Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
“Bai Xiangmei was a stupid woman. She was Huang Wendong’s mistress, but she wanted to marry him and be his wife. According to you, this should be called a homewrecker, right? She had been in a relationship with Huang Wendong for seven years, but not only did Huang Wendong not marry her, his relationship with his wife also remained good. Jealousy and hatred made her more psychopathic, so she decided to retaliate.”
Mu Duo said coldly, “So you help her kill people!”
Yamamoto spread his hands. “I just asked Huang Wendong to kill his wife and children so that Bai Xiangmei wouldn’t be held accountable, and she could take revenge as well. I bought the snacks that Huang Wendong brought for his wife and children and put sleeping pills in them. When Huang Wendong visited Bai Xiangmei, I suggested to Huang Wendong and asked him to treat his wife, children, and even himself, as pieces of art that can be dissected. Don’t you think that’s interesting?”
Dong Zhi found that this Yamamoto was crazier than Fujikawa Aoi. If everything Fujikawa did had a utilitarian purpose, then this Yamamoto had no purpose at all but to simply enjoy killing people for fun.
Still, Mu Duo asked, “What good does this do for you?”
“Of course I benefit!” Yamamoto laughed heartily. “Didn’t you find that your two dead companions only have their bodies left? Their souls were refined into shikigami by me. I originally wanted to go to Shencheng to have a look, but I didn’t expect that woman, Bai Xiangmei, would automatically deliver them to my doorsteps. I now have three practitioners before leaving, and now I’ll have two more. It seems I’m destined to reap a lot from this trip.”
Yamamoto’s words contained a lot of information.
First, at present, it seemed that he may have done these things alone without accomplices, but this point hadn’t been confirmed yet and still needed to be verified.
Second, the hotel had shikigamis set up and there was a ban placed on the weasel from speaking about the perpetrator, which seemed to be related to him.
Finally, in the past ten years in Lucheng, there have only been three people in this office. It could be seen that the scene was relatively quiet before. Suddenly, a character like Yamamoto had appeared, which had caused Yan Nuo tons of headaches. On one hand, it showed that Yan Nuo and his group were used to peace and had little training; on the other hand, it could also mean that, most likely, more of these types of things would happen in the future.
It suddenly occurred to him that Long Shen had thrown him to Lucheng wasn’t perhaps just to show that he was fair and to avoid suspicion.
It was precisely because of the special status of Lucheng that tens of millions of tourists gathered here every year. There were vipers and snakes mixed with dragons1, and it was also the forefront of the southeast region. The sea, land, and air transportation were well developed. While not as conspicuous as Bei-Shang-Guang2, it was still a place where many people like Yamamoto would lurk and pass through. Long Shen hoped that he could continue to play a role here and turn himself from a fledgling newcomer to a sharp sword guarding the southeast.
1(龙蛇混杂) Metaphor referring to the mix of good and bad people.
2Refers to the tier 1 cities (Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou) though there’s also Shenzhen as it’s colloquially known as Bei-Shang-Guang-Shen.
While Lucheng wasn’t big, there were still many opportunities. Long Shen not only wanted to sharpen him but also wanted to give him full freedom to develop himself. If he died here today, it would waste a piece of his master’s mind.
Yamamoto didn’t even look at Mu Duo, but stared at Dong Zhi, scanning him up and down, as if he knew that he had got this in the bag. The satisfied and sticky gaze made Dong Zhi feel uncomfortable, as if he was being stared down by a poisonous snake.
“I want to use my most beloved shikigami to hold your soul, and then use your body as a container for soul refining. I have a hunch that you’ll definitely be my greatest masterpiece!”
Yamamoto smiled and clapped with his hands. “Babies, come out and greet your new partners!”
Scattered claps sounded in the empty warehouse, and when the third round of applause fell, two beautiful tigers slowly stepped out of the darkness.
Zhou Dui and Xiao Qi, who had fallen to the ground, slowly got up and stared at them with their white eyeballs.
The poisonous snake in front of Yamamoto flickered its tongue a few times, revealing a signal that something bad was about to happen.
Dong Zhi said solemnly, “I remember that the most gifted onmyojis could summon two or three shikigamis at the same time. Even your shixiong’s apprentice, Kitaichi Eiko, could control two shikigamis at once. It seems that Mr. Yamamoto must be famous and have an extraordinary position in the onmyoji world!”
While he was talking to delay time, his other hand was in his pocket and was secretly pinching his palm.
Yamamoto sneered and said disdainfully, “What of Kitaichi Eiko? They only chose her because the talents of the Shinkawa School are withering now. If I was still there, huh!”
He stopped talking and raised his hand. The two large tigers that had been ready to go all this time suddenly rushed towards them. The tiger’s mouth was wide open, and its fangs were thick as if it couldn’t wait to tear off their throats.
The big poisonous snake in front of Yamamoto also jumped up and, together with the two big tigers, besieged Dong Zhi on all three sides.
Mu Duo and Dong Zhi had their backs against each other, completely trapped.
Sweat slipped from her forehead. Mu Duo had never expected she would one day face an embattled situation like this. Among the enemies were colleagues and partners with whom she had fought side by side in the past.
If Zhou Dui and Xiao Qi really betrayed the country, it would be fine. She could still convince herself to act without hesitation, but now they were murdered, and their souls were manipulated to turn against them. Mu Duo remembered that she was still eating and joking with Xiao Qi yesterday, and her eyes couldn’t help but turn red.
“I’ll try my best to hold them off. You run first. Run as far as you can and hurry out to report the news!” She gritted her teeth, turned her head, and whispered.
“You can’t do it alone! Yamamoto is still waiting in the back!” Dong Zhi vetoed her proposal without a second thought. He then flew away with the sword and stabbed the large tiger in front of him. The large tiger jumped up, and the sword just passed through its abdomen and caused a stream of blood to splash out. The large tiger landed injured, but it was even more ferocious than before. It turned its head and rushed towards Dong Zhi again.
Dong Zhi didn’t look back to deal with the large tiger but continued to run forward. His goal was Yamamoto Kiyoshi!
Destroy the ringleader and their followers would collapse. As long as Yamamoto Kiyoshi fell, these shikigamis would naturally disappear.
A bell kept ringing in his ears. It was the bell in Mu Duo’s hand. Her bell seemed to be similar to Gu Meiren’s bamboo flute. It could confuse the enemy’s mind. It rang everywhere, and the sound became more rapid. The movements of the shikigami and Xiao Qi involuntarily slowed down.
Standing a few meters away, Yamamoto smiled mysteriously at Dong Zhi, and the thing in his hand shook slightly.
The bell was crisp and long, like a jade intersection stone. It was much more pleasant than the low-pitched sounding bell of Mu Duo, and the volume was much smaller. However, Xiao Qi and Zhou Dui shook their bodies slightly and then got rid of the control of Mu Duo’s bell and continued to launch fierce attacks on her.
Two bells sounded, one big and one small, one slow and one urgent, intertwined. The bell in Yamamoto’s hand caught up and completely overshadowed Mu Duo’s limelight.
Mu Duo couldn’t help but become more anxious. She continued dodging while still trying to ring the bell, but her bell seemed to have lost its effectiveness on the enemy. Her weapon cloth had been torn apart just now, so she could only rely on her flexible footwork to avoid the enemy’s attack.
Yan Nuo still remained unconscious on the ground. He wasn’t controlled by Yamamoto like Zhou Dui and Xiao Qi. Mu Duo guessed that he might still be alive, and his soul hadn’t dissipated yet. If they could solve the problem here, Yan Nuo might still be rescued, but they couldn’t even save themselves right now.
With a glance from the corner of her eye, she saw the sword next to Yan Nuo and couldn’t help secretly feeling happy. A large tiger jumped towards her, and Mu Duo bent over and rolled forward, picking up Yan Nuo’s sword and turned around and slash towards Zhou Dui that was attacking her.
Up until now, she couldn’t help but still hesitate at the weight of her choice.
On the other end, Dong Zhi waved his sword away. The fishy smell behind him was faint, and the back of his head was cold. When the tip of his sword swept across Yamamoto’s forehead, he had to turn around and sweep it back to deal with the poisonous snake that was in hot pursuit.
The poisonous snake’s figure was very flexible, and its body was incredibly soft. For a moment, it looked like a woman stretching her body. It was no wonder why the world would say that snakes were beautiful like women. It could be seen that they have something in common in essence, but this snake was particularly strange. When he took a closer look, there was a vaguely human expression on the snake’s face. A pair of red and shiny eyes stared at Dong Zhi, and there wasn’t room for anything else in those eyes. It was determined to turn him into its food.
Was this snake also tempered by someone’s soul? Otherwise, why would its demeanor be so human-like?
