The four of them ran with the woman for a long time and pretty much traveled across half the entire town.
“My name’s Lin Yue, and I’m a resident of Fengxi Town. What are your names?” Lin Yue looked around the same age as Zhang Jing.
“My name is Su Jin, and this is Yang Zichen, Chu Yi and Zhang Jing. We… we’re tourists.” Su Jin lied about who they were because he wasn’t going to tell her anything about Hell’s Handbook.
“Tourists?! And you dared to come to Fengxi Town at this time? Haven’t any of you heard about the legend surrounding this place?” Lin Yue stared at them as if they were nutcases.
“The legend surrounding this place? You mean the story of what happened 50 years ago?” asked Zhang Jing.
“Since you know about that story, then you shouldn’t be here.”
“Tsk, it’s just a legend. Besides, you’re perfectly fine, aren’t you? It’s just an urban legend,” said Su Jin with a laugh. He pretended to look unbothered by this legend, as if he didn’t believe it at all.
Lin Yue shook her head sternly at Su Jin. “No, the legend is true. As for why I’m fine, it’s probably because I was born and bred here.”
“If the legend is true, then … then what should we do next?” asked Su Jin.
“Leave this place. You will be able to walk out of the town via that narrow path there, and you’ll be out in about ten minutes or so,” said Lin Yue very seriously to them as she pointed out a small path ahead of them.
There was no way the four of them were going to leave the town. Liu Yingying had warned them earlier never to go beyond the borders of the town. After experiencing supernatural event after supernatural event, the four of them were beginning to take the Handbook very seriously. Even though they really wished they could leave, they didn’t dare to try.
“It’s so late now, so I don’t think it’s safe even if we leave now,” said Su Jin as he shook his head helplessly while secretly observing Lin Yue’s expression. He wasn’t going to trust a woman who had suddenly appeared in a place like Fengxi Town so easily.
“In that case… you can stay at my place for the time being!” After thinking about what to do for a while, Lin Yue decided to invite them over to her place.
The other three instinctively glanced at Su Jin, and he nodded slightly. He wasn’t sure if Lin Yue was reliable or safe to be with, but nowhere in this town was safe either. If there was a 50% chance they might die from staying with Lin Yue, at least there was another 50% chance that they would make it.
“We’ll have to trouble you then,” Su Jin thanked Lin Yue.
Lin Yue smiled and didn’t say anything. They walked for another ten odd minutes, and the four of them nearly stopped breathing during this walk. The town had become even more eerie and cold now. Su Jin even noticed a bloodied woman floating above one of the houses and staring down at them with a chilling look in her eyes, and he could see other things moving in the houses although it was a little too dark to see them clearly.
Zhang Jing hid herself in the middle of the group and was trembling all over. Thankfully, they reached Lin Yue’s place quite quickly. It was a small house with a yard that was surrounded by a wooden fence, and there were other people in the yard.
“Here’s where I live. Besides my parents and my younger brother, there’s also Auntie Li and her family.” After Lin Yue opened the wooden gate, a boy who looked around 13 or 14 years old ran over and smiled when he saw Lin Yue.
“Sis! You’re back!” This boy was Lin Yue’s younger brother.
“Run along; let’s all go in first.” Lin Yue motioned to the rest of the people to walk in with her. Everyone else sitting in the front yard approached their new visitors.
“Lin Yue, who are these people?” A middle-aged man frowned and didn’t look too happy that Su Jin and his companions were here.
“Dad, they’re tourists. You know what day it is today. I saw them wandering around the town, so I brought them back,” explained Lin Yue in a low voice.
“What a busybody! They should know better than to be here! Why did you create trouble for yourself over some people who are obviously here to court death?” Lin Yue’s father scoffed in disdain and marched back to his room. A middle-aged lady who looked like her mother quickly ran in after him.
“Lin Yue, your father is right. You know how dangerous it is tonight. It’s tough enough for us to protect ourselves. We can’t protect other people too!” said the other middle-aged lady in the front yard. It was clear that she was very unhappy that Lin Yue had brought the four of them here too.
Lin Yue smiled awkwardly at the other middle-aged lady, then motioned to the four of them to follow her. She led them to a place that resembled a storeroom of sorts.
“I’m sorry, it’s a rather special day today, so everyone is a little uptight.”
“It’s alright; we’re the ones who are imposing on you, after all. But… the lady earlier was Auntie Li, right? What did she mean when she said that it’s hard enough for you guys to protect yourselves?” asked Su Jin.
“Just ignore her. Oh! I remember there are some stools and other things inside here, so you can make yourselves comfortable. I’ll go get all of you some food. We don’t have anything fancy, so I hope you don’t mind.” Lin Yue avoided answering Su Jin’s question and left after saying this.
After Lin Yue left, all four of them immediately huddled together. Chu Yi said, “It seems safe here.”
“Games usually have a safe zone, right? Could this place be the safe zone of Fengxi Town?” asked Zhang Jing.
Su Jin shook his head. He didn’t think so. “Have you ever been able to advance through a game by just sitting it out in the safe zone? I’m not sure if this place is a safe zone, and even if it were, I don’t think it’s going to be safe for long.”
Su Jin looked around the room and pulled out a few stools for everyone to sit on and rest. It had been nearly an hour since they arrived in Fengxi Town, and even though it wasn’t really a long time, the physical and mental stress on their bodies was now beginning to take its toll.
“You guys rest here; I’ll go outside and take a peek.” Su Jin walked out of the room to look around. He was feeling extremely uneasy, and he needed a lot more information in order to analyze their current situation.
After he walked out, he noticed Auntie Li muttering to herself as she sat in the front yard. Once she noticed him, she got up and returned to her room without giving him the chance to even speak.
He started walking around the front yard casually. This estate was probably very old, and the bottom of the wooden fence was covered with a thick layer of plants. The house itself was built with bricks, and there was a layer of limestone on the outside, but a lot of it had already flaked off.
“What’s this?” He narrowed his eyes slightly as he noticed that there were certain parts of the fence that had been repaired before. After looking more carefully at the repaired areas, he realized that these were places where the fence had been broken before. Based on the cracks in the wood, someone had broken the fence from the inside.
“What are you looking at?” A boy’s voice rang out from behind Su Jin.
Su Jin was terribly startled. He hadn’t sensed anybody walking up to him at all. He turned around to see that it was actually Lin Yue’s younger brother.
“Oh, I dropped something around here, so I came out to look for it,” replied Su Jin with a smile.
Lin Yue’s younger brother had a sullen expression on his face, and Su Jin wasn’t sure of what he was thinking about. Her younger brother turned to walk back in just as Lin Yue emerged from the house with a bamboo basket in hand.
“Why are you out here? Go back and look after Grandma!” Lin Yue scolded her younger brother.
“Oh, your grandmother lives here too?” asked Su Jin with a smile.
“That’s right. But she’s in poor health and needs to be taken care of. I got some bread for everyone, so you can have some if you’re hungry. Remember to leave first thing tomorrow morning!”
The two of them returned to the storeroom. Lin Yue put the basket of bread down, told them not to wander about, then left. Zhang Jing was really hungry, so she grabbed a slice of bread and was ready to bite into it.
“If I were you, I’d just bear with it. You’re just missing dinner for the night, so you’re not going to die from that,” said Su Jin to Zhang Jing.
Zhang Jing hesitated for a while before eventually throwing the bread back into the basket. She wailed sadly, “I can’t eat anything? Could I at least sleep for a while?”
“If you’re asking for my opinion, I’d suggest that you don’t sleep either. Nobody knows what’s going to happen next, so if something happens while you’re half asleep, you’re going to be in terrible danger.”
Zhang Jing shook her head in dismay. The four of them had no choice but to stay seated and look at each other. Meanwhile, Su Jin continued to think through all the information he had on hand now. He wasn’t some genius, and the information he had wasn’t enough for him to reach any conclusions, but he tried his best to connect the dots anyway.
But Zhang Jing was really tired. Even though she said that she wasn’t going to sleep, she started getting really sleepy. She leaned against a pile of things inside the storeroom and her eyelids closed against her will.
All of a sudden, Zhang Jing felt something behind her. But before she realized what was going on, she was dragged backwards, and a terrifying face appeared before her.
“AHHHH!” shrieked Zhang Jing as she continued getting dragged backwards.
It didn’t cross any of their minds that there was someone else in the room. Then again, nobody was sure if it was a human or a ghost either. They were too confused to figure out what was happening.
“Help!!” screamed Zhang Jing. She hadn’t been dragged very far out, but she had been dragged into a dark corner where the light of the kerosene lamp couldn’t reach.
Gulp! They heard the sound of someone swallowing saliva, followed by Zhang Jing’s even more intense screaming.
The three men finally realized that Zhang Jing was in trouble. Surprisingly, the first one to run to her was actually Yang Zichen. He was the closest to Zhang Jing and had already dashed into the darkness, with Chu Yi close behind him.
Su Jin didn’t rush over with them. Instead, he grabbed hold of the kerosene lamp first and approached the dark corner. Whatever dragged Zhang Jing away seemed very afraid of light, so when the light from the lamp shone on Zhang Jing, that thing released its grip on her and ran further into the darkness.
“Don’t go after it!” shouted Su Jin when he saw that Chu Yi actually intended to run after that thing. Chu Yi was a gutsy boy from his martial arts training, but running after an unknown thing in the dark was too dangerous.
“Let’s check if Zhang Jing’s alright first!” Su Jin approached Zhang Jing with the lamp while Yang Zichen tried to pull her up, but failed even after several attempts.
When the light shone on her face, their eyes widened. Her entire face was covered with some black liquid, as if she had just washed her face in petroleum.
“Gulp! Gulp!” The thing that attacked Zhang Jing earlier started making some weird noise again from within the darkness, as if it might run out at any moment and attack the rest of them again.
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