Don’t Be a Kept Man
That female ghost was in extreme pain, but she managed to snap apart the golden money sword that was sticking out of her stomach.
Following a flash of golden light, nine copper coins fell from the sword onto the ground.
The nails of her fingers sharpened and she viciously stabbed them right into Yan Yu’s stomach.
Yan Yu’s eyes tinted ruthlessly, and as if he didn’t know pain, he pushed the peach wood sword forward, forcing it in further by half an inch.
But just as the nails of the ghost were about to pierce all the way through his body, a thick black cloud of resentment and hatred appeared and grabbed her tightly by the throat, throwing her ghostly body far away.
Almost at the same exact time, Yan Yu threw up a thick pool of black blood.
But he quickly regrouped himself and scrambled to pick up the fallen copper coins on the ground.
With his left hand, he then flicked a spell to push that cloud of resentment back into his room, and with his right, threw the coins towards that ghost.
Right after that, he ran into his apartment, shutting the door and taping the yellow talisman back up on the door.
After this series of actions, Yan Yu’s face could not even be described as pale white.
He held onto his stomach, as his back leaning against the door slowly slid down.
Surrounded by a dark and negative air, his face was the shade of grey ash, almost as if he was dead.
The cloud of resentment that had been pushed back into the room slowly formed into the shape of a human, turning back into the familiar form and face of Xun Chuan.
He silently looked at Yan Yu before reaching out a hand to check over his body’s condition.
He found that a faint layer of death had already started appearing around Yan Yu’s body–
A sign of someone about to die.
Yan Yu calmly closed his eyes, as if he was finally released from everything,
“I’m finally going to die.”
The corners of Xun Chuan’s mouth hooked up,
He didn’t know if this was a genuine feeling of happiness or not.
It suddenly started to rain heavily outside.
Tree branches were shaking as thunder and lightning roared.
Each sound of thunder thundering down could rattle humans to the core.
The air of death surrounding Yan Yu was slowly growing, and the injury on his stomach had begun to corrode, slowly increasing in dimension, as if before long, he would decompose into a pile of bones.
With time, the power of the yellow talismans would slowly fail.
While that female ghost should not be able to come in anytime soon, a lot of roaming ghosts had appeared by the window.
Letting out a freakish weird laugh, they slowly, one ghost at a time, burrowed through the cracks of the window.
Yan Yu had a special body type, which made him always appear very ill and sick.
Already attracted to him, these ghosts seemed to have felt that his life was slipping away and they were all like bees to honey buzzing over.
His entire person was surrounded in a faint misty air, and the pain he was in was causing veins to pop up on his forehead.
Another flash of lightning flashed by and for some reason, those ghosts began to disperse, as if they were getting blocked by some formless, invisible force.
Xun Chuan’s pale white fingers wrapped around the injury on his stomach and began to suck in the resentment left by that female ghost into his palm.
His eyes were dim as he said,
“……do you remember, the first time you broke up with me, it was also during such a rainy day.”
Yan Yu was almost at his last breath, and he was breathing very slowly.
Only tiny drops of sweat falling down his handsome, pale white face signalled that he was still alive as Xun Chuan seemed to be stuck in some memories, unable to pull out and return into reality.
With his expression twisted, he muttered as if talking to himself,
“I don’t understand.
I really don’t understand why you suddenly wanted to break up.
I stood in the rain, beneath your building, waiting for you to come back.
If you did not come down that day, I possibly could have, might have really killed off the love in my heart……”
However long Xun Chuan stood in the rain that day, Yan Yu watched him for that long.
The window on the third floor was tightly shut and the curtains were pulled taut.
He used the tiny gaps to look down, not knowing that he clearly cast a long shadow through the window.
Unknowingly, his figure was seen so very clearly from underneath the building.
That shadow was perhaps the last self esteem that made Xun Chuan able to keep waiting.
He had been very tired, so he sat in the stairway.
Almost about to drop into a faint, he was burning up, as if he was being boiled when a series of footsteps could be heard from behind him.
Xun Chuan pushed himself up, forcefully standing back up and he found that Yan Yu was standing not that far away from him, about a few steps above him, with one hand in his pocket and silently watching him.
Yan Yu said,
Your parents didn’t give birth to you just for you to stand here and be drenched in the rain.”
Home? What home did he have?
Xun Chuan had seemed to laugh and cry at the same time.
His entire person was a hot mess and his back was leaning against a cement wall covered in graffiti and advertisements.
He had coldly looked at Yan Yu, teeth clattering from the cold, and he couldn’t keep himself from snipping back,
“Then me and you together, is it for you to keep playing me?”
Seeing that he couldn’t convince him to leave, Yan Yu’s feet had slightly moved and he turned away to leave.
Seeing this, the corners of Xun Chuan’s mouth tugged, as if to laugh at someone, or perhaps even at himself.
