IWBL: Chapter 33

The argument between Xiao Li and the little yellow book ended in Xiao Li’s victory. The little yellow book had been insistent at first but after exploring Xiao Li’s attitude several times and sensing Xiao Li’s firmness, he gave up on the idea of letting Xiao Li sleep alone (with him).

The result was that Xiao Li was wrapped in a quilt and slept for a night in a corner of the store. The bed here was very hard, making his sleep uncomfortable. The other reincarnators also woke up wearily and he had to get up with them.

There was no such thing as running tap water here and they had to go and get water to wash up. This was very difficult. Zhu Yiting placed a cold towel on his face and spat out, “It is bad enough that we encountered ghosts and now I have to fetch water myself. I feel like I will be deformed.”

Yong Chun pushed him away. He held more than a dozen steamed buns in his hand and handed them to everyone for breakfast. “You should be glad that you can stand here and stable. I have experienced a world before that was in the deep forest. Forget washing your face, the toilet matters must be resolved deep in the forest. However, it was dangerous to go to the toilet so in the end, we all went as a group. It was like primary school students holding hands to go to the toilet.”

Zhu Yiting had never heard him mention this matter. He thought about his own painful experience of urinating last night and couldn’t help sighing. “…It’s terrible!”

Shi Ye heard up to her and coughed to interrupt Zhu Yiting’s conversation. “The ghost hasn’t found us yet. We should go to the village chief and explore the situation. Some people will lead the village chief away while others will sneak into the village chief’s room to search. How about it? Good eloquence is required for leading the village chief away and boldness is required to enter the chief’s house. Who wants to recommend themselves?”

Shi Ye’s plan was to split the reincarnators into two but the part about sneaking into the village chief’s house was obviously more dangerous than the former. Who knew what was in the village chief’s house? If there was a ghost, wasn’t that sending the sheep into the tiger’s mouth?

Therefore, the room became cold once Shi Ye spoke his plan.

At this moment, Xiao Li spoke lightly, “I will go, I’m very interested in what is in his room.”

Zhu Yiting quickly turned to look at this person and his heart struggled. According to that post, Sherlock was really amazing. If he could keep up with this person then his chance of surviving would presumably increase. However, he usually acted alone and no one knew what the consequences of acting with him would be. Zhu Yiting heard that a certain person at the top of the reincarnators leaderboard also liked to be alone and never went with other reincarnators…

He thought for a moment and decided it was better to move with the group.

Apart from Xiao Li, no one else took the initiative to volunteer themselves. Shi Ye looked around with disappointment before saying, “Then Sherlock, I’ll trouble you. The others will go with me to find the village chief while some people will go to the villagers to inquire about the customs and strange things here.”

Tao Fei volunteered to question the villagers while Shi Ye took the rest of the people to the village chief’s house.

This morning’s Gathering Souls Village wasn’t as quiet as usual. As the first rooster cried out, someone rushed to find the village chief. The village chief was preparing breakfast when the person arrived and rushed in the door without knocking. Village Chief Wu Shan was almost killed by the salted duck egg he just put in his mouth and looked at the other person with dissatisfaction. “Hu Niu, what’s going on?”

The woman known as Hu Niu still had fear on her face. She put her hands on the table and panted. “Not good, Village Chief! It is big! Zhang Chang and Sister-in-law Li are both dead. They died in front of Zhang Tao’s mourning hall!”

Wu Shan’s expression changed and the chopsticks in his hand fell to the ground. After a long time, he recovered his voice. “What happened? Explain it well.”

“I went to Sister-in-law Li’s place to feed the chicken this morning and found she wasn’t there. I went in a circle and didn’t find her. I asked a few people and they also hadn’t seen her. I went looking door to door and finally found her at the Zhang home. Her body along with Zhang Chang were next to Zhang Tao’s coffin. Village Chief, what is going on? Why didn’t we know about Zhang Tao dying?” The woman recalled the scene and couldn’t help shuddering.

Wu Shan listened and his back bent down like he had received a blow.

“Village Chief… is it the beginning… her soul… is it back?” At the village chief’s silence, Hu Niu speculated, “Since that incident, our village has never been peaceful. Recently it is hard to calm down and now this…”

“Shut up!” Wu Shan looked up, the wrinkles on his skin moving back and forth like worms. He gritted his teeth and said, “Didn’t I tell you not to mention that?”

“Village Chief…” Hu Niu was startled by his expression.

“Hu Niu, I will go and bury them with you.” Wu Shan realized his reaction and struggled to squeeze out a smile. “You see, I have invited reporters. They will report on our village so even if we don’t do the old business, we can successfully transform and support ourselves. As long as this thing is over…”

He seemed to be trying to persuade himself as he repeated, “As long as it is over.”

Hu Niu looked at him again and Wu Shan waved at her before walking out of the house.

This meant that when Shi Ye and the other reincarnators came here, only the village chief’s wife was present at the house. Shi Ye immediately realized that something might’ve happened in the village, leading to the village chief’s departure. He immediately and decisively split apart the group of people to search for the village chief in a three-pronged approach.

Zhu Yiting watched Shi Ye and the others walk away. Then he arranged his clothes, revealing a perfect smile as he headed to the village chief’s wife with his two friends behind him. She was looking down at the well water when she glimpsed Zhu Yiting’s clothes from the corner of her eyes and immediately raised her head.”Mr Reporter, can I help you?”

Zhu Yiting took out the skill he used to deal with his family and friends. “I came this way for a look. You look very good today.

The village chief’s wife touched her face. “Where do you see that, Mr Reporter? Please don’t laugh at me.”

Xiao Li took advantage of this to climb over the walls and enter the village chief’s house.

This house was a big bigger than the others but it was still quite simple. There weren’t many things in the house. There was a kitchen, living room and bedroom which were connected to each other.

The outside sky was very dark and dark clouds hung in the sky. It didn’t look like morning at all and was more like evening.

Xiao Li first went to the bedroom and searched the bedside table. He found a pile of books about village agricultural construction and some household goods that didn’t have great value. He went a bit further, narrowed his eyes and bent down to pull out a box with an old copper lock on it from below the bed.

Xiao Li touched the copper lock with his fingers while his eyes looked around, trying to find a wire to use as a tool. He was just about to go somewhere else to search when a thread of hair slowly extended from the teenager’s pocket and grew longer, stabbing it into the copper lock. There was a ‘click’ as the copper lock opened. Then Tan Li took back her hair.

Xiao Li touched the doll’s exposed head and took off the cooper lock. He opened the box and saw there were several hand-made straw people in the box. Every one of them had a red heart and looked extremely scary. In addition, there was a bracelet and booklet.

He wanted to take the booklet when one of the straw people slowly turned its head. The straw person with no facial features showed a real face! Xiao Li’s outstretched hair paused in midair. The face slowly opened its mouth when—

Xiao Li turned the entire box over and placed it against the bed. The straw person was submerged in the box and his vision became dark. He closed his mouth in disbelief.

There was the sound of a cat calling in the distance. Xiao Li quickly looked over and then retracted his gaze. The teenager removed the box, picked up the booklet and placed the straw person back inside. He opened the booklet and saw there was writing in it. It described in detail a ritual to gather souls.

Xiao Li rummaged through the booklet, stuffed the things in the box back, locked them and put them back under the bed. Then he roughly searched the village chief’s house. There were no other clues and he jumped out the window.

At the same time as the reincarnator’s actions, the entire Gathering Souls Village was undergoing great changes.

A man who had just returned from the field was shirtless and had a pleasant look. He sat to the side of the house while gnawing on white steamed bread. In the distance, a figure came towards him. It was a middle-aged woman dressed in coarse clothing and holding a black box in her hand. The man looked up with a smile and greeted the other person. “Isn’t this Sister-in-law Li? What’s the matter? Why did you come to see me?”

Sister-in-law Li’s back was to the light and her face looked very poor. She looked down at the man, her face a bit deformed as she stated, “Ah Gang, I have something you forgot that I have to give you.”

Ah Gang took the black box curiously. “What is this? What did I forget?”

“Open it and see.” The woman replied coldly before turning to leave.

The man watched her back. He always felt that she was a bit strange today but he couldn’t describe the feeling. Since the sky was so ugly and he was afraid it would rain in the afternoon, he decided to get back to work before opening the box.

Ah Gang returned to the field, bending over to pick the weeds.

Time passed and once he had pulled half of them up, he saw a famous gossip in the village hurrying past his doorstep, looking extremely afraid.

Ah Gang was curious and stopped the other person. “Bao Dating, what’s wrong with you? Was your wife stolen?”

Bao Dating stopped and waved his hand. “Don’t mention it. Sister-in-law Li and Zhang Chang are dead, do you know? Their deaths are so miserable yet the village chief still wants to hide it!”

The weeds that Ah Gang just picked fell to the ground as he stuttered, “How? She… she just came to see me!”

Bao Dating’s expression suddenly changed. “What? Sister-in-law Li’s body is still at the Zhang house. I just came back from there? Did you encounter a ghost?”

“But… look at this, this is what she left me!” Ah Gang looked around for the black box to serve as evidence. His legs moved as he ran back under the eaves to pick up the black box. “She said that this is what I lost…”

“Don’t! Don’t! Get rid of it!” Bao Dating staggered away, not daring to look. “I’m afraid this village isn’t too peaceful!”

Ah Gang looked at the black box in his hand and suddenly threw it away in the trash. He sighed with relief as he thought it was over.

