The next day was a sunny day.
A large number of anchors had already left Mt Gassan Village. When Lu Yingjiu got up in the morning, he opened the curtains, and the sky light poured into the dim room, it was dazzlingly bright. He squinted his eyes and looked out. Three or four children ran past downstairs chattering, while several cars were driving away from the village.
They still ate breakfast at the hotel.
The hotel’s buffet breakfast was finally not garbage anymore, and looked like normal cuisine.
Lu Yingjiu took some scrambled eggs to eat, and looked around while eating.
Although the anchors were terrified to death, the village was completely normal. Not to mention that the staff of this hotel looked calm and business carried on as usual, even the adults were rest assured while the children were running around outside.
Really calm, that it’s ridiculous.
He said, “People here are too calm, it always feels a little strange.”
“Oh, this matter,” Ye Feng held the chicken wings, “it’s a long story, and I was just about to tell you about it.”
He took a few bites of the chicken wings, wiped his mouth with a paper towel, and looked around with a complicated expression—they were sitting in a very corner, and even the waiters rarely came over.
He continued, “I didn’t tell you all the whole story at the beginning, because it really happened a long, long time ago, and even the Ye family didn’t think it mattered.”
“The Mt Gassan Nursing Home did not close down because of poor management.”
“From the summer of 2002, the compound seemed to be cursed. Whether it was the patient or the ghost exorcist, there were mysterious disappearances and deaths. At first, it was just a case. They thought it was the wild ghosts in the mountains causing troubles, or maybe the patients running away on their own, but later they slowly realized that something was wrong.”
Lu Yingjiu nodded. “I’ve heard a little bit about it.”
When he was still at the Green Lantern Association, he had heard similar rumors.
It’s just that the news was tightly blocked at that time, and after so many years, the rumors were very vague and there were many versions.
Ye Feng said, “The ghost exorcist of the aristocratic family has not found out the reason, it can only be attributed to the gathering of patients who has encountered ghosts here for many years, resulting in too much yin energy, which has polluted the luck of the entire mountain range and attracted unknown spirits.”
“No one dared to work anymore, and finally they hastily closed down in early 2003 and left.”
Xiao Li with a sudden realization: “It turned out to be like this! I was also surprised that when everyone needed the nursing home so much, it was closed when it said it would be closed.”
“Yes,” Ye Feng nodded, “It is really necessary to close the compound. Although my second grandfather strongly opposed it, he still had to compromise in consideration of safety issues.”
Ye Feng looked around again, making sure that no one could hear their conversation.
The waiter was far away, and the guests at another table were also diagonally opposite.
He said: “As I mentioned before, the second grandfather has a strange temper and is moody. He praises me desperately when he is happy, brings me candies, windmills or other small toys, and when he’s angry, I dare not appear in front of him…..In short, in my father’s words, he’s as stubborn as a cow.”
“He was unwilling to leave like this. He felt that it would damage the Ye family’s reputation, thus he brought ghost exorcists back to the compound to find the truth over and over again.”
“But they failed. Several people who went with them, and those who tried to directly destroy the nursing home, all got seriously ill after returning. Some recovered, and some died directly.”
Lu Yingjiu asked, “I remember you said that your second grandmother also died of illness.”
Ye Feng sighed. “Yes. To be precise, both of them died of illness.”
“But their condition has nothing to do with the nursing home.”
“The second grandmother passed away in 2000, and the compound was closed in 2002, while the second grandfather suffered from lung cancer. He had been undergoing treatment for many years, and died of illness in his hometown in 2007.”
Xiao Li picked up a sausage, took a big bite, and suddenly said in wonder, “If the nursing home is really cursed, then why are we here now without any problems?”
Ye Feng replied, “That’s because after the nursing home gradually returned to normal, after a few years, if people come in and out at will, they won’t get sick anymore.”
“That’s why I said that after so many years, everyone feels that this matter is irrelevant…”
“However, there is an abnormality in your second grandfather’s photo,” Lu Yingjiu said, “plus the appearance of Zhang Nianyun, it proves that there is indeed a problem here.”
“Indeed, what you said is right.” Ye Feng had a headache, and when he thought of the whole thing, he lost his appetite. “The relics left by the second grandfather are probably clues for me.”
