
Xie Xinglan covered his mouth and nose. He had excellent vision and stared at the surroundings intently. He found that all the blood on the ground was flowing to the stone door. He jumped between the corpses and soon came to the stone door.
The stone door was full of blood from top to bottom so it was more appropriate to call it a blood door. There were four grooves in the middle that could be reached with human hands.
“Should I try sticking it in?”
There was no other way at the moment so Xie Chi replied, “Yes.”
Xie Xinglan placed his hand into the first groove. The blood on the blood door changed. It surged rapidly and poured into the first groove. Xie Xinglan’s hand was instantly immersed in blood. The stone door was trembling slightly but the trembling only lasted a second or two before stopping.
Xie Chi didn’t know why but the sense of suffocation was rising while the witch’s footsteps were clearly audible. He knew he couldn’t stay here long and immediately instructed, “Try them all!”
In a few seconds, Xie Xinglan tried four grooves. Apart from the last groove, the first three grooves all moved when he inserted his hand. For the first groove, the door shook for one second, the second shook for two seconds and the third for three seconds. He even felt that he just needed a little bit more and the door could be opened.
The clear knocking sound came again. Xie Chi heard it clearly this time and found it came from behind the stone door. Xie Chi felt a bit strange. This sound… it was a bit like the sound of a body knocking on the lid of a coffin…
Xie Chi held his breath and listened quietly. The knocks came one after another. There seemed to be… two sources.
He became more puzzled and put his hand in the fourth groove again, but there was still no movement. It seemed that the stone door could only open when the four grooves moved together. He didn’t know why he could activate the first three grooves but he obviously didn’t meet the conditions for the fourth groove yet.
There were four grooves and he could move three…
The strange movement behind the stone door…
Xie Chi pursed his lips. He was about to grab something when in front of him, he met the witch’s bright black eyes through a few bloody corpses.
He might be immortal but once trapped by the witch, he would lose his mobility and the situation would take a turn for the worse. Xie Xinglan was lacking oxygen and slow to move. The witch jumped straight up, her distorted face close to him. She opened her mouth to bite Xie Chi and Xie Chi realized that she had a tongue!
The scarlet tongue was about to lick the side of his face. Xie Xinglan raised his hand, picked up a skull and threw it at her head. After she was hit, he smoothly escaped. However, his path was blocked and his chest was tight and dizzy. He could barely stand straight. He resisted it and dealt with the witch silently.
“Brother, this way!” Xie Chi had been observing the area and he suddenly called out.
Xie Xinglan understood. He shook off the witch again and pushed away the pile of corpses in front of him. Behind the pile of corpses, a hidden passage was revealed. Xie Xinglan sprinted. At the top of the path, he saw a square plank. It was surrounded by stone and only this place was a dark wooden board.
He kicked off the plank, climbed up and pulled himself out of the secret tunnel with force. The moment he came out, he found himself in a dark and cramped closet. On the closet door panel in front of him, 10 numbers were carved and the number 9 was specifically circled.
Author’s note: Xie Chi is equivalent to a normal person who can be injured but won’t die. It is because the living dead are still human in the final analysis. They aren’t souls so Xie Chi and Xie Xinglan aren’t separated.
It is equivalent to having three different latitude spaces. One for the witch, one for the players and one for Xie Chi. These latitudes can partially cross.