This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, Masadeer, and Yeenie.
As the sun was setting, the entire area was dyed bright red. I sat on a bench in a park. Although it was a lot safer now, being chased by a ghost and then pushed off the bridge, these incidents caused my hands to shake uncontrollably.
The phone had also unknowingly returned to me.
“Take it.” An icy cold beverage can was held at one side of my face. I quickly took it, raised my head and saw senior, who had walked over to the side of the vending machine and bought two cans of fizzy drinks, had already returned.
“That thing from just now…” After I’ve integrated all the questions in my mind, plus the things I’ve read from manhua, I came to a conclusion, “This can’t be a damn test for new students, right?!” This was the most likely outcome or it would have been impossible for the ghost child to appear at the right time in my neighbourhood, while telling me to engage with the enemy and what not.
“I’m not that bored.” Senior, who had opened the can and drank a mouthful, threw a cold remark. His expression also seemed to be rather foul and, he was wearing the long black clothing he was wearing when I first met him at the train station. “Didn’t Tong Lang mention that the thing was the Ghost King’s underling?”
Oh right, the ghost child seemed to have said something about that evil spirit being some king’s underling. I mused over the time when I was being chased by that evil spirit, who was totally ignored, but was elated with his one sided conversation.
“What is a Ghost King?” I only know of a Ghost King Zhong Kui, but I’m not a little ghost, so for what reasons did he have to order his underlings to get me?
[T/N: A figure of Chinese Mythology. Traditionally regarded as a vanquisher of ghosts and evil beings, and reputedly able to command 80,000 demons. – Wikipedia]
“…It’s the most powerful ghost.”
… I really don’t understand the answer senior had given me.
“Really.” Senior stood up and threw the emptied beverage can into the recycling bin. The sunset was reflected off his silver hair — a shining bright spot of light. For a moment it felt like his hair was dyed red with blood, so dazzling that it made one feel like it was an evil being, “No matter which world you are from, there will always be spirits, ghosts, demons, devils,etcetera.”
“Ah, ah, I understand.” Those kinds of big monsters always appear in Manhua and movies.
“It’s also practical if you use those things as a reference. Those things are affected by the region, psionic, ley lines, etcetera. These different types of factors will cause them to band together, and the leader they revere will be the king or, have some other titles.” Senior did not refute my thoughts but gave a little affirmation, “Ghost King is the revered leader of some certain region of dead people. The thing you thought of just now was already a little deified, which is considered as a type of ghost God, but the Ghost King that’s after you is not acknowledged… in other words, it’s what you guys would call the head of the evil spirits.”
I was starting to get a little dizzy listening to senior, but I got a hint of what he was trying to say.
“Also, there are several Ghost Kings, one who was after you earlier was Evil Ghost King, Bishen.”
I’ve never heard of it before.
Lots of questions were flashing through my mind, but the question I currently wanted to ask the most was something else, “So why is the Ghost Whatever King after me?” I remembered the recent most earth-shattering thing that occurred to me was chasing the classroom and the line of corpses, but I’ve not had any encounter with ghosts.
“… It was attracted to you because of your bad luck.”
“I’m very sorry. I know I’m very unlucky.” It’s even worse now, even ghosts wanted come and chase me.
Senior looked at me, “Don’t worry, you are not the first one to be chased.” He said, “Your life energy was changed because of the school. Your personal ability will slowly be drawn out, so in the future, the rate of these kinds of occurrences would most probably only increase and not decrease.”
“Ah?” Would only increase and not decrease?
Ma, ah! Why was it that only I have to experience these things? I just want to be an ordinary person and finish my unlucky person life. Ah, why do I have to start being chased by ghosts?
“Do you really think you can be an ordinary person?” Senior looked at me, his red eyes suddenly turning sharper, “The school definitely did not make any mistake by allowing you to apply into this school. It’s only people, with special abilities, are able to apply into our school. Even if you are not going to study at our school now, the ability of yours will still slowly increase with your growth. Being chased by ghosts was something that would have happen in just a matter of time.”
I didn’t know why but, I think senior seemed to be a little angry. Although he didn’t seemed to be very happy the entire time either. I knew he could hear what I was thinking.
The whole area gradually quieted down.
Senior was silent for a long time before he said slowly, “You, will one day understand the meaning of this sentence.”
I looked at senior, and the gear of my thoughts started moving faster.
It was exactly like what senior had said. What if by some unlucky chance I really had some unknown ability (and maybe the ability was called Millennium of Bad Luck, or something similar), and even after a period of time, the ghost would still come and chase after me.
I remembered that today, the ghost presumptuously intruded into my house, almost causing my mother to be involved in this. I wasn’t too willing. I don’t want my family to be involved in this because of this reason.
