“Don’t!” Xiao Xia, Ah Bai and Reporter Ma all cried out with fear in their voices. They knew this person who had already lost his humanity would not listen to reason.
What Mao Fu wanted was precisely for them to fear him. Seeing them finally lower their heads, he couldn’t help but laugh smugly. “That’s right. I am a traitor. I’ve betrayed my fellow villagers, my superiors, and my friends. I’m not afraid of betraying you all now. It’s fine as long as I benefit, as long as I can survive. Why should I care about others? Now, I’m going to go complete my task. Wasn’t that Ruan Zhan’s powers profound? Aren’t those great immortals unable to act? No matter, I am human. I’m not afraid of his sorcery. I can kill him while he’s meditating, clearing this obstacle for the great immortals!”
He pulled out a knife from behind his back after speaking!
When the knife came out of its scabbard, it flashed with a dazzling light despite the darkness, causing Xiao Xia’s heart to grow cold.
He wants to kill Ruan Zhan!
Xiao Xia thought in fear.
She knew Ruan Zhan’s sight and powers had both already recovered. But if he was truly meditating, or he wasn’t guarded against a “madman”, he might very well be injured by this deranged lunatic!
“What benefits did Si…Zhang Qun offer you?” Ah Bai suddenly asked.
She had almost blurted out Si Ma Nan’s name, but recalled he was currently using Zhang Qun’s body and hurriedly changed her words.
Mao Fu froze at her words, surprise and fear in his expression. Ah Bai had clearly struck the weakness in his heart.
“You had best tell me the truth. Otherwise, I’ll let him kill you.” Ah Bai said loudly.
Mao Fu didn’t respond right away. He was clearly stunned by her words and attitude, but Xiao Xia could sense the weakness in her tone. She was such a gentle and kind person. She rarely even raised her voice, but was now sternly threatening others. It was clearly quite the struggle for her.
“Why would Mr. Zhang listen to you? Stop trying to scare me!” Mao Fu snapped out of it, but he was still a little bewildered.
“You don’t need to concern yourself with that. You only need to know that I can decide whether you live or die.”
“I don’t believe you!”
“You had best believe it.” Ah Bai forced herself to be more assertive. “You don’t dare touch Xiao Xia because they want to use her to restrict Ruan Zhan. But why don’t you dare smash me to death despite knowing I’m her friend? Isn’t it because Si…Zhang Qun warned you, and also warned others? He’s the one who asked you to turn traitor!”
Although Ah Bai spoke thus, she was very afraid of hearing Mao Fu refute her. Luckily, Mao Fu lowered his head guiltily and didn’t speak.
Even if Si Ma Nan hadn’t appeared, she knew he was close by. Si Ma Nan would naturally know where she was. He was so intelligent and they understood each other so well. How could he not know she wouldn’t leave Xiao Xia’s side? Therefore, the moment Xiao Xia fell into the town, Ah Bai had been trapped inside the small porcelain doll by those resentful spirits. Although they imprisoned her, they also didn’t harm her. This was what he had done all those years ago as well.
She guessed that he ultimately still had some feelings for her.
She knew Si Ma Nan was the mastermind behind this whole affair. She also knew that Mao Fu being a traitor wasn’t part of the resentful spirits’ plans. He was an ambush arranged by Si Ma Nan.
She understood him. This was his usual method of playing chess. Mao Fu had been the one to select their retinue, and he had been the one to designate the reporters by name. Mao Fu had also been the one who dragged things out until it was almost dark before leaving the village. He also strongly recommended them to take the mountain road. He had practically pushed the group close to the empty town, allowing the mastermind to move them here by warping space.
She was weak but no fool. Therefore, she had clearly seen all the machinations on the board. She never mentioned it to Xiao Xia because she felt a stab in her heart when she thought of him as an enemy. Now, for the sake of slowing Mao Fu down and giving Xiao Xia time to warn Ruan Zhan mentally, she could only discard the issue weighing on her heart.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Mao Fu was being stubborn, but he remained in place, not daring to go look for Ruan Zhan.
Ah Bai let out a breath, knowing she would be able to keep Mao Fu here for a while. She hurriedly said, “Feel free to test my words if you want. However, let me remind you once again. If I ask Zhang Qun to kill you, he wouldn’t even blink. If I ask him to spare you, even if you died, he has the ability to bring you back for me.”
She rarely made so many threats in one go. Having forced herself to do so, she didn’t even dare take a breath. Yet to Mao Fu, she sounded confident and assertive, and was exceptionally convincing.
