Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 25: Living Together
Yin Ren had no concept of what a modern room was.
Zhong Chengshuo’s parents’ home was ordinary. It was small in size, had few furnishings, and was simple. Since Zhong Chengshuo was a person with few desires, Yin Ren guessed that his place would be similar in style.
As soon as the door to the home opened, Yin Ren stood frozen at the doorway.
‘…No wonder Zhong Chengshuo didn’t want to live in Shian’s dorm,’ Yin Ren thought.
Zhong Chengshuo lived in a community called Ping’an Manor. The building was relatively new, with lush greenery around, including a lake with multiple pavilions. The residence itself was about 130 square meters, and the door faced floor-to-ceiling windows.
The windows almost covered the entire wall. The floor Zhong Chengshuo lived on was neither too high nor too low, so it had an excellent view of the scene. The lush landscape nearby complimented the brightly lit buildings in the distance.
The home was comfortably warm, and the wooden floor was clean and heated. The decoration of the entire residence had a homely style to it, filled with the fragrance of life; there was even the smell of fresh flowers floating in the air.
The walnut furniture was paired with a variety of lush green plants, and the ghost standing in the corner added a touch of dark red, which complimented the entire space.
Yin Ren exclaimed, “The TV says that housing prices are expensive, so you are quite good.”
Zhong Chengshuo handed him a pair of slippers. “No, it’s because there are so many murders in this community that the price is very cheap.”
Yin Ren cast another glance at the ghost in the corner that seemed to be facing the wall and fell into contemplation.
Not to mention anything else, the lady in the corner was powerful, at least one level stronger than Mr. Rose—her long hair was covered with blood scabs, and her pajamas were dyed a dark red with blood. Evil qi was emanating everywhere from the female ghost. When she turned her head 180 degrees, a white eye could be seen peeking through the gap in her hair.
Zhong Chengshuo didn’t seem to notice her. “In terms of living, this is one of the safest communities in Haigu—many of the small apartments in the community are owned by police officers, forensic pathologists, or medical staff.”
Compared with a murder house, a mortgage was more terrifying.
Yin Ren stood in awe. “Why didn’t you buy a small apartment?”
“This one was cheaper,” Zhong Chengshuo replied solemnly.
Got it. Most likely, this home was a tragic crime scene.
Seeing Yin Ren still standing at the doorway, Zhong Chengshuo said, “You have special abilities. I don’t know if you can get used to it. If you really can’t stand it…”
“It’s fine. I just didn’t expect your house to be in this kind of style.”
How could he not stand it? Yin Ren wiped his face. From the moment he moved in, he was the strongest murderous presence in this home.
“I originally wanted to move my parents in to live together.” Zhong Chengshuo spoke as he hung his coat next to the ghost, whose bloodshot eyes kept following him. “They couldn’t bear leaving their old neighbors, so they were reluctant to move. Because of that… Well, I moved here first.”
“I understand.” Yin Ren glanced at the ghost from the corner of his eyes.
For some reason, when it came to this topic, the ghost suddenly exuded a strong sense of helplessness.
She turned her head and stared at the two of them for a while, but seeing that Yin Ren had no obvious reaction, she bitterly floated through the wall and left.
“This is your room. Let me know if you’re missing anything,” Zhong Chengshuo said as he opened the door.
The bedroom that Zhong Chengshuo had prepared for him wasn’t small. It was clean and warm, and there was even a vase full of fresh flowers on the table. The room had a separate bathroom, and the carpet in the room was exceptionally soft.
The large furniture in the room showed no signs of being used. This was probably the parents’ room that Zhong Chengshuo originally reserved for them.
The only catch was that this bedroom window faced the atrium, so it was exceptionally quiet. Yin Ren reluctantly glanced at the floor-to-ceiling windows of the living room, where the lights from outside were bright, creating a lively atmosphere.
The fabric sofa was wide and soft, so it was comfortable to lie on.
“Let’s go to the living room.”
Zhong Chengshuo hesitated for a bit before saying, “…Okay.”
Yin Ren got what he wanted as he stretched himself out on the sofa. “You’re the owner of the house, so is there anything I need to pay attention to?”
Zhong Chengshuo silently pointed to the decorative painting at the entrance. Only then did Yin Ren find out that this guy had even written down the covenants and hung them at the door—not to mention the handwriting was quite beautiful and it was even encased in a picture frame.
[1. Division of housework: Zhong Chengshuo is responsible for shopping, cooking, and cleaning the room; Yin Ren is responsible for washing dishes and taking out the trash.]
[2. Daily expenses: Zhong Chengshuo is responsible for the expenses of food, water, electricity, and other daily expenses; Yin Ren is responsible for takeout, online shopping, and other activities done by the individual.]
[3. Precautions: put garbage in the trash cans, put dirty clothes in the laundry bin, clean the bathroom consciously after showering; please do not make loud noises after 23:00, please do not enter the private space of others without permission, and please do not eat strong-smelling food in public areas (including, but not limited to, durian, luosifen, stinky tofu, canned hearing, ect.)]
Yin Ren was silent. He thought that with Zhong Chengshuo’s character, he would come up with strange rules, but he didn’t expect them to be so loose. Well, there were a few things he cared about very much…
Yin Ren excitedly asked, “What’s takeout and online shopping?”
And he hadn’t tried any of the strong-smelling foods mentioned.
Zhong Chengshuo seemed to instinctively become aware of something, and his expression stiffened as he quickly tried changing the subject. “…We’ll talk about that later. Also, don’t move the things on the bookcase in the living room casually. I’ll put commonly used daily necessities outside.”
Only then did Yin Ren notice the bookcase.
He and Zhong Chengshuo stared at each other until the latter finally gave in. Zhong Chengshuo opened the cabinet slowly as his gaze became evasive.
The entire bookcase was exposed in front of Yin Ren’s eyes.
There were all kinds of books. Two-thirds of them were academic-related large books, which were interspersed with a number of history books, and the rest looked like novels. The books had traces that they’d been flipped through, so they weren’t just used for show.
The focus was on the inside cabinet door—it was full of SD cards and various discs, as well as two small boxes labeled PlayStation and Switch. From a glance, it was clear they were well organized by Zhong Chengshuo.
Zhong Chengshuo cautiously blocked half the front of the cabinet. “They are games and television-related things and are very fragile.”
Seeing Yin Ren’s eyes getting brighter, light traces of sweat started to form on Zhong Chengshuo’s forehead. He quickly shut the cabinet door. “These are all collections, and there’s a more convenient way to watch—what movie do you want to watch? You can use my tablet to log into my account.”
“Is there any that has humans fighting monsters?” Yin Ren’s attention was instantly drawn away.
Shian’s lounge was full of mild emotional films. He wanted to watch something practical, at least to get an idea of the public’s thoughts and reactions to monsters.
Zhong Chengshuo rushed to his bedroom, shut the door for a while, then ran out with a tablet.
There was a note attached to the back that specifically listed the recommended viewing order for series like <Godzilla> and <Alien>. Next to the tablet was a headphone case that exuded a faint smell of alcohol.
“I’m going to sleep. If you want to watch, please use the headphones.”
Zhong Chengshuo bent down in front of Yin Ren and stretched out his hand.
He held his breath, gently brushed away Yin Ren’s hair, and carefully put on the left earphone for Yin Ren. Zhong Chengshuo’s fingertips were warm. He lightly stroked Yin Ren’s ears, causing his long hair to shake lightly.
He didn’t seem to like the idea of skin-to-skin contact, as his movements were too cautious, as if Yin Ren were some kind of snow statue that would break at first touch.
Zhong Chengshuo’s face was so close that Yin Ren couldn’t help but look into those dark eyes. At this distance, he could hear the other party’s somewhat fast heartbeat—looking at the man’s taut face, it was probably due to tension.
“Don’t worry. I won’t touch your treasures casually,” Yin Ren thoughtfully stated. “If there’s something I don’t understand or am curious about, I’ll definitely go to you first.”
He also wanted to tell Zhong Chengshuo that this “harmless partner” worked for a long time and didn’t intend to dwell on such trivial matters.
Zhong Chengshuo pursed his lips. “Thank you for your understanding.”
“So, what exactly are takeout and online shopping?” Yin Ren asked with enthusiasm.
Zhong Chengshuo had shown Yin Ren how to register, and by the time he finished explaining how to use the food delivery app, it was already close to 1:00 a.m. He yawned and went to bed, not forgetting to close his bedroom door.
Yin Ren was lying on the sofa while watching a movie.
In order to ensure a comfortable posture, he specially grew a bony ghost hand to fix the tablet in front of his face. His black hair was floating midair, transforming into a mercury-like texture, and covered the takeout he had bought.
After all, given his current posture, it wasn’t good for eating, so Yin Ren didn’t mind using another mouth to eat.
Not wanting to disturb the sleeping Zhong Chengshuo, Yin Ren turned off the lights in the living room, which made the splendid lights outside the floor-to-ceiling windows even more conspicuous. With the window slightly open, the breeze swayed the plants inside.
