On the day An Ning and I agreed to head to the villa, my parents reminded me to be careful when going out and about.
“You and little Ning are both girls, remember to take care of yourselves, don’t go out at night understand?”
Looking at me bending to put on my shoes while dragging my suitcase, mother couldn’t stop herself from nagging.
From yesterday night till now, she’d already said things along the same vein at least twenty times, and I couldn’t stop myself from getting annoyed. However, I controlled the annoyance and smiled back, saying: “I know mum, I’m already in college and in my twenties. I at least know about things like this.”
“Ah, in my eyes, my daughter is always a child. If we’re not there with you, of course your father and I will worry when you go out.”
With my mother’s nagging in the background, I smiled and closed the door, carrying my suitcase down the stairs.
Actually, Pervert never said that I couldn’t do intense exercise…looks like the baby in my stomach was completely different from normal children after all.
Not to mention the girl ghost in white from a few days ago said that she could hear the little one talk to her.
I couldn’t help but feel a bit more curious and expectant towards the baby.
I had been staying at home for a few days, barely even stepping out of the house. An Ning hadn’t visited Grandpa An’s shop either. Just yesterday night, she called me to tell me that he had successfully exorcised the ghost and was unharmed, releasing the tension that I’d been holding in for so long.
Even so, his situation wasn’t very optimistic, and had been staying in the old house recovering instead of attending to the shop.
Apparently he had even needed the main family’s exorcists help to complete the ritual. That sack of tainted relics must have taken them a great deal of energy and effort.
After listening to An Ning explain the situation, my respect for the An family exorcists grew almost to the point of worship.
Pulling my luggage, I reached the subway station at the time we agreed on and saw An Ning waving her hand. Wearing a wide brim hat and a summer dress, her eyes had searched through the crowd.
As soon as she saw me, she ran towards me, dragging a suitcase twice as big as mine behind her. I almost laughed out loud at her excitement.
“We’re only going for a week. All our clothes are thin summer ones, why do you need such a big suitcase for? If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were going overseas.”
An Ning held onto her hat and pointed at me.
“There are definitely a lot of good souvenirs to buy over there. I want to bring back presents for friends and family so I dug out the biggest suitcase in my house!”
Looking at her patting her luggage, full of admiration for both her suitcase and her forethought, I stopped myself from laughing.
Even if she’s bringing back presents, she doesn’t need that big of a case. It took so much effort just to carry it….
I kept my thoughts to myself, as at this point it was impossible for her to change her suitcase. We continued walking down the stairs and into the subway station.
Ever since I started having nightmares, I had gained the ability to see some things from the Other side.
I could see them both during the day and night, so while I was standing at the ticket gate, my gaze was attracted to a little boy standing in the corner.
With my earlier two experiences with spirits, I immediately realised that he wasn’t a human, but a spirit.
His unfocused eyes were filled with fear and dread, darting around, skittering from place to place. The anxiety and apprehension on his face felt like….he was lost?
“Hua? Rong Hua!”
No matter how many times An Ning called my name, I made no reaction. Finally, she grabbed my shoulder and shook me as she called my full name!
I came back to myself and looked at her.
“Stop daydreaming, it’s time to go. We have to catch this one, otherwise we’ll have to wait another two hours.”
I nodded and she dragged me away, but when I turned to look at the corner again, the little boy had disappeared.
Whatever, even if I wanted to help him, I don’t know how. Not to mention it’s still day time. With so many people in the subway, I don’t want to people to think I’m insane and send me to a lunatic asylum.
But that boy still left a big impression.
If he was still here when I returned from my trip, I will definitely help him.
I don’t know if it was because I was now the queen of the Underworld, but I was starting to want to help those spirits who were still stuck in the human world. I wanted to help them find release, send them on their way to their new world.
Normally that kind of thing is done by the ghost agents. Since when had I started having these thoughts?
Just then, when I saw the spirit of the little boy, I really wanted to help him.
