Chapter 94: Life and Death

Unlike how Yan Yu had a handsomeness that was closer to the devil’s, Xun Chuan was like that of an arrogant beauty: haughty, wild and untamed.
Even if he was a ghost now, there was still a bit of that spirited look alive in him.

A button was undone at his collar, showing off a long neck and following down, a lean body paired with a skinny waist.
His pale white skin was covered in an air of death, but there was also an unspeakable and unexplainable seductive beauty to him.
Almost as if he was a ghost so seductive one would not be able to stop themselves from walking towards him, towards their own death.

Xun Chuan’s fingers interlaced into Yan Yu’s hair at the back of his head, bringing along a cold touch straight to the back of his brain and sending shivers all the way down his spine.
Slowly coming closer and closer, Xun Chuan brought with him a faint scent of blood.
And yet at this time, Yan Yu suddenly turned his head, and that ice cold kiss was dropped onto his cheek instead.


Xun Chuan coldly lifted up his eyes, his grip tightened up frighteningly, but he was caught off his guard when Yan Yu suddenly whipped up a spell with his fingers in defense.
Being forced to back away, the shape of his body momentarily collapsed into a cloud of blackness, reforming back only a few steps away.


Yan Yu could admit to himself that he was not as brave and as loving as Ning Caichen1.
He waved away the golden light from his fingertips and raised his eyes to meet Xun Chuan’s questioning ones.
Smiling back in response, he then stood up to go find out what was happening upstairs. 

He would have never expected that once he opened the door, he would be preceded by Qian Da-shen2, who had hastily thrown on a jacket and was huffing all the way up the stairs, stomping as she yelled, 

“You *** slutty whore, you think this is it? Just can’t let people go to sleep huh.
I’m going to rip your legs off of you!”

There were a few families living on the third floor, and they evidently heard those noises as well.
Everyone moved to open their doors and gathered together to gossip, with mocking laughter ringing out nonstop.
Qian Da-shen was a notorious and obnoxious woman who would hound you down for the smallest of infractions against her.
Xiao-Su, that kind of woman with that small body would never be able to win against her, so there would definitely be a show to watch.

Yan Yu was one of those who would enjoy watching this drama, so he left a tiny sliver of a gap by the door and leaned up against the wall to silently listen for the racket upstairs.
At that moment, an ice cold body slowly snuck up against his back and rested his chin on his shoulder.

Before he died, Xun Chuan loved doing this the most.

Yan Yu had his full concentration on the scene upstairs, so when he felt the weight on his shoulders, it was almost instinctive in the way he squeezed Xun Chuan’s cheeks.
The latter slightly narrowed his eyes, but snuggled up against his neck.

The touch was ice cold, so very unlike a human being, snapping Yan Yu back to his senses.
His breathing froze for a brief moment, and then he slowly retracted his hand, silently dropping it beside his body.

The sharp shrieks from Qian Da-sheng rang throughout the halls, but the movements inside Xiao-Su’s room did not sound to be stopping anytime soon.
When Qian Da-sheng didn’t hear anything back, it sounded like she became mad enough to just kick the door open with a bang.
She was a woman quite used to doing hard labour, and adding in the fact that this building was quite old, this kick easily popped open the door.

The door slammed against the wall, sounding out a loud boom.

The eyes of everyone who was listening in on the scene lit up and visual scenes popped up in their minds, as they simply must be fighting upstairs.
They all clustered around the stairway and angled up their necks to try and catch a glimpse of something. 

No one expected the terrified scream to come out of Xiao-Su’s room, and following that, Qian Da-sheng came running down, faster than as if she needed to go to the washroom, and so frantic that one of her slippers had fallen off, 


“Not not not…..
not good! She’s dead! Oh my mother! That slut is lying under the bed, bleeding all over like a river, and even rotten enough to attract flies!”

Because the fourth floor was not a lucky number3, there were only two tenants living on the floor.
One of them had already moved away last month, leaving Xiao-Su as the only remaining resident.
As someone who normally only left her door at night, living her days as if night and day were reversed, her relationship with the neighbours was nearly nonexistent.
Dead for half a month or so at home, and her body’s only been found now.

The police came very quickly to lock down the crime scene and after the medical examiner examined the body, the crime scene investigators started to pack up.
As they left, they carried Xiao-Su’s dead body with them.
Yan Yu was among the crowd of onlookers watching the spectacle, and as the body passed by, he stroked two fingers across his eyes.
Peering through the black body bag, he could see a rotten female corpse dressed in red, and an evilish aura silently wafting over.

