Chapter 13: Fu Chen looked dark

Warning: This chapter mentions cannibalism.
While it is not depicted, it may still shock you.
If you want to avoid it, please do not read the last paragraph, it should not affect your understanding of the story.

The outside world was full of zombies, yet Zhou village seemed even more terrifying.
But as Bai Qingqing thought of today’s lecture, she realized that human nature could actually be really scary sometimes.
The old lady’s house had only two beds and the two girls shared one; because there was no entertainment and it was still too early to sleep, they chatted.
Both of them were still young girls and they talked about everything from clothes to food, including games, and as they did into the night, they finally fell asleep.

The next day, sunlight spilled into the room through the window, sprinkling golden rays on the floor.
The warm light fell on the two sleeping girls and the atmosphere was peaceful.
The old lady came to the house and shouted: “Get up and come get breakfast.”
Bai Qingqing woke up first and looked at A-mei who was rubbing her eyes before smiling: “Let’s get up, let’s go get breakfast.”
After washing up, the two of them sat at the table.
They ate with the old lady and after breakfast, Bai Qingqing told A-mei Sister Hong would most likely find out they were not in the dark room soon and asked her to find a place to hide.

Bai Qingqing disguised herself and went to Abao’s house secretly and said through the window: “Abao, I am going to find your brother.”
“Really?” Abao’s eyes were full of expectation, “Big sister, you must bring my brother back!”
“I will.” Bai Qingqing replied.

There were not many people in the village and she managed to bypass the patrol team and reach the north mountain.
Hearing footsteps and voices, Bai Qingqing rushed to hide behind a pear tree and waited until the people left.

It was not pear season yet.
The fruits hanging on the branches were still young and tender, they were likely to taste very sweet once they were finally ripe.
Bai Qingqing followed the path and climbed to the top of the hill.
When she finally saw the old ancestral hall, she noticed holes in the walls and the courtyard’s weeds reached mid-calf.
The new ancestral hall had been built by the joint efforts of the villagers and the old one had naturally been abandoned.
Was Awang really locked up here?
Bai Qingqing had some doubts in her heart.
Even if Awang and A-mei were not allowed to be together, why had they been locked up in two opposing sides of the village for life?

She did not rush right away into the old ancestral hall, worried someone was observing from not too far.
“Bai Qingqing, why are you here?”
She turned around to look at where the voice came from and saw Fu Chen frowning and watching her with a dark expression.
“Brother.” Bai Qingqing hurried over and said, “I am looking for someone.”
The girl skipped some details but told him the story of how she met A-mei in the dark room.
She narrated their love with some exaggeration and tears in her eyes as she stared at Fu Chen.
“So I came here.”
Fu Chen’s face was still very gloomy and he was wondering if Bai Qingqing had become too foolish after amnesia.
“Didn’t I tell you to not run around?”
Bai Qingqing lowered her eyelashes and curled her lips: “I didn’t.”
Fu Chen raised his hand to rub her head and said in a cold voice: “I will teach you a lesson when we get back.
Follow me.”

“Oh.” Bai Qingqing smiled and asked from behind him: “Brother, why are you here? Are you here to investigate the old ancestral hall?”
Fu Chen took her hand and replied: “I just came to take a look.”
In his previous life, he had sensed something was wrong with the people of this village.
He had not had time to check it carefully as the team had been focused on finding Bai Tiantian then had fallen into a trap.
They had escaped before they could investigate the old ancestral hall.

