Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 4: In the Name of God, Part Two
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 1: In the Name of God, Part 2—Exorcism—translated by lucathia (proofread by Taffygirl13 & Trespasserby)
Jiang Ziya struggled to break free, turning and immediately throwing a punch. However, the other person grabbed his hand, and he was unable to pull it back. He really was not the battle type.
“Jiang Ziya, it’s me,” the other person calmly said.
Jiang Ziya was stunned when he made out the face of the newcomer, and blurted, “House Keeper?”
House Keeper smiled faintly and said, “I am not alone.”
He gestured behind Jiang Ziya.
Jiang Ziya turned. A white figure with a compassionate expression stood among the university students collapsed across the ground.
“Hold Keeper?” Jiang Ziya was surprised.
Hold Keeper was wearing extravagant, white priest robes with a golden cross around his neck. He looked even more like a priest than the religious Liu Yishi, the kind that was high in rank, someone who was far from ordinary.
Kneeling down, Hold Keeper examined the university student with the worst condition among them. His entire neck had blackened, and he was unable to breathe, his whole face turning purple. It would most likely only take a few minutes for him to perish.
When that person saw Hold Keeper, it was like he had seen his savior. He began to thrash around again after his struggles from earlier died down due to his near suffocation.
Hold Keeper took the cross necklace off. With the cross in hand, he touched the other person’s neck and comforted him with his gentle and calm gaze as he shouted, “In the name of God, I command all filth and evil to depart at once, to return to the depths of the shadows and eternally atone for your sins!”
Whoa! Jiang Ziya couldn’t help but glance to the side at House Keeper and ask doubtfully, “Hold Keeper actually knows how to exorcise demons?”
Isn’t he a spirit himself? What’s up with spirits exorcising demons? I don’t get it at all!
“No.” Hold Keeper explained in more detail, “Although his attire resembles the holy type, it is only because he likes that kind of extravagant attire. He is not truly religious. That is to say, the gods he believes in do not exist in reality.”
“Then, what is he doing right now?”
Jiang Ziya had originally wanted to tell them to stop playing around—people’s lives were in danger—when he saw that the conditions of the students on the ground actually seemed to be improving. Limbs that had turned black were beginning to return to a normal color. Their expressions were not as pained as before either, especially that of the student who had almost suffocated. He gave a loud cough and was actually able to breathe again, his purple face slowly recovering.
“Well…” House Keeper murmured, “according to the mistress, Hold Keeper is being a charlatan.”
Jiang Ziya was speechless. It took a lot of effort for him to form any sounds.
“But it actually seems effective?”
“Indeed.” House Keeper nodded and said, “The attacks they suffered originated from a spirit. It is difficult for spirits to actually do any damage to people, especially damage of such a wide range. There is an eighty to ninety percent chance that it was not a true attack but rather an illusion.”
No one was actually hurt? Jiang Ziya looked at his own foot. The black energy had already spread to his knee, the painful cold shooting straight to his bones. Yet, House Keeper claims that I haven’t actually gotten attacked?
“Watch carefully, Jiang Ziya. Please watch carefully.”
As House Keeper’s whisper sounded by Jiang Ziya’s ear, House Keeper had already shot out, long nails extending from his fingers. He stabbed directly at Hold Keeper, who fortunately smacked his opponent’s arm away just in time to divert the attack. He then leaped back, narrowly avoiding getting stabbed by the claws.
“Devil!” Hold Keeper’s face was stern. “As I thought, you are behind this!”
House Keeper roared in response, his mouth stretching wide open, revealing a mouthful of alarming fangs.
Jiang Ziya’s eyes widened. What am I supposed to watch? Sibling rivalry? Besides, why has House Keeper taken on such a scary appearance?
If House Keeper had looked like this when they had first met, Jiang Ziya would never have dared to drink the milk tea offered even if his life had depended on it!
The two of them began to fight, their skills alarmingly good. House Keeper was the one initiating most of the attacks, while Hold Keeper was on the defensive. However, Hold Keeper would occasionally attack, and his attacks always landed. On the other hand, House Keeper, who was on the offensive, had not landed a single attack, the tide slowly turning against him.
Jiang Ziya was rendered speechless by this sight. This is even more amazing than watching a movie, but why in the world have these two started fighting? I don’t care if you want to fight, but can you not when there’s a bunch of collapsed students on the ground? He was super worried that those students might get stepped on and spew a bunch of stuff from their mouths.
“Devil, I won’t allow your impudence to persist any further!”
