Meng Dongye was skeptical. “Brother Wei, it’s not that I don’t trust you, but according to that folktale, Jiang Yan got a five-colored divine brush in his dream. Such a brush can’t exist in reality!”
Brother Wei just smiled. “You can’t just look at the surface of things. Sometimes, the truth isn’t as awesome as in the legends. This brush is an otherworldly item that Jiang Yan obtained from somewhere. After he got it, his literature career started to thrive again. However, he couldn’t tell people that. He made up a story and told people that he got the magic brush in a dream. Later on, he found the side effects of the brush to be too dangerous. He got rid of it, then told people that the old immortal had decided to take it back. Screenwriter Meng, I’m not bragging. Although you guys have read a lot of books, there are many things you don’t know because they aren’t written down. You shouldn’t blindly trust books,” Brother Wei said.
I agreed with Brother Wei about this point. Otherworldly items always contained a lot of knowledge and historical stories. These things couldn’t be found in books. I had encountered many otherworldly items over the years and obtained a lot of knowledge.
Meng Dongye touched the brush. “You mean this brush has some side effects? Could you please elaborate?”
Brother Wei laughed. “Don’t worry. It’s just a brush, so it can’t cause you a lot of harm. At most, it will take a few years of your life span. Jiang Yan had used it until he reached his middle-aged years. So, I don’t think it’s that serious.”
“It will take a few years of my life span?” Meng Dongye frowned. It looked like he was struggling to decide. It wasn’t easy for ordinary people to take this step, and once they took it, there was no turning back. However, humans were greedy.
In the end, he said, “As long as I can write an excellent script, I’m willing to pay this price. The life of a writer doesn’t depend on its length, as a famous work can immortalize their name.”
“What a man!” Brother Wei clapped. “One, I admire your frankness. Two, I like your screenwriting works. Mr. Meng, I will give you this brush for free. Please accept it as a gift from me.”
“No, no, I can’t take it for free. It’s not easy for you to work in this business.” Meng Dongye immediately handed the money box to Brother Wei.
Brother Wei was just being polite, so he immediately accepted the money. “I like making friends. Could you sign here for me?”
Meng Dongye paid the money and Brother Wei handed over the item. The business deal was done. The moment Brother Wei reached out his hand to receive the money box, I noticed a cut on his arm. It didn’t look like it was a recent cut, but it didn’t look old, either. He saw that I was looking and hastily covered the wound with his sleeve.
I felt that this wasn’t a simple deal. Brother Wei looked as if he wanted to sell this brush as fast as possible.
Meng Dongye asked him how to use the brush.
“You see the small hole at the top of the brush? Feed it your blood for three days. There’s no need to feed it much. Just do it once every six hours. You have to drop your blood in it until the entire nib turns red. That’s when the brush will be awakened. Then, you can use it to write anything. I’m sure inspiration will flow like a river!”
“I have to write using this brush?” Meng Dongye asked.
Brother Wei laughed again. “You’re funny. You can use whatever you like to write. The otherworldly item will work when it’s placed near you.”
“All right, I got it.” Meng Dongye smiled. He was satisfied.
We said goodbye to Brother Wei and left the abandoned building. I asked Meng Dongye to contact me if he encountered anything strange while using the brush.
He agreed and left.
I turned and walked to a food street in the neighborhood.
“What are you doing?” asked Yin Xinyue.
“I want to know something.”
A female shopkeeper was sitting behind the counter, eating melon seeds while watching TV. I went to greet her, but she ignored me.
I had to buy a packet of cigarettes to make the woman change her attitude.
“Aunty, I want to ask you something. How long has the building behind you been abandoned?”
“Two or three years,” answered the shopkeeper.
“Do you know why they stopped building it?”
The shopkeeper thought and said, “There was a major accident, and around ten workers died. The people in this area don’t dare to buy an apartment there, and all the apartments that were sold before the incident were returned. The real estate company couldn’t take back its investment while owing a huge sum of money to the bank. I heard that the company’s boss fled to Taiwan and hid there. That’s why the building was left unfinished…”
She then assessed me. “Are you going to buy that plot of land?”
I gave her a vague answer. “I just want to ask for some information for my friend.”
The shopkeeper advised sincerely, “You should tell your friend not to throw money into the river. Do you know what this place used to be? It was an execution ground! The prisoners were sent here to be beheaded. That real estate agent bought it because it was cheap and then that horrible accident happened. This place’s geomancy is bad. I never stay here at night. They say people often see headless shadows walking back and forth.”
I cursed under my breath! Brother Wei had fooled us!
I hurried to return to the building. On the way back, Yin Xinyue asked me, “Brother Zhang, this is an ominous place. Why did that man want to take shelter here?”
“He wants to use poison to deal with poison. I’m sure that the brush isn’t anything good. To subdue it, he decided to stay in this dangerous place!” I explained.
“Using poison to treat poison? Is that a thing?” Yin Xinyue was skeptical.
I nodded. The relationship between souls wasn’t always nice. Generally speaking, ancient ghosts and modern ghosts wouldn’t get along, and I sometimes used this method to deal with otherworldly items.
When I rushed back there, I saw Brother Wei packing up his stuff. While cleaning, he was happily humming a song.
When he saw us, his face grew awkward. “My wife just called me. She found a basement for me to stay in. It’s not good to stay in this abandoned building. I’m preparing to move there.”
“How can there be such a coincidence?” I sneered. “You lied to me and said that the cops were watching you! However, the truth is that you stayed here to subdue that brush!”
“Little Brother Zhang, you’re being unfair here! With my long-time credit in this business, how could I sell something problematic to my customers?” Brother Wei protested.
“You like to hide, don’t you? Do you know that I know a trick that can make you hide for the rest of your life?” I growled.
Brother Wei paled in fright and begged. “Please, don’t! I know what you’re capable of. I’ll tell you the truth.”
“Spit it out. What’s the story behind that brush?”
Brother Wei scratched his head and gave me an embarrassed look. “That brush… has killed people.”
I wasn’t surprised. “Continue.”
“That brush has had four former owners. The previous two were webnovel writers, and the latter two were authors for a publisher.”
When he said that, I suddenly remembered the news about a novel author who had killed himself under pressure.
This brush could inspire people endlessly, as if they were blessed by the heavens. However, the side effects were really tremendous. It would torture the owner and exhaust them mentally and physically. What was even more frightening was that after the brush tortured an owner to death, his soul would be tied into the brush.
Ever since Brother Wei got the brush in his house, he couldn’t live in peace. Four ghosts kept biting and scratching him, asking him to return the brush to them. He could neither sleep nor eat. He had almost lost his mind.
In the end, he came to this abandoned construction as his last resort. This place also had paranormal activities. However, compared to the brush, the ghosts here were like a friendly and loving family.
Brother Wei lifted his shirt to show us his body. His entire upper body was filled with scratches. There was no area left intact.
I frowned. “Why didn’t you come to see me?”
“Come to you? Oh please, we’re all otherworldly merchants. Don’t tell me that you don’t know the rule.”
“Which rule?” I was dumbstruck.
“If you join in, the item will belong to you, and you will sell it again afterward. I'm not crazy. I paid two hundred thousand for this brush, and I won’t do charity,” said Brother Wei.
“Do you want your life or money?”
Brother Wei’s following answer enraged me.
“I want both!”