“Compose a poem?” I was baffled because I didn’t know what Senior Shu had on his mind. However, he must have had his reasons to say that.
I quickly searched in my head for a classic poem.
“Um… Er… Green reed and frosty white dew.” After racking my brain for a while, I remember these verses from the Book of Songs.
I continued, “There she is, by the water.”
“Upstream I go, like an islet in the water!” I didn’t recite this last part; the creature behind me did. The voice reading the poem was resounding and full of passion, both masculine and magnetic.
I knew it was the ghost behind me talking.
I anxiously looked at Senior Shu. What was I supposed to do now?
I was planning to copy the verses from the Book of Songs, but the ghost saw through my trick. I didn’t know if my actions had enraged him or not.
However, after looking at Senior Shu’s slightly eased face, I knew the ghost seemed to be satisfied with my poem.
“What a pity, what a pity! I was an old and loyal official, but the imperial court didn’t want to put me in an important position; I was demoted instead. They confiscated my possessions, and my family was exterminated. It was truly a shame, sad and lamentable!” The ghost seemed to be absorbed in his thoughts, his voice full of resentment.
I felt a burst of bone-chilling coldness that spread from my neck to my entire body.
While I was wondering what to do next, Li Mazi’s voice came from outside. “Senior Shu, liquor and women are coming!”
Zhang Ai held a tumbler of sorghum liquor and shakily placed it on the windowsill.
Senior Shu said, “Distinguished guest, I hope you’ll forgive us if the reception is not good enough. Little Ai, fill our guest’s glass!”
Then, Senior Shu handed Zhang Ai a willow twig, asking her to stir the tumbler with it.
Although Zhang Ai was scared out of her wits, she was still a policewoman, and her mental fortitude was better than the average person. She used the twig to stir the liquid in the glass and gently held it up.
Right after that, I saw something flash in front of me, slowly floating toward the glass of alcohol.
I tried to take a good look, but all I could see was a black figure suspended in midair. The figure bent and prepared to sip the liquor from the tumbler.
His other hand pervertedly grabbed Zhang Ai’s hand. Zhang Ai shrieked in fright and opened her eyes wide. She looked at Senior Shu in hopes that the old man would save her.
Senior Shu lifted his foot and took off his shoe. He then kept rubbing the sole of his foot. I didn’t know what he was doing, and neither did Zhang Ai or Li Mazi.
Soon after, the entire room was filled with a horrible foot odor. It was utterly disgusting.
Zhang Ai’s small face turned pale, and she started sobbing. Then, as the figure was focused on enjoying the tumbler of good liquor, Senior Shu kicked him.
Senior Shu’s kick landed right on the black figure’s butt. The kick sent it flying outside the window.
Senior Shu didn’t waste time and quickly closed the window.
The ghost was furious. He shrieked and tried to charge into the room one more time, but Senior Shu had already picked up the glass of sorghum and splashed it on the window pane.
The liquid from the tumbler was like high-voltage electricity; it repelled the ghost and caused it to shriek and struggle like a wild animal.
“Hurry, splash more alcohol! Mix the alcohol with salt and splash the mix on the window glass!” Senior Shu ordered. At the same time, he bit his finger and used the blood to draw a strange rune on the window.
I didn’t hesitate and did as Senior Shu had instructed. I added salt into the liquor, stirred it a little bit, then splashed the mixture on the window glass.
I turned to check on Zhang Ai. I saw her curled up in the corner, crying.
The black ghost charged in one more time. His eyes were full of madness as he tried to get into the room one more time.
However, when he came close to the window, he felt the intimidating energy exuding from the window glass. The ghost could only stop in his tracks and glare at us from a distance.
His red eyes were like two flames, scary enough to make people’s scalps go numb. I held the Peach Soul Flower close to my chest. I stood still on my spot and didn’t dare to move an inch.
We could not let the ghost come in at any cost. Although I didn’t know who he was or how strong he was, I could tell from Senior Shu’s attitude that he was no joke.
The ghost paced back and forth in front of the balcony, trying to find a slit to get into the room. However, the liquor and salt we had prepared were enough to deal with it. The ghost couldn’t find any way to achieve its purpose.
We continued to tug back and forth against the ghost until the break of dawn. In the end, the ghost saw that he had no chance and slowly dimmed away, disappearing from our sight.
I heaved a sigh of relief and asked Senior Shu, “Is that thing finally gone?”
Senior Shu answered, sounding anxious, “It shouldn’t be that simple as that ghost is full of resentful energy. I guess it’s an evil spirit that lives in an antique. In daylight, it will take shelter and sleep in that antique, showing up only at night. I think we’re safe... for now.”
I exhaled in relief and staggered toward Zhang Ai.
Without saying anything, Zhang Ai raised her hand and prepared to slap me. Fortunately, I was quick enough to catch her wrist.
Enraged, I glared at her. “What do you think you’re doing?”
Zhang Ai felt both wronged and scared. “You… W-What did you do to me? What was that thing? And, why did it appear at my house?”
Li Mazi laughed and said, “Officer, you didn’t believe in ghosts, right? We just invited a ghost to show you.”
“Y-You bastards!” Zhang Ai crouched on the ground and clutched her knees; she began to whimper loudly.
