Ye Zun stood in the room, hugging the little white snake.
The room was very small, with three walls packed with various wardrobe storage shelves.
A single bunk bed was sandwiched between a closet and the wall, and there was a small desk that the user would have to sit on the floor to do their homework.
There were clothes littered everywhere, along with paper and household garbage.
A dim light came through the only small window in the room, and outside this window wasn’t the outdoor view, but the house’s indoor living room.
There was one lamp; the switch was a thin rope hanging down from the bulb above the head.
When you pulled it, the light turned on, and turned off when you pulled it again.
Sometimes it failed and nothing will happen when the string is pulled.
Ye Zun was no stranger to this.
The old house he and his grandma lived in when he was young was just like this.
There was nothing in the room that showed what time it was.
Ye Zun hid the sleeping little white snake under his sleeve and walked out of the room through the door.
The structure of the room was strange and cramped, and the living room was also dim, but there was a thick window that allowed natural light in from outside.
Bang bang bang, the sound of something chopping bones came from the kitchen in front of him to the right.
The kitchen and bathroom were practically together.
The lighting was damp and muddy, causing people to lose all appetite.
The living room was between the kitchen, bathroom and the master bedroom.
It was cramped with old couches and coffee tables, there was a small TV on the wall, making rustling sounds because of poor signal, intermittently showing the scenes of some kind of comedy show.
Because of the issues, the laughter from people on the TV sounded distorted, making people more irritable.
Ye Zun picked up the old remote control and pressed it several times before the TV was switched off.
The disappearance of this sound seemed to disturb the people in the kitchen.
Half of a person’s figure protruded from the dimly lit kitchen.
The moment Ye Zun unconsciously turned his head to look, his whole body tensed and he took a small step back.
It was a middle-aged woman with a haggard appearance, her face wrinkled, stained and in a trance, holding a kitchen knife dripping with blood in her hand.
A dirty apron wrapped around her slightly fat body and her hair that looked like it hadn’t been washed for a long time seemed to have been burned dry since long ago.
It was yellow, frizzy and greasy, and because there were so many clumped knots, the hair wasn’t very voluminous, looking like a messy nest.
At this moment, she didn’t speak.
Her eyes were hollow, looking at Ye Zun in a daze.
The jut on Ye Zun’s throat rolled, and he calmly said, “The TV seems to be broken, so I turned it off.”
The woman watched him while standing motionless.
After a while, she said in a dazed manner, “I’m making ribs, dinner will be ready soon.
Go and do your homework ba.”
“Okay.” Ye Zun directed his eyes downwards, not looking directly at her.
Although the woman seemed to be in a poor state, she was not a ghost, and it more or less eased his anxiety.
Looking at the darkening sky outside, Ye Zun returned to the room where he started.
He found a dilapidated schoolbag, taking out a book and scanning the cover before pausing.
“I don’t understand at all, how can I do my homework?”
Just like the protagonist’s name, Nogawa Kaoru, the text in the book was of a language he didn’t understand.
Although the dialogue with the NPC seemed to eliminate the language barrier, Ye Zun was unable to understand when the text was placed on paper.
“I even wanted to find Nogawa Kaoru’s diary for clues, but even if I find it, I won’t know what’s written in it.”
Even so, in order to fit the personality, Ye Zun still flipped open his homework and settled himself into a proper posture.
At this time, there was the sound of the door to the living room being pushed open rudely.
Despite knowing he couldn’t see through the door, Ye Zun still subconsciously pricked his ears up and stared in that direction.
The person who came in walked with large steps, kicking and stomping all the way.
They seemed to run into something and let out a loud curse.
Although he was an ill-tempered guy, it’s nice that it wasn’t a ghost.
“I’m starving to death, when the hell will dinner be ready?” The voice sounded like a young man.
He asked with an irritated edge, as if he was dissatisfied and was seconds away from barrelling over to punch someone.
