Somewhat depressed, I explained to Zen Master Baimei that I got hypnotized.
After Zen Master Baimei heard my story, his eyebrows arched. “It seems that she came for the Night Dragon Bait!”
“The Night Dragon Bait?” I was startled, unsure as to why the woman was looking for it.
In a concerned voice, Zen Master Baimei said, “In the past few days, a strange woman kept lingering outside Dabei Temple. She even attempted to hypnotize me, but I saw through her tricks and forced her to flee. I vaguely felt the aura of the Night Dragon Bait from her. I guess she’s related to it in some way or the other.”
I was shocked. “She hypnotized us to find the Night Dragon Bait? Damn, I might have told her where it is while I was hypnotized...”
“Who is she, and why does she want the Night Dragon Bait?” Li Mazi asked, his face dark.
Zen Master Baimei said, “I’m not sure, but the force behind her is very powerful. We can’t face them directly. We must outsmart them.”
“What force is it?” I was still puzzled.
In China, Buddhism was considered the largest force and had believers everywhere. If Zen Master Baimei was so afraid of the other party, they must be a force with equal power.
I began to worry after hearing Zen Master Baimei’s words.
“Do you know about Japanese Nukekubis? ” asked Zen Master Baimei.
“Nukekubis?” I furrowed my brows. I had heard about these monsters living in Japan, but what did Zen Master Baimei mean with his words? Was a monster pestering us?
“Yes, Nukekubis. The Japanese Nukekubi is not much different from the Thai Krasue.  It’s a powerful monster whose head can detach from its body. They can walk under the sunlight, but they will need to use an umbrella to do so. A Nukekubi’s head and body aren’t connected well, so they often use a red rope to cover their necks and conceal the cut.”
No wonder that odd woman had a red rope around her neck…
However, knowing that a monster was following us, I couldn’t help but feel annoyed. How in the world had I provoked her?
“Do you know how to deal with a Nukekubi?” I asked Zen Master Baimei.
Zen Master Baimei took the Night Dragon Bait out of his loose sleeve and placed it in front of me. “We can just wait for the prey to come to us. I’m sure that the Nukekubi will take our bait.”
I nodded. We had to capture the Nukekubi tonight.
However, I couldn’t ease my mind as the Night Dragon Bait was in my shop. I stood guard without taking my eyes off the bead.
The night quickly came. I looked outside my window, and the light from the street lights was much brighter than the dim desk lamp I had placed on the table.
The Night Dragon Bait started to release gentle, white light. Its surface looked like rippling water; the scene was beautiful.
I was attracted by its magnificent appearance and kept admiring it.
Around thirty minutes later, I heard someone bang on the door.
I immediately glanced at Zen Master Baimei. His eyes were closed as he was still meditating. He didn't even move his eyelids.
“Bang, bang, bang!”
The banging continued. I couldn’t stay calm anymore, so I got up and prepared to open the door.
As soon as I stood up, Zen Master Baimei opened his eyes and handed me his prayer beads. “If you encounter any danger, use the Buddhist beads.”
I nodded and anxiously walked towards the door. Li Mazi followed closely behind me.
Li Mazi placed his hand on the door’s handle and gestured at me. I knew what he meant by this. No matter who was out there, we had to subdue it.
However, the moment the door opened, we found no one outside. It was completely empty.
I became even more cautious. I went outside and checked the whole area, not finding anyone around my remote antique shop.
I sighed in disappointment and turned around to go back inside the shop, but as I turned around, I was scared out of my wits!
A human head was floating right in front of my door. Its hair was long and messy, and it somewhat resembled a floating lantern. It was bobbing at my door but didn’t seem to want to go inside.
I didn’t know when, but Zen Master Baimei was already standing at the door. He used his body to block the entrance. He palmed his hands together in front of his chest and said, “Benefactor, why have you come here? How about we have a talk?”
However, the floating head didn’t pay attention to Zen Master Baimei.
I moved toward them to check what the head’s face looked like.
Then, I saw a beautiful woman’s face. A red rope was tied around her short neck, and her grape-like, pretty eyes gazed at us. Her face was very pale.
Seeing that she wasn’t replying, Zen Master Baimei gave me a nod. I knew that he wanted me to attack the woman. I immediately wielded the prayer beads and aimed at the floating head.
However, the head moved agilely, dodging the prayer beads with extreme ease.