Li Mazi could only shrug. “Are police officers so weak-willed nowadays?”
“What did you just say? If you’re not convinced, let’s have a fight! I hold a black belt in Taekwondo!” It seemed Li Mazi had touched Zhang Ai’s nerve. She was pissed and rolled up her sleeves, preparing to have a showdown with Li Mazi.
I had to jump in and stop them. “That’s enough, stop fighting. Zhang Ai, believe me, we didn’t summon that ghost. It has always been in your house. Think carefully. Do you have any old item here? Something that’s really, really old.”
Zhang Ai rolled her eyes at Li Mazi and paid him no more heed. She started to think about what I’d asked her.
After quite a long time, she shook her head. “No, I just moved in around one month ago. What if this place is a haunted house? That wicked landlord must have fooled me!”
I hurried to calm her down. “No, I’m sure it has nothing to do with this apartment.”
I then went to check the balcony, but I didn’t find anything strange. In the meantime, Senior Shu opened the door to the living room and went in to check.
“That thing came out of the living room,” Senior Shu said. “The otherworldly item should also be in the living room!”
I immediately asked, “Senior Shu, was that thing pressing down on my back earlier?”
Senior Shu nodded. “That’s right.”
“So, why do I still feel like something is on my back? It feels like I am giving someone a piggyback.”
Zhang Ai looked at me and froze. She opened her eyes wide and covered her mouth. “W-What’s that thing on your back?”
Zhang Ai’s words frightened me.
What’s on my back? Did that thing come back? I immediately tried to use both of my hands to reach my back. However, I couldn’t feel anything there.
Senior Shu ran to me and yelled, “Don’t move!”
Then, he lifted the back of my shirt. Even Li Mazi couldn’t stand it and shrieked, “H-How did you get such a big scar on your back?”
Scar...? What scar?
After hearing his words, perhaps due to the psychological effect, I instantly felt a sharp pain transmit from my back. I hurried to move to the vanity and checked my exposed back in the mirror.
At this time, someone’s ‘lower body’ had appeared on my back. It looked as if someone with a burning lower body was pressed against my back, leaving behind some burn marks.
The burn marks were all black. Although my skin wasn’t burnt or swelling with bubbles, it looked like I had soaked myself in black ink.
“What is going on?” I felt scared. I tried to touch the burn mark, but it seemed the skin at the burned area had lost feeling. I pinched my skin, but I didn’t feel pain at all.
Senior Shu walked toward me. After observing the skin on my back, he pondered for quite a long time before saying, “It’s a ghost mark. That thing has laid his eyes on you! He wants to use you as a scapegoat. Either you die, or he vanishes.”
That ghost was truly filled with resentful energy. It didn’t want to rest until I was dead.
Li Mazi got angry. “Hmph, are we supposed to just stand and watch as that thing kills Little Brother Zhang? Let’s look around and find where that thing is hiding!”
Then, he started searching around the apartment.
Zhang Ai didn’t stop us and helped us with the search.
However, the living room only had clothes and household electronic appliances. There was nothing that looked like an old antique or otherworldly item.
“Zhang Ai, think again,” said Senior Shu. “Did you buy anything strange lately?”
Zhang Ai tried to think harder. Eventually, her eyes turned to a pair of shoes on the shoe rack. “Several days ago, I got that pair of stylish leather shoes.”
“That's just a pair of leather shoes,” Li Mazi said. “It’s not what we are looking for, unless it’s a pair of embroidered leather shoes that was passed on for many generations...”
As we didn’t have any other clues, I asked Zhang Ai to show us the shoes even if I knew that they weren’t an otherworldly item.
“Another trainee gave me these leather shoes. Now that I think about it, it’s really weird. After he gave me the shoes, he immediately resigned…” Zhang Ai took the pair of shoes and placed them in front of us.
It was just an ordinary pair of women's leather shoes. It was red, smooth, and shiny, with fine workmanship. The quality was also nice. Except for those features, I didn’t see anything else that was special.
Senior Shu held the pair of leather shoes and carefully weighed them in his hand. Eventually, his expression turned a little strange. “It doesn’t feel right. These shoes are heavier than expected.”
“I know, right? That’s why I almost never wore them since I got them,” Zhang Ai answered.
I also held one of the leather shoes to feel its weight. Sure enough, the shoe felt heavier than normal ones.
I then picked up the other shoe, and I found that there was no problem with its weight. It felt lighter.
Given the exquisite workmanship, this should not happen. These shoes didn’t look like they were some counterfeit products, so it was hard to explain such a glaring mistake.
Coupled with that trainee quitting right after giving Zhang Ai the shoes, it was likely that there was something wrong with them. Perhaps that man was afraid that his deed would be exposed, so he seized the opportunity to escape.
I found a knife and didn’t hesitate to cut open the leather part of the shoe.
Zhang Ai was startled. “What are you doing? These are my shoes!”
I shot her a sidelong glance. “Do you want to keep your life or this pair of leather shoes?”
Zhang Ai thought for a short moment before releasing my wrist.
I continued to cut the shoe.
After I’d cut the shoe into pieces, I really found something between the leather layers...Previous Chapter Next Chapter