Xuan Ji had exploded over a hundred times on the spot, his brain splattered everywhere.
He wanted to call the police, scream for help, and even wanted to grab Sheng Lingyuan and shake him vigorously - where was his promised ability to see through everything?
Wasn't he bragging about being able to hear the sounds from the corners of an entire floor while standing in an elevator shaft?
Why didn't the sleeping pill factory hire him as their spokesperson? Even the bodies lined up in the morgue couldn't match his sleep quality!
Perhaps the commotion in his heart was too great, but Sheng Lingyuan seemed to sense something and slightly turned his head uncomfortably, opening his eyes.
As Xuan Ji froze, he soon realized that Sheng Lingyuan's eyelids had only opened a crack, revealing a tired and bewildered glimmer.
He must not have had a good dream, as his eyebrows furrowed even tighter upon waking, his shadowed lashes sinking deep into his pupils, making him look incredibly lonely.
In the depths of his pupils, there was no one but the bed curtains and the ever-burning candles.
Xuan Ji was taken aback.
Could Sheng Lingyuan not even see him?
Perhaps Sheng Lingyuan was not fully awake, merely opening his eyes unconsciously between sleep cycles. His gaze remained fixed, staring blankly at the bed curtains in the dim candlelight.
Xuan Ji held his breath, leaning over him, their eyes meeting just inches apart.
However, their gazes quickly passed each other by, as if they had no connection at all. Xuan Ji - or rather, the person possessed in his dream - stared at the eyes that couldn't see him, and suddenly felt a surge of emotions.
Then, he viciously grabbed Sheng Lingyuan's neck, wanting to take away his breath.
In the dream, Xuan Ji almost split in two.
On one hand, he stood outside as a bystander, feeling embarrassed and nervous, with goosebumps all over his body. On the other hand, he was influenced by the body in the dream, feeling the burning anger and desire, sinking into the eternal hellfire of pain and with nowhere to escape.
Sheng Lingyuan's breathing was as calm and lonely as the falling snow outside the window. 'Neon Light' tried its best, but couldn't leave even half a fingerprint on his smooth neck.
In that moment, Xuan Ji, who had been struggling with possession, suddenly fell silent. For a brief moment, he shared a connection with this person, and inexplicably tasted boundless melancholy.
At that moment, a distant chime sounded from outside... it was three in the morning.
Sheng Lingyuan's eyelashes fluttered rapidly, and he seemed a bit more clear-headed.
Xuan Ji felt 'Neon Light' hoping that the other person could feel their presence, but... no, Sheng Lingyuan just shifted his posture slightly and looked through the window at the empty sleeping quarters with a scattered gaze.
'Neon Light' completely collapsed in despair, and Xuan Ji heard the hoarse voice of the person he was possessing, "Why can't you look at me, Lingyuan? Please, just look at me..."
Anger and despair churned together in his heart, along with the scent of Sheng Lingyuan's breath and the touch of his lips... The faint fragrance that lingered around his collar was magnified countless times, leaving an indelible mark on his soul. He kissed the person in front of him with reckless abandon, as if he wanted to chew him up and swallow him whole.
Xuan Ji, who was forced to play along with this act of hooliganism, found himself in a state of awkward sobriety. His mind couldn't help but wander, recalling the image of Sheng Lingyuan crawling out of the coffin in the witches' tomb, and then the sight of him lying disheveled in the bathroom...
It was like the story of "The Emperor's New Clothes".
Just as he felt that the dream was about to be censored and harmonized, a black hole the size of a person suddenly appeared behind him, spreading like a shadow and swallowing him up. In the dream, Xuan Ji desperately tried to hold onto Sheng Lingyuan's hand, but their intertwined fingers pierced through each other. He couldn't even hold onto a single strand of the person's hair.
"Dong!" A bell rang, and someone shouted in the darkness, "Seal it--"
Bright light pierced into his vision, and Xuan Ji suddenly sat up from the bed, not knowing whether it was still night or already morning.
He seemed to still be trapped in that hazy nightmare, his heart empty except for one thought: 'I can't lose him again.'
