I started to prepare immediately. I hung a rollerball pen above a standard-sized sheet of paper, allowing the pen's nib to touch it.
I was going to use the pen Ouija method!
However, this version of the method would be different from how it was commonly employed. When ordinary people used this method, they would attract a random nearby ghost to answer their questions, but I would be inviting a specific ghost for this case.
Using rooster blood, I drew a circle around the paper. I wanted to ensure that nothing could escape or enter the circle!
Once I completed the preparations, I placed the paper cup containing the mystery novel author’s soul onto the table, offering three incense sticks. I wanted to feed the soul before continuing.
Wang Xu watched me prepare with an amazed expression, “Xinyue said that you’re an antique merchant. How could an antique merchant know how to do this?”
“These days, you must have a variety of talents to survive.” I smiled at him.
Next, I opened the seal of the cup, and a wisp of chilly wind swirled up, entering the pen.
I cleared my throat and asked some questions for verification. “Who are you?”
The pen began to move, writing the name of the author. Wang Xu stared at the paper, feeling shocked.
I took the sheet of paper away and placed another one down. “Who is the murderer in your mystery novel, The Bloody Apartment?”
The pen didn’t move. I knew that the author didn’t want to answer this sort of question, so I had to explain that we were helping him finish his novel.
Since the story had many connected plotlines and all of the characters were suspicious but had logical alibis, we couldn’t figure out the murderer. That was why we had to invite the original author here to help us.
In the end, I managed to convince the author. The pen slowly wrote a few words on the paper: Tenant Number Three.
“Oh, so it’s that person!” Wang Xu was thrilled. “Yeah, that’s the most compelling and reasonable ending. I got it now. Totally got it!”
“Is everything fine now?” I asked.
“Yes, it is.” Wang Xu nodded.
My interest was piqued. “When the book is published, send me a copy.”
Wang Xu agreed.
“Mr. Zhang, your trick was marvelous. If you have time, you should later invite the soul of Cao Xueqin’s ghost. He should finish his book, Dream of the Red Chamber  too!”
“You sure have some strange thoughts. Where would I even find Cao Xueqin’s ghost?” I burst out laughing.
Before I sent the author’s soul off, Yin Xinyue asked me curiously, “Brother Zhang, I have never played Ouija before. Can I ask something?”
“Sure,” I nodded.
Yin Xinyue thought for a moment before asking, “Pen, do you think I’m beautiful?”
A moment later, the pen wrote, “Yes.”
I felt amused by the situation. “What kind of question is that. That was too obvious.”
“All right, another question then.” Yin Xinyue contemplated and asked her second question, “Who killed you?”
The newspapers reported that this author had killed himself due to stress. I thought that he would write the word ‘suicide,’ but I was proven wrong as the rollerball pen wrote a name: Brother Wei.
Yin Xinyue and I were shocked. I hurriedly asked, “Why did Brother Wei want to kill you?”
The pen didn’t move this time. I assumed that even the victim didn’t know why he was murdered. Finished with my questions, I burned three more incense sticks to send the author’s ghost back into the paper cup.
I never expected that playing Ouija would provide us with the truth. It turned out that Brother Wei sold the magic brush to those writers, and after it killed one of them, he took the brush and sold it to the next author. No wonder the resentful souls kept pestering him! This was the most despicable act in the otherworldly item community. If this occurred during my grandfather’s time, Brother Wei would have been eradicated.
Once Yin Xinyue left with Wang Xu, I called some acquaintances that also knew Brother Wei. They told me that Brother Wei hadn’t been home for quite a long time. His wife took their kids back to her mother’s house, and his shop was closed as well. No one knew where he was.
After I learned of this, I spread the recently obtained news in our Circle, offering a reward of one hundred thousand renminbi for those who could tell me Brother Wei’s whereabouts. This time, I was resolved to remove this scumbag from our Circle at any cost!
Li Mazi called me the next day, telling me that he had found Meng Dongye. “Little Brother Zhang, you should come quickly. This fellow has almost killed himself from writing. I’ve tried talking to him, but he won’t listen.”
“Wait for me.”
I drove to the address Li Mazi sent me with some difficulty as I wasn’t familiar with this route. I had to ask many people for directions to get to the hostel's location. When I arrived, I headed straight to the third floor, hearing Li Mazi’s voice coming from an open door.
As I entered the room, I saw Meng Dongye sitting on a chair with an infusion stand next to him. He had a glucose drip attached to his arm while writing. He was smoking a cigarette and frowning. Ashes were scattered all over his keyboard, but his fingers still glided quickly across the keyboard. Meng Dongye didn’t even take the time to brush away the ashes.
Seeing Meng Dongye alive, I heaved a sigh of relief.
“Finally, you’re here! Look at him. I talked to him, and he almost started a fight with me.” Li Mazi said with a sour expression.
“Screenwriter Meng, come with me!” I advised him.
“Get lost! Don’t interfere with my love for writing. I need to write another two hundred thousand words. Once that has been done, I will hand the brush back to you…” Meng Dongye said.
“No matter what, you won’t be able to finish this script.”
“Don’t speak nonsense. Stay away from me, and do not disturb me. This is the best way for you to help me!” Meng Dongye pushed my hand away.
I didn’t know whether I should cry or laugh. Since we couldn’t convince him to stop writing, we would have to resort to tying him up.
But at this moment, I smelled the scent of blood in the air. I turned to scan the room. The bedsheets were neatly arranged; it seemed that Meng Dongye hadn’t slept for two days. There was no blood on the ground, either.
I lifted my head, asking Li Mazi, “Did you also smell blood in the air just now?”
“You smelled something?” Li Mazi sniffed. “I didn’t catch anything!”
“Excuse me, could you please hand me the ashtray?” Meng Dongye asked as he held his cigarette.
I didn’t sense anything off, so I reached to grab the ashtray. It was made of industrial glass, which was heavy and thick. Although it looked clean, I felt something sticky on it. I checked again and saw blood!
I turned around to see the rest of the room only to find out that Li Mazi and Meng Dongye were no longer there. I saw only one man lying on the ground, his head bleeding.
Blood was all over the ground, and my footprints were everywhere.
And the bloody, still-dripping ashtray in my hand was the murder weapon!
My head buzzed. I knew I was set up.
I dropped the heavy ashtray and rushed out of the room. Two cops walked toward me from the other end of the corridor, screaming, “Freeze!”
I felt I was done for. I couldn’t come clean even if I jumped into the Yellow River! I immediately dashed away with the cops chasing after me.
When I left the hostel, I saw my car parked a short distance away. I rushed over there. But all of a sudden, a hand grabbed my collar, pulling me back. I saw that it was Li Mazi, and I realized that I was standing on the road, a heavy truck roaring past me.
If he hadn’t pulled me back, I would have been crushed!
I turned around. There was no cop chasing after me.
“Little Brother Zhang, were you controlled? I called you, but you didn’t listen to me. You headed directly to the road!” Li Mazi looked panicked.
“Why were you standing here?” I asked.
“I was afraid that you weren’t familiar with the streets here, so I stayed and waited for you. I didn’t notice you until just now,” Li Mazi said.
I understood what had happened. The room, the cops, and the car were just an illusion. The magic brush tricked me. However, the blood that I touched and the man on the ground were real. It was Meng Dongye. Someone had attacked him!
“Not good! We must get back in there quickly!” I cried.
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