“How long has it been? I mean the spying.” Bao Da Tong asked.
They were currently in a hotel room. Miss Sun’s terror had slightly abated.
“Why didn’t you seek help sooner?”
“I didn’t know who to ask. Besides…” Miss Sun’s expression was a little hesitant. “I thought it was in my head at first. Even if I told someone, who would believe it? If I called the police, they might even think I was insane!”
“Then you haven’t mentioned this matter to anyone? Including friends and what not?”
Miss Sun shook her head. “I didn’t. Besides, I don’t have any really close friends. But I’ve tried to help myself. I…I got a lot of Buddhist statues, talismans, evil-warding objects, but…they didn’t help!” Miss Sun paused. “Actually, they weren’t completely useless. Initially I merely used a string of Buddhist beads, but they ended up being ineffective. That woman continued her torment for several days, growing worse and worse. At wits end, I got a lot more things, including even bibles and crosses. Unexpectedly, she really disappeared one day. I thought I would be able to get through a few more days, but she ended up coming back today!”
Bao Da Tong shook his head slightly.
He knew such things were useless. This was a modern city, not some desolate area. Even if there were some supernatural occurrences, they wouldn’t be too obvious. Accordingly, there weren’t many true warding objects on the market. Most of them were fakes that merely provided peace of mind.
“How did you provoke her?”
“I inadvertently discovered her. Just like Miss Yue, I looked through the telescope and ended up seeing a sinister eye. Then, involuntarily, I also saw her face. It was bloodlessly pale. Even her lips were pale. It was like I was bewitched. I couldn’t move, and could only watch her grin at me before saying something. From reading her lips, she seemed to say…I will come find you!” Seeing Miss Sun tremble once again, Bao Da Tong felt some sympathy but he had to keep asking.
“Then, how did she torment you?”
“At first, I kept feeling that someone was staring at me, making chills run down my spine! The more afraid I was, the more I wanted to look across using the telescope. In the end, whenever I looked was when she would appear. Even during the day there would be a white figure in the house across the street. I’ve had others take a look. I told security that there were bad people in that house, but they never saw anything. In the end they sealed up the house, but I could still see her. She kept telling me…I will come find you! I will come find you! I wanted to get out of that house but it wasn’t possible yet. Then, afterwards…afterwards she was no longer satisfied with just watching. She started appearing next to me!”
Miss Sun subconsciously shrank into the bed as she spoke. “She started speaking to me from beside the pillow. She even continuously rang my phone, even when I pulled the phone line and turned off my cell! She just kept harassing me! In the end she even wormed her way into my bed, between me and him! She could enter the room from the smallest crack, from the toilet, the pipes, the window seams. When I was showering today, the drain actually…actually got plugged up, and a bunch of dark hair gushed out! That definitely wasn’t my hair.”
Seeing Miss Sun getting more and more agitated, Bao Da Tong patted her shoulder comfortingly and had her calm down a little. He naturally knew that wasn’t her hair. Miss Sun had a pixie cut and had dyed her hair completely red.
“How did you confirm it wasn’t in your head today?”
“It had been calmer these past few days. I…I was really tired and fell asleep the moment it got dark. When I woke up, I saw…the entire room was covered with hanging nooses. The window had been opened at some point, the wind making the nooses sway. Then that woman called my phone and said she would hang me!” Miss Sun subconsciously touched her neck, her voice involuntarily turning quiet. This made Xiao Xia feel stifled as well. “I wanted to wake him up, but he wouldn’t wake up no matter what I did. I tried to run but the front door was locked and the windows downstairs wouldn’t open. I probably made too much noise and he finally woke up. I brought the issue up to him but he flew into a terrible rage. He said I had gone mad, that there weren’t any nooses in the room at all. I looked, and there really wasn’t anything! I had mentioned to him many times how there were strange noises in the house, how a woman was spying on me, how she wanted to kill me, but he didn’t hear or feel anything. Now that I brought it up again, he left in a rage. It was useless no matter how I begged. The moment he left, the door got locked again and I couldn’t get out. That woman only wanted me. I was the only one she wanted dead! I had no other choice but to call your number. I had especially kept one of your business cards when you were handing them out that day. Today, I am certain it’s not all in my head. I pinched myself several times. I would have woken up if I was dreaming.” She stretched her arm out as she spoke. It was covered in several deep scratch marks. Although they no longer bled, it was clear the wounds were very deep, to the extent that she would have woken up even if she had been unconscious.
“What should I do? What should I do? I don’t know what that woman has against me, or why she would come harass me! She will come find me! She will come find me!”
