Shen Haoran had fear in his eyes. However, he gritted his teeth and continued his story.
They got up at around midnight. The effect of alcohol was gone and they found themselves in the haunted house. They were scared and wanted to leave. When they stood up, they recognized they were naked. Shen Haoran got into the mood again and turned to touch Orange. They forgot about their fears.
“But why was that painting there?!” Shen Haoran suddenly became frantic. His hands subconsciously moved in the air.
“While we were intimate with each other, Orange suddenly touched something. She grabbed it and found that it was the painting our friend had brought. We didn’t turn on the light, so we didn’t know what was inside. Orange even joked that if it were Li Yu’s real handwriting, we would be wealthy!
“I don’t know why, but I received the scroll from her and rolled it open. I was so scared to see a white shadow move out of the scroll. It stood in front of us and watched us. Orange fainted at the sight of it. I was so scared that I couldn’t even move. The white shadow looked at me for quite a long time. I didn’t even dare to breathe aloud. But that shadow didn’t do anything to us, apart from moving around us for a long time before disappearing…”
He continued, “When the white shadow disappeared, I carried Orange over my shoulder and rushed out of the haunted house. I got a room in a motel that night. When Orange woke up the next morning, she didn’t look right. I thought she was still scared and didn’t pay much attention to it. Since we had lied to her parents, I didn’t send her home directly. I took her to an area near her house and stood there to watch her enter the building. After that, I left. However, when I went to visit her the next day, I found that the painting we had left in the haunted house was returned to Orange.”
After telling me the whole story, Shen Haoran exhaled in relief and said that he was no longer keeping any secrets from us.
Li Mazi was curious. “Why did you hide this from us?”
I shot Li Mazi a glance and made a mental note that this buddy of mine was an idiot. Since Shen Haoran and Orange weren’t married yet, he had to hide this secret as he was worried about Orange’s reputation.
According to Shen Haoran, that painting was normal until he unfolded it, which released the spirit inside. It could mean that the spirit had been sealed in the scroll and that Shen Haoran had accidentally released it.
After that, Orange became frail and bony. It was as if the painting had sucked her dry. She had lost her mind, too.
I thought that Orange’s mother's action of burning the scroll had enraged the spirit further. That was why it was so angry and was taking revenge on Orange. Orange hadn’t woken up yet. With these clues, my eyes brightened. I remembered the white face we had seen on the windshield. Instinctively, I asked Shen Haoran, “That flat, white face was the one you saw the other day?”
Shen Haoran nodded and felt frightened. “It’s following me! It won’t let me go. People who have touched the painting will die!”
“Calm down. Orange hasn’t died yet, right?” I roared at his face. I couldn’t stand his outburst.
Shen Haoran was shocked that I had yelled at his face. He helplessly sat on the ground and kept quiet.
“Is there anything special about that white shadow?” I asked.
If it were from a painting, it could be a historical figure. If I knew its origin, it would be easier to solve.
Shen Haoran shook his head. Then, he seemed to remember something. He said with uncertainty, “It has a pair of strange eyes. It seems that each of its eyes has two pupils.”
After hearing that, my head buzzed. I blurted, “Hurry! Get back to the motel!”
Li Mazi didn’t know what had happened, but he knew it wasn’t good news, as I was urging them. He pulled Shen Haoran, and they followed me.
Eyes with double pupils! The Last Ruler Li Yu of Southern Tang had double pupils!
The spirit was Li Yu. We got in the car and drove to the motel. I rushed to our room. After opening the door, I emptied my bag. Everything was there except for Li Yu’s painting.
At this moment, Li Mazi and Shen Haoran also came in. Looking at the items littered on the bed, they asked, “What’s wrong?”
“It’s Li Yu!” I said helplessly. It was no wonder why he was able to stop us on the road. He was always with us!
“Holy moly!” Li Mazi screamed in surprise. Then, he asked, “Little Brother Zhang, wasn’t that a counterfeit? Did you chisel a hole?”
Chiseling was slang in our business. It meant that someone had made a wrong assumption about a real antique being a fake one and vice versa.
I immediately turned to Shen Haoran. “You’d better call your friends that were there that day. Ask Orange’s mother to come too!”
