Chapter 1: The Ghost and the Hunter
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The ghost has lived in the old temple on the outskirts of the city for hundreds of years, but it never occurred to him that he would fall into the hands of the young man today.
“Who are you?” The ghost’s hands and feet were covered with a wide talisman with a spell on it, which was glued to the wall. “You don’t look like a Taoist or a monk. Why are you torturing me with such a situation?”
The human’s face was still a little immature, maybe he hasn’t even graduated from university. His hair was dyed chestnut brown under his baseball cap. He wore a broad coat and waterproof pants, and carried a backpack in the shape of a shark; like a fashionable young man traveling alone.
“Of course I’m not a religious person,” The young man took out his black mobile phone and kept taking pictures of the ghost, who was stuck. “You can understand it as being an Exorcist? No, that’s not right, Exorcists are religious. Or, you could think of me as a demon hunter, ah, but you’re not a demon. I’m the kind of person who does everything.”
“What are you doing?! Taking photos? Don’t post it online!” Cried the ghost anxiously.
“Oh, you’re good. You also know that the mobile phone is connected to the Internet,” The hunter shook the picture of his mobile phone in front of the ghost’s eyes. “Don’t be afraid. I have rules. I have to take photos and pass them to the company where I work. I’m not going to post it. But I hear you’ve been a ghost for hundreds of years? You even know how to surf the Internet by mobile phone?”
The ghost was dressed in a blue robe, which was exactly the dress of an ancient scholar. Although he has long hair and a robe, he looked quite down and out of shape.
“I am a soul from ancient times. I have lived here for a long time, and occasionally go down the mountain to see the town. Naturally, I will learn a lot. In your current words, it’s called keeping up with the times.”
“Well, yes, you just strolled down the mountains and went to town, and we got a report of it being haunted.”
“What are you going to do with me?” asked the ghost of the scholar.
The hunter pulled out a sharp golden object from his knapsack. It looked like a magic cone from novels. “Oh, don’t be afraid. I’ll send you away with this one,” The hunter took it and approached slowly. “Darling, don’t be afraid. It’ll be over soon. It won’t hurt.”
The ghost struggled desperately, crying and sobbing.
The hunter said with a smile, “You are just like me when I was a child, when I didn’t want to get a shot from the doctor.”
“A doctor will not kill you! How can you be so cruel?” The ghost couldn’t tear off the talisman, and his face was covered with tears. “Being dead, I can’t help but fear the living, but I’ve never killed anyone!”
The hunter gently picked up the ghost’s ancient clothes with an awl, picked out the outer coat, and plucked the white middle coat. It was like studying the structure of the Hanfu. The talisman, which was full of charms, trapped the ghost, and the hunter could easily touch him.
These small movements frightened the ghost, but he thought that since the young man had decided to do it, he would not beg. So he turned his head, closed his eyes, and bit his lips.
The hunter grinned and looked back at the gate of the ruined temple. It was midnight. A group of cats of various colors and wild dogs of different sizes surrounded the door, scratching and barking.
They are blocked by an invisible wall. They can see inside the ruined temple, but they can’t get in. A big wolfhound had all the hackles raised on it’s back, his eyes were fierce, showing his teeth as if ready to attack at any time. There was also a yellow tiger spotted cat, with it’s hackles raised as well, constantly scratching the invisible wall.
The hunter took the awl in reverse and lifted the ghost’s chin with the handle.
“They have a deep relationship with you. How long have you kept these little guys?”
“I don’t remember how long it has been,” the ghost’s face was still covered with tears. Seeing the cats and dogs at the door, he felt even more miserable. “No matter where they were born, they were wandering or abandoned, I took care of them. Now some of them have given birth to several litters of kittens and puppies…”
“Yes, so you often steal items from shops down the mountain,” said the hunter. “You know how to read the price tags, and you steal expensive pet food, and dog toys and cat sticks. In the surveillance videos, bags of dog food flew out of the window, which scared the people in the shop to death.”
“I have been a ghost for hundreds of years. I still have a little magic power,” the ghost confessed. “But I can’t make the objects invisible, so it’s inevitable to leave evidence…”
“So you do know about the camera? And you’re proud of it?” The hunter said, and began to browse the information on his mobile phone, “Come and see what you’ve done over the years. For example, the summer before last year, when you went to the city, you attached yourself to a young man… “
“I didn’t mean anything bad!” The ghost pleaded.
