Kaleidoscope Of Death Chapter 3
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Persisting through the bitter winds and snowfall, the four marched along the boundless path. They somehow didn't encounter any unfortunate or strange incidents on the road, and they finally returned to their residence safely.
However, when they returned home, they noticed that the atmosphere of the room didn't seem quite right. Several people were sitting in the living room; their faces were pale and drawn, and they were completely motionless. Deathly stillness hung in the air, and the atmosphere seemed even graver than when everyone had first arrived here.
Lin Qiushi swept his eyes across the others within this room and quickly counted the number of people. It was only after making sure the number of people hadn't decreased that he let out a sigh of relief.
"What happened?" Xiong Qi demanded.
Trembling violently, a man sitting down shakily responded, "Upstairs, the corpses upstairs disappeared."
"Some corpses disappeared? That's it?" Xiong Qi growled, "Are you all novices? Why are you so scared of dead bodies vanishing?"
"Eaten." A girl blubbered at the side, tears streamed endlessly down her cheeks. "There's blood everywhere…"
Xiong Qi and Xiao Ke glanced at each other, they knew they wouldn't be able to get any useful information from these people's mouths. Thereafter, the four decided to go to the third floor to observe the situation for themselves.
They started climbing the stairs. Upon reaching the second floor, Lin Qiushi immediately detected something was amiss—the walls of the second floor were also painted with blood.
Because the house was built of wood, the colors of the walls were mahogany. Lin Qiushi spotted some black smudges on these walls, as if something had been splattered there.
“Be careful, it may be something dangerous,” warned Xiong Qi who was walking up front.
They eventually reached the third floor, and Lin Qiushi finally realized what the others meant by ‘eaten'.
The area was completely bereft of the corpses that were previously laying there. But that wasn't all; the dead bodies had vanished, but there was something else in place of them. The entire ground was covered in residues of flesh and bones, as if something had ferociously torn them apart and gnawed on them to smithereens, leaving nothing but unrecognizable scraps behind.
Lin Qiushi's face automatically turned white from seeing such a sight, and his stomach began to churn.
"It devoured everything down to the very bones." Xiao Ke was accustomed to this. "I have no idea what this is."
"Hah." Xiong Qi heaved a sigh. "Come on. Lock the third floor. We'll start living on the second floor from today."
"Okay." Xiao Ke hummed. "I'll asked the others about the details."
They went back down to the first floor and questioned everyone on the particulars of what went down while they were gone.
The people downstairs explained to them what happened at the house.
After Xiong Qi and them had left, the group began searching the entire building. In the midst of searching through the second floor, they heard an unusually strange noise coming from the third floor; it sounded as if someone was chewing something, devouring it ravenously, gulping it down.
Immediately after counting the number of people and ascertaining that none of them were on the third floor, they broke out into cold sweat.
No one dared to go upstairs and take a look; they all stood stiff and watched the situation from the second floor. Only when the chewing sounds disappeared did they have the courage to go to the third floor and check it out—but all they saw were remains of ground meat and powdered bones.
"This is awful." An older lady on the team was already looking rather lifeless. She whimpered, "This is my third time entering these gates. How could I encounter such a world? Can we even get out alive? Just what the hell was that thing…"
Not a single person could answer her questions; the room was silent.
Xiong Qi sighed faintly and announced that he was hungry. He wanted to find something to eat, and he asked if anyone else would go to the kitchen with him.
Lin Qiushi offered, "I'll go with you."
Ruan Baijie, who was sitting beside Lin Qiushi, softly murmured, "Qiushi, I'm hungry, too. I want to eat noodles."
Lin Qiushi: "I'll see if there are any. If there are, I'll fix you a bowl."
"Good." Ruan Baijie's eyes curved, and she tenderly gazed at Lin Qiushi. "Pay attention to your safety, okay."
Lin Qiushi nodded.
The kitchen was to the left of the living room. There was no natural gas here, only the most natural firewood.
Both Xiong Qi and Lin Qiushi didn't say a word along the way. When they finally arrived at the kitchen, Xiong Qi lowered his head to start the fire and revealed, "I don't plan to inform them of everything."
"What do you mean?" Lin Qiushi blinked in surprise.
Xiong Qi silently peeked at the doorway and determined that no one was outside, then he whispered, "I don't think everyone on our team is human."
Lin Qiushi's back broke out into goosebumps at this sentence.
"Something like this happened before." Xiong Qi stated. "The members we thought were part of the team actually weren't teammates; rather, they were those things."
