Holding onto his saber, Lu Sheng dashed off in pursuit only to see a cloth puppet lying on the ground silently. It was the very same puppet that was hanging from the beam earlier.
He picked up the puppet. A deep wound, which had not been there, now appeared across its surface and blood was seeping out of it.
"So this is the source?" Lu Sheng looked left and right but found no other leads.
A creak rang out behind him. Xu Chuia long sword was in his handand the rest caught up with him.
"My Lord?" he asked in a whisper.
Lu Sheng squeezed the puppet in his hand, feeling strands of Yin Qi emanating from it. He walked to the split and collapsed mirror frame, stepping on the shattered glass shards, and looked down at the copper frame.
Gently, he lifted up the mirror frame and noticed that the dog had disappeared among the three animal carvings on its back.
"Three animals could they represent three different kinds of ghosts?"
"My Lord, somethings not right," on the side, Xu Chui looked apprehensively and cautiously at the surroundings.
"Even after such a loud commotion, nobody in the entire Holy Fame Plaza has been stirred up. Usually, many people would be coming to check out the cause of the noise by now. But right now, theres not a single sound outside!"
Lu Shengs eyes narrowed to slits. Without warning, he spun round and leapt out of the room.
A gust of wind blew past him.
The courtyard outside the room had turned into a vast hay field!
The field was dry and crops already harvested. Stacks of hay bundled up together dotted the field. There were even burn marks on some parts of the field.
Under the cold moonlight, mountains and hills rose and fell in the fog.
"This is" Lu Sheng turned around. The study which he had leapt out from had now vanished. Xu Chui was gone. Only he alone had entered this place.
"Count to ten!"
Lu Sheng heard the voices of some children. He gazed towards the direction of the voices and saw some black shadows running off into the distance.
"That silly brat really thinks that were playing with her."
"I heard her mum is a prostitute on ships its gross."
"Yea yea shame on whoever plays with her!"
"But it doesnt seem very nice for us to leave her alone here"
"Why worry about that? Her mum will come get her."
Lu Sheng stared at those black shadows until they disappeared into the darkness of the night. Gradually, a guess formed in his mind.
He turned around and looked at the stacks of hay again.
A blurry voice echoed across the field.
Lu Sheng sucked in a deep breath of air and unsheathed the other saber on his back. With big strides, he headed towards the direction of the voice.
The field was covered with dried mud and hay stalks. Walking on it felt like walking on a thick carpet of grass.
Lu Sheng strode past several stacks of hay and soon reached the front of the largest haystack.
A pale blue girl, leaning on the haystack with her back towards Lu Sheng, was counting to ten.
Two poorly done braids of hair hung from her head. She was covering her face with both hands, as if she was playing some sort of game.
Sabers in hands, Lu Sheng came to a halt several meters away from her.
She counted to ten.
Lu Shengs muscles tensed, ready to strike at any moment.
"Im coming! Are you ready?" just then, the little girl spoke.
Her voice sounded very distant and serene, striking a sinister and eerie note.
Lu Sheng did not reply. Clearly, the girl was meant to be speaking to the other children. Yet somehow, he felt as if she was speaking to him.
"Wheres this place?" Lu Sheng asked softly.
The girl continued to stand with her back towards Lu Sheng without any response.
"Or perhaps, you think you can defeat me?" Lu Sheng swung the two giant cleavers in his hands. He was testing. Testing to determine what type of ghost she was.
"Im going to start looking, alright?" suddenly, the girl said calmly.
"Start?" Lu Sheng glanced at the haystacks to his left and right, and started to laugh all of a sudden.
He lashed out abruptly at a haystack beside him with a kick.
"Come on! Hack me to death, or be hacked to death by me!" he was getting impatient. The two sabers clanged in the air as they struck each other. Ultimate Crimson Nine Furies Skill suddenly activated on him, casting a Blood Web which enveloped him. Had the transparent formless inner Qi been visible, one would see that he was covered in raging flames right now, like a giant torch.
Slowly, the little girl turned around, her face covered by both her hands. Lu Sheng could see only her pale greenish-blue skin, but not her face.
In the blink of an eye, she vanished into thin air.
Lu Sheng lifted both his sabers immediately and slashed towards the spot diagonally in front of him.
In a deafening clang, a petite figure was sent flying into the air. While in the air, she disappeared again.
When she appeared once more, she was already behind Lu Sheng. Her blue hand clutched at Lu Sheng like a claw.
But, it was like scratching steel. Sparks flew from Lu Shengs neck.
Growling, Lu Sheng slammed towards his back. He channeled all inner force in him into his Blood Web, casting it behind him. With a flip of both sabers, he slashed behind him consecutively.
"Thud thud!" Two dull thuds.
