It was a rainy night on the Black Street. Lights swayed in the rain, illuminating Hei Guan Yin, who was hurriedly returning to the Great Compassion Temple. Tonight, the Great Compassion Temple was unexpectedly quiet. Usually, there were people hiding under the Happy Buddha to have sex. He didn’t mind and went straight to his own sleeping quarters. He lived in the chest of the Happy Buddha, which was actually a giant puppet. There weren’t many guards at the Great Compassion Temple because the giant puppet was his best bodyguard.
He opened a secret door behind the Buddha and went up a spiral stone staircase. The walls were made up of gears, though they weren’t moving at the moment. The core star array of the puppet was suspended above, inside a heavy stone slab. He was a cautious person, and the faint sound of the star array’s operation did not disturb his sleep but instead gave him a sense of security.
He returned to his sleeping quarters, lit a candle, and took off his cloak, placing it on the back of a chair. It was quiet inside the puppet. He took two steps forward, looked up at the stone slab above his head, and was surprised to find that he didn’t hear the sound of the star array.
Someone had invaded his home. He realized it belatedly, and his heart was pounding. He slowly turned around. In the dim candlelight, a man in narrow-sleeved black clothes sat on the back of a chair. His hair was wet from the rain, his fair face expressionless, as cold and indifferent as ever.
Hei Guan Yin smiled and hoarsely asked, “How did you find your way here?”
“I’ve been following you,” Sang Chi Yu said lightly.
Right, Hei Guan Yin remembered that this guy’s special power was Teleportation. He stuck to his back and followed him, hiding in the shadow, so Hei Guan Yin couldn’t hear his footsteps. Dan Tai Jing trained him well, and he was calm and collected when doing things, killing cleanly. The Great Compassion Temple was so quiet tonight. Perhaps his monks had all been assassinated. After doing all this, he still didn’t rush to take Hei Guan Yin’s life, but followed him all the way, which allowed him to discover the secret of the giant puppet and destroy its core star array. Hei Guan Yin had no cards left to play.
Smart people didn’t need to say much. From the moment Sang Chi Yu sat there, Hei Guan Yin understood his intentions.
Hei Guan Yin said, “Considering I’ve helped you join the Black Street, at least let me say a few words before you take my life.”
Sang Chi Yu nodded.
Hei Guan Yin took a deep breath. “People like us always tend to be self-righteous. I thought I could control you and make Kun Lun’s strongest weapon mine, but I didn’t expect this blade to be so sharp that it cut me instead. It seems that Jiang Que Xie is really important to you. Don’t worry, if there’s a next time, I won’t threaten his life again. You and I are equal and mutually beneficial, on equal footing.”
Sang Chi Yu looked at him quietly, unmoved.
“Allow me to show you something. This is something that the monks of the Great Compassion Temple discovered in the Snow Territory. It was just delivered here at dusk, and I believe that Mr. Sang will be interested.” Hei Guan Yin took out a communication compass. “A Nan, bring that thing to the temple. Come here alone, and tell the others to leave the Great Compassion Temple. Stay at least fifty feet away.”
Hei Guan Yin made a gesture of “please”, and Sang Chi Yu stood up silently and walked down the stone steps.
The people in the Great Compassion Temple acted quickly. A Nan was waiting for them in front of the Happy Buddha. He had placed the item Hei Guan Yin requested on the floor, covered with white cloth.
Hei Guan Yin squatted beside it. “Mr. Sang should know that the Secret Sect’s law is strict, and many people are exiled to the Snow Territory every year. Those poor people can only build ice houses or live underground like beasts, naked and unprotected against the extreme cold. They have been abandoned by the Secret Sect, and only Black Street can provide them with shelter. However, even Black Street has very limited capacity to accommodate them, and we can only select some strong and resilient people with enough potential to resist the Secret Sect’s soldiers. The Great Compassion Temple and Paradise Pavillion will regularly search the Snow Territory and scout qualified refugees. However, recently, my people have reported that several cave dwellers have disappeared into thin air. The once-crowded caves are now empty.”
A Nan did not know that Sang Chi Yu had come to kill someone. He thought that he was Hei Guan Yin’s new confidant, and said, “Yes, it’s very strange. We go to specific locations every two weeks to distribute food and clothes, helping them survive the harsh winter. Every time we go, the place is packed with people; there is not enough food and clothes to go around. But in the past month, fewer and fewer people are there, and when we ask them, they say that people are disappearing inexplicably and they don’t know where they went. Among the refugees, there are rumors that ghosts come with the wind and snow and take those people away.”
