323 Only Kindness
The door of the ancestral hall opened again. The scissors in her hands were dripping with blood, matching the color of her dress. Seeing this, the villager who sent the basket into the ancestral hall collapsed to the ground. She tried to hold it in, but she still cried. No one came to help her; no one even dared raise their head to look.
The woman walked out the ancestral hall to stop beside the coffin. She whispered to the coffin like she was communicating with the thing inside it. Then, she turned to speak to the villagers.
The villager who held the second basket kept shaking her head like she was unwilling to give her child away. The woman held out three fingers; before she finished the countdown, the villagers beside the second villager grabbed the basket away from her and placed it before the woman.
The hand that held the scissors lifted up the basket. With the smell of blood surrounding him, the baby cried harder, but no one dared to stop this travesty. The woman entered the ancestral hall, and the door slammed shut. No one knew what happened inside.
The ceremony continued. As the babies' cries rose, Coffin Village turned creepier and creepier. Strange eyes opened in the dark.
Chen Ge and Ol' Wei, who were hiding in the room, also faced a problem. The relatively quiet courtyard started to move. The soil loosened like something was trying to crawl out. The pieces of fabric that were tied to the beam fluttered in the wind. Some of them seemed to be covering twisted faces. Shadows were cast on the windows, and there were weird noises inside the room like someone was knocking on the wooden bedframe from underneath the bed.
The ghosts were waking up, and horror gripped every villager's heart. The old door of the ancestral hall was pushed open, and the crying stopped. The blood trailed down the scissors, and even against the red of her dress, one could pick out the blood stains.
That's the second one. Chen Ge kept his gaze on Ah Qing. The man's arms kept shaking. The woman stood beside the coffin. A woman's cackles could be heard coming out from the coffin; it was like a curse that could not be broken.
The hand that held the scissors rose. The woman seemed to understand the meaning of the red coffin. She turned to look at the villager holding the third basket.
Detached, aloof, and hopeless, the villager voluntarily placed the basket before the woman. When the woman took the third basket inside the hall, the ceremonial table shook, and the plaques all fell to the floor like they could not witness this anymore.
The door slammed shut, and the baby's crying intensified before it stopped suddenly. Blood seeped out from the door, and various voices echoed around the village like the ground itself was crying.
The old house Chen Ge's group was in started to change. The coffins in the bedroom creaked. The eyes of the people in the pictures on the wall flew open, and their expressions twisted with pain. The female ghost seemed to be tormenting the people inside the village. Even when they were dead, they were not going to have their release.
The woman came out of the ancestral hall for the third time. Blood trailed down her dress, and Chen Ge finally understood why she was wearing such a bright red dress. With every step, a bloodied footprint formed on the ground. The woman asked the coffin, but only laughter was her answer.
Hearing this sound, Ah Qing's quivering legs finally gave. He crumbled to the floor, and his arms of uneven length held tight to the bamboo basket. The woman held out her three fingers, and the other villagers wearing the masks forcibly separated Ah Qing from the basket. Before the countdown finished, the basket was handed to the woman.
The ancestral hall's door closed. No one knew what the woman did to the baby, but they knew all the souls in the village were crying. The forgiveness that the villagers prayed for did not happen. It was not until all the babies were carried inside the ancestral hall that the laughter inside the coffin stopped.
The woman's dress was completely drenched. She put the scissors away and had the villagers open the red coffin. There was no body inside the coffin but a set of jewelry. They were probably what the woman had been wearing when she was kidnapped to Coffin Village. The woman put the jewelry on piece by piece. The more she added to her body, the chillier her presence became, and even her skin turned whiter.
After putting on all the jewelry, the woman walked into the crowd. The villagers moved away, and only a pair of boy and girl remained in the center of the ground. The boy was thin, and even though he was surrounded by such a creepy environment, he did not feel fear.
The girl's reaction was completely different from the boy. Her body was shaking, and she looked pitiable like a newborn kitten. The children were Fan Yu and Jiang Ling.
"Welcome home, no one will be able to harm you here." The woman touched Jiang Ling's head. She held her hand and led her toward the village entrance. The other villagers followed behind with the white lanterns. The crowd soon left the center of the village, taking Fan Yu and Jiang Ling with them.
Based on the woman's tone, it doesn't sound like they will harm Jiang Ling. Fan Yu escorted Jiang Ling home, so they have no reason to harm him either.
With his Yin Yang Vision, he could see the wounds on Fan Yu's body. His shirt had been torn apart by branches, his arms were scratched, and there were mosquito bite marks on his face. To protect Jiang Ling, he had suffered quite a bit.
The woman said no one can harm Jiang Ling here, so it does look like Jiang Ling and Fan Yu had to run back here to protect themselves. Chen Ge thought about it from another perspective. In Jiujiang, the only party that can cause Jiang Ling's sister such pressure that they had to escape is probably the ghost stories society.
The village was still changing. Chen Ge did not dare to delay. He called Master Bai and Ol' Wei as they headed for the ancestral hall. Once he pushed the door open, the smell of blood hit them like wave. The scene they saw made them frown.
"Would the woman have… those babies…"
Chen Ge entered the ancestral hall. The ceremonial table was covered with dust like it had not been cleaned for a long time already. The plaques were on the floor. Some were cracked, but no one had cleaned them up.
"Chen Ge, this blood probably didn't come from the babies." Ol' Wei touched the blood on the floor. "When the woman entered the ancestral hall, she was holding a pair of scissors. If that was from a murder, the blood splatter wouldn't have been so uniform."
"In other words, the babies might be safe?" Chen Ge followed the trail of blood and eventually stopped at the corner of the hall where a bunch of trash was piled up. He moved it away and discovered an underground tunnel.
"Stay out here. I'll go take a look." Chen Ge pressed on the recorder and climbed into the tunnel. The tunnel was only three meters wide, and the end was covered by a wooden board. Chen Ge pushed the board aside and found himself inside the two-story building next to the ancestral hall.
Isn't the home for the Zhu woman?