Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 74: If he wanted to follow the footsteps of an eagle, he must become one himself.
The room was at the end of the corridor on the right side of the second floor, which was commonly known as the “tail room”, as it was right by the emergency exit. He Jia took out the keys and opened the door, waiting at the entrance while Dong Zhi went in and walked around.
The layout of the room was not much different from other hotel rooms. The only difference was that there was an extra table by the window with an incense burner on it. There were three incense sticks that had already burnt out. The incense burner was full of incense ash and there were three plates arranged side by side with different kinds of fruits on them.
Dong Zhi walked around the room for a bit. Just as he was about to leave, his footsteps suddenly stopped. He squatted down by the bed and wiped his fingers on the floor near it. He didn’t stay for long and quickly got up, patted his hands, and brushed away the incense ash before walking out of the room.
He Jia was a little surprised. “Are you okay?”
He smiled and said, “Everything looks good. The incense in the incense burner has burned out. Do you want to add some more?”
He Jia shook her head. “My great aunt asked me to do it once a week, so I don’t care about other times.”
The two went up to the third floor.
He Jia pointed to a room and said, “Dong Ge, this is your room, 3013. Next to your room is 3012, which is mine. If you need anything at night, just call customer service. They’re on duty 24 hours a day.”
Dong Zhi smiled and said, “You don’t need to accompany me. I just came here for a change of scenery and to collect some materials.”
He Jia’s face flushed slightly. She didn’t want to reveal that she was extremely happy eating and having fun with him, so she said, “It’s okay. My only job is to take care of the hotel every day and do some manual work, so my schedule is quite free…”
Before she finished speaking, she let out a gasp. Dong Zhi followed her gaze and saw that at the end of the corridor on the other side, a person was lying on the windowsill. His entire upper body was almost hanging out, and he was slowly looking out.
“What is he doing?!” He Jia exclaimed.
Dong Zhi quickly ran over, grabbed the clothes on the man’s back, and pulled him back!
The other part was a middle-aged man who was bewildered when he was dragged back to the floor. “What are you pulling me for? What’s wrong with you?!”
To allow guests to look at the scenery, the height of the windows was set above the waist for adults, and there were no guardrails outside the windowsill. He Jia never thought that someone would use the height of three floors to commit suicide. Looking back at the scene just now, she couldn’t help but feel a little bit frightened.
“You almost fell just now!”
The man scratched his head with a blank expression. “I’m just smoking by the window!”
He Jia frowned. “Do you need to stick out most of your body to smoke?”
“I don’t… Eh, where’s my light?” He rummaged through his pockets.
This scene attracted several guests who opened their doors to look. Seeing that it wasn’t a big deal, they went back to their own business while the man quickly went back to his room. He Jia closed the window and locked it to avoid any accidents.
“There used to be flowerpots outside, but a few of them withered yesterday, so I asked someone to move them away while we replaced them.” She was afraid that if the guest really had an accident at the hotel, she’d have to close it down.
After chatting for a bit, they returned to their rooms. He Jia specially prepared a spacious luxury suite with a king-size bed for him. Not only was there a balcony, but the bathroom also had a bathtub that was right in front of a floor-to-ceiling window. He could take a bath while looking at the ocean view.
The style of the room matched what was outside; gorgeous but not ostentatious. There were gauze curtains around the big bed, and lace sheets covered the bed. Everything had an almost dream-like atmosphere to it as light faintly glowed overhead. Lying on this bed for three days and nights would be the most pleasant thing in the world.
Just standing near the bed and looking at it made Dong Zhi tired. He couldn’t help but bend over and reach out to touch it. Suddenly, his movements stopped.
Although his body felt tired, his mind was wide awake. A little coolness spread around his neck. Dong Zhi couldn’t help reaching out and touching a triangular talisman. This was the soothing charm that Long Shen gave him before he left.
Although it couldn’t dispel evil spirits and suppress demons, it could at least calm the nerves and keep his mind clear.
There was something wrong with this hotel.
He noticed it from the time he was at the entrance and until he came into the room. The feeling that something was wrong became only stronger.
If this hotel had such an aura that could persuade people passing by or coming in to feel nostalgic that they didn’t want to leave after staying, why didn’t it affect He Jia and the hotel staff?
He Jia herself felt uncomfortable here and didn’t really want to come in. There didn’t seem to be anything strange about her. If she was acting, then her skills could win her an Oscar.
Dong Zhi walked around the room and found nothing for the time being. Instead, after a long day, he was full of sweat. He put down his guqin case and went into the bathroom to take a bath.