His eyesight was blackening and his body swayed.
He was about to fall down when a strong hand pulled him back just at the last second.
He was quickly pulled into a very familiar embrace.
The images before Xun Chuan’s eyes were overlapped with shadows and shapes, and he couldn’t see anything clearly, but he knew that that person must be Yan Yu.
His cold fingers drenched with rain water were tightly grasping onto his shoulders, as if a drowning person found their lifesaver.
“Yan Yu……Yan Yu……”
His voice was tinted with a bit of hatred, but he couldn’t fully hate him.
He gritted his teeth, choking and wailing.
“I hate you to death…… I hate you so much I want to kill……”
That person didn’t speak, but he soundlessly tightened his embrace.
He lifted Xun Chuan from the ground and it was as if a fallen leaf had found its home, not having to fall in the short interim.
“Yan Yu…… I don’t want to break up with you…… I don’t want to……”
Xun Chuan finally lowered all of his guards, not a single sign of arrogance or pride in sight.
He tightly hugged onto Yan Yu, as if he was a child who had suffered a wrong.
Tears were dropping on the back of Yan Yu’s neck, burning up the human heart into shivers.
A cold voice rang out.
“……You shouldn’t have come that day.”
The cloud of resentment lingering by his injury was slowly being dispersed by Xun Chuan, and with its decrease, the air of death surrounding Yan Yu was finally dissipating.
When Yan Yu realized what Xun Chuan was doing, his fingers twitched, as if to push him away.
But as he didn’t have enough strength, he fell backwards back again.
Yan Yu’s dark eyes stared heavily at Xun Chuan, his mouth twisting into a very mocking expression,
“……do you know why you were always being played by me, played into running around in circles?”
When Xun Chuan was absorbing the air of resentment from that female ghost, the blood flowing out of Yan Yu’s injury was also slowly corroding his palm.
Visible to the naked eye, the resentment around himself was slowly dissipating, so much so that he was about to lose control of the shape of his body.
Xun Chuan’s face was ice cold, and a flash of lightning flashed by.
Half of his face was illuminated and he soundlessly moved his lips.
“Because I’m masochistic, are you happy……”
When he was alive, he wanted to give Yan Yu everything he had.
When he was dead, he didn’t have the heart to see him suffer a lick of pain.
Xun Chuan thought he was really masochistic.
He was a masochistic human when he was alive, and now that he’s dead, he’s a masochistic ghost.
The sky was slowly growing brighter, and Xun Chuan took one last look at Yan Yu.
His body poofed back into a cloud of black, silently disappearing.
The female ghost had already turned into an evil spirit, and she had risked all of her life to leave a vicious hand.
Yan Yu was also willing to sacrifice everything, willing to kill a thousand enemies and lose 800 of his own, almost losing his life.
In the short term, if he was unable to heal fast, that ghost would definitely be back for vengeance.
And also Xun Chuan……
To some degree, Yan Yu’s blood could ward against ghosts and spirits, meaning the damage to Xun Chuan’s soul would not be light.
As if to prove Yan Yu’s point, for the next three days, Xun Chuan did not appear, and it was so quiet and peaceful that it felt weird.
Yan Yu did not like to leave things unsettled, so he used red thread marinated in chicken blood to fix up the golden money sword.
Then he took out the talisman papers to draw a stack of talismans.
That ghost was still lying in wait upstairs, and to prevent her from causing trouble, Yan Yu even drew an array to ward off ghosts.
However, a thought came to his mind, and he wiped it away instead.
In the meantime, police officers had come back once more and, according to them, Su Yu’s murderer had been caught.
It was a troublemaker known to be a no-lifer.
When he came over to Su Yu’s, it was already late and the two had gotten into an argument over money.
In his rage he killed Su Yu and then stole all her money and escaped out of the city.
At this time, he was still wanted.
Water sounds rang out from the bathroom, and the warm air was slowly seeping into the room.
Yan Yu dressed himself and then silently looked at the mirror on the wall that was still cracked into a thousand spider webs.
After a long while, he slowly wiped away the fog on the mirror and it reflected back a cold looking handsome face.
With wet strands of hair sticking onto his forehead, his face was pale white, not even looking half human.
The shards on the mirror were sharp and when they stabbed into his fingers, it was as if they pierced deep into the flesh.
A sliver of blood appeared on his hand and Yan Yu retracted his hand back.
He emotionlessly plucked out the shards stuck in his hand.
Due to the system’s efforts, Yan Yu finally picked up his old profession again, and the books sealed in the drawer finally saw the light of day.
He flipped over one of the books he had only read halfway through and following the diagram, he made a reading.
While he was focused, the light above him suddenly flashed.
Yan Yu pulled up his pencil and in his embrace an extra person silently appeared.
