As it turns out, here’s what Witch Doctor Ah Bai told Xiao Xia: when she looked into the future back then, she had seen that Guan Zheng would become a scourge upon humanity. However, his divine gifts were too powerful and he would also cultivate incredible, evil Gu techniques. At that time, there might not be anyone who could truly eradicate him.
People born with supernatural powers become even stronger after death. They couldn’t just be killed in a normal fashion. Even if their body was destroyed, their soul could continue to cause harm.
The future showed that Guan Zheng would encounter someone with similarly powerful abilities. If that person could not thoroughly destroy him, an even bigger calamity would occur, and no one else would ever be able to stop him!
Therefore, despite her heartbreaking pain, she couldn’t give Guan Zheng the chance to turn over a new leaf and reincarnate. Forgiving him meant harming even more innocents!
She was like a mother whose child caused irreparable trouble. She wished for nothing more than to use her own life in exchange for her child’s repentance. Yet no matter how kind, powerful or compassionate she was, she didn’t have a choice in the matter!
Therefore, she left that little insect behind. She said it was the only way to completely resolve the problem.
That type of insect was an undiscovered type of strange creature. It was a legend even amongst witch doctors. She only knew about it because her master told her about it as her successor.
This insect had no name. They reproduced asexually and matured very quickly. As such, their lifespans were very short. There were extremely few and they only lived for an hour after birth. They were extremely hard to find. Before death, it automatically sucked blood and foraged for food before laying eggs in dark bushes. The offspring would wriggle out from the ground the following July.
This insect only appeared in legends and no one truly encountered them, let alone refined one into Gu. Because there were too many insects in the tropical forest, finding one that looked like a larger mosquito, with so few in number, was essentially as hard as ascending to the heavens. Even if one was found, keeping it alive was another problem. They had to be stored in a dry, warm yet dark vessel, and raised with a special type of tribal medicine and one’s own blood. Even after all this, success would not be guaranteed.
Yet if one succeeds, the insect would have the characteristics that Gu users dreamed about. It would recognize the person who gave it blood as its master, and would be loyal for life. It would obey any command and there was no risk of backlash. Furthermore, it was very moldable. It could be made into various Gu, and it all depended on the refiner’s abilities.
At that time, Witch Doctor Ah Bai knew she didn’t have long to live, yet her successor hadn’t been confirmed. Therefore, to avoid this secret from being lost, she told Si Ma Nan about it. He promised to observe her apprentices and judge who was worthy to be given this secret.
She knew that Si Ma Nan wouldn’t go looking for this little insect even if he knew its secrets. Refining it would require the secret Gu techniques of her sect. Personally, she was more inclined to tell Ah Wu this secret.
Although Ah Wu’s powers weren’t strong, that didn’t really matter when it came to becoming the successor of her legacy. However, Ah Ya made her uneasy. That child’s expression indicated he would never tolerate being offended, and there was a darkness that swallowed everything in his eyes.
She even felt it was a mistake to accept him as her apprentice, but if accepting him was the first mistake, then her telling Si Ma Nan about it was the second. Because she felt conflicted as she spoke, she didn’t notice Guan Zheng had overheard everything. This made him feel neglected and spawned a fierce interest towards this small insect.
Was it Guan Zheng’s obsession and all-out efforts to obtain the things he wanted, or was it unavoidable fate? Witch Doctor Ah Bai still wasn’t sure up until she died. She only knew that the little insect no one had seen any trace of for millennia was actually found by Guan Zheng, and he successfully managed to raise one.
Then, Witch Doctor Ah Bai made her third mistake. She shouldn’t have let Guan Zheng find out about the secret compartment under the shrine. There were many Gu technique inheritances kept there, including several forbidden arts. By the time she decided to destroy some of those tomes, Guan Zheng had already memorized several. Therefore, he was able to invent several more evil Gu techniques afterwards.
As for the little insect, Guan Zheng initially wanted to use its nature of drinking blood to refine it into a soul-eating Gu insect mentioned in a forbidden art. But before he could complete the process, Witch Doctor Ah Bai divined the future at the cost of her life span to see what would happen in the next decades.
Therefore, she stored the little insect away and used a different technique to substitute her own blood. She personally completed the Gu technique’s final refinement and set up a restriction, putting the soul-devouring insect into the sealed bamboo tube. It would become a weapon against Guan Zheng in the future!
In other words, she posed as Guan Zheng to give the insect a command, making it think she was its master. When Guan Zheng opened the tube, the soul-devouring insect would follow the false order and enter Guan Zheng’s body, devouring his soul and then turning itself to dust.
