Safety Manual Labor Tips with a Twist of 2D Chapter 13

Chapter 13 The Last Meal

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

Xu Yuan was never a brave person. To be exact, his fearfulness, timidity, and lack of confidence contributed to the success of this horror movie.

When the two worlds fused, Xu Yuan transitioned from the movie into reality. At first, he couldn’t believe he was the pitiful victim from the movie. However, having the same family background and living environment as the protagonist forced him to face this harsh reality.

The moment Xu Yuan received a phone call from his hometown, his nightmare resurfaced. He thought he could handle it, but in reality, some things can’t be achieved through effort alone.

Xu Yuan was soaked in the pouring rain. He closed his eyes and when he reopened them, only a chilling indifference remained. He stared at the mud covering his feet, the hatred in his eyes almost tangible.

Lin Zhaohe also noticed, but he didn’t know what Xu Yuan was hating. Could it be that he hated the paper figurines beneath his feet?

“Let’s go, back home,” Xu Yuan said.

“Okay,” Lin Zhaohe nodded.

The heavy rain fell as if the sky had sprung a leak, and the raindrops hitting the ground made a crackling sound.

Lin Zhaohe usually enjoyed rainy days, but today’s rain made him inexplicably uncomfortable, as if it hinted at something terrible about to happen.

Others felt restless too, and the atmosphere in the room became oppressively heavy.

After burying the paper figurines, Xu Yuan vanished in an instant. These past few days, he had been mysteriously appearing and disappearing, leaving everyone curious about his plans.

At that moment, a few people emerged from the torrential rain, their figures blurred by the downpour. They carried something on their shoulders. As they approached, Lin Zhaohe recognized the village chief accompanied by a few others, carrying a wooden box into the house.

“It’s pouring rain,” the village chief said, removing his raincoat. His gaze swept over the group as if searching for something. “I brought some food for all of you…”

The others remained seated, unmoving. Lin Zhaohe, being the closest, stood up to express his gratitude. Together with the village chief, they placed the food box on the table. He wondered about its contents. It turned out to be surprisingly heavy.

“Are you still comfortable living in the village?” Today, the village chief appeared as a kindly elder, engaging in casual conversation with them.

“It’s alright, I suppose,” no one else spoke up, so Lin Zhaohe had to respond, “It’s just a bit unfamiliar.”

The others looked at Lin Zhaohe with admiration for his meaningless literary chatter.

The village chief was taken aback, remaining silent for a while before asking again, “Why haven’t I seen that Xu boy?”

Lin Zhaohe came up with an excuse, “He’s not feeling well, so he’s resting on the second floor.”

The village chief acknowledged with a soft “oh.”

Wanting to ease the awkward atmosphere, Lin Zhaohe considerately said, “Village chief, what did you bring to eat?” As he spoke, he reached out and opened the food box on the table.

Compared to the corn sticks and coarse steamed buns they had on the first day, the meal before them now was exceptionally plentiful. It included vegetables, meat, and even wine. Lin Zhaohe couldn’t help but exclaim, “Why is it so extravagant? You didn’t poison it, did you?”

Everyone: “…” How blunt.

Lin Zhaohe was the type who spoke whatever came to mind, as long as there were no moral restrictions. Besides, in this horror movie, there were hardly any good people in the village, so he didn’t concern himself with saving face.

The village chief’s expression stiffened. “Young man, you do have a sense of humor.”

Lin Zhaohe: “HAHAHAHAHA.”

The village chief said, “Dig in while it’s still hot… You haven’t had a decent meal these past few days.” He wiped the rainwater off his face with his hand and paused. “It’s not poisoned.”

Qi Ming couldn’t hold back and burst into laughter.

“Then join us for the meal,” Lin Zhaohe said, feeling a bit bashful.

Village Chief:”……”

Those who knew felt that Lin Zhaohe was feeling embarrassed. He never imagined that others might think he was asking the village chief to test the food for poison.

The atmosphere became tense once again. The village chief’s eyes widened, and just when Lin Zhaohe thought he would receive a scolding, the village chief surprisingly agreed.

“Then let’s eat together. I haven’t had a meal…” He waved his hand, signaling for the remaining villagers to leave.

Lin Zhaohe didn’t dare to speak and hurriedly went to the kitchen to fetch some bowls and chopsticks.

Thus, an awkward meal began. The food tasted good. There were a total of eight dishes, with three meat dishes, four vegetarian dishes, and a soup. The stir-fried preserved meat with small chili peppers was incredibly fragrant, as if it were made from locally raised pigs… As Lin Zhaohe ate, his thoughts drifted away, contemplating whether the villagers fed the pigs with pig feed or watered them.

It took him being called three or four times before he snapped back to reality.

“Ah, huh, were you calling me? What is it?” Lin Zhaohe noticed that the village chief had been calling him multiple times.

The village chief asked, “Young man, what’s your name?”

Lin Zhaohe replied, “I’m Lin Zhaohe. And may I know your age, sir?”

The village chief chuckled and said, “I’m ninety-seven.” He clearly took pride in being so hale and hearty at his age.

Lin Zhaohe showed reverence and said, “Then I wish you a long and healthy life of a hundred years!”

Village chief: “…”

Others refrained from laughing out loud, their faces turning red.

The village chief’s composure was truly commendable. If it were someone else, Lin Zhaohe would have probably received a beating. However, the bulging veins on the village chief’s hand, tightly gripping the chopsticks, revealed his immense self-restraint. After a moment, he spoke in a cold tone, “A few days ago, someone went to our village shrine, disturbing the deities. Since there are only a few outsiders in our village, who was responsible?”