The scenery around him was peaceful and quiet, while what was shown on the small screen was thrilling. Yin Ren relaxed his entire body and stared at the tablet without even blinking.
In the corner, where the moonlight didn’t shine, a pool of dark blood oozed from the wall. As the bloodstain expanded, a human head slowly surfaced.
It was the ghost just now. She had appeared in the corner again. The ghost leaned half her body out, looked around with a bloodied face, and locked her gaze on Yin Ren.
Then she let out a shrill scream that ripped the clouds apart.
The scream pierced Yin Ren’s ears through the headphones. He was at the high point of the movie. At the climax, he was shocked by the scream and saw a ghostly hand slip down in front of him, causing him to smack the plate, sending it flying into his face. The hair that was gnawing on the duck’s neck almost choked on the bone.
“What are you—?!” The ghost suddenly moved back a few steps and shivered as she pointed to Yin Ren’s ghost hand and hair.
She even glanced at Zhong Chengshuo’s bedroom as if she wanted to rush in and complain.
The ghost even had the ability to speak, which was exceptional among evil creatures, but unfortunately, she met the wrong opponent.
Yin Ren unhappily moved the tablet away and removed his headphones. He carefully lowered his voice. “Miss, I’m trying to watch a movie.”
Female ghost: “…” Aren’t you missing the point?
Female ghost: “I’m warning you. Don’t mess around. I’m registered with Shian!”
Yin Ren took out his work ID from under the cushion and shook it at the female ghost. “What a coincidence. So am I.”
Since Zhong Chengshuo was a living human, it was good to be cautious, but for ghosts that could go through walls, Yin Ren could tighten his guard if he really wanted to hide. He could pretend to be perfect, but just because he wanted to stay in Shian didn’t mean he wanted to constantly live in fear.
It was better to just “greet” this ghost in advance.
The world in the eyes of evil beings was usually distorted, so their testimony was difficult to take seriously. Evil beings hardly even communicated with each other, let alone doing things like gossip. Yin Ren wasn’t worried about this ghost leaking secrets.
Sure enough, when she saw his work ID, the female ghost became silent.
After a while, the fierce ghost changed into pajamas, reverted her face back to normal, and her dirty hair became clean. She twirled her hair and continued to hide in the corner. “Who are you to Zhong Chengshuo?”
This was probably the ghost’s friendly mode. In this way, except for her pale skin, she looked like a normal woman who was about 26–27 years old.
“I’m his colleague. Who are you?” Yin Ren asked curiously.
He had just watched <Ghost> at Shian and wondered if he had bumped into the real-life version.
“This house used to be mine. It’s all bad luck, so let’s not mention it.” The ghost clicked her tongue loudly.
“I just have nothing to do in my spare time. When I heard someone was moving in, I stopped to take a look—anyway, that kid, surnamed Zhong, can’t see me. I just usually, ahem, stop by to watch movies and dramas.”
Yin Ren: “…” He felt there was some underlying connotation to this.
“Yin Ren, right? It’s good you’re from Shian.” The female ghost was still talking. “My name is Hu Tao. I’m a ghost that’s bound here. Now, I live in the empty home next door…”
“Isn’t this your house?”
“Why would I live with a stranger who’s a single man? How inconvenient.” Hu Tao snorted. “My life is gone, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be particular.”
Although the ghost was powerful, she seemed relatively sober. Yin Ren didn’t know if Shian had used some means on her.
Yin Ren stood up while lost in thought and went to the refrigerator to grab a drink.
Zhong Chengshuo had already cleaned up the fridge in advance, putting the fruit drinks on a separate layer, and then dividing them neatly into two sections. Yin Ren grabbed a bottle of sugar-free yogurt drink, took a sip, and wrinkled his face in sourness.
He glanced around and saw an apple on the table.
The apple was bright and red, with a regular outline and no damage to the skin. It was placed in a white porcelain dish that sat against the wall, and it exuded a unique, sweet aroma of apples.
Although there were lots of apples in the fridge, Yin Ren didn’t bother to open it again and instead stretched out his hand at the table…
“I suggest you leave that alone,” Hu Tao said.
Yin Ren’s hand stopped in midair.
“Zhong Chengshuo always puts an apple here and changes it every day. It’s weird,” the ghost commented affectionately. “He seems to take the matter very seriously. You’d better eat the ones in the fridge.”
“Is this… an offering?” This was Yin Ren’s first reaction, but this wasn’t something someone like Zhong Chengshuo would do, so he was a little surprised.
