“This isn’t quite right,” Dong Zheng said in a low voice.
“I also feel that the situation doesn’t look too great.” Ren Heming narrowed his eyes and checked the dead horses next to him again. “They should have been scared to death.”
Dong Zheng asked, “You think it’s the evil spirit?”
Ren Heming nodded. “Although the talisman hadn’t detected it, this is the only explanation possible. Otherwise, how could it explain why they died so suddenly while in the middle of running away?”
The vague anxiety in his heart prevented Dong Zheng from approaching the overturned carriages. The cloying scent of rancidity clearly pointed to a certain meaning. “Then let’s go. Since the direction isn’t wrong, let’s continue to give chase.”
They rode their horses away from the convoy. After traveling for a while, they saw something red in the middle of the road. Dong Zheng picked it up with his sword and discovered that it was a bright red robe, like a wedding gown.
Judging from the size, it should belong to a young female. But this wasn’t unusual. Dong Zheng put the piece back, and Ren Heming lit the tracking talisman once more to ensure that they were traveling in the right direction. After taking a short rest nearby, replenishing their water supply, and waiting until the hottest period of the sun had passed, they remounted their horses.
Facing the direction of the setting sun, they travelled around the rolling mountains until the scene in front of them gradually opened up. On the far side of the road was what appeared to be a Dashi village built on the mountain. Under the cover of lush trees, everything seemed perfectly normal, except that it was strangely silent.
No, not only were there no human sounds, but there weren’t even sounds of livestocks and birds.
Before they knew it, they had already crossed the border and arrived in another country.
Now that they were moving downwind, the wind brought with it an obvious rotten stench. It was exactly the same scent they’d smelled on the convoy. Dong Zheng immediately stopped. He and Ren Heming looked at each other with solemn eyes.
Ren Heming said quietly, “This village has a problem.”
Dong Zheng said, “There is the scent of death everywhere. Most of the corpses may not have been dealt with properly.”
Ren Heming could only think of a possibility. “A plague?”
Dong Zheng answered, “It’s possible.”
Once they moved closer, Ren Heming cleared his throat and shouted a few words in Persian. They waited for a while but received no response.
It was as if there was no life left in the village.
Ren Heming frowned. He looked at the silent village and said, “Should I go there?”
Dong Zheng couldn’t stand the strong rotten odor. He covered his nose with his sleeve. “In the event that there really is a plague there, it might be dangerous if you rashly enter the village. Senior Brother, how about you decide, and I’ll listen.”
After discovering that Ren Heming always lets him make the decisions, Dong Zheng already had a faint speculation in his heart. So this time, he directly pushed the choices onto Ren Heming’s hands.
Ren Heming sighed and said, “Lao Qi, this is a rare opportunity for experience. Senior Brother is giving you a chance so don’t push me anymore.”
“Okay.” Dong Zheng sighed and the speculation in his heart grew firmer. He thought for a moment and said: