Rain Lotus Celestial Master

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In the nascent glow of my fortune-telling livestream, the first soul to cross the digital threshold stumbled into a maelanage of fate and fear. A fleeting red dot pierced the tranquility. With a voice laced with urgency, I thundered, “Dire straits! Secure your sanctuary posthaste!! A mere 10 seconds grace!” The digital ether erupted in chaos. “The lens betrays you!!!” In that breathless pause, the clamor of hastened steps echoed through the connection… The client, ensnared in a web of dread, fixated on the door with eyes wide with horror, whispered, “The guardian of my chamber faltered days ago…”

I, the 333rd in line to shepherd the Baiyun Temple through the mists of time, found myself ensnared by the law’s cold grasp. Accused of flouting the mask mandate in times of crisis and dabbling in the arcane, my plea of innocence, grounded in the art of physiognomy, fell on deaf ears. “This instance shall be met with enlightenment, not retribution,” declared the officer. “Summon a guardian to vouch for your return.” Upon dialing, the deputy captain’s device sprang to life. The arresting gaze of disbelief from the officer met the stalwart figure beside him. “Li team, is it your echo in this call?” Revealed was my terrestrial guide, Li Chengyi, the bridge between realms unforeseen.

Li Chengyi’s gaze, imbued with an unwavering sense of justice, pierced through the air to meet mine, his austere visage momentarily clouded by a shadow of doubt. Hastily, I whispered our clandestine passphrase to Li Chengyi: “White clouds, white clouds, the ephemeral clouds that grace the heavens~”

With a contrived cough, Li Chengyi veiled his intentions: “Cough… cough… She’s merely a friend, a true practitioner of the Taoist ways.” Swiftly, I presented my “Taoist Clergy ID” to the officer, a bridge between worlds.

The officer, satisfied with the formalities, granted me passage, and alongside me, Li Chengyi stepped into the light of day.

Destined to be the 333rd guardian of Baiyun Temple, I stood at the threshold of tradition and destiny.

“My master, the venerable 332nd guardian, proclaimed that to ascend as the master of Baiyun Temple, one must weave through the tapestry of the mortal realm. Thirty days to cast ten hexagrams, each priced at 500 yuan, striking a balance between scarcity and excess.

I had envisioned a simple journey at the foot of Baiyun Mountain to fulfill this quest.

Yet, fate had other designs, and I found myself ensnared by the law at the very outset of my pilgrimage.

In our lineage, it is said that every disciple’s worldly trial is guided by a celestial envoy. For me, that envoy was none other than Officer Li Chengyi, who now shared this journey.

“Hello, my name is Li Chengyi.”

“Hello, I am known amongst the clouds as Yulian Tianzun.”

In that moment, Li Chengyi’s stoic facade melted into a kaleidoscope of emotions, only to settle back into a serene calm.

I followed Li Chengyi to his sanctuary, a three-bedroom haven of tranquility.

He gestured towards the guest room: “This shall be your retreat. Should you seek aid, I am here.” “Where might one unfurl a mat to divine the fates?”

Li Chengyi, with a gravity that belied the weight of his words, replied: “The winds of caution blow strongly; masks are our shields against unseen foes. The square under the open sky is not yours to claim.”

A sigh escaped me, heavy with the burden of my quest: “But I must complete thirty days and ten hexagrams to embrace my destiny.” After a moment’s reflection, Li Chengyi illuminated a path unforeseen: “Why not cast your hexagrams across the digital ether?”

“Live streaming?”

A memory flickered, of my master, entranced by the dance of shadows on his screen, speaking of live streams as bridges between realms. He, detached from the earthly coil, still sought to understand the heartbeat of the world.

Li Chengyi, sensing my bewilderment, unveiled an app cloaked in the guise of a leopard: “Behold ‘Tiger Skin Live’, a realm where spirits meet and fates are told.”

He guided me through the arcane arts of this new divination, and I, a novice in this digital temple, quickly became adept.

Yet, my tool of trade, a relic flip phone, was ill-suited for this journey. Li Chengyi, with a gesture of kinship, bestowed upon me a modern chariot of communication.

“This device shall be your companion. Use it well.”

