Chapter 797: The Past (3)

Crack... As soon as his voice trailed off, he snipped off the tip of Ah Lian's pinkie finger, then carefully plucked out the bones inside.

With one final gut-wrenching howl, Ah Lian's entire body spasmed violently before falling completely still.

"You're a fucking piece of scum!! You don't deserve to live!!" the young man roared with a look of deranged fury in his eyes.

The man seemed to turn around in the darkness, and he grabbed onto the young man's face, digging his fingers into the young man's cheeks. "How many times have I told you not to swear? I didn't raise you to be so rude."

The pair of bloodstained scissors was pulled out of Ah Lian's belly button, then slowly extended into the young man's oral cavity. "I'll have to get you to be quiet now. I didn't manage to get any anesthetics, so just bear with the pain for now."

Snip... 

An inhuman howl of excruciating agony rang out in the room, followed by the sound of something wet falling onto the ground. The man didn't even bother to take a look at it as he pulled out what appeared to be a saw with his bloodstained hand. He then gently drummed his fists against his own lower back while performing some stretches like an old man. "You also ate the Taisui fungus, but you turned into a monster. We are completely different beings, so what gives you the right to call yourself my son?"

Qin Ye knew what had just fallen onto the ground.

It was the young man's tongue.

Blood was gushing out of the young man's mouth as he threw himself at his father like a madman, seemingly intending to bite him to death. However, his limbs were tightly bound to the bed, and he couldn't move at all. As such, he could only settle for glowering at his father with extreme fury and hatred in his eyes.

"ARRRRRGH!!!" The wooden bed creaked and groaned as the young man struggled and thrashed with all his might. The man heaved a faint sigh before tightening the young man's bindings, then made his way over to Ah Lian while carrying a boning knife. "This will be the last time. I promise that after this time, you won't be resurrected again. You've always wanted to die, right? So consider this a kind gesture from your father to grant your wish."

Thud! 

The knife was plunged into Ah Lian's belly all the way up to the hilt, and even in unconsciousness, Ah Lian's entire body spasmed once, but then fell still again.

"ARRRRGH!!" The young man's guttural howls reverberated incessantly throughout the entire room, but there was no reply.

The only sound that rang out in response was the sound of sharp blades tearing through skin and flesh.

Right at this moment, the candle's flame flickered slightly, and the young man's entire face was illuminated by its light.

Qin Ye immediately rose to his feet as he stared intently at the screen.

The young man was none other than Huang Jiansen!

"Wait... Hold on a minute..." He stroked his own chin to calm himself down. He suddenly recalled that the male half of the Taisui Crossbred Karmamudrā in the coffin buried under the giant locust tree was also Huang Jiansen's body. 

At the time, he wasn't able to identify the corpse as Huang Jiansen as it had been modified to a completely unrecognizable state. Only when Huang Jiansen appeared as the evil ghost at the gap between the third and fourth floors, when his face was enlarged to several hundred times its original size, was Qin Ye just barely able to identify him.

The footage currently being played depicted the entire process during which his father transformed him into the male Taisui corpse while he was still alive!

Qin Ye didn't want to watch this any longer. It was an extremely graphic and gruesome scene, but he was worried that he would miss some details if he turned away, so he forced himself to keep watching.

What followed was a course on human dissection. The man had clearly performed this procedure countless times, as evidenced by his impeccable expertise and precision. Blood quickly stained the entire wooden bed red, and the only sound in the room was the gruesome clicking of dissection instruments and the grotesque tearing of skin and flesh.

It took Qin Ye virtually all of his willpower to not shift his gaze away, fearing that he would miss the quintessential frames where the man's face would be illuminated by the candlelight. However, right at this moment, the footage was suddenly sped up.

The images on the screen flashed past faster and faster, so much so that the images were blurring into one another. At the same time, all of the grotesque pieces of artwork began to fly through the air as if they had been swept up by a whirlwind, and they slapped incessantly against the wall before bursting into flames without any warning!

The light bulbs in the room also began to flicker unsteadily, and three seconds later, they were finally snuffed out. Meanwhile, a figure flashed through the television screen, only appearing briefly before immediately disappearing and fading into static once again.

Qin Ye was watching the television with an intense gaze. That figure had only featured on the screen for the most fleeting of moments, but it seemed to have been Chu Renmei.

The static and figures on the television screen interchanged between one another faster and faster until finally, the image stabilized amid the sound of crackling electricity.

It was still a deathly silent black and white scene, and on this occasion, there wasn't even any source of light aside from the faint glow of the moon.

