“Hold it!” Seeing Huang Bo Heng about to dump the things in the bamboo tube into her eye, Xiao Xia hurriedly stopped him to try and give Ruan Zhan time. “If you’re going to afflict me with Gu, you should at least tell me what it was refined with.”
“It was refined with corpse bugs!” Huang Bo Heng said casually, though Xiao Xia got goosebumps all over after hearing his words. “You are Chinese, and a city girl. You wouldn’t understand. To raise the best, most extreme Gu requires one’s own flesh and blood along with the cruelest methods. Of course, the necessary techniques must also be learned. I had an excellent teacher and am also willing to sacrifice my own body. Therefore, my abilities are unmatched.”
Perhaps he felt completely assured, or perhaps he wanted to show off in front of Xiao Xia. Huang Bo Heng seemed to be a little too pleased with himself. “I refined this Ghost Gu many years ago by enduring the bites of corpse bugs for a hundred days, and then undergoing the arduous refining process for a hundred days more. You couldn’t imagine the suffering I went through before managing to complete it. Think about it. I had to find a situation where many people died at once and ensure they wouldn’t be buried. Their flesh had to decay naturally. Then I had to lie in that pile of corpses and allow corpse bugs to crawl all over me and feast on me. Those hundred days were incredibly hard! That was only the beginning. The next step was to gather all the corpse bugs that had eaten my flesh and blood before hiding in an empty grave I prepared. I was neither human nor ghost as I refined them for another hundred days. Only then did such a small amount form. This is extremely precious, comparable to those Daoist ghost-controlling techniques. That’s why I say you and Ah Luo are blessed. You can personally experience such precious Gu. I couldn’t bear using them on just anyone.” He pointed at the raincoat ghost.
Xiao Xia heard the name and recalled that the bride who jumped into the river back then was called Ah Luo.
“But if you want me to become yours forever, you should at least keep your promise. Release the Gu on my friend.” Xiao Xia forced down her disgust and continued speaking.
“Those…was also raised using blood! However, the ingredients were venomous snakes, toads and other poisonous animals. I used their brains and eggs in a special technique to create it. It’s not as high-level as the Ghost Gu and it doesn’t allow me to control the subject as I wish. As you saw, it wasn’t that useful on Wan Li. Therefore, it’s an inferior Gu known as a Death Gu.”
“What are you trying to say?” Xiao Xia glanced at Huang Bo Heng, vaguely understanding that he was telling her Wan Li couldn’t be saved. However, she still wanted to hear him admit to it.
“I’m saying…that I really want to save your friend, but I can’t. My sincere apologies. I just told you, that is a Death Gu!”
“Then you lied to get me to come here?”
“I didn’t lie to you!” Huang Bo Heng laughed sinisterly. “I just allowed you to make the decision, and enticed you into making a hopeless gamble.”
“You won’t be able to win either. In fact, you’re going to lose thoroughly!” Before Xiao Xia could respond, a man’s voice sounded from behind them. It was Ruan Zhan!
“She will never become your bride. I won’t allow it. Therefore, this round of gambling had no stakes at all.” He walked over step by step, bringing forth an overbearing and cold demeanor. “There is a way to resolve a Death Gu. The caster just has to die and it’ll be dissolved by itself. In that case, there isn’t much to discuss. You can just go right to hell!”
“Oh?” Huang Bo Heng was clearly startled. He didn’t expect for his worst fears to be confirmed. He did his best to appear calm but his eyes revealed his anxiousness. “Are you so sure of yourself?”
“Extremely!” Ruan Zhan responded coldly and continued to approach. His gaze was slightly cruel as he looked at Huang Bo Heng.
At this time, he had reached the stream. Yet as he faced the strong opponent in front of him, he seemed to be completely ignoring the water. His steps never faltered as he walked right in, splattering water everywhere.
He didn’t stop after reaching Xiao Xia’s side. He casually drew a symbol that looked like a Chinese character before gesturing towards Xiao Xia without even looking over.
Xiao Xia felt herself tilting and start to float! By the time she stabilized, her soul had shrunk and was now hidden within a long shadow under the moonlight. The shadow was dark yet warm. Looking carefully, she realized it was Ruan Zhan’s shadow. She had become part of it, and would move along with him without any conscious effort.
“Stop right there! Or else, I’ll destroy her body!” Huang Bo Heng was clearly frightened by Ruan Zhan’s steady approach. His forced composure cracked a little.
“If you dare touch a single hair of hers, I promise there won’t even be any ashes left behind of your corpse!” Ruan Zhan still didn’t stop. He had reached the opposite bank of the stream at this time. Huang Bo Heng had already dragged Xiao Xia’s body to a clearing next to the stream.
Xiao Xia had never seen Ruan Zhan so ruthless and overbearing before. She didn’t know whether his natural instincts had been aroused or whether this matter had truly pissed him off. Seeing their opponent falter and reveal a panicked expression, she felt very delighted. However, she was also very disgusted that Huang Bo Heng’s dirty hands were touching her body.
As if of the same mind, Ruan Zhan immediately sensed her disgust. He finally halted his steps and stood calmly within the clearing, looking down coldly at Huang Bo Heng. “Put her body down and I promise to leave your corpse whole.”
Huang Bo Heng suddenly roared with laughter, though it felt a little forced. “Why would I release her? She’s my hostage.”
“Immoral bastard!” Ruan Zhan sneered. “We haven’t even exchanged blows yet but you’re already afraid?”
“I’ve moved unhindered throughout the business world for decades. What haven’t I seen before? Would I be scared of you? I’m just warning you to avoid collateral damage.”
“Is that so? Didn’t your starting capital come from the sale of drugs? Then, while you built up your business, you would cast Gu upon anyone in your way. Not only did you cause them to die, you even took over their wealth! What do you call that type of Gu? Third-rate Gu? Yet apart from casting Gu, what else can you do? If you aren’t able to use your Gu, aren’t you just waiting to be slaughtered?” Ruan Zhan used the information gathered over the past few days along with his conjectures to strike a mental blow at Huang Bo Heng. He wanted him to know that his secrets were all laid bare.
As expected, Huang Bo Heng’s expression wilted a little. However, he still put on a brave front. He dragged Xiao Xia’s body a few steps back again. Yet no matter how far he was, Ruan Zhan’s threat was still present. This made him extremely uneasy.
Someone had informed him previously that Ruan Zhan was very powerful and hard to deal with. He believed that person’s words and had always been very careful. He never faced Ruan Zhan directly, and took advantage of the fact that he was hidden in the shadows. He used various schemes in the dark to slowly separate Ruan Zhan from his target. He thought he had succeeded. The plants and animals he controlled, along with the raincoat ghost, had all reported to him that Yue Xiao Xia did not tell Ruan Zhan about the matter last night. Furthermore, Ruan Zhan was looking for the weirdo in the forest who seemed impossible to catch: Ah Wu!
It seemed that he was the one who was tricked! Although he seemed to have the advantage at the moment, the slightest mistake could cause things to turn. It seemed that person had been right. In a true confrontation…everything was decided by their abilities!
He was afraid now, but he felt Ruan Zhan’s aura had completely surrounded him. There was nowhere for him to run. He could only fight for his life.
However, he had been successful all along. Whether it was keeping tabs on his opponents, attacking them in the wilderness inn, inflicting Gu on Wan Li or threatening Yue Xiao Xia, he had easily accomplished it. It seemed as if someone extremely powerful was helping him behind the scenes. He believed it had to be that person. Therefore, he grew bolder.
Furthermore, he still had Yue Xiao Xia’s body in hand. He should still have a chance at victory! However, he didn’t understand why he was so obsessed with Yue Xiao Xia. Why did he insist on obtaining her forever? Why would he provoke a fiend like Ruan Zhan for no reason? He was thoroughly confused himself about this. He just felt a fierce obsession burning in his heart, forcing things to turn out this way.
“Ashes or an intact corpse? The choice is yours!” Ruan Zhan saw Huang Bo Heng hesitating and continued to apply pressure, afraid things would turn out poorly for Wan Li if things dragged on.
“Humph! I won’t choose. Show me what you’ve got!” Huang Bo Heng finally gritted his teeth and laid down his challenge. At the same time, he swiftly opened the bamboo tube and poured some white objects the size of rice into Xiao Xia’s eye.
He wanted this woman too badly. As long as she was afflicted by the Gu, she would still be his even if he died. She would be by his side forever! This wasn’t a Death Gu that would dissolve after his death. He had to remove it willingly! And he would never be willing to give up Yue Xiao Xia!
Xiao Xia’s soul was terrified as she witnessed this scene. She was afraid she had been afflicted by the Gu and would forever be at his beck and call. She wanted to throw herself over and stop him. However, she wasn’t able to move since she was covered by Ruan Zhan’s shadow. Besides, she suddenly felt a calming wave from Ruan Zhan’s mind. Therefore, she also calmed down. She knew it would definitely be fine.
As expected, a few seconds later, she heard Huang Bo Heng’s startled cry, “Why can’t the Gu bugs be implanted? Why?”
Well of course! Ruan Zhan had drawn a bloodspell on me ahead of time!
Xiao Xia said smugly in her mind. She realized that in her soul form, her vision had become extremely sharp. From twenty meters away in the dark, she could actually see the rice grain-sized insects. The moment they entered her eye, they tumbled out and fell to the floor, dying in flashes of blue sparks like fireflies.
“You chose wrongly!” Ruan Zhan spoke, and before his voice fell he threw out something within his hand.
The object flashed with a metallic gleam in the darkness before landing between them with a clang. With a buzzing sound, it started to enlarge. When it grew to be half the size of a person, it suddenly shot out a ray of white light at the raincoat ghost!
The raincoat ghost cried out in terror. It seemed to have been seized by something. No matter how it struggled, it was still drawn slowly towards the small metal banner.
“Master, save me!” She cried.
Huang Bo Heng also wasn’t willing to see his subordinate get captured by Ruan Zhan. He hurriedly tried to cast a spell, wanting to retrieve the ghost being controlled by his Ghost Gu. However, he realized that she was no longer under his control. The banner’s pull towards spirits far exceeded the power of his Gu techniques. Therefore, he could only watch anxiously as the raincoat ghost was dragged away.
This was Xiao Xia’s first time seeing the tattered banner’s true might! At the same time, she also understood why Ruan Zhan attacked the raincoat ghost!