Chapter 50 Playing to Death 06
“Blissful Bodhisattva? Never heard of that.”
Nobody in the branch had heard of this Bodhisattva. Maybe Chen Yang was right, and it was some wicked creature pretending to be a Bodhisattva and causing harm. Just then, Du Shuo and Ma Shanfeng came in together, and Chen Yang asked them the same question.
Ma Shanfeng seemed to be thinking and said, “In Buddhism, there are so many Bodhisattvas, too many to count. But there are only fifty-two well-known ones who actively practice. Honestly, I’ve never heard of this Blissful Bodhisattva. But if it’s luring followers towards evil and playing with their lives, it’s probably an evil god or something.”
Bodhisattvas were people who follow the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism and guide others towards enlightenment. There were countless Bodhisattvas out there, more than we could imagine. Anyone, like monks or nuns, could be called a Bodhisattva. However, only a few famous Bodhisattvas had become Buddhas and had a significant number of followers. Unfortunately, this allowed many wicked creatures and evil spirits to pretend to be Bodhisattvas and deceive people.
During chaotic times, there had been wicked creatures and evil spirits pretending to be Buddhist Bodhisattvas. They would trick people, feed off their devotion until there was nothing left, and then abandon their lifeless bodies to join other evil forces, causing even more trouble in the world.
Ma Shanfeng didn’t know which folk evil spirits held that title, so they asked Du Shuo instead. Du Shuo replied, “I’ve never heard of Blissful Bodhisattva, but I know about Blissful Deity.”
Du Shuo explained, “It’s one of the Five Directional Gods, usually taking the form of a mischievous six-year-old child. They are naughty and love playing tricks on people.”
The Southern Five Directional Gods and the Northern Furry Ghost Gods were household gods worshipped in different regions. They were believed to bring wealth and grant people’s wishes. However, the Southern Five Directional Gods were actually wicked spirits worshipped by many. They wre petty and vengeful, and although they may bring good fortune, they could also bring ruin to those who worship them. Moreover, they have a penchant for adultery and have narrow minds, constantly changing their behavior.
The Blissful Deity was one form of the Southern Five Directional Gods, appearing as a six-year-old child. Unlike the others, it didn’t engage in adultery but enjoyed playing tricks on the households that worshipped it. It had the most unpredictable nature. While it was easy to invite the Blissful Deity into one’s home, it was extremely difficult to satisfy its desires. That was why few people choose to worship the Blissful Deity as their household god. Over time, the Blissful Deity became even more fickle and may even grow to despise humans.
“These types of household gods with questionable origins gain power through people’s offerings and worship. The more devoted the worship, the stronger they become,” Du Shuo explained. “The Blissful Deity is skilled at manipulating people’s hearts, tempting their deepest desires and leading them astray. People believe that worshiping the Blissful Deity can absolve them of their sins because they think it’s a ‘god’ guiding their wicked actions.”
When even a so-called “god” approved of such behavior, those who plotted to harm others became even more ruthless and showed no remorse.
Chen Yang made a note of the Blissful Deity as a key suspect. Then he looked up and asked Kou Xuanling, “Did you receive a response from Changhe Sanatorium?”
Kou Xuanling replied, “Not yet, but Ye Youyou wants to meet me.” Pausing for a moment, he recalled the message he received from the police station and continued, “Ye Youya is being pursued by the police.”
Chen Yang was curious, “What did she do?”
“Murder,” Kou Xuanling replied.
“Is it related to the death of Ye Youya’s adoptive father?”
“You could say so. It’s connected, but it’s just one of the incidents. Over the past five years, Ye Youya’s hands have taken the lives of twenty people.”
“Wow!” Mao Xiaoli was utterly surprised. “A serial killer. It’s unbelievable. Ye Youya seems so gentle and quiet. Who would have thought she killed twenty people? Why did she do it?”
Kou Xuanling explained, “I mentioned before that Ye Youya’s adoptive father was a violent man with a history of child molestation. After he adopted the two sisters from the Ye family, Ye Youya’s stepmother took her for several abortions between the ages of thirteen and sixteen.”
Mao Xiaoli’s face twisted with disgust, “Scum! He deserved to die!” Even though she learned that Ye Youya might have been responsible for the death of her own adoptive father, she felt a sense of relief. The world was better off without such scum! “Did Ye Youya’s stepmother just let her husband do those things?”
