The female ghost was fast approaching, but Ling Hua’an calmly took out the Soul-stirring Bell and silently recited the spell. A golden shield appeared just in time before the female ghost’s sharp claws touched his neck. Sparks scattered when the two sides collided, and on the protective shield that had never been broken was five small holes. Ma Xiaohan’s eyes widened in fright. He had almost died again.
Ling Hua’an furrowed his brows and muttered, “It has such great resentment and absolutely wants me dead. Did something happen between us?”
Tears of blood streamed down the female ghost’s eyes and the sound of weeping suddenly rose, reverberating throughout the empty hotel. Each utterance became increasingly mournful, piercing the eardrums of those who listened.
“Un…uncle, there are more ghosts coming.” Ma Xiaohan really wanted to cry now. They were both vengeful spirits, yet why was it that they could shed tears but he couldn’t?!
A figure appeared in each of the four directions within the hotel. They were puppets whose soul had been absorbed by the female ghost, leaving only the shell of their body. They were without their own consciousness, just like zombies. They had white pupils and veins covering their entire face, letting out a beast-like growl from their throat as they rushed towards Ling Hua’an.
He could deal with ghosts, but not puppets. Thus, it was time to call for reinforcements. He fished out a paper talisman from his pocket and recited the incantation. The temperature in the originally gloomy hotel lobby dropped sharply. Right before those puppets pounced, Heibai Wuchang appeared in front of Ling Hua’an.
“A corpse puppet?”
As Bai Wuchang observed the corpse puppets that were already within reach, his previously smiling face turned into a frown. He lightly waved his white fan and the corpse puppets were sent flying. However, they were simply mindless puppets. As long as the being controlling them was still alive, they would continue relentlessly attacking the target, even if they were cut into pieces.
Ling Hua’an cupped his hands in greeting and said with a smile, “The situation this time is a little bit troublesome, so I had no choice but to trouble both lords.”
Bai Wuchang waved his hand and said, “The land this hotel is situated on used to be a mass grave. Many people died and the yin energy is very heavy. To think that someone would actually use it to set up a Soul Refining Array! Not only did they utilise the yin energy here, they had also used the yang energy from visiting guests as nourishment and raised vengeful spirits and corpse puppets! This was a large-scale project.”
"As you have caused harm to the world, you must be punished!" Hei Wuchang rushed up without saying a word more, iron chain in hand.
Bai Wuchang helplessly reminded him, “Hei Wuchang, be careful. This female ghost is hard to deal with.”
The female ghosts sad, shrill cry sounded again and the corpse puppets once again rushed towards them, as if they had received an order. Bai Wuchang lightly waved his white fan again, which pushed Ling Hua’an to a corner of the hotel lobby, and said, “Just watch the battle, Mr. Ling.”
Ling Hua’an said gratefully, “Thank you, lord.”
The chains of Hei Wuchang were like long, black snakes. They were wrestling with the female ghost, constantly colliding with the female ghost’s sharp nails, causing sparks to fly everywhere.
The female ghost’s nails broke and she let out a miserable scream as the fingers of both her hands were cut off at the base.
“All of you must die!” The female ghost snarled as she swept her sinister gaze over them. An ominous wind started to pick up and the air of resentment started to stir. The yin energy started to rapidly converge. New fingers started to sprout from the stumps on the female ghost’s hand, gradually restoring themselves to how they were before. Her long hair grew quickly, thousands upon thousands of strands of black hair soon engulfed the entire hotel.
Seeing that the surrounding space was getting smaller by the minute, Bai Wuchang’s brows became increasingly creased. It was the first time Ling Hua’an saw such a cold expression on his face. He brandished the white banner in his hand and moved his lips, silently reciting an incantation. Ling Hua’an saw the white banner separate itself into numerous smaller strips before quickly dispersing into the air, forming a white wall around them. It then swiftly spread to the surroundings and tightly bound the hair of the female ghost. The white banner was Bai Wuchang’s magic weapon and contained pure yin energy. When they intertwined with the female ghost’s resentment, the resentment was purified and produced white smoke. Soon, the hotel once again returned to its original state and the female ghost was greatly weakened. Hei Wuchang took the opportunity to apprehend her.
