“So, is this enough to counteract that curse?”
In the middle of the darkness, during this horror game, a smile ended it all.
“En, it’s enough.
It was indeed a very good curse.
A confession can be a shadow of malice, a curse can also be a warm source of light.
This was the first time someone had exorcised him.
Although he was still not sure whether he was afraid, the man told him there was no longer any need for him to face it directly.
“Will you be alright alone?”
After they finished viewing the pear blossoms, they passed through the dark residential area and returned to the illuminated street, walking a short distance before arriving at the entrance of their homes.
Although Lin said he lived next door to Ye Zun, the truth was, the ‘next door’ Lin was referring to was a land of independent small villas, while Ye Zun lived in an old and damp residential building.
Although it looked to be next door, the value of land varied greatly.
The geographical location of the residential building was so poor that even if it was demolished, developers would also look down on this worthless piece of land.
Ye Zun stood at the intersection and waved to Lin with a smile.
Lin stood there, watching, and said gently, “If you are scared, you can come to me.”
Compared to the beginning, Ye Zun had began to calmly face the kindness this man gave to him.
He smiled and waved again, saying, “I know, but it’s okay.
Go back early and rest ba.”
Lin’s eyes watched him quietly, nodding reservedly.
Good night, I will see you tomorrow.”
Under Ye Zun’s gaze, Lin walked towards the villa complex that was surrounded by a garden, and halfway down the path, he turned around and waved back to Ye Zun in the same way.
When the priest’s figure was no longer in his sight, Ye Zun turned his head to Nogawa Kaoru’s house.
The moment he walked through the doorway, a hand suddenly stretched out from the darkness and grasped Ye Zun’s shoulder.
“Back from your date?”
Familiar movements, and a lazy, careless voice.
Even without looking, he knew who it was.
Even so, Ye Zun was slightly scared, quickly coming to his senses to get rid of this familiar arm.
“What are you standing here for? Going out of your way to prank and scare others?”
“I was worried you’d be afraid of the dark, so I came to escort my dear Didi home ah.”
“Weren’t you on a date?” Ye Zun’s feet didn’t stop, going around him and other obstacles to go straight upstairs, his mouth randomly asking and not really caring about the answer.
Shen Yuan immediately followed him upstairs with a smile at the corners of his lips, his eyes fixated in watching him.
“En, but the other party was too reserved and went home alone first.”
Ye Zun returned to the bedroom, put down his schoolbag, and immediately picked up his pyjamas and bathroom necessities before making his way to the bathroom, rushing to finish washing up while no one was around.
Shen Yuan leaned against the door frame lazily, raising his chin slightly to look at him.
“The bathroom lights seem to be broken.
Do you need your Gege to stay with you?”
“No need.” The light in the bathroom of the house he rented before was also broken, but he felt it was better if the lights were broken, so he won’t see anything and conjure up some nonsensical thoughts.
Ye Zun walked in, quickly adjusted the water temperature in the dark, and speedily washed himself before coming back out.
He towelled his hair as he walked out and then his feet paused in their steps.
The thud thud thud sounds of chopping meat was heard in the living room again.
Gulugulu, the sound of meat bubbling in a soup pot and the spicy aroma of the soup base permeated the room.
Ye Zun had no appetite.
He only felt his throat dry out.
The hot pot was boiling on the coffee table in the living room.
Under the dim light, the woman walked out quietly and put the dishes and chopsticks in her hands on the coffee table.
Then, her haggard eyes turned towards Ye Zun, and she said weakly, “Time to eat.”
Ye Zun subconsciously refused, “I’m not hungry…”
“Time to eat!” The woman’s voice suddenly increased sharply as if she had been stimulated.
Her eyes bore straight into him.
Ye Zun swallowed his dry throat once and nodded at her.
“Okay, I’ll be there in a minute.”
Before he could walk through the bedroom door, the thud thud thud sound of meat being chopped travelled across the room, and a cold, stiff voice came from the kitchen saying, “Go tell your brother to come and eat dinner.”
Ye Zun looked back in surprise.
At some point, the woman had already gone back to the kitchen.
The dim and small bedroom made people feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable.
The door to the bedroom opened.
Shen Yuan held the door and lazily raised his head to look at him, saying with a carefree tone, “Dinner time? Let’s go together ah!”
