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    Chapter 87

    Upon realizing their lack of competitiveness in the dating market, the single Yin soldiers were desperate to make a change. However, with Uncle Shen present, the recruiting process was not for the boss to handle. The many Taoist masters at the scene could only watch as the initially eerie Daoist temple was swiftly divided into half for matchmaking and half for job interviews.

    None had expected these fierce Yin soldiers to be resolved in such a manner. Everyone even witnessed the once-intimidating Qing dynasty soldiers, after discarding their Yin blades, being scrutinized by Uncle Shen, the HR manager, until they could barely hold their heads up.

    The local Taoists of Xin Nan found the situation surreal. One of them, nursing injuries from the previous battle, mused, "I... I never would have thought that these deadly weapons could have such docile moments."

    Unity Yi sighed. "Master Taoist, it's clear you haven't looked for work before. Nowadays, whether human or ghost, who would dare to challenge the HR? Besides, with their inadequate education and average performance, it's just luck that they coincided with the expansion of sects and the difficulty in finding workers. If they were any more arrogant, no company would want them."

    The Xin Nan Taoists: "...."

    There seemed to be some truth in those words.

    Wait, what was so reasonable about that statement?

    Everyone struggled to catch their breath as they stared at the trio from Taicang Sect, who wore expressions of nonchalance. After a long moment, someone praised them with mixed feelings, "I've... often heard that residents near the political and cultural center of the capital have a different level of thinking than those in other places. Today, witnessing the methods of our fellow Taoists from the capital, I can indeed see their extraordinary approach."

    The Taoist Association members from the capital turned away, filled with despair.

    As they spoke, the entrance of the temple opened, and before the crowd could step out, a group of people rushed in hastily. They were precisely the believers of the Self-Cultivation Sect who had been frightened by the thunder talismans thrown during the battle between the tall, thin man and the Taoist priests.

    The believers were both agitated and furious. Their panic stemmed from the explosion that occurred amidst the chaos inside the temple, while their anger was directed at the Taoist priests. In this day and age, finding a partner was already challenging, let alone for the living to find a match for their single relatives in the afterlife. How often did they have such an opportunity? It was unbearable for them that these Taoists disrupted their chance. The elderly were particularly unreasonable, surrounding the crowd and not allowing them to leave. "Where did you come from? Why are you disrupting the match-making ceremony organized by our Sect Leader?"

    However, there were now quite a number of young people present, who were likely not believers of the Self-Cultivation Sect. Clearly, they didn't believe in the so-called spirit marriage arranged by the sect. They tugged at their elders with embarrassed expressions. "Oh, come on, enough is enough. Stop acting crazy here."

    By the old lady who had spoken to Wei Xi and his disciple earlier, there was such a young man with an exceptionally unpleasant expression. "Mom, stop making trouble. Have you become brainwashed by the religion? Do you really believe that nonsense from your Sect Leader Zhang? I've told you it's all fake! My sister has been gone for over a year. How can she get married after passing away? Come home with me quickly and stop talking nonsense."

    As he spoke, he glanced guiltily at the Taoist priests who were being surrounded, feeling ashamed of his mother's superstitious behavior.

    But worldviews weren't easily swayed. The elders were stubborn and refused to leave. As the young man grew increasingly frustrated, a figure stepped forward from the Taoist priests and raised his arms to address the crowd. "Fellow villagers, please don't misunderstand. We're not here to cause trouble. We've brought our staff to attend the spirit marriage matchmaking, and with the help of many fellow Taoists, the ceremony has been successfully completed!"

    The young people who were pulling their family members paused. The elderly in the scene also fell silent, then promptly changed their attitudes. With keen eyes, they looked at the Taoists behind him. The Taoists from both places exchanged a long, silent glance, secretly observing the lively scene inside the temple that ordinary people couldn't see. After a struggle, they nodded in agreement.

    "Are you telling the truth?" The elders exchanged skeptical glances, trying to discern the sincerity of their words. "Then why were you fighting with Master Qing just now?"

    Master Qing was the tall and slender one. Unity Yi waved his hand. "It's a matchmaking event, after all. We have many eligible bachelors, and so do they. It's only natural for everyone to vie for resources."

