Book 5 Chapter 10: To the forest!

No matter how dense Xiao Xia was, she could still tell Huang Bo Heng truly had some bad intentions towards her.

A matter that should’ve taken only half an hour ended up taking the entire morning due to his chattering. Furthermore, he started sitting closer and closer to her, until she could feel his breath on her face when he spoke. With his ambiguous and affectionate body language added to the mix, Xiao Xia felt one side of her body turning numb, and was extremely uncomfortable!

She excused herself to go to the restroom and secretly called Wan Li and Ruan Zhan to see if either of them could pick her up. Huang Bo Heng was insisting on treating her to lunch. Xiao Xia really wasn’t able to hold out much against his pestering.

Unfortunately Wan Li didn’t pick up on his cellphone and his office line was busy. She could only call Ruan Zhan.

The line connected very quickly after ringing only once. Ruan Zhan’s gentle voice sounded out. She didn’t expect to reach him so quickly and wasn’t able to speak right away.

“Xiao Xia, what is it?” Ruan Zhan immediately guessed who the silent person was.

“I…it’s nothing.”


“Well….there is a minor thing. I was was wondering if you, around lunch time…” Xiao Xia left the bathroom as she spoke, but saw a figure that made her voice catch. Her feet did the same.

Ruan Zhan had his back to her, standing around ten steps from her. That area was the Everplenty Group’s reception. He seemed to be waiting for someone.

Was he waiting for her? Didn’t he say he was busy? Why had he come to pick her up? Did he want to surprise her?

Xiao Xia felt a wave of cheerfulness. She was about to speak when she saw Bai Jing Jing running out from the secretary area outside the Chairman’s office. She had a blossoming smile as she charged towards Ruan Zhan, and even gave him a peck on the cheek. Ruan Zhan turned towards her and gave her a gentle smile before saying something and pointing at his phone. Then he turned around.

Their eyes met.

Xiao Xia only froze for a moment before she reacted. Although she vaguely felt something stabbing around at her heart, she still walked over beaming.

“What a coincidence.” She exchanged pleasantries and gave Ruan Zhan a glance. He was appropriately dressed, looking refined and elegant. His entire getup indicated he was here to pick up his girlfriend for lunch.

“That’s right, Ah Zhan asked me out for lunch. We’re officially dating.” Bai Jing Jing said a little provocatively. She wrapped her arm around Ruan Zhan’s at the same time. The customers of the Nocturnal Revenant all knew Xiao Xia was living at Ruan Zhan’s place. How could Bai Jing Jing miss such an opportunity to put her love rival in her place!?

“Oh? Well, I wish you a pleasant meal. I still have some business with Chairman Huang. I’ll be going first.” Xiao Xia’s expression didn’t change despite her heart hurting enough to make her suck in a cold breath.

It turns out the person he was here to pick up wasn’t her!

She nodded politely and left cheerfully. She didn’t have the opportunity to say anything to Ruan Zhan, and didn’t dare look at his face. She was afraid she would lose her composure and start crying on the spot.

She didn’t expect Ruan Zhan’s betrayal to hurt her so much. She felt as if she had lost everything. Actually, it wasn’t really a betrayal since they never really got started. Perhaps it had all been her own wishful thinking.

He always gave her mixed signals. Sometimes he was incredibly good to her. Other times, he intentionally kept his distance. Hot and cold, close and distant, making her afraid to express her feelings. She had planned to slowly get close to him, but she shouldn’t have waited. Now, it was all too late. Before her villages could encroach upon the city, someone else had rushed ahead!

He was so outstanding. Why had she been so stupid to think he would wait in place for her? Of course there would be other women who were interested!

Today, she finally understood Gu Long’s1 words: Men were most impatient. They weren’t willing to wait, no matter how much the woman was worth waiting for.

She was thinking all this nonsense as she agreed to Huang Bo Heng’s lunch invitation. Only after they arrived at the restaurant did she realize they had ended up choosing the same place as the pair of lovebirds on their date.

Therefore, she could only eat the most uncomfortable lunch of her life. She had to refrain from looking around, she was upset and she could barely swallow her food. She also had to endure Huang Bo Heng’s solicitous “care”.

While she sat restlessly, she didn’t realize that despite keeping it better hidden, Ruan Zhan was also extremely uncomfortable. Especially when Huang Bo Heng used the opportunity when “passionately serving” Xiao Xia to accidentally brush her hand, her shoulder and even helped her wipe something off her face. Ruan Zhan hated that he couldn’t shoot over a fire brand on the spot, roasting that pig hand of his.

This lunch thus ended with both people depressed and in a bad mood.

The following week, things were awkward between Xiao Xia and Ruan Zhan. Xiao Xia had finally calmed down and thought of many likely explanations. She also knew Ruan Zhan wasn’t obligated to explain things to her, but when he truly didn’t mention it at all, she was still extremely fidgety!

“Still not willing to admit you like Ah Zhan? You look like a woman scorned!” Wan Li sat with Xiao Xia at one end of the bar, looking at Ruan Zhan entertaining customers nearby while chatting and smiling with Bai Jing Jing.

