The whole Three Water Village was now shrouded in this black fog. The woods they passed through during the day was now a cluster of black shapes.
Xue Meng followed Jiang Lan closely.
Jiang Lan gave him his phone. The phone flashlight was not strong, barely enough to cover a small patch of ground. Xue Meng had to focus on the ground while walking to keep up with Jiang Lan. He noticed Jiang Lan didn’t need a flashlight, walking quickly in the darkness as if he could see everything.
His curiosity was aroused, and he couldn’t keep his mouth shut.” Do we have to walk there? Why not fly there?”
Humans always regarded monsters as omnipotent beings. This impression was further reinforced after Xue Meng witnessed Jiang Lan ripped off that bird’s head. Jiang Lan was much more powerful than that strange bird. Flying shouldn’t be a problem for him.
Jiang Lan glanced at him.” Do you want to fly?”
Xue Meng said.” Of course, who doesn’t dream of flying as a child?”
Jiang Lan wanted his confirmation.” Then I take you to the sky?”
He just felt walking was too slow in a situation like this. If not out of consideration for Xue Meng’s fragile mind, he would definitely choose another mode of transportation.
Xue Meng’s “good” turned into a shriek.
Holding Xue Meng in his mouth, the black beast leapt to the top of a tree and started to jump among the treetops. The expanding black mist and the vague shapes of trees were below them, with the wind blowing past the ears.
Xue Meng ran out of his strength screaming. He took a deep breath and complained, but his faint protest melted in the wind.” I don’t want to fly like this!”
It was totally different from his imagination.
Jiang Lan shook his ears, pretending he didn’t hear it.
In a blink of an eye, they reached the other edge of the woods. Stopping at a treetop, Jiang Lan scanned the nearby landscape. Beyond the woods, there was a small hill, and a cluster of stone tombs leaned against each other at the foot of the hill. The cracks of those domed tombs were filled with dirt and weeds. The few surviving trees were covered with vines, and twisted branches pointed to the sky.
The black cylinder-shaped building they had seen during the day stood behind those tombs with its back against the small hill. Now from their vantage point, they could see that this building was actually a three-storeyed tower. This grey brick tower had a height of five or six meters, with the top in the shape of a drum. The only access inside was a rectangle entrance at the top. There were also some tiny openings on the tower wall.
It turned out that this tower and those stone tombs were the sources of this black mist, which were continuously leaking out from these structures at this moment.
Xue Meng started to count the number of those stone tombs but gave up after a while. He mumbled.” There are too many stone graves….”
None of those stone tombs had a tombstone. The more you looked at them, the scarier those cage-like tombs appeared to be.
Jiang Lan leapt down from the treetop.
Xue Meng didn’t dare to scream this time. With a heart almost leaping out of his throat, he advised Jiang Lan sincerely.” I think we can walk the next time. Walking is a perfect form of exercise, good for our health.”
Jiang Lan winked at him and nudged him with his horn.
This gentle nudge involuntarily pushed Xue Meng to the ground. With a dazed look, he said.” Now I don’t feel what I just went through is real….”
While saying this, he pushed Jiang Lan’s monster head away.” Don’t point your mouth to me. I feel you will rip off my head in the next moment.”
He was deeply traumatized by the sight of the black monster ripping off the bird’s head.
Jiang Lan stopped playing with him. After transforming back into the human form, he squatted down and looked at Xue Meng’s right hand.” Look where you place your hands.”
Xue Meng turned to look and saw among weeds, there were some white hand bones, with some of the hand bones stuck in the crack of a stone tomb as if extending from the graves.
And Xue Meng’s hand was placed on a bone.
Xue Meng was shocked and quickly rose to his feet and bowed to the tomb respectfully while chanting” I don’t mean to offend you, please forgive me” to appease the ghost.
Jiang Lan squatted down and took out a brick, trying to widen the gaps so he could get a glimpse inside the tomb.
Xue Meng stopped chanting and was surprised by what he saw.” This tomb is an empty chamber….”
This finding seemed to remind him of something, and his face turned pale.
“This is….living people’s graves?”
A post he had read before he came here was about the living people’s graves.
Jiang Lan nodded. Pointing to the bones among the tombs, he said.” Those old people above the age of sixty in the Three Water Village should all be here.”
Just as the name indicated, the living people’s graves were used to bury people alive.