The bed next to him was empty, the sheets neatly folded, untouched by anyone - Sheng Lingyuan had bid him farewell with a wave yesterday. Without even putting on his shoes, Xuan Ji rushed out of the room as if possessed, running barefoot down the hallway. It wasn't until he heard the door behind him slam shut with a loud bang that he snapped out of his daze and regained his senses.
"Wait a minute," said Director Xuan, who had been shrewd for half his life, his eyebrows raised in confusion. "Who am I? Where am I? What am I supposed to do... Did I forget my room key?" The hotel hallway surveillance camera was pointed directly at his door.
Xuan Ji stared at the lens for a moment, but decided not to let it capture the scene of him transforming into a bird person. Instead, he used a mortal's method to solve the problem.
Five minutes later, he arrived at the hotel lobby, thanked the staff for the disposable slippers they provided, and wrapped his bathrobe tightly around him. After verifying his identity at the front desk, they opened the door for him.
Because his image was too rebellious, passersby had to take a second look at him. Luckily, Xuan Ji had thick skin. He borrowed a wet tissue from someone and wiped his face. He styled his hair into a avant-garde look and confidently showed off his new appearance.
After getting his new room key and heading downstairs, he took the opportunity to stroll to the restaurant for breakfast.
Ordinary dreams are easily forgotten upon waking up, often fading away in the time it takes to drink a glass of water. But the eerie dream that just occurred was etched into his mind like a series of vivid images.
Xuan Ji had busied himself going up and down the hotel with all its floors and rooms, yet the dream only became clearer as time passed.
Xuan Ji didn't know if he was emotionally incomplete or just heartless...maybe it was because he was born and raised in a secluded mountain valley and sheltered from the outside world. Regardless, he didn't have many worries in life besides money. He rarely got caught up in any emotions, even after watching a heart-wrenching tragedy. Before the movie credits finished rolling, he had already detached himself from other people's emotions. This absurd dream he had was no different from a bad movie that made people "break character" in one second.
But while he knew very well that it was all fake, the intense negative emotions in his dream were not dissipating, but rather becoming more and more persistent as time passed.
It didn't feel like he was just a spectator in his dream, but rather like he had...reclaimed a part of his own dark memories.
It was like a fishbone stuck in his throat, making even his meal tasteless.
As the waiters poured coffee, Xuan Ji took the opportunity to analyze his strange dream. In the dream, he was kissing and biting Sheng Lingyuan, with love and hate intertwined - something Xuan Ji did not agree with.
He believed that everything should be done in moderation, as too much love can turn bitter and lead to worry and eventually hatred. After all, isn't being together about happiness and sharing rent and utilities? There's no need for bitterness and deep hatred.
The reason for this setup, Xuan Ji felt, might be some kind of psychological projection: on one hand, Sheng Lingyuan's appearance was quite coincidentally highly similar to the collection of figurines he had meticulously curated according to his aesthetic preferences, which inevitably stirred up some lustful thoughts. On the other hand, that old demon was sly and cunning, with an unclear stance, and had almost killed him several times.
Xuan Ji felt that he had restrained himself from cursing in the streets and had already behaved like a civilized man, but it was only natural to have some negative emotions. The intertwining of desire and negative emotions resulted in a strange chemical reaction, which was not surprising.
What puzzled him was what exactly the 'neon light' he had possessed was.
This was a "lamp" that didn't burn oil or electricity, it was energy-saving and environmentally friendly, and it shone on its own.
The guard ignored the neon light, and there wasn't even a dent in the bed he sat on.
What kind of setup was this?
Was it a ghost?
But where do ghosts come from in this world?
If "gods" are lies told by those in power, then "ghosts" are the pitiful illusions of desperate people who imagine that if they were to sacrifice everything and become vengeful ghosts, they could obtain abilities that were unattainable in life and seek justice for themselves.
The Research Institute of the bureau had a detailed explanation for this topic. The so-called "spirits" and "souls" in folklore are actually a kind of life substance that spills out and aggregates outside the body under the influence of strong special abilities. In the legends of cultivation, there is a saying of "separating the primordial spirit from the body", which refers to this powerful life substance leaving the body.
