Please update your browser: Your browser is obsolete, you need to update or switch! Missing var() support! Missing grid support! Missing (flex-) gap support! Missing aspect-ratio support! Missing container query support! Missing clamp() support! Missing -webkit-line-clamp support!
    Header Background Image

    Asianovel

    The world's first crowdsourcing-driven asian bl novel translation community

    Chapter 79

    When fellow countrymen meet, tears well up in their eyes, especially when they encounter each other in the distant capital far from Fuzhou. The new bureau chief was deeply moved to tears by the familiar accent.

    After his tears had dried, he looked at the dignified man and finally remembered something. "Ah, fellow countryman, where are you working now?"

    *****

    At the police station, Black Impermanence presented his work ID and a contract stamped with the Underworld's official seal.

    The new bureau chief: "..."

    Black Impermanence: "..."

    Wei Xi: "Why aren't they talking?"

    The second disciple peeled an orange for him. "Is it good?"

    Wei Xi's attention was diverted, and he took the orange, broke off a segment, and passed it to the second disciple. Then, he thought of his own sect. "Right, Mr. Gu agreed to let us advertise. I need to inform the staff about this."

    When Wei Xi initially proposed the advertising concept, he had done his research and knew that producing an advertisement was no easy task. Apart from the stringent content review by various departments and the exorbitant advertising fees, the creative process, production team, and filming procedures were all complex undertakings. This was beyond Wei Xi's expertise, but fortunately, there was Qiu Guokai in the sect, with whom he had collaborated to establish a talent agency.

    Eating an orange while speaking, his second disciple wiped the juice from the corner of his mouth. "Whatever you want."

    Feeling the touch of a finger on his lips, Wei Xi caught the scent of yang energy and instinctively bit down, a hint of dissatisfaction creeping into his thoughts. This disciple seemed to have no enthusiasm for the sect's affairs, lacking a sense of teamwork.

    Despite Wei Xi's sharp teeth, the second disciple didn't flinch; instead, he curled his finger to tease the older man's tongue.

    Tasting the sweetness of the orange juice on his disciple's fingertips, Wei Xi froze, gradually releasing his grip and inspecting the hand for any signs of injury. "Does it hurt?"

    As he examined the disciple's hand, the latter suddenly clenched his palm, capturing the finger that had touched his teeth. "Does it hurt? Nonsense."

    Just as Wei Xi began to relax, a low chuckle echoed above him. "You bit like a little puppy."

    Wei Xi: "…"

    **********

    On the other side, the new director struggled to push aside the documents on his desk. "Mr. Fan... I suggest you visit the Third People's Hospital in our city."

    The psychiatric department of the local Third People's Hospital was renowned both domestically and internationally.

    Seeing that the fellow villager had been silent since he expressed his purpose, Black Impermanence grew anxious. This was a hard-earned opportunity: "Don't you believe in our sincerity to cooperate?"

    The new director: "..."

    Black Impermanence continued to persuade: "A partnership between our two realms, the Yin and Yang, would be mutually beneficial. Even if you don't consider us, you should think about the people in the living world."

    The new director had nothing more to say. He could only laugh it off: "Is that so? Unfortunately, I don't have anything to collaborate on with you. The police department solves crimes, but how can you possibly help us with that?"

    Not knowing how to solve cases in the living world, Black Impermanence still made a promise: "Why don't you tell me what you have in mind?"

    The new director was even more exasperated. What was wrong with this person? But due to regulations, he couldn't resort to force. Thus, he resorted to intimidation: "Alright, recently, our department has received a murder case. A family of six was killed during a camping trip in the suburbs. There were no surveillance cameras or witnesses. The case hasn't progressed at all, and our superiors are pressing us. Can you help resolve this issue?"

    Black Impermanence was surprised by the simplicity of the matter. He said casually, "No problem. Can you show me the birthdates of the victims?"

    The new director was speechless but patiently retrieved the birth dates for him. Black Impermanence took one glance and swiftly wrote a line of text, handing it over: "You carry a powerful aura. You need to read this aloud to see them."

    What kind of mystical nonsense was this? The new director took the text, which was written in traditional Chinese characters, and read it word by word. He wondered how this could be of any use.

    Little did he know that as his words faded, a chilly gust of wind suddenly swept by. He lifted his head abruptly to find six faces, young and old, staring fixedly at him from around the desk in front.

    New Chief: "………………"

    Feeling that letting the victims speak directly might be useful, Black Impermanence politely began, "Fellow townsman..."

