Elder Liu left and all I can do is take a deep breath. The full moon is coming soon. In the room, I stayed until nightfall and a familiar voice came.
“I’m here,” I answer. “I’m glad you came to talk to me again.”
“I’m glad you like talking to me,” the girl said. “It is always a fun conversation. When the full moon comes, I’ll be using a recording jade on the evil spirit.”
“A recording Jade?”
There were such things like that in this world?
“Yes, it will let us know what it looks like and perhaps we can end your curse,” the girl said.
“That sounds like a good idea,” I told her. “If there is a way to end the curse, then I would be happy if you could.”
If there was a way to end the curse on me committing taboo, even better. I know I was more open to it, and I’m willing to try, but I want it to be the last resort. If it could be something else, it would be better.
“Yes, I promise I will tell you what it looks like.”
“Thank you,” I tell the voice. “Thank you.”
Hou Jian returned to her room where Qin Zheng had been waiting for her.
“You still haven’t been caught, have you?”
“Not at all!” Hou Jian said. “I’ve mastered this hiding arts.”
“Be careful,” Qin Zheng said. “Even though these arts prevent us from being sensed, someone with a higher cultivation can still find us if they truly want too.”
“I understand,” Hou Jian said. “I spoke with Dong Chen, I told him we would use the recording Jade and see what the evil spirit is.”
“That’s a good idea,” Qin Zheng said. “As his body guards, we must know what we might be up against if he doesn’t make it back to his room on time. WE will record the entire event on the full moon. If it is something unspeakable, however, we’ll need to decide what to do then. There might be a chance we see something that we never wanted, such are curses.”
“I understand, big sister,” Hou Jian said. “If it is something we don’t want to see, then we will have to figure out what to do.”
“Make preparations,” Qin Zheng said.
The two girls gathered supplies, the recording Jade and scoped out the area near Dong Chen’s room. Any power has a radius in which they could easily sense others, and so they would have to maintain a distance from the evil spirit in order to keep safe from its attacks.
They saw that Dong Chen remained in his room and the only one they saw going in and out was Elder Liu. No guards remained outside, which meant that he hadn’t told Elder Liu about his nightly conversations with Hou Jian.
In everything that had been happening, Hou Jian found she was becoming attached to the mortal. There was a certain amount of interest she had with him as he had flirted with her a bit and seemed to have viewpoints she hadn’t thought of before. It was as though the world was bigger than what she had grown up with in the Sect.
The night of the full moon eventually began, and it was only a few minutes before sunset. Hou Jian and Qin Zheng had picked a spot beyond notice from others on the outside of the palace. Dong Chen’s room was one that had sunlight shine through the translucent ceiling and it was easy to see what the pathway leading to his door.
“The evil spirit, what do you think it will look like?” Hou Jian asked. “I spoke with Dong Chen last night and he said that every time the spirit would come it would scream his name all night long until morning.”
“I don’t know,” Qin Zheng said. “It might not even be a spirit.”
“It might not be a spirit?” Hou Jian questioned.
“There had been rumors it’s something else, though I can’t say for sure, but whatever it is, it wants to harm Dong Chen.”
“I… I see,” Hou Jian said. “Is it a monster or a demon beast then?”
Such existences that could be curses were rare in the cultivation world, but it was not knowledge that a young inner disciple would normally have.
“We will see, make sure you record it with the jade,” Qin Zheng said.
The two girls waited there as the sunset, and the full moon bloomed in the sky. The Yin energy from the moon beat down. There was very little in the atmosphere that made noise, and it was eerily quiet in the palace where no one could be when the spirit walked among the halls.
A wailing was soon heard from the direction of the palace and Hou Jian perked up. The wail itself was high pitched.
The two girls glanced at each other
“Do you hear that?” Hou Jian asked.
“Be quiet, that must be the evil spirit. It’s very sensitive to sound.”
With Qin Zheng’s warning, Hou Jian shut her mouth, and they both activated their hiding technique. They stood over and watched the door to Dong Chen’s room as a figure under the moonlight approached. It was a familiar figure and one that had been seen often by them.
The figure began to slam its fists into the door, hitting hard. The robes glistened in the moonlight and the wailing continued.
“Dooong Cheen! Open up! Let me in! Let me Ravish you into pleasure!”
Qin Zheng and Hou Jian both shuddered at the loud shrieking from that figure. They looked closer and as Hou Jian attempted to identify it with the recording jade, she became alarmed. The figure was one they had seen when they first entered the Sect.
“It’s the Sect Master!” Hou Jian exclaimed.
“Quiet!” Qin Zheng immediately sealed Hou Jian’s mouth. “Even if it’s the appearance of Sect Master, we have to wait until morning to see whether it’s her or an evil spirit. Evil spirits can’t exist in sunlight. Keep recording.”
Hou Jian kept the recording jade trained on the door the Sect Master banged on the door causing the palace to shake. It made sense why the palace was emptied on a full moon, and why there was hardly anyone walking around the palace now during the day. What once had been a palace bustling with people were now empty halls with little movement except for Elder Liu coming to give Dong Chen breakfast every morning.
The banging continued all night and the Sect Master became more and more vicious. A white foam came from the mouth and the hits formed cracks in the wall of the palace as they got stronger and stronger. Qin Zheng and Hou Jian were frightened.
Soon the sun rose and the Sect Master was still there. She looked around, then immediately ran away tearfully despite still wearing her mask. Elder Liu then came by and inspected the damage, opened the door and then left with the key to the room after receiving it from Dong Chen.
“If they know we know, they will kill us,” Qin Zheng said.
“Kill us, but you said we were under official orders,” Hou Jian was fearful.
“We were under orders to be his bodyguard and train, and I thought taking a recording of the evil spirit might help, but if the evil spirit is the Sect Master herself then such a secret is a taboo and anyone who knows it will be killed.”
“Then what do we do now?”
“I don’t know,” Qin Zheng said. “We know now that the reason he is stuck in there is that the Sect Master herself is cursed.”
“Yes. Dong Chen is forever going to be trapped in a cage the rest of his life and there is no hope for him. As his guards, we will only be required to keep the hallway clear. It is likely that his mother will assault him too.”
“Assault! Assault him!”
“His mother will crave him carnally,” Qin Zheng spoke softly and in a regretful tone. “Such a boy to have no one with him all alone and to be forced into it with his mother. Night after night he will become nothing more than a doll for his mother to play with.”
The words seemed to tear into Hou Jian’s heart. Despite being a cultivator, she was still a young and naive girl who wanted the best for others. If Dong Chen was suffering, she would feel that suffering as well.
“Is there any way we can help him?”
Qin Zheng paused. “Are you insane? How can we help him? If we get him out, the Sect Master will come and kill us! We will be outcasts of the Sect.”
“He’s so pitiful though! We can’t just leave him!”
“Are you willing to leave the Sect and be an outcast to help him?”
Hou Jian paused for a moment before she forced the words out. “Yes. Yes, I am!”
Qin Zheng shook her head as she looked at the one she called little sister.
“Fine then, let me come up with a plan.”