“In short, let’s go back to the original topic.” He said, “When the casualties in the nursing home were the worst, the people in the village were completely fine. After so many years, they probably got used to it, knowing that no matter what, it won’t affect the village and they won’t have any accidents. That’s why they’re so calm“
Xiao Li was dumbfounded when he heard this, “The people in this village are all resolute.”
“I also think,” Ye Feng said, “that it’s too reckless. In the past, they didn’t shy away from nursing homes. Even if they knew that the nursing home was used to exorcise ghosts, they still wandered around the neighborhood. Picking wild fruits, herding sheeps, the folks here are really tough…”
After breakfast, Ye Feng said that his family told him something, and he was going to the mountains.
Since he’s going, of course they would go together.
After all, at present, the second grandmother probably was still climbing which tree. If she’s too happy to see her good grandson and came up to kiss Ye Feng, it would be troublesome.
Half an hour later, Lu Yingjiu was already standing at the foot of the mountain. In front of him was a small path overgrown with weeds and piled with rocks, winding up the mountain.
The nursing home was on the north side of the village, and they were going to the south side at the moment, which was the complete opposite.
There was nothing in the hotel, so Ye Feng had no choice but to ask the village chief Feng Mao for four paper maps.
Unexpectedly, Feng Mao held four maps and followed them all the way to the foot of the mountain.
The old man was still wearing sweatshirts, waving a cattail fan, and looked at them with suspicion. “Are you really just going for a walk on the mountain?”
“Right,” Ye Feng nodded, “It’s really just a stroll around, nothing more.”
Feng Mao said again, “You don’t have fo on you, do you?”
He had a heavy accent, and what he said should mean “fire”.
Ye Feng nodded again and again. “Absolutely not. We are very environmentally conscious, and we must protect every plant and every tree! We firmly resist such evil behaviors as setting fire to mountains! Obey the law and abide by the law, we do!”
Lu Yingjiu lightly elbowed Jing Xian, meaning “you listening?”
He still remembered that incident in the nursing home, when it was written all over Jing Xian’s face that he wanted to set fire to the mountain.
Jing Xian said in a low voice, “I’m not not environmentally friendly. Think about it, if those trees burn, won’t they all go to the ghost world?”
Lu Yingjiu: “Is there such a reason?”
“Yes,” Jing Xian said, “Don’t you often burn paper money and ingots? Those things will go to the underworld when they are burned, so of course the trees will also go to the underworld when they are burned.”
Lu Yingjiu always felt that this logic was very strange, but he couldn’t think of any flaws.
He asked again. “Paper money and ingots are burned for relatives and friends. Where will the trees go when they are burned?”
“Can go anywhere.” Jing Xian said, “Sometimes a large forest will suddenly grow on the streets of the ghost world.”
Lu Yingjiu: “…”
With Ye Feng’s reassurance, Feng Mao was reluctant, weighed the map in his hand, and finally distributed it to the four people one by one.
When saying goodbye, Feng Mao said again, “Didn’t you all say that there are ghosts on this mountain? Why haven’t you left when others have already left?”
“Isn’t it to investigate clearly?” Ye Feng said, “If she isn’t rid off, you all won’t feel at ease either.”
Feng Mao snorted. “We’re quite at ease. Let me warn you once again, don’t start a fo.”
“Okay, okay,” Ye Feng reassured, “absolutely no fo, absolutely no fo.”
Feng Mao then walked slowly towards the village with his hands behind his back.
After getting the map, Lu Yingjiu and the others started to go up the mountain.
When the wind blew, the sea of trees rustled.
The path had been repaired in the past, and there were stone stairs in some parts. It’s just that the stone stairs were worn out badly, covered with weeds and moss, and it’s not easy to step on.
Ye Feng led the way, and Xiao Li followed behind him.
The two of them were bitten by mosquitoes so painfully that they couldn’t stand but spray with mosquito repellent, but they still saw them buzzing and flying around, and their stomachs filled with their own blood. The more they walked deeper into the mountains, the more it was like this, it was a carnival of mosquitoes.
