As someone that hates bugs, this chapter thoroughly disgusted me. I can’t decide if this death was worse, or if melting into a puddle of blood was worse.
Also, please keep an eye out for an important upcoming announcement on the site and/or the Discord server!
Translated by: TaffyGirl13
Chapter 8: Bees
Shao Yue Ting was dead. When Ye Xiao and Su Mu saw her corpse, they were both shocked.
They had always assumed Shao Yue Ting was the murderer who had killed Yang Wen Jie, Zhou Yue, and finally her own older sister. Yet they had not imagined that now, she herself had died in the exact same manner the others had.
The dried-up shrunken body, the withered face, the gaping wide mouth, and the needle-like blood spot on the side of her neck. These traces all indicated that Shao Yue Ting had been murdered by someone else.
But who exactly was that someone else?
Ye Xiao felt a headache as he stared at the body on the floor. “If we go by the conclusion of our previous hypothesis, Shao Yue Ting is a member of that whatever mysterious family. Then that means she is probably not the only member in this house. There must be another one that can also grow fangs and produce a needle from its mouth that killed Shao Yue Ting.”
Su Mu crouched by the ground and put on his gloves before using a finger to probe around the inside of the corpse’s mouth. “The needle in her mouth seems to have been hidden away. I’m afraid the specifics of her condition will remain unknown until the autopsy.”
Ye Xiao sighed and said, “The perpetrator who murdered Shao Yue Ting is likely among the few downstairs. For the time being, we can disregard Ma Hong Liang, whose freedom is restricted. Yan Kai, Zhang Xiao Long, Yuan Meng Yu, Xue Qing, and that twelve-year old girl, Duo Duo—the culprit must be among these five.
“Why is the perpetrator killing these people? Shao Yue Ting’s murder of Shao Yue Hua can be said to have a motive behind it. Then what about Yang Wen Jie and Zhou Yue? For what reason did they have to die? And it’s uncertain what Feng Jing Jing encountered to have somehow turned into a pool of blood. But when her incident occurred, everyone was waiting in the living room. Who was the person that killed her then?”
Ye Xiao muttered a bunch to himself. As he spoke, he abruptly recalled that pair of crimson eyes that he had seen in the air ducts.
“I have the feeling that…” He murmured, “Aside from us, there is still another person’s existence in this house. Another…person we cannot see.”
The moment he said this, a voice rang out from behind him.
“Yes, that’s right. I’ve had that same feeling this entire time as well.”
Ye Xiao turned his head to spot Yuan Meng Yu standing at the doorway staring straight at him.
“Miss Yuan, you…”
“Now that things have reached this point, I figure it’s best for me to tell you this whether you believe me or not.” Yuan Meng Yu lightly bit her lip before continuing, “Actually…actually while on the train, I saw a fifteenth person in the carriage.”
“A fifteenth person?” Ye Xiao’s brows knit together in astonishment.
“Yes. I did not clearly see the person’s appearance, but I did see their eyes.” Yuan Meng Yu’s shoulders shrank back in fear as she went on, “Later when everyone was leaving the carriage in succession, this person came along as well, following us the entire way here.”
“You mean to say that there is another person in the shadows right here in the house?” Ye Xiao met her eyes.
She nodded and added, “Or a ghost.”
Ye Xiao fell silent and did not reply.
Indeed, there was a ghost here—
He had strongly believed this since that moment when he had been crawling through the air ducts.
Su Mu spoke up from next to him. “Is this the reason you came up to find us?”
Yuan Meng Yu was taken aback for a moment. She shook her head and recalled the initial reason for her coming upstairs. In a rushed voice, she replied, “That…that criminal you guys arrested. He seems…to be unwell.”
Ye Xiao clicked his tongue and impatiently huffed, “That guy is probably trying to play some kind of trick again, isn’t he? Oi, Dead Fish Eyes, let’s go down and take a look to make sure he doesn’t stir up any trouble. The current situation is messy enough as it is.”
He and Su Mu headed downstairs together.
The moment they reached the staircase, they heard a series of coughs.
