Song Ci held that identity card and ticket and asked Han Zhan, “Are you still going?”
Han Zhan said, “I received some news.”
Han Zhan told Song Ci, “Your grandmother is still alive.”
Song Ci widened her eyes.
She thought of the letter she saw in her grandfather’s room. The owner of that letter called herself Nangong Yingying and was a medicine man imprisoned in the Mo Family! Could Nangong Yingying really be my grandmother?
Song Ci was curious as to how Han Zhan knew about this. “Han Zhan, how did you know that my grandmother is still alive?”
Han Zhan said, “I have already contacted the Mo Family. My informant told me that there is still a medicine man detained by the Mo Family. That medicine man is already over 70 years old and is known as Granny Yao. As Granny Yao is getting older and older, the head of the Mo Family is always staring at her, wanting to take her heart and save his daughter.”
“Grandma Yao…” Song Ci couldn’t help asking,” Did your informant tell you that Grandma Yao’s real name? ”
Han Zhan said, “Nangong Yingying.”
Song Ci completely believed this matter.
She bit her lips and said, “I have to tell Song Fei about this in detail. Oh right, is the daughter of the head of the Mo Family that Mo Fengying? What illness did she have?”
Han Zhan said, “It is said that the Mo Family is a cursed family. The children of each family head won’t live past 25 years old. Meanwhile, that Mo Fengying is already 20 years old and is only five years away from her death. The head of the Mo Family can’t wait anymore.”
“A cursed family? Who cursed them?”
“As for who cursed him, I don’t know.”
Song Ci expressed that she understood.
She immediately picked up her cell phone and video called Song Fei.
Song Fei had also received the email and was in a daze. She didn’t want to go to the Mo Family and didn’t dare to bring Song Ci back, afraid that she would never return.
After receiving Song Ci’s video call, Song Fei asked, “Did you receive the email?”
Song Ci nodded. “Yes, you received it too?”
“Song Fei, I received a piece of news.”
“Mmm?” Song Fei asked her, “What news?”
“Han Zhan told me that our grandmother is still alive and is still imprisoned in the Mo Family. Song Fei, if Father is still alive, do you think he will save Grandma after knowing this?”
Song Fei remained silent.
Both of them knew the answer.
It would be unfilial of him to not save his mother despite knowing that she was in trouble. Meanwhile, Song Chengyun was the most kind-hearted. He would save his mother even if he knew that there was a mountain of knives and a sea of fire ahead.
Song Fei slowly exhaled and clenched the letter in her hand. “Song Ci, let me go alone this time.”
Song Ci sneered. “Dream on! Grandma is our common grandmother. There’s no reason for me to stay at home and be a coward if you are going to be a filial granddaughter alone.”
“But Song Ci, you can’t enter the Mo Family!”
Song Ci thought for a moment and said, “Let me think and see if there’s any way to suppress the fragrance of the medicine man.” As the saying goes, there are policies above and countermeasures below. With so many medicine men in the Nangong Family, isn’t there any way to conceal the scent of the medicine man?
After Song Ci hung up the video, she went to look for Han Zhan.
Han Zhan was on the phone with someone in the study. He spoke German and Song Ci couldn’t understand him.
Seeing Song Ci enter, Han Zhan didn’t avoid her. He reached out his right hand to Song Ci. Song Ci grabbed Han Zhan’s broken right hand and consciously stood in his arms. After Han Zhan hung up, Song Ci asked him, “Brother Han, is there any way to suppress the medicinal fragrance on me?”
Han Zhan nodded. “Yes, but you have to suffer.”
Song Ci’s eyes lit up. “What is it?”
“Remove the sweat glands.”
The scent of a person, be it fragrance or stench, was emitted by the sweat glands. Some patients with fox stench would remove the sweat glands under their armpits to remove the stench.
Han Zhan said, “If you remove your armpit sweat glands, the medicinal fragrance on you will be removed. But you must be careful. You must not let the Mo Family discover your surgical traces.”
Song Ci said, “Alright, arrange an operation for me.”
