Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 35: What if the gift is dying?
Dong Zhi left as the interview came to an end. As soon as he stepped out of the room, all eyes fell on him. When he first entered the room, the attention brought to him was due to his written exam results, which were comparable to a 30-watt lightbulb. Now that he had just stepped out, it was more like a 100-watt.
He was puzzled, thinking that it was impossible for others to know about his argument with Taoist Master Li. When he saw Ba Sang, the other party asked, “Why did you stay for so long? What were you talking about?”
Dong Zhi asked strangely, “Was it a long time?” He was inside answering questions and was unaware of the passage of time.
Ba Sang said, “Of course. Usually it’s about 15 minutes for others, but you’ve been in there for almost 40 minutes. Are your written scores too high that the examiners take their turn praising you one by one?”
Dong Zhi smiled wryly. “You give me too much credit. I was asked questions by each one of them, and I argued with one of the examiners.”
Ba Sang’s mouth became an O-shape. “You’re quarrelling with examiners?!”
Gu Meiren was also surprised. It was hard for her to imagine someone like Dong Zhi would compete with others.
Dong Zhi shrugged. “Anyway, my results may be uncertain this time. I’m mentally prepared to take the exam again next year.”
Ba Sang patted him on his arm but didn’t know what to say. Dong Zhi comforted them in turn. “Don’t worry. The questions aren’t difficult. Just answer them well.”
When it was Ba Sang’s turn to go in, Dong Zhi didn’t leave. He waited for Gu Meiran and Ba Sang to finish their interviews before accompanying them to leave.
Gu Meiran had relatives in Beijing, so she was living temporarily at a relative’s house. In addition, she often goes to the university nearby to attend courses during her free time. She was actually a gentle and low-key girl who wouldn’t really stand out as a practitioner if she didn’t tell them.
Ba Sang had a family issue sprung up, so he planned to go back that day, intending to come back after receiving his training notice.
Since it was fate that the three of them met and became like old friends, they all agreed to have a meal together, then said their goodbyes as they parted ways. After sending Ba Sang and Gu Meiran off, Dong Zhi returned to the dorms.
When he recalled the scene during his interview, he suddenly felt that he was a bit too green. He felt it was right to stick to his ideals, but it also depended on the occasion. Although he was applauded by an elder later, if he had just gone with the flow from the beginning and answered according to Li Rui’s tendencies, it would most likely still produce a satisfactory and stable result. Wouldn’t it have been better if he just stuck to the script and answered accordingly?
Still, there is no medicine for regret in this world. In fact, even knowing now what the best result could’ve been, he would still do it exactly as he had if he were to do it again.
Dong Zhi felt that he should start thinking about finding a home. He had a lot of savings, so he wouldn’t have to worry about food and housing for a while, but if he were to be eliminated from the interview, it’d be too awkward to stay in the dorms. Perhaps he can rent out a home in the capital and live in it. In his spare time, he would work part-time on drafts while reviewing in preparation for his comeback next year.
Dong Zhi laid on the bed and thought about it. Although he had prepared for the worst, depression was still inevitable.
Suddenly, there was a knock on his door. He slowly opened it with a soft pillow in his arms while thinking about who it could possibly be, as He Yu and Kan Chaosheng were still on their business trip. Could it be Zhong Yuyi?
When the door opened, he was stunned by the unexpected visitor. “Long—Boss Long?”
Long Shen figure was standing at the door. “What are you doing?”
He was caught off guard by the abrupt visit of the male god that his mentality hadn’t adjusted. Dong Zhi was slow to react, and only after a while did he say, “I just came back from a meal with Ba Sang and Gu Meiran. Have you eaten yet?”
Long Shen didn’t answer his question, but instead pulled out a card and handed it to him. “Take it. It’s an access card to the training room. Go up and practice in the future. You don’t need to find someone to accompany you any longer.”
Dong Zhi took it and hesitated. “But the interview…”
Long Shen: “Even if you can’t pass the exam, you won’t practice?”
Dong Zhi didn’t even hesitate to reply, “Of course not!”
Long Shen nodded. “The card is temporary, so just give it back to me if you fail the exam.”
Dong Zhi thought how lucky he was. He felt with his high score on the written exam, combined with the experience he had from several missions with He Yu, perhaps Long Shen would open the backdoor for him. He couldn’t help but shed tearless tears when he heard the other party’s intention. Still, having an access card is better than not having one, and other candidates may not necessarily get this kind of treatment.
“Thank you, Boss Long. I will go up every day to practice. Would you like to come in?”
Long Shen said, “No, you can rest.” He turned around to leave.
Dong Zhi gathered up the courage and asked, “Boss Long, is the yulu still alive?”
Long Shen said, “Still alive. Do you want to come and see it?”
Dong Zhi was eager to follow. Even if all they did was small talk, it was still a step forward, but when he saw the faint tiredness in Long Shen’s eyes, he changed his mind. “No, you should rest first. Call me if you need me.”
Long Shen nodded and went back to his room. He hasn’t returned now for a while. The last time was three days ago. His bedroom was as deserted as ever, but he didn’t care. He was about to shower and rest when he passed by the living room and suddenly stopped as he turned the corner.
The yulu was sitting on the table, wilting. It no longer had that delicate look when it was first given to him. The fat leaves had begun to turn yellow, and some had already fallen off, indicating that its life was nearing its end.
Long Shen wanted to give it some water, but then remembered that Dong Zhi said the plant liked dryness and couldn’t help but frown. The omnipotent Deputy Director Long looked at the small potted plant in front of him as if it was an Archdemon that he had fallen into a stalemate with.
After a while, he turned on his phone and typed in: [What should I do if my yulu plant is dying?].
Various answers popped up, but the most reliable one was: [The root may have outgrown. Change it to a deeper pot and swap it to dry soil again.]
Though it was a plant, it was still a life. Long Shen, who wanted to shower, had to take the flowerpot and went out to a flower shop to find someone to rescue it. Before he left his room, he only had one thought in his mind: ‘So troublesome. Don’t accept gifts next time.’
Of course, Dong Zhi was completely oblivious to this, unaware that the small gift he gave was so nerve-wracking to his male god. When he turned on his computer, he received a call from Gu Meiran. She had run into a candidate named Li Ying and wanted to invite everyone to have a meal together so they could get to know each other. After all, they were all busy preparing for the exam, and many had not had the chance to make acquaintances.
The other party only had Gu Meiran’s contact information, so he asked her to call Dong Zhi to invite him. Gu Meiran didn’t really like this kind of social gathering much, but if Dong Zhi went, she would at least have an acquaintance there.
Dong Zhi sensed some hesitation from her and agreed.
It was normal for groups to have an individual come forward and organize gatherings like this. After all, they were likely to become colleagues in the future. Even if some fail this time around, they may succeed next time around. Like mountains and rivers meet*, one more friend is another way forward.
*(山水有相逢) Refers to there are always opportunities to meet and deal with each other in life. To persuade people not to be too absolute, there must be room for them.
The gathering was set for the evening, so Dong Zhi worked on his comic for a while. Seeing as the time was nearing, he prepared and went to the place where he agreed to meet with Gu Meiren. Gu Meiren had changed into a T-shirt and jeans, making her look more like a normal student.
He saw a gathering of people in the distance and hurried over. “Sorry I’m late.”
Gu Meiren smiled slightly. “It’s okay, I’m here early.”
The place they were gathering was at a restaurant nearby. The two crossed a commercial street and walked towards their destination. Dong Zhi joked, “It’s a pity that Ba Sang has already set off. Otherwise, he can still have another meal.”
Gu Meiren said, “I don’t know them too well, but I don’t feel comfortable bringing up AA*.”
*Refers to going dutch. In China, it’s seen as being stingy or bad manners when you ask to split the bill. It’s popular with the younger generation, especially those who are still students and not working.
Dong Zhi thought for a while, then said, “The guy said he wanted to invite everyone to a meal, but AA may not work out. Let’s just buy some snacks and give everyone a share.”
Gu Meiran agreed. “That’s fine.” She refused to take advantage of others, nor did she want to pretend to be magnanimous. There’s a difference between closeness and distance, and it was comfortable to make friends like this.
Dong Zhi asked, “Is Li Ying a local? Besides us, who else will be there?”
Gu Meiran said uncertainly, “His father’s name is Li Rui, and he seems to be one of the examiners for our interview. Do you know each other?”
Dong Zhi: …
In fact, quite well.
He had offended someone’s father this morning and was now invited by said person’s son in the evening. What kind of feeling is this? He suddenly had the urging to turn around and go back.
Dong Zhi smiled bitterly. “I do.” He explained the situation at the interview.
“Then why don’t we just bail?” Gu Meiren said in surprise.
She said “we” instead of “I” which made Dong Zhi a little moved. “No. Now that the appointment’s been set, it’s not good to go back.”
The two walked into the restaurant and told the host Li Ying’s name. They were immediately led by the waiter to a reserved private room. There was already a group of men and women, around eight people, already there, including Liu Qingbo.
Seeing them come in, a man smiled and said, “You’re the latest to come, so your punishment is to drink.”
After saying that, he got up and stretched out his hand towards Dong Zhi. “My name is Li Ying. You’re Dong Zhi. I’ve heard so much about you, like how you ranked first on the written exam. Pleasure to meet you.”
He behaved politely, as if he didn’t know what had happened between Dong Zhi and his father. Dong Zhi shook his hand and smiled at him. “It’s nice to meet you. Let’s not prattle about the written exam. I was just fortunate enough to memorize a few more books.”
Li Ying chuckled. “Well, not everyone can make it today. Some people couldn’t come, so it’s just us. However, it was everyone’s fate that we all took the exam together. Regardless of whether we’ll be colleagues in the future or not, we’ll all stay in contact with each other. Thank you, friends, for giving me face today. Since it was my invitation, don’t rush to pay the bill later! I can’t beat you to it!”
His words were humorous, causing everyone to laugh, and the atmosphere improved, becoming livelier. Though they were taking the exam together, they were still relatively unfamiliar with each other. After introducing one another, Dong Zhi was able to match their faces to their names.
Since it was just after the exams, most of the topics revolved around it. Some discussed the written portion while others talked about the interviews, the more interesting subject. Everyone recounted their painful experiences, especially when they were pitted.
Some people were asked how they would respond if they were asked to participate in an international exchange in the future and they encountered practitioners who were unfriendly to their country. One person, who said he was a psychic, was asked to elaborate on the similarities and differences between the Southeast Asia witchcraft1 technique and the Miaojiang Poison2 technique, was left completely dumbfounded and wanted to die.
1Head Taming/Descending (Technique) (降头) Witchcraft that’s popular in Southeast Asia. It’s split into two types: black magic and white magic. Black magic focuses on the destruction of the target, while white magic is used for repair and blessings of the target. || Note: I will be referring to this as witchcraft.
2(苗疆蛊) Witchcraft that has its roots in Taoism and specializes in poison/gu used by the people of Miaojiang. It’s used by women to ensure the loyal love of their men, who would go away. If they returned and were faithful, an antidote would be given. Refer to the lore glossary if you want to learn more about poison/gu.
Hearing everyone’s complaints, Dong Zhi felt great comfort for his injured heart. Sure enough, his single tragedy was not as bad as the others. There were others who fell more miserably than he did.
After three rounds of drinking, the atmosphere lightened up. Even Gu Meiran was not as quiet as she was in the beginning. She was chatting with a sweet-looking girl next to her while Dong Zhi chatted with a young man who claimed that he was psychic.
His name was Cheng Yuan. Dong Zhi guessed that, for professional reasons, his temperament was a bit gloomy, but he became quite talkative once he got familiar with someone.
According to him, Dong Zhi learned that “psychic” was just an elegant title. They were generally referred to as sorcerers or sorceress*, which was “heretical” in the eyes of many famous sects. Although Li Ying and Liu Qingbo didn’t show any discrimination towards him, Cheng Yuan still felt uncomfortable around them and instead chatted exclusively with Dong Zhi.
*The term is [shenpo] (神婆) for female and [shenhan] (神汉) for males. Their position is more like a wizard/warlock/sorcerer who performs exorcism but has other occupations as well. They also have the ability to invite gods and goddesses for their blessings. || With the rise of systematic religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, ect. their technique of “witchcraft/black magic” that promotes superstition as a way of exorcism runs counterintuitive to such religions, thus they are labeled heretical, which is most likely why Cheng Yuan refers to himself as a psychic.
While they were chatting, Dong Zhi heard Li Ying’s voice ringing out. “With so many people present, you should speak up and let everyone help come up with ideas.”
Everyone stopped talking and followed the direction of his voice as they saw Li Ying talking to the sweet-looking girl. Her name was unique, Chi Banxia*. Pinellia was the name of the traditional Chinese medicine so people would remember it at once.
*(迟半夏) [Banxia] (半夏) refers to the pinellia [Banxia] (半夏) plant that is used in Chinese medicine, supposedly to help relieve nausea, among other illnesses. Chi Banxia combine translates to late midsummer, which is the time to harvest pinellia.
Gu Meiren, who was sitting next to her, said, “Yes. There are so many great people here. Perhaps they can help.”
Chi Banxia was shy, but she spoke confidently to everyone. “A friend of mine who works in the showbiz industry recently encountered some strange things that made her uneasy to the point where she couldn’t sleep or eat. She invited a lot of high-level people, but it didn’t work. I don’t know what’s going on, so I want to ask everyone’s opinion.”
“What is the strange thing?” Liu Qingbo asked.
Chi Banxia said, “She keeps having nightmares and can’t sleep well. Even in broad daylight, when she’s alone, she always feels as if someone is following her. Also, her assistants have been experiencing accidents recently as well. One had fallen down the stairs, and another was almost hit by a car while crossing the road. In just one month, she had to change assistants twice.”
Liu Qingbo pondered, “It sounds like she’s entangled in something evil. Has she tried an exorcism?”
Chi Banxia said, “She tried it all. She also set up a separate room in her home to make a Buddhist shrine and invited a Bodhisattva* but as long as she leaves the shrine, she will feel uncomfortable. It’s also no use wearing charms and such on her body either.”
*Person who is on the path towards Buddhahood.
After listening to her story, everyone looked at each other. If what she said is true, then her friend was entangled with something too evil!
Chi Banxia said, “I’m not good at exorcising evil spirits, but I’m sure that she does not have a curse cast upon her, and her sanity is normal.”
When she first introduced herself, she mentioned that her family was from Hainan. Dong Zhi was a bit confused by it, but now he realized that she must know some witchcraft. Witchcraft was popular in Southeast Asia and was said to be in the same vein as the Miaojiang Poison technique, but its origin was no longer known.
According to folklore, it was around the Tang Dynasty that Master Xuanzang1 was returning from Tianzhu when he passed by the Tongtian River and accidently dropped some of his scriptures into it. Fortunately, he picked up most of them, but the missing part is the “prophecy” in Mahayana2 Buddhism. Supposedly, this is a curse that’s the source of witchcraft.
1Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator. He is known for the epoch-making contributions to Chinese Buddhism, the travelogue of his journey to India in 629–645 CE, his efforts to bring over 657 Indian texts to China, and his translations of some of these texts.
2Term for a broad group of Buddhist traditions, texts, philosophies, and practices. Mahāyāna Buddhism developed in India (c. 1st century BCE onwards) and is considered one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism.
There was also a legend that witchcraft came from Maoshan Taoism. Overall, it was a technique that was very popular in Southeast Asia and many people respect their practitioners, lest they offend them and could meet a terrible end.
Since the Ming and Qing Dynasties, many people from Fujan, Guangdon, Hainan, and other places traveled to Nanyang to do business. Along the way, there were those who dealt with mysterious and exotic magical techniques. Many of them had learned witchcraft from masters in foreign regions and later returned to China to start their own sect. The most famous of them was the Chi family in Hainan.
It was said that some businessmen had offended their opponents when they were doing business in Southeast Asia and were asked by them to lower their heads, so they sought out the Chi family for help. Over time, the family became famous.
However, Dong Zhi didn’t know these things until Gu Meiren told him later on.
At that moment, when Chi Banxia stopped speaking, everyone was eager to solve her problem. Bluntly put, they were all young people who were either fledglings or had trained since they were young. When encountering this kind of thing, they naturally want to solve the problem while showing off their skills.
Upon seeing this, Chi Banxia said, “My friend is offering a hefty reward and is looking for experts everywhere. If you’re free, why don’t you come with me to take a look?”
Li Ying nodded. “Let me go and have a look with you.”
