Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 49: Chair
Room 601, Building 4.
After dinner, Zhong Chengshuo locked himself in the bedroom early. As Yin Ren waited for the ghost market to open, he was checking his result papers.
While curses were invalid on Zhong Chengshuo himself, as “King Yama”, he needed to verify the remnants of curses on the spot. Zhong Chengshuo had invited a superb spirit smith to create a set of test strips for such things.
This was his killer weapon to identify unknown curses.
Zhong Chengshuo was a bit reluctant to use the test paper. Unfortunately, he had already exhausted other methods of verification a few days ago.
There didn’t seem to be a curse on him.
This set of precision test strips was his last hope. When he saw that Yin Ren had left for the ghost market, he immediately took out the test strips.
He ran into the bathroom of the master bedroom, mixed his own blood with a potion, and lit the extract on the test strips. The dark red test strips hung one by one, and the atmosphere around the small bathroom became eerie.
The test strips gently shook on the string, like a string of air-dried corpses. Zhong Chengshuo sat on the toilet lid, unmoving, imitating “The Thinker“. Under the bathroom light, his glasses glowed a layer of white.
Time passed slowly. Eventually, the blood potion completely dried up. The color of the test paper didn’t change at all, and there was no trace of water immersion.
There were still no signs of a curse.
This wasn’t good. Zhong Chengshuo continued to contemplate as he sat on the toilet lid.
Since it wasn’t a curse of instant death, the purpose must be to deter. However, using this kind of subtle curse that couldn’t be verified wouldn’t serve as an effective “deterrent” at all—even if he was afraid of Shian finding out, this method was way too oblique.
They lived together, and Yin Ren knew where his parents were, so it wasn’t like he didn’t have other methods of restraint.
This evil qi corruption wasn’t right. Normally, evil qi was like drops of water sliding over a lotus leaf, leaving no traces behind.
After thinking for a long time without conclusion, Zhong Chengshuo silently recycled the test paper and flushed the burned paper ash into the toilet.
When Yin Ren left, his residence returned to its previous quietness. There was no longer the vague music and lines from shows and movies outside his bedroom door, or the laughter and movement of another person. The silence was quite abrupt.
Zhong Chengshuo couldn’t help but open the bedroom door—the opportunity was too good to miss, so he might as well investigate to the end.
Yin Ren liked to stay in the living room. He hardly ever returned to his bedroom. He would only go back to the shower and then lie back on the sofa. Zhong Chengshuo locked his bedroom and slowly approached the sofa in the living room, as if there was some sleeping beast on it.
Mr. Yama took a deep breath and lay down like Yin Ren.
Was there anything special here?
Was it easier to spy on him in his bedroom? Or was it because it occupied the most advantageous combat angle? Zhong Chengshuo laid on the soft sofa and swept his gaze around the living room.
From this angle, he could only see the floor-to-ceiling windows “under his feet”. The floor-to-ceiling windows were inlaid with the night view of Haigu. The lights were extremely bright, giving people the illusion that they were floating among the stars.
Was it because it was “lively”?
After all, Yin Ren did say he likes lively places…
The sofa was soft, and the cushion was indented by Yin Ren. The subtle smell overwhelmed him and made Zhong Chengshuo’s eyelids heavy. Relaxation and vigilance surged at the same time, and his heartbeat became chaotic again.
Heart disease, an unknown curse, and evil qi corruption were ruled out one by one… Was it really a “psychological factor” as Sun Qi’an had said?
Zhong Chengshuo knew he wasn’t good at getting along with others. In order to ensure his identity wasn’t exposed, he would present various scenarios—such as dealing with strange enemies or getting along with friends and family. He even rehearsed in advance countless times the details of being questioned by Shian and getting along with his colleagues.
But Yin Ren was different. The man broke into his territory in a dignified manner that had no semblance of a surprise attack. With such a guy around, Zhong Chengshuo felt he was gradually becoming powerless.
No. He should first speculate on Yin Ren’s purpose.
Looking at Yin Ren’s performance, he had suspicions about his identity and was trying to press him… Yin Ren infiltrated Shian… but also did absolutely nothing… What was his purpose…?
At this point in time, it was already 1 a.m.. Zhong Chengshuo slowly closed his eyes.
Hu Tai and Lu Tanfei in the corner: “……”
Hu Tai: “Is he taking a nap? Why did he come to sleep on the sofa?” He even forgot to wear his nightcap.
Lu Tanfei: “Maybe he’s worried about Xiao Yin.”
