Captain Liang didn’t believe it. “Mr. Zhang, you’re saying that the murderer killed a kid as well? Why would he do that? Is the murderer some sort of maniac killer?”
Yin Xinyue would never tolerate such things. She pouted her lips and chimed in, “If this is true, he’s really a raving lunatic.”
I shook my head. “No, there’s a reason behind the child’s death.”
Under normal circumstances, the one using a powerful otherworldly item would receive a serious backlash if the item was used excessively. If the user wasn’t careful, his vitality would be damaged; in the worst cases, he would lose his life! To protect himself, it was possible to keep and raise a child like his own. This would form a parent-child relationship between them, and the boy or the girl would receive that deadly backlash from the otherworldly item in the user’s stead.
A child’s resistance was clearly inferior to an adult’s. Since he had used his drum without any restraint tonight, the backlash would definitely be deadly. That was why I guessed the kid he was keeping would receive the backlash and die. Although it was a cruel thing, it was an important clue to find the murderer.
Officer Liang nodded after listening to my explanation. “It’s indeed an important clue. I’ll pay attention. Oh right, Mr. Zhang, do you know what that otherworldly item is?”
I shook my head.
After we got in the car and left the police station, I told Li Mazi and Yin Xinyue, “Actually, I do know the origin of that otherworldly item…”
That thing was the Courtier Drum.
Rumor said that after Emperor Kangxi captured Ao Bai, he had listed thirty crimes Ao Bai had committed to justify the search of his house and confiscate his possessions. Shortly after, thirteen famous generals under Ao Bai’s command decided to rebel. They gathered their military forces at the Shanhai Pass and prepared themselves to overthrow the emperor.
Ao Bai’s subordinates were tough generals with ample battle experience, and the Eight Banners’ armies were no match for them. After several battles, Kangxi’s army was still unable to destroy the rebellious force, and two of his uncles were killed.
Seeing the rebellious force was about to strike the imperial city, Emperor Kangxi was as anxious as an ant on a hot pan. A shaman in his palace suggested using Ao Bai’s and his oldest son’s skulls to make a Courtier Drum with a secret shamanic technique. They could use that drum to subdue the rebels.
The Qing dynasty had originated from the Jurchen people, whose main religion was Shamanism.
Kangxi listened to the shaman’s suggestion. They made the Courtier Drum and discreetly ordered a eunuch to take it to the frontline. A few days later, horrible things happened to the thirteen rebellious generals. Six of them died unexpectedly, four killed themselves, and the remaining three fled to Korea.
As one could guess, the Courtier Drum had the power to subdue and control people. However, the people under its control would generate strong resentful energy, and the energy would harm the one using the drum.
Although Emperor Kangxi had defeated the great rebellious force, not long after, the eunuch who had used the drum died tragically; his entire body swelled up with horrible pustules.
With such an unexpected side effect, Emperor Kangxi decided to seal that drum deep in Mount Changbai, pledging never to use it again. Since it was an ambiguous and odd story, it wasn’t included in the official historical records, but the unofficial records did register this fact. And now, there was finally real proof that the Courtier Drum existed.
After listening to me, Yin Xinyue asked, “Why did you feign ignorance when Captain Liang asked you? Don’t you believe in him?”
“We all saw what he did tonight, so I don’t think he’s trustworthy. We should better be on guard when dealing with him from now on!” I said sternly.
Li Mazi said, “I agree. I have never seen anyone as cold-blooded as he is. We’ll solve this ourselves. We don’t want him to stay behind and stab our backs when we’re not paying attention. Little Brother Zhang, how much could this Courtier Drum go for?”
I ignored him as I was worried about whether I would be able to handle that drum with my strength. It would be much better if Zen Master Baimei or Chuyi were here. However, as those two’s whereabouts were always unknown, we couldn’t always contact them.
After we arrived at the shop, I asked Yin Xinyue to cook some glutinous rice so that I could extract the corpse toxins from my back. It took 250 grams of glutinous rice to extract all the toxins in my body. Yin Xinyue wrapped my wound after disinfecting it; that would be enough to keep me safe.
A few days passed by. There was no information from the police station, and I kept on reading the books my grandpa left in the shop during those days to find a solution.
One day, Fengshen Nana suddenly called me. Even though she had my number, she had never called me before. She was still in the hospital, and I wondered if it was something serious.
Fengshen Nana asked me to meet her at the hospital, telling me that she wanted to discuss something important.
I couldn’t say no, given the stern tone of her voice. I drove to the hospital and was preparing to see her bedridden with many tubes injected into her body. Contrary to my expectations, she could already leave her bed and walk. However, she needed to stay there for a few more days for the doctor to observe her wound.
It was a bullet wound, so the hospital had to report this to the police. The Criminal Police force had investigated and ended filing this as ‘firearm accidentally gone off.’ Well, we now knew the way Captain Liang worked.
Fengshen Nana invited me to sit down once I entered her hospital room. She poured me some warm water and offered me a Fuji apple. I gently declined.
She looked less tough and cuter when she wasn’t wearing a uniform. Her long, black hair was held in a ponytail behind her back, giving her the look of your typical girl next.
“Why the sudden need to see me? Did something happen?” I asked.
Fengshen Nana scanned the surroundings. It was midday, and there was only one patient sleeping in the corner. She lowered her voice and said, “Mr. Zhang, do you remember the story of the filial headless man?”
“I do. What about it?” I was puzzled.
“Captain Liang was among those who got to see that filial headless man. He was also the one who asked people to unearth the mother’s coffin in the storage. Still, he didn’t react at all when I told you guys that story. It’s really strange.” Fengshen Nana looked at me in the eyes.
I suddenly understood. “You mean that the ‘Officer Liang’ we saw is an impostor?”
“I thought about it all night, and the more I think about it, the more I feel that something’s off. Did you ever notice that Officer Liang didn’t sweat at all?” asked Fengshen Nana.
I recalled this fact the moment she mentioned it. That night, we had to run up and down and gasp for breath. Indeed, Captain Liang didn’t even sweat a drop.
Was it really a disguise?
Impersonating another person was a serious crime, and we could end in jail if we were wrong and Officer Liang pressed charges for false accusations.
“Fengshen Nana, are you sure about it?”
“I know Captain Liang, and he would never shoot his own people!” Fengshen Nana was emotional.
I gave her a slight nod. “Don’t tell anyone else about this. You should be careful. Focus on recovering to leave the hospital fast, okay?”
Captain Liang called me as soon as I walked out of the hospital. “They found two dead bodies this morning, a little girl and a little boy in the suburban area of Wuhan. We also found an important clue for this case. We’ll probably catch the murderer tonight. You must come to the police station this evening.”
I agreed and got in my car. I then sent Li Mazi a short message, asking him to prepare something for me.
I wanted to call Yin Xinyue, but then I thought that it would be really dangerous. Moreover, she was really busy these days since her company had just invested in a new drama. I decided not to tell her.
When I reached the police station, Officer Liang had been waiting for me for quite a long time. He took me to the morgue as soon as I arrived.
The two kids lay on the bed, and their bodies were covered in pustules of various sizes. One of them had a rotten pustule on their throat that was now a hole so big we could see the trachea inside. One glance was enough for me to feel nauseous; I didn’t feel like having dinner anymore.
The forensic doctor reported that the deceased were covered with poisonous wounds; they had apparently died of renal failure.
Being the shield of that drum user, I knew that the two kids had been tormented a lot while still alive.
If his shields had been left in that state, I could imagine how the user would look like at the moment. His body was probably full of lumps and pustules.
Captain Liang was quite angry and cursed, “What a filthy bastard! I will make him pay for this!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter