Striving for Science

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Chapter 22: Worldview Shattered

"No." Shen Changan subconsciously said, "Lightning can't kill him."

As soon as the words fell, lightning struck the man. This time he failed to dodge, and his whole body was scorched black by lightning, lying motionless on the ground.

"De-dead?" The young man following Shen Changan stared wide-eyed in terror and subconsciously grabbed Shen Changan's sleeve.

Shen Changan glanced at the hand clutching his sleeve. "Wu Wei, take your hoof off."

"Hands are hands, hooves are hooves..." Wu Wei reluctantly withdrew his hand but dared not stray too far from Shen Changan.

Ignoring him, Shen Changan cautiously approached the person lying on the ground. When he was about two or three meters away, he stopped. "Hey, buddy, are you still alive?"

The "charred corpse" lying on the ground remained motionless. Shen Changan looked up at the sky and took several steps backward before daring to take out his phone.

"Changan, what are you planning to do?"

"What else can I do? Of course, call the police and an ambulance." Shen Changan said irritably, "What else do you expect me to do?"

"Don't... don't call an ambulance." The blackened lump on the ground suddenly moved, like a corpse suddenly coming to life. Even Shen Changan, who considered himself quite brave, couldn't help but take a few steps back.

"I'm fine." The 'charred corpse' shakily reached out, slowly crawling up from the ground. The clothes, charred by lightning, fell off, revealing its pitch dark skin.

"Wait a minute." Shen Changan turned around, took off Wu Wei's coat, and threw it into the arms of the 'charred corpse'. "Indecent exposure, hurry and put it on."

"Changan, why are you taking off my coat?" Wu Wei muttered under his breath, "This jacket will be difficult to clean if it gets dirty..."

"Because I'm not wearing a jacket." Shen Changan raised his eyebrows, "Or do you want to see his scorched body?"

"Never mind." Wu Wei found the scene truly hot to eyes and hid behind Shen Changan. He asked, "Brother, what happened to you just now? Were you crossing a tribulation?"

"That's right." The man tied the jacket around his waist, "I barely made it through, it almost cost me half my life. " After saying that, he glanced at Shen Changan and Wu Wei, "I had set up a barrier here, outsiders should not have been able to get in. How did you two get in?"

Wu Wei: "Just rode a bicycle, rode ......rode ......over."

"I was crossing a cultivation tribulation, outsiders should not have been able to see me, let alone you two ordinary people." The man looked down at the jacket around his waist, "I will return the money to you guys, but you can't retain the memory of this."

After saying this, he suddenly waved his hand in front of the two.

Shen Changan looked at this person with a bewildered expression. He could understand every word he said. But after connecting them together, why was it just so unscientific?

"Changan?" Wu Wei shook his head, "Can you forgive me? Regarding the paper incident, I've already explained the situation to the school. I just couldn't get in contact with you later."

“You…” Shen Changan looked at Wu Wei with a complex expression. "Do you remember what happened just now?"

"Of course I remember, just now we came across a homeless person, I felt sorry for him so I lent him my jacket." Wu Wei felt a sense of relief as Changan was finally willing to pay attention to him.

Hearing these words, Shen Changan's mind became somewhat muddled.

It was like there were clowns dancing with fairies and had to pull him to join in. He stood in the center of the dance floor and the whole world was noisy and unreal.

Perhaps the buzzing in his head wasn't the sound of shock, but the sound of his shattered worldview.

At that moment, he even doubted if Wu Wei had conspired with someone else to play a trick. But he had ridden this path himself, so how could Wu Wei have arranged people in advance? Moreover, Wu Wei didn't have that much money to hire people to perform a scene comparable to a world-class blockbuster film.

So ...... what's wrong with this world?

"Changan, Changan?" Wu Wei saw that Shen Changan's face was pale, as if he had encountered something he couldn't accept.

Shen Changan took out money from his pocket and stuffed it into Wu Wei's hand: "Jacket money, you take it."

"What's going on..."

"Let me be quiet for a moment." Shen Changan pushed Wu Wei away and sat down on a nearby rock, his entire being sinking into a daze.

Memories from his childhood flashed through his mind like a whirlwind. The deaths of his parents, his grandmother's madness, the howling winds outside the village courtyard...

He knelt in front of his father's memorial, night after night, drinking the useless talisman water forced by holding his chin by his grandmother.

There are no ghosts in the world......

Or are there?

If there were, why had he never seen the spirits of his mom and dad?

If not, then what was he seeing now?

Shen Changan took off his glasses, looked up at the person busy adjusting the jacket around his waist, and asked hoarsely, "Are there ghosts in the world?"

"Of course there are..." The completely black figure paused in his speech, turning to look at Shen Changan warily, "Why are you suddenly asking me this question?"

"What happened to the thunder and lightning just now?" Shen Changan raised his head and glanced at the sky, "What's in there?"

"You..." The man turned to glance at Wu Wei, quickly approached Shen Changan, and asked in a low voice, "Do you still have the memory?"

Shen Changan silently looked at him.

"Weird, why doesn't it work on you?" The man, feeling perplexed, gestured in front of Shen Changan again. "Do you still remember?"

"I remember." For Shen Changan, the other party had simply waved his hand in front of him. There were no dazzling effects like those in fantasy dramas, and no dizziness or darkness as seen in psychological dramas.

It was just a simple, perhaps even silly, wave.