Hu Tai: “Yin Ren won’t be back for a while. Let’s go, Lu Ge. I’ll teach you—”
Her voice was drowned out by the vibrating sound of a phone.
Zhong Chengshuo instantly opened his eyes and nimbly grabbed his phone.
[Fruit Knife: Zhong Ge, are you there?]
[Fruit Knife: I’m in the ghost market. This is urgent 😱]
Zhong Chengshuo: “……” He knew this guy was being dishonest. Sure enough, something happened!
[Final Fruit: ?]
[Fruit Knife: Can I borrow some money?]
Zhong Chengshuo slowly put down the phone and laid back on the sofa. He probably had fallen asleep in a daze and was dreaming of some kind of plot that “Yin Ren was disturbing his sleep in the middle of the night just to borrow money”.
Unfortunately, the phone didn’t stop vibrating.
[Fruit Knife: Help me! It’s very important. It may be related to the case and can be reimbursed!!!]
[Final Fruit: “May be?”]
[Final Fruit: Forget it. How much do you need?]
[Fruit Knife: 100,000]
[Final Fruit: ………………………]
[Final Fruit: I don’t have that much. Even if I did, I couldn’t transfer it. Do you want me to call the police for you?]
[Fruit Knife: 😖]
An hour ago.
“Alright, lead the way,” Yin Ren said.
Old Dog Peng laughed, arched his back, and walked to the corner of the street with Yin Ren.
There were gaps in those weird old houses that were just big enough for a person to pass going sideways. The doors and windows of the old houses were pure black, making those gaps even less noticeable, like ditches overflowing with sewage.
Old Dog Peng led Yin Ren to walk closely to the edge, and soon they stumbled upon two adjacent mansions. One of them looked like an ancient residence, while the other looked like an old-fashioned restaurant, with a slightly wider gap between them, filled with murky night fog.
Unlike the rest of the building gaps, this gap was flanked by red-colored spring couplets on both sides, which seemed to stitch the two large buildings together. The words on the spring couplets looked like chewed bones, making their text indistinct, leaving only the red paper that was bright and dripping, like white silk being dipped in blood.
The stone sculpture of a tomb guardian beast was placed horizontally at the entrance of the gap, looking like a stone threshold.
Old Dong Peng plunged into the alley.
Entering the alley was like entering water. The voices of the ghost market suddenly became muffled. Only the gray mist and the swaying figure of Old Dog Peng were left behind. It was supposed to be a straight road, but the more he walked, the more curved it became. The bluestone road gradually turned into mud and would make a squishing noise when he stepped on it.
The two of them turned around and crossed an unknown number of forks in the road.
“Here—” The voice was thin. It should be the facial sore on Old Dog Peng’s body.
Yin Ren raised his head and saw two huge “Pawn” characters in black on a white background in front of him.
The pawnshop was a two-story building with carved columns and paintings, looking particularly grand. It was built at the end of the avenue, with about four-meter-tall walls on either side. The walls were covered with all kinds of uneven red lanterns, painting a layer of red lights.
Looking up, the top was no longer the clear starry sky but a thick darkness.
At some point, they were once again swept up in the crowd, but this time, all the people around them didn’t cover their faces.
There was an old man carrying a bird cage. Inside were small birds bouncing around, and from time to time, they would let out sharp and hoarse screeches. A young man was carrying a trendy bag with a dense pupil reflection lashing through the zipper gap.
A simple peasant woman was carrying a bamboo basket with a few shriveled hands exposed under the covering; their thin fingers would twitch a few times on occasion. There was a child dressed in red running around, giggling. When he took a closer look, the child’s facial features were all on the top of his head, and his laughter floated up toward the sky.
Yin Ren roughly estimated—the strength of the people here was completely different from that of the guests in the ghost market. They were a full level stronger.
He subconsciously held his breath and became more cautious.
“Oh, can you feel it?” Old Dog Peng laughed. “The ghost market is like a marketplace where everyone goes to casually buy some daily necessities. If you have a bit of skill, do you really need to go through that kind of troublesome channel?”
The old man stretched his neck and looked proud.
“The ‘ghost pawnshop’ is a place to scour for quality goods. What you see now is just the ‘middle-level’ among the Nightwalkers. At the level of King Yama, Mud Meat Zhang, and The Great Immortal Wu, no matter what they want, as long as they say it, someone will come and offer it.”
“Who is that?” Yin Ren pointed to the “person” at the door.