In the blink of an eye, he had no time to think about it. The snake hissed and vomited out venom that splashed out of its fangs from time to time. When it fell to the ground, the cement on it formed a small hole. It had faster movement than the average poisonous snake and was waiting for the opportune time to strike. Its attack speed was extremely fast. It had almost managed to bite Dong Zhi several times. After narrowly avoiding it, he would counter-attack. Despite the sharpness of the Changshou Sword, he could only cut off one or two of its scales.
Dong Zhi knew that this was because he had not learned Bu Tian Gang sufficiently enough. Otherwise, if his master was here, one swing would have cut this poisonous snake into two.
The poisonous snake that was slashed by him became more furious and its attack speed became faster. While dealing with it, Dong Zhi had to reach out and find the talisman in his pocket.
Mu Duo was struggling harder. She had been scratched by the tigers and had several wounds that were bleeding from her body as she was gasping for breath.
Although Yan Nuo’s sword was in her hand, and she could manage for a while, she didn’t normally use swords. Her movements were awkward, and she would stumble from time to time, making this feat quite unsustainable. The bell on Yamamoto’s side had already suppressed her bell. No matter how Mu Duo rang her bell, it would no longer affect the enemy. She cursed secretly and simply threw the bell away as she kicked Zhou Dui away with one foot and pierced Xiao Qi in the chest with the sword.
The sword was drawn out of Xiao Qi’s body, bringing out a stream of blood. If they were normal people, they would’ve fallen to the ground by now, but since they were already dead, their bodies were merely puppets being manipulated. Zhou Dui staggered up from the ground and desperately grabbed Mu Duo’s calf, tripping her. The tiger rushed up and stepped on her with its thick claws, almost crushing her bones.
Mu Duo let out a groan and chanted involuntarily. The severe pain on her wrist from being bitten by the other tiger made her hand loosen and she dropped the sword.
The smell of blood in the air made Yamamoto take a deep breath, showing an expression of enjoyment and excitement.
He snapped his fingers and the tiger that bit Mu Duo’s wrists suddenly let go of it, turned its head and ran towards Dong Zhi.
“Be careful!” Mu Duo held back the severe pain and shouted out in a hoarse voice, unable to tell whether blood or sweat blurred her vision.
She saw Yan Nuo, who was lying unconscious on the ground, saw Xiao Qi, who was bleeding from his chest and still had on a hideous face, crazy like a zombie, and she saw how small Dong Zhi looked while fighting with the poisonous snake, and a burst of despair poured into her heart.
Mu Duo regretted it. She regretted calling Dong Zhi when she came tonight; otherwise, at least one person could’ve escaped. Although they didn’t like the newcomer who was forcibly stuffed into their team from the top in the beginning, it didn’t mean that Mu Duo wanted him to die, and she believed neither did Yan Nuo.
This newcomer, who had just joined the Special Administration Bureau, would die here with them before he even got the chance to crawl and roll around the world of mortals.
She even thought that if everyone here died, Yamamoto would be able to destroy their corpses and leave calmly. Even if the branch of the General Administration sent someone to investigate, there might not be any clues and the murderous madman would go unpunished. Judging from the way he killed so many people in Lucheng, if he was allowed to escape, there would inevitably be more trouble in the future.
As a practitioner, Mu Duo knew better than ordinary people that heaven did not save people and that people needed to save themselves, but at this moment, in the state of despair, she even hoped that miracles did exist. She hoped someone from the branch or General Administration would be nearby and would come in the nick of time.
But she also knew that despite so much noise coming from the warehouse, no one had come from outside. Yamamoto must’ve used some sound insulation method to isolate this place from the outside world so he could leisurely toy with them, treating them as a plaything in the palm of his hand, and slowly slaughter them.
After all, the night was still long.
When Mu Duo shouted, “Be careful!”, Dong Zhi was still fighting the poisonous snake. He almost used the sword skills that Long Shen had taught him, a set of tian gang steps and swordsmanship that were barely in sync with each other. From Yamamoto’s point of view, the opponent was somewhat powerless, like the end of a crossbow* that couldn’t bear the load.
*(强弩之末) Metaphor referring to a strong force that has been exhausted.
However, this lotus that had been bent by the storm refused to break completely. It had gritted its teeth and continued to bear against the torrential rain.
The tiger jumped quickly from behind Dong Zhi and pounced towards him, about to knock down its prey, but Dong Zhi suddenly turned around and swept it away with his sword. The blade was like a fine white light that slashed the tiger’s abdomen. Dong Zhi immediately dodged the sudden attack of the poisonous snake behind him and ran to the other end of the warehouse.
