The World Below Surface
The World Below Surface 24 ☆ What's wrong?
Wait a minute, wasn't this supposed to be a ghost wedding? If that's the case, shouldn't the bride already be dead? Why is she coming out of the palanquin?
He Lou and his companions were frozen in place, too scared to breathe as they watched the embroidered shoe touch the ground.
Despite the darkness of the night, the shoe was a vibrant red colour that seemed to glow like blood against the wet, dark soil.
A bloodless hand followed, pulling back the curtain to reveal…
No! Don't look!
The sense of foreboding and fear building up in the missionaries reached a crescendo as the curtain revealed a glimpse of the red cover.
All of them felt a sudden chill sweep through the area.
They instinctively knew not to look any further.
Heads down, they remained motionless, hoping that whatever horror unfolded before they would soon be over.
The villagers were oblivious as they gathered around, eagerly watching as the matchmaker helped the bride off the palanquin.
Two older women stepped forward to lend a hand, supporting the limp figure as it stumbled forward.
Bride's embroidered shoes dragged onto the muddy ground, now stained with dirt.
Amidst the cheering and applause, someone shouted, “The bride is so beautiful!” Others joined in, “The village head's family is blessed to have such a good daughter-in-law.”
Lu Yan quickly glanced at the bride before bowing his head in respect.
She was being dragged forward between two people, her bright red wedding dress and embroidered shoes a stark contrast against her pale, stiff hands.
Her hands looked lifeless, even with jade bracelets and red nail polish.
The matchmaker followed closely behind, holding a large black and white picture frame with a portrait of the bride.
Her beautiful eyebrows were furrowed in a frown, revealing her true feelings.
Behind the matchmaker were two neat rows of honour guards and bands dressed in linen.
As the music faded, yellow paper money flew into the sky, floating gently to the ground or being carried away by the wind.
The bridegroom was beaming with satisfaction, but the bride was drooping.
It was clear to anyone who looked that she was unhappy.
It was evident that she was not here willingly.
The villagers were still festive, blissfully unaware of the situation.
They kept cheering and gushing over the beautiful bride and how perfect the couple looked together.
The matchmaker announced, “The auspicious time has come.”
The two photo frames were placed side by side, and while the man was overjoyed, the woman remained expressionless.
The village chief suddenly walked over to his son's coffin and lifted the lid.
The room was filled with a fishy, nauseating smell, but the village chief pulled out a white bony hand from inside the coffin before anyone could react.
“Good son, I have found a good daughter-in-law for you,” said the village headman with a smile, and with a push of his hand, he pulled out the entire skeleton in its birthday suit.
“Come here, give me a hand; they're going to pay their respects!” he instructed, beckoning the villagers to help him.
“One on each side! Don't delay the auspicious time.
Everyone's attention was solely on the bride and groom, and nobody paid attention to the players, who were free to whisper and chat.
He Lou didn't dare look directly at the couple, feeling as though it might be the end of him if he did.
Lu Yan quickly glanced at them before joining in the villagers' applause.
As the villagers helped the two corpses bow respectfully, the gloomy wind suddenly picked up.
At the moment the two heads were pressed down, the lanterns went out, and the whole place plunged into darkness.
What's going on?
He looked up at Lu Yan, but the darkness concealed any trace of him.
The next moment, he was also engulfed in pitch-black darkness…
It was a rare day of bright sunshine in late autumn.
“Hey, He Lou! Your family found a daughter-in-law so easily.
When's the wedding?” he strolled along the road while an uncle planted rice seedlings in the field and called out to him.
He Lou replied, “Uncle Zheng, we have the wine tomorrow!”
He felt delighted helping his best friend find a new daughter-in-law.
As they made their way home, the villagers they encountered inquired about it.
He Lou didn't mind; no one living in Red River Village would be unhappy.
He smiled and answered all the queries until they reached their house.
He had several great friends, but unfortunately, one of them died accidentally.
According to the village's custom, it was best to pair a young man who died prematurely with a Yin relative, or else his soul would never rest in peace.
“Chen Zheng Hao, we have arranged everything for you.
The girl is excellent; you can welcome her peacefully,” he reminded his deceased friend, offering incense in front of his black and white photo displayed in the hall.
“Brother Lou,” a tall woman walked through the door and smiled, “Everything went well.
Although the wedding was somewhat hasty, all the families were kind enough to lend us everything we needed.
Uncle Wu even sent two lanterns.”
Here's an improved version of the text while preserving its details:
“Really? Uncle Wu made the lanterns! That's wonderful,” He Lou exclaimed with joy.
The wedding banquet was a grand affair, and a group of their close friends sat together and discussed it seriously.
They were all travellers who had come to Honghe Village many years ago.
The water and soil in the village were so nurturing that they couldn't bear to leave after their visit.
They decided to stay for a few more months, which eventually turned into several years.
They had become part of the village and its community.
However, although they were like family, He Lou couldn't help feeling uneasy about his best friend's companion, Lu Yan.
Despite being kind and never doing anything to provoke He Lou, he couldn't shake off the fear he felt every time he saw Lu Yan.
When Lu Yan walked in, He Lou involuntarily shrank back in terror.
“He Lou, you're here too,” Lu Yan said, smiling at him.
“I've found a great daughter-in-law for you.
We'll have the wedding in a few days.”
He Lou didn't care about the daughter-in-law and agreed silently, but he felt a sense of unease in his heart.
Something just didn't feel right.
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