Chapter 2: Hua Mountain Painting
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
They drove more than three hours to the provincial capital and went straight to a handicraft market. The hunter pulled the ghost to the corner, and then the ghost understood what the hunter was going to do.
“I can’t do that. I’ve never spent the night in someone else’s house…” The ghost frowned and shook his head.
The hunter made him attach himself to the jade handle and follow a buyer home. It is said that the man is an antique collector and has an ancient painting at home. The hunter wanted the ghost to haunt the house. When he was too scared to stand, he walked into the wall and pretended to melt into the painting.
“What are you afraid of? I’ll be near his house the whole time. You’ll be fine.” The hunter pulled the ghost out and said, “You are a ghost! You’re afraid to frighten people?”
Across the counter, the collector is playing with jadeite, ready to pay and take it home.
“But this… Is this not intentional harm?” asked the ghost.
“That’s my mission, and you’ll see later,” the hunter pulled the ghost’s hand and attached two talismans to the bracelet, just like an essential oil sticker, “This is so that you can freely attach yourself and go through walls, and into the emerald. Remember how to scare people, how to leave,how to let their family feel chaos, but don’t hurt people. When you want to show yourself to them, remove the red disc.”
“Do as I say, and I will certainly do no harm to anyone or you.” The hunter pushed him, and the ghost walked cautiously towards the collector. His body became a little transparent, and then he attached himself to the jade.
After the collector went home, the ghost came out of the emerald and saw a rune shaped pendant made of ancient jade hanging at the back of the house. There was an unknown statue of God and Buddha on the front door. There was a wooden sword on the wall besides the TV, and some kind of holy image and cross frame of Westerners on the other side of the wall. This home was full of all kinds of exorcism artifacts, which was obviously very difficult to find.
The hunter said to the ghost before that jade was originally spiritual, and the guarding objects in the house would ‘release’ them directly, so they could enter houses that are usually difficult to sneak into. However, it is difficult for ordinary ghosts to attach themselves to jade, because the spirit of jade would exclude them. Probably because of what the hunter did, the ghost got into the emerald easily.
No one in the human family could see the ghost. The ghost wasn’t lonely in this room, for there were all kinds of quaint things everywhere. Most of the collections were beautiful and have distant stories, except for some things that kept him away.
Then, the ghost saw the painting, which showed a woman in plain clothes standing on a wooden bridge, beautiful but sad. In the long view, a funeral procession and an ox cart were in the foreground. The distant mountain was as high as a knife edge, as if from a steep mountain range.
The name of the ancient painting is Huashanji. The date of its signing was strange, the ghost calculated it secretly, it was painted a few years before he died. This painting has been handed down to the present day, so could be called an antique.
It’s not a good time for ghosts to haunt during the day. The ghost is also weak, so it was enjoying the antiques and listening to the human conversations. It was not until the people had dinner and night fell that the ghost made up his mind and was ready to haunt.
The ghost didn’t know why the hunter asked him to do this, but he did as he was told. He sneaked into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, spread his hair, took off his blue coat and put it on his waist, exposing his white clothes underneath. He lowered his head and raised it again. In a flash, his eyes turned red and his face turned blue. He decided to appear as the most terrifying face of a ghost.
Looking out of the window, he saw the hunter’s car parked nearby. The hunter saw him and waved to him from a distance, and the ghost waved back.
In the evening, the family never went to rest. Some watched TV, some played computer games. The ghost accompanied the middle-aged woman watching the TV series. When the woman left, the collector changed the channel. The ghost reached for a button on the remote control and turned it back to the palace opera.
This was repeated several times, and the whole family was startled by the remote control. The ghost doesn’t know if that’s frightening. He thought it wasn’t enough. He recalled that when he was caught by a hunter, and remembered what it was like to feel frightened.
This night, the toilet lights in the house were frequently turned on and off, the curtains floated without wind, and all kinds of books were clattered and flipped. When the people fell asleep in fear, they heard sighs coming from the corridors and living rooms. The night lights that were turned on kept turning off by themselves.
The collector heard the sound of the drawing scroll hitting the wall from the living room. He was scared to death, but decided to go and have a look. When he entered the living room, he found a man in white with long hair and a shawl walking slowly towards the ancient painting, and his figure gradually melted into it.
The scream from their home scared the neighbors around them and someone called the police.
“You mean to let me continue to haunt his house today? What if… what if they go to the Taoist priest to collect me?” The next day, in the shade of the community garden, the ghost asked anxiously.
The hunter patted him on the shoulder, “Don’t worry, there aren’t so many Taoists, there are so many more frauds these days. People who really have a heart are very busy, they do not easily appear and take care of these things.”
But you showed up. The ghost looked at the hunter, but he was still very insecure, “If not Taoists, would there be monks? Yesterday, I saw a monk on the street selling a box of cards…”
“What a liar! Real monks don’t do that.”
“So… What do you mean ‘exorcist?’ Aren’t they Western experts, and also very powerful? They specially kill evil spirits and monsters…”
The hunter burst out laughing and touched the ghost’s hair. The ghost subconsciously wanted to dodge, but the hand had already touched him. Humans were warm and friendly.
“Don’t be afraid, even if it is someone from the Wen family, they have to apply for a visa and buy a plane ticket first before coming to China. You’re so funny…” said the hunter.
“Who’s the Wen family? Are they good?”
The hunter continued to smile, laughing at the ghost inexplicably. As a scholar, the ghost has never given up learning about the world in these years, so he is familiar with people’s clothes and car buildings.
He thought it seems that he does not know a lot of things. Sure enough, if you live alone for too long, you will be isolated from the world. This truth has been the same since ancient times.
The next day, the third day, then for a week in a row, under the hunter’s constant prompt, the ghost haunted the house. The ghost couldn’t get used to it at first, but then he got better and better, and even blew its hair down from the ceiling.
A week later, the collector brought several people into the house, took down the ancient paintings, put them in boxes and went out of the door. The ghost did not know if he should follow, but he did. He followed to the outside of the community, and then found the hunter in his car.
“He’s going to sell his paintings. Come with me and cut some corners.”
The ghost was surprised to find that today, the hunter did not wear a jacket or baseball cap, nor did he wear the clothes of a beautiful girl or an ironclad man. He was wearing a casual suit, although he did not wear a tie, he still looked elegant and mature. The ghost knew that this was the formal appearance of modern people. And as the hunter put on a pair of glasses, he even looked gentle.
“I have to be mature and trustworthy. It’s more impressive this way.” The hunter explained.
They followed the car in front of them to an antique market. It turned out that the collector was going to sell the painting.
Many days ago, the collector heard that the painting was very unlucky. In the past, there were all kinds of bad omens. He didn’t believe in this evil at first, and he planned to get more in his hands. Who knew that the ancient paintings really did make trouble, so he quickly contacted the person who once said he wanted to buy them and decided to sell them.
The ghost stood in the corner dumbfounded and looked at the whole process: the hunter pretended to be another buyer, and he was very good at it: when he saw the painting, he said he could see that there was something wrong with it. This was heard by many people, and everyone felt it was taboo. Finally, an old man with a white beard stood up and talked with the collector in detail, he always talked about the collector’s worries. Finally, he made a deal at a very low price.
After the collector left, the hunter called the ghost to come. In the parking lot, the old man who bought the ancient paintings was waiting for them.
“Here it is. Young master has worked hard.” The old man smiled at the ghost.
The ghost was surprised that the old man could see him as well as the hunter. At this time, the old man constantly praised the ghost’s ‘bravery and wit,’ which made the ghost feel a little embarrassed.
The hunter took out his mobile phone, took pictures of the ancient paintings and the old man, and then shook hands with the old man, “This is good. The goddess’s tomb is quite reliable.”
