Translator’s notes: Double release since it’s the last chapter of book 2 and I’ve been erratic in my posting. May take a couple days off as I deal with some stuff. Thanks again for reading up to this point!
“Everyone.” Wan Li lowered the point of his sword a little, expressing sincerity. “I know why you have come. However, you are all educated…people, and should know this saying: not letting others off is the same as not letting yourselves off.”
No one bothered with him. Even the rain had stopped and it became unsettlingly quiet. Especially since there were many listeners around.
Wan Li could only keep speaking: “What’s done is done, and there’s no going back. There’re only two choices. One is to accept things, one is to resist. Looks like you’ve chosen to resist, and wish for the perpetrator to have a taste of your suffering. This isn’t wrong. It’s really not wrong. If it were me, I’d probably do the same thing. However…at what cost?”
The shadow on the left hesitated. Wan Li immediately knew that must be Qian Li, whose resentment had already been reduced by a large amount. He turned and faced Qian Li, deciding to use her as the opening. People were pack animals after all, and had a strong natural tendency to follow the crowd. A trickle could cause a flood.
“Actually, we aren’t trying to help Tao Xiao Chun. We are trying to help you guys, to help everyone. We want to prevent anyone from suffering at Bloody Mary’s hands again. That’s right, Tao Xiao Chun was the one who tricked and harmed you. But who was the one that actually took everything from you? Why would you let it off? Are you giving up just because it is powerful? What sort of resistance is that? Currently, a high priest with powerful magic is subduing it, exorcising it, seeking justice for all the victims. You guys are actually trying to stop things, which would end up helping it, and would end up causing more people harm. This makes you worse accomplices than Tao Xiao Chun, and also burdens you with the sin of murder. Is it worth it?” He not only randomly called Ruan Zhan a high priest, he even secretly pulled Xiao Xia so she was closer to Qian Li. He figured if they were forced to act, it was best if she was in Qian Li’s direction. Even if Qian Li attacked, she would definitely not be as determined.
As expected, Qian Li took another step back. “But I feel unreconciled.” Within her resentment, there was boundless grief and injustice.
“Justice will be done. Believe me.” Wan Li’s tone became gentle. “She has also lost her life, and the high priest will take her soul back for proper sentencing. If she remains in Bloody Mary’s hands, she might not suffer punishment at all. Perhaps it only captured Tao Xiao Chun’s soul because it needs a servant. In that case, you wouldn’t get any justice at all. You’d be left nursing an eternal grudge, without the chance to reincarnate. Let go, take a step back. The world is vast. There isn’t any point in holding onto suffering that cannot be ameliorated. Sometimes, to retreat is to progress.”
The dark air around Qian Li’s shadow faded a little more. “Is it possible to start over?” She muttered.
“Of course it is.” Wan Li struck while the iron was hot, but he also truly wanted to solve this matter peacefully. Qian Li was a pitiful victim after all. “Starting over or getting eradicated, the choice is up to you.”
“Don’t be led astray by him. He’s not trying to help you, he’s stalling. There is no justice in this world.” The shadow with the darkest air suddenly roared wildly, completely losing it. “We don’t want justice, we don’t care if others live or die. We just want everything to burn.” As she spoke, she suddenly pounced at Xiao Xia.
Wan Li hurriedly pulled Xiao Xia, who was still standing foolishly in place, towards Qian Li before stabbing over with the bloodwood sword. It happened so fast that Xiao Xia merely heard a tragic scream, and didn’t see the frightening outcome of the shadow being eradicated.
Wan Li pointed at the other furious shadow. “Don’t force my hand. Don’t destroy your last bit of existence in this world. I don’t wish to do so.”
“Do people become braindead too after dying?” Xiao Xia felt both regret and anger. “Can’t you see the outcome of holding onto evil thoughts? Why not give yourself a way out?”
“That’s right.” Qian Li suddenly spoke, but her being on Xiao Xia’s side felt extremely weird. “They are right, don’t make someone else’s mistake your punishment. Let’s go reincarnate. Holding a grudge like this is useless.”
“No.” After hesitating, that female ghost said resentfully, unwilling to give up.
“But we cannot overcome that sword, and will only be vanquished without a trace. I don’t want to be a fool any longer. I only found out today how foolish I had been. I was this way when alive, and am still the same as a ghost. Let’s go!”
The female ghost cried loudly. The noise made Xiao Xia wish to pluck her ears off. This was the first time she realized how scary a ghost’s wail was.
“How about this?” Wan Li responded, waving the sword. “You won’t be able to get past me today, and won’t be able to hurt anyone else. However, I know you haven’t thought things through yet. Why don’t you go back and think about it. If you really can’t get over it, or if Tao Xiao Chun really doesn’t suffer punishment, you can come find me again.”
His words stunned the female ghosts and even Xiao Xia didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. She marveled that his psychiatry had reached such a level. A battle between ghosts and humans had somehow been turned into a huge therapy session by him.
“You?” The female ghost didn’t expect him to say something like this and was a little doubtful.
“That’s right, come find me. I believe you know where I live.” Wan Li was very sincere and very certain. “I’m not afraid of you, but I also don’t think you’ll come find me. I know you will think things through and will also see justice done. Now, before the high priest come out, you guys should quickly leave. His powers are great, and he’s not as reasonable as I am.” He bragged wildly.
“Great powers? He’s currently about to be taken away by Bloody Mary.” Qian Li said disdainfully.
“What did you say?” Xiao Xia turned pale with fright. “How do you know? You aren’t there, and aren’t able to penetrate the barrier!”
For some reason, Xiao Xia felt Qian Li had smiled after hearing Wan Li’s words.