“Can’t I just feel disgusted when looking at her?” Xiao Xia’s grief was temporarily covered by her anger. She watched as Bai Jing Jing smiled coyly at Ruan Zhan while occasionally shooting victorious glances over at her!

“Truly an immature woman!” It wasn’t clear which one Wan Li was talking about. “Are you planning on cutting her up? What kind of blade do you need? I’ll help prepare it for you.”

“I’m going to kill her with my glare!”

Wan Li laughed at Xiao Xia’s childishness.

“Let me tell you, I’m not being petty. It’s because she’s doing it on purpose. She also purposefully arranged to eat at the same restaurant. I ended up being unable to enjoy such an expensive meal properly!”

“Just fire her once you become the Madam Chairman.”

Xiao Xia couldn’t help but sigh.

This week, after finishing up the transfer of things at the office, Pan Shan kept his promise and allowed her to take some time off. Due to Ruan Zhan’s new “relationship”, she had been too distracted to go out. Unexpectedly, that amorous Chairman Huang ended up using the oldest trick in the book of sending flowers and gifts. However, he was extremely smart in going about it. The gifts were the considerate yet inexpensive kind. He didn’t even call in advance, making Xiao Xia unable to reject unless she returned it personally.

The steady yet pressing advances of Chairman Huang was something she had experienced already. He would slowly chat with you until even the hardest of opponents would surrender, let alone someone like her who was bad at refusing others! Therefore, it was better to avoid meeting him.

However, the roses of various colors came in a steady stream. The Nocturnal Revenant had almost turned into a flower shop. Wan Li had come up with the solution in the end. The bar ended up gifting roses to the female customers, making Ruan Zhan’s business start booming even more.

“You should consider it. Based on your circumstances, the chances of you meeting a billionaire is smaller than being killed by a terrorist on the street.” Wan Li looked at her preoccupied appearance and couldn’t help but tease her. “Especially one like Huang Bo Heng, whose appearance, age and education seem to all be pretty good.”

If she accepted Huang Bo Heng, she could screw Bai Jing Jing over! Xiao Xia considered this, but felt that getting a man like Ruan Zhan meant losing her job wouldn’t be a big deal to Bai Jing Jing. Ultimately, she felt she’d be the one losing out. The so-called priceless combo of money and power wasn’t something she cared about. She just wanted to love the one she loved.

“So, are you going to go with my suggestion?”

“I’d rather marry you!”

“I’m extremely willing.” Wan Li said half-jokingly.

Xiao Xia rolled her eyes at him. However, seeing his serious gaze she suddenly had a weird realization. “You don’t seriously like me, do you?”

Wan Li always thought of himself as a carefree and confident person. There was nothing he couldn’t be open about. However, he didn’t dare respond to Xiao Xia’s question this time. He merely swatted the top of her head. Xiao Xia thought she was mistaken and didn’t feel any awkwardness. She pounced over to retaliate and Wan Li dodged. The ruckus drew the attention of everyone in the bar.

When Xiao Xia noticed everyone was watching their playful bantering, she hurriedly stopped. However, she noticed Ruan Zhan was the only one who wasn’t looking.

“I’m going upstairs.” She said in a huff, turning to go.

Wan Li made a signal towards Ruan Zhan and followed her up. He was going to describe their plans to Xiao Xia in detail.

It turns out that Ruan Zhan approached Bai Jing Jing because he wanted to use her to investigate Yang Mu You. Ever since the matter with the Japanese ghost, Ruan Zhan had been pursuing his trail despite seeming unconcerned.

Based on Wan Li’s investigation back then, Ruan Zhan had already narrowed down his targets to a few people. They were all major investors related to the Everplenty Group. Only they could have used Huang Bo Heng’s influence to lure Xiao Xia to the haunted motel. Of course, Huang Bo Heng might have not known about it.

Yang Mu You was very crafty. Ruan Zhan had already experienced his skills at laying plans within plans. Therefore, he ignored all of Yang Mu You’s provocations afterwards. He knew his opponent was watching him through various methods. His opponent was also powerful so he could only win by taking advantage of chaos. He remained unmoving to lure Yang Mu You into acting rashly. Furthermore, he had to block up all of Yang Mu You’s hiding spots before he made a move. Otherwise, Yang Mu You would have the opportunity to escape and harm others once again!

His plan of slowly approaching the core from the surroundings was actually the same as Xiao Xia’s villages encroaching the city plan. The difference was just that Xiao Xia’s prey was him.

He knew Yang Mu You wouldn’t place himself beneath anyone else. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be as convenient to act if he weren’t at the head. Therefore, he targeted the chairmen of those investment groups. However, he couldn’t act openly because he didn’t know who Yang Mu You had possessed. He could only slowly investigate through the Everplenty Group that they often interacted closely with.

Bai Jing Jing was the head of the Everplenty Group’s secretary department. She was coincidentally brought to the Nocturnal Revenant by a friend, and grew strongly interested in Ruan Zhan. Therefore, he went along with the flow. Although this wasn’t fair to Bai Jing Jing, he refrained from getting too intimate with her. She was just very forward.

