The Tale Of The Ghost Eyes - novelonlinefree.info
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Zuo Qingmu thought for a moment and said, "I think the ditch is the better choice. I'll try to summon him and if that doesn't work, we'll think of something else." He nodded at us confidently.
We walked to from the school ground to the main road, keeping step with Zuo Qingmu's long stride. When we got to the spot, he pulled a compa.s.s from his pocket. Shang Haoming and I stopped behind him, waiting.
Time seemed to have vanished and the sun was setting behind us, bringing a purple twilight over the road that was rapidly darkening. I looked at Shang Haoming uncertainly, but he just shook his head. Zuo Qingmu walked forward into the ditch.
The man's black jacket half glowed in the now brilliant rising moonlight. "What's happening?" I called to the man in the ditch.
"Quiet!" He responded, and continued to walk around the ditch, brandis.h.i.+ng the compa.s.s like a metal detector. The dial in the compa.s.s twitched with each step he took. Shang Haoming and I watched in amazement as he lowered it to the earth and the dial started to spin uncontrollably.
"The supernatural air is heavy here." Zuo Qingmu called up to us.
"Is it here?" I asked.
Zuo Qingmu put the compa.s.s back in his bag and took out a long red ribbon.
"What's that for?" Shang Haoming asked.
"I'm making a circle to contain the ghost." He replied. He unraveled the ribbon and called us to help him. Shang Haoming looked very uncomfortable walking towards the ditch. I felt my stomach drop out as I followed. Zuo Qingmu handed us portions of the ribbon before fixing it into a circle shape with stones from the road.
"What do we do next?" I asked.
Zuo Qingmu rubbed his hands together like a mischievous child and said with a grin, "I'll call the ghost. Stay where you are and don't move no matter what you hear."
Shang Haoming and I nodded.
Zuo Qingmu took out a simple yellow amulet. I recognized it as an ordinary soul calling one of yellow grade, a grade weaker than the ones I could now make.
"Senior Fellow Apprentice Left, sir, I don't mean to be rude, but why don't you use better amulets?"
The man looked at me in shock and amus.e.m.e.nt. "What do you know of paper amulets?" He asked, a light smile growing on his face.
"A lot." I told him, "But the one you're using is yellow. Those aren't the best. If your religious rites are unsteady, you won't be able to summon anything."
I recounted the chapter on yellow grade amulets and nodded to myself, making sure I wasn't challenging an elder for no reason.
Zuo Qingmu smiled and said, "Well I'll be. You are talented! I can't believe you can gauge my amulet's grade at such a young age! No wonder Master Liu scooped you up."
"I'm using this," He said, raising the amulet up so it broke our eye contact, "Because it's the best I can make. Oh, I could borrow a better one yes, but that's a trouble you don't want to dally with kid. If I fail," He shrugged. "I fail. Then I'll try again."
I nodded and kept silent, wondering how far over my bounds I'd just stepped.
Zuo Qingmu began to murmur the calling incantation over the paper amulet. The small thing caught fire in his hand and began to billow a light stream of smoke and tiny erratic embers. He cast the amulet into the air and watched it scatter smoke and ash around the ditch. When it landed, the smoke drifted up, folding around the shape of a man now standing with us.
Shadow shoulders jutted out underneath a dark green coat. His head hung in front of his chest like it weighed a hundred pounds. The shadow spirit took a staggering step towards us. His long black hair swung like wet sheets that slapped against his face.
"He did it!" I thought, marveling at Zuo Qingmu.
The hand that Zuo Qingmu used to cast the amulet began to glow a bright white light. The shadow figure raised his head and stumbled towards it, drawn by the amulet's smoke and guiding light.
"What's it doing?" Shang Haoming asked, watching the man in front of us raise his hand as if he were leading an invisible dance.
I swallowed the fresh lump in my throat and whispered, "He's leading the ghost to us..." Saying it out loud brought a slew of gooseflesh down on my body.
Shang Haoming's eyes darted between Zuo Qingmu and myself before looking behind me. Zuo Qingmu barked a laugh at that and called. "You don't have to be afraid boy! You have all of that Yang air around you. A shadow ghost can't hurt you! When I give the word, I want you to untie the ribbon and pull on the other side. We're going to catch this one!"
Shang Haoming hesitated behind me. I could feel his hot rapid breath on the back of my neck. "Let me do it!" I called to Zuo Qingmu.
"I have all of my treasures, I'll be fine!" I whispered to Shang Haoming.
"Absolutely not!" Zuo Qingmu yelled back, his voice now fierce and harsh. "Your heavy Yin air will only strengthen the spirit! If you get near the thing, I won't be able to control it any longer!"
"I…" I started.
"Take my compa.s.s," I told Shang Haoming, holding it out to him. "If anything happens, I'll do whatever I can to help you."
He looked at me gratefully and accepted the compa.s.s. Stepping gingerly away from Zuo Qingmu, he reached down and untied the ribbon.
A heavy panting cough came from Zuo Qingmu's side of the ditch. I darted a look at him and saw sweat beading down his face. "You've got this!" I thought to myself.
Opposite of him, the frozen spirit lumbered towards us. The moonlight illuminated the blue-tinted skin. His eyes had turned a deep black purple color that bore into the three of us. The undead mouth opened and closed as if trying to speak, but no words came out. A shrieking whisper followed on the wind. They almost formed the words, "It's freezing…"
My skin roughened into gooseflesh again and all of the air seemed to pull from my chest. I gasped for air and stumbled back a step, hoping the spirit wouldn't turn my way.
Shang Haoming mimicked my motion, his eyes darting around in fear.
I shook my head at him and mouthed the word, "Soon."
The spirit stopped only five steps away. One foot was raised in a half step as if it was ready to charge, but the ghost stood still. Zuo Qingmu was brandis.h.i.+ng his hands out like a traffic officer at the scene of an accident. His eyes were wide with effort and sweat was pouring down his forehead. He pulled in breath with huge gasping motions.
Zuo Qingmu's left hand rose in a new motion. He brandished a different amulet, an invitation amulet that would allow him to summon a spirit for a.s.sistance.
"You mustn't use those often," Master Liu's voice rang in my head. "It is a simple fix, but it calls on ferocious spirits without religious rites. A Taoist shouldn't abandon control that easily. Unless a master crafted the amulet, it could become very dangerous very quickly."
"It'll disappear when the amulet is used up…" I whispered to myself. I focused intently on the amulet in Zuo Qingmu's hand. "Surely he wouldn't use one that he made if he can't improve on yellow grade amulets." I thought.
"Wait!" I called to Zuo Qingmu.
Before he heard me, Zuo Qingmu finished the incantation. A stream of impossibly red light fell from the sky,swallowing his whole body.
The light vanished as soon as it had come. Zuo Qingmu's body gave a jerking shutter and he opened his eyes. His bright cheery brown eyes were gone, replaced by dull gray ones. Zuo Qingmu's face looked from Shang Haoming to me and then began to laugh.
Shang Haoming's mouth opened in a horrible gasp. He called across the ditch in a shaking voice, "Xiao Yong, what's wrong with Brother Left?"
I tried to wet my mouth, which had gone a sandy dry, and said, "He invited a ferocious spirit. I don't know if he can control it or not."
Zuo Qingmu turned to me and said coldly, "s.h.i.+ Yong, you doubt me? I have a very powerful amulet that enables my control. It is still me."
Zuo Qingmu's eyes s.h.i.+mmered and returned to brown. He sneered away from me and raised a finger at the frozen ghost before him. As if following directions, the shadow spirit turned and marched into the ribbon. "Tie it." He said to Shang Haoming.
Shang Haoming followed the order with shaking hands, completing the circle of ribbon.
Zuo Qingmu raised his hands into the air and shouted, "Be gone!"
The red beam of light shot out of his hands back into the clouds above. When it was gone, he leaned over and put hands on his knees. He stayed there panting for a minute before uttering, "Okay…"
As the red light faded into the sky, the shadow spirit inside the circle began to jump and pound at the barrier holding him inside of the ribbon. His mouth opened and closed in silent screams and he flashed in and out of my sight within the red circle.
A memory of the paper man flashed across my mind and I grinned a little. "You can't get out of there." I whispered to the frozen spirit.
Shang Haoming stood just outside of the red circle, his wide fearful eyes darting around in confusion. He tried to speak, but his voice hitched and he cleared his throat. "Did we get it?" He asked no one in particular.
Zuo Qingmu took another deep breath that came out in a ragged cough. "Perhaps! But it wont be easy to get rid of. We need to discover why it's so ferocious. Although, I suppose we can do this the old fas.h.i.+on way and just kill him if that's too much work for you?" He looked between Shang Haoming and I.
"Oh no," I said. "It's not gonna be over that easy!"