Zhang Jia Lin’s entire face was plastered against the windshield. Her features were squished flat and her eyes that were like black holes stared into the car, making Xiao Xia feel disturbed. Although Xiao Xia knew she couldn’t be seen, she still felt as if all her thoughts were laid bare, making her afraid to even breathe. If her hand hadn’t been gripped by Wan Li, if it weren’t for his steady warmth, she might have fled on the spot!
She can’t see us! Xiao Xia told herself.
Although this was indeed the case, she had forgotten something. Zhang Jia Lin couldn’t see them due to Ruan Zhan’s profound talismans, but she still carried the bloodwood sword. It was a Daoist treasure that would glow red when encountering fiends!
Zhang Jia Lin’s power prevented the bloodwood sword from reacting previously. Now that she was close, it suddenly started vibrating fiercely in Xiao Xia’s shirt pocket, shooting a beautiful ray of red light into Zhang Jia Lin’s eyes!
Caught off guard, she screamed and fell from the car!
At the same time, Wan Li suddenly started the car. As the engine revved, he said loudly, “Sit tight, we’re leaving!”
The car screeched from the sudden acceleration. Wan Li calmly put the car in reverse and backed up until the road widened before he turned around.
Xiao Xia knew he wanted to avoid harming Zhang Jia Lin’s body. Who knew if the little girl was still alive? Although she understood Wan Li’s intent, her reactions were a beat too slow. The jerky movements of the car caused her head to collide against the window with a thud.
At the same time, the little girl in the backseat was also flung against the window. Yet while Xiao Xia struggled for a while to right herself, the little girl immediately sprung back up. She still maintained her rigid seated posture in an indescribably eerie manner.
Xiao Xia got the creeps with the human doll sitting behind her. Unable to feel at ease, she kept turning around to look. Yet she remained lifeless and unmoving. On the other hand, a small figure gradually drew closer behind the car.
“Goodness, she’s catching up!” Xiao Xia stared as Zhang Jia Lin got closer and closer. She got the bloodwood sword and its accompanying talisman ready in her hands. “Faster, we can’t let her catch up!”
“Lady, I’m already going a hundred twenty.” Wan Li’s eyes were fixed on the road as he spoke evenly. “If someone sees a little lass able to catch up to a speeding car, she’ll be treated as a national treasure and captured for experiments.”
“This is no time for jokes!” Xiao Xia avoided looking at the little girl’s face in the backseat and continued watching behind them. “Even if she can run, can the real Zhang Jia Lin’s body endure such stress?”
“That I don’t know, but we need to worry about the living first!” Wan Li stepped on the gas while pulling out the tattered banner from the paper bag next to him. He reached out and placed it on the roof of the car, immediately chanting some spell and tossing a talisman after it.
Xiao Xia was startled, afraid the treasure would fall underneath the car. Yet she heard a clang on the roof as the tattered banner attached itself to the car. At the same time, something heavy landed on the trunk. The car sank and rapidly slowed down.
Zhang Jia Lin had caught up. Yet why was such a little girl so heavy?! ！
She crouched there, her fingers seemingly suctioned to the rear window and trunk. No matter how Wan Li swerved or braked, she didn’t fall off. Her head slowly lowered and she peered excitedly at the people in the car.
Her lips hadn’t moved but her voice drilled into Xiao Xia’s brain like an awl. She involuntarily clutched her head, as if trying to stave off the splitting headache caused by the sound. The car also swerved violently at the same time. Wan Li had clearly been affected as well.
However, he reacted much faster than Xiao Xia. The moment the noise stopped, he immediately took out another talisman. With a few words, he once again tossed it out the car. This time, Xiao Xia sensed something buzzing on the roof. A gale formed outside the car, causing Zhang Jia Lin to stumble. Her body suddenly disappeared from Xiao Xia’s view.
“Did we lose her?” Xiao Xia asked.
“Not yet.” Someone answered, but the voice hadn’t come from Wan Li. Instead, it came from her window, causing her heart to leap.
Turning, she saw to small hands tightly holding onto the window. The pale face framed by scattered hair had already stretched inside the car, causing Xiao Xia to see herself reflected in the pupils. Almost instinctively, Xiao Xia put her hands together. The talisman in her left hand that was almost drenched with her sweat was stuck to the small bloodwood sword in her right hand.
