Seeing the bloodwood sword about to be destroyed in the hands of two nobodies, Hong Hao Hao suddenly cried out “Stop!”
Her shout was very shrill and loud, her tone filled with alarm. The two thugs were startled into immediately letting go, as if bitten by the sword. The bloodwood sword also immediately dropped to the floor.
Seeing that it was temporarily unharmed, Wan Li also secretly let out a breath on the side. It seemed he had provoked Hong Hao Hao a little too much. Her mind was rather weak in matters regarding Si Ma Nan. Perhaps this was something he could take advantage of. However, the situation just now had truly caused him to break out in cold sweat. If the Daoist treasure ended up ruined due to his miscalculation, it was something he couldn’t make up for even if he died thousands of times.
Brute strength wouldn’t help in his current situation. He also shouldn’t expect anyone to come save him. However, he keenly sensed that Hong Hao Hao’s mind was unstable. Those thugs were also not as fierce as they should be. Instead, they were very uneasy. The state of the town clearly made them nervous. Therefore, he had decided to use mental attacks.
However, his first move had been a little too brutal, and had almost ruined everything. However, based on Hong Hao Hao’s reactions, he understood her contradictory relationship with Si Ma Nan. She relied on him yet opposed him. She wanted to be free of him but wasn’t able to leave him!
Thinking of this, Wan Li burst out laughing, doing his best to turn their attention away from the sword and onto him.
As expected, Hong Hao Hao was angry and humiliated at having suffered a loss earlier. She walked over and gave him a ruthless slap, completely uncaring of her image anymore.
“What are you laughing at!” Her pale face twisted malevolently, not half as alluring as usual.
“Truly a fiend under that makeup!” Wan Li mumbled.
“No muttering to yourself!”
Wan Li raised his head and licked the blood from the corner of his mouth. Although there was a swollen handprint on his face, his gaze was devastatingly sexy. “I don’t blame you. Psychologically speaking, someone who has just lost something they relied on is often at a loss what to do.”
“What nonsense are you speaking!” Hong Hao Hao’s brows furrowed and she was extremely upset.
“Didn’t Si Ma Nan abandon you?”
Another slap was the response.
Wan Li didn’t mind at all. He had confirmed that his was Hong Hao Hao’s sore spot.
It turns out Hong Hao Hao was afraid of Si Ma Nan leaving her. Well, that wasn’t too surprising. Although he didn’t know their exact relationship, she was someone Si Ma Nan had brought out from Myanmar. Perhaps he had even saved her. She had been by his side for so many years. Based on Si Ma Nan’s excessive controlling tendencies, it was impossible for someone next to him to grow normally. This meant Hong Hao Hao definitely attached herself to Si Ma Nan.
People were creatures of habit. Once this sort of attachment became her life, once she got used to being controlled and protected by Si Ma Nan, she would be afraid of change. Especially since she was an outcast entity. Even her existence depended on Si Ma Nan. How could she leave him? It was like a small bird living under the wing of a bigger one. If the warm darkness disappeared one day, it would get confused by the blinding sunlight and lose its reasoning. It would be impossible to recover its ability to fly right away.
This was especially the case since Hong Hao Hao was also Si Ma Nan’s mistress. If she knew about Ah Bai, jealousy would compound her distress. Wan Li wanted to use her temporarily distressed mental state. It wasn’t that he was cruel. As a psychiatrist, he never wanted to add to someone’s mental burden. Yet since they were on opposing sides, he had to strike his enemy’s weakness. He couldn’t wait for death, and couldn’t increase the chances of Ruan Zhan and Xiao Xia being harmed.
“If you were truly important to him, why did he force you to remain here during his moment of life and death?” Wan Li unhurriedly pressured Hong Hao Hao’s mind, which was filled with doubts.
“He didn’t abandone me!” She said loudly, as if using her firm tone to convince herself. “I am his helper. I need to help him guard this place. That includes killing you!”
“Really? Are you so sure he won’t leave you?”
“Of course I am!” Hong Hao Hao didn’t hesitate, but she truly wasn’t sure of it in her mind.
She knew more than anyone how unfeeling and vicious Si Ma Nan was. He used everything he could and abandoned worthless things without hesitation. It was true that he treated her very well. He pretty much pampered her during the times he wasn’t angry. Yet all this time, she felt she was just his toy, his pet. She was his loyal dog that followed him everywhere, but wasn’t important to him in the slightest.
He had instructed her to go off on her own before, but this time she had a rather bad feeling. He was going to leave her!
She was very scared! Extremely scared!
Without him, how was she to live? What identity would she have? Where would she go? Who would she be with? If she encountered an expert who could discern her true identity and wanted to subdue her, how would she avoid it? She didn’t want to return to the cold, dark earth! There was no sunlight, no warmth and adoration from men!