“Who knows. I’m the strongest in this community, but it’s not for me. I don’t get him at all.” Hu Tao looked at the red apple greedily. “Ugh, I also want to eat it too.”
Yin Ren took another apple from the fridge and was holding it in his mouth. Hu Tao looked away in pain. “Okay, I’ll leave first. Since you can see me, I’ll knock on the wall first next time I come.”
With that, the ghost Hu Tao shrank into the wall, leaving half of her head exposed.
“Oh, yes. When you watch a TV show, remember to knock on the wall and call me—”
Yin Ren waved his hand and agreed.
He returned to the sofa and continued to watch his movie.
Early the next morning.
Zhong Chengshuo finished washing up and opened the bedroom door, as if he suspected an enemy was on the other side.
He took away the apple from the table and replaced it with a fresh one. After completing all this, Zhong Chengshuo held the apple in his left hand and a sharp fruit knife in his right hand and stopped two steps away from the sofa.
As he expected, Yin Ren didn’t go back to his room honestly—the man was sleeping on the sofa, wrapped in a thin blanket; his long hair draped over it, almost touching the floor.
But there were also things he hadn’t expected.
It was clear that Yin Ren had ordered takeout last night. Zhong Chengshuo recognized the bags from the nearby braised duck and skewers shop, but they were all neatly packed up.
There were no leftovers on the table, no suspicious oil stains or crumbs, and the room didn’t smell too bad. The finished skewers and bones were tied up in plastic bags and put away in the takeout bags, and the empty drink cans were neatly organized. Even Yin Ren’s socks were folded up and placed in one of the slippers.
The tablet was tightly hugged in Yin Ren’s arms. It was clear that he was very satisfied with his movie night.
Zhong Chengshuo approached lightly, slowly pulled out the tablet, and placed it on the small table by the sofa. Yin Ren smacked his lips and turned over lazily.
The curtains weren’t drawn, so the early morning sunlight slanted into the room, illuminating the tips of Yin Ren’s hair. The light white blanket reflected off the yellow color, making it appear extra soft.
Zhong Chengshuo’s movements stagnated.
As Yin Ren turned over, a vague smell emanated from his body. The smell didn’t belong to the house, but it smelled good, like fine, fragrant wood that could only be found in high-end stores.
Zhong Chengshuo got closer, leaned down, and lightly sniffed.
It wasn’t his illusion.
Zhong Chengshuo tilted his head and looked at Yin Ren for a while. During this period, his slender fingers on his right hand moved unconsciously, turning the knife several times between his fingers.
“Yin Ren.” After standing quietly for a few minutes, Zhong Chengshuo took a few steps back and suddenly spoke.
Lord Ghost King was bleary-eyed. “…Hm?”
“Do you want to eat boiled corn or steamed stuffed buns?”
Yin Ren sat upright. “What kind of stuffed buns?”
“Pork and green onions, or lamb and carrots, with boiled eggs, soy milk, and apples.” With a snap, Zhong Chengshuo cut the apple in half.
“Lamb and carrots!” Yin Ren stated happily and rushed into the bathroom to wash up.
Zhong Chengshuo picked up the apron on the hanger. The brown apron had the words “Dangerous Person” printed on it and looked clean without even a single wrinkle.
“Movie…” Zhong Chengshuo tied his apron as he spoke. “How was the movie last night?”
“I found a few to watch, but they were all pretty similar.” Yin Ren’s answer was muffled as he was brushing his teeth. “The monster doesn’t consider the subsequent quality of life, runs to the human side to wreak havoc, and then the main characters achieve family, love, or friendship. Haa, how uneconomical.”
“I like <Alien> the most,” Yin Ren said.
Yin Ren was silent for a moment before he spat out the foam in his mouth. He raised his head and looked at himself in the mirror.
“Because it knows that camouflage and concealment are the most effective when it hasn’t grown up yet.”
Zhong Chengshuo didn’t reply.
In the midst of the silence, the ringtones of two cellphones sounded simultaneously.
The author has something to say:
I didn’t mean to say that the Godzilla series isn’t good—_(:з”∠)_
Congratulations to Comrade Xiao Yin for acquiring “takeout” and “online shopping”, the two strongest skills of modern people!
Xiao Zhong: Don’t order luosifen. Please don’t order luosifen—
My thoughts when Yin Ren looked at the apple was… is he going to eat a fake apple?
For those who didn’t get the reference of why Yin Ren said he likes Alien best… Well, you can read the Wikipedia for the movies to get the plot (the first movie is good enough and also contains a very infamous scene). Warning, it’s bloody and gory.
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Thank you so much for your hard work!