"Strange, could it be that I've passed through a fake tribulation?" The other party squatted in front of Shen Changan with a face full of frustration.

Shen Changan stared at him for two seconds and said disdainfully: "Squat over there."

"Do you know who I am? I'm a Taoist master, show me some respect."

"Even if you're a Taoist master, I'm not interested in your dirty flesh. It hurts my eyes." Shen Changan turned his head uncaringly.

The other party: "……"

After a brief silence, the young man who called himself a Taoist master spoke: "My name is Zhang Gu. I'm a disciple of the Zhang lineage." Seeing that Shen Changan didn't speak, he continued: "What, are you too scared to speak because of my identity? If you want a feng shui consultation or divination, you can come to me. Meeting each other is fate so I can give you 5% off."

"I just don't want to talk to someone who ruined my worldview." Shen Changan said, looking at some weeds nearby with an indifferent expression.

"Don't be like that. Didn't Newton once say that 'The end of science is theology'." Zhang Gu consoled. "Just get used to it."

"Newton didn't say that. That quote was fabricated by someone else." Shen Changan retorted.

"Oh, is that so?" Zhang Gu seemed a bit uncertain. "I've been a bad student since I was a child. Maybe I remembered it wrong. If it wasn't him, then  it must have been Einstein."

"Einstein didn't say that either," Shen Changan suddenly fell silent. After a long time, his voice trembled as he asked, "Do souls really exist after death?"

"They do." Zhang Gu said, "But this life's affairs end with this life. Death marks the end of everything. Those of us cultivating the Dao focus on making the most of this life, without concerning ourselves about the afterlife."

"If someone does a lot of good deeds in this life, will they have a better life in the next?" Shen Changan asked.

"It should be, but the cycle of cause and effect and reincarnation is better understood by those who practice Buddhism." Zhang Gu said, somewhat embarrassed. Not only was he a poor student in school, but he was also not considered to be gifted in the cultivation, or else he wouldn't have started transcending tribulations without any preparation.

Shen Changan saw some passersby in the distance, laughing and walking away, seemingly unaware of a disheveled person nearby.

"Your constitution is a bit special, I can't erase your memories. I can only wait for the elders to return from the north and hand you over to them to deal with." Zhang Gu looked at Shen Changan, then at Wu Wei squatting by the tree root picking at the bark in the distance. "For now, the most urgent matter is whether you can trouble your friend to help me buy some clothes. I'm afraid that after leaving the barrier, I might get arrested by the police for violating public order."

"I thought you could retrieve objects from the air, or fly with a sword." Shen Changan glanced at Zhang Gu.

Zhang Gu felt that this look exuded a strong contempt of "I thought you were a king, but you turned out to be just a bronze."

He scratched his nose: "What summoning objects or flying on a sword—We cultivators also pay attention to scientific theories."

"So the conclusion is you guys can't do it." Shen Changan stood up, brushing the dust off his buttocks.

"Where are you going?" Seeing that Shen Changan was about to leave, Zhang Gu became a little anxious. He couldn't just keep squatting here waiting for someone from his sect to bring him clothes, could he?

"To buy clothes for you." Seeing him hugging his knees sitting pitifully on the rock, Shen Changan felt Zhang Gu had ruined the aloof aura of cultivators from legends.

Riding his bike to a nearby store, he bought a set of sportswear and returned to find Zhang Gu still sitting in that position on the rock.

"Here." Shen Changan threw the clothes into Zhang Gu's arms and turned to leave.

"Wait, wait." Zhang Gu put on the pants while chasing after Shen Changan and getting dressed. "You can't leave yet, you have to promise me first not to tell anyone about what you saw just now."

"Who would believe it?" Shen Changan countered. "Others would just think I'm bragging."

"Well, that's also true...." Zhang Gu got dressed. "Then, in the future if you need to consult on feng shui, you can look for me. I may not have learned physiognomy yet, but I'm still capable in feng shui."

"Changan." Wu Wei also came over, eyeing Shen Changan eagerly. "Where are you staying now? I'll come find you tomorrow, okay?"

This year, for some reason, things had been unusually unlucky for him. His internship company didn't provide an internship certificate, his work unit held back wages, and just when he finally found a steady job, he got transferred to Wuming City, this remote city. Wanting to play around for a couple days before officially starting work, he ended up getting trapped in that bizarre mountain resort.

If it wasn't for Shen Changan accidentally barging in, he, along with the other tourists, might not have escaped.

At this moment in the police station, Yao Huailin and Captain Li were still working overtime. In Particular, their people discovered that there were dozens of skeletons in the mountain villa. According to the preliminary judgment of the forensic doctor, the time of death of these skeletons was different, with the earliest few possibly dating back a hundred years ago.

However, there were no accurate results yet and they still needed to wait for the forensic examination.

"The more I look at this case, the more bizarre and evil it seems," Yao Huailin said as he flipped through the photos of the skeletal remains and called over the person responsible for the scenic area.

"When you accompanied us up the mountain to find this mountain villa today, your expression seemed a bit off," said Yao Huailin, rapping on the table. "Do you by any chance know these criminal suspects?"

"Comrade police officer, how could I possibly know such criminals? My expression was wrong because... because..." The person in charge of the scenic area gritted his teeth. "In our scenic area, there is no such resort at all. It just seemed to appear out of nowhere."

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