Divine beings cannot protect the people of the world, they are already rotten beneath the pear tree - Foreword.
Sheng Lingyuan had thought that he had been struck by the Heavenly Thunder, his body shattered and his soul scattered, and that he could finally rest in peace for a good ten thousand years. But he was unexpectedly awakened for the second time before he could even finish his nap. Last time, he was a bit grumpy when he woke up, but this time he was so numb that he couldn't even bother to show his temper.
The backlash from the Yin Sacrifice was really unforgettable. Even though his body was already gone, his divine consciousness was still trembling with pain, and every thought was torture. Technically, he had no body left to play dead with...so what was going on?
Couldn't these younger generations find another demon to worship instead?
Chaotic sounds of drumming and gongs rang in his ears, with a man shouting and gasping inside, but Sheng Lingyuan couldn't make out what he was saying. He listened with patience for a while, but couldn't understand a single word, and his headache became even more intense. He wondered to himself, "What kind of monster is crying at the gravesite?"
Just then, footsteps drew near, and someone helped him up. The lingering pain lingered in his consciousness, so Sheng Lingyuan's senses were very dull. It took him a while to realize that the person had a piece of cloth of unknown material and was rubbing him all over like kneading dough.
Sheng Lingyuan suddenly opened his "eyes" and saw a face close to his, with the other person's nose almost touching him, every eyelash distinct and drawing a pair of beautiful phoenix eyes with clear amber-like irises. The only flaw was the dark circles under their eyes, which detracted from their appearance.
Sheng Lingyuan was stunned and saw the person exhale on him and then rub him again with the cloth, muttering, "Why can't I clean it?"
Sheng Lingyuan: "..."
He recognized this as the little demon of Chiyuan with many tricks, and didn't know how he had fallen into this guy's hands. He saw the little demon muttering to himself and backing away a little, and Sheng Lingyuan realized that his perspective was strange... it was as if he was lying in the other person's arms.
The little demon had changed into a peculiar-looking garment, milky-white in color. It was made of some kind of material that was spun into fine threads, and its workmanship was exquisitely detailed. Even though he was living in the mortal world, his life seemed quite comfortable and well-to-do, or he wouldn't be wearing such a delicate outfit.
Although he didn't understand why the little demon was dressed like a sheep, the soft fabric rubbed against him, and the feeling was very comfortable. The little demon's body temperature was transmitted through the clothes, warm and cozy. Sheng Lingyuan sighed silently, and the post-traumatic effects of being mutilated suddenly eased a bit, and his mind became clearer.
He then tried to feel his body - it was subtle. He found that he seemed to be separated from his surroundings by a layer of something, able to "see" and "hear," but these sensations were not coming from his five senses.
Is he attached to some kind of tool?
"I've never seen this before," the little demon, Xuan Ji, picked up the small "flat box" that could transmit sound over long distances, and Sheng Lingyuan heard him command the "box," "Search the internet for 'how to clean blood stains off swords and knives.'"
The small box emitted a flat female voice and replied, "This is a webpage related to 'how to clean blood stains off swords and knives.'"
"The bathhouse can wash... what the hell! Oh, it's a gaming forum. Use a silk scarf to wipe...hiss, isn't that obvious?" Xuan Ji frowned, and after thinking for a while, he said to his phone, "Search the internet for...um, 'how to wash pants stained with menstrual blood.'"
Sheng Lingyuan: "..."
Although he didn't understand, his intuition was that it was nothing good.
This small demon belongs to the fire element, but has at least one magical artifact made of gold on its body. Although they only briefly clashed, Sheng Lingyuan could tell that he was not as simple as he seemed on the surface. In terms of strength alone, he was equal to, if not surpassing, those ancient demons that had long since disappeared.
What's strange is that his cultivation level is not very impressive - for example, he didn't want to show his hand in front of mortals at first, didn't even dare to draw his sword, and lacked common sense in many ways. He was like an ignorant child who held a treasure trove of gold but didn't know how to use it. Was it because he grew up among mortals without the guidance of elders?
But if that's the case, where did he get this incredible power?
Was he born with it? What kind of being is he exactly?
As Sheng Lingyuan thought about it, he felt a bit uncomfortable, mainly because the little demon was too impulsive. One hand held a "small box" and kept chattering, while the other hand had nothing to do and was tapping along to the rhythm on his body... It was bad enough that he was tapping away, but after a while, he started singing along with the drumbeat, originally a male roar that turned into two people howling, but they weren't even in the same key.