Han Zhan’s heart ached slightly for Song Ci. He turned her around, lowered his head, leaned his forehead against hers, and asked tenderly, “Baby Ci, won’t you be afraid of pain?”
Song Ci said, “Anesthesia can help.”
“But after the anesthesia is gone, it will still hurt.”
Song Ci looked nonchalant. She said, “No matter how painful it is, can it be more painful than giving birth?” She had already given birth. Was there a need to be afraid of another two stabs under her armpits?
Han Zhan stroked Song Ci’s hair sympathetically. “Song Ci, you make me proud.”
It was only 10 days away from the Lantern Festival. Han Zhan contacted a doctor for Song Ci that afternoon. That night, Han Zhan brought Song Ci to the Armed Police Hospital. The next day, after the doctor went to work and checked the room, he performed a hysterectomy on Song Ci.
Currently, sweat glands were all minimally invasive surgeries and Song Ci didn’t feel much pain after the surgery. But Han Zhan still treated her like a baby and couldn’t bear for her to walk and eat by herself.
Han Zhan also applied for leave from Bei Zhan and Li Li. The reason was that he had to stay at home to accompany his wife after the surgery. Bei Zhan and Li Li thought that Song Ci was very ill and even specially drove to the hospital to visit her after work on the 6th.
Realizing that Song Ci had only undergone a minimally invasive surgery for sweat glands, the two of them looked at Han Zhan with disdain.
Han Zhan accepted their gazes graciously and said without batting an eyelid, “It hurts Song Ci and my heart. You guys can’t understand.”
“Can you act even more fake?” Li Li was amused by Han Zhan.
Instead, Bei Zhan looked at Song Ci strangely. He asked her, “Sister-in-law, why did you suddenly think of removing your sweat glands? You don’t have fox stench.”
Song Ci lied. “I have two small tumors under my armpits. It will be more reassuring if I cut them.”
Li Li was slightly shocked. “The tumor can even grow in the armpit?”
Song Ci said, “I also find it strange, but it just grows.”
“Oh, in that case, have a good rest.”
After Bei Zhan and Li Li left, Song Ci asked Han Zhan, “Do you think Bei Zhan believes what I said?”
Han Zhan shook his head. “He’s very smart. He won’t believe you.” But Bei Zhan was a smart person and wouldn’t ask for details. Even if he didn’t believe me, he had to pretend to believe me.
The next day, Song Ci was discharged.
Song Fei knew that Song Ci had cut her sweat glands and her heart ached for her. When she came to visit Song Ci, her car was filled with old hens, eggs, and other body nourishing ingredients.
“Take good care of yourself. When we go to the Mo Family, I will avenge you.” Song Fei sat by Song Ci’s bed. Her expression was cold, but her eyes were filled with heartache.
Song Ci nodded. “Song Fei, after entering the Mo Family, you must win. You must step all over that dog Mo Fengying!”
“…Okay.” Song Fei answered weakly.
Returning home, Song Fei opened her medical book and saw the names of those complicated Chinese medicine herbs. Her head hurt. Damn it, I couldn’t remember them at all!
With my lousy standards, how can I compete with the Mo Family and the other competitors?
Song Fei was slightly sad.
Time was getting closer and closer to the Lantern Festival. On the 14th day of the first lunar month, Song Ci had an early supper with the children and Han Zhan. On the night before they set off, Han Zhan and Song Ci chatted all night long and told her many things.
Song Ci was shocked to know that Han Zhan had already set up a trap in secret. We both have a human brain, so why was Han Zhan so smart?
The next day, Song Ci was drowsy and Han Zhan sent her to Song Fei’s house.
Song Fei was wearing a leather jacket and a pair of jeans. She carried a bag and dragged Song Ci to the airport. They boarded a plane to Chengdu then found bus tickets for the bus stop.
When the sisters arrived at the bus stop, they met the other 29 contestants at the third waiting area.
Every participant brought an assistant.
Song Fei and her sister’s appearance attracted the attention of others.
