Illusions, Lies, Truth Volume 4: In the Name of God, Part Two
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 3: It Has Begun, Part 1—Trouble Arises—translated by lucathia (proofread by Arcedemius, Taffygirl13, & Trespasserby)
At first, Liu Yishi hadn’t noticed that his son had gone missing. Both father and son were capable of solo operations. Dividing up the work was much more efficient.
Lu Yang had many resources in Taiwan. He was responsible for connecting them with support for their online operations, while Liu Yishi was responsible for going over what they knew with Hu Lican.
Liu Yishi had Hu Lican focus on the society. That society was extremely suspicious; looking into them was definitely the first priority of the investigation.
Their suspicions had proven correct. Club president Xu Xikai was a transfer student who had only just transferred over during the previous school year. He and Jian Zhi were classmates in the same department. When Xu Xikai first started the society, Jian Zhi was the first member.
Xu Xikai must have approached Jian Zhi because of his guardian spirit, the angel. Liu Yishi did not believe that Xu Xikai could be without any guilt. He had started the society and had personally directed the night venture—he is definitely involved!
But is he the mastermind? Liu Yishi frowned. He had not met Xu Xikai before, but Lu Yang had mentioned that Xu Xikai looked around his age. Even if he was not actually a university student, he definitely could not be over thirty. This was even a conservative guess. In fact, Lu Yang did not feel that Xu Xikai could be a single day over twenty-five.
Could such a youth possibly be the one responsible for this incident?
“We can’t apprehend him.” Hu Lican honestly divulged over the phone, “Even though we know what’s up, he hasn’t done anything on the surface. Even if he was the one who killed Li Yao, we don’t have any evidence at all. We can’t apprehend him based on that.”
Liu Yishi understood it well. If this were overseas, he at least had some connections he could use, even if it were in the name of “cooperating with the investigation” to have the suspect taken to a black room first. Yet, he did not have such means in Taiwan. More accurately, he was not acquainted with anyone who had such means.
On top of that, he highly doubted that they could still find “Xu Xikai.”
“Help me investigate Xu Xikai’s background more, such as who he was in contact with. I believe that he might not be the mastermind. It would not have been easy to carry out what was done. I don’t believe this was a crime he could have committed by himself.”
Hu Lican answered with a “roger” and hung up.
Liu Yishi placed Jian Zhi’s information aside and flipped through the next set of information. The first page showed Lin Zhixiang’s student photograph.
He gave a low hum as he pondered if it was a coincidence that this female student, who possessed the power of curses, had joined the society, or if this was another calculated event.
But this female student also knew Li Yao. Liu Yishi did not believe that there could be so many coincidences in this world. Lin Zhixiang must be involved with everything.
At this time, his father-in-law rushed inside, scaring Liu Yishi so much that he immediately stood up and properly greeted him.
However, Master Ah Lu said, “Ah Shi, go find Xiao Yang.”
“Xiao Yang is with Jiang Ziya.”
Even though he had been neck-deep in research, Liu Yishi could recall that Lu Yang had run over agitatedly not long ago to tell him that Jiang Ziya wasn’t picking up his phone, and that he was going to head over to take a look.
Liu Yishi had thought that it was very possible that Jiang Ziya was either dead to the world from exhaustion due to their late night, or it could be that he had forgotten to charge his phone before sleeping. However, when Liu Yishi considered that Jiang Ziya had the truth-seeing eye, he could not be certain either, so he had not stopped his son from heading over.
“Just now, when I passed by Laojun, the large stick of incense sudden’y broke! Xiao Yang was the one who placed the incense this mornin’.” Master Ah Lu frowned and said, “I sense somethin’ big. Go find him.”
Liu Yishi also grew nervous. Even though there was only one Lord, he could not deny that he had indeed directly and indirectly felt Laojun’s existence several times, and Laojun even deeply adored his son!
When he was young, Lu Yang had wanted to remain in Taiwan, and one of the reasons was because he wanted to stay by Laojun’s side.
Besides his parents-in-law, he also had to fight over his son with Taishang Laojun. Liu Yishi felt that being a father was truly difficult.
Liu Yishi quickly picked up his phone and dialed Lu Yang’s number. No one picked up still, but he wasn’t too nervous yet. He could be riding his motorcycle. After he called two more times without receiving a call back, then he truly got nervous!
Lu Yang had always paid close attention to his phone, practically to the point that he would never miss the ringing of his phone no matter when or where. After all, with their profession, it could be a matter of life and death. One or two calls could be explained away as his being unable to pick up the call on his motorcycle. But with the third call, even if Lu Yang was currently on his motorcycle, he would stop to look at his phone.
Liu Yishi decisively began to call Jiang Ziya’s phone but couldn’t reach him either. He was really nervous now. He stood up, about to go searching.
However, Master Ah Lu instead pushed him down on his shoulder, and it was with quite some strength. Then, the phone rang. Liu Yishi looked down to see that it was Jiang Ziya returning his call. He quickly picked up and asked if Lu Yang was with him.
“Lu Yang isn’t with me. I saw his text saying that he was going to come find me, but he still hasn’t gotten here!”
Liu Yishi’s heart fell, and he said, “Don’t worry, and don’t leave. Stay at home. Wait for an update from me. I don’t want you to go missing, too. Then, I really wouldn’t know where to start searching.”
A helpless and frustrated response sounded over the phone.
“Yuèfù, could you help search for Xiao Yang?”
Master Ah Lu put his fingers together and said, “It ain’t that nothin’s wrong, but I reckon it ain’t life threatenin’ either. It will be fine. You should look for him on your own.”
Liu Yishi wanted to cry but had no tears. He knew that Master Ah Lu actually cared a lot about Xiao Yang, his only grandchild, but he was just too lax with him, as evident in how Lu Yang had become an assistant when he was only in middle school. In the end, he was only an assistant for half a year before Master Ah Lu kicked his assistant out and had him work full time. Just from that, this grandfather was really too easygoing!
There are too many cases to finish. I’ll make sure to pick easy ones for Xiao Yang. Those were Master Ah Lu’s exact words.
However, hearing that Lu Yang’s life wasn’t in danger, Liu Yishi still felt a bit of relief. Master Ah Lu did not impart wisdom often. Whatever he did say was trustworthy.
As if proving his words true, Liu Yishi’s phone rang, and the display indicated it was from Lu Yang.
Liu Yishi quickly picked up. “Sweetheart, where are you? Why didn’t you answer earlier?”
“…” The other end stayed silent for a while before asking, “Is this Lu Yang’s family? This is the hospital.”
Liu Yishi jolted but did not waste any time. He immediately replied, “Yes, I am his father.”
“Your son was in a car accident. He is currently in the hospital.”
Although his hand shook, Liu Yishi still calmly asked, “Is his life in danger?”
“His exact condition is unclear for now. Please hurry and come to the hospital.”
Liu Yishi replied with, “I’m on my way,” and hung up right after. He lifted his head to see Master Ah Lu knowingly say, “Somethin’ happened after all?”
“A car accident.” Liu Yishi was now extremely thankful that his father-in-law had already told him it wasn’t “life threatening.” Otherwise, he would have been scared out of his wits by this news.
Hearing that it was a car accident, Master Ah Lu frowned and said, “Xiao Yang is very vigilant and skilled. He rides his motorcycle properly. He shouldn’t have been caught in an accident. You should look into how this happened.”
Liu Yishi nodded. Even though he knew Lu Yang’s life wasn’t in danger, he was still worried as his father. He indicated that he was going to head over to the hospital right away.
“I’ll take you there.”
Master Ah Lu looked at this fo’igna son-in-law and knew that he was only putting on a brave front. If he were to drive himself, he might get careless and get injured even more than Lu Yang. Master Ah Lu’s son-in-law wasn’t as nimble as his grandson.