Lin Qiushi wondered, "Why do you believe in me? What if I'm also one of those things?"
Xiong Qi glanced at him. "You don't seem like it."
Lin Qiushi: "…"
Xiong Qi continued, "Moreover, those guys certainly don't act like people who've experienced these kinds of stuff several times. They panic too easily and they're too scared, way more than you."
Lin Qiushi felt a bit embarrassed at his acknowledgment. "To be honest, I'm also quite afraid."
Xiong Qi let out a self-deprecating smile at these words, "What are you afraid of? The very first time I entered these gates, I peed my pants three times in one night."
Lin Qiushi thought of that horrifying woman last night, and he wordlessly glanced at his own crotch and thought to himself that he was lucky enough to be able to hold it in…
Xiong Qi: "I suggest that you also keep some clues to yourself and not blab everything."
Lin Qiushi nodded. "I got it. Thank you for your reminder. Can I ask how many times you came here?"
Xiong Qi: "Six times."
"Oh…" Lin Qiushi tried to digest all the information about the gates, the team, and the other hidden clues that Xiong Qi gave him.
"It's useless thinking so much. Just try your best at getting out alive." Xiong Qi mockingly chuckled to himself. "Although, I personally believe this world's doomed."
The fire on the stove was ignited, and the water in the iron pot came to a boil.
Lin Qiushi found a basket of food and ingredients next to him; there were noodles, eggs, and some green vegetables inside. He boiled the noodles and fried an egg; the aroma of the food drifted throughout the kitchen, dispelling the fear and negativity in the air. Upon seeing this, Xiong Qi praised, "You cook well."
"Fortunately." Lin Qiushi grinned.
He cooked four bowls of noodles, one for Xiong Qi, one for Xiao Ke, one for Ruan Baijie, and one for himself. As for the others, Lin Qiushi simply couldn't manage that much.
Ruan Baijie was starving. She cupped the bowl in her hands and began inhaling the noodles at once. Most people often made slight noises as they ate; however, Ruan Baijie quietly ate the entire bowl of noodles clean, not even a drop of soup was left behind. She didn't utter a sound after she finished eating, she just whirled her head around and stared expectantly at Lin Qiushi.
Haunted by her fervent gaze, Lin Qiushi felt quite helpless and reluctant. "You haven't eaten enough?"
"I've eaten." Just when these words fell, her stomach growled loudly.
Lin Qiushi: "…Eat. I'll go get something else."
Ruan Baijie: "It's fine, it's fine."
Lin Qiushi: "Is it really?" He decided to continue eating, but then, he noticed Ruan Baijie's large doe eyes grow wider. Her appearance was honestly too cute that Lin Qiushi couldn't help but laugh. "Well, you eat this. I'm good."
"Fine." This time, Ruan Baijie wasn't so polite.
After downing two bowls of warm noodles, the chilliness from walking outside finally disappeared. As he ate, Xiong Qi briefed everyone on the information they'd obtained from the elderly carpenter. Of course, he didn't let them know of everything and kept the final hint about filling the well to himself.
"Is the key inside the coffin?" There were still a few relatively calm people on the team, and amongst them was a man named Zhang Zishuang. "Since the most crucial hint lies with the coffin, I feel as though there's a huge possibility that this'll be the case…"
"Hah, I hope so." Xiong Qi exhaled. "I plan to go to the mountains tomorrow morning to chop down some trees. All of the men will come with me, and the women can also follow along if they'd like. If you can't stand the cold, then you can stay hidden in the house, but if something happens in the house, we won't be able to help you."
After the discussion was over, everyone agreed to Xiong Qi's proposal. Although there were some who thought it was dangerous to climb the mountain in this stormy weather, the most dangerous thing in this world wasn't actually the weather, but rather, those filthy things that appeared at the most unpredictable times. Building the coffin as early as possible in order to leave this place was, obviously, the best course of action.
Time passed, and the skies grew dark once again.
Once night fell, everyone brushed and washed straight-away; they also had absolutely no thoughts of doing anything else, so they simply retired to their own rooms early. Lin Qiushi asked why everyone couldn't just gather together, and Xiong Qi answered, "Because if we all just hang out together, we'll all end up falling asleep at a certain time."
"What do you mean?" Lin Qiushi was a bit perplexed. "Are you saying that everyone will fall asleep?"
"Yeah." Xiong Qi explained. "It might just be one of the mechanisms of this world, but as long as the number of people in one room exceeds a certain value, everyone will fall asleep at a set time. And when that time comes, regardless what happens, there's nothing that can be done about it."
