My jacket was on the ground by the well, but I didn’t dare to go there to pick it up.
The rest of my equipment was still with me, so it was fine to leave the jacket behind. We followed the traces all the way up to the mountain.
The mountain was fenced with a heavy barbed wire net. There were several watchtowers, including soldiers patrolling with their guns.
We thought about sneaking in from the back, but the searchlight from the watchtower spotted us. I heard a soldier yell, “Who’s there?! This is a military area. No unauthorized entry!”
Before he could finish, three patrolling soldiers arrived with submachine guns in their hands.
We reluctantly raised our hands above our heads.
I didn’t know what to do, but I saw Chuyi mouth something to me. At first, I thought he wanted to break through the encirclement, which scared me to death.
But when I turned around, I realized that I had misunderstood his intentions. He was talking about that big hole in the barbed wire net. A man that looked like an officer was carefully checking the hole with several other soldiers.
After hearing the commotion over here, he said something to his soldiers, adjusted his cap, and walked toward us.
Thanks to the searchlight, I saw that the officer had a stripe and three gold stars on his badge. He was a Captain.
According to the rumors, there was a company stationed here. I guessed he was the leader here, the company commander.
The company commander strolled toward us and observed us carefully. When he opened his mouth, he spoke with a thick Northeast accent. “It’s so late. Why are you guys here?”
“We were just strolling around.” I’d learned this technique from Li Mazi. “We drank a little bit and decided to play a game of dare. We heard that this mountain was really scary, so we came to see for ourselves.”
“You guys have a lot of time to kill, don’t you?” The company commander laughed. “If you have nothing to do here, go home and sleep. Do not stay here, or else you will end up in trouble.”
Chuyi suddenly asked, “How did the barbed wire net get torn? Who did that?”
The company commander’s eyes twinkled. “Something unexpected happened, but it’s not a big deal. I will get some guys to fix it tomorrow.”
“Was it really an unexpected event?” Chuyi said, “If you don’t take it seriously, it might become a big deal.”
The company commander understood what Chuyi meant. It could be a big or small matter, but if someone died, his career as an officer could end here. He could even be discharged.
The company commander was concerned about this matter. He then observed the three of us again.
Chuyi was especially eye-catching since he was carrying an eight-faced Han sword on his back. Then, the company commander also saw my Sirius Whip. He gave a slight frown then asked, “Are you from the Longquan Villa?”
This commander knows about the Longquan Villa?!
Right when I was about to deny it, Chuyi nodded. “Yes, the Longquan Villa sent us here. We’ve come to solve the problem.”
The company commander waved his hand. “Good. Follow me.”
He asked the soldiers on duty to put down their weapons. Then, he brought the three of us to the watchtower. He closed the door and said, “ I wasn’t here when it happened, but the guards reported that a female ghost wearing white clothes came here with a sword. She cut the net in one try then disappeared through the hole, heading towards the mountain.”
“That sounds hard to believe,” I said.
The company commander forced a smile. “You’ll get used to it. Anyway, I don’t dare to report this to my superiors. I still want to be the company commander for a few more years.”
I gave him a slight nod. “Is that why you want to fix the net and cover things up? Still, aren’t you afraid that someone might end up dead?”
“I don’t think that will happen. We’re here guarding the place, and no one can get to the mountain.” The company commander sounded cautious. He knew he didn’t have the power to solve this matter.
I shook my head then asked, “If something can go up there, it can also come down here. What if it kills all the villagers?”
The company commander was scared. In a trembling voice, he said, “So… What should I do?”
“It’s easy. Just let us go to the mountain to see how things are going. Then, we’ll be able to tell you if it’s a human or a ghost.”
“All right, when will you go?”
“We can’t delay this. We’ll go now,” I said.
“Aren’t you afraid?” The company commander seemed very anxious, which stunned me a little. The atmosphere turned strange.
I laughed. “Of course not. Are you worried that we will not return from the mountain? Don’t worry. We make a living out of this business. We have our ways.”