Not a long time ago, some people still clung to the belief that old people above the age of sixty have no right to live. If they refuse to die, they will continue their life at the expense of their children’ good fortune. Those children would henceforth mistreat those old people who refuse to die. A tomb would be built with the space just enough to accommodate one old person who had no choice but to live here. A meal would be delivered to the old person while a brick was laid on the tomb wall each day. After a year, the tomb would be completely sealed off, and the old person would be considered properly buried.
If some old persons managed to survive beyond one year, they would be mercilessly sealed in the tomb, alive.
Jiang Lan had seen living people’s graves before, but he had never seen tombs built on a scale like this.
Those tombs leaned close to each other. Old tombs were mingled with new graves. It was impossible to know when this tradition started.
Xue Meng felt a chill down his spine. These tombs meant a great many people had been murdered in cold blood.
Looking around, he felt his heart was sinking. Not too far away, he saw a new tomb decorated with mourning wreaths. This reminded him of the funeral they ran into in the village, and the old person they buried was just at the age of sixty…..He strode to the new tomb with a sinking heart, intending to confirm if the old person was still alive. But what he saw in the tomb froze him with terror.
His voice was trembling, but his body seemed to be fixed on the ground.
Jiang Lan walked over and saw that this tomb was not completely sealed and a body inside was picked clean of flesh. Beside the body stood a young Gu Diao with a height barely reaching an adult’s waist. But its claws and beak were already very sharp.
Jiang Lan loved cubs. But this Gu Diao’s cub couldn’t arouse any soft feelings in his heart.
He grabbed this young Du Diao who was about to attack them and endured its piercing scream with a furrowed brow. He asked Xue Meng to tie its wings with the rope in their bags. Then he broke its beak and claws mercilessly in case it managed to escape. After this was done, he hung the screaming Gu Dio upside down on a dead tree.
The piercing infant crying sound echoed above the burial ground.
Xue Meng was a little panicky.” Are we waiting here?”
“Yes, we wait here.”
Looking around, Jiang Lan pointed to an abandoned coffin behind the tomb.” Please hide in that coffin. After a while, I might get too busy to protect you.”
Xue Meng was a little scared, but he knew he would only drag him down if he stayed here. So he mustered up the courage and opened the coffin cover while praying this was an empty coffin. Luckily it was empty. Taking a breath of relief, he quickly lied down in the coffin and closed the cover.
At this moment, he could hear more screams coming from outside. These sounds were so unbearable that Xue Meng almost knocked his head against the wood.
Soon, these sounds were followed by a powerful and menacing howl, silencing those nearby creatures. Rubbing his painful ears, Xue Meng listened closely.
Two adult Gu Diaos were coming to the young Du Diao’s rescue. They appeared to be much more powerful than the five Gu Diaos who ended up in Jiang Lan’s tummy. Jiang Lan guessed they must be the young Gu Diao’s parents.
After circling around to take a measure of Jiang Lan, they let out an angry scream and dived towards Jiang Lan from left and right.
Jiang Lan raised his head to let out a howl. Flashing his sharp teeth, he leapt towards them….
Outside the Three Water Village.
Under the silent sky, a golden scale dragon was approaching from the distance. With a robust and agile body, he beat his wings against the air. Each wing beat was followed by a thickening cloud and more lightning. A storm was brewing.
Ying Qiao was so worried about Jiang Lan that he couldn’t wait for Cheng Hua and other people and decided to hurry to the Three Water Village alone.
When he arrived, the Three Water Village and surrounding hills and woods were totally covered by the black mist, expanding quickly to cover more area.
Looking down, he squinted his golden dragon eyes, and his dragon roar was followed by a bolt of blinding lightning, striking at the black mist.
The flash of lightning tore open the black mist. After peering through the gap, Ying Qiao swung his tail and dived through the gap.
After getting through the black fog, Ying Qiao saw the Three Water Village. The dilapidated village stood in the black fog, seeming to merge with it. The big tree at the village entrance was dead now, and the weeds had turned brown. The moss covering the wall had already taken on the color of black red.
Ying Qiao jumped to the ground and strode to the village.
The smell of blood was getting more intense when he walked into the village. Even from a distance, he could see the scattering feather, pools of blood, and a man lying on the ground, motionless.
His worry overtook him, and he almost sprinted to the scene with a nervous look on his face.
Being tied tightly, that man had already passed out with a strong smell of urine and blood mixed together, assaulting Ying Qiao’s senses.
Taking a step back with disgust, Ying Qiao saw behind him a door wide open. He turned to walk inside.