Secretaries held an extremely special position because they ended up close to the inner circle, and even heard some of the secrets. Bai Jing Jing had worked at the Everplenty Group ever since their meteoric ascent ten years ago. Despite being just the head of the secretary department and just twenty-eight years old, she was a senior figure within the company. Furthermore, there were rumors that her relationship with Huang Bo Heng had once been rather intimate.

Bai Jing Jing was a shrewd person with a sense of propriety. She lips were tightly sealed, but she had a weakness known only by a few: she had a loose tongue after too many drinks. Furthermore, her memory was extremely good, and was able to describe the most unimportant details from a decade ago. She knew this problem of hers so she never drank too much. It’s just that after meeting Ruan Zhan, she started losing her reason.

Ruan Zhan found out many things from her. For example, Huang Bo Heng had come to this city from the Yunnan Province a decade ago. He was born in the place listed by Guan Zheng in the email. Furthermore, his rise was rather miraculous. Ever since he received his first investment, his competitors never had a good outcome. They either went bankrupt or died. It all seemed pretty unusual.

Based on her inadvertent revelations, Ruan Zhan slowly narrowed his target down to a billionaire in this city: Zhang Qun.

Zhang Qun used to be a domineering and high-profile person. However, a while ago he suddenly vanished. It was supposedly due to his health, and he had taken his similarly traumatized daughter to a therapeutic paradise for treatment. He only returned to the city after a long while, and remained low-key ever since. He rarely appeared in public anymore, becoming a dragon whose tail is never seen.

His daughter was the sole survivor of the Bloody Mary case, but it was said her trauma was miraculously cured. He had supposedly put a bounty on the falsely suspected Ruan Zhan. Yang Mu You was one of those that he had invited. If Yang Mu You had truly ended up possessing him, it would be a case of him having invited the wolf into the house.

Huang Bo Heng’s and the Zhang family’s groups had an ordinary relationship before, but they suddenly started getting very close within the past six months. The two chairmen frequently met up.

The time they started getting close was around the time the dead spirit escaped from Ruan Zhan. If it left Yang Mu You’s body and possessed Zhang Qun instead, it meant the person getting close to Huang Bo Heng wasn’t the real Zhang Qun. It was that unknown spirit that had previously possessed Yang Mu You’s body!

When Zhang Qun sought out “Yang Mu You’s” services, it might have seemed to just be a business transaction due to “Yang Mu You” having some powers. However, it might also be the spirit’s backup plan in case anything unexpected happened. No one was more suitable than Zhang Qun to be its next host!

The question was whether Huang Bo Heng was being fooled, or if he had long since been connected with the spirit.

Ruan Zhan had also investigated the history of Yang Mu You’s previous host. The person from Hong Kong had gone to Burma due to financial problems, and then returned via the Yunnan Province’s border. Not only were his financial problems resolved, his physique had become much stronger than before. He also brought back a Burmese beauty.

“Yang Mu You” and that beauty had returned from the place Huang Bo Heng was born in: a small village near the Burmese border!

Was that beauty Hong Hao Hao? Where had she come from?

This way, Yang Mu You, Zhang Qun, that spirit and Huang Bo Heng were all connected, and the thread connecting them was that location written down by Guan Zheng before he died.

“Therefore, Ah Zhan decided we’re going to make a trip to the Yunnan Province!” Wan Li concluded.

Everything was too complicated and Xiao Xia didn’t understand right away. After pondering a long while, she finally figured out the gist of it.

“First of all, Yang Mu You’s first physical host had passed through the border of Burma, and after returning he had gone through major changes. It’s likely he was possessed by the spirit at that time. Secondly, Huang Bo Heng was also born there, and he’s also the boss behind the scenes of the non-profit organization. Third, if that spirit that’s been going against us this whole time is possessing Zhang Qun, who is now close with Huang Bo Heng, the two might have known each other for a long time. Fourth, Huang Bo Heng’s unusual rise to power and the unusual deaths of the accused in the cases suggests Huang Bo Heng is no ordinary person. Furthermore, everything points towards the place given to us by Guan Zheng. Therefore, we have to make a trip there. For Guan Zheng’s sake, and also to investigate that spirit. We have to see if we can discover its true identity and secret!”

“That’s right. Therefore, Ah Zhan’s been selling his good looks.” Wan Li joked. “You feeling better about it now?”

“What would I be feeling bad about?” Xiao Xia argued, though she did relax a little mentally. However, though it was just an act, she still felt uncomfortable about him getting so intimate with that woman. She only hoped to leave as soon as possible so Bai Jing Jing wouldn’t entangle Ruan Zhan anymore. It would also prevent Huang Bo Heng from entangling her. Who knew whether he had ulterior motives for approaching her?

“When are we leaving?”

“The day after tomorrow.”

They were really going into the forest! What mysterious force was causing those bizarre deaths?

  1. Wuxia novelist and screenwriter.
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