In Virtual Reality
;s heart melted instantaneously, and he turned his back to allow his beloved to climb up.
The well that Fang Wen Wen pointed to was around fifty or sixty steps away.
Near the well was a very lush, overgrown Chinese scholar tree (Styphnolobium japonicum).
Given that no houses were nearby, it was most likely a public well.
After trekking for approximately a minute or two, Tian Si De arrived at the well with his girlfriend on his back.
“Wen Wen, we're here.
I'll let you down first.
Be slow so you don't hurt yourself.”
Tian Si De knelt and remained still, allowing his sweetheart to get off his back.
However, she remained motionless.
Was she frightened? Her hands were chilly.
He shivered as he stroked his neck, where Fang Wen Wen's delicate arm lay.
She made no sound.
Was she still angry with him?
Tian Si De couldn't help but turn his head to right, wanting to coax his girlfriend again, but after turning around, he froze.
There was no one there.
Where was Wen Wen?
Dumbfounded, he could only stupidly wonder, 'How could she run that quickly with an injured foot?'
Tian Si De was thinking this when he felt a familiar touch on the back of his neck.
“I'm here ……
Si De ……”
The other woman's icy, sticky words rang in his left ear as the woman's arms curled around Tian Si De's neck.
He felt her moist and frigid breaths on his skin, which brought a fishy, earthy stench.
The youth tensed and jerked his head back to the left.
A woman's wrinkled, bloated face was pressed against his earlobe, and her bulging, blood-filled eyes were fixed on him.
Tian Si De's mind immediately went into alarm mode.
“Then the water ghost dragged me to the bottom of the well, and I had difficulty climbing back up.”
The spectacles on the boy's nose bridge had long since vanished in the murky well water.
He had to squint to vaguely distinguish the face of the person in front of him.
But he was too nearsighted.
He could only identify that the other person was wearing a very bright pink hoodie.
This NPC's storyline was quite original.
The hoodie, AKA Xu Jin Yi, stood up and watched as the unlucky NPC sat on the ground and wrung out what clothes he could to make himself less drippy.
He was thoroughly soaked, like a wretched mouse.
“Hm, I want to go find my girlfriend.” Tian Si De paused in his squeezing and spoke tentatively, “Something is wrong here.
Wen Wen is missing.
She must be scared.”
Xu Jin Yi instantly cheered up.
Oh, ho, was that a new subplot?
“I'll go with you.”
The little pink hoodie made a decision and patted the other person on the shoulder before dragging him to his feet.
Tian Si De wasn't sure why, but he had the impression that the other person's hands were too cold.
It may be just my imagination.
After all, he was the one who saved me.'
After standing up, the first thing Tian Si De did was step away from the water well.
Seeing him act all 'Once bitten, twice shy' hoodie hummed a low laugh.
“Don't worry; if you don't seek the Water Well Ghost's secrets, she won't scare you again.”
The other party's determined voice relaxed Tian Si De a lot, but at the same time, he was also a little curious.
He took a couple rapid steps after the hoodie and inquired, “How do you know that? Is this a haunted house or not?”
“Why isn't it a haunted house? Didn't you see it when you walked in?”
The script the new NPC was holding was “The Tourist Who Went Into a Haunted House by Mistake,” and Xu Jin Yi played along with the role.
“As for me? I'm a tourist like you, but I've played it a couple more times and am more acquainted with it.”
…Could this truly be a haunted house? That is far too big!
Tian Si De was sceptical, but that didn't matter right now.
The most important thing at this point was to locate Fang Wen Wen.
“So, where are we going now?” he inquired.
The hoodie did not even slow down: “To find the folded paper man.
Didn't you first meet him? Your girlfriend likely became involved in the Folded Paper Man's storyline.”
This sounds like a haunted house adventure with an interactive narrative.
Tian Si De, who had no prior knowledge of the haunted house concept in amusement parks, believed it.
They soon returned to the vast courtyard.
The spacious courtyard featured four paths that led to different parts of the little village.
One was the yellow ground from whence Tian Si De and Fang Wen Wen had come; two were stone roads identical to the one he was now on, and the third was paved with green stone slabs.
They made their choice and descended further into the darkness.
——— Translators Notes ———
Zhizha (simplified Chinese: 纸扎; traditional Chinese: 紙紮; pinyin: zhǐzā), or Taoist paper art, is a type of traditional craft, mainly used as offerings in Taoist festive celebrations and funerals.
Zhizha is generally perceived as a form of offering in festive celebrations and funerals.
It is believed to be a substitute for living offerings in a sacrifice.
Young women in ancient China were offered as brides every year to a so called “River God” in exchange for less frequent floods.
To facilitate the exchange, the women would be sacrificed.
This practice was later halted by Ximen Bao of Wei due to ethical concerns.
Zhizha is the present form of offerings.
It only appeared after the maturation of papermaking skills in the Han dynasty.
Its common usage came to reality in Northern Song Dynasty, when burning zhǐmǎ (paper dolls in the shape of animals) and zhǐyǒng (paper tomb figures) became popular. Effigies, which were often produced purposefully to resemble humans, took varied forms in different periods of time, from couch grass, terracotta, and eventually paper.
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