He recalled that despite Zhang Qun being extremely shrewd and keeping his emotions hidden, his tone was a little special when mentioning this woman called Ah Bai. There wasn’t really some emotion, but his voice would suddenly grow quieter when this name was mentioned.
He had been observant most of his life, constantly betraying something and clinging onto the strong. That was how he got his current position. Yet today, the situation put him at a loss. If Zhang Qun liked this woman, no, this female ghost, why did he lock her up? If he didn’t like her, why did he treat her so differently, forbidding her from suffering any harm?
He had been overly excited earlier, placing her together with Yue Xiao Xia and even making threats. If this woman was telling the truth, wasn’t he in big trouble? Zhang Qun wasn’t just wealthy. He also had very powerful magic. This was something he had personally witnessed. Whenever he was with Zhang Qun, he was in constant fear even if the latter was all smiles.
He couldn’t afford to offend someone like that. He could only obey and flatter. Only then could he safely get through this, and perhaps continue to rise and get rich. This woman was so certain, so he might as well tell her. It wouldn’t take too much time anyway, and it wasn’t anything that had to be kept secret. He had a higher chance of survival if he flattered both sides!
“Still hesitating?” Ah Bai saw Xiao Xia remain silent and knew she was gathering her mind to communicate with Ruan Zhan. Therefore, she continued interrogating Mao Fu, not allowing him the opportunity to think.
Mao Fu swallowed. “One night, three weeks ago, Mr. Zhang suddenly sent someone to find me, saying he wanted to invest and build kiln facilities in our town. However, that is our town’s main industry, and we’ve never agreed to let any of the countless people asking get involved. A foreigner like him making such demands right off the bat? I naturally couldn’t agree to it. However, he said in exchange he could save my life once. I thought he was merely joking, but since he was a billionaire I couldn’t really offend him. However…afterwards he mentioned…mentioned the matter ten years ago. Those things…he knew all of it, every single detail!”
Mao Fu looked fearful as he spoke. Ah Bai sighed in her heart. She knew Si Ma Nan was just using Mao Fu. If Mao Fu hadn’t done something shameful back then, he wouldn’t have been blackmailed.
“He said the new town wouldn’t be able to contain those great immortals anymore. They were going to come out and seek revenge against those responsible! I didn’t believe him. Master Long had said those great immortals couldn’t…couldn’t come out. After another month or so, it’ll be like nothing had ever happened. Then we would all move into the new town. The Yang energy would be overflowing and everything would be resolved. Then, seeing that I didn’t believe him, Mister Zhang…” Mao Fu stammered, “He summoned Feng Yong Zi and two unknown great immortals who had died back then. They wanted to strangle me to death! Really, they kept choking me, burning my neck full of blisters. They kept choking, and choking, on and on!”
Mao Fu stopped for a bit here, his eyes bulging. He pressed both hands against his neck, sweat dripping from his forehead, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down. The scene from back then was clearly playing out again in his mind.
“Why would it be hot?” Ah Bai was a little confused. Shouldn’t the hands be icy cold?
“That’s because…no! I won’t say, I swore not to say! I’d die without a proper grave. I can’t say!” Mao Fu suddenly lost control of his emotions. He took several steps back and sat down on the ground. It seems the matter from back than and what Feng Yong Zi did to him had been extremely traumatic.
Along with his fearful cries, the fog outside the window also started roiling vigorously, as if exceptionally enraged. It seemed ready to billow in. It was clear how cruel the matter from back then had been!
But just what had enraged those resentful spirits so?
“Fine, fine, don’t talk about that matter!” Ah Bai was a little panicked at the ruckus and hurriedly changed the topic. “So, did you acquiesce to Zhang Qun?”
Mao Fu trembled. Even Zhang Qun’s name clearly frightened him. “I’ve witnessed Mister Zhang’s, no, Master Zhang’s magic. I was convinced, I was impressed! He gave me a list containing over a dozen names. He said that a few days later, a lady surnamed Yue will come promote knowledge of the law. He wanted me to bring all those people to the mountain road by the new town’s western gate. I thought that would be all, but he actually said I also had to enter the town. I was terrified, begging and crying. However, Master Zhang wanted me to be the mole. Only then would those great immortals let me off. Since I wasn’t the mastermind back then, I just needed to act insane while everyone else was executed. Then, I needed to throw the person responsible back then into the city before things could be called completed. I had no choice…no, I wanted to repent and decided to atone.”
“This is how you’re atoning for your sins? Using such cruel methods to kill people?” Ah Bai couldn’t help but scold.
“Their punishment fit their crimes.” Mao Fu very quickly responded loudly, his eyes bulging. His words were clearly meant for those observers. “I’m atoning, I’m atoning!”
