The Haunted - LightNovelsOnl.com
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Chi Yan slept unexpectedly well that night, either being psychologically comforted by Third Master Ye's ashes, or it really protected him. Of course, he could have just been really tired. This good night's sleep helped him recover from his sleep debt, and Chi Yan felt energetic upon waking up. He cooked a pot of instant noodles and served a bowl to Ye Yingzhi first, placing it on the altar. Due to his childhood experiences, Chi Yan was a staunch believer of such practices. Since he had asked for Mr Ye's help, he would pray sincerely. Putting the bowl down, he prayed, "Excuse my tardiness for waking up late. Please have a simple meal with me."
Three months then pa.s.sed after this, the weather gradually turning cool. Chi Yan had been living peacefully, not even having that many nightmares anymore. As he was a homebody and his work didn't require him to network, his life was returning to running like clockwork before the period of ghostly encounters. He went to work in the morning, and returned from work at night, making dinner at home. More and more he felt that Priest Zhang's method was very effective, that Ye Yingzhi’s ashes was protecting him. He went back to the temple to donate some money to give thanks for his wish being granted. He also never forgot to set aside food for Master Ye, living as if there was two persons in this household.
What Chi Yan couldn't see was a human-shaped shadow following him ubiquitously everywhere, its silhouette becoming sharper and sharper.
At mealtimes, the shadow wouldn't touch the food on the altar, but would sit next to him, watching him; when he was showering, the shadow would also be standing behind the shower curtain, waiting; in the night, the shadow would lie beside him on his queen sized bed, no further than an arm's length.
Chi Yan was no longer living alone, but he was unaware, submerged in the mirage of peace, thinking he had found a wonderful cure-all elixir.
As it was not comfortable wearing both the jade and the gla.s.s bottle of ashes, Chi Yan tested things out by putting the jade in his workbag, only wearing the ashes. Everything remained normal, even when he was not carrying the bag, thus he became bolder and simply kept the jade pendent in his bedside drawer.
One day in November, Chi Yan's high school friend Xu Jiang asked him out.
While Chi Yan studied at a local university, Xu Jiang went to the state's Sumin University, continuing on with his PhD after completing his degree. Sumin Uni's campus was near the countryside and it was rumoured that one could see the fields of golden crops from the rooftop of the Dept of Mathematics. Not far from the school was Sumin Lake. While it was manmade, it was still of considerable size and deep. It was said that it was hard to be rescued once one fell in, even at the shallow parts where the lake bed was made of soft mud, thus there were many drowning incidents over the past few years, some accidents, others intentional.
Chi Yan was good friends with Xu Jiang in high school, and they chatted non-stop as they strolled along the lake. The scenery around the lake had turned desolate, the yellowing plants and brisk wind creating an atmosphere of dreariness. With only a windbreaker on, Chi Yan felt quite cold, but just as he was going to suggest heading to a cafe, Xu Jiang's attention was grabbed by something in the distance.
Chi Yan followed his gaze and saw a group of people near the lake, with police cars and an ambulance. Xu Jiang sighed, "Something must have happened again."
Xu Jiang was a busy-body and liked to get involve with everything, no matter good or bad. So even though he had already deduced that an accident had happened, he still pulled Chi Yan over to take a look. In the past, Chi Yan would have stayed a mile away, and would never have willingly went over. But as the saying went, "once accustomed to extravagance, it was hard to live frugally". At the beginning of the past three months, Chi Yan would still b.u.mp into a few suspicious shadows at night, or got awakened by nightmares. But as he prayed to Ye Yingzhi's tablet, the ashes became more and more effective, such that he didn't encounter any supernatural incidents recently. This sort of peace and stability didn't even happen when he was a student, wearing the jade pendant and being surrounded by the vitality of young people. Chi Yan had even began to doubt what he had experienced for the past 20 years.
Having lived in unprecedented comfort, Chi Yan unconsciously let his guard down, and followed Xu Jiang over.
A body half covered in a white cloth laid on the ground, with a professional looking person squatting next to it, examining something on the ground. From Chi Yan's angle, he could see the white bloated body, and the exposed nose with a tinge of red.
Xu Jiang could not bear to look at it, and frantically pulled Chi Yan away, "Let's go, let's go, ay, my fault for forgetting how timid you were. You always avoided such things in high school, not even daring to listen to ghost stories."
Once in high school, when supernatural things sparked the curiosity of youths, Chi Yan was dragged to a ghost story telling outing, and eventually ended up having a raging fever for three days. Chi Yan thought to himself that it wasn't that he was timid, and he hadn't came down with fever just from being scared. That day, when everyone was gathered around, he had strongly felt the presence of something else, and saw faint outlines of 'people' surrounding them, listening in.
Though his grandparents pampered him, his grandma had scolded him fiercely over that incident. Chi Yan felt guilty when he thought of how his grandma had laboured to protect him, and became cautious after that incident, keeping away from such events of 'unnecessary risks'.
But things had improved a lot since then.
As Chi Yan prepared to turn away with Xu Jiang pulling him, he felt someone looking at him. Instinctively, he looked over, and realised that among the bystanders watching, there was someone else. This 'person's' body was bloated and pale, his face white except for the tinge of red on his nose. 'He' looked straight at Chi Yan.
Actually, Chi Yan simply had a weak const.i.tution, and was not someone who possessed supernatural abilities. Thus usually he was only able to see some shadows when his body was weak, but not under normal circ.u.mstances. The times when he could see those things as clearly as now was when they had noticed him, like now. In such cases, they might even follow him, but as for whether they would try to harm him, was hard to say.
A priest once told him when he was young that these things that noticed him had very strong desires, and once they latched onto him, it would be very difficult to get rid of them. Not everyone would become ghosts, as ghosts were evil and negative beings, and they were usually not formed when a person dies as believed generally, but rather something that took on human qualities. Thus there was very evil or resentful people had the possibility of becoming ghosts lingering in the human world after death. In contrast, a person's spirit could remain. When Priest Zhang first met him, he said that one of his deceased relative had left his 'spirit' to protect and look after him in secret. However, one's remnant spirit had no relation to the original human, but rather was more like a special memento left by the dead.
In any case, these things were evil and if they started to possess a human, they could cause greater harm, as evident from Chi Yan's past experiences.
Chi Yan started to feel immense regret for his carelessness, but it was too late. When he reached for the pendent on his chest, he recalled that he had left the jade pendent behind, and had been relying only on Ye Yingzhi's ashes. However he didn't know why Third Master Ye didn't protect him this time.
When he went back to the temple to give thanks, he had asked Priest Zhang why a person's ashes could be so powerful. Priest Zhang said vaguely that wearing the ashes of a demonic-looking person was sort of a 'treating poison with another poison' remedy. As Ye Yingzhi's ashes contained evilness, by carrying it around, most ghosts would not dare to come close. Priest Zhang admitted that he was also unsure about the whole mechanism, he had learnt of this method from an historical text.
Swallowing nervously, Chi Yan rubbed the small bottle, and wondered if this thing was stronger than the usual ghost, thus Third Master Ye was not strong enough to handle it?
PS: Hi everyone, thanks for your support for this translation! I’m so grateful to have received so many comments for the earlier chapters, I was really surprised that there is interest for this novel. Thank you all for your super sweet and motivating comments!! I’ll do my best to translate faster! If you have any comments on anything I can improve on, I’d love to know that as well!