If I was destined to be unlucky, I would rather be unlucky just by myself, since I’m already used to it. But, if next time a lot of ghosts come rushing into my house, what am I supposed to do?
I looked at senior, there was a determination slowly forming in my mind. They had said earlier that Atlantis was a school to help with the development of special abilities. It was the very same school I was currently registered to study in.
* * *
“Hush.” Just as I’d wanted to say something after spending a long time thinking, senior suddenly raised his finger to his lips and narrowed his red eyes, “They’re here again.”
I’ve still yet to understand what it was that he had said was here.
“There.” Senior raised his hand and casually pointed at one direction. I skeptically looked across, and was stunned. Its clone was here, and he even took a whole lot of comrades and covertly came here.
“That, that, that, that—” The nightmare from earlier was back again. Those gray eyes that lingered right in front of my eyes. Even, I, myself, knew I was stuttering very badly, even my breathing had increased in speed.
A group of around a dozen of those gray-eyed beings emerged from the direction of the public toilet. There were males and females, with their mouth were slit open, all the way to the bottom of their ears, and blood was constantly flowing out.
“AAAHHH—!” Toilet ghost!
“Shut up.” Senior glared at me fiercely, “Crying out like this just because of a group of lesser underlings. Your favorite Mikayla can cope with a large group of these without uttering a single word of complaint.”
That’s because you guys are not human!
Thinking of the sweet smiling Miao Miao, I began to tear up. And here I thought I finally met a normal and cute girl, but the “cat” she carries around with her was really humongous!
“You’d better look carefully, this is the method of cleaning up when you encounter these things.” With an unchanging expression, senior slightly bend his body, and took out a piece of white paper with the size of a charm* from his pocket, where on top was a red marking and some wordings of an unknown alien language, “This is an explosive charm. If you ever choose Charm Arts as an elective course, you will learn how to draw the characters of basic curses.”
[T/N: This is what a paper charm looks like: Image]
I looked at the piece of paper in my hands. I saw some round markings that looked like flames, and in the middle was decorated by some shiny gold-like silk.
If I looked at it in another way, it was fortunate the paper was white instead of yellow, otherwise it would look awfully similar to Joss Paper*.
[T/N: Also known as ghost money, are sheets of paper and/or paper-crafts made into burnt offerings which are common in various Asian religious practices including the veneration of the deceased on holidays and special occasions. Joss paper, as well as other papier-mâché items, are also burned in various Asian funerals, to ensure that the spirit of the deceased has lots of good things in the afterlife. – Wikipedia]
“Chu, you need to look carefully.”
When senior said that, I didn’t realize he was calling me. It was only after a few seconds later did I realize he was calling me by my surname. That’s right, it seems like most foreigners would directly address others by their surnames.
“Basically, no matter what kind of stuff you want to use, your mind’s intention is very important.” Senior said something that sounds a lot like a maxim for picking up girls.
“Mind’s intention, mind’s intention, mind’s intention…” I looked at the suspiciously looking joss paper-like charm, the shiny thing on top kept reflecting light, making my eyes hurt.
In fact, I didn’t know what was my mind’s intention. Truthfully speaking, what I currently want was, for that group of evil spirits that were closing in to immediately disappear.
But it was strange, as there were so many people in the park at this time due to the crowds of nearby people who just got off work or, was coming home from school. Not only were they turning a blind eye towards these evil spirits, even senior, who was such an outstanding person, had stood here for quite some time, however, there were actually no junior or high school girls who came to approach him. This situation was rather unusual.
“Bursting Fire resound with my thoughts, become something to cause the enemies to retreat.” Taking out another piece of charm, senior crumpled the paper and held it tightly in his palms after saying a brief incantation.
Wait a moment, in manhuas, didn’t those people who wanted to launch some sort of magic, have to read out a freakishly long sentence of some Demonic Sanskrit no one else can understand? Why was senior’s incantation so easy and simple?
“I just said it’s the mind’s intention that’s most important, didn’t you understand?!” Senior reminded me about the maxim a second time.
The whole area was already surrounded by the group of evil spirits. Don’t talk about my mind’s intention, I’m currently not even able to produce a fart. A horrible smell was starting to spread out. It can’t be that they just climbed out of the toilet bowl from the public toilet?
Smells a bit like stale fish, but also smells disgustingly like meat that’s been left alone for a long time, making me a little nauseous.
Just as the first gray eyed female evil spirit opened her hands and tried to grab us, senior’s action was many times faster than her, moving his hands, a stream of black light appeared in the dim lighting right in front of my eyes.
The second the sun set, I saw a line appearing from senior’s palm. It was a spear*. Not the one that emits flying bullets with a bang, but the ancient Chinese long spear.
[T/N: In this sentences, the author used the character that can also be a word for “gun”.]
On top of the black spear were odd carvings of red and gold patterns. Reflected from the lights of the streetlights, the spear was slightly glowing, as if there were fireflies on top of it.
