The encirclement grew smaller and smaller. Wan Li gritted his teeth as he faced off against the group.
“Damn brute, let’s see you try to run now!” One of the people said viciously.
At this time, despite being at an absolute disadvantage, Wan Li didn’t show any signs of weakness. He smiled and was about to speak when he saw these people suddenly stop their approach. Their expressions changed and they looked behind him with fear.
Was there something on the wall behind him?
Wan Li almost turned to look but he stiffened his neck and didn’t move. The biggest threat was currently before him. If the opponents were tricking him, he could only wait for death if he looked back. Even if there really was something behind him, he had to deal with the vicious mutts in front first!
The people seemed completely terrified, unable to say a single word. One looked like a fish hanging from a hook, his mouth wide open as he stood stunned.
Clang. Someone’s weapon fell to the floor. The sound was startlingly loud in the alley which had suddenly become silent. It was like a warning bell that shocked everyone present. Then, as if they suddenly realized something, they all screamed and scattered.
This was what they all cried out.
Wan Li swiftly looked back. The scene on the wall also startled him. He couldn’t help but take a step back, almost tripping over a person. It was that thief. He happened to be facing the wall when he woke up, so he immediately fainted out of fear again!
On the outer wall of the spotted old building hung a human head!
It belonged to a man. The face was ashen and seemed to have become one with the wall. The hair was dried like withered branches, and hung lifelessly. The right side of the face was rotted and uneven. The left side had two moles that were vertically aligned. They looked like two teardrops of mud. His wide and glaring eyes were actually red.
There hadn’t been anything on that wall a moment ago. What was going on?
The human head didn’t make a sound and didn’t move. It merely hung there like a horrifying sculpture.
For a long while, the alley remained eerily quiet. Wan Li felt letting things drag on like this wasn’t a solution so he swallowed and spoke. “Well…thanks for earlier.”
His voice had just fallen when the head suddenly seemed to evaporate like gas, gradually becoming transparent. A leaf fluttered across the empty space, blown by a gust of wind. In that instant, the head vanished, as if the wall had been empty to begin with.
Wan Li stood confused for a while. He didn’t understand what was going on with the head which came and left abruptly. Had it come especially to save him? Who had sent it? Not Si Ma Nan, that’s for sure. Unless there was something wrong with his head, and he was just messing around with him instead of trying to stop him. That didn’t seem likely, based on Si Ma Nan’s way of doing things. Ruan Zhan? No, he wouldn’t have done something like this without giving him a heads up. A kindly ghost that was passing by? Maybe! Furthermore, maybe it was a ghost who had a request, or was somehow involved!
He bend over, pushing the thief’s body aside and retrieving the bloodwood sword. “Public safety is really great in Hongqing Town!” He shouted towards the heavens before slowly walking back to the inn.
His body was hurting all over from his wounds. He had also exerted himself too much earlier, and was now so tired his steps were dragging. He figured this latest assault should be the last of it. However, he didn’t realize that the moment he stepped into the inn, the wig he had previously thrown on the floor of his room seemed to come alive. It slowly crawled underneath his bed.
After getting back, he checked his watch which showed it was only slightly past midnight. He could only take care of his injuries himself. Luckily they were all flesh wounds, but the burning pain still made him curse incessantly, completely lacking his usual scholarly demeanor.
After finishing up, he went over to lock the room’s door in case some other actors burst in to annoy him. He put the bloodwood sword under his pillow and the bat next to his hand, preparing to sleep for a bit. He would try to contact Ruan Zhan again early in the morning.
He lay flat on the bed and stretched his legs out comfortably, slowly entering dreamland. In his dreams, he was in some sort of reception area. A security guard was napping in his chair with a newspaper over his face.
He wanted to ask the guard where this was, but when he lightly nudged him the newspaper fell to the floor, revealing his face. The face was oblong, with straight features. There were two vertically aligned moles on his cheek, hanging there like two teardrops of mud. They gave the pretty, delicate face a crying appearance!
Although half of the face wasn’t rotted and his eyes weren’t red, Wan Li still immediately recognized it as the head on the alley wall!
Now that the head was attached to the body of a security guard, it seemed a little strange. Even stranger was that he was completely bound in black thread. As Wan Li watched, the layers of dense black thread seemed to be alive as they slowly moved, tightening and gradually sinking into the guard’s body.
Wan Li was startled. He instinctively reached out and tried to untangle those strange threads. Yet the moment he bend over, the napping guard suddenly opened his eyes. “Hair!” He said in a muffled voice.
It happened too quickly and Wan Li was a little surprised. He took a step back and tripped over something on the floor, immediately snapping awake!
Just what was going on? Was it some sort of subconscious sign, or was that strange helper of his trying to tell him something? Why did he say hair? What was that supposed to mean?
He had always been extremely gutsy, but this time his mouth felt a little dry. He didn’t know if it was due to loss of blood or due to being frightened. He wanted to get up and drink some water, but realized he wasn’t able to move. His body was like the guard in his dream, completely wrapped in black threads. No…it was black hair!
