Chapter 199 The Clown-like Old Taoist Priest
When I saw this scene in front of me, I laughed in my heart. It seemed that I thought in the wrong direction. At first, I felt that the old Taoist priest wanted to beg those villagers for alms. But it turned out that the old priest was invited here to handle the evil thing. In the turbulent days without peace, the ordinary citizens normally couldn't live in affluence. Then, why these villagers wanted to spend their money and time on the Taoist priest?
Feeling curious in my heart, I also entered the village with them. When I was in the village, I discovered that this village was not that good as I had imaged. There stood many thatched cottages. But basically, not a single one of them looked decent. Also, there was basically no livestock wandering outside the houses. The overall appearance of the village was quick desolate.
A group of people crowded around the old priest, and they arrived at a small courtyard, which was said to be the best one in the village. To be honest, it was not very good, but it was at least built by bricks. At this time, I saw women from each household going out of their houses and walking toward the small courtyard with plates and bowls. The men from the village gathered around the old priest. When they went into the yard, I also got in with them. Now I saw clearly that there was not so much food in the pot of this courtyard. Only a few steaming buns were placed on the pot. Then, those women walked in one after another with their plates and bowls. They brought their dishes here. One by one, they put the dishes on the table with strange looks. In total, there were only a dozen dishes.
At this moment, I finally understood something. People in the village didn't have money at all. They were so poor that they had to gather everyone's strength to make a full table of dishes. I was afraid that the buns on the pot must have cost all the flour from the dozen household of the whole village!
Without any invitation, the old priest sat at the table by himself. Then, in no hurry, he asked, "You invited me here for what kind of strange things that happened in your village?" He asked, but he was glancing at the dozen dishes on the table. However, he looked unhappy after examining the dishes around because all of the dishes on the table were green vegetables. There was not a single piece of meat. But perhaps, he would never think that after this special meal prepared for him, the people in the whole village might have to live on bark and grassroots from then on.
The old man sitting opposite the priest could see his unpleasant expression. However, since the old priest asked the question, he ignored his ugly look first and replied with a sigh, "You didn't know, sir. This village is the only one within several kilometers around. One month ago, something weird happened in the village. At first, the chickens and ducks in the village reduced for no reason. After a few days, villagers began to disappear. There were nearly 30 households in the village. But after a month, only a dozen of them were left!"
When he spoke of this, the old priest was putting a piece of mushroom on his chopsticks into his mouth. Upon hearing this, the old man stopped. "Oh?" He thought for a moment and asked, "Do you know what the evil thing is?"
Smiling bitterly, the old man said, "I really don't know. Our people or livestock disappeared each time silently. There was no trace to follow!" Then, a young man next to him said. "Sir, you didn't know the situation. My grandfather has the highest seniority in the village. So he ordered the men in our village to guard in every corner when people began missing. However, those people who guarded others also disappeared overnight. Otherwise, we would not lose more than half of the people. Sometimes, when people went to the toilet outside would disappear without a sound."
The old priest took a sip from the wine bowl and asked, "So, the evil thing only haunts you at night, right?" All the others remained silent, making no comment. In fact, this was an unnecessary question. Neither all sorts of evil-doers nor bandits would choose to harm others in broad daylight.
The old priest smiled slightly, and then said, "Relax, everyone. I will certainly eliminate whatever the evil thing for you. But I need to make some preparations first..." When he said this, he lengthened her voice. Well, seeing him act like this, I smiled wryly. "Fu*king fraud! Now you are going to ask for money from them!" As I had expected, the old man immediately understood his meaning. Hurriedly, he waved at someone behind him. Then, a middle-aged man outside the crowd walked toward them, carrying a cloth bag. When he put it on the table, the sounds of metal banging on metal came from inside. Everyone could tell from the sound that there must be gold, silver, copper coins, and jewelry in the bag.
Smiled slightly, the old priest opened the cloth bag. Then, he saw a small piece of silver, a few copper pieces, several gold hairpins, and earrings. Though I had no idea how much all of this was worth, it should be all the property from the entire village. Judging by the old priest's reaction, I suppose that they were worth quite a bit of money. With satisfaction, the old priest nodded and put the bag into his pocket. Finally, he said slowly, "Tonight, everyone should lock your doors and windows. No matter what happens, don't peep because of your curiosity! If you see something that you aren't supposed to see, you will not only prevent me from catching the evil thing but also get yourselves into trouble!"
