Later, I managed to sell the opium pipe for one million renminbi.
The buyer was a wealthy man, and he fell in love with the pipe at the first puff.
I didn’t sell him the jade pendant, though. As soon as the spirit in the opium pipe showed up, it should be about time for him to quit smoking.
After this matter, my life returned to normality. Every day, I would idly sit in my antique shop, waiting for business to come.
I had already gotten used to this lifestyle, learning how to appreciate the quietness of the night. A part of me hoped that no customer would come so that I could keep enjoying this calmness.
I was happy as I had plenty of food to eat, a roof over my head, and a beautiful woman by my side. I couldn’t ask for more.
Around one week later, Li Mazi dropped in as usual. He brought braised pork together with a bottle of old wine. Although it was gradually getting warmer, he still liked to heat up his wine before drinking. Therefore, I often kept the brazier burning.
While drinking, Li Mazi suddenly lifted his head and looked at me, his expression serious. “Little Brother Zhang, what’s the deal with Ru Xue?”
I was surprised. Li Mazi never cared about Ru Xue before, how come he suddenly asked about her today? Did he take a liking to her or something?
I smiled. Never would I have thought that the quarrelsome couple would develop feelings for each other.
I then told him everything I knew about Ru Xue’s situation.
Li Mazi nodded, looking pensive.
“Hey, what happened? Did you fall in love with her or something?”
Li Mazi was startled and waved his hands continuously. “Of course not! Don’t talk nonsense!”
Am I the one talking nonsense? Looking at his flustered appearance, I knew he had some feelings for Ru Xue.
While we were chatting, the voice of a woman echoed from outside, “Mr. Zhang, are you home?”
The voice sounded familiar.
I turned my head and discovered that it was that descendant of Heshen, the beautiful policewoman named Fengshen Nana.
As she was part of the Manchu ethnic minority, she had a two-character surname, Fengshen.
I had almost removed her from my mind as we didn’t have any contact after the opium pipe incident. I thought we would never meet again.
“Yes, I’m home.” I looked at her strangely. “How come you’re here?”
“Why? Am I not welcome?” Fengshen Nana retorted. She didn’t stand on ceremony and directly walked to the table, taking a seat beside me. “It seems you don’t have much to do these days, drinking and eating to your heart’s content...”
Her eccentric tone made me feel uncomfortable. I asked impatiently, “Do you need something from me?”
She said with a smile, “Did you forget already? The last time, when I gave you the jade pendant, you agreed to help me with a matter. So… Have you rested enough?”
I had a headache. It seemed it was time to get back to work.
I could only place my tumbler down. “Speak. I want to know the situation before giving you an answer.”
Fengshen Nana said, “There is this maternal uncle of mine who I think provoked some evil spirit. I want you to check on him.”
I shook my head. “I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with that.”
“Why?” She looked at me, displeased. “Are you refusing to keep up your end of the deal after receiving the payment? Do you know that I can arrest you for spreading superstitious practices?”
“It’s no use to threaten me,” I told her. “You said that he’s provoked some evil spirit, but is this spirit related to an otherworldly item? Because if there’s no otherworldly item involved, I won’t be able to help you. I’m an otherworldly merchant, and I specialize in dealing with otherworldly items. I don’t know how to deal with evil spirits from other sources.”
Fengshen Nana said, “I don’t know if there’s an otherworldly item involved, but you should come with me and check! If there is none, you can choose to ignore the case.”
I sighed. Ignoring this matter wouldn’t do me any good.
Since I had her jade pendant, I had to accompany her regardless of how dangerous it could be.
Left with no choice, I nodded. “Fine, I’ll try my best.”
Fengshen Nana smiled. “Don’t worry. I’ll give you a big reward if you solve the case.”
“We should go right now.” After drinking some wine, I was much bolder, and my body was brimming with Yang energy. If we took action right now, it would be safer.
“No, we can’t meet him if we go right now,” Fengshen Nana said. “It’s late, and the psychiatric hospital is closed at this time.”
“What? A psychiatric hospital?” Li Mazi’s interest was piqued. “You want us to treat a patient with mental illness? Do you think we are divine doctors or something?”
Fengshen Nana glanced at Li Mazi, clearly displeased. Back at Chen Changsheng’s place, Li Mazi had forced her to face the evil spirit, leaving a bad impression on her.
Li Mazi’s sarcastic remark enraged her, and the two started quarreling. Luckily, I was there and stopped them before things could escalate.
I asked Fengshen Nana to tell me the story in detail. I needed to see if the case could be related to an otherworldly item or not.
The person who needed my help was her maternal uncle, a man in his sixties with an easy-going attitude. He worked as a chef at a big hotel, and he had been just promoted to the position of head Chef.