Bai Wuchang glanced at the corpse puppets who were still attacking the white wall and frowned, “The being controlling these corpse puppets is not this female ghost.”
Hei Wuchang replied, expressionless, "It doesn't matter who it is. Just destroy them."
He flung the chains towards the corpse puppets as he spoke, winding around them and slowly tightening, and gradually squeezed those corpse puppets into pieces. Bai Wuchang threw a ball of yin fire with a flick of his finger, burning the corpses till nothing was left. Ling Hua’an didn’t have to do anything at all.
"Let me go! Let me go! I'm going to kill him! I'm going to kill him!" The female ghost looked at Ling Hua'an with a vicious gaze.
Ling Hua'an walked up to the female ghost and asked again, "What’s there between the two of us that made you want to kill me so much?”
“It’s you. If it wasn’t for you, how could my son die? It’s all because of your meddling. I’m going to kill you. Kill you!”
“Who is your son?” Ling Hua’an furrowed his brows in thought, and threw out a guess, “Wu Zheng?”
The only person who came to mind when he combed through his memories of people he had come across, as well as also being a man, was Wu Zheng.
"If it wasn't for you, how could my son die? I want revenge. That woman is the first, and you are the second!"
"So you killed Zhang Aihua?"
"That woman is the main culprit. Of course I want to kill her. Not only did I kill her, I also scattered her soul so that she can never be reborn!”
“Your son condoned Zhang Aihua when she murdered and even helped her dispose of the body. He has already planted the fruits of evil and was destined to not have a good end. There might be some karma between the two of us, but it is not the reason for you to do evil.”
“I don’t care. Ah Zheng is my only son. All of you caused his death and I want you all to die. You have some decent skills for a blind man. I can’t kill you, so I’ll kill the people around you. I’ll make sure you feel the pain of losing someone you love!”
"How did you know about the Soul Refining Array? Who is the puppeteer of the corpse puppets?"
"Haha, do you think I'll tell you? In your dreams! Ling Hua'an, I can't kill you, but someone eventually will! I will wait for you in the underworld. Let’s see how miserable your end is. HAHAHA!”
Hei Wuchang waved his hand and the female ghost’s shrill voice came to an abrupt stop, “There’s no need to listen to her nonsense. When we get to the underworld, there are plenty of ways to make her speak.”
Ling Hua'an bowed slightly, and said, "I'm grateful to both of you for taking care of me this time."
Bai Wuchang returned the salute, saying, "There are ghosts and vengeful spirits who are causing trouble in the world. It is our responsibility and our duty to arrest them. There’s no need to stand on ceremony, Mr. Ling."
Hei Wuchang tugged at the iron chain, and said expressionlessly, "It's over. Let's go."
Bai Wuchang smiled helplessly when he heard the words, and said, "See you again, Mr. Ling."
"Take care, dear lords."
In the blink of an eye, Hei Bai Wuchang disappeared with the female ghost before his eyes and everything in the hotel returned to normal. Ma Xiaohan, who had been hiding behind Ling Hua’an this whole time, poked his head out and looked around. After confirming that it was safe, he asked Ling Hua’an, his voice brimming with curiosity, “Uncle, who were they? They’re so powerful.”
“Hei Bai Wuchang (Black and White Impermanence).” Ling Hua’an turned around and said, “Let’s go.”
“Who is Hei Bai Wuchang? Why did Uncle call them ‘Lord’?” Ma Xiaohan asked as the two walked out.
“Hei Bai Wuchang are deities from the underworld. Calling them ‘Lord’ is a term of respect.” Ling Hua’an replied patiently.
“What is a Soul Refining Array? And what’s a corpse puppet?”
Ling Hua’an said jokingly, “Are you the ‘Hundred Thousand Whys’? Why is it that all you’re asking are questions? These are not something you should understand, so from now on, don’t talk anymore unless I ask you to.”
