“You had already solved this matter earlier, and were just doing things for appearances earlier, right?” On the way back, Wan Li asked Bao Da Tong. “It wasn’t just to make Miss Sun feel her money was well spent, but also for advertising. You want her to tell others how wise and brilliant you were, and how awe-inspiring your methods were. Man, it’s truly a pity you didn’t go into business.”
“Ah?” Bao Da Tong randomly grunted in response.
He hadn’t slept in two days. Prior to resolving the case, he had maintained his vigorous spirits. Now that things were relaxed, he immediately fell into an exhausted stupor.
“I was complimenting you on your acting. It was truly realistic. You not becoming an actor is a blessing for those in the industry, and a tragedy for the audiences.”
Wan Li’s tone was both teasing and helpless, making Xiao Xia involuntarily smile in the passenger seat. She glanced at Bao Da Tong in the rear-view mirror. “You said he has business acumen, but also artistic talent. Just which one is he better in?”
“I’m a master of all trades. I can do anything.” Bao Da Tong grumbled, adjusting his posture and trying not to let the pile of things in the backseat topple over. He had spent an entire day’s work before managing to get them. From a certain perspective, he depended on those things to make a living.
“I wonder how Miss Sun is doing.” Xiao Xia sighed again. She didn’t understand why a proper woman like her, who was intelligent, beautiful and educated, who just needed to put in some effort to be successful, would end up pushing herself in such a situation.
After the exorcism, Miss Sun wasn’t willing to let them leave, clearly having been frightened plenty. However, Bao Da Tong said his exorcism was definitely thorough, and he could only prove it if they left. Besides, they couldn’t accompany her forever. Only after a lot of persuasion were they able to leave. Before doing so, he naturally didn’t forget to have Miss Sun write a check for a decent sum. If nothing weird happened after a week, they would receive the money.
“Since there’s that lecherous old man financing her, we don’t have to stand on ceremony.” Bao Da Tong said righteously.
The moment they left Miss Sun’s house, Bao Da Tong told Wan Li and Xiao Xia that this wasn’t actually a supernatural case. It was someone making mischief. The reason he didn’t say anything before was because he was worried a certain someone who wasn’t good at acting would appear unnatural during the exorcism.
It turned out that the wife of the wealthy person keeping Miss Sun found out her husband was having an affair. However, that woman was more reserved in nature so it was said she didn’t make a huge fuss about it. She merely investigated Miss Sun in secret. She soon found out about the younger lover Miss Sun was keeping on the side.
The wife bribed the money-loving young man and settled on a fake haunting to scare Miss Sun. That way she could get her revenge. It would be best if she was driven insane.
Bao Da Tong had been doubtful of this matter to begin with. He hadn’t seen the slightest hint of ghostly aura inside the small western building. Ordinary people might get tricked by fake ghosts, but Bao Da Tong had been learning to deal with those things from a young age. Of course he realized something was off right away. When Xiao Xia inadvertently noticed the sinister ghostly eye, Bao Da Tong had shot out a talisman. The information transmitted back by it also showed things were clean.
Miss Sun had noticed that her supposed visions stopped once she acquired those “holy objects”, but hadn’t noticed that the supernatural events also coincided with her lover’s appearances. However, Bao Da Tong noticed these things. Therefore, after he was done questioning Miss Sun, he ran back to her house to investigate. He discovered that the ghostly figure appearing both day and night was actually due to an advanced miniature projector installed in the antique telescope. Whenever the focus was adjusted, a hidden switch would be flipped and the scary prerecorded scene would play.
As for the sound, Miss Sun’s young lover just needed to carry a portable miniature speaker. The scary dismembered limbs and hair obviously wouldn’t be hard to pull off based on the various horrifying toys currently available. He just needed to place them in specific spots that would catch Miss Sun unprepared: the toilet, the pipes, behind curtains, in the sockets…
Miss Sun was extremely infatuated with her lover and naturally didn’t suspect him. She never though him being unable to hear or see her “visions” was him pretending. It only deepened her belief that she was being haunted.
Bao Da Tong suspected Miss Sun’s lover to begin with. The purposefully enhanced sound of doors locking, the evident tampering of the circuit breaker outside, and the nooses and props he found in that man’s house explained everything. Furthermore, based on the expensive antique telescope, he also deduced that the mastermind behind this was that wealthy man’s wife.
