Chapter 3 - The Rule of The Bloody Words
It is said that it is hard to calculate the history of this apartment’s existence. Moreover, there were quite a number of residents living in this apartment. Over several decades, the residents have already shared their experiences and made tacit agreements. They understand what they are allowed to do and what is forbidden; what is beneficial and what is harmful for themselves.
Thus every time a new resident moves in, the old residents will inform him of the detailed set of precautions. If they do not make these precautions clear, then the newbies are likely to violate the prohibitions and perish without even a burial ground.
There are very two basic rules. Once you become a resident of this apartment, then you have to obey these two rules no matter what.
The first one is the most basic one: You cannot leave the apartment continuously for more than 48 hours except for when the bloody words instruct you to leave. If you violate this rule, then you will die.
Second, after becoming a resident, you must obey the instructions from the bloody words once they appear on the wall in your room. If you violate this rule even slightly, then you will also die.
Li Yin saw with his very own eyes, residents who had refused to believe these two rules and disregarded the instructions of the bloody words to leave the protection of the apartment. These residents had all ultimately perished from unnatural causes.
There is no exception!
Ye Kexin is the resident of room 403, Li Yin’s neighbor. In addition, Luo Hengyan is the resident of room 507. He has been living here for half a year, persisting in staying alive through two missions assigned by the bloody words. And Qin Shoutian who has lived here for more than nine months has already completed three missions.
The instructions left by the bloody words normally direct residents to specific destinations where they will accomplish particular acts. And during that time period, there will certainly be countless incomparably eerie circumstances.
More often than not, people don’t realise they are dying until they are already six feet under. And even when they have already perished, they don’t even notice the fact that they are dead.
It might sound inconvincible, or even unimaginable. But these were all indisputable facts.
At that time, it also took Li Yin quite a long time to completely accept everything. After all, this sudden succession of events just seemed too unrealistic. But back then, Li Yin did not have the courage to leave the apartment for more than 48 hours. At the very least, such an action is equivalent to committing suicide.
Finally, he borrowed some money from the other residents, cleared up his rent dues and moved into this apartment.
Most residents in the apartment are basically the same as Li Yin since they all stepped into the apartment while chasing their shadows that had automatically entered this apartment. Xia Yuan, the residential representative, has been living in the apartment for the longest time.
Xia Yuan is a young, bespectacled man with an air of scholarly refinement. The time he has been living in this apartment has exceeded five years. He told the all the residents that if they wanted to continue surviving in this apartment, the only chance to stay alive is to flee back to the apartment when the set time constraint ends. No matter what occurred at the designated destination, no matter what kind of curse was suffered, once the residents flee back to the apartment, they will be free from all danger. Afterwards, when they leave again after entering the apartment, they need not worry about being hurt. Until...the next emergence of the bloody words.
Throughout this year, Li Yin has seen first-hand the consequences that befell the people who chose not to live in the apartment even though they were selected because they distrusted what the residents told them. He once went to persuade those people to move into the apartment immediately, but had been carelessly dismissed. In the end, when 48 hours had passed, Li Yin saw all their shadows begin to change one by one. The shadows either controlled them to jump off buildings or used a knife to force them to commit suicide. The most miserable one of them all was manipulated so that he ran into a cross junction and got ground to death into meat paste under the wheels of a passing car. Ever since he witnessed that scene, for the next three months, Li Yin felt like throwing up whenever he saw meat.
The instructions given by the bloody words normally increase in difficulty. The first mission is usually relatively harmless, so the probability of staying alive is quite high. But starting from the second mission, the level of danger and ominousness gradually increases. And when the third time...the fourth time came, one would need to give it his all just to keep himself alive.
The emergence of the bloody instructions are usually set months apart from one another but according to the old residents’ experiences, there has never been more than half a year during which there were no missions assigned in the whole apartment. When bloody instructions emerge in the room, the resident’s heart will happen to feel like it is burning. This way, even if the residents are not in their rooms, they will realize immediately that those bloody words have appeared. Once the resident has read and memorized the bloody words, they will vanish.
