“Let’s discuss the details of the case.” Xiao Xia hurriedly started asking questions after getting back.
She felt sour at Ruan Zhan’s expressed interest in Hong Hao Hao at the entertainment city. Therefore, she didn’t say much the entire way back. However, after thinking about it, her relationship with Ruan Zhan was very ambiguous. They were closer than friends but also more distant than friends. Perhaps she shouldn’t be jealous. Furthermore, she hadn’t confirmed her own feelings for him and her emotions were extremely chaotic. Was it love or merely dependency? Since this was the case, might as well first cooperate and do the job well.
As for what this job was, she couldn’t really explain. She just felt she had to preserve her life first before seeing if she could help rid society of evil.
“Do you need to be so formal, little white shirt?” Wan Li joked, but after receiving Xiao Xia’s glare, he hurriedly looked toward Ruan Zhan.
“We could tell from the methods that the same person was responsible for controlling the zombie and the dreamkill spell to attack Xiao Xia.” Ruan Zhan led into the topic. “However, that entertainment city looks extremely, extremely, extremely ordinary on the surface.”
“On the surface?” Wan Li also grew solemn.
“Hiding something only makes it more conspicuous, get it?”
“What did you discover?” Xiao Xia asked.
“It’s the fact that nothing was discovered.” Ruan Zhan’s lip twitched slightly. “However, the aura inside is very chaotic. How should I put it? It’s like the feeling of moving into a new home. There’s a faint feeling of tartness. Also, the stone trigrams in front of the door seems to have inadvertently been damaged. The crack is fresh and doesn’t affect the overall structure, but in reality it’s already ruined.”
“This means that the entertainment city’s going to get haunted by…some good fellows?” Xiao Xia turned pale.
“Just the opposite.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means that it’s not really a trigram. Everyone knows what trigrams look like, but very few people have carefully examined the details within. The person who set up the stone sign used this fact. The stone sign looks like a trigram, but is actually a hidden yin locus. Not only does it not ward off evil, it actually forces passing spirits to enter the place.”
“It’s my first time seeing such means in competing for business.” Wan Li tutted. “I heard that place used to be very popular. Do you think someone was after the money?”
“The motive isn’t important. The question is why they would change the arrangement. If it’s the same person involved in everything, then it can be explained.” Ruan Zhan said.
“You mentioned the feeling of things having been recently moved. Does that mean they guessed we would go investigate and changed the geomancy layout? But I didn’t see any noticeable changes from last time.” Xiao Xia was bewildered.
“The person was able to turn a freshly deceased corpse into a zombie and can also use the dreamkill spell. He naturally wouldn’t be noticed when he does things.” Ruan Zhan said. “Actually, for geomancy formations, only a couple of small key items need to be moved to change the entire arrangement. It’s extremely hard to notice. If we weren’t already on the lookout, I wouldn’t have noticed anything.”
“This means that the entertainment city might be the front for the Flower Society?” Wan Li looked at Ruan Zhan.
Ruan Zhan nodded. However, he still felt something wasn’t right. That doubt floated in his heart, leaving a trace of unease he couldn’t capture.
“It isn’t hard to determine whether the Flower Society is connected to the entertainment city. The police will probably notice this too once they gather the evidence. The problem is the details.” Ruan Zhan frowned. “First of all, is the Flower Society using the entertainment city as a front or are they one and the same? Secondly, is the Flower Society just trying to accumulate wealth and women, or is there some other goal? Thirdly, who are those three mysterious brothers? Fourthly, why did the sacrificed bride turn to ash, completely defying the laws of science? Fifth, why are they targeting Xiao Xia, even though she no longer has anything to do with this case?”
“Don’t forget Gu Yu Fang’s closed-room murder, and also the miraculous encounters she was telling Xiao Xia about.” Wan Li added.
“That’s very easy.” Ruan Zhan said. “It’s doable if you have an invisibility talisman. Haven’t you used them before as well?”