Bringing a familiar coldness with him, Xun Chuan sat on his lap and his fingers slightly stroked across his throat.
He darkly said,
“You certainly have a strong life……”
Yan Yu held Xun Chuan’s hand and found that the scar of corroded flesh from last time was still there.
The sight of it looked very frightening, and Xun Chuan tilted his head to look at him, voice very pitiful as he said,
“Do you know how much pain I was in……”
Seeing Yan Yu not speak, he slowly wrapped his arms around Yan Yu’s neck.
His ice cold lips lightly passed by his cheeks.
Xun Chuan thought Yan Yu would avoid his touch, but instead the arms around his waist tightened and he was forced up almost skin to skin against Yan Yu.
The two of them were so close that Xun Chuan could even smell the faint scent of cigarettes from Yan Yu’s collar.
His pupils dilated and he was about to say something when his eyelids felt a warmth, and he froze just like that.
A kiss that came out of nowhere.
Yan Yu pressed him down on the table, and slowly pried open his mouth.
Slowly, swirling, prying open and pressing down.
When Xun Chuan came back to his senses, he seemed to struggle a bit, but there was a tight grip on his hands and he could only accept it.
Following a cloud of “human” air entering him, the injury on Xun Chuan’s palm slowly healed until it was as if nothing had happened at all.
Yan Yu soundlessly checked Xun Chuan’s injury and then pulled away from him.
Perhaps his perception was off but, the ashy grey dead air around Yan Yu seemed to have increased and his lips seemed to be colourless.
Xun Chuan emotionlessly looked back at him.
Picking his pencil back up, Yan Yu continued to finish that drawing he was working on.
Following the scratches of pencil on paper, Xun Chuan moved, as if he was about to leave, but he was caught by Yan Yu.
A diagram slowly formed onto the paper, but as per usual it was complicated, so complicated no one could understand.
Yan Yu said,
“Two months later, the ghost door5 will open.
This is the best chance for you to reincarnate.”
Malicious ghosts could not stay on the human plane for long, and in the end, they would have to go to their own place of dwelling.
As Yan Yu knew how to cast spells, that meant others would too.
Some of these Shu-shis would search all over, testing for ghostly airs, and take down these spirits to increase their understanding and level themselves up.
*1 a character from a novel that is a collection of stories called Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio and Ning Caichen is from Nie Xiaoqian’s story, but he may be more well known as a character in the movie (in particular (for me at least) A Chinese Ghost Story, played by Leslie Cheung, who you may or may not know… Anyway, a very brief summary of his story is basically a love story between him and a female ghost.
In it, he is a character who is seen as innocent, kind, someone who loves for the sake of the person and deeply, someone who is also on the straight and narrow for justice, without any kind of fakeness, basically a perfect “good” character but like the loving kind?
In the movie, he’s studious and like those who study for the exams in the ancient eras, but he can be shy and scared (of ghosts haha) but he would become brave and overcome obstacles for love and actually does run away with his lover who he does not realize is a ghost, but even once he does find out, he tries his hardest to save his lover anyway.
This is a terrible summary, but basically think of him as like a perfect “good” main character of a novel, one that isn’t like the greatest at things, but one you would want to keep reading and believing in him kind of character.
*2 Da-shen: a title for a middle aged woman, kind of “auntie” kind of feeling
*3 When spoken the number 4 has a tone that sounds like death, so like how the number 13 in western countries is unlucky, 4 is an unlucky number.
*4 This line is a reference to an oral ghost tale about a guy who cheats on his wife and his wife finds out.
They argue and the guy leaves in anger.
He comes back drunk and basically commits domestic violence against the wife who then wants to divorce but is denied.
One day the wife has enough and when the husband is asleep, she grabs a butcher’s knife to kill her husband, but he somehow wakes up and beats the wife almost half dead.
So after that she bears with all the beatings with resentment growing in her.
One day the guy comes back and finds the wife wearing an all red nightdress, with a weight strapped around her feet and her tongue sticking all weirdly elongated out.
She had hung herself up on the beam across their house which made the husband freak out.
Instead of doing anything of common sense, he secretly buried her within a random hill of bones (usually for like john does, etc.
basically bodies tossed randomly into a hill, without any respect or funeral) in the village they live in.
But since then he kept waking up from nightmares and his mentality started deteriorating.
He finally can’t stand it and takes this problem to a more respected guy from a neighbouring village and the guy says he can’t help him and says the phrase “red clothes at night, yin energy settles into the soul (by the weight)” -> referencing the way she died.
Not long after, the husband dies in a very terrible way and their home turns into a ghost house as every night their house will have a man screaming out in pain (which is rationalized as the guy being beaten after death by the wife).
*5 Kind of like Halloween when it’s said ghosts will appear, this is the door for the dead, kind of like a passage between the living world and the dead world.
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