Bang bang bang, the sound of chopping meat stopped, then continued.
Ye Zun heard the woman’s faint voice far away.
“It’ll be ready soon.”
The young man kicked the table and chairs in the living room loudly, cursing up a storm.
It was hard to imagine that a son would treat his mother who was cooking in such a way.
Even after throwing out this verbal abuse for a while, he didn’t get a response.
The young man seemed to lose interest and turned on the TV.
His offensive power moved to target the highs and lows of the bad shows on TV.
Amidst the banging sounds from the meat being chopped, the sizzling from the wok on the fire, the noises from the TV, and the constant swearing from the young man, the fishy smell and aroma of meat permeated throughout the house.
It should be a terrible environment, but because there could be ghosts at any corner, these sounds that came together like fireworks was a little reassuring.
Taking advantage of this time, Ye Zun rummaged around the room, searching for clues, hoping to unlock the identity of the ghost.
He did not know whether it had already appeared or was about to appear.
Ye Zun did find a few notebooks with exquisite covers.
The most important thing was that he found them stored in a private space, as if they were hiding secrets.
However, he couldn’t understand the words on them.
There was no other way.
Ye Zun could return the books to their places and hide them away first.
In addition to this, Ye Zun also discovered something strange, which was, there were several girl’s ‘private clothes’* in this room.
[T/N: 私密衣物: I’m assuming undergarments]
“Does Nogawa Kaoru like to collect stuff for women? Or maybe, is he a crossdresser?*”
[T/N: 女装大佬: more accurately, a cosplaying Big Boss (a man who wears women’s clothes)]
While Ye Zun was puzzled, he suddenly felt something, and he immediately tucked the notebook under the bed.
The next second, the door to the room was twisted open without warning.
The haggard woman stood at the door, her eyes blank as she said quietly, “Time to eat.”
Coming right away.”
The woman stood at the door, motionless.
She didn’t leave, as if she wasn’t paying attention to Ye Zun’s answer.
Her eyes were still unattentive, and she repeated, “Time to eat.”
——If he doesn’t go out, she won’t just keep repeating herself like this, right?
Ye Zun restrained his nerves and walked out the room, passing the woman with his head slightly lowered.
The woman turned sideways and made way for him.
After he went out, she slowly turned around and walked quietly into the kitchen.
There was no dining table.
Only a low coffee table was used to place their meals.
The taste of old rice had nothing to do with the ‘deliciousness’ of the meal.
He didn’t know if there was a problem with the water quality, but the rice had a rusty yellow color and a weird smell.
There was also the scent of steamed meat.
Ye Zun’s stomach couldn’t help cramping the moment he smelled this.
He couldn’t send a single bite into his mouth at all.
The other two people however, ate with relish.
The young man sat alone in the middle of the couch with a carefree attitude, not letting anyone else sit on the empty spaces to his left and right.
The body that wasn’t considered to be too strong also leaned forward slightly, as if to occupy the entire table of food.
He held his chopsticks so tightly that blue veins were protruding.
While stuffing food into his mouth, his chopsticks also traveled into his own bowl, then into the main bowl of meat.
It was hard to imagine how one hand could make so many movements.
The meat in the bowl let off a steaming aroma.
Perhaps it was because of the cook’s limited cooking skills, there was a slight whitish tone that food usually developed after a long time.
Ye Zun had no appetite.
But it wasn’t only the young man, the women also wolfed up the meat.
The man said as he ate, “It’s been so long since I’ve eaten meat.
It’s so tasty ah.
Next time, cook it exactly like this, do you hear me?”
The woman stuffed her mouth, swallowing as if she couldn’t spare the time to chew a few times.
While piling up the food in her empty bowl, she said, “Leave some for your sister*.”
[T/N: 妹妹/meimei: little sister]
“Leave what? Not eating herself, is she waiting to be fed?” The man stretched out his chopsticks and slapped her hand away mercilessly, quickly snatching the meat.
