Book 7 Chapter 58: Sacrifice

The sudden change seemed to surprise everyone.

Ruan Zhan had been completely focused on his father, and Father Ruan had been focused on his son. Therefore, the two great experts actually allowed a seriously injured soul to escape their control.

Ruan Zhan’s first thought was for Xiao Xia, so he rushed over to stand in front of her without thinking. Father Ruan used one hand to fix Zhang Hong Yu to the crumbling wall of the dark building, sticking her there like a painting. He drew a wavy glyph with his other hand, grabbing at Zhang Xiao Hua who was in the air.

Zhang Xiao Hua was running for the roof of the dark building. It wasn’t clear why he had chosen that direction. Everyone merely saw a thin streak of black miasma shooting towards the roof. When Father Ruan’s invisible spell grabbed him, he was already clinging on the roof.

“Come down.” Father Ruan barked.

Along with his voice, Zhang Xiao Hua plummeted like a broken kite! One black shadow had shot upwards but two ended up falling down. The second shadow was rather large and also fast. The air swished as it fell through the air. Everyone could see it was a large piece of concrete from the edge of the building. It was already too late to stop its fall!

The chunk of concrete wasn’t in free fall. Instead, it turned in the air, smashing towards a certain target. Everyone instinctively moved away. Ruan Zhan guarded Xiao Xia tightly, but the concrete wasn’t aimed at any one of them. Instead, along with Zhang Xiao Hua’s immature and vicious laughter, it smashed towards Lil’ Tong’s body that was lying in the rubble!

So that’s what it was! It turns out that Zhang Xiao Hua wanted to drag someone down with him. He wasn’t trying to escape, but wanted to destroy one last thing before leaving. He had never experienced happiness, and wanted to deprive others of it also! If Lil’ Tong’s body was destroyed, even if his soul was still around he could never come back to life!

Everyone’s heart chilled at the scene!

“Lil’ Tong!” A woman’s mournful scream rang out. As the four people and one ghost were stunned, a figure shot out from behind the rubble at incredible speeds, dropping next to Lil’ Tong’s body. At the same time, another shadow also leapt out, waving both hands desperately and pushing in Lil’ Tong’s direction!

However, it was all too late!

The concrete block was too large. It’s power was too destructive after building up momentum falling from the roof. Things had happened too suddenly. Ruan Zhan had instinctively protected himself and his most important thing. Father Ruan had been in the middle of casting his spell. By the time the Ruan father and son reacted, they could only use their spirit power to give the block a shove, but couldn’t prevent it form smashing onto that woman’s body! –

The block struck the ground with a resounding crash. Dust flew everywhere, obscuring everyone’s vision. Once everything settled, they saw Lil’ Tong’s body lying safely to one side. A broken pair of legs stuck out from underneath the giant cement block. The rest of the body was completely crushed underneath. A blurry shadow floated by the block, as if about to dissipate.

“Lu Yan!” The shadow cried mournfully. It was Zhang Zi Xin.

“Haha, mommy, weren’t you missing your husband? Well, I let you guys reunite. I’m quite the filial son, right?” Zhang Xiao Hua was already stuck to the wall like Zhang Hong Yu, but he was still admiring his handiwork.

Although Father Ruan’s expression didn’t change, his eyes were filled with anger. He flicked his finger. Immediately, a ray of golden light shot from his finger, cutting Zhang Xiao Hua’s shadow in half. He writhed in pain but wasn’t able to cry out. Then, Father Ruan drew a complicated glyph with his other hand and pulled it back. A shadow was pulled out from beneath the cement.

Xiao Xia got the chills and involuntarily leaned against Ruan Zhan. She sensed his body filled with helplessness, clearly frustrated at the conclusion.

“Am I dead?” Lu Yan’s soul floated next to Zhang Zi Xin. Since she was newly deceased, her face was very blurry.

She looked at her husband and then turned to the cement block. Finally she looked at the safe Lil’ Tong and sighed in relief. “Luckily, Lil’ Tong is fine.”

“But you…” Zhang Zi Xin stopped midway.

Lu Yan understood what her husband meant, but didn’t speak. She merely sobbed and drifted beside Lil’ Tong, tenderly stroking his face. “His health seems to be improving. He has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, he can’t miss it. Look, he really will get better.”