He looked around at everyone and smiled again. “Even if we pass the interview, there’s still the training exam. I heard that it is quite difficult, so now that we have such a rare opportunity, we should put into practice what we have learn.”
Those who were still on the fence before, after hearing his words, decided to go together. “Then I’ll thank you all on behalf of my friend first; don’t worry, she won’t let you come for nothing,” Chi Banxia said with a smile.
With such sight in their eyes, instead of sitting around and chatting, it was better to act now. Everyone either took a taxi or drove themselves to the place Chi Banxia mentioned, and soon they gathered at a five-star hotel.
Chi Banxia explained, “My friend hasn’t dared go home recently, so she’s staying at a hotel. It’s more convenient to meet here. I’ll call her first and ask her to come down to pick us up.”
Shortly after she called, a young woman came down in a hurry, but she didn’t look like a person that was particularly in distress. When she spoke, everyone realized that she was the assistant to Chi Banxia’s friend.
Some of the people there were unhappy that the person who needed help didn’t even bother to show up herself to greet them. When they arrived at the presidential suite on the top floor and the other party came to open the door, everyone realized why the person was so mysterious. Because Chi Banxia’s friend turned out to be Hui Yiguang.
In the past few years since her debut, Hui Yiguang had participated in a variety of TV series where she starred as the female lead. Her popularity had risen so rapidly that she had countless fans. Similarly, with this kind of stardom comes countless paparazzi as well, who follow her every move. If they were to know that she was being a haunted by an unknown evil being, the gossip would be overwhelming and could greatly damage her career aspects.
Hui Yiguang, while not on camera, still looked beautiful and moving, but her eyelids looked a bit baggy, showing obvious signs that she’d been lacking sleep and was in distress. She hadn’t expected Chi Banxia to bring over so many people, so she showed a surprised expression when she opened the door.
Chi Banxia said, “Yiguang, they are all my friends. Each has their own strengths. Since I can’t solve your problem, I have asked them to come to brainstorm together and maybe they can find the answer.”
Hui Yiguang knew about Chi Banxia’s background, so she naturally understood what she was referring to. When she heard this, she smiled softly and let out a grateful expression. “Thank you, Banxia. Thank you all. Please come in and sit down wherever you like.”
The living room of the presidential suite was extremely spacious. Everyone took their seats separately as Hui Yiguang asked her assistant to bring drinks and snacks.
Hui Yiguang said, “I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude and not pick you up in person. It’s just that my life is exposed to the lens every minute. If I were to appear downstairs, there would be papers about me all over tomorrow.”
Chi Banxia introduced, “Yiguang is my cousin’s classmate and also my friend. We both grew up in the same city. I have troubled you all at this time.”
Li Ying said to Hui Yiguang, “Let’s talk about your troubles first.”
When it came to this matter, Hui Yiguang’s face turned blue again. Her description was much the same as Chi Banxia’s recount, except that it was more detailed.
According to Hui Yiguang’s recollection, the strange incident happened a month ago. During the day, she would often hear someone whispering into her ears, but if she tried to listen carefully, she couldn’t hear what they were saying. At first, she thought she was too tired from filming and had hallucinations, but after a few days of rest and going to the hospital for an examination, she didn’t get better. Gradually, when she went to bed, she often didn’t sleep well and always felt as if someone was watching her by her bedside. She often wakes up in the middle of the night in fright. Due to lack of sleep, she didn’t have the energy to work and once almost fell down the stairs during filming on set.
Hui Yiguang rolled up her sleeves, and everyone saw a bruise in the shape of five fingers on her white and tender arm, which was extremely conspicuous. “This happened two days ago at the hotel I was staying at next to the studio. At that time, I asked my assistant to sleep in the same room with me, but she said she didn’t feel anything.” Hui Yiguang’s face showed fear. Despite so many people present, she couldn’t control her body from slightly trembling.
“The most bizarre thing is that my previous two assistants were injured inexplicably during this month. One was almost hit by a car. My current assistant, Xiao Han, was sent as a replacement for the company when I started filming a new drama last week.”
Hearing this, Li Ying looked at the new assistant. “After you arrived at Miss Hui’s side, did you encounter anything strange?”
Xiao Han shook her head.