"Then wouldn't that leave us with no choice but to die without putting up a fight1?" Lin Qiushi frowned.
"As a matter of fact, those things also can't kill as they please." Xiong Qi said. "They need specific requirements in order to kill people. The more problematic the world inside the gate is, the broader the conditions get, and some conditions are quite…difficult to understand."
Lin Qiushi: "For instance?"
Xiong Qi: "For instance, they're only allowed to slaughter people wearing shoes on their feet."
Lin Qiushi: "…" He silently glanced down at his shoes.
Xiong Qi saw his action and guffawed. "I'm only giving you an example. If one of the requirements of this world was to kill people who aren't wearing shoes, they you'd die if you take off your shoes. Besides, there isn't only one requirement; numerous requirements may be superimposed, endlessly stacked together. So, in summation, it's actually safer to just sleep from night 'til dawn." At this statement, he paused. "Of course, the precondition is that you must be able to fall asleep."
Because of Xiong Qi's words, Lin Qiushi recalled the events that occurred the previous night. He shot a glance towards his side at the unconcerned Ruan Baijie who was clutching a fistful of melon seeds in her hand, casually cracking them. He'd always suspected that he and Death had a brief encounter with each other last night.
It seemed that if he wasn't careful enough, he would soon become one of the two ice-cold corpses on the third floor.
"Go to bed," uttered Xiong Qi. "Good night."
Lin Qiushi nodded. "Good night." He called out to Ruan Baijie and told her they should both go to sleep.
Ruan Baijie yawned and nonchalantly placed the remaining melon seeds on the table. She rubbed her eyes and mumbled, "I'm so tired. Let's go to bed early today."
Lin Qiushi: "Good. We'll sleep early."
The third floor was entirely useless because of yesterday's events, so everyone who had stayed there relocated to the second floor.
As before, Lin Qiushi and Ruan Baijie slept on the same bed. This time, he was prepared, and he decided to lock the windows first. He intended to tug on the window curtains, but these curtains seemed as though they hadn't been used in quite some time; no matter how forcefully he pulled, they just wouldn't budge.
Ruan Baijie, who was dressed in her pajamas and was sprawled on top of the beddings, wriggled and whined, "Qiushi, it's so cold, ah."
Lin Qiushi was still in the process of scrutinizing the curtains. He didn't turn his head around after hearing her complaint. "Wear more clothes if you're cold."
Ruan Baijie: "…You don't have a girlfriend, do you?"
Lin Qiushi was utterly baffled. "Girlfriend? Why do I need a girlfriend?"
Ruan Baijie fell silent. By the time Lin Qiushi drew the curtains and turned around to go back, she was lying stiffly on the bed like a dead fish.
Lin Qiushi simply couldn't understand her. "What is wrong with you?"
Ruan Baijie voice was ever so soft as she crooned, "You…you don't have anything you want to say to me?"
Lin Qiushi sank into contemplation. He gazed at Ruan Baijie's beautiful face, and he finally had an epiphany. He declared, "I actually do."
Delighted, Ruan Baijie exposed a pleased smile. "What do you want to say?"
Lin Qiushi: "That, there is one thing… If we encounter another ghost today, can you run slower?"
Ruan Baijie's face grew indifferent. "Hell no."
Lin Qiushi was furious. "Then why the fuck would you ask me what I want to say?! Go to sleep!"
Thus, each person returned to their own side. They found their own blankets, and with their backs turned to each other, they started getting ready to sleep.
According to Xiong Qi, the best way to get through the night was to sleep quietly and peacefully. However, Lin Qiushi's mind was filled with countless thoughts, and he wasn't at all able to fall asleep at the time. Behind him, Ruan Baijie was snoring like a pig; the very moment she closed her eyes, she fell asleep. Lin Qiushi was so infuriated that his teeth hurt from grinding them too hard.
As the night grew deeper, the temperature dropped even more. Fortunately, the blanket was thick, and a warm, living person was slumbering at his back, so it wasn't exceedingly intolerable.
Lin Qiushi closed his eyes and sorted through the clues he got during the day. His consciousness gradually began to blur, and he wasn't far from dozing off. But just when he was about to drift off into deep sleep, he perceived a strange, vague noise. Contrarily to yesterday's knocks, this noise came from the ceiling above them. It sounded as if something viscid and heavy was sluggishly dragging itself across the roof of the third floor. Lin Qiushi's sense of hearing was exceptionally acute, and his drowsiness instantly vanished. His breath hitched, and he cautiously opened his eyes, slowly peeking up at the ceiling.