"Tsk," Sheng Lingyuan's thoughts were interrupted by the noise, and he came to a conclusion, "Maybe he's a donkey."
Just then, something made a "ding-dong" sound, and the little donkey's singing was interrupted. He responded loudly and temporarily spared Sheng Lingyuan's ears, then got up and left.
Sheng Lingyuan was left behind, feeling that he was lying on something like a narrow and long bed, extremely soft. As he sank into it, he marveled at the room.
The space was cramped, mainly because the roof was too low, with a square white roof that couldn't be seen through, like a coffin, but it was just barely enough, and ordinary people wouldn't hit their heads on it. The lighting inside was very good, with no walls on one side facing south, all windows, and a thin gauze curtain half-drawn in front of it. The large patches of sunlight freely flowed into the room, covering half of it. Like the place called "Hospital" earlier, the windows were also covered with luxurious "crystal stones", but they looked much cleaner and brighter than the hospital.
In the middle of the ceiling was a "disc". Sheng Lingyuan guessed that it was for lighting, similar to what he had seen in the "Hospital", although the shapes were not exactly the same, but the hanging positions were roughly the same. The other furniture around was also very strange. At first glance, it seemed rather poor, with unknown pieces of rough wood pasted together, but upon closer inspection, it seemed like each one had some kind of mystery, which made him hesitant to make any conclusions.
The room wasn't spotless, but it wasn't messy either, and it was very comfortable...just a bit noisy. In a corner cabinet was a square box, within which was a black disc spinning, some unknown evil object. From it, a man's voice kept continuously screaming.
At this moment, a youth whom Sheng Lingyuan had never seen before walked in with the little demon. He greeted the guest familiarly: "Sit, what would you like to drink?"
The guest was quite well-proportioned, wearing a dark blue "robe". There was some gloom between his eyebrows and eyes. Sheng Lingyuan carefully looked at him for a moment and thought, "Human, but seems to have a bit of the taste of a Thunder Beast."
He suddenly had an epiphany and thought, "Right, the little demon said that the Qingping Division had been missing for nearly a thousand years. Those mixed-blood half-demons are probably only left with a faint trace of bloodline if they have descendants up to now."
The guest was Xiao Zheng. Director Xiao looks exhausted and almost had a stroke when he entered the room and was hit by the loud death metal music. He painfully presses his temples and says, "Can you use your magic to turn off that terrible sound system? Are your neighbors deaf that they haven't complained yet... give me a bottle of water."
"It's a workday, in broad daylight, and I’m on my day off. Everyone else is not at home." Xuan Ji took out a bottle of mineral water from the refrigerator and threw it to him, and then moved Sheng Lingyuan off the sofa and propped him up in the corner of the wall.
Sheng Lingyuan felt the object he was possessing was more than half his height and quite heavy. It made a dull sound when it hit the ground.
He suddenly had a vague guess, and when Xuan Ji left, the excessively clear mirror in the corner of the room reflected...
He thought with a headache, "It really is the little demon's sword."
The sword was over three feet long and very heavy. Sheng Lingyuan remembered that the little demon had pulled it out of his own spine, and it should be his magical weapon. The little demon seemed to belong to the fire element and naturally had a fierce yang energy. As the most incompatible with yin and cold things...
And he himself was the most yin and cold thing. But the little demon's magical sword not only did not reject him, but seemed to be carefully nurturing him.
Just as Sheng Lingyuan was trying to figure out the mystery, Xuan Ji sat down with his legs crossed and fished out a plate of nuts from under the tea table, asking Xiao Zheng: "Have you been working overtime for the past few nights?"
"Mm, I have a general understanding of Bi Chunsheng's situation. I investigated the agent who first told her about the Mirror Flower Water Moon Butterfly, and it was consistent with what she said. Our technicians checked her intranet account and found that she repeatedly and frequently browsed cases that your predecessor Gong Chenggong participated in and completed, and kept a close eye on all personnel above the squad leader and those who didn't pass the 'Fifteen People Red Line' score...including me."
Xiao Zheng was really thirsty, and looked rather embarrassed. He then chugged half a bottle of mineral water, squeezing the bottle and making a "gagaga" sound.
