Perhaps Tang Mianmian had met with a mishap. Although Xiao Tangqiu didn’t want to think that way, it felt like everything pointed to disaster in this eerie place.
He sighed heavily, not placing much hope on the unlikely outcome that Tang Mianmian had actually gone back………. Under such circumstances, as timid as Tang Mianmian was, how could he possibly have gathered enough courage to leave by himself?
Xiao Tangqiu left the courtyard and was about to follow the path he had taken earlier when his gaze fell onto a dark figure standing not too far from him. He didn’t even have the chance to feel scared because he soon noticed that the figure looked a little like Tang Mianmian!
As soon as he realized that, he started to chase after that person, but the other person ran swiftly. Before he knew it, he had chased that person to another courtyard. But then, that figure suddenly disappeared.
“Tang Mianmian? Tang Mianmian!” He anxiously shouted, his voice echoing in all directions. But all he got in return was dead silence.
Xiao Tangqiu seemed to sense that something was wrong and was just about to leave when he heard Tang Mianmian calling for help.
“Help! Help! Save me!”
“Tang Mianmian?” Xiao Tangqiu frowned as he slowly walked towards the screams. Under the pale moonlight, that dark figure gradually came into sight. That figure sat at the edge of the well with his back faced towards Xiao Tangqiu, doing God knows what.
“Tang Mianmian?” Xiao Tangqiu shouted out his name once more. The dark figure turned around, revealing its face. That thing wore Tang Mianmian’s clothes but its face wasn’t Tang Mianmian’s – it was a baby’s face.
The moment Xiao Tangqiu could see clearly, the baby’s face started bleeding out of its seven orifices. Xiao Tangqiu stared in shock as the thick, crimson blood continuously gushed out of its eyes, ears, nose and mouth.
When he recovered from the shock, Xiao Tangqiu tried to quickly run away but was suddenly pushed from behind. Without him even realizing, he was already standing at the edge of the well. And with that one push, he lost his footing and fell inside.
Before Xiao Tangqiu could even scream, he had reached the bottom of the well, landing heavily on something that felt neither hard nor soft. As he struggled to stand, he realized that the thing he landed on seemed to be a dead body. He jumped up in fright and and used his hands to feel up the walls of the well in a flurry, trying to find a place he could climb up.
“Ouch! Ouch! Stop stepping on me!”
At the sound of Tang Mianmian’s voice, Xiao Tangqiu vehemently stomped his foot down twice, not yet aware of what he had heard. The thing cried out piteously again. Xiao Tangqiu suddenly realized it was coming from under his foot. He looked down to find that the body he was stepping on belonged to Tang Mianmian.
Xiao Tangqiu recovered from shock, “Are you a human or a ghost?!”
Tang Mianmian weakly replied, “……….If I were a ghost, would I tell you that I’m one?”
Xiao Tangqiu breathed out a sigh of relief as he bent to help Tang Mianmian up. “Just now, I saw someone who looked like you, so I chased after that person all the way here. Then, I was pushed into the well………..”
Tang Mianmian cussed, “Fuck! I saw someone who looked just like you as well!”
The both of them exchanged accounts on what happened to them. Earlier, when Tang Mianmian discovered that the coffin been sealed, he initially tried to open the coffin lid but realized that it would not budge at all. So, he decided to search the courtyard for tools to either pry the lid open or break the coffin apart. But as he was searching for tools, he noticed a dark figure running out of the courtyard. Naturally, he assumed that Xiao Tangqiu had managed to open the coffin by himself, so, he started chased after Xiao Tangqiu, all the way till he got here.
“I saw you sitting at the edge of the well, and I thought you were possessed. I was just about to pull you away when someone pushed me into the well!” Tang Mianmian gritted his teeth, “The well is dry so I must’ve fainted when I hit my head. Then, when you fell on top of me, the shock must’ve woken me up!”
Xiao Tangqiu laughed dryly, “Thank God this well is dry, or else we would’ve drowned to death.”
“Let’s think of a way to get out first!” Tang Mianmian still had some lingering fears, “If you didn’t come, I probably would’ve died here without anyone knowing……..”
This wasn’t a very deep well, but its walls were very smooth. It was impossible for someone to climb out of the well alone. But if there were two people, one person could possibly climb onto the other to try and reach the top of the well. The both of them discussed for a while and decided that Tang Mianmian would climb out first, find a rope and then come get Xiao Tangqiu.
