“We need to go in and take a look,” Dong Zheng said. “There’s absolutely a problem with the village. I believe that our mission couldn’t be separated from it.”
Ren Heming thought for a moment and said, “Okay.”
They need to see if they could find someone alive and get information from them. There shouldn’t be any problems with this.
They led the horse into the village. There was a blood stain on a big rock at the entrance of the village, which had long solidified into a dry dark red color.
The smell of rotting corpses pervade the streets. The windows in all of the houses were tightly closed. There were no sounds, and corpses fell on every few corners of the village, their exposed skin festering and oozing with pus. Dong Zheng and Ren Heming gave these corpses a wide berth.
“Is anyone here?!”
Ren Heming shouted loudly, but received no response.
“They aren’t all dead, are they?” Ren Heming frowned. But they had walked through the village streets and had not seen a single living person.
Dong Zheng stood at the mouth of a house. The yard was open, but the house inside was hidden. He lightly entered and knocked twice on the door. When no one answered, he directly pushed open the closed door.
The house was dark with sunlight slanting in through the tightly closed window. In the dim shadows, he saw a rotting person lying on a bed. The smelly corpse appeared to be a Dashi person with white maggots crawling all over him. He was clearly dead.
There was a table pushed up against the wall, and on the table was a bowl half-full of water. Next to the bowl was a stone statue.
Dong Zheng frowned, took the cloth bag used to hold food, brushed off the crumbs, and used the cloth to pick up the statue.
Dong Zheng told Ren Heming, “Everyone must be dead. Even if there are some people alive, they must have ran away.”
Ren Heming gripped his xiuchun sword and looked at the mountains in the distance. “Doesn’t this mean that a little girl was sacrificed? Someone must have accompanied her. I don’t know what’s happening to the poor child. The village is already like this, and now another child’s life has to be sacrificed for nothing.”
After confirming that the village had no more living people, they quickly left the house. Who knew whether they would get a fatal disease if they stayed too long there?
They walked through the village and left on the other side. After having just taken a few steps out, Dong Zheng suddenly realized that there was a stone slab nearby.
The stone tablet was engraved with incomprehensible words and patterns. Behind the stone was a large tunnel mouth, just like the one they’d encountered before. The steps slanted downwards, leading into the darkness. The only difference was that this tunnel had no fishy, cloying stench.
This seemed to be indicating something.
Ren Heming sighed. The sky was completely dark, and though he lit a fire, the most urgent thing was to find a place to rest.
The forest at night was a very dangerous place.
“Lao Qi, do you want to go in to rest?” Ren Heming asked, as if he’d seen Dong Zheng’s thoughts. “But I think things aren’t as simple as it looks….”
Dong Zheng heard his words and decided to: