Lie Huo Jiao Chou
By this time it was already past 7 pm and there were less than five hours left until midnight.
In the midst of the Mid-Autumn Festival in October, each day seemed shorter than the last.
Outside, the streetlights were already lit and the moisture in the air was getting heavier.
The entire Chiyuan Grand Canyon was engulfed in thick fog, with weak artificial light struggling to shine through, resembling faint fireflies.
If anyone were paying attention, they would notice that the entire Chiyuan area was unnaturally quiet.
Not even a single bird chirped, and even the noisy autumn insects were buried in the soil and dared not move.
“Director Xiao, the data has been retrieved, but this may not be possible to find.”
“Well, the conditions you gave were too broad.
Every year, there are millions of non-natural deaths in the country, with two to three hundred thousand suicides alone.
There are over a thousand unidentified corpses in the urban area of Yong'an every year.
Even if the so-called 'thousand people’ is an accurate number, if these thousand dead people are scattered throughout the country, there won't be any issues that can be seen from the statistical data, and that doesn't even include the missing persons.
If the killer is secretly killing people, it wouldn't be difficult to hide the bodies for a month, and the police department might not even receive a report!”
The situation was urgent, and Xiao Zheng didn't have time to ask why Xuan Ji, a good young man, knew so much about obscure ancient sorcery.
He turned to Xuan Ji on the phone and asked, “Is there any geographical restriction for these 'thousand people'?”
“No,” Xuan Ji's voice began to distort.
It seemed like there was wind on his end, and the sharp air currents were swirling around the phone receiver, disrupting the signal and his voice, “All you need is the ritual text…
as long as the ritual text is written correctly, it doesn't matter if it's in the whole country…
you can even go to Antarctica to kill and sacrifice, no need for a visa, just swipe your credit card.
But what came after “but” was unclear due to signal interference.
Xiao Zheng had put the phone on speaker when he asked the question, and Xuan Ji's words stirred up waves in his heart.
“That won't be on a global scale? Director Xiao, this won't work, it's like finding a needle in a haystack.” The logistics personnel from the external affairs department was the first to come out and say, “Besides, we need a basis and procedures for file transfer.
The public security system also has confidentiality requirements.
This…just listening to a colleague say it, isn't it…”
“Director Xiao,” the administrative department also came to add chaos, “Chief Huang called and asked what was going on, and asked you to go over and give him a briefing!”
On the side of the Chiyuan Sub-bureau, not only did they not buy it, but they also blatantly shifted the blame.
The operator reported back, “Director Xiao, the front-line of the Chiyuan Sub-bureau replied that there are still three mutated trees that have not been found in the Grand Canyon.
He wants to confirm with you whether you mean to leave those monsters there and withdraw.
How will the resulting losses be calculated?”
The external security department of the headquarters pushed the responsibility to others, “Director Xiao, there may be some problems with mobilizing external personnel reinforcements near the Chiyuan area.
The personnel dispatched from various sub-bureaus need the stamp of the headquarters’ external security department before they can act.
You see, do you want to talk to Director Song of the security department first? Hey? Is Director Song on vacation?”
The research scientist who was initially eloquent about “Sacrifice” felt the wind direction was not right and quickly changed his face, “Uh, Director Xiao, about 'Yin Sacrifice' and 'Demon Lord' and so on, those are all unsupported legends lacking supporting materials, and there has always been controversy about them.
Our ancient studies department only restores ancient books and cannot guarantee their authenticity.
They cannot be used as a basis for action.
Please be cautious…
Like a group of frogs holding a meeting, everyone was chattering in Director Xiao's ear, and the scene was chaotic beyond measure.
Everyone was hindering him, and no one was cooperating with him.
Director Xiao had no idea how angry and frustrated he was, and he had become an unpopular “bun that even dogs ignore.” What was the reason for this? It's a long story- this summer, the head of the Bureau of Paranormal Control retired, and the newly appointed Chief Huang was an outsider, not to mention an ordinary person.
Appointing an ordinary person to head the Bureau of Paranormal Control and manage a group of special abilities that can fly and vanish, isn't that nonsense?
No one believes there isn't anything fishy going on.
It has been nearly a quarter since the new director took office, but not only is he not accepted by the arrogant special abilities, he doesn't even have any real management authority.
In response, the headquarters set up a new department called the “Central Dispatch Bureau,” composed of personnel drawn from the former front-line field agents, serving as a communication bridge between the ordinary director and the special abilities.
The administrative level of the Central Dispatch Bureau is half a level higher than other departments.
In an emergency situation, it can temporarily bypass other functional departments, coordinate resources, and issue direct orders.
Thus, the person in charge of the Central Dispatch Bureau, Xiao Zheng, has become the “one person below and ten thousand people above” in the Bureau of Paranormal Control.
Xiao Zheng used to be the leader of one of the three elite field forces, “Thunder.” Wherever there was danger, he went there, and everything he had was earned with solid military achievements.
At that time, everyone admired him, even his lack of social skills was touted as “the true nature of a master.”
However, being “promoted” by the Chief Huang was like promoting him from a “provincial governor” to a “chief eunuch.” Overnight, Xiao Zheng offended the entire field security department except for the special forces.
Some people say that he was blinded by officialdom, willing to climb up at the expense of his dignity, even willing to be a lapdog for an ordinary person.
Others say that he is arrogant, with his nose in the air, pretending to be above it all, with his petty behavior now revealed since he has achieved some power.
Everyone is an adult, so although they talk behind each other's backs, they usually remain courteous to each other on the surface, except when something happens.
When something happens, the opportunity for settling scores arises, and people will come up with words to make “betrayal by the masses” four words to be engraved on his face.
As luck would have it, just at this moment, “click,” the sound of a busy signal came from the phone, and contact with Xuan Ji suddenly stopped.
The hallway of the hospital where Xuan Ji was located had turned into a giant refrigerator, and his phone couldn't handle the low temperature, so it went black in the middle of the conversation.
“Done talking?” Sheng Lingyuan was very interested in the lively “message box,” and although Xuan Ji deliberately sped up his speech and spoke vaguely, he didn't understand a word but still listened with relish.
When Xuan Ji stopped speaking, he asked, “Did you manage to figure things out?”
The face of contemporary technology could not be lost.
Xuan Ji cursed in his heart while pretending to be calm, letting the phone fly back into the inner pocket of his chest, trying to keep it warm a little longer.
The doors and windows of the hospital hallway were shattered, and the TV on one of the floors was still on.
At this time, the sound of the TV in the hallway could be faintly heard, and the ending theme of the news broadcast played, which meant that it was at least 7:30.
People in the hospital were quickly moved onto various ambulances and government vehicles.
The noise downstairs was loud, but this floor was quiet enough to hear a pin drop, with only Xuan Ji and the Big Boss Sheng Lingyuan at an impasse.
Xuan Ji stood by the window, blinked off the frost on his eyelashes, and swept a glance downstairs.
Some of the patients in the hospital were not easy to move, and even with high efficiency, the field agents still needed to spend some time.
He had to delay as much as possible.
With lightning speed in his mind, Xuan Ji slowly squeezed out a smile.
uh, senior, it's not even midnight yet, and since you're new here, there's no urgent matter, right? Why don't we have a chat?”
In the Bureau of Paranormal Control, Xiao Zheng was surrounded by a group of people, with countless pairs of eyes watching him.
He was angry, but his face didn't show it.
The angrier he got, the paler he became, and his lips were pursed into a straight line.
“That Director Xiao,” an administrative staff member tentatively raised the phone.
Xiao Zheng looked up at him, and the administrative staff member felt as if lightning flashed in his eyes, startling him.
The phone slipped out of his hand and fell to the ground.
Under the incomprehensible gaze of the crowd, Xiao Zheng reached out and caught the administrative staff member's phone, pressed the speaker button, and focused his mind.
“Chief Huang, this is Xiao Zheng.
Based on my 12 years of experience as a front-line field agent, I judge this to be a major emergency.
If you trust me, please give me authorization.
After the matter is resolved, I will report to you immediately.
If there are any problems, I will take full responsibility.”
Chief Huang was silent on the phone, and everyone around fell silent with him.
The previously bustling control room became deathly quiet.
At this moment, another abrupt ring of the telephone broke the silence.
A staff member stepped forward to answer it and unconsciously lowered his voice due to the quietness around him.
“Bureau Dispatch Room, please speak…
Okay, I will relay the message immediately.”
The staff member who answered the call hung up the phone and said, “The head of the Chiyuan Sub-bureau called again and said the situation has changed.
An external team stationed at the Chiyuan Hospital reported that the source of the abnormal energy in Chiyaun is likely located at the hospital.
The sub-bureau is requesting reinforcement and…
Director Xiao's further instructions.”
“But doesn't reinforcement require Director Song from the Ministry of Public Security…?” someone asked.
They're already here,” a somewhat unprofessional voice came from the entrance of the dispatch room.
The person who spoke was a young man who looked no more than twenty years old.
He was wearing a dark grey uniform with the words “Fengshen” embroidered on the collar.
He had a stopwatch around his neck and looked like a physical education teacher.
With a rosy complexion and white teeth, he smiled when he noticed everyone's gaze and lifted his heels.
“Fengshen Special Forces, First Team, Zhang Zhao, good evening to all the leaders.
Our leader…no, our commander-in-chief happens to be out of town today, and upon hearing that Chiyuan needs support, immediately sent an authorized fax to be delivered to Director Xiao.
I am also here to report to you that the Fengshen team closest to Chiyuan is already on their way.”
Fengshen was one of the three special forces teams under Xiao Zheng's “family” at the Bureau.
The other two teams were Thunder and Rain, collectively known as “Fenglei Yu” or “Wind, Thunder, Rain.” Although they were nominally assigned to the Ministry of Public Security's External Operations and Security Department, they had a high degree of autonomy.
Especially the Fengshen team.
Any anomalous energy events that cannot be handled within the entire region are usually referred to the Fengshen team.
This special forces team has the strongest mobility and is often on business trips around the country, so they have a somewhat “disobeying superior orders when far away” meaning.
Any team leader or above can directly ignore superior opinions and take autonomous action if they deem it necessary.
Xiao Zheng never expected that their brother team would openly stand on his side.
He opened his mouth but didn't know what to say for a moment.
Zhang Zhao walked in, smiling as he scanned the various expressions on their faces.
He handed a printed document to Xiao Zheng and took a step back to salute, saying, “Director Xiao, our leader said that you are representing us, 'Wind, Thunder, and Rain,' and if others don't support your work, can we still move forward? We'll wait for your instructions!”
After a long silence on the phone, Chief Huang finally spoke, “Xiao, you represent me in handling the Chiyuan matter.”
Xiao Zheng gritted his teeth and gave Zhang Zhao a look that spoke volumes without saying a word.
Without hesitation, he said, “Find a way to contact the aftermath department's Xuan Ji.
He's on the front lines, and the phone just got cut off.”
Xuan Ji, who was on the front lines, was getting cozy with the Demon Lord.
“I think someone like you, who can only be summoned by the gloomy ritual, has such an extraordinary appearance…
um, 'appearance' means distinguished and with great origin.” Xuan Ji attempted to imitate the Demon Lord's accent and tone, but unfortunately, this ancient dialect was like a foreign language to him – he could understand it, but not speak it.
Plus, he didn't have the Demon Lord's amazing ability to repeat words, so his imitation sounded strange and off.
Although Sheng Lingyuan was bound by iron chains, his posture was relaxed and his smile deepened as he watched the little demon in front of him change faces like flipping a book.
Xuan Ji had a thick skin and sang off-key to the South Pole, but he still dared to speak loudly, “In this capitalist era, there are usually many ways to solve problems.
Those who resort to witchcraft at the drop of a hat are generally foolish…
um, delusional people with holes in their brains.
Don't you think it's beneath you to respond to such a person's call?”
“The ritual is a way to communicate with heaven and earth.
Since I was awakened by this person, there must be a connection between us.
Otherwise, his blood wouldn't have flowed into my coffin,” Sheng Lingyuan said slowly, “Besides, what does it matter if it's a matter of status or not? It's all just a superficial reputation.
I've long forgotten about it.”
“Well, that's true,” Xuan Ji had seen all sorts of difficult clients before.
He changed his tone and flattered, “The status that mortals give you may not be important, and it doesn't matter whether you remember it or not.
But your demeanor and bearing are still here, aren't they? I'm not blind.”
“Oh? Such bearing?” Sheng Lingyuan suddenly leaned forward, and the iron chains that bound him suddenly tightened with a clear collision sound.
The dark and gloomy ritual markings crawled out of his collar and spread all over his face, black and white, making his handsome face suddenly look sinister.
Just then, Luo Cuicui, who had already run out, received a phone call from Xiao Zheng and was ordered to bring a phone to Xuan Ji.
After mustering up the courage, she finally made it to the stairs, but when she saw the scene from afar, her legs went weak and she knelt down with a “thud.”
Sheng Lingyuan didn't even glance at her and waved his hand lightly, saying, “No need for formalities.
Since the sacrificial text can bring me back to the world, it naturally has constraints on me.
I have finally seen the light of day, why ruin it for myself? It's just a human wish, a small gesture is enough.”
Xuan Ji's eyes twitched.
Sheng Lingyuan smiled and said softly, “It's almost past midnight, right?”
“L-lea-leader…” Luo Cuicui couldn't even complete a sentence, stuttering and stammering, and kept saying “L-l-lead” with his mouth, too scared to come over.