"We also retrieved the surveillance footage near Gong Chenggong's residence. Bi Chunsheng had been following Gong Chenggong for a long time, but the whistleblower letter may not have been written by her—at least we haven't found any evidence yet. The letter clearly stated Gong Chenggong's bribery and corruption methods, and I personally think Bi Chunsheng didn't have enough time to check it out so clearly, and she also wouldn't have had the sanity to write a whistleblower letter, but would have started to torture Gong Chenggong directly."
Xuan Ji asked, "So she only investigated and didn't take any action against Gong Chenggong?"
"No, she didn't have the chance. Although Gong Chenggong was an ordinary person, he handled many people's memories in the aftermath department, and had too many of his own secrets. He was always very careful in this regard—he wore 24-hour shielding instruments to protect himself from mental attacks, and not just one.”
Xiao Zheng shook his head. "Bi Chunsheng was always suspicious and disbelieving of the Mirror Flower Water Moon Butterfly until she opened her father's skull and confirmed it. By then, Gong Chenggong had already been secretly controlled and had fallen into a coma.”
"Where did she get the butterfly pupa?"
"It was the one stolen by Gong Chenggong thirty years ago. We found it in her home, and there was still half a can left. Following her vehicle recorder, we found several properties—all of Gong Chenggong's, recorded under several shell companies. The companies were held by someone else, very concealed. We didn't know about them before, but it should have been found out by her during the investigation. One of them had recently reported a theft, and the police had gone, but since nothing was lost, the case was dropped. There was a very concealed secret room in the property, and there were traces of abnormal energy objects that had existed there before. It should have been the place where Gong Chenggong stored the butterfly pupa. The only thing that is still unclear is...where did she learn the Yin Sacrifice ritual from?"
Xuan Ji grabbed a handful of pistachios and ate one after another without taking a break.
Xuan Ji grabbed a handful of pistachios, eating one after the other without pause.
Actually, there was another doubt in his mind, he didn't know if anyone had heard it...perhaps they thought Bi Chunsheng was just talking nonsense since the situation was so chaotic. After Bi Chunsheng summoned the demon, the demon was actually quite willing to help her seek revenge, and was quite friendly to her summoner. But suddenly it changed its attitude after Bi Chunsheng said “Chiyuan”.
Why did Bi Chunsheng suddenly mention Chiyuan?
What request did she make of Chiyuan that allowed her to pinpoint the demon's weak spot, so much so that it was willing to risk being struck by lightning and breaking its contract?
“As for the case of the field agents colluding with Gong Chenggong to hide the casualty numbers, the Bureau has already officially opened a case.”
Xuan Ji snapped back to reality with an “Ah”.
“In theory, this case is only to assist the department, but this time it's the Aftermath Department that caused the trouble...”
“Understandable, I understand.” Xuan Ji kept nodding his head. After all, he was new, so this had nothing to do with him.
He figured that since he was getting paid without having to work while the investigation was going on, it would be like getting a vacation.
Xuan Ji said contentedly, “The organization can rest assured, we will immediately put down our current work and fully cooperate.”
“What the hell do you have to cooperate with?” Xiao Zheng waved his hand in anger, “What the Bureau means is that I'll take the lead for the self-investigation, but since this involves so many people, from field agents to logistics, I'm not sure I can do it so cleanly, so it's best to have someone who has no interests or ties with any department in the Bureau oversee it.”
Xuan Ji reflexively flattered the leader, “The chief thought of everything, the leader really has the skills.”
Xiao Zheng: “He's talking about you.”
Xuan Ji was taken aback at first, then he raised his eyebrows in confusion.
He did get into the Bureau on his own merit, but to say he was appointed as the director of the Aftermath Department on his own merit was shameless.
He was just the outside help that Xiao Zheng had asked for to investigate the Aftermath Department – Xiao Zheng just didn't expect that the Aftermath Department that he couldn't find anyone for, after some investigation, would come back to bite him in the head. But to an outsider who didn't know all this, it seemed like the two of them were a team.
What was the Bureau Chief's meaning in asking him to oversee Xiao Zheng? Did he trust his revolutionary will and selflessness?
Xiao Zheng said quietly, “Yes, it's you. I was afraid he wouldn't understand, so I explained to him that you came to work in the Bureau, and that I was the one who recommended you, but he still...I don't understand what he means.”
“Who are we to each other, don't act innocent around me.” Xuan Ji spat out the pistachio shell,
“The Bureau's meaning is four words - ‘Don't make a big fuss.’”