“In truth, you’re afraid of him abandoning you, right?” Wan Li changed to a very gentle tone. “It’s very likely.”
“What would you know?!” Hong Hao Hao’s attitude was still tough, but her expression already showed Wan Li her inner weakness.
“What would you like to know?”
“You’re about to die already!”
“I believe I understand things better than you!”
“But I don’t trust you. You have no reason to help me!”
“I’m not helping you. I want to use the information in exchange for my life.”
This time Hong Hao Hao’s lips moved but she made no sound. After a while, she said, “You’re good at counting your chickens before they hatch. But I urge you to stop dreaming. If he wants you dead, I will definitely kill you.”
“The question is, does he still need you to obey his commands?” Wan Li immediately responded, gradually forcing her to lose confidence.
Hong Hao Hao’s gaze was a little vacant. Her face was pale and she didn’t respond.
Wan Li’s expression was currently sympathetic, yet he was very nervous inside.
He had helped many people with their mental problems. To a certain extent, as long as the other party was willing to talk, he could understand that person’s thoughts. Yet now their side’s survival depended on his mental attacks. This prevented him from being an uninvolved observer. He didn’t feel much confidence in an impartial judgment this time.
“Does he…need me to obey?” Hong Hao Hao asked softly. It wasn’t clear if she was asking herself or Wan Li.
Wan Li was about to respond when she waved her hand and set up a barrier, separating them from the thugs.
“Who is she? I’m talking about that woman. The woman who…Ah Nan cannot forget.” She finally expressed her doubts. “Since you say you know more than I do, you should know who she is. If you tell me, I won’t kill you.”
“Won’t kill me?”
“I keep my word. The caveat is that you’re telling the truth.”
Seeing his strategy prove successful, Wan Li buried his smile. He understood Hong Hao Hao’s unease. She definitely knew how callous Si Ma Nan was, and definitely felt like an abandoned wife. She was both curious and jealous of Ah Bai, and wanted to know who her opponent was. However, she also didn’t dare defy Si Ma Nan. Wan Li could use this to send her away. The others would be easy to deal with.
“Fine. I’ll tell you.” Wan Li said. “She’s called Ah Bai. She’s an extremely beautiful and kind woman. She used to be a famous Witch Doctor on the border of central Myanmar. Furthermore…she is Si Ma Nan’s officially wedded wife.”
These short sentences were rather shocking to Hong Hao Hao’s ears. She had assumed that mysterious woman was just Si Ma Nan’s lover or something. She didn’t expect her to be his wife. Moreover, she also wasn’t some ordinary person. How was she supposed to compete?
She was someone Si Ma Nan brought back from Myanmar. Had he left his wife because of this, or did he have some other goal? His expression was strange whenever that woman Ah Bai was mentioned. He didn’t even permit others to speak that name, as if even the name belonged to him. It was clear how important Ah Bai was to him. What about herself? Could it be…
Was he really going to abandon her? Now that his actual wife, the woman in his heart, was here, what was Hong Hao Hao worth? Even if he still wanted her, his wife would definitely not agree. What was she supposed to do?
“I suggest you go to the new town and take a look. It’s better to clear things up. Ah Bai is especially kind. She might even accept you.” Wan Li understood the struggle in her mind. “Or maybe the situation isn’t what you’re thinking. But regardless, I feel that you shouldn’t be kept in the dark!”
“Should I go?” At this moment, Hong Hao Hao was completely without her own opinions.
“Unless you want to be free of Si Ma Nan.”
“No…you don’t understand. I can’t leave him! My life…” Hong Hao Hao stopped speaking.
“Then my suggestion is that if you don’t fight for it, you won’t get anything!”
Hong Hao Hao froze. She had always been passive towards Si Ma Nan. Apart from acting coquettish and using her feminine charms, she had never fought for anything. She wasn’t able to accept Wan Li’s suggestion right away, and stood there for a long time before deciding.
“Right. I’m going to fight for it.” She gritted her teeth and stood up. Yet she had just dispelled the barrier and taken a few steps when she suddenly recalled Wan Li. She immediately turned and gave a sweet smile. “I trust you were telling the truth, so I will keep my word. I won’t kill you. However, I didn’t say that they wouldn’t kill you either.” She gestured towards the thugs before swaggering off.
Seeing that red figure depart, Wan Li mumbled to himself, “I knew you wouldn’t let me off!” He smiled bitterly and swallowed as the thugs slowly crowded towards him, preparing for a second round of verbal sparring.
“Wait, wait, wait.” Seeing a burly fellow walking over viciously with a thick rope, probably intent on strangling him, he hurriedly spoke up.