The bloody words will never instruct the residents to do impossible missions so for example, actions like asking the residents to go to the moon will never appear. All the instructions are physically feasible.
Finally, there is one conclusion summarized according to the old residents’ decades of experience.
That is... there is only one way to leave this apartment.
That is… The resident needs to stay alive to complete the missions designated by ten bloody word instructions consecutively. Then he can regain his freedom and leave the apartment without worrying about being killed.
Of course, the word “consecutively” is totally redundant because the only way to successfully complete a mission is to stay alive and return to the apartment. If one is dead, then naturally he cannot follow the next bloody instructions. As a result the room occupied by the dead will become uninhabited and new bloody word instructions will not appear until the next new resident moves in.
Up to this point, Li Yin has already completed three bloody word instructions. And executing the last bloody mission was so dangerous that the chances of dying compared to living was nine to one. The contents of the mission had been simple enough -- they had to go to the fifth floor of a certain abandoned school building and stay there till the clock precisely struck twelve midnight. At that time, including himself, there were six people who received those bloody instructions. And that night, as soon as it reached midnight, everyone had to sprint out to flee from the school. However, no matter which direction they went, they wound up finding themselves at dead end alleys! And as they tried to escape, they would also find that the comrades who had been by their sides just a while ago had suddenly turned into unrecognisable piles of blood and bones.
In the end, Li Yin gritted his teeth and jumped onto a tree from a window before climbing down and drove away in a car that belonged to his dead teammate. Stepping as hard as he could on the accelerator, he fled back to the apartment.
Although Li Yin learned how to drive, he did not have a license. And that car was a considerably new model, so it was quite troublesome for him to drive back to the apartment’s neighborhood.
But… at that moment when he got off the car, he felt a hand grabbing onto his feet!
When he stumbled and fell to the ground, he saw... a small child wearing a school uniform with a deathly pale visage whose body was sticking to the bottom of the car!
Li Yin made a split second decision. He immediately pulled his foot out from his shoe, and then ran desperately into that small alley.
In order to train his running speed, Li Yin forces himself to go to the gym everyday. The other residents of the apartment also train together with him, and in the end, almost everyone’s speed is comparable to the speed of professional long distance runners.
But... no matter how fast he ran, that child who looked like a student kept getting closer and closer! Every time Li Yin turned his head around, he would see that the child was approaching him. The more haunting thing was that the boy was merely walking. How could it be that this boy could catch up with the rapid pace at which he was running?!
Finally, when he was only ten meters away from the apartment, he saw Xia Yuan and a bunch of residents waiting for him at the revolving gate.
“Hurry up! Li Yin!” That time, even the normally refined Xia Yuan was screaming his name out desperately, “Only ten meters and you’ll be safe. Hurry up!”
Afterwards, according to Xia Yuan, by the time they saw him, that ghost was only two meters apart from him.
In the last ten meters, Li Yin was already sprinting as fast as he could. But at the same time, that ghost had already minimized the distance between the two of them. It opened its arms wide, ready to grip Li Yin in its embrace.
But even so, Xia Yuan and the rest could not run to rescue Li Yuan. After all, leaving the apartment will compromise their own safety.
At the last second, Li Yin suddenly shot forward with a burst of energy. He roared in anger, sprinted straight to the revolving door, pushed the gates open and entered vigorously. While this was happening, the hands of that ghost child were already touching both sides of his waist.
After Li Yin entered the apartment, that ghost could not do anything to him anymore. It lingered in front of the door for a good while, before its body became a stream of smoke and disappeared slowly.
After that incident, when Li Yin lifted hem of his shirt, he was horrified to discover that… there was a tiny black handprint on both sides of his waist. It took quite a long time for those prints to completely disappear.
It has been two months since that incident, and he is currently on this mission.
This is the fourth time he will execute a bloody mission.
For sure… the level of danger will be greatly increased.
This village is much bigger than all of them could have imagined.