Li Ying asked Hui Yiguang again, “Then have you encountered anything strange in this hotel now?”
Hui Yiguang: “I haven’t finished filming my scenes yet, but I can’t take it anymore. I’ve asked the director for two days off to rest, and I came here yesterday. So far, it’s been calm, but I don’t know if things will act up again tonight. I’m really scared. Can you help me?” Tears filled her eyes as everyone couldn’t bear looking at her pitiful state.
Li Ying comforted, “Don’t worry, let’s take a look first.”
Chi Banxia also said, “Don’t worry, my friends are very capable.”
Hui Yiguang nodded gratefully again and again. “I hope it’s not too much trouble. Please feel free to tell me if you need anything.”
Everyone acted quickly. Some took out compasses while others looked around the suite. Since Dong Zhi didn’t develop the habit of carrying a compass, he just followed the others to watch the excitement. After listening to Hui Yiguang’s words just now, he felt that the chances of her being entangled by a ghost or a demonic being were close to 9 out of 10. It stood to reason that the one who’s best at this method should be the psychic, Cheng Yuan, but he wandered around and shook his head, indicating that the suite was clear, and he didn’t find signs of anything.
At his request, Hui Yiguang allowed him to open her luggage to check, but in the end, nothing abnormal was found.
Chi Banxia said, “Didn’t you say that there is also a problem with your house? Can we go to your house and have a look?”
When she mentioned it, Hui Yiguang couldn’t hold back her expression of fear. “Of course. Let my assistant take you there. I have also encountered strange things at the hotel by the studio, but now that I’ve checked out, it would be inconvenient to go there again.”
Li Ying nodded. “We don’t need to go to the other hotel. Just your home is fine.”
The assistant took them downstairs. Including Chi Banxia, there were a total of ten people that were divided up into three cars. Dong Zhi, Cheng Yuan, and Gu Meiren got into the same car.
Cheng Yuan said as they drove to Hui Yiguang’s home, “I can’t see any signs attached to her body.” He was vague in his words so as to avoid panicking the driver.
Gu Meiren said, “I didn’t find anything either.”
Dong Zhi said with regret, “If you haven’t noticed it, then I definitely didn’t, though I do think it’s a bit strange.”
Both of them looked at him. Dong Zhi glanced at the driver and said, “Let’s talk about it when we get out of the car.”
The car eventually arrived at their destination, a high-end residential area that had beautiful surroundings. Such a home in the capital was naturally expensive, but considering Hui Yiguang’s status, it was something she could easily afford.
Though the assistant had the key card, since she wasn’t the owner of the house, she was still required to register her identity before she was allowed inside. Relatively speaking, it was difficult to imagine there would be anyone trying to fish in troubled waters*, but there were many things in this world that often couldn’t be explained by common sense.
*(浑水摸鱼) Idiom referring to creating chaos for the enemy/opponent and then taking advantage of the confusion to obtain benefits. || In this context it’s saying it doesn’t make sense for them to cause trouble as they’re with Hui Yiguang’s assistant but then again people sometimes act outside of common sense.
The place hadn’t been cleaned for a week, so as soon as the door was opened, the smell of dust permeated. The assistant turned on the lights and let everyone in. The house was quite large and beautifully decorated. It had a Mediterranean style, but from Dong Zhi’s perspective, he felt this house was too big to live in.
He once chatted with Kan Chaosheng and heard him say that many people in modern times think that the bigger the house, the better, but if the house was too big and there were few people to occupy it, it would seemingly appear empty. This lack of vitality indicates a lack of yang that could easily attract trouble. At that time, he thought this sentiment was quite strange. He rebutted by saying that in ancient times, didn’t large families all live in large houses? Kan Chaosheng curled his lips and said he himself had referred to a large family. Such families would be wealthy if they could afford to live in a large place, and thus there would be servants, so how could it be considered a lack of vitality?
Now that he was in Hui Yiguang’s home, Dong Zhi was reminded of Kan Chaosheng’s words.
The master bedroom was huge. It faces west to east and had large floor-to-ceiling windows, making it the preferred room to bask in the sun’s rays at dawn. Furnishings were all items related to a woman. The table was full of cosmetics, and there were dresses on the bed that hadn’t been put away. Several cabinets in the dressing room all held various articles of clothing, showing that Hui Yiguang’s standard of living was quite high. All the clothes were the current in-season looks. Due to his previous occupation, Dong Zhi would often pay attention to the news of fashion week every year. His sharp eye was able to pick up several luxury high-end custom outfits from big name brands.
