“Damn it!” Zhu Hong bent down and picked up a stone from the ground. As a female snake demon, she was not a soft and innocent girl. She had considerable strength and skill in smashing things, and she was precise and ruthless. With a resounding “clang,” she hit the back of their official car, causing a clear chip in the paint.

Zhao Yunlan didn’t care and didn’t stop the car.

At that moment, Zhu Hong’s phone in her pocket rang. She took it out and saw a text message from Chu Shuzhi. Chu Shuzhi said, “Zhao Department asked me to tell you that the cost of damaging public property will be deducted from your bonus this month. You can add a few more pieces, and if they are all used up, it will be deducted from your salary. Be careful, don’t leave without a penny.”

Zhu Hong squeezed the edge of the phone, then shouted, “Zhao Yunlan, you bastard!”

Guo Changcheng looked pale as he watched this colleague who dared to defy authority and act recklessly. His fragile heart was greatly startled.

Zhu Hong glared at him with red eyes and turned her head. “What are you looking at? Hurry up and go!”

Guo Changcheng obediently followed behind her.

Zhu Hong was still furious. “Are you even a man? If you’re a man, then drive for me! Have you ever seen a man let a woman drive?”

Guo Changcheng blinked his eyes and realized that she was just venting her anger. Driving a car wasn’t the same as using a public restroom. He had never heard of any gender-specific rules for it. Considering that Zhu Hong was not someone he held in high regard, he wasn’t very afraid. So he honestly said, “Sister Zhu, actually, you’re not a woma—”

Zhu Hong’s face turned as cold as water. She looked like a spectacled cobra about to deliver a fatal blow, even her venom seemed to be on the verge of spilling out. Guo Changcheng instinctively felt the danger and quickly got into the car without daring to make a sound.

However, Zhu Hong herself didn’t get in the car either. She slammed the door on the passenger side and waved at Guo Changcheng. “Just go away. I’m going to find Zhao Yunlan.”

From beginning to end, Guo Changcheng didn’t have a chance to express a coherent opinion before Zhu Hong had already disappeared in a cloud of dust.

Da Qing and Chu Shuzhi, who were sitting in Zhao Yunlan’s car, were quite uncomfortable as well. There was a divine being beside them on the passenger side, and after finding out that he was a Soul Slayer, it was difficult for them to see the Shizun or Old Cat they had known in the past—their innocent and playful nature had disappeared without a trace.

The atmosphere was eerie as they drove in silence until they arrived at the entrance of the recuperation villa town.

The imposing words “Quanshui Bay Resort Villa” were vertically engraved in marble relief, surrounded by a beautifully designed flower bed. Whether it was the material or the weather, the words on the stone had a kind of indescribable dullness.

There were two security booths at the entrance, two entrances, and the roads on both sides were blocked and not allowing passage. Next to it was a card reader for homeowners to open the gate automatically, but it was not lit, as if the power had been cut off.

Zhao Yunlan parked the car at the entrance, then took out his phone and glanced at it. The signal had dwindled to almost nothing, flickering briefly before disappearing completely.

The window of the security booth was inexplicably open, and on the windowsill, there was a small parcel for delivery. Next to it was a notebook with an uncapped pen.

Both the windowsill and these items were covered in a strange gray dust.

Zhao Yunlan put on gloves and carefully took down the notebook. He found that it was a record of receiving and delivering packages. The gatekeeper received the package, registered it, and then delivered it to the homeowner, who had to sign behind.

The last entry happened to be from the previous day, and it said, “Resident of Unit 10A, Mr. Li, pa…”

The word “package” was only half written, the final curved hook was not even formed, abruptly stopping.

Zhao Yunlan could almost imagine the scene: the deliveryman handing the package through the window, then taking the registration form and carefully writing down the package information. The word “package” was only half written when, for some reason, he was suddenly interrupted.

Interrupted by what?

The items were still in place, but where did the person go?

At that moment, Shen Wei, who had also gotten out of the car without anyone noticing, walked over and wiped his fingers on the windowsill, removing some of the slightly peculiar gray dust.

Shen Wei pinched his fingers, carefully examined it, and casually said to Zhao Yunlan, “The dust has not been there for long.”

Zhao Yunlan felt like kneeling before this expert in visible traces. “Dust? And you can tell? How did you do it?”

Shen Wei cleaned his hands. “I can’t see the other dust, but this is freshly fallen ash. It’s still fresh. Personally, I believe it’s no more than two to three days old.”

