Book 2 Chapter 8: The scholar and the soldier

In Xiao Xia’s opinion, Ruan Zhan should go get a complete physical checkup before she could feel at ease. However, he refused. He understood his own condition. Although it looked serious, it was just an injury caused by making a rushed move. It hurt a lot but there wasn’t any major problem. At least, it didn’t require something troublesome like going to the hospital. After bringing Xiao Xia home, he was about to leave. Who would have thought Xiao Xia would insist on having him go up and sit for a bit. When he saw her packing her bags, he suddenly realized he had fallen for her scheme.

“What are you planning now?” Ruan Zhan’s head hurt.

“I’m going to stay at your place for a few days!”

“Why?”

“One must learn from their mistakes. Remember Li Jing Ming’s case from before? That ghost wanted to get rid of me because I got in its way. This witch of the mirror might do the same. I have to take preventative measures. See, my bathroom has a mirror right across from the door. I might get grabbed even if I just go to the bathroom.”

“You can stay at Wan Li’s place. Aren’t you very close with him?” He put up a final, futile bit of resistance.

“Did you forget his new place is famously haunted? Only someone brainless like him would dare live there. I definitely wouldn’t. Besides, he’s currently in Italy at some international science conference or something. You’re the only friend I have here. Help out a little. Don’t be so unreasonable towards relationships.”

“You seem to be the unreasonable one.” Ruan Zhan was completely helpless against her.

“Can’t help it. Apparently my surname is ‘Shameless’”. Xiao Xia used cross-examination techniques of her profession against Ruan Zhan, using his own words against him. Her beaming smile revealed determination. “Treat it as me begging you. It’s just for a few days. A real man like you wouldn’t leave a weak little girl like me to get preyed on by a ghost, right? You can think of it as letting me temporarily catch my breath under your large, strong wings.”

“You make yourself sound quite pitiful.”

“As the saying goes, people must bow to circumstances. I can only thicken my skin. In any case, we can be called friends, right?”

“What an honor.”

“Likewise, likewise.”

“But there is absolutely no need for you to do this. This time we’re dealing with a summoned spirit. It won’t appear if you don’t summon it. Furthermore, it won’t be able to come find you here. It can’t stray too far from where it was summoned.”

“You didn’t do the research and only know half of it. Actually, apart from the first time, Bloody Mary wasn’t summoned during her following appearances. She seems to come out and harm people as long as the conditions are met. Even if I keep my distance, you cannot guarantee that the stories are accurate. No living person has ever really interacted with it before. Therefore, I must take preventative measures.”

Ruan Zhan didn’t speak. He actually wasn’t interested in this matter, and had merely heard his two servers talking about it occasionally. He truly couldn’t be certain of the details, which meant he couldn’t judge if Xiao Xia was telling the truth, lying, or a bit of both. Xiao Xia saw his doubtful expression and took the opportunity to tell the whole story, along with her own conjectures.

After listening to Xiao Xia, Ruan Zhan frowned.

If it were like she described, that witch of the mirror must have entered a contract with someone. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be able to linger around and appear without being summoned. Although they were evil spirits, they still had their own rules. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to “exist” and this world wouldn’t be as orderly. Things that went off-track weren’t stable. This was what was meant by all things had their designated paths.

But who would enter a contract with such a fickle and malicious spirit?

While Ruan Zhan was pondering, Xiao Xia took the opportunity to swiftly finish packing.

“Must you come make trouble for me?” Ruan Zhan’s brows were almost furrowed into a tangled knot.

“I’m not making trouble for you. I’m ‘begging’ you for help. Didn’t I say we must learn from past experience? Unless you’re going to wait for something to happen to me before helping take care of my corpse?”

“Is that all there is to it?”

“Could you be thinking that I’m like certain women, trying to get the opportunity to get close to you? Also, don’t forget that no matter how you put it, I’ve saved your life before.”

Saved his life?! Was she talking about the matter with Li Jing Ming? Wasn’t she the one who got him involved in the first place? Truly unreasonable! As for trying to get closer to him, he wouldn’t dare assume to be so blessed!

“You aren’t asking me to get rid of it?”

“No.” Xiao Xia hesitated a little. “It’s very powerful, right? It’s already injured you!” Thinking of his pale face from earlier, his cold fingers and the blood trickling from his mouth, Xiao Xia suddenly felt especially uncomfortable. She wasn’t willing to make him risk his life. Last time he did so during Li Jing Ming’s case was already enough to almost frighten her to death.

Seeing her worry about his wellbeing, a hard to detect hint of warmth arose in the deepest and darkest corner of Ruan Zhan’s heart. Although he knew she would still use him, force him and disturb his peaceful life, his heart couldn’t help but soften.