“Brother Ye Feng!” Xiao Li gritted his teeth, “Your grandma is really awesome! I can’t stay in this kind of place for a day!”
Ye Feng had just slapped a mosquito to death, his hands were bloodied, and he was looking for tissues everywhere. “The old grandma has always been determined, bold and careful, and can even pull out the private money that the second grandfather has hidden for ten years. Don’t you think she’s awesome?!”
“Doesn’t your second grandpa have a clean and honest style! How come he still has private money!”
“The private money is only fifty yuan, hidden under a patient’s bed!” Ye Feng wiped his hands vigorously, “The patient is crazy. When he loses control, he will bite everyone, and he will not let go. The second grandmother sneaked over and managed to subdue him alone. Then she lifted his bed, took out the fifty yuan, and threw it in front of the second grandpa, saying ‘you can figure it out yourself’.”
Xiao Li was shocked, “Looking at the photos, I thought she was gentle and quiet.”
“It’s even more scary when a quiet person is ruthless.” Ye Feng started to slap mosquitoes again, “Seeing her like that, can you imagine that she can climb trees so fast?”
“No. She’s really as nimble as a black ape.”
While listening to their chat, Lu Yingjiu thought, between Xiao Li and Ye Feng, at least one person had type O blood.
Really good at attracting mosquitoes.
The two were chatting, and there were more and more mosquitoes around them, almost like a small black vortex. Seeing this, Lu Yingjiu didn’t show it on his face, but only quietly leaned towards Jing Xian——
He knew last time that there wouldn’t be any bugs by relying on Jing Xian.
Lu Yingjiu smelled the light fragrance on him again.
He asked, “You wore perfume?”
Jing Xian was stunned for a moment. “No, is there a smell on me?”
“Seems to have a fragrance.” Lu Yingjiu replied, “I’ve never smelled this kind before.”
Lu Yingjiu actually didn’t know much about perfume.
His knowledge was limited to the perfumes of a few female colleagues, citrus or rose, violet or sandalwood. The only men’s fragrance he’d ever smelled was on Chu Banyang’s body – people who were not interested in perfumes would only think “oh perhaps he’s wearing perfume”, and then forget it.
But he couldn’t describe Jing Xian’s smell.
It was like the first snow, or maybe the new moon.
Probably it could only be described by these illusory things. It would be quite ingenious for men to match this kind of fragrance. It had a low sense of presence and would not make people feel obtrusive, but would never be forgotten after smelling it.
Jing Xian was silent for a few seconds.
Lu Yingjiu didn’t know what his reaction would be, as soon as he turned around, he saw Jing Xian sniffing the back of his hand suspiciously. Seeing Lu Yingjiu turning around, he put it down quickly, pretending that nothing happened.
Lu Yingjiu laughed all of a sudden. “How can you smell it yourself?”
“Oh.” Jing Xian paused for a few seconds, “Maybe it’s the flower fragrance from the ghost world, you don’t like it?”
“No, it smells good.”
As a result, Jing Xian couldn’t hide his smile at all, and the corners of his mouth curled up.
After finally reaching a steep slope, Jing Xian stretched out his hand to Lu Yingji, “I’ll pull you up.”
Lu Yingjiu refused to take his hand and said, “No need.”
This slope, Chen Xiaoling, that ruthless person can climb up in high heels, and maybe even step on a few stone steps. What issues can he have?
Jing Xian’s thoughts were written all over his face.
Jing Xian said: “Look how dangerous this slope is…”
“No.” Lu Yingjiu said.
Jing Xian turned around and said, “I’m afraid I might fall, so I need you to pull me.”
Lu Yingjiu: “…..”
Lu Yingjiu: “………..”
He had a new understanding of Jing Xian, he slapped Jing Xian’s hand away with black lines all over his head, and climbed up the slope by himself.
Jing Xian was nagging behind him. “What to do if I really fell?”
Lu Yingjiu thought to himself: who was the person who was walking swiftly next to me just now? Let alone a slope, even if he throws Jing Xian off a cliff, nothing will happen to Jing Xian. He might even pick a beautiful flower from the cliff and give it back to him.
Jing Xian added, “There is also a lot of moss here.”