There are some special methods that can draw out this life substance, such as the "Heart-Piercing Grass Spell", which allowed the Sheng Lingyuan to move around in a puppet made of Heart-Penetrating Grass. "The soul" is not something that exists after a person dies. Its existence is based on the fact that the original body is still alive and strong enough to support this kind of life substance.
As for those mortals who were not very healthy during their lifetime and could barely climb three floors without panting like a dog, they should not expect their useless flesh to decay and still have a "soul reincarnation". The "soul" probably died long before the central nervous system was damaged, even earlier than the flesh.
If the 'neon light' in the dream is also this kind of 'soul', it doesn't make sense.
Since it is a special life substance, ordinary people cannot see it with their naked eyes, but energy instruments can always scan it.
Sheng Lingyuan's eyes are even more powerful than the energy scanner of the Bureau, so why can't he see it?
After pondering for a while, Xuan Ji couldn't figure out why he had set up this scenario.
He thought it might just be for the convenience of being a rogue. As for the last midnight bell, Xuan Ji felt like he had heard it somewhere before, and it weighed heavily on his memory. He poked at a piece of smoked fish, but his appetite had disappeared. His tongue was a mix of sourness and bitterness, and the distant and lonely fragrance of incense from Sheng Lingyuan's body in his dream lingered in his mind.
The perfectly smoked fish now tasted like wax in his mouth. The sounds around him seemed to be separated by a layer of something, like noisy and irrelevant background music. The restaurant had excellent lighting, with bright sunshine and a constant temperature of 26 degrees Celsius from the air conditioning.
Suddenly, Xuan Ji shivered and looked down to find his fingers turning blue from the cold. It was as if a part of his body was still stuck in the snowy night of the Du Ling Palace three thousand years ago - freezing cold, with the warmth of the fireplace long gone, and the palace as cold as a morgue.
Part of that dream had actually materialized!
With a clang, Xuan Ji's frozen hand failed to grasp the fork and it fell onto the porcelain plate.
As he lifted his head, he met Wang Ze's gaze, which was tinged with suspicion and scrutiny.
As soon as Wang Ze walked in, he spotted Xuan Ji in the corner. It was peak dining time and the restaurant was packed, but strangely, there wasn't a single person sitting in the seats around Xuan Ji. Even the waiters seemed unsure why they weren't directing customers to those seats.
Wang Ze immediately sensed that something was off. Within a two-meter radius around Xuan Ji, there was a strange 'field' that repelled everything around it. This 'field' was made from powerful energy, similar to a barrier. Within the field, all rules were subject to the owner's will, including the small-scale time and space rules.
After years of wandering around, Wang Ze had only seen a similar 'scene' in a sinister temple in the snow-capped mountains of Tibet. The temple worshipped a huge strange tree, with roots entwined around a 20-meter tiger bone fossil, possibly an ancient monster. The bone surface was like jade and had been worshipped by the ignorant followers of the cult for thousands of years, causing great harm.
During that incident, the Wind God suffered heavy casualties, and almost the entire field team was wiped out. At that time, Wang Ze was still inexperienced and was rescued by the team leader at the time.
But how could a person have the aura of such an evil god?
This Xuan Ji, is he even thirty years old... what is his background?
Wang Ze kept one hand in his pocket and cautiously stopped two meters away from Xuan Ji.
"Are you okay? Why do you look so bad? Do you have a cold?"
As soon as he heard his voice, Xuan Ji looked up and the mysterious 'field' surrounding him dissipated, as if it had just been Wang Ze's imagination.
Xuan Ji had obvious dark circles under his eyes, and a large cloud of gloom still lingered in his eyes, making him look a bit dazed. Meanwhile, Wang Ze noticed the cutlery and chopsticks on the table, all of which had wilted and deformed within a radius of one meter around Xuan Ji, as if they had melted.
Wang Ze's former boss was in the field of metallurgy, and he had seen powerful metallurgists cause slight deformations in nearby metal objects. But this was not even close to the level of melting gold and iron.
Moreover, wasn't Xuan Ji supposed to be a lightning and fire user?
Even if there was a mistake in the internal information, Gu Yuexi, who had the ability of perspective, had personally confirmed it!
"I didn't... cough, didn't sleep well," Xuan Ji's voice was a bit hoarse. When he greeted Wang Ze, the rising tone at the end of his sentence had a forced and exaggerated feeling. "Good morning, Team Leader Wang."