His blades had landed in a haystack.
"Tszz tszz tszz tszz tszz!!"
In that moment, sparks exploded all over Lu Shengs body. A ghastly blue figure flashed around Lu Shengs body, clawing madly at him with sharp claws dipped in lethal poison.
Lu Sheng attempted to slash at her, but gave up after two misses. He simply stood still and shut his eyes, allowing her to claw all over him.
Showers of sparks rained from his body. If his body had been a normal body, it would have been minced into meat pulp long ago. But for him, it felt like a massage.
For the whole span of several breaths, Lu Sheng stood still, occasionally moving only to shield his ears and eyes, ignoring the fireworks on his body.
Then, without warning, his eyes burst wide open and he rammed into the spot in front of him.
A pale blue shadow was about to claw at his forehead when her head was rammed into by him, sending her flying backwards in the air. But before her body could travel far, she was pulled back violently by Lu Shengs arm. Again, Lu Sheng rammed his forehead into her.
The little girl was knocked out of her bearings. Caught in a tight hug by Lu Shengs arms, she suffered yet another few smashes on her head from him.
"BOOM! BOOM! BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!"
Lu Sheng slammed his head into the little girls head without stopping. After just a few such head-butts, the little girls head had been smashed into pulp. Blood and lumps of filthy matter, still stuck to fragments of her skull, dropped off her exposed neck bone. Before long, Lu Sheng was left with a headless corpse in his hands, which he lifted up high in the air.
He poised a giant cleaver over the top of the corpse, about to split it down the middle.
Little did Lu Sheng expect the corpses legs to kick hard into his chest suddenly, freeing itself off his grip and jumping out.
He had been holding the girl by her waist. Presently, he was left clutching a lump of flesh in his hand, which was now missing from the side of the girls waist.
"Oh?" Lu Sheng was caught by surprise as he watched the headless corpse stumble along, making a run for the distance.
Lighting quick, Lu Shengs saber flew out of his hand.
The saber cut through the air to strike both legs of the corpse, slicing through them cleanly. The blade also carried scorching boiling inner Qi, causing the corpse to roll around in pain on the ground.
"Thats it?" Lu Sheng stared at her, bored. "If Im not wrong, this should represent the fox."
The headless corpse struggled for a while, then faded into thin air.
Silence returned to the hay field.
"Theres still the phoenix left. All three animals are you," Lu Sheng surveyed his surroundings, then walked towards the spot where the corpse had faded.
A torn piece of pale blue cloth lay silently on that spot. He picked it up, sensed the Yin Qi on it, then kept it in his waist pouch.
Suddenly, he felt a numb sensation spreading on his back, as if he had been pierced by a needle.
Lu Sheng spun round immediately.
Not far away from him stood a young woman with unkempt hair, dressed in filthy clothes. Presently, she stood silently in the field, staring at him.
The womans clothes were messy, like clothes of different seasons meshed together. But the clothes on her chest and pubic area were ripped apart, revealing a pair of fair thighs. Dried blood stained her inner thighs.
"Her mums a lunatic!"
"Lunatic! Mad woman!!!"
"How did this lunatic survive? Shes got no food and she has a child in tow. Who knows whose child that is?"
"How else can she survive? Of course shes living off the men in the village. They queue up for her every day"
"Wasnt that the reason why the village chief brought her back in the first place? Whats there to hide?"
"Kill her! Kill this mad woman!"
"Put her in a pigs cage! How dare she seduce my man!"
A ruckus of shouts and yells echoed in Lu Shengs ears incessantly.
"That little girl she probably doesnt even know her mums dead, does she? I still hear her calling for her mum every day on my way back. Its pathetic."
"Shes mad and crazy, just like her mum. I heard someone saw the man from Chen Family entering that house again last night"
"Shes seducing men at such a young age. Such a slut!"
"Maybe shes been able to grow till this age because of the men in the village."
Lu Sheng listened as he gazed at the mad woman standing not far away from him. His eyes narrowed to a slit once again.
"Do you hate?"
A deep, sonorous voice rang in Lu Shengs ears.
"Your mum actually passed away two years ago. Although she was mad, she couldnt bear to leave you. She took care of you every day."
"Who landed you in such straits?"
"Who killed your mother?"
"Who abandoned you in the cold, deserted hay field?"
The deep voice rang again and again.
"I I just want someone to play with me" the timid and weak voice of a girl rang.
"Then enter enter this mirror. And youll always have someone to play with," the sonorous voice tempted.
Just then, a massive ball of red light exploded, casting an area of ten-meter radius around Lu Sheng into a sea of flames. Large amounts of hay were lit ablaze, popping and crackling into flames. Thick smoke billowed; ashes and dust scattered like rain.