Book 2 Chapter 23: Sacred object

It turns out that while Xiao Xia was feeling uneasy about whether the three female ghosts were still lingering outside her window, Ruan Zhan had been making preparations for the exorcism the entire time. He observed the arrangements of the police and crafted the necessary items and talismans. He chose the most advantageous location and practiced his rusty skills with the dharmic tools. He tried to recover a bit of his sealed powers and his almost stagnant spiritual force. He formulated the plan for the exorcism and even captured Qian Li’s spirit again to try and resolve her resentment.

Now that his reinforcements, Wan Li, had arrived, he decided to act.

The majority of the police officers had already been withdrawn. Although there were quite a few hidden sentries, he chose the deserted basketball team’s changing room as the exorcism location. The special location meant no one else would get alerted and it would be even safer for Xiao Xia.

“It’s best to act tomorrow night.” He told Wan Li the plan in detail.

“However, I heard Zhang Xue’s father not only pressured the police, he also found a large amount of talented people to capture the “arcanist society’s practitioner”. Do you think this is an appropriate time?” Wan Li was a little worried about Ruan Zhan’s situation.

“Nothing to worry about! Those monks, Daoist priests, yin-yang masters and enlightened ones are all charlatans. Worrying about this matter would only bring further problems the more we drag it out. I feel our preparations are sufficient. Furthermore, our actions won’t be noticed during this time. Let’s have a decisive battle.”

He didn’t tell Wan Li that he had seen a spell boundary around Moneybags Zhang’s villa on the outskirts where Zhang Xue was recuperating. It was very impressive and had startled him. He could tell there was a real expert amongst the people Moneybags Zhang invited.

However, he would definitely sense if someone skilled approached him, unless that person didn’t use any techniques. It was like a few days ago when they went to the garage. Therefore, they just had to carefully avoid being spotted, and withdraw immediately after the exorcism.

“If you feel that’s the best thing to do, then that’s the best thing to do. You are the high priest after all.” Wan Li copied Xiao Xia’s tone. “However, I’ve got some new inside info. Hopefully you can think about it. Maybe it’ll increase your chances of victory.”

“Inside info?”

“Believe me, it’s extremely useful information. That’s why I came to report directly after getting off the plane.”

“I don’t believe you. If that were the case, why didn’t come “directly” to me?!”

“Xiao Xia is cuter than you in every way. My choice of person to curry favor with was inevitable. Furthermore, she was the one who asked me to help. I naturally have to report to my trustor first.”

Ruan Zhan was very surprised. Xiao Xia hadn’t mentioned this matter to him. This made him feel inexplicably disappointment, as though she trusted Wan Li more.

Wan Li didn’t notice the change in his emotions and continued speaking. “She felt very guilty getting you involved in danger so she asked me to make a trip to the Vatican to do some relevant research. My efforts were not in vain. Through a friend, I found a priest. This elder is extremely famous in the western world of exorcism. Although he hadn’t personally banished Bloody Mary before, he knows some obscure details.”

“Oh? Like what?” Ruan Zhan was interested.

“Illusions. It uses mirrors to produce illusions. Not only do they scare many to death, even exorcists sometimes get entrapped and harmed, to the extent of losing their lives. Furthermore, it has an extremely, extremely vengeful nature.”

“This I’ve experienced thoroughly.” Ruan Zhan recalled Tao Xiao Chun’s matter. “That’s why we must succeed on the first attempt!”

“No, Ah Zhan. I mean to say that you must be careful of its constructed illusions. It will know and use the weakest parts of our hearts. You must be careful of this.” This was what he was most worried about. He knew Ruan Zhan had many taboos hidden in his heart.

“Also, take a look at this.” Wan Li fished out a small box and displayed the silver cross inside. “Don’t look down on it and think it’s an ordinary ornament. It is actually a sacred object. I’m saying it’s the real thing. Apparently, many saint-level people have used it before and infused it with power. If it weren’t for my incomparable sincerity and my will to eradicate evil, I wouldn’t even be able to see this sort of treasure, let alone borrow it.”

Ruan Zhan lightly touched the cross and nodded. “I believe it. It has a very strong protective power.” He could see it letting out a faint, gentle glow. It was definitely a sacred object.

“I intended on giving it to Xiao Xia to protect herself. How did she end up provoking a foreign evil spirit!? But from what you’ve told me about the plan, it seems you’d be in the biggest danger. Perhaps it’s more useful if you held the sacred object.”

“No, give it to Xiao Xia. She’s the weakest link out of the three of us, but she’s also the most critical part of the plan. However, I recommend you not give it to her in the box. Recently, she hasn’t really dared to open sealed objects.” He told Wan Li about the eyeballs in the gift box. “I think this trauma might last for a period of time. However, she’s already doing very well. Although she is timid, her mind is very tenacious. Even suffering continuous scares didn’t cause her to collapse.”

Wan Li sighed. “She keeps encountering things. Maybe it’s fate.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be a psychiatrist? Why do you sound like a monk!?”

“I am a psychiatrist, and I hold science in the highest esteem. However, my faith is still undecided and I’m aware of the supernatural.” He jokingly said, but then recalled their situation and became worried. “That said, nothing will happen to her if she acts as bait, right?”