Upon realizing that the truth was about to be exposed, Lin Zhaohe thought to himself that if they had indeed disturbed the deities and he hadn’t been scared out of his wits, it must mean he had nerves of steel. He replied, “Sir, we have been well-behaved. We follow the rules and rarely venture beyond our doors.”

Just as he finished speaking, Xu Yuan, who had disappeared earlier, appeared at the door, drenched and holding an iron shovel. His pale face and disheveled appearance made him look like a ghost.

The village chief inquired, “Rarely venture beyond the doors?”

Lin Zhaohe improvised a response, “Oh, there was a clogged toilet, so he went to the backyard to dig a hole and take care of it.”

The village chief remained silent, proving that age had made him wise, not foolish.

“Xu Yuan,” the village chief spoke softly, “I heard you weren’t feeling well. Where did you go?”

Xu Yuan’s voice matched the hushed tone, “I went to visit my parents’ graves.”

The village chief responded, “It’s good to pay them a visit, indeed.”

Xu Yuan questioned, “Why is there only one grave? Weren’t there two coffins?”

The village chief explained, “Your parents wished to be buried together…”

Xu Yuan exclaimed, “But weren’t my parents victims of an accident? How did they know in advance and inform you about their burial plans?”

The village chief appeared unaffected by Xu Yuan’s demeanor. Instead, his benevolence grew, unsettling those who witnessed it. With an inexplicable gaze, he locked his eyes onto Xu Yuan and said, “This is our village’s tradition. Being away for so long, you have naturally forgotten…”

Xu Yuan snorted.

“Xu Yuan,” the village chief spoke, “Did you happen to visit the ancestral hall the day before yesterday?”

Xu Yuan replied, “No, I didn’t.”

The village chief inquired, “Are you absolutely certain?”

“Absolutely,” Xu Yuan answered truthfully, devoid of any guilt since he hadn’t set foot there.

Unexpectedly, upon hearing this response, the village chief furrowed his brows slightly, redirecting his attention from Xu Yuan to observe Lin Zhaohe and the rest.

Engrossed in the delightful flavors of the cured meat, Lin Zhaohe paid little heed to the village chief’s enigmatic gaze.

The village chief’s nose twitched a few times, seemingly attempting to detect a certain scent. After a brief pause, his gaze eventually settled on Lin Zhaohe, who continued to enjoy the food and drink. Subsequently, his eyes transitioned from indifference to benevolence, and he even displayed a faint smile. “Xiao Lin.”

Lin Zhaohe spoke while chewing his food, “What can I help you with?”

The village chief suggested, “We haven’t discussed the burial traditions with you yet. Why don’t we take this chance to have a proper conversation?”

Unluckily, Lin Zhaohe got food stuck in his throat and almost rolled his eyes while awkwardly nodding, resembling someone with limited understanding.

The village chief’s benevolent gaze seemed to diminish slightly due to this eye-rolling. He spoke solemnly, “During the burial, we will provide you with a few sets of black clothes. You should walk behind the crowd quietly, avoiding any loud disturbances.”

Lin Zhaohe was more preoccupied with the sensation of choking than with the village chief’s words.

The village chief continued, “We will also prepare several lanterns known as soul lanterns… They must remain lit until the burial is complete. If they happen to go out…”

Struggling to catch his breath, Lin Zhaohe resorted to pounding his chest vigorously, mimicking the gestures of a wild gorilla.

The village chief added, “If they go out, it’s believed that evil spirits may manifest…”

Others joined in, assisting by pounding Lin Zhaohe’s back forcefully, creating resounding thuds.

The village chief exclaimed, “Evil spirits may possess those who are being buried. Will you ever stop?”

Lin Zhaohe’s face dripped with sweat as he finally managed to swallow the mouthful of food. He gasped for air, feeling the village chief’s behavior was incredibly unsettling. He had narrowly escaped a life-threatening situation.

The village chief’s forehead veins bulged, his whole body trembling with anger. “So, you’re Lin Zhaohe,” he uttered through gritted teeth. In that moment, any hint of benevolence disappeared. If it weren’t for the presence of others in the room, the chief might have beaten Lin Zhaohe to death with his flailing blows.

“Please, go on,” Lin Zhaohe admitted with a tinge of guilt. “I’m sorry, the food was just too delicious.”

Grinding his teeth, the village chief reiterated the instructions without the eerie ambiance. Everyone’s attention shifted to Lin Zhaohe, who was haphazardly cramming food into his mouth again.

Finally finishing the recitation of the rules, the village chief left abruptly, without even bidding farewell. Lin Zhaohe felt a wave of embarrassment and self-doubt, finishing the last piece of cured meat and wondering if he had inconvenienced the chief.

Zhuang Lao rested his chin on his hand, gently patting Lin Zhaohe’s back, urging him to eat more slowly.

“But it’s weird,” Lin Zhaohe pondered aloud. “With such heavy rain, won’t the soul lanterns inevitably extinguish? Does that mean someone will undoubtedly be possessed? How do things unfold in your movie?”

“The storyline goes like this,” Xu Yuan said in a cold tone, “once the lantern goes out, the possessed person becomes me.”

Lin Zhaohe inquired, “What happens next?”

Xu Yuan responded, “They kill me.”

With a sigh, Lin Zhaohe remarked, “Ah, feudal superstitions are truly problematic.”

Xu Yuan remained silent. Upon entering the room, he sat beside Lin Zhaohe without changing his clothes or partaking in the meal. He appeared like a soaked paper figurine, silently occupying the corner, casting a resentful gaze upon everything.

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

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

Leave a comment