“Four of them are Feng Yong Zi. I’m not sure about the other two.” Boss Sun honestly answered.
What was that supposed to mean? Four of them are Feng Yong Zi? Had he split up and possessed four porcelain pieces? A dismembered corpse case?
“Did you think I wasn’t scared during all these years?” Boss Sun’s emotions erupted. “Guarding those two pieces of porcelain every day, not knowing when my luck would run out. Being scared all the time, wallowing away. But it’s not that I’m unwilling to seek justice for them. I really don’t know the details of what happened. My dad died back then before he finished telling me. Furthermore, you people from a major city wouldn’t know it, but the town heads here have absolute power. If I offend them, I’d be screwed! Seeing that we were about to move into the new town, I didn’t know what to do. When Miss Yue came, I thought she was our savior. I didn’t think she would also get swept up in this!”
“Just tell me what you know. Don’t leave out any details. My friends will be able to help you.” Wan Li looked at his watch. He knew they couldn’t stay too long in the bathroom or it would be suspicious. Boss Sun didn’t seem to be lying. Therefore, he directly asked him what he knew.
“I know very little.” Boss Sun said. “Back then, I was in my early twenties. Our town was very poor. My aunt married out in a different province and found a job for me there. Therefore, I was living at her house the whole time, unaware of what had happened back in town. But one day I got a call saying my dad was terminally ill. I rushed back home, but when I got there it was clear he wasn’t going to make it. I was really shocked. My dad’s health had always been very good, but he ended up so seriously ill. When I asked my mom and sister, they said he had fallen ill after coming back from the kiln facility. He had deteriorated to this state in less than three days!”
He hadn’t even told his wife and daughter. It was clear how secretive this matter was! Wan Li though this, and continued listening.
“I was the only son. My dad clung on to life because he was waiting for me to come back.” Boss Sun became a little emotional as he spoke of the past. “When I got to his bed, he wasn’t even able to speak. Yet he kept waving his hand, ushering all the other relatives in the room out. When it was just the two of us, it was like he was suddenly energized. He raised himself up and spoke to me. I knew these were the last sparks of a dying ember and hurriedly knelt by the bed. He grabbed my hand and first instructed me to live well. Then, he started talking about the kiln facility.” Boss Sun couldn’t help but shiver when he spoke to this point.
“Had something happened?”
“It was already very late when I got home. I inexplicably got chills all over the moment I stepped into the courtyard. I even managed to trip over something in the smooth courtyard, resulting in a large bump on my head. I hadn’t cared at that time, but realized later that there was a small, black handprint by my ankle. It didn’t hurt or itch, but it wouldn’t come off no matter what I tried. It’s still the same after ten years.” He curled the leg of his trousers up as he spoke.
Wan Li looked down. There truly was a black handprint that was shockingly clear on his lower leg!
“Furthermore, the moment I stepped into my dad’s room, the goosebumps-inducing chill became even denser. But I seemed to be the only one to sense it. No one else had any reactions.”
“Was something inside the house?”
“There wasn’t anything, just a wooden box. It was under my dad’s bed. As I knelt there, I felt waves of cold wind coming from under his bed. I wanted to see what was inside but my dad suddenly grabbed my hand. He was exceptionally strong, unlike someone who was about to pass away. His eyes were opened wide as he said in a low voice: Don’t touch that thing! You must help them in order to resolve your misfortune. I’ve done evil, and retribution has already come! Luckily I wasn’t the main culprit. I had some kindness left in my heart, and even brought some of the things out. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have agreed to let you off. You must listen to me, you have to help them! You must listen to me. Take Feng Yong Zi to his mom’s side. As for the remaining two great immortals, you must look after them properly. Otherwise, you will die without a proper grave! They will take revenge!”
“He didn’t say why the spirits would possess the porcelain?” Wan Li saw Boss Sun turn pale and interrupted him, afraid he was unable to break free of his memories.