The tourism industry in Lucheng was very developed, but most tourists who came here were fond of staying in private hotels with Chinese and Western architecture, as they felt it was the true experience of visiting Lucheng, so fewer people chose to go to star-rated hotels. Because of this, hotels were built and decorated similar to this hotel, especially along the coastal areas and the islands that were away from the city.
Although it was not a regular hotel, it was properly maintained, and the bathroom was tidy. The toiletries were all brand-named goods, which was similar to a star-rated hotel.
He turned on the faucet and was about to wash his face when he suddenly heard a bit of noise outside. He remembered that he had forgotten to bring his phone in. He thought it was his phone ringing, so he opened the door and went out to get it, only to see that the TV in the room had turned on by itself and the news was being broadcast.
Dong Zhi was momentarily stunned. The remote control was still in the cabinet, and the TV wasn’t voice-activated. Under normal circumstances, it was impossible for it to turn on by itself. Apart from him, there was no one else in the room either, and the door was closed and locked.
He turned off the TV, picked up the phone, and re-entered the bathroom. This time, nothing happened while he took his bath.
The moisture of the water greatly reduced a lot of his fatigue. Dong Zhi put on a bathrobe and walked out of the bathroom. There was a sudden clatter behind him, and the faucet inexplicably turned on.
He turned his head. What was flowing out of the faucet wasn’t water, but dark, thick red blood. The blood flowed into the vanity and beads of blood splattered everywhere, quickly covering the entire area with blood, creating an extremely terrifying scene.
Dong Zhi stared at the faucet for a while, then turned around and left without turning it off.
As he lay on the bed, he picked up his phone and heard the running water stop. The faucet seemed to have turned off by itself.
He curled his lips and suddenly recalled that when he was staying in a hotel in Changchun, he felt that someone was watching him in the middle of the night. Besides that, there was also the Archfiend that was staying next to him. Although he was ignorant at the time, few people could say that they stayed next to an Archfiend these days. Compared to that time, this can only be regarded as child’s play now.
As if in response to his contempt, after he turned off the lights and went to sleep, the faucet quickly turned on automatically again, and kept turning on and off for a while, creating a clattering noise from the bathroom.
Dong Zhi took out a pair of earplugs from his pocket and stuffed them in his ears and continued to sleep. When he fell asleep, he felt that his nose was a bit itchy, as if someone was teasing him with a hare’s-tail grass. He couldn’t help but sneeze and open his eyes.
He then saw a “person” embedded in the ceiling, flying flat like him, with a dark face and long hair hanging down to the tip of its nose. It had a pair of weird red eyes that were staring at him.
If this was an ordinary person, they would probably be frightened to death with a heart attack, but the moment Dong Zhi opened his eyes, his hand had already moved and slid out of the blanket and threw a Sunlight Talisman up.
“The heavens give birth to water, the earth gives birth to fire, the heavens give birth to wood, the earth gives birth to gold. The five central palaces, subdue malignity, overcome disasters, and eliminate all traces of evil!”
The moment the sunlight talisman came into contact with the thing, it burned and wailed bitterly before disappearing entirely along with the Sunlight Talisman.
Dong Zhi rubbed his eyes, sat up, and calmly said, “No matter what you are, I advise you not to make any more trouble. Otherwise, instead of driving me away, I’ll be the one taking you away.”
There was no one in the room except for him. If He Jia witnessed him talking to himself right now, she would probably treat him like a lunatic.
The response he got was the TV suddenly turning on. On screen was a foreign leader who was speaking with righteous indignation to the anti-government organization. “…We will never bow to any terrorists!”
Dong Zhi felt inexplicably happy and couldn’t help laughing out loud. The faucet in the bathroom once again turned on by itself, and the sound of water flowing endlessly could be heard.
He ignored it and continued to lie down, eventually going back to sleep, and soon fell asleep.
The night was long. Whenever something approached him, there would be a flash of red light about three feet away from him. That was the Changshou Sword that he put on his pillow.
Suddenly, the faucet stopped running and the LCD TV automatically turned off.
The owner of the sword was dreaming soundly, seemingly unaffected in any way.
The next day, the sky was bright, and Dong Zhi naturally woke up. He looked at the calm room and smiled, then walked into the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth. The water was clear and not blood, like it was last night.
It was nearly 9 AM when He Jia knocked on the door and invited him downstairs for breakfast. The hotel provided both a Chinese and a Western style breakfast, and the dishes were pretty good. Many guests were already there eating.
He Jia took the initiative and asked, “Did you encounter anything strange last night?”
Dong Zhi: “Why? Did you encounter something?”
He Jia lowered her voice. “It’s not an encounter, but I always feel like there’s someone next to me as I’m sleeping. Last night, I dreamt that someone told me not to stay here and to get out quickly. When I woke up, I couldn’t remember who that person was. Did you meet something too?”
After that, she wrinkled her nose. “I really don’t like it here.”
Dong Zhi didn’t talk about what he had encountered last night, but instead showed an interested look. “I went to bed early last night and didn’t encounter anything, but hearing what you said, I’m quite interested. Why don’t you go back first, and I’ll change to your room to sleep there to see if I’ll encounter anything tonight.”
He Jia’s eyes widened. Seeing him in high spirits, she couldn’t help but ask, “Aren’t you scared?”
Dong Zhi: “Of course not. Didn’t you say that no one had encountered any accidents here before? Even if there is something, it’s estimated that it just wants to scare us.”
He Jia: “Then I will accompany you…”
Dong Zhi stopped her. “You’ve been here all night. Maybe because you’re here, those things are going to scare you and not me. I’ll experience it first for myself so I can gather more material for my comics. Moreover, I find it a bit strange.”
He Jia looked at him suspiciously.
Dong Zhi: “Do you remember the man we met last night? If we hadn’t been there in time, he would’ve fallen down. Even from the third floor, his life could be endangered. According to what you said, although it’s strange here, no one has ever died before, so it shouldn’t be like this.”
He Jia also remembered.
Dong Zhi switched topics. “However, it’s also possible that he was careless and drank too much. In short, I have to look at the hotel during the day. It just so happens that I just moved here a few days ago, so I’m currently staying in a hotel, so I’ll simply switch hotels. You’re busy with work, so you don’t need to be mindful of me.”
Since it was in his plans to do so, He Jia couldn’t say anything. She was regarded as a pure, rich beauty* in the eyes of the world. Everyone else in her family had something to do except for her. It was only after graduation that she took over her great aunt’s hotel. Apart from a few tasks every now and then, she was mainly free most of the time, but she couldn’t show too much initiative and enthusiasm to avoid scaring away the male god.
*[Bai fumei] (白富美) Term refers to women who are fair in complexion, rich, and has a beautiful appearance, and a good figure and temperament.
“Well, if you have any needs, just tell me directly. I can also drive you wherever you want to go.”
While talking, they had finished their breakfast. In order to please the boss and her friend, the restaurant chef made two desserts and delivered them to them. Dong Zhi looked at the tender and seductive blueberry panna cotta and was distracted for a moment. He remembered that although Long Shen didn’t care for eating, he would take the initiative to pick dishes when they went out to eat that were on the sweeter side.
Dong Zhi didn’t know if Long Shen would like this kind of panna cotta. He thought intently about the scenery in his heart, not realizing that he had also become a scenery himself in He Jia’s eyes.
After breakfast, Dong Zhi called Yan Nuo, per his routine.
Whether someone took the initiative to look for him was one thing, but as a newcomer, he couldn’t help but be more proactive. Yan Nuo didn’t seem to mind as he took no initiative at all and even wished that Dong Zhi wouldn’t be so proactive and look for him. Dong Zhi was a little surprised to hear a lot of background noise during their call. It seemed that there were a lot of people arguing.
“Yan Ge, where are you now?”
“I’m at the police station. Can I help you?”
“No, I want to ask if there is anything I can do for you?”
Yan Nuo became a little impatient. “Didn’t I tell you? I’ll ask if I need help! I heard that you’re going out to find a place to rent. You don’t want to live in that old house? Then go and look for a place to stay first, so I don’t have to worry about it.”
After saying that he was about to hang up, Dong Zhi hurriedly said, “Yan Ge, I ran into a strange incident at a hotel. I wonder if you’re free or perhaps you can send someone to have a look?”
Yan Nuo: “We have more important things to deal with right now. Can you handle it for now?”
Dong Zhi: “I can for now, but I don’t know if a bigger situation will arise in the future…”
Yan Nuo interrupted him. “If you can’t handle it, then call me. If you can, then just deal with it first. Be careful. I’m hanging up now!”
This temper was really too anxious!
Dong Zhi felt a bit helpless. None of his conversations with Yan Nuo seemed to be able to get through to the end. Depressed, he typed up a message to Long Shen, clearly reporting the strange thing he encountered at the hotel. In fact, he hoped that the other party would reply and comfort him, but his finger stayed on the send button for a long time, before he finally deleted it.
