Chapter 256 Dangerous Encounter in The Underworld
“I will come to your place in a short while,” Ye Shaoyang replied after a short moment of thought. After he got dressed, he took a cab to Old Guo’s shop alone.
“Where is sister-in-law?” Ye Shaoyang asked Old Guo as he entered the shop and saw him eating noodles out of a fast food box.
“I made her leave. We are going to the Underworld, so I asked her to go back home and sleep.”
Old Guo threw the box into a dustbin, closed the roller shutters of the shop, brought Ye Shaoyang to a cellar, and showed him a great pile of items on the ground, “All yours.”
Ye Shaoyang glanced over the items: a large bundle of red threads, a few boxes of red niter, copper coins, an empty jug, and many more.
Ye Shaoyang scooped up a handful of the copper coins and studied a couple of them. All of them were copper coins from the Ming dynasty. The coins were rusty, and Ye Shaoyang could sense a faint Corpse Qi, “How did you get so many of them?”
Old Guo chuckled, “You can’t get that much now. They were grave goods.”
“Grave goods?” Ye Shaoyang paused for a moment, “You have a deal with grave robbers?”
“How will I fulfill your weird requirement if I haven’t made a deal with them?” As Old Guo spoke, he pulled out a long, white cloth from a corner. The white cloth had yellowed with age. “Just like this, how would I get this from a usual market?”
He unfolded the cloth, and Corpse Qi immediately dispersed through the room.
“Corpse wrapping shroud?”
“This is better than a corpse wrapping shroud. It is a foot-binding cloth from the coffin of an ancient woman. The cloth is usually weathered away into the soil, and people could only find a little of it in a vacuum coffin. Such a large piece is immensely precious! I am only willing to take this out because it’s you. Otherwise, I won’t sell it to someone even if they offer ten thousand per a foot.”
Ye Shaoyang covered his nose involuntarily once he learned that it was a cloth for foot-binding, and he asked gloomily, “A corpse wrapping shroud is enough. What’s the use of finding a foot-binding cloth for me?”
“The foot-binding cloth has a more intense smell and Corpse Qi compared to a corpse wrapping shroud, and it is more useful!”
“True. But, I wanted to use this shroud as a face mask. Now that I learned it was a foot-binding cloth, I don’t want to wear it.”
Old Guo paused to give the matter a second thought and guessed Ye Shaoyang’s plan, “Who is the lucky one to wear the mask? Xiao Ma?” Seeing Ye Shaoyang nodded with his guess, he smiled cunningly, “Let him wear it then. He will not know the mask is made from the foot-binding cloth if we don’t tell him. Don’t worry, the cloth has been kept for hundreds of years, and it has no smell at all anymore.”
Old Guo’s plan left Ye Shaoyang speechless, “Alright. If he finds out, I will tell him it was your plan.”
Old Guo waved his hands, “Deal. I want to make a short trip to the Underworld. You go on with your stuff.”
As Old Guo finished his words, he reached for seven red candles from a rack by his side, arranging them in the shape of the great dipper. He grabbed a copper pot, filled it with water, and took out a tiny bottle filled with a yellow liquid. He hesitated for a moment about whether to pour it into the water.
Ye Shaoyang knew the liquid was a mixture of dog and pig urine. The mixture was possibly the smelliest liquid in the world. Owning to the smell, the mixture was considered one of the filthiest items, and it was quite useful in the ritual process of going to the Underworld.
If a sorcerer encountered a powerful spirit who wished to attach to his body and come to the mortal world, the sorcerer could send a part of his soul back to his body and immerse his face into the pot with the mixture and drink a mouthful of it; this act would repel most spirits.
“Keep it. You don’t need it when I am here. This thing stinks the whole room.” Ye Shaoyang pinched his nose and said.
Old Guo nodded. He stored away the tiny bottle, cut his finger, dripped two drops of his blood into the pot, and ignited the seven candles. With a Spirit Repelling Bell in his left hand and a stack of Hell notes in his right, he sat cross-legged and closed his eyes, reciting an incantation softly, “In accordance to the imperial decree of Sanqing, and by the name of the founders of Maoshan Sect, I, Guo Jin, the outer disciple of Maoshan Sect, wish to head to the Underworld for a rightful purpose. Mighty Heaven and Earth, allow me to enter now!”
With a swing of his hand, he cast out a talisman paper, and it ignited without fire. Before the talisman paper burned to ashes, Old Guo stabbed through it and inserted it into the water.
Fizz! The talisman paper hissed once it came into contact with the water, and the water boiled. A moment later, Old Guo gave way, and his head hung low. A faint figure came out from his body. It was his soul, which smiled at Ye Shaoyang.
“Take care!” Ye Shaoyang said in a concerned tone.
Old Guo nodded. His body shrunk, and he dived into the water.
Ripples spread across the water surface before it settled. Ye Shaoyang bent down. He saw a vague image through the water surface: Old Guo walking alone through a pitch-dark wasteland, his Peach Wood Sword strapped to his waist, as he rang the Spirit Repelling Bell gently.
The bell reminded the spirits that he was a sorcerer coming to the Underworld to settle some matters, so they would avoid him. For some spirits that were not willing to give way, Old Guo would cast a few Hell notes toward them. With these two steps, the spirits would not usually disturb him. If a spirit does not leave, then he can only deal with it the hard way.
Ye Shaoyang knew that Old Guo had traveled to the Underworld many times; he should not encounter any danger. After watching for a moment, he stood up and headed back to the pile of items, filling up the jug with clear water. Then, he poured two packs of red niter into the jug, stirred it up sufficiently, soaked the red threads, and sealed the jug.
Next, Ye Shaoyang started to perform a tedious task: drawing talisman papers.
Skyfire Talisman Paper, Demon Exterminating Talisman Paper, Soul Quelling Talisman Paper, and many other powerful talisman papers. He spent about half an hour or so drawing approximately a hundred sheets of talisman papers. He was planning to draw another ten more when he heard a water splashing sound from behind him.
Initially, Ye Shaoyang did not take it seriously, and he continued drawing more talisman papers. A thought came to his mind suddenly; he quickly turned around and saw Old Guo with reddened eyes, his face as pale as a sheet, and his body jerking spasmodically.
He hurried toward the pot and was instantly stunned: a black spirit grasped Old Guo’s shoulders and exhaled at his face. Old Guo tried to hold in his breath, shaking his head left and right vigorously, as he struggled for his life.
Ye Shaoyang realized that the spirit wanted to blow off one of the mortal lamps of Old Guo and come to the mortal world. Once Old Guo opened his mouth, his Yang Qi would leak, and the spirit could possess him. Once possessed, Old Guo’s soul would probably be destroyed.
Old Guo understood the situation too. If the spirit managed to possess him, even Ye Shaoyang could not bring him back to life after killing the spirit. As such, Old Guo avoided the Spirit Qi entering through his mouth and nose with all his might.
“Damn, he's in danger.” Ye Shaoyang realized that the situation was critical. Although he could watch the scene from the pot, he could not save Old Guo directly.
However, Ye Shaoyang had another way. He would have to go through the trouble of heading to the Underworld to rescue Old Guo.
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