Safety Manual Labor Tips with a Twist of 2D Chapter 11

Chapter 11 All Gods Retreat

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Today, the weather wasn’t great, with thick clouds concealing the sky on this summer day. As Lin Zhaohe strolled through the village, an unusual chill lingered in the air, contrary to the scorching season. Unlike yesterday evening, the villagers were now scattered throughout, going about their daily routines. They paid no heed to Lin Zhaohe, an outsider who seemed invisible to their eyes. Aimlessly, Lin Zhaohe wandered around, eventually finding himself near the shrine at the village entrance.

The shrine, with its splendid exterior, was adorned with vibrant decorations, red lanterns, and silk ribbons. At first glance, it resembled more of a ceremonial hall than a conventional shrine.

Following the storyline of the movie, Xu Yuan had returned a few days earlier in the current timeline, facing an onslaught of frights all by himself. On the day his parents were laid to rest, he met his demise. The identity of his killer remained a mystery to him, just as it did to the audience. This enigma was perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the movie. The audience assumed Xu Yuan’s perspective, never comprehending why he met his demise or who snuffed out his life.

The shrine’s door before Lin Zhaohe was securely locked with iron chains. He cautiously peered through the slender gap, discreetly observing the interior.

At the very heart of the shrine, stood an imposing stone statue. Draped in red fabric, only half of its body was visible. Lin Zhaohe initially mistook it for a Buddha statue, but something felt amiss. Unlike the serene hand gestures of a Buddha, the hands beneath the stone figure tightly held a pair of severed feet. The details above were somewhat indistinct. Lin Zhaohe couldn’t recall any Buddha statue resembling such an image. As he attempted to examine it more attentively, an unexpected figure suddenly emerged before him.

Clad in black attire, the figure appeared to be a villager. Slowly advancing, he lowered himself in front of the Buddha statue. Lin Zhaohe assumed he would kneel down in reverence, but to his surprise, although his upper body bent forward, his knees remained unbent. In this peculiar posture, he proceeded to crawl in repetitive circles within the shrine. Muttering strange incantations under his breath, his words remained unintelligible to Lin Zhaohe.

Alongside the peculiar actions of the individual, subtle transformations unfolded in the shrine. Upon closer examination, Lin Zhaohe saw the red cloth concealing the stone statue gradually lifting, as if nudged by an unseen force. It unveiled additional hands beneath, each tightly clutching a different part of the human form—from feet, to legs, and up to the arms.

Meanwhile, the person writhing on the ground displayed eyes only adorned with white irises. Their body convulsed ceaselessly, presenting an incredibly odd spectacle.

In this tense moment, a forceful push struck Lin Zhaohe’s back. He staggered, his steps faltering, ultimately colliding with the shrine’s door. Astonishingly, despite being secured by iron chains, the door yielded effortlessly to his impact! Lin Zhaohe tumbled onto the ground, and as he lifted his gaze, he caught sight of the figure swiftly advancing on all fours, its face twisted into a menacing expression.

Lin Zhaohe let out a piercing scream, his reflexes kicking in. With a combination of crawling and scrambling, he fled from the shrine’s clutches. Fearful of glancing backward, he raced away with the swiftness of a hundred meters, desperate to escape. When he finally came to a halt, gasping for breath, he narrowly avoided losing consciousness.

“Goodness, that scared the living shit out of me,” Lin Zhaohe exclaimed, beads of sweat streaming down his face. “Nearly scared me to death…” He struggled to catch his breath, gradually recovering.

In the blink of an eye, the sky darkened further, casting an even gloomier atmosphere. Shivering, he retraced his steps, the haunting images he had just witnessed etched in his mind.

With only a single road leading through the village, Lin Zhaohe walked for a considerable time until he finally arrived at his doorstep.

Before he could step inside, his gaze fell upon an elderly person standing at Xu Yuan’s house entrance, wearing an enigmatic smile upon spotting him.

Taking a moment to compose himself, Lin Zhaohe inquired, “Excuse me, Ma’am, is there something I can help you with?”

The elderly lady had a pronounced accent, but Lin Zhaohe managed to grasp her words. “I’m a neighbor of the Xu family. Are you an outsider?” Lin Zhaohe nodded in response.

“You should leave quickly,” the elderly lady urged. “They’ve engaged in wicked deeds, entangled with something sinister… There’s no saving them now.”

Lin Zhaohe furrowed his brow. “What do you mean by ‘something sinister’?”

The elderly lady spoke words that eluded Lin Zhaohe’s understanding, mentioning circles and deities. He couldn’t help but wonder if there was any correlation to magical girls.

Offering a few dismissive remarks, he prepared to enter the house. However, as he passed by the elderly lady, her nose twitched, and she seized him firmly.

Taken aback, Lin Zhaohe questioned, “Ma’am, what are you doing?”

The elderly lady’s once benevolent countenance morphed into a peculiar and gloomy expression. She inquired, “Where have you been?”

In that instant, Lin Zhaohe recalled his recent ordeal, but fear prevented him from speaking. He simply shook his head and replied, “Nowhere, really. I merely wandered around the village.”

The elderly lady questioned with firmness, “Have you, perhaps, seen it?”

Lin Zhaohe widened his gaze, stubbornly responding, “Seen what, exactly?”

Noticing his denial, the elderly lady released her grip, shaking her head continuously. “It’s all said and done now. With this lingering scent, you won’t escape. I won’t pester you further,” she declared. Swiftly, she turned on her heels and departed, leaving Lin Zhaohe momentarily speechless as he watched her fading silhouette.

