Her baby… Where was her baby?
Looking around, Su Bai was certain that there was no trace of a new-born baby under the water, and they hadn’t seen any child above the water near the pond.
Gyatso went up the water. Seven was examining the headless general’s body on shore; he almost examined every body they saw on the way here. Su Bai thought to himself that if Seven was not a monk, he would definitely make a great M.E. Usually, even an M.E would get bored or tired after examining so many bodies in such a short time, but Seven seemed to be enjoying it.
"The dead woman down there... she was pregnant, ‘cause there are stretch marks on her skin. But her stomach was cut open, and her baby’s gone. I didn’t find it."
Hearing that, Gyatso was shocked. He dived down again to check it out. Seven’s hands quivered. He ran to the cabin door, opened it and then stepped back. With a bitter smile, he said to Su Bai who was still in the water, "We should have been more careful."
Gyatso appeared above the water, looking serious.
After they got out of the pond, Seven pointed outside the door, "We’re stuck here for the time being."
Su Bai and Gyatso went to the door together. It was open; but standing there and looking out, there were no longer mountains around, but another hot spring pond, as if it were another room. But Su Bai remembered, there was nothing but a single cabin. Now there was one more, like an absurd mirage. And from its wooden window, they could see another cabin. It had become much bigger with all these cabins next to each other.
"A maze?" Su Bai asked.
Gyatso shook his head. "Not a maze. That thing was messing with us."
"Yeah, the baby. He’s doing all this," Gyatso said, "And that rite under the water."
"But where is that baby?" Su Bai asked.
"It is possible that there was never a baby." Gyatso seemed to be working on his explanation. "The woman might have been pregnant with hatred from the beginning; the hatred coagulated into a mass. But she would never be able to give birth; she must have died because of the difficult labor, and then the hatred vanished with the death of the mother."
"That sounds weird."
"Take Nezha in ancient Chinese myth for example. Nezha was a spiritual bead descended to the earth, and was born through General Li Jing’s wife; therefore Nezha’s mother was pregnant with him for over three years. If he was born after merely nine month of pregnancy as usual, it would definitely be a hard labor, and both the mother and the child would have died. Therefore, Nezha waited in the mother’s womb until he had coagulated into a child with flesh and blood. That was why she gave birth to a ball of flesh; it was not until General Li Jing had cut it open with his sword that a child came out."
"Aha, so that woman was pregnant with a Nezha?" Su Bai smiled.
"Behind myth or legend, there is usually bloodshed or brutal facts. For example, about the flood in Jinshan Temple, people only remember the romance between Xu Xian and Bai Suzhen, but forget those victims killed by the flood. Maybe there was a prototype for Nezha in the history; maybe that prototype was something like this, but was luckily born instead of dying with its mother.
"In fact, it can be told from the name of this story world that anything can happen here; supernatural or weird things can be as common as a cup of tea." Gyatso explained. "Therefore, those men in black had cut this woman open for some unknown reason after they killed her bodyguards, but accidentally set free her hatred, or the spirit, and ended up like this. Now the situation is that the spirit is messing with us. Maybe he is watching us now, but holds back because of our capabilities."
Then, Seven rubbed his hands together and sat on the ground with that sword in his hand. A person would become stiff after death, and that general was holding that sword with all his strength until the moment he died. Therefore, it must have been extremely difficult to take it over, but somehow, the monk managed to get it.
He was drawing something on the ground. It was not an Eight-diagram map nor magic circle, but more like a kind of operation or calculation.
Gyatso went to him. "Need help?"
Seven shook his head. "We’ve got different methods; it’ll be even more difficult if we do it together. I don’t think this is going to be hard; I’ll finish it in an hour."
Gyatso sat by him, closed his eyes and started to meditate.
Su Bai wanted to do something, only to find that there was nothing for him to do. It was a maze outside but the monk was apparently onto it; now the only thing he could do was to be quiet so he would not disturb Seven.
Although they agreed before entering this story world that Su Bai would ride on their coattails, but it had been such an easy ride that even Su Bai himself was a little uncomfortable.
After half an hour, Seven stopped.
And Gyatso opened his eyes.
"I need to test it." Seven said, drawing an arrow to a direction on the ground with his finger.
Gyatso nodded, stood up and walked out of the cabin. Su Bai didn’t go with him, just stood by the door watching him.