There was nothing, only aged wood.
Nonetheless, a penetrating chill soon assailed Lin Qiushi’s body, for Lin Qiushi clearly heard the movements stop directly above his head.
"Thump, thump." The vibrations from the slimy tapping sounds stimulated his eardrums, and the sounds of knocking steadily increased, becoming louder and louder, causing all the hairs on Lin Qiushi's body to stand up. He clenched his teeth and was about to sit up, but just then, a hand reached out from beside him and grabbed his waist.
"What are you doing?" It was Ruan Baijie's lethargic voice.
"Did you hear that weird noise?" Lin Qiushi lowered his voice. "From the roof?"
"Noise? What noise." Ruan Baijie mumbled, "I didn't hear anything. Stop moving, I'm freezing." She gently puffed air into his ear, her wispy breath carried the scent of ice and snow.
"You…" Lin Qiushi still wanted to say something, but he then felt Ruan Baijie draw him towards herself and cling onto him tightly.
"Sleep." Ruan Baijie ordered.
Lin Qiushi had no choice but to close his eyes.
Ruan Baijie softly hooked her fingers around Lin Qiushi's waist and soothingly caressed it. Her actions were probably ambiguous and questionable, but at this moment, her actions were only relaxing, comforting.
The drumming sounds above continued, but Lin Qiushi wasn't as frightened as before. Once again, sleepiness descended on him, and he succumbed to it at last.
The following morning.
Lin Qiushi woke up in Ruan Baijie's embrace.
Ruan Baijie stretched out her arms and gathered his entire body even closer into her embrace; her chin rested on the top of his head. She was faintly tempered after being awakened, and she lazily grumbled, "Stop causing trouble. Sleep a while longer."
Lin Qiushi: "…" What the fuck.
He lay down on the bed for a moment. Seeing that Ruan Baijie had zero intentions of getting up, he had to remind her, "I want to get up."
Ruan Baijie: "Mhm…"
Lin Qiushi: "Ruan Baijie?"
Ruan Baijie: "Last night you called this one2 darling sweetheart, but today you call this one Ruan Baijie."
Lin Qiushi: "…"
But, in spite of saying all this, Ruan Baijie nevertheless loosened her grip, then leaned against the headboard to ogle Lin Qiushi as he wore his clothes. As he was putting on his clothes, Lin Qiushi kept getting this feeling that the atmosphere was a bit odd. After dwelling on it for a while, he finally swiveled around and looked at Ruan Baijie. "Would you stop staring at me with those eyes?"
Ruan Baijie: "What eyes? The money's on the table. Take it with you and hand me the cigarettes, I want one."
Lin Qiushi: "…" Did she smoke something strange or what?
Ruan Baijie: "What? Still refusing to leave, ah? We agreed on exactly five hundred yesterday. Don't even think about wanting more."
Lin Qiushi was at a loss for words. After getting dressed, he clomped down the stairs.
The others were already sitting in the living room, eating the breakfast the villagers delivered. As usual, Lin Qiushi counted the number of people. He discovered that, excluding Ruan Baijie, there were three additional people missing from the room.
Xiong Qi caught sight of him and motioned for him to take seat.
"Nothing happened yesterday?" Lin Qiushi asked.
"Nothing." Xiong Qi responded. "No one died."
Well, it's a good thing nobody died. Lin Qiushi relaxed, sighing in relief.
As a matter of fact, last night was so calm that even the others didn't hear any extra noises. Lin Qiushi tentatively questioned whether they heard any signs of activity from upstairs, but the others' answers were consistent—the night was extremely quiet; there were no other sounds except for the wind outside.
"After we finish eating, we'll head out to cut some trees down and send the wood to the carpenter. We have to speed up." Xiong Qi stressed. "Look at the weather, it'll only get colder by the minute; if not all, there weren't any incidents last night…" His words seemed to contain suspicions and doubts.
"Well, yeah." Lin Qiushi blurted out.
One after another, the remaining three people descended the stairs; Ruan Baijie was the last to come downstairs. She was still wearing that lovely dress of hers, but she added two relatively thick coats on top and wore large, thick winter trousers underneath. Because her skirt was quite long, she walked extremely slowly, but her posture was, nonetheless, peerlessly elegant.
When Lin Qiushi noticed her coming, he awkwardly averted his gaze.
"Qiushi." Ruan Baijie called out his name.
Lin Qiushi helplessly hummed back.
"Why do you ignore this one." Ruan Baijie clamored. "This one wishes to eat your boiled noodles."