Bai Qingqing was originally a little anxious at checking the old hall alone, but now that Fu Chen was here, the most powerful of their team, she felt a little relieved.
She could use him to rescue Awang and complete her task.
When the two of them entered the dilapidated building, they saw that the walls were cracked all over; sunlight leaked from various holes, and the whole atmosphere was bleak.
Bai Qingqing got closer to Fu Chen and pointed at the statue of Guan Yu1 in the middle of the room.
“Look, brother.
This thing is so scary.”
Fu Chen glanced at it and said: “What is so scary about a statue of a god?”
Bai Qingqing followed him around.
Apart from the broken statues and tiles, a few water tanks, and a lot of weeds, there was nothing else in here.
Didn’t A-mei say Awang should be kept there? Where was he hidden? Fu Chen had given her three days, if she didn’t find him before that, her mission would fail.
Fu Chen’s face was dark and he searched the place carefully, unable to find any clues.
When the Thunder Squad had left in his last life, the whole village had mutated.
It had come from all over, as long as they had shared air and seeds, the change had happened.
In the past two days, Fu Chen had searched the north and the south but had not been able to find the source; only the old ancestral hall was left.
It wasn’t that he wanted to protect the villagers as evil would have its own retribution, but to be on the safe side, he wanted to kill whatever had caused it, lest to have it become uncontrollable in the future.
Yet, even if he couldn’t find it, his team had to leave Zhou village before the event happened.
“Let’s go, we will leave tonight.”
“So soon?” Bai Qingqing said in surprise, “Didn’t you say three days?”
Fu Chen glanced at her: “It’s not a good idea to stay here too long.
Let’s leave first and gather supplies in surrounding cities.”

Bai Qingqing wasn’t ready to leave yet and stared at the statue of Guan Yu for a long time.
After a while, she noticed that a candlestick looked a bit strange.
“Brother, doesn’t this candle look weird? Let’s take a look?”
Fu Chen looked at where she pointed and saw it too.
He walked over and grabbed the candlestick, realizing he couldn’t pick it up.
He twisted it and rumbling sound below the desk the statue was placed on was heard.
Bai Qingqing joined him, lifted the yellow cloth, and revealed an underground passage.
Fu Chen glanced at her: “You stay here, I will go check it out.”
“No.” Bai Qingqing grabbed his hand, “Brother, I am coming with you.
If someone comes, I can’t defend myself.”
The man thought about it and agreed it was safer to bring her with him.

The underground passage was dark and Bai Qingqing took a flashlight from her space to illuminate the way.
They walked down the stairs for a few minutes until they reached a wide area.
As they reached it, Bai Qingqing was stunned.
This underground passage turned out to be just like an ancient prison.
In the spacious wooden room, many children were curled up together and in the other cell, a few young men were sitting against the wall, their faces black and their body sticks and bones.
Bai Qingqing shuddered, was that Zhou village’s secret? Why were they keeping the children underground? What was the reason for all of this? She did not dare to think too much about it, afraid of the darkest answer in her heart.
Fu Chen held her hand and pulled her to his side and said “Don’t be afraid.” before Bai Qingqing walked to the young men’s cell.
“Who is Awang?”
One of the prisoners lifted a pale and dirty face, and stared at her: “Who are you? How did you come in? Run away quickly!”
Bai Qingqing looked at him and asked: “Are you Awang? A-mei asked me to find you.”

Awang, just like A-mei, got emotional when he heard his lover’s name and crawled with difficulty to the door.
“A-mei? How is she?”
“She is okay.
I will get you out.”
She glanced at Fu Chen beside her: “Brother, let them out.”
Fu Chen broke the lock and frowned as he looked towards the children’s cell.
He had not expected Bai Qingqing would be the one to discover the village’s secret.

The people locked up had no fighting ability and would be caught back as soon as they escaped.
Yet, they still had to free them.
Bai Qingqing looked at the group of children and gently asked: “Can you stand up?”
The children were hugging each other for warmth, their dark eyes blank and unwilling to speak, obviously not believing her.
Awang said: “They won’t listen to you.” There was sadness in his gaze, “Their parents are the ones that made them stay here.”
Once out of his cell, he told the cruel truth: “They will come to feed them once a day.
When necessary, they become food for the villagers or for the surrounding villages.”
Bai Qingqing’s body trembled and her stomach churned.
It reminded her of wars in ancient times; children were easy to eat.
Women and children had to go on the battlefield; it had nothing to do with gender equality, but the anguish of these eras.
Didn’t Zhou village have enough food? Why were they doing that?
As she was lost in dark thoughts, many villagers rushed and surrounded them, weapons all out.
“Catch them! Take them to the Sacred Tree!”

Chinese military general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China.
In Chinese folk religion, Guan Yu is widely referred to as “Emperor Guan” (關帝; Guāndì; dì implies deified status) and “Lord Guan” (關公; Guān Gōng), while his Taoist title is “Holy Emperor Lord Guan” (關聖帝君; Guān Shèng Dì Jūn).

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