He christened my digital presence with the name “Yulian Tianzun,” a name that now danced across the ether.

Li Chengyi then returned to his duties, leaving me in a sanctum of knowledge. I initiated the sacred rite of live streaming, stepping into the unknown.

Alas, the digital void mirrored the solitude of the mountains; not a soul in sight.

In desperation, I reached out to my master: “Master, I stand alone in this digital expanse. Lend me your strength.” And so, he did, a lone wanderer stepping into my circle.

【A head of fine hair has entered the live stream】【A head of fine hair has bestowed a Tiger Skin】

The Tiger Skin, a token of passage, fluttered away, leaving silence in its wake. Patience, however, bore fruit, and soon another soul ventured into my realm.

【Snow Wolf has entered the live stream】

【Snow Wolf has offered a Treasure Map】

This Treasure Map, a gift of considerable value, was a beacon in the night, drawing curious eyes to my digital hearth.

Li Chengyi’s wisdom echoed in my mind: a hexagram’s worth, 500 yuan, now manifested through this digital offering. Yet, as quickly as Snow Wolf appeared, he vanished like a whisper on the wind.

Perhaps it was the allure of the Treasure Map that beckoned others to my virtual door, a gathering of spirits intrigued by the ancient art I wielded.

“Could this truly be a sanctuary of divination?”

“By the heavens! The host’s visage is a tapestry of the divine, woven with threads of the ethereal.” “A laugh escapes me — Yulian Tianzun! A name as whimsical as the clouds!” “A single Treasure Map for a hexagram? A steep price for enlightenment. I shall seek my fortunes elsewhere.”

“Dear host, would you grace us with a dance? A Treasure Map awaits your assent.”

To their entreaties, I replied: “Should I dance, the heavens might weep, for I am a child of the clear skies.” “Your earnest jests are like rain upon the parched earth, refreshing and welcome.”

Bluffing? No, for us, to command the elements is but to breathe. 【Won’t land ashore nor change name has offered a Treasure Map】

“Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name: The suspense of awaiting my exam results has me on edge. Could you divine whether I’ll secure a spot in a graduate program this year?”

Me: “Indeed, I can assist. However, a video call is necessary for this. Should you prefer not to reveal your face during the live stream, a mask will suffice, accompanied by a high-definition photo sent to me directly.”

“Understood, I’ll forgo the mask. The photo is on its way to you via direct message.”

Shortly thereafter, Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name added, “It’s done.” I navigated to her profile and initiated a video call.

The connection was swift.

A young woman, her eyes shielded by black-framed glasses and her face partially obscured by a mask, greeted me from her study, a smile playing on her lips. “Greetings, host! Has my photo reached you?”

Perusing the photo dispatched by Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name, my brow creased in concern. “Have recent days brought you any unwelcome misfortunes?”

A shadow of disappointment crossed Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name’s face as she firmly negated, “Nothing of the sort.”

Her denial set the chat abuzz.

“The plot thickens, as does the familiar script! Let’s bypass the preamble and delve into the cost of altering fate!” “My heart goes out to our dear sister, parting with 1000 yuan!” “Yulian Tianzun, where is your honor in martial arts?”

I cast a glance at the flurry of comments and offered reassurance to Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name: “Fear not! The divination fee stands alone, with no hidden charges lurking.”

Her enthusiasm dimmed, Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name requested, “Please, proceed to the verdict. Time is of the essence for me.”

“The subtle deviation of your nasal bridge to the left speaks volumes; it whispers of a severed bond with your birth father, suggesting your mother’s path led her from divorce to a new union.”

This revelation seemed to electrify Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name: “Indeed, my parents parted ways in my youth, and my mother embarked on a new chapter after my college admission.”

I delved deeper: “The crimson hue staining the parental palace in your chart hints at a turbulent relationship with your stepfather.” The atmosphere around Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name shifted dramatically.

Her gaze hardened, a storm brewing as she countered, “My rapport with my father is strong, contrary to your claims. It was he, not my biological father, who saw me through college. His support is unwavering as I now aspire to graduate studies.

“Moreover, his respect for me knows no bounds. In our shared space, he honors my privacy, maintaining decorum even in the simplest of moments. For this, I am profoundly grateful.”