“Yes, nothing bad. You attached to a boy who was addicted to the Internet, playing truant and stealing money from his family. After you attached him, he became a good baby overnight, and knelt down to his parents to admit his mistake. And then you took his final exam for him! As a result, your scores were terrible, not as good as his previous scores…”
“I can’t help it. In the past, although I didn’t go to high school, I was also famous for my knowledge. After so many years of witnessing the changes of the world, I thought that no matter what kind of writing I would like to do, who knows… Today’s students have to take algebra, chemistry, English and so on.”
The hunter raised his eyebrows and continued to read the materials, “Besides, you have done a very good thing. In March last year, some hikers went to the area to climb mountains and walked too far. They didn’t get lost, but they met you. I read the description on the materials. It must be you. You suddenly came out of the tree hole and ran after them for miles…”
“So what, some fright can save their lives! What would they have done if I had not forced them out? Did they want to die in the mountains?”
The hunter opened a page to him in the mobile browser, “You are stupid. They were fine. They weren’t lost. When you scared them away, one of them fell down and sprained their ankle, the other suffered from insomnia and had nightmares. So far, they are receiving psychological counseling. Moreover, when the rescue workers arrived, they couldn’t find the climbers. They searched the valley all night. It was all caused by your blind help.”
The ghost looked at the news on his mobile phone – he has adapted from ancient Chinese to simplified Chinese and reading from the left to right decades ago. He thought he was helping others, but did he harm them instead?
“Also, about the possessed child,” said the hunter, “he suddenly behaved abnormally at that time. When you left, their family was very frightened and examined him everywhere. You think you’re a Wenqu star? Also, taking exams for others, you made him suffer a failure. No matter who should educate him, it’s not your call.”
Looking back at the howling cats and dogs, the hunter continued, “And you steal pet supplies all year round. You are still a cultured person. Don’t you know what it is to steal without paying? You think ghostly theft is legal? All day long, the news from the street is frightening. What’s more, you also know that the town at the foot of the mountain is now a famous ghost city in China on the Internet. It is said that every shop and supermarket in it are haunted. To be precise, it’s all about you.”
The ghost was stunned and ashamed. He lowered his head and knew that what the hunter said was true. Although he did not harm people’s lives, he did make waves.
The hunter said, “Well, I believe you are also aware that this temple is going to be demolished. This place has been abandoned for a long time. There are no statues. Now there are signal towers and power stations to be built on this mountain. The village behind the mountain needs these. You’ve haunted this area all this time, the investigators were scared to come up the mountain, so you’ve succeeded. You’ve let it be said that it’s haunted by ghosts. If there’s something wrong with the feng shui, you can’t move here. But what right do you have to do that?”
“If I am not here, if this place is not here, what will Dahei and Huahua do?” The ghosts referred to the animals outside, “How can I bear to abandon them? They have only one place to settle down…”
“No matter what excuse you have, I won’t spare you,” said the hunter, as he walked around, playing with the magic cone, and the ghost closed his eyes again. “But you are not unforgivable. Our company is very humanized. As the saying goes, ‘Death is free, and living is hard to escape.’ Although you are dead, according to the regulations, you can make up for your demerit in this situation, and then you will be sentenced to several years’ imprisonment.”
The ghost opened his eyes and asked, “So how can I make up for it? What’s more, I’m not nostalgic about the ruined temple, but I can’t afford to give up these little guys…”
“Come with me, and follow me.” The hunter pulled out a bracelet, just like the mosquito repellent ring worn by people who come to play in the mountains. He put it on the ghost’s wrist and tore off the strips of talisman.
After the ghost put on the bracelet, he could not take it off. He could still be touched by the hunter, but he still retained some of the ghost’s abilities. Moreover, if the hunter doesn’t pay attention to him, he can walk around at will. If the hunter hooks his fingers, the ghost will fly to the hunter as if he is being led.
The hunter led him down the mountain. When he came out of the temple, the wolf dog originally wanted to attack the hunter, but the hunter just moved his lips, and the dog trembled with his tail and did not dare to come forward.
The hunter shoved the ghost onto a mountain bike parked on the side of the dirt road and helped him fasten his helmet.
“You ancient people, scholars and so on, all love to cry?”
After starting the vehicle, the hunter found that the scholar was looking at the scene in the rearview mirror, which was getting farther and farther away, and began to cry again.
“I have done my own sins, and I dare not wish to get rid of my sins,” said the ghost, wiping tears with his sleeve. “It’s just that I can’t help but feel hurt when I’m apart from them. Dahei and Huahua will only go to sleep when I’m around. Ash always likes to challenge other cats, which makes me uneasy.”
