Kaleidoscope Of Death Chapter 6
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The night was dark and deep. Carrying lit torches in their hands, the people marched through the biting chilliness and tempestuous winds.
The heavy snowfall had stopped a while ago, but the harsh winds were still blowing fiercely. The ground beneath Lin Qiushi's feet crunched with every step he took. He wore thick clothes and forcefully tugged his hat down, covering his ears and his cheeks. His back was slightly hunched forward, and a charming young woman was clinging to his back.
There were no small talks during the journey. The atmosphere was solemn and grim.
When the temple the carpenter mentioned appeared before everyone's eyes, someone finally broke this despotic silence.
"Is this the temple?" Zhang Zishuang opened his mouth. "This temple looks…awfully grotesque."
Indeed, in the dim light of the night, this temple did seem rather odd. At first glance, it looked very old-fashioned, but if one took a closer look, one would discover that this temple was quite exquisite. The relief sculpture on the pillars of the doorway were unlike anything people had ever seen.
Lin Qiushi carefully set Ruan Baijie down on the ground and lifted his burning torch to study the intricate details of the relief sculpture on the pillars. He found a depiction of the Eighteen Layers of Hell carved on the relief sculpture. It didn't matter whether one gazed upon the malevolent devils or perhaps at the wretched, suffering souls, everything on these columns appeared so vivid and lifelike.
"This pillar is remarkably beautiful." Ruan Baijie suddenly praised.
"It is rather magnificent." Lin Qiushi agreed.
This relief sculpture certainly didn't seem to be a creation of this retrograde, shabby mountain village. Such an elegant work of art could only be considered a glorious masterpiece.
If it weren't for the fact that he had more important things at hand to focus on right now, perhaps Lin Qiushi would've taken his sweet time to appraise and appreciate such an artwork.
"Who's first?" Xiong Qi asked.
He had asked who wanted to go first, but nobody stepped forth or answered. Something like this was honestly too dangerous. If entering the temple triggered one of the conditions for death, wouldn't the first person to go inside be a sacrificial victim?
"Why do we have to go in alone?" Ruan Baijie contended. "What if that old man is deceiving us?"
Xiong Qi responded, "But listening to him is still much better than going against his advice."
Ruan Baijie: "That isn't necessarily true." She turned her head to face Lin Qiushi. "Qiushi, I'm so scared. Let's go in together, just the two of us."
Upon hearing her request, Lin Qiushi hesitated a bit. "But what if two people entering the temple at the same time triggers a condition?"
Ruan Baijie declared, "Currently, we don't have the answers to everything. But I'd rather take this gamble. After all, no one really knows what will happen when one person goes in alone." After she finished saying this, she eyed the temple in front that was shrouded by darkness. "In any case…what goes inside may be a single person, yet we cannot be certain that whatever comes back outside will be human, it may be something else."
Her words caused penetrating shivers to run down everyone's spine; goosebumps appeared all over their bodies, and Lin Qiushi wasn't an exception. He lifted his hands and vigorously rubbed his arms. Staring at Ruan Baijie's expression, he finally clenched his teeth, "Okay."
Xiong Qi knitted his brows. "Don't you guys understand what you're doing? If two people are…"
He seemingly wanted to persuade the both of them, but he was interrupted by Ruan Baijie. "Then what about if one person goes in alone? Who's to say what's going to happen then?"
That was certainly the case. Xiong Qi had no choice but to shut his mouth at this fact.
"It's none of our business as to how you arrange the order." Ruan Baijie's voice was soft. "The day is cold. Qiushi, let us go on ahead. Once it's over, we can return home early, and go to bed."
Her mention of sleep reminded everyone of the dreadful night that was to come. If they continued to dawdle at this place any longer, they'd most likely waste their entire night here, and whatever occurred at that time would be completely incontrollable.
"Let's go." Ruan Baijie hooked her arm around Lin Qiushi's, her entire body was glued to his side.
Lin Qiushi had already become accustomed to Ruan Baijie's touchy-feely nature. He bit down on his own lip then gave a brisk nod.
Thereupon, the two individuals strode forwards and entered the temple before them.
The others stared at their backs and sank into a moment of silence.
The wooden door to the temple was ajar, and the inside of the temple was pitch-black; they couldn't see anything. Ruan Baijie extended her hand and lightly pushed open the door in front of her.