“You assumed it might have been in your head previously because he hadn’t noticed anything, right?” Bao Da Tong asked rhetorically, interested in this “he” Miss Sun had repeatedly mentioned. “Forgive my impropriety, but I have to clarify. Who is this he you mention?”
When asked about that person, Miss Sun was a little hesitant, looking towards Xiao Xia and Wan Li. She didn’t seem to be too willing to speak in front of so many people. Yet her actions made it clear that man was her lover, in other words, a man she was keeping.
Because Miss Sun frequented the bar, her background had gradually been revealed. She had graduated from a prestigious university, but had found herself a provider not long after coming to the city. Based on her usual expenditures, that man seemed to cherish her a lot. However, it was said he was busy with work and didn’t often seek her out. Therefore, the neglected woman found herself another lover.
“How about I bring Xiao Xia back first. You make your own arrangements.” Wan Li stood up.
“Alright.” Bao Da Tong nodded. “However, we’ll have to deduct a tenth of your commission.”
Xiao Xia didn’t say anything, merely rolling her eyes at him. Her gaze clearly told Great Daoist Bao: Yeah right! I haven’t even been compensated for the fright I suffered today!
“I was just saying.” Bao Da Tong blinked helplessly, seeing Xiao Xia and Wan Li off before continuing to question Miss Sun.
Because the sinister eye lingered in her mind, Xiao Xia didn’t really dare be by herself. She also wasn’t willing to stay in Wan Li’s haunted place. Therefore, she could only hole up with Wan Li on the bar’s second floor.
That was Ruan Zhan’s territory. It had his things, his scent, his aura. Although he hadn’t returned yet, Xiao Xia still felt at ease.
That night, Bao Da Tong didn’t return. Only when the sun was bright in the sky did he appear.
“Don’t look at me like that. Miss Sun and I have a purely professional relationship. Very pure, very pure.”
“I didn’t ask you anything.” Xiao Xia couldn’t help but want to laugh.
There was no need for him to explain these things. Without considering the fact that what he did had nothing to do with her, his bloodshot eyes and weary appearance indicated he had clearly been busy with this supernatural matter the entire night.
“Have you found any clues?” She made him take a seat and handed him a glass of milk, watching as he drank it in one go.
“No trouble at all.” Bao Da Tong was a little smug. “I’ll head out after eating a little. I need to verify the accuracy of my amazing deductions. If nothing unexpected happens, we can go exorcise that female ghost tonight.”
“Just wait and see!” Bao Da Tong swiftly inhaled the breakfast that had been prepared on the table before heading off again.
“Practically like a swarm of locusts.” Wan Li came down the stairs and told Xiao Xia. “I’m going home to change and then head to work. Wait for me tonight, promise me you won’t go off alone with Bao Da Tong.”
The day passed very quickly. Bao Da Tong didn’t show up again, and only returned with Wan Li later that night. When he returned, he didn’t immediately bring up the details of the situation. Nor did he mention how to solve it. He gave the flowers at the bar his usual propaganda on the Book of Changes Culture, busying himself until it was past eleven. Only then did he indicate for Wan Li and Xiao Xia to leave with him.
After picking up Miss Sun, the four of them arrived at No. 2 Dongxing Street. Miss Sun shivered subconsciously.
“With me here, you don’t have to be afraid.” Bao Da Tong said comfortingly.
“But is it necessary to make her come along?” Wan Li and Bao Da Tong carried some things from the trunk up the stairs, leaving Xiao Xia and Miss Sun by the front door.
“She’s our employer. If we don’t let her watch a little, how would she know her money was well spent?”
“Are these things also just for the employer’s sake?” Wan Li helped put the strange props in place. “Ah Zhan never used such things before.”
“Our sects are different. Besides, I’m also running a business here, so appearances naturally need to be kept.” Bao Da Tong busied himself with the incense burners, bells, wooden swords, candles, paper money and talismans, placing them all on a table that acted as an incense table. “Nowadays, impressions are everything. You can skip out on meals, but not on appearances. Otherwise, people won’t trust you.”
“Basically you’re saying I’ve carried a bunch of useless stuff upstairs.”
“It isn’t really related to exorcism, but it’s not useless either. You can call them PR props. Haha, that’s right, they are props for PR!” Bao Da Tong beamed, not seeming nervous at all. This made Wan Li feel a little suspicious. Once everything was in place, Bao Da Tong changed into a very stylish Daoist robe. He tidied his scattered hair and put on a Daoist cap.
