Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 107: Suddenly Having an Expectation for the Future
Yan Yu dreamt a long dream of many strange things where there was everything yet nothing left behind.
His breathing was heavy and stuttered as he was finally released from his dreams after great difficulty.
Waking up with dazed and befuddled eyes, numerous shades and shapes appeared and coalesced together before him, and they slowly became clearer and clearer until a very familiar face appeared.
Xun Chuan was lying on top of him, and his eyes went wide open as he said,
“If you didn’t wake up any sooner, I’d have thought you’d died.”
There was a moment where his eyes looked so bright and alive, so arrogant and prideful.
Yan Yu paused in surprise before he understood.
He reached out to touch Xun Chuan’s face, and then to the injury that disappeared by his throat.
He chuckled as he quietly said,
But he wouldn’t say what’s good.
Xun Chuan simply thought that he was complimenting his looks and tilted his chin up to push right in front of his face,
“Right right, not even a single scratch.”
He was so close that the moment Yan Yu shifted his head, he could kiss him.
And the reality was he did just that.
Holding onto Xun Chuan’s slightly cold chin, he kissed him on the cheek, pausing for a few seconds before moving away.
Following along, he agreed with Xun Chuan,
Not a single scratch.”
Xun Chuan faced up towards Yan Yu’s deep eyes, actually somehow feeling a bit embarrassed.
If he had a body temperature, his ears would probably be burning up right now.
He flipped over and curled up under the blankets, saying in a muffled voice,
“I’m stronger than you now……”
Yan Yu slightly raised his eyebrow,
Xun Chuan’s tone held a tinge of joy from gaining the upper hand,
“You can never kick me away now.”
“I won’t tell you to leave,”
Yan Yu thought that Xun Chuan was acting a bit idiotic, and he lay back down.
He scooped Xun Chuan into his embrace and kissed him on his slightly cold forehead, before sighing,
“Never ever going to kick you away.”
There were times where Xun Chuan thought that if Yan Yu had been honest with him in the beginning and he himself had been accepting and believed his words, the two of them may have gone through days of high tension and panic, but he may die in the end anyway.
A quiet and peaceful death, and because he already knew the reason beforehand, he would hold no grudge or a burning desire.
Never turning into a malicious ghost and in the end, gone off for reincarnation.
This situation now, even if it was too painful and difficult to get here, who could not say that this was another way for them to be together.
Yan Yu hadn’t been lying down for very long before he realized that he was covered in dirt and dust.
He could even feel the stickiness of dried out sweat on his back.
He quickly left the bed and grabbed the sheets to throw them into the washing machine before heading to take a shower himself.
Xun Chuan lifted up his hand, and a clean white sheet floated out from the closet.
He listened through the door, hearing only the “wah-la-la” of the water, before he stuck his hands on the shower glass door, positioning himself as if he would storm in.
Purposefully trying to scare Yan Yu, he said,
“I’m coming in.”
Yan Yu was just washing his hair and upon his words, washed away the bubbles, opened his eyes and saw the faint shape of a human shadow outside the door.
“If you want to come in, then come in.”
After all he’s not the one to suffer a loss here.
Xun Chuan was a bit shy and too embarrassed to try and sneak a look, and he was always like this, sometimes thick-skinned, sometimes thin-skinned.
He knocked on the glass with his fingers,
“I’m going to set the bed.”
The room was a bit too quiet, and Xun Chuan didn’t like this feeling.
He turned on the TV, as even if he didn’t want to watch, having some noise in the background would be nice.
Yan Yu’s hair was short, so he had never blow-dried his hair.
After he changed his clothes, walking out of the bathroom with his hair still wet and dripping water, he saw Xun Chuan bending at the waist to set the sheets on the bed, and then after that, changing the pillows.
Moving back and forth like a hardworking little bee.
The washing machine was emitting its “pung pung” noise as the laundry detergent faintly released its fragrance into the room.
The TV drama they had been watching before was just being rebroadcast, and Yan Yu used his phone to order takeout.
When he looked up again, he saw Xun Chuan pulling the curtains open, and he squinted his eyes.
Today’s weather was a light sprinkling of rain, making it very refreshing and cool outside, a perfectly comfortable temperature.
There was a sudden feeling of contentment that arose in him.
Xun Chuan sat cross legged on the bed and watched TV as he ate the snacks he bought before.
Seeing Yan Yu sit next to him, he kicked him off,
“Your hair’s still dripping wet.”
Yan Yu barely managed to keep himself from falling,
“Your snacks have already expired.”
Xun Chuan paused in his movements and then quickly looked at the expiry date.
Then he saw Yan Yu stifling his laughter and he realized that he had been deceived.
He lurched forward towards the back of Yan Yu’s neck and suddenly blew a breath of air at him, causing the other to shiver from the cold.
Xun Chuan asked,
“Do you remember, the first time you saw me, you did that to me.”
Yan Yu found that his hair had miraculously dried off, and he sat back onto the bed,
Xun Chuan said,
“This is not an appropriate action.
Yan Yu’s back was facing towards him, so he couldn’t see his face, but it seemed like he was laughing.
Yan Yu simply responded,
Xun Chuan had just finished his snacks and he was already hungry again.
Seeing Yan Yu open the can of coca cola, he lurched forward with his cheeks puffed up to take a sip first.
It seemed like he could taste a bit of flavor and he blinked before saying,
“It’s cold, a bit sweet.”
Hearing this, Yan Yu paused and then sucked on the straw to take a sip.
Yet nothing came into his mouth and he only realized then that the cup was already empty.
He lifted his eyes to look at Xun Chuan and the latter gave him a mocking childish face.1
Yan Yu: “Not an issue.”
He still had a cup, as he bought a set for two.
The drama playing on the TV, << Legend of White Snake >>, seemed to be nearing its end, when Fahai sealed Bai Suzhen under Leifeng Pagoda, declaring that within 100 steps of Jinshan Temple those who are not priests cannot enter.
Xu Xian then grabbed a razor and shaved all his hair right outside the door.
Inch by inch, knife by knife, until his hair was all gone, and he took to sweep the doorstep right outside of Leifeng Pagoda for the rest of his life.2
Rain was pitter-pattering down outside and the glass window started collecting many raindrops, looking just like worms wiggling down.
The temperature today was a bit low, and so Xun Chuan covered himself with blankets.
He snuggled comfortably under the blankets and sighed,
“Love to be at home when it’s raining.”
Yan Yu asked,
Xun Chuan said,
“Other people get drenched, but I don’t.”
The apartment was a bit old.
When it rains, the ceiling would become damp and with time, a lot of mold had grown.
Yan Yu was one who lived in the present, someone who would never think about the future.
But he suddenly understood now.
How important it was for humans to have an end goal while they’re still alive.
He opened his eyes and bumped Xun Chuan once before saying,
“After a while, let’s move.”
Xun Chuan looked at him,
“Do you even have the money?”
Yan Yu cushioned the back of his head with his hands and slowly closed his eyes,
“I can earn money myself.”
If Su Qing’s little tricks could earn that much for her, there was no reason he couldn’t.
Shu-shis had their ability to protect their “yang” energy and so there wasn’t much of an issue to interact a lot with ghosts.
Yan Yu had never done so before, as he purely thought it would always attract bad luck, but now that he thought about it, it didn’t seem that bad.
Su Qing had originally planned to move today, but perhaps it was because she had hurt her life energy, it didn’t happen for a while.
Not long after however, she came to find Yan Yu and that was when Yan Yu found out that Su Qing had a little private tea room for fortune telling.
“I’ve already picked a new place out, and the landlord even said there’s another empty room available around the area.
It’s quite close to the tea room.
Do you want to consider moving over with me? I head out early and come back late, so I can’t really look after the shop.
You guys can help me, and maybe read a fortune or sell some talismans when there’s a customer that comes by.
Same salary as before.”
Yan Yu had at least saved Su Qing’s life so she had the heart to look out for them.
Besides, catching ghosts, this kind of thing, two was always better than one.
With some scheduling of shift work, the business could also be taken care of.
Yan Yu didn’t hesitate at all before agreeing,
“You’re the boss.
Whatever you say goes.”
He backpaid all the rent from before to the landlady and then started to pack up.
There was no logic or reason to his organization – packing half the kitchen and then running to pack his clothes, and before his clothes were done, he recalled that he should wrap his ghost-catcher golden money sword with cloth to avoid any accidents.
Xun Chuan hugged his knees as he sat on the floor.
He took a look around at the mess and he really had no idea where to start.
He couldn’t even understand how Yan Yu’s apartment could have so much useless junk with how poor he was.
Yan Yu said,
“Just pack the books.
The papers are junk.
Don’t need them.”
Xun Chuan pouted,
“You say it so easily but you’re just tricking me into becoming your minion.”
But then he still went to stack all of Yan Yu’s fortune telling books neatly together and put them into a bag.
Yan Yu worked for the entire morning and he was completely covered in dust.
He took a small pause to push his sleeves up his elbows when he saw Xun Chuan so obediently packing his things with his head lowered and he leaned over to kiss him.
Xun Chuan turned around and wiped his face with disgust,
“You’re full of sweat.
Yan Yu laughed and his thuggish personality came surging forward and he couldn’t stomp it down even if he tried.
He ignored Xun Chuan’s struggles and forcefully nuzzled Xun Chuan’s face with his sweat.
He then kissed him hard,
“And I just won’t leave.”
Xun Chuan pinched him in response.
It was at this time a car honk sounded from downstairs.
Yan Yu said,
“Su Qing’s here.
Keep packing here.
I’ll go bring the already packed luggage down first.”
Xun Chuan ignored him, petulantly stuffing the books into the bag.
When the sound of Yan Yu’s footsteps went further and further, he finally lifted his eyes to take a look out the door and then at his surroundings.
This room couldn’t be considered big, and it couldn’t be considered nice.
But there were too many things that happened here and he was a bit reluctant and sad to be leaving it now.
There were too many scrap papers of bagua diagram drawings, and Xun Chuan was afraid he’d miss some of them.
So gathering up all the loose paper on the floor, he carefully scanned each one before stacking them up in their respective piles to let Yan Yu, when he comes back, to see if there’s anything he would want to throw or keep.
A thick layer of dust was underneath the desk and as the apartment door was wide open, when a breeze of cold air blew in, it blew the dust and a small ball of paper around and around.
Slowly, the small crumpled up ball of paper rolled to the leg of the desk and stopped moving.
Xun Chuan picked it up out of habit and unfolded it to find a bus ticket for X City.
He threw it behind him, but then a sudden thought came to his mind and his body froze.
He turned around and picked the ticket back up.
That bus ticket was wrinkled and almost ripped from how old it was, and its edges were rough.
Xun Chuan smoothed it out with his hands and took a look at the date and time.
This was a bus ticket bought during the new year’s, for a bus ride heading to X City on the 25th at 10am.
And he died on the 24th……
Xun Chuan understood something then and his hands tightened around that bus ticket.
After a long while, he let out a long sigh, leaning against the side of the bed with his back, and he just sat there on the floor.
He pouted his lips, as if he wanted to cry, but he held it all in.
Words that seemed to have been spoken so long ago, but now that he recalled them, each word still sounded so very crystal clear.
“If, and I’m saying if, if you knew I would die that night, would you have gone to X City?”
“You would have gone right?”
He had gone in the end, even if he didn’t know Xun Chuan would die, he still went.
A familiar pair of footsteps rang in the stairway and Xun Chuan quickly came back to his senses.
He stuffed the ticket into a book and then zipped everything up.
Yan Yu walked in then and headed to the bathroom to wash his face.
He was using his sleeves to messily wipe away the water when Xun Chuan asked,
“Is it very hot outside?”
Yan Yu: “It’s alright.
Sweat’s from moving.”
He scanned the entire room, finding that there were only two plastic checkered bags left and he asked,
“That’s it? No more?”
They don’t need the furniture as they can buy new ones later.
Xun Chuan pointed to a stack of papers nearby,
“Take a look at these and see if they are useful?”
Yan Yu didn’t even take a look,
“Don’t want them.
Close the door.”
And then grabbed the two bags before heading down.
Xun Chuan closed the door, turned into a ghost before floating by, clinging onto the back of Yan Yu and then lightly asking,
“I’m not heavy right?”
Yan Yu joked, “If I say heavy, can you fall.”
Xun Chuan shook his head, wrapping his arms tightly around Yan Yu’s neck,
*1 mocking childish face: the word here is 鬼臉, like when you pull down your eyes and stretch your mouth (like a kid does or like XP that kind of face or just kind of make an ugly face at someone) but the word itself is composed of “ghost” and “face” so it could technically be a double meaning here, as it could be said he’s being childish but also with his “ghostly” face
*2 To briefly explain, Fahai is basically a monk/priest/shaman, and at the end of the story, he forces Bai Suzhen into “Leifeng Pagoda” which is like a jail and she can’t ever leave for the rest of her life (which is obviously longer than a human’s lifetime).
The reasons for this start to vary in some folktales, but it’s mostly agreed that she fought with Fahai and hurt other creatures and so must be contained to keep her from hurting others.
And obviously Xu Xian who married her is not happy, but Bai Suzhen willingly goes into the pagoda for Xu Xian and Fahai says when she’s imprisoned inside the pagoda that no one can go within a hundred steps and also that those who are not monks cannot enter.
Xu Xian, for his love for his wife, willingly becomes one just so he can be “beside” her as much as he can.
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