Striving for ScienceChapters List
Chapter 9: Immortal Lady
This time, Shen Changan drove with great restraint, ensuring that the car didn't reach airplane-like speed.
Perhaps due to the rampant rumors of ghosts, the journey was eerily quiet. Except for the sounds of insects and frogs, there were no other noises, and no passing vehicles in sight.
When they were only a few hundred meters away from their destination, Shen Changan heard the sound of gongs and drums ahead, accompanied by a high-pitched female voice singing something out of tune, rather unpleasant to the ears.
"What's going on up ahead?" Ding Yang, who was initially nervous and scared, felt a bit relieved upon hearing the commotion. He looked puzzled as he gazed at the flickering flames in the distance.
After driving another two hundred meters, someone blocked their way.
"Excuse us folks, something is happening ahead. Please stay back for a while," said the man in his fifties, dressed in light-colored clothes with black gauze on his sleeves. Rumors of ghosts haunting the area had spread everywhere recently, and no cars dared to pass through this place at night. Unexpectedly, someone showed up right after the ritual began.
Xian Niangzi (Lady Immortal) had specially instructed before that no outsiders should disturb her when she was performing the ritual. He had to find a way to stop these two people.
"This..." Ding Yang felt a bit awkward because of this tricky situation.
"Anyone has the right to use this road. If you prevent us from passing, I suspect you're engaged in illegal activities." Seeing the dodging look on the man's face, Shen Changan took out his phone with a sullen face. "In that case, I'll have to call the police."
"No, please don't." Seeing Shen Changan's stern look, afraid that he might really call the police, the man had to explain in a low voice.
It turned out that they were all nearby villagers. They had a great harvest of corn this year and expected good prices for it. But then, the ghost rumors started, and no merchants dared to come and buy their corn. Some even spread rumors that their corn was cursed, and if used as feed for pigs, the animals would get sick easily.
After these rumors emerged, corn from several villages nearby couldn't be sold. Frustrated, they pooled their money together and invited Xian Niangzi to "ward off evil spirits".
Hearing the whole story, Ding Yang was left speechless by this series of operations by the villagers. A few months ago, when he had just started working in this department, he encountered a situation where a child fell seriously ill, and the grandmother refused to take the child to the hospital, insisting that the child was possessed. In desperation, the child's mother had no choice but to seek their help, and luckily, they managed to take the child to the hospital in time, and the child recovered after seeking timely medical treatment.
Even after that incident, the child's grandmother still insisted that her prayers at home were the reason for the recovery. Eventually, the child's mother divorced the man in frustration and left the town with the child. Ding Yang wondered how they were doing now.
Many people held a natural reverence for ghosts and spirits, but even so, it shouldn't lead to such ignorance.
Shen Changan frowned. He opened the car door and stepped out. The man wanted to stop him, but fearing that he would call the police and make the situation worse, he forced a smile and said, "Little brother, give our village some face and stay back tonight, please. Stay back." At this point, he gritted his teeth and took out a few red one hundred-yuan notes. "Consider it as our tea money for the two of you."
"Brother, I can't accept this money. I've grown up so much, and I've never seen anyone perform such a ritual to ward off evil spirits before." Shen Changan returned the money to the man and smiled innocently. "Let me go and have a look. I promise I won't make any noise or disturb the...," he paused and looked at the woman chanting and jumping around in front of the altar, "the ceremony performed by Xian Niangzi."
The man hesitated. In this kind of ritual, young people who don't understand its importance are the most taboo as they could talk nonsense and should refrain from speaking randomly. He was afraid these two outsiders might have bad intentions and ruin their ceremony.
At this critical moment, the seemingly fierce and malevolent Xian Niangzi suddenly raised a dazzling silver knife with a loud 'ah ah ah ah' sound from the table and poured half a cup of "holy water" onto it, swinging it in the air.
Xian Niangzi swung the knife fiercely, and in less than half a minute, horrified onlookers noticed that the blade of the knife was now covered in glistening blood, looking especially terrifying in the dark night.
"Where can the evil spirits escape, ah?" Xian Niangzi chanted a spell again, sweating profusely as she spoke to the villagers around her, "The evil spirits have been vanquished, you can rest assured now."
A woman in the corner, holding a child, burst into tears, and the people around her looked somewhat embarrassed, not knowing how to console her.
"Don't cry, your husband has turned into an evil spirit. If I didn't eliminate him, he might have harmed even more people." Xian Niangzi walked up to the woman and spoke with a stern tone, "He has lost his sanity, and he may harm your whole family. Even if you don't think of others, you must think of this child."
The child, held in the woman's arms, was only six or seven years old and couldn't fully understand the words of the adults, but he knew that he had lost his father, so he couldn't help but cry and call for his dad.
Seeing the child like this, Xian Niangzi became a bit annoyed. She frowned and said, "Ignorant who can't tell good from bad!"
Several people quickly went over to apologize and tried to comfort the woman. They offered several red envelopes as offerings, and only then did her expression slowly improve.
A few women from the same village felt sorry for the crying child, so they pulled the mother and son aside and tried to console them with comforting words.
Seeing this scene, Shen Changan felt a pang in his heart. He remembered when he was a child, after his father died on a mission, he asked his father's colleague during the funeral ceremony why his father couldn't get up from lying down.
That was the first time he learned what death truly meant.