Yet, the murky aura enveloping the paternal sector of her chart could not be ignored. With a gentle firmness, I intoned, “There lies an undeniable shadow over your stepfather.”

Before she could mount a defense, a sinister aura caught my attention, prompting an inquiry, “Is that a bathroom to your right?”

Affirmative came her reply, “The master bedroom, now mine, includes an en suite bathroom.” “Venture into the bathroom and grant me a view via your phone’s rear camera,” I instructed.

With a mixture of skepticism and compliance, she proceeded.

“Leave the lights off; let the curtains shield us from prying eyes.”

Following my directive, she scanned the bathroom. Amidst the shadows, a sinister red dot flickered momentarily in the mirror’s reflection.

“Alarming! Secure your room this instant!!! A mere 10 seconds is all you have!!! Even the live stream’s audience caught a glimpse of that fleeting red menace.”

The chat erupted, a frenzy of speculation and alarm. “A hidden eye watches!” “Could it be a concealed camera?” “This narrative unfolds like a script!” “I find myself wishing this were merely fiction.”

As realization dawned upon Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name, panic took hold. Then, the ominous sound of approaching footsteps…

She was a portrait of terror, her eyes fixed on the door.

“Recently, my sanctuary’s lock faltered…”

In haste, I inquired, “Is your refuge within the bathroom secure?”

A moment of clarity struck Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name; she sought sanctuary in the bathroom, securing the lock. “Dispatch your location to me directly; I shall summon aid.”

Her hands, trembling with fear, struggled to convey her sanctuary’s coordinates. Before she could articulate her plea, the barrier to her room gave way. A mere 3 seconds later, the bathroom’s sanctity was challenged, its guardian lock crying out in protest.

Collapsed on the cold floor, Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name was engulfed by despair. Delay was no longer an option… The foreboding aura intensified.

With a silent plea, I invoked, “Heavenly eye, awaken!”

Fortune favored us; her abode was within my reach.

Seizing my quaint flip phone, I implored Li Chengyi from the confines of my living space.

“Li Chengyi, a soul cries out for salvation. Hasten! Beyond the precincts, a journey of 2 kilometers leads to Jinxiu Community, Building 33, Unit 1605. Trust in my words! Explanations shall follow.”

Li Chengyi, a beacon of resolve, offered a single word in affirmation, “Understood.” The subsequent roar of an engine was a testament to his swift departure.

I reconnected with the digital realm, where the echo of desperate knocks reverberated. “Bang! Bang bang bang! Bang!”

“Xiaoyan, it’s your father! Open the door!!!”

Her silence provoked a frenzy at the door.

“Xiaoyan, have you succumbed to despair within? Fear not, for I shall breach this divide.” In the public sphere, I counseled Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name, “Engage him, for the authorities have been alerted. The door must hold!”

Amidst her turmoil, Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name found a semblance of calm, “How shall I proceed?” “Entwine your words with emotion, then serenade him with a song, a brief respite of 1 minute.”

Her voice, a fragile whisper, broke the silence, “Father… I was merely attending to nature’s call. All is well.” “Xiaoyan, deceit ill suits you. Your absence from the sanctuary of solitude was noted…”

A chill descended upon the audience, the implications dire and unsettling. [???]

“The revelation is chilling! Is he, in this moment, an unseen observer?” “A plea for mercy! The horror… a shadow that may linger for a lifetime…”

“Father, I implore you… Let this day’s shadows fade into oblivion. May mercy guide your actions.” The response, a chilling laughter, “Hehehe,” echoed ominously.

“Xiaoyan, you’re a beacon of intelligence! Just open the door, and I promise, I’ll merely retrieve my belongings and leave you unharmed,” he coaxed with a veneer of concern. “I’m willing to open the door, but under one condition,” she countered, her voice a blend of fear and defiance.

“Xiaoyan, let’s not play games with time! A single blow is all it takes to shatter this barrier. Even the swift hand of the law won’t catch up in time. Open the door, let Daddy in, and no harm will come to you,” he pressed, his patience thinning.