A though flashed across his mind as he recalled why he felt something wasn’t right when he entered the door. He remembered throwing that “female ghost’s” wig onto the floor, yet it had disappeared when he got back. The thief obviously wouldn’t have tidied up his room for him.
Thinking of this, he couldn’t help but be impressed by Si Ma Nan. Not only did he have the arrogance of someone powerful, he was still rather cautious. Dealing with a minor character like himself, he actually used repeated schemes, not letting him catch his breath at all. He was really hard to deal with!
He tried moving again. He felt the hair on his body start moving, like countless thin snakes constricting his skin. He was unable to get free. The squirming feeling on his skin made him feel extremely uncomfortable!
This feeling made him feel weak all over. He tried sitting up three times without success. The black hair was like an octopus clinging to the bed. Its body was underneath but countless tentacles had reached up, trying to dig into his skin and drink his blood.
As he thought this, the fiendish hair seemed to act accordingly. It truly started stabbing at his skin, making him feel as if countless mosquitos were stinging him. This feeling was worse than being cut by those thugs earlier!
He couldn’t help but cry out, yet no sound came out. He felt his luck was truly awful. He hadn’t locked the door properly at first and villains ended up bursting in. Now that he had locked it this time, there was already something evil waiting inside. He had placed the bloodwood sword in the open and it was almost stolen. Now that it was under his pillow, he wasn’t able to take it out when he needed it!
The fiendish hair constricted tighter and tighter. The tips of the hair dug deeper and deeper into his skin like needles. This wasn’t something that could be solved through brute force. Therefore, Wan Li was helpless. In his anxiousness, he suddenly recalled the strange helper of his. He had not only saved him in the alley, he also tried to warn him in his dreams. He shouldn’t have any bad intentions. Why wasn’t he helping this time?
“Bro, don’t leave things halfway when helping others.” He shouted loudly, but still wasn’t able to speak. However, his throat made some unclear rasping noises.
The head had previously vanished after he thanked it. Now as he asked for help, he felt a gust of chill wind blow in from the open small window. It congealed into a black mist that slowly formed into a person on the ceiling.
He let out a sigh of relief. He knew this ghost wouldn’t just stand by and watch, and thus made his preparations. Yet when that unknown male ghost arrived, the fiendish hair seemed to have been stimulated. It suddenly drew taut, almost cutting off his air.
“Bro, hurry!” He cried out silently.
The black figure stretched out its hands which slowly extended beyond human limits. It grabbed onto the hair around his body and started pulling heavily.
Wan Li thought his helper would have some sorcery or other mysterious means. He didn’t expect him to use brute force and pull. As he pulled, the hair naturally resisted. Both sides seemed evenly matched, causing Wan Li to get pulled back and forth like a puppet. He started sweating from the pain yet wasn’t able to cry out!
Finally, his helper seemed to obtain a slight advantage in this tug of war, making the fiendish hair loosen up a bit. Wan Li who was about to spit up blood from the pulling hurriedly seized the opportunity and pulled one of his hands free. He pulled out the bloodwood sword from beneath the pillow and slashed at the hair!
There was a sound like cloth being torn. The fiendish hair was split down the middle by the bloodwood sword. The beautiful red glow of the sword fell upon the severed strands, igniting it with blue flame. It swiftly spread beneath the bed, lighting the whole wig aflame.
“Smells awful.” Wan Li covered his nose. He saw the kind ghost who helped him out was shirking away in the corner, looking at him fearfully. Only then did he recall the bloodwood sword’s threat towards spirits. They were several meters away but the ghost was already so scared. It didn’t even have the courage to flee. Wan Li hurriedly hid the sword behind his back.
“Thank you, bro. You’ve helped me out twice today.” He did his best to show his friendliness. “Who are you? How should I repay you?”
The spirit hesitated by the wall before slowly floating over to Wan Li. Right as Wan Li was about to speak, the spirit suddenly vanished through the window!
Wan Li’s mouth hung open and his hand outstretched. He had been about to ask if some major case had occurred around here in recent years, but the spirit had left too quickly. Wan Li hadn’t even said anything.
“Forget it, I’ll investigate by myself.” He sighed. Seeing his body covered with little spots of blood, like spattered specks of mud during a rainstorm, he couldn’t help but sigh again. Today he finally understood why Ruan Zhan was always injured and exhausted after every battle. As his assistant it looked pretty easy from the side. Only after fighting something supernatural himself did he realize how hard it was. Besides, Ruan Zhan always fought against boss-level monsters!
He cautiously checked the area with the bloodwood sword, confirming there were no longer any problems. Only then did he use a wet towel to wipe off the beads of blood on his body, preparing to talk to Ruan Zhan.
He had lost quite a bit of blood just now. Afraid of giving Si Ma Nan a chance to send his flying cranes to spy on him, he ran off to the common bathroom on this floor to contact Ruan Zhan. That room was enclosed without even a mirror. Even if Si Ma Nan could pierce through the heavens, he wouldn’t know what he was up to!