Ye Zun looked at the woman in the kitchen, whose head was also turned back to look at him, then at Shen Yuan by the bedroom door.
He was in a dilemma.
Three people sat down around the coffee table in the living room.
Shen Yuan sat in the middle of the couch, and the woman sat opposite him.
Ye Zun sat on the stool on the right of the couch.
Four sets of bowls and chopsticks were placed on the table.
He didn’t know if the extra bowl and chopsticks were for Shen Yuan’s father or the little girl in the morning.
The viscous soup in the pot was still simmering with an audible gudonggudong, and each of the cooked meat chunks were the size of an egg, revealing a cooked colour above the stock.
The woman began to use her chopsticks to pick up the meat, directly dropping it into the bowl in front of Ye Zun.
Shen Yuan sitting on the opposite side looked very interested, exposing his white teeth in a wordless smile.
The grin was bright and delightful, though it was unclear just what he was so happy about.
He blinked slowly, looking straight at the woman, and said in an unruly manner, “Mum has worked hard, so why don’t we let you eat this entire pot of meat ba.”
The woman didn’t move.
Under the messy bangs, she looked at him like she was out of her mind*, like she was fearful and timid, but also at a loss.
[T/N: 失魂落魄: spirit detached from the body]
But this time, Shen Yuan was very friendly.
Even Ye Zun couldn’t pick out what he did wrong.
He smiled and glanced at the woman, even directing an innocent look to Ye Zun next to him, his lowered voice saying warmly, “No need for thanks ah, a family should be loving to each other.
Mum has worked hard, you should eat more to replenish your nutrients.”
Once he said this, he smiled even more happily, and directly picked up his chopsticks to grab the meat in the pot and drop them in the woman’s bowl.
The chopsticks were used very steadily, and after they went back and forth a few times successively, the woman’s bowl was soon piled high as a hill.
Shen Yuan put down his chopsticks, raised his chin slightly, and looked at her with care.
“Eat ba, Mum cooked it all herself.
Or can it be, that it is unappetising?”
The woman lowered her head and began to deliver the meat from the bowl into her mouth, gulping down with large bites.
Ye Zun lifted the meat in his bowl then put it down.
Thinking about how he would have to brush his teeth again later, he placed down his chopsticks and sat there, watching the woman eat.
Shen Yuan on the other side similarly didn’t take a bite, and was just smiling.
When the woman stopped eating, he looked at her questioningly.
Then he tilted his head towards Ye Zun, blinking his eyes, grinning brilliantly and innocently.
“I carefully listened to what you said this time.
I respect Mum very much and treat her rather well, don’t you think?”
The woman kept her head down and bit into the chunk of meat.
Observing from a close distance, Ye Zun finally realised what had been giving him goosebumps and sending chills down his spine.
Although she appeared as if she was starving and was wolfing down the food, it was like she was being forced to do so in pain, without the slightest enjoyment that came out of eating.
Shen Yuan and the woman both paused in their movements, turning to look at Ye Zun who shouted out of nowhere.
Ye Zun stood up and faced their watching eyes.
Shen Yuan was still smiling, but while the smile was brilliant, it did not reach the bottom of his eyes.
The woman’s face was gloomy and cold.
Past the messy and greasy bangs, her eyes were dull, giving people an indescribable discomfort.
Ye Zun unconsciously took a step back, the bump on his throat rolling.
“If you’re full and don’t want to eat, just stop eating.
I’m going back to sleep first.”
He went back a few steps, enduring the tightening numbness on his back, and walked towards the bedroom.
After walking a couple steps, he couldn’t help but turn back and look.
Shen Yuan was still sitting there, smiling lazily.
The woman’s head was lowered, her speed much slower, but still stuffing food into her mouth with large bites.
Ye Zun returned to the bedroom and shut the door.
Going against what he said he was going to do, he didn’t sleep and instead continued to search the room for a while, but did not find any more of Nogawa Kaoru’s personal notes.
After thinking about how Shen Yuan might be sleeping at home tonight, his ears couldn’t help turning red.
Enduring his embarrassment, he carefully picked up the girls’ private commodities in the house and hid them in the closet.
“Hu, are these things really Nogawa Kaoru’s? Or do they belong to the person outside?”
No matter who it belonged to, a fetish or something to do with crossdressing, it really was too embarrassing.
