The oil lamps in the ancestral hall were still burning and dancing. There was only this little light in the huge space, and the corners around the ancestral hall were plunged into darkness.

       At times like that, such darkness inevitably instilled fear, as one never knew what might be lurking in the dark corners.

       The only thing that made Song Jun feel at ease was that Xia Hongshen was still holding his hand.

       The knocking on the window just now stopped, and the surroundings had become quiet again, and no sound could be heard. Before Song Jun could breathe a sigh of relief, he suddenly heard ‘knock-knock-knock’ sounds from windows in all directions at the same time.

       Song Jun suddenly held Xia Hongshen’s hand tightly. He was scared. It was difficult for him to imagine what was or how many things were outside, and they seemed to be trapped in this ancestral hall.

       However, Xia Hongshen still looked calm. Even if he heard many knocks on the window at the same time, he did not seem to be panicked at all. By this time, both Long Xing and Feng Junyuan’s expressions had both turned pale.

       There was still thick fog outside, and they couldn’t see anything clearly. They didn’t know what they would encounter if they stepped out of the ancestral hall.

       Xia Hongshen pondered for a moment, then walked back to the oil lamp and reached out to pick up the wick. Song Jun was startled and wanted to stop him. However, before the words came out, when Xia Hongshen’s finger was about to touch the oil lamp, the oil lamp suddenly went out.

       As the oil lamp went out, their vision fell into darkness, and the continuous knocking on the window suddenly stopped.

       Song Jun didn’t scream; maybe he was too scared, but he couldn’t remember how to react for a while.

       “Long Xing,” Song Jun heard Xia Hongshen beside him say in a deep voice, “flashlight.”

       Long Xing was not far away from them and responded, “Oh, okay.”

       There was a rummaging over there, and it seemed that Long Xing was looking for a flashlight. He soon found it, made a soft click, and pressed the flashlight switch, but it didn’t light up.

       Suddenly, there was someone beside Song Jun who took his left hand, and then he heard Feng Junyuan’s voice next to him, “Is it broken?”

       Song Jun breathed a sigh of relief. He felt that Feng Junyuan’s hand was cold, and he guessed that he was probably feeling scared, so he took the initiative to hold his hand.

       Long Xing responded, “Yeah, it seems to be broken. Wait a minute, I’ll look for the lighter in my backpack.”

       He continued to rummage through his backpack in the darkness.

       Xi Anling was still standing by the door, urging uneasily, “Hurry up.”

       Long Xing was a little anxious because of her urging and said, “Don’t worry, I remember it’s in this bag.” After a moment, he said happily, “I found it.”

       ‘Click’ Long Xing lit the lighter, and the light returned to the ancestral hall instantly. However, the flame lasted less than a second and then went out immediately.

       In that extremely brief moment of light, Song Jun discovered something that instantly froze the blood in his body. He saw Feng Junyuan standing next to a window, looking in the direction of Long Xing, not by his side at all.

       At the same time, Song Jun also heard Xi Anling scream. The girl’s voice was slightly shrill, especially scary in the silence. She said, “Song Jun, who is next to you?”

       Click, click, click. Long Xing continued to try the lighter in his hand, but it couldn’t light up.

       Who was next to Song Jun? He didn’t even know who it was. All he knew was that he was still holding that hand, as cold and stiff as a dead person.

       Who was holding his left hand? Who was holding his right hand? Who was Long Xing? Who was Feng Junyuan? What was this place? Which of what he saw and heard was true? Which one was fake?

       Song Jun couldn’t tell the difference anymore. He shook off the hand being held, not just his left hand, but also the hand holding Xia Hongshen on the right. He began to panic and tried to escape and stumbled a few steps. His body hit the altar table, and because of the heavy impact, the spiritual tablets placed on it fell to the ground with a crackle.

       “Song Jun,” someone grabbed his arm and called his name.

       Song Jun tried to break away in panic, “Who are you?”

       However, the man’s hand was very strong, and he could not break free. He heard the man say to him, “I am Xia Hongshen.”

       “Senior Brother Xia?” Song Jun murmured.

       Xia Hongshen said, “It’s me; don’t be afraid.”

       Next, Xia Hongshen put his arms around his shoulders and held him in his arms.

       Song Jun could feel the warmth of Xia Hongshen’s embrace. His head rested on his shoulder, and he opened his arms to hug him. His chest was pressed tightly together. He could feel Xia Hongshen’s heartbeat.

       He finally relaxed himself and slowly closed his eyes.



       Song Jun was stunned; who was talking?

       “Cousin?” The voice sounded above him again.

       Xia Hongshen? Song Jun opened his eyes and suddenly found that the surroundings became brighter. He raised his head and saw the person holding him in front of him. He was shocked to find that this person was not Xia Hongshen.

       “Cousin? What’s wrong with you?” The man was still calling him.

       Song Jun asked in confusion, “Who are you?”

       The man smiled, “What’s wrong with you? I’m your cousin. How come you don’t recognise me in the blink of an eye?”

       “Cousin?” Song Jun repeated and then asked, “Who am I?”

       The man’s laughter was endearing, “You are Wan Mingguang. What’s wrong? You don’t even recognise yourself after staying abroad?”

       Wan Mingguang? That’s right, he is not Song Jun. He is Wan Mingguang. He was the eldest son of the Wan family. His family was the richest landowner in these dozens of miles, and this entire mountain belonged to his Wan family.

