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That night was meant to be frightening and filled with sorrow.

Lights were ablaze throughout the night under Iron Mountain. Nearly a hundred people were divided into two groups—one was to clean up the battlefield while the other was fishing the zombie out of the water. Neither was an easy job, and buried under everyone's nonchalant faces was a mix of multitude of feelings.

Blood and flesh were scattered everywhere in bits and pieces. There were even scraps of human flesh up on the tree branches, and it all had to be cleaned up. The parts that were too fragmented could only be gathered together and sent away for incineration later. Those that were more intact would be identified and given a proper burial afterwards.

Numerous machines and vehicles were called in, which pumped water directly from the lake and washed the ground over and again. The streaming currents flushed away the bloodstained dirt. Gone with the blackish-red foul water was the smell of blood that had filled the air.

The noisiest spot was in the middle of the lake, where the artificial lighting was as bright as daylight, all blindingly radiant. Many stood on the deserted isles and boats that were motionless on the surface of the water. Everyone was waiting anxiously.

Before long, someone working underwater emerged and gesticulated with a funny look on their face. A machine rumbled to a start and the fishing net was slowly raised out of the water.


When the thing was finally out of the water, everyone cried out in surprise.

"Is that the zombie?"

"Is it dead?"

"Dunno, I reckon it's still alive."

The official giving commands from the shore could not remain calm either. Anyone who had seen it for the first time would be greatly shocked. Staring at the zombie in the net, he was filled with hatred and terror.

This was the thing that had killed as many as twenty-eight people tonight! It was because of it that he had to run around frantically firefighting and almost lost his position!

With such a pivotal matter, no one dared to keep it unreported. When he received the information in the Guanyin Pavilion, he went silent for as long as five minutes before dialing a number and reporting to his superior on his own.

His superior was stupefied all the same, and could only reply by saying, "Deal with the aftermath properly and wait for the further notice."

By waiting for the further notice, he was saying 'you're the man to take the blame, the only uncertain thing is in what manner'.

"Careful! Careful now! It's hitting the ground!"

A clamor erupted from the other side. The machine with the hanging fishing net was ready to move it ashore. Seven or eight special force police officers held up their guns and would fire their weapons if anything went wrong.

Several other men guarded the official and watched the scene from afar.

The zombie was tossed onto the embankment like a big fish. As soon as its back hit the ground, it twitched violently, lifting up its upper body and falling back down soon after.

"Back away! Back away!" The crowd was greatly alarmed.


After a few more seconds of waiting, however, it did not move again, but was lying there peacefully instead.

Someone bolder moved closer and jabbed it with his gun. It remained motionless. More people came up to it and tied it up tightly with ropes, then put it in a sealed iron crate.

The crowd was dispirited. Without looking closely at this thing, they did not even know if it was still alive.

"Bringg! Bringg!"

Just then, the official's phone rang. He walked to a quiet corner and picked it up, almost too nervous to breathe while listening to the voice coming from the other end.

"How are the wounded soldiers?"

"They have been sent to the hospital. Their wounds were not life-threatening."

"What about that Li Suchun?"

"He is very weak and seemed to have spat out some blood. He was almost passed out when we found him. He is also in the hospital now."

"Good. Take him back as soon as he's recovered enough to move… and that thing as well… oh, and that priest Wang."

"Yes! Yes!"

The official replied promptly before asking tentatively, "If I may ask, what is going to happen to me?"

"Humph! With the disaster you've brought us, things are getting out of my hand now! Don't worry too much, though. I'll do my best to work it out. Tie up the loose ends properly and leave the rest to me… oh, have you found those two mysterious people?"

"I've sent people to look them up, but they have yet to report to me."

"Good, keep an eye out for them."

A couple of minutes later, he hung up the phone and let out a relieved breath.

His eyes moved from the lake to the opposite shore, then to the vast and pitch-dark Iron Mountain. Suddenly, a strange feeling welled up in him. Somehow, he sensed that the world was changing and a great curtain was drawn open before his eyes.