“I can see it. You’ll understand why after he’s dead.”
“Let’s go!” Wan Li turned serious, deeply afraid Ruan Zhan had fallen victim to an illusion. He pulled Xiao Xia along and burst into the changing room.
Their eyes had adjusted to the darkness of the hallway outside. With the streetlamps shining through the window, they clearly saw the mess the moment they entered. It was like an earthquake had passed. Ruan Zhan was sluggishly stretching his hand out towards the mirror. A pair of hands was also reaching out towards him, seemingly planning on pulling him inside.
“Ah Zhan, no!” Wan Li yelled loudly and swung the bloodwood sword at the beautiful pair of hands.
However, his ability wasn’t sufficient to display the sword’s might and the hands did not withdraw. They merely bled from the cut and were about to pull Ruan Zhan inside. Xiao Xia wasn’t able to think clearly in her anxiousness. She pulled off the silver cross and threw it heavily at the mirror!
With a sharp sound, the mirror cracked. A woman’s pained scream rang out and faded into the distance as everything returned to normal.
It was just a mirror, an ordinary mirror.
Ruan Zhan shuddered fiercely, his eyes swiftly regaining clarity. However, he fell against Wan Li.
“Ah Zhan, what’s wrong?” Wan Li supported him and looked extremely worried.
“Nothing.” He looked at Xiao Xia who had been thoroughly scared by the earlier scene. “I fell into its illusions, and also suffered fall injuries.”
“Illusions? Fall injuries? Are they serious?” Wan Li asked again.
“It seems a trip to the hospital is necessary this time.” Wan Li smiled weakly. “Although victory was achieved through planning, a price still had to be paid. Let’s leave quickly in case we get discovered.”
Wan Li agreed. He pushed Ruan Zhan onto Xiao Xia, making her stagger and hurriedly hold him around his waist.
“I have to tidy things up. Can’t leave any evidence behind.” He waved the golden little banner that had reverted back to its original form. From its trembling, he knew Tao Xiao Chun’s soul was inside, and didn’t dare let Xiao Xia handle it.
“The cross as well.” He searched around for a bit and picked up the blackened treasure. “My goodness, how did it become like this? I still have to return it!”
Xiao Xia ignored him.
“Are you ok?” Ruan Zhan did his best to keep his weight off of her, but he could feel she was trembling.
“I’m fine.” Xiao Xia forced a smile, and forced herself not to think that she had almost lost him twice tonight. “You owe me your life once again, haha!”
“That’s right, buddy. This is the devil’s due. It won’t be easy to repay!” Wan Li took over supporting Ruan Zhan once again. “Dispel the concealment spell once we get out. Otherwise, someone’s going to see a self-driving car.”
“Fussy.” Ruan Zhan scolded and they left together.
When they walked out the front doors, they accidentally stepped on a paper crane. The crane was already soaked by rainwater, leaving behind only a pile of white residue. It wasn’t clear if it saw anything.
The next day, T. University’s basketball team’s changing room was discovered to have been broken into. There were traces of blood and signs of a battle. However, nothing was really damaged apart from a few lockers. Of course, there was no progress made whatsoever in Bloody Mary’s case. It became another unsolved case within the city. Only a few people knew everything was safe again. This matter was left to be gradually forgotten.
There was no need to worry. People were the most forgetful.
Tao Xiao Chun’s spirit was returned by Ruan Zhan. As for where that was, Xiao Xia didn’t know and she didn’t want to know. She only knew that the unreconciled female ghost didn’t go looking for Wan Li. This proved that she had gotten justice. However, when Qian Li’s parents came to receive her coffin, Xiao Xia kindheartedly brought Liu Tie and Ni Yang along to send her off. She thought Qian Li would definitely feel some comfort at that.
Ruan Zhan suddenly vanished after being hospitalized for a week. He didn’t leave behind any messages and no one knew where he had gone.
“He left us several months’ worth of salary.” Liu Tie and Ni Yang said. “He’ll probably be back in a few months, and wants us to remain servers here in the future. Oh, the boss is truly generous. He even prepared our salaries in advance.”
“That scoundrel left me the key to that lousy bar.” Wan Li was resentful. “He’s trying to make me work, helping him take care of it when I’m free. Good thing he owns the place and isn’t renting. Someday, I might sell his house to Xiao Xia out of anger. What did he give you?”
“That sword.” Xiao Xia was also angry.
“Not that one, right?” Wan Li asked in surprise. The bloodwood sword was one of Ruan Zhan’s treasures.
“That’s right. He probably wants to use it to repay me for saving his life. How can it be that easy? Would a devil’s due be easy to repay? I’ll hold onto this for now, and demand a storage fee from him when I see him.”
In the villa district on the city’s outskirts, a man in his forties and a beautiful and tender woman were also discussing Ruan Zhan.
“Didn’t see clearly?” Hong Hao Hao asked.
“I should’ve used a waterproofing spell.” The man was a little annoyed. “The heavens helped him. A huge storm came the moment things got started.”
“Then what should we do?”
“Next time. Next time there will definitely be a chance to figure out his limits.”
“What about moneybags Zhang?”
“Tell him I’ve gotten rid of the evildoer who harmed his daughter. Go get the remaining payment from him.”
“You’re pretty good at taking advantage of the situation.”
“What would you know? It’s not over yet.”
The man laughed sinisterly, determined to obtain what he wanted.
Where did Ruan Zhan go? Will Yue Xiao Xia let him off? What sinister scheme is the middle-aged man by Hong Hao Hao’s side cooking up? Please read The Exorcist’s third book: Fallen Flower Cave Maidens.