    Never had the term "fellow townsman" sounded so chilling. The new chief gripped the tabletop, his pupils trembling. "Who... Who exactly are you?"

    Black Impermanence clicked his tongue, looking at him disapprovingly. "What's wrong with you, fellow townsman? Didn't I introduce myself earlier? Your memory is terrible. Even after all these years since my death, my mind is still sharper than yours!"

    *****

    In the district, a couple had been arguing and fighting. A young police officer had just finished mediating and returned to the station to find his colleagues joyfully bustling about. Upon inquiry, he discovered that there was progress in last week's baffling massacre case. His eyes lit up with excitement. "What happened! Where did the lead come from?"

    His colleagues, who had been working tirelessly all week to solve the case, were also ecstatic.

    "The Chief received a description of the murderer's appearance and license plate number from an eyewitness!"

    "At first, we weren't sure, but when we checked, the car's route on that day actually matched the location of the crime scene! Though it turns out to have been a stolen vehicle."

    "But with a detailed description of the perpetrator, solving the case shouldn't be too difficult! I'll go verify the population records right away!"

    The young police officer hastily glanced at the information and was equally astonished. The report not only included the license plate number and the murderer's appearance but also their approximate height and accent. "What kind of divine informant is this? Their observational skills are incredibly meticulous! It's as if they've met the culprit face-to-face. Is the informant at the station now?"

    His colleagues waved their hands. "No, the Chief got an anonymous tip. He said we don't need to worry about who the informant is, just follow the leads."

    Again, it was the Chief. The young officer's admiration for his superior surged like a sudden flood, making him eager to meet this seemingly omnipotent leader.

    However, when he found the Chief, he discovered that the man was standing pale-faced with Daoist Wei from the Taicang Sect and others.

    They were gathered at the corner of the stairs, with Daoist Wei still discussing something with the Chief's fellow townsman in the black suit—

    "Wei Director, the energy here is strong. Ghosts coming to City God to file complaints might find it hard to approach. Two of my Death Deities will have to be stationed here to maintain order."

    "Hmm, good idea. This way, our sect members can come and go more frequently."

    The Chief stood there, dazed. The young officer found it odd and approached, but before he could ask any questions, the Chief's acquaintance noticed him. The well-dressed man still had a benevolent expression as he said, "Kid, from now on, we're like brother organizations. May our cooperation be enjoyable."

    What was this? Brother organizations? Weren't you a doctor? Master Wei was a Daoist. How were they brothers?

    The young officer looked at his chief in confusion, and the chief returned his gaze, appearing unusually weak. He opened his mouth as if to say something but couldn't manage a sound for a while.

    He seemed to be under duress, but who would dare to intimidate someone inside a police station? The young officer pondered for a long time but couldn't figure out why his usually calm and composed chief was behaving this way. Before he could make sense of it, Daoist Wei had already negotiated with the man in the black suit to place divine statues in two locations within the station.

    It was an unheard-of decoration; who had ever heard of a police station worshiping deities? Surprisingly, the chief not only didn't refuse but also nodded in agreement to the request. He even mentioned that he would visit the local City God Temple in a few days to seek blessings.

    The young officer was utterly stunned. Seeing Daoist Wei and the man in the suit preparing to leave, he couldn't resist his curiosity and quietly approached the chief. "L... Leader? When did you start believing in superstition?"

    The chief looked at him as if in a trance before remembering something after a while. "Oh, you were the one who introduced him to me just now."

    The young officer couldn't help but smile. Indeed, he had introduced the man in the black suit to their leader earlier, only to discover that they were both from the same hometown and had hit it off incredibly well during their interaction at the ancient tomb excavation site.

    Was the chief about to commend him? Forgetting his confusion, the young officer scratched his head bashfully. "Yeah, Leader, how was your chat? Did you get along well?"

    The chief remained silent for a moment, and the young officer looked up at him in puzzlement. The chief then spoke, "Heh heh."

    Young Officer: "Uh...?"

    Leader: "Before the end of the workday, submit a self-reflection report."

    The young police officer grew flustered. "D... Did I do something wrong?"

    The superior asked, "Have you found the cat that a citizen reported missing two days ago?"

    The young police officer replied, "N... No, we haven't."

    The superior continued, "What about the dog walker who was reported for littering last week within our jurisdiction?"

    The young police officer answered, "N... No, we haven't located him either."

    Only then did the superior regain some of his former decisive aura. He bellowed, "Then what are you waiting for? Go write an apology!"