He glanced secretly at the table next to him and used his fingers to 'fix' the deformed metal utensils on his table. In the blink of an eye, the knife and fork became avant-garde art pieces, restored to their original state. Perhaps he thought the decorative carvings on the utensils were not very attractive, so he took the liberty of modifying some of them. After finishing, he wiped them clean with a napkin, adjusted his own state, and smiled at the shocked Wang Ze, "What do you think of my unique skill?"
Wang Ze didn't hesitate to flatter him, "Impressive, truly impressive - Director, if I encounter a great disaster in the future and unfortunately have a partner, can I make an appointment with you for a set of gold betrothal gifts?"
"My friend, you're overthinking things. We can't be so pessimistic about life. I don't believe such a human tragedy will happen," Xuan Ji promised cheerfully. "But if it does, I'll give you a discount on my processing fee and throw in a free mourning service!"
Every special ability user has their own secrets. 'Listen more, watch more, and ask less' is the basic etiquette of special ability users.
Wang Ze wasn't close enough to Xuan Ji to inquire about his doubts, so he could only sadly contemplate his own nonexistent love life while filling up his plate. Then, getting to the point, he said, "I've been looking for you since this morning."
Xuan Ji asked, "Hmm? Why are you looking for me? Who caused trouble and needs me to clean up?"
Wang Ze replied, "It's you."
As he spoke, he dialed the number for Xiao Zheng and said, "I'll give him the phone in a moment." He then handed the phone to Xuan Ji and whispered in his ear, "Director Xuan, avoiding responsibility is both shameful and useless. You're in charge of handling the aftermath department, yet you lack the awareness to do so. Get ready to face Daddy Xiao's wrath."
Xuan Ji was confused when he heard Xiao Zheng's explosive voice on the other end of the line, "If I ever believe your bullshit again, I'm a dog!"
Xuan Ji held the phone away from his ear as Xiao Zheng continued to rant, "Woof woof woof! Father, calm down and have a 'calming' tea. What's wrong now?"
Xiao Zheng seethed with anger, "How dare you even ask!"
It was a Monday morning, and the employees of each department were yawning as they clocked in at the office. Those who were out on business trips logged onto the company's internal network. At the same time, an email with a "top priority" label caught everyone's attention.
Almost everyone who saw the email titled "Progress Report on the Investigation of the Illegal Use of Mirror Flower Water Moon Butterfly and Concealment of Casualty Numbers" was stunned. Since Bi Chunsheng's accident, the bureau had been tight-lipped about the matter, causing people to speculate and worry. This was the first official statement on the issue.
The yawns were replaced with wide-eyed curiosity as even those who were on vacation were called in by their colleagues to read the document. Countless people, whether guilty or innocent, curious or anxious, clicked on the file with a sense of unease.
As the electronic document unfolded, the witches' spell hidden in the watermark took effect. People saw flashes of red or white light before they could even locate the source. Those who saw the red light fell silently to the ground, becoming comatose on the spot.
Among the sudden fainting people were mostly field agents from the core security department, including some high-ranking officials. The entire Bureau was in chaos, with at least a dozen branch offices across the country entering emergency mode.
Xiao Zheng had thought that the spell given to him by Xuan Ji was just a "detection spell," which would leave a mark on anyone who had touched the forbidden butterflies. He impulsively sent it out without even informing Chief Huang, never imagining that it would cause such a huge commotion. The phones rang off the hook all morning.
Director Xiao sprayed his frustration through the phone, his impressive lung capacity on full display: "Are you sick? Can't you give me a heads up? Can't you follow orders? Do you remember that you're a government employee getting paid?"
Wang Ze was munching on two egg tarts on the side, and upon hearing this, he couldn't help but bow to Xuan Ji in admiration.
Xuan Ji was completely confused, feeling like the weight of the world was on his shoulders and that his spinal discs were being crushed by this unfair blame.
"No... let me explain..."
Director Xiao demanded, "You better give me a written explanation! Your sword spirit even broke into my hospital room in the middle of the night, getting handsy! What are you guys trying to do?"
Xuan Ji: ...
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