Upon returning to the house, Lin Zhaohe found Qi Ming, Xu Yuan, and the others gathered in the living room, while Zhuang Lao was conspicuously absent.

“Where did you all venture off to?” Lin Zhaohe tugged at his perspiration-drenched T-shirt.

“We went to tend to Xu Yuan’s parents’ land,” Qi Ming explained. “Why are you so drenched in sweat?”

Lin Zhaohe recounted, “I unintentionally ended up near their ancestral hall…”

Qi Ming paused, his expression puzzled. “How did you find yourself there?” He glanced at Xu Yuan, then mentally counted the days. “What did you see?”

Lin Zhaohe vividly described the sights he had encountered.

Listening attentively, their lack of surprise surprised him. Zhang Xiaoxiao lit another cigarette, wearing a bitter smile. “You managed to steal the protagonist’s role.”

Lin Zhaohe exclaimed, his voice filled with fear, “It truly frightened me. What exactly is that statue?”

Qi Ming explained, his tone thoughtful, “It’s an obscure deity… originating from Southeast Asia… this village holds its faith.”

Lin Zhaohe inquired, curiosity tinged in his voice, “What benefits does their devotion yield?”

Qi Ming shrugged helplessly, his palms upturned. “I have no answer to that.”

Lin Zhaohe simply replied, accepting the unknown, “Alright then.”

Zhang Xiaoxiao hesitated, his words caught in his throat. When Lin Zhaohe pressed him for an answer, he simply shook his head, withholding any further speech.

“By the way, where’s the boss?” Lin Zhaohe questioned.

“I’m not sure,” Qi Ming responded. “I assumed you were with him. Xu Yuan’s parents will be laid to rest in a few days… we must tread carefully.”

Qi Ming briefly outlined the storyline. Xu Yuan met his demise on the day of his parents’ burial. In the film, Xu Yuan had returned half a month earlier, his spirits drained by the horrifying events that plagued the village during that time. He had even started to believe in genuine supernatural occurrences. It wasn’t until the day of his parents’ burial that he found unwavering conviction in these matters.

On the day of the burial, a violent downpour soaked the land as Xu Yuan walked with the funeral procession, navigating a narrow and winding mountain path that appeared to stretch endlessly into a dark abyss. Xu Yuan couldn’t fathom how he had lost consciousness, and as his awareness returned, he discovered himself confined within a sealed enclosure. Separated by unyielding walls, Xu Yuan caught the grating notes of suona horns and piercing cries. It suddenly dawned on him that he was ensconced within a coffin, being carried by a group of individuals toward the cemetery. Overwhelming terror shattered Xu Yuan’s composure, and he shrieked and thrashed about, but the coffin remained steadfast, unyielding until it was unceremoniously lowered into the very grave he had once chosen.

Subsequently, a series of resounding thuds reverberated through the coffin as the weighty objects pounded upon it. Shovelfuls of earth cascaded onto the casket, as Xu Yuan’s hands clawed at its confines, etching deep trails of blood. Amidst his anguished lamentations, he fancied hearing the echoes of his parents’ sorrowful cries.

“Oh, my baby… What a tragic end you met.”

“Oh, my baby… How did we come to mourn the young with our hair turned white…”

“Oh, my baby…”

The weeping gradually contorted, morphing into chilling, high-pitched laughter. Moistened by the rain-drenched earth, all sounds were concealed. As the oxygen dwindled, Xu Yuan met his hopeless demise, engulfed by fear. Fading alongside his perspective were the illuminated screens that captivated the audience.

Xu Yuan’s fate was sealed, as the film continued with extensive silent captions. The final lines stood out boldly in black against a white backdrop: “In tribute to Xu Yuan’s dedication.” 

The identity of his killer remained an unsolvable puzzle, forever entwined within Xu Yuan’s thoughts. Countless interpretations and analyses of the film abounded, but no one could definitively unravel the truth.

Drawn into the realm of reality from the film, Xu Yuan confronted the disquieting vision of his own tragic demise. This burden gnawed at his soul, unresolved. He had to uncover the culprit, the instigator behind it all. And, of course, there was an unfinished task he had to fulfill…

“Brother, are you alright?” Xu Yuan’s recollections were abruptly interrupted by a voice calling out. He lifted his head and saw Lin Zhaohe. Qi Ming had hinted at something peculiar about this person, but Xu Yuan couldn’t comprehend what it could be.

“I’m fine,” Xu Yuan replied, his face pale. In all honesty, given his current appearance, if he were seen amidst the villagers, he might be mistaken for a ghost. He glanced at Lin Zhaohe and suddenly inquired, “Lin Zhaohe, do you believe in ghosts?”

Lin Zhaohe found it perplexing, “Of course I do.” How could he dare not believe? There was even an enigmatic entity lying in wait back at his own home, yearning for his return.

Xu Yuan fell silent, seemingly losing interest in continuing the conversation after Lin Zhaohe’s response.

Lin Zhaohe paid no mind to him. Covered in perspiration, all he desired was to take a refreshing shower and change into fresh attire.

The bathroom was situated on the second floor, neglected for quite some time now, with the water heater in disrepair. Thankfully, the prevailing warm weather made do with a cold shower. After cleansing himself, Lin Zhaohe returned to his room. Naturally, his first course of action was to inspect whether there were any peculiar individuals lurking beneath his own bed.

After taking a brief rest, Lin Zhaohe decided to search for a fresh outfit from his suitcase. Little did he know, concealed within his own luggage, he stumbled upon a mysterious booklet. Bewilderment consumed him as he pondered who could have secretly entered his room and deposited it there.

Lin Zhaohe gingerly picked up the booklet, slowly flipping through its pages, engrossed in its contents.

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