“Corpse Scattered Essence,” said Uncle Duan. “You know about it, right?”
I was startled. “That thing actually exists?”
Uncle Duan smiled helplessly. “You thought it didn’t exist? Haha, did I get the wrong man here?”
“No, no. You didn’t, Sir,” Li Mazi blurted as he was worried that Uncle Duan would lose his trust in us and directly end our lives here. “Uncle Duan, if you have anything you want to advise, please do tell.”
“I’ve got the location. It’s around one hundred and fifty kilometers to the East of Mount Tai. There’s a place called Heavenly Dragon Lake. Go there and you will find the Corpse Scattered Essence.” Uncle Duan urged, “We can’t delay this. You guys better go now!”
“May I ask why you need to find the Corpse Scattered Essence?” I asked.
From what I knew, the only function of the Corpse Scattered Essence was to tempt malicious ghosts. It didn’t have any positive functions. The Longquan Villa was very rich, and they didn’t need to lay their eyes on this low-level plaything.
“To save a life,” answered Uncle Duan.
To save someone, huh?
After looking at Uncle Duan’s expression, I knew he wouldn’t disclose any more details. I was too lazy to pry, so I left with Li Mazi.
When we got out of the hotel, I hadn’t gotten ahold of myself yet. I turned around and saw that no one was following us. Finally, I exhaled in relief.
Li Mazi couldn’t hold it anymore and asked, “Little Brother Zhang, what’s this Corpse Scattered Essence? Why haven’t I heard of it before?”
“Get in the car. We’ll talk later.” I told him, “It’s hard to explain in a few sentences.”
Li Mazi nodded and started the engine. When we returned to my shop, I quickly prepared some items and headed to the Heavenly Dragon Lake.
I was still a little worried, though. Since we are heading to the East of Mount Tai, we’d enter the territory of the Zhang family in Jiangbei. I’m a descendant from one of the Zhang family’s lines... When I reach Jiangbei, would I anger the Zhang family? How would they treat me?
I felt a lot of pressure; this was a dangerous one. What we had to face wasn’t just the otherworldly item, but also the Zhang family in Jiangbei.
Thus, I decided to be very low-key this time.
On the way there, Li Mazi asked me about the Corpse Scattered Essence.
The reason I thought the Corpse Scattered Essence didn’t exist was that its origin was very strange. The ‘Wild Fox Folklores’ recorded that the Corpse Scattered Essence was the essence of ten thousand human souls materialized into a bead. They had gone from spirit form to physical form.
If a lot of souls were tied and stacked together in one place, the resources at their disposal would eventually run out. As such, these souls would slowly ‘die.’
However, since they were souls, they wouldn’t vanish. Instead, they turned into a granular matter. These beads were the Corpse Scattered Essence.
I didn’t believe that spiritual beings could materialize. Metaphysics was really mysterious, but it was also a science-based subject. A spirit being materializing didn’t follow the law of conservation of energy. That was why I deemed that it was just a hoax.
However, Uncle Duan didn’t seem to be lying.
After a night of driving, we followed the directions and found the Heavenly Dragon Lake at noon.
It was the first time I had seen the Heavenly Dragon Lake, and I was charmed by its beautiful sights.
The sky was clear, and the Heavenly Dragon Lake looked like a crystal mirror with lucid blue water. A breeze blew above the lake, which swayed the plants that grew around it; it looked like a natural, green belt. An islet was situated in the middle of the lake, and the scene looked like paradise on earth.
Around three kilometers away was a village. The village was home to some children who often came to the lake to play. When the adults finished their work, they also came here to catch some fish. At this moment, we saw some people fish from the islet. Everything looked ordinary and comfortable. It was really hard to associate such a wonderful place to a mass grave.
This lake was vast, and it would take one or two years to blindly search for the Corpse Scattered Essence here. Uncle Duan wouldn’t agree to that, nor did I have so much time to waste around here.
I needed to ask around for more information about this Heavenly Dragon Lake and analyze it.
At this moment, the two fishermen on the islet reached the lakeside. They looked cautious when they saw us. After all, we were two strangers. Before we could greet them, they approached us.
“Who are you?” asked the older one. “Why have you come here?”
“Sir, good day! We’re backpackers,” said Li Mazi with a smile. He offered them cigarettes and said, “We’re traveling around.”
“You want to find something here, don’t you?” The men took the cigarettes from Li Mazi. After that, their attitudes toward us lightened.
His casual question raised concerns in my heart. Does he know anything about the Corpse Scattered Essence? Did he know that we were here to find it?
Li Mazi looked puzzled and asked, “Sir, what do you mean? I don’t understand.”
The old man standing next to the beefy, younger man snorted. “Don’t pretend. I’ve seen a lot of folks like you. You’re here to raid an ancient tomb, right? Well, that tomb has sunk and the items were taken long ago. You’re way too late.”
“An ancient tomb?”As soon as he said that, I knew there was a story behind it. I took out five-hundred renminbi and handed it to them. Although I didn’t have a silver tongue, there wasn’t anything money couldn’t solve in this world.
”Sir, I’ll be honest with you! We’re from the Criminal Police Department. We already know that an ancient tomb was robbed here. We have to track down the criminals. If you can provide us with more clues, the five-hundred yuan will be your reward.”
Then, I flashed them the police ID cards.
We often carried these fake IDs with us because it always worked. We had used them five or six times already. It was more than enough to deceive people in rural villages.
As soon as they heard that we were criminal police and that we were here to investigate the ancient tomb case, the two were scared. They shook their heads and said, “We don’t know much. That ancient tomb was discovered one or two years ago. You shouldn’t investigate it…”
Then, they turned around and left.
From their panic-stricken faces, I thought of a possibility. Could it be that the ancient tomb was robbed by the locals?
When we expressed that we wanted to investigate, they became scared.
Li Mazi had to stop them and said, “Sir, don’t worry. If the ancient tomb is within your village’s area, it’s a shared property of your village. According to the law, everything inside the ancient tomb will belong to your village. It’s not a crime that the folks here took the antiques from the tomb. Several days ago, we arrested a tomb raider. He said that he robbed a tomb here. That’s why we’ve come to investigate. If his stolen goods are from the tomb you mentioned, we would like to give them back to the village.”
The two then exhaled in relief. The older one fumed, “No wonder there weren’t many items inside. It turns out someone had robbed it before us. Officer, you must interrogate that little thief! You must force him to spit out all of the goods!”
I nodded to show him that I agreed. Then, I asked them to tell us the stories related to the Heavenly Dragon Lake and the ancient tomb. I told them not to miss any details, even if they seemed small.
We then learned that several years ago, this Heavenly Dragon Lake wasn’t a big lake like the one before us. It was just an ordinary ditch.
At that time, the villagers didn’t find anything strange about the small ditch. However, after a fellow accidentally fished up two clay pots from the ditch, a rumor spread throughout the village. It was said that an ancient tomb was hidden in this ditch.
For generations, the villagers had exploited the place. They hunted in the forests and mountains and fished in the rivers. The folks had almost depleted every natural resource they had here. Years ago, they could still find some precious herbs to sell. But now, those herbs and even the wild animals were all gone. The only source of income they could harvest from the mountains was from mushrooms, but it wasn’t big money.
Of course, they couldn’t let this chance slip away. A mountain of gold seemed to have appeared in this normal-looking ditch!
Groups of people immediately began to dig up the ditch and tried to unearth the ancient tomb.Previous Chapter Next Chapter