“Daddy, grant me just a minute, won’t you? Haven’t you always said I’m your darling?” she pleaded, her voice quivering with desperation. “Ah, Xiaoyan, you truly test my limits,” he sighed, a false tenderness seeping into his tone.

I hastily issued a command across the digital expanse: “All but Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name, mute your volumes now! Lest you wish to dance with danger!” To her, I detailed, “Crank up your phone’s volume to its peak, lay it down, and seal your ears tight. Only when you see my signal, an OK gesture, is it safe to listen once more.”

With her ears shielded, I unleashed a powerful chant, a call to ancient forces:

“As dawn breaks in the east, shadows flee in terror. Amidst a sea of souls, confusion reigns supreme. Mountains stand sentinel, waters guard the rear. Dragons soar to the left, tigers prowl to the right. By the authority of the Three Mountains and Nine Marquises, I command—Freeze!”

This incantation, a sacred Taoist spell, was designed to halt the wicked in their tracks.

Observing through my spiritual vision that the man outside was now bound by the spell, I signaled to Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name. “He’s under my spell, immobilized. You’ve got a minute to escape this place.”

Her hesitation was palpable, “Is it truly safe to venture out?” “Trust in me,” I assured.

“Alright,” she acquiesced.

Peeking through a sliver of an opening, she confirmed her stepfather’s motionless form by the door. Clutching her phone, she bolted for the elevator, not once glancing back…

Descending to the lobby, she was greeted by the sight of Li Chengyi, clad in his uniform of authority.

At once, her strength deserted her, and she crumbled to the ground, a torrent of tears marking her relief and terror.

Her stepfather, sensing the change, emerged only to flee at the sight of Li Chengyi, who sprang into action with the agility of a predator, subduing the man with swift precision.

“Driven by curiosity, I faced a dire fate! Engrossed in mischief with friends, I ignored the warning to mute the sound. Left immobilized by the spell, I was the sole victim of our prank, drenched in misfortune…” lamented a viewer, sharing his unintended consequence.

“Fortunate was I to heed the warning…” echoed another, a chorus of agreement rising.

“Remarkable, this host wields true power!” the audience exclaimed, the reality of the situation undeniable in the presence of law enforcement.

Recovering on the ground, Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name took a moment to find her bearings, her complexion ghostly, eyes brimming with unshed tears.

“Immense gratitude I owe to you, dear host. Now, I must aid the investigation at the station. Once concluded, my mother and I shall express our thanks properly,” she vowed, her departure marked by a wave and a disconnect.

Drained yet fulfilled, I promised the audience, “We shall reconvene in three days,” before concluding the stream.

Li Chengyi later messaged, “Dinner’s on you tonight; duty calls for me.” “Understood,” I replied, preparing to venture out.

Notifications of messages from Won’t Land Ashore Nor Change Name awaited me, her words a mix of gratitude and despair. “Thanks to you, I was saved today. Yet, I am shattered by his actions…

“How was my college funded, do you wonder? By selling my privacy, my dignity, to shadowed corners of the internet. The support I cherished was built on betrayal.”

“Despair not, for justice now hunts him,” I consoled her, detailing the legal retribution awaiting such vile acts and promising the erasure of her digital scars.

Her gratitude was palpable, “May we express our thanks in person?” “Fate will decide our paths. And rejoice, for your academic journey advances,” I revealed her acceptance into graduate studies.

Li Chengyi’s return was late, our conversation brief but revealing—evidence of premeditation found in the man’s lair.

Three days hence, my return to the digital stage was marked by an outpouring of support, the tale of our previous encounter drawing a crowd, eager for guidance, for magic.

Among them, Cancer Fighter Lao Jin, his plight touching the hearts of many. “Caught in an unexpected spell, I faced loss, yet here I stand, seeking solace in your wisdom,” he shared, his spirit unbroken despite the trials.

And so, our journey continued, each interaction a thread in the tapestry of lives intertwined by fate, by the unseen forces that guide us.

He slowly turned, revealing to the live stream audience a lengthy scar etched across the back of his head. “I’m battling brain cancer; this money was my lifeline for treatment…” No sooner had these words escaped his lips than the live chat erupted into a frenzy.

“The weakest link bears the greatest strain…”

“Host, surely you owe him compensation?”

