The Haunted - LightNovelsOnl.com
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It was already 6pm when Chi Yan rushed to the bus terminal. Luckily it was summer, so the sky was still bright and golden. However the gold was already dull, unlike the clear and spritely colors of the morning, giving it a wistful atmosphere. The ticket he had bought was for 7pm, but there was still no sign of the bus 10 mins before the hour. At 7 sharp, a staff arranged for them to go on another bus which had about 5-6 empty seats. Its destination was the same – Suming City, but the ride was longer, as it would be stopping at several towns.h.i.+ps along the way, extending the original two-hour journey to three hours plus. The staff explained that those willing to get on this bus could get back the ticket price difference, if not, they could continue waiting for alternatives, though it was uncertain for much longer.
Chi Yan decided to board the bus, thinking that there wasn't much difference and at least he was heading back. He took a window seat at the back, closely followed by a middle-aged man in a casual jacket, who sat beside him.
By now, Chi Yan's head was aching, since he had been tense the whole day, and having not eaten since lunch. He closed his eyes and leaned against the window to get some rest. When he opened his eyes again, he didn't expect to see a completely dark sky, the bus traversing alongside the looming shadowy mountains. A look at his phone told Chi Yan that it was already 10.20pm, so they should be close to Sumin City. This bus was taking a different route from the one he had taken in the morning, thus he was unfamiliar with the surroundings.
There were only a couple of pa.s.sengers left on the bus, all probably going to Sumin like him. The man who was sitting beside him had since moved away to another seat in the front where most of the pa.s.sengers are, leaving him alone in the second last row.
Chi Yan surfed the internet for a while, but quickly grew weary and started to put his phone away. As the screen turned black, it caught the glow of the streetlamp outside and reflected something behind him – A pale face with flat features, and the eyes looking straight at him.
The hairs all over Chi Yan's body stood up. Pretending to be nonchalant, he turned on his phone again, his hand shaking slightly. His mind was blank with fright, his thoughts frozen. Taking a few deep calming breaths, Chi Yan stealthily reached for one of the peace charms that he had kept in his pocket. To his alarm, the edges of the yellow charm had become charred, as if it had been held over a flame.
He carried on pretending to be oblivious to the thing behind him, and quickly took his bag and moved to the front, sitting behind the man who had sat next to him. Putting his bag on the neighbouring seat, he saw that the bus had already entered the city and the scenery around was becoming more lively. The people around him made him slightly more at ease. But when he looked down at his phone, he realised that the "person" had followed him and was now right behind him again!
From Chi Yan's personal experience, a person's courage was not proportionate to the scares he received. No matter how many times he met with such things, each time he would still be frightened, shocked and panicked, especially when they pointed at him, or followed him. All he learnt after so many years was to keep a calm exterior, and to remain calm enough not to do anything extreme.
He did not know whether the ashes Priest Zhang had prescribed were of any use, but at least the jade charm could still protect him for a period of time. The thought of that kept him settled until they arrived at the bus terminal.
However, that thing followed him down the bus.
Sumin City could not be compared to the hustle and bustle of summer nights at s.h.i.+ming City, where the streets stayed busy deep into the night. It was already 11pm when they disembarked and the bus terminal was in a quieter part of town, requiring a 7-8 minute walk to the main roads.
Chi Yan quickly went after the middle-aged man, and mustered up courage to ask him, "Mister, where do you leave?"
The man tripped slightly, and distanced himself from Chi Yan before replying hesitantly, "Tianlongwan."
Tianlongwan was an estate just beside Chi Yan's. Delighted, Chi Yan chatted slowly with the man as they headed to the main road together. Chi Yan was afraid to get on a car by himself late at night. If he saw something while walking, he could run away and pretended not to have seen a thing. But if the driver of the car he was in was not human, it would be hard to escape. Thus, when they reached the main road, he suggested for them both to share a ride. After a moment's pause, the man agreed.
A cab soon came and Chi Yan got into the front seat while the man took the backseat. Chi Yan secretly took a look, and noticed that the thing stopped following him after they got into the cab.
The driver was a young chap, and reminded Chi Yan, "Bro, please strap on the seat belt. Why don't you sit behind where it's more comfy?"
Chi Yan looked back and smiled, "It's alright, it might get squeezy."
The driver eyed him, but didn't say anything and silently started driving. Since they got on the car, the man kept quiet. But as the two of them were merely acquaintances, Chi Yan didn't mind, and just watched the familiar sights zooming past ouside.
When they arrived, Chi Yan took out his wallet. He looked back and saw that the man had already gotten off and was waiting outside. Tianlongwan was still about 10 minutes away on foot, but it wasn't that far so Chi Yan didn't find it strange.
The driver took the cash, and looked at Chi Yan, almost as if he wanted to say something, but eventually he stayed quiet. Chi Yan got off and the man nodded at him, "Thanks."
Chi Yan thought he was talking about the cab fare, and smiled, "It's nothing." He should be the one thanking him.
The man said, "Well then, I'll be heading home now. Farewell."
Chi Yan smiled and said goodbye, turning to walk to his apartment. Then he heard the man muttered, "There seems to be something on you, so I didn't dare go too close."
The smile on Chi Yan's face froze. He stiffly turned and it was then he saw that under the glaring streetlight, the man walking away did not have a shadow.
Chi Yan's hand shook terribly, and he almost dropped his keys. As quickly as he could, he ran into the building, and didn't even dare to take the lift – he was afraid to meet something inside.
His memories of what happened during his childhood had dimmed, and ever since he got the jade charm from his grandma, he had never 'met' so many ghosts with such frequency. Touching the jade charm on his chest, as well as the little bottle holding Ye Yingzhi's ashes, he silently consoled himself that he would ignore whatever he met, at least they still did not dare to harm him outright.
Finally reaching his doorstep, Chi Yan looked left and right suspisciously before unlocking the door. The moment he closed the door and switched on the lights, his whole body went limp and he slid to the floor. But Chi Yan quickly bolstered himself, and took out the tablet and incense urn he had prepared, setting them neatly on a side table in the living room. It was a weird setup, but Chi Yan lived alone and didn't care about appearances.
According to Priest Zhang, he needed to carry around Ye Yingzhi's ashes and pray to his tablet twice a day, in the morning and at night. Chi Yan didn't dare to be tardy, and as he was already wearing the ashes, he quickly lit up three joss sticks.
The custom-made tablet gleamed darkly. Six characters were engraved on it, "The Spirit of Ye Ying Zhi". Holding the joss sticks, Chi Yan bowed his head and prayed, before placing them into the urn. Behind him, stood a dark shadow, quietly watching on.