“He didn’t get to tell me, but based on my investigation I’m guessing they must have died in the kiln facility, or they were made into those bricks and porcelain. Because I knew my dad and Mayor Yuan, who was still vice-mayor back then, had been inside the kiln facility for two weeks. Also the “great immortals” inside the porcelain keep crying that it’s hot.” He didn’t dare call those resentful spirits ghosts, and merely said great immortals. “Back then, my dad was only able to say so much before he was unable to hold on. I leaned next to his mouth to be able to hear him say that I had to fulfill their desires before moving into the new town. Otherwise, the resentment will never be cleansed.”
“Why did it have to be before moving in?”
“I don’t know. It might be related to Master Long. Mayor Yuan invited Master Long over shortly after coming out of the kiln facility. Although most people have only heard of his reputation and had never seen him before, everyone here views his words as divine commandments. He had never been wrong in anything before.”
“Master Long? Looks like I must definitely find him!” Wan Li mumbled.
Ruan Zhan had previously mentioned that something had been suppressing the resentful spirits inside the new town, but Si Ma Nan had destroyed it. If the suppression hadn’t been destroyed, the resentment would have dissipated after some more time had passed. Mayor Yuan must have heard about the situation from Master Long, and thus planned to move in one month later. The resentful spirits naturally knew this as well, which was why they used Boss Sun’s father as their mouthpiece to say that this matter had to be resolved before they moved into the new town.
Boss Sun abided by his father’s dying wishes this whole time. He sent the porcelain pieces containing Feng Yong Zi’s soul to Lady Feng, and also secretly supported the elder financially. However, he had remained in this small town the entire time and never had the opportunity during these ten years to help the resentful spirits address their grievances. Since they were going to move in another month, he ended up choosing Xiao Xia in his haste.
Perhaps he felt that she could definitely help him since she was here to educate the populace and seemed to be very upright. Yet he was a timid person, or rather he had become timid due to the psychological pressure upon him over the past decade. Therefore, he didn’t dare tell Xiao Xia outright. Instead, he used the two possessed porcelain pieces to scare Xiao Xia and also give her some clues. He hadn’t realized that Xiao Xia was also a pawn in Si Ma Nan’s hand.
For someone timid like him, that he was able to abide by his father’s dying wishes without running away was already quite impressive.
“How did you send Feng Yong Zi back?” Wan Li wanted to know all the details.
“After my dad’s funeral, I started dealing with his possessions. But I didn’t dare touch that wooden box, even though I kept having the same nightmare every night. I dreamt there was a huge fire, and heard people knocking against things continuously, screaming, ‘Let us out! Let us out!’” Boss Sun’s expression had become calmer. He was clearly already numb to everything. “The strange thing was that no one else in the house heard it. I was the only one. This lasted until I was at my wits end and ran to my dad’s room in the middle of the night, dragging that wooden box out. When I opened it, I saw those six snow-white pieces of porcelain. When I touched them, they were very hot, and trembled constantly as if they were alive.”
Wan Li nodded. He had experienced the same thing when he ate at Lady Feng’s house earlier that night. When he thought that the bowl might very well be made of Feng Yong Zi’s corpse, Wan Li almost threw up.
“I didn’t know which of them were Feng Yong Zi. Therefore, I placed all six pieces on the floor and tentatively called out his name. Unexpectedly, I received a response immediately. Then, four of the pieces suddenly rolled on the ground as a clump of grey matter floated in the air, unable to coagulate. I asked how I should send him to his mom’s side. He told me I just needed to take these four pieces over while calling his name the entire time. I did as he asked. I placed the porcelain into the wooden box, and called out ‘Feng Yong Zi’ as I walked. He truly responded the entire way, until we reached the doors to his house. I climbed over the wall and opened the gates from the inside. I carried the wooden box inside, and then told him I would take care of his old ma. I told him to be at ease. Then, I ran back home, not daring to look back. Not long after, I heard rumors that his old ma had gone insane, telling everyone that Feng Yong Zi had come to visit her in the night. I knew Feng Yong Zi hadn’t left. He stayed by his mom’s side, so I felt a little better. I felt the remaining two pieces weren’t complete…regardless they didn’t have anywhere to go, and had never materialized completely. I had planned on opening an inn, so ended up consecrating a room for them. I burn three sticks of incense in the morning and at night for them every day without stop. They also rarely came out to look for me. It’s just the staff would sometimes hear voices coming from the room, terrifying them. These rumors have all been suppressed by me.”
