Park Soojin saw the middle-aged woman’s mouth and almost took a step back. Fortunately, she was fairly courageous and barely stopped herself from looking away. In order to cover up her reaction, she looked down and wrote a sentence on his mobile phone, handing it to the middle-aged woman. [Is it okay?]
The middle-aged woman looked numb and she nodded. Then she picked up a wine jar from the front desk, held it against her chest and raised the curtain, entering the backyard.
Park Soojin watched her back before turning to the rest of the reincarnators. She grabbed a pen and wrote in English on her task book. [She agreed.]
[As we talked, I noticed her mouth… there seems to be no tongue.]
As she wrote these words, Park Soojin stuck out her tongue and licked her lips, eating a bit of lipstick.
Shimizu picked up his own pen. For these reincarnators, the existence of the task book meant carrying a pen was a daily routine. He also turned to a blank page and wrote: [Since she agreed, we will stay here and inquire about the news of the town.]
Lance looked at Park Soojin before bowing his head and writing. His handwriting was very beautiful and was an elegant cursive. [No tongue, does it have anything to do with the person in the CG at the beginning? Anyone who speaks will have their tongue taken away?]
Shimizu: [Most likely. However, she is still alive. Does this mean the cost of breaking the taboo isn’t fatal?]
They gathered around a round table in the lobby of the hotel, the table covered with white paper. Thai wasn’t involved in the discussion. The reticent Thai stood at the door and looked outside the hotel.
Xiao Li stood opposite him and the two people were like door gods, one on the left and one on the right. Thai couldn’t be considered handsome but his face had clear angles. He glanced at Xiao Li who showed no movements. Then Thai’s pupils suddenly shrank as he looked at the house opposite the hotel.
A wooden door was opened a crack and a figure was secretly peering at them. They saw Thai looking and hurriedly closed the door. Thai looked quietly behind him. Then he took out his pen and walked towards that house.
Xiao Li leaned against the door and looked at Thai’s back for a while. His dark eyes shone in the sunlight of the day. He wanted to soak in the sea breeze for a while but eventually followed. The wooden door was old and there were gaps in the middle of the wood with barbs.
Thai tore out a page, wrote down a sentence and stuffed it through the door. The person inside moved. ‘He’ or ‘she’ picked up the note and was silent for a moment, before another piece of paper was stuffed back through.
Thai picked it up and saw there was a long paragraph on it. Due to the person’s haste, the handwriting was very sloppy. [Don’t come to me. I just want to tell you not to stay in that hotel. The boss over there has long since died!]
[The boss’ husband died early. As a widow, she was dependent on her daughter. Three years ago, her daughter died unexpectedly because of something. She was so sad that she arranged the funeral and then died a few days later. The hotel was left vacant. People in the town know that when outsiders come to town, they will see her in the hotel.]
If you don’t believe me, you can look. That hotel hasn’t been cleaned in recent years and is extremely dirty.]
Xiao Li looked at the note from the side and slightly raised his eyebrows. He looked through the gap in the wooden door to see half a face. It belonged to an old man with very deep wrinkles and bad eyes. Xiao Li pressed a hand against the door and pushed it. The door didn’t move but the face at the door was frightened and turned back into the house.
Outside the wooden door, Thai was silent as he saw the note full of Chinese writing. Xiao Li was in the spirit of helping people and took him back to the hotel to translate it. Shimizu and the others looked at the latest information and couldn’t help their hands shaking.
Park Soojin wrote a sentence in her own book. [China has an old saying. I would rather believe there is something than believe there is nothing.]
Lance asked: [Then where do we live?]
[Do you want to go to someone else’s house and try it…]
[We can’t make any noise. As long as the other person locked the door, how can we enter?]
Shimizu was frowning and worrying over where to stay. The next second, he became cold as he felt someone behind him. He immediately turned and found that it was the owner of the hotel! The boss walked as quietly as a cat. The group had their backs to the backyard and hadn’t found her.
The hotel owner stared strangely at the note with clear eyes. Shimizu quickly hid the note and smiled awkwardly at the boss. The boss ignored him and went to the front desk. She took a pen from the table, wrote something and threw the note to Shimizu before walking back to the backyard.
Shimizu unfolded the note and saw a long passage.
[Have you met the old man?]
[Oh, that’s good. It shows you have a relationship with him. After all, he has been dead for three years.]
Shimizu’s Chinese wasn’t bad. Japanese and Chinese were similar and he had studied it during university. He read up to here and couldn’t help sweating.
[Did he advise you to move? I won’t stop you. If you want to move then move. It is your own business and I don’t care. Still, I am a mother and with the heart of a parent, I want to dissuade you.]
