Two days passed before all the reports came out.
Like most people who die from evil spirits, the homeless men’s deaths were also seen as an accident.
The ghost exorcists went to the place where they had stayed, searched carefully, and found the remains of Ji Cai’s Yin energy.
Because the first victim disappeared on Lucheng Road, the incident was named the Lucheng Spiritual Serial Murder Case, and was included in the archives of the special department.
After two days, Lu Yingjiu went to the special department of Jiufeng Mountain.
When Xiao Li found him, he was sitting by the window of the meeting room, looking over the City Center.
Because the weather had been fine recently, he only wore a white shirt, which had a sharp contrast between the washed blue color of the sky.
No one uses the meeting room and was therefore open to whoever wanted to come in.
The table was full of spread out talisman papers, with drawn runes that Xiao Li had never seen before, densely packed and was extremely complicated.
—Liu Yingjiu was still trying to find the ghost that possessed him. Yet after two days, he still failed in catching even the slightest Yin energy.
Xiao Li also saw that scene at that school dormitory before, and knew about it. He hesitated at the door for two seconds, then knocked lightly.
“Brother Lu, the report will have to wait for an hour or two, let’s eat first and discuss it later. The takeaway can’t be delivered here, thus we’re going to find some instant noodles and snacks.”
“I’m fine, I’m not hungry.” Lu Yingjiu replied, “You guys can eat first.”
Xiao Li thought again that Ye Feng seemed to have mentioned casually that Lu Yingjiu always forgot to eat. “How about this, if there are instant noodles later, I will tell you.”
“Okay, thank you.”
Xiao Li looked at the talisman paper on the table and said, “You, don’t be so anxious. Although we can’t help you, we can definitely find it. After Master comes back, we’ll figure out a way together.”
Lu Yingjiu smiled.
Xiao Li closed the door lightly and left.
Lu Yingjiu collected the talisman papers on the table, took them to the window, squeezed them together, and then the talisman papers burned. They burn very quickly and quietly. Even if it was such a thick stack, there was not much ash, and nothing was left after being blown by the wind.
Both he and Chu Banyang knew that if a ghost of this level really restricted Lu Yingjiu’s actions, it couldn’t be stopped—with its strength, it was easy for it to go wherever it wanted and to kill whomever it wanted. Furthermore, even they themselves couldn’t do anything about it, who else then could?
The feeling of helplessness.
Tomorrow is the Ghost Festival.
The only chance is when Yin energy is at its most vigorous, to communicate with it.
Lu Yingjiu laid his head on the table and planned to take a nap.
When the door was knocked again, Xiao Li poked his head in.
“The bodies of Ji Cai and Zhong Aiguo have been transferred.”
Then they walked to the morgue on the second floor together.
In the elevator, Lu Yingjiu said, “Xiao Li, have you ever wondered why Ji Cai killed Zhong Aiguo?”
“I don’t know.” Xiao Li was taken aback for a moment, “A simple falling out, is there any hidden story behind it?”
Lu Yingjiu: “The corpses can only be buried next to the object of obsession, therefore, they were all buried in that school. When Ye Feng and I passed by, the resentment had already accumulated a lot. If Zhong Aiguo continues to bury corpses there, it will definitely cause casualties.” He paused for a few seconds, straightening out his thoughts, “I was thinking, maybe Ji Cai didn’t want to bury her body for revenge at the beginning, or maybe she didn’t want to continue, and the one who couldn’t let go of hatred and was wrapped up in anger was actually Zhong Aigou.”
“Oh… what do you mean?”
He said, “Ji Cai killed Zhong Aiguo for the sake of those students. Even if she has become a ghost, the things she cares about have not changed.” Lu Yingjiu smiled, “Of course, the character of ghosts is unpredictable, this is just my extremely idealized conjecture. The only evidence is not sufficient.”
“That she still loves Zhong Aigou—I can verify this.”
Downstairs, they took the elevator up to the second floor, they passed through layers of doors sealed with talisman papers, and finally arrived at the morgue. It was cold and silent inside, with a sense of stagnation that couldn’t be broken and within its every compartment, a story was hidden.
Two white cloths covered the bodies of the two corpses respectively.
Lu Yingjiu walked a few steps forward, and Xiao Li realized that he was holding the book “Beyond the Mountain” in his hand.
Lu Yingjiu actually finished reading it.
It began with [You are a bird, you should fly over the mountains, spread your wings and soar to my favorite students].
And the ending was a dialogue between the heroine and her lover: [We stand together in the field, and the mountains in the distance are like Daisy. Today’s weather is very good, he smiled and said to me, yes, this story will end until we]
Before she finished writing, she died.
Lu Yingjiu lifted the white cloth, revealing the faces of the two with their eyes closed.
When they were in the Meihua Community, they both were lying downstairs side by side like this. At that time, he felt that Ji Cai’s hand seemed to want to reach out to Zhong Aiguo.
Lu Yingjiu stretched out his hand and grabbed Ji Cai’s wrist. The woman’s skin was delicate, yet cold. He then put her hand next to Zhong Aiguo’s.
At first their hands were only loosely clasped together, but after a few seconds, in a trance, their hands were already tightly clasped.
Ji Cai smiled.
The book flipped, and the last line of words floated up, like a deep fish swimming towards the surface of the river, with colorful scales, and spitting out a series of quiet bubbles.
[We stand together in the field, and the mountains in the distance are like Daisy. ]
[The weather is fine today, he smiled and said to me, yes, this story will end until we grasp each other’s hands.]
After the matter was settled, everyone tidied up and prepared to go down.
Lu Yingjiu’s cell phone suddenly chimed, and a text message came.
Da Gou: Shall I go directly downstairs to your house tonight?
Lu Yingjiu: OK.
He was about to leave, but suddenly he heard the group of people making noise, as if they were discussing something. Then Xiao Li shouted at him, “Brother Lu, do you want to eat together tonight?”
Therefore, 20 minutes later, they took an online car-hailing down the mountain. It’s dinner time, and there were people waiting for seats. Xiao Li found a Jiangsu & Zhejiang Jiangnan Cuisine Food with high ratings, and they rushed to the City Center against the tide of the evening rush hour.
In the car, one person stretched his waist. “Oh, it’s over, I almost ran around the whole City in the past two days.”
Another person said, “Rest if you can. Tomorrow is the Ghost Festival, and we should be busy. If you don’t receive a call in the middle of the night, then burn high-quality incense.”
That’s right. Lu Yingjiu thought. August 23rd, the Ghost Festival was coming soon.
When they arrived at the place, several people rushed over noisily. After entering the restaurant, they were brewed a pot of chrysanthemum Pu’er, then they ordered fish with pine nuts, river prawns and crabs. The scene was full of prosperity, and the atmosphere was lively. Somehow the conversation came to that point where Xiao Li , who had never had a drink in his life, poured himself half a cup to taste, but after just a few sips, his face turned red. He kept saying that he really had no talent, and that he would not be able to drink or smoke in the future.
Lu Yingjiu still didn’t care about the food, and didn’t even want the staple food. He only peeled some shrimps leisurely.
When the meal was almost finished, Lu Yingjiu got up and said with a smile, “You guys continue to chat, I’ll go outside to get some air.”
He went to the small balcony on the second floor, opened the door, and the cool evening breeze instantly blew on his face. The balcony faced a small road, and it was empty. He only spotted a stray cat licking its fur slowly on the street corner. He leaned against the railing, looking far away and thought briefly for a few seconds.
There was another squeak from behind, Lu Yingjiu turned around and saw Xiao Li.
Since Xiao Li had just drank half a glass of wine, his face was red. He probably also came out to get some air. He leaned against the railing, patted his hot cheeks with his hands, and let out a long breath.
“Brother Lu, you just, you just said that you are going to pick up a friend, when are you going to leave?”
“It’s not urgent.” Lu Yingjiu said, “He won’t arrive until midnight.”
“Oh—then does your friend want to come here to play?”
“He said he would come to my office to have a look, and if it suits him, he will stay and work.”
“Wow!” Xiao Li was a little surprised.
Lu Yingjiu smiled. “To tell you the truth, I don’t even know his name.”
Xiao Li: “?”
He was at a loss for a moment.
Lu Yingjiu: “We met when we were young. We played together for a month, but we haven’t seen each other since then. He is the grandson of the husband of my former neighbor’s aunt’s classmate’s husband’s mistress.”
“…What? Brother Lu, can you say it again?”
“He is the brother of the teacher’s son of the adoptive daughter of my grandmother and my former desk mate.”
“There is not a single word in your two sentences that are the same!”
“Anyway, I don’t know his name, but I used to call him Da Gou.”
“Then isn’t he not your friend?!” Xiao Li was so shocked that he exploded.
“In a word, we haven’t seen each other for almost twenty years.” Lu Yingjiu said, “You’re right, he isn’t a friend. I didn’t have many friends when I was young.”
Xiao Li was taken aback. “Why?”
Although he was really scared of Lu Yingjiu when he met him for the first time, after getting along with him for a few days, he felt that Lu Yingjiu had nothing to do with “having no friends”.
What’s more, he was so powerful that there were many people begging him to do things.
Lu Yingjiu thought for a few seconds, then suddenly asked, “Have you ever played hopscotch?”
“Play–played. What’s about it?” Xiao Li thought to himself–most people should have played this kind of game, no matter how bad it is. I have also seen others play it. Could it be that Brother Lu wants to play with him?
“I’ve never played it before.” Lu Yingjiu said.
He had a special physique and was plagued by bad luck. When he was a child, people around him outcasted him, and of course they also wouldn’t let their children have more contact with him. Lu Yingjiu hadn’t played much with his peers since he was a child, and he always only looked at other children from a distance.
Actually, it’s not that he hadn’t really tried hopscotch.
When he was young, Lu Yingjiu showed an amazing talent in catching ghosts. If the children didn’t want to play with him, he would go catch wild ghosts and play with himself. Eventually, he defeated all the ghosts in the streets and made them gather together. All the ghosts were terrified. He let them draw houses with blood, let them wait in line to play, as they squeezed out smiles on their fierce faces.
The situation was good until Lu Yingjiu discovered that those ghosts could not jump, they could only float, which fundamentally eliminated the possibility of losing.
A failed attempt.
After that, he still could only watch other children play.
Most of the other games and activities were like this. His childhood was really extremely boring.
Later, he grew up safely by relying on a ghost marriage. The result was amazing. He didn’t have any shadows in his heart and no one outcasted him anymore. Except that he didn’t sleep well, and his personality became a bit lazy and casual, which couldn’t be said to be a success in both physical and mental health. Even if he had been recognized as a “Three good students” for several years…..but the missing part couldn’t still be filled.
(t/n Three good students is a kind of student honor in the People’s Republic of China, which recognizes students who have “good moral character, good study, and good health” )
It’s like a house with hidden damages that others couldn’t see, but you knew that the gap was always there, and occasionally there would be leaks.
Xiao Li didn’t know how to answer for a while. He held back for a long time, and finally said, “If you want to play hopscotch, I can play with you.”
Lu Yingjiu laughed all of a sudden. “What are you thinking, I’m not a child anymore.” He patted Xiao Li on the shoulder, “Go, let’s go back. Tomorrow is the Ghost Festival, we’ll be working overtime.”
At the same time, a gust of wind blew, and the orange-red sunset in the distance had fallen.
Six hours later, at exactly 23:50.
The horizon engulfed the light of the sky, and the entire city was shrouded in darkness. The taillights of vehicles crossed the road, and there were few pedestrians. Many people have already fallen asleep, had turned off their lights, and closed the curtains, leaving only bits and pieces of light from the buildings in the distance.
Lu Yingjiu warmed up a glass of milk, and was reading a book. The phone on the table suddenly vibrated.
[I’m almost there, just waiting for the car to stop at the intersection you mentioned]
He got up and put on a thin coat.
It was extremely cold that night, that even the chill could be felt through the window panes.
He locked the door and took the elevator downstairs, and the wind immediately puffed up his clothes as soon as he went out. The streetlights on the road downstairs were broken, and it was so dark that one wouldn’t even see his own fingers.
Lu Yingjiu walked alone in the dark.
Until the clock on the phone silently pointed to [00:00]
The sweeping wind whistled, the Yin energy in the surroundings became restless, and the temperature dropped several degrees, making him exhale foggy breath.
The Ghost Festival is here.
A hundred evil spirits would run amok, and all the ghosts would rejoice with wild excitement.
In fact, during the Ghost Festival for the past several years, he would wonder if his cheap ghost marriage partner would appear. But after so long, there was no movement at all every year, therefore he stopped bearing in mind such an occasion.
Yet unexpectedly, he started to anticipate the ghost again this year—waiting for the ghost possessing him to show up.
Lu Yingjiu strolled like this and walked into a small alley.
In the darkness behind him, a companion silently appeared.
The ghost stared at him, while grinning sinisterly.
But this time, until the moment the ghost pounced on him, the ghost possessing him didn’t respond at all.
Lu Yingjiu lit a piece of talisman paper. The light fell in his eyes like bursting fireworks, and the ghost immediately turned into drifting ashes against its radiance.
As the talisman extinguished, he continued on his way.
He thought he could communicate with that ghost today, but it had already left without a sound.
Even if it was the Ghost Festival, it didn’t leave any trace of breath, and only left suddenly and completely.
It’s impossible to say he didn’t care.
He didn’t know where it came from, what it was going to do, or why it had left. From beginning to end, it was all a mystery.
From a rational point of view, it was a great hidden danger. From an emotional point of view, this would probably become an unsolved mystery in his life——just like how he couldn’t imagine what a normal childhood was like. Same as today, he didn’t even know if hopscotch was fun. He would forever not know.
Perhaps, it was also very similar to the ghost marriage—a momentary interest in the past, yet humans and ghosts still end up returning to their different paths.
It was getting colder, and Lu Yingjiu zipped up his coat.
At the intersection, two minutes later, a bright yellow light pierced the darkness.
The black car was a little strange–but Lu Yingjiu didn’t notice anything weird for a while.
It drove all the way and stopped firmly in front of him.
The door of the back seat opened, and someone came out. Despite not clearly seeing in the dim light, his first reaction was– this person is very tall.
At least half a head taller than him.
The faint light in the distance outlined the handsome profile of the man, with thin lips, high nose bridge, neatly cut sideburns, with a sinister and elegant temperament between the brows and eyes, looking like someone who had come out of an ink painting. Those eyes were unique and deep black, and there seemed to be thousands of words hidden within them.
Lu Yingjiu said, “Long time no see….eh?”
He was suddenly enveloped in a hug and he smelled that sharp fragrance at once.
“Long time no see.” Jing Xian whispered in his ear, “I’ve come to look for you.”
He is the husssband!! Oho! So the kid he played with is also his husband. He was always there but he never realized it