Otherworldly Merchant - Chapter 57

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The executioner was fierce, but he couldn’t resist a crowd. Moreover, he’d chopped off one of his arms. So, in no time at all, the soldiers had grabbed him and had him tied up on the ground.
“You rebel, you dared to try assassinating an official from the royal court! I now sentence you to death. Burn to death!”
Later on, the soldiers came, carrying a lot of wood. They tied the executioner to a pole where he continued to scream and curse indignantly. However, he couldn’t scream for long as the flames quickly burned the wood. Soon, his body was covered in red flames.
The executioner didn’t move or cry anymore, and the onlookers became quiet again. I was pleased as I watched the entire scene.
After a while, the flames disappeared and everything was shrouded in darkness. My consciousness returned to my body and I subconsciously switched my flashlight on.
I immediately saw the familiar surroundings and I exhaled in relief. Lucky me, I’d returned safe and sound.
I quickly turned the lights on and found Li Mazi lying on the couch like he’d suffered an epileptic fit, his mouth foaming. I was scared. If something bad happens to Li Mazi, how could I explain it to his son?
I shook him. “Li Mazi, wake up, wake up!”
Li Mazi gradually awakened. As soon as he could open his eyes, he screamed, “I was attacked. I had my damn arm chopped off…”
I immediately gave Li Mazi two slaps across the face. “It’s okay now. Get your shit together.”
As the light returned to Li Mazi’s eyes, he started looking around absent-mindedly. Then, he lay back on the couch. “Oh crap, what just happened? We entered the world in the painting?”
I nodded, looking meaningfully at the ancient painting.
At this moment, the ancient painting was still radiating an evil aura. It scared me. However, it wasn’t the time for fear. I took Li Mazi with me as I left this horrible crime scene.
I ran downstairs within one breath to where Li Yuntian was waiting for us in the police car. Seeing us, he stepped out to welcome us, asking us what we’d done to solve the problem.
I took a deep breath. “We’re almost done. But, now we should seize the opportunity and go back to the mortuary. It’s possible that the corpse has been burned.”
Li Yuntian was shocked and asked me how I could know that.
I was so exhausted that I had to gasp for breath. I didn’t have the time to fill him in, so I just asked him to drive faster.
Although everything that had just happened was a hallucination, my arm was still in agony. It was as though my arm was actually chopped off by that executioner.
So, like that, we drove all the way to the mortuary.
As it was so late at night, even the manager of the mortuary was scared when we asked him to go with us. “I’ll give you the key. You go there yourself!”
We didn’t force him. After receiving the key, we went to open the room. The moment the doors were pushed open, I could clearly feel a strong, evil wind blowing out from the morgue, bringing with it the smell of blood!

And, in the never-ending darkness of the morgue, we saw a shadow even darker than water ink pacing back and forth. I took a deep breath before bellowing, “Who’s there?!”
The shadow was visibly startled and froze.
Li Yuntian drew his gun and went to turn on the lights.
As soon as he switched the lights on, the darkness was shooed away. There was no shadow in front of us now.
However, my tense nerves didn’t calm just because of that, since I knew that black shadow was real.
The executioner might have just stopped by.
The three of us didn’t dare to walk in. Eventually, we had to call more policemen to come with us to boost our courage. I was trembling with fear as I walked over to open the freezer holding the deceased.
When the freezer tray was pulled out, the situation inside made me gawk in shock.
The freezer was empty. The corpse had disappeared.
Li Yuntian took a deep breath, his face dark. He yelled, “Where’s the mortuary’s manager? Bring him here. Where’s the corpse?”
“Captain.” However, at this moment, one of the policemen we’d called over shakily called out. When we turned to him, we saw him pointing at the ceiling.
My mind shivered. Slowly, I lifted my head to see…
There, I saw a rope hanging from the ceiling with one end tied to a corpse. The body was still swaying back and forth. The dead’s big, white eyes were open as they gazed at us.
I took a deep breath. How could the corpse get up there? So, the executioner in the painting could perform physical actions like that? How big was the grudge he had against this girl? She was dead, but he didn’t let her rest.
“Captain, what should we do now?” asked one of the policemen, shivering.
Li Yuntian looked at me, asking for my opinion.
“Leave her hanging up there,” I said, “Just let him vent his anger so that he doesn’t hurt any other innocents…”
“Who is ‘he’?” The policemen looked at me skeptically.
I sighed. Instead of answering, I just asked them to leave.
I also left the ancient painting at the morgue. The ability of the immortal in the picture was beyond my imagination. That was why I thought I should just follow his idea for now, if only to keep him from another dark scheme.
After dawn, I returned to the mortuary with Li Yuntian. The corpse’s neck and head were now completely separated after one night of torment.
We put the corpse, this time with all parts, into the freezer. Li Yuntian asked me, “What should we do now?”
I told him, “I know the story behind this painting! Since we now know, we can use the right medicine to cure the right sickness.”
Li Yuntian hurriedly asked, “What’s the origin of the ancient painting? Why is it so malevolent?”
“Yesterday, while I was in the world inside the painting, I heard the executioner keep calling the prisoner ‘Crown Prince’. He also said that the Crown Prince was innocent. During the Tang Dynasty, which Crown Prince was executed?”
Listening to my question, Li Yuntian was bewildered for a while. “I don’t know. I’m not good at history.”
“Crown Prince Yide,” Li Mazi said excitedly. “The one Wu Zetian killed.”
I nodded. “Right, Wu Zetian wanted to become Empress to bring disaster to the people! Being the Crown Prince, Yide didn’t agree. Yide was a kind man who always thought about his people, and he was the first person to protest against Wu Zetian. To threaten the others, Wu Zetian decided to kill him. The officials were so angry, but they couldn’t do anything. The Li Tang’s bloodline was cut off from that moment…”
“The executioner, who beheaded Crown Prince Yide, felt so sorry and sinful. He wanted to take justice for the Crown Prince, and he ended up being burned alive.”
“I guess the executioner killed someone because he wanted to take revenge!” Patiently, I analyzed the situation with Li Yuntian.
However, Li Yuntian came up with a question. “Why were the previous owners of the painting unharmed? And that girl had to receive all the bad luck as the executioner had come to behead her and even cut her hands off?”
I shook my head, indicating that I didn’t know the details for now. Nevertheless, I had a bold guess. “Perhaps that girl was related to Wu Zetian or the judge who ordered Crown Prince Yide’s death sentence.”
That was why I had to talk to Li Yuntian. No matter what, he had to investigate the deceased’s genealogy. The best case was that we could trace it back to the Tang Dynasty!
And, on the other hand, we must investigate the ancient painting’s origins to find where it came from and who owned it previously.

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