The door creaked open, and the pressurized air inside hit them in the face, assaulting all their senses.
Lin Qiushi sniffed the air and detected a faint fragrance. This scent was so vague and weak, but it was strikingly inharmonious with this environment.
Using the dim light from the flames of his torch, Lin Qiushi studied the decorations in the temple.
The temple wasn't large, and its structure was quite simple. Set directly in the center of the temple was an incense altar as well a statue of a deity; a huge merit box lay beside those objects. There seemed to be something inscribed on the merit box, but because he was too far away, Lin Qiushi couldn't distinguish those engravings.
"Come on." Ruan Baijie uttered.
The two continued to move forwards and headed towards the cattail hassock before the deity.
The statue was a figure of Buddha. Though Lin Qiushi didn't recognize this Bodhisattva, its appearance was benevolent; it emanated an air of altruism and carried the impression of one who'd deliver all living creatures from suffering, one who'd offer salvation to sentient beings
Ruan Baijie's expression was unconditionally tranquil and peaceful. She knelt down on the cattail hassock and bowed, paying her utmost respects to the Buddha statue.
Lin Qiushi stood beside her and held his breath.
This state of quietude was maintained for a while. Nothing happened. The Buddha statue was as merciful and gracious as before. His half-closed eyes serenely gazed upon his believers in silence. Apart from the howling winds outside, the placid temple gave people a peace of mind.
Lin Qiushi eventually relaxed his nerves.
"It's all right." Ruan Baijie stood up and patted the dust off her knees. "Come."
Lin Qiushi nodded, handed the torch to Ruan Baijie, then kneeled down on the cattail hassock to begin worshipping. Lin Qiushi didn't know what thoughts ran through Ruan Baijie's head as she prayed, but, in any case, he himself was very pious as he paid his respects; he solemnly prayed for sanctuary from the god before him.
"Well." He didn’t move that much, yet these slight movements seemed to have drained all the strength from his body. Seeing that nothing happened after he finished praying, Lin Qiushi breathed out a deep sigh of relief.
"Let's go." Ruan Baijie turned around. "We should leave."
And so, the two people slowly strolled out of the temple.
When the people standing outside saw that the two were unharmed and intact, they all exposed an expression of shock. "Nothing happened?" Xiong Qi wondered.
Lin Qiushi shook his head. "Nothing."
Although no one said anything, the expressions on everyone's faces were awfully strange; some of them even shuffled their feet in unease and agitation.
"Why don't we just go in pairs?" Xiong Qi suggested. "Since the other two are fine…"
"Are you sure nothing's happened to them?" One of the group members vigilantly watched Ruan Baijie and Lin Qiushi. "Just moments ago, she said that those who go inside might not necessarily be what we think they are when they come back outside. How can we be certain that the two of them are still human?"
Lin Qiushi, the man whose identify was being suspected of, opened his mouth in an attempt to explain, but Ruan Baijie simply waved her hand, preventing him from speaking out. She apathetically spit out, "We won't advise you or persuade you to do anything. You all do as you wish."
"Brother Xiong, I'm scared, too." Xiao Ke whimpered. "Can we also go in together?"
Xiong Qi seemed rather hesitant.
Those who lacked great courage began searching for partners, while those who were obstinate stubbornly refused to go against the elderly carpenter's words.
"You guys choose what you want to do for yourselves." At last, Xiong Qi made up his mind. "Xiao Ke, we'll go inside together."
Pleasantly surprised, Xiao Ke energetically bobbed her head up and down.
According to the order they had decided beforehand, the second one to enter the temple was a single man. He went into the temple by himself, and he came back out a while later. He didn't seem to have encountered any accidents the entire time. It's just that when he walked out, he had a dubious expression on his face. He appeared to have wanted to say something.
However, he wasn't able to express his thoughts on time, and, by then, the third group had already entered the temple.
"What did you two see in the temple?" In hushed whispers, the man who had entered the temple all alone tentatively probed Lin Qiushi for answers.
"We didn't see anything." Lin Qiushi replied. "Just a statue of a deity and a cattail hassock."
"Didn't you think that statue was a bit strange?" The man grumbled. "I've never seen a god like that in my entire life."
Lin Qiushi rapidly blinked his eyes in bewilderment at his words. He simply couldn't understand what the man was trying to convey.
