Xiao Li lowered his head and fiddled with the seat belt across his chest as he waited for Wang Huai’s next words.
The car turned and drove to the right. The tall buildings decreased and were replaced by street stores along the road. Xiao Li noticed that they passed by a large market. Even in this market, there was a boss protecting his vegetables under a canopy, looking sadly at the street outside the canopy.
Wang Huai didn’t disappoint Xiao Li. He held the steering wheel with one hand, took out his phone with the other hand and called up an audio file from the phone.
“Zizizizi, wuu, ziziziz, wu, zizi.”
The volume had been turned out to the maximum but the other noise was so loud that the crying was almost inaudible. Xiao Li was silent for a moment. “Is this a cicada?”
“No,” Wang Huai replied. “This is the crying sound that I recorded. The recorded version is completely different from what my ears heard. That sound was like drilling through my eardrums into my mind.”
Xiao Li murmured, “What about the weeping woman’s cries?”
“I don’t know how she cries…” Wang Huai choked out.
“Then shall I call her and let her cry for you to hear? You can compare them.”
Wang Huai, “……”
What was the point of the comparison? To shame the weeping sister? It was said on the forum that she was a colleague but Moriarty should leave some leeway for the weeping woman! In addition, what was to be done with the comparison? Hold a crying contest in the ghost world? The one who won was the best crier?
“I remember, it is etched deeply into my memory. I can’t forget it but I can’t say that there is much difference. The feeling left this time is that the sound is weaker, sharper and more resentful than your crying woman.” Ye Zeqing had been checking the current update trends in the group chat when he heard this familiar name. Then he added, “Before the crying disappeared, I could perceive a terrifying and powerful force brewing. I couldn’t feel it after the crying disappeared but I don’t think it is gone.”
The only reasonable explanation was that the Sun family was hiding something.
The car drove forward, the specially changed tires going through one puddle after another which shook the car. Finally, Wang Huai stepped on the brakes after another 15 minutes of driving. Through the window, they could barely see the general outline of the Sun house.
It was unlike ordinary mansions. Ordinary mansions were usually located in the suburbs and it was difficult to encounter such a large private house in the city centre. However, the Sun house was different. It sat in the centre of this small city like a silent, stone monument.
Shen Chenzhi first opened the Eternal Soul Umbrella. he got out of the car, covered the roof of the car and waited for Xiao Li to get out before closing the door.
The rain washed over the ancient house of the Sun family. The doors and walls of this house were extremely high. They were 1.5 times the size of ordinary buildings. Xiao Li didn’t know if it was his illusion but in such a heavy rain, the ancient house didn’t look like a building. It was more like a coffin full of decadence.
There were four narrow alleys near the old house and every corner had a high building. The nearest sign to them was for a teahouse.
Wang Huai raised his hand and knocked hard on the door, waiting for the response of the Sun family. Soon, someone opened the door from the inside. The one who opened the door was a middle-aged man who was around 50 years old. He was wearing a coat, had blank eyes and serious age spots.
Ye Zeqing came forward to say hello. “Steward Sun, we are back. Is Sun Qilin still here?”
“The young master was called by the master. Only the second young lady is here.” Steward Sun obviously knew Ye Zeqing. He spoke respectfully to Ye Zeqing before turning to Xiao Li and Shen Chenzhi, his eyes on the Eternal Soul Umbrella for a while. “These two are?”
Wang Huai replied, “My friends. They came to help you see what is going on with the previous crying.”
Steward Sun casually sidestepped it. “Mr Wang is joking. The master already said that the crying is just a mistake in the method to suppress ghosts. There is nothing wrong.”
Wang Huai smiled in a perfunctory manner at him. Then he took Xiao Li through the small hall toward the living room. As they were about to turn the corner, Xiao Li looked back at Steward Sun. He stood under the eaves, not affected by any rain. He stared straight at them through the rain curtain.
He was like a statue. He was so stiff he didn’t look like a human being.
“Don’t you think he is weird?” In front of acquaintances, Ye Zeqing lost his cold young master setting. He was like a chatterbox in front of Xiao Li. “In fact, I do too. He talks just like an ancient person. What young master and second young lady? The first time I came here, I thought I had entered the instance world for a moment. I really feel that my Ye family has embarked on the modernization process and I have to thank my grandfather.”
Xiao Li asked, “Who is Sun Qilin?”
“He is a relatively easy to talk to member of the Sun family. He interceded and allowed us to stay here,” Ye Zeqing explained.
The room he took Xiao Li to was a room in an area specifically reserved for a member of their group. The Sun family had many relatives and there were many rooms. It wouldn’t be a problem to place Xiao Li and Shen Chenzhi.
Wang Huai asked as they were deciding the rooms, “Two rooms or one room?”
Xiao Li hadn’t opened his mouth when Shen Chenzhi replied, “One.”
Xiao Li looked at the young man beside him with a smile. Shen Chenzhi held his wrist. “I won’t do anything here.”
The rain here was too heavy. There might be the Eternal Soul Umbrella but it made no difference. Shen Chenzhi had given up space under the umbrella for Xiao Li so half his arm had become wet. The rain water ran down his arm and soaked his sleeve.
Xiao Li’s eyes softened in agreement.
“Put your luggage away first and rest for a while. I’ll ask about Sun Qilin and make sure we are allowed to stay here for a night.” Wang Huai told them and left in a hurry.
Shen Chenzhi easily carried the suitcase into the room. The outside looked like an ancient room but the inside was different. The bed wasn’t fixed to the ground. It was instead hung in the air with a rope. It was a hammock.
