The Haunted - LightNovelsOnl.com
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The thing seemed to have noticed that Chi Yan was looking at it, and started squeezing through the crowd, its movements slow but closing the distance between them quickly. Chi Yan didn't dare to turn his back on it and could only slowly reach out to grab Xu Jiang's arm with his right hand, while his left gripped the little bottle hanging around his neck.
Wet footprints were imprinted on the ground where the thing pa.s.sed, but the people around had no inkling at all. Only Xu Jiang was aware of Chi Yan behaving weirdly, and asked, 'What's wrong? Are you feeling unwell?'
Face white, Chi Yan shook his head. There were always stories about water ghosts looking for scapegoats. He was afraid that he would get haunted by this thing, and would need to be afraid of getting drowned even when was.h.i.+ng his face. To escape these kind of things, he would need to do more than run. If it had indeed got its eye on him, it would be useless no matter how fast he and Xu Jiang ran.
The thing was now no more than five steps away, and Chi Yan could smell the fishy stank of water as well as feel the air around getting increasingly colder and wetter. He clutched the bottle to his chest, his brain empty of any other solution. Time seemed to have frozen, the lake, people, Xu Jiang all became black and white images; he could feel Xu Jiang speaking to him, but could not see his mouth move nor hear his voice.
If he did not manage to avoid it, he would quickly head to East Green Mountain to seek help while the day was still light. Though he had no idea if Priest Zhang would have any other idea if even the ashes of Third Master Ye could not save him.
At this moment, the thing suddenly disappeared from before him without any warning, as if what he had seen was just an illusion.
Chi Yan looked left and right, the police car and ambulance had already left in the meantime, and the corpse had been removed as well. There were still some onlookers milling around, an elderly man pus.h.i.+ng a cart of roasted chestnut pa.s.sed by, while a bunch of students on bicycles rode down the streets laughing – everything was as normal as could be.
Chi Yan held the little bottle up and rubbed it against his mouth, in a reverent gesture like how a Christian might have done to a crucifix. He felt immense relief like a man saved from the brink of death. Having been close to his body, the bottle had been warmed by his skin, but it was soon chilled by the cold breeze, and when it touched his chest again, Chi Yan s.h.i.+vered as it felt as if a cold hand had caressed him.
He could not see, that when the water ghost disappeared, a shadow had appeared behind him. The shadow soundlessly hugged him, its left hand around his waist while its right arm crossed his chest up towards his neck, embracing his whole body.
Xu Jiang waved his hand in front of Chi Yan's face, 'Chizi, Chizi are you ok? What happened? Were you possessed?'
Chi Yan smacked his hand away. 'Shut up Eraser. Let's go to the cafe near your school, it's too cold here,' he said stomping his feet in coldness.
Xu Jiang faced the wind with his coat unb.u.t.toned, 'It's not cold at all! You're too weak!'
The drinks served at Green Cafe were nothing special, but their carrot cake was very good. The fairly popular mid-sized cafe had two floors, with warm and elegant decor. They entered the cafe and was engulfed by a rich aroma of coffee and cream which warmed up Chi Yan's cold body. The cafe had two cats, one ginger-coated and the other a tuxedo cat. Xu Jiang crouched and picked one up into his arms, 'Big Flower and Second Flower, did you guys miss me?'
'These cats are called Big Flower and Second Flower?' Chi Yan asked.
'No, their names are Monday and Friday, but it's not cute at all. So I named them myself as Big Flower and Second Flower. Isn't that better?' Xu Jiang replied.
Filled with pity, Chi Yan bent to pet Friday whose name was butchered into 'Second Flower', however the fat cat nimbly leapt away and ran off up the stairs. It stopped at the stair landing, watching Chi Yan with glittering eyes from between the railings.
Monday who was in Xu Jiang's arms also became restless with Chi Yan's proximity, and struggled to be released. Escaping from Xu Jiang's loosened arms, it jumped to the floor and ran to hide behind the couch, from where it stared at Chi Yan. Xu Jiang turned to look at Chi Yan, 'Chizi, why have you become a public enemy of animals that you even frightened away Big Flower and Second Flower. They are usually very friendly.'
'I don't know why,' Chi Yan shrugged with a look of innocence. He had a gentle temperament and was not disliked by small animals. But this wasn't new to him – usually small animals would run away from him when he was haunted by 'dirty things'.
However he threw this thought out as soon as it came to him.
Right now, there was no feeling of being watched, neither did he feel any sense of ill-intentions. Ever since he started wearing Third Master Ye's ashes, his surroundings had become very clean.
The cafe was quite empty at this time, and the boys headed upstairs, sitting at a four-seat sofa table. Friday had disappeared out of sight when Chi Yan started climbing the stairs. Xu Jiang took charge and ordered a pot of coffee with two slices of carrot cake. The rich cream cheese complimented the sweetness of the carrots and raisins in the cake, while the coffee was bland as usual.
Xu Jiang poured out two cups of coffee, unaware of the 'person' sitting next to his friend. He also didn't notice Friday hiding under one of the flower racks at the corner, staring straight at them. Sometimes, humans were just not as sharp as animals.
Chi Yan took a sip of coffee, and dug into the cake with the fork, cutting a small piece. Unconsciously, his tongue came out to lick at the icing, it was an eating habit of his, which apparently signified insecurity. The 'person' beside had been looking at him intently, startling at the sight and bent its head in a human manner.
Xu Jiang had already finished half of his cafe, and said with his mouth full, 'Chizi, eat up.'
'Aren't we here to chat?' Chi Yan thought to himself, and slowly forked up a small bit of icing, licking it into his mouth.
The thing clasped the back Chi Yan's head with one hand, leaned in and slowly licked at his tongue.
Chi Yan put down the fork and took a drink of coffee, "Why is the icing so cold today?'
Xu Jiang looked up puzzledly from his empty plate, 'Really? I didn't think so.'
Translation notes: Chizi is Xu Jiang's pet name for Chi Yan while Chi Yan calls Xu Jiang Eraser. They don’t call each other that all the time though.