Song Fei was the youngest virus specialist and was very famous in the country. The moment she arrived, she was recognized by others. A man in his thirties greeted Song Fei respectfully. “Teacher Song Fei, you are also here?”
Song Fei was young to be worthy of being addressed as a teacher. She pulled Song Ci to sit down in the empty seat and asked everyone, “Is everyone going to the Mo Family to study?”
“That’s right, Teacher Song Fei. I didn’t expect you to not only be good at virology, but also good at Traditional Chinese Medicine. You are indeed a promising young woman! Young people these days are really scary!”
Song Fei’s expression was calm, but she was cursing in her heart. After knowing my true standards in Traditional Chinese Medicine, I guarantee you will be shocked.
Song Ci was also dressed very low key today. She was wearing a hat and sitting beside Song Fei. Song Ci sized up these people who were studying together and said softly to Song Fei, “Did you see that? There’s also an uncle in his fifties.”
Song Fei glanced behind and really saw an uncle. That uncle was wearing a gray cotton jacket and glasses. He looked like a middle-aged man who liked silence.
Amongst this group of people, Song Fei and Song Ci were the youngest and also one of the few females. “Calm down.” Song Fei told Song Ci, “We are going to enter the top three.”
Song Ci nodded. “Yes.”
Song Ci never doubted that Song Fei could successfully enter the top three. In Song Ci’s eyes, her elder sister Song Fei was a genius and an outstanding person in all aspects.
Song Ci idolized Song Fei.
After waiting for more than 20 minutes, the Mo Family’s private car arrived. It was a large grey bus that had been printed. Everyone boarded the bus and found their seats.
The driver was from Sichuan and was very passionate. He was born to be familiar with people and bowed to Song Fei and the rest of the people in the car. He said, “It is my honor to be able to serve all of you. Everyone, fasten your seatbelts. We are leaving now.”
Song Ci and Song Fei had already fastened their seatbelts.
The car drove along the spacious provincial road for a while before entering a winding mountain road. The mountain road was not slightly bent and one could often encounter a 120-degree turn.
Song Ci and Song Fei were still able to get used to it, but some people who rarely took mountain roads had already opened their plastic bags and started vomiting. Instantly, the car was filled with a sour stench.
Song Ci’s expression was very twisted. Song Fei hurriedly opened the window to let the cold wind in and dissipate that nauseating smell.
The car swayed for another half an hour. The carsick people even vomited bile. When they alighted, everyone’s legs were trembling.
Song Ci and Song Fei stood at the place with the fewest people and sized up the town in front of them. This town was a typical market town in a remote mountain village. There might only be one town dozens of kilometers away.
There were many people in town today. Song Ci saw many elderly carrying bamboo baskets on their backs as they shopped on the streets. She pulled an auntie over and asked her, “Auntie, is it the day of the fair in this town?”
The auntie seldom saw such a beautiful lady like Song Ci and was very passionate. “Young lady, you must be from overseas?” The auntie spoke in a traditional manner.
Song Ci understood the auntie’s words. She nodded and smiled. “Yes, yes. We are here to visit our relatives.”
The auntie smiled tolerantly. She said, “On our side, there are nine gatherings every five days.” It was 15 today, just nice it was gathering day.
Song Ci thanked the auntie, walked up to Song Fei, and said, “It’s an auspicious day here. From the looks of it, the area isn’t very rich. Why is the Mo Family staying here?”
“The more remote a place is, the more suitable it is to do something illegal.” Song Fei looked up at the tall mountains around her. She said, “This is really a good place to commit crimes behind closed doors.”
The two sisters were talking when they saw people from the Mo Family arrive.
The person sent by the Mo Family was a manager in his forties. That manager stood at the front of the car and bowed to everyone before saying, “Everyone has come from afar and I apologize for not welcoming you. I am Mo Suiyun of the Mo Family. Next, I will personally welcome everyone to the Mo Family.”
“Everyone, please get in the car.”
Rows of black Volkswagen cars were parked behind Mo Suiyun. In this remote town, it looked very majestic. Song Ci complained to Song Fei. She said, “I thought we were going hiking.”