    The believers listened in confusion. They hadn't realized the competition would be so intense. The leading elder lady turned to Wei Xi and asked, "So, has my Little Beauty found a match?"

    Wei Xi took the eight characters and examined them. Unity Yi recognized it beside him. "Master, isn't this the most popular black-haired beauty?"

    The elder lady quickly nodded. "Yes! That's right! My daughter had long hair when she passed away."

    Unity Yi spoke politely to her. "Oh, I see! So it's your daughter. She's very popular. Several middle managers in our company have their eyes on her. Who knows, our two families might become in-laws."

    The elder lady was overjoyed. "Really? Should I burn some dowry for her then?"

    Unity Yi chuckled. "In modern times, they don't care about that. Mutual affection is all that matters. You won't need to go through all that trouble. If it really works out, just wait for the wedding. Our side will handle the arrangements as a unit."

    The elder lady felt a little embarrassed. "How can that be? We still need to prepare something. We can't rely solely on the in-laws to cover everything."

    After a quick change of tone, she praised with a smile. "Your company really takes good care of its employees. Even the leaders contribute to weddings for those who have passed away. I've never heard of such a benefit in other companies."

    Unity Yi replied, "If the in-laws trust us enough to marry their daughter to us, we must show our sincerity."

    The old lady thought to herself that the family she had chosen for her daughter-in-law was truly considerate. Her son, on the other hand, was speechless.

    The tense atmosphere on site immediately eased, and the confrontational parties began to interact amicably. After some communication, the believers who caused trouble left with mixed feelings, some happily and some disappointedly, all departing peacefully. A few more skeptical uncles and aunties, however, refused to leave. "… Could these Taoists be deceiving us?"

    Someone from their group pointed at the dejected believers and said, "If they were really deceiving us, would they tell Sister Chen and Sister Liu that their relatives didn't match? How could anyone scam like that?"

    All those who learned that their loved ones hadn't found a match were male relatives. They knew their kin's personalities well, and honestly, being told by the Taoists that there was no match made the situation seem more genuine.

    Before leaving, the young man who had been supporting his mother came to a realization. He secretly gave a thumbs up to the Taoist masters on the scene in admiration. "You Taoist masters are indeed clever. My mom wouldn't listen to reason, so this method is better. By making up a lie to send her home, there won't be any more trouble. Sigh, I really can't understand why she would believe in such a ridiculous idea as ghost marriage matchmaking. She just insisted that I was about to have an older brother-in-law."

    All the Taoist masters: "…"

    Thinking of Unity and Justice Taoist Temple's mention of dowries and collective weddings earlier, the young man felt embarrassed and thanked Wei Xi after his call. "Master Taoist, I've caused you trouble."

    Wei Xi shook his head. "We're all one family, no need to be so formal."

    Young man: "?????"

    With a confused expression, the young man turned back to descend the mountain, completely unaware that several Taicang Sect employees were watching his retreating figure.

    "That's my future brother-in-law? He looks quite handsome."

    "Disgraceful! He's my future brother-in-law, not yours!"

    ******

    The obstructive and formidable followers of the Self-Cultivation Sect finally dispersed on their own. The Taoist masters present regained their wits and collectively ignored the group of fantasizing single male ghosts beside them.

    As for Zhang Pang, he had somehow incapacitated the Taoist priests and plainclothes officers who were previously guarding Little Fatty. These individuals leaned against the mountain wall in a daze, while passing believers of the Self-Cultivation Sect speculated,

    "Why are they sitting there?"

    "Maybe they're tired from climbing the mountain? Ah, they seem tall and strong, but the stamina of young people these days is terrible."

    "Yeah, I'm at an age where I wouldn't be exhausted like this even if I climbed from the foot to the halfway point of the mountain."

    Upon hearing the faint discussion, the Taoist priests and police officers' faces flushed with deep humiliation. Though they were immobile, they could still see much. As Wei Xi and the others approached, one of the officers anxiously said, "Zhang Pang jumped over the fence and headed into the mountains! He might have gone to his residence up there!"