“Who is the mastermind?”
“Oh, he…he will very soon be brought here. Once he is dead, everything will calm down.” Mao Fu suddenly laughed. His face was filled with fear but he was laughing, which made it extremely sinister.
Ah Bai now felt he wasn’t quite normal. He said he was acting insane, but from his appearance, who knew for sure whether or not he was? In Mao Fu’s mind, he was thinking that if the Mayor died, the matter would be over. Zhang Qun had promised to help him in his career. That way he would be in charge of the town, with wealth and beauties in his grasp. Nothing would be a threat to him in Hongqing Town every again.
He just had to handle this matter!
But to handle it, he first had to kill the one surnamed Ruan. He was too big of an obstacle. Zhang Qun had said if it hadn’t been for that man, this matter would have long since been resolved. Therefore, he had to get rid of him.
He was afraid of death, but he wasn’t afraid to kill. So many had died back then, and he had just killed two more earlier. Would he care about adding a foreigner to the list? The great immortals said he was currently meditating. He wouldn’t react no matter how he was shoved. He just needed to keep acting insane and then pounce over…everything would be at an end!
Thinking of this, he suddenly leapt up and laughed loudly, putting on his insane appearance again. He jumped and shouted the whole way, running towards the top floor.
“Xiao Xia, did Ruan Zhan respond?” Ah Bai asked anxiously in a voice only the two of them could hear.
“I don’t have any spirit power and couldn’t understand his words.” Xiao Xia let out a breath. “But I felt very calm inside. He will definitely be fine.” When Ruan Zhan received Xiao Xia’s anxious message, he had just repaired the trigrams on the seventh floor. There was still the ones on the floor and ceiling of the eighth floor. He actually didn’t want to fix them immediately. It was better to act after luring the resentful spirits inside.
He and Xiao Xia had a telepathic link, but since she was an ordinary human, she wasn’t able to speak directly to him. However, her thoughts clearly told him he was in danger!
The moment he received her message, he immediately returned his soul into his body. The movement of his soul meant it only took an instant. The trigrams on the eighth floor was made of the black bamboo. He had kept the bamboo invisible with magic the entire time earlier. When he returned his soul to his body, those two pieces immediately fell to the floor.
He hid those pieces on his body and carefully listened. He heard a man’s voice talking and laughing loudly, along with thumping footsteps.
It was Mao Fu! Hadn’t he gone insane? Furthermore, he had also vanished for half the day! Why were XIao Xia’s thoughts so anxious and afraid? Zuo De had also vanished at the same time. Where had they gone?
He didn’t have time to ponder things carefully before the footsteps reached the door. He hurriedly sat cross-legged and maintained his appearance of meditation. However, his inner mind was vigilantly sensing Mao Fu who was outside.
He sensed Mao Fu looking in from the small glass window for a while before entering.
The room was darker so Mao Fu couldn’t see from the outside. He wasn’t able to adjust immediately upon entering, and only saw Ruan Zhan’s figure after a long pause. Seeing Ruan Zhan unmoving like some old monk, he couldn’t help but get excited. He stroked the dagger behind his back while slowly walking over.
“Haha, this place is really fun, it’s black, it’s also white. Let’s go take a look!” He acted dumb and insane as he gave Ruan Zhan a shove, but Ruan Zhan didn’t react.
Mao Fu leaned a little closer and spoke into Ruan Zhan’s ear. “Let me tell you a secret…there are many people outside! Really, many people. Come take a look with me if you don’t believe it!” He sniffed around Ruan Zhan’s body like a dog, muttering something inaudible. He crouched next to Ruan Zhan, his left hand holding his shoulder while his right hand gripped the dagger’s hilt.
Sensing Ruan Zhan’s limp body not showing any hint of resistance, he hardened his heart. Shoving Ruan Zhan to the floor with his left hand, he firmly held him down while his right hand swiftly pulled out the knife and used all his strength to stab at his ribs.
“Die! You meddling fellow!”
The moment his knife stabbed down, he felt Ruan Zhan suddenly dodge to the side like a fish. The hand that was firmly holding his shoulder thudded to the floor. The dagger also stabbed into the floor. His assassination attempt failed to hurt Ruan Zhan in the slightest!
A vigorous figure flashed before his eyes. Ruan Zhan had already stood up, looking down at him disdainfully.
“Wait for death, meddling scum!” Ruan Zhan spoke.
Mao Fu opened his mouth, wanting to say something or perhaps continue acting insane. Or perhaps he wanted to beg for mercy. However, Ruan Zhan didn’t give him the opportunity. He knocked him out on the spot with a kick.