Song Fei said, “Have you read too many novels?”
Each of the four of them sat in a car, while Song Ci and her sister sat in the same car as a married couple. Among the married couple, the wife was a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor and the husband was an assistant. They were both over 40 years old.
Only after a detailed conversation did Song Ci know that this auntie was actually the director of a southern Chinese medical hospital. She instantly felt disrespectful. Meanwhile, that auntie felt honored to be able to ride in the same car as Song Fei.
The roads here were all built by a backer. Below the road was a cliff more than 10 meters high, under the cliff was a river, and above the road was a tall mountain.
Song Ci took a video and sent it to their WeChat group.
Yan Jiang’s legs trembled slightly when he saw the road.
The car drove for more than half an hour before stopping in a parking lot. Song Ci and the rest alighted and looked up to see a row of stone stairs that reached into the sky.
Song Ci’s legs felt slightly weak.
Song Fei glared at Song Ci. “Nonsense!” She said she wanted to climb a mountain so we must!
Song Ci felt very innocent.
Mo Suiyun stood on the first step of the staircase and faced everyone with a smile. He said, “Everyone, the Mo Family is at the top of the mountain. This stone staircase in front of everyone is called the Million Steps. This is the first obstacle on your path to learning. There have been countless Traditional Chinese Medicine masters who have been afraid of this Million Steps. Everyone, please follow me up the mountain.”
With that, Mo Suiyun flung his sleeves and took the lead to climb the mountain.
Song Ci and Song Fei walked in the middle of the crowd. After two to three hundred steps, they shook off many people. The higher they climbed, the more Song Fei’s breathing quickened. Her stamina was not as good as Song Ci’s, so she leaned against the railing to rest when she was tired.
Looking down, Song Fei’s feet were trembling slightly. Song Ci hurriedly covered Song Fei’s eyes. “Stop looking.”
Only when her eyes were covered did Song Fei feel better. She sat down on the stone stairs with her legs dangling. Song Ci opened the bottle of mineral water and gave Song Fei a sip. Song Fei’s heart finally calmed down after drinking the water.
“Let’s go and continue climbing!”
Although it was called the ladder, it was actually only a thousand steps. Finally, Song Ci and Song Fei reached the top. Standing at the top of the hill, Song Ci took out her cell phone, took a video at the bottom of the hill, and sent it to her WeChat group.
Upon seeing this video, Han Zhan’s legs went limp. He wondered if the Mo Family had a screw loose in their brains to build a house on such a high hilltop. Was it specially designed to treat acrophobia?
Song Ci and the rest waited at the top of the mountain for more than an hour before the rest climbed up one after another. Everyone was panting heavily, while Mo Suiyun was completely calm. Everyone admired him.
Opposite the Mo Family was also a huge mountain. At this moment, the sun had already set behind that mountain and night was about to fall.
Everyone took a short break and heard Mo Suiyun say, “Before the sun sets, we have to enter the house. Everyone, after resting, please follow me.”
A group of people followed behind Mo Suiyun. They walked across the wide square and arrived at the Mo Family’s city wall. The tightly shut main door was opened. Everyone looked up and saw a majestic gate about 10 meters long and 7 meters tall.
On that lacquered black door hung a rather historic plaque. On it were the words “Mo Family of Sichuan, the Divine Hand of the Nation”. These words were even once personally written by an ancient emperor.
Looking at the door and the majestic words on it, Song Ci felt her scalp tingle.
Even without seeing the Mo Family’s face, she was already stunned by their imposing manner.
Mo Suiyun bowed solemnly at the door and said in a clear voice, “Disciple Mo Suiyun has returned with 30 disciples from other races. Please open the door!”
After a moment of silence, the black door rumbled open from the inside. Inside the door was a long stone alley. On both sides of the alley were all sorts of medicinal ingredient houses. At the end of the alley was an ancient building three stories high. It was called Shen Si Building.