When they arrived at the hospital, Lu Yang was still in the operating room. His frantic father and calm grandfather waited outside. In order to divert his attention to stop himself from panicking, Liu Yishi made several calls in succession to get things in order.
“Call that child over.”
Liu Yishi stilled before he understood that the child Master Ah Lu meant should be Jiang Ziya. He quickly called Jiang Ziya and told him that Lu Yang had gotten into a car accident, scaring him so much that he said he would come over right away.
Liu Yishi immediately understood why Master Ah Lu had wanted to drive him over. Can Jiang Ziya drive when his voice sounds so frantic? He could only warn him again: drive slowly, don’t worry, Ah Yang is okay, he’s still in the operating room, so even if you get here, you can’t see him.
After consoling him for a good long while, only then was he reassured enough to let Jiang Ziya come over.
Ending the call, Liu Yishi asked in confusion, “Yuèfù, why do you suddenly want to see Jiang Ziya?”
“To see if there is any change in whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that he and Lu Yang are friends.”
That worried and relieved Liu Yishi at once. It was a good thing that Master Ah Lu was willing to take a look. No matter if it turned out to be good or bad, at least they would know. What worried him was that if Master Ah Lu was willing to take a look, then that meant it had to be something huge…
While feeling conflicted, Liu Yishi did not have to wait long for Jiang Ziya to arrive. He was out of breath. It was easy to tell how frantic he was.
When Jiang Ziya saw Liu Yishi, he immediately asked, “How is Lu Yang?”
“He is fine. The nurse said the injuries were mostly on his limbs. His life is not in danger.”
Jiang Ziya breathed a huge sigh of relief. Only then did he notice the old guy next to Liu Yishi. His eyes widened, and he immediately greeted, “Grandpa, hello!”
Master Ah Lu merely looked Jiang Ziya up and down in observation. Finally, his gaze honed in on Jiang Ziya’s left eye. Master Ah Lu’s forehead, which was perpetually wrinkled, furrowed even more deeply.
Jiang Ziya froze. He did not know how to react to those two words and could only look toward Liu Yishi.
Liu Yishi indicated for him not to worry and to stand there patiently to allow Master Ah Lu a look. Countless people wish he would take a look at them!
Jiang Ziya could only stand there patiently to be scrutinized. He occasionally glanced in the direction of the operating room, only not as frantically as earlier. Lu Yang’s father and grandpa were both calmly observing him, so Lu Yang shouldn’t be in grave danger.
The awkwardness of standing there to be observed didn’t persist for long. The light of the operating room dimmed, and a handful of medical staff soon walked out. Liu Yishi immediately stood up and walked up to the doctor.
“Don’t worry.” The doctor smiled. “His upper left arm is not fractured too badly. The patient is very healthy and also youthful. Although he lost some blood, he will be fine after taking some supplements.”
Liu Yishi and Jiang Ziya relaxed and quickly thanked the doctor. Soon, they saw Lu Yang being wheeled out. Perhaps it was because he had been wearing a helmet that his face didn’t have any injuries. His condition did not seem all that bad. He practically looked like he was just sleeping.
“Ziya, keep Lu Yang company.” Liu Yishi glanced at his phone. “I’m going to investigate what happened. Xiao Yang rides his motorcycle very properly, and he has fast reflexes. He shouldn’t get involved in an accident for no reason.”
Jiang Ziya listened and blurted, “You think someone purposely hit him?”
“I just feel that something is wrong.” Liu Yishi clasped Jiang Ziya on the shoulder. “Don’t think too much about it. Just help me look after Xiao Yang.”
After that, he looked at Master Ah Lu. Before he could ask, the latter said, “I’ll take you.”
Liu Yishi immediately knew that his father-in-law wanted to tell him something. His father-in-law taking him to the hospital to see Lu Yang was already uncharacteristic of him. Now, he even wanted to drive him to his investigation? I can barely imagine it!
Jiang Ziya blankly watched Liu Yishi and Master Ah Lu leave with quickened steps. He felt that something was off, but then he figured that watching over Lu Yang was more important. He bowed his head and followed the hospital bed.
The nurse pushing the bed asked curiously, “Are you his brother? You don’t look alike.”
Jiang Ziya quickly clarified, “I’m just a friend.”
“Oh, then where is his family?”
“…They just left.”
Jiang Ziya suddenly realized what was off. Hey, I’m not a relative! Is it right to throw Lu Yang at me for me to look after?
The father and the grandfather, aren’t the two of you way too lax?
Liu Yishi was a bit uneasy.
His father-in-law’s “how strange” from earlier had scared him. Seeing that his son’s condition was fine—with a complexion that was even healthier than Jiang Ziya’s—he wanted an excuse to leave and ask Master Ah Lu just what was strange. He just hoped it wasn’t something that could not be divulged again.
In the end, Master Ah Lu said he would drive him, and he clearly wanted to tell Liu Yishi something without any prompting—this was even scarier!
Liu Yishi was inwardly shaking. He stutteringly asked, “Y-you once said that Xiao Yang and Jiang Ziya’s closeness, with their rare abilities, could result in great fortune or great misfortune. Could it be that…”
He did not dare to give voice to it. The spoken word at times could be a power in and of itself. It could be that only a slight push was needed for the direction to veer toward good or bad with no end in sight. That’s why I can’t say something negative!
“This has nothin’ to do with it!” Master Ah Lu denied in a single breath.
Liu Yishi felt his face redden, but the person before him was his father-in-law. He could not blow his top at him, not even at death’s door, so he forcefully held in his frustration.
Master Ah Lu glanced at his son-in-law and seemed to feel that his own behavior was unreasonable. He clarified what he meant with an explanation.
“Good or bad is yet to be decided. There are many changin’ factors. It is still too unpredictable even now.”
Liu Yishi did not feel comforted.
“That child’s power has just improved too quickly. It ain’t right. It normally shouldn’t improve at this speed. You should be wary.”
Liu Yishi asked doubtfully, “Maybe it’s because he has stepped foot into the innerworld and has seen too much lately?”
Master Ah Lu just shook his head. This made Liu Yishi begin to contemplate if this had anything to do with his own son. After all, the person Jiang Ziya interacted with the most was Lu Yang.
“Huh?” Liu Yishi was not able to react right away.
Master Ah Lu clobbered his son-in-law on the back of his head. “Where are you headin’? I said I’ll take you, so I’m takin’ you. Do you take me for a liar?”
Liu Yishi quickly said, “No! To the police station.”
Liu Yishi could only obediently get in his father-in-law’s… sports car, a bright red model.
Then, he drove it extremely slowly, not at all like a sports car. According to Xiao Chun-sǎo, when Master Ah Lu was young, he was the sort who floored the gas pedal and whatever the top speed was, was the speed he went at. But once they had their daughter, he no longer dared to do so. He was deathly afraid that his daughter would emulate him. If that happened, Xiao Chun-sǎo would have her husband’s hide, no condiments needed.
Once his daughter had been taken overseas by his son-in-law, Master Ah Lu had returned to his bad habits, the speedometer going haywire, earning him tickets and nagging from Xiao Chun-sǎo all the time.
Then, Xiao Lu Yang had returned to the country to live with his gramps and grandma. Master Ah Lu’s driving speed had once again dropped and stayed like that the entire time. Even though Lu Yang had already grown up and would not emulate him, he and Xiao Chun-sǎo were in cahoots. They warned Master Ah Lu that however fast Gramps dared to drive, his grandson would drive even faster!
A despondent grandpa used a sluggishly slow driving speed to take revenge on his grandson, but who knew that the grandson would not feel the need to rebel at all? However slow Gramps drove, he would drive just as slowly. He did not have a single word of complaint.
Once they reached the police station and Liu Yishi got out, he did not even have time to turn his head to say anything before the sports car drove off.
There was nothing Liu Yishi could do about his father-in-law, who had such a unique character.