    It was common knowledge that Zhang Pang owned a house in the mountains, and the local police had records of it. However, the terrain inside Jade Succession Mountain was treacherous, with few villages scattered about. Coupled with the influence of the Self-Cultivation Sect, the area had never been included in any tourism development projects. The exact location of Zhang Pang's house had always evaded the police's investigation.

    Thus, the plainclothes officer couldn't help but glance at the thin, tall man and the pockmarked face, who were brought out by the Taoist priests. They were Zhang Pang's apprentices and must know the way inside!

    The pockmarked man was now restrained, filled with fear and trembling as he opened his mouth to confess. However, before he could speak, a sharp pain suddenly attacked him from behind.

    He slowly turned his head back in disbelief, staring at his senior apprentice brother who was now attached to his back. Then, his eyes rolled back, and he collapsed onto the ground, revealing a large red stain on his back.

    Everyone on the scene was stunned. "What are you doing?!"

    The thin, tall man calmly retrieved the folding knife he had concealed without being detected, shaking off the blood of his junior apprentice brother from the blade. He met the plainclothes officer's gaze with a sinister smile. "You won't get anything out of our mouths."

    With his master's safety at stake, he wouldn't divulge a single word to these people.

    He gave the officer a victorious look but then turned his cold glare towards the persistent Taoist priests. Unexpectedly, they all wore enigmatic expressions, as if they wanted to say something but held back.

    The thin, tall man, still holding the knife, felt his tense and murderous demeanor falter under their gaze. "…?"

    Suddenly, one of the Taoist priests in the group coughed, awkwardly asking, "Wei, Wei Daoist friend, may I ask about the rescued black labor victims you saved earlier..."

    Wei Xi nodded calmly. "I've already called them up."

    As they spoke, a somewhat immature voice of a young man faintly echoed from below the mountain's stone steps, "Boss! We're here!"

    All, including the lanky figure, immediately turned to look. Soon, several handsome faces emerged swiftly from below the staircase. Despite having climbed such a long mountain path, none of them seemed to be short of breath; they appeared full of energy and moved with remarkable speed.

    The lanky figure's face immediately revealed an expression of disbelief upon recognizing them: "You! You two? !"

    "Ahh!" After the wild dog demon, Dog Egg, came to a stop, he also spotted him and greeted awkwardly, "Brother Qing."

    The lanky figure's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. "No wonder the communication within the city was suddenly disrupted last night. You ungrateful wretches, my master went to great lengths to find you jobs in the human world, and yet you betray us!"

    The stray dog demon indeed showed some embarrassment upon hearing the scolding, but its gaze remained resolute. "Brother Qing, I know that Daoist Zhang has helped us before, but Brother Tuan already gave me a lesson last night. Now we live in a society ruled by law, where the pursuit is the core socialist values. What you're doing, promoting an evil cult and inciting believers in feudal superstition, is wrong. For the sake of social harmony and stability, it's better to surrender to the police as soon as possible."

    The thin man was speechless.

    He would never have imagined that in his lifetime, he'd be lectured on avoiding feudal superstition by a monster. He was so stunned that he couldn't find words.

    Before he could speak, the rat demon beside him angrily interjected, "Brother Dog, there's no need to thank them! How dare they say such things! This shady agency introduced us to random jobs and even took kickbacks from our salaries! When I was processing my resignation this morning, I asked my colleagues at the sanitation department. They earn over two or three thousand yuan a month, while I only get eight hundred. The rest was stolen by them!"

    Then, turning to the thin man, the rat demon continued, "Are you even human? I provided you with information... After all, it's quite a large cult. You won't even let go of the sanitation workers who earn two thousand plus!"

    Tall and Lean: "…"

    The Taoist masters nearby also looked at him with a complicated expression, not quite wanting to acknowledge that they had an opponent who had exploited a sanitation worker demon for over two thousand yuan. The plainclothes police officer murmured, "So… the cultivation sect… secretly runs such a business…"

    Tall and Lean felt both ashamed and angry. "Nonsense! My master earns no less than six figures just by casually performing rituals for those wealthy businessmen!"

    Mouse Demon became even more indignant. "Then why do you exploit us if you're so rich?"