The antique was something rarely seen. Only the owner would know the intricacies of its design, let alone think of hiding a device inside it!
The situation was that simple. The reason Miss Sun refused to move out was because the jealous wealthy man would call her at various hours every night. If she wasn’t home, he might very well flip out. Since their contract that would transfer ownership of the house to her was about to be fulfilled, Miss Sun had to desperately endure to obtain the things she wanted.
Therefore, it was as Wan Li said. When someone is obsessed over something, they can be easily manipulated. Miss Sun, her lover, the wealthy man and his wife, they were all the same. Bao Da Tong had visited both mischief makers during the day and given them a tiny bit of “persuasion”, resolving the problem. Later that night, he was merely putting on a performance.
Just like that, he received the money one week later. “I’m only responsible for the ghostly matters. They can deal with their own relationship problems.” He said.
Soon after, he resolved another supernatural case. A wealthy man surnamed Wang returned home drunk one night noticed the “evil-scrying mirror” by the backdoor had turned pitch black and wasn’t reflecting anything. There was only a dark female figure standing there unmoving, twisting around to stare at him.
He was terrified, unable to care that he had soiled himself as he ran upstairs to call his wife. By the time everyone mustered up their courage, turned on the lights and came downstairs, they saw the large mirror perfectly in place, without any issues.
He swore he hadn’t been mistaken earlier, and some evil must have appeared. Therefore, his daughter-in-law who frequented the bar sought out Bao Da Tong. Bao Da Tong brought Xiao Xia for a preliminary survey before doing a bunch of things the next day and pulling out a dark shadow from the wall!
Actually, this matter still wasn’t anything supernatural. It was caused by people, but not on purpose.
That day, the meticulous Xiao Xia had noticed that there were some scrapes on the wall next to the mirror. The nanny was also evasive in her speech. Therefore, after further investigation, they discovered that the nanny had messed around with her boyfriend while the owners weren’t home, and accidentally broke the mirror. Since the wealthy man was strict and people rarely used the backdoor, the nanny hurriedly went and bought an identical mirror with her boyfriend to keep her job. They wanted to install it in the middle of the night, but the wealthy man returned drunk unexpectedly and actually entered via the backdoor.
In shock, they randomly put up the mirror and fled. However, the nanny wasn’t able to get away in time and stood frozen by the wall, confusing the drunk Mr. Wang. By the time he woke everyone up and explained things, the swift young couple had already installed the new mirror properly.
Yet no matter what the truth was, news of Bao Da Tong’s supposedly superior exorcism skills spread quickly. Business on that end didn’t immediately shoot up, but the number of people coming to the bar had visibly increased. Most of them were men who popped the cork on those frightfully expensive bottles of western alcohol without asking the price.
“Ruan Zhan will kill you when he gets back.” Wan Li said with schadenfreude.
Since the number of customers increased and neither Wan Li or Bao Da Tong knew how to mix drinks, they had to act as servers while the inexperienced Liu Tie and Ni Yang tended the bar. They were only able to get a breather once rush hour was over.
“I helped him triple his profits. Why would he be upset!?”
“He doesn’t love money like you do. He likes peace and quiet. Therefore, the style here had always been elegant and dark. You’ve made it so rowdy, completely changing this place of his.”
“I can’t be blamed for that. I’m also just trying to make a living.” Bao Da Tong sighed. He never knew running a bar was so tiring. “Who knew there were so many dirty things hidden beneath a flourishing society nowadays?” Everyone feels uneasy about something. Many people have ghosts lingering in their hearts.”
“Excuse me, old timers, passing through.” Ni Yang grinned mischievously, squeezing between the two of them.
“Hey kid, who are you calling old timer!?” Bao Da Tong yelled.
“We do this sort of work daily, and still go to class during the day without any issues. You guys? It’s only been a day and you’re already exhausted. If it isn’t due to the lack of stamina at your old age, what else can it be?” Liu Tie spoke up from the bar while polishing glasses.
“That’s just a matter of getting accustomed. I’m just not used to it yet. Look at Wan Li. He’s an all-rounder, being a doctor, a white knight…don’t shove me, let me properly educate these two fellows…” Bao Da Tong tried to explain to Liu Tie but Wan Li kept digging his elbow into his ribs.
