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Yuan Mingzhu and Xu Youran agreed to meet at a private room in a teahouse.

“Youran, you looked for me so urgently. Did something happen?”

Xu Youran picked up her teacup and said with a smile, “Am I not allowed to ask you out when all is peaceful and well? I’d like to ask something of you. I know I might be putting you in a spot, but I can’t trust anyone else.”

“You need my help? How can I help you? Feel free to tell me, I’ll definitely lend you a hand as long as it’s within my means.”

Xu Youran explained her request in a calm and unhurried manner, for she had already rehearsed it in her head.

“Well, my biological mother was driven to her death by someone.”

“And?” Yuan Mingzhu asked.

“The people who drove her to her grave are still alive and well. I’m a law-abiding citizen, but I’d really like to avenge my mother, so…”

Yuan Mingzhu instantly understood what she meant. No wonder she was so generous as to give me an entire apartment. Indeed, there was no free lunch in this world.

Turns out she had an ulterior motive for getting close to me.

Yuan Mingzhu was rather at ease since she knew that they would still have to follow the books where personal benefits were involved, although they could remain friends on the surface.

“Youran, I think I’ll return you the apartment…”

“Mingzhu, why are you saying that? I don’t plan on shortchanging you by asking for your help. Apart from this apartment, I’ll give you another two million dollars. How does that sound?”

Yuan Mingzhu was indeed tempted by the hefty sum at the thought of having to slog her guts out at the police station for a meager amount of salary.

“Really?”

“Of course, I will never mistreat my friends. I only came up with this solution because I know it’s the only way to take my revenge without implicating you and me,” said Xu Youran.

“Um… to what extent would you like to exact revenge?”

“I want them dead,” Xu Youran said calmly without hesitation.

“Death?” Yuan Mingzhu asked in astonishment.

“But she knows a psychic medium like yourself. There’s no way to completely harm her unless she’s dead.” Xu Youran took a seat beside Yuan Mingzhu and held her hand tightly before continuing, “Mingzhu, this may only be the second time we’re meeting, but I already consider you as my close friend. You’ll help me, won’t you?”

Yuan Mingzhu stared at her and said, “If you want her dead, I’ll settle it for you on the condition that you give me another three million dollars.”

Xu Youran did not bargain with her and agreed right away, “Alright, but you are to keep this between us.”

“That goes without saying. But I need a possession of hers that she often comes into contact with, like her clothes and other similar items.”

“I’ve brought her birth characters, clothing, and hair samples with me.” She stood up to grab her purse and handed the items to Yuan Mingzhu. “It’s all here. Her name is written on it too.”

“Alright.” Yuan Mingzhu took a look and grabbed it from her.

“Three million dollars,” said Xu Youran, handing her a check.

“You really trust me that much?” Yuan Mingzhu asked, taking the check from her.

“I believe you, absolutely.”

Xu Youran had once sought help from another medium to put a curse on Mrs. Gu. However, it seemed neither she nor Gu Dongcheng would be allowed to enter the ancestral hall now.

Feeling a little uncertain, Yuan Mingzhu said, “I’ve never done anything like this before, if I fail to…”

“Even if you fail, I’ll still let you keep the money,” said Xu Youran.

Yuan Mingzhu was strangely touched by her words. At this very moment, she forgot that she was receiving such kindness at the expense of someone else’s life.

“Since you have so much faith in me, I shall give it a try.”

“By the way, will the curse still work if she has an amulet given by temples?”

“Amulets can only protect someone temporarily,” Yuan Mingzhu answered.

After they parted ways, Yuan Mingzhu went to the bank to deposit the three-million-dollar check into her bank account. She then proceeded to buy some furniture for her new apartment, which was already renovated.

She arranged all the furniture into place after they were delivered to her doorstep. Taking a look at her new home, she felt like she finally had a safe haven.

She turned one of the rooms into a room meant for performing rituals.

She laid some offerings and a joss urn on the altar before picking up a red brush to scribble the information given by Xu Youran onto a yellow-colored joss paper.

She then placed the paper onto the altar and allowed it to dry. Without even taking a break, she proceeded to take out a few pieces of fabric and sewed them together to make a puppet.

Half an hour later, she was done sewing.

All the preparations had been made.

She then lit an incense stick and stuck it into a joss urn, after which she placed the dry joss paper beside the urn. At last, she placed the puppet into the metal plate, which was laid atop the piece of joss paper.

The setup was placed on an incline.

She then set the clothes and hair samples on fire.

After they had gone up in flames, she knelt down onto a praying mat and began kowtowing solemnly while chanting a spell.

She kowtowed a total of thirty times.

She felt a sense of relief upon sight of the puppet abruptly jerking inside the metal plate.

Yuan Mingzhu left the apartment after performing the ritual.

Wrapping herself in layers of clothes, she made her way to the black market.

She bought some oil derived from corpses.

The oil came at a hefty price tag, costing tens of thousands for a small vial.

However, she purchased it without hesitation, for she knew that it would boost the effects of the ritual.

Upon returning home, she poured the oil over the puppet before chanting another spell.

Yuan Mingzhu exited the room and sat on the couch in the living room. She took a good look around the house before giving her mother a call.

“Mother, would you like to move in with me?”

“…”

“Well, then take care of yourself at home. Call me if you ever need anything. I’ll come home to visit you often.”

“…”

“Sure.”

After hanging up the phone, Yuan Mingzhu sank into a trance while hugging her knees. She was initially ill at ease about the entire situation, but her uneasiness soon vanished at the thought of the apartment and the three million dollars she received as a reward.

The next morning, Jin Qingyan visited Ling Ciye at his apartment. “Why did you bother discussing the deal yourself when you could’ve just gotten someone else to do it for you?” said Jin Qingyan, staring at Ling Ciye, who was lying on the bed.

“This is a huge deal, I had to discuss it myself. But fortunately, the contract has already been signed, although I had to suffer two gunshot wounds. By the way, I forgot to tell you about something,” Ling Ciye said, smiling.

Jin Qingyan sat on the chair and asked, “What is it?”

“My employees at my underground gambling den told me that they saw your father there.”

“Which gambling den?” Jin Qingyan asked.

“The one at Yangxia Road.”

“Oh, okay. Ciye, as Qingyue’s brother, I’d like to know how you truly feel about her.”

“We’re already dating, what do you think?” Ling Ciye answered in a relaxed manner.

“Your parents…”

“I’ll find a time to tell them about it once our relationship is stable.”