Dong dong dong, the bedroom door was quietly knocked on.
Ye Zun scanned the room, making sure things were hidden properly, then walked to the door and opened it.
The woman’s shoulders shrunk into herself, and her haggard face also seemed numbed and timid.
She squeezed in and carefully shut the door with the back of her hand, as if she was afraid of something, but didn’t dare to show that she was scared.
Ye Zun took two steps back and looked at her.
“Did something happen to you?”
Because the woman shrank her shoulders inwards slightly, in front of the 1.85 metre tall Ye Zun, her plump body was much shorter.
She raised her eyes and looked at Ye Zun, eyes dodging unsteadily.
Ye Zun suddenly noticed that the skin on her face not only had sallow patches, but also faded bruises from a past beating.
“Who hit you? Was it that man?” Ye Zun pursed his lips slightly, remembering the cold expression that the middle-aged man directed towards the little girl in the morning.
Fear revealed itself in the woman’s perplexed and dull eyes, but even the perplexity seemed to be afraid of exposing itself.
With shrunken shoulders, she whispered to Ye Zun, “Mum will tell you a secret.
I found out that, your dead dad, he was resurrected on your big brother.”
A chill crawled over his back in an instant.
Ye Zun looked at her in bewilderment, needing a moment before saying, “Dad is dead? When did this happen?”
The woman was nervous and on guard towards something.
She pushed the corner of the window curtain open from time to time, taking a peek at the living room outside, and said in a daze, “The night before yesterday, the hospital notified me, Dad who was injured at work stopped breathing and passed on from brain death.”
Ye Zun: “The night before yesterday…”
Then who was the middle-aged man he saw this morning?
The woman attentively and vigilantly watched the living room outside the window, not seeing the horror in Ye Zun’s eyes.
Her numb tone expressed some disapproval.
She murmured to herself with a purposeless tone like she was sleepwalking, “To get welfare payment, unplug the tube.
When he was alive, he kept beating me.
Even when I lay in bed with no movement, he still beat me.
I was beaten all my life.
He should’ve been killed long ago, right?”
Ye Zun felt ice-cold all over and couldn’t help backing away.
The woman seemed to be certain that there was no threat outside the door and was plenty relieved, then looked at Ye Zun with a blank face.
That haggard and old face was numb and dazed, eyes timid and out of focus, staring directly into him.
“You will protect Mum, right?”
Ye Zun nodded stiffly.
The woman glanced carefully out the window again and murmured, “Dead, then back.
He just needs to be killed again.
Otherwise, there will be no money to eat meat…”
“There’s still so much left, won’t it be a waste ba?” Shen Yuan’s voice came from the living room, and his lazy and undisciplined tone made people unable to discern his emotions.
The woman opened the door, shrank her shoulders slightly, fearful but afraid to show it.
She walked back to the living room.
Ye Zun stood at the doorway, watching her pick up the meaty lumps that looked like over boiled eggs, stuffing it into her mouth with difficulty, chewing and swallowing every big mouthful.
He closed the door, his breathing turning chaotic.
——That middle-aged man in the morning is dead? Did I see a ghost?
——What about Shen Yuan, does he know his dad is dead?
——Were the sounds of footsteps in the bedroom last night from the ghost of that middle-aged man? What does he want to do, does he want revenge?
Ye Zun clutched the Buddha statue in his pocket, trying to calm his mind.
There was no sound outside the door, but after a while, the bedroom door knocked from the other side.
The knocking was in a calm, regular pattern, nothing that made people uncomfortable.
Ye Zun slowly opened the door.
Shen Yuan, standing outside with wet hair, raised his head, revealing a slender neck clinging with water droplets, skin as white as delicate milk.
He didn’t wear pyjamas, just having a large towel wrapped around him at random, as if he had come out after taking a shower without drying himself.
Seeing Ye Zun standing there with a rigid look in his eyes, Shen Yuan’s eyes lowered and looked at him lazily.
The eyes beneath those dripping bangs were exceptionally clear, and the jut on his throat rolled lightly.
He said in an innocent and arrogant tone, “Not happy to let me in? Today, I showed much respect to our mum, and didn’t say anything hateful.
The things she likes to eat, I left it all to her.”
The author has something to say:
The Demon Lord that feels inexplicably well-behaved~
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