Lu Yingjiu thought to himself again: I see you walking faster than me, there is not much moss, but there are quite a lot of excuses.
Jing Xian: “If I fall down and become disabled, you will have to take care of me for the rest of your life. You are a widow and will feel worried, and you have to feed your husband porridge…”
Lu Yingjiu slapped him again, stopped him from talking, and immediately looked ahead.
——Ye Feng and Xiao Li were still slapping mosquitoes, and didn’t hear them.
He whispered, “How can you talk nonsense again.”
Jing Xian: “In short, my core idea is that the mountain roads here are really dangerous.”
Lu Yingjiu: “…..”
They were still walking up the slope, and the slope was getting steeper and steeper. They walked with one foot shallow and one deep, and got entangled in long weeds from time to time, which was very annoying.
A few seconds later, Lu Yingjiu sighed inwardly, turned around, and stretched out his hand to Jing Xian——
And was immediately grasped.
Although in theory he was the one pulling Jing Xian, in reality, Jing Xian not only walked swiftly, but also had bigger hands than him, almost covering his entire palm.
The other two were just right ahead.
Although they knew that Lu Yingjiu and Jing Xian would never be lost, and hadn’t looked back for a long time, Lu Yingjiu was still inexplicably guilty.
His ears were a little hot. He wasn’t sure whether it was caused by the hot weather or some other reason. He remained silent and the two climbed up this steep slope one after the other.
Just as he went up, while Ye Feng was talking, he suddenly turned around, “Ah Lu Yingjiu…”
Lu Yingjiu subconsciously wanted to let go of his hand——
In the end, Jing Xian took a step ahead of him, and let go of his hand in time.
Ye Feng didn’t see anything, and continued, “I remember you had a commission before, and it was to go into a forest as well?”
“Yes.” Lu Yingjiu said, “A mountain ghost appeared at that time, so I went up the mountain to look for it.”
Xiao Li’s eyes lit up. “Mountain ghost! I haven’t seen one yet, what does it look like?”
“Normally, it’s no different from a human being. Only when it’s cloudy, such as at night, will it wander around the hills in the guise of a ghost…” Lu Yingjiu turned his head and saw Jing Xian’s expression while talking.
Jing Xian raised his eyebrows at him with a bit of complacency, meaning ‘I reacted fast, right?’. By the way, he stuffed another bag of peanuts into his hand.
Till today, it seems that Jing Xian really didn’t let him have a hard time.
Lu Yingjiu couldn’t help but laugh, and even when telling the story about the mountain ghost, his tone was filled with a smile.
As Xiao Li listened and listened, he felt strange. What’s so funny about this story? Looking back at Lu Yingjiu, he couldn’t think of a reason. It could only be attributed to the fact that his Brother Lu, really liked exorcising ghosts, maybe he had a special fondness for mountain ghosts.
Just like this, walk, take a rest, then continue walking. The mobile phone’s signal went out, thus they could only follow the map.
After walking for more than two hours, they finally reached the top of the mountain.
At the top, a dilapidated hexagonal pavilion stood.
There were shallow lines on the pillars of the pavilion, and a snake that was burning in flames wound up and with its tongue out on the top of the pavilion, looking lifelike. There were still some mottled marks on the wall, as if some rectangular paper had been pasted on it. It should be talisman papers or something.
The four of them arrived at the pavilion.
Along the way, even though the trees covered the sunlight, it was very hot, and there was almost no wind. Even after drinking a bottle or two of water, one still felt parched. But when arriving at the pavilion, the surroundings became open, and suddenly there was a cool breeze blowing in the face, which made the sweaty back feel slightly chilled, and was very comfortable.
The angle of the pavilion was also very good.
Looking around, one could see the surrounding vast stretches of mountains.
Under the dazzling sunlight at noon, Lu Yingjiu half squinted his eyes.
He saw two other mountain peaks nearby, and there seemed to be also such a pavilion on the top.
“Finally here.” Ye Feng let out a long breath, wiped the bench of the pavilion, sat down, and spread the map on the chair, “This is the pavilion the Ye family built before.”