“Why do you think Ye Youya’s stepmother went insane? And why was she sent to the sanatorium? It was retaliation, of course. She knew what kind of person her husband was, yet she stayed by his side and even helped cover up his actions. Allowing evil to persist without committing it oneself is even more sickening.”
Chen Yang sighed, “I never would have imagined.” Indeed, he couldn’t fathom the sympathetic hardships Ye Youya had endured. “So, her murders were driven by hatred and revenge for those experiences?”
“In the beginning, she targeted men who had a history of molesting children, raping women, and displayed severe tendencies toward violence. Utilizing her innocent and beautiful appearance, she would gain their trust and then meticulously plan their murders. She made it appear as if the victims had gone on trips or gone missing, and nobody would suspect her involvement, not even the deceased’s family or friends. The plan was intricate and detailed, and if it weren’t for a recent mistake, the police wouldn’t have suspected her at all.”
Chen Yang focused on a key point, “You mentioned ‘in the beginning.’ Did her targets change later on, possibly leading to a mistake?”
Kou Xuanling fell silent for a moment. The others waited for his response. Wearing a helpless expression, he said, “I don’t sympathize with the individuals she killed because they were all scum. However, I don’t condone her methods either. No one has the right to arbitrarily take another person’s life, especially when she portrays herself as a righteous avenger.”
Mao Xiaoli didn’t understand. “What are you trying to say?”
Kou Xuanling let out a breath. “The last person she killed had a previous conviction for molesting young girls. He became the target of Ye Youya’s fury and was subjected to cruel torture before dying. But she made a mistake. That person was innocent. He not only had no history of molesting young girls but had actually rescued a girl who had been molested and was wrongly framed.”
It was a chilling revelation. Ye Youya had not only killed the wrong person but had taken the life of a good man who had once saved a girl with a similar fate as hers. At this very moment, Ye Youya remained unaware, still on the run. But what would happen if she ever discovered the truth?
Chen Yang said, “She would collapse.”
The horrifying outcome was enough to plunge Ye Youya into a despairing abyss of pain. She had once lived in hell, yearning for someone to save her. Later, she found solace in her belief of being a righteous punisher of evil. But when she realized she had mistakenly extinguished a light of goodness, her entire being would crumble.
Chen Yang concluded, “It’s now Ye Youya’s turn to be tormented to death.” Death by utter hopelessness.
Even Mao Xiaoli, who was usually carefree, couldn’t help but shudder, “The Blissful Deity is truly adept at manipulating human hearts. How could such a thing have prevailed in the mortal realm for so long?”
Du Shuo explained, “The power of Blissful Deity depends on the level of worship and offerings from the people. Initially, as a household deity, it only received offerings from a single family and therefore had limited abilities. Even with more offerings, it was confined to the worship of a village or a temple. To maintain the offerings, the deity needed to fulfill the wishes of the worshippers. However, Blissful Deity was fickle and narrow-minded, often discontinuing its worship before it gained substantial power. Eventually, people preferred to worship righteous gods like the God of Righteousness. The Blissful Deity gradually faded away.”
Now, under the guise of a Bodhisattva, the Blissful Deity has garnered offerings and, on the other hand, played with people’s hearts. However, this was done covertly and cautiously, luring people into committing evil acts only in their dreams. That was why it took them so long to discover it.
Chen Yang asked in confusion, “Who provides offerings to the Blissful Deity on its behalf?”
Mao Xiaoli and the others were taken aback, realizing that they still didn’t know who provided offerings to the Blissful Deity. People like Ye Youya and Mr. Qian were obviously not involved. Although they had come into contact with them and noticed their fanatical beliefs in the Blissful Deity, they had never seen them establish a shrine or make offerings to the deity.
It was understandable that the Blissful Deity wouldn’t allow them to establish a shrine for worship. After all, Mr. Qian and the others were not true followers of Blissful Deity. They were merely pawns that the deity used for its amusement. The fate of pawns was to be played with until their demise, so it was better not to involve them too much and risk exposing itself. Analyzing the situation, it became clear that the deity was exceedingly cautious and cunning, leaving no traces.
Du Shuo pinched Chen Yang’s neck and said, “We have already sent people to investigate.”
Chen Yang turned his head and asked, “Personnel from the headquarters?”
Du Shuo paused and replied, “They’re all involved.”
It seemed that both the Celestial Master from the mortal realm and the ghost envoys from the underworld were mobilized. It indicated a significant event, likely related to the evil spirit that escaped from hell. Chen Yang didn’t inquire further about this matter from Du Shuo. Instead, he turned to Kou Xuanling and said, “I’ll accompany you to meet Ye Youyou. If possible, it should be just the two of us and Zhou Qi to go to Changhe Sanatorium.”