Ma Xiaohan pursed his lips. Although he was a little unhappy, he didn’t speak any further.
One person and one ghost walked towards the parking lot. Before the two of them even got close to the car, they heard the sound of footsteps fast approaching them. Zhang Mian voice was laced with worry, “Mr. Ling, are you alright?”
Ling Hua’an shook his head and said, “I’m fine. The matter here has been settled. Plant more peach and willow trees around the hotel. They can drive away evil spirits.”
Zhang Mian nodded hastily. He didn’t believe in the supernatural before, but ever since he audited the accounts of the hotel and saw a ghost, his entire world view had completely changed. Now he firmly believed in it without a shadow of a doubt.
“The hotel is fine now and the guests can return. You can go about your business after sending me back.”
Zhang Mian drove Ling Hua’an back home. It was just around noon when he stepped foot into his home and was about to make some food when the door was opened. Jiang Chengyan walked in, holding some takeaway he had just bought downstairs.
“Hua’an, when did you come back?” Jiang Chengyan put the bag in his hand on the table before walking up to Ling Hua’an to carefully inspect him.
Ling Hua’an held Jiang Chengyan’s waist and smiled, “I’ll feel shy when Captain Jiang looks at me like that.”
Jiang Chengyan rolled his eyes and chided him, “Shy? Then what are you doing now?”
“I haven’t seen you all morning. Of course I miss Captain Jiang. Doesn’t Captain Jiang miss me?”
Jiang Chengyan’s face became hot and he changed the subject, “How did the hotel matter go? Did you encounter any danger? Were there any ghosts?”
Ling Hua’an poked his lips and said, “If Captain Jiang gives me a kiss, I’ll tell you.”
“Stop playing around! If you’re going to say it, then say it!” Even though Jiang Chengyan reprimanded him, his eyes unconsciously landed Ling Hua’an’s lips and swallowed his saliva.
“Sigh, Captain Jiang is still unromantic as before.” Ling Hua’an decided not to fool around any longer and gave him a kiss.
Although he experienced the familiar temperature, touch and taste every day, Ling Hua’an still seemed enchanted with it and loved the feeling of kissing him.
Jiang Chengyan lay on Ling Hua’an’s shoulder panting slightly and the corners of his mouth could not help but rise, “You have taken advantage of everything you can, so let’s talk about it now.”
“It’s just a kiss. How can you say that it’s over? Captain Jiang, you’ve wronged me.”
The two had been together for so long, thus Jiang Chengyan naturally understood the underlying meaning behind what Ling Hua’an said. His face blushed involuntarily and said, “Then, are you going to tell me or not?”
“I’ll talk, I’ll talk.” Ling Hua’an settled down and said, “There was indeed a ghost in the hotel. It was the red-clothed female ghost who attacked Yan Yu. It turned out that she was Wu Zheng’s mother. According to her, Zhang Aihua should be dead and her soul had already been devoured.”
"Wu Zheng's mother?" Jiang Chengyan frowned, puzzled, "Wu Zheng's death was caused by Zhang Aihua. It is understandable for her to seek revenge on Zhang Aihua. Why did she want to kill you?"
“I have a strong feeling that someone was deliberately misleading her and trying to use her to get rid of me.”
Jiang Chengyan frowned even more when he heard this, “Why do you say that? Hua’an, did you discover something?"
“I went to the Yan family’s hotel today and found that there was a lot of yin energy there. Later on, I learned that it was a mass grave a long time ago and the yin energy that had accumulated over the years made it a good place for refining souls. They had indeed set up a Soul Refining Array, not only to nourish the female ghost’s soul, but also to make her stronger and refine some corpse puppets. If I didn’t go there in time, I’m afraid there would have been deaths in the hotel one after another.”
“Hua’an, I don’t quite understand what you just said, but I think I get what you’re trying to say. Is someone targeting you?”
“Yes, I can roughly guess who it is. It’s just that I’m not sure yet.”