He turned around and entered the police station. Hu Lican was already waiting for him.
“I’ve already gotten a hold of the security footage you wanted.” Hu Lican asked in concern, “Is Lu Yang okay?”
Liu Yishi nodded and said, “He fractured his left arm. The other injuries are all minor.”
Hearing that Lu Yang’s injuries were minor, Hu Lican breathed a sigh of relief. He had already watched the security footage. Coming out of that with only minor injuries was lucky of him—no, he should say, it was amazing of him!
“Come watch over here.” Hu Lican waved Liu Yishi over.
The computer screen showed the footage of the accident. The angle was great. The entire accident was clearly shown.
Liu Yishi’s face darkened at what he saw in the security footage. Lu Yang was driving his motorcycle properly through a green light when a car hurtled through a red light and rammed into him, sending him flying. Then, the car sped away without any intention of remaining.
The video ended in mere seconds, but Hu Lican tinkered with it and the scene replayed. This time, the playback was in slow motion, only for them to see that not only had the car not braked before impact, it had even sped up.
Fortunately, the moment before collision, Lu Yang seemed to have noticed the car, and with a twist of his motorcycle, he avoided a frontal collision but was unable to avoid being clipped. Then, he flew out.
It was also fortunate that Lu Yang was wearing a professional grade helmet. When he flew out, he immediately hugged his knees with his arms, and he landed in a roll that lessened the impact. Otherwise, the impact would have killed him or left him half dead. That was why Hu Lican had said that Lu Yang was amazing.
“It was done on purpose?” Liu Yishi quietly asked.
Hu Lican nodded and said, “It should be. The license plate was also modified. The license plate number doesn’t match the car.”
Liu Yishi said in consideration, “Lu Yang hasn’t taken all that many cases related to practitioners. Even if any bad blood has resulted, it shouldn’t come to the point of someone driving a car into him.”
“As I thought, it has to do with this case, right?!”
Hu Lican was not surprised. When he got the text from Liu Yishi saying that Lu Yang was in an accident, he reflexively felt that this had to be related to the case. Otherwise, the timing would be way too coincidental. That was why he had even left the scene of the crime and hurried directly to the location of the car accident to search for the security footage nearby.
“How about I assign a police officer to protect Lu Yang?”
Liu Yishi frowned. At first, he wanted to say there was no need, but then he considered how ridiculous this practitioner was. They might even dare to shoot someone dead.
“Send over that officer who was always the first to react on scene.”
“You mean Fang Da? No problem.”
Hu Lican turned his head and called Fang Da to have him head over to the hospital right away. Then, he held up a paper bag and took out a bunch of photographs to scatter over the table.
“These are photographs of the homicide locations at the university. There were a bunch of random sigils at the scenes again. Don’t tell me that these are actually magic circles used overseas to curse people?”
Liu Yishi scrutinized the “magic circles used to curse people,” a deep frown on his face. These illustrations weren’t without a source. The sigils were clearly based on the seven deadly sins. However, they had little to do with curses. On top of that, the homicides themselves had little to do with the seven deadly sins. With an angel involved, as well as school wonders, it was practically a huge mishmash of legends.
Seeing Liu Yishi deep in thought, Hu Lican did not dare to interrupt him. He waited patiently, but a phone call made his face lose all color.
Liu Yishi knew something must be wrong.
After hanging up, Hu Lican bitterly laughed. “The photos from the homicide scenes have been leaked. They’ve hit the news along with the seven school wonders.”
Liu Yishi paled. “Why didn’t you contact the media first?”
Hu Lican rubbed his face and said, “We did. But it’s everywhere on the net. With photos of the homicide scenes included, it’s a sensational story. Some small news channels have already been airing the story and causing an uproar. There’s no way that the big news channels wouldn’t follow suit.”
Liu Yishi frowned. He recalled Yu Shu’s guess, that the culprit wanted the Seven Wonders to come true.
It seems that it is no longer a guess.