“Yet, the host issued a clear warning! Shouldn’t adults bear responsibility for their actions?” “Only a handful were watching that day; isn’t the timing too perfect? Could this be a deceit…?” Cancer Fighter Lao Jin, overwhelmed by the flood of comments, his eyes brimming with tears.

“I haven’t lied. I reviewed the station’s surveillance footage and filed a police report. The police suspect the thief is a seasoned criminal, adept at evading cameras,” his voice choked with emotion, verging on desperation. “Host, I bear you no ill will. But could you possibly lend your aid in locating this thief? My child, still in elementary school, cannot afford to lose their father…”

As he dabbed at his tears, I found myself puzzled. “Why direct your blame at me? Isn’t this a consequence of your own actions?”

The moment these words were uttered, the live chat ignited, a wildfire of indignation sweeping through.

“Host, regardless of circumstances, he remains a patient. Your words seem excessively harsh.” “Disgusting host, I’m unfollowing and blocking!”

Ignoring the wave of righteous anger, my gaze fixed on Cancer Fighter Lao Jin, who sat in stunned silence before the camera. I spoke with a calm detachment. “Your eyes, devoid of spark, and the chill pallor around your temples, signal a life nearing its end.”

“That deep furrow on your brow, it speaks of a grievous sin, one that surely cost a life.”

Cancer Fighter Lao Jin’s face blanched at my words: “You… don’t spout nonsense!”

“The roundness and vacancy in your eyes, the size of your pupils, they tell a tale of theft. That furrow on your brow, tainted with the scent of copper, it whispers of stolen wealth and lives taken, more than one.”

Trembling, his eyes wide with fear, Cancer Fighter Lao Jin protested: “Nonsense, you’re framing me!”

“Very well, today you shall be convinced of the truth!” I silently invoked: “Heavenly eye, open!”

Upon reopening my eyes, I beheld an “elderly spirit” clinging to Cancer Fighter Lao Jin’s back, its long tongue lasciviously lapping at his scar. Feeling my gaze, the “spirit” slowly turned its head towards me…

In an instant, the “spirit” convulsed, collapsing to the ground, confessing all.

I then addressed the live stream once more. “In your junior high’s second year, a classmate’s father was diagnosed with cancer. The school rallied for donations, and you seized the money during lunch.”

“A week later, the father passed away. Believing he had misplaced the life-saving funds, your classmate succumbed to despair and took his own life.”

“With that money, you indulged in the latest smartphone.”

At his limit, Cancer Fighter Lao Jin still resisted: “You’re a charlatan! I’ll sue for defamation! You have no evidence!”

“Evidence?” I scoffed, “It’s clutched in your very hand.”

“That handkerchief you hold, it once cradled the donation money, now a relic of your classmates. Their demise has left you its guardian… Fortunate, for how else could the aggrieved father’s spirit have followed you?”

Drained of color, Cancer Fighter Lao Jin discarded the handkerchief: “What are you implying?” The live chat was ablaze with refreshed comments.

“???”

“Could it be that the classmate’s father, for all these years, has been bound to the handkerchief, haunting Cancer Fighter Lao Jin?” “Perhaps the handkerchief was originally the father’s… enabling his spirit to attach…”

“Host, spare me the frights; I sleep alone…” “+1”

Observing Cancer Fighter Lao Jin, now utterly petrified: “You ended his most cherished son’s life, and he chose to forsake reincarnation to ensure your misfortune.” Realization dawning, Cancer Fighter Lao Jin clasped his hands in prayer, kneeling before the camera, tears streaming: “Master, with your formidable power, surely there’s a way to save me!”

“The cosmic law rewards and punishes in equal measure! Your current plight is but the fruits of your own deeds!”

“I neglected to mention, the thief squandered your treatment funds that very day on an electric scooter for his girlfriend.” With that, I terminated our video call.

“My dear viewers, until we meet again in three days…”

No sooner had the stream concluded than Li Chengyi messaged me.

“Care to join me for dinner tonight? I’ve yet to properly host you.” “Certainly.”