Xiao Li went in later. As he entered, he turned his head and found a pair of eyes peeking around the wall. Someone was looking at him!
The owner of the eyes stepped back like they hadn’t expected to be noticed by him. Now Xiao Li vaguely saw that the other person was a girl. She was young and had her hair in a ponytail. She rushed away hastily.
Ye Zeqing had already entered his own room next door and changed into dry clothes. He came over to ask Xiao Li if he needed any help. At this moment, he saw Xiao Li standing there in a daze and couldn’t help asking, “Moriarty, what are you doing?”
“Someone was looking at me just now.”
His words immediately made Ye Zeqing alert and he hurriedly inquired, “Who is it? Did you see the whole face?”
“It’s a girl, not very old.” Xiao Li shook his head.
“There aren’t too many girls this age in the Sun family but it can range from relatives to the housekeeper’s daughter. The range is too wide.”
“If my guess is correct, she will come to me again.”
The Sun house.
In a corner that Xiao Li couldn’t see, the owner of the ponytail was a young girl with a round face in a school uniform. She looked like a big apple. She had a guilty conscience as she sped all the way back to her room and closed her door tightly. Then she calmed her heart that was beating violently from the running.
The young girl’s room was very large and it was fundamentally different from the rooms of Xiao Li and the others. Her room had two doors and was like a suite. It was divided into two spaces, each with a bed inside and outside. The bed inside was much more luxurious than the one outside.
She opened the refrigerator, pulled a bottle of mineral water from it and poured it down her throat. The little girl felt the air conditioning from the wide open refrigerator and her entire body shook. She slammed the refrigerator door shut and sat back down at her table.
After a while, the young girl slowly opened the laptop in front of her. It was time for an online class. She had one more left today.
Due to the recent heavy rains, her school had changed from offline lectures to online broadcasts but this didn’t reduce the burden on her studies. On the contrary, she had to be on voice call, causing complaints from many students.
However, for the girl, the most important thing wasn’t the increase in studies but the…
Inability to leave the Sun house. She was trapped here by the rain and could no longer have short periods of freedom.
A few traces of melancholy that didn’t fit the girl’s face appeared on her face. She clicked on the online course software, picked up the textbook and pen and waited for the teacher to go online. Soon, the teacher connected to the Internet and started the roll call. The moment ‘Sun Jiarun’ was called out, the young girl shouted, “Here.”
The teacher called out everyone’s names and started teaching. Sun Jiarun listened very seriously at first but unknowingly, she started to doze off with her head in her hands. She didn’t know where she drifted off to until the teacher’s stern voice was heard from the microphone. “Sun Jiarun!”
Sun Jiarun was awakened in an instant. She thought the teacher had discovered her distraction and she quickly admitted her mistakes. “Teacher, I’m here. I’m sorry—”
“—If you don’t want to listen in class then okay. However, why open the microphone to tease your teacher? This is contempt for the class!” The teacher was very angry and didn’t give Sun Jiarun a chance to finish talking. She was extremely strict.
“What? I didn’t?” Sun Jiarun couldn’t understand it.
“Pretending to be stupid! Write a 800 character reflection and hand it in to me.” The teacher’s anger didn’t diminish.
Sun Jiarun didn’t quite understand. She wanted to ask more clearly but the WeChat notification appeared in a corner of the computer. She clicked on it and found it was a message from a friend in her class.
[Runrun, don’t argue with Teacher Lin. You know her personality.]
[We are sisters so I will stand by you. However, even if you want to play tricks on the teacher, did you have to use a crying software? In addition, opening the public microphone. Isn’t this preventing the teacher from talking? Do you know, I was so shocked when I heard it that I almost called for my mother.]
Sun Jiarun didn’t see the rest of the words. Her mind was full of ‘crying software’. She looked around her room in a panic but didn’t hear any crying. Sun Jiarun replied: [Did you really hear it?]
[Is it crying? What type of crying?]
[If it is fake then how could Teacher Lin be so angry?] Her friend responded quickly. [You should write the review quickly or Teacher Lin will call your parents.]
[It is the software you made yourself, don’t you know it? The voice was very shrill. I can’t say, it is a bit like… like…]
Sun Jiarun covered her face for a long time before picking up her phone and replying: [Like a baby…?]
[Yes! A distorted baby!] Her friend answered.
On the other side, Xiao Li was exploring the Sun house.
Wang Huai hadn’t come back and he didn’t want to stay in the room. Shen Chenzhi had also gone out so he simply wandered around to look at the structure of the home.
The courtyard was a mix of architecture styles. There was a neat row of stilted buildings to the west and a garden pond like an ancient courtyard to the south. There weren’t many servants in the Sun family, or at least, Xiao Li didn’t bump into any as he walked around the corridors in the south. Suddenly, he heard fragments of a conversation and stopped.
The conversation of two people could faintly be heard from behind a water pavilion.
“Sun Qilin, you understand, the current situation…”
“No, I’m not interested… Please…”
Xiao Li could only hear a few words. Most of the other words were covered up by the rain. He stood in place and didn’t conceal his intentions. He had just taken a step forward when he was discovered by the two alert people.
The two of them separated like they received an electric shock. A young man acted like he didn’t know the other person. The man the disgust was aimed toward frowned and looked at Xiao Li like he was going to take action in the next second.
Xiao Li had to say something to stabilize the situation. Xiao Li thought about it and opened his mouth. “I’m not here to break you up. I’m here to join you.”
The young man, “…”
The stranger opposite him, “???”
What was this person saying??!