Book 8 Chapter 7: Unavoidable Matter

Wan Li opened the door to the bedroom and saw Ruan Zhan sitting cross-legged on the bed. His face was pale and he was covered in sweat. His brows were tightly knit, and he looked ready to keel over. Wan Li let out a soft sigh. It had been a hundred days since Xiao Xia had fled. They hadn’t been able to find any trace of her to this day.

That damn lass was actually that fierce when she lost her temper. She didn’t give herself or anyone else the opportunity to fix things. Yet perhaps only a woman like that would be so thorough in both love and hate, so stubborn and pure!

Having known Xiao Xia for so many years, he had never seen her so angry and despairing. She actually held a blade to her own neck, scaring the three of them into backing off. They planned on talking things through once she had calmed down, but she had actually been so decisive she had vanished in the middle of the night. She didn’t even bring a change of clothes before leaving, merely bringing a backpack that probably contained her wallet, identifications and debit cards. Yet these things definitely wouldn’t keep her afloat for long.

She had also taken the five element talismans Bao Da Tong had drawn for her.

When they found out, he had known she wouldn’t be coming back any time soon, if ever! No one understood Xiao Xia better than he did. She might at first feel humiliated and hurt at being disdained and manipulated by the person she loved most. Yet with her kind and innocent nature, she would definitely forgive Ruan Zhan for everything. Yet she still wouldn’t return, and might instead hide even more thoroughly. He had once mocked her for being a little ostrich, sticking her head into the sand whenever she encountered something scary or unbearable. It seemed he hadn’t been mistaken. She had truly gone into hiding.

The three of them had searched everywhere. They had first gone to the law firm. Director Pan had ended up flipping out, stuffing the resignation letter she had snuck onto his desk in Wan Li’s hands. He had said her resignation was not accepted, and she should get the hell back here. Things needed to be discussed in person, and the few words she had written weren’t worth anything. He had looked after her so carefully, how could she be so irresponsible and just leave as she pleased. Have her come back obediently at once!

Director Pan’s words told Wan Li that the elder truly cherished that sloppy and careless junior of his. He wasn’t biased towards her just because she was his student!

Since they didn’t get any information about Xiao Xia from the law firm, he took a “business trip” and stopped by her hometown. Xiao Xia’s parents welcomed him warmly, and asked him to watch over their daughter. Her mom kept shooting him furtive glances, like that of a mother-in-law towards her son-in-law.  Yet how could he feel any joy. Luckily, he had managed to inconspicuously find out Xiao Xia had made a call, confirming that she was safe and sound. That made him feel a bit of relief.

He couldn’t tell her parents that she had gone missing. He knew she loved her family a lot. She definitely wasn’t willing to get them involved. Therefore, despite her not being around anymore, he still considerately kept her secrets.

They had searched all the places she might go, and asked around everywhere she might appear. But there wasn’t any hint of her. They were currently all out of ideas. Although Xiao Xia was sloppy, she was still a smart person. If she wanted to hide, they wouldn’t be able to find her.

However, Ruan Zhan wasn’t willing to give up. He wasn’t willing to calmly wait, because he was running out of time. He only had half a year until his Calamity of Threes. He wanted to meet her before he died, see her, and have her no longer be angry at him. Therefore, he searched like mad, leaving the bar completely to Bao Da Tong. He frequently used his space warping spell and telepathy, ignoring his body’s condition until he became ragged.

That was the way of things. The nicer things always hurt the most. Xiao Xia and Ruan Zhan loved each other too much, so they ended up inadvertently hurting each other. Ruan Zhan hurt Xiao Xia’s heart, and Xiao Xia’s departure was basically harming Ruan Zhan’s life.

Wan Li sometimes wondered whether Ruan Zhan’s calamity had something to do with his feelings. It was a possibility. Many heroes and good men fell to the word “emotion”, let alone a recluse like Ruan Zhan who had his heart roughly broken into by Xiao Xia! He had always been someone who didn’t easily fall in love, but once he loved someone he wouldn’t be able to take it back!

“Ah Zhan, she’s intentionally blocking off her mental connection with you. Spending your mana wildly like this won’t help!” Wan Li said helplessly. “At this rate, even if she returned you would be dead! If that happened, she would also die of grief.”

