At the beginning of July, a large temple fair would be held near a century-old temple in the city, which would last for a week.

       Xi Anling came to find Song Jun, hoping to invite him to the temple fair over the weekend. After some hesitation, Song Jun agreed to Xi Anling’s invitation but also invited Feng Junyuan to join them.

       Song Jun thought of taking this opportunity to visit the temple, offering prayers for Xia Hongshen and burning incense. He hoped that Xia Hongshen would recover soon, as he couldn’t stop worrying about it every day, and his sleep was restless every night.

       They went there in the afternoon that day, planning to stop by the temple fair to have some snacks for dinner.

       After arriving, Xi Anling couldn’t help but wander around. She had to go to almost all the stalls to take a look before she felt satisfied.

       Song Jun stood in front of a small stall, picked up a bell, and jingled it in his hand. Suddenly, he had the idea of giving this bell to Xia Hongshen. Ideally, he thought, he could first take it to the temple and have a master bless it. Then, Xia Hongshen could wear it around his neck. No, wait, it was meant for the little cat to wear…

       “What?” Xi Anling suddenly came over, reached out, snatched the bell from Song Jun’s hand, and said, “The bell.”

       Song Jun then remembered that Xia Hongshen already had a bell. Although he sometimes seemed a little disgusted with it, it was an immortal weapon at least, and it was far inferior to his own.

       Feeling a little frustrated, Song Jun turned around and walked towards other stalls.

       There were too many people at the temple fair. After Song Jun bought fried crepes in front of a small stall, he turned around and found that Xi Anling and Feng Junyuan were gone.

       Song Jun grabbed the crepes and squeezed into the crowd. He had only walked a few steps when he saw a woman blocking him.

       The woman was wearing Hanfu1Hanfu are the traditional styles of clothing worn by the Han Chinese., and her hair was in a bun. It didn’t look very strange in this kind of temple environment, but she still attracted a lot of attention from the people around her.

       Song Jun was slightly surprised when she stopped him.

       The woman smiled at Song Jun and said, “Little Brother, would you like to have your fortune told?”

       Song Jun was stunned for a moment, thinking it was a scammer from somewhere, but refused immediately, “No need.”

       The woman was not angry. She had a beautiful smile and an elegant posture. This dress suited her perfectly. She said, “I won’t charge you any money. I just want to give you a message. Those born under an inauspicious fate may inadvertently harm themselves by harming others.”

       Song Jun looked at her in shock when he heard this.

       After the woman finished speaking, she smiled gently, turned and left the crowd.

       However, Song Jun looked at her fading figure, feeling bewildered and at a loss for a long time. He thought the woman’s words seemed to be directed at him – born under an inauspicious fate? Harming oneself by harming others? What did it mean? Was she implying that Senior Brother Xia’s injury was a consequence of his involvement?

       “What’s wrong?” Xi Anling suddenly slapped him from behind.

       Song Jun shook his head, saying there was nothing wrong. However, even when Feng Junyuan and the others came to call him into the temple later, he still couldn’t shake off the lingering unease from the woman’s words.

       After returning from the temple fair that night, Song Jun just stepped onto the second floor of the dormitory and found that Xia Hongshen’s door was open.

       “Senior Brother Xia!” Song Jun couldn’t hide his excitement and ran towards Xia Hongshen’s room.

       In the end, it turned out that when he ran over, he found that apart from Xia Hongshen, Long Xing was surprisingly there as well, and immediately felt embarrassed.

       Xia Hongshen sat beside the bed and waved to him.

       Song Jun hurried over and asked, “Is the injury healed?”

       Xia Hongshen raised his trousers slightly and said, “It’s okay.”

       Song Jun squatted at his feet and looked down and saw that the injury on his leg had indeed healed.

       “What happened?” Song Jun couldn’t help asking.

       Long Xing looked at Xia Hongshen.

       Xia Hongshen touched Song Jun’s head and said, “It was eroded by the demonic energy.”

       “Demonic energy?” When Song Jun heard what Xia Hongshen said, he immediately thought of what Xiang Wenxi had mentioned when she came to see him earlier. Unable to contain his fear, he said to Xia Hongshen, “I heard from Xiang Wenxi that the owner of that Demon Market has quite a background. He warned us to be cautious, as he might seek revenge.”