This kind of deteriorating scent had already appeared about a few days ago in the stairway, and the landlady had been so out of her mind that she had tried bribing and forcing Yan Yu to help clean up the hallway.
Because a landfill was nearby, people didn’t think much of it, and no one could have ever thought that the cause was really the stench of a corpse rotting away.

Qian Da-sheng was invited back to the police station for investigation, and the residents downstairs that had been watching and listening also completed a very quick interview as witnesses.
The entire affair finally ended just before midnight, but just as the policemen left, the landlady became overwhelmed by the building residents.

“Yuan-jie, this place is filled with too much bad energy! We’ve all heard the noise coming from Xiao-Su’s apartment, so how could she be dead?! It couldn’t be ghosts could it?! No no no, this can not be, I have to move.”

“Yeah yeah yeah, this is too terrifying.
I’ve always felt that this place was too dark and filled with bad energy.
Xiao-Su died so pitifully, it wouldn’t be her ghost crying out for injustice and haunting this place would it? Just thinking about it gives me the goosebumps.
I better go back to my mother’s for a few days.”

Everyone was chattering their mouths off nonstop, but they all circled around one theme: it was time to move.
Some didn’t even want their deposit back and immediately packed up to stay at a motel that day.
The landlady was crying without tears and tried to urge everyone to stay, but no one paid her any mind.
So when she lifted her eyes, when she found Yan Yu leaning by the door with his arms crossed, she immediately flew over.

The older aged landlady tearfully wailed out, 

“Xiao-Yan hup–“

Yan Yu raised his hands to block her, 

“Don’t worry, I won’t move.”

The landlady immediately cheered up, finally about to actually cry with emotional tears.
She was just about to say something when she heard Yan Yu say, 

“Lower the rent.”

Yan Yu said, 

“If you don’t lower the rent, I’m going to move as well.”

The door softly closed and following the isolation of the noise outside, he was left with a couple hundred bucks in his pockets after finally paying his rent.
This could be considered a good accidental surprise.
He took a look around him, but he didn’t find a hint of Xun Chuan’s shadow anywhere.
Thinking that the other must have left, he turned off the light to go to bed.

Following time ticking away, just as it reached exactly 12 o’clock at midnight, just as darkness was at its most prominent, the spot on the pillow beside Yan Yu’s head slightly pressed down.
The thin blanket on his body was lifted by an invisible force and then slowly dropped back down.

Yan Yu seemed to be dreaming about something, not even being at peace in his sleep.
His hand laying by his side was tightening, and it was only after a long while that it relaxed — when a figure that brought a coldness with him, using a very familiar posture, snuggled up in his embrace.

There were some habits etched into the soul; time cannot take it away, nor can life or death.

Yan Yu didn’t wake up at the touch and out of habit, reached out to pull that person into his embrace.
His chin pressed down on the other’s hair, and only after moving himself into a comfortable position and even patting the other a few times on the back, did he go back to sleep with his furrowed eyebrows smoothed out.

How long had it been since they were like this, having a quiet moment to embrace each other so peacefully and trustingly……

The sun not only meant that light was coming, it also meant waking up from your dreams.
In the morning, as sunlight shone through the curtains on the window and layered Yan Yu’s eyes with warmth, his fingers slightly twitched as he woke up.
As he opened his eyes, he instinctively felt the spot beside him and was greeted by a field of ice cold.

It was so silent it was frightening.

At that moment, no one could have understood Yan Yu’s expression.
He slightly paused in his movements and then headed to the bathroom, grabbing his clothes by the head of the bed on his way.

The building itself was not a big place and people’s mouths were quite loose.
Within a night, the news had already spread all the way to at least ten streets over.
When he came downstairs that morning, the entrance of the stairway was completely swarmed by people moving away.
One was lifting their table, while another was grabbing their bedding.
Quite a few moving companies were also here, arguing over who got to head up first.

Yan Yu’s hands held him up as he hopped over the piles and piles of mess, and he went to the footbridge as usual to open up his fortune telling stall, only coming home around sunset.

Just a day out at work, and the residents of the entire building had almost completely cleared out.
When Yan Yu walked up the stairs, it was quiet all around.
He could only hear the echoes of his own footsteps and the sound of a can, from the piles of garbage left behind from the people moving out today, clanking as it rolled down the stairs.

As Yan Yu turned around a corner, he bumped into a female police officer who was just coming down from the fourth floor.
He didn’t pay her any attention and instead took out his keys to open his door.
But he was stopped by the other’s call,

“Hello, may I bother you for a second to ask where are the people that live here?”

Yan Yu didn’t even turn his head to respond, 

“Moved out.”