Ruan Zhan heard Wan Li’s words and his heart shook. He opened his eyes but remained silent. Wan Li wouldn’t understand. He sensed Xiao Xia’s thoughts every night. Although he couldn’t tell where she was, he knew that she missed him. Imagining her all alone in some random little inn twisted his heart in pain. He didn’t know whether she had anything to eat. Had she gotten sick? Had she been crying?

This was all his fault! Why hadn’t he suppressed and controlled his feelings back in Hongqing Town? He had then used the wrong method to rectify his mistake, causing the situation to be irreparable. If she hated him, he was willing to leave. He wasn’t looking to get together with her. He could even endure not seeing her, as long as he knew she was safe and happy. He wouldn’t have any regrets. Now that she had left on her own, how could he feel at ease?!

Last night, he had sensed her terror. This caused his heart to burn with anxiety. He had risked spitting up blood to try and find her location, but it was still in vain. She had refused to respond. Although she had ended up unharmed, he still couldn’t rest easy.

“We must find her as soon as possible! It’s too dangerous for a girl to be out alone.” Wan Li stood up by supporting himself against the wall.

Wan Li looked at him and made a sound of agreement. Actually, they said the same things every day. They had already said it for a hundred days, but there was still no result. Looking at Ruan Zhan’s appearance, there was no way he would let Xiao Xia go if he failed to overcome his tribulation. What would happen then? Unrequited love between human and ghost?

No, he had to help them somehow. He wouldn’t even mind risking his own life!

“Perhaps if you didn’t pursue so relentlessly, she might let her guard down.” Wan Li sudden had a flash of inspiration. “She definitely has trouble facing you, so she will shun any attempts you make at connecting with her. But if you no longer attempt it, her impatient nature might very well cause her to drop her guard. Then, you might find her right away after figuring out some plan.”

Ruan Zhan froze and then nodded. “You are right. I didn’t think of that. Currently she…seems to run the moment I call out to her. Therefore, I’m never able to sense her surroundings, and thus am unable to find her location.”

“Might as well try anything since the situation is hopeless. We’ve tried everything apart from this. That damn lass, still running away from home at her age. Once we find her, I’m going to keep some of her blood on hand. That way, you can use your flying cranes to track her if she runs away again. It’s better than running around like headless flies.” Wan Li gave Ruan Zhan a doubtful look. “However, are you able to stop yourself from thinking about her?”

“I will force myself.”

It was true, he was best at forcing himself. He had always been forcing himself. No one lived as wearily and arduously as he did.

For several nights in a row, Xiao Xia suddenly stopped sensing the indistinct thoughts. The severing of such a bond caused her heart to break.

Time truly healed all wounds. He had already abandoned her, and was no longer looking for her! Wasn’t that what she had wanted? Then why did it hurt so much? Was she still pining after his love? Fool! He had long since abandoned her. From the moment he erased her memory, it meant he didn’t want to be entangled with her.

She clearly knew this, but was still subconsciously hoping for something. It seems women were all greedy! How laughable!

Xiao Xia lay in bed, mocking herself, but her face was covered in tears. Her heart was so tired it could barely keep beating. She completely failed to notice that the floor to ceiling window which had been unlatched had silently opened by itself.

From the day she had encountered that ghost, they had stayed in the city for another three days. Then, they had gone to another place as if they were on a cruise. The hanged ghost had no longer come to bother her after they had changed hotels that day.

As usual, He Fu Gui slept during the day and went to research “investment targets” at night. As for her, she remained idle during the day, tasting her emotional anguish while handling various errands for He Fu Gui. She also drafted a legal document.

The document was a business contract that involved the mining of Jingshi Town’s Ironhead Mountain. It signified He Fu Gui’s intent to develop his hometown after his travels. As for what precious minerals Ironhead Mountain contained despite being unmined for so long, how He Fu Gui came to that decision and how he planned on mining it, Xiao Xia had no idea.

The reason why the contract hadn’t been signed while they were in Jingshi Town was twofold. Firstly, the law wasn’t that rigorous in a small place like that. Secondly, it was also possible that He Fu Gui didn’t have sufficient funds at the time. But since then, Xiao Xia had never seen him do any actual business. Where had he raised the capital? Even if he had the money, he was both anxious to get the contract signed yet also seemed to be in no hurry to return. The entire matter was irrational and strange.