       “Owner of Demon Market, huh,” Xia Hongshen said thoughtfully upon hearing this.

       Long Xing reminded him, “The wound on your leg was bitten by those demonic beasts guarding the Demon Market.”

       Xia Hongshen nodded, “I understand. The owner of the demonic market should indeed be a demonic being. But why would tamed demonic beasts carry demonic energy?”

       When he asked this, Long Xing and Song Jun were even more at a loss as to how to answer.

       Unable to figure things out immediately, Long Xing stood up and took his leave. These days had been challenging for him, and with Yun Po still not returning to the temple, he had taken Xia Hongshen to seek assistance from the abbot. They stayed in the temple for some time until the abbot helped cleanse the demonic energy from Xia Hongshen’s wound.

       Once the demonic energy was dispelled, the wound began to heal on its own. Long Xing hurried back with Xia Hongshen. He had taken several days off, and now he was anxious to return and officially end his leave to resume work.

       With Long Xing gone, only Song Jun and Xia Hongshen remained, and he felt a bit awkward, especially after learning that Xia Hongshen was the little black cat.

       Song Jun said, “You can rest. I’ll go back first.”

       Xia Hongshen suddenly called out, “Chunjun.”

       Song Jun turned to look at him in surprise. Ever since he took him away from the demon market that day, Xia Hongshen had been drowsy due to injuries. Song Jun also firmly believed that he was not Chunjun, so he didn’t ask him about it, but he didn’t expect that Xia Hongshen would take the initiative to mention it now.

       “I’m not Chunjun,” Song Jun shook his head.

       Xia Hongshen asked him calmly, “Why aren’t you?”

       Song Jun was momentarily stunned by the question. He couldn’t quite understand why he was so certain that he wasn’t the one, but a voice in his head kept insisting that he wasn’t. He could only say, “If I were, why am I still just an ordinary student? I haven’t felt any special powers within me, and I don’t have any memories of the past.”

       Upon hearing this, Xia Hongshen simply told him, “You are Chunjun, there’s no need for doubt.”

       Song Jun shook his head. He didn’t know what to say, so he said, “You can rest. I’m going back.”

       It was almost nine o’clock in the evening when Long Xing returned to his rented house. Long Xing lived in a shared apartment. His roommate was not a policeman but a boy who was still in college. He often stayed at home playing games and rarely went out.

       When Long Xing returned, his roommate was already asleep, and the room’s door was tightly shut. Long Xing took a shower, then went back to his own room, closed the door, and spent some time playing on his phone while sitting on the bed.

       Just when he turned off the lights and was about to go to sleep, he suddenly heard a slight movement from next door. The college student seemed to have suddenly opened the door and kept making small noises.

       At first, Long Xing thought he was looking for something to eat and didn’t pay attention. However, the noise lasted for a long time, and Long Xing finally couldn’t help but get up and open the door.

       The room was pitch black, with no lights on in the living room or the bedroom. Only a faint silhouette sitting on the sofa could be vaguely discerned.

       “Ma Yang?” Long Xing called the college student’s name.

       The other party did not respond to him.

       Long Xing walked to the door and fumbled to turn on the ceiling light in the living room. The moment the light enveloped him, he saw the college student sitting on the sofa with blood all over his face.

       At first, Long Xing thought he was injured and hurriedly went to take a look, only to find that his face was covered with red spots. The blood on his face was clearly caused by scratching the skin with his nails. At this time, he was still scratching his chest, raised his head as he looked at Long Xing and said, “It’s so itchy.”

       Long Xing felt his scalp numb and said, “Stop scratching it; it’s already broken!”

       He sent the roommate to a nearby hospital overnight.

       After arriving at the hospital, Long Xing discovered in the emergency department that many people came to the emergency department because of skin problems. First, they developed red spots and rashes, and then due to severe itching, the patients scratched the spots with their hands and started to bleed. It was like some terrible infectious disease, and the cause was unknown for the time being.

       Since that day, there had been reports in the city about a new infectious disease, and the citizens were advised to be cautious of early symptoms, seek medical attention promptly, and avoid crowded places.

       Song Jun saw the news on the TV in the campus cafeteria while having lunch. However, due to the summer vacation, there were not many people on campus, and the news didn’t elicit much reaction. It was only the next day, when Song Jun returned to the appraisal centre, that he found out his senior sister had taken a leave of absence.