This was a setting full of lush greenery, and it seemed to be situated beside the waterhole. Two figures, one male and one female, were intertwined together with the man strangling the woman with a death grip around her neck. He was taller than the woman, and no matter how much the woman struggled and resisted, her flailing nails were unable to reach his face.

"Bu Wantian... How could you be so cruel..." A raspy woman's voice rang out before immediately giving way to a string of gagging sounds.

Bu Wantian? 

Qin Ye's expression changed slightly upon hearing this. This was the scene of Chu Renmei's death! Why was it included in this tape?

There seemed to be something yelling with all its might in his mind, doing everything in its power to make itself heard, but its voice was just barely unable to register in Qin Ye's mind. He continued watching carefully.

Chu Renmei's struggles soon subsided, and she fell completely still.

Bu Wantian was panting slightly, and he didn't say anything as he got up from Chu Renmei's lifeless body. He then looked around as if he were searching for something, and soon, he picked up a rock as large as a human's head!

Immediately thereafter, he slammed the rock viciously onto Chu Renmei's head!

Splat! Even through the screen, Qin Ye could see blood and intracranial fluids splattering through the air. He didn't even dare to imagine what Chu Renmei's head would look like after that horrific blow. However, Bu Wantian didn't stop. He raised the rock before slamming it down onto Chu Renmei's head over and over again in a slow yet determined manner.

The sound of shattering bones, the blood and intracranial fluids gushing along the ground... The gruesome scene continued for over 10 minutes before Bu Wantian finally rose to his feet again.

At this point, he was panting quite heavily, but his hands weren't shaking in the slightest as he pulled out a box of matches, followed by a packet of cigarettes.

The match was lit, creating a spark in the night, and Qin Ye stared intently at the man on the screen. All of a sudden, he noticed a mole on the man's neck!

Come on... Keep bringing that match toward your face... Qin Ye was waiting with bated breath as the match slowly crept upward, but his hopes were dashed when a thought suddenly seemed to have occurred to the man, and he waved the match to snuff it out before squatting down again.

By the time he stood up again, he was carrying a black case that was over a meter in size, and he quickly departed from the scene, following which the image faded to static once again.

Throughout this entire process, he didn't utter a single word, as if he had merely butchered a pig as opposed to his own wife.

An electric current flowed down the entire length of Qin Ye's spine, and his lips began to tremble slightly. This physical reaction wasn't caused by fear. Instead, it was disbelief. He was utterly appalled by just how low human nature could sink!

These two pieces of footage had answered many of the questions in his mind.

The case that Bu Wantian had departed with at the end of the second piece of footage was the very same case that contained the dissection instruments in the first piece of footage.

The idea that had only just planted its seed into his mind finally came into fruition, growing into a massive tree by the name of "truth".

He was so close to the truth, and his voice was trembling a little from excitement as he paced back and forth while murmuring to himself, "He's the one who transformed the Huang Clan's earthen building into a den of zombies... He's the first person in the entire village to have eaten the Taisui fungus and attained immortality! On top of that, he's the same person who dissected Huang Jiansen and killed Chu Renmei!"

It was Bu Wantian all along!

"In the movie, 'A Wicked Ghost', there was this very same scene in which Chu Renmei was stoned to death, but in the movie, she was killed by a random villager. In reality, why can't this so-called "random villager" be Bu Wantian? He's also a resident of this village!"

He closed his eyes as all of the leads began to come together in his mind, finally assembling themselves into an almost complete chain. Back when he had summoned Huang Jiansen's soul through evocation, Huang Jiansen had said that his surname was Bu, not Huang, and it was now clear why he had said that.

He was Bu Wantian's son, but he had been dissected alive by his own father, then buried under the locust tree as the male half of the Taisui Crossbred Karmamudrā.

Many of the questions in Qin Ye's mind had been answered, such as why he was able to summon Huang Jiansen's soul. It was because the Taisui fungus that he had consumed was something fundamentally different from a normal Taisui fungus! It was a flesh zoysia that had been nurtured by Bu Wantian; who knew what kind of effect a Taisui fungus like this would have?

Now, all that was left to do to completely crack this mystery was to find Bu Wantian.

How did Bu Wantian obtain the forbidden art required to create the Taisui Crossbred Karmamudrā? Why did he have to use the bodies of his own son and daughter-in-law?

Qin Ye could only assume that this was all required in the procedure to create the Taisui Crossbred Karmamudrā, but he still had to track down Bu Wantian in order to confirm these theories.