“Even if you wanted Xiao Xia, I mean Miss Yue, to help, there was no need to scare her with those pieces. That was too vile.” Thinking of how Boss Sun treated Xiao Xia, Wan Li wasn’t able to feel any sympathy. “You were the one responsible that night, right? You first put those things in her room and then hid outside the door. Once she got scared, you quickly changed back. That way you would get her attention without implicating yourself. How convenient!”
“I didn’t want to do it!” Boss Sun hurriedly waved his hands. “Didn’t I say earlier those two great immortals never materialized, and merely spoke? But the night before Miss Yue arrived, one of the cleaning staff kept saying there were voices coming out of that room and didn’t dare enter. I was afraid something had happened and went to take a look. They were the ones who told me to do it. Although I viewed Miss Yue as the savior, I truly didn’t want to treat her like that.”
So that’s how it was!
Boss Sun wasn’t the one insisting on Xiao Xia, it was those two resentful spirits. They weren’t even able to materialize, so they were definitely incomplete. Even Feng Yong Zi needed four pieces to become whole. Besides, apart from porcelain, the first kiln also consisted of bricks. The majority of the porcelain had been smashed with poor quality as the excuse. Boss Sun’s dad only managed to bring out six pieces.
They weren’t even whole souls, how would they have the foresight to know Xiao Xia was coming, let alone set her up to become involved? Any idiot can guess that Si Ma Nan was responsible. He set things up before informing all the relevant parties that the show could begin!
“Since they could speak, did they ever tell you what heinous injustice they suffered?” Wan Li asked.
Boss Sun shook his head, his expression a little timid.
Wan Li sighed, knowing this man was ultimately scared. Apart from burning those incense, he definitely minimized his time with those “great immortals”. Even when he was with them, he would be shaking with fear. How could he have asked extra questions? Those “great immortals” weren’t whole, so they probably didn’t dare come out during the day. That’s why despite having lived together for a decade, they rarely interacted.
Seeing that it was about time, Wan Li let Boss Sun leave. He also instructed him not to reveal anything. Actually, even if he didn’t say anything, Boss Sun wouldn’t do anything that would bring trouble upon himself. However, Wan Li wanted to enforce this point, hoping he wouldn’t reveal anything abnormal in his mannerisms. Si Ma Nan was an old fox. They had to be careful.
As Boss Sun left, Wan Li told him to personally bring him a midnight snack. He also didn’t forget to act accordingly and scold him some more, though his expression was naturally not that stimulated.
After he sent Boss Sun off, Wan Li sank into thought.
Should he go get information from the resentful spirits hiding in the porcelain? This didn’t seem like a good idea. First of all, they were crippled. He doubted whether they could describe things clearly. Secondly, Si Ma Nan was present and he couldn’t take the risk. It wasn’t for his own safety. He didn’t want to startle the snake by beating the grass.
He should go ask Feng Yong Zi. He had been present, and definitely knew everything. From what Boss Sun said, despite being more whole than those two unknown spirits, Feng Yong Zi was also unable to fully materialize. Wan Li really didn’t know how they managed to linger between worlds for ten years without leaving. Did they have lingering attachments, was it the resentment, or were they unable to leave?
He had eaten at Lady Feng’s place so he didn’t order dinner. He lay in bed and pieced together all the clues. He felt the truth was about to come out. Before that, he had to get in touch with Ruan Zhan. This time, he purposefully turned on the shower in the bathroom. Luckily the place was big enough, allowing him to perform his communication ritual.
He “showered” for a whole forty minutes. When he came out, he had already exchanged all the information with Ruan Zhan.
He had gotten good news and bad news. The good news was that Ruan Zhan’s powers were gradually recovering. The tower contained powers that sealed off all spirit abilities, including those of talismans. Although Si Ma Nan had destroyed the tower’s original powers, Ruan Zhan had stayed there long enough to have been affected. Si Ma Nan had used invisible talismans to seal his abilities. Once the tower’s suppressive power had destroyed the outer layer of Si Ma Nan’s seals, Ruan Zhan’s own powers had started leaking out.
