Book 6 Chapter 8: Breaking the barrier

     Ruan Zhan went to the internet cafe and made some plans with Wan Li.

  He was worried that Si Ma Nan had sent some “spies” out again. He felt communicating online would make it impossible for things to leak out in the short term.

  A modern place with so many resentful spirits must mean something major had occurred. There must be clues in the city. As the saying goes, tissue cannot cover up fire. No secret can be kept when many mouths are concerned. Therefore, he had Wan Li come to the old town to investigate previous injustices while he would try to enter the new town. Then, they could cooperate together.

  He knew that if he tried to break through the boundary outside the new town, he would have to pay a considerable price. He would have to use all his strength, spirit and willpower in the attempt. If the opponent was stronger, he might very well be injured and be at a disadvantage, or even in danger!

  Despite this, there were some things that he had to do without shirking back! The fact was that Xiao Xia was dragged into this because of him. He was Si Ma Nan’s target. From a certain perspective, Xiao Xia wouldn’t have repeatedly encountered supernatural cases if it weren’t for him. The other people in the city were the same. Perhaps they were involved due to some injustice, but if there hadn’t been an outside influence, the suppressive feng shui layout of the city that he saw was enough to keep those resentful spirits from coming out for revenge!

  This was why he felt the grievance had been festering for many years, but seemed to have a fresh drive. They must have been suppressed by something and were recently released by Si Ma Nan. They had become his killing formation!

  Si Ma Nan wasn’t trying to vent their resentment. He just wanted to use anything he could make use of!

  This time, he had to settle things with Si Ma Nan.

  After deciding on a method of communication and a plan, Ruan Zhan immediately returned to the south gate. If anything unexpected happen, well, their plans always encountered unexpected variables. They would deal with it based on their mutual rapport. There was no way to account for everything.

  The gate he had seen on the slopes was the south gate and it was his intended destination. Yet after he warped through space, this time he arrived at the west gate.

  However, he had expected this and wasn’t too surprised. He just carefully felt for the patterns in the boundary’s fluctuations as well as its weaknesses. He stood there for a while, as if in contemplation and also as if listening closely. When a breeze, so gentle it was negligible to anyone else, tousled his hair, he suddenly drew a strange symbol in the air. The tail of the symbol was made of complicated, repeated circles. He threw it at the city gate in a seemingly casual gesture!

  The breeze suddenly became stronger and stronger, and in a flash it became a gale that swept through the sky. It seemed to sweep up everything in its wake, making all the plants and trees by the gate lean in one direction.

  Ruan Zhan stood coldly in the center of this gale, patiently waiting for an opportunity. When an imperceptible gap in the gale arrived, he seize the brief moment to firmly take a step forward, squeezing into the gap in the invisible boundary.

  He walked forward step by step, his hands pushing outwards. There didn’t seem to be anything around him but struggled to walk. There seemed to be a huge force trying to push him out, and he also seemed to be enduring heavy pressure.

  The gale grew stronger still, but seemed to be like waves crashing against the shore when it reached Ruan Zhan. Although fierce, they still broke against him and bounced off before gathering for the next wave.

  At this moment, Ruan Zhan who wore all black was like a rock in the raging ocean. He seemed to be in danger and yet was incomparably steady. His hair blew wildly in the gale and his clothes also flapped. Yet he still moved forward slowly, and gradually approached the city gate.

  Suddenly, he stopped moving. He sensed the boundary’s core was right in front of him, preventing him from taking another step. He continued to resist the repelling force with one hand while forcibly raising his other. An invisible seal was sent out.

  With a bang, the empty space in front of him exploded with blue sparks. It seemed like two heavy objects had collided. Ruan Zhan sensed that his all-out attack was like a sharp awl that drilled a large hole into the barrier. The empty feeling of an uninhabited place immediately assaulted him!

  The new town was behind this barrier!

  Ruan Zhan felt a hint of happiness. He knew he was one step away from breaking the barrier. Therefore, he chanted a spell while flinging his free hand out towards his surroundings.

  Clanging sounds rang out. Although invisible to the naked eye, it was possible to sense that something was swiftly shattering in the surroundings. When the noise suddenly stopped, Ruan Zhan immediately took a few steps forwards. He had finally broken through this huge glass-like barrier that covered the entire city.

  But this was only the first step in breaking the formation! The moment he broke the barrier, he needed to set up a new one to prevent so many resentful spirits from leaving and harming others.

  Once the pressure on his body was relieved, Ruan Zhan immediately put his energy into setting up the new barrier. Yet right as he was about to finish, he heard crackling sounds all around him. He smiled bitterly to himself and didn’t defend, still focused on the task at hand. He endured as those invisible talismans struck his body like hidden weapons, stabbing into the acupuncture points vital for unleashing magic and spirit power.

  At the same time, the barrier was completed.