She carefully stroked Lil’ Tong’s body but her hand passed right through it. However, she didn’t give up, repeating her movements as if doing so could allow her to feel him. “Lil’ Tong is the best. You have to sleep properly. Don’t be scared, mommy will stay with you.” As she spoke, she tried to pick the child up again, but she wasn’t able to do it.

Drops of water fell to the ground. Those weren’t her tears. Rain had finally started to fall.

“Lu Yan!” Zhang Zi Xin approached, not knowing what to say.

Lu Yan didn’t seem to have noticed her husband. She only turned and looked at the closest Bao Da tong. “Master Bao, could I trouble you to pick Lil’ Tong up? His body is frail and cannot remain on the ground. Look, there are so many stones. It must be terribly uncomfortable!”

Bao Da Tong’s heart soured as he sighed. He walked over and picked Lil’ Tong up, saying to Lu Yan. “I told you to stay at the bar and not go running around.”

“Sorry, Master Bao.” Although Lu Yan responded, her eyes were fixed on Lil’ Tong. “However, I don’t regret coming. Otherwise, I couldn’t have saved him.” She went to stroke his head again, but accidentally brushed one of the talismans on Bao Da Tong’s body. A flash of golden light and she was knocked far away, landing next to Wan Li.

Wan Li wanted to help her but was stopped by Ruan Zhan. Wan Li’s innate constitution repelled ghosts. Even the fiercest ones couldn’t get close to him, so Lu Yan wouldn’t be able to endure his touch.

“What…now?” Bao Da Tong held the child. He felt Lu Yan’s gaze follow him like a shadow, and he had no idea what to do. Yet Ruan Zhan and Wan Li were also at a loss in this situation.

“It’s my fault.” Ruan Zhan’s father shook his head, his voice filled with remorse and pain. “Wan Li was right. Excessive benevolence causes harm!”

“Don’t say that, uncle. You were also just trying to give them one last chance.” Wan Li couldn’t bear to see Father Ruan blame himself. However, he couldn’t think of anything to do for Lu Yan’s tragic family. Therefore, he didn’t know how to continue.

“Unfortunately, trying to give them a chance ended up hurting others.” Father Ruan sighed, unsure whether he had messed up again. Many years ago, he had made a mistake that resulted in severe consequences. Today, he made another mistake. It seems he still couldn’t be redeemed. He always thought he could control things. Yet somethings, the heavens bestowed the most unbearable accidents.

Thinking of this, he looked at his own son, at the child destined to bear heavy anguish from the moment he was born. He saw him standing there firmly and silently, his right arm subconsciously guarding the girl surnamed Yue. He hadn’t changed after so many years. He still pushed himself whenever he encountered difficulties.

What an unyielding child. Why did he have to be this way? Yet wasn’t this what he most wanted to see in his son?

He had faked his death for over a decade. Although he missed his only son a lot, he endured it and didn’t go see him as he cultivated ascetically underground. Only when the child unexpectedly discovered the secret of his false death did he surface once again, wanting to sneak a glance at his son before leaving to finish what he had to. Unfortunately, due to uncontrollable circumstances, he was forced to abandon his body, revealing his identity to his son.

He had been troubled, since he had planned on never revealing this secret!

Yet since it had happened, he decided to meet his son once. He had to face things in the future regardless. Before meeting him, he wanted to see how he would resolve this matter.

He knew Ah Zhan had already unsealed his powers. He also knew his skills had improved quite a bit. After all, his own master Si Ma Nan had fallen at Ah Zhan’s hands. Regarding this fact, he was both hurt and proud.  Throughout this case, he had witnessed his own son’s courage and cunning. The whole thing had been essentially planned out perfectly.

Was he lucky or unlucky to have such an amazing son?

Ah Zhan had considered everything, including Lu Yan and Zhang Zi Xin’s situation. Before coming to this well-planned battle, he had used Wan Li’s connections to get some relevant government workers to take Lu Yan away on the pretext of some problems with her store. Then, once she was no longer being observed by the fiends, he had brought her to the bar, allowing her to meet her husband who was recuperating in Bao Da Tong’s box, instructing them not to leave.

