Chapter 36: Flayed Skin
“Brother Su, the weather is pretty bad. Why did you come here?” Mu Yi asked while standing on a big stone as Su Jinlun caught his breath.
“I feel ashamed, but my grandfather asked me to come and pick you up,” Su Jinlun said. He looked embarrassed. After all, it was heavily snowing, making it difficult to walk on the road. Luckily, Jinlun knew the road well and managed to avoid any danger.
“Mister Su wants to see me? Is there a problem?” Mu Yi asked while frowning.
If there was a problem, Mu Yi wouldn’t mind going. After all, they had treated him well and supported his cultivation, he would offer help to those who supported him.
“Not in the clan but in the village. Many people are asking my grandfather for help, and they are very anxious. However, my grandfather can’t be of help, so he needs to request your assistance. Of course, he also said that it didn’t matter if you had no time,” Su Jinlun said.
“Oh, what is the problem in the village?” Mu Yi asked curiously. He wasn’t selfish, so even if what happened didn’t have much to do with the Su Clan, he would still help because he had spent time living in the village. Because of this, what happened in the village still concerned him, and he also had to give Su Chongshan face.
He had spent two months at the top of the mountain without leaving, so going down to the village would do him some good too.
“Yesterday morning, someone found his son-in-law dead in a room, and the most terrifying thing was that his skin was flayed. He didn’t have any skin left on his body.” Su Jinlun said after taking a deep breath.
“What? His skin was flayed?” Mu Yi’s heart started pounding. How terrifying and cruel. What was going on in the village?
And why did Su Chongshan think Mu Yi could help? Did he think that the murderer wasn’t a human?
“Indeed. I also went and had a look, and it was shocking. When the woman woke up, she found her husband was dead next to her with his skin flayed. She almost went insane,” Su Jinlun said.
He then sighed and said, “And someone also noticed that his muscles were still extremely tense, which could indicate that the his skin was flayed while he was alive and that he was only killed after his skin was removed.”
“His wife was sleeping next to him, and she didn’t realize that his skin was being flayed?” Mu Yi said while frowning. If that was the case, he understood why Su Chongshan wanted his help.
An ordinary killer wouldn’t have been able to flay his victim alive without the wife noticing. Mu Yi couldn’t help but think about Xugui. Of course, Xugui might not be the murderer. However, Mu Yi read about the types of people who raised ferocious ghosts in the book: The more violent and painful the death was, the better the resulting ghost would be. Maybe that was the murderer’s goal.
But no matter what, Mu Yi had to go and see for himself.
He had studied the book frequently in these past two months. He even understood the ghost controlling technique much better than before, but he hadn’t started practicing it because he had no ghost to practice it on. Nian Nuer was almost like a sister to him now, so he wouldn’t use it on her.
However, he had also started to understand how the Ghost King Banner worked. He could use the strength of his mind to activate it and had started establishing a connection with it. He had been trying to activate it again and had succeeded.
With this, Mu Yi would have one more way to protect himself when traveling.
“Indeed, the wife said that,” Su Jinlun said while nodding. If the circumstances of the murder hadn’t been that atrocious, they wouldn’t have called Mu Yi. Mu Yi was a guest of honor of the Su Clan, but they couldn’t request him to settle every little problem they had.
“Alright, I’ll come down to the village.” Mu Yi said without hesitating. Su Jinlun waited inside the Mountain God Temple while Mu Yi went behind the temple to the bamboo forest to speak with Nian Nuer. He wasn’t sure if he’d be able to come back by evening and wanted to let her know.
Nian Nuer wanted to follow him, but she couldn’t travel too far from the bamboo forest. Also, he couldn’t put her in the Ghost King Banner because he hadn’t finished fixing it and he didn’t know how to use it properly. Mu Yi wanted to be able to use it perfectly before allowing her inside the banner. He preferred to be thorough, so he did not regret his actions later.
Because of this, Nian Nuer could only stay in the bamboo forest for the time being. Mu Yi promised her that he would come back as soon as possible.
He took a small traveling bag and followed Su Jinlun down the mountain.
There was a lot of snow on the mountain, but because it was only Su Jinlun who would come up the mountain in such weather, it was easier to get down; all they had to do was follow Su Jinlun’s footprints back down. When they arrived at the foot of the mountain, they got onto a wagon and went to the victims house.
At the door, Mu Yi glanced around and asked, “The couple haven’t been married for that long, right?”
“Indeed, they got married when… hm… around the same time you came to my clan?” Su Jinlun said. He was surprised while talking.
“I see. Indeed,” Mu Yi said while nodding. He looked pensive. He remembered seeing a wedding procession when we had gone to the Su Clan. How strange. He hadn’t thought that the husband would be killed and have his skin flayed two months later. Did it have anything to do with what happened with the Su clan?
Mu Yi wasn’t sure, and he hadn’t seen the victim yet anyway, so it was too early to draw conclusions.
When Mu Yi entered the house, Su Chongshan was there to greet him. Su Chongshan had invited him to come, so Mu Yi felt obliged to come.
There was a wealthy looking old man next to him, and he looked anxious.
“Taoist priest, sorry for disturbing you, especially when the weather is so bad. Please forgive me,” Su Chongshan said apologetically.
“No problem. You’re too polite,” Mu Yi replied. Su Chongshan had a deep respect for Mu Yi after everything he had done.
“Taoist priest, this is Counselor Peng,” Su Chongshan said.
Actually, Su Jinlun had already told Mu Yi the details of the story. The old man who looked extremely wealthy was Peng Songlai, and he came from a family that owned a lot of property in the village. He also had two beautiful daughters. One of them was married to the County Magistrate, and the youngest daughter was just married and lived at home. Peng Songlai’s youngest son-in-law lived at home and managed internal affairs, while the older son-in-law managed external affairs.
The happy event had occurred two months ago, yet now they had to make funeral arrangements for his youngest son-in-law. This was horrible for his daughter, especially because she was pregnant, putting her in a very difficult situation.
Counselor Peng was furious and scared at the same time.
He had sent a letter to his eldest son-in-law, and the eldest son-in-law had then sent an investigator and a coroner. The coroner carried out an autopsy on the corpse and came to the conclusion that the person had been flayed alive and then killed.
The investigator searched for any clues that might link to the murder, but he had found nothing.
For that reason, Counselor Peng had asked Su Chongshan for help because everybody in the village had some news about what happened in the Su Clan.
Su Chongshan had probably accepted to help Counselor Peng because Counselor Peng’s eldest daughter was married to the County Magistrate.
“Hello, Taoist priest. I am Peng Songlai.”