Government's control of information was always beyond the imagination of the general public.

The local people only had a vague idea that there had been an incident, but were completely in the dark of exactly what had happened. Families of the casualties had been pacified accordingly and those participating in the search and clean-up were all tightly monitored. Shortly afterwards, these people were transferred and reallocated together to a newly established department.

After several days of recuperation, Li Suchun was sent to Luobi County together with Wang Ruoxu.

Iron Mountain and the reservoir, on the other hand, were now both military-controlled zones, occupied by an army unit transferred from Shu Zhou. Guanyin Pavilion, the previous tourist site up on the mountain, was closed for obvious reasons and the abbot was allocated elsewhere.

Of course, these arrangements were all the aftermath yet to happen.

Speaking of Gu Yu and Xiaozhai, they took a rental car as soon as they returned to the county town and headed for the neighboring city that very night. From there, they bought tickets and boarded the train for Le Zhou.

Early next morning, while those people were still bustling around winding up the job, these two were already sleeping in a hotel in Le Zhou.

They gained nothing on the trip to Shu Zhou—all they accomplished was to exhaust themselves. They would rather keep trudging in Tianzhu Mountains for another seven days in a row than encounter that thing again.

Wang Ruoxu was an expert in Feng Shui, but he definitely did not have the Inner Skill of Five Thunders. As for that Li Suchun…

They never considered getting involved with that person from the beginning.

There was no reason to.

They took Tan Chongdai's inherited skills by force, for it was relevant to Xiaozhai's sect. However, they were no bandits who would grab any skill manuals coming into their sight. Moreover, they had learned what they needed to know already. All that teenager was capable of was the Corpse Refining Technique.

Refining corpses was simply degraded and gross. They would rather play with Cabbage Patch Kids—at least they were clean, soft, had flexible joints, and wouldn't get dirty easily. [1]

As was mentioned before, they had no particular goal other than to take a look at the zombie. It was not like Li Suchun was their best friend, why should they stick around for him?

However, little did they know, the brief encounter the other night had made an indelible impression on the teenager.

Early in the afternoon, the sun was shining brightly.

Waking up from a sound sleep, Xiaozhai stretched herself involuntarily, feeling well rested. She propped herself up slightly and found Gu Yu bending over the table, drawing on a map. By his side on the tea table, rice congee, eggs, and several steamed buns with vegetarian stuffing were set.

"Have some lunch. They're still warm."

Hearing her getting up, Gu Yu said without turning around.

"When did you get up?"

Xiaozhai got out of the bed and washed her hands. Knocking lightly on the egg shell and slicing her finger around it for a couple of times, she got a perfect white boiled egg.

"About an hour ago. Did you rest well?"

"You could say so."

Chewing the egg, she moved closer to him and realized it was a hypsometric map of Mt Emei packed with routes and scenic spots. She said with a worried tone, "It seems like this place will take us forever."

Tossing his pen aside, Gu Yu joined her in sighing, "It's only our fourth stop and we've still got the mountains of Tianshan, Pinghu and Wangwu to cover. Sigh, you either never leave home or you never get to go back."


Both went quiet. Despite the great significance of their search, the process was somewhat difficult to endure.

It was quite some time before Xiaozhai spoke again with a chuckle. "You know what, the drawing can wait. Let's go take a walk."

"Ok, I could use some air."

Putting away the map, Gu Yu rose to his feet and added, "Well, any idea what Le Zhou is famous for? We could go and check it out."

"Actually, I did look it up before our departure…"

Stuffing half an egg into her mouth, Xiaozhai mumbled, "I heard the fiscal terrorists here are very well-known."

"What?" He was confused.

"Fiscal terrorists! Fiscal terrorists!" [2]

[1] TL/N: "美乐娃娃" are a brand of cute little dolls quite popular in some Asian countries, but with the description of being "fair, soft, flexible, and dust-free", the author is actually hinting at the silicone type preferred by grown-ups.
[2] TL/N: physical therapist ED/N: Not sure but I think it's about soapland employees or related stuff lol.

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