This was two negatives becoming a positive!
However, Ruan Zhan couldn’t stay too long in the tower. His own powers would also slowly get sealed. Yet he wasn’t able to leave yet. He wanted to try and restore it’s “sealing” capabilities, repairing the damage Si Ma Nan had done. He also wanted to trick those resentful spirits.
Those resentful spirits had been released from the tower, and now they had all returned in pursuit of those inside. That they dared return, and were able to keep some of their powers inside, proved that they weren’t just ordinary spirits. Their resentment was especially strong. They also had the help of the resentful spirits outside the tower, so their abilities were exceptionally strong.
Ruan Zhan judged they couldn’t stay too long inside the tower. Therefore, he had to act powerful, giving them some deterrence. At the same time, he pretended his eyes had yet to recover so he could get the upper hand when it really came time to act. Ruan Zhan’s meaning was this: best to scare them from acting for now, trick them into leaving for a while. Then, when he fixed the tower, he would leave and lure them back inside. Because they were numerous and their resentment had been suppressed for so long, no one could control them now that they were unleashed. Even Si Ma Nan, who was the instigator, wasn’t able to do so. Therefore, he needed to use that tower.
The bad news was that Xiao Xia’s body had been possessed by a resentful spirit and her soul was inside a small porcelain doll. If Ruan Zhan’s battle with them destroyed her body or smashed the doll, Xiao Xia could never return. The critical thing was that several resentful spirits had voluntarily returned to the tower. They became willingly suppressed in order to keep an eye on things. This prevented Ruan Zhan from taking Xiao Xia’s soul in the doll.
Furthermore, if battle broke out in the tower and things got extreme, Xiao Xia would get hurt as well as the other survivors. This included Ah Bai!
Why did they always end up in such difficult situations? They were always attacked from multiple fronts. Why was it never smooth sailing? They were always forced to come up with some special plan!
Xiao Xia had placed her amulet onto the doorknob of the room Ruan Zhan was in, buying him time to recover his abilities. Otherwise, everyone would have died. Even exchanging information with Wan Li was only possible due to using his need to recover his eyesight alone as excuse. Only with that and the amulet was he able to get away from the resentful spirit posing as Xiao Xia.
The top of the tower was rather bizarre. Regardless whether spirit or human, the only entrance was via the door.
Wan Li’s information had been extremely useful to Ruan Zhan. Although Mao Fu was currently insane, Zuo De had vanished and the rest had turned into porcelain dolls, he was still able to use the information to figure out the source of the current situation.
Now, the two of them had their own tasks. Wan Li would investigate the source of the matter while Ruan Zhan had to come up with a plan to lock up the spirits again and beat Si Ma Nan without harming the survivors, especially Xiao Xia.
Si Ma Nan would definitely have a battle with Ruan Zhan. He wouldn’t let Ruan Zhan grow any stronger, especially since he still wanted Witch Doctor Ah Bai’s treasure!
This was what Ah Bai had personally told Ruan Zhan.
Now, Wan Li’s task was to find Feng Yong Zi, and most importantly, find Master Long!
Once he completed these two things, he would get in touch with Ruan Zhan for the third time. If Ruan Zhan was also ready, they would spread the news that Witch Doctor Ah Bai had given the treasure to Ruan Zhan. Whether or not Si Ma Nan believed it, his nature wouldn’t let him take the risk. He would definitely show up in person.
Ruan Zhan’s barrier was very powerful, but since Si Ma Nan had been able to circumvent it via the water, he could definitely get inside! The reason he didn’t make a move yet was probably to make Ruan Zhan break his own barrier after being unable to endure the resentful spirits’ torment. After all, it wasn’t yet to the extent where Si Ma Nan had to burrow through the sewers like a rat.
Now that he knew what to do next, Wan Li had a nice nap, not worrying about being schemed against. By the time he awoke, it was exactly midnight.
Boss Sun had also personally brought his midnight snack.