The bloodwood sword immediately enlarged, the tip passing by Xiao Xia’s cheek and stabbing straight between the brows of that pale little face. Zhang Jia Lin dropped to the floor like a thrown sack, immediately getting left behind by the speeding car!
“Woohoo!” Wan Li couldn’t help but shout in excitement at having successfully shaken Zhan Jia Lin off. “Ah Zhan’s treasures sure are handy. We’ll keep using the tattered banner and bloodwood sword to deal with her until we get to the police station. Let’s see if she dares to keep chasing. Hoho, we’ve lost her this time!”
The sinister voice sounded once again, seemingly from inside the car. Xiao Xia’s first instinct was to look at the little girl behind them, but she still remained rigidly in place. She wasn’t the one who had spoken.
“Is she clinging onto the car somewhere?” Xiao Xia asked with a pale face.
Wan Li didn’t speak, but he pointed his chin towards the radio with a solemn expression. It turns out that was where the voice had come from. Xiao Xia went to turn the off button, but it was similar to her laptop that night. She wasn’t able to turn it off, or even turn the knob at all. It only caused the chilling voice to say evenly, “I’ve decided I don’t want to play with children anymore. I want the two of you!”
These words played on a loop like a broken recording.
Xiao Xia thought of Bao Da Tong’s spells and hurriedly took out a talisman from the pouch on her waist. Yet before she could recite the mantra, the sound from the radio changed again.
Initially it started off as the beating of a small drum. Then, screeching of string instruments joined it in a tune. The tune felt very insubstantial, jarring and discontinuous, like the breathing of a dying person. It made them feel extremely unwell and inexplicably sorrowful.
“This is a type of dirge. She’s merely using sorcery to affect your mind, ignore her!” Wan Li’s words barged into Xiao Xia’s mind, startling her.
“Uncle is really mean, not letting me take auntie away!” A child’s voice said. “You guys should come play with me!”
“I don’t play with little brats! Scram, or you won’t even be able to play with red lotuses and mud in the end!” Wan Li purposefully mentioned the red lotus and mud of unknown significance.
His words had just fallen when Zhang Jia Lin suddenly got angry. Her shrieks mixed with static came from the radio, louder and louder, practically bursting their eardrums. Xiao Xia was unable to endure it any longer. Sensing the roughness of the talisman in her hand, she chanted the corresponding mantra, “Wooden azure dragon, conjure countless swords, slash!”
Her might was far removed from Bao Da Tong’s. Therefore, what Bao Da Tong could resolve with a wave of his hand took Xiao Xia five times. Only after using each of the five elements once and getting covered in sweat did the radio finally break down. Silence returned to the car. Yet while it had fallen silent and the evil spirit outside was unable to get up and harass them for the moment, the car entered a patch of darkness.
The car had been speeding forwards the whole time. They should have long since reached the main road. Despite being in the outskirts, there were still streetlamps. Yet apart from the car’s headlights, they couldn’t see anything else in front of them. The lights were also only able to illuminate a dozen meters or so ahead. Beyond that, they seemed to have been neatly cut off in the air, unable to penetrate the slightest bit into the dark!
The lack of any points of reference felt rather uncomfortable. It was as if they weren’t driving a car, but rather flying a plane in the darkness. Despite Wan Li’s careful driving, the car was extremely unsteady. It swerved around like a drunkard, the screech of brakes ringing out every now and then.
“This won’t do. That brat wants to trap us inside a restriction.” Wan Li forcibly drove straight but he knew the roads around were rarely in a straight line, but rather more complicated. There was also a large overpass bridge that was still under construction. No matter what sorcery the fiend was using, they would definitely crash and burn if they accidentally veered off the bridge. Based on how long they were driving, they might very well be in the vicinity.
Yet he couldn’t stop the car either!
As long as they kept their distance, the fiend would be forced to use some of its power to catch up, as long as it wasn’t willing to abandon its body. Its remaining power wasn’t enough to contend against the tattered banner and bloodwood sword, which meant it couldn’t approach the car. Stopping the car would mean entering the lion’s den.
Both stopping and not stopping meant deadly danger was imminent. This forced him to choose between a rock and a hard place!
“Must be careful! Must be careful!” He muttered to himself, feeling his thoughts were a mess. Yet at that moment he felt Xiao Xia’s small hand on his forehead, wiping away his sweat.