But Ah Zhan, Bao Da Tong and Wan Li had never been parents. They didn’t understand how parental love caused them to ignore everything else. It had nothing to do with reason or logic. It was a strong instinct, which was why Lu Yan and Zhang Zi Xin ended up sneaking over.

But was this fate? If they hadn’t come, the child whose rights had been seized before birth wouldn’t have the chance to start again anymore! Was this his fault? Why did he always want to give these terrifying spirits another chance? Regarding this, he suddenly admired his son’s cool and merciless demeanor in battle.

Looking up, he saw his son stir and lightly move away from Xiao Xia’s support. He held the bloodwood sword and approached the wall, pointing at Zhang Xiao Hua. “I shouldn’t giving you release. Unfortunately, I need to help Miss Lu Yan accumulate some karmic virtue. Therefore, I will give you one second. Look again at the family whose lives you ruined!”

At that moment, Zhang Xiao Hua couldn’t help but grow afraid at the dazzling red glow from the sword.

“I should have just died when I was five.” Trembling, he knew there was no hope left and that nothing he said could move the cold-hearted man in front of him. “Who said staying alive was definitely a good thing?” He wanted to shrink away but was fixed on the wall. He could only look at the sword in terror. He actually felt some regret for a moment. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been so obsessed with obtaining things. That way, he could still carry on existing. Now? Unfortunately…

He didn’t have the opportunity to think further. The bloodwood sword lightly scraped over the wall. He watched as one of his two halves that were split by Father Ruan turn to dust. The remaining half didn’t even have time to react. His final thought was that perhaps leaving someone a path was also leaving oneself a path. Was severing another life the same as severing one’s own?

“What about you?” The cold gaze and terrifying sword fixed upon the silent Zhang Hong Yu.

She let out a distressed laugh. “Finish me off!”

Big bro was right. If they had died three hundred years ago, they would have reincarnated. It was better than their current existence as spirits. Yet she had been with him for centuries. Without him, there was no point in getting another chance.

Ruan Zhan’s sword paused. He felt a hint of hesitation towards Zhang Hong Yu’s pleas for death. He had to deal with Zhang Hong Yu’s despairing gaze, Lu Yan’s tragic situation and also his father’s mistake.

The saying “the greatest evil can come from the kindest intentions” was truly well said!

The sword fell and the other shadow on the wall also vanished. It was like a nightmare, but the aftermath still remained!

“Vengeance has been taken. Now, to resolve your matters.” Ruan Zhan turned and looked at the souls, forcing himself to remain unemotional. “Lu Yan, you’ve already died. I’m guessing it was without regret for the sake of your child. Although you are unwilling, lingering won’t help Lil’ Tong. It’s up to you whether to stay or not.”

Lu Yan started crying. Although there were no tears, there was incessant pain. Was she fated to only have one and not the other? When she had her child, he had lost her husband. Now that she was with her husband, she had to leave her child!

She walked towards Bao Da Tong who stretched out his arms, allowing her to see her child without getting harmed by his magic. She examined every inch of the child, recalling how small he was when she gave birth to him. Now he had grown so big, and his features held a hint of her and her husband.

He was so frail. She had once worried he would be stillborn. Now that he managed to reach five years of age, she had to leave him forever? She wouldn’t see him go to school, see him grow up, get married and have children. She wouldn’t see her child’s life! And what about the child? He had to grow up without parents, a lonely life! There wouldn’t be anyone to take care of him when he was sick. No one would be worrying about him in severe weather. No one would comfort him when he was sad. No one would be waiting for him when he returned home wearily!

She didn’t want to go! She couldn’t bear to! But she didn’t have a choice!

“Master Bao, please think of a way! Put me in that little box of yours. Just let me watch him grow up. I beg you. He’s so frail, but he finally managed to survive. He can’t be left on his own. I beg you!” She wept, hoping for the slightest chance. For the sake of this chance, she was willing to abandon everything. It was fine even if she turned to dust!

“Ah Zhan!” Bao Da Tong looked at Ruan Zhan, unable to bear it. If possible, he was willing to do everything in his power to help this pitiful and kind woman, but unfortunately he was powerless.

Ruan Zhan sighed. It was best for him to be the bad guy!

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