“Cough cough…cough cough cough…”
Ma Hong Liang was weakly sitting on the steps. When he saw Ye Xiao and the others come down, his coughs immediately became more violent. With one hand clutching his chest, he miserably said, “Mr. Officer, I…cough cough…I feel terrible…cough cough cough…”
Ye Xiao looked at him and asked “What’s the matter with you?”
“I…cough cough…I don’t know either…”
Ma Hong Liang tugged a corner of Ye Xiao’s clothes and pathetically said, “My chest hurts so much…cough cough…Since just now…cough cough…I’ve kept…kept…coughing nonstop…cough cough cough…”
“Oi, I’m warning you now, you’d better not fake your death on me.” Ye Xiao studied him with a frown. “No matter how much you act, I won’t undo your handcuff, so forget about any chance of slipping away.”
“I-I’m not trying to slip away…cough cough…I…cough cough cough…I really am…cough cough…unwell…cough cough…cough cough cough cough…cough cough cough cough…”
As Ma Hong Liang spoke, his coughing grew more severe. By the end, he was practically unable to breathe.
Ye Xiao kept his eyes on him while helplessly scratching his head. It appeared that this guy really had caught some kind of chill. Thus, he turned towards the few in the living room and asked, “Did anyone bring medicine?”
They exchanged looks with each other. In the end, Zhang Xiao Long raised a hand and quietly stated, “I-I brought cold medicine.”
As he spoke, he pulled out a box from his bag and passed it over.
Ye Xiao lowered his head to glance at it before asking, “Do you want to take medicine?”
Ma Hong Liang nodded while gasping between coughs.
Ye Xiao removed a white tablet from the box and grabbed a bottle of spring water for the man.
Ma Hong Liang swallowed the tablet and down several gulps of water. As he struggled to breathe, he muttered, “So weird, why did I suddenly…cough cough…suddenly start coughing like this…cough cough…”
Indeed, the current temperature was not that cold. Moreover, he had stayed in the house the entire time and had never left, so it was impossible to have caught a chill. In that case, how had he abruptly started coughing so fiercely?
While everyone found this a strange question, no one considered it closely.
After a while, Ye Xiao and Su Mu sat at the table.
Zhao Fei Peng’s body had already been moved to the corner and covered with clothes to conceal that extremely sinister face. However, there was still a faint stench of blood in the air of the living room.
Yan Kai looked down as he fiddled with his camera lens and talked to himself. “Even the younger twin sister is dead. Does that mean there’s only one person left now?”
Everyone started, a faint shadow flashing through their hearts.
Yuan Meng Yu shot Yan Kai an indignant look. “Could you please not say it like that?”
Yan Kai’s head shot up to glance around. He hurriedly chuckled awkwardly and replied, “Sorry, sorry, I didn’t do it on purpose. Don’t pay it any mind, I was just speaking nonsense.”
Then he slapped his own mouth.
No one spoke again. They simply sat still, as though waiting—waiting for a sudden death or an inconceivable rescue.
They did not know what would happen the next second, and could only silently pray for a miracle to arrive.
The entire living room sank into an unusually stifling silence. Ye Xiao’s eyes swept across all of their faces while pondering exactly which of the five before him was the true perpetrator behind Shao Yue Ting’s murder.
First was the photojournalist sitting across from him, Yan Kai, who had given off a dependable feeling the entire time. He was smooth and skilled at communication, but he very rarely disclosed his own thoughts. The words from his mouth did not represent his inner thoughts, making him quite two-faced. Furthermore, the theory of the seven tombstones had also been his suggestion, which had later led to the violent-tempered Zhao Fei Peng to lose rationale on the spot before ultimately losing his life.
Sitting next to Yan Kai was Zhang Xiao Long, a constant yes-man. However, it was always people like this who looked cowardly and mediocre that hid an unknown face deep inside.
Then it was the mysterious enigma-like woman Xue Qing, who never took off her black robe. The only thing everyone knew of her was from her initial self-introduction—she was a fortune-teller with a street booth. This strange profession sounded a bit ridiculous at first, but whether by coincidence or not, her tarot card divinations never failed to be extremely “accurate”.
