Xue Meng woke to the intense smell of fragrance.
The sky had already brightened before he woke up. Trying to ease the lingering hangover, he massaged his temples as he went to the toilet. In the mirror, he saw his fluffy hair and red-rimmed eyes, looking very tired. He kept yawning while brushing his teeth.
After tidying himself up, he left home for work.
He halted his steps on opening the door.
The surroundings were not what he saw every day. Looking around, he saw that except for the house he was in, there was only an all-encompassing whiteness. The sky was white, and the ground was white. White clouds floated in the sky, with golden light shone through. The golden light was very soft, having a magical pull on the people who saw it.
Xue Meng’s initial feeling of surprise and fear gradually faded without himself realizing it. He involuntarily stepped towards the golden light.
After taking a few steps forward, he looked back to see his house had disappeared. In its place, only whiteness remained.
This scene was very weird. But he didn’t know why he didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary. Instead, he wanted to go to the wandering golden light.
He didn’t walk far to see the source of the light.
It was a white deity statue.
A deity figure sat cross-legged on a lotus platform. Holding a golden bowl on the left hand, the deity placed his right hand on the knee and slightly lowered his head to look at his followers with compassion. The golden light was coming from the golden bowl on his hand. Wandering around in different strands, the light seemed like a living thing.
At the foot of the deity, there knelt many people. Chanting something in mumbled voices, they knelt down with piety each time they finished a sentence.
In a daze, Xue Meng also knelt down. There were people all around him chanting. Listening closely, Xue Meng finally could make out what they were chanting.
“Magnificent Sui god, please help me to win the lottery……”
“Magnificent Sui god, please kill that bitch for me……”
“Magnificent Sui god, please let Cheng Yu fall in love with me……”
“Magnificent Sui god…….”
Countless prayers merged into a strong force like raindrops converging into a strong current.
Those praying voices carried intense sentiments; hatred, craziness…. Everyone knelt down before the deity. In their most humble and frenzied state, they asked the deity to grant their wishes.
Those voices drove Xue Meng dizzy. After a while, he felt intoxicated.
Suddenly, a voice full of compassion came to his ear.” My most loyal follower, what do you wish for?”
“Wealth, Power, Love……Whatever you wish for, I will make it come true.”
This voice was remote and spiritual, seemed to be full of empathy, slowly luring Xue Meng to make his wish.
Opening his mouth, Xue Meng wanted to say something. Suddenly he saw those people who had made wishes rose to leave. With flushed cheeks, these people were shrouded in the golden light.
More people were making wishes. He saw those golden lights entering their body after the wishes were made, turning into hazy halos.
The voice slowly asked again.” What do you wish for?”
What was my wish? Xue Meng’s eyeball turned in slow motion, and finally, he seemed to find his wish.
“Magnificent Sui god, I wish……”
In mid-sentence, a thought suddenly struck him.
He recalled what Jiang Lan said to him during the day.
“Everything has a price on it. If you get something, you have to pay back something equal in value.”
Pay back something equal in value…….
This sentence exploded in his head like a clap of thunder.
In an instant, he came back to his senses. Raising his head to look at the deity, he saw the face was full of compassion with smiles on its lips. But after a long look, the smile began to turn sinister.
Cold sweat broke out on his back.
When Xue Meng was agonizing over his dilemma, a familiar voice brought him back from the edge of horror. That’s Jiang Lan’s voice.
Xue Meng turned to the voice with surprise and relief. Jiang Lan walked very fast and reached him in a blink. Xue Meng rose to his feet and was eager to tell what he just witnessed. But he couldn’t utter a sound.
Sweat beaded his forehead. Jiang Lan walked to him effortlessly, patted his head and said to him gently.” Come back to your sweet sleep.”
Xue Meng felt a load off his body and involuntarily walked back.
After seeing this, the smile on the deity’s face froze.” Who are you? Do you know disrespect to me means death?”
Jiang Lan blinked and smiled mysteriously.”……I don’t want to scare you. I have eaten dozens of deities like you before. I lost count.”
“Don’t bullshit me, you little one.”
The expression on the deity’s face shifted from compassion to cold malice. In a second, the kneeling followers disappeared, the deity rose slowly from the lotus platform. His right hand was transformed into a paw and pounced on Jiang Lan with great force.
Jiang Lan didn’t even try to dodge his hand and resist. He let the long hand grab him and delivered him to the deity’s face.
The deity stared at him coldly, with a malicious smile on his face.
Jiang Lan smiled back, his eyes brightened at the deity as if he was looking at delicious food. He muttered to himself.” It’s just a duplicateTL’s note: some monsters are capable of making many copies of themselves. The regulation didn’t say I can’t eat a copy. If I do it quietly, there should be no trouble……”
The deity didn’t have time to figure out what this arrogant intruder was talking about before Jiang Lan’s body in his grip expanded rapidly, turning into a pitch-black exotic beast in a flash of a second.
This beast’s body was like a wolf, with horns of a bull, fangs of a tiger, hooves of a horse, a tail of a dragon. His red eyes were full of excitement at the sight of the food.
The deity’s eyes widened with shock. His voice trembled. He hardly had time for remorse or fear before Tao Tie devoured him in whole without hesitation.
Jiang Lan changed back into human form. Massaging his bulging belly, he let out a loud belch with satisfaction.
It had been so long before a fool like this ran into his mouth.
Licking his lips, Jiang Lan found the taste vaguely familiar. But He couldn’t recall when and where he had a similar taste. After all, he had devoured too many deities and monsters in ancient times.