He fumbled around on his body, remembering that he had changed his clothes before leaving and didn't bring any food with him. He looked around and quickly plucked two grass stems, skillfully crafting a small grasshopper. He walked up to the crying child, saying, "Here, little man, your dad asked me to bring this to you. Take it quickly."
The child wiped his tears, sniffling, he looked at Shen Changan and hesitatingly took the grasshopper from his hand, "You're lying; this grasshopper is still green."
"I'm not lying to you." Shen Changan squatted in front of the child with serious expression. "I dreamed of him last night, and he asked me to bring you this grasshopper."
Ding Yang watched Shen Changan doing this and knew that he was wearing an innocent face again to deceive people.
The child's tears welled up instantly. "So my dad isn't an evil spirit, and they were all lying to me, right?"
"Yes, there are no evil spirits here." Shen Changan looked at the so-called Xian Niangzi. "She's just a swindler."
"Young man, don't spout nonsense." An older woman hurriedly said, "Don't let her hear you; what if she gets angry and curses you with her magic?"
"A person who knows the way of immortality, shouldn't have such a narrow mind," Shen Changan sneered. He couldn't stand these money-driven tricks of deception. "All this talk about exorcizing ghosts is nothing more than a trick mixing turmeric in alkaline water."
"What nonsense are you babbling about?" Xian Niangzi heard Shen Changan's words and angrily retorted, "Who do you think you are, little yellow-haired boy, to spout such nonsense here?"
Shen Changan ignored her and turned to Ding Yang. "Yang-Ge, have you captured everything that happened here?"
Ding Yang nodded quickly.
"Making money through such deceitful methods, doesn't it weigh on your conscience?" Shen Changan took a few steps towards Xian Niangzi.
"Don't come any closer! If you do, I won't be polite to you!" Xian Niangzi saw Shen Changan approaching, she kept retreating again and again. In her haste, she accidentally knocked over the altar.
"If you're capable of summoning spirits and ghosts, then now summon one to convince me." Shen Changan looked at the scattered offerings on the ground. "Let me see it for myself and be convinced."
"Only those who are sincere are blessed to see the gods. Someone like you, ignorant and disrespectful of immortals, will never have the chance to see the true face of a deity in your lifetime." Xian Niangzi continued to put on a tough act, but her expression grew increasingly panicked. She turned to the villagers and said, "You just let this outsider be so rude to me. Aren't you afraid of me calling upon divine punishment?"
The villagers looked at the young man with a strong presence and then at the scattered offerings and candles on the ground. You look at me, and I look at you, but no one dared to speak up.
"All right, you dare to be so disrespectful to me? Then I curse your village..."
"What curse?" Shen Changan interrupted her, "Instead of cursing others, you should ask the gods to make you spend fewer years in jail." If there was something the police uncle could handle, he would definitely let the police uncle handle it.
"You... you called the police?" Xian Niangzi's face turned pale, and she trembled while holding the "Ghost Slayer Knife." She hurriedly picked up the bag containing talisman papers and various tools from the ground, trying to leave the scene.
Seeing this, the villagers suddenly realized that this supposed spiritual and divine Xian Niangzi was nothing more than a swindling con artist.
The crowd surged forward, blocking the old swindler and not letting her escape.
"We can't let her get away."
"Hand her over to the police, let her go to jail!"
For the villagers, not being able to sell their corn, which held their year's hope, had already left them distraught. Now encountering this fraudster, it ignited all their negative emotions.
If it weren't for the concern that this Xian Niangzi was a woman, the villagers would probably have already given her a severe beating.
The police arrived quickly, led by Yao Huailin. The scene was chaotic, and there was no time to bicker.
Shen Changan explained the situation and handed over the video taken by Ding Yang to the police. Then he went to find the mother and son who were crying quietly in the corner.
"I'll escort you home with my colleague." Shen Changan handed his work ID to the woman and gently patted the child's head. "Let's go."
"Thank you." The woman thanked him hoarsely, holding her child's hand as she sat in the backseat of the car.
"It would be great if Dad was really here." When the car door was closed, the child suddenly spoke, "Then he could go home with us."
Looking at the empty space outside the car, Shen Changan wanted to say that there were no ghosts in this world. But when he saw the expectant look in the child's eyes, he managed to squeeze out a smile, "Maybe he's already followed us home."
A gentle breeze brushed the boy's face, causing him to blink. Could this gentle breeze be my dad?
After escorting the mother and daughter back home, when he returned to the apartment community, it was already one or two in the morning. Just as he reached the fourth floor, he saw Grandpa Zhang standing at the door, looking at him critically.
"Daring to come home so late just because you're young." Grandpa Zhang snorted, "It's really not decent." His gaze fell on Shen Changan and seemed a bit strange. "Don't forget to drink the thousand-year-old Ganoderma tea I gave you."
After saying that, he slammed the door shut.
Shen Changan: "..."
How could you, being awake at this hour, have the nerve to criticize me?
He sighed, took a quick shower at home, and then collapsed on the soft bed, falling into a deep sleep. In the middle of the sleep, he vaguely heard someone knocking on the window. Sitting up, he saw a man in a black suit standing outside the window, smiling at him.
Shen Changan: "..."
If he wasn't too sleepy, he remembered that he lived on the fifth floor. Clenching his fists, he felt his hands itching.
"Benefactor, thank you for your help."
This dream seemed a bit different from the previous ones.
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