“Meet me at the police station first; there’s a fine restaurant nearby.” Upon my arrival, the familiar officer was present, engrossed in taking a report. Li Chengyi, standing behind, listened intently to the complainant, who seemed to struggle with his disclosure, his words hesitant and evasive. The officer, frustrated by the lack of clarity, insisted, “We can’t pursue leads if you’re not forthcoming. You’ve come to us; now lay bare the truth!”

The complainant exhaled deeply, “My name is Chen Fei. I’m reporting a suspicion that my wife has murdered my mistress.” Exchanging a grave look, the officer and Li Chengyi urged, “Elaborate.”

“I’m a corporate executive. At a dinner, I met Xiao Wan, who was exceptionally kind and caring. Our relationship quickly became intimate.”

“Xiao Wan soon fell pregnant, to my delight. My wife has always opposed parenthood, yet I’ve longed for children.”

“That evening, I confessed everything to my wife. Her fury and bitterness knew no bounds.”

“She had been adamant about being childfree, a condition I had accepted for our marriage. But now, for the sake of the child, I sought a divorce.” Chen Fei, looking aggrieved, explained, “I had no choice; my aging parents yearned for a grandchild. My love for her had led me to compromise.”

Noting the officers’ silence, Chen Fei awkwardly proceeded, “I proposed divorce, and she consented.”

“Later, as Xiao Wan battled severe morning sickness, I brought her home. My wife, yet to find another place, stayed on.”

“I anticipated conflict with Xiao Wan’s arrival. Yet, they seemed to coexist peacefully…” He paused, reflecting, “But in hindsight, perhaps my wife was merely performing for me.”

“Subsequently, I was dispatched overseas for six months of training. Assured by my wife’s promise to care for Xiao Wan, I departed without concern.”

“Throughout that period, our daily video calls revealed no issues. However, a week ago, their phones went silent.”

“In haste, I booked the earliest return flight, but neither relatives nor friends could account for their whereabouts.”

He mulled over the possibility, a shadow of concern crossing his face. “Could it be, in a tempest of love turned to hatred, that my wife, driven to the brink, silenced Xiao Wan forever and vanished into the night…?” 11.

A rumble of hunger echoed from within, a stark reminder of the day’s neglect.

“Rest assured, both your former spouse and your paramour breathe yet, untouched by harm.”

Chen Fei regarded me with a mix of suspicion and incredulity: “And you are? How could you possibly hold such knowledge?”

“In the celestial map of your marital bonds, the Sun and Moon stars cast their light and shadow, revealing the presence of both a wife and a mistress in your life’s narrative.

“Yet, the threads connecting you to them have frayed and parted, signifying their departure from your fate.” “Furthermore…”

His urgency palpable, Chen Fei pressed, “What more?”

Before us, curiosity sparked in the eyes of our audience: “Their destinies, once separate, have now entwined, a tapestry of shared fate…” A collective intake of breath filled the room, disbelief etched on Chen Fei’s face.

“Your celestial guides, the Sun and Moon, have journeyed far from your side, hinting at their departure to distant shores.”

Armed with Chen Fei’s revelations, the officer delved into the records, uncovering their joint sojourn to Denmark.

As Chen Fei wandered out, lost in a daze of revelation, Li Chengyi and I stepped into the embrace of the night, the city’s lights a soft luminescence against the dark. “Your insight is profound,” Li Chengyi remarked, a note of respect in his voice.

“Mm, I’m aware,” I acknowledged, a hint of a smile playing on my lips. 12.

Time, ever the relentless march, brought me to the precipice of my final divination as temple master. This last reading, I foresaw, would be my trial by fire.

Today, I chose silence over solicitation, the donation feature lying dormant.

My channel, once a fledgling stream, now boasted an audience of 60,000 strong at the mere whisper of my presence. “Host, unleash the floodgates of generosity!” they clamored.

“Let the donations flow +1”

“My fate, dear host, lies in your hands!”

Amidst the sea of requests, I remained an island of calm. “Today, I await a soul bound by destiny.” At the appointed moment, I beckoned to the fates, and the donations resumed.

【Dog Slayer’s】contribution caught my eye, a name that knotted my brow.

Before I could reach out, his message found me. “Hurry, sister! I yearn to be seen!”

