After breakfast, Ruan Zhan said he was going to Xiao Xia’s place to take a look. However, Xiao Xia had suffered too much and wasn’t willing to remain in the bar by herself. In the end, when Ruan Zhan was distracted, Wan Li revealed another of his secrets to comfort Xiao Xia. This ordinary looking bar was actually laid out according to an ancient formation. The formation’s eye was at the foot of the stairs and the bedroom was a place of extreme yang. Even the three cartoonish candles on his bookshelf were powerful dharmic tools in disguise that were left behind by his dad.
This put Xiao Xia at ease while Ruan Zhan was incredibly infuriated. He almost put a silencing curse on Wan Li on the spot. He didn’t understand why the usually honest and steady Wan Li was so frivolous. Was Xiao Xia trustworthy or was she just especially important to him? Regardless, he now knew the saying “friends are to be sold out” turned out to be correct! Especially after they left Xiao Xia’s house.
“She can’t live at my place!” Ruan Zhan saw Wan Li tossing Xiao Xia’s luggage in the backseat and immediately refused.
“What else can we do? Let her get strangled to death?”
“She can stay in a hotel, or stay at your place!”
“But how would that prevent her from having nightmares or getting attacked again? Only your place is the safest.”
“I don’t agree. I can also set a formation at your house and put up some wards. I can even lend you the dharmic tools.” He was going all out. Anything was fine as long as his life didn’t have to be disrupted by outsiders.
“Enough, don’t be so stingy!” Wan Li pestered him endlessly. “It’s just a few days. Once the thing is dealt with, all will be well.”
Ruan Zhan didn’t fall for it. “I didn’t say I was going to deal with it for you. I only promised to keep Yue Xiao Xia safe, and prevent it from harming her. I’m not concerned about the wellbeing of others. Your scheme is useless against me.”
“Whatever, you can be callous all you want. Don’t worry, I promise Xiao Xia won’t affect your daily routine.”
Won’t she? The words sounded nice, but he had already been hugely affected.
“I’ll have her promise not to go downstairs during your bar’s business hours.” Wan Li added. “As long as you don’t let anyone else go upstairs, and don’t let those servers of yours go fetch things, your perfect image won’t get ruined.”
“Shut up!” Ruan Zhan didn’t have the strength to argue with him. He wasn’t afraid of ruining his status in the minds of women. He just didn’t want any exceptions. But today, Wan Li had already forced him to make many exceptions.
Wan Li saw that he was driving silently, seeming unwilling to speak, and hurriedly changed the topic.
“You didn’t find anything?”
Ruan Zhan remained silent a little longer.
“There isn’t anything on the surface, apart from the yin energy being a little heavy and the air being a little stilted.”
“It’s gone? Or did it go into hiding? Can’t you find it?”
“Then what should we do?”
“We’ll come back around midnight when it’s active. It’s hard to see it during the day if it’s attached to some object or hiding in the darkness. Despite my dad teaching me everything he knew and my natural “talent”, you should know I’ve already placed a seal on myself. I’ve only used it twice in my life. This sort of thing is like an RPG game. If you don’t kill and loot, no matter how good your foundations are, your level won’t be high and your abilities won’t be sufficient. Therefore, I don’t even know if I have enough power to deal with it.”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to ask. Do you think it’s strong?”
“It’s quite impressive. It can prevent any ghostly aura from leaking out during the day. I can’t try spells or else it would be on guard, and be even harder to deal with at night.”
“Then, I’ll come with you tonight.” Wan Li felt a tinge of guilt. He only thought about helping Xiao Xia, protecting Xiao Xia, but never considered he was bringing trouble to his old friend. He thought it was just a simple matter, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. If this matter was more dangerous than the other two times, he might very well be putting Ruan Zhan’s life at risk.
“No need. I’d have to look after you. You’d get in the way.”
“Says who? We’ve braved dangers twice before. It’s good to have some backup.”
“No, it’s really a little different this time.” Ruan Zhan was very firm. “It was first able to control Xiao Xia’s nightmares, and then make her “witness” the murder. Furthermore, it likely also controlled Li Jing Ming and his son. It attached itself to the medicine bottle and followed you guys back. Then it made you experience ghost builds wall while trying to harm Xiao Xia at the same time. Although it didn’t succeed, it still caused her to faint. This isn’t something a normal spirit is capable of.”
“You mean to say it’s very powerful. Wait, you said medicine bottle? Which one?”
“The white glass bottle on the bedside table. There’s still some dark miasma on it. If you were to ask me, that was the only clue I found today.”
“My god!” Wan Li was shocked. “Then it’s my fault. I was the one who packed Xiao Xia’s things. I didn’t check at the time, and was even confused after getting back since it wasn’t her medicine!”
“If you didn’t take the bottle, it would have found another way. While she was at the hospital, apart from the nightmare, did anyone approach her?”