Xiao Zheng gave him a despairing look.
"Okay, let me ask you," Xuan Ji said, "whether the butterfly larvae or eggs, or whatever they are, that your field operatives put on people, aren't you afraid that they will spread among the crowd?"
"That won't happen," Xiao Zheng said, "the jar of butterflies collected by the bureau should have been specially processed. Once they parasitize, they stop reproducing. When the host dies, the butterflies die with them."
Xuan Ji threw up his hands. "Well then, if it's not contagious and has no social harm, why investigate it?"
Xiao Zheng had known him for a while and had a hunch that he was about to see a live performance of "lies from a dog's mouth." His temples began to throb in anticipation.
Sure enough, Xuan Ji said, "People who have been parasitized by butterflies live their lives peacefully, and their family and friends don't even know about it. Everyone lives a stable and peaceful life. What's wrong with that? If this matter is really investigated thoroughly, and it turns out that tens of thousands of people have been infected with butterflies, what are you going to do? Are you going to arrest them all and cremate them one by one?
"Old Xiao, the Bureau is an institution that maintains social security and stability, not one that creates panic in society. It's like our sanitation department. We have to clean up even the most filthy messes with gentle toilet paper...even if we can't clean them completely, we can't use sandpaper to grind out people's lives."
His tongue must have had some special function, as he nibbled on nuts while giving a long speech with proper intonation and emphasis, not missing a beat.
Xiao Zheng had known that he was a person without any sense of values, but he didn't expect him to be so unscrupulous. He was almost enraged by his nonsense about "cleaning up messes" and slammed his hand on the table, snatching the nut dish away from him. "Is that what you call speaking like a human being? Why are you still nibbling on something! You parrot!"
Xuan Ji remained emotionally stable and didn't engage with him. "The 'Fifteen-People Red Line' is a 'collective responsibility system.' Those who covered up deaths and injuries with butterflies back then, some of them did it out of self-interest, but I believe that some of them did it to protect their brothers. Now, digging up the past, even if some people have nothing to hide- like you- can you be sure that your former boss didn't use them?"
The man's words made Xiao Zheng's pupils shrink as he lifted his eyelids with a smile that was not quite a smile. "If you've used it, how can you prove that you, as a beneficiary, were unaware of its effects?"
Xiao Zheng had no response.
Did he really not understand what Chief Huang was implying? It was impossible. After so many years in the unit, even if he was straightforward, he was not a naive fool without any thinking ability.
He just didn't want to think.
Xuan Ji was a friend, a close friend, and in private conversations he didn't mind offending him. In just a few words, he had peeled away the layer of hypocritical gentlemanliness that Xiao Zheng had put on. His conscience was laid bare, leaving him feeling ashamed and embarrassed.
"So, are we just going to let the living continue to suffer... and the dead die in vain?"
Xuan Ji was a person with a cold exterior but warm interior, and when he heard Xiao Zheng's lost words, he thought to himself, "Isn't that the norm?"
After sending the lost and bewildered Xiao Zheng away with a bowl of toxic chicken soup, Xuan Ji skillfully cooked himself a meal of three dishes and one soup. Once he was full, he went to his study, holding his favorite sword, the blood stains on which he could never clean off. He put on gloves and carefully opened a small box, taking out a small stack of bamboo slips.
These bamboo slips were all brought out from the ancient city in the depths of Chiyuan, and were said to be ancient texts collected by his predecessors. Due to improper storage, the protective talismans on them had long since lost their effect, and the bamboo slips had almost rotted away.
Xuan Ji didn't know what to say about this, except that "misfortune comes to the door". Of his first 35 predecessors, if even one of them was not a spendthrift and lazy person, they should have known to transcribe and back up these fragile items.
This time, the only thing he brought back from Chiyuan were these slips, because Xuan Ji couldn't stay for long. One reason was that he had just started working and didn't have much vacation time, but another reason was that he was staying well, when suddenly a stone tablet next to the altar shattered - first cracking, and then not giving him any time to fix it before shattering into pieces.
Xuan Ji's first reaction to the crumbling tablet was not "I should fix up the ancestral altar," but a kind of indescribable panic.
It was as if his endocrine system had suddenly malfunctioned. There was nothing wrong, but his body was producing a large amount of hormones related to "fear," and a voice in his mind was urging him to run, as if if he stayed in Chiyuan any longer, there would be some kind of calamity.