The wind rattled the map, Ye Feng pressed the map tightly with one hand, took out a fountain pen with the other hand, bit off the cap of the pen with his mouth, and drew a circle on it. “We are here now, Pavilion No. 3, Hongqi Peak.”
He pointed to the two mountain peaks in the distance, also circled on the map, and said, “They are Pavilion No. 1 and Pavilion No. 2”
Xiao Li asked, “What, is this a tourist route? Your Ye family is quite good at developing side businesses.”
“What?” Ye Feng said, “my grandfather is not yet versatile enough for this job. I asked a few elders yesterday if they knew about ‘sweeping the tomb’, and they told me about it. This matter starts with the location of the nursing home.”
He continued, “The mountain range near the nursing home is called Wanming Mountain. There are more than 30 peaks, large and small, and there are hexagonal pavilions built on each of them. If we connect them together, we can outline the direction of the mountain range.”
He circled the location of the nursing home.
Then, starting from the nursing home, passing through the peaks, a curve was drawn.
Bend and bend, the final line drawn looked like a giant snake with a wide head and narrow tail, and its sharp teeth were drawn out from two cliffs, and the nursing home as its eyes.
Ye Feng pointed to the curve line again, “The Ye family formed a bond with ‘Li Snake’, and even in the mountains, it can unleash its strength. This mountain range is blessed by the snake god, and the pavilions strengthen its power. The nursing home is located here. That’s why.”
“Since one is blessed, one has to thank Li Snake—that’s what they call ‘sweeping the tomb’.”
“Two or three times a year, the Ye family set off from the nursing home and visit all the more than 30 pavilions. On the one hand, it is to strengthen the talisman paper, and on the other hand, it is to express gratitude.”
Lu Yingjiu: “But you said that the nursing home was closed because the air in the mountains was contaminated, and people began to disappear and die.”
“Yes.” Ye Feng sighed, “With Li Snake guarding, this kind of thing should be impossible. I have an idea now, do you remember the photos we got from the nursing home?”
He took the photo out of his wallet.
That was the group photo they found in the video tape: Little Ye Feng was riding on Ye Deyong’s neck, next to Zhang Nianyun, together with twenty or thirty staff of the nursing home.
On the back of the photo, was an elegant handwriting:
[January 13, 1999, third sweeping the tomb]
Ye Feng: “Among all the pavilions, the most critical eye formation are the first three pavilions, which are the one under our feet and the two far away. I came here to confirm the situation of the pavilions – as long as they are in good condition, it means that the formation still barely exists and has value worth visiting. What I think is that we can walk the sweeping the tomb road again, maybe we can find some clues, and we can… also see my second grandma again.”
Lu Yingjiu nodded and said, “It sounds like a solution, we have no other choice.”
Ye Feng sighed, “Then let’s take a rest and start going down the mountain. Go back to the hotel and get ready, and go up the mountain tomorrow.”
Unexpectedly, when going up the mountain, the weather was hot and dry, and there were too many mosquitoes, but when going down, there were no more mosquitoes.
Because when they got to the middle of the mountain, it started to rain suddenly.
It was just a drizzle at first.
Lu Yingjiu pinched a piece of talisman paper and blocked it around, barely enough to stop the drizzle.
As a result, within 10 minutes, lightning split the sky like a mad snake, thunder rumbled down, and bean-sized rain poured down, with a boiling and clattering sound on the leaves. The talisman couldn’t stop it at all, and the entire forest tilted in the strong wind.
The stone road under the feet was already worn out, extremely smooth with growing moss.
——This time it was really slippery.
“Ouch!” Xiao Li let out a low cry, slipped on his foot, and fell down more than a dozen steps. When he stood up, he covered his buttocks and gritted his teeth, “I really had a bloody luck today!”
Just as Ye Feng was about to speak, his feet slipped, and he moved his feet several times like moonwalking, dancing with his arms and legs, and barely standing firm.
Lu Yingjiu: “…..”
Observing the environment was an important quality of a good ghost exorcist. He knew that according to the law of bad luck transmission, it would be his turn next, thus he silently held on to Jing Xian, and immediately felt a lot more at ease.
Jing Xian was very useful, with his right arm around Lu Yingjiu’s shoulder, he walked steadily down, and helped him to keep out the wind and rain by the way.