After her was the intern psychologist, Yuan Meng Yu. She was a gentle and quiet girl with a natural bearing and meticulous thoughts. While she did not particularly love talking, she would still stand up during critical moments. She was a very righteous type of person but…But for some reason, she seems to be hiding a secret…
Ye Xiao touched the soft handkerchief in his pocket and did not continue this train of thought.
Finally, his eyes shifted over to the red-clothed little girl sitting by Yuan Meng Yu’s side. Her whole name was Jin Duo Duo, age twelve this year. She had her hair tied in a ponytail, and her round face and large eyes gave her a sweet and adorable look that was quite likable.
However, Ye Xiao felt subtle discomfort every time he looked at her. Because for a child at their most energetic age, she was seriously much too quiet, to the point where it was nearly impossible to sense her presence.
While she had also cried and even screamed in what appeared to be fear whenever she witnessed the crime scenes, Ye Xiao thought that her cries were a bit fake, as well as her shouts. More often than not, an unusual expression that did not match the girl’s age would appear on her face. It was like a smirk, almost mocking. Perhaps the others had not noticed, but Ye Xiao had inadvertently glimpsed it multiple times.
Most importantly, the series of events that had unfolded before them had long since surpassed the scope of what a child could endure. Yet he had the feeling that, right at this very moment, the twelve-year old Jin Duo Duo’s mental state was far beyond the adults around her. She was not frightened nor impatient, instead just simply sitting there in an obedient manner.
Ye Xiao’s unmoving eyes remained locked onto the girl. The more he stared, the more the suspicion intensified. Suddenly, a series of strong coughs cut off his thoughts.
“Cough cough cough…cough cough…”
“Cough cough…cough cough cough cough…”
After taking medicine, Ma Hong Liang’s symptoms did not improve at all. In fact, they were worsening; for unknown reasons, he had suddenly started acting like a critically ill person. His lips were pale and turning purple, and his limbs were weakly sprawled bonelessly across the stairs. He continued to cough non-stop, unable to even take a breath.
“Oi, are you alright?”
Ye Xiao stood up to walk over and study him worriedly.
Ma Hong Liao did not reply. He could only cover his mouth as he kept coughing in extreme pain.
Ye Xiao bent over and patted his shoulder. Ma Hong Liang abruptly shuddered and took an urgent breath before forcefully heaving like he was hacking up something from his throat.
Ma Hong Lian lowered his head and slowly put his hand down. When he opened his palm, he immediately let out a bizarre cry.
“Holy fuck! B-Bee!”
Indeed, it was a bee.
In his palm was somehow a bee with distinct yellow and black stripes.
He coughed out a bee?
Ye Xiao stared in astonishment at the small bee that was still lightly fluttering its wings.
Ma Hong Liang began to shout in panic. He threw the bee down onto the ground and gave it a few hard stomps while gasping out, “Damn it, where did…where did the bee come from?”
As he spoke, he felt a bizarre itch in his throat again. He couldn’t help but start coughing once more. The more he coughed, the fiercer they became and eventually, he gagged once more.
Another bee dropped out from his mouth.
“Wh-what is going on?”
Ma Hong Liang fearfully stared at the two bees on the ground and stamped on them another time as hard as he could until they were dead, crushed, smashed. Yet before he could finish venting, he involuntarily began coughing and as he coughed, bees continued to come out from his throat.
One, two, three…the number rose higher and higher.
Everyone gathered around in wonder to watch him in astonishment.
“Heavens, what is going on? How are you coughing up bees?”
Yan Kai asked in shock while not forgetting to raise the camera in his hand to click a few photos.
“Those bees all seem to be alive.”
Yuan Meng Yu crouched down to stare at the bees crawling across the floor, their wings covered in saliva.
All of them felt frightened and stunned with no idea what was happening.
At this moment, a low calm voice sounded out from behind them.
“It’s because of bread. He ate this bread.”
Su Mu was standing by the long table. In his hand, he held a half-consumed bread.
This was the remainder of what Ma Hong Liang had previously eaten.