“Damn brute, do you still have some dying words?” The thief dressed as a woman cursed.
“Ha, you’ve guessed it! But what I want to ask is, don’t you guys have more modern ways to kill people in this day and age? Give me something refreshing. As for my dying words, there really isn’t much to say. We’ll meet on the other side within a day regardless, so we can talk there.”
“Other side? Where?” The thief didn’t understand right away.
“Who are you trying to scare!?” One of the thugs said.
“Fine, I won’t say anything. I’ll just do the dying obediently. Come. If this daddy even frowns, I’ll be your pack animal on the other side!”
“Fuck, I’ve never seen such a mouth on someone about to die!” The large man with the rope said impatiently, and took several quick steps towards Wan Li.
However, a skinny man who seemed to be the boss stopped him. “Wait, let’s hear what he has to say.”
“What can I say?” Wan Li shrugged, but the movement against the ropes on his body almost made him cry out. “If you’re the boss, you should be able to tell. Once I die, you guys will also be silenced.”
“There are so many of us. We’re no herbivores.” Another thug hooted.
Wan Li sneered. “Do you have eyes? Don’t you see the situation outside? The entire town is under the influence of a spell. You think the few of you will be a problem?”
“What is going on?” The boss furrowed his brows. “We’re just doing a job, and they are paying really well.”
“The father and daughter surnamed Zhang are both sorcerers. You can believe what you will, but the truth is in front of you. Have you seen anyone else with such great abilities? I’m guessing they hired you to deal with me, but also to prevent anyone from out of town coming here. However, once everything is over, do you think they would want anyone knowing their secrets? Bro, money is good, but it’s useless if you’re dead!”
The thugs looked at each other, because Wan Li was correct. Their task was to capture Wan Li, and also to patrol the town and the main roads leading here. They had arranged people on all the roads except the one towards the new town. Along with the seven of them, they had a total of thirty people.
Initially they had joined because of the money. Afterwards, they had noticed things didn’t seem right, but it was too late to pull out. They feared that millionaire Zhang Qun to the bones. They were filled with fear while carrying out their tasks.
Seeing them hesitate, Wan Li directly added some fire. He told them about the town’s tragedy back then, while adding some embellishments. It was the cause of all the disasters today. Even few locals knew the truth. He had only learned about it from the notebook Master Long left behind. His words stunned the thugs. The more cowardly ones even started trembling.
“This was something done by Zhang Qun along with Mayor Yuan back then. A Daoist Elder passed by this place and wanted to seek justice for the resentful spirits. That was the only way to keep your Hongqing Town safe. Zhang Qun naturally wanted to stop him, which resulted in these battles.” Wan Li purposefully inserted Si Ma Nan into the matter, and also painted Ruan Zhan as a monk. “This place is also your home. It’s whatever if you don’t help it, but you’re actually helping the other side. If he wins, it won’t just be you guys. None of your friends or relatives will be spared. They will all be snacks for those resentful spirits. But that’s also fine. You guys will be heading to the other side ahead of them, and won’t suffer too much. I’m guessing Zhang Qun will definitely show you a good time.”
“Big bro, big bro, we should consider this matter.” The thief couldn’t hold it in any longer and pulled at the skinny guy’s sleeve.
The skinny guy ignored him and only looked to Wan Li. “Who are you?”
“Er…I’m a reporter. I inadvertently found out about this matter. That Daoist Elder asked me to help out a little.” Wan Li lied once again. “If you still don’t believe me, you can go check out Boss Sun’s room. There’s a drawer in his closet with two white vases. They are possessed by resentful spirits. You guys can go ask them!”
The skinny guy trembled a bit. The other thugs stepped back, deeply afraid their big bro would call on them to look for resentful spirits. They had already encountered supernatural events back in that small alley. They didn’t dare experience it again.
“We’re also just trying to make a living, and don’t know the details.” The skinny guy said after some hesitation. “This brother, what would you say we should do?”
“You still need to ask?!” Wan Li purposefully spoke loudly to give them a strong mental impression. “One word: run! Hey, hey…come back, come back. I’m not done talking yet. Untie me first. Otherwise, I won’t point out the right path for you guys. Relax, do you see that sword? Zhang Xue isn’t able to hold it. It bites whoever tries, yet I am able to hold it. This shows I’ve gotten permission from that Daoist Elder, and can resolve matters here.” He used the fear Hong Hao Hao caused these people as a threat.
Under the orders of their boss, the people hurriedly untied Wan Li.
Wan Li stretched his muscles and under their worried gazes steadily picked up the bloodwood sword. “You guys keep patrolling the town. Don’t let outsiders enter. Once everyone wakes up, run off immediately. I promise you guys will be fine. Furthermore, things will be over very quickly.”