Zhao Yunlan: “…”

Shen Wei’s tone was as if he were saying, “The milk has just been squeezed, it’s still fresh.”

Zhao Yunlan closed the notebook in a daze and took out an evidence bag to securely package it. He felt extremely fortunate that he had sent Guo Changcheng away; otherwise, that person would have been indiscriminately attacked by the vengeful spirit electric baton in his hands.

“But what did you say? This is cremated ashes? It doesn’t feel like it to me,” Zhao Yunlan couldn’t help but think of the kind that was stored in a small box after a person’s cremation, and he had some doubts.

Shen Wei patiently explained, “It’s not the kind of ashes from cremation. You know about ‘crush bones and scatter ashes,’ right? That person was probably standing here at that time, and their physical body disintegrated in an instant, their bones turned into powder, and then fell onto the windowsill.”

Chu Shuzhi, who had followed them over without anyone noticing, asked incredulously, “What about the person’s flesh and blood?”

“It turned to dust,” Shen Wei pushed his glasses, “Flesh and blood don’t have the same resilience as bones, so it’s difficult to leave traces.”

Chu Shuzhi carefully worded his question, “From the sound of it, sir, you know how the people here died, right?”

Shen Wei nodded politely, humbly saying, “I don’t know much, but I happen to know a little about this.”

Then, in the gaze of Zhao Yunlan, Da Qing, and Chu Shuzhi, Shen Wei used a tone that resembled popular ancient knowledge of homophonic characters, speaking unhurriedly, “During the Great Desolation, when Gong Gong toppled Mount Buzhou, the heavens collapsed, and the earth split apart. When the ghost clan descended to the underground for the first time, people and animals within ten li turned into powder in an instant, and no grass grew within a hundred li.”

He pointed in the direction of the entrance to the villa town as they followed his finger. There was a small garden there, surrounded by a complex of buildings that resembled a screen wall, providing privacy for the homeowners inside.

“The central pool is petal-shaped, and the water system extends outward, connecting the various buildings of the complex,” Chu Shuzhi, who usually acted arrogant and condescending, now had a very humble attitude as he asked, “May I ask, sir, is that the Five Five Plum Blossom Formation?”

“Yes, Mr. Chu is knowledgeable. The Plum Blossom Formation is used to guard against evil and ensure safety,” Shen Wei said. “Therefore, the Yin energy is blocked inside, unable to come out. At most, it only affects this short section of road at the entrance. But being restrained by a crude and shoddy Plum Blossom Formation like this, I think the Seal of Earth should be fine. It just happened to have a small gap here that needs to be filled.”

Chu Shuzhi and Da Qing didn’t know what the Seal of Earth was exactly. Listening to Shen Wei’s words, it felt like a button had fallen off and needed to be sewn back on.

Zhao Yunlan couldn’t help but glance at him. Shen Wei seemed to have boundaries and limitations in everything he did, but in reality, there was not a single place where he didn’t exceed expectations.

By now, Zhao Yunlan had a rough understanding. Since Shen Wei had already obtained what he wanted, he was probably feeling quite relaxed. He probably didn’t care about the Seal of Earth either. Zhao Yunlan suspected that Shen Wei might not even care about his own life and death.

“No wonder the underworld is causing such a commotion. It’s already turned the world upside down, right?” Shen Wei unintentionally chuckled, but in the next moment, he felt that he had expressed his schadenfreude a bit too much and it was impolite. So, he immediately reined in his smile and coughed lightly, “It’s fine, just follow closely.”

Chu Shuzhi and Da Qing immediately abandoned their leader and decided to firmly latch onto the thigh of this influential “leader’s wife.”

Zhao Yunlan didn’t say anything, just silently followed along. He had a vague sense of ominousness in his heart. Borrowing life… when he entrusted it to Lin Jing, he was in a daze and didn’t have time to think carefully. Now that he thought about it, wasn’t this case related to the Reincarnation Compass?

And the problem was, the Reincarnation Compass… it was in the hands of the Ghost-Faced Hand.

Walking into the pedestrian path next to the main gate, a strong and uncomfortable deathly aura came over. Despite following Shen Wei, Da Qing couldn’t help but get agitated. The Soul Suppressing Whip quietly wrapped around Zhao Yunlan’s arm and a sharp tip emerged at his wrist. With his other hand, he retrieved a small dagger hidden in his sleeve.