He took out his phone and searched for Hui Yiguang’s profile online as Cheng Yuan and Gu Meiren walked over.
“How’s it going?” Dong Zhi asked them.
Cheng Yuan shook his head. “I didn’t find anything.”
Gu Meiren also said, “Same.”
Since both Gu Meiren and Cheng Yuan couldn’t find any clues, it meant that the house was clean as well. If this was the case, how was it possible for Hui Yiguang to have incidents in this house?
Gu Mei guessed, “Could it be related to her? After all, incidents keep happening around her.”
Cheng Yuan shook his head. “I didn’t find anything abnormal attached to her.”
He looked at Dong Zhi. “Didn’t you say there was something strange in the car?”
Dong Zhi said, “She said that she had changed multiple assistants within the past month because the first two were injured in accidents, but after she switched the third, it’s been over a week and she still encountered strange things, but the third assistant is still safe. Don’t you think it’s odd?”
Gu Meiren and Cheng Yuan looked at each other. Obviously they hadn’t noticed this detail before.
Cheng Yuan pondered, “You mean this matter is related to her previous two assistants?”
Dong Zhi said, “Perhaps there’s something the first two assistants have done that the third hasn’t done yet. We have to ask Hui Yiguang herself.”
Everyone explored the home and even went to the Buddha Shrine, but in the end, they came up empty handed. Dong Zhi told the others the doubts he had discovered.
“I think Miss Hui may be hiding something from us, or she may have thought it would be inconvenient for us to know, but if she doesn’t make it clear, we won’t find a clue.”
When everyone heard this, their expressions became unhappy. The assistant hurriedly said, “Hui Jie is not such a person, and she sincerely invited everyone to help!”
Li Ying ignored her and said to Chi Banxia. “Xiao Chi, you also know who we are. Although we’re not elites of the industry, we are still capable. If we can’t find a problem, those fortune-tellers and feng shui masters won’t find it either.”
Chi Banxia said, embarrassedly, “I’m very sorry, but I only know as much as you do. I have nothing to hide!”
Since the matter had suddenly developed in this direction, everyone suspected that Hui Yiguang’s problem was due to hallucinations caused by too much stress at work. They started to doubt her initial story and felt unhappy that she was concealing things from them, so they were about to abandon their work.
Suddenly, at this very moment, the assistant received a call from Hui Yiguang. Her screams penetrated the speakers and were so loud that even Dong Zhi, who was far away, could hear them.
“It’s here again! It’s here again! Help! Come back and save me!”
The author does her research as her explanation is in line with the (limited) research I’ve done.
Head Taming/Descending Technique (降头)
Witchcraft that is popular in Southeast Asia. It’s divided into two types according to the casting medium, the function of the spell, the chants of the spell ect.
Black technique (black magic) refers to techniques used to destroy the “magnetic field” (mind) of the target.
White technique refers to techniques that repair or bless the target.
This is comparable to that of witchcraft or voodoo.
Miaojiang Poison/Gu (苗疆蛊)
Witchcraft that has its roots in Taoism and specializes in poison/gu used by the people of Miaojiang. It’s used by women to ensure the loyal love of their men, who would go away. If they returned and were faithful, an antidote would be given. Refer to the lore glossary if you want to learn more about poison/gu.
Shenpo (神婆) / Shenhan (神汉)
The term is [shenpo] (神婆) for female and [shenhan] (神汉) for males. Their position is like a wizard/warlock/sorcerer who performs exorcism but has other occupations as well. They also have the ability to invite gods and goddesses for their blessings and do divinations. They are known practitioners of witchcraft.
It is quite common in Chinese communities in Taiwan and Southeast Asia, but in the People’s Republic of China, due to the atheist stance of the Chinese Communist Party, it is often degraded and suppressed, and dismissed as superstition.
Along with the rise of systematic religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, ect. their technique of “witchcraft/black magic” that promotes superstition as a way of exorcism runs counterintuitive to such religions, thus they are labeled heretical by those communities.