“I borrowed this from the production team of a TV series. I’ll make a set after this matter is over. Seems like it’ll frequently come in handy.” Bao Da Tong saw Wan Li looking at him weirdly and explained. “Can I ask you to call my employer and my legal consultant up?”
Wan Li felt like ignoring him, but since they were “working” after all, he could only swallow his anger and follow along. When Xiao Xia came up and saw everything, she felt that Bao Da Tong should switch identities with Ruan Zhan. Bao Da Tong seemed to like this stuff more than Ruan Zhan did. Meanwhile, if Ruan Zhan decided to live in seclusion, she would definitely go with him.
“Primordial Envoy pacifies and suppresses, propagating through the Ten Thousand Divinities. The true lords of mountains and valleys, the divinities of the Earth. God of Land to the left, God of Grain to the right, no need for wanton alarm. Return to the true Dao, all is illuminated. All shall stand in position, guarding the main altar. The Exalted commands, persecute the essence of evil, Lord of Protector Deities, guards those who chant the Sutras. Shelter under the Great Dao, live long and prosper.” Seeing that everyone was gathered, Bao Da Tong started “performing”.
His gestures and steps were extremely well-practiced, his expression solemn and dignified. The talismans and paper money caught on fire as he carried them on the wooden sword. Every move seemed proper and mysterious. Though Xiao Xia had experienced many supernatural cases, even she couldn’t help but grow tense, let alone Miss Sun who didn’t even dare breathe too loudly anymore.
“Wards to the left and right, stand to either side. Pagoda of Spirits, exterminate evil!”
Despite being unwilling, Xiao Xia and Wan Li cooperatively stood at either side of the “incense table” when Bao Da Tong called out these words.
He took several steps back and sat cross-legged on the bed, continuing to chant under his breath. A moment later, the tightly shut window slowly opened as if by an invisible hand. Then, a gust of cold wind blew in, sweeping up the incense ash Bao Da Tong scattered on the floor into a small whirlwind.
“Evildoer, show yourself!” Bao Da Tong yelled. He drew a symbol and pointed towards the window. With a cry of pain, a blurry white figure appeared before them.
It was a woman dressed in a long robe of indistinct color. Her hair hung fully over her face, making it impossible to discern any features. There was only a trace of green light seeping through the hair, making it very eerie.
“I will come find you! I will come find you!” She cried out in a hoarse voice, grabbing towards Miss Sun.
Miss Sun was terrified. She screamed and ran, but was grabbed by Xiao Xia who was next to her. Due to her fear, she was completely powerless to resist and collapsed next to the wall. She trembled all over and was unable to move.
Xiao Xia was actually scared too, but she trusted Bao Da Tong’s methods. Wan Li had said that he was only slightly weaker than Ruan Zhan back then. Even if Ruan Zhan was innately talented, Bao Da Tong had been meticulously taught by his own father. There shouldn’t be too much of a difference.
On the other hand, Wan Li had no idea what Bao Da Tong was up to!
“Evildoer, this is the world of the living. Your mischief will not be tolerated!” Bao Da Tong called once again, tossing out a golden, glowing object that made a crisp sound in the air.
Xiao Xia saw it was a tiny bell that remained suspended in the air after being tossed out, facing the female ghost’s face. It acted like a barrier that prevented the white figure from taking another step despite all her efforts.
“I don’t care what connection you had to Miss Sun in life, but the past is dead and the wheel of fate continues to turn. Go back! Otherwise, things won’t bode well for you!”
“No! I will find her, I will find her!” The white figure struggled incessantly.
“Ai, you chose this path yourself. Don’t blame me.” Bao Da Tong sighed and started chanting. “Through the five sacred peaks, the eight seas shall know. The demon lord is bound, my altar defended. Disperse inauspicious filth, the Dao is everlasting. Pressing, like the rule of law!”
He had just finished chanting when a fierce gale swept through the room, scattering the small objects on the table. The might was astonishing, and the white figure writhed in midair, turning into various shapes. She let out tragic cries, as if unwilling to be subdued just like that.
“I want revenge! I want revenge!” She shrieked incessantly.
Bao Da Tong pointed with two fingers in each hand towards the window, his arms locked rigidly. Sweat trickled from his face as he seemed to be using a lot of strength. He currently no longer had any hint of a smile, and actually looked rather heroic.
Things persisted like this for several minutes before a creaking sound came from next to the window. It was as if an invisible rusted gate had opened. At the same time, the white figure turned into strands like a torn rag. Yelling in despair and hatred, she vanished!
“Alright, the impurity has been cleansed. Miss Sun, please work with my legal consultant to settle the payment!” Bao Da Tong looked weary, but he still leapt off the bed agilely.