In Zhao Yunlan’s eyes, the Quanshui Bay Villa Town appeared more like a trap. Lin Jing’s video didn’t capture him entering. With Lin Jing’s cautious nature, he wouldn’t have ventured inside without contacting headquarters under such unfavorable conditions. Something was misleading him or… forcing him, causing him to lose his senses before even stepping into this area.

Even if Lin Jing belonged to the Dharma lineage, he couldn’t resist the malevolent aura from the Yellow Springs when the Seal of Earth cracked. Wouldn’t it be more convenient to kill him directly?

But why keep him… to lure someone else?

Was it for the Soul Suppressing Order or Shen Wei?

The artificially crafted picturesque path was empty, and every house was an oddly-shaped empty structure with no ghostly figures. Shen Wei’s black robe appeared, he didn’t know when it materialized. Sensing something, he gripped the Soul-Slaying Blade in his hand.

The footsteps of the three men and one cat echoed conspicuously on the ground, carrying an indescribable sense of gloom. The setting sun, which had been slightly descending, had turned into a dull blood-red color from its warm hues, resembling the stiff, vivid red faces made with vermillion paste on funeral clothes, incredibly eerie.

It dragged the figure of a person on the ground, leaving behind elongated, ominous shadows. Just then, Zhao Yunlan suddenly kicked the black cat by his feet and took a large step forward. Before he could turn around, a dagger was already held to the back of his heart. A jarring collision sound rang out as the fangs of the Specter Beast clashed with Zhao Yunlan’s steel blade, causing several of the beast’s large incisors to fall out while the blade cracked.

Then, as Zhao Yunlan used one foot as support, preparing to turn around and deliver another blow to the creature, an expression of extreme fear appeared on the Specter Beast’s face. Its entire grotesque body was sucked into Shen Wei’s palm like a deflated balloon.

Countless bells rang in the distance, and a two-foot-high black mist rose on the clean roads of the small town. The black cat let out a scream and leaped onto Zhao Yunlan’s shoulder, while hands covered in festering blisters reached out from the ground!

The Specter Beast, which had climbed onto the roof unnoticed, leaped down like a zombie suddenly appearing behind someone in a movie. Its massive claws clutched Chu Shuzhi’s head, and its mouth moved to bite down. Chu Shuzhi’s emaciated hand instantly turned as stiff as stone and then fiercely pierced into the beast’s throat, which immediately took a few steps back and collapsed to the ground. Before it had a chance to breathe its last, countless even more grotesque ghostly creatures rushed over and devoured it whole, bones and flesh.

Countless ghostly creatures emerged from the ground, their appearances hideous.

Shen Wei’s eye twitched. Having originated from the ghostly tribe himself, he held deep-rooted hatred for his own kind, especially… when they dared to appear in front of Zhao Yunlan.

With a clang, he drew out the Soul-Slaying Blade. Zhao Yunlan caught a glimpse and said, “Shen Wei, wait, this isn’t—”

But it was already too late. The Soul-Slaying Blade extended several meters, sweeping through the creatures as if decimating dry wood. Countless ghostly creatures instantly turned to ashes beneath his blade. Shen Wei’s expression turned icy, and he then flipped his wrist downward with tremendous force. The blade, sharp and invincible, pressed down, forcefully splitting open the thick layer of black mist beneath the entire town. With a loud noise, the mist dispersed, revealing a long and narrow crack several tens of meters deep in the earth. Inhuman screams resounded through the sky as a man stared fiercely at the crack in the ground, saying, “Come out.”

His movements were incredibly fast, his destructive power astounding. It wasn’t until this moment, when Zhao Yunlan, who had been less than five steps away from him, finally reached out and held his arm, that he finished his previous statement, “This isn’t the Seal of Earth breaking. I suspect it’s just a distorted Yin Bing. Don’t act recklessly!”

Sharp laughter suddenly echoed, surrounding them from all sides. “Indeed, it’s a pity that the Lord of the Order’s mind and mouth aren’t as quick as the Blade of the Soul Slaying Master.”

The ground split open in both directions, and Shen Wei tightly pulled Zhao Yunlan into his embrace, while Chu Shuzhi and the black cat Da Qing landed on the other side. The chasm grew wider, as if the earth had tumbled over. In an instant, the people on both sides couldn’t see each other anymore.

Suddenly, Shen Wei groaned, his hand tightly holding Zhao Yunlan’s being forcibly pulled away. A mass of black mist, like sticky spider webs, entangled his arm.