Originally, there was nothing that could overcome Guan Zheng. But in the end, he was killed by something he refined himself. As the saying goes, sins of heaven may be permitted, but sins of man will be punishable by death!
”What a complicated story.” After listening to Xiao Xia’s explanation, Wan Li said. “But I only saw you laying there for a moment.”
Xiao Xia shook her head. She once again experienced Witch Doctor Ah Bai’s distress and helplessness. “I also don’t know. I only felt her smile at me, and then all her thoughts and feelings were transmitted over!”
”Hearing you say that, I really also want to meet this beauty. Unfortunately, she never appears to me in a vision.” Wan Li looked lost in a daydream. “Ah Zhan, can you use some magic to help me have a ghostly encounter with Witch Doctor Ah Bai?”
Ruan Zhan frowned. “Witch Doctor Ah Bai foresaw people would move into this octagonal building, and that there would be a wedding. Therefore, she used her own hair to pass down a vision to Xiao Xia. Her spirit never appeared. I can’t even figure out where her spirit is. Or perhaps, she might have foreseen her own death and made preparations in advance.”
”I have a feeling,” Wan Li said, “That this matter isn’t completely over.”
”Obviously! Anyone can guess that! Si Ma Nan hasn’t shown himself yet!” Xiao Xia rolled her eyes at Wan Li.
”Can’t I bullshit a little without you exposing me? Women that are too smart will have a hard time getting married!” Wan Li lightly knocked Xiao Xia on the head. “Then let’s have Great Wizard Ruan tell us about the talisman and the incense burner first. Besides, this matter has proven that if something wants to trouble us, we won’t be able to avoid it no matter what.”
“It’s nothing much. I borrowed the incense burner from Uncle Bao, which is why it contained spirit power, preventing Guan Zheng’s ice shards from knocking it over. As for the talisman, when Huang Bo Heng’s corpse and the bag of eyes were being burned, I noticed the resulting smoke was a little strange. Therefore, I stuck an ordinary talisman onto the bloodwood sword, and sent the sword through the smoke. That was enough to absorb some of the fiendish aura. As you guys know, Guan Zheng cultivated the Gu arts until he even refined his own body. Basically there wasn’t any part of him that wasn’t a Gu. Therefore, I figured that bag of eyes must be related to the blood aura inside his body.”
“That’s some impressive foresight you’ve got. You already started considering how to deal with the true mastermind back then.” Wan Li praised.
“I had no choice. We were the weaker party. If we wanted to win from a position of weakness, it’s not just a matter of being ruthless.” Ruan Zhan stood as he spoke. “Let’s rest first. We’ve been on edge ever since we entered the mountain, and haven’t had a good night’s sleep yet.”
”And after we wake up? Do we go back right away or should we stay here a little longer?” Xiao Xia asked.
”Up to you.”
Xiao Xia chose to stay. She wanted to look over this place’s natural views under calmer circumstances. She wanted to experience this place’s innocence and communal customs. Most importantly, she vaguely felt something calling her to stay. She couldn’t say what it was, but she just felt there was something left unfinished.
They remained in the octagonal building. Since the village chief knew about their situation, and also knew the matter had been dealt with, he permitted them to stay. The three of them busied themselves, remaining out until late before falling right asleep. It was like a real vacation. However, Xiao Xia’s lingering feeling did not abate.
The night before they were going to leave, Xiao Xia suddenly awoke from her dreams, abnormally awake. This feeling was very familiar. It had happened several times before, proving something was calling her!
She lay motionless in bed, staring at the bamboo building’s round roof. She hesitated whether to call Ruan Zhan or check it out first. She had been living by herself on the third floor. The two non-picky men both slept on the second floor’s wide altar. “Yue Xiao Xia!” A woman’s voice called out to her in a whisper.
Xiao Xia’s heart trembled. This voice was extremely familiar. It was Witch Doctor Ah Bai’s voice from her visions.
”Yue Xiao Xia!” Xiao Xia rolled over and got up, pinching herself.
It hurt a lot, so she wasn’t dreaming. Then, why was Witch Doctor Ah Bai looking for her? Was it really like she sensed? Was there some unfulfilled wish she needed help with?
She helped them, and moreover she was so kindhearted. She should be helped!
Xiao Xia slowly walked over barefoot, leaning out the window nervously and looking down. Her right hand held her amulet for protection.
It wasn’t that she didn’t trust Witch Doctor Ah Bai. She firmly believed she wouldn’t harm her. She gave of a holy feeling like that of an angel. Even if she became a ghost, she wouldn’t harm anyone either!
She was afraid that some other malicious thing might be posing as Witch Doctor Ah Bai to lure her out!
The night was cool like water and the moon hung bright in the sky. A slight breeze was blowing and the scene was peaceful and quiet. Nothing was calling her downstairs. Upon sensing carefully, her scalp didn’t turn numb and her hairs didn’t stand on end. She didn’t feel the unease of being watched. Did her subconscious feeling end up giving her a weird dream because they were leaving tomorrow?!
The soft voice suddenly appeared behind Xiao Xia whose attention had been focused downstairs, startling her. She almost fell out of the window which was half the height of a person.
She spun around but the room was completely empty. There was nothing on her bed either. Where had the voice come from?
The moon was bright and the room’s layout was extremely simple. She could clearly see everything inside. Therefore, she looked the room over from left to right again. On the left was the water basin where Huang Bo Heng’s forced marriage episode began. But it was currently still and silent. Then was the bamboo doorway. Although it looked dark, there wasn’t anything there. Then was the closet. It looked like a good place to hide something. She had once been possessed by a human leather jacket in a closet. The closet door was currently wide open and inside the beautiful tribal clothing she had collected were piled up. There was nothing else. In the middle was her empty bed. Finally, on her left was a makeup counter. Upon it were simple makeup tools and an ancient copper mirror…
The moment her eyes landed on the mirror, there was a flash of light!
The sound came from the mirror!
Xiao Xia swallowed and slowly angled her body so she could see the mirror from where she stood. As the angle grew larger and larger, she finally saw it!
A woman’s face had appeared inside. It wasn’t her own face, but that unfamiliar yet familiar face of Witch Doctor Ah Bai, who was smiling at her!
Despite being mentally prepared, and having gotten braver of the past few days, she still sucked in a breath and almost screamed. Anyone seeing the face of someone long gone in the mirror at night would feel some fear, even if that person was extremely kind and gentle.
”I’m sorry I scared you.” Witch Doctor Ah Bai smiled apologetically.
Xiao Xia was frozen for a moment before her rigid body gradually recovered. With some difficulty, she took a few steps forward and then turned to face the mirror.
”You were waiting for me.” Witch Doctor Ah Bai said.
”You had me wait for you.” Although Xiao Xia’s throat was dry, she finally was able to speak. After calming down, she was no longer that afraid. Instead, she felt some bafflement towards Ah Bai’s fate and her relationship with Si Ma Nan. She had always appeared in visions before, but this was the first time they were truly interacting.
”I was indeed the one who begged you to wait for me.” Witch Doctor Ah Bai still smiled gently. “You are truly an innately sensitive person. Don’t think yourself useless. It’s very impressive to be able to sense things others cannot.”
Xiao Xia did not say anything, but felt the urge to give the mirror a hug. She always thought of herself as someone who ruined things. She never thought she could also be someone amazing, especially since it was such a powerful witch doctor who said it.
”Do you have any unfulfilled wishes? Why did you come to see me?” Xiao Xia asked.
”I do have an unfulfilled wish.” Witch Doctor Ah Bai sighed faintly. “For the sake of this wish, I’ve been waiting this whole time, unwilling to go where I should go. All to give him one thing.”
”Si Ma Nan?”
Witch Doctor Ah Bai nodded.
Xiao Xia wanted to tell her how bad, how evil Si Ma Nan was. He didn’t deserve her love. He even had a mistress called Hong Hao Hao. But looking at her gentle and innocent face, the words stuck in her throat.
”How can I help you? Should I call Ruan Zhan up and we can discuss together?”
”No! Don’t call him!” Witch Doctor Ah Bai was a little alarmed. Yet seeing Xiao Xia’s puzzled expression, she hurriedly explained. “You probably don’t know how strong his hidden supernatural abilities are. He probably isn’t clear himself. In the end, I’m still a…that’s why I cannot get close to him. Our current conversation is half a vision, which is why he hasn’t been alerted!”
”I’m not asking you to keep it from him. You can tell him later. Besides, I still need his help…I’ve been locked underneath an object and my soul cannot get out. I can only use a fragment of my will to find you. I’ve put in a lot of effort to gather enough strength before you left.”
”What do you want me to do?”
”Help me ask Ruan Zhan to unlock the thing suppressing me. Then, let me possess this mirror and take me to him!”
How will Ruan Zhan, Xiao Xia and Wan Li deal with a completely empty city that’s lost its precise coordinates? Will the instigator behind the scenes of many cases, Si Ma Nan, be eliminated? What grievances does Witch Doctor Ah Bai have with him? What ghosts or monsters will appear this time? Please look forward to the sixth book of The Exorcist: The Lost City.