After trying several times, Tang Mianmian finally managed to climb out of the well by stepping on top of Xiao Tangqiu’s shoulders. Xiao Tangqiu fell onto the ground in exhaustion.
“Wait here! I’ll be back ASAP!”
Xiao Tangqiu was so tired that all he wanted to do was lie down. He still had to wait for Tang Mianmain to find a rope anyways. Seeing that the bottom of the well wasn’t too dirty, he laid on top of the dried leaves that covered the ground. But right then, he felt something hard pressed against his back. He reached around and pulled out a hard, circular object.
The dim moonlight allowed Xiao Tangqiu to see what the object was. Xiao Tangqiu nearly screamed in horror – it was actually a human skull!
He immediately threw the skull aside, but as soon as the skull hit against the wall of the well, something shiny fell out from its shadowy eye sockets.
……………… What the hell is that?
After a brief moment of hesitation, Xiao Tangqiu went and picked up that shiny thing. As soon as he held it in his hand, he realized it was actually a small key.
A key? Why was there a key at the bottom of the well? So, was he supposed to look for a door now?
He quietly put away the key and picked up the skull to examine it. At a glance, he noticed that the eye sockets of the skull seemed to be much bigger than usual. Even though he didn’t have any other human skulls to compare with, he could still tell that the eye sockets of this skull was unusually large, as if someone had forcefully dug the eye sockets wide open……….. And he seemed to recall that the boatman whom they met at the beginning looked like his eye sockets had been gouged apart.
At that point, Tang Mianmian had finally found a rope. He tied one end to a tree and threw the other end down the well.
Xiao Tangqiu didn’t have any experience in rock climbing so it took him tremendous effort before he successfully climbed the slippery walls and tumbled out of the well. His feet had just landed on solid ground after exhausting all that energy, but he didn’t even stop to take a breath before grabbing Tang Mianmian and leaving the courtyard. Tang Mianmian didn’t intend to take their own sweet time either; the both of them hastily rushed back to their own courtyard.
Throughout the way back, they were lucky not to have encountered anything else. They got back safe and sound to the courtyard that the housekeeper had arranged for them. There were quite a few rooms in the courtyard; several rooms had been lit up and the rest were dark, most likely meaning that they were unoccupied.
They randomly selected a room that was unlit. After entering the room and lighting up a candle, they finally let out a sigh of relief and collapsed into bed.
A little while after, Tang Mianmian asked, “Do you think Luo Mansu and the twins have already returned?” He had a look of apprehension on his face, obviously expecting them to have encountered something as well.
“Luo Mansu isn’t a rookie like us. If we can handle it, it’s probably nothing to him.” Xiao Tangqiu hesitated and then said seriously, “On top of that, I don’t think he’s a simple guy. I keep getting the feeling that he’s hiding a lot of things from us.”
“What do you mean?” Tang Mianmian asked.
Xiao Tangqiu shrugged, “I’m not sure, it’s just my intuition. He might be an old player but he doesn’t behave like one. Although he seems to take the lead every time, and often makes decisions, but…….. I just get the feeling that there’s something off about him.”
“Perhaps he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Tang Mianmian frowned. “We’ll just have to be more cautious from now on………..”
Xiao Tangqiu paused for a second before narrating what he found in the well. “I think we should look for a locked door or box or something of that sort.”
“What the fuck?! I fell into the well as well, but why is it that you find a skull and a key and I come up with nothing?” Tang Mianmian was stunned. “You’re definitely a Loot Beast! Even now, you still remember to loot items.”
Xiao Tangqiu laughed helplessly. Every time he played a horror game, he would always be looking to loot items. Although this made it impossible for him to miss out on key items, it also wasted a lot of time. So his fans started to call him the Loot Beast…….. But that was clearly an accidental discovery ah!
Xiao Tangqiu thought for a bit, “I seemed to have gone through Fang Lan’s memories………”
Tang Mianmian was dumbstruck, “Fucking hell, how did you manage to find so many clues? Are you dropping gold behind my back, you crazy whale?”
Xiao Tangqiu shook his head, “It’s probably because of the coffin. I’m guessing anyone who lies down inside gets to see it. I think we should examine the key first……..” Just as he pulled out the key, something else fell out and rolled on the ground.
Xiao Tangqiu looked at it in shock.
It was that jade pendant………..
The one that Yun Jizhou gave to Fang Lan.