An Ning saw that I was still daydreaming and pretended to be angry, huffing out: “Hua, it’s so rare that we’re on a trip together but you’re spending the whole time blanking out.”
Then, she thought of something and the dissatisfaction on her face worsened, her tone going higher and higher. “Ah! I know, you’re thinking about your husband!”
The surrounding crowds all looked at us strangely and my face heated up, pulling her to the side. “Lower your voice, I wasn’t thinking about him. You’re too suspicious.”
The train arrived. I pulled her closer to me and whispered near her ear: “There are too many people here, I’ll tell you later.”
“That’s more like it”
An Ning smiled excitedly and suddenly said: “Ah, just admit it, it’s not like I’ll get angry.”
I rolled my eyes. There’s no way for me to win against her love of gossip.
Our station was packed. It was in the middle of the central business district and I felt like just standing in the crowd was enough to squeeze my insides out.
In the summer heat, there was no way for the air conditioning to overcome the sheer number of people. The stink from too many bodies mixed together; overwhelming perfume, sweat, even the smell of feet….
The resultant odour made me want to vomit out yesterday’s dinner.
When An Ning and I shoved our way into the carriage, An Ning’s face was scrunched up in disgust.
“Oh my god, I really hate the subway. The man next to me just then had such a strong body odour, I thought I was going to die.”
Her face was still twisted with distaste. It was too cute, and I laughed, only to earn a cold glare from her.
We got on the train just in time to head to the villa.
In the summer holidays, the number of young tourists noticeably increases. Just in our carriage we could see a tour group full of college students and some couples sitting in the corner, heads together, talking.
An Ning looked at me expectantly, obviously wanting to know the reason for my inattentive behaviour earlier.
I told her about the little boy and what had happened earlier. She wasn’t surprised at all. Instead she looked as if it was normal and even expected.
“First of all, Hua you’re already Hades’ wife. Plus, you’re carrying Hades’ kid, and you’re wearing the bracelet. There’s also that Zhen Gui Ling in your body, magic item of the Underworld. Of course you can see ghosts.”
“Is this what you thought was so important? Well, anyway, you should be thankful that my family has connections with spirits and the Underworld. If I was a normal girl and heard you say this stuff, I’d probably never talk to you again.”
I laughed, but she was completely right.
Who would be willing to befriend someone who can see ghosts? Even if they didn’t mind, their family would.
In the end, I’d be all alone, without any friends except for the Pervert.
We reached the villa around dinner time.
The sky was still bright, the setting sun hung lazily in the west. Even though the temperature had fallen slightly since noontime, the surroundings still pulsed with heat.
An Ning and I both took our luggage and prepared to check in.
The villa stood between a mountain and a lake. The lake’s clear waters reflected the ancient stone pavilion, the white of the floating clouds and the blue of the sky, showing an image of indescribable beauty.
Gusts of wind blew at us in accord with the waves of water in the lake, carrying with it a revitalising coolness.
Countless pavilions, tall and low, stretched out along the lake’s edge. In the distance, the jade green of the mountains refreshed my sight.
The whole time we were checking in, the attendant at the front desk was so friendly and smiled so brightly, it immediately made both of us feel more relaxed. Just looking at her smiling face made me feel happier.
Once the whole process finished, An Ning and I decided to go to our room and leave our luggage, then come back out and take a look around at the sights of this famous tourist destination before it gets too dark.
While we were waiting for the elevator, next to us stood two old people.
They were a couple. The husband had one hand on his crutch, the other on a flower patterned sack and looked vaguely awkward.
His wife looked unhappy, standing there berating him. Her voice wasn’t loud but it wasn’t soft either, and I could clearly hear what she was saying.
And what I heard made my brows furrow.
“Old man, I told you I didn’t want to come here and you insisted on coming. It’s not as if you don’t know what this place was before.”
“Alright, alright, old woman. Stop complaining, it’s been a long time since then….”
The old woman furrowed her brows and glared at her husband, angrily stating: “No matter how much time has passed, the things that happened here before can never be washed away!”
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