The Taoist went into Xu Mei’s room and pointed his instrument to the middle of the bed. “There are traces of grievances and yin here.”
Xu Mei didn’t dare go in. She stood at the door, face showing a trace of fear. “At that time, it was standing by my bed, covered in blood and with a pale face…”
She was still scared when she remembered the scene of that time. She might’ve made a deal with Mr Ye but she had never seen a ghost in real life. This wasn’t the same as talking about a ghost and it was the most terrible image she had ever seen. The horror and coldness of her soul made Xu Mei panic and seek a sense of security.
The Taoist reached out and moved his horsetail whisk through the air a few times. Then he took out a copper bell from his pocket, knocked on it twice and then someone behind him gave him a basin of water. He took a copper coin from the basin, chanted a spell filled with plausible words and threw the copper coin into the air, catching the copper coin with his hands behind him.
Xiao Li nibbled on an apple as he watched the priest work. After walking straight past Zhou Ying, he understood that this person had no real strength and didn’t continue to watch.
He took three mouthfuls of the apple and was prepared to go find something to eat. At this time, his phone shook and he received a message from Shen Chenzhi. “A new game was recently released. Do you want to play?”
Xiao Li sent a ‘1’ to show his consent.
Shen Chenzhi: Did you have lunch yet? If you haven’t eaten, do you want to eat together?
This time, Xiao Li readily agreed. He made an appointment with Shen Chenzhi at a location and threw the apple away before walking out the door.
The place Shen Chenzhi designated wasn’t a restaurant but his house. The transfer student was mysterious and independent. One person lived alone on the top floor of a high-rise building and the decorations were mainly black and white.
When Xiao Li arrived, the door was open. He called out the other person’s name while pushing open the door. Then he found that the table was full of everyday dishes while the most handsome student in school was holding a soup bowl in his head. He seemed to be measuring the temperature and the hair in front hung down over his forehead, making him look very handsome.
Shen Chenzhi heard the sound of the door opening and looked up to see the young man standing at the door. His eyes almost instantly lit up. “You came.”
Xiao Li saw how skillfully this person handled the chopsticks and his gaze shifted to the table. “Did you make all of this yourself?”
Xiao Li’s eyes looked at Shen Chenzhi and the young man could almost perceive the other person’s gaze on him. There was a slightly cool sensation and to cover it up, he placed the chopsticks in his hand on the bowl. “Yes, I usually cook for myself. Are you hungry? Try it.”
This refreshed Xiao Li’s understanding of Shen Chenzhi. He wasn’t very familiar with this new student in the strictest sense but he had seen the other person’s appearance, words and deeds were like a big master. He hadn’t expected this type of person to cook at home.
Most people Xiao Li knew, apart from the cooking auntie, mostly scheduled takeaway. It was simple, convenient and didn’t delay time with cooking.
The friendship between the boys was very strange. Sometimes after class, they would play ball together as friends. Now Xiao Li felt like he glimpsed another side of his desk mate, bringing him closer to Shen Chenzhi. He sat down naturally, picked up chopsticks and tasted a dish.
Shen Chenzhi didn’t look like a cook and Xiao Li was already prepared in case he felt like spitting it out. He was even ready to swallow it directly. He had just placed the chopsticks in his mouth when he found it was unexpectedly delicious.
“How is it?” Shen Chenzhi saw across from him, black sweater rolled up from his wrist and revealing his upper arm as he held his chin and watched Xiao Li. He clearly said that he hadn’t eaten yet but he had no intention of trying it.
Xiao Li spoke sincere praise. “It is very delicious.”
Thanks to his mother’s poor cooking in his early years, he wasn’t picky about food and could eat well. Once he was brought to the Xiao family, he felt that the chef of the Xiao family cooked very delicious food. However, Shen Chenzhi’s dishes were better than anything he had eaten.
“That’s good.” Shen Chenzhi smiled. “Eat more.”
Xiao Li finished the meal and took the initiative to clean up the dishes. He had barely moved when the other person held his hand and let it go after an electric shock. Shen Chenzhi grabbed the bowl in front of Xiao Li. “I’ll do it. You go to the game room and look at the game first.”
“I will accompany you or else once I win, you will say that I cheated.” Xiao Li grabbed it but couldn’t pull it over. It didn’t look like it but Shen Chenzhi was very powerful and easily grabbed the rest of the dishes.
Shen Chenzhi glanced at him.
Xiao Li leaned against the table and played with the button on his sleeves as he watched Shen Chenzhi clean up. Viewed from the side, the youth’s silhouette was deep. If he didn’t smile, the atmosphere around him was like a sharp icy knife and his eyes were covered with an imperceptible yin. It was really hard to see him as a cook.
Shen Chenzhi, surname Shen, was there a family called Shen?
Xiao Li’s thoughts drifted infinitely as Shen Chenzhi seemed to concentrate on washing the dishes. In fact, his muscles were secretly stiff and he was washing for the water to freeze so that the thoughts in his heart would be completely eliminated.