It looked clearly like a zombie with long hair dressed in an ancient costume. Its bruised flesh was clinging to his bones, a melon-skin cap was buckled on his head, a pair of gold-wire round-frame glasses hung on the bridge of its nose, and its mouth was puffing… on an e-cigarette.
It kept swallowing clouds while its two glazed eyes kept spinning around.
“That’s the owner of the ‘ghost pawnshop’. Everyone calls him the Lao Jiang*,” Old Dog Peng introduced mysteriously.
“Zombies are one of the few ‘physical evil things’ in the world. They’re on the verge of extinction these days. Lao Jiang is autistic. He has lived in the ghost market for more than 300 years before leaving his entire body.”
The same “physical evil thing”, Yin Ren, changed the subject. “Will Xiao Mengpo definitely come?”
“She has been every time. She likes to scour for materials here. If not, I’ll write my name backwards*… Let’s go, let’s go.”
*It’s a saying basically referring to I won’t lie to you. If I did, I would do something unbelievable (like if I’m lying to you, then I’m a cat; it’s not true, so that means I’m not lying).
“You don’t have to write it backwards. If she’s not here, you can refund me half the money,” Yin Ren suggested.
Old Dog Peng pretended he didn’t hear it.
The pawnshop seemed like it was only in name. The inside was more like an opera house. There were rows of square tables below with a large number of melons and fruits on them. On the stage, decorated in red and gold, were two black wood couplets hanging from either side. This time, the inscription on it was more serious.
Top couplet: There’s nothing new in love and hate.
Bottom couplet: There are old friends in joy and sorrow.
The horizontal line was crooked and engraved with: Don’t be noisy.
The front row was already full of people. Old Dog Peng dragged Yin Ren through the crowd until they reached a corner where they could stand. This place was far away from the stage, but fortunately, it wasn’t blocked, so he could still see the situation on the stage.
When the area became crowded, Lao Jiang swung to the stage on a white silk. He leisurely put away his e-cigarette, patted the loose silk clothes he was wearing, and pinned a microphone to his collar.
“The auction is about to start.” Unlike his withered appearance, his voice was magnetic. “Same rules as always. I will auction 18 pieces today that I have carefully selected. Take a good look at them, ladies and gentlemen.”
The first thing to be put on was an old-fashioned radio. The antenna was covered with blood, and there was a hoarse chirping sound from the machine from time to time. When Lao Jiang casually pressed a button, the chirp transformed into a human voice.
[…Same rules as always. Today, I’ll auction 22 pieces…]
“A naturally formed spirit weapon, a Black Bull Radio. You only need to put it in a fixed place, and you can retrieve the sound from the past. People, this thing is great for those who want to feel nostalgia.”
Lao Jiang shook his head, causing his thin neck bones to make an unpleasant creaking sound.
“Unfortunately, it can only go back one year. This thing would be an item for our grand finale if it didn’t have so many restrictions.”
There was a buzzing sound in the audience. Many old people showed a look of satisfaction.
Lord Ghost King, who didn’t have nostalgia, wasn’t interested in the radio. Yin Ren scanned the crowd, trying to find the aura of “Xiao Mengpo”.
The radio was quickly sold for 97,000 yuan.
“The next thing is quite good. A 200-year-old pig-killing knife with quite a fierce aura. It’s not as good as a murder weapon, but it can suppress evil spirits. Ghost masters, take a careful look…”
When the “wolf bone carving knife” was sold, Yin Ren finally found Xiao Mengpo. The old lady was sitting in the front row with a tense face. Perhaps it was because despite so many spirit weapons being auctioned today, she hadn’t found the material she wanted.
Yin Ren instantly abandoned Old Dog Peng and began to squeeze in the direction of Xiao Mengpo.
Just as he squeezed near the stage, the next item for auction appeared on the stage.
“This is a chair made of cherry wood of unknown origin. When touched, it can cause convulsions and vomiting. The auctioneer wished to remain anonymous and has handed it over to us for consignment along with a message.”
Lao Jiang took out his phone and read the words solemnly.
“’Let the game of hide and seek commence’… Well, that’s it. Let me show you the details of the workmanship of this chair…”
Yin Ren raised his head and looked at the chair.
At first glance, it was a warm yellow all-wood armchair, but on closer inspection, it was questionable to describe it as “all wood”…
On the warm wooden surface, there was a fine skin texture, and thin hair protruded from the depressions. There were also subtle protrusions and flesh-like gaps at the joints of the chair legs and a hollow in the back of the chair.