    Unity and Justice also recalled something and spoke up. "Right, have you settled the ride-hailing fees you owed in Beijing?"

    The demons and local Taoist police officers were incredulous. "What? They didn't even pay for their rides?!"

    Tall and Lean: "…"

    He had been in such a hurry that day that he had actually forgotten about it.

    The ashamed Wild Dog Demon showed a hint of disapproval. "Master Qing, if you're having financial difficulties, I don't mind giving up the money from the contractor. But the drivers work hard too, so please don't do this kind of thing."

    This absurd conversation was like a silent, psychological attack. Tall and Lean's head swam with anger, and he nearly fainted on the spot.

    Seeing his state, even Unity Yi, who was basking in the joy of his colleague's newfound relationship, couldn't help but feel sympathy. He squatted down to examine the wound on the pockmarked man's back and sighed at Wei Xi, "Master and junior apprentice brother, you have to admit that this person is... We never intended for him to lead us, yet he stabbed his junior for no reason."

    Wei Xi gazed at the warm pool of blood on the pockmarked man's back, his lips curling unconsciously. His second disciple, having noticed his gaze, silently pinched his neck, making him snap out of it. He absentmindedly nodded, "Yes, he was indeed too hasty."

    The police officers on the scene were rather relaxed. After calling for an ambulance, one of them analyzed, "It's alright. The department was unsure how to classify Zhang's disciples anyway. Technically, they aren't the leaders of a major cult, so they'd probably only serve a couple of years in jail at most. Now, with the added charge of intentional injury, their sentences will be much heavier. Besides, no innocent civilians were harmed; they're just hurting each other."

    As he finished speaking, the officer's expression suddenly changed, "Hey! What's wrong with you?!"

    The lanky man leaned against the cliff wall, unable to hold on any longer as he started vomiting blood with a retching sound.

    Wei Xi wasn't particularly fond of the sight of blood and turned away with disgust. Hearing the officer's panicked question, he pondered for a moment, "Perhaps he sustained internal injuries during their battle?"

    The local Taoist priests, who had previously dealt with this Cultivation Sect's disciples, replied again, "......Mmm."

    This time, the opponent somehow evoked a sense of sympathy without rhyme or reason.

    ******

    The lanky man continued to spit blood for quite some time, causing the others to grow impatient. Wei Xi, in particular, asked bluntly, "Why do you have so much blood? Are you done yet?"

    This humiliation was at its peak. The lanky man let out a loud cry and vomited another mouthful before barely managing to suppress the raging fire within him. He wiped his mouth, his face ashen as he lifted his head.

    Staring at Wei Xi with dazed eyes, his limbs trembling uncontrollably, Wei Xi showed no mercy. Instead, he turned to the others and said, "Let's go."

    The police officer left behind to await rescue looked at them worriedly. "Sirs, Yu Cheng Mountain is vast. If you split up..."

    Before he could finish, the gender-ambiguous youth who had caught up to them wrinkled his nose and sniffed the lanky man before pointing. "This way!"

    The lanky man had previously come into contact with Zhang Pang, leaving a trace of his master's scent on him.

    Without hesitation, the Taoist masters followed the youth's lead, leaving the police officers sitting there, staring at each other in confusion.

    On the way, Wei Xi grabbed the lanky man by the back of his neck. After a few steps, he passed him to his taller second disciple. Tuanyi still harbored thoughts of reconciliation and struck while the iron was hot. "What's the point of following your master when he's so heartless that he doesn't even take you with him when he runs?"

    Unfazed, the lanky man replied, "The situation was dire. My master has always been cautious. Do you think he's as indecisive as you hypocritical Taoist priests who claim to uphold righteousness?"

    "Tsks!" Tuanyi gave him a look that said 'don't try to be tough'. "Stop pretending. He took your junior apprentice brother away without even sparing you a glance. Clearly, he favors him. Yet, you're still defending him. How pathetic. Are you secretly in love with him?"

    Surrounded by the Taoist priests, they exchanged horrified glances.

    The lanky one was on the verge of spitting blood again, but he only gave a cold laugh. "You don't understand. My junior apprentice brother has his uses."