“Thirteen days ago, I ordered the monks to search all the caves within ten miles of their settlement,” Hei Guan Yin said. “They didn’t find out the reason for the people’s disappearance, but they found this strange thing.”
Hei Guan Yin lifted the white cloth, and a skeleton was exposed to the light.
This skeleton was ninety percent complete and roughly shaped like a human body. Strangely enough, according to the size of this skeleton, the person’s physique was terrifyingly tall, about two times as tall as Sang Chi Yu. If Sang Chi Yu stood in front of him, he might look like a child.
“I found this in a cave,” A Nan said. “The cave was sealed with shattered rocks, and there was only this pile of strange bones inside. You know, we at the Great Compassion Temple eat people, so I am very familiar with human bones. At first, I thought he had been eaten by someone, but soon I found out that something was wrong. These bones were too big and there were too many of them, and I couldn’t piece them together no matter how hard I tried.”
Sang Chi Yu examined it carefully, adjusted the skeleton, and began to piece it together.
The skeleton on the ground had been assembled, with all the bones in place without any omission. Surprisingly, Sang Chi Yu managed to put together eight arms, which stretched out from the central torso, making the somewhat thin and tall skeleton look very strange.
No wonder A Nan always failed to assemble it. He always tried to fit the structure of a human body onto this skeleton. But if the skeleton has eight arms, all the bones could be put together.
Hei Guan Yin said, “The Secret Sect’s mining site is deep in the Snow Territory. It is said that the Frontline Guards who guarded the mining site returned to the border city last month with only a few dozen people left in the group. The Frontline Guards all withdrew, indicating that the mining site has been abandoned by the Secret Sect. This retreat is considered a great shame by the Secret Sect, and many martial officials in the Secret Sect have vowed to take revenge on the Black Street.”
A Nan smiled bitterly. “Until yesterday, we all thought it was the work of Paradise Pavillion. The Great Compassion Temple did not take any action against the Secret Sect last month. Coincidentally, something strange happened in the Snow Territory, and I went to find the people from Paradise Pavillion, asking if they had a similar experience. While asking, I casually mentioned the Frontline Guards, and found out that they thought we were the ones who attacked the Secret Sect. They never attacked the Secret Sect at all.”
Hei Guan Yin said, “Neither Paradise Pavillion nor Great Compassion Temple have anything to do with this matter. So who could have such great ability to make hundreds of guards die in the Snow Territory?”
Sang Chi Yu remembered He Sheng and his heart slowly sank.
Perhaps there is an even more terrifying question –
Are those dozens of soldiers who returned from the snowy region really human?
Hei Guan Yin said earnestly, “Sang Gongzi, this matter is very suspicious, not only threatening Black Street and the Secret Sect, but also threatening people all over the world.”
Sang Chi Yu lowered his eyes and looked at the skeleton in a daze. He bent down and peeled off a black core from the chest of the skeleton. Looking at it under the light, the more he looked at it, the more shocked he became. It looked very similar to the heart core excavated from Su Ru Hui’s body, except that this core didn’t glow.
While Sang Chi Yu was distracted, Hei Guan Yin made eye contact with A Nan. After a moment of hesitation, A Nan understood and discreetly retreated to Sang Chi Yu’s blind spot, pulling out a spirit fire gun.
Hei Guan Yin continued, “Sang Gongzi, I implore you to give me a chance to investigate this matter. Otherwise, Black Street and the Snow Territory refugees are in danger.”
A Nan slowly raised the spirit fire gun, aiming it at Sang Chi Yu.
Sang Chi Yu put away the sphere and looked up at Hei Guan Yin with calm, emotionless eyes. Hei Guan Yin wasn’t sure if his words had moved him. Before he arrived in Black Street, Hei Guan Yin had thought that he was like Su Ru Hui – a person abandoned by the Secret Sect who had no choice but to come to Black Street and become a bad person, but not entirely so. Usually, if someone didn’t go all the way to the dark side, they would end up in a miserable situation, like Su Ru Hui. But looking at those emotionless eyes, Hei Guan Yin suddenly became unsure.