“Don’t be nervous, or I’m even less likely to come up with a plan.” Xiao Xia did her best to speak calmly. “Come on, hero, don’t hesitate.”
“Choosing wrongly would mean death.” Wan Li’s arms were tensed as he gripped the steering wheel.
“Life and death is within heaven’s purview! Thinking stray thoughts won’t help. At least…down there won’t be as dark as here.”
Wan Li relaxed, sensing Xiao Xia was trying to comfort him. To actually be able to joke at this time! This gave him a spurt of courage. He had to get her out safely.
“What are you doing?” He watched her feel her talismans, putting them into two separate groups. One group was placed back into her pouch while the other was placed on the dashboard.
“I’m taking out the fire element spells” Xiao Xia said. “I’ve come up with a plan. The fire talisman shoots out a fireball, though in my case it just shoots out some sparks. I can use one at regular intervals to help you make out the road. Then, you’ll drive according to memory. We can keep it up until daybreak. Then sun rises early in the summer. It’s already past three now, we just need to hold on a little over an hour!”
“Good idea. But can I ask a question? How big of a spark can you shoot out?”
“Depends on how I’m feeling. You have enough gas?”
“God rewards the diligent. I filled up before coming here.”
“Alright, then I’m going to start!”
“Hold on, hold on!” Wan Li blinked heavily, staring at the road straight ahead. “How are you currently feeling, young mistress?”
“It’ll have to do.” Xiao Xia responded, and started reciting the fire mantra, “Southern Trigram of heavenly flames, form the state of enlightenment, burn!”
Xiao Xia gathered all her willpower, yet the resulting flame was like the fire on a gas stove, the kind used to simmer soup. Luckily she had the advantage of numbers and continuously sent out three of them. Only then could Wan Li clearly see, before his eyes bulged out, that they were about to reach the overpass.
He let out a silent breath, thinking it was lucky Xiao Xia had come up with this idea. It was also lucky that had taken this road on the way here. Although he knew they would end up getting stuck on the bridge, they at least had a chance.
“What are you doing?” He drove nervously, not daring look away from the front. Yet he felt Xiao Xia busying herself next to him.
“I’m trying to make the fire spell stronger. Should I try again?”
“Wait.” Wan Li focused on the car’s speed and incline as they drove onto the bridge while Xiao Xia put her hand outside the window in preparation. “Now.”
Xiao Xia immediately cast the spell. He didn’t know what Xiao Xia had done, but this time a small fireball burst forth. Since she still used three of them, a small opening was torn in the darkness ahead of the car. He immediately saw that if they didn’t turn right within three meters, they would crash into the railings and plunge off the bridge!
That was close!
Cold sweat trickled down his back as he meticulously directed Xiao Xia to use the fire spell over and over. He slowly realized that every time they reached the peak of the bridge, no matter what path they took to get off, they would eventually end up back on top. This made it possible to calculate the timing and positioning of their up and down path. If he could figure out the pattern, Xiao Xia wouldn’t have to cast the spell so frequently.
The talismans were limited after all. They should use them sparingly to avoid falling into a passive state in the end.
Time passed slowly. Wan Li’s clothes were soaked with sweat. Although he had figured out part of the pattern and memorized the route, he didn’t dare get careless, afraid the fiend would suddenly change the boundaries of the restriction. He didn’t know how long it had been, but even the darkest darkness would eventually pass. A ray of light appeared in the east. He couldn’t help but let out a breath.
“Look out!” Xiao Xia screamed.
Wan Li’s heart clenched as Zhang Jia Lin’s figure suddenly appeared a few meters ahead of them!
She had appeared too suddenly. Wan Li wasn’t able to think and instinctively swerved to the left. Then, a though flashed through his mind, pushing him to immediately turn back. An earsplitting screech rang out from his side as sparks flew everywhere.
Unable to worry about the fiend, he stomped on the brakes. Yet before he could catch his breath, Zhang Jia Lin flew towards the windshield with teeth bared!
Without time to do anything else, he could only turn around and cover Xiao Xia with his arms. Yet at the same time, the tattered banner on the roof and the bloodwood sword reacted, preventing the fiend with Zhang Jia Lin’s appearance from breaking in. Instead, she retreated and left.
Despite being strong enough to withstand sunlight, she was still at her weakest during the day. At this moment, she was no longer able to break through the protection of the two treasures. After all, she didn’t belong to the world of the living!