“It isn’t really a big deal.” He was only injured because of his carelessness. However, its intelligence in controlling Zhang Xue to attack Xiao Xia was also unexpected. It appeared they had once again encountered something that wasn’t simple. Why did the lofty Miss Yue always seem to provoke extraordinary spirits? This time it was actually a western spirit, not just one that could be casually exorcised as repayment for her “lifesaving grace.” As expected, the king of hell was easily handled but the minor demons were troublesome. He would definitely remember not to owe her anything in the future.

“Can it be subdued?”

“I don’t know. The art of exorcism is filled with the unexpected. Especially since I’m not a priest who specializes in such things.” The desperate battle with the scholar’s ghost last time had awakened his powers a little which had been sealed for many years. However, he wasn’t familiar with this Bloody Mary so he couldn’t jump to conclusions.

“I’ve been wondering whether a western spirit could be summoned by someone in China.”

Ruan Zhan involuntarily laughed. “To put it a little sarcastically, spirits don’t observe national borders. However, due to differences in beliefs and religions, it truly isn’t likely for someone in China to summon a western spirit. I think they also wouldn’t enter other territories for no reason.”

“Then will you allow me into your territory?”

“Fine. Just for a few days. Furthermore, just this one time.” Ruan Zhan surrendered as expected.

“Let’s go.” Xiao Xia responded ambiguously. In her heart, she was sneakily thinking: who cares what he says! She would only leave the “ghost-warding fortress” when it was completely safe. She was timid, and despite having seen ghosts she hadn’t made much progress. She didn’t want to suffer any more scares. Regardless, Wan Li was completely right. It was no use threatening or enticing a man like Ruan Zhan. Acting shameless worked like a charm however, with the caveat that he didn’t hate you. She knew Ruan Zhan didn’t hate her, as long as giving him a headache didn’t count.

They continued their discussions on the way. Ruan Zhan felt that based on what they saw, Bloody Mary was most likely summoned by someone, and it had been in a very good mood at the time. The summoner didn’t get frightened to death or killed, and even entered a contract with it. Even in the west, there weren’t many instances of Bloody Mary getting summoned. Therefore, the matter this time must involve extreme coincidence, opportunity and a fervent wish. The summoner might even be a special person.

It was only causing harm within the school, which meant the contractor must be someone inside the school. Summoning it required a certain procedure so this girl must have the opportunity to be alone at night. Furthermore, the timing couldn’t have been too long ago, very likely a few days after the semester started. Everyone knew the first summoner Qian Li had already died. This meant that there was actually another summoner. Finding this contractor would mean solving everything.

“Are you sure there is such a contractor?” Xiao Xia couldn’t help but shiver at the thought of someone who could selfishly harm others for their own benefit.

“This is the most reasonable explanation.”

“But what is important enough to make her willing to do such cruel things?”

“Perhaps it’s just an ordinary wish. Many complicated and troublesome things are caused by something simple. You just have to find this contractor and I can help you.”

“Help me?” Xiao Xia stuck her head out of the car’s window to check that the moon and stars hadn’t switched places. Oh my! Ruan Zhan taking the initiative to help? Wasn’t this something that only happened in legends? However, she soon recalled how he was injured earlier. Her sense of justice made her want to resolve this matter but with the condition that no one else gets hurt. After all, she wasn’t the one performing the exorcism.

“I’m unlikely to die facing something of this level.” Ruan Zhan saw through her thoughts. “I just want to finish this matter quickly so you can go back to your own place earlier.”

She knew he wasn’t that kindhearted!

“But perhaps it’s already accomplished its goals and scrammed back to hell.” Thinking of the recent scene, the tragic state of its fourth sacrifice, she felt a chill.

“That girl was seriously injured but she won’t die if that’s what you mean.” Ruan Zhan parked the car and headed inside by himself. Xiao Xia didn’t mind as she carried her small bag and followed closely all the way up to the second floor.

The people in the bar looked astonished at the situation and didn’t know what was going on. Liu Tie and Ni Yang were also extremely curious. Finding an opportunity while Xiao Xia was upstairs by herself, they secretly asked for some gossip: “Sis Xiao Xia, are you guys living together now?”

“He wishes!”

“Then….”

“I’m just staying here a few days.”

“The boss hates people interfering with his life the most. How did you manage to handle him?” Curious once again.

“Could it be any easier?” Xiao Xia smiled deviously. “As the saying goes, when a scholar meets a soldier, he won’t be able to get through to him with reasoning.”1

Who was the scholar and who was the soldier in this scenario? Did it need to be said?! It’s obvious.

  1. Idiom meaning essentially that you can’t reason with the uneducated.
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