The red bean filling in what should have been ordinary red bean bread had somehow turned into a nest of bees. They were densely packed together inside the bread, forming a dark mass that made one’s skin crawl from the sight of it.
“Gah! Bees…there are bees in the bread…ugh…”
Yan Kai gagged, as he had also eaten bread before.
There’s problems with the food! There’s something wrong with the food bought from that deserted convenience store!
Everyone instantly paled and exchanged looks with one another. It felt like every person might suddenly spit something out at any point.
Right then, Duo Duo pointed at the bees crawling all over the floor and quietly stated, “The bees seem…seem to be growing.”
Upon hearing this, the others blanched and hurriedly lowered their heads to look.
The bees truly were growing larger. In just the blink of an eye, they had already doubled in size.
“Cough cough…cough cough cough cough…cough cough cough…”
Ma Hong Liang was still coughing non-stop, his body drained from the hacking. He lay powerlessly on top of the stairs, his body spasming and his mouth gaping as though he was on the verge of death.
Bees poured out from his mouth in groups, the black bundles crawling along his lips as their bodies instantly expanded several fold. Every single one of them was significantly larger than a honeybee. Their transparent wings vibrated and they suddenly flew up into the air one after another.
Instantly, the bees in the living room increased more and more, gathering into a large swarm. The bees circled through the air like a black cloud above, their wings buzzing.
“Oh no, this isn’t good! Quick, go hide in the rooms!” Ye Xiao shouted.
With this, the others returned to their senses, screaming and fleeing, fighting to be the first to race into the rooms on the second floor.
The mass of bees dispersed and whizzed towards the people.
Ma Hong Liang collapsed with his dying breath. He was no longer coughing, but was instead constantly vomiting blood. Since he was cuffed by one hand and could not break free, he could only wildly reach out to grab at the people passing by him. His grasp tightened on someone’s pant leg as he brokenly choked out, “Save me…save me…”
The person he had grabbed was coincidentally Zhang Xiao Long.
Zhang Xiao Long turned his head and viciously kicked Ma Hong Liang. A malicious sneer formed on his fair face. He slowly said something unknown that caused Ma Hong Liang’s eyes to widen in shock.
Then, Zhang Xiao Long looked up at the cloud of bees flying in a frenzy through the air. He smirked slightly and stepped on Ma Hong Liang’s face before walking up the stairs and entering one of the second-floor bedrooms.
The next second, Ma Hong Liang was instantly surrounded by the dark mass of bees. He screamed at the top of his lungs and flailed around, writhing his body with all his strength. However, the bees wormed their way through his mouth, his ears, and his nose…
Ye Xiao just so happened to witness this entire scene.
He stared in astonishment at Zhang Xiao Long’s back that vanished on the upper floor. Before he could ponder any further, someone suddenly bumped into his back.
When he whipped his head around, he spotted Yan Kai. The latter had not left and was instead rapidly pressing the shutter on his camera aimed at the bees.
“Oi, have you lost your mind? Hurry up and go!”
Yan Kai turned a deaf ear to Ye Xiao’s roar. Without forgetting to take photos, he excitedly said, “Wow, this scene is so spectacular. If I can get a better angle, it could probably win an award, couldn’t it?”
He clicked the shutter a few more times, totally unaware that there was another swarm of bees crazily charging at him from behind.
“Come on! Go, go!”
Ye Xiao forcefully tugged on Yan Kai, but the latter impatiently shook off the grip.
“What’s there to be scared of? It’s just a bunch of bees. Worst case, I’ll just get a few stings!”
Ye Xiao could not make Yan Kai budge. Seeing the hundreds and thousands of bees rushing towards them like a tide, he could only swiftly remove his jacket in a moment of desperation to wildly flail it at the cloud.
Actually, not doing anything would have been better; beating the bees seemed to infuriate them. They danced around madly, the buzzing of their wings growing louder as they attacked Ye Xiao, nearly blocking his vision.
The difficult situation forced Ye Xiao to retreat step by step to hide in a corner while beating his jacket around.
At this moment, he heard an anguished scream behind him.