This happened and Ah Gang was no longer in the mood for farming. He directly closed up his house and went out to chat with the rest of the village. He didn’t come back until late at night but when he did, he choked.

He didn’t know when but the black box had returned to his house and was right at his door. Ah Gang gulped and it was as if his thoughts were bewitched by the object. He felt a part of him inside the box and wanted to open it. In the moonlight, the man approached the box and reached out to it.

************

At the same time, the store.

A candle lit up the house as Shi Ye stood by the bed and exchanged information with the reincarnators. “We searched for the village chief and found him at the house of a man called Zhang Chang where three people have died. The ghost killings have begun. I don’t know when it will be our turn.”

Tao Fei continued, “According to the information from the villagers, the three dead are Zhang Tao, Zhang Chang and Sister-in-law Li. The village chief has been asking to hide these deaths and I don’t know why. Perhaps the clue is the black box.”

Zhu Yiting held a corn cob in his hand which had been given to him after his cajoling opened the village chief wife’s hard heard. He chewed on half of it and listened to the words with a rare calm mind as he guessed, “According to the introductory CG, the black box must be the key. I don’t know if it is related to the customs here but anyone who opens it will die… a box of death? I thought of a possibility. Do you know Pandora’s Box? Perhaps the black box is like Pandora’s magic box. Once it is opened, it will release the devil’s curse.”

Yong Chun didn’t laugh at Zhu Yiting as usual because he felt the other side was reasonable. Yong Chun turned to Shi Ye and the others. “You have been out so long and only asked about this? Is there any other news?”

He blinked and turned his attention to the dark-haired teenager at the edge of the oil lamp.

Xiao Li was very close to the oil lamp. He looked at the tongue of fire and the fire reflected in his black eyes. He turned his head slightly and recalled the harvest today. “The village once survived by calling the souls of the dead but they stopped now for some unknown reason. They conduct the soul gathering ritual by making a scarecrow and the summoned soul will enter the scarecrow first before transferring to the original body. This is why there is no threshold in the village, so that souls can enter and exit easily.”

Yong Chun, “……”

Zhu Yiting, “……”

Wait, this amount of information was too much and too detailed! Sherlock, how did he know so much?

“It was recorded by the village chief.” Xiao Li then spoke his own speculation. “In addition, it isn’t necessarily the case that those who open the box will die. It is possible… only a dying person would get this box? Both possibilities exist and can’t be ruled out at the moment.”

Under the bright light of the oil lamp, his words made Zhu Yiting’s scalp numb. He faintly realized that Sherlock’s state wasn’t right. It seemed that the other person… was very excited, unlike his usual lazy and indifferent expression. He even said so much in one breath!

“Then what type of person would be dead?” Xiao Li raised his index finger and approached the flames, whispering to himself. In addition, he was also interested in that cat meowing.

He hadn’t finished talking when a ‘knock, knock, knock’ came from outside the store where the reincarnators were staying. Everyone’s expressions changed and the people closest to the door looked at each other, not daring to make a sound. In the quiet, Xiao Li stood up. He approached the door and listened to the third knock. He spoke through a gap in the door and said, “We didn’t order any delivery.”

Shi Ye who was ready to take out the Expel Ghosts charm, “……”

Was this person poisonous?

Xiao Li had a thought and added, “We also didn’t order takeaway.”

Shi Ye: ???

This man was poisonous!

Xiao Li just finished speaking when the knocking at the door stopped. Then a chilling voice was heard. “I’m not a deliveryman. I am Ah Gang. I am looking for Shi Ye. He left something with me and I am here to return it to him.”

Shi Ye was named by ‘him’ and looked white. He couldn’t wait to swallow the See Ghosts Pill and he held the Expel Ghosts charm in his hand, sweat dripping down his forehead. “I didn’t lose anything and you recognized the wrong person. Go back.”

“It’s yours.” Ah Gang spoke. “Open the door and I’ll give it back to you.”

Shi Ye tightly held the door shut. “I told you, it isn’t mine!”

Ah Gang didn’t give up. “Why not open up and see? If it is yours then you take it. If it isn’t yours, I’ll take it back.”

Shi Ye reached out and stuck the Expel Ghosts charm on the door. He was frightened by Shi Ye’s previous speculation about a ‘dead person’. Why was this ghost staring at him? Why? Sweat flowed all over his back and his voice lost its former calmness. “I won’t look. Get lost!”

Xiao Li was crowded to one side by him and before he could do anything, Ah Gang’s voice floated strangely. “However, it must be delivered to you. Shi Ye, look at the window.”

The moment he spoke, movement came from the half-open window. A black box was squeezed through the window, rolled to the wall and finally stopped in the middle of the room.


The author has something to say:

Ghost: Open the door, I know you’re at home!

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