“Yes, it’s been so many years, and they’re both pathetic.” said the old man.
“What do you mean?”
When the ghost heard the words ‘goddess’s tomb’ and saw the ancient painting named Huashanji, something slowly appeared in his mind, which seemed to have happened before his death.
“When did you die? Do you know the story of the Huashanji?” asked the old man.
When asked when he died, the ghost was a little embarrassed. Although he has been living in the world for hundreds of years, when he saw the old man with the white beard, he could not help but respect him as an elder and politely replied, “According to the modern saying, when I passed away, it seemed to be called the end of the Ming Dynasty. 1 Although I’m not a great writer, I have read that poem…”
There was a poem beside the ancient painting, with beautiful and vivid handwriting:
Since you died for Nong,
Why die alone?
If you with to see pity,
The coffin will open for Nong. ” 2
This was a poem recited by a young girl. She fell in love with her lover at first sight, but she couldn’t stay with him. Later, her lover died of illness and just wanted to pass by her hometown before he’s buried. When she saw the funeral procession, the girl bathed and dressed, but she was dressed in plain silk. After singing this poem, she threw herself into the coffin.
According to later generations, there is a tomb buried with husband and wife under Hua Mountain, known as the goddess tomb.
“Since someone heard the girl’s dying song, this story has been constantly recited and missed,” The old man said slowly, touching his beard. “This story has spread to this day, and even many later anecdotes have been adapted and created on the basis of it, and art works based on the lovers have emerged one by one.” He looked at the ghost and said, “Have you ever heard of it, sir? There are too many people who are bound up to this world, so they can’t go beyond it.”
The ghost knew nothing about it, and had never heard of it.
The hunter took it and said, “Well, it’s not necessarily called transcendence or ascension. In short, it’s difficult to reasonably transform into another material, but they still stay with the energy visible in the human world. In fact, it can also be regarded as ‘immortality.’”
“The worst of them is this painting,” said the old man. “poetry and legends, they don’t matter. The man in the story is often mentioned. It’s good for them to stay in the world together. However, later, according to the legend, the ancients drew such a painting, which has a certain binding effect on both paintings and statues. As a result, from then on, the girl’s soul and the painting became one, and she became the painting itself. She couldn’t get out and could not feel the outside world. And in the vicinity of the goddess tomb, the husband’s soul can’t find his wife.”
“Oh!” The ghost was very surprised.
“Now we’ll recycle it,” said the hunter. “From the beginning of the painting, the lovesick man has been haunting the area for hundreds of years. Things like him have been regarded as earth gods for thousands of years, and we can’t move him. It will be easier in the future. Once the painting is disposed of, the woman will be free again.”
“Are you… going to destroy the painting?” As a literati, the ghost was distressed by the ancient painting.
“No,” the hunter’s answer was not comforting at all. “Let’s erase the poem, change the woman’s appearance, and then draw a specific spell.”
The ghost glanced at the painting in the old man’s hand and couldn’t give up. On the one hand, it is because he couldn’t bear the destruction of this painting, on the other hand… If many souls couldn’t leave the world and had to stay here, he thought, then why is he still wandering in the world?
The whole story is like this: a gentleman of Nanxu BC 220-589, came across a girl around Hua Mountain, and since then became lovesick. He then died of lovesickness and required his body to be buried at the place around Hua mountain, where he first saw the girl. The day the people carried his coffin to Hua mountain, the coach could no longer move at the feet of Hua mountain, which was the home of that girl’s house. When the girl came out and saw his coffin, she didn’t feel sadness or shock, and just told everyone to wait for a few seconds. And then she came back home to wash, do her makeup and dress up. She came out while singing this song, and when she’d finished, the coffin opened. The girl jumped into the coffin and never left. The coffin could then be moved again. People buried them together at the feet of Hua mountain after that.