After Hold Keeper shouted, the cross in his hands actually flew into the air and emitted light. The light pierced House Keeper’s skin, making him cry out in pain. Seizing this opportunity, Hold Keeper knocked him off his feet.
The light from the cross grew brighter and brighter. House Keeper could not crawl back up. He could only cover his face with his hands to stop the light from directly piercing his face.
At this time, Hold Keeper lifted his hand. The cross slowly landed on it. He held the cross and drew close to House Keeper one step at a time.
“Devil, in the name of God, I command you to return to the depths of Hell, to never again wreck havoc in the living world!”
House Keeper growled and tried to stand back up. He even seemed like he wanted to pounce on Hold Keeper, but under the cross’s influence, he was unable to get back on his feet. He crawled and growled like an animal before Hold Keeper. As Hold Keeper approached, it was as if House Keeper’s permitted area of movement was getting limited. He could only struggle right where he was.
Finally, Hold Keeper pushed the cross against House Keeper’s forehead. A sizzling sound actually came from it. House Keeper shrieked and struggled but could not move. His forehead started to char, which then spread all the way downward until his entire person burned up, turning into ash.
Eyes full of pity, Hold Keeper drew a cross before his chest.
Jiang Ziya was shocked still, his eyes wide. He did not at all understand why he had witnessed the two brothers turn against each other out of the blue. Hold Keeper actually killed House Keeper? Or does “returning to Hell” mean he’s not actually dead?
But, House Keeper turned into ash!
His thoughts and feelings were all jumbled, but Jiang Ziya could only latch onto how Yu Shu would definitely feel terrible. It did not matter if it was about House Keeper’s death, or the two brothers turning against each other… And I’m dead meat!
“Hold Keeper’s appearance is very deceptive.”
Jiang Ziya jumped in shock. He turned his head. Who else was there behind him but House Keeper, who had turned into ash earlier?
House Keeper’s face was no longer that of a monster with a wide open mouth. He had his usual gentle handsomeness, his typical faint smile. “The mistress has praised Hold Keeper for being a natural charlatan. No matter if it is his appearance or his demeanor, he is very suited to spreading the gospel. Even if he uses the Three Character Classic1 to preach, he would be able to create the religion of the Three Character Classic.”
This really doesn’t sound like praise…
Jiang Ziya stammered as he asked, “W-what were you two doing? Why did you start fighting?”
“Please look at them.”
House Keeper gestured at the university students. They actually began to stand up, their limbs no longer black. They did not seem like they were on the verge of death anymore either. They all looked at Hold Keeper with gratefulness and worship. No matter if they believed in anything or not before, they would probably all believe in God after this.
“I pretended to be the devil, while Hold Keeper was on the side of justice. Since he has defeated the devil, those people have now been rescued. At least, that is what they believe.”
House Keeper explained in more detail, “It is because none of this is real. Jiang Ziya, you can tell that I am not real, so why are you unable to see that the injury you have suffered is not a truthful existence either?”
So none of this was real? Jiang Ziya understood it now. He looked at his leg. The black portions were actually fading. It did not take long for his skin to return to its normal color.
House Keeper looked at Jiang Ziya curiously. His left eye seemed to be a bit too bright, almost like it was glowing.
Jiang Ziya lifted his head and looked at House Keeper questioningly, waiting for him to speak. However, House Keeper instead pointed somewhere else. Jiang Ziya followed the finger and looked over. Hold Keeper stood in that direction, and he was coincidentally looking back. Their eyes met.
A smile came across Hold Keeper’s face. This smile was so brilliant that Jiang Ziya felt that something was very wrong. He quickly averted his gaze and turned to ask House Keeper next to him, “Hold Keeper looks fine. Did you need help with something?”
House Keeper actually smiled gratefully and said, “You have already helped.”
I helped? Jiang Ziya was confused. House Keeper and Hold Keeper were clearly the ones who had helped him a ton. Has House Keeper become even more respectful toward me? This feels really bad! Have I done something that will make Yu Shu kill me again?
Forget it, even if I’m going to get killed, that’s in the future. Right now, the most important task at hand is to solve the current dilemma.
Jiang Ziya pulled on House Keeper, afraid that he would fly off straightaway like last time. He asked him directly, “Can you and Hold Keeper come with me to help Lu Yang?”
House Keeper shook his head and said, “Your classmate possesses extremely strong powers. If it is something he cannot accomplish, then Hold Keeper and I would be of no help even if we were to go with you.”
“Who says! Didn’t you rescue us from danger that time when we were about to fall off the building? That guy might be dangling from the rooftop again!”