The hunter threw the mobile phone in his pocket to him, “Can you use a phone? This is for you, don’t think of anything else. Also stop crying. You do not look like a ghost at all. I am bored to death.”
The ghost has seen living people hold mobile phones, and knows that it is a wonderful object that can make long-distance calls, leave messages, take pictures of the scenery in front of you, and give a panoramic view of the world.
He slid his fingers across the screen, trying to see how much fun the legendary ‘Internet’ was. After being attracted by the phone, the ghost really forgot to cry for a while. He touched something on it and opened a thing called ‘History.’
He thought it meant things from ancient times to the present. But, there were only long sentences composed of foreign letters. A little bit more up-to-date than this ghost could handle.
The ghost saw a picture file written with ‘Love Baby Adoption Association.’ It was full of pictures and introductions of small animals, as well as contact information and instructions for adoption assistance.
He peeked at the hunter driving and wondered if it was something the hunter had seen before.
There are many cats and dogs in the broken temple on the mountain, which is known to the residents nearby. Maybe the hunters have known about it for a long time and have done enough work to solve this problem.
The ghost once remembered that when he lost his first place, he beat his chest and feet and burst into tears. Later, when he was destitute and ill and had no way out, he cried all night, until the day came and he died. Men do not shed tears when they cry.
At this time, the ghost no longer felt so sad, and gradually stopped crying.
They went to a chain Express Hotel. After the hunter wrote a new line of charms on the bracelet, the hotel staff could not see the ghost. Otherwise, the scholar’s long hair, waist, broad robe and wide sleeves would surely cause a scene.
When the ghost asked, the hunter said that the bracelet could stabilize his form, which was equivalent to handcuffs. Adding or subtracting different charms on the handcuffs could determine whether ordinary people could see him or not.
After entering the house, the hunter took off his hat and coat. The black cotton T-shirt inside showed a picture of a girl holding a guitar with big eyes and green hair.
“It’s too late now. It’s not safe to drive on the mountain road. Rest with me until dawn. Let’s go to the provincial capital. Don’t worry, with these handcuffs on you, you can move freely at daybreak, but you are weaker.” He said.
The ghost was still playing with his mobile phone. The hunter found that the ghost seemed to be quickly addicted to electronic products. As soon as he grabbed the mobile phone, the ghost looked up with a dull face.
“Let me tell you the rules,” said the hunter, sitting on one of the beds in the standard room, motioning the ghost to sit opposite him. “Next, I have a thing to do. I need the help of a ghost. If you like, I can write this matter up and report it to you, so you can make up for it.”
“Can you also set those animals up with homes?”
The ghost nodded happily, “I will. I was wrong in the past. If I can make up for my mistakes, it would be the best.”
“It’s so awkward to hear you talk. It’s like watching Zhen’s biography…” Muttered the hunter.
“Nothing, it’s a TV show. Continue playing with the phone, I’ll sleep, wake me up at dawn.”
The hunter opened the quilt and got into it. Soon he fell asleep.
The ghost has long been familiar with contemporary houses, but this was the first time he had lived in one. He helped the hunter turn off the light, went to the bathroom to play with the washing equipment, and opened every drawer in the room. Finally, he decided to use the mobile phone.
At dawn, before the ghost could wake him up, the hunter naturally awakened. He found that the ghost had tied up his long hair and was playing with his cell phone in fear.
“It doesn’t light up!”
“Because there’s no power. I forgot to tell you to plug it in.” The hunter scratched his head, plugged in the backup mobile power bank, and went to pack.
When the ghost was taken to the car, he asked cautiously, “I saw a message in your WeChat yesterday. Someone asked you if I had been killed… “
“Oh, did you reply for me?” The hunter thought it was very interesting that the ghost already knew how to use WeChat.
“I didn’t know how to reply, I don’t know how to write on your phone.” said the ghost.
“Don’t pay attention to him,” said the hunter. “I ask you, are you scary?”
At this time, their car was driving on the open road in the early morning. The ghost thought about it carefully and said, “Things like ghosts and gods are naturally frightening.”
“No, I’m not asking you to stand there and scare people to ‘help’ them, or steal dog food,” said the hunter. “Are you good at deliberately sneaking and scaring people?”
The ghost shook his head vigorously, for fear that it would reduce his harmlessness.
“Then you have to practice.” The hunter said with a smile.