Chao Kongtu was on the plane with the window on his left and Xiaojin on his right.
He never liked sitting by the window, but was feeling grateful for the arrangement at the moment. After all, it would be much easier to smash the window and jump out of the plane than to shut the clamorous mouth up beside him.
"Are you sure about this? You haven't even reached the innate state yet!
Can you really get rid of that ghost? You haven't even reached the innate state yet!
Are you sure you won't hurt my mum in the process? You haven't even reached the innate state yet!"
When she questioned him for the twentieth time with the trinity of doubts, Chao Kongtu could not stand it any longer. "You're welcome to doubt my capability as a whole, but don't question my ability to catch a ghost. As long as that ghost has not developed some remarkable ability, it's done for."
"Tsk. I'd believe your bragging if there wasn't that last part," said Xiaojin scornfully.
"Be as ignorant as you like, but please do not drag me down to your level." Chao Kongtu would not be outdone. "If it really had any remarkable abilities, you wouldn't live to squable with me here today."
Little Soap was stunned for a second. She was so used to the role of rendering others speechless and never thought that one day, she would be the one rendered so. For a moment there, she could not digest the information and sat there blinking in silence.
Chao Kongtu, on the other hand, was secretly relieved: finally, some peace!
He arrived at Maoshan this noon and boarded the plane to Shengtian without any break. If everything went as planned, they would be there this evening.
Gu Yu and Xiaozhai could not act more normal when they met. They treated him with a polite warmth and disengaged friendliness—as if they were really just there to get a priest of Maoshan to catch a ghost.
Of course, Chao Kongtu was no ordinary man, either. He was sensible beyond comprehension. Despite the fact that he was inserted into a wall at the first strike back on Changbai Mountain, he acted as if nothing had happened.
To be honest, such conservation was not surprising for Chao Kongtu, who, as a cultivator, practiced with nourishing his Qi on a daily basis. But in reality, such a mentality was usually the result of some very crestfallen experience.
For instance, one might have been utterly humiliated in school or at work and lost all dignity, but one call from the boss and they had to wipe the tears and blood clean before running happily to the next round of sweet talk.
As the saying went: poverty stifled ambition. Without the adequate capability or connections, one was simply not qualified to turn the table.
Don't pretend such things had never happened to you. Here, whoever out there that had been through such things, gimme five!
While this pair was tongue-lashing at one another, another pair was equally unsettled in their seats.
Holding her son tightly between her arms, Mother Zheng shrank into her seat nervously. She was already regretting this decision and had been cursing herself the moment they were on board: what on earth was she thinking?
She just went along like a complete idiot without knowing a single thing about these people!
Zheng Kaixin was equally nervous. The joy and excitement were gone. Instead, there was only the uneasiness of leaving home and going to a new place.
The mother and son peeped at the seats somewhere in the front, where Gu Yu and Xiaozhai sat, and secretly exchanged a look: let's stay a bit longer, but if anything feels fishy, we're out of here!
Shortly after. Evening. Shengtian.
Father Jiang had already arranged a vehicle to pick them up and the team headed straight for the Jiang Family house after they landed. When the vehicle stopped outside the villa, Xiao Qiu rushed out to welcome them.
Since they had talked over the phone beforehand, she was not at all surprised by the crowd. After briefly introducing who's who, she reported, "Auntie is relatively steady for now. She struggled more violently this morning, but we can still hold her down."
"Good. Let's go have a look first!"
The group hurried upstairs, all very anxious. Without knowing it, Mother Zheng and Zheng Kaixin were left behind. People could be very sensitive to such things, especially when they had just arrived at some new place; the anxiety could push them to the extremes.
Our little angel Long Qiu was as caring as always. She took the time to stay behind and waved at the boy. "Kaixin, come here!"
Zheng Kaixin looked at his mother and only ran to Long Qiu after his mum nodded.
Long Qiu crouched down and looked him up and down, smiling. "Aren't you a vigorous little boy! I bet you'll grow up to be a very, very handsome man! Now, please listen to me. There is an auntie upstairs. She is ill and it looks very, very scary. So, I'd like you to stay here for now and we'll be back down in a moment. Okay?"