The warehouse was very large, but Yamamoto was not worried about him escaping. They were just like trapped animals in a cage.
Dong Zhi could only run around the warehouse. The poisonous snake shikigami wasn’t like a real poisonous snake. It crawled extremely fast and chased after Dong Zhi. It almost bit him several times in the back, mangling Dong Zhi’s windbreaker into several pieces.
As he ran, he yelled in panic, “Help! Help! Don’t come over!”
Mu Duo leaned against the wall and gasped, feeling weak in her heart.
Can you escape by yelling? It’s better to save some effort for fighting!
The impression she had just changed her outlook. She was impressed by Dong Zhi’s good performance that was now subverted again. She felt that the other party couldn’t be counted on and that there was no need to think about miracles. Either they kill Yamamoto, or they become completely annihilated today and all die together.
Yamamoto was so absorbed in rattling the bell that he didn’t seem to notice her, a remnant soldier. Mu Duo held her breath and moved quietly, squeezing the sword with her hand.
One inch, two inches.
The shadow concealed her figure well, and Mu Duo hoped that she would be able to take him out with one blow. Even if she couldn’t kill Yamamoto, she could hit him hard enough, so they have some hope of escape.
Sweat oozed from her brow where the palm of her hand came into contact with the hilt of the sword, soaking it wet. She stared at Yamamoto’s back and swung fiercely!
The cloth weapon that Mu Duo had just used was actually a belt. In ancient times, the corpse guide would ring the bell to drive the corpses. They would put glutinous rice in their waist belt to remove corpse poison, as a way to avoid the corpse from turning stiff and hurting themselves. Later, the belt became one of the weapons used by the corpse guide. Mu Duo’s belt was handed down by her master. It was soaked in special medicines that could exorcise evil and calm the mind. Of course, it was tougher than ordinary fabric, but its essence was still a cloth that was soft and flexible.
In contrast, the texture of the sword was something she was not used to. Mu Duo had learned how to use the softest weapon to produce the greatest effect since she was a child, but she had never learned how to turn the sword from soft to hard like the way she could control her belt.
So when she swung the sword, she secretly thought that it was pretty bad. Her heart said that her strength was not mastered well and affected her speed.
Sure enough, Yamamoto had noticed before the tip of the sword touched him.
As soon as Yamamoto moved his wrist, the fluctuation of the bell changed again. Mu Duo, who used bells herself, immediately noticed the change.
Lying on the side was a tiger with an abdominal injury who was about to disappear. It instantly regained its figure again, roared and pounced on Mu Duo, biting her shoulder. Mu Duo screamed in pain and had to swing her sword to sweep the tiger off, using what little reaming strength she had to fight it.
Dong Zhi and the poisonous snake were still playing a game of cat and mouse around the huge warehouse. Humans had limited physical strength, but shikigamis weren’t the same. Seeing that Dong Zhi was getting slower, Yamamoto guessed that his physical strength was deteriorating. He had lost interest in watching his prey struggle and was ready to end the play tonight.
No matter how interesting the scene of the weak prey fighting against a beast to death was, it would get tiring if one watched it too much. The hunter felt that he should now close his net. When the prey completely became his puppet, he could manipulate them into whatever he wanted.
A smile rose from the corner of his mouth. His hand sank suddenly, and the bell changed into a rhythm that spread out far and wide, resounding throughout the warehouse.
The sound of the bell became more rapid, and the poisonous snake suddenly expanded several times and transformed into a behemoth. Although it wasn’t as big as the three-headed python in the underground caves of Helan Mountain, Dong Zhi undoubtedly became an ant that could be trampled to death at any time with just its eyes.
It stretched its neck, bent down, and opened its mouth. The snake’s tongue, which had now become several times bigger, flickered towards the back of Dong Zhi. He didn’t need to wait for the snake’s tongue to drag him into its fangs. As long as he was slightly stained with a little venom, his skin and clothes would be corroded and fester.
Everything happened in a flash.
The snake’s tongue shot out. The distance between it and Dong Zhi was only half a meter, and for it, this half meter would not even take half a second!
Yamamoto raised his head abruptly with an unbelievable expression on his face.
A gap was blasted open at the top of the warehouse, and lightning fell from above, striking the warehouse.
The gap was like a heavy hammer that smashed the boundary he had just laid, and the movement from the outside world followed. The sky resounded with bursts of thunder, and the gap lit up from time to time. Another lightning struck down!
Yamamoto’s mind lit up.