[The old man never married. One day three years ago, he fell down at home and no one helped him. He passed away and the funeral was arranged by the neighbours. The terrible thing is that when someone comes here, he will often say I am a ghost. It is quite funny.]
Two people, two different statements. This was simply… horrifying when thinking about it. Shimizu translated the note and placed it on the middle of the table. Xiao Li was a bit interested. He stood looking at the backyard. Then he touched his stomach and went out of the hotel door. His footsteps were so quiet that no one noticed except for AK47 but he showed nothing.
Shimizu picked up a pen and asked: [What do you think? Who should we believe?]
[This reminds me of a story I have heard.] Park Soojin wrote. [It is about a couple who took part in an expedition to a snowy mountain and encountered an avalanche in the middle. The girl was separated from the others. She found a cave to rest in. Midway through, the members of the mountaineering team found her and said that her boyfriend was killed. They were the only ones left and she should go with them. The girl just wanted to leave when her boyfriend appeared. He told her loudly that the other climbers were dead and she should run away with him.]
Lance unzipped his shirt, pulled out the cross necklace and gripped the cross. He prayed for a moment before shrugging. This Asian spirit was his most hated type of instance but he didn’t sense a ghost’s breath.
[…Let’s vote.] Shimizu wrote on the paper ‘believe in the old man’ and ‘believe in the boss.’
No one voted for the time being. Shimizu placed a dot under the former and there was an ink drop under the latter.
Time passed. It was unknown how long passed before Shimizu put a tick under the latter option. He had just finished when Xiao Li held out a hand, took the pen directly from him and wrote a third option. ‘Don’t believe any of them.’
Shimizu was stunned and looked up at Xiao Li. Then his expression became even stranger. The black-haired teenager in front of him wasn’t only holding a pen. He was also holding a peach that he had got from an unknown place. Xiao Li raised the peach in his hand to show friendliness.
Shimizu: […Sherlock, you?]
Xiao Li held the peach in his left hand while his right hand quickly wrote. [I just went for a walk.]
He also stole a peach?
Xiao Li wrote: [The peach is a gift from the house. If you want, there are more peaches over there.]
Shimizu was truly stunned this time. He hadn’t managed to write anything when Xiao Li continued: [Do you want to ask me how I know? It is simple enough. Your eyes betrayed your doubts.]
Shimizu was dazed and Lance took over his heavy burden.
[Sherlock, you just said… house?]
[There is an old house to the south. I found it when I was looking for food. No one is living there and it is deserted. We can stay there.] Xiao Li nodded.
Park Soojin showed a complicated expression. She pulled up her hair and tied it in a pretty ponytail. […This isn’t fake?]
She couldn’t imagine someone going out and bringing back such a large amount of information!
Xiao Li made a ‘please go see’ gesture. [Go out to the right, go straight and turn left. You will see a peach tree. The peach tree is to the side of the house.]
Shimizu gulped. It wasn’t easy to find his words as he asked Xiao Li: [You… how did you find it?]
[Do you want to hear the truth?] Xiao Li took a bite of the peach. [I met a man. He was standing outside the wall of the house and picking peaches from the peach tree inside. He took a basket of peaches back with him. I wanted to buy some food from him but he didn’t open the door. Thus, I stuffed in a note and asked him.]
[Did he give it to you?]
[No, I said I would pay for it but he told me to get lost. He wrote on the piece of paper, ‘outsiders should go to hell.’ I amicably said I would set a timed alarm clock on my phone and throw it into his yard. Then he opened the door and gave me the peach. He also wrote a small note, answering my question that the house was empty and no one lived there.]
The reincarnators, “……”
Don’t ask. Asking was to feel violent. It was simple and crude.
Shimizu made a complicated expression.
[Then I went over there and looked around. It was really empty.]
Shimizu: [We… shall we go and see?]
There was no objection. They stood up, carefully not touching the table and chairs as they left the hotel. Xiao Li moved the slowest. He was ready to eat the peach. He ate it quietly and his lips were covered with peach juice, looking very fresh.
He put the shaking little yellow book on the table and read: [What are you thinking?]
Xiao Li licked the peach juice from his lips and replied casually: [I’m thinking about how it is really empty?]
Little yellow book: [Do you know what I think about when I’m empty?]
Xiao Li took another bite of the peach and didn’t reply.
The little yellow book said: [I think of the person I like.]
[His hair and eyes are black. It is like the stars but feels soft. I don’t usually like black but it is different on him.]
[His nose is very high and there are several times when I want to take a bite of his nose. However, I’m afraid it will be broken if I take a bite. In addition, his lips. His lips look very good, good for kissing.]
The little yellow book’s words had a bit of suggestion. [Especially when they are wet.]
The author has something to say:
Xiao Li: I shouldn’t have eaten the peach.