Stomping his feet, he withdrew from Xue Meng’s dream.
—————-Let’s return to the time after their dinner was over.
Jiang Lan hailed a taxi to bring them back home. Because there was only one bed, he had to share it with Xue Meng with Suan Ni sleeping beside his pillow.
At midnight, a whiff of strange fragrance drifted into his nose. After waking up, he traced the smell to Xue Meng’s body and saw the strange smile on his face. The bracelet on his wrist had traces of red flowing like a living thing.
Jiang Lan immediately sensed something was wrong. Using his magic power, he broke into Xue Meng’s dream to find the monster who perpetrated this.
After he returned from Xue Meng’s dream, he removed the bracelet from his wrist while talking to himself.” I said there is no such thing as money dropping from the sky.”
Then he woke Suan Ni from his sleep to tell him.” Something happened. I have to go to the Bureau right now. You stay here.”
Suan Ni meowed without thinking. Jiang Lan laughed, poking his forehead.” Do you start to think you are a cat?”
Suan Ni turned his bottom to him, pretending to be annoyed. Jiang Lan patted his head and went out.
He just ate a duplicate. But he was still unclear what the monster was. He knew that the monster’s purpose was to lure ordinary people in their dreams into making wishes to him in a deity’s guise, with lucky gems as bait. Once a wish was made and fulfilled, he would claim the price.
That shop just opened. But the lucky gems had an almost immediate effect; there must be a great many people who may have fallen into the traps. To contain the situation, he had to report to the Bureau and contact the police.
“He slipped away again.”
Cheng Hua gritted his teeth in a foul mood.
Ying Qiao walked around the shop and spotted the lucky gems the shop owner didn’t have time to carry away. He picked up one bracelet, wrapping it with his handkerchief to avoid touching it. After scrutinizing it, he figured out what it was and threw it back in disgust.
“He was willing to go to such lengths to conceal the trace he left.”
The gems were made of the flesh he cut out of his body.
Cheng Hua said with disgust.” Even if Tai Sui has an infinite supply of its flesh, it’s unheard of to cut itself into pieces to make jewellery for sale?
Tai Sui is a legendary mushroom. A Tai Sui was conceived from the essence of the sky and earth and was born in rare circumstances that only come once in years. Because of their magical curative powers, they were highly sought after among humans since ancient times. As a result, too few Tai Suis could remain undiscovered and survive until they gained human intelligence.
But once they gained human intelligence and started on the path of cultivation, they were endowed with privileges granted by Heaven and enjoyed rare luck.
What they were trying to track down was a Tai Sui with human intelligence. But it was a pity that this Tai Sui took a shady shortcut; he murdered people and sacrificed their souls to pave his road to immortality.
A couple of years ago, this Tai Sui had committed a crime in the Capital city. He was lucky to escape the hunt and vanished without a trace.
Last month, three murders took place in a row in the Hangyang district. The victims died strangely, and the cause of death remained unclear. The police asked the Monster Bureau for assistance. The case files reminded Ying Qiao of the vanishing Tai Sui many years ago.
He had a close encounter with this Tai Sui. He experienced firsthand that heavenly endowed Tai Sui was difficult to handle. But he didn’t expect him to slip away again after he took charge of the case himself.
Looking at the red blood traces floating in the white gems, he knew it was the indication that the Tai Sui had reached an advanced level of cultivation, which must come at the cost of many lives.
“Let’s go back. Tomorrow I will send someone to track him.”
Ying Qiao was in a bad mood for his failure to catch the suspect.
Cheng Hua yawned and followed him out while muttering about the pay for overtime work.
Ying Qiao ignored him but suddenly stopped, seeming to be struck by a thought.
Cheng Hua asked.” What’s the matter?”
Giving him a glance, Ying Qiao waved his hand.” You go back now, I have some business to attend to.”
Without waiting for his reply, Ying Qiao drove away.
Cheng Hua was left alone by the roadside.”….”
He cursed him silently.
Ying Qiao suddenly recalled seeing the bracelets on their hands when he met Jiang Lan and his colleague this afternoon. The Tai Sui was sneaky and cruel, while Jiang Lan was a young monster. On the off chance they fell into Tai Sui’s trap and were in danger now, he could help them.
A silver-grey Aston Martin rushed into Jiang Lan’s residential compound.
With the location Jiang Lan shared with him last time, Ying Qiao had no trouble finding his home. After taking an elevator to Jiang Lan’s home, he smelled a strange fragrance drifting out of Jiang Lan’s home before he knocked on the door.
They had already fallen into the trap!
Ying Qiao’s face grew grim and broke into Jiang Lan’s home without hesitation.
Xue Meng was still fast asleep, but Suan Ni was woken by the breaking-in. He swiftly came to the bedroom door and was ready to ambush the intruder beside the door.
The fragrance became more intense after he entered the door. It seemed to come from the bedroom. Before he had time to enter the room, he sensed something leapt towards him from the darkness. Without much effort, he grabbed Suan Ni, who came straight for his neck.
Suan Ni’s golden eyes shone in the darkness, and he let out a fierce roar. But when he saw the face of the intruder, he was confused.”Meow?”
Ying Qiao also recognized the cub as Jiang Lan’s little brother. His expression softened and gently carried him towards the bedroom while asking him.” Is your brother…….ok?”
He stopped in mid-sentence when he saw a figure sleeping in the bedroom.
Jiang Lan was not here. Instead, a human was lying in his bed.
|↑1||TL’s note: some monsters are capable of making many copies of themselves|