Hearing that, House Keeper smiled and nodded as he said, “All right, if this is your wish, then we will accompany you there. However, if your classmate plans to attack us, please prevent him from causing us harm.”
Jiang Ziya was overjoyed. Getting the help of these two was so much better than him heading over all by himself with no fighting power to speak of. He would have no idea how to help at all.
At this time, Hold Keeper joined them without anyone’s notice. The three of them stood in the shadows beside the entrance. For some reason, no one noticed their presence.
“All done! Those people are fine now. I examined all of them. None of them have any doubts that their injuries haven’t recovered.”
“Good job.” House Keeper nodded. “We are going to accompany Jiang Ziya to save people.”
When he heard that, Hold Keeper grumbled, “There’s still more to do? Yu Shu only felt that something was wrong over here, so she had us come here to just take a look. Isn’t it enough that we lent our help already?”
He had been full of dissatisfaction, but once he glimpsed Jiang Ziya’s beseeching expression, he actually acquiesced.
“Fine, for your sake, we’ll save them.”
That was easy? I must have done something that will make Yu Shu kill me. Jiang Ziya felt cold sweat drip down his back, but there was no time to consider what Yu Shu would do to him. It was more important to figure out Lu Yang’s current situation.
Because of how worried Jiang Ziya was, the three of them rushed to the abandoned campus. Jiang Ziya ran, while House Keeper and Hold Keeper only took large strides, yet their speeds were practically the same.
Along the way, Jiang Ziya worried over how nearly all the passersby would turn their heads to observe those two, especially Hold Keeper. His attire was entirely too eye-catching. If it were not for how often people wore strange clothing, and how popular cosplay was, with the university campus regularly rented out for events, Hold Keeper would have long since been surrounded.
Even though it was very late and there were not many people out and about, there were still a few university students walking around.
Jiang Ziya couldn’t help but ask nervously, “You directly showed up in front of everyone and even saved so many people. Won’t you be in trouble?”
House Keeper shook his head. “It is fine. As time passes, they will regard these memories as events from a movie they have seen.”
“At most, some people will go and get baptized,” Hold Keeper joked.
When he heard that, Jiang Ziya began to wonder if some of the “movies” he remembered were actually real, considering how even this large of an incident could become tampered memories and considered as events from a movie—though come to think of it, I haven’t watched a lot of movies!
When this human and two familiars rushed into the abandoned campus, Jiang Ziya immediately looked toward a specific building. However, the entire abandoned campus was silent and completely still.
Jiang Ziya glanced at the two familiars beside him and regained some confidence. He hurried straight into the building.
With a “thud, thud, thud,” they reached the eighth floor but did not see anything. Jiang Ziya stood rooted to the spot, uncertain of what to do. They had climbed up so easily, and there was nothing strange going on. The place was just a bit smelly, but that could be a lingering odor from the corpse that had been here before.
It should be a good thing that there was nothing strange going on, but this meant Jiang Ziya had no clue where to go to find Lu Yang. Jiang Ziya also absolutely refused to believe that Lu Yang was fine. There was a high chance that he had been caught in a barrier dimension. Otherwise, there was no way that there would be no trace of him.
Besides, Liu Yishi and several policemen should have been here. Now, such a large group had vanished without a trace. There was no way that things were fine.
“Observe carefully.” House Keeper patiently said, “If even you are unable to see any oddities, then probably no one would be capable of doing so. It would mean that the foe is too powerful. It would be best to retreat in order to prevent meaningless bloodshed.”
Jiang Ziya sucked in a deep breath and avoided making the difficult decision of retreating or not retreating. I’ll look closely first.
He reached his hand up and covered his right eye, leaving only his left eye that could see odd things uncovered. He surveyed the surroundings in a circle before he finally discovered a hint. There were several pools of blood on the floor…
Suddenly, the stench grew stronger.
Jiang Ziya froze. When he lifted his head again, the surroundings had completely changed. Pools of blood were not the only things on the floor anymore. There were even several piles of bones, as if they had been rotting away for quite a long while.
What had originally been an empty room was now filled with puddles of blood and white bones just from his “look.” Have I done something bad again?
Jiang Ziya always felt conflicted. Even when there was nothing, if he just so much as looked at it, there would be something. Sometimes, he couldn’t help but wonder if his left eye was what was causing bad things to happen, just like how Li Yao had turned into a wrathful spirit simply because he had called out to her…
Hearing the familiar voice, Jiang Ziya abruptly looked back. He shouted, “Ah Yang! Are you okay?”