Zhang Qiudao frowned. “I also want to go.” Mao Xiaoli, standing beside him, eagerly tiptoed and displayed an excited expression, filled with anticipation.
Chen Yang shook his head, “You two shouldn’t go.”
Zhang Qiudao couldn’t understand and pointed at Mao Xiaoli, “I can understand if Xiaoli, the rookie, is not allowed to go. But why can’t I go?” Mao Xiaoli, upon hearing this, nearly jumped up to strangle him.
Chen Yang explained, “Because the police need the assistance of the Celestial Master in apprehending the remaining followers of the Blissful Deity. Some of these followers have been involved to varying degrees in taking lives, just like Mr. Qian, Yang Hong, and others who fell victim to vengeful spirits. I’m concerned that the police, in their efforts to capture the criminals, might anger the vengeful spirits and become targets of their retaliation. That’s why they need your help.”
“Alright,” Zhang Qiudao compromised and agreed to assist the police in capturing the followers of the Blissful Deity together with Mao Xiaoli.
When Chen Yang was about to leave, he bid farewell to Du Shuo and asked about Zhou Qi’s whereabouts. Du Shuo replied, “He has already gone to Changhe Sanatorium. As long as you call for him, he will appear.”
Chen Yang asked, “How do I call him?”
Du Shuo smiled and said, “Don’t you know the summoning spell for the Fierce General of Fengdu? If you find it troublesome, take the talisman, press the half-jade finger ring on your neck onto red mud, make an imprint, and then burn the talisman. Zhou Qi will appear before you just the same.”
Upon hearing this, Chen Yang took out the half-jade finger ring hanging on a red string around his neck and said, “Wedding ring?”
The item in question was their wedding ring, although Du Shuo had given it to him initially, Chen Yang couldn’t help but feel moved as he held the translucent jade finger ring. Later, when he saw other people’s wedding rings made of exquisite silver or gold, he… he still liked it. He couldn’t bring himself to take off the ring that was strung on a red string around his neck. Now, upon hearing Du Shuo’s words, he took it off and examined it in his palm. Upon closer inspection, he noticed some patterns on the jade ring that resembled a half-cut seal.
Just as he was about to examine it more closely, Du Shuo took the jade finger ring from his hand and put it back around his own neck. “Put it on properly, don’t lose it.”
Chen Yang instinctively touched the jade finger ring and smiled. “I won’t lose it.”
Du Shuo smiled, lowered his head, and kissed Chen Yang’s forehead affectionately. “Unless you take it off yourself, no one can snatch it away.” The seal of the Great Emperor of Fengdu, except for his wife, any wicked or malevolent spirits daring to covet it would meet a fate of complete annihilation.
“Hmm,” Chen Yang obediently responded, “I understand.”
Du Shuo couldn’t resist and pinched Chen Yang’s neck, forcing him to look up, and planted a deep kiss on his lips. After finally finishing the kiss, Chen Yang felt a bit dizzy and had difficulty catching his breath. Blushing, he was pushed into the car. As the car drove halfway, he glanced at the rearview mirror and was almost startled. His own face was flushed red, as if he had just gotten out of bed.
Chen Yang reflexively glanced at Kou Xuanling, who avoided eye contact and solemnly stated, “A gentleman does not look when improper acts occur.” Pausing for a moment, he added, “Besides, you’re not as good-looking as my Ancestral Master.”
“…” Chen Yang caught sight of a perfectly cropped portrait of his Ancestral Master placed in front, and he instantly felt a chill. “You’re too obsessed. Even the most devout Celestial Master wouldn’t be as fanatical about their Ancestral Master as you are.”
While others idolized celebrities and pop stars, Kou Xuanling idolized his Ancestral Master, which was… unusual. Kou Xuanling didn’t take kindly to this comment and frowned displeasingly. “How can you use the word ‘idolize’? Can those young fans of pop stars compare to me? They change their idols every few days, that’s what you call idolizing, not genuine love. I’m different. I have sincerely worshipped my Ancestral Master since the age of eight, and I will continue to worship him in the future.”
He used the phrase ‘genuine love.’ Chen Yang silently thought to himself, but verbally he said, “So, if you get married in the future, does your partner also have to sincerely worship your Ancestral Master?”