Touching my chin, I watched at the old priest eating and drinking with others on the table. But only the priest was enjoying the dishes and wine. The others all looked quite gloomy, but there was a little bit hope in their eyes. Obviously, to invite this old priest to handle the evil thing, these people had given him all their property. After this, they might have nothing to live on. However, only after getting rid of the evil thing could they finally set their minds at rest. Seeing this, I couldn't help sighing in my heart. "It is always the choice of humans. To be frank, these villagers burned their bridges by giving away all their fortune. But even if the priest pinned the evil thing down, these villagers would starve to death. However, if they didn't invite the old priest here, they would still be killed by the evil thing. Either way, they would die. But they don't want to live in the fear that they will be taken away by the evil thing one day. No matter they are starving or caught by the evil thing, they will die. But why are they so afraid of being caught instead of hunger? I don't believe that these people are willing to walk to their death. Since they are bound to die, being killed by the evil thing will be much less painful than starving to death. But why I feel that I'd rather be killed by the evil thing! In this case, I would at least not let this fraud advantage of them!"
It was dark now. The old priest asked all the villagers to go home because he had to make some preparations. At this time, he alone set up a table on the empty ground in the village and opened his traveling bag. Then, he placed a censer, a pair of candles, his peachwood sword, and charms on the table. After lighting the candle and burning the incense, the old priest began to wave the peachwood sword. Gesturing with hands and feet, he started to speak in gibberish. "Gods between heaven and earth, please come here to help me! The very high lord, please help me..."
I was now sitting cross-legged on a haystack behind the old priest, very much bored. With my head resting one hand, I smoked and watched him acting like crazy. The moon had slowly risen above the mountains. Villagers here were so poor that they couldn't even afford to use the candles. Except for the two candles of the old priest were still shinning slightly, there was only moonlight in the village. An awful atmosphere was added to the originally desolate village, which made me feel bad. At this moment, I felt a little bored. So I jumped off the haystack and walked up to the old priest when he was still chattering something. Although I couldn't hear it clearly, they must be some meaningless incantations. All of a sudden, I wanted to give him a hard time. "Puff!" I bent down and blew out his candles.
The old priest looked down to check and found that the candle went out. He stopped speaking the nonsense. Picking up his flame lighter, he was going to light his candles again. He muttered, "But there is no wind here..." Just when his hand was about to touch the candle, I heard a rustling sound from the nearest thatched cottage to him. A woman lowered her voice and asked, "Chief, can this priest handle the evil? Then in a low voice, a man scolded, "Don't talk. You may disturb our priest!" Then, everything quieted down again.
The old priest lifted his eyebrows, lighted his two candles, and continued acting like a mad man. I laughed in my heart, saying, "Your priest is probably a lazy, good-for-nothing cheater!" Thinking of this, I picked up the peachwood sword in passing to take a closer look. It actually had a pretty good appearance. I supposed that its fine and smooth surface texture must be formed by many years of careful maintenance. However, under my Spirit Sight, it was simply a useless decoration because it had no spiritual light at all. In other words, the sword was definitely a good craft. But as the main weapon to slay demons, it must be as useless as a plastic model gun on the battlefield.
The old priest couldn't see me, so he only saw that his peachwood sword went up into the air. He was startled first and then stretched out to it. But I leaned to one side. Thus, his fingers closed on empty air. The old priest's expression changed dramatically. Hands open, he sprang on the sword in my hands. But again, he missed his target and almost tumbled. Holding the peachwood sword in my hands, I burst into laughter. After that, the priest adjusted his Taoist crown and tried to stand still. Then, he pointed to the place where I stood and said in a low voice, "Wait and see what I can do to you."
With this, the old priest grabbed a charm from the table and lighted it up by the candle. With his two fingers pinching the charm paper, he wagged his head and mumbled some words. After a few seconds, the old priest held the charm with one hand and pointed to the peachwood sword in my hand. "Go!" However, I felt nothing.
But his act amused me. I said in my heart, "Since you are so funny, I will play with you." Then I pinched the peachwood sword and made it go between my fingers. I flourished the sword and sent it forward. Then, the peachwood sword passed through the burning charm paper and flew back to me. Placing it vertically before me, I made a hand seal beneath the charm by my right hand and whispered an incantation in my heart!
"Buzzing!" The charm paper was burned up. In my Spirit Sight, the peachwood sword was shining brilliantly! Smiling slightly, I ordered with a gentle voice, "Cut!" I moved my wrist and threw the sword at the old priest's Taoist crown!