    As for what those uses were, he refused to say another word if anyone dared to ask.

    United Righteousness felt like he had uncovered the truth and whispered to his master and senior apprentice brother, "Wow, Master, that's intense! The leader of the Cultivation Teaching is at least in his forties, right? Yet, he's still involved in a master-apprentice romance. Doesn't it sound rather... lewd?"

    The lanky one was exasperated. "We're not!"

    Although Wei Xi didn't quite grasp the concept of a master-apprentice romance, he could tell that the lanky one was furious. As an opponent, he nodded in agreement. "It does sound rather lewd."

    Upon saying that, he sensed something off with the atmosphere around him. He turned to see his second disciple looking at him with a hesitant gaze.

    Wei Xi asked, "Que'er, is there something you want to say?"

    His second disciple fell silent for a moment before averting his eyes with a complicated expression. "United Righteousness."

    United Righteousness rarely received attention from his junior apprentice brother, so he was startled. "Huh? What's wrong, Junior Apprentice Brother?! What do you need from me?"

    Junior Brother's voice was unusually cold and merciless: "There's nothing. I just want you to shut up."

    United Righteousness: "???"

    ***

    With Dog Egg and the other monsters around, it wasn't difficult to find Zhang Pang. He might never have imagined that the black market he had exploited would turn against him, so he didn't avoid the birds and animals in the mountains during his escape.

    There were several formations scattered across the mountain, but they weren't fully complete. It seemed that he had set them up himself. Although they were sufficient to prevent ordinary people from entering, his time as a cultivator was too short, and his basic knowledge was lacking. Eventually, the Daoist priests present found the flaws in the formations.

    The moment they stepped out of the formation, an ancient courtyard, nestled among the mountains and forests, appeared before their eyes.

    Wei Xi couldn't help but glance back at the broken formation. He sensed a familiar aura within it, and somehow felt that this formation shared its origin with the grand array that had once trapped him on the summit of Phoenix Yang Town's mountain.

    His gaze was unusually serious, and someone beside him asked, "Fellow Daoist Wei, what are you looking at?"

    Wei Xi fell silent for a moment. Even without much common sense, he knew he shouldn't reveal his past: "I just didn't expect this formation to be so easy to break."

    "That," the local Daoist friend from Xin Nan smiled in understanding. "When I first started learning, I was also surprised. The old books left behind in the temple always made formations sound mysterious and difficult to crack. But when I actually began performing rituals, I realized it wasn't that big a deal."

    An elderly Daoist nearby interjected, "Fellow Daoist, that's not quite right. Our temple has previously conducted research on Xuanmen formations. We've also combined the records left behind by our ancestors in ancient texts. The formations of today are not the same as those from a few hundred years ago. It seems that their effectiveness started to wane around a century ago. Do you recall when Daoist Master Luo of Changqing Temple opened their protective formation for public viewing? According to Daoist Master Luo, that formation used to cover the entire Changqing Mountain, but now its power is confined to just a small backyard."

    The Daoist from before chuckled and said, "You actually took Director Luo's boasting seriously?"

    Wei Xi was unaware of who they were referring to in their conversation. His gaze swept over the broken formation once more, still unable to shake off the faint sense of familiarity. "What kind of formation is this?"

    The two Daoist priests who were conversing about Daoist Master Luo's tales of bragging also paused in their discussion, turning to examine it attentively. "It seems to be crafted with an ancient array. Look at this corner; it appears to have a very long history. As for the specifics..."

    The Daoist masters were somewhat perplexed when a deep voice suddenly sounded from the side, "This is a simplified version of the Great Wilderness Sealing Array, altered into a maze array."

    "Aha, that's right!" The two immortals in deep thought also came to their senses. "It is indeed the Great Wilderness Sealing Array. I've read about it in an array tome. Well, who would have thought we'd encounter such a rare formation in Jade Succession Mountain? The Great Wilderness Sealing Array suppresses all demonic creatures in the world. It seems Xin Nan has quite a history."

    Wei Xi didn't join the conversation. He frowned, pondering over the Great Wilderness Sealing Array.