       The teacher at the laboratory told Song Jun that the senior sister was infected with a new infectious disease and asked Song Jun to be careful and it would be best to go to the hospital for a check-up.

       Song Jun nodded and said he understood.

       That night, when Song Jun took a shower in the water room, he checked his whole body and found no red spots. But he still felt a little worried. After taking a bath, Song Jun ran to knock on Xia Hongshen’s door and asked him to help him check if there was anything growing on the back of his neck.

       Xia Hongshen checked him carefully and asked him to take off his T-shirt, saying that he wanted to check his back.

       So Song Jun hesitantly took off his T-shirt and stood in front of Xia Hongshen with his back to him to let him see.

       After looking at it, Xia Hongshen said, “There is nothing.”

       Song Jun put the T-shirt back on and, at the same time, heard Xia Hongshen say, “You won’t catch it easily.”

       “Huh?” Song Jun was a little surprised that he said this.

       Xia Hongshen sat in front of the computer desk, one leg propped up, and, in a rare occassion, wearing glasses. He said, “This is not an ordinary infectious disease; it seems like it’s been affected by demonic energy.”

       Song Jun’s eyes widened in disbelief.

       Xia Hongshen supported his chin with one hand and seemed to be thinking about this issue as well. He said, “The spread of demonic energy…how could this happen?”

       Song Jun was even more confused and sat down beside Xia Hongshen’s bed.

       Xia Hongshen seemed to be talking to himself, “It seems to have happened after we went to the Demon Market. I don’t know where it started to spread. Could it be related to the owner of the Demon Market?”

       Song Jun asked softly, “Erosion by demonic energy? What will happen to these people? Will they… die?”

       Xia Hongshen tapped his arm lightly with his left hand, “For now, it hasn’t happened, but if left unchecked, it might lead to demonic transformation.”

       Surprised, Song Jun stood up abruptly. “What kind of joke is this?” he exclaimed. He felt like Xia Hongshen had probably read too many fantasy novels. Even though he had accepted the existence of immortals and supernatural beings in this world, the idea of a city-wide demonic transformation and a bio-hazard sounded too unreal.

       Xia Hongshen seemed to know what he was thinking and said, “Of course, it won’t happen like you are worried about. There is still a balance in the natural order. If this city were completely infected by demonic energy, the celestial being above would abandon the city, burying it along with the demonic energy. After destruction, there is always rebirth. Humans have a powerful ability to propagate, and the heavens show no mercy.”

       Song Jun’s face changed because he felt that what Xia Hongshen said might be the truth.

       Xia Hongshen thought for a moment and asked Song Jun, “Can you still find the wolf demon and the little fox?”

       Song Jun recalled the house that Ling Xiao and the others took back from that old building. Xiang Wenxi once said that it was Ling Xiao’s home.

       “Maybe,” he said uncertainly.

       “I want to meet them. Please come with me,” Xia Hongshen said to Song Jun.

       Song Jun looked at Xia Hongshen’s expression and guessed that he might want to find out the source of the spread of demonic energy. He nodded quickly and said, “Okay.”

       The next evening, Song Jun came out from work at the laboratory and saw the little black cat that was Xia Hongshen sitting in front of the Forensic Medicine building, waiting for him.

       Song Jun walked up to him and asked in silence for a while, “You want to go like this?”

       The little black cat answered him, “Meow~”

       Song Jun picked him up and took a taxi to the school gate.

       The street looked very bleak these days. Because it was close to the hospital, there were slightly more pedestrians coming and going, but they were also in a hurry, and most of them were wearing masks.

       After finally stopping a taxi, the driver repeatedly warned Song Jun not to let his cat scratch the seat and not to urinate indiscriminately.

       Song Jun was a little embarrassed and said, “He won’t.”

       After getting in the car, Song Jun saw the little black cat lying on the car window looking out, so he went over and saw a man suddenly fall to the ground on the side of the road, desperately reaching out to scratch his face, and everyone around him ran away and didn’t dare to get close.

       “Ah—” the driver suddenly sighed and said, “If this continues, I won’t dare to do work tomorrow. I’d better go home and rest for a few days.”

       When Song Jun heard this, he lowered his head to look at the little black cat. The little black cat also raised its head and looked at him.

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