“Every Gathering must be held at a haunted mansion. This place happened to be chosen for this round. Whoever exterminates whatever is haunting the mansion first is the winner; it’s a good chance to boost one’s reputation.” Feng Jin’s low voice reverberated in the darkness.
“There’s a possibility that other exorcists will attack you and steal your badges. If your badge is stolen, you can’t continue participating.”
“And if you steal everyone else’s badge?” Shi Sheng suddenly asked.
Feng Jin blanked out for a moment before replying, “You’d be awarded the title of grandmaster.”
“Is that title so great?”
“I guess so.”
All of the people who were just here at the Gathering to gain experience remained outside. Only those who were experienced could enter the mansion to participate. Hence, snatching all of the participants’ badges was proof that one had high enough strength to claim the title of grandmaster, the greatest honour among exorcists.
Those with that title were respected no matter where they went.
“Okay! Let’s go rob them all then!” Shi Sheng rolled up her sleeves and got to work. Feng Jin pondered for a while before coming to the conclusion that helping her would be easier than stopping her.
Robbery was child’s play for Shi Sheng. And as a villain, her methods were naturally… less than honourable. Her victims did not even have time to react before they were robbed—they weren’t even able to catch a glimpse of who the thief was.
When the crowd outside saw that participants were streaming out of the mansion one after another, they went forward to ask, “What happened? Why are all of you coming out together?”
‘Even if people did have badges stolen in the past, we’ve never seen this many come out at a time!’
“Don’t even mention it.” A dark-skinned, short man spat on the ground. “Some asshole used underhanded means to take our badges.”
“Yeah! Once everyone’s out, I want to see who the sneaky little shit is! Even if he’s stolen all of our badges, I refuse to acknowledge him! To use such despicable means… PEI!”
The people outside looked to their neighbors as their hearts pounded. ‘Could we be seeing the birth of a new grandmaster this year?’
An Su didn’t know why, but she felt like this matter had something to do with her Ghost-jiejie.
In the mansion, Shi Sheng floated back to Feng Jin’s side after having eliminated yet another person.
“How many are left?”
“Three.” Feng Jin paused before continuing, “They are Guo Cheng from Baiyun Monastery, Song Jiang from Zhangchun Monastery, and Wei Li.”
Guo Cheng was the name of Xiao Bai’s Master.
“You mean the monasteries from Mt. Tiandu?” Shi Sheng raised a brow before harrumphing disdainfully. “How capable can those people who taught a bunch of idiots be?”
“They’re the real deal.” Feng Jin reminded Shi Sheng, “Don’t underestimate them.”
“Oh.” Shi Sheng gave a perfunctory response.
Noticing her uncaring expression, Feng Jin could only raise his vigilance.
They just so happened to run into Wei Li in one of the side courtyards. Wei Li had already learned from others that there was someone in the mansion stealing badges, and that this person had already been fairly successful. So, his first reaction upon meeting someone was to attack.
But Shi Sheng pulled out a smoke grenade and tossed it over. Wei Li was too quick, so he didn’t have time to stop himself from stepping into the smoke-filled area.
Thump! And the sound of a heavy object hitting the ground could be heard.
‘So what if you have ability? If you can’t use it, all of that ability is just rubbish.’
Feng Jin, “…”
‘Her methods are getting more brutal… She used to swing that sword of hers around before, but now she doesn’t even bother to take it out.’
“Where’d you get that thing you just tossed?” ‘Ghosts can keep physical things on them? I feel like everything I’ve learnt is completely useless…’
Shi Sheng immediately moved over. “Kiss me and I’ll tell you.”
Feng Jin, “…” ‘Can’t we just talk this over like normal people?!’
The end result was still him leaning down to give her a peck. His cheeks were burning, but fortunately it was too dark here so Shi Sheng couldn’t see his face.
“I have a space. A space, you know? Like the things that can fit a ton of stuff in novels.”
Feng Jin’s lips twitched. ‘Has her chuunibyou relapsed?’
Shi Sheng paused, before continuing in a much darker tone, “En… You wouldn’t kill me to steal my space out of jealousy, would you?”
Feng Jin didn’t know what kind of expression he should be making. “Well, you’d have to tell me what your space’s medium is first—otherwise, how would I steal it?”
Although he didn’t have a space, he’d seen records of it in his clan. Normally, spaces would have an item that served as a medium, and there were some mediums that would fuse with their owners when they acknowledged a master. The space would disappear when the owner died, so it couldn’t be stolen.
A space sounded tempting, but to the current Feng Jin, it wasn’t as tempting as the woman in front of him.
“I suppose so.” Shi Sheng nodded. “Then I’ll tell you once you’ve been slept by me.”
‘“…once you’ve been slept by me.”
This woman and her ridiculous words…’
Feng Jin’s heart, which had been calm for many years with nary a ripple, was currently surging and building up towards a storm. He lightly sighed.
The last two participants were eliminated by Shi Sheng using the same method.
“And we’re done!” Shi Sheng tossed the badges to Feng Jin. “Come on, praise me! Wasn’t I great?”
Feng Jin was helpless. “En, you were great.”
‘You didn’t even fight them, what was so great about that? Great at underhanded tricks?’ Feng Jin was already visualising the reactions of the people outside…
‘Forget it. Even if they all attack, I’ll still protect her.’
Snatching the badges didn’t mean things were over; they still had to exterminate whatever was haunting the mansion.
All this while, Shi Sheng hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary apart from the creepy atmosphere and messy surroundings.
“Let’s check out the back.” Feng Jin pulled her to the back courtyard of the mansion. This courtyard wasn’t as dark, but the light here was only enough to make out some vague silhouettes.
A gust of cold wind of unknown origin blew over and caused the cluttered scraps in the yard to creak. Shi Sheng’s brow furrowed before she drew her sword and brought it down on a pile of scrap.
“Ah!” A sudden shriek arose from the pile and a white figure shot out.
Shi Sheng changed directions to swing at them.
“Big Sis, help! Big Sis, save me!” A childish voice rang out in the courtyard.
A black figure shot out from the room off to the side and lunged over to block the white figure with her body.
“Ning Ying, you’re… back.” A somewhat hesitant and nervous voice made Shi Sheng stay her hand. Her sword stopped just shy of the woman who had appeared.
Shi Sheng examined her. The woman was wearing a bright red wedding dress. Yes, like the type used for weddings in ancient times.
Her features were hidden in the dark, so Shi Sheng couldn’t really make them out. “You know me?”
“Second Sis…” The white shadow behind the woman peeked out and asked with a bit of uncertainty, “Big Sis, is it Second Sis?”
The woman ruffled his hair and replied with a less nervous, but more doubtful tone, “It’s her.”
The child immediately came out from behind the woman. “Second Sis! Second Sis! It’s me, Xiaoyan! I really missed you!”
‘Xiaoyan…’ Images flashed in Shi Sheng’s mind, vanishing before she could get a good grasp on them.
Shi Sheng kept her sword. “You two really know me?”
“Second Sis… what’s with you?” Xiaoyan timidly tried to approach her, but was held back by the woman. “Big Sis, that’s Second Sis! Why are you holding me back?”
“How much do you remember?” The woman didn’t release Xiaoyan, instead directing a question at Shi Sheng.