All of the loose ends were currently pointing in Bu Wantian's direction. Qin Ye didn't know where Bu Wantian was at this point in time, but this roll of tape had played an extremely important role in his investigation.

It had pointed out the final path for him.

At the very least, he knew who the culprit was.

At the very least, he knew the culprit's objective.

At the very least, he knew what the culprit had done.

Now, all that was left was to find out his motive.

"You killed your own wife and son, and you didn't even spare your own grandson... You are truly irredeemable..." Qin Ye took a deep breath and was just about to leave when something occurred to him. Bu Wantian was someone who had truly existed outside of the movie, so there had to be some traces of him left here. There had to be mention of him in the village and county records!

This was a man who had lurked in the shadows for over 1,000 years, getting away with the most heinous acts imaginable, yet the reality of his blood-curdling actions had been recorded here.

"There must be more leads..." His eyes narrowed slightly as he carefully combed through his own thoughts. "The fact that a tape recording of you exists means that you must've returned to the village at some point in the past century!"

Video tape was first invented around 1885 [1], over 100 years before the present day. Hence, the video footage of him had to have been captured within the past century!

"As for why you did this, the reason is very simple: nothing can be preserved permanently without a caretaker. Without sufficient care and maintenance, even the most brilliant of creations are bound to be buried under the sands of time. Clearly, you still weren't satisfied with the condition of the Taisui fungus. Thus, you returned to the Huang Clan's village over and over again. During the past 1,000 years, you had to use the Taisui Crossbred Karmamudrā to constantly repress the Taisui fungus, so you return once every century to ensure that everything is still in order."

Qin Ye did his best to place himself into the culprit's shoes as he continued, "You didn't come back because you missed your home. Instead, you were using your own son, daughter-in-law, and grandson to create vessels for the Taisui fungus! Given how smoothly you carried out that procedure, it's clear that you've performed it on many occasions. Assuming you came back to do this once every century, you would've killed your own son and grandson more than 10 times during the past 1,000 years!"

Qin Ye closed his eyes, and his eyelids were trembling slightly as a hint of rage crept into his voice. "Were you scared? In the beginning, you were. However, you quickly discovered that envoys from the Song Dynasty's Imperial City Division had visited the earthen building and placed equilibrium talismans here. As a result, the zombified residents of the village had their memories restricted to the last 100 years, which is why you dared to come back here over and over again!"

After the passage of 100 years, everything that Bu Wantian had done would be erased from the memories of the residents. How were they supposed to remember something that didn't even happen in their minds? During the 100 years in which they were able to retain the memories of Bu Wantian's heinous deeds, they were unable to leave the village anyway, so they could only wait for the cycle to repeat itself.

No one would remember what Bu Wantian had done.

No one would remember the horrific scenes that had unfolded beside that waterhole and on that wooden bed.

He had always been among them, yet no one could remember him. However, he had to have failed to anticipate that even zombies were capable of feeling hatred and resentment! Their hatred for him had crossed a span of over 1,000 years. Some of the residents, perhaps Huang Jiansen himself or other villagers, would've had a vague feeling that something was amiss, and that led them to search through the historical records of the village. As a result, Bu Wantian's heinous deeds were finally exposed.

"With the invention of video technology, video recorders appeared, and finally, someone was able to capture footage of your disgusting actions. Perhaps it was Chu Renmei's vengeful spirit, perhaps it was some other vengeful spirit, but that's not important. What's important is that they're all pining for your blood! The debt of blood that you owe them must be returned with your own blood! You can enter and exit the earthen building at will, so you're not necessarily going to be... No, you're definitely not staying in the village. However, you can't go too far away from the Taisui fungus. Hence..." Qin Ye opened his eyes, and his gaze seemed to be able to pierce through the walls and reach the outside world. "You must be lurking nearby, silently watching the changes taking place in the Huang Clan's earthen building."

A smile finally appeared on Qin Ye's face as the shroud of mystery was completely lifted. "In that case, there's one thing that definitely contains records of your visits!"

It was the registration book at the entrance of the earthen building!

All those who had entered the earthen building had to register their names, and once a book was filled with names, it had to be stored there, the place where all of the historical records of the village were stored!

Regardless of what name you're using now, I just have to find the name of the most frequent visitor on the registration logs, and that will be Bu Wantian! 

"I've caught you now..." He took a deep breath and was just about to leave when an image appeared on the television screen once again, following which a third piece of footage began to play!

[1] [I did a Google search out of curiosity, and it turns out video tape was actually invented in 1951, but just go along with it I guess LOL]

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