Chapter 421: Life-Endangering Illusion

My plan went smoothly, having extracted two of the writer’s souls. Perhaps we could finish the task tonight before it was too late, and I could have enough time to take Yin Xinyue out for supper. 

Of course, it was just a random thought. I didn’t dare be careless even for a moment. My eyes stayed fixed on the magic brush, waiting for the third soul to come out. 

Suddenly, someone hit the bathroom door from the inside. Li Mazi kicked the door, shouting, “Hey! Stay put. Behave yourself in there!” 

Someone started to sob inside the toilet. We heard a male voice crying and whining, “Let me out! I want to finish my work! I have to give my readers justice. I don’t want them to curse me as someone who leaves things unfinished!”

The Ksitigarbha Talisman had separated the soul from the power of the magic brush. That was why we could hear their real feelings. The guy had always been obsessed with finishing his novel.

I told him, “Relax! Tomorrow, I’m going to help you complete your novel. I’m sure both you and your readers will be satisfied!” 

“Is that so? Then, how could I repay this favor of yours?” 

This voice came from behind my body. I turned and saw a bleeding man standing behind me, reaching his long fingernails toward my neck. 

Everything happened so suddenly that I screamed in fright. Instinctively, I backed away. His hand passed through my body, and then he turned into a mist, vanishing. Yin Xinyue also saw this, visibly frightened.

“It isn’t real,” I comforted her. “This brush doesn’t have much power. It can only fabricate illusions. Don’t be scared.” 

I looked at the bathroom and saw that the talisman was still intact. We were lucky that the soul was still locked inside. All of a sudden, the tables and chairs in the room began to move. They scraped loudly against the floor, and the vases on the shelf began to crack. The magic brush spun faster and faster, trying to escape the thread. 

“Not good!” 

I lowered my head to see my palms. Earlier, I accidentally touched and destroyed a part of the formation. With this opportunity, the magic brush seized this chance to strike back. 

I couldn’t let it run away. I hurried to grab a brush and dip it into the mixture of blood and ink, fixing the formation. 

But right at that time, my surroundings suddenly turned dark. All the lights in the room were off. I frowned, “A power outage now? Of all times?” 

The bedroom door suddenly sprang open, and Meng Dongye rushed out, screaming, “It’s my brush! No one can touch it! I changed my mind! I changed my mind!” 

He cried, then jumped into the formation, reaching his hand and grabbing the magic brush. I was startled and got up to stop him, but it was completely dark, and my vision was limited. Meng Dongye bumped into me, and if Yin Xinyue didn’t support me from behind, I would have fallen. 

“Li Mazi! Stop him!” I called. 

“Got it!” Li Mazi ran forward. However, he stumbled on something along the wall, falling and crying out loudly. 

Yin Xinyue quickly took out her mobile phone, turning on the flashlight. We then saw four faceless, bleeding men standing in front of us. She shrieked in fear, jumping into my arms. She didn’t dare to look at them another time.  

I comforted her. “Don’t be scared. They are just illusions!” I waved my hand, and the four ghosts disappeared. 

It appeared that Meng Dongye ran away while we were distracted. We heard his footsteps in the corridor. I never expected things would go this way. If I had known earlier, I would have tied him up! 

“Hurry up! Go get him! Don’t let him run away!” I was restless in our pursuit of the magic brush.  

Li Mazi was nearest to the door, so he moved first. However, the door was on the right, but he ran to the left. I sensed that something was wrong, but before I could open my mouth to call out for him, Li Mazi banged into the ‘door’ with a heavy thud. He must have seen the stars. 

It turned out the door he saw just now was an illusion created by the magic brush. The real door was right where it used to be. 

He rubbed his bruised, swelling forehead and cursed, “This damn brush is absolutely vile. If it falls into my hand, I’ll soak it in swine piss for a whole year!” 

The magic brush’s lethality was far lower than other otherworldly items we had confronted in the past, but it made up for it with higher intelligence.

We followed Meng Dongye outside, who was running while holding a bag. No matter how hard we called for him, he didn’t even turn around. The people living in the building looked at us as if we were crazy. 

Yin Xinyue asked, “Didn’t he wear the wolf hide? How did the otherworldly item get the best of him?” 

“He wasn’t controlled. He just changed his mind. He doesn’t want to let this brush go…” I sighed. 

Compared to otherworldly items, human greed was far more unpredictable. I cursed him under my breath. He was tortured until he became like this but still treasured the brush. 

When we came to the road, we saw Meng Dongye hurriedly getting into a car, fleeing away. 

Li Mazi suggested getting back to our car and chasing after him.

“We won’t make it in time!” I said as I waved a taxi down. 

I took the co-driver seat, talking to the driver. “Sir, please follow that car. Don’t let it run away!” 

The driver sounded high-spirited. “What’s going on? It looks like you’re shooting a movie!” 

I withheld the truth. “Please hurry. The man driving that car is my uncle. He ran away from a mental hospital, and he’s extremely dangerous. We must bring him back. I’ll pay you double the standard fee.” 

“All right! Sit tight!” 

The driver stepped on the accelerator, following the car in front of us. 

The two cars kept a distance of around twenty meters from each other. Meng Dongye’s car was running in circles as if he didn’t have a destination. 

When the car stopped at a traffic light, I saw Meng Dongye sitting in the back seat, hanging his head. Something bright and rectangular was placed on his knees. It looked like a notebook! 

“Damn, he’s writing in the back of the car! He’s completely crazy!” Li Mazi exclaimed. 

I could now understand the power of the brush. It could magnify human greed endlessly, which continued to overwhelm everything else. 

Meng Dongye didn’t realize that he would never be able to finish his current script. Every time he typed a word, he was one step closer to his death. 

Yin Xinyue took out her phone, calling Meng Dongye, but his phone was turned off. We’d been after him for around one hour at this point.

After crossing a viaduct, the driver checked his meter, reminding me, “Buddy, we've been driving for more than one hundred kilometers. Do you still want to run after him?” 

I checked the meter. The fee was more than two hundred renminbi already. I directly paid the driver four hundred. “Yeah, please, after him!” 

The driver looked happy and took the money. “Okay, okay. Customers are God! I’ll listen to your request!” 

Right at this moment, a large truck drove directly towards us. I knew it was an illusion created by the brush because even though the truck was rushing fast, it didn’t even raise a speck of dust behind it. However, the driver was still scared. He immediately turned the wheel to the left. 

I hurried to grab the wheel to stop him. The truck hit us, and the driver let out an ear-splitting shriek, which shook my eardrums. Following that, the truck turned into a mist, disappearing. 

“Don’t be afraid. It’s just an illusion…” 

The driver suddenly stomped on the brake. Under the influence of inertia, I lurched forward and almost hit the windshield. He screamed crazily, “Get out! Get out of my car! I’m not going to drive you anymore! Even if you give me more money!” 

“Sir, have mercy. If we don’t follow him, he’ll die soon!” Yin Xinyue begged the driver. 

We flattered him so much that we almost sang the Yunnan folk song, ‘Old Driver Take Me With You.’ However, the driver unwaveringly denied us. Eventually, we had to get out of his car. 

Li Mazi jotted his plate number down and said that he was going to report this car. The driver scolded, “You’re all crazy!”

After saying this, he drove away, sending exhaust smoke towards our faces as if in revenge. 

Seeing Meng Dongye’s car leaving far away, I felt discouraged.

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