    Was this the same array on the mountain peak?

    Looking up, he saw his second disciple staring at him with a serious expression. "Why do you ask?"

    Wei Xi gazed at his disciple, a faint notion crossing his mind. However, he wasn't skilled in contemplation, and the idea quickly vanished without leaving a trace.

    He froze for a moment before shaking his head. "It's nothing. Let's go."

    *****

    meanwhile, the atmosphere ahead had become tense. The old house nestled in the mountains was likely Zhang Pang's most concealed hideout.

    Zhang Pang never expected the enemy to arrive so swiftly. After returning to his hideout, he busied himself setting up an altar with focused speed. It wasn't until Little Fatty, alarmed by the approaching crowd, started shouting that he realized something had gone awry with his plan.

    In that instant, Zhang Pang was utterly incredulous – how could they have found him so quickly? !

    The two Daoist priests swiftly closed in on him. "Zhang Pang! Stop resisting! Hand over Daoist Xu's soul!"

    Fixing his gaze on the cautious group of priests, Zhang Pang asked, "How did you find me?"

    As he spoke, his sharp eyes landed on the tall, slender man being pushed along with his hands bound. "Was it you?!"

    The thin man was both heartbroken and astonished, nearly vomiting blood again. "Master, what are you talking about?!!"

    Little Fatty, however, had sharp eyes and quickly spotted Dog Egg and the others. He tugged at Zhang Pang's sleeve, pointing awkwardly. "Master, it doesn't seem to be Senior Brother. It looks like our laborers have risen in rebellion."

    Zhang Pang: "..."

    Zhang Pang met the tall and thin man's accusing gaze, feeling unusually awkward. "...I got momentarily distracted."

    The tall and thin man had shown remarkable resilience throughout the journey, but now he was so distraught that he could barely stand, stirring a hint of sympathy from the surrounding Taoist priests.

    Seeing the group of spirits, Zhang Pang only felt regret in his heart—he should have never chased after such petty profits. If Xin Nan hadn't been developing tourism, causing housing prices to skyrocket, he wouldn't have been driven to this desperate situation.

    Regardless, the battle was about to erupt, and there was no way he could allow himself to be arrested by the police! He managed to evade capture during his pyramid scheme days, so why would he fall at this juncture?

    The Taoist priests on the scene grew anxious as they saw him not only ignore their pleas but also hasten the setup of the incense table. "What is he planning to do?"

    Unity Yi also shouted, "Master Zhang, stop! Your cult's ghost soldiers have already defected. What's the point of you fighting alone? Where did you hide Daoist Xu's soul?"

    Upon hearing this, Zhang Pang's expression twisted into a snarl. "Don't even dream!"

    As the incense table in his hands took shape, someone finally recognized his intention and cried out in alarm, "Oh no! Stop him! Stop him! He's summoning the Underworld Messengers!"

    Wei Xi: "Huh?"

    Xin Nan's Daoist priests stomped their feet. "You don't know. It was because of him that the Underworld Messengers were summoned to take away the souls of the special task force police officers, causing the previous crackdown on cult activities to end abruptly. His connections in the Netherworld are extraordinary!"

    The Daoist friends from the capital: "..."

    Everyone silently turned their gaze toward Wei Xi.

    Xin Nan's Daoist priests: "???"

    What was up with these Daoist friends from the capital? Why were they making such strange expressions and looks at this crucial moment??

    *****

    Wei Xi finally remembered at this point that Black Impermanence hadn't shown up as promised. He had said he would leave from the City God Temple, but no one knew if he had arrived yet.

    Seeing their comrades from the capital not reacting, Xin Nan's Daoists were both anxious and furious. With a fierce determination, they decided to charge forward themselves to stop Zhang Pang from summoning the Underworld Messengers.

    Without his Yin soldiers, Zhang Pang was fighting alone and couldn't allow them to get close. Thus, he simply pulled out a handful of talismans and threw them into the crowd.

    Amidst the smoke and chaos, he hastened his burning of incense. That was when he heard his young apprentice muttering beside him, "Master, this Underworld Messenger doesn't seem very effective. Senior Brother failed to summon it in the capital last time."