Seeing that his looks were above average, the policewoman blushed.
However as Yan Yu’s face was overly pale, there was a tinge of illness surrounding him, and with his eyes as dead as the abyss, there were some vibes of a psychopath waving around.

The female cop suspiciously asked, 

“They all moved away, so why haven’t you?”

Yan Yu said, 

“That’s because my freedom has been limited by my poverty.”

The female cop burst out a laugh, unable to hold it in, and thought he was quite interesting, 

“How could you as a man not even have any savings? That’s a bit pitiful.”

Yan Yu turned to look at her, but his eyes caught sight of a barefoot woman dressed in red, standing at the corner of the fourth floor since sometime ago.
Half of her body was hidden in the shadows and he couldn’t see her face, but it was quite a strange sight.

Yan Yu stared in that direction, and then smiled fakely, 

“Yes, I’m that sad.
Do you want to take me out for a meal?”

[ Ding…… please…… please my dear host, don’t be a kept man…… otherwise this system will initiate its electric shock punishment…… wu wu wu that female ghost was so scary I’m so scared wu wu wu……]

The police officer sensed nothing of the situation behind her, and she rolled her eyes at Yan Yu.
She continued to ask, 

“Are you close to the deceased, Su Yu? Have you seen any strangers coming in or going out of her home these past couple of days?”

Su Yu worked in the business of pleasure, meaning her social circle would not be any less than complicated and complex.
She was also not a local, so this kind of case was very difficult to investigate.

Yan Yu said, 

“Give me 1000 bucks and I can give you a reading.”


The female police thought that he was possibly mentally insane, negating the point of him being so handsome.
She put aside her thoughts of asking him out, and disinterestedly said a few more words before leaving.

Red clothes at night, and “yin” energy settling into the soul4.
The woman wore red clothes and died in an enormously unjustified way, which could only mean that she was either going to be a malicious ghost or an evil spirit.

Yan Yu raised his head up and took another look at the woman dressed in red by the corner before turning around and walking into his apartment.
He grabbed the golden money sword from the drawers and slipped it into his sleeves.
The remaining eight talismans he had were also pasted in the four cardinal directions, to ward out ghosts and any negative energy.

Outside a breeze of “yin” energy blew by.
The garbage and cardboard in the stairway were flipping and flapping through the air nonstop, and cans were rolling around and around, rattling against the walls and then to the doors.
Clinking and clanking, as if someone was kicking them for fun.
A can finally rolled all the way to Yan Yu’s doorstep, where it spun around in a circle before slowly rolling to a stop.

“Dok dok dok–“

Knocking sounds suddenly rang out outside.

“Anyone here?”

It sounded like the female cop had just come back.

Yan Yu soundlessly walked right up behind his front door, and with two of his fingers creating a symbol, his eyes could see through the door, clearly seeing what kind of person was knocking outside right now.

A face mostly decomposed, decayed to the point where its bright white bones were almost exposed.
With long black hair mixed with blood and other fluids sticking to the side of its face and a long dark red dress, its hand that was rotten all the way to the bone knocked on the door, one knock at a time.

“I have something really important to ask you.
Can you please open this door?”

A voice that still sounds like the female cop from before.

“Quickly, open this door please.
I’m just standing right outside, open this door.”

White bone against the door, sounding out that “dok dok” sound.
Seeing that Yan Yu was not opening the door, her voice sped up, and her knocking became faster and faster.

“Open this door! I’m just right outside, so what are you afraid of.
I really do have something important to ask you! Open this door! Open this door now!”

She seemed to become a bit crazed, not just knocking, but banging hard against the door.
So hard that the eye from the rotten and decomposed part of her face fell out and rolled through the gap under the door.

Yan Yu lowered his head, directly meeting the gaze of that eyeball.

The movements from outside suddenly stopped and she cracked a smile, 

“I can see you……”

Yan Yu stepped right onto her eyeball and smushed it down.

The movements outside the door began again, so much so that the door began to shake, 

“Open the door……ha ha…..
I’m about to come in soon…..
he he he…… open this door……”

Yan Yu said, 

“Alright, I’ll open the door.”

It became completely quiet once more.

He tore the yellow talisman off the door and opened the lock.
Following a “snick”, the door cracked open a sliver.
It was at this time that the golden money sword in Yan Yu’s hands flew like the wind, striking right at it, right into the body of the female ghost.
Following a sharp stab at that rotten and decayed flesh, that ghost bent its body in pain and let out a piercing scream, 


Yan Yu’s face was cold and emotionless.
On one hand, he kept that golden money sword in place to hold her back and on the other, he took out a peach wood sword from his waist.
Without hesitation, he stabbed it fiercely right into her skull–


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, 

“How wonderful.”

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, 

“Go home.
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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