Chapter 52 – Ink Brush of Virtue (7)
First Published on Wattpad, Reposted on Ainushi
Doctors, nurses, and the victims’ relatives are all called out by Officer Li, and only the two victims are left complimenting each other in a screeching duet.
Zhao glances at the two, and knocks one of them unconscious. He asks Guo, “Did you bring a notebook?”
Guo nods eagerly.
“Jot notes.” Zhao bends down, and asks the victim, “Miss, do your legs hurt?”
The victim is a middle-aged woman. She thrashes about in pain, and the medical staff had to tie her to the bed. She nods with watery eyes.
Zhao takes out a wallet, but this “wallet” doesn’t have cash or credit cards in it. He opens it, and inside is a thick pile of yellow paper talismans.
Zhao flips through the talismans, and explains to Guo, “Paper talismans are very important tools. You have to keep them organised, according to their categories… ones used for attacking, ones used for exorcism, and so on… otherwise when you need them you won’t be able to find what you want. Learning how to use them is also a profound subject…”
This inconsiderate Chief starts giving a slow-paced lecture amidst the pig- slaughtering screams of the victim.
Guo doesn’t have that kind of mental strength. He can’t listen to a word, and all his attention is diverted by the miserable victim.
“Let’s talk about her.” Zhao continues, like a medical professor giving his students a lecture with the help of a corpse. He walks forward, and flips up the woman’s ear, “You don’t have a third eye, so you can’t see her virtue. A very basic talisman can do the job for you.”
He takes out a paper talisman and shows it to Guo, “It’s called the third eye’s talisman.”
Guo has yet to take it, and Zhao slaps the talisman precisely on to Guo’s forehead, right between his eyebrows, “Like this.”
Guo is slapped with a talisman like a zombie, and he instantly feels an inexplicable surge of chill rushing from the talisman. As if with great weight, a force enters his forehead, and the world in his eyes changes… but exactly what changed, he can’t really say.
“Come take a look.” Zhao waves at him.
Guo looks down, and he shockingly realises that the victim is shrouded in a dark mist. Her weathered look has turned unspeakably creepy, with a hint of impending death. Her legs, though unharmed, are engulfed in black smoke, looking as though they were cut off irregularly.
Guo looks at the woman’s ear. He sees a big black mark behind her ear, not a very deep colour, but murky and surrounding almost her entire neck, like an eerie birthmark.
“A black mark behind the ears, that’s a sign of bad virtue.” Shen suddenly says behind Guo, “The Book of Life and Death has records of a person’s virtue. Whenever a person commits a bad deed, small ghosts will leave a black hand print behind their ear. The darker the colour, the more culpable the deed. Like this one here, none of the marks are very deep, but the area is large, which means she never did anything too out of line, but she’s selfish and does small evil frequently.”
Shen pauses, and adds, “But of course, this isn’t punishable by death. That thing put her in such a state, and it wasn’t appropriate.”
Guo nods with modesty. But soon, he realises he might be nodding to the wrong person, and suddenly looks at Professor Shen as if looking at an alien.
“The heck you looking at.” Zhao turns his brain around, “He is the real sage. I was blind to not have realised sooner.”
As he hears this, Guo turns from surprised to astonished, and greatly admires this “sage” the Chief speaks of. Then, Zhao takes out another talisman, and again puts it in front of Guo for him to observe, “This is a simple exorcism talisman, it’s rudimentary, so sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Of course, when it doesn’t work, then at least we have an idea of how strong the opponent is.”
Guo says nothing.
He doesn’t want to know how the woman must be feeling hearing this.
As Zhao sticks the yellow paper talisman on to the woman on the bed, Guo, with the help of the artificial third eye, sees a massive cloud of black smoke spouting out like a geyser, surging up and back down as it reaches the ceiling, and from within emerges a distorted face. Mouth agape, the face howls with all its might.
Faster than lightning, the lecture quickly becomes haunted mansion horror. Guo yelps, and reflexly runs towards the door. However, Chief Zhao pulls him back by the collar as though he has an eye on his back.
Zhao calmly holds Guo with one hand, and with the other in his pocket, he locks eyes with the… thing floating mid-air. After a while, he mutters, “That’s strange, why is there so much grudge?”
Guo screams, “Ghost! Gh-gh-gh-ghost!!!”
Zhao snickers, “Yea how surprising, like you’ve never seen a ghost before? If there isn’t one I wouldn’t call you here.”
“It hurts people! It’s an evil ghost!” As Guo squeals, a strong surge of electricity bursts out from his pocket. Luckily Zhao has had experience with this, he lets go and dodges even though he created this mighty weapon, and the floating shadow is vaporised with the same power seen in the Hanga’s cave.
“I haven’t asked anything, who told you to kill it!?” Zhao the Monday- morning quarterback waits for the smoke to disperse, and slaps Guo on the back of his head.
Guo’s eyes are flooded and tears can fall any moment, he looks at Zhao, “I… I was scared…”
“Why didn’t you hold it for a while?” There are always idiotic chiefs who like to demand their staff of the humanly impossible.
Unfortunately, Guo is a die-hard fan of his Chief, and he has always respected and feared him at the same time. Even if Zhao uttered some bullshit, he would probably regard it as the highest law, and find the Chief’s bullshit greatly sensible.
Guo follows his orders and begins holding back his fear. He stands in place in silence as his face reddens, and yet his internal organs are still trembling, and he whispers like a mosquito, “I… I really can’t hold it.”