    The young police officer responded with a pitiful sound, "QAQ"

    ******

    Just then, the chief's phone rang in his pocket. He answered it and his anger dissipated instantly. "What?!"

    On the other end of the line, a slightly panicked subordinate reported, "They got away! Two of our brothers sustained minor injuries, but they're not serious! Leader, quickly contact the city bureau to set up a dragnet!"

    The new chief hung up the phone and met the teary-eyed gaze of the young officer. His nerves, which had been shaken by Black Impermanence, finally returned to normal. He explained solemnly, "There was an accident with the transport vehicle. The cult members you arrested have escaped while being transferred to the city bureau."

    The young officer was momentarily confused before quickly turning to Wei Xi. Wei Xi raised his eyebrows and asked, "Escaped? The three from the Cult of Rejuvenation?"

    The chief's mind was jogged by this not-so-unfamiliar name. He knew that this was a deeply entrenched cult with significant influence. Recalling the bizarre revenge Xin Nan's criminal investigation team had faced, his expression turned grave. "We were too careless. We only sent three vehicles for escort."

    Just then, Wei Xi's phone rang. Picking it up, he heard Kuang Zhiming's weak cry on the other end, "Wei! Daoist Wei! Xiaofeng is in trouble!"

    Wei Xi asked, "What happened?"

    Kuang Zhiming replied, "She was just brought back home. It seems her soul has been taken away, just like my condition back then!"

    The young officer gasped in shock. "What? Did they cheat on each other?!"

    Wei Xi immediately understood the situation and, frowning, told the other man about the escape of the three Rejuvenation Cult brothers after their arrest.

    Kuang Zhiming was furious to the point of tears. "Is the Cult of Rejuvenation insane? Why do they keep targeting our couple's souls?!"

    Upon hearing this, the young officer seemed to think of something, his expression becoming rather animated. "They switch between husbands and wives, huh? They'll take both men and women? No wonder they've expanded so quickly. They're truly a licentious cult..."

    Everyone: "..."

    *****

    No one paid any attention to him. Wei Xi hastily led his disciples and Black Impermanence to Liandu Temple. Along the way, Black Impermanence raged, "How dare they! What's going on with the Underworld Messengers from Xin Nan City? To dare aid and abet after being caught by me in the act! Do they think I'm a powerless superior?"

    Wei Xi initially assumed that the Underworld Messengers had come to retrieve the soul. However, upon inquiry at the scene, he realized that things weren't as straightforward as he thought. Xu Xiaofeng hadn't been ensnared in her spirit while in Liandu Temple; it happened when she was out shopping for clothes. She was found lying in the dressing room, with the chosen clothes still on her.

    United Righteousness was astonished. "So Daoist Priest Xu also buys clothes? I thought she wore the same daoist robe every day."

    Kuang Zhiming appeared to have been weeping, his eyes reddened as he said, "Is it strange? We usually meet during work hours, so of course, we're dressed in our uniforms."

    A nearby Daoist added, "After all, she's a young lady. My wife also likes to take our daughter shopping for clothes and bags when she's not performing rituals."

    Tuan Jiyi noticed Kuang Zhiming's sorrowful expression and felt a bit awkward. "I didn't mean it that way. Daoist Kuang, please don't be upset. Daoist Xu will definitely be fine."

    As he spoke, he involuntarily glanced at Xu Xiaofeng, who lay motionless on the bed. His gaze swept over the price tag still attached to her new dress, and he blurted out, "Daoist Kuang, your daily spending is that high?!"

    The other Daoists couldn't help but follow his gaze, all expressing shock. "It's really a luxury brand, so expensive!"

    Kuang Zhiming also stared at the tag and muttered, "She bought a coat from this brand last time and told me it only cost a thousand yuan. Now I think she omitted a zero back then."

    He then covered his mouth, emitting a sob.

    Tuan Jieyi: "...."

    After Kuang Zhiming finished crying, he realized that he had missed the main point. Wiping away his tears, he turned to the others. "Fellow Daoists, I need to retrieve Xiao Feng's soul. Can you lend me a hand?!"

    Of course, no one would refuse. Wei Xi knew the importance of building good relationships with colleagues in the industry, let alone the fact that the Cultivation Teachings had just recently offended the Taicang Sect. He felt annoyed that they had allowed the culprit to escape; if he had known earlier, he would have broken those three disciples' legs back then.