       He lifted his head and found himself inside Wan’s ancestral hall. Right, he had brought an oil lamp from outside, rumoured to be a celadon lamp from Ru kiln1is a famous and extremely rare type of Chinese pottery from the Song dynasty, produced for the imperial court for a brief period around 1100.. He personally placed the oil lamp on the ancestral altar in the hall, then knelt down, sincerely offering a stick of incense to their ancestors.

       However, after Wan Mingguang successfully returned to his hometown, less than five years later, the Japanese invaded. That year, the entire villager was driven to the Wanjia Ancestral Hall by the Japanese, who wanted to burn them all to death.

       The whole villager knelt inside the ancestral hall. When they saw the Japanese setting up firewood and pouring diesel on them outside, no one dared to stand up and resist.

       Wan Mingguang was kneeling in the crowd. His chest was heaving violently because of his anger. One of his hands was bleeding when he pinched it. He was so angry that he wanted to stand up, but his cousin held his hand.

       His cousin shook his head at him. Those Japanese had guns, and if he dared to stand up, the first one would be killed.

       It was not that they didn’t want to resist; it was that they were powerless in the face of the black hole of gunfire.

       A Japanese man picked up the oil lamp on the altar table and threw it towards the firewood. The lamp did not break and quickly ignited the firewood.

       The people in the ancestral hall started to riot. No one wanted to be burned alive. However, no one expected that the ignited firewood would not ignite the entire ancestral hall, but instead, as if there were evil spirits, the flames rushed toward the Japanese.

       The Japanese’s whole body was quickly ignited by fire. Even if they tried to run down the mountain and rolled on the ground, they could not extinguish the fire on their bodies. The people in this village watched as this group of Japanese were burned alive by the fire in front of them.

       “The ancestors are showing up!” someone shouted loudly.

       Everyone in the village knelt and kowtowed to the ancestral tablets.

       Wan Mingguang stood up and walked to the darkened firewood, picked up the oil lamp, wiped it carefully with the hem of his clothes, and then placed it back on the altar table with his hands high.

       Then he knelt down and kowtowed three times respectfully.

       From that day on, the whole village respected this oil lamp as a god and passed it down from generation to generation to keep the lamp burning forever.

       However, things changed, and more than twenty years later, Wan Mingguang was tied up in this ancestral hall. The young people surrounded him and condemned him because he was the son of a landlord and a remnant of feudalism. There was a sign around his neck and a hat on his head. Someone was chanting his accusations loudly, and another was pressing his head to the ground. His forehead was rubbed on the ground until it was stained with blood.

       He saw his cousin also standing in the crowd, who could not bear to look at him but did not dare to stand up and say a word.

       The charges were announced, and he was surrounded by those young people who punched and kicked him. This condemnation was his last experience, and in this instance, looked at the oil lamp on the altar table in front of him and breathed his last.

       He was not willing to give in. How could he be willing to do so? It was the oil lamp he brought back that saved the lives of the whole village, but these young people whipped and beat him mercilessly, causing him to die without dignity. He would never be able to rest in peace forever.

       Wan Mingguang died, and at the same time, the light of the oil lamp began to dim slowly and slowly. Until twenty years ago, the oil lamp was completely extinguished. The villagers tried many methods and added more lamp oil, but the lamps were not lit anymore.

       The day after the oil lamp went out, two young people in the village had an accident and drowned while playing in the river.

       People in Wanjia Village began to panic, thinking that the boy’s accident was related to the extinguishing of the oil lamp. To this end, the villagers invited a famous medium from a nearby village to ask the gods. After communicating with the ‘gods’ in the ancestral hall, the medium told them that they had to use young people as sacrifices and human oil as lamp oil to light the oil lamps again.

       The villagers were sceptical. Someone added the body oil of the dead boy to the lamp oil, and sure enough, the lamp was lit again.

       This oil lamp couldn’t be extinguished. Once the oil lamp was extinguished, the whole village would suffer. These were the words left by the medium before she left.

       The whole village sat around and discussed for several days and nights, and finally decided to select a young man from the whole village as a sacrifice every year and use their body fat as lamp oil to keep the lamp alive.

       In order to provide sacrifices and, at the same time to maintain the continuity of descendants, people in the village strive to have more sons. As long as they were not selected as sacrifices after their age, they could grow up safely…


       “Song Jun?” Feng Junyuan squatted next to Song Jun and gently reached out to pat his face.

       Song Jun was still unconscious. He suddenly fainted after being held in Xia Hongshen’s arms. Xia Hongshen put him on the ground, but he never woke up.

       Before they knew it, the sky outside had begun to turn white, and the fog seemed to have dissipated.

       At this time, there were many footsteps outside the ancestral hall, and someone shouted loudly, “What the hell! How dare you run wild in the Wanjia Ancestral Hall! Get out of here!”

       Xi Anling looked out from the crack in the door and saw villagers holding flashlights in their hands and others carrying wooden sticks and hatchets, gathering outside the ancestral hall.

       Someone wanted to break in but was stopped by the old man at the front. He said that he would not desecrate the ancestral hall and told everyone inside to get out.

       “What should we do?” Xi Anling said, “We are surrounded.”

       At this time, Feng Junyuan shouted, “Song Jun is awake.”

       Song Jun slowly opened his eyes and looked at Feng Junyuan squatting in front of him.

       Xia Hongshen turned to look at him and said, “He is not Song Jun.”

       Feng Junyuan was stunned, and then he saw Song Jun’s eyes glowing red and grabbed his neck.

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