His avatar, a visage of innocence, belied the gravity of his moniker. The call connected.

【Dog Slayer】materialized on screen, a youth of seventeen or eighteen with an air of nonchalance. “Greetings, sister! And to all who watch, a hearty hello!”

Silence was my reply, my gaze an unyielding frost.

The warmth of the audience’s welcome cooled under my icy stare. “Such a look from our host is unprecedented…”

“A chill pervades today, unlike any before…”

“Even in the face of Cancer Fighter Lao Jin’s plight, the host’s gaze bore not such frost.”

“Indeed, in following our host, we’ve gleaned insights into the art of reading faces. And 【Dog Slayer】, your visage speaks of untold malevolence.”

Undeterred, Dog Slayer’s grin widened. “Sister, won’t you inquire of my heart’s desire?” “A match of destiny, I seek.”

My response was a cold whisper on the wind. “In you, the world’s malevolence finds its vessel…”

“Forehead low and narrow, the crown too flat, eyes a predatory gleam, cheekbones casting shadows deep, and a brow marred by the stain of blood. Your hands, they have wrought death.”

With a nod, Dog Slayer accepted the truth of my words. “Precise as ever, sister. At thirteen, I did take a life. But fear not, for I have since sought redemption. My quest for companionship has led me here.”

The chat erupted in disbelief and horror.

“To seek love, having once dealt in death?” “Madness!”

“Disgust wars with disbelief at his smile!”

“The depths of the internet reveal his past; Dong Liang, a life taken too soon, and now, he dares to wear her face as his mask!”

“Rage consumes me!” “Vile creature!”

“His very username, a testament to his nature!” “May she haunt him beyond the grave!”

Dong Liang, reveling in the chaos, retorted, “Your outrage, it amuses me as would a pack of hounds.”

“She seeks vengeance? Let her come… For now, the law protects the living from my wrath, but specters hold no such sanctuary.”

“Gratitude they owe me, for their fortune was my doing. Let them kneel and thank me, for I have elevated their existence.”

“Behold, the proof of my lineage and wealth,” he boasted, panning his phone to reveal the opulence of his abode.

As he descended the stairs, his laughter echoed. “A visit from you, sister, would be most welcome. A gracious host, I shall be.”

My voice, a harbinger of his fate, declared, “Your time is nigh, for death’s shadow looms close.”

And with that, a misstep, a fall, and silence followed. 14.

A resounding crash, and Dong Liang lay motionless, his life’s blood painting the stairs crimson, while the live stream bore witness to his final moments.

Upon the servant’s discovery of Dong Liang’s unfortunate tumble, they promptly dialed for an ambulance, their actions swift in the face of emergency. Dong Liang, sprawled across the staircase, his arrogance undiminished by his predicament, taunted me with a sneer, “A mere fall can’t claim my life. My family’s wealth and status in Jiangcheng grant me access to unparalleled medical care!”

I chose to let his provocations wash over me, unacknowledged. Instead, I turned my attention to the audience that had gathered in the virtual realm of my live stream, “You’ve expressed a desire to witness my dance, have you not? As today marks the finale of my fortune-telling broadcasts, I shall oblige with a ‘dance’ just for you.”

In the absence of music, without the guidance of rhythm, I commenced my dance. Each step deliberate, each movement imbued with intent.

I invoked the celestial might of the Five Emperors and the Five Dragons, summoning the elements to my command. I called upon the winds, beckoned the rains, all the while weaving a spell of protection and benevolence, a dance with the forces of nature itself.

As the final step of my ‘dance’ fell, the villa’s expansive windows became the stage for a symphony of raindrops, heralding the arrival of a tempest.

Dong Liang, his disbelief palpable, gazed out at the unfolding storm, his voice laced with incredulity, “Witchcraft! What sorcery have you wrought?” Shortly thereafter, the airwaves were commandeered by an urgent weather announcement, a stark warning of the tempest’s fury.

“Esteemed viewers, heed this urgent bulletin: A tempest of unprecedented might, bearing winds of the twelfth degree and torrential rains, descends upon Changning District of Jiangcheng within the hour. We urge all citizens to exercise utmost caution.”