The company commander half-believed us and muttered, “The people from the Longquan Villa didn’t dare to climb the mountain before…”
I knew that he had become suspicious, so I had to explain. “They weren’t powerful enough. That’s why they didn’t dare to take risks. We’re the top-tier experts from Longquan Villa, so we can go and down the mountain as we please.”
The company commander nodded. “All right, I will let you in. However, we have to make it clear that we won’t be responsible for anything that happens to you on the mountain. And, as a rule, when the problem is solved, the merit will belong to the military. You guys will only be helpful citizens at most.”
“We understand,” I replied.
The company commander was convinced. He extended his hand to me and introduced himself. “I’m Chen Zhihui.”
“Captain Chen.” I fabricated a name for myself. “I’m Zhang Xiaojiu. Nice to meet you.”
Captain Chen brought us back to the hole and reminded us one more time, “Just to make things clear, this is your operation. Even if you die on the mountain, we won’t send any troopers to search for your dead bodies.”
I nodded. “I understand.”
After we made our preparations, we departed.
I had asked Captain Chen for camouflage jackets to save us from the thorny bushes on the way to the mountain.
This mountain path was bumpy. It seemed that the girl in white had chosen the steepest path to get to the mountain.
Fortunately, we had equipped ourselves well. We used the climbing rope and axes to climb to the top.
Along the way there, we had to get through a lush forest of pine trees. It wasn’t a long time until we reached the top.
The top of the mountain was weathered, with the smooth rocks surrounded by tall ancient trees.
When we got out of the woods, we saw the moonlight shining over the rocks. A white figure was standing opposite of us; her long hair flew in the howling wind.
She slowly drew the ancient bronze sword and pointed at the full moon in the sky.
I was startled and asked, “Xinyue… What day is today?”
“It’s August 17th. What about it?” Yin Xinyue was puzzled.
“No, I meant according to the lunar calendar,” I asked anxiously.
“What a big full moon!” Yin Xinyue now noticed the bright moon in the sky. She covered her mouth. “Oh right, it’s July 15th today!”
“Yeah, July 15th, the day of the Chinese Ghost Festival,” said Chuyi. His tone didn’t have any shade of emotion. It sounded almost mechanical. Yin Xinyue and I shuddered.
The girl in white stood in front of us, pointing her sword to the sky. She stood like that for a while.
Yin Xinyue talked first. “Little Miss, are you okay? If you have any difficulties, you can tell us. We may be able to help you.”
“Little Miss? Hahaha! Did you really think that I was a little girl?” The girl’s voice sounded neither feminine nor masculine. It was ambiguous and somewhat eerie.
Yin Xinyue wanted to say something, but Chuyi stopped her.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“My family name’s Zhao. You can call me General Zhao.” The girl in white spoke strangely.
“I know that your surname is Zhao,” said Chuyi coldly.“How come your departed soul hasn’t scattered? Why did you get out of the bronze sword?”
“To take revenge! Tell me, where’s the State of Qin?”
“The State of Qin? It perished two thousand years ago. You have to go underground to find it.” I burst out laughing.
“What? That’s impossible!”
The girl in white looked lost. At the same time, her eyes flashed with cold light. She faced the sky and screamed, “I just had a nap. How could it be two thousand years already? You’re lying to me, aren’t you?!”
“Why would I lie to you?” said Chuyi
He seemed to have caught onto the girl’s weakness. In a confident voice, he continued, “The State of Qin destroyed the other six states and unified the country, giving birth to the Qin dynasty. Fourteen years later, the Qin dynasty was overthrown. After that, Liu Bang became the Emperor, and the Han dynasty started.”
“What is the current dynasty?”
I chimed in while Chuyi was pondering, “There’s no dynasty. However, the entire country is united.”
The girl in white kept quiet for a long time. Then, in a heavy voice, she asked Chuyi, “You said that the State of Qin destroyed the other six states, right?”
“Yes,” I answered without hesitation.
“So afterward, all the lands belonged to the Qins?”
“Yeah, that’s right. What about it?” I didn’t see anything wrong with this answer.
“So, you guys are all descendants of the Qins!” The girl in white opened her eyes wide in anger. She was so angry that I feared flames would burst out of her eye sockets!Previous Chapter Next Chapter