The chair trembled slightly, making a whimper similar to a “light cough”. Muddy liquid dripped down the legs of the chair, accumulating into a smelly pool on the table. Every time Lao Jiang’s hands crossed, it would shudder for a few seconds.
Yin Ren stopped in his tracks.
As far as he could feel, the position of the chair seemed like it was curled up like half a person. That thing was like a baby in its mother’s womb and was far from having a complete life.
However, it was indeed “alive” with a bit of vitality, which shouldn’t be something a spirit smith could make.
Yin Ren changed his target and squeezed a little closer. He closed his eyes, blocked his ears, and sniffed the chair intently. The stench of filth, along with the sour smell of sweat and the fragrance of wood, mixed together. At the bottom of this smell, he also smelled some evil qi.
The source of corruption in Feng Qi’s case also came from the same evil qi. Even the smell concentration was similar.
…This was also an indirect corruption source.
“50,000!” Yin Ren came back to his senses when someone behind him began the bid.
Yin Ren hurriedly raised his locust wood sign. “60,000!”
“65,000—” Not far away, Xiao Mengpo gave him a glance.
“75,000!” Yin Ren gritted his teeth.
Items related to evil qi wouldn’t appear casually. He intuitively felt that this item was related to Lu Guangzu’s case. Even if it wasn’t, it was enough to open another case.
Apart from being a collector’s item, this chair didn’t have much practical use. Xiao Mengpo most likely wanted to buy it to study its medicinal value. Yin Ren hoped that she would retreat in the face of difficulties.
“80,000.” The old lady snorted coldly.
“80,002…” His salary was almost spent, and the rest could be paid through formal emergency loans. But in his case, he most likely wouldn’t be able to get a loan for that much.
In a hurry, Yin Ren clicked on the apple avatar of Zhong Chengshuo.
Comrade Xiao Zhong woke up, but he could only give him moral support.
[Final Fruit: I don’t have that much. Even if I did, I couldn’t transfer it. Do you want me to call the police for you?]
[Fruit Knife: 😖]
[Fruit Knife: I really need it urgently.]
“95,000—” Xiao Mengpo began to increase the price again.
[Fruit Knife: Trust me this time.]
[Final Fruit: ……]
[Final Fruit: Okay, buy the thing first and give me 20 minutes.]
“100,000!” Yin Ren held the locust wood sign high.
Xiao Mengpo made a long face, narrowed her eyes, and surveyed Yin Ren, looking quite unhappy.
“100,000 yuan, going once. 100,000 yuan, going twice—sold!”
Before Yin Ren could step forward, Xiao Mengpo had squeezed to Yin Ren’s side. She stared at him with weasel-like eyes that locked on him firmly.
“I thought you were new to the ghost market and didn’t know your way around? How did you get to the ghost pawnshop?” She smiled miserably. “I was really pecked by geese* and didn’t recognize an insider. You buying medicine yesterday was all a ruse. Rather, you were just trying to find someone.”
*Referring to the idiom hunting geese all day long causing them to peck your eyes. (终日打雁，叫雁啄了眼) It refers to a person who spends his life restraining a person or thing but instead is restrained by it.
Yin Ren didn’t deny it.
“Boy, I saw you hesitate to bid just now. I hope you didn’t buy that chair just to attract my attention. The rules of the ghost pawnshop are very strict.”
As soon as she finished speaking, Yin Ren saw Lao Jiang take out a fan and knock it onto his palm. Two huge rat-like things jumped out from the audience and turned into afterimages as they ran between human legs and rushed straight to Yin Ren’s shoulders.
Yin Ren didn’t move. He let the two strange rats insert their noses into his ears and let them sniff deeply.
“This person doesn’t have enough money!” One of the strange rats shouted.
“Not enough money!” The other one also joined.
“If you don’t have enough money, you’ll make it up in flesh. Take off your mask, take off your clothes, and see how much we can get for your bones,” the two rats shouted in unison.
Around Yin Ren, the crowd consciously receded, forming a circular vacuum zone. The Nightwalkers exchanged pleasantries as they gloated in whispers.
Old Dog Peng had approached at some point while panting hard. “Hey, what are you doing? Why are you bidding indiscriminately?!”
Yin Ren: “But I want that chair.”
“People want a lot of things, but how can they get everything they want?” Lao Jiang jumped down for the stage, causing his hard bones to rattle. “How many years ago was it when someone didn’t have enough money for their bid? Nine? Ten? Old Dog Peng, didn’t you tell him about the rules?”