He turned his head to peer into the cracks between the swarm, just barely spotting Yan Kai surrounded by the bees. They were crawling all over his body, entering through every orifice possible and crowding into his mouth, his nose, and even worming in from the bottom of his eye socket. Then, crimson blood began to gush outwards.
Frightened, Ye Xiao frantically weaved through the living room in escape while swinging his clothes around, running for his life to flee from the cursed bees. Yet the bees stubbornly refused to let him go, staying in hot pursuit behind his heels the entire time. They surged closer, impossible to shake off.
Ye Xiao became drained from the chase, and eventually he simply could not muster any more strength to run. Thus, he could only cover his head with the coat and crouch down into a corner of the wall, closing his eyes and resigning to fate.
He waited like this for a while, but the bees did not attack.
Ye Xiao suspiciously lifted his head. For some reason, the buzzing of the bees he heard through the clothes was gradually turning weaker.
Huh, what’s going on? Don’t tell me the bees changed paths to attack others?
Crap, they can’t be flying up to the second floor, right? There’s still women and children up there!
Ye Xiao frantically jumped up. With a bang, his head smashed into another person’s back, nearly sending them flying outwards.
Ye Xiao clutched his head and lowered back into a squat. When he removed the clothes over his head, he saw Su Mu glaring at him and frowning in annoyance. “When will you finally learn to be a bit more steady?”
“I…Who told you to stand in my way? I didn’t see you!”
Ye Xiao mumbled to himself while rubbing his head and standing back up. But the moment he took a step forward, the scene that jumped into his field of vision instantly gave him a massive shock.
Blood. Blood was everywhere.
There was blood splattered all over the living room walls and floor, spreading across the entire area. And lying amidst the shocking sight of blood were piles of bee corpses that had dropped dead on the ground.
Wha-what happened here?
Ye Xiao dumbly turned his head to find Su Mu breathing a bit heavily with a pale complexion.
Su Mu’s right palm was bleeding nonstop. The blood flowed down to his fingertips before dripping onto the floor. His left hand gripped a bloodstained dagger.
Zhao Fei Peng’s dagger.
“What happened? You’re injured?”
Ye Xiao stared at Su Mu in confusion. Right as he was about to grab the other’s hand, he was ruthlessly swatted aside.
“It’s nothing.” Su Mu turned around.
Ye Xiao stared at the ground covered in blood and dead bees and he pressed further in astonishment, “Could…could it be that your blood…can kill these bees?”
Su Mu did not respond, simply walking ahead without a word.
“Oi, wait a minute.” Ye Xiao scratched his head at a loss and hesitantly said, “There are some things I don’t know how to say—”
“Then don’t say them,” Su Mu coldly interjected.
Ye Xiao’s lips turned downwards unhappily. His eyes were fixed unresignedly at Su Mu’s back as he murmured, “Although I’m a bit rash and a bit slow, I’m not stupid. I know there are some things that you do not want me to know.”
Su Mu did not reply, silently standing there with back facing Ye Xiao as though rejecting the topic.
Ye Xiao sighed and helplessly conceded, “Ok, ok, it’s fine if you don’t want to talk. We’re even now.”
Su Mu shot him a backwards look.
The corners of Ye Xiao’s mouth lifted upwards to form a sly smirk.
He had similarly not given an answer in the hospital that day when they had escaped from the abandoned village, when Su Mu had asked him who he was.
Thus, they were even now.
Su Mu raised a brow and sneered, “Please, you’re already stupid enough. Can you not smile like an idiot?”
Ye Xiao rolled his eyes.
Ignoring him, Su Mu picked up a dead bee from the floor and pensively commented, “These bees are likely controlled by someone.”
“Huh? Controlled by someone? Why do you say that?” Ye Xiao was taken aback.
Su Mu raised his head and replied, “From what I observed just now, the bees only seem to be attacking four people.”
“Oh? Which four people?”
“You, me, Ma Hong Liang, and Yan Kai.”
Ye Xiao tilted his head in confusion. “Then…what does that mean?”
Su Mu looked at him and slowly stated, “The four of us did not have train tickets.”