“You haven’t gone to school recently.” Shen Chenzhi was unable to hold back his gaze and took the initiative to ask. “Is there something wrong?”
Xiao Li’s mind returned. He thought about it and tentatively asked, “Do you believe there are ghosts in this world?”
“I believe,” Shen Chenzhi replied lightly. “I have seen it.”
Xiao Li stood up straight. “Oh?”
The young man put away the last pair of dishes, wiped the water droplets on his hand and glanced over. He didn’t continue to explain but actively avoided this topic. “The game room?”
Xiao Li stared at him for two seconds before nodding and looking away.
On the other side of the city, Mr Ye’s independent villa.
Mr Ye had always been cautious and had suspicions about everyone, so no one knew where he lived. His body had been lying beside the chair since death, expression stuck in the horror he felt before he died.
In this endless stagnation, a dark shadow protruded underneath the door, pulling it open and allowing a man to come in. He covered his mouth and nose, opened the curtains and frowned at the body on the ground.
The black shadow beyond the door moved towards the body, folded its arms in the opposite direction and the entire body was like a fishing net as it entered Mr Ye’s body, sucking out a few ghosts in the other person’s heart.
“It wasn’t too late and they didn’t run out.” The man sighed with relief and pulled out his phone to call someone.
After the dark shadow absorbed the little ghosts, it moved back behind the man.
The man reached out to cover Mr Ye’s eyes. He closed his eyes and chanted a spell before suddenly retracting his hand. “There is a connection that was forcibly cut off and one less ghost.”
The person on the phone said, “Those outside the door of life and death will fight us no matter what. However, we must recover the lost ghosts. Otherwise, I don’t know what consequences there will be if it continues to stay in the world.”
The man nodded and hung up.
By the time Xiao Li came back from Shen Chenzhi’s house, it was close to evening. The other person said it would be okay to stay overnight but Xiao Li didn’t like to live outside and he walked back briskly.
He returned and Xu Mei had already sent the priest away and changed rooms.
The Taoist priest had given Xu Mei all sorts of characters against evil spirits and provided a Buddha statue for the master bedroom but she was still worried. She decided to sleep in another bedroom until the Xiao family’s leader returned.
Everyone who met ghosts would feel an instinctive fear. Xu Mei was no exception. She was a bit scared when lying alone in bed so she came to her son to raise her courage.
Xu Mei didn’t tell Xiao Ming about the ghost so Xiao Ming knew nothing. He was complaining as he sat in the chair of the second bedroom. He opened his homework and spoke in a disgruntled manner, “How old am I that you still have to watch me doing homework?”
Xu Mei smiled. “You will be more efficient if I watch you. Isn’t the teacher’s task due to be completed tomorrow? Will you be able to miss the mid-term exam in the top three of your grade?”
“…I am still bad at English.” Xiao Ming spread open his homework on the table and started writing.
Xu Mei sat behind him and was psychologically comforted by her son. She came to the dressing table and applied a mask on herself, carefully flattening the edge of the mask with her fingertips. Before she stood up, she saw a black shadow at the corner of her eye. It was the doll! The bigger doll that moved! It sat on the edge of the window where Xiao Ming was sitting, staring at the pot in front of it!
“Ah—!” Xu Mei screamed in one breath and dragged the unsuspecting Xiao Ming out the door. When she screamed, the Xiao family’s second master had already returned to his room and was looking at the little yellow book in front of him.
The little yellow book was spread out. 【 You seem to like your desk mate. You never looked at me with those type of eyes. 】
“…What type of eyes?”
【 That… focused, curious, observing and appreciative. 】 The little yellow book spoke with conviction.
“…Don’t I look at you with curiosity? You are the strangest existence I have ever seen.”
The little yellow book: 【 It was like that at first, then it changed. Do you like Shen Chenzhi? 】
“When you can drive a car then I will change back to that look.”
The little yellow book asked again: 【 Do you like Shen Chenzhi? 】
Xiao Li was helpless. “Between men and men, apart from the feelings you are talking about, there is something called friendship. Not everyone is as perverted as you.”
The little yellow book snorted. 【 How do you know he isn’t like me? How do you know he isn’t an animal in the darkness, trying to steal touches? 】
Xiao Li, “………”
He couldn’t say anything, whether it was an adjective, verb or subject. Was the little yellow book’s language taught by a physical education teacher?
The little yellow book took advantage of this to pursue him. 【 I just want to kiss you and I am honest. I described my wishes and told you. Don’t you like me? 】
“Wait a minute, I”m going to correct it—”
It was ‘dislike’, never ‘like.’
The little yellow book: 【 I don’t think there is anything to be corrected. 】
【 Rejected. 】
He was clearly refusing to accept the reality and living in his own world. Xiao Li closed the book, looked up and happened to meet the eyes of the Tan Li doll.
The pure black eyes looked terrible to outsiders but to Xiao Li, they were somewhat innocent. This was like a child who knew she did something wrong and was afraid to receive her parent’s punishment. She really was just going to look at the flowers this time.