“Business might have come to the door. Shouldn’t you go take a look?” Wan Li wasn’t looking at Bao Da Tong, but rather glancing at the door from the corner of his eyes.
Bao Da Tong looked over in confusion and saw a woman standing rigidly outside.
It was raining, but she wasn’t coming in. She stood there watching, as if she had been there for a long time. She was very thin, and wore a long coat with long pants during this warm weather. Her dark hair stuck to her face, wet from the rain. Her entire person seemed to blend into the night, leaving a pale face and dark brows. She looked a little frightening.
“Don’t worry, she’s human.” Bao Da Tong said to the three slightly stunned people. “I’ll go invite her inside. Leaving a woman out in the rain while remaining seated, truly without any grace!”
He walked over and opened the door, feeling the rain against his face, both wet and cold.
The woman in black shivered when she saw him appear, and spoke up before he had a chance. “Bao Da Tong?”
She spoke very quietly, her lips only moving slightly, making her voice seem as if transmitted from a distant dream.
“Help me.” The woman stretched out her hand and grabbed his arm. “Please, you must help me. Help my get my husband back!”
Bao Da Tong froze. “Well, finding people isn’t really…ai, forget it. How about you come inside first?” He turned to the side, inviting the mysterious woman to enter.
She paused for a moment as if hesitating over something, but finally stepped inside the bar.
She walked with lowered head and followed Wan Li to a darker corner. She passively accepted a dry towel and a glass of mild alcohol from him, giving off a dark and fleeting impression like a shadow.
Although it was raining, it was still the middle of summer. The ac also wasn’t turned on inside the bar, but the woman seemed to be very cold. She kept shivering, her hand shaking as she wiped her hair and even her teeth chattered against the wine glass.
Wan Li gave Bao Da Tong a look. He had purposefully brought the woman to a corner to talk. It was a mental trait of people to feel safer in a dark corner, and more willing to speak their mind.
“I don’t have much money.” The woman in black interrupted Bao Da Tong.
“It’s fine. This alcohol is also on the house, no need to pay.” Wan Li responded gently.
“I meant…that I cannot afford Mister Bao’s…expensive rates.” The woman still kept her head lowered.
Initially Wan Li didn’t understand who she meant by “Mister Bao”. He was about to ask if she had the wrong place since there wasn’t anyone called “Mister Bao” here. Yet when he looked up and saw Bao Da Tong shrugging, he understood that “Mister Bao” was the never-serious swindler.
“That’s also fine. His rates are…flexible.” Wan Li continued to speak gently. “May I ask the miss for her name?”
“Lu Yan.” The woman in black took a large sip of alcohol, as if to steady herself.
“Then, Miss Lu, why are you looking for Bao Da…Mister Bao?”
Lu Yan looked at Bao Da Tong, but Bao Da Tong actually looked towards Wan Li.
That woman was fragile like a black, transparent piece of glass. It seemed she would break at a touch. She wasn’t like those upright-looking yet cunning experts he could mess around with. He didn’t want to say the wrong thing in front of her, and since Wan Li was a psychiatrist who was good at speaking with others, he might as well let him do the questioning.
“I want Mister Bao to help me find my husband.” Lu Yan realized Bao Da Tong intended for her to talk with Wan Li and thus turned back to him.
“It’s like this. Bao…Mister Bao’s business seems to involve fortunetelling and astrology on the surface, but it’s really more focused on the occult.” Wan Li explained patiently. “If Miss Lu is looking for someone, I feel it might be better to go to the police. The police now have a network specialized in looking for missing people. It’ll be much more effective than having Mister Bao do some calculations.”
“No, you don’t understand.” Lu Yan heard the refusal from Wan Li’s and anxiously explained. “Although my husband has already passed away, he hasn’t left! He is by my side. I can sense it. I can really sense it! But he doesn’t come out to meet me! I just want Mister Bao to help find him and have him meet me once. Just once is enough! I have something very important to tell him!”
Lu Yan suddenly became very agitated. She gripped Wan Li’s hand tightly as if it were a lifeline, crying and begging. “Please, help me. I only wish to see him once. Please. I can give you all the money I have. Just leave enough for me and my son to survive!”
Wan Li and Bao Da Tong looked at each other.
Her husband had died?! Then she wanted them to find a spirit? She even had a child! What was going on here? Had the woman started hallucinating because she missed her husband too much? Or was something strange going on here?