Shen Haoran saw my stern face. He took out his phone and made the calls. He asked his friends to meet up at the hospital where Orange was staying. The hospital in the town wasn’t good, and there weren’t many patients there. Orange was staying in a four-patient ward, but she was the only patient in the room. When we arrived at the hospital, two of Shen Haoran’s friends were already there. After a brief introduction, I knew the slender man was named Aqian and that the chubby one was Along. He was the friend Shen Haoran said was unusual.
Orange’s mother welcomed us with a suspicious face. Shen Haoran introduced me to her. After that, Orange’s mother came and grabbed my hand. She begged me to save Orange. She looked as though she was about to get on her knees.
I pitied the hearts of parents. I comforted her then asked, “Ma’am, did you really sell that painting?”
Orange’s mother looked panicked. After hesitating for a while, she told me the truth. “I didn’t burn it. I sold the painting.”
She had wanted to burn it, but when she got out of the house, she saw a vendor who was crying about wanting to collect antiques. It suited her purpose as she had wanted to get rid of the painting as fast as possible. She sold it for the price of five hundred renminbi.
I flinched. She had met the vendor from whom I had bought the painting. Pity my three thousand and five hundred renminbi! I didn’t expect that it would come to me. It was no wonder why I felt something wrong about it. It turned out that a spirit was dwelling in it!
After a while, two other friends of Shen Haoran arrived. After a simple introduction, nobody spoke. The atmosphere in the patient ward was somewhat heavy. Although Li Mazi was a despicable man, he didn’t know what to say at this moment.
However, it was good for me. I needed to calm down to think about the situation. I faced the window and sat down. My brain began to work fast. From the moment I had bought the painting to the moment Shen Haoran came to my shop and asked me to help him, everything was so coincidental. It seemed there was something behind this that was quietly instigating everything…
I had thought for quite a long time, but I hadn’t figured out any new clues. At sunset, Shen Haoran bought us dinner. After dinner, the sky outside was completely dark. Everybody tensed up.
I had given each of the people in the room a talisman and asked them to keep it with them. Then, I asked Li Mazi to take them to the ward next door. Since Li Mazi had the Yin and Yang Umbrella with him, the people in his group wouldn’t be in danger. Moreover, if the Yin and Yang Umbrella was attacked, I would know immediately. With a close distance, I could go there to rescue them quickly.
After they all went to the other room, I stuck a talisman onto Orange and sprinkled wormwood powder around her bed. Then, I turned off the light and got on the bed next to hers, covering myself with the bedsheet. At the same time, I held the Sirius Whip tightly in my hands!
Every second that ticked by was a second I felt tormented by. While waiting, I heard a lot of commotions outside. A doctor came to see why the light was turned off and a nurse wanted to check the room. Li Mazi and Shen Haoran stopped them by the door.
As it was approaching midnight, all the sounds around subsided and gradually disappeared. The entire room was dead silent. My nerves tensed up and my breathing slowed down.
Suddenly, footsteps came from the corridor. The footsteps sounded soft and slow. It stopped at the door of the patient’s room. I closed my eyes and used my senses to feel someone opening the door. After the door was pushed open, I heard a woman whine.
Her voice was some sort of a smooth melody. However, in this silent and dark night, it sent chills down my spine.
Since I had already put on a Yang Concealing Talisman and my movements were slow and careful, I wasn’t afraid that I would disturb the spirit. I slowly lifted the bedsheet to see. I was surprised to see Orange. She had been sleeping in the previous moment and was now leaning against her bedhead, wiping her tears.
She looked strangely aggrieved. It was enough for people to pity her. I hurried to read the sacred text of Daoism since I was afraid that she could affect me. Then, I continued to observe the situation.
The white shadow sat next to Orange. It didn’t seem the wormwood powder was able to affect him. He tenderly looked at her.
What’s going on? Does he love Orange? Or does he want to kill her now so that they can be a ghost couple?
Subconsciously, I held my breath. I wanted to see what they wanted to do. I had watched them for quite a long time. However, they didn’t do anything other than cry.
I was a little restless. I thought to myself, You guys don’t feel tired, but my neck hurts! Please make a move already!Previous Chapter Next Chapter