    After the fellow daoists on site agreed, Kuang Zhiming's gaze finally landed on Black Impermanence. "Who might this be?"

    Wei Xi introduced Black Impermanence's identity. Indeed, everyone present, excluding Daoist Master Quan, wore complicated expressions. Seeing the reactions of the many association members, Daoist Master Quan was greatly relieved in his heart—see? I'm not the only one who thinks the Taicang Sect is twisted!

    But Kuang Zhiming couldn't afford to care about that. His wife was still lying in bed, her life hanging by a thread. Upon learning Black Impermanence's identity, he immediately prostrated himself. "Please, Lord Impermanence, help me!"

    Black Impermanence hastily supported him. "Mr. Kuang, there's no need for this. The City God Office and the Taicang Sect are like siblings; how could we ignore your plight? Moreover, it was due to our negligence in the City God Office that corruption occurred, causing chaos in the mortal world and almost taking your soul. In fact, I should be apologizing to you."

    Kuang Zhiming didn't dare to accept an apology from him. Hearing that he was willing to help, he was deeply moved. He promptly instructed the Taoist priests in the temple, "Go fetch joss sticks, candles, and ingots from the storage room! Get plenty!"

    Black Impermanence waved his hand solemnly in refusal. "Absolutely not!"

    Kuang Zhiming, desperate to save his wife, burned paper money by the handful. "Of course, of course. I apologize for troubling you, Great Underworld Messenger."

    "Ai! You're really stubborn!" Black Impermanence grumbled, but he reluctantly took the jades, stuffing them quickly into his pocket. "Just this once, don't let it happen again."

    Everyone: "..................."

    Did you start this custom at the City God Office?

    Unity couldn't help but say to Wei Xi, "Master, no wonder he can afford Armani. I guess that suit wasn't won at the annual meeting."

    Black Impermanence was clearly an experienced hand. After receiving the payment, he coughed and put on an indifferent face. "There's no time to lose. Let's hurry."

    The many Daoist priests present watched him, feeling a sense of despair about their profession. Fortunately, Black Impermanence didn't take the money for nothing. He worked diligently, performing the rituals with great speed and even summoning the local Underworld Messengers for questioning.

    Not only did the local messenger appear, but he also efficiently brought Xin Nan's messenger, who had been summoned by the thin man earlier. It was truly a case of being caught in a web. How could one escape if the boss saw them taking bribes?

    The messenger seemed to be stunned by what had happened and appeared in a daze. Upon hearing the story, he immediately fell to the ground, weeping as he swore to heaven. "Your Excellency, please understand! I really didn't summon Daoist Xu's soul! Ever since I left Director Wei's department, I ignored that skinny guy's calls no matter how much he summoned me! I only came to Liandu Temple that one time! And I failed to retrieve the soul that time! Your Excellency, I really know my mistake!"

    With the bribe from Kuang Zhiming in his pocket, Black Impermanence reprimanded his subordinate without any shame: "You've disrupted the balance of Yin and Yang, conspired with heretics, indulged in corruption, and disrupted public morals! No need to explain further; return to Xin Nan and await your punishment!"

    The Underworld Messenger was struck dumb, as if by lightning, and slumped to the ground in a daze. He couldn't comprehend why he was so unlucky that his side hustle had landed him in the City God Office, and he'd been caught red-handed by the head of his department. The consequences of his actions were inevitable, and though Xin Nan might not be a major city, the City God Office was no less competitive than elsewhere. It had taken him twelve years to secure his position, and now, one misstep could lead to losing his job – a fate that might be even more excruciating than being reduced to mere fragments.

    Having dealt with his subordinate, Black Impermanence reached a conclusion: "This doesn't seem to be the work of an Underworld Messenger."

    Kuang Zhiming was prepared for this: "Xiao Feng wasn't at the Taoist temple at the time. Ghosts could approach him, and without the protection of their ancestors, he may have fallen prey to some other soul-snatching tactic of the Self-Cultivation Sect. Their teachings are quite sinister; there have been various rumors about them before."

    Upon hearing this, the Taoist masters immediately set up incense altars to perform a collective ritual to trace Xu Xiaofeng's soul. However, they couldn't detect anything, perhaps because the Self-Cultivation Sect had employed some powerful artifact.

    Fortunately, Underworld Messengers were skilled in sensing the spirit world, and after taking a strand of Xu Xiaofeng's hair, Black Impermanence faintly perceived their movement: "They're heading southwest."

    "Southwest!"

