The Record of Unusual Creatures 1184 Where Time Stands Still
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The old man, as expected, was the village head, who told Hao Ren that the place was called Narim, a small village with only hundreds of population that rarely had contact with the outside world. During the conversation, Hao Ren found that the extent of the village's isolation was beyond belief: the old village head did not even know what era it was now on the outside. Whenever Hao Ren mentioned things about the outside world, the village head would respond perfunctorily with a standard reply. "Ahh, do we still need to worry about the outside world when we are living in such a serene and peaceful place?"
After a while of conversation, Hao Ren mentioned the purpose of them here.
"We are here looking for someone whose name is Fernan," said Hao Ren, according to what he learned from Hesperides. "He is a strong man, almost seven feet tall, with a scar over the eye. Ahh, maybe he is also known in another name, but I can't recall it. He an old friend of my uncle."
The old village head frowned as if he was rummaging in his memory before shaking his head in reply. "I can't recall such a person in the village. There has never been such a visitor. Judging from his build as you have said, I would have remembered him."
Hao Ren and Hesperides looked at each other. The village head's reply was regrettable though not entirely unexpected.
"He may have moved," Hesperides whispered. "It is common to keep changing his hiding place."
"It is late now. Please be my guests and stay for the night," the old village head spoke again. "It is better to start looking tomorrow as it is not safe to go into the forest at night."
"We don't want to trouble you," Lily said. "We have a place to stay."
"Please accept my invitation." The old village head insisted with great enthusiasm. "It is our honor to have visitors from afar. It would be rude for us to let our guests leave, especially in the evening. You should try the m.u.f.fins we made with berry, which you wouldn't find anywhere else."
Hao Ren looked up at the evening sky. He could not find any problem with the old village head but still felt something strange in the air. As the night fells, the village head kept urging them to stay. Just as he was thinking about how to decline the invitation, the village head said something that changed his mind completely. "Oh, two days ago, a few visitors have come, and they are still here. If you stay tonight, you may be able to continue your journey with them tomorrow."
Someone else had also found this place? Hao Ren thought.
Hao Ren and his team suddenly became suspicious: the village was not on any map. As Hesperides said, the village, hidden in an untouched forest, was almost dead three centuries ago. Under this circ.u.mstance, who would have come to the village other than the supernatural team of Hao Ren?
Or was there anyone else wanting to find Hercules?
They discussed for a while and at last, decided to stay for the night. In one hand, they could check out what was going on in the village; and on the other hand, they would like to meet the mysterious visitors too.
There was no hotel in the small village, only a big house dedicated to receiving guests. It was a two-story wooden longhouse, just as old and broken as other houses, but still st.u.r.dy and clean. The village head took Hao Ren and his team to the longhouse and left. Before leaving, the village head said he would see them again at dinner, where the mysterious visitors would also be present.
After the old village head and several villagers left, Vivian stretched and said, "It is so strange."
"This place is weird," Lily said as she nodded. As dumb as Lily was, her beast instinct nonetheless worked like a charm. "Whether it is the village head or the villagers, they all have a strange vibe—depressing and fake."
"Who else besides us will come to this place?" Hao Ren looked at Hesperides. "Does anyone else know about Hercules' hiding place here? Is anyone else interested in him?"
"Only the demon hunters will want to track him down. But since the killing is over, they have no reason to find Hercules now." Hesperides said, shaking her head lightly. "Maybe the visitors are just ordinary folks who accidentally stumped upon this place. This village might be isolated from the rest of the world and appeared strange; it is still physically present in this world; people who lost their way may also have unwittingly found this place."
"We may know the answer once we meet the 'visitors,' who could have been trapped her. I have a bad feeling about this village. The people here may be alive, but it feels like I have walked into a grave."
"Gshaaaa—" A voice was heard in Hao Ren's backpack, which was a necessary camouflage.
Probably the little Malevolence was the only one unaware of the atmosphere here.
Just before nightfall, Lily mooched around in the longhouse. After a while, she seemed to have found something and ran back up to Hao Ren. "Mr. Landlord! This place has no electricity!"
"Of course. Which country would extend the power grid into the forest?" Vivian said.
"No, I mean, there is not even a piece of cable here, not a light bulb!" Lily said with her arms akimbo. "As remote as this place is, wouldn't there be some power sources like a small diesel generator, hydroelectric generator, and the like? But this place is like nothing here. You will only see oil lamps hanging on the wall."
Hao Ren froze for a moment. Lily had pointed out the peculiarity, but he still could not help coming up with a counter-argument. "Many remote villages in other parts of the world also look like this place."
But look, the oil lamps look like they are of the era of three centuries ago. So too, the furniture." Hesperides got to her feet and looked around. "Nothing here is modern. The most obvious is the houses outside; there were here when I came three hundred years ago, and they are still the same today. Even if the houses have undergone renovation, it should not look exact untouched."
Things were weird. But Hao Ren did not look nervous at all. Looking at the old lamps on the wall with interest, he whistled and said, "It's a place where time stands still."
Armed with three years of experience as an inspector, Hao Ren could now finally say confidently: I'm battle-hardened and have seen stranger places; a time-stands-still village is no big deal!
"If the time in this village indeed stands still, the villagers here..." Vivian suddenly frowned as she began to conjecture, "could be from three hundred years ago."
Hesperides shook her head immediately. "No, there are not. I'm sure."
"The village was still normal when you came here last time, so it must have changed since then. It is only natural that you don't find anyone familiar here," Hao Ren said.
"Well, this should be the case. The s.p.a.ce and time of the village may have been distorted, which most likely has something to do with Hercules. We—"
"Shh... someone is coming," Lily said as her ears flickered.
They immediately stopped talking. Soon, some voices came from outside the longhouse before the old village head, and several villagers came in.
"I'm sorry to let you wait," the old village head said with a friendly smile. "It is our common belief that guests from afar are an auspice. Please come with me. Dinner is ready."
Hao Ren exchanged a look with the others. They decided to follow eyes with other people and decided to dance to the tune of the villagers and see how things would unfold.
"You said before that there are a few foreign guests. Are they all there?" Vivian asked casually.
"Of course," said a villager with a loud voice. "You will see them."
Upon leaving the longhouse, the village head brought them to a vast open s.p.a.ce in the middle of the village.
The food was ready on long wooden tables. Bonfire for illumination purposes was burning ferociously as the aroma of food floated in the air. The villagers had gathered. It was noisy, but the atmosphere was vivacious.
The overall atmosphere of the village was still bizarre, but it seemed that there was an added scent of humans.
Immediately, Hao Ren saw the group of outsiders, which was conspicuous among the locals.
The old village head did not lie; foreign visitors other than Hao Ren and his team were here.
Vivian had a strange expression on her face when she saw the outsiders. She mumbled as she stared at one of the outsiders, "Hey, Hao Ren, do you find that guy looks rather familiar?"
The Record of Unusual Creatures 1184 Where Time Stands Still
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The Record of Unusual Creatures 1184 Where Time Stands Still summary
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