After the spear drew out a circle, the spear was pointed at the forehead of the gray-eyed female ghost, one inch from penetrating through her head.
“Bursting fire, destroy.” Senior’s voice was very soft. He chanted an incantation similar to the one he did earlier on, but it was a lot simpler.
Just as senior had finished chanting, the female ghost issued a sharp scream similar to scraping a blackboard with a fingernail.
The sound was extremely loud, causing my eardrums to almost explode. I couldn’t stand the sound so I immediately covered my ears.
The gray eyed female evil spirit shook twice, and right in front of me… she suddenly just blew up into pieces. The already purplish black, rancid, and pale internal organs, were splashed all over the other ghosts who were right behind her. Senior, who quickly avoided the pieces of internal organs, had already rushed towards another one.
It was then when I understood the meaning of the word ‘explosive charm’.
But if we were to explode the ghosts, why couldn’t we just use a massive bomb and completely destroy the whole group? Wasn’t it such a waste of time to kill them off one by one? If it’s a bomb, it would be so much faster.
While I was thinking so, the one, who had wiped out almost half of the group of evil spirits, suddenly turned around and directly made an eye contact with me.
Then he looked downwards. I also looked downwards.
There was an unknown sizzling sound.
“Whoahh—!” I shouted.
“You idiot!” Senior roared angrily.
“A bomb, a bomb, a bomb!” I jumped up from the chair. While holding onto a black basketball-sized bomb that had mysteriously appeared, I started running to and fro.
That’s right, it is exactly what you are thinking of right now. The black rounded brand that always appears in cartoons and manhuas, with the top connected to a rapidly burning fuse.
“Gonna burst, gonna burst, gonna burst!” I started running in circles. Suddenly, I thought that what I should do now, was to throw the bomb towards the ghosts, and as a result, they will explode into pieces. So, I threw the bomb away.
There was a really heavy sound.
“I’m so going to kill you!” Senior yelled. Staring at the bomb, it had rolled and stopped right next to his feet.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I didn’t do it on purpose.” It’s because you were standing right in the middle of the ghosts. I held onto my head and cried out madly. I then stared at the fuse. It had burned until there was only three centimeters left. I thought senior would use the black spear in his hands to stab my head.
Just when there was only two centimeters left of the fuse, senior pierced the closest evil ghost with one shot and he broke away from the big group and rushed towards me. Without saying a word, he forcefully dragged me by my hand and ran really quickly.
He must be a pro athlete! Not only did he know air surfing, his ability to run was also exceptional. I was being dragged by a person who ran at a speed of 100 meters in five seconds. In a blink of an eye, I had arrived at the side of an elephant slide, which was quite a distance away.
“Get in!” Senior kicked me to get inside the slide; the empty hole of the elephant’s stomach, and then followed me in.
To be truthful, the elephant’s stomach was rather small, due to it being made for children to play in, so the two of us had to bend down while crouching inside.
Just as I was trying to stabilize my breathing, a huge explosion echoed from outside.
The sound was similar to a gas explosion.
When I heard the explosion, my ears started to hurt; there was ringing in my ears, prevented me from hearing anything else.
The big elephant was shaking. In our little hiding space, grains of sand were continuously falling onto our head.
Senior quickly took off his black robe and used some unknown method to fix the four corners, sealing off the entrance to the elephant’s stomach. I vaguely saw something hitting the clothing, but I was unable to hear the pounding sound. Then there was the smell of gunpowder and the smell of rotten meat.
The entire small space was filled with darkness, only the light coming from outside was through the slits, giving off a faint light.
After a few seconds had passed, the sound and vibration came to a halt. I felt a little dizzy, my eyesight was blurry and my ears seemed like it was rearing bees inside.
After a long while, senior pulled down his clothes, without wearing it, he hung it on his arm and then he went out of the elephant’s stomach. When I had determined the dizziness I felt had passed, I followed senior and crawled out.
And then… I was stunned.
“This can’t be true…” I stared with my eyes wide opened, the place where we were previously drinking our beverage had been blasted into a big crater. The park’s water dispenser and public toilet were damaged and were currently squirting out water. The hole was then quickly filled and turned into a small pool. However, there were some unknown eyeballs and internal organs rolling around inside the small pool.
The first thought that came to my mind was: the government would not come to find me and ask me to pay for compensation,… right?
Senior turned around to face me, “You idiot, you idiot, you idiot!” He forcefully grabbed me by my collar and started shaking me!
“I didn’t do it on purpose, I didn’t do it on purpose!” I almost rolled my eyes upwars and started yelling madly.
How was I suppose to know that the explosive charm will turn into a bomb? I really thought it can only turn into a spear! Woo, woo. Even I, myself, now felt like an utter idiot, blowing up a quarter of the park.