At the entrance of that ancient building was a stone platform. On the stone platform was a bow and arrow. That bow was completely red and the afterglow of the setting sun shone on the bow, making it look very murderous.
Song Ci stared at that bow and arrow as her blood suddenly started to flow backwards.
Her scalp suddenly went numb and she felt like her soul was being summoned.
Song Ci suddenly grabbed Song Fei’s hand and asked her in a low voice, “Song Fei, did you hear that?”
Song Fei asked her, “What?” Seeing that Song Ci’s expression was slightly off, Song Fei remembered that Song Ci was a medicine man and hurriedly grabbed her hand to remind her. “Song Ci, stay calm.”
Song Ci took a few deep breaths. She stared at the bow and said softly, “Song Fei, I heard a woman crying beside my ear. Her voice was so loud and hoarse. She sounded so desperate…”
Song Ci suddenly started crying uncontrollably. “Song Fei, I feel so terrible…”
Song Fei hurriedly moved and stood in front of Song Ci to prevent others from seeing her tears. Song Ci took the opportunity to wipe her tears and hurried towards that building with Song Fei.
Passing by that bow, Song Ci couldn’t help but secretly look up and see a row of small words carved on that bow—
Song Ci quickly lowered her head. Although everyone entered the building, under Mo Suiyun’s lead, everyone bowed to the Mo Family’s ancestors in the building to show their respect.
After paying their respects to the Mo Family’s ancestors, everyone walked out from the back door and arrived at the square behind the building.
Only when they stood on the square did they proudly peek at the Mo Family’s true appearance. The Mo Family was built in a valley surrounded by mountains. On the tall mountains in all directions, according to the different heights of the sea, precious herbs that couldn’t be seen from the outside world were planted.
The Mo Family mainly lived in the valley, while a portion of the Mo Family also lived halfway up the mountain. The roads between the mountains were all traveled by tour buses.
As a result, when people stood in the square and looked down, they could see countless inspection posts and cables. They were like an inescapable net that protected the Mo Family and imprisoned it.
Everyone was stunned by this scene and remained silent.
This was a paradise isolated from the world. Everyone inside was a genius in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Mo Suiyun distributed the room number to everyone. Every participant and assistant shared a room, while their rooms were arranged halfway up the mountain in the east.
Song Ci and Song Fei boarded a cable car to the hillside of Dongshan and found their small building. After entering the room, Song Ci threw the items on the table. She laid down on the bed and pressed down on her racing heart. She said softly, “Song Fei, I felt breathless the moment I entered the Mo Family residence.”
Song Fei didn’t feel like Song Ci. She was very worried about Song Ci, so she hugged her and comforted her. “Song Ci, you are just too nervous. Rest for the night and you will be fine tomorrow.”
There were many herbs drying in the courtyard in front of the house. Song Ci smelled the herbs and quickly fell asleep. Song Fei wanted to make a call and picked up her cell phone, only to realize that there was no signal.
This was truly a secluded place.
After settling everyone down, Mo Suiyun took a cable car to the north hill and met the Old Master of the Mo Family. The Old Master was called Mo Zhuangkuang. He once had an elder brother called Mo Qingkuang.
Mo Zhuangkuang was over 70 years old but didn’t look old. He looked very strong.
When Mo Suiyun requested an audience, Mo ZhuangKuang was watching the news.
“Old Master.” Mo Suiyun nodded at the Family Head. Seeing that the Family Head didn’t turn to look at him, he continued, “All the students have been fetched back. Thirty, no more, no less. I followed the Old Master’s instructions and specially paid attention to this batch of students. I didn’t see any medicine man.”
Hearing this, Mo Zhang Kuang turned and glanced at Mo Suiyun. He said, “No one noticed anything when we passed by the building?”
Shen Siri Building was the building that worshiped the Mo Family’s Old Ancestor.
As long as it was a medicine man, they would be summoned by that Sun Chasing Arrow when they passed by Shen Si Restaurant. The blood in their bodies would boil. At that time, the medicinal fragrance on the medicine man would be the strongest. Any Mo clansman would be able to smell the medicine man’s scent.