My actions enraged her. She flew up and down to confuse me, then seized the right opportunity to attack.
I thrust my hand into my pocket and took a handful of soya beans, throwing them at the head.
The beans hit the head, creating a series of crackling explosions. However, she suffered next to no damage as she passed through the beans and charged at me.
Terrified, I turned aside to dodge her attack. Zen Master Baimei reacted really quickly and read some incantations. The prayer beads I had thrown in the air maneuvered and followed the head. They flew after her.
If the Nukekubi didn’t dodge, she’d get hit by the prayer beads. If she decided to dodge, she’d have to give up on attacking me.
Apparently, the Nukekubi didn’t want to get hit, so she decided to dodge. The moment she did that, a grating screech came out from her mouth, which didn’t sound different from rubbing an awl against metal.
The noise gave me goosebumps, and a chill ran down my spine.
Her voice kept changing from low to high pitch, and even Zen Master Baimei couldn’t resist. He covered his ears and looked at the head, unsure as to how to attack it.
Then, I heard a crackle behind me. I turned around, and what I saw frightened me… The Night Dragon Bait was cracked!
A white light projected from the crack.
The white light brought warmth with it. Although I stood far away, I still felt the heat.
Zen Master Baimei sighed and said, “That’s not good! Retreat, quick!”
The Nukekubi sneered then left.
I nervously looked at Zen Master Baimei. “Has the Night Dragon Bait been awakened? Did the soul living inside get released?”
Zen Master Baimei nodded and said, “It’s possible.”
“Shoot, what’s that?” Li Mazi screamed in fear.
I immediately gazed at the white light.
I saw a dazzling figure inside the white light. The figure floated up and down as it sat on a dragon chair. I felt that she was a woman and a very powerful one at that. She had a majestic aura around her, and she looked at us with an expressionless face.
I took a deep breath. This woman wasn’t simple to deal with. Her glance alone could kill.
As we stared at the scene in shock, the white light became stronger and expanded quickly; it could swallow us at any moment.
Zen Master Baimei screamed, “Run!”
Without thinking, I turned around to run away.
However, how could we be faster than light? Shortly after, I was shrouded in white light. Everything in front of me turned white. Except for the blinding light, I couldn’t see anything else.
My body was frozen, and since my legs couldn’t move, I turned my head around to look at the woman inside the white light.
She wore a phoenix robe and a crown made of gold and silver, which made her look even more impressive. Whenever she smiled or furrowed her brows, she could shake people’s hearts.
Her calm and cold eyes looked at me, and I felt an urge to get on my knees and bow to her. I couldn’t control myself and was about to kneel and worship her.
“Don’t get on your knees!” While I was in a daze, I heard Zen Master Baimei’s voice.
My mind became much clearer. I tried to resist the urge and stood up. I looked at the woman and said with a fierce face, “Get lost!”
The braver you were, the more evil spirits would be afraid of you. When I raised my voice, she was taken aback. She moved her eyes away from me, which made me feel relieved.
“Don’t get on your knees!” Zen Master Baimei roared again.
I felt confused. I didn’t kneel, so what did Zen Master Baimei mean by that? Was he referring to Li Mazi?
I quickly turned to Li Mazi, and when I saw him, I felt distressed.
Li Mazi was already on his knees, bowing to the woman.
I wanted to immediately storm over and pull Li Mazi up. However, my body was still stiff. I was just a couple of steps away, but it took me a lot of time to reach him.
While I struggled to get to Li Mazi, I saw the woman in the imperial robe approach him. Zen Master Baimei immediately shouted at me and asked me to leave Li Mazi; it was too late.
I was reluctant to leave him. After all, how could I just watch as Li Mazi was getting attacked?
However, not even Zen Master Baimei dared to get closer. If I went there and pulled Li Mazi up, I might just worsen things.
Left with no choice, I had to retreat.
If there was life, there was hope. Li Mazi was in danger, and if something bad happened to me as well, no one could save him later.
The woman walked up to Li Mazi and jumped toward him.
Li Mazi was in a daze and didn’t react at all. I screamed his name, but he didn’t hear me.
The woman in the imperial robe disappeared into Li Mazi’s body. The light around us vanished. In just a blink of an eye, everything returned back to normal.
Only the crack on the Night Dragon Bait was left to prove that it hadn’t been a dream!
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