Book 5 Chapter 42: Mastermind, part 1

Before Xiao Xia could respond, she was carried by Ruan Zhan into the stream.

“I’ll have to put you back into the water. However, it won’t be long and you won’t suffer due to the lack of oxygen.”


“You trust me?”

“I do!”

“Then, hold your breath!”

Xiao Xia didn’t hesitate to comply.

Ruan Zhan lightly lowered her into the water. He formed a seal with his hand and pointed at the water, preventing her from floating back up. Although the water was shallow, it was still deep enough to drown in!

Xiao Xia felt herself being pressed into the water. However, she didn’t panic or feel despair this time. She just calmly looked at Ruan Zhan who was standing by the edge of the water. She endured the feeling of her warm body gradually becoming cold once again.

She knew that as long as he was here, nothing would happen. As long as he was here, she would definitely be safe. He was just that type of man. Although he didn’t speak much, he made others feel calm and warm. No matter if the heavens collapsed or if the earth caved in, he would be there to pull you out.

Besides, she trusted him completely!

Ruan Zhan concentrated as he pulled out a talisman from his pocket. His lips moved slightly as he chanted and he threw the talisman in the air. His movements were graceful. The talisman didn’t seem like a piece of paper in his hands. Instead, it seemed like a thin but solid object as it flew straight into the air and burst into flame. The fire lasted for several seconds before the ashes of the talisman paper drifted into the water.

However, the ashes didn’t flow away with the current. Instead, they formed a tiny, black whirlpool on the surface of the water. It swirled fast and faster before finally entering her chest like a drill!

It happened too quickly for Xiao Xia to react. She felt warmth against her chest as the drill completely entered. She looked at Ruan Zhan in confusion and saw him looking at her sympathetically.

She tried to smile and express that she was perfectly fine. Yet at this time, the symbol drawn on the back of her head started to heat up. As if in tandem, the warmth in her chest became a piercing pain that sprung forth within her body!

The pain was sharp as if she was being split in two by a large pair of scissors starting from the back of her head. She couldn’t help but writhe in pain. She wasn’t able to cry out, and could merely toss and turn beneath the water.

She tried to restrain herself, afraid of making Ruan Zhan worry. Yet she didn’t realize that despite feeling as if she were flailing in pain, her body was actually lying still and unmoving. The pain was coming from the depths of her soul!

Ruan Zhan knew the pain she was feeling. The pain in his heart was no less than that of hers. He wished he could take her place! He watched as her soul was slowly pulled out and knew her torment was finally at an end.

He had already done his best to reduce the pain and the time it took. This wasn’t like someone’s soul departing after death, or like those rare freak occurrences. This was more like surgery. For a soul to leave a living body, it was like cutting off a body part. For ordinary people, it wouldn’t just be a mental pain!

This made him feel incomparable resentment towards the mastermind!

That person had harmed the two most important people to him in the world for unknown, selfish reasons. One was his only good friend. There probably wasn’t anyone he viewed as a closer friend than Wan Li. The other was the woman he loved. Even if he couldn’t tell her, and couldn’t accept her feelings, there probably wouldn’t be anyone else who could move his heart this way!

This was why he would personally slaughter the bastard hiding behind the scenes!

At this moment, a fell wind blew over, bringing along a chill and a fishy scent. He knew the enemy had come. The mastermind assumed his evil plan had succeeded and was here to harvest the fruits of his victory.

He took one more glance at Xiao Xia. Her soul was still next to her body looking vacant. It was clear she didn’t understand where the enormous pain had come from or why it had vanished suddenly. However, she should know that she had already left her body. Therefore, she didn’t need to keep breathing.

The chill poison that the raincoat ghost infused within her was preventing her soul from departing. This would allow the mastermind to cast the Ghost Gu on her. However, the raincoat ghost didn’t realize that she wore the protective amulet of the Ksitigharba Bodhisattva, which would unleash extreme protective powers at vital moments.

Xiao Xia didn’t reveal the secret of her amulet earlier because she was afraid it wouldn’t be as effective later on. Therefore, no matter how frightened she got, she kept the amulet hidden and didn’t use it. Yet when the raincoat ghost unleashed the chill poison, the amulet automatically reacted and prevented her from being too heavily injured. It also prevented her soul from being fixed in place. Xiao Xia’s current stunned appearance was caused by Ruan Zhan to trick the opponent.

He looked at her frail yet stubborn appearance. He suddenly wondered what he would do if she really died. Would he follow her in death? That…shouldn’t be too bad, right? In his opinion, what people feared wasn’t actually dying, but losing everything they had!

However, before he had time to come up with his answer, he sensed the enemies drawing closer. Therefore, he dispelled the restriction. Although he was already invisible, he placed an aura concealing talisman on himself and hid in a bush some distance away to further trick the opponent.

This person who planned on implanting a Ghost Gu in Xiao Xia and planted a Death Gu in Wan Li had to die!

He steeled himself and thought coldly.

Two figures appeared in the distance! Although they were both moving very fast, faster than humanly possible, the figure in front was moving jarringly. It looked a little like short-distance teleportation. The figure behind was floating along like a gust of wind.

Once they got closer, Ruan Zhan saw that two had come but there was only one shadow on the ground. One of them was that raincoat ghost while the other was a man…the mastermind, the raincoat ghost’s master, and the bastard who was trying to harm them!

He wore a tribal outfit, a groom’s attire of the Yan Yan Tribe. Because Ruan Zhan had spent the last couple of days gathering information on tribal customs, he was able to recognize it at a glance. This also made him more certain that the groom before him was the mastermind.

Furthermore, Ruan Zhan also recognized his face. He had seen it back at the city: Huang Bo Heng!

Ruan Zhan suppressed the urge to immediately leap out and slay him as he waited quietly for an opportunity. Huang Bo Heng was very cautious and didn’t get too close to the stream. He looked around, his hand on a small drum by his waist, his body tensed for combat.

“Master, the bride is at the bottom of the stream.” The raincoat ghost spoke. Although her bearing was respectful, her tone was anxious.

“What, tired of serving under me?” Huang Bo Heng glanced at the raincoat ghost, his tone disdainful with some provocation.

“No! That’s not it!” The raincoat ghost hurriedly denied it, terror in her tone.

Huang Bo Heng laughed coldly and didn’t speak. He continued looking around vigilantly. If Ruan Zhan hadn’t cast a spell to keep Xiao Xia in place as a soul and taken extra precautions for himself, he might have really been discovered.

“Don’t be impatient. I no longer have any interest in you. I will dispel your Gu and release you.” Huang Bo Heng seemed to relax a little after seeing nothing threatening in the surroundings. However, he still didn’t approach the stream. He turned and asked the raincoat ghost, “Are you sure the one surnamed Ruan didn’t follow her here?”

“Yue Xiao Xia didn’t tell him about the wedding. He is currently looking for Ah Wu in the woods!” The raincoat ghost answered.

“I’m still looking for Ah Wu myself. I never found her after so many years. How could someone like him find her?” Huang Bo Heng laughed coldly again and finally moved his hand away from the little drum at his side.

Listening to their conversation, Ruan Zhan finally knew the weirdo’s name to be Ah Wu. Moreover, she was really connected to Huang Bo Heng. Perhaps she was the key to this entire mystery!

“Even if he finds her, Ah Wu wouldn’t dare reveal master’s secret!”

“That’s right. She made a mistake back then and has already witnessed my power. I expect she wouldn’t dare speak.” Huang Bo Heng said smugly before slowly approaching the stream. He admired Xiao Xia who was beneath the water with an intoxicated look. That greedy expression made Ruan Zhan itch to dig out his eyes.

“Look how cute she is! Why am I so fond of her? The moment I saw her, I wanted to acquire her by any means necessary, and keep her hidden so no one else can see her. I don’t even know what came over me!” Huang Bo Heng praised as he pointed at Xiao Xia from above. It was as if she was his slave. His sense of superiority made Xiao Xia want to throw up. She wasn’t scared because Ruan Zhan was nearby. However, she felt she needed to fool the opponent and decided to act a little. Therefore, she put on a very frightened and panicked appearance.

As expected, her expression made Huang Bo Heng very smug as he started laughing lightly. The sound was a little muffled through the water, making her feel indescribably uncomfortable. “Don’t be afraid, my darling. I just need to put this in your eye and you won’t have to go through the suffering of reincarnation. We will be together forever!”

He took out a bamboo tube as he spoke. It was very small, only the size of a thumb, and it was also very old. It seemed to be from over a century ago.

“Inside are corpses of a type of insect. They’ll come alive once they enter your eye and become parasites. Don’t be scared, it won’t hurt at all. Furthermore, your eye will have extremely beautiful red marks. The moment they resurrect, your soul will belong to me. When I summon you, you will come. When I don’t, you will remain here. Look how beautiful this place is. It’s peaceful, serene, and the weather is like spring year-round. You will definitely be very happy. Come, let’s bring the beauty out of the water first!” He spoke giddily. He didn’t stretch his hand out to pull at Xiao Xia. Instead, he gestured weirdly with his hands and also moved his feet in a unique manner. It seemed to be some witchcraft. He gestured for over half a minute before finally waving towards the water’s surface.

The raincoat ghost watched everything in silence. Although there wasn’t anything supporting the raincoat so her expression couldn’t be seen, the entire raincoat was trembling. The raindrops upon it trickled down swiftly, though it wasn’t clear whether she was excited or nervous.   

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