“Of course. Don’t couples need shared interests and topics to discuss?” Kou Xuanling confidently justified.
Chen Yang felt like he was losing his mind. So they fell into an awkward silence. When they got off the car, Chen Yang turned back to him and said, “Keep it up, may you catch up with the ancestral master and fellow enthusiast soon.”
Kou Xuanling interpreted the deliberate pause in the middle of Chen Yang’s words as a silent protest. He believed that he would be able to find a like-minded “fellow enthusiast” of his own.
Both of them entered the coffee shop chosen by Ye Youyou and, after a quick glance around, spotted her. They walked over and sat opposite Ye Youyou. Chen Yang got straight to the point, “Can you let us enter Changhe Sanatorium immediately?”
Ye Youyou was surprised, but then sighed bitterly, “You have already found out about Changhe Sanatorium? It seems you’re quite fast. You probably know more than I do.”
Chen Yang said softly, “We don’t know more than you do.”
Ye Youyou fell silent. “I can take you to Changhe Sanatorium, but I won’t reveal any further information.”
Kou Xuanling asked, “What is your intention?”
Ye Youyou’s face showed anguish. “I want to save my sister, I want to leave. It’s not that I don’t want to help you, but I simply can’t. I can’t disclose any information.”
For Ye Youyou, her only sister was her concern. Her sister was deeply trapped in the shadows of the past, sinking deeper and deeper. She felt powerless to save her and could only place her hopes in Chen Yang and the others. However, she didn’t know that her sister was already on the path to destruction. Once she discovered the truth, the so-called benevolent god’s purpose would be to torment Ye Youyou. So, no matter how she came to know the truth, she would eventually find out.
Kou Xuanling opened his mouth to reveal the truth, but Chen Yang stopped him, shaking his head slightly. He could tell that Ye Youyou saw her sister as her emotional pillar and relied heavily on her. At the same time, she felt a great sense of guilt because when their foster father was still alive, it was Ye Youya who protected her young sister from harm. If Ye Youya were to crumble, so would Ye Youyou.
It could be said that the Blissful Deity was truly skilled at playing with people’s hearts, destroying two individuals in one fell swoop. The Ye sisters’ past experiences were indeed worthy of sympathy, but later on, although they killed people who deserved it, their radical actions implicated many others. While it was understandable to say they were guilty, their crimes were truly unforgivable.
Ye Youyou said, “I will take you inside, and you… save my sister.”
Chen Yang didn’t want to deceive her. “We cannot save her.”
“You can,” Ye Youyou’s eyes displayed an odd emotional fluctuation. “The Blissful Bodhisattva really likes you. As long as you get close to it and kill it, my sister will regain her clarity.”
“The Blissful Bodhisattva knows me?”
“It mentioned you in front of my sister and me. I suspect it must have mentioned you to other followers as well,” Ye Youyou’s expression turned strange. “When it spoke of you, it genuinely seemed to like you. It said you were pure. It even encouraged us to kill you. If someone can kill you, they will become its direct disciple. But we mustn’t let it discover our method of killing you, or else it will angrily execute the person who killed you.”
Chen Yang roughly understood why Mr. Qian desperately wanted to kill him at the last moment. “Fortunately, I also want to kill the Blissful Bodhisattva.” After saying that, he smiled, but there was a layer of ice in his eyes. Upon hearing the word ‘pure,’ he couldn’t help but recall the demons and ghosts who sought his life before he turned sixteen.
Ye Youyou lowered her gaze and handed them two volunteer work badges. “The gatekeeper will let you in, but whether you can leave once you’re inside depends on you. I can take you around Changhe Sanatorium and tell you some insider information, but I can’t talk about the Blissful Bodhisattva.”
Chen Yang took the two volunteer work badges and handed one to Kou Xuanling. He replied, “Understood. It’s already good enough to be able to get in, but can you really leave once you’re inside?”
Ye Youyou said, “There’s a room in the sanatorium that belongs to me. If I go in, I can hide in there and leave at dawn the next day. The sanatorium becomes terrifying at night, and no matter what I hear, I can’t come out. As for you… there won’t be rooms for you in the sanatorium, so it’s best to leave after sunset.”
“Can we leave after sunset?”
Ye Youyou fell silent for a moment. “No.” If it were possible, she wouldn’t have to stay inside the sanatorium overnight every time and leave the next day. Therefore, those who sneak in without their own rooms will be detected by the monsters in the sanatorium, attracted by their presence, and devoured.
