Senior Shu was stirred up and angrily held the corpse of the rat. I could read what he was thinking from his eyes: I won’t leave the bastard that did this to my rat alone!
“Senior Shu,” I called out.
After Senior Shu saw me, he ran toward me. Judging from his expression, I knew he didn’t come with goodwill. “Little bastard, so it was you! Are you trying to anger me to death? Give me back my Soul Luring Rat! Give it back to me!”
Senior Shu reached out to grab my neck.
I was startled and tried to retreat, but Senior Shu didn’t give up. He chased after me and jumped forward like a tiger, pressing me onto the ground. “You actually killed my Soul Luring Rat! I’ll give you a good lesson today!”
“Let me explain…” I tried to talk to him.
However, Senior Shu didn’t want to listen and pressed onto me harder.
“Merciful Buddha,” chanted Zen Master Baimei. Then, he walked up to us. “Old Shu, long time no see.”
Senior Shu was shocked. He lifted his head to look at Zen Master Baimei. He then said awkwardly, “Zen Master Baimei, you… Why are you here?”
“Are you the one who raised that Soul Luring Rat?” Zen Master Baimei faintly smiled and went straight to the point.
Senior Shu nodded. “Yes. However, that guy was a glutton and snuck out…”
“I’m the one who lured the rat out,” Zen Master Baimei said. “If you want to blame someone, that person is me.”
Senior Shu showed an embarrassed smile. “Zen Master Baimei, I wouldn't dare. It was just a rat, haha. I don’t want to disturb you any further. I’ll take my leave.”
Then, Senior Shu prepared to leave.
“Stop,” screamed Zen Master Baimei. Senior Shu immediately stopped.
I felt curious. There should be an old story between Senior Shu and Zen Master Baimei. Otherwise, how could the old man be so afraid of the monk?
“Zen Master Baimei, do you need something from me?” Senior Shu asked cautiously.
“I want to ask you something. I heard from Chuyi that you have a Corpse Scent Bird. Is that right?” said Zen Master Baimei.
Senior Shu waved his hand in denial. “Of course not. There’s no such thing. Chuyi is a good guy, but he likes to tell jokes. Oh, right, I’m cooking congee. I have to go and check on it. I don’t want it to burn.”
“Stop right there,” Zen Master Baimei shouted. “I want to borrow your Corpse Scent Bird. Saving a life creates more merit than building a seven-floor pagoda. All of our debts will be erased if you do that.”
Senior Shu wore an awkward face and looked at Zen Master Baimei. “Zen Master Baimei, it’s not that I don’t want to let you borrow it. It’s just that my Corpse Scent Bird hasn’t grown up yet. If you use it now, the effort that I’ve poured into it will go in vain. You know how precious the Corpse Scent Bird is, right?”
“Good. In that case, we need to talk about our old debt.” Zen Master Baimei palmed his hands in front of his chest and glared at Senior Shu.
Senior Shu was scared. “All right, all right, I surrender. You and Chuyi will be the end of me! Okay, tell me. What do you want me to do?”
Zen Master Baimei said, “We’ve bumped into a Japanese Nukekubi. We need to use your Corpse Scent Bird.”
“What?” Senior Shu gawked. “A Japanese Nukekubi? How did you provoke such a creature? No, no, I can’t help you with this case. My Corpse Scent Bird is still growing. If it confronts the Nukekubi, it will be bullied.”
“We just need to rescue a hostage. It’s not such a bad deal for you,” said Zen Master Baimei.
Senior Shu didn’t sound willing. However, since I was pestering him and Zen Master Baimei was threatening him, he agreed with an aching heart.
“My poor Corpse Scent Bird! Sigh, you little jinx, it’s all your fault. I curse the day I got to know you.”
Senior Shu reluctantly took out a small bird from his clothes. The bird was as big as a sparrow, and it had bright a red body and a pointy beak. A faint sweet smell exuded from the bird. That smell was very special; I had never come across such an exotic smell.
Senior Shu whispered into the Corpse Scent Bird’s ear. They looked like they were as close as father and son. After listening to him, the Corpse Scent Bird flapped its wings and flew up.
It flew at a normal speed, and Senior Shu chased after it.
Zen Master Baimei said, “After you save the hostage, call us.”
Senior Shu answered then hurried to follow his bird.
After Senior Shu left, Zen Master Baimei sat down on the spot and read the ‘Great Compassion Mantra.’ I wanted to ask him about the beef between him and Senior Shu, but as he was meditating, I knew that I shouldn’t disturb him. I simply sat down next to him.
Yet, I couldn’t calm down, and my mind was a mess. From where should I start looking for Li Mazi? Is he okay? His soul isn’t stable; what do we do if it flies out of his body?
Also, Senior Shu is too crazy and can’t be trusted. Can he even deal with that Nukekubi? Will his Corpse Scent Bird really be able to find the monster?
Every second that ticked by felt as long as a year.
While I was burning with impatience, I heard Senior Shu’s voice. “Kiddo, how do you plan to repay this favor?”
After listening to his tone, I knew that he had succeeded.
I cheered up. “Senior Shu, can we take action now? Where is the Nukekubi?”
“Hmph, is there anything in this world that I can’t deal with? I shooed the Nukekubi away. I guess she’s running to Li Mazi. You better find Li Mazi now. Otherwise, God knows what the Nukekubi will do to him,” said Senior Shu.
I immediately thanked him.
Senior Shu continued to nag and complain. “My poor Corpse Scent Bird is ruined now. Kiddo, you have to compensate me…”
I didn’t have time to worry about Senior Shu. I said to Zen Master Baimei, “Zen Master, Senior Shu has rescued the hostage. We should find Li Mazi now.”
Zen Master Baimei stood up, and his drowsy eyes looked around.
Eventually, he pointed behind us. “I just visited the Netherworld. I heard from the ghosts that there’s a strange person around two kilometers to the South who is peeling off his soul. If I’m not wrong, that person should be Li Mazi.”
I was shocked that he could visit the Netherworld. However, I didn’t have time to waste on this matter and immediately headed to the South.
Sure enough, not long after we had run in the direction Zen Master Baimei had pointed to, we saw a man sitting cross-legged. He had his back to us. He was bending his upper body as if he was eating something.
I furrowed my brows and turned to look at Zen Master Baimei.
Zen Master Baimei didn’t waste time. He directly ran toward Li Mazi and coiled his prayer beads around his neck. “Merciful Buddha! The sea of bitterness has no bounds, turn your head to see the shore! Benefactor, you can still come back!”
Li Mazi then slowly turned around. His eyes were now completely black, which looked really eerie.
His nostrils and mouth were covered in blood, and he was chewing some flesh. It was too scary to look at.
I tried to find the source of the meat he was eating. I felt scared after seeing his arm full of bite marks. The marks made his entire arm a mess of bleeding wounds. He was eating on his own flesh earlier.
My stomach rolled, and I almost vomited.
Li Mazi looked at us and sneered. He slowly got up and said in a mocking voice, “I really miss the late Emperor. Let me have a talk with him.”
Then, he prepared to take the beads off his neck.
Zen Master Baimei shouted and squatted down. With both hands clapped in front of his chest, he muttered some incantation.
The prayer beads showed their immense power and pressed Li Mazi onto the ground. Li Mazi wasn’t willing to go down, so he struggled hard and tried to get up.Previous Chapter Next Chapter