Japanese practitioners weren’t familiar with heavenly lightning. Generally, onmyojis who saw this scene might think it was a natural phenomenon, but Yamamoto Kiyoshi often traveled in southeast Asia over the years and had a certain degree of understanding of various techniques. He quickly discovered that lightning was now striking the warehouse one by one. This wasn’t a coincidence.
The only conclusion left was that it was heavenly lightning.
He knew very well that for Chinese practitioners, the method of attracting thunder wasn’t something that anyone could do. This method had an inheritance system, and many practitioners of small sects couldn’t learn it even if they wanted to. His impression was that it must be a very powerful practitioner who could attract lightning, but he never expected it to be the young man who wasn’t even proficient in his swordsmanship just now.
Lightning illuminated the entire sky above their heads. A second lightning struck at the location where Yamamoto was standing. He truly took after Fujikawa Aoi as his shidi. He saw the opportunity very quickly, and when the warehouse above his head was split open, he had already dodged to the side. However, the heavenly lightning seems to have grown eyes as it didn’t let him go. The lightning snaked down the gap and split apart halfway, slashing towards the place where Yamamoto was hiding. Unable to dodge it, he had to grab Xiao Qi next to him and use him as a shield.
With a boom, the heavenly lightning struck Xiao Qi right in the middle!
Heavenly lightning was the yang that conquered the yin and punished evil. After Xiao Qi died, he was controlled by Yamamoto’s soul refinement, which the heavenly lightning considers evil, so it could be considered that Yamamoto’s shield was effective.
But under the nest, how could there not be eggs*. Yamamoto was unavoidably affected as well. When Xiao Qi’s body was bathed in lightning, Yamamoto’s body shook, and he involuntarily let go of Xiao Qi and staggered back, vomiting out a lot of blood.
*(覆巢之下，焉有完卵) Metaphor describing when one person suffers, the whole family will too. Even the young and old will not be spared.
“Xiao Qi!” Mu Duo yelled in grief and anger. The shikigami who had originally bitten her disappeared because of their master’s weakness. She raised her sword and slashed at Yamamoto, who still had enough strength to avoid it, but soon he was pierced in the chest by another sword.
It was Dong Zhi’s.
Dong Zhi was pale and was sweating profusely. He was in a completely haggard state. However, in Mu Duo’s eyes, who saw him desperately rushing over, it seemed like he was descending from the sky and had turned the situation around with the power of just one person.
Yamamoto was shocked. His lips trembled slightly, and his eyes looked at Dong Zhi as if he was looking at a monster.
He didn’t expect the other party could not only attract lightning but do it twice in a row. Under heavenly lightning, all evil was vanquished, and no demons or ghosts could escape.
His shikigamis were destroyed, and the souls he had worked so hard to collect in Lucheng this time were completely gone. Even his own life was not guaranteed.
“Don’t kill me!” Yamamoto, who was standing on his high horse just now, didn’t hesitate to gasp for mercy at this moment. He wagged his tail and begged for mercy without any shame or embarrassment. “One of your companions is not dead yet. I only took a part of his soul, and he still has hope to live!”
He was talking about Yan Nuo. Mu Duo’s spirit felt relieved. “Hand it over!”
Yamamoto showed an ugly smile. His hair was wet with sweat, and his locks were pressed to his cheeks, showing an indescribably embarrassed state.
Half an hour ago, he had used these people as prey and toyed with them, but now he was kneeling and licking the feet of said prey, begging them to spare his life.
“Let me go and I will let him go. A life for a life!” He stared at Dong Zhi.
Yamamoto knew very well that his opponent still had the strength to kill him.
“Fine, but you must first hand over his remnant soul.” Dong Zhi looked at him and said slowly and concisely. “You have no room to bargain with me.”
He knew his own strength. He wasn’t actually as strong as Yamamoto thought he was. He had been entangled with the shikigami several times and attracted lightning twice. He had exhausted all his strength and was barely hanging on. He had to make sure that his expression was flawless so as not to be seen by Yamamoto.
Although Yamamoto was pierced by the Changshou sword and had no power to resist, Dong Zhi had seen the repeated actions of Fujikawa and his disciples with his own eyes and knew he couldn’t relax his vigilance.
In other words, at this moment, the two of them were like opponents at a card table. They seemed to have a high opinion of each other, and while the outcome may have already been decided, they each held the last card that was their ace. Neither party knew whether they could win or not.
Honestly, Mu Duo’s the MVP here. She’s fighting 2 tigers and 2 zombies, while Dong Zhi only dealt with a poisonous snake for half the chapter.