“I heard that you are very knowledgeable,” Sang Chi Yu suddenly spoke up.
Hei Guan Yin forced a smile. “Sang Gongzi flatters me.”
A Nan observed Hei Guan Yin’s eyes and, at his signal, placed his finger on the trigger.
“Then you should know that the ingredients of gunpowder are sulfur, saltpeter, and charcoal,” Sang Chi Yu said in a calm tone.
Hei Guan Yin didn’t understand why he suddenly brought up these things. He just casually talked as if he was chatting with Hei Guan Yin.
“I have had a keen sense since I was young, especially my sense of smell. The smell of sulfur is unpleasant, and I really hate it,” Sang Chi Yu whispered.
Hei Guan Yin’s expression suddenly changed, realizing that this guy had smelled the gunpowder in the spirit fire gun. Did he have a nose like a dog? Hei Guan Yin shouted hoarsely, “A Nan!”
A Nan pulled the trigger.
Sang Chi Yu disappeared instantly, and the underground chamber was filled with the sound of fierce wind and sharp screams. Hei Guan Yin’s expression froze in surprise as Sang Chi Yu appeared behind him, his palm pressing against his head. A Nan saw many ice-blue meridians crawling out of Sang Chi Yu’s palm and spreading through Hei Guan Yin’s shattered cheek.
“What is Hei Guan Yin’s special power?” Sang Chi Yu asked.
A Nan was shocked by this scene and couldn’t say a word.
Sang Chi Yu raised his face and glanced at him. The man’s gaze was cold and murderous.
A Nan fell to the ground, stuttering, “The ‘Divine Eye’. He can see through walls.”
Hei Guan Yin’s head was shattered, and Sang Chi Yu withdrew his hand, expressionless. His face seemed to be frozen, with frost covering the bottom of his eyes.
“There’s something you haven’t explained about the strange skeleton.” Sang Chi Yu pressed his palm against A Nan’s head.
“How could that be?” A Nan forced a smile. “I would never dare to deceive the young master!”
“The Snow Territory is filled with boulders. Using shattered rocks to block the cave is not natural,” Sang Chi Yu said.
A Nan felt the terrifying meridians spreading around his head. Trembling, he collapsed like a piece of soft mud. “Sir, you’re sharp. I haven’t told you all the information yet. We found traces of gunpowder outside the cave. Someone deliberately blew up the cave to cover up the skeletons inside. If we hadn’t accidentally found another way into the cave, we wouldn’t have discovered the corpses at all. Based on the remaining gunpowder and the thickness of the snow layer on the stones, the explosion must have occurred at least seven years ago.”
“Seven years ago…” Sang Chi Yu furrowed his brow in thought.
“Continue to investigate. If there’s any progress, inform me.” Sang Chi Yu opened a Gate of Nothingness and turned around to leave, treading on the blood-stained ground.
On Kun Lun Mountain, the thugs were all extremely frightened, and someone pointed a spirit fire gun at Su Ru Hui.
Su Ru Hui bitterly smiled. “What a coincidence. I also want to know why there’s a corpse that looks like me.”
The system said he wasn’t human, so was he actually a ghost?
Han Ye was calm, looking at the corpse at his feet with great interest. He pulled Su Ru Hui in front of him and touched his face inch by inch. Su Ru Hui thought he was having a perverted idea and tried to hide, but Han Ye pressed him down and impatiently said, “I’m not interested in you. I just want to see if you’re wearing a human skin mask. If you keep hiding, I’ll strip your face off!”
Su Ru Hui surrendered and let him touch his face with a wooden expression. After touching for a long time, Han Ye confirmed that the person in front of him was indeed A Qi from the Paradise Pavillion. He said, “You really didn’t deceive me. There are a lot of strange things going on here. Bring someone to inspect the corpse.”
“Boss, he’s a ghost!” one of the thugs exclaimed.
Han Ye sneered. “If he were a ghost, how could he talk nonsense with you for so long? Hurry up, dissect the body and see what it is.”
The henchmen drew their knives and approached the body, following their boss’ orders.
Su Ru Hui squatted on the side and waited. Suddenly, he remembered the note that Su Gou had given him earlier in the day, which he had not yet read. He reached into his pocket and unfolded the crumpled note under the lamp.
It read: “There are strange creatures in the snow mountains. They only come out at night, and it’s best not to leave the city at night.”