In the end, he had a bright idea, put the phone on the floor eight feet away, pushed it forward with all his might, and slid it to Xuan Ji's feet, saying, “Director Xiao, I can't help you here, and I'm only hindering your performance.
I'll withdraw as ordered!”
With that, the coward turned to run, but was caught by Xuan Ji's ankle with a lock chain and fell flat on his face.
“Wait,” said Xuan Ji.
Tears streamed down Luo Cuicui's face.
“Leader, us plant-types are highly flammable and cannot go to the front line.
Please just treat me like air and let me go!”
“What's going on? I thought you had become a martyr…the phone froze…I can't believe it! Come back, and I'll buy you a new box!” Xiao Zheng was holding the phone, scolding Xuan Ji on the phone, and striding into the conference room.
“Director Xiao, the agents from all over the region are already in position.”
Xiao Zheng nodded and said to Xuan Ji, “Take a picture of the ‘Yin Sacrifice' text that you saw, the more complete the better.
I will have someone compare the pictures to investigate.
If it is a sacrifice, there must be sacrificial text on the sacrificial offering, just like putting a stamp address on a letter, right?”
“Smart,” because Luo Cuicui threw her phone too far, Xuan Ji could only shout to speak now, “Luo Cuicui, before you run away, please do me a favor! Take a picture of the words on the wall and send them to Xiao Zheng.
– Old Xiao, listen to me, summoning this demon is a one-time thing, not a long-term contract…”
Sheng Lingyuan understood the words “one-time” and “not long-term” and narrowed his eyes slightly – this brat was actually using his own words, so bold.
Xuan Ji spoke quickly, “The reason why witchcraft is considered witchcraft is because the people who do this kind of thing usually don't have a good ending.
It's such a hassle to summon a big demon that can only do one thing for oneself.
Based on my experience, eight or nine out of ten times it's for revenge.
And it's likely that the person behind it is in a desperate situation and lacks support.
The Yin Sacrifice is not some street vendor's trick, your elite field agents in the security department have never even heard of it.
This person not only knows how to operate it, but can also kill a thousand people unnoticed within thirty days.
With such ability, why go through such a big circle to kill someone? What could be their target?”
Xiao Zheng narrowed his eyes suddenly, “An important figure under tight protection, or an unshakable power.”
If someone can operate the Yin Sacrifice, even if they are not a special ability person themselves, they must be deeply involved with special ability people and must know about the “Special Ability Court” of the Bureau.
If this person is fighting alone against some heinous private force, they could come forward and report it, but they haven't.
So, it's very likely that they know they can't get official support.
Either the person manipulating the Yin Sacrifice is a wanted special ability criminal, or…
The two of them fell silent for a second and then almost said in unison.
cough cough cough…” The one who ran up was unexpectedly the girl with a “fear of people” – Ping Qianru.
The hospital's cool mist seemed to be spreading, and taking a breath from afar felt like a cold knife scraping from the throat to the lungs.
With more than ten meters away from Xuan Ji and the others, Ping Qianru couldn't catch her breath and couldn't get any closer – who knows what kind of ability she had, but judging from her lung capacity, she not only had no combat power, but she might not even pass the school physical education test.
The fire on the iron chain that bound the demon in Xuan Ji's hand was already quite weak, and several times it was almost frozen out, but then he swayed and stood up.
He was already at his last gasp, but he refused to let go.
The great demon was waiting for the midnight hour and was not in a hurry, patiently playing with the little demon in front of him.
The place where they were was almost like an ice store, in Ping Qianru's view, Xuan Ji was covered with thick ice and didn't move at all, as if he had become an ice sculpture.
So she cried out with a sobbing voice, “Uh…
they found a forum post that was just posted and deleted…
can Director Xuan say something? I'm scared…”
“Why do you have to be so tragic?” Shen Lingyuan said somewhat helplessly to Xuan Ji.
“I see that you are young, and if you were an ordinary little demon, you might not have awakened your spiritual wisdom yet.
Not only have you fully transformed, but your true form can't be seen at a glance.
Presumably, you are a naturally-born spirit creature.
Before the internal upheaval amongst the demon race happened, almost all of the innate spirit creatures had already disappeared without a trace.
Each one is a treasure, and it would be a pity to lose one.
Listen to me, hurry and leave.”
Xuan Ji took a deep breath and said word by word, “Don't cry, there is still air.
What post? Read it.”
Ping Qianru choked, “Oh…
A plea for help: I feel like my son is not my son anymore.”
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