Chapter 225: The Woman Who Held an Umbrella in Daylight

“Don’t you feel that something is off?” I asked. “Li Mazi used to visit my shop almost every day to drink. Sometimes he’d skip a day, but there is no way he wouldn’t show up for three days straight. If he’d come to visit me, I would have woken up already.”

Yin Xinyue said, “Now that you mention it, I think there’s something wrong with Li Mazi.”

“What?”

“Ru Xue’s on a business trip, and she’s called Li Mazi every day since then. However, every time she called, Li Mazi would pick up the phone but not say a word. It’s been like that for three or four days. Ru Xue was worried about him, so she asked me to go to his house to check on him. I did go to his house but the door was locked. That’s why I thought he went to your antique shop. I came here and then found you in your current predicament.”

“That’s bad. Li Mazi might be in danger!” I understood that something was indeed wrong.

Perhaps he’s also trapped in some sort of illusion and unable to leave his house!

I woke up because Yin Xinyue came to see me, but if no one goes to disturb Li Mazi, wouldn’t he keep hallucinating until he dies? 

I took a deep breath and hurried to leave the shop with Yin Xinyue. We headed to Li Mazi’s house without further ado.

Li Mazi’s door was locked. We called him several times from the outside, but no one answered. I directly climbed over his wall and intruded on his property. When I got in through the window, I saw Li Mazi.

Li Mazi and his son were sitting down on the door sill. Li Mazi held a cellphone, and both he and his son stared at it.

However, the phone was dead; there was only a black screen. Li Mazi and Li Meng looked like they were watching an awesome movie because they sometimes laughed. It looked really bizarre.

Sure enough, they were also hallucinating.

I snatched the phone from Li Mazi’s hands. He was startled and lifted his head, looking at me. “Little Brother Zhang, you… Why are you here?”

I snarled, “If I hadn’t come, you two would have died!”

Then, I examined Li Meng. His eyes had no focus, and his upper body was shaking hard; his face was also pale. I turned to Li Mazi, and he didn’t look better than his son.

I hurried to support Li Meng. “Hey, buddy, are you okay?”

Li Meng opened his eyes and said, “Uncle Zhang.” Then, he collapsed.

“Hurry, let’s bring him to the hospital!” I lifted Li Meng and put him over my shoulder, rushing toward the door. Li Mazi didn’t know what was going on and said feebly, “What’s happened to my son? Is he okay?”

However, after two strides, Li Mazi also collapsed onto the ground due to exhaustion. Yin Xinyue hurried to support him and brought him to our car.

We took them both to the hospital for check-ups. I was finally able to heave a sigh of relief as they were just dehydrated and exhausted. After receiving some saline and glucose solutions, they gradually recovered.

Li Mazi was annoyed. “Freaking phones are really harmful. I won’t touch them anymore.”

I coldly said, “The phone is not the problem. Tell me, how long did you sit at the door sill?”

Li Mazi looked at the sunrise outside the window. “I think the whole night? But if I had been sitting there for only one night, I shouldn’t be so exhausted.”

I tossed his phone at him then motioned at the digital clock on the wall. “You should check the time yourself.”

After glancing at it, Li Mazi screamed, “Shoot, that digital clock is broken, right? How could I sit there for three nights in a row?”

“Nothing is impossible,” I said, telling him about my own experience.

After listening to me, Li Mazi was puzzled. “Did they plot against us? Moreover, who is that woman with the umbrella? I want to give her a good lesson!”

I sighed and said, “I’m not sure, and I’m afraid she fled already. You should take care of your body and recover first. I’m going home to see if I can find any clues.”

But how could Li Mazi stay idle in the hospital? He got up from his bed and yanked the needle out of his vein. He wanted to go home with me.

Left with no choice, I had to bring Li Mazi with me back to the shop.

Fortunately, my antique shop was equipped with cameras. I decided to check the surveillance videos first.

I found the recordings from three days ago. It was also the day I found the ‘Five Immortal Records.’

In the video recording, I got up early in the morning and went straight to my storage to rummage for something. Shortly after, I found a very thick book. Through the screen, I could even see the title of the said book. It had the words ‘Chinese Language Dictionary’ on its cover.

I placed the dictionary on my desk and began to study it. Although my eyes were bright and full of spirit, I didn’t move. It looked as though I was frozen.

Time ticked by, and I had been at my desk for three hours. Other than scratch my head from time to time, I didn’t do anything else.

However, the door to the storage was pushed open shortly after, and a woman walked in. She held an umbrella and had a red rope around her neck, which made her look really odd.

The moment I saw her, I felt strong fear. When did she get in, and how come I didn’t notice her? Is she a real ghost? But even if she’s a ghost, I should still be able to detect her...

I had a strong feeling that I was already bewitched the moment I entered my storage room. That was why I mistook the dictionary for the ‘Five Immortal Records’ book.

The woman with the umbrella came over and sat opposite to me. However, I didn’t mind her and continued reading my book.

All of a sudden, she pulled out a concentric lock with a chain attached to it. She started to dangle the lock in front of my eyes, and my dreamy eyes moved to her body. However, I didn’t look frightened or surprised. My face was strangely calm…

“You were hypnotized!” screamed Li Mazi. “Sure enough, this is hypnosis!”

I took a deep breath and said, “It’s not that simple. Even if I got hypnotized, it shouldn’t be for so many days, right? Let’s just keep watching.”

The woman’s mouth opened and closed as if she was talking to me. However, the surveillance video recording didn’t record sound. That was why we didn’t hear anything. Anyway, I guessed she was asking me about something.

We didn’t know what it was, but the red-dressed woman was eventually enraged. She slammed the desk, stood up, and left.

A moment later, I went back to reading my book. I remained in that position until Yin Xinyue came. For the entire time, I didn’t move and just stared at the book.

I took a deep breath. Why can’t I remember that woman? If she could control me so well, she has to be an expert... 

I couldn’t ease the worry in my heart.

“Knock, knock, knock!”

As we were studying the video recordings, we heard someone knock on my door.

I already felt panicked, so I couldn’t help but become tense.

“Who’s there?” I asked.

“Merciful Buddha. My little friend, are you all right?”

It was Zen Master Baimei’s voice!

It was strange that Zen Master Baimei came right at this moment. I knew that if he was here, it was somehow related to the woman with the umbrella. I cheered up and hurried to open the door for him.

He wore a kasaya and held prayer beads in one hand. Coupled with his white beard, he looked like a sage.

“Zen Master Baimei, it’s you. Please come in.” I warmly welcomed him.

Zen Master Baimei gave me a faint smile and walked in, his gentle eyes meeting mine.

When he looked me in the eyes, his brows furrowed.

I became tense. “Zen Master Baimei, did something happen? Why are you here?”

Zen Master Baimei said, “My little friend, have you encountered anything strange these days?”

I nodded. “Yes, Master. Please, come in. I need to talk to you.”

Zen Master Baimei smiled cheerily. “Exactly what I was hoping for.”

I brewed Zen Master Baimei some Longjing tea. While he drank the tea, I told him the strange things I had encountered.

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