Chen Yang checked the time, almost midnight. He stood up and said, “Let’s go now.”
The three of them drove to the outskirts Changhe Town. There were dilapidated houses and overgrown weeds around the town, giving it a desolate and cold atmosphere. The car drove along a stone path that crossed the center of a lake, leading to the sanatorium at the end. They parked the car outside, and the three of them got out. Ye Youyou went ahead and chatted with the gatekeeper for a few moments before turning back to beckon them over.
Chen Yang checked the time, 2:17 a.m., it had taken them over two hours. He took a few steps forward and suddenly heard a sound behind him. When he turned around, he saw a large lake. The water level in the lake was high, almost reaching the shore. The dark and murky water gave an eerie feeling, as if there were monsters lurking within, ready to prey on unsuspecting victims.
Ye Youyou glanced at the lake and involuntarily shivered. “That lake, the water level never changes. Every time I pass by there, I dare not linger. I feel as if something is staring at me from beneath.”
Kou Xuanling curiously asked, “Is there really something there?”
Ye Youyou swiped her card at the entrance and, after hearing a ‘beep,’ gestured for them to hurry inside. Once they stepped in, she spoke, “Yes, there is. There was a person before who thought they were brave and wanted to swim around in the lake. But the water was too dark and looked dirty. They abandoned the idea of getting in but squatted at the water’s surface, staring intently. As if enchanted, they leaned forward, their face almost touching the water. I wanted to warn them and was also curious, so I glanced at the water’s surface. And then I saw a pair of eyes.”
She swallowed hard, the memory of that sight still haunting her. She continued, “I was so scared that I took several steps back, and the next moment, the person in front of me disappeared. There were only faint ripples on the lake’s surface, and nearby, not far from my feet, there were dark water stains. I don’t know how those stains appeared, but if I had been standing a bit closer, would I have been dragged into the depths of the lake?”
As she spoke, the three of them walked into the sanatorium. The sanatorium had a traditional architectural style, four stories high, forming Eight Trigrams structure. They walked through the corridor and entered the main gate, where they could see the lobby. The lobby used to be a place for storing coffins but had now been converted into an outpatient hall. There was only one nurse behind the counter, with her head down, motionless.
Ye Youyou approached and said, “Register us as volunteers.”
After a while, the nurse looked up, her face pale, lips painted red, and her eyes stiff. She moved her gaze, catching sight of Chen Yang behind Ye Youyou, and her eyes remained fixed on him, reluctant to look away. “Registration is done. There aren’t enough rooms, so tonight the two of you can rest in the doctors’ office.”
With that, she took out nameplates for Ye Youyou and handed Chen Yang a bunch of keys. Chen Yang accepted them, and she forced a stiff smile. “Welcome.”
Ye Youyou led the two of them upstairs with a cold expression. She said, “There are a total of four floors and nine doctors. The first floor has two doctors and one nurse. The second and third floors each have three doctors and nurses. The fourth floor only has one doctor and a few nurses. So, you can stay in the doctors’ office on the fourth floor.”
Due to the unique structure of the sanatorium, standing at any angle in the corridor allowed them to see what was happening on the opposite side. The sanatorium was quiet, with no sounds or glimpses of patients. When they reached the third floor, Kou Xuanling suddenly stopped. He saw a white figure standing in the same position on the third and second floors across from them, staring straight at them.
Chen Yang also turned to look and said, “That thing has been staring at us ever since we entered, attempting to track us.”
Kou Xuanling said, “Could it be that everything in the sanatorium is hiding, secretly observing us?” Chen Yang didn’t say a word, but his expression conveyed everything. Kou Xuanling continued, “No way. Are they treating us as food?”
“It’s highly possible,” Chen Yang paused.
Ye Youyou stopped at the door of an office. She took a nameplate out of her pocket and hung it on the door, then said, “Doors with nameplates, those things won’t enter.”
Chen Yang opened the door. The interior was adequately furnished with two folding beds. Suddenly, footsteps came from behind. He turned around and saw a doctor and a nurse in white lab coats walking toward them. As they approached and he caught a clear view of the doctor’s face, surprise appeared in his eyes.
The doctor and nurse walked past without glancing in their direction. Chen Yang leaned out and observed their receding figures, then asked Kou Xuanling behind him, “What did you remember?”
Kou Xuanling replied, “I remembered the doctor who died as a skeleton.”
The doctor who had just walked past them looked like a skeleton, all skin and bones, extremely horrifying.
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