“No, I was with her the whole time. But…” Wan Li suddenly recalled something, “After she woke up, I went to get her some water. When I came back, she asked me if someone had come. I told her there wasn’t anyone, but there was actually a nurse in the hallway, seemingly having just left. Thinking back, she was walking a little abnormally, like she was floating.”
“That was most likely the murdered nurse. This means that it is able to control other spirits.”
“Why would it do this? Is it related to the case?”
“Very likely, but it’s not certain yet.”
“Is it fierce?” Wan Li was unsettled.
“Who cares!? We will see.”
The more Ruan Zhan downplayed it the guiltier Wan Li felt. Therefore, he insisted on going with Ruan Zhan. In the end, they decided to have Ruan Zhan go up by himself while Wan Li waited downstairs with a dharmic tool as support. If the outer wax layer of the tool melted, he would immediately go upstairs to help.
“Is the sanguine wooden sword within that little rabbit-shaped candle?”
“That’s right. But be careful not to let the wax layer melt. It took me a lot of effort to seal.” Ruan Zhan instructed. In reality, he didn’t think the probability of needing it tonight was high. He was just trying to reassure Wan Li.
Ever since the Nocturnal Revenant bar was first opened, this was the first time the handsome boss was absent. Ruan Zhan who was normally behind the bar with a gentle smile was currently preparing to face off with a ghost. It sounded very awesome but was actually both dangerous and troublesome.
He arranged for Wan Li to remain crouched by the trashcan. The latter was very unwilling. “You’re taking the opportunity to mess with me.” Wan Li said, “It’s filthy here and it stinks. If someone saw me, they would think a grand psychiatrist like myself is actually the one with mental issues.”
“Over eighty percent of people have some sort of mental problem. Why can’t you be one of them? Stay here obediently, or else you can scram!” He wasn’t so bored as to mess with him. It was because this was the only place without any ghosts.
He could see what others couldn’t. This was also why he wasn’t willing to go out at night. Wandering spirits were mostly those with fierce obsessions, lingering attachment, hang ups, love and hate, or lonely souls who died violent deaths. A small number of them were evil spirits. The slightest mistake and his ability would be revealed to those spirits. They would want to use his powers to help them fulfill their wishes. He didn’t want to deal with people during the day and then handle “good buddies” during the night. That would be too troublesome!
Yue Xiao Xia said he was unfeeling towards everything? That’s probably right! But he wasn’t born this way. Instead, it was something that was tempered through many emotional trials.
“Don’t open the paper box. It’ll ruin the wax layer.” He stopped Wan Li’s actions and then left right afterwards.
He stopped for a moment but didn’t respond. He did his best not to speak.
Xiao Xia’s residence was at the intersection of the city and the countryside. The price was cheap, but it’s said that prior to the revolution, this place was an execution ground. Therefore, there were relatively more wandering spirits here. It wasn’t like other places where he could go for a long while without seeing a single one. He did his best to walk in the middle of the road, unwilling to pass through the darkness where they lingered. He also did his best not to walk too fast, in case he encountered one with slower reflexes that didn’t know to move aside. If he moved around it, they would know he could see them. If he passed through it, both of them would feel uncomfortable.
He thus walked unhurriedly while staring straight ahead, and entered the high-rise. The moment he stepped into the elevator, he sensed a fierce sinister aura. He guessed that the people living here probably often got random chills down their spine that they would quickly ignore. He was able to follow this sinister aura as it grew thicker, all the way until apartment 1205. Despite the lights in the common area on the twelfth floor being broken, he didn’t need them.
He opened the door.
It closed behind him with a bang, as though it were slammed by someone. The lights suddenly turned on by themselves in the darkness, the fierce glow making him lose his vision momentarily.
Ruan Zhan was unconcerned as he continued towards Xiao Xia’s bedroom. However, he froze after entering.
He had entered an elevator!
Before he could react, the elevator doors closed heavily. The various buttons lit up rapidly as the elevator started moving. It shook sharply and a shrill female voice called out floors. First floor…second floor…third floor…
Ruan Zhan stood coolly in place, waiting to see what other tricks it had up its sleeve. Only when the elevator seemingly became weightless as it plunged downwards did he draw a few symbols in the air. The elevator ground to a halt, but he was still shut inside. He frowned, knowing that this evil spirit wasn’t simple. He then drew a few more strokes, and after a wave of darkness, he finally returned to Xiao Xia’s apartment.
“What do you want?” He asked. The living room hanging lamp suddenly came crashing down in response. If he hadn’t dodged aside quickly, he might very well have become a kindred spirit. Therefore, he no longer spoke and entered Xiao Xia’s bedroom once again.
The abnormal darkness was thick like fog that couldn’t be dispersed, making Ruan Zhan unable to see anything. Therefore, when a chill wind shot towards him, he could only dodge stiffly. He felt a stab of pain on his right cheek and heard the sound of shattering glass. He knew it didn’t have a corporeal form and could only use other objects to harm people. However, within the darkness it created, even his Yin Yang Eyes were unable to capture its location.
He touched the clammy liquid dripping from his right cheek and used his middle finger to mark the space between his brows. He silently chanted an incantation to strengthen his divine vision and finally saw a clump of dark human-shaped miasma in the corner. The strange thing was that the figure seemed incomplete, as though it was missing half of itself. However, he didn’t have the time to ponder over this. That dark miasma had already pounced towards him. He drew symbols in the air once again. Because his fingertips were stained with his own blood, the power of the symbols multiplied. Under the faint crimson light, the dark miasma was forced into the corner.
A shrill scream sounded out, grating like the sound of glass on glass, making him involuntarily turn his head away. The dark miasma took this opportunity to swell up, almost knocking Ruan Zhan over. He was forced to gather all his energy.
“Scram back to your realm. This place is not for you.” He called loudly.
The dark miasma didn’t speak as it remained in a deadlock with Ruan Zhan. The various objects in the room flew around wildly. Only when the dark miasma was forcibly suppressed into a small clump did the surroundings gradually turn calm.
“Still not scramming?”
The dark miasma finally responded: “Die, meddlers. You and that woman, I want you dead, never to reincarnate.”
Ruan Zhan smiled coldly, “Am I scared of you?” At the same time, he exerted more force.
The dark miasma cried out tragically, and roared in an unreconciled manner, “Vengeance, I will have vengeance. Beware, beware my vengeance.” The voice slowly faded as the surroundings became quiet. The moonlight also shone into the room.
Ruan Zhan let out a breath. Only after sitting on the bed for a while did he go find Wan Li by the trashcan.
“Why did it take so long?” Wan Li leapt out the moment he saw Ruan Zhan’s figure. “I thought something had happened to you, and was about to charge inside.”
“Did the wax layer melt?” Ruan Zhan asked as he walked towards the parked car. He saw Wan Li knocking a ghost head over heels as he rushed to catch up.
“Then did you see or hear anything weird from out here?”
“Also no. That’s why I endured and stayed put.”
“Congratulations, you didn’t become collateral damage.” Of course it was normal for no one else to have heard anything. He had sealed the space. Otherwise, in such a populated place, everyone would have run over to watch the battle between man and ghost that only happens in movies. That wouldn’t do.
“That means the battle was fierce.”
“If you’re interested, you can go check out her room some time. It looks like a WW2 battleground.”
“Sounds like it was very terrifying.” Wan Li only noticed the wound on Ruan Zhan’s face when he started the car. “You’re wounded.”
Ruan Zhan took a look in the rearview mirror. He saw that the wound stretched from his cheekbone to the corner of his mouth. It wasn’t clear what he was cut with. The blood had already congealed. The wound didn’t seem deep and there wouldn’t be any scarring, but it would definitely take a few days to heal.
Wan Li pointed at his face, “With your dramatic appearance….were you able to subdue it?”
“I don’t know.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means I’m unable to be sure. It was much stronger than I expected. I initially planned on resolving its grudge and driving it back to its own realm. In the end, although it escaped, I’m not sure whether its grudge was dispelled or if it was merely sealed. If it’s the latter, for how long?”
“Good god, we’ve encountered a big one.”
“Obviously. Could a kitten put me in such a state?” Ruan Zhan subconsciously touched his face. “It forced me to strengthen my incantations with my blood before managing to barely subdue it. I spent a ton of effort.”
“You should practice your abilities more often. I should have found similar cases for you to handle a long time ago.”
“Shut up. You still have the face to say that? If it weren’t for you, this wouldn’t have been my problem even if the heavens collapsed.” He hadn’t even mentioned that the evil spirit had been incomplete. If it weren’t, he would really have his hands full. Furthermore, there were still a few things he needed to ponder over.
“Then what should we do now?”
“Wait and see.”
“You mean Xiao Xia will have to stay at your place for a few more days?”
“You think I’m willing? You should convince her to drop this case and spare everyone the hassle. Otherwise, why not bring her over to your place?”
“No no, your place is still the safest.” Wan Li hurriedly rejected the proposal. That ghost didn’t do anything during the day and Xiao Xia would be safest with Ruan Zhan at night. “You wouldn’t suddenly turn into a lecher, right?” He laughed jokingly.
“Relax, I’m old. I don’t have the appetite to digest that prickly lass.”
as much as I’m enjoying this so far, i have to say Wan Li isn’t a very good friend. FL seems a bit judgy too, but given that she’s a victim in all of this it’s more understandable, unlike Wan Li completly and selfishly selling out his friend