After a few seconds, senior seemed to have had enough of strangling me, threw me to one side, took out a cell phone from his pocket, and dialed a set of numbers, “Tyre, there’s an accident at my location… caused by that idiot. Check my current location and send a group of people here to deal with it.”
I heard a rather familiar name, but all of a sudden, I couldn’t remember of who it was. After senior hung up the phone, I immediately jumped away, very afraid that he would continue to strangle me.
“Let’s go.” Unexpectedly, he calmly said two words directed at me.
“Ah?” Usually the more calm a person was, the more terrifying he will be when he freaks out.
“Unless, you want to stay here to be admired!” This time, senior’s words were added with a sense of him gritting his teeth.
“Of course not.” After being reminded, I started to notice that the surrounding area had already started to stir up due to the explosion. A large crowd had already gathered at the perimeter of the park; there were black shadowy figures were moving around. It should only take about a few seconds for the crowds to reach this place.
“Then hurry up and go.” Senior, who was clearly very experienced in this, started to move to the direction where crowds had yet to gather. I hastened to keep up with his rather fast walking pace.
As soon as we stepped out of the park, sirens resounded in the air and about a dozen police cars had appeared, surrounding the park and drew out the yellow line, and then with the fire brigade and the ambulance following at the rear, cutting off the crowds.
I was a little surprised, this time the police was actually dispatched so quickly. Was it usually like this?
* * *
On the way, senior did not say a word. However, I knew he was very angry.
A normal person would definitely have strangled me to death in anger, so I believe he was considered to be very merciful. I wanted to apologize but, I was also very scared.
“What is this?” The person in front suddenly halted in his tracks, and I immediately hit the brakes, to prevent me from crashing behind him. After the shock came doubt. I followed senior’s line of sight and looked across. Nearby, I saw a small booth with a small red bean biscuit sign on the top. In the past, the price was only three for $10 NT (~$0.33 USD). But not that the price of the ingredients had increased, it was currently priced at three for $20 NT (~$0.67 USD).
“It’s red bean biscuits, it’s a type of food which has red beans wrapped inside.There are also green beans, taro, radish, cabbage and what not, wrapped inside. This store’s is quite delicious.” It’s just so happen that this road was the one I had to pass by to get to and fro from school. There was a time when I was feeling hungry after coming back from classes, my mother would always give me some pocket money to buy a few back as desert. So I was rather familiar with the boss.
“Senior, do you want to try some?” That’s strange, Senior haven’t eaten red bean biscuits before? Even if it’s in other countries, this kind of food should be available almost everywhere, right?
Senior stared at me and then he shook his head, his silver hair swayed like the waves, “I still have work later on, so I can’t eat.”
“Work?” Senior is doing some part time job? But why can’t he eat because of the part time job?
“Atlantis allows students to accept job requests, ranging from White Robes, Purple Robes, and Black Robes, these three ranks. For you, who is currently not even a white robe, is a far cry from accepting solo jobs.” Senior retracted his sight and turned to look at me, continuing, “Our job scope is, of course, to deal with issues humans could not handle by themselves.”
I understand. It should be similar to things drawn in manhuas where they slay demons.
“It’s not slaying demons.” Senior didn’t even take one second to overthrow my thoughts, “For example, the job I’m going to later, is a job regarding a dryad and was entrusted to me by a demon cat. Our job scope is so wide, you wouldn’t be able to imagine it.” He raised the edge of his lips, and smiled coldly.
It’s currently very unimaginable for me already, so I’m not going to speculate how wide the range was.
“But just now, the case of being chased by evil spirits was not an official mission. The Ghost Kings’ underlings had always been a very troublesome problem. So I think the school should be sending you a reward.” Senior took out his cell phone, and used the pen inside to touch the top of the touch screen, writing something and then sent it, “If you ever encounter this again, Tong Lang will assist you. That’s the child who ate the ghost earlier. You just have to tell him to eat it.”
That ghost child? I shivered, was a little scared.
“So that’s it, I’m very busy. Goodbye.” After putting his phone away, senior waved at me.
I immediately snapped out of my trance, only to find I was already standing in front of my house, “Senior!” Looking at his departing back, I gathered my courage and called out to him.
Senior turned around, his facial expression seemed to be saying “What else do you want?”.
“I’m sorry for causing you so much trouble today, and also, I’ll see you when school starts!” I think I can already accept the fact that I’m going to study at Atlantis Academy.
As usual, bringing out his cold smile, senior snorted and smiled. “Idiot.”
Within the next second, his figure dispersed along with the wind, as if he had never been here at all.
With a relaxed feeling, as if my heart had finally let go of something, I started humming as I walked into the house.
Opening the door, my mother was standing at the entrance looking at me. “Yang Yang, where’s the salt?”
… I’m doomed.