“Women will become ugly if they eat meat, only the skinny ones will look good, understand? If they eat meat, they’ll become like a fat pig like you, old and ugly, wanted by no man, understand?”
The woman didn’t say anything.
She bowed her head and just kept stuffing meat into her mouth.
Ye Zun looked at the mean-mannered man.
He was older than himself, and should be Nogawa Kaoru’s big brother.
“Anyhow, she’s the mother who cooks for you.
Talking like this is too much.”
The man sneered.
While eating with no pause, he turned to him and waved his chopsticks.
“What, are you asking for a spanking.”
Ye Zun looked at the chopsticks that the man waved at him.
There were traces of saliva on the wood, so he moved back and stood up.
“I’m not hungry.
I’ll go back to my room first.”
Although he hadn’t eaten anything since he was dragged into the game last night, he really wasn’t hungry at all.
The young man thought had been scared away.
With a cold snort, he continued to focus on grabbing meat.
Before returning to the room, Ye Zun turned back for a look.
The table was dripping with soup.
The two of them ate as if they were about to starve to death.
It didn’t make people feel that the food was delicious, there was only an indescribable creepiness.
The night arrived quickly.
At the thought of having to share a room with that irritable man, in order to avoid unnecessary disputes, Ye Zun chose to lie down on the upper bunk that he suspected belonged to Nogawa Kaoru.
The outside became quiet before he knew it, and not long after, the door of the room opened slowly with a creak.
The sound of the door opening was very light, as if the person was afraid of waking someone up.
Ye Zun had originally closed his eyes, thinking about the incomprehensible content in the notebook and how he could get it translated, then fell asleep in a daze.
He was awakened by the door opening.
He didn’t bother with whatever it was and continued to shut his eyes to think.
Suddenly, Ye Zun’s eyebrows trembled.
If it was that young man who came in, with that person’s bad temper being of the worst quality, it was impossible for him to be so careful and quiet.
He would definitely go about in a way that would make the most noise.
The one who came in wasn’t him! Who was it?
This discovery made Ye Zun tense all the nerves in his body.
He didn’t dare move or open his eyes.
An picture appeared in his mind out of his control: a desperate, haggard woman standing by his bed, staring straight at him in the dark, holding a kitchen knife dripping with blood in her hand…
A chill penetrated his back and Ye Zun immediately waved his imagination away in his mind: Can’t be, that woman is a human and not a ghost.
She still remembers to leave food for her daughter, she isn’t a terrifying ghost.
Thinking about it like this, Ye Zun’s hand under the quilt touched his left wrist, where the little white snake was sleeping in a coil.
Following the touch of Ye Zun’s fingers, it gently rubbed against him, as if responding.
Even now, Ye Zun couldn’t rid himself completely of this fear, even if it was just a little white pet snake.
But in the face of the more fearful game instance, the scary snake, a symbol of danger, instead calmed him down.
If you overcome the fear of snakes, you can overcome the fear of ghosts.
If the snake isn’t so scary anymore, ghosts are the same, not as scary as one imagined.
Ye Zun calmed down, slowing his breathing and pretending to still be asleep.
He turned his body over slightly so his head faced the wall, then slowly lifted his eyelids, pricking up his ears to catch the sounds in the room.
Tap, tap, tap.
The footsteps were slow, heavy, and irregular, as if they were afraid of being heard, yet also as if they didn’t really care about being heard.
Finally, they stopped at Ye Zun’s bedside.
A faint rustling sound.
Ye Zun opened his eyes, his pupils shrinking slightly——What is it going to do? Is it coming up?
The heart pounded thump thump thump, jumping again and again.
But it didn’t.
Going by the sound of the blanket, it was as if someone was climbing onto the lower bunk bed.
Just as Ye Zun was slowly letting his grip loose around the heart that was about to jump out, there was the sound of bones being chewed, accompanied by the faint smell of blood.
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