Safety Manual Labor Tips with a Twist of 2D Chapter 10

Chapter 10 Comparing with Overtime

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

Lin Zhaohe stepped out of the house, hoping to find someone to discuss the matter with. He saw Zhuang Lao coming out of the door, having just finished packing his bags.

“Boss,” Lin Zhaohe whispered.

“What’s up?” Zhuang Lao asked.

“Have you watched this movie? Is there some kind of magnetic poisoning or something in that village?” Lin Zhaohe asked. “Qi Ming didn’t show me the footage, so I don’t know the details.”

Zhuang Lao: “Why are you asking about that?”

Lin Zhaohe: “I overheard the paper figurines talking.”

Zhuang Lao paused for a moment and then asked, “Have you ever considered the possibility of ghosts?”

“?” Lin Zhaohe looked confused.”You’re kidding. It’s a domestically produced horror movie that was shown in theaters.” He trusted the censorship system, so he couldn’t imagine ghosts appearing on the big screen.

Zhuang Lao contemplated, “Makes sense, the village indeed has a magnetic field.”

Lin Zhaohe remarked, “That’s how it is. I knew it.” He scratched his head, feeling a bit hungry. “Is there any food around here?” He turned around and headed to the kitchen to find something to eat.

Zhuang Lao watched Lin Zhaohe’s retreating figure, deep in thought.

Upon returning, Lin Zhaohe found an empty kitchen, filled only with dust. His stomach grumbled loudly as he searched in vain. Reluctantly, he went back to the living room, where Zhang Xiaoxiao and Qi Ming were already seated, staring at the two coffins with a distant look in their eyes. Lin Zhaohe greeted them, “Any food available? I’m famished.”

Qi Ming shook his head silently, and out of nowhere, Xu Yuan appeared and said, “There is food. The village chief is outside, inviting us to join for a meal.”

“Shall we go together?” Lin Zhaohe warmly invited his companions.

Unfortunately, his companions didn’t seem to have much appetite. Both of them declined and advised Lin Zhaohe not to go either. But Lin Zhaohe’s stomach continued to growl insistently, determined to find something to eat. The two looked helpless, but Zhuang Lao assured, “It’s fine. I’ll accompany them.”

Qi Ming seemed to have something to say.

“It’s alright,” Zhuang Lao assured, “You guys wait here.”

“Okay then, just come back early,” Qi Ming understood his boss’s nature and didn’t push further, letting out a sigh.

Following Xu Yuan to the entrance, they indeed spotted the villagers. By now, the sky had darkened, and standing at the Xu family’s doorstep were a dozen villagers. They silently observed the few outsiders, their pale appearances resembling paper figurines placed upon coffins.

“The meal is ready,” the leader, likely the village chief, announced. His voice was aged and hollow like a hollowed-out tree. “Let’s gather and discuss the arrangements for the burial that will take place the day after tomorrow.”

“Okay,” Xu Yuan softly responded.

“Let’s go,” the village chief led them, walking towards the village center. The sky had turned dark, and not a single house emitted light. However, the red lanterns along the path were all lit, casting an eerie glow that enveloped the entire village. As the wind blew, the lanterns hanging from branches and the paper figurines made a rustling sound, as if engaged in a quiet conversation.

The destination wasn’t too far, and after a fifteen-minute walk, Lin Zhaohe arrived. He noticed a massive stage set up on the previously vacant village dam. People in theatrical costumes were already singing on it.

The food prepared by the village was ordinary, with a mediocre taste. However, Lin Zhaohe was ravenous and relished every morsel. While eating, he watched the play unfolding on the stage. Although he had little knowledge of dramas, he managed to grasp the essence of the storyline. It revolved around a group of individuals performing a ritual for a revered deity, who in turn blessed them with safety.

“The burial will take place the day after tomorrow, during the Yin hour,” the village chief, his face decorated with wrinkles, said with an expressionless demeanor. “We have already prepared clothes and belongings for you. We will come to fetch you beforehand.”

Xu Yuan chewed on a corn cob, offering no response.

“You’ve been away for too long, forgetting the customs of the village,” the village chief commented. “It’s not ideal.”

Xu Yuan remained silent, refraining from speaking.

The village chief appeared unperturbed by his silence. “Remember to prepare that thing, or else…”

Just as he spoke those words, the play reached its intense climax. One person brandished a knife, relentlessly pursuing another who had offended the deity. Engrossed in the drama, Zhuang Lao, who had been casually enjoying a partially eaten corn cob, suddenly had a shaky hand. The cob slipped from his grip and flew straight onto the actor wielding the knife on stage. Startled, the actor was taken aback, causing the knife to slip from their hand and twirl through the air before landing in the soil right in front of Lin Zhaohe.

“Oh, goodness!” Lin Zhaohe jumped in surprise. “Be careful, everyone—” He glanced at his boss, refraining from scolding further. “Keep a firm grip on the knife!”

The surrounding villagers seemed bewildered by this unexpected turn of events, casting strange glances their way. Meanwhile, Xu Yuan couldn’t contain his laughter, his voice jarringly mingling with the melody of suona (a Chinese wind instrument). Unfazed, Zhuang Lao, the outsider, picked up a fresh corn cob and resumed nibbling, his gaze fixed on the stage with a mysterious smile.

The village chief’s expression grew gloomy, and he made a subtle hand gesture. The actors on the stage hurriedly withdrew, and he addressed them, “You can leave now. Remember to secure your doors and windows at night due to the abundance of mosquitoes here…” He raised his voice, “Be cautious.”

Xu Yuan’s gaze betrayed a hint of mockery.

Everyone dispersed in their own directions, and Lin Zhaohe was relieved that nothing unexpected had occurred. He lagged behind Zhuang Lao as they made their way back home.

Once they arrived, Zhuang Lao couldn’t help but ask, “Why were you walking so oddly just now?”

Sensing that they were alone, Lin Zhaohe joyfully remarked, “I didn’t want my brothers to go hungry, so I brought them some food.” He began rummaging through his pockets.

And so, everyone watched in disbelief as he retrieved three ears of corn, two flatbreads, a handful of boiled peanuts—and a knife—from his trousers.

Zhuang Lao: “…Where did this knife come from?”

Lin Zhaohe: “It landed near me, so I brought it back for self-defense.”

Qi Ming’s eyes widened, “Does your pants connect to another dimension? They can hold so much.”

Lin Zhaohe modestly replied, “I actually thought of bringing bowls of porridge for all of you, but it would have been challenging to handle.”

Everyone: “…”

During the meal, Zhang Xiaoxiao cautiously inquired, “Lin Zhaohe, are you feeling satisfied with your food?”

Lin Zhaohe responded with confusion, “Yes.” Suddenly, he realized the odd behavior of Zhang Xiaoxiao and Qi Ming, “Could something have happened in the movie?”

Zhang Xiaoxiao whispered, “There has been a minor incident…”

He didn’t dare to provide more details. In truth, discussing the highly fused areas was best avoided, as it was a truth confirmed by those who came before at the expense of their lives.

In the original story, Xu Yuan was invited to the stage and witnessed a performer being stabbed to death right in front of him. However, Lin Zhaohe didn’t see anything unusual happening on the stage…

“Hmm…” Zhang Xiaoxiao said, touched, “You’re really amazing.”

Lin Zhaohe wore a puzzled expression.

After returning to the room, Lin Zhaohe placed the knife on the table and quickly freshened up. The outside had turned completely dark, with a large moon hanging in the sky. The air carried the scent of candles, and in the darkness, red lanterns cast a crimson glow over the trees, as if the entire village was ablaze.

Lin Zhaohe prepared to go to sleep but couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. He tossed and turned in bed for a while, then suddenly remembered something and widened his eyes in realization, “Oh, shoot, where’s my knife?” He realized that the knife he had left on the table was missing—

“Where’s the knife?” Lin Zhaohe got out of bed and searched through boxes and cabinets, but couldn’t find his knife anywhere.

“Could someone have been in my room?” Lin Zhaohe couldn’t understand how his knife could suddenly vanish. Despite searching fruitlessly, and hesitant to venture outside, he reluctantly returned to bed. He decided to share the incident with everyone in the WeChat group, but there was no response. Perhaps everyone had already fallen asleep.

With the knife missing, Lin Zhaohe found it impossible to sleep. He restlessly turned and twisted in bed until the faint light of dawn began to appear. Determined, he got up and prepared to go out and seek assistance. However, just as he reached the doorway, he heard a slight noise. Startled, Lin Zhaohe swiftly turned around and cautiously approached his bed, bending down slowly.

Beneath the bed, he caught sight of a person dressed in theatrical attire, their face deathly pale, clutching the knife he had lost.

The person realized they had been discovered and emitted a sharp, eerie laugh, thrusting the knife toward Lin Zhaohe.

Frightened, Lin Zhaohe let out a loud scream and quickly recoiled, stumbling and ending up seated on the ground.

The person started crawling out, heading straight toward Lin Zhaohe. One following closely, and the other desperately fleeing, Lin Zhaohe managed to scramble out of the room, moving in an almost rolling and crawling motion. He cried out, “Help! Someone’s trying to kill me! Help!”

The others rushed over upon hearing the noise, witnessing a bewildered and frightened Lin Zhaohe, with the strange individual in theatrical attire standing behind him.

Realizing they had been discovered, the person swiftly turned and ran. Before the others could react, they leaped out of a second-story window and vanished without a trace.

“That scared me to death! It scared me to death,” Lin Zhaohe exclaimed with wide eyes. “When did that person get in here?”

“I don’t know,” Zhuang Lao replied. “Perhaps they managed to slip in before we closed the doors.”

Still shaken from the experience, Lin Zhaohe was helped up from the ground by Zhuang Lao. His voice trembled as he said, “That person was hiding under my bed all night long.” He still clutched the knife in his hand, realizing that if that person had stabbed him while he lay in bed, it would have been the end.

Zhuang Lao reassured Lin Zhaohe in a gentle tone, “Don’t worry, next time you can hide under their bed for a night too.”

Lin Zhaohe: “?”

Zhuang Lao: “Just kidding.”

Lin Zhaohe chuckled and said, “Boss, you sure know how to crack a joke.”

Zhuang Lao also smiled, although Lin Zhaohe had doubts about the seriousness behind his earlier tone.

After taking a moment to gather himself on the chair, Lin Zhaohe carefully inspected the room, afraid that someone might be hiding somewhere. When he returned to the living room, Zhuang Lao was nowhere to be found. Only Lin Zhaohe remained in the room, accompanied by two peaceful coffins. The paper figurines on the coffins sat silently, their dark eyes fixated on Lin Zhaohe. He furrowed his brow, studying the two paper figurines and thought, “Did I misremember…? Something doesn’t seem right.”

He remembered that when he first arrived, the two paper figurines were positioned with the man on the left and the woman on the right. However, now the positions of the two paper figurines had swapped. The heavily made-up faces of the paper figurines directly faced Lin Zhaohe, giving him a constant feeling of being watched no matter where he went.

Feeling extremely uneasy, Lin Zhaohe contemplated for a moment and decided that going out for a walk might be a good idea.

If you enjoy this novel, support the Translator ginevre on her ko-fi account :))

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

2 thoughts on “Safety Manual Labor Tips with a Twist of 2D Chapter 10”

Leave a comment