Lin Qiushi: "I'll give it to you at noon. It's too late right now."
Ruan Baijie: "That's not what you said in bed last night."
Upon hearing this, Xiao Ke, who was slurping her congee, spluttered, nearly choking to death. Xiong Qi's expression was also complex and indescribable. Whether it was consciously or not, his eyes rapidly shifted between Lin Qiushi and Ruan Baijie.
Lin Qiushi didn't know whether to cry or laugh. "Okay, stop that right now. I truly thank you for last night. I'll cook you some noodles at noon, and I'll even fry two more eggs for you."
"Fine." Ruan Baijie compromised. "Oh, and it'd be even nicer if there were some chopped green onions."
It's already a blessing to have green vegetables to eat on such a cold day. As for those chopped onions or whatnot, forget about them.
After finishing their breakfast and putting on warm clothes, the group picked up their axes and were ready to depart.
They planned to cut down trees in the mountain forest located on the outskirts of the village. There was only a single trail leading to that area. Due to the snow, the path became narrower, allowing only one person to walk at a time.
It was fairly easy going uphill, but he reckoned that it would be increasingly challenging going down the mountains while lugging some cumbersome wood behind. Lin Qiushi mulled over this as he strolled along the narrow path.
Amongst the eleven of them, there was one person who had done some woodworking. It was a middle-aged man around his thirties. He claimed to be carpenter and said that he was able to chop trees to create simple furniture. However, building a coffin wasn't something he was knowledgeable about. He walked ahead, selected a few trees, and began teaching everyone how to cut a tree down.
Most of the people here have never done this sort of thing before. Although they were guided by someone, they were still quite unfamiliar with this and weren't able to master it the first time.
Lin Qiushi took up his axe and struck the tree twice. His first attempt at chopping down a tree only left a faint mark on the tree trunk.
"Your technique is still wrong, ah." Ruan Baijie stood leisurely at his side. Her hands were stuffed in her pockets, and her breaths turned white in the cold air. "You have to use your strength to bring it down; otherwise, how are you supposed to lift an axe that heavy?"
Lin Qiushi: "Have you ever cut a tree?"
Ruan Baijie: "I've seen people chop trees down."
Lin Qiushi uttered, "Oh."
Ruan Baijie added, "Be careful, okay. Don't hurt yourself."
Lin Qiushi nodded his head and continued hacking at the tree with his axe. This was even more troublesome than they'd originally presumed. This entire morning, several large men kept switching turns to cut down the trees; while some would take a break, the others would give it their best to chop the tree down.
"What should we do, Brother Xiong." Someone asked. "Just what should we do?"
Xiong Qi looked at the weather and gnashed his teeth. "Let's go. We'll carry this tree back and continue with this tomorrow."
Although it was only three o'clock in the afternoon, darkness had already painted the skies black; moreover, large swaths of snow began to fall. It looked as if the evening would be plagued by heavy snowfall.
Lin Qiushi: "How many logs in total do we need for a coffin?"
"The village chief said about three." Xiong Qi answered. "Two days of hard work should suffice. Now come, someone lend a hand."
Lin Qiushi had just stepped forward to carry the tree, when he heard Ruan Baijie exclaim, "Aiya, I seem to have twisted my foot. Carry me down the mountain, Qiushi."
Lin Qiushi: "Hah?"
Ruan Baijie: "What do you mean 'Hah'? Well, hurry up, there aren't many people here. What are you causing a ruckus for?"
Lin Qiushi wanted to retort, but Xiong Qi patted him on the shoulder and encouraged, "Go on."
Lin Qiushi: "…" He glanced at Ruan Baijie's expression, but he couldn't make out anything else from her delicate and pitiful appearance. However, his sensitive nose sniffed a hint; his keen intuition told him that Ruan Baijie's sudden, inexplicable request wasn't as simple as he'd imagined.
Ruan Baijie launched her skill: The Wailing Eagle Strikes!
Lin Qiushi suffered damage from her cries. He collapsed to the ground and was dragged home by Ruan Baijie to eat.
1束手就擒—Idiom: Hands tied and waiting to be captured/allow oneself to be seized without putting up a fight/submit without resistance/etc.
2人家—A cute/immature/flirty way of addressing that is strictly used by girls to refer to themselves. It just means 'I' or 'me'; could also be written as 'people' or 'this one'.
Kaleidoscope Of Death Chapter 3
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Kaleidoscope Of Death Chapter 3 summary
You're reading Kaleidoscope Of Death Chapter 3. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: Xī Zǐxù, 西子绪 already has 82 views.
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