Zhang Yuan’s father might not have even cared that he had lost the saber-shaped stone. When his son had found it from some corner in the house, he had only taken it as an opportunity to beat the child up. Otherwise, Zhang Yuan’s father wasn’t someone who would take ancestral heirlooms seriously.
It was just a piece of broken stone, for heaven’s sake! Even if it was an ancestral inheritance, it wasn’t worth much. If Zhang Yuan hadn’t found it, his father probably would not have known that it existed.
Trying to remember that specific incident, Li Hao walked to the corner of the courtyard. There were small stones piled up on one side. They were used to repair walls.
Li Hao looked at the stones but there was none that matched the one in his memory. He recalled that that particular stone had been similar to a knife.
‘There is someone watching me, it might not be a good idea to rummage through things openly,’ thought Li Hao.
Black Panther had been silent all this while. Now it whined in a low voice. It was the sound of fear. Black Panther whimpered again. Li Hao’s body turned numb. He followed Black Panther’s gaze. His heart pounded in fear.
The door of the house had been closed. He remembered closing it when he entered. But now, it was open slightly. A red tint appeared at the crack. ‘The red shadow,’ thought Li Hao anxiously.
His heart beat violently. The red shadow was here. He had only vaguely seen it on Zhang Yuan when he died. But how was it here? According to his knowledge, the red shadow should appear only on rainy days or other such bad weather. Why was it here at the Zhang family residence?
‘Was it here at Zhang Yuan’s house all this time searching for the saber?’ Cold sweat beaded Li Hao’s forehead.
He wasn’t prepared to face the red shadow. It was too early. If it attacked and burned him, he could do nothing!
‘Damn it! I didn’t even contact the Night Patrollers!’ thought Li Hao.
He was frozen on the spot. He was trembling. He wanted to run. But if he did, then whoever was watching him would know he could see the red shadow. That would create its own set of problems.
If they thought he couldn’t see it like most ordinary people. He shouldn’t have a reason to be afraid.
Thoughts flashed into his mind in a jumble. Black Panther was barking now.
“Be quiet!” he berated the dog.
“Who is it? I am the Chief Patrol Officer from the Inspection Office. Who’s inside?” said Li Hao. He raised his Vortex Mk III and aimed. “Is someone there? Come out!”
He had seen a part of the red shadow; he was sure of it. He resisted the urge to go find it. He stared at the main door with his pistol ready.
Li Hao slowly approached the main door. He strode forward in the last few steps and kicked open the door. The loud bang was enough to attract the attention of whoever was nearby, but he didn’t care.
There was a rustling sound outside. He looked at the dark street. “Who’s there? I am the Chief Patrol Officer from the Inspection Office. If you don’t reveal yourself, I will shoot!” said Li Hao.
His forehead was covered in sweat. His arms trembled. At his feet, Black Panther came to a halt. There was nothing there. Li Hao saw from the corner of his eyes that the red shadow was on his left. It was so close to him that it almost touched the side of his face.
Li Hao forced himself not to react. He pretended as if he didn’t see it. He looked at the?main house.
“No one?” Li Hao’s voice almost faltered. “F*uck!” cursed Li Hao. “Fortunately, none of my colleagues are here. Otherwise, I would be a laughingstock! I almost thought a murderer was hiding in the shadows.”
He let out a breath and pretended to relax as if he couldn’t see the red shadow at all. He wiped the sweat from his forehead and looked down at Black Panther. He smacked it gently on the head. “Silly dog! Why are you barking for no reason? You scared me to death!”
Black Panther was still scared. It looked at Li Hao as if asking whether he could see it. ‘I see it!’ thought Li Hao.
The red shadow was floating above the dog’s head. When Li Hao had reached down to smack the dog on the head, his hand had passed through the red shadow, He felt nothing. Only an invisible coldness that seemed to seep into his arm.
He had not felt any obstruction. ‘It almost looks invisible and feels invisible.’
Li Hao wanted to find out more. He felt bolder. He patted Black Panther’s head so he could touch the red shadow again, just to make sure. It felt like nothing.
‘Damn it! I guess that means firearms are useless!’ thought Li Hao.
Li Hao was terrified but he maintained his composure. Whoever was watching him didn’t know he could see the red shadow, he needed for them to think that way.
Li Hao smacked the dog on the head again. “Stupid dog! Bark again and I will leave you here! I was so scared I almost called Professor Yuan to send people from the Inspection Office and the academy.”
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