    Zhang Pang had already heard the tall and thin man's account of the situation, so when he heard Little Fatty's voice, he only sneered. "That's because his skills aren't refined enough."

    With a background in multi-level marketing, his mindset was different from that of ordinary monks. Since joining this sect, he knew the benefits of having connections. He had invested countless efforts over the years to establish a good rapport with the Underworld Messengers. Even on non-holidays, he would remember to burn paper money for the friendly messengers, forging relationships as solid as iron.

    As he spoke, he caught sight out of the corner of his eye of the Xin Nan Taoist priests breaking through the charms once again and closing in. He calmly inserted the incense, now billowing with thick smoke, into the incense burner, his expression becoming serene.

    The local Xin Nan Taoist masters were seized with terror, their feet rooted to the ground. "It's over!"

    The ritual had been completed!

    Sure enough, Zhang Pang smiled, his robe fluttering in the mountain breeze. He casually grabbed a handful of hell banknotes and tossed them into the blazing fire, reciting calmly, "Thunderous command, urgent as a meteor, spirits of the land, hear my call, swiftly arrive, I have matters to report, urgently, as per the supreme true laws of the immortals."

    The Xin Nan Taoist priests couldn't help but display expressions of despair, staring fixedly at the confident Zhang Pang in front of them.

    True to form, the moment Zhang Pang spoke, there was a reaction on the scene, even more astonishing than when he had summoned the ghost soldiers. The surrounding trees were almost bent double by the fierce wind.

    Zhang Pang also furrowed his brow, a hint of doubt in his heart. Was this commotion too grand? In the past, when summoning the Underworld Messengers, the most he'd experienced was a gust of eerie wind – where did this typhoon-like force come from?

    Before he could figure out the reason, a faint shape quickly appeared amidst the gale, wielding chains and clad in a black robe, exuding a sinister ghostly aura. It was indeed an Underworld Messenger.

    Zhang Pang's eyes glittered as he was about to step forward. Suddenly, he was astonished to see more and more identical figures appearing before him – second, third, fourth… countless duplicates.

    After the gust of wind passed, scores of dark Underworld Messengers stood silently before the blazing charcoal brazier.

    Seeing the grand spectacle ahead, Daoist Xin Nan and his companions were struck dumb, their faces turning pale. "Oh no, oh no," they muttered.

    In the past, people had only heard that Zhang Pang could summon the Underworld Messengers, but nobody expected him to do so in such large numbers.

    Little Fatty murmured, "Damn, Master, how awesome are you?"

    Zhang Pang was also confused. When did he become so awesome? He had only intended to summon the few Underworld Messengers he had worked with before.

    Nonetheless, after a brief moment of bewilderment, he quickly regained his composure. Why would more be a bad thing? The more, the better. He grabbed a handful of spirit money and stuffed it into the fire, saying with delight, "Thank you all for being willing to lend a hand!"

    As he spoke, his gaze met the group of Daoists in the distance, and he was pleased to see that they looked utterly dejected.

    Zhang Pang smiled at them slightly before turning back to the Underworld Messengers, ready to speak.

    "Ahem!" The leading Messenger lifted his hand to stop him, then said, "You, human, don't talk nonsense about assistance. We are the newly established Anti-Corruption Task Force of the City God Office of Xin Nan. We've come because we detected what seems to be an illegal act of bribery on your part."

    Zhang Pang: "......Huh?"

    The Underworld Messenger scanned the crowd and spotted Wei Xi. His brows immediately knitted together in concern, as if eager to clear himself of suspicion. He raised his voice and said, "What 'ah'? Hurry up and extinguish that fire pit! It's because of people like you that our local City God Office has become corrupt! The higher-ups have already given their orders. Don't just keep saying 'ah'; quickly confess about any illegal transactions you've had with others! And this incense – no burning it either; put it out right away!"

    Zhang Pang: "......?????"

    The panic-stricken Daoist priests from Xin Nan came to a halt. "? ???? What's going on???"

    The Daoist priests from the capital met their confused gazes. "..............."

    What could they do? They could only shift their attention back to Fellow Daoist Wei, as they had done before.

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