Chapter 52 Playing to Death 08
Silence filled the room. After a while, the door opened. Chen Yang turned around and saw a young girl standing at the door, holding the doorknob, with a red string tied around her wrist. The girl walked in, stomped her feet, and shouted, “Dad! Mom! I’m hungry!”
Meng Xi stared at the girl with a dark expression, but she didn’t notice. However, when she met Meng Xi’s gaze, it made her angry, and she grabbed a cup and threw it at his face. It hit the wound on his face from earlier, causing blood to flow. The girl angrily yelled, “Why are you staring at me?! I hate your eyes, I hate seeing your face, don’t look up!”
After that, she took out some milk from the fridge and drank it, completely ignoring Chen Yang and Kou Xuanling. After finishing the milk, she shouted again, “Dad! Mom! I’m back!”
She took off her shoes, grabbed the remote control, and turned on the TV. She laughed out loud from time to time while watching the old TV shows. Meng Xi stopped staring with a gloomy expression, wiped his face with a tissue, and calmly said, “She’s my younger sister, Meng Yao.”
Meng Yao screamed, “Who is your younger sister?!” and threw the remote control from her hand. Meng Xi quickly moved aside to avoid it. This action further agitated Meng Yao, and she started screaming wildly, “Get out! Just get out!”
Meng Xi left the living room, and Chen Yang and Kou Xuanling were also forced to leave. The door closed with a loud bang. Meng Xi shrugged. “She hates me, but that’s okay.” He had a satisfied smile on his face as he continued, “I hate her too. I actually wanted to get rid of her, but if I did that, we wouldn’t be considered a family. So, I have no choice but to endure the feeling of disgust and bring her back.”
“You didn’t kill her?”
“Why would I kill her?” Meng Xi smirked in a strange way. “If I kill her, it will make Mom and Dad sad. By killing her, she wouldn’t be able to understand the pain of losing parents.”
Chen Yang didn’t ask any more questions about Meng Xi’s family. This family was far from normal. He said, “My red string is with your sister. Did you gave it to her?”
“The red string isn’t your magical tool, so it’s useless. The Blissful Bodhisattva discarded the red string, and Meng Yao picked it up and started wearing it as a bracelet. Since Mom and Dad turned into puppets, she hasn’t had anyone to buy her jewelry. That’s why she’s reduced to picking up any ordinary red string she finds and wearing it.” Meng Xi seemed quite pleased with this fact.
Chen Yang: “What’s in the lake at the sanatorium?”
Meng Xi stopped, his expression changing as fear appeared in his eyes. “There are monsters in there. You suspect that the Blissful Bodhisattva is beneath the lake? Well, I can only say you’re guessing wrong. It is even scared of the monsters under the lake. You think the Blissful Bodhisattva is so powerful? It’s merely using the name of a deity, tricking and manipulating those foolish enough to believe in it, making them think it will kill if they don’t obey its commands. Don’t be ridiculous. If it dared to kill someone directly, why would it go through all the trouble of plotting against others?”
“I know that thing is a malevolent creature that came out through unconventional means, and it managed to deceive many believers,” Chen Yang interrupted him. He naturally knew that Blissful Deity was a false deity pretending to be a bodhisattva, a malevolent creature that gained its power by absorbing the faith of its followers. Without believers’ faith, it was just a statue possessed by a demon, easily controllable.
The Blissful Deity, skilled at toying with people’s emotions, went through elaborate schemes to play with their lives. Seeking amusement and its limited strength were among the reasons. But the power it gained from absorbing believers’ faith couldn’t be underestimated.
Chen Yan: “So, what’s in the lake?”
“Dried muntjac.” Meng Xi suddenly pulled a patient and shoved him towards Chen Yang and Kou Xuanling. He quickly entered the nearby room, locked the door, and said, “You still have an hour. Honestly, I’ve told you enough. Don’t kick the door. It’ll anger the patients in the sanatorium. That’s my advice. And if you manage to survive tonight, we’ll definitely meet again. You can hit me then.”