The man then lowered his voice even more. "Don't tell me you also saw it? That god's appearance was really too weird…"
Still unable to make any sense of what the man was saying, Lin Qiushi quickly shook his head, but immediately after, he paused. As he brooded over this for a moment, a faint, chilling suspicion tickled the back of his mind, gradually filling him with a sense of dread. "You…what kind of god did you see exactly?"
"It was a woman." As soon as this sentence flew out of his mouth, the small smile on Lin Qiushi's face instantaneously dropped. The man was still describing his account under his breath, and he didn't notice Lin Qiushi's twisted expression. Still having not realized something was terribly off with the other, he continued, "It was a Bodhisattva, and yet it wasn't Bodhisattva at all, at least it didn't feel like one. She stared down at me with this wide smile on her face. And the thing she was clutching tightly to didn't resemble any holy artifact that a god should be holding in their hands, it was more like…"
Rather blasé, Lin Qiushi insipidly questioned, "What was it like?"
"It was more like…an axe used to cut trees." Upon muttering this, the man turned his head slightly and shot a glance at the temple. "After I finished praying, she seemed to have moved…" At this point, he finally looked back at Lin Qiushi and found Lin Qiushi's expression to be quite ugly. "What about you guys? Did you guys also see it?"
"No." Though it was beyond cruel, Lin Qiushi frankly told the man the truth. "The statue of Buddha we saw was completely different from the one you saw."
"How different??" The man's complexion instantly changed once he heard this. He urgently demanded, "What kind of god did you guys see??"
"The Bodhisattva we saw…" Lin Qiushi revealed, "was male."
The man's face was as white as a sheet. Terror-stricken, he slowly turned his head around and gaped at the temple. His eyes were filled with sheer horror and despair. Trembles wracked his body, and jumbled whispers flew from his mouth. He vehemently denied it, "No, impossible, it's impossible, it can't be. How can this be? You two definitely have problems. It's you, it must to be you…" After saying this, he alertly shifted his eyes around and cautiously observed at his surroundings, as if afraid that the words he had uttered might've been overheard by others.
The third group to enter was Xiong Qi and Xiao Ke. When the two came out, their expressions were also very calm. It seemed that nothing strange had happened to them.
The fourth group was next in line…then the fifth… There were both men and women in these groups; some groups held only one person, while others were composed of two people. It wasn't long before the clever Lin Qiushi quickly grasped the pattern. If one person went inside by himself, he would always come back outside with a dark and abysmal expression.
When the very last person came out, everyone finally realized there was a pattern—those who went inside alone ended up seeing an image of a deity that was completely different to the one seen by those who had entered in pairs.
Lin Qiushi and the others who went in pairs saw the image of a magnanimous Bodhisattva. But the individuals who entered without any partners only saw a woman. An eerie woman grinning morbidly and carrying a bulky axe in her hands.
"Surely, they're the ones who must be wrong, it has to be. We clearly followed the carpenter's advice…" Upon discovering this, one of members broke down, his mind began to collapse. He rambled endlessly. "It's not a mistake. We couldn't have made a mistake. The god is obviously that woman…yes, it can't be anything but that woman…"
Lin Qiushi could only console them. "These things haven't been ascertained yet, you don't have to be so nervous."
Yet, in reality, everyone clearly knew deep in their hearts that a woman could never be the image of a deity in a temple; after all, which temple would enshrine such a thing?
"Yup, it hasn't been confirmed." Ruan Baijie giggled happily. She gracefully lifted her arm and twirled a strand of her hair, then softly snickered, "Besides, so many people entered the temple together. Even we die, at least we certainly won't be dying alone."
"Would you stop laughing?" Xiao Ke rudely interjected at the side.
"Why should I stop laughing?" Ruan Baijie coldly retorted. "It's better to die with smile than to die while crying your eyes out."
Just as she finished saying this, someone exclaimed, "You guys, quick, look at the pillars!"
Lin Qiushi heard these words and lifted his eyes to take a look, only to unexpectedly find the relief sculpture on the pillars slowly beginning to distort and warp.
Kaleidoscope Of Death Chapter 6
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Kaleidoscope Of Death Chapter 6 summary
You're reading Kaleidoscope Of Death Chapter 6. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: Xī Zǐxù, 西子绪 already has 84 views.
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