    Kuang Zhiming immediately connected the dots: "They're returning to the Self-Cultivation Sect! Xin Nan is located southwest of the capital!"

    Without hesitation, Black Impermanence grabbed the devastated Xin Nan Underworld Messenger and asked for the sect's main base.

    The Xin Nan Messenger, overwhelmed by the worst ordeal of his ghostly existence, wept uncontrollably: "I don't know exactly where it is. I only know they propagate their teachings near Watchtower Mountain in Xin Nan. There's a small temple halfway up the main peak, but they never reside there. They occasionally gather there to instruct followers and practice qi-gong. They've never summoned me to their residence."

    The Daoist masters present wore grave expressions. "Truly a cautious sect."

    "Certainly!" the Xin Nan Underworld Messenger cried. "I heard that the current Old Patriarch used to be involved in multi-level marketing. He's probably so skilled at evading authorities from all those years of practice."

    Wei Xi: "? ?"

    Everyone: "..."

    After the initial stunned silence, the group also found themselves at a loss. They were adept at dealing with demons and monsters, but how were they supposed to handle pyramid scheme operators? Moreover, it was oddly unsettling to learn that the cult they had long been wary of had roots in running pyramid schemes...

    Wei Xi was still pondering the concept of multi-level marketing when his phone rang again. The enthusiastic young police officer on the other end exclaimed, "Master Wei! We've requested backup from the municipal bureau and set a trap. Just now, we traced a suspect's vehicle on the Third Ring Road in Beijing. We immediately launched an operation to apprehend them. Although not all were caught, one suspect has been taken into custody!"

    Wei Xi asked, "Who is it?"

    The police officer replied, "His name is Meng Xiaoming. He's a bit of a chunky fellow, a Little Fatty!"

    Through the phone, sobs could be heard in the background, "Why is the Beijing elevated highway so congested... It's been stuck for half an hour without moving..."

    Upon hearing this, how could the group of masters remain seated? They promptly rose and headed for the elevated highway mentioned by the police officer. Due to the severe traffic, they had to disembark halfway and proceed on foot under the guidance of the police to the site of the arrest.

    Delayed by over half an hour on the way, the cars at the scene didn't seem to have moved much further. As the few senior Taoist priests hurried along, they discussed their strategy with solemn expressions.

    "One of the core strengths of the Cultivation of Life Sect is its deep roots and years of operation. It won't be easy to deal with them."

    "They're so cautious that even the Underworld Messengers don't know where they live. I'm afraid tracking down Fellow Daoist Xu's soul will be a tough battle!"

    "Have you ever fought against anyone from the Cultivation of Life Sect? I've heard that this sect is full of tricks and has strict hierarchies within. The local police department in Xin Nan has cracked down on them several times, but they couldn't bring them down; instead, they suffered heavy losses. Just imagine how terrifying their capabilities must be."

    Listening to these fellow daoists' speculations, Wei Xi recalled the three fellow disciples he had captured recently. He suddenly felt that something was amiss. "So they're that powerful?"

    He hadn't noticed.

    Old Quan, a long-time member of the local Taoist Association, heard his words and thought that Wei Xi was underestimating the opponent. Immediately, he sternly said, "Fellow Daoist Wei, I know you have great talent in Taoism, but you must not take the Cultivation of Life Sect lightly. Their former sect leader, who is renowned in Xin Nan with countless followers and far-reaching influence, is by no means a frivolous figure. His disciples around him are likely as tough as steel or cunning old foxes. In short, they won't be easy to deal with!"

    As his voice faded, a pitiful cry came from the distant traffic, "Wah—I'll talk! I'll talk! My senior brothers left me behind when they saw the traffic jam and went back to Xin Nan!"

    "Where in Xin Nan? It must be our sect, or perhaps they went to Watchtower Mountain or my master's house."

    "Where's my master's house? He has many properties, both in the city, suburbs, and mountains. Which one are you asking about?"

    Master Old Quan: "..................................."

    Wei Xi looked at the weeping Little Fatty, whose reddened nose and trembling body were bound by police handcuffs, with a mix of understanding and confusion: "So many houses, he must be incredibly wealthy. No wonder he's not easy to deal with."

    Master Old Quan: "............ Goodbye."

    Old master is not particularly eager for such an adversary.

    0 Comments

    Enter your details or log in with:
    Heads up! Your comment will be invisible to other guests and subscribers (except for replies), including you after a grace period. But if you submit an email address and toggle the bell icon, you will be sent replies until you cancel.