Chen Yang paused his door-kicking motion and told Kou Xuanling, “Step back a few meters.” After Kou Xuanling complied, Chen Yang forcefully kicked open the door to Meng Xi’s room, then swiftly climbed onto the balcony railing, grabbed a pillar, flipping himself over and moving far away from the scene. The patients near the sanatorium were indeed provoked and rushed to the doorway, scratching, hitting, and even getting into fights.
Amidst the crowd, Chen Yang faintly heard Meng Xi cursing angrily. The door trembled, almost collapsing from the patients’ pushing. Kou Xuanling walked alongside Chen Yang and said, “I thought you couldn’t resist punching him or compromising and leaving.”
Chen Yang waved his hand and replied, “I’m not that kind of person.”
Kou Xuanling: “Do you think he can be trusted?”
“We can’t fully trust him. But we can believe him about the sanatorium and the Blissful Deity. He doesn’t have faith in it.” People can’t hide their faith because they naturally hold it in their most respected place in their hearts. When talking about their faith, they inevitably reveal that respect. Chen Yang didn’t see even a hint of respect in Meng Xi’s eyes. “Let’s go back to our room.”
When they reached their original room, the vacant doctor’s office on the fourth floor, they noticed the nameplate was missing from the door. Kou Xuanling said, “Did Meng Xi mean this when he said ‘one more hour’? Did Ye Youyou take the nameplate?”
“Probably.” Ye Youyou repeated several times that a room without a nameplate was unsafe, and she took the opportunity to steal the nameplate when they were away. She deceived them, thinking that by killing Chen Yang in this way, she could become a disciple of the Blissful Deity and have a better chance of saving her sister.
They arrived at Ye Youyou’s room, but the door was tightly locked. Kou Xuanling gently pushed the door and said, “It’s locked. We can’t kick it. Kicking the door would make the patients go crazy.”
Chen Yang casually grabbed a thin wire from the old hallway water pipe, squatted down, and started picking the lock. It didn’t take long for him to open it. Facing Kou Xuanling’s silent gaze, he said, “Do you remember the Qiu siblings?”
Kou Xuanling nodded in surprise. “You actually learned that?”
Chen Yang nodded. “A couple of days after I came back, Qiu Shengmin sent me a video. It explained everything in detail. Do you want it?” Kou Xuanling said he did and asked Chen Yang to send him a copy of the video.
Kou Xuanling expressed how convenient it would have been to just pick Meng Xi’s lock and drag him out for a beating earlier. Chen Yang replied, “I wanted to test if he was lying. He might lie about himself, but he didn’t lie about other things. We wouldn’t get much by questioning him. At most, we could have beaten him, but we’ll still have a chance later.”
They entered the room and checked, but Ye Youyou was not there. Chen Yang said, “Either she deceived us, and she could leave the sanatorium on the same day instead of waiting until the next day. Or this isn’t her room, and she’s hiding in another room. Do you know her room number?”
“I don’t know. She never showed us her nameplate.”
Chen Yang looked up at the sky. “The sun has set,” he said. As the sky gradually darkened, the entire sanatorium was enveloped in silence. He continued, “The patients and doctors are all gone.”
While they were unlocking and checking Ye Youyou’s room, the patients and doctors in the sanatorium started disappearing again, restoring the eerie quietness. Previously, there were at least some patients wandering in the corridors, but now not a single one could be seen. Kou Xuanling said, “I guess Ye Youyou is still in the sanatorium.”
“After sunset, the sanatorium hides a group of tormented souls alongside the patients. Meng Xi said there are dried muntjacs hidden in the lake. Outside the sanatorium, there are dried muntjacs, while inside are a group of tormented souls. The sanatorium is a place where Buddhism and Daoism combine to suppress those tormented souls. Three celestial masters were here before, slaying the flying zombie. Although they died, their influence remains.” Chen Yang expressed his confusion, “How is it possible for humans, ghosts, and evil spirits to coexist in this place without imbalance? No one has even discovered it for five years.”
Kou Xuanling: “I’m curious about why dried muntjacs would appear in the lake.”
Dried muntjacs were a type of zombie. They were originally miners from Yunnan who died in a mine disaster and were buried deep underground. After hundreds of years of nourishment from the earth’s essence, their corpses did not decay and became dried corpses. When they encounter people, they beg to be taken out of the mine. But when exposed to light, they turn into corpse water, emitting a foul stench and causing plagues. If a group of dried muntjacs was encountered, they would attack humans.
The sanatorium had previously experienced a flying zombie, so they didn’t find the presence of zombies unusual. There were also many other names for zombies, so why did Meng Xi specifically choose the name “dried muntjacs”?
“Or maybe the lake used to be a mine? The capital city has abundant geological mineral resources, so if there used to be mineral deposits here, it’s plausible that miners were trapped in collapsed tunnels and turned into dried muntjacs.”
The sky was completely dark, and after a moment of silence, the sanatorium erupted with sharp, mixed cries and laughter, along with the sound of doors being smashed open. Chen Yang walked to the door and caught a glimpse of a row of withered, skeleton-like tormented souls wearing striped patient gowns. They were tentatively knocking on the doors, and once they found someone inside, they used various methods to kick the door. After kicking it open, they dragged out the doctors in white coats and descended upon them, tearing their limbs apart.
After tearing the doctors apart and scattering their body parts while emitting eerie laughter, they continued to flock towards the next door, following the same pattern. Chen Yang took a step back, about to close the door, when he coincidentally locked eyes with one of the tormented souls across the hallway. The tormented soul stared directly at him, attracting the attention of the entire group of tormented souls. The group froze in unison and turned their gaze towards them. In the next moment, they suddenly appeared right in front of him.
Chen Yang forcefully slammed the door shut, creating a loud bang. The group of tormented souls outside frantically pounded on the door, mistaking them for doctors. Kou Xuanling took out Five Thunders talismans and pasted them on the back of the door. The clamor outside momentarily ceased, but a minute later, the Five Thunders talismans spontaneously combusted without fire, and the tormented souls resumed their assault on the door. The door rattled and shook. It wouldn’t hold up for much longer.
Kou Xuanling: “Even the Five Thunders talismans are ineffective.”
“This place blurs the line between good and evil, with humans and ghosts coexisting, and the combination of Buddhism and Daoism. Ordinary Daoist artifacts may not be effective,” Chen Yang examined the room. “Rooms without nameplates will be intruded upon. We need to leave. There are too many tormented souls, and they already harbor intense grudges after coming into contact with blood. Moreover, during the day, they repeat their past painful scenes, and at night, they turn into malevolent ghosts that slaughter doctors. With this repetitive cycle, even an ordinary earthbound soul would turn into a malevolent ghost.”
Chen Yang walked to the window and pulled open the curtains. “Dried muntjacs.”
Ye Youyou’s room also faced the large lake, and opening the window would reveal the outside scenery. Under the pale moonlight, the lake appeared as dark, churning water, with black and withered heads coming out. They crawled onto the shore, their bodies dried up as if only a shriveled piece of skin remained. Suddenly, their two hollow eye sockets locked onto Chen Yang.
Chen Yang furrowed his brows and carefully observed, realizing that those dried muntjacs weren’t looking at him but rather at the entire sanatorium. Layers upon layers of dried muntjacs climbed onto the shore, rushing towards the four-story building of the sanatorium. However, as soon as they touched the building, a layer of golden light appeared, reducing them all to a pool of filthy water, with a pungent odor permeating the air.
Kou Xuanling: “The golden light is weakening and won’t hold for much longer.”
Chen Yang: “I will summon Zhou Qi to come up and report the situation to Fengdu.”
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