Lu Yang had not thought he would see Jiang Ziya the moment they got out. If he had been alone, Lu Yang would have wondered if this was just a hallucination, but he could also see House Keeper and Hold Keeper. This made him doubt a lot less.
Lu Yang hurried straight to Jiang Ziya and carefully observed to see if he was an illusion. Then, he relaxed.
Following behind him were several people who were coming down the stairs. First came the policemen, who were all pale and shivering. Last was Liu Yishi at the end.
Liu Yishi glanced toward the staircase. Two figures departed down the stairs at lightning speed. Even though he had only glimpsed them, it was not impossible to stop them. However, they seemed to have arrived with Jiang Ziya, so Liu Yishi let them go, as he had some conjectures about their identities.
Jiang Ziya scanned up and down and confirmed that Lu Yang really was okay. He had thought that given how long it had taken, Lu Yang would definitely have been stuck in a tough battle.
“I’m fine. I’ll tell you more later.” Lu Yang shook his head and said, “Let’s go. We’ll save those students right now.”
After he said that, he immediately made for the stairs. Lu Yang remembered the dire condition those students had been in. After such a long delay, their conditions had to be terrible.
Generally, practitioners would not kill people so obviously, as creating such a big incident meant that other practitioners would interfere to put a stop to things and chase after the culprit. However, considering how there were several deaths already, this practitioner’s audacity was off the charts. They might truly dare to kill that many people!
Jiang Ziya quickly pulled him to a stop and said, “That side has already been taken care of. Look, even my foot is fine now.”
“It’s taken care of?”
Lu Yang had noticed that Jiang Ziya’s leg injury was completely healed, but since Jiang Ziya had the truth-seeing eye, it was not too strange for him to see through it and break free of the injury. Therefore, when he saw Jiang Ziya appear here, he had not been overly surprised nor had he thought Jiang Ziya to be fake, even though he had been injured earlier.
He asked doubtfully, “Did you do something?”
Jiang Ziya immediately shook his head. He did not have that kind of ability in him.
“House Keeper and Hold Keeper came to help. House Keeper disguised himself as the devil, while Hold Keeper played at being a quack and burned him to ashes. Afterwards, the classmates all got better.”
After saying that, Jiang Ziya felt that his explanation was too simple and absurd. I wonder if Lu Yang can make anything out of this? But this is really how things went. I don’t even understand what happened!
“Oh?” Liu Yishi cut in and smilingly said, “It seems that those two familiars are quite capable. This kind of exorcism is indeed very suitable for that type of situation. Ziya, can you introduce me to Lady Yu Shu?”
Why does hearing the three words “Lady Yu Shu” make my face want to twitch so much?
Jiang Ziya could only force himself to say, “I’ll have to ask her first. She doesn’t have a very good temper. It’s the kind of bad temper that can mean a dagger flying right at you. It’s best not to go knocking on her door directly.”
Liu Yishi nodded in agreement as he said, “Of course, it is polite to ask first.”
However, even if he were to get turned down, it didn’t mean he would not seek her out. He just might change the method. It all depended on the situation. If necessary, something as impolite as busting her door down was not out of the question.
Lu Yang glanced at his dad. He approved of seeking her out, as he could then figure out her motives. Otherwise, he would keep on worrying whether or not it was a problem to keep letting Jiang Ziya come into contact with Yu Shu.
However, Yu Shu was not the most critical matter at hand. He walked in front of Hu Lican and said, “I didn’t have time to say this earlier, but people have died.”
When Hu Lican heard that, the joy he felt over escaping a calamity disappeared without a trace. Alarmed, he asked, “Aren’t things fine over here?”
“It was on campus. Three lives, all students.”
Hu Lican’s face darkened. Lu Yang’s face did not look much better either. He had originally thought that nothing would go wrong since the school was pretty lively even in the middle of the night, and they had totaled twelve people in their group. He had underestimated their foe. This practitioner, who had dared to take so many lives and create this entire fiasco, had truly taken it too far!
Hearing that three lives had been lost, Liu Yishi felt that something was really wrong.
Considering how a bird that leaves the group gets shot, practitioners always laid low, especially those committing evil. They did not wish to rally others against them, so they all hid thoroughly. Yet, they have committed murder out in the open so daringly?
Just what in the world is this practitioner trying to do?
1 “Three Character Classic”: The Three Character Classic is a Chinese classic text written in triplets of characters for easy memorization. Used to teach children common Chinese characters, elements of Chinese history, and the basics of Confucian morality, it was a staple in early education during the Ming and Qing dynasties. For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Character_Classic.