Zhao stares at him sideways, Guo cannot figure out what it means and trembles in fear. Another jolt of thunderbolt almost comes out again, but the heartless Chief suddenly laughs, and praises, “You’re so amusing.”
Guo stays silent.
He finds this sentence a rather weird praise.
Shen looks at the two of them, and finally says something, “Don’t bully him.”
Zhao doesn’t say anything else, and instantly shows the good quality of “listening to ones wife”. He lets go of Guo, and stands upright. The sheer speed of his movements shows how well-trained he is; he can probably enter the next round of the “National Canine Championships”.
The woman on the bed has calmed down. She witnessed the whole process, and is petrified for long. As she regains her senses, she struggles to get up, and kneels on the bed and bows towards Guo, “Thank you angel, thank you little angel!”
Guo is greatly embarrassed, “No no no, I I I…”
He stutters, and his face and ears are all red. His mind goes blank in the face of a stranger, and the stun baton in his pocket crackles. A spark discharges, and Zhao’s coat almost catches fire.
Guo quickly shuts his mouth. As he feels more at ease, he also realises how Wonder Boy must have felt.
Zhao gets serious, pulls a chair and sits down. He waves towards the woman on the bed, “Alright, stop bowing now. I have a few questions for you, please co-operate.”
The middle-aged woman quickly nods.
“Last night you also ate an orange you bought on the street, and then ended up in hospital?”
“Yes. It was night time, I went to the supermarket, and when I came out I saw someone selling oranges by the road.”
“Hold on, did you see the fruit vendor when you were heading to the supermarket?” Zhao interrupts.
The middle-aged woman thinks, and says uncertainly, “Probably… not? Most likely no, I was out to buy fruits, I would have noticed it.”
So it was waiting for her intentionally.
“The one selling fruits, did you see their face?”
“Uh… a man, slender, wearing a shabby beanie… and, and a dusty and grey jacket, I think?”
“What about his legs?” Zhao asks.
“Legs?” The woman is taken aback, and only remembers after a while, “Oh, right! I remember. His legs had a problem, he was limping, and walked with difficulty. I didn’t think of it until you mentioned, he was probably a cripple with a fake leg, no?”
She doesn’t wait for Zhao’s response, and begins commenting, “I tell you what I think great saint, the crippled and the dumb and all the handicapped, none of them are good people. Their bodies are incomplete, so all their minds become messed up. They are poisoning people, isn’t that insane? I think these people should all be locked up and monitored, after all they can’t live normal lives anyway, all they do is disturb the society.”
Zhao wears a deep frown. He finally knows where the huge black mark behind her ears come from. Some people are born wicked, every pore on their skin oozes small evil. None of it fatal, but none of it not hurtful.
The woman continues, “Like the deaf guy in our neighbourhood. He can’t get a woman, and so he got a crappy dog. As soon as he opens the door I can hear the dog barking and barking. He is deaf so of course he can’t hear it, and he just lets his dog bark. I should’ve bought that rat poison long ago, that thing didn’t die soon enough…”
Zhao is growing impatient. He looks up and stares into the woman’s eyes. Without sympathy, he controls her mind by force, and the babbling woman’s eyes instantly go blank. Soon, her eyes roll back and she falls unconscious.
Zhao says next to her ear, without any expression, “You ate something dirty, but you went to the toilet just now, and all the dirty stuff are now gone. Oh, and you lost your balance and fell into the toilet. The stink on your body will not go away no matter how hard you wash…”
Shen hears him getting out of line, and heavily coughs.
“Uh, although you turned yourself into a pile of shit, your food poisoning has recovered. In the afternoon some handsome policemen came to ask about the guy who sold poisonous oranges, just standard police business. And while they were here, they also gave someone’s filthy mind some kind of moral education…”
Shen coughs again.
“That’s all, reflect on your conscience.” Zhao shuts up as per Shen’s request, and as he is walking out of the room behind the others, he turns around and smirks, “I wish you have nightmares, old woman.”
Shen pulls him out, afraid that he might narrate The Ring to her ears.
“She clearly doesn’t know the poisoner.” Zhao leaves the room, and enters into teaching mode. “The Line of Karma under her eyelids isn’t deep. Though I find her incredibly annoying, it probably wasn’t the dog selling poisonous oranges. From experience, it’s usually the poisoner hurting random people.”
He stops here, and looks at Guo who is rapidly dashing his pen across the pages. He slows down, waits for Guo a little, and continues as though without a care, “If the old woman is directly related to the poisoner… say she killed him, and he is back for revenge, then there’s nothing we can do. Human laws forbid revenge, but the order of Karma, and Yin and Yang does not.”
Guo hastily nods.
“But according to the victim, she clearly doesn’t know the guy. And since the Line of Karma is light, their only connection is probably something trivial like bumping into each other on the streets. Of course, there could be something
more. But most likely, it’s the evil ghost deliberately hurting people. In that case, not only can we capture the ghost, we can execute on the spot.”
Guo subconsciously pats on the pocket with his stun baton in it. The corner of Zhao’s mouth cramps, and he is so helpless that his balls are hurting a little.
“Then, I’ll go to ICU to check out the even more unlucky one.”
He looks to Shen, who knowingly nods, “I’ll take care of the other victim.”
Zhao smiles to Shen like the breeze of Spring. Then he turns around, and switches to a menacing look towards Guo, “You go, call Zhu and tell her to contact the authorities. I want full authority on this case by tonight… stop dawdling, whenever I see you dawdle I wanna kick your ass. Faster!”
Professer Shen, the one who can stand up for him, is gone, so Guo covers his butt and runs off to do his job.