779 A Million Times for You 141
Rubbing his temples, Tuoba Gucheng asked, "What is it?"
"It's something that Shi Qingzhou's mother had left her. Your grandfather and I know clearly what it is. Back then, Shi Qingzhou's mother was almost invincible. No one could have subdued her if it weren't because someone had threatened her by abducting Shi Qingzhou. That was how formidable she was. Shi Qingzhou then told your grandfather that her mother was practicing some form of witchcraft that had the power to allow one to go without eating, drinking, or answering nature's calls. Your grandfather had interrogated Shi Qingzhou repeatedly, but we never managed to find out where the book was," Shi Xiaoyu explained.
"Perhaps it has been destroyed," said Tuoba Gucheng.
"Do you take her for a fool? How could she possibly destroy something so important? I'll never believe it. Gucheng, have you ever thought about the unimaginable consequences that would ensue if Shi Qingzhou were to continue to spread the use of witchcraft with that book? Do you think that she'll let me off after all that I've done to her? She'll definitely garner all the support she can get and impart her skills of witchcraft to some people. She'd probably even try and kill me. Not to mention, that daughter of hers is not to be trifled with at all. If she hands that book to her daughter, the results would be dire. Son, if you can get your hands on that book, I promise you I won't try and find trouble with Shi Qingzhou and her daughter again. Will that do?"
Noticing how serious she seemed, Tuoba Gucheng asked, "Is that book really so mystical?"
"Why would I lie to you? If you don't believe me, call your maternal grandfather and ask him about it. This is absolutely real. Shi Qingzhou's mother allowed herself to be burned to death willingly. Otherwise, I doubt there'd be anyone who can handle her now," Shi Xiaoyu said earnestly.
"Does Father know about this?"
"Of course not. Why would he?"
After much thought, Tuoba Gucheng decided that his mother probably wouldn't cook up such a far-fetched story. "You didn't manage to find out anything despite having locked her up for so many years. Maybe she was just duping you and such a book doesn't exist at all."
Shi Xiaoyu was certain about the existence of the book and said, "Gucheng, it seems like you're still doubtful about my words. Shi Qingzhou's mother was initially only psychic. According to your grandfather, she was a very timid person who did not even dare to kill a chicken and was rather mild-mannered as well. All of a sudden, she changed drastically and went on a rampage. Your paternal grandmother knows about this too. If you don't believe me, you may ask her about it. Your paternal grandparents were the ones who ordered for Shi Qingzhou to be killed back then."
"I don't understand, you said that Shi Qingzhou has had the book for years. If she really practiced witchcraft, would she have been imprisoned by you for years?"
Plagued with worry, Shi Xiaoyu said, "She may not have practiced it back then, but witchcraft is a very sinister entity. We never know if she has acquired the skills now, but I have a strong feeling that she has already practiced it."
Shi Xiaoyu was extremely perturbed and insecure upon seeing her son's nonchalance. She frantically said, "Son, why aren't you worried at all? We can't give them any chances. Otherwise, things are going to get out of hand soon enough! Catch An Xiaoning and lock her up, then threaten Shi Qingzhou, just like how those people had threatened Shi Qingzhou's mother. She'll definitely surrender the book then. That's the simplest solution at hand."
"Why didn't you use… this simplest solution back then? Why didn't you?" Tuoba Gucheng questioned.
"It's all because of your father. He immediately did everything in his power to stop me when he found out that I tried to touch An Xiaoning. Your maternal grandfather even called to berate me last night, blaming me for not getting rid of Shi Qingzhou sooner. Everything would be fine as long as she's dead."
Tuoba Gucheng stood up and said, "Is Grandpa wrong? At the end of the day, you allowed things to get out of your control simply because you wanted to get your hands on that book and enjoy the thrill of torturing Shi Qingzhou."
"I was being too silly and careless. Son, you can't repeat the mistake I committed. Nab An Xiaoning now and lock her up, then threaten Shi Qingzhou. She'll definitely surrender the book for her daughter's sake," said Shi Qingzhou, staring at her son with her eyes wide open.
"I'll see to it."
He headed to his paternal grandmother's place.
The elderly lady was basking in the sun while carrying her cat in her arms. Upon the sight of Tuoba Gucheng, she exclaimed merrily, "What brings you here? My precious grandson!"
"Grandma, I've been busy lately. I came here to see you right away once I'm free."
"Have a seat." She cleared her throat and continued, "I didn't attend the ceremony yesterday and yet, that ill-mannered lass didn't even have the willingness to come and visit me. Whatever, I only need one granddaughter, and that is Danxue."
"Grandma, I'd like to ask you about something."
The elderly lady sighed and said, "I knew you came here with a hidden agenda. You're so busy with political affairs every day, how could you possibly be so free as to come here and visit me?"
"Grandma, do you know about Shi Qingzhou's mother?"
"Yes, everyone knows who she was. She caused such a stir back then," she answered, patting her cat, which then purred and jumped onto the ground, where it lay with its eyes closed.
"Is what happened to her mother true? What exactly happened back then?"
"Why are you asking me about this? Did your mother tell you?"
"Yes, I'd like to find out more."
The elderly lady stared at him earnestly and said, "Your grandfather was informed about her mother's matters back then. I was there when he gave the orders to execute her. There was a video of that woman too. She seemed to have really been possessed. She was killing lives without blinking at all, so many people died because of her. We found out much later that Shi Qingzhou was her daughter. Yet, your uncle was bent on marrying Shi Qingzhou. How could your grandfather and I agree to that? Hence, we ordered for her to be executed. I can't believe she didn't die at all and even gave birth to a daughter. How unexpected. Anything is really possible in this world."
"My mother said that Shi Qingzhou's mother acted that way because she had been practicing a form of witchcraft. The book of witchcraft techniques is apparently with Shi Qingzhou now. I don't know if that's real or not."
The elderly lady gasped and asked, "Is that true? How did your mother find out, then?"
"She said that Shi Qingzhou told my maternal grandfather."
"Gucheng, you must verify this as soon as possible. If it's true, you mustn't let that book be circulated. I was really terrified when I watched that horrifying video back then. Even your grandfather was petrified as well. I'm sure you can imagine how formidable that thing is. We can't afford to delay any further. Hurry and verify it."
After leaving his grandmother's place, Tuoba Gucheng called his maternal grandfather to his office.
Despite being almost eighty years old, Old Mr. Shi was still strong and healthy. The first thing he said upon seeing Tuoba Gucheng was to tell him to kill Shi Qingzhou at once.
"Grandpa, she's your biological daughter."
"Grandson, even if you were to show mercy on her, she might not spare you or your mother. That book of witchcraft is in her hands. I didn't think much about it because I thought that she was really dead back then. I was so infuriated that I couldn't sleep when your mother told me about everything last night."
Tuoba Gucheng handed him a cup of tea and said, "Does that book really exist?"