Even in the wind and rain, going down the mountain was faster than going up the mountain. It only took more than 20 minutes to get back to the village from the middle.
When they arrived at the hotel, the four of them were all drenched. They each pinched a piece of talisman to dry themselves, but their clothes were still a little damp.
As soon as Lu Yingjiu returned to the room, Jing Xian stuffed him into the bathroom.
The sound of the rain outside was almost violent. Lu Yingjiu turned on the shower faucet, and the hot water poured down, flowing over the butterfly bones, straight back and waist, taking away the coldness of the rain, and relaxing every muscle in his body. He had scars on his body, but it didn’t affect the beauty of his slender physique.
After taking a bath, he felt much more comfortable and his whole body felt comfortable. After he put on his home clothes, he picked up the longevity lock that was placed beside him.
Ever since Jing Xian appeared, the longevity lock never heated up again either.
Probably because the original deity came to him, thus rendered completely useless.
Lu Yingjiu smiled, and put the longevity lock back on according to the old habit.
When he came out, Lu Yingjiu smelled a hot smell of ginger.
There was a bowl of cola ginger tea on the table.
The kind that was freshly cooked.
Lu Yingjiu was stunned for a few seconds, “There’s also ginger tea here?”
Jing Xian said, “I borrowed the restaurant’s kitchen.”
Lu Yingjiu doubted this “borrow” for half a second, and then asked, “For me?”
“Why didn’t you make one for yourself?”
Jing Xian smiled, “I won’t catch a cold.”
Lu Yingjiu originally wanted to say that he wouldn’t catch a cold either.
He had never seen any harsh environment, such as heavy rain and typhoons, scorching heat and extreme cold. A little rain would also not let him catch a cold. But when the words came to his lips, he felt it was inappropriate – after all, it was ginger tea specially made for him by the other, so it seemed ungrateful to say so.
He sat down and said, “Thank you.”
After taking a sip, the spicy taste of ginger was just right, not too irritating nor too bland.
In the following time, Lu Yingjiu sat on the bay window in the room.
He turned on the light and looked at his phone while drinking tea. The black hairball came to play with him again, and after rubbing against him, it rolled to every corner of the room, smelling everywhere.
There was a violent storm outside the window, but the lights inside the room were bright. The warmth of ginger tea started from the stomach and was carried by the blood throughout the body.
What followed was lazy drowsiness.
After finishing the last sip of ginger tea, he put the bowl aside, thinking about what he would bring with him when walking to the mountain road tomorrow.
No matter what, he had to remind Ye Feng and Xiao Li to bring more mosquito repellent.
Lu Yingjiu looked out the window.
The rainwater slowly flowed down the glass, the ripples on the lake not far away spread in circles, and the rain was blown obliquely by the wind, making it a vast expanse of white.
In this kind of weather, no one would go out, and there was no one on the road, only the lights of every house under the blue sky could be seen, with people vaguely seen from the windows.
As one looked at it, the focus of one’s sight would change.
He saw Jing Xian in the reflection of the glass.
Jing Xian picked out a handful of beans from his countless snacks and fed them to hairball.
Hairball ate it with a “kachakacha” sound.
Jing Xian took another spicy strips.
Hairball always welcomed it all.
Lu Yingjiu just looked at them from the reflection.
Drowsy lazy, warm yellow lights, warm air, the handsome and picturesque man in the room and the little furry black beast, there seemed to be a sense of tranquility and a favorable impression over time.
He just raised the corners of his lips unconsciously, when he suddenly saw Jing Xian take out half of a ginger.
…looks a lot like leftover raw materials for the cola ginger tea.
Hairball ate it with a “kacha”.
Jing Xian watched it eat, then suddenly raised his eyes to look at Lu Yingjiu.
Lu Yingjiu quickly looked away, pretending not to watch them.
Seeing that Lu Yingjiu didn’t look this way, Jing Xian quickly took out a skull from his bag and fed it to hairball.
Hairball: “Kacha, kacha——belch!” Then it frantically wagged its tail at Jing Xian.
Lu Yingjiu: ???
What is Jing Xian feeding to his summon?!