Gyatso entered the next cabin, then went through another door and kept going.
Su Bai could remember a movie called 'Cube' he had seen before. Right now, their surroundings looked very similar to the scenes in that movie. But it shouldn’t trap them for too long, since Seven and Gyatso were two masters specializing in different aspects.
However, an accident seemed to have taken place before they could notice.
After ten minutes, Gyatso still didn’t come back.
Seven put the sword down, his eyebrows knitted, like a high school student solving a math problem. He was practically certain about the solution, and it would only take some time because he had already mastered the principles and formulae, but in the process, when he re-calculated, he suddenly found that he seemed to have made a mistake.
"I…" Seven was trying to say something, but didn’t know what to say. "It’s not possible. I can’t be wrong."
Seven was confident, but Gyatso wasn’t back. What Seven meant was asking Gyatso to walk through several cabins in order to prove his calculation. Even if he had made some tiny mistakes, it wouldn’t be a problem for Gyatso to come back the way he had gone.
However, another ten minutes passed, but Gyatso was still missing.
Seven was too anxious to stay seated. He stood up. The area where he had been sitting was thickly dotted with signs carved by his sword.
He walked to the door by which Su Bai had been standing since Gyatso walked out.
Su Bai thought Gyatso would follow Seven’s lead, walk through several cabins and come back in no time, but now it had been almost half an hour and Gyatso was still nowhere to be found. It flashed through his mind that the monk might be using this maze to take out Gyatso, but then he realized it was absurd and impossible. Seven had no motivation to do so. Even if he had one, Gyatso would not fall for his lie so easily.
There must be something wrong.
"Monk, let’s continue and finish your calculation. Gyatso must be lost. If he’s lost, what do you think he would do?"
"Start calculating in his way, just like I have done."
"So, let’s start over. One more hour at most, it won’t be a problem."
After Su Bai’s consolation, Seven sat down again and restarted his calculation.
Su Bai kept waiting by the pond. Now Gyatso must be calculating as well in some other cabin.
"By the way, monk, on what basis are you doing the calculation?"
Seven wasn’t interrupted. He replied: "A lot of things, on every aspect."
"Will it be affected by anything?"
"There can’t be any disturbance. It’s an enclosure space, and I’ve checked those dead people; they didn’t have enough time to become ghosts. Besides, under the magnetic field of the spirit, they won’t have the chance to become ghosts… No, wrong again!"
Seven pinned his sword into the earth. He was rubbing his bald head with one hand, looking very confused.
He thought he should be right this time, but he wasn’t.
Once more, he jumped up. "Gyatso must have made mistakes as well, otherwise he’d be back with us."
"Neither of you could get it right, so there must be something we failed to notice… What are we missing…"
Suddenly, Su Bai’s eyes sparkled with an idea. "Monk, can you see ghosts?"
"No, I don’t have astral vision. I can’t see ordinary ghosts or spirits unless they intentionally let out an evil influence."
"Then, how can I see a ghost?" Su Bai pursed his lips. "Or I should ask, how can I find out whether there’s a ghost around me?"
Seven narrowed his eyes, thought for a moment, then walked to the pond, scooped some water and started to draw a sign in his palm.
"I need a drop of your blood."
Su Bai cut his finger with his sharp fingernail and dripped a drop of blood into Seven’s palm. Finally, Seven put his palm against Su Bai’s forehead.
Su Bai immediately felt that his sight had become blurry. Then he walked to the pond and looked at his own reflection in the water.
Su Bai drawled. Because he saw a ghost with a smashed head standing right next to him.
 Nezha: a mythological person in ancient China.
 The flood in Jinshan Temple: It’s from the famous Chinese folk story of Maid White Snake. In that story, a white snake had turned into a girl’s form with the name Bai Suzhen and fell in love with a young man named Xu Xian, but a Buddhist monk named Fahai tried to separate them because their relationship was forbidden by the laws of nature. In order to catch the white snake, Fahai lured Xu Xian into Jinshan Temple, and Bai Suzhen had to draw flood into the temple so as to save her lover.
 Astral vision: Also translated as Yin-yang eyes. In Chinese folk stories, Yin stands for ghosts, spirits, the world after death or other supernatural phenomena, and Yang stands for the living, therefore people with Yin-yang eyes can see ghosts while others can’t. It is said that some people are born with astral vision, and others may acquire it via spells.