“Being invisible would render the high-tech surveillance system useless. Gu Yu Fang’s front door is also in the blind spot of the security camera. Ah, well that makes a lot of sense. It’s like that damned ghost-built wall.” Wan Li recalled what happened in the public hospital and was a little helpless. “However, her front door didn’t have any signs of damage. Could it have been someone close to her who tricked her into opening the door?”
“That wouldn’t explain her romantic nights with Shuo Yue.” Ruan Zhan said. “There must be other ways to enter, such as a phasing spell.”
“I’m not able to do it.” Ruan Zhan knew what Wan Li wanted to ask and directly answered him. “The remaining part is just the details of the murder, which has nothing to do with us. Xiao Xia, can you print out entertainment city’s registration information from the Department of Commerce?”
“Why do you need that? You saw that…mule?” Xiao Xia recalled the nightmare and was still a little afraid.
Ruan Zhan nodded.
That’s right, he had seen the human-faced mule. Unfortunately the dream realm had shattered before he could probe that person out. That person definitely didn’t want him seeing into his mind via the dream realm.
“However, even if entertainment city’s owner is also the mastermind behind the Flower Society, it doesn’t mean he personally made a move. That wealthy owner of the Zhang group hired a bunch of sorcerers to do his work for him during the Bloody Mary case.” Wan Li said.
“We can still take a look. The person in the dreamkill spell didn’t seem like someone who was hired.” Ruan Zhan carefully thought back to the details and did his best to scrutinize the various clues in the dream realm, hoping to understand the person’s motives. However, he wasn’t able to come up with anything.
“Forget it, it’s already late. Let’s sleep first.”
“Where are you going to sleep? Your room is occupied by Xiao Xia and your storage room is occupied by me. Looks like I’ll have to suffer a little and sleep with you.” Wan Li said.
“I’d rather sleep on the streets.”
“You can go drop dead for all I care.” Wan Li stood up. “Let’s go, Xiao Xia. Let him fall asleep while looking at the stars. Let him freeze to death.”
Xiao Xia looked at Ruan Zhan. She stood and walked towards the stairs, but turned around halfway. “Can you take a look at this?” She took out her darkened jade amulet. “It became like this after encountering the zombie.”
“Alright, I’ll turn it back to normal as soon as I can. Also, you can rest assured. Even though the formation here has been broken and isn’t fixed yet, I’m here. Nothing will happen. You can sleep in peace.” He promised as he looked at Xiao Xia’s slightly uneasy expression.
After Xiao Xia and Wan Li left, Ruan Zhan turned off the lights and sat alone in the dark. He kept getting the feeling Xiao Xia wasn’t the target in this matter, but she had been in the most danger. This made him puzzled and uneasy.
Just what was the meaning of the dream realm? A dark building, a woman, a stone mill, a scarecrow, flesh….
He couldn’t get his finger on the pulse of this matter and felt congested with the mess, unable to make anything of it. Wan Li had said he hadn’t been able to think straight when they encountered the zombie that day. It was clear caring resulted in chaos. Wasn’t he the same way now?
He sat silently for a long while before going quietly up the stairs. He snuck into Xiao Xia’s room.
Xiao Xia was sound asleep, curled up into a bundle in the blankets. Perhaps she was too tired. She seemed like a baby in the womb. Ruan Zhan looked at her sleeping appearance under the moonlight. He recalled how every time before she started a book, she would read the ending first. Only if there was a happy ending would she read the book. From a psychological standpoint, this clearly showed she was someone who lacked a sense of security. However, she always managed to get into these weird situations, and insisted on fighting for justice.
What a contradictory and complicated woman.
As he thought this, he involuntarily felt a very warm emotion well up. He wanted to let her shelter under his wings, not willing to let her get hurt.
He walked to the window and sat down, quietly keeping guard. The formation had yet to be restored and he was afraid someone would use another powerful spell against Xiao Xia. He had no choice but to personally stand guard.
The peacefully sleeping Xiao Xia knew none of this. The next day when she got ready to head to work, she saw Ruan Zhan cleaning glasses behind the bar downstairs as though preparing to open up shop.