Since he had the ability to solve problems, what would his master think if he bothered him about everything? He would probably feel he wasn’t capable enough and he could accomplish nothing without leaving under his wings.
It wasn’t clear what kind of person Long Shen liked, but he knew what kind of apprentice Long Shen liked. It was by no means an apprentice who would ask for advice and report on the slightest trivial matter, and could only be cute and coquettish, but had no abilities at all.
If he wanted to follow in the footsteps of an eagle, he had to become one himself.
He put his phone back into his pocket, went to the hotel where he was staying to check out, and moved his things to He Jia’s hotel. He then took a taxi back to the old house that was used as an office, where he spent half a day doing simple cleaning. After lunch, he went to a nearby real estate agent and followed the agent to look at several places to rent. He wasn’t satisfied with any of them. The agent said that he still had a few more properties, but he didn’t have the keys with him for the time being, and he would not be able to get them until tomorrow. The two parties made an appointment to continue looking at places tomorrow morning.
At the end of the day, Dong Zhi still had not rested. When he returned to the hotel, night had already fallen. Thanks to Long Shen’s “devil training” in the past few weeks, his physical strength had recovered tremendously after he had invited a Righteous God in Yinchuan, so he was no longer lethargic.
“Sir, our boss asked me to hand this to you, saying that she made it herself.”
As soon as he returned to his room, a little girl with a sweet smile who worked at the front desk knocked on his door and brought him a delicate gift box with a ribbon tied to it. After thanking her, Dong Zhi asked where her boss was.
The little girl said that the boss had something to do at home recently and had gone back to deal with it. She said that they would entertain him well and if he needed anything, he could call room service. There were drinks and snacks in the room and there were many places nearby that conveniently offered takeout.
He Jia had said yesterday that she had something to do today, so she didn’t attend to Dong Zhi. He put down the gift box and went to take a bath.
This time, there were no more tricks, such as the TV turning on automatically and the faucet flowing out blood. Perhaps the other party saw that he wasn’t easily fooled, so it temporarily stopped.
Dong Zhi was so happy and relaxed that after taking his bath, he took out talisman paper and cinnabar from the guqin case and started to practice drawing talismans. During the previous weeks, he was so busy practicing Bu Tian Gang that he had neglected his talisman practice. There were many in the world that valued not only talent, but also the studious and those who diligently practiced. Once any skill was slackened, it would be like sailing against the tide. If he didn’t advance, he could only retreat.
There were two kinds of talismans that he knew now. One was the Sunlight Talisman, and the other was the Thunder Talisman.
However, Long Shen had told him that the essence of drawing talismans wasn’t the focus. The main roles of the Sunlight Talisman were to calm the mind, exorcise demons, and ward off evil spirits, while the Thunder Talisman was used to attract thunder. Because he hadn’t learned these from childhood, it was enough as long as he kept using them freely and turned them into his own style.
When he was in the capital, his vitality hadn’t been restored. Long Shen prevented him from drawing talismans, saying that it was easy to hurt his nerves. Therefore, at that time, he mainly practiced his kung fu tona and strengthened his Tian Gang footwork and swordsmanship. It wasn’t until before leaving Beijing that his master lifted his ban on drawing talismans.
Seeing the yellow paper and cinnabar that hadn’t been touched for over a month, he felt a familiar and cordial feeling arose spontaneously. He picked up his brush, closed his eyes, and adjusted his breathing, as outlines of the shape of the talisman came into his mind. He then opened his eyes and dipped the brush into ink, then his brush started to fly, finishing in one go.
Inheritance was the most important thing on a piece of talisman paper, in addition to runes.
The so-called inheritance referred to the inheritance of Taoism in the talisman. Each talisman had an inheritance mark of the school. For example, on the talisman painted by Dong Zhi and He Yu, there was the inheritance of the Hezao Sect. Li Ying’s talisman had the inheritance of the Maoshan Sect. Wu Bingtian was the Yuanming Palace and so forth. A talisman without inheritance was considered invalid, so a truly knowledgeable person could see the inheritance and skill of the person who drew the talisman just by looking at it.
Long Shen didn’t have a teacher before, so naturally he couldn’t use talismans, but there was still Dong Zhi. His name was still linked with the Hezao Sect, so he could continue to use them. Although Long Shen was powerful, he did not ask Dong Zhi to give up drawing talismans and even encouraged him to practice more, because the Thunder Talisman was very easy to use. In addition, demons and ghosts in all three realms were afraid of the power of heavenly lightning. With Bu Tian Gang, the effect was estimated to be more powerful than just using the Thunder Talisman.