Xuan Ji only had time to hastily gather a pile of ancient books related to the "heavenly demon" and "lifebound sword" before fleeing. He returned to Yong'an three days ago and completed all the necessary procedures for his new job, and he now has a good understanding of the department's management system. Xuan Ji's most pressing need now is to figure out how to wipe the blood off the lifebound sword and return it to his back. He has found that the longer he is separated from the sword, the more restless he becomes for no reason.
Since the lifebound sword left his spine until now, which is less than three days and two nights, Xuan Ji has reached the point where he cannot sleep without holding the sword. If he falls asleep and accidentally lets go, he will wake up within three seconds. Last night, he woke up more than twenty times because of this, and every time he closed his eyes, he was plagued by chaotic dreams. If this continues, he will surely suffer from nerve exhaustion.
"Brother Sword," Xuan Ji rubbed the sword with his fingers and used its cold touch to calm his mind, "what's the matter with you?"
Sheng Lingyuan, annoyed by Xuan Ji's pestering, glanced around the study and noticed that there wasn't much serious stuff inside.
Instead, there was a large crystal cabinet on one wall filled with rows of "sculpted dolls," all of which looked the same and had no spiritual power. It was obvious that they were all ordinary toys.
He wondered to himself, "Did this little brat only just stop nursing?"
After Xuan Ji "charged" the sword for a while, he carefully placed the lifebound sword next to his action figure cabinet and began to research. Although Dao Yi was loyal and reliable, he was really too old and sometimes confused, often unable to remember things. Xuan Ji suspected that he might have just grabbed everything with the word "demon" in it, regardless of whether it was relevant or not.
The ancient books were difficult to read and many of the characters were unclear. They were already difficult to understand, so Xuan Ji had to hold a dictionary and read them word by word, even though progress was extremely slow.
"Dongchuan...Witches book...it doesn't seem to be this one." Xuan Ji put that bamboo slip aside, "The 'Concentrating Mind and Dispelling Demons Scripture'...seems to be about physical training, not related...The 'Demon Stone Legend'...what a mess!"
Recently his sleep has been really poor, and he just finished eating... Of course, he may not be cut out for research in the first place. Xuan Ji studied at his desk for a while and felt that the characters in the ancient books were becoming more and more blurry and his eyelids were getting heavier. Before he knew it, he fell asleep with his head on the dictionary.
It was pitch black all around, and Xuan Ji realized he was dreaming. He had a feeling that this "lucid dream" was trying to tell him something, so he didn't try to break free, but continued walking forward to see what he would encounter in the dream.
Suddenly, he bumped into something. Xuan Ji rubbed his fingers together, and a small flame appeared on his fingertip. He saw a huge iron door in front of him, covered in a bright red seal that seemed strangely reminiscent of the broken face of his ring.
The surface of the iron door was uneven, as if it were engraved with something. Xuan Ji curiously moved the flame closer to one of the protrusions, and the iron door was illuminated by the flame. He was suddenly shocked - it wasn't an engraving at all, but a clear handprint!
Xuan Ji subconsciously stepped back a few steps and looked up, only to see the entire iron door covered with handprints, footprints, and traces of who knows which part of the body being slammed against it, as if... something inside was repeatedly slamming against the door, trying to break it open!
At this time, there was a loud "bang" from inside the iron door, and the flame in Xuan Ji's hand quivered violently before extinguishing.
In the darkness, the sound of flesh slamming against the iron door kept coming, muffled and frantic, sending chills down people's spines.
Xuan Ji's neck hair stood on end, but strangely, under such huge fear, the iron door felt like a black hole, exerting a strange gravitational force, and he couldn't help but reach out to touch it, instead of turning and running away.
Just as his hand was about to touch the iron door, a sharp bell rang in Xuan Ji's ear, and a dazzling light rushed into the terrifying dream, and Xuan Ji's consciousness quickly separated.
When he woke up, he heard a groan of extreme pain in the sound of the iron door slamming: "Your Majesty..."
Xuan Ji opened his eyes in a cold sweat, blanking out for two seconds before reacting that it was his cellphone ringing. He rubbed the ridges pressed onto his face by the dictionary and exhaled a foul breath: "Director Xiao, did you have a new instruction or did you just wake up?"
"Something is wrong with that parasitized boy," Xiao Zheng interrupted him. "The butterfly on his body is infectious!"
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