Dong Liang, his desperation mounting, commanded the servants to contact his parents, to orchestrate his swift transport to a hospital, all the while scoffing at the notion of being ensnared by mere weather, oblivious to the true extent of my capabilities.

Yet, as minutes turned to half an hour, neither salvation nor familial comfort materialized. The live stream’s chat, in contrast, thrived in harmonious accord.

“Deserved fate!”

“A poetic justice, indeed. His impotent wait for rescue brings a certain satisfaction.”

As Dong Liang teetered on the brink of consciousness, the storm abated as abruptly as it had arrived. I cast my gaze skyward, pondering the sudden calm…

Surely, an intervention by a fellow practitioner of the Taoist arts, for my curse was designed to endure. “Ding…” The chime of my phone broke the silence, bearing a message of caution from my master.

“Yulian, tread not the path of folly… For the repercussions may range from the boomerang of karma to the forfeiture of life itself.” I heeded the warning, closing my phone with a sense of finality.

When my attention returned to the realm of the live stream, Dong Liang was being ushered onto a helicopter, his complexion ashen yet his demeanor unyielded, boasting of imminent salvation at Jiangcheng’s premier international hospital, mocking the very notion of fate.

The mood within the live stream darkened at his departure. “A scourge that lingers for a millennium!”

“Such a creature, devoid of empathy, a blight upon society!” “Perhaps, fate will yet have the final say in his surgery.”

“Alas… The odds are slim. The hospital he boasts of is renowned, staffed by medical luminaries from across the globe.”

Rather than concluding the stream, I ventured forth, hailed a cab, and set my course for the very hospital Dong Liang boasted of.

Minutes later, I stood outside the operating room, observing a couple, mirror images of Dong Liang, pacing in distress. My heavenly eye unveiled the scene within: preparations for anesthesia underway.

Seated on a bench, with the live stream still broadcasting to 60,000 souls, I posed a question, “Do you grasp the essence of ‘The virtuous flourish, the wicked falter; fortune and misfortune sprout from one’s deeds’?”

Responses varied from ignorance to half-understood truths, prompting a deeper exploration of karma’s intricate dance.

As the narrative unfolded, with machinery malfunctioning and divine interventions hinted, the tale of Dong Liang reached its inevitable, tragic crescendo. Declared deceased, his demise coincided with the anniversary of his darkest deed, a chilling reminder of the universe’s meticulous accounting.

With the camera once again trained on me, I imparted the lesson woven through the day’s events, “Behold the power of righteous conduct, the sanctuary it affords the soul. Acts of kindness, observed by the cosmos, earn the reverence of spirits and deities alike.”

Thus concludes the banquet of life, and with it, my tenure as the temple master.

Bidding farewell to my virtual congregation, “Our paths may cross again, should fate decree it.”

A figure cloaked in indigo emerged, my master, bearing words of reprimand and wisdom, a reminder of the weighty cost of meddling with fate.

Beside him, my junior brother appeared, his presence a bittersweet comfort in the face of my impending sacrifice.

Master’s words, stern yet laced with concern, and my own reflections on the price paid, underscored the profound, often unseen, consequences of our actions.

As I contemplated the years relinquished, a calculator in hand, the finality of “Reset” echoed, a poignant reminder of life’s impermanence and the enduring quest for understanding and redemption.

A figure in indigo appeared before me, it was my master.

“Yulian, why resort to such extremes? This beast still had seventy years of life ahead, and now you’re bound to accompany him for those seventy years!” My skin visibly aged, my hair whitening before my eyes.

Another indigo silhouette materialized, my junior brother. “Junior brother, have you come to bid me farewell?”

He rolled his eyes, “Master, senior sister! Enough with the theatrics! There’s still one more matter to attend to! Later, think about how we’ll explain this to the Taoist association’s council!”

Master huffed, “What’s there to explain? Yulian has already paid with seventy years of her life for his!”

I echoed with a huff, “Exactly! I’ve sacrificed seventy years of my life, look, even my nails have lost their shine! No, I must calculate how many years I have left to live!”

I pulled out a calculator from my bag and started tapping away. A cheerful electronic beep sounded, “Reset.”

“8973 minus 70 equals…”

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