Dong Zhi hadn’t tried combing the two of them yet, but he couldn’t help but look forward to it. When he was in Beijing, his body hadn’t recovered, so Long Shen refused to let him try it. There was no special practice space like the rooftop area in the General Administration Bureau, and he couldn’t go into the suburbs to practice in the dead of night. It would be troublesome if he was seen by others.
He was in good condition tonight. Dong Zhi drew for three hours nonstop. After counting them up, he drew 99 talismans, of which 16 could be used.
This was already a record-breaking success rate. When he first learned how to draw talismans, it would be amazing if he managed to get one or two out of dozens. Not to mention He Yu, even Master Fang Yang didn’t possess the ability to succeed on the first draw. It was rumored that the most powerful talisman drawer in the world today was the head of Mount Longhu, which was also Zhang Song’s master. This old master was a true painter as his talismans were extremely frightening, but Zhang Song’s master was very old now, and he rarely drew talismans in recent years. A peace talisman that he drew could sell for sky-high prices when sold outside.
Just as he picked up the talisman and admired it carefully, he heard a noise outside. There was a lot of movement, as if it came from the side of the stairs, followed by voices speaking.
Dong Zhi put down the talisman and pushed the door open to have a look. He saw that many tenants also heard the movement and opened their doors to look. There were several people standing on the side of the stairs, looking downstairs.
“What’s the matter?” He found a staff member by the stairs, and he walked over and asked.
“There’s a guest on the second floor who seems to have had a heart attack. She didn’t bring medication. We called an ambulance, but it hasn’t arrived yet. The front desk asked us to come over and ask if there was anyone who was a doctor.”
Dong Zhi’s heart pounded, and he ran to the second floor. In the corridor on the second floor, there was a middle-aged woman lying at the door of one of the rooms with people surrounding her as someone was trying to give her first aid.
“Mom! Mom! Wake up!” A young girl cried as she wiped tears from her eyes.
The first responder were very professional and calm. He looked like he was a doctor or was studying medicine. Next to him were guests who were calling for help.
Dong Zhi didn’t know how to heal, so he didn’t step forward to join the group. When he looked around, his sight suddenly stopped, and his gentle and harmless peach blossom eyes narrowed slightly.
The first responder was giving the woman artificial resuscitation as he pushed on her chest. There was nothing abnormal in the eyes of others, as this was the common first aid technique used for heart disease, but Dong Zhi saw that every time his hands went down, he failed to touch the woman’s chest, because it was blocked by a dark shadow.
He looked closely at it again and saw that there seemed to be something hidden behind the rescuer, like a shadow that couldn’t be seen by the light. There seemed to be nothing there but a vague human-shaped outline that was attached to the back of the rescuer. It would extend its “hand” to block the rescuer’s hand and the patient’s body to prevent the patient from being rescued.
The people around them didn’t notice it. In their eyes, the rescuer was doing everything correctly, but the patient had no response. The situation was obviously very bad. If this continued, the patient would surely die within a few seconds!
Dong Zhi squeezed the Sunlight Talisman in his hand, quietly walked around the back of the rescuer, then suddenly stretched out his hand and patted the back of the rescuer’s neck!
The man who was preoccupied with saving the person screamed in pain, and Dong Zhi quickly retracted his hand and put his clenched fist into his pockets.
“I seemed to see a fly on your neck just now…” He hesitantly said and gave an embarrassed look.
Thinking that he was obstructing the rescuer’s first aid attempt, everyone glared at him angrily.
“What trouble are you up to? He’s trying to save someone’s life. Can’t you see?!”
“What an unruly kid. Go away! Go!”
Others stepped forward to push him away. Dong Zhi repeatedly apologized as he retreated.
“There’s a response! There’s a response!”
“She woke up!”
Everyone shouted in surprise, and all of a sudden, they no longer cared about Dong Zhi.
The ambulance had just arrived, and everyone gathered to help carry the woman onto the stretcher. Her family members thanked all the people who helped and quickly followed after the ambulance. The onlookers were still talking about what a frightening scene it was just now and surrounded the middle-aged man who helped save the patient. They praised him for his abilities and kindness. The man was embarrassed and said that he was a doctor. He often encountered this kind of thing when he went out and about and often taught others how to give first aid.
No one had noticed that Dong Zhi had left the scene and quietly returned back to his room.
The author has something to say:
Dong Zhi: After the matter was over, I hid my merit and fame. I’ll pretend to be forceful next time.