But as soon as he was promoted, he began to act strange; he didn't go to work for several days and locked himself in his house.
It looked as if his soul had left him. He would sit on his bed all day without eating, staring blankly at the floor and giggling. Luckily, his wife was a nurse, and she managed to feed him here and there. Otherwise, he would have died of hunger.
Around a week later, her uncle started to talk again. However, he sounded and acted like a woman.
“The mirror in my flowery mansion is broken, can you give me a new one?”
“I’m running out of cosmetics in my flowery mansion, bring me some more!”
Fengshen Nana’s aunt was scared. That man didn’t sound like her husband at all! She immediately thought that a female ghost might have possessed her husband, so she burned joss sticks, made offerings, and invited an expert to help him. However, nothing worked, and her husband’s situation kept getting worse and worse…
The next day, her uncle’s personality changed again. This time, he stuck his tongue out, screaming in an unclear voice, “Big chicken! I want to eat a big chicken!”
When her uncle spoke, he looked absent-minded. There was no focus in his eyes.
Moreover, he was a vegetarian as he believed in Buddhism. Why did he suddenly want to eat chicken?
Nana’s aunt was terrified by these events and decided to bring him to the hospital for a check.
However, her husband was now as heavy as a mountain. When he sat on his bed, four young men couldn’t lift him up.
In the end, the hospital sent an ambulance, and a group of people, including doctors, had to give their all to lift him up and bring him to the ambulance.
But when he got to the hospital, they couldn’t figure out what kind of illness he had. They even performed a CT scan but found nothing.
The doctors suggested Nana’s aunt to take her husband to a psychiatric hospital. But everybody knew what kind of place a psychiatric hospital was... If he got admitted there, he would never get out.
Nana’s uncle was the pillar of the family. If he fell, his family would be devastated.
In the end, Nana’s aunt had no choice but to keep him at home, hoping to find an expert that could cure him.
However, her husband’s situation didn’t improve but worsened instead. He seemed to suffer from multiple personality disorder, and he would become a different person every day.
One night, he sneaked out and stole three chickens from their neighbor. He ate them and then sat in one corner, starting to smoke. When the neighbor complained, Nana’s uncle attacked him and bit his ear off.
The Public Security Bureau got involved, and his sickness could not be concealed anymore. Nana’s uncle was eventually sent to a psychiatric hospital.
His wife was heartbroken, and left with no choice, she went to see Fengshen Nana in the hope that she could get someone to release her uncle.
When Fengshen Nana went to visit her uncle, she found that his illness was very serious. He was out of his mind and attacked everybody. He was kept in a separate room, and one could imagine what he would do if he was released.
Fengshen Nana talked to her aunt about it, but her aunt kept crying and listened to no reason. Eventually, she had to promise that she would look for someone to help her uncle.
As coincidence would have it, Fengshen Nana happened to bump into us some time later.
After discovering that ghosts really existed, she thought that her uncle might have bumped into one as well.
Having seen our abilities, she knew that we were the real deal and not some fake Daoist priests, so she decided to ask for our help.
After listening to her story, I was lost in thought.
Her uncle’s circumstance was really rare. If it were schizophrenia, he would have two personalities at most. But according to Fengshen Nana, her uncle had at least five or six personalities.
It was possible that a ghost had possessed him, but he wasn’t a bus! How could he have so many ghosts inside his body?
Moreover, why did they all choose to possess the same person?
Since I had agreed to look into this case, I would try my best.
I said to Fengshen Nana, “We should see him now. His symptoms should be very clear around this time, and it’ll be easier to find clues.”
Fengshen Nana hesitated but finally nodded. She then called her superior and used her personal connections to get us into the psychiatric hospital.
It was around 11 PM, and by the time we arrived at the psychiatric hospital, it was past midnight. Fengshen Nana showed her police badge and took us in.
The hospital wasn’t as deserted as I had thought. The rooms were packed with patients. Some were walking back and forth in the corridor, while others were crying and shouting. I also saw several nurses giving injections to the patients.
Rather than a psychiatric hospital, this place resembled a slaughterhouse.
The Yin energy in the building was really strong. I guessed it was due to the many people that had died there. I had heard rumors about similar organizations, who would trick homeless people to harvest their organs. Organ trafficking was the main source of income of many similar places scattered throughout the nation.
We eventually reached the remote ward where Fengshen Nana’s uncle was kept. He had been sedated and was sleeping.
Even in his sleep, he seemed very scared. His body would twitch from time to time, and whimpering sounds came out of his mouth.
Fengshen Nana looked at me. “Do you want to go inside to have a look?”
I gave her a nod. “Let’s go.”
Fengshen Nana called a staff member and had them open the iron door. Then, we walked up to her uncle, glancing at him.Previous Chapter Next Chapter