"Yes. I can feel it. There is a strange thing up there!"
The look on the kid's face was very comical, sort of like an emoji saying "I didn't realize that existed".
"Teehee!" Long Qiu chuckled and added, "That's why I need you to be a good boy and keep mum safe. If you need anything, go ask that aunt (the housekeeper)."
"Yes. I will protect mum!"
Wow, Zheng Kaixin was instantly swooning over Long Qiu—he had never met such a gentle and lovely sister before! Long Qiu then talked to Mother Zheng briefly before running hurriedly upstairs.
With that, Mother Zheng was little more at ease and patiently sat waiting in the sofa with her son.
So hungry! I want to eat!
I'm begging you, give me some food… you'll regret this! Aaaaah!"
On the big bed, Yang Qing was still struggling and screaming. Her face was contorted and she was fighting more violently than when they left. Obviously, after the past few days, the Evil-dispelling Dan was no longer as effective in suppressing it.
"Priest Chao, what are we going to do?" Uncle Jiang asked morosely, his face much more haggard than before.
"Hoho, don't worry." Chao Kongtu knew what to do after a glance. "I will begin the procedure in a minute. Before that, I'm afraid I'd have to borrow your bathroom. I need to take a shower and change."
Little Soap's lips moved a little, almost bursting into her sarcastic comments again. However, with her mother's life on the line, she surprisingly managed to keep herself under control.
The common impression was that priests of Maoshan had to begin the ghost-catching by setting up a sacrificial altar, which was actually not the case. The so-called sacrificial altar was a place where the masters of past generations were worshipped, rituals and ceremonies were held, and scriptures were taught—in other words, grand and majestic occasions.
Priests could not set up a sacrificial altar of their own. Each temple had one such altar only, which was also known as the sacrificial hall.
Before long, Chao Kongtu finished his shower and walked out from an inner room.
The others were greatly impressed. He now wore a wide purple ceremony gown with buttons down the front. It was calf-length, capeless, and the sleeves hung as low as the lower hem. Embroidered with golden and silver threads on the gown was the Eight Diagrams of Yin and Yang.
His Taoist bun was wrapped neatly inside a square headdress, which set against his already prominent eyebrows, enhancing his heroic look.
"I'd like to have the laymen and laywoman leave the room now."
His demeanor completely changed. Calm and steady, he was now what a master should look like. He bowed unhurriedly at the others.
After the the mortals left the room, Chao Kongtu fetched his luggage, from where he took out a palm-sized pottery jar first. "Laywoman Long, I'd like you to guard for me outside the house, please. If the ghostly energy breaks out of the window, just aim it with the opening of the jar."
Long Qiu looked at the jar and found a talisman hidden inside. She went downstairs right away without any question.
He then took out a compass and played with it as if he was checking the directions. After that, he shook a cloth bundle loose, from which fell out a few pieces of thin bones.
"What are these?" asked Xiaojin curiously.
"Chicken throats, or the hyoid bone of a chicken. Apart from virgin males, chickens are the living creatures with the most potent Yang energy, which would not dissipate from their blood and bones one year after they're dead," he explained briefly, then went up to the wall. At the left corner by the door, he smacked the wall, pressing a chicken throat in. He then moved two steps sideways and smacked on the wall on his right again.
He smacked six times like so, seemingly following a strange map.
When the sixth chicken throat was smacked in, Yang Qing let out a sudden scream and struggled more violently than ever. Within the madness of her voice, there was also a fear. "I'm gonna eat you! I'm gonna eat you! You'll rot in hell!"
Chao Kongtu paid no attention to her and left a chicken throat unused. Seeing that the other three were utterly confused, he explained, "There are seven passes in the skill of Maoshan, which are the Passes of Yunken, Shangmen, Zichen, Shangyang, Tianyang, Yusu, and Taiyou. These seven passes determine the flow of Yang energy of an area, which could be as large as a city or as small as a room.
This formation I am using is called Seven Star Soul-nailing Formation. By sealing up all seven passes of this room, the Yang energy will stop flowing. Once the ghost can no longer sense the Yang energy, it will become disoriented and unable to harm her mind. I will then flush it out and destroy it!"