“This is why I chose the basketball team’s changing room.” Ruan Zhan raised his head and looked at Liu Tie who was working. Although he looked like he was calm, he still seemed gloomy. It wasn’t something he could overcome that quickly. “Only guys go there so there are no hidden sentries posted. No one will notice if anything happens there. It isn’t too big or too small, with the main hall to the left of the door. There are no mirrors in between and it’ll be easy for you guys to leave quickly. It’s perfect. Furthermore, the mirrors are inside the lockers. Liu Tie’s locker happens to be closest to the door on the side towards the hallway. I can hide next to the locker. Xiao Xia will see the mirror inside the moment she opens the locker door. That way, I’ll be right next to her and she’ll be within the scope of my protection.”

He hadn’t revealed any part of this matter to Liu Tie. The locker key had been secretly duplicated and stuck on top of the locker. The spells used to remove the yang energy from the men’s locker room was also cast last night when he snuck inside, and he would dispel them once they were done. Ultimately, he hoped Bloody Mary’s matter would just be a nightmarish episode in Liu Tie’s life, and his own secret wouldn’t be revealed.

“But she would still see the terrifying scene!” Wan Li was still a little worried.

“It’s the only way. You should know Bloody Mary never appears when men are around. If we waited outside the door, we might not realize it even after it makes its rounds. Luckily Xiao Xia mentioned wanting to tag team last time, which made me come up with this plan. We’ll go in together and I’ll seal my breath and smell. Then, I’ll use a spell to isolate my aura, making Bloody Mary mistakenly assume Xiao Xia is by herself.”

“By the time it comes out, it won’t be able to do anything, right?”

“That’s right. But if the three female ghosts get involved later, you’ll have to protect Xiao Xia.”

“No problem. I’m best at playing the part of the white knight.” Wan Li said mysteriously. “Do you know why men aren’t able to summon Bloody Mary?”

“Don’t tell me it’s because she has an inferiority complex regarding her appearance.”

“As expected of a high priest. Very intelligent.” Wan Li praised exaggeratedly. “That exorcist priest told me it used to be an extremely beautiful witch several centuries ago who used mirrors for her witchcraft. The mirror was also her weapon. However, she was burnt at stake for her evil deeds and her appearance was ruined. It’s said only beautiful girls can summon her and she would never appear in front of men.”

“It’s easy to guess.”

“I’m worried that it might realize we’re trying to get eradicate it, and won’t be willing to appear.”

“I first have to remind you that we aren’t eradicating it. I’m unable to do that.” Ruan Zhan was rather certain about this point. “We are merely going to trap it first so it can’t escape through mirrors to some other corner of the school. Then, we will subdue it and force it to sign a new contract saying it will never return to this place. We must cut off the path of return so even if someone else summons it, it won’t be able to come back. Whether it’ll hole up and not appear because it’s afraid of being caught and killed….let’s put it this way. If you saw its sinister, arrogant and genuine desire for revenge, you wouldn’t have this doubt.” He recalled Tao Xiao Chun’s outcome and was extremely furious.

Wan Li patted his shoulder. “Then let’s do it. There’s nothing left to discuss. However, I’m still worried about you using that spirit summoning banner to save Tao Xiao Chun. Aren’t your abilities insufficient to use it? It’s also not like the bloodwood sword which reacts by itself to the presence of evil.”

“It’s the tattered banner.” Ruan Zhan seriously corrected him. “I tried using it to capture spirits a few days ago. Although it wasn’t completely successful, it also wasn’t completely useless. Because of Li Jing Ming’s matter last time, my abilities have been unsealed by a bit. Therefore, there’s still a chance.”

“How big of a chance?” He had to ask clearly. This concerned his old friend’s life after all.

Ruan Zhan laughed bitterly. “Didn’t Xiao Xia complain to you about me being too busy to satisfy her curiosity these past few days? I was actually practicing the entire time. Truthfully speaking, I’ve never worked so hard in my life.”

Ever since he sealed his powers, he had never wanted to use them. However, Xiao Xia actually made him go back on his vow.

Seeing his helplessness, Wan Li wanted to burst out laughing. “This is what’s meant by meeting your match. Completely serves you right. I have no sympathy.”

“I knew you were a scoundrel who puts girls before bros.” Ruan Zhan cursed him. Then, after hesitating for several minutes, he still asked the question that had been on his mind the entire time. “Is her arm ok?”

“Her? You’re asking about Xiao Xia?” Wan Li asked despite knowing the answer. “It should be fine as long as she doesn’t do any hard physical labor. Of course, it’ll still hurt.”

These words made Ruan Zhan a little hesitant. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to perform the exorcism tomorrow. Her injury came at a bad time, and the loss of blood weakened her already dim yang energy. Furthermore, didn’t her arm hurt a lot when she moved it? But if things dragged on…

“Perhaps we should ask her opinion and see if it’s suitable act tomorrow.”

“I’ll go ask and eat together at the same time. I’ve ordered some food. Remember to sign the receipt for me later.” Wan Li stood, his face filled with unconcealed weariness. “I might sleep in your room tonight. I don’t think I can make it home before I fall asleep.”

“My room? You mean the storage room.”

Wan Li laughed. “Don’t sound so gloomy. I already said I have no sympathy.”

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