They didn’t know when the fog spread in.
Everything happened so quietly. The sun completely fell into the horizon, and darkness shrouded the forest. They walked side by side in silence, leading their horses. Damp water vapors began to permeate the dark forest, and the fog drilled out from every corner, wrapping them in nothingness.
The light from the flames in their hands couldn’t penetrate the thickening fog, and visibility quickly narrowed to only five to six meters. Except for the sound of them stepping on grass and dead branches, the surrounding area was terribly quiet. Somewhere in the fog, the hoarse call of crows distantly sounded from time to time.
Where could they find a safe resting place? They couldn’t find a direction and no matter where they went, they were always surrounded by the ghostly shadows of trees and haunted by the dark, unchanging forest scenes.
“Where are we?” Ren Heming asked in a low whisper, as if he was afraid that if he spoke any louder, he might unintentionally disturb whatever presided in this dense, fog-filled forest.
“I don’t know.” Dong Zheng paused and finally spoke their worries out loud. “Shixiong, are we lost?”
Although he didn’t want to admit it, it was a fact that they were lost. In this night-time forest covered by dense, spreading fog, the evil spirit they were hunting down may be lurking, and all they had were just two people and some talisman papers.
In any case, staying in this place would be the most dangerous decision. They walked forward aimlessly and slowly. The thick fog obscured their sense of direction, and they could no longer tell whether they were walking in a circle or not. The only thing they could do was to continue walking. As the hour passed, they still hadn’t left the forest.
The path through the mountain forest was difficult to traverse, and their supply of bamboo flint was running out. Dong Zheng began to feel tired, the damp cold making his mind a bit slow.
They went on for what felt like such a long time that, when they saw a dim and warm light penetrate the thick fog, Dong Zheng and Ren Heming were dazzled for a moment.
“Lights?” Ren Heming paused, and suddenly, he became energetic again. He patted Dong Zheng’s shoulder vigorously, and said, “Go, let’s go and see.”
They hurried toward the light. The closer they got, the brighter the light became. They walked for about ten minutes and finally arrived.
It was a temple. Half of the walls had collapsed, and the front yard was clumped with dried weed. It was clear that this temple was abandoned a long time ago.
They entered the temple. On the high platform was a statue with arms folded across its chest. It was covered with a thick layer of dust, it’s face obscured. There was a row of burning red candles, their sides dripping with hot wax, affixed to the tribute table.
The swaying flames illuminated the indistinct face of the idol, and the shadow at the top of its head flickered with a vicious and evil energy that shouldn’t be there at all.
Dong Zheng quickly observed their surroundings. This place seemed to be a temporary residence for beggars or passersby. Many haystacks were piled up beside the columns. They stood in the middle of the temple and in front of them was the tribute table and the idol.
“It hasn’t been long since the last visitor was here,” Ren Heming murmured, his hand pressed on the handle of his xiuchun sword. He warily looked around. “Maybe that person who lit the candles is still here.”
He took a step toward the shadow behind the idol, and the floor creaked.
“Wait a minute, something’s off.” Dong Zheng stretched out his hand to grab him. The moment his finger touched Ren Heming’s elbow, a dull, indescribable sound rose from the ground, followed by a violent shock.
As the floor under his feet gave away, Dong Zheng turned and jumped, wrapping his arms around the column beside him. With a yell, Ren Heming fell through the gaps in the floor. But before Dong Zheng had time to react, the column he was clinging to directly broke.
In the candlelight and under the indifferent gaze of the idol, he fell into the abyss below.
⏹ Please go to Chapter 252.