“This man has been mediocre all his life. He only said he wanted to find someone. The rest is none of my business!”
“But rules are rules,” Lao Jiang said.
“I can make up the money later.”
Walking in the realm of the metaphysic, if you didn’t follow the rules, you couldn’t make a circle*. Since Lao Jiang was in charge, Yin Ren didn’t want to cause a scene. “Wait another ten minutes. I’ll have my people come to deliver the money.”
*Saying refers to people must abide by rules and regulations so that everyone’s life will return to its normal track. Basically, rules are in place, and without them and people following them, it’ll lead to chaos.
“That won’t do. You must hand over collateral first.”
Lao Jiang clapped his hands. The two mice responded by biting off Yin Ren’s mask. The silver facemask slid down in front of Yin Ren and was smoothly caught by him.
The sound of chattering rang all around.
Lao Jiang: “Don’t you have such a good thing to pay for it? With your face, that’s at least worth 1 million alone. You can bet it on me, and I’ll pay you back when the money arrives.”
Countless glances came from all around, staring at Yin Ren’s face.
Unlike the outside world, there was no surprise or desire in those eyes, but different shades of greed. It seemed that what Yin Ren showed wasn’t a face, but a treasure chest full of gold. In an instant, he seemed to have completely transformed from “guest” to “cargo”, from a living person to a dead one in the eyes of everyone.
“Why not take it on the spot.” An unpleasant voice came from the crowd. “I’m missing a good face here—”
Before he could speak, Lao Jiang moved. He saw a black light flash from the crowd and straight at Yin Ren’s heart.
In the shadows, Yin Ren casually pulled out a trick. The black light fiercely turned around and came back to where it came from.
It was only a split second.
The next moment, a scream broke through the crowd. For a brief moment, the crowd flowed before a complete human head rolled from the ground. A section of its neck was still sizzling with smoke.
Yin Ren: “Oh, is this a backlash? So serious?”
After saying this, he smiled again and turned to Lao Jiang. “So you guys can take other people’s flesh as property. You should have said so.”
His voice was neither high nor low, but the crowd that was moving instantly quieted.
Yin Ren picked up the head. “Here, can this be worth 10,000? 20,000? I don’t need much.”
Lao Jiang narrowed his eyes and looked at Yin Ren suspiciously.
He had lived for more than five hundred years and had seen countless practitioners, but in the confrontation just now, he couldn’t see the reason.
The person who took the shot just now was someone Lao Jiang recognized. It was a spirit smith who wanted to enter Sunken Society and would often be up to no good. However, that person’s level wasn’t bad… Was he really eager to nab that face that his magic backfire?
Lao Jiang couldn’t see through it, but he also didn’t intend to.
“Enough.” Lao Jiang calmly took the head. “Ah, I’ve said it a few times, don’t be noisy and make a fuss… Who is to blame for this backlash?”
“Boss is quite generous. I’ll definitely bring enough money next time.” Yin Ren smiled.
“Interesting.” Xiao Mengpo raised her hands and didn’t say anything more.
While the two large rats ran away holding their heads, Lao Jiang jumped back onto the stage. He sat in the void while fanning himself. “You said ten minutes? There’s less than half a minute left. Shall we wait for this little friend—”
The last of his speech was covered by the roar of a motorcycle engine.
A man in pajamas, wearing a helmet, rushed in on a motorcycle with a “Are You Hungry” food delivery driver sitting in the back seat.
“19 minutes and 44 seconds,” Zhong Chengshuo said as he took off his helmet.
“I have asked for permission to use our mission funds. If it’s confirmed that the case is related to Shian, it will be reimbursed. If it’s not related, the interest will be converted according to the average loan and deducted from your salary.”
After he said all this in one breath, he looked at his watch again and breathed a sigh of relief.
“…Do you support credit card swiping here?”
The author has something to say:
Don’t learn Xiao Yin. Don’t spend in advance, let alone borrow large sums of money from others casually…
Learn from Xiao Zhong. Don’t blindly borrow large amounts of money but go directly to your official supervisor.
By the way, don’t touch e-cigarettes… Lao Jiang’s lungs are already dry (……
Xiao Zhong: Seriously thinking
Xiao Zhong: zZzZzZzZzZz
Xiao Yin: Alright, lead the way.
Xiao Yin: …The biggest enemy is that there is no money!
<<< || Table of Contents || >>>
3 thoughts on “Evil As Humans Ch49”
Thanks for the chapter!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Zhong gege just suffering from lovesickness xd
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you for the chapter!