However, Xiao Xia wasn’t really interested in these things. She just faintly felt He Fu Gui was definitely doing something illegal. She was currently dealing with heartbreak and couldn’t be bothered with anything else. She just had to get through this week, get this month’s paycheck and then leave!

Of course, she might make an anonymous report to the police. If there was something wrong with He Fu Gui, the government would naturally send investigators after him. She didn’t need to worry about it!

A gust of cold wind swept over, causing Xiao Xia to shiver. She raised herself up and noticed the floor-to-ceiling windows were open. She was a little confused since she seemed to remember them being closed. It was almost November and they were currently in the central regions. The nights were cold, so how could she sleep with the windows open?

After some thought, she decided to turn on the lights and walk over to the window.

She was very careful, but hadn’t expected yet another sudden gust of wind. It was as if someone outside was pushing against the window, preventing her from closing it. She instinctively pushed harder, and although she managed to shut the window, the white curtains were swept upwards. As it dropped back down, it wrapped around her neck as though it were alive.

Startled, she reached up to grab it, but it was faster. After wrapping around her neck twice, it suddenly jerked upwards, hanging her by her neck!

The sense of suffocation hit her immediately, letting her experience the feeling of being hanged. She desperately tried to raise her hands but wasn’t able to do so at all. In her ears, a woman’s sinister laughter rang out. “Bitch! I’ll let you have a taste of my suffering! Try using your magic to hurt me!”

Xiao Xia wasn’t able to speak. Piercing pain spread from her lungs throughout her body. She could see a shadow above the chandelier in the middle of the room. It swayed, hanged by its own hair. It was the female ghost that was after her. After several days of silence, she had actually followed her here. Xiao Xia’s pain lasted for only a few seconds when a stream of warmth shot towards her neck, causing the curtains to suddenly release her. She plummeted to the floor!

The hanged ghost didn’t expect Xiao Xia to escape, and let out an enraged shriek. She shot over and wrapped her hands around Xiao Xia’s neck, but the moment she made contact, she was deflected by a yellow flash.

Without stopping to catch her breath, Xiao Xia raised the talisman in her hand and sent a fire spell shooting over! Her mana was lacking but the hanged ghost was caught off guard and the range was short. Therefore, she was quickly forced into a corner by the spell. With a flash of insight, Xiao Xia hurriedly sent out another fire spell, igniting the wall above the female ghost. The fire was weak but temporarily remained in place, trapping her!

“Release me, you bitch!” She screamed.

“Shut up! If you want to get roasted by the Yang energy from a bunch of people rushing in here, you can keep shouting!” Xiao Xia rubbed her neck, her anger overcoming her fear. “If you call me bitch again, I’ll splash a black dog’s blood on you. What’s up with you? I never provoked you. Who’s really the bitch here?”

Her threat really caused the other party to quiet down a little. Only now did Xiao Xia realize that despite the ferocity of this “good sis” that attacked her, most likely due to being unreconciled with her unjust demise, she probably hadn’t been impressive when she was alive. She wasn’t actually that hard to handle. Xiao Xia had just been overly terrified previously. She was really useless, not becoming any braver despite having learnt the five elements spell.

The amulet had saved her once again. The reason it hadn’t reacted right away was because it had gotten tangled in her shoulder straps as she had tossed around in bed. The increased distance from her heart probably caused its reaction to be delayed!

“Why are you always after me? Do I owe you something?” Xiao Xia asked angrily.

“It’s your fault for being together with him. He isn’t a good person, so you aren’t either!” The other party struggled, but it seemed Bao Da Tong’s talismans were very powerful. She failed to escape and remained curled in the corner.

Xiao Xia froze, He Fu Gui’s face immediately appearing in her mind. “Are you talking about He Fu Gui? I’m just working for him. No matter your connection with him, it has nothing to do with me. You should go seek him out. He’s in the presidential suite upstairs!” Xiao Xia suggested kindly.

“You think I don’t want to?” That “woman” said resentfully. “He has yakshas guarding him. I can’t get close.”

“So you bully me instead? How capable, picking the soft persimmon to squeeze!” Xiao Xia felt the one before here was practically unreasonable. Furious, she completely forgot her fear. Yet she had just spoken when the other’s words registered.

Yakshas? What are those? Also, just who was this “woman”?

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