The Xiao family’s second master was quiet for a few seconds. He heard Xu Mei’s screams and then her contact with the Taoist priest. He could guess what Tan Li did. The teenager looked at Tan Li’s uneasy eyes and touched her head. “You can go anywhere in this place.”
The doll moved her face. She was consistently wooden but she touched the tip of the boy’s finger with her cheek, seemingly grateful. Xiao Li smiled and took back his hand.
A few more days passed for Xiao Li.
Since that day, Xu Mei had been eager to move out. She disappeared from the Xiao home with Xiao Ming. Xiao Li was happy and went to class every day, playing games at the table and gradually becoming familiar with this routine.,
In these past few days, Zheng Yi had gone to an instance world again and came back in tears. He complained to Xiao Li about his mentally handicapped teammates and expressed his attachment to Xiao Li. He really wanted to team up with Xiao Li but Zheng Yi felt that Xiao Li wasn’t the type to like a team. He was always alone. He might be easy to talk to but he was cold in his heart. In order to avoid destroying the friendship between them, Zheng Yi didn’t issue a team invitation.
Xiao Li had just taught Zhou Ying to come out of the shadow of the happy landlord when he received a warning paper before the start of another instance world. This piece of paper was very strange. There was no writing on it, only some soil stuck to the paper. A textless paper?
Xiao Li held the piece of paper and took out the little yellow book.
【 In the mountains far away from the city, there are many villages hidden, one of which was the Gathering Soul Village. The village is very old and remote with every villager keeping their own secrets. They are isolated from the world and self-sufficient, never communicating with the outside world. You are part of a group of reporters who came to photograph the beauty of the mountains. You temporarily settled in the Gathering Soul Village but have encountered ridiculous things for no reason… I also want to give you some suggestions but I don’t know much about this village. If you must, please respect the local customs. This might save your life. 】
After seeing these words, there was a dizzy feeling and Xiao Li found himself on a mountain. The distant scenery was enchanting and covered with layers of stepped fields. The air was filled with the fragrance of mud and he looked at the village below the mountainside he was standing on.
The little yellow book showed the mission:
【 Remaining safety time: 3 minutes. 】
1. Survival in Gathering Soul Village for seven days.
2. Discover the truth of Gathering Soul Village.
The above tasks can be optionally completed and after completion, you will be randomly transmitted back to the real world. 】
【 Hidden tasks:
1. Look at me with a focused expression.
2. Tell me you like me.
3. Kiss me.
All the above tasks must be completed. 】
Xiao Li turned a blind eye to the hidden tasks. He closed the little yellow book and looked at the other reincarnators.
This time, there were around a dozen people in the world and were a mixture of men, woman and children. All of them observed each other and there didn’t seem to be any newcomers. Among them was a middle-aged man. He was dressed in a Chinese style vest and took the initiative to gather everyone together. “My name is Shi Ye and I have been through three worlds. If you have any thoughts about this world then please share it.”
“Now we don’t know anything. Take it step by step.” A young man with dyed red hair spoke.
“I don’t think so. The task tip emphasizes the customs. I think this is an entry point and we can try asking the villagers about this aspect while waiting.” Another person spoke as he held his task book.
Xiao Li hid in the crowd and listened to their analysis silently. He heard three people behind him whispering and talking about completely irrelevant topics. One of the young men said, “I came in again and haven’t slept enough!”
Another hawk-nosed man elbowed him. “If you haven’t slept enough then you aren’t called Zhu Yiting, you are called a pig.”
The young man known as Zhu Yiting spoke in a disgruntled manner, “You should show respect. I was the one who reasoned the puzzle of the last world.”
“That was pure luck., what was your reasoning? You sprinkled rice on the keyboard, a chicken can reason better than you!” A third person laughed.
The eagle-hook nose man said, “You are insulting chickens. Did a chicken do anything wrong to be compared to this pig?”
It was unknown what Zhu Yiting did but the third person let out a cry of pain. It was clear that the three people had come as a team. This was the first time Xiao Li encountered people who used the Team Symbol.
Once the three minutes safety time ended, an introductory CG movie appeared in front of everyone. The scene was played out on the light curtain in the air. In a dilapidated thatched cottage, a man in ragged clothing sat on a bed.
He was sitting there and staring at the black box in front of him. There was nothing special about the box. It was black and tightly closed. The man’s eyes became hazier and cold sweat dripped down his cheeks. In the end, he reached out to the box and opened it with great determination.
The beginning movie ended here.
From Gathering Soul Village, someone ran up the mountain and happily shook hands with them one by one. “You are the reporters from the city? I have been waiting for a long time. I am the village chief, Wu Shan. Welcome to Gathering Soul Village.”
Wu Shan wore simple blue clothes with a few patches on it. It was very rustic.
“Hello Chief Wu, we also just arrived.” Shi Ye greeted this person and shook Wu Shan’s hand.
Wu Shan took the lead in front of the reincarnators and walked to the village at the bottom of the mountain. The dark clouds in the distance gathered together, causing the horizon to become grey. They became heavier and heavier and it seemed like there would be a storm.