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    Chapter 86

    The scene was in chaos. Yin soldiers from the Cultivation of Life sect and employees from Taicang Sect were jumbled together, with Yin energy permeating the air and battle intent surging. The tension was palpable – but not for the humans present.

    The Taoist priests who had just been battling the Yin soldiers stood frozen, lowering their magical artifacts. They watched as the group of Xin Nan's ghosts summoned by Zhang Pang was now surrounded. The male ghost, who had also come for a ghost marriage arranged by his family, was ruthlessly pushed aside by the ravenous Yin soldiers, helplessly witnessing his original match being fawned upon.

    After a long while, a local Taoist friend from Xin Nan stammered, "Are we still fighting?"

    The Taoists from the capital had quickly recognized the flamboyant faces among the suited ghosts – they were the two department managers they had encountered at Taicang Sect's haunted house. Hearing this, they were also perplexed. "It seems like the issue isn't whether we want to fight or not."

    They simply had no opponent left!

    The menacing Yin soldiers had turned their attention to their newfound rivals, bickering with equal ferocity. Their hostility remained as menacing, only it was no longer directed at the Taoist priests.

    "Reckless! This is the marriage fate prepared for us by our Sect Leader!"

    Their adversaries, however, had a valid point. "Are you insane? It's the modern era, not your feudalistic times when blind marriages were the norm. What do you mean by 'prepared for you'? Have you asked the marriage partner if they consent? Do you understand respect or women's liberation? Have you even learned the Eight Honors and Eight Disgraces?"

    The Cultivation of Life sect's Yin soldiers truly didn't understand, and it wasn't their fault. Times had changed too rapidly. Having died abroad and remained rooted in their original locations, they were later nurtured by Zhang Pang as enforcers in his temple, assisting in law-breaking activities. Could Zhang Pang teach them the Eight Honors and Eight Disgraces? How could they be exposed to the new era's culture?

    However, they were arrogant and accustomed to their dominance, so how could they listen? Upon hearing this, their first reaction was to feel provoked. Each of them burst into rage. "Who dares to spout such nonsense! We'll scatter your souls right now!"

    The Qing dynasty soldiers didn't have a strong sense of law. Their instinctive response was to solve problems with force – they weren't afraid of fighting or killing at all!

    But before they could make a move, whispers from the female ghosts suddenly echoed nearby, along with some faint discussions.

    "Straight male chauvinism..."

    "Violent tendencies..."

    "Unsuitable personality..."

    The fierce Yin soldiers, who had been trained by the Xiu Sheng Sect, turned their heads. They found that their potential partners indeed had a negative impression of their aggressive behavior. At once, they dared not mention fighting anymore, replaced instead by a deep sense of bewilderment.

    To be fair, these Qing dynasty soldiers, who had experienced battles in their previous lives, were quite strong. Perhaps due to having seen blood, they were highly aware of combat during the magical battle. They knew how to deploy troops and arrange formations. Their Yin knives flashed fiercely, and they fought fearlessly, leaving the Taoist priests struggling to keep up.

    However, such abilities didn't seem to be an advantage in a matchmaking scenario, especially for contemporary female ghosts. Instead, it bordered on a disadvantage: Always wielding weapons and engaging in violence – wouldn't that suggest a tendency towards aggression? What if there was domestic violence after marriage?

    Shen Shu looked down on the anxious competitors and proudly said to Wei Xi, "Headmaster, our staff started preparing as soon as they received your call. The company spent a fortune on these costumes for them. Only the employees with relatively better conditions were selected to participate. Almost all of our middle and lower-level leaders are here. In terms of salary, career prospects, and social status, what can these uncultured yokels compete with us?"

    Indeed, reality unfolded just as it had predicted. The appearance of the Taicang Sect members was truly breathtaking. On one side were socially refined elites in suits, carrying flowers with a touch of romance. On the other side were armor-clad soldiers, resembling cosplayers, wielding swords. Which side would better cater to the preferences of the matchmaking market? That was a no-brainer.

    The disadvantage of the XiuSheng Sect's ghost soldiers went beyond that. With little to no formal education, literacy was scarce during the Qing Dynasty; even their most educated centurion might not have reached primary school level. Xiao Ming's apple problem would probably leave them scratching their heads, and the chicken-and-rabbit conundrum was out of the question.

    In contrast, most of the Taicang Sect attendees were modern ghosts, some of whom had committed suicide due to hardships, but who hadn't attended school for at least a few years while they were alive? There were plenty who had received higher education! A literature graduate, smitten by someone, even recited a collection of Tagore's poems on the spot.

    The ghost soldiers from the XiuSheng Sect could only respond with confusion to the blushing smile of the female ghost who accepted the flowers: "?????"

    Age was another issue. They had died during the Qing Dynasty and were now over a hundred years old, whereas the relatives brought by the XiuSheng Sect to attend their events were mostly recently deceased, with the oldest being around fifty or sixty. As the saying goes, there's a generation gap every three years. The gap between a hundred-year-old and a fifty-something was deeper than the Somali Rift Valley.

    Then came physical appearance. Soldiers, with their active lifestyles, tended to be tall and robust. In this aspect, the Taicang Sect staff was at a disadvantage. However, this changed when an anxious ghost soldier from the XiuSheng Sect hastily removed his helmet!

    The female ghosts at the matchmaking event gasped at the shiny half-bald head, exclaiming "Oh my!" Ah, yes! Coming from the Qing Dynasty, they indeed sported the traditional 'queue' hairstyle! This look, a lethal weapon in terms of aesthetics, would even challenge the handsomeness of Andy Lau, causing the ladies to instinctively retreat.

    Realizing their rejection, the Qing Dynasty ghost soldiers couldn't help but shed bitter tears, hugging their armor. Back when they were alive, they had proudly competed to see who had the cleanest shaved forehead. The evolution of societal aesthetics was too swift; how could ghosts who had died early keep up with trends?

    Finally, it came down to career. Here, the ghost soldiers found their confidence. Unlike wandering spirits, they were officially employed by the XiuSheng Sect, working in temples! They even deceived believers into providing offerings, ensuring food, drink, and employment!

    Taoist Priests: "Huhu."

    Not far away, the Taoist priests heard some employees grumbling, "…These bottom-of-the-barrel Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs old nerds."

    Taoist Priests: "…"

    You know so much.

    The employees, after their sneers, nonchalantly took out their payslips. The details were clearly listed, including basic salary, commissions, and meal allowances. Some department leaders, like Drowning Ghost from the haunted house section, even received additional bonuses corresponding to the quarterly growth of the haunted house's performance. It was a number that indicated they had won at ghost life! Not only was it stable, but there were also endless opportunities for promotion in the future! Perhaps one day, they could even obtain an official, permanent position within the company! After forming a ghostly marriage, while they couldn't guarantee anything else, their family finances would certainly be secure!

    What kind of heavenly company is this?!! In the past, within the Cultivation Sect, there were only abundant sacrificial offerings, so the Qing Dynasty ghost soldiers, who had no savings, gradually turned their eyes to Zhang Pang, standing aside with a green complexion.

    Seeing their gazes, Little Fatty's mournful expression turned anxious, "Master, our salary package is being overshadowed by our competitors. How can we retain talents like this?!"

    Zhang Pang: "……"

    As a cult leader, Zhang Pang was always the one challenging others' values and beliefs. Today, for the first time, his own beliefs were being challenged, leaving him feeling a strange sense of helplessness.

    He couldn't help but avert his gaze from his ghost soldiers, focusing instead on Wei Xi, who was discussing the female ghost positions and the venue for the group wedding with Uncle Shen. What was going on?! This Taoist priest seemed too off! Was he really not a fellow cult member?!!

    Wei Xi was rather courteous to him, and upon realizing that he was being watched, even flashed a faint smile. "Fellow Daoist Zhang, your sect is truly remarkable, with progressive ideas. In terms of caring for employees' well-being, there's much we can learn from you."

    Wei Xi previously hadn't imagined that solving employees' singlehood issues could be done through group matchmaking. In his view, the Cultivation Sect was undoubtedly at the forefront of industry humanism. It was just that the number of female ghosts summoned this time was still a bit small. Taicang Sect had hundreds of unmarried bachelors; they wouldn't be enough to go around. It would be better if there could be more.

    With such sincerity in his words, Zhang Pang's eyes instantly turned red, feeling deeply humiliated. "Fine! Fine! It was my mistake for underestimating you. I never expected that Taoists from the capital would possess such tactics!"

    The Daoist masters from the Capital's Daoist Association: "..."

    Why do you generalize and involve us in your accusations? It has nothing to do with us.

    Zhang Pang was quick to react, realizing the dire situation. He didn't engage in further combat but turned and fled instead.

    It was truly a masterclass in deception!

    Well-versed in the terrain of his own Taoist temple, he abandoned all pretense of being an elegant immortal, shamelessly bolting away at lightning speed. The Taoist masters from both regions snapped out of their daze, neglecting the surreal spectacle of ghosts finding their matches, and seized their magical artifacts to pursue him. However, Zhang Pang had a trick up his sleeve – he threw a bizarre talisman behind him.

    The instant the talisman was unleashed, a cloud of choking smoke and dust billowed into the air, delaying the pursuers for a few seconds. By the time the haze dissipated, Zhang Pang and his disciple, Little Fatty, had vanished from the courtyard.

    Not only the Taoist masters, but also the puzzled, slender man with pockmarks standing there were left with a baffled expression on their faces: "???"

    Master, what's going on? What about us?

    No one had the time to pity them. Xu Xiaofeng's soul was still unclaimed, so naturally, everyone would continue their pursuit without hesitation. Wei Xi, of course, followed the group, but before they could even exit the gate, the Qing dynasty ghost soldiers that Zhang Pang had left behind, having failed in their matchmaking attempts, suddenly surrounded them, trapping them firmly behind the door.

    The Taoist masters, having experienced the might of their armor, were alarmed and instantly prepared for battle. "Do you still intend to aid the tyrant?"

    The ghost soldiers remained motionless upon hearing this, their eyes fixed intently on Wei Xi within the crowd, their gazes sharp and fervent.

    One of the Taoist priests couldn't help but show concern as he addressed Wei Xi, "Fellow Daoist Wei has disrupted their fated relationships. These ghost soldiers might bear a grudge..."

    Before he could finish, the centurion in charge stepped forward, bowed solemnly, and asked, "Venerable Daoist Wei! May I ask if there are any strict requirements for seeking employment at your esteemed temple?"

    The Taoist priest who had spoken: "..."

    The other Taoist priests, equally on high alert, from both locations: "..."

    They never expected it to be a job interview.

    Amidst the wind, they could faintly hear Little Fatty sobbing.

    "Master, what should we do? Our family's treatment is too poor, and we lack the formality of others. Now, our employees have no presence in matchmaking events, and even the yin soldiers are collectively switching jobs..."

    "…Be silent!"


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