  Ruan Zhan staggered forward and swallowed the blood that rushed up his throat. He knew Si Ma Nan was watching. He might be nearby or he might be using some water scrying technique to observe him from a distance. Regardless of the method, he was definitely watching him! So even though he was in great pain, he refused to show weakness in front of Si Ma Nan!

  Gloomy yet complacent laughter rang out. It was Si Ma Nan. The voice wasn’t nearby, which meant he was watching from a distance. However, that didn’t really matter since he could instantly teleport here!

  ”You broke my barrier in such a short time, impressive!” His mocking tone contained a hint of admiration. “As expected of the son “he” trained. Every time i see you, your powers grow yet again.” 

  ”Who are you? Why do you know about my father?!” Ruan Zhan’s eyes looked straight ahead, not bothering to find out where the sound was coming from. 

  ”If you can kill me, I’ll tell you. Unfortunately, you’ll have to die this time around. Otherwise, I’m afraid I won’t be able to suppress you for much longer!” 

  Ruan Zhan sneered, “Come give it a try!”

  Si Ma Nan laughed out loud, as if he heard something funny. “Kid, you’ve got some tough bones. A little too tough. I haven’t been able to keep you down. However, this time you’ve had to force your way inside the barrier and set up a new one. Without any energy left to protect yourself, all your powers were sealed by my spell. How are you any different from an ordinary human now? I don’t have to say it. You should know clearly that you will die at the hands of the city’s resentful spirits without me having to make a move!”  

  ”Is that so?” Ruan Zhan waved his hand and blue lightning exploded in the distance.

  ”Wow, I actually failed to seal all your spirit power. You’re still able to use your lightning palm.” Si Ma Nan hid the surprise in his voice and continued to attack Ruan Zhan mentally. “Then what do you think about this?” He started chanting a spell. 

  Ruan Zhan felt a rush of hot air shooting towards his brows. Before he could react, it solidified in the space between his eyebrows. Everything went dark! He could no longer see!

   It wasn’t just his Yinyang Eye. He couldn’t even see with his regular eyes! He knew it wasn’t permanent damage. His sight had just been temporarily sealed, but it was sufficient. If he couldn’t see, the terrifying city could take his life at any time. Even his soul would be swallowed by those resentful spirits!

  ”How is it? I hope you like it.” Si Ma Nan said giddily. “I’ve suffered enough for underestimating you. Fool me once, as the saying goes. Therefore, I’m being extra careful this time. One of the sealing talismans on your body is an active type. If I’m not satisfied with its location, I can move it to wherever I want. You think it’s good?”   

  “Extremely. However, it seems you’ve spread yourself too thin. Although I cannot see anymore, my flaming handprint can now be used!” 

  “Is your zodiac animal a duck? You just keep quacking!” Ruan Zhan’s calm attitude angered Si Ma Nan a little. “Then you’re still going to go in? Go take a look at my killing formation. Everyone inside is a living pawn. No need for your arrogance either. You’re just one of my little pawns too.”     

  Ruan Zhan did not say anything and took a step forward.

  His vision was black but he remembered he was right across from the gate. There was a large “south” character written above it. It wasn’t the east gate which he had seen prior to breaking into the barrier. This was evidence that he had teleported to the south gate all along. Si Ma Nan had just warped the outer layer of space to make him think he had arrived somewhere else. At the same time, this showed that despite Si Ma Nan’s powers, he wasn’t strong enough to warp the entire space.

  The moment he had broken through, the strong gale had scattered the fog within the city. This allowed him to see that the streets were straight and organized. As long as he walked in a straight line, he wouldn’t run into anything. With ghosts and people being the exception, of course. Maintaining balance and his sense of direction was still a problem. No one could immediately adapt to sudden darkness.

  He knew Si Ma Nan was still there. Therefore, he stopped after taking a couple of steps. “As a junior who might have some connection with you, I’m obligated to warn you not to try and break my boundary. If an external force tries to do so, you, me and the barrier will turn to ashes together.”

  ”Your…” Si Ma Nan shut his mouth, afraid his tone would reveal his anger. “Did that old man of yours teach you this? Although he was a genius in the Daoist arts and created this sort of self-destructive technique, he would never use it with that kind heart of his. Who would have thought he would take in a cold and forceful person like you to deal with me!” 

  ”I’m just telling you…a small pawn will ruin your entire game!”

  ”Bring it! We’ll see each other in hell! Or, if your soul gets eaten up, we’ll say our farewells now!”  

  ”No, I’ll see you inside the town. After subduing all the resentful spirits, I’ll open up part of the barrier. Let’s have our showdown then. What’s the point of all these schemes?” 

  Si Ma Nan sneered, but before he could speak, he saw Ruan Zhan’s shoulders tremble a little. He seemed to have drawn a symbol in the air. Then, a flaming handprint shot towards where he was watching from!

  There was a clatter. Hundreds of miles away in the provincial capital, inside a luxury suite of a five star hotel, Si Ma Nan cried out and fell onto the sofa, his hands rubbing desperately at his eyes.

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