However, there aren’t any inns available for people to live in. This is quite natural.
Of course, according the bloody words’ instructions, they have to “live” here. If they leave the borders of the Village of Tranquil Water, then that counts as violating the instructions from the bloody words.
This village is surrounded by mountains, and the surrounding terrain is craggy and perilous. There is a very long river cutting through the village, which has become the most reliable source of water. With this water source, people in the village can water their plantations and lead self-sustainable lives in the midst of these secluded mountains.
The plants growing in the fields were mostly rice stalks. Even children under ten years old will bare their feet and help to sow the field, their faces covered in mud and water.
After walking for some distance, there is finally a middle-aged man who comes up to them and asks, “Are you gentlemen... from the city?”
Those children also look at Li Yin’s group with curiosity. After all, it is rare for them to see someone from the city in the middle of this mountain. Amongst them, there are many who have never seen lights, television and other similar electronics.
Li Yin vaguely feels that there is a slight sense of hostility mixed in that middle-aged man’s tone.
“If you all are the journalists sent here to interview for that incident, please leave immediately!” While saying this, the middle aged man glares at them with wide eyes. “After so many years, why do you still cling to this incident without letting go?!”
Li Yin’s heart suddenly leaps. This incident?
Could it be that there is some connection to the bloody words?
Li Yin hurriedly waves his hands as he says, “No, sir. This is a misunderstanding. We are just ordinary tourists who want to stay in your respected village. Don’t worry, we will pay.”
These years, there have actually been experienced backpackers who travel on their own to some wild, barren places without following travel routes provided by travel agencies. However, since this Black Crow Mountain does not count as a travel spot, normally there will not be any tourists who come here.
The middle aged man clearly does not believe in Li Yin’s words.
“Nonsense! All of you better get the hell out. Don’t think you can trick me!”
That middle aged man gradually gets more agitated but Li Yin knows very clearly... that under no circumstances can he leave this village. According to the bloody instructions, he has to stay in this village for a month. Otherwise…
He will die!
The instructions given by the bloody words must be followed. Li Yin has already carved this notion into his bones and heart.
“What exactly is making so much noise?”
A hoarse old voice resounds. Following that, people scatter as an old man with graying hair walks slowly towards the group, supported by a young lady of around 20 years of age.,
“Village Elder, they are from the city. They must have come because of the Li Bing incident!”
“Yeah! That must be it!”
That old man who looks to be around 80 years old hobbles towards Li Yin’s group and says, “Young folks, for what reason have you come to this place?”
Li Yin quickly steps forward and salutes him. He says, “A pleasure to meet you, Village Elder. We only came into this mountain to tour for fun. We really want to experience farmhouse customs, so we hope to live in this village. Please don’t worry, we will not stay for free. ”
“Oh? Experiencing farmhouse customs? Sounds pretty interesting.” The village elder seems to be contemplating about something. He then says, “Alright, then all of you can live in my house!”
Li Yin is momentarily stunned. This Village Elder...has actually agreed so easily?
“Village elder, you... How can you just let these people with unknown backgrounds go to your house? ” That middle aged man utters immediately, “They must be reporters!”
“It does not matter,” that village elder instead says very tolerantly. “It has been a while since visitors last came to our Village of Tranquil Water. Since these guests are already here, how can we not treat them well?”
These words from the Village Elder raises some suspicions in Li Yin’s heart. Could it be that the Village Elder has some other plans?
But, as long as they can stay here, everything else… could be neglected.
To be honest, Li Yin still gets a headache thinking about the problem of fleeing back to the apartment on the 7th day of the next month. This kind of mountain slope, driving will be even slower than walking so they will have to flee on foot. But on these arduous mountains, between the four of them, how many can actually survive if they are being chased? Last time, amongst the six residents, Li Yin was the only one who survived!
Thus, Li Yin decides to get to the bottom of this mystery. What exactly… is the true face of the vicious power existing in this Village of Tranquil Water? Maybe then, he can come up with a countermeasure!
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