Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 27: Criminal Case
Yin Ren stood still in front of the pile of debris with a panicked look.
The spirit weapon that resonated with him wasn’t even on the shelf but in a pile that looked like garbage. This kind of thing made Lord Ghost King extremely unhappy. At the same time, he was also a bit vigilant—how did this thing perceive him?
Xiang Jiang had suddenly appeared right behind him and spoke in a soft tone.
“Shian has a saying that the registered spirit weapon reflects the character of the Black Seal.”
Xiang Jiang was 1.9 meters tall, which was taller than Yin Ren. Yin Ren didn’t look back, nor did he pay any attention to the hoarse ringing in front of him. He stood still as he replied casually to Xiang Jiang, “Senior Xiang, what’s your registered spiritual weapon?”
“A dagger that will never become dull,” Xiang Jiang answered.
Yin Ren: “……” Ah, was this the taste of jealousy?
He didn’t know what the thing that was ringing frantically under the debris was, but it sounded like a cellphone. However, if it were an alarm clock or some cheap children’s toy, this thousand-year-old Ghost King would not know how he would maintain his face.
“Could it be voice-activated?” Among the rapid ringing, Yin Ren tried to squeeze out a little modern knowledge to find an excuse.
Xiang Jiang ignored him and hastily commanded, “Hurry up and take your spirit weapon, and stop wasting other people’s time.”
With no options left, Yin Ren had to dig through the pile of debris with a bitter face, acting like he was sorting out garbage. Not long after, he grabbed the thing that was ringing crazily.
The moment he took it out of the pile of debris, the ringing suddenly stopped. This was so unexpected that Yin Ren thought he had gone deaf for a moment.
The thing was a broken, old phone.
While it was still a touch screen, the style wasn’t very modern; at least compared to the ones issued by Shian, it was significantly worse. The screen was cracked with a few gruesome marks, and the phone was covered in scratches and dents. Yin Ren flipped it around—this thing could still power on, and there wasn’t a password set.
The phone only had a few basic apps installed, and the wallpaper was a pitiful big yellow dog. In the upper-left corner, a notification prompt kept frantically flashing, saying that there wasn’t a SIM card installed, indicating this thing didn’t have access to Shian’s network.
There was a faint evil qi coming from it, but it didn’t feel like it came from the craftsman who made it but rather from something that was stuck in it.
The phone was stained with sticky residue and exuded a sour smell. Yin Ren put it down in disgust and wiped his hands.
As a result, as soon as he got rid of this terrible thing, the harsh “ringing” resounded again throughout the entire warehouse, blasting into everyone’s eardrums. The bell sounded like wailing and was so shrill that even Zhong Chengshuo had to plug in his ears and retreat to the entrance.
“It seems that this is your spirit weapon.”
Amidst the noise, Xiang Jiang stood in place. He tugged at the corner of his mouth and glanced at the number behind the phone.
“I’ll do the registration. Keep that thing with you. If you lose it, the value multiplied by ten will be deducted from your salary.”
Yin Ren grabbed the phone in despair, and the ringing abruptly stopped again.
The label on the back of the phone was scribbled: [The phone often replaces original apps with ghost apps, so it sometimes displays weird content.]
When he flipped the phone back around, it seemed to be trying to show itself off. In just the blink of an eye, the “message” on its desktop changed to “disheartened”*, and the icon of the original notification box also became heart-shaped.
*Clarity: The original “message/information” [xinxi] (信息) was changed to “disheartened” [xinxi] (心息). The latter is a word that means to be disheartened. || Basically, the phone is mocking Yin Ren.
….How subtly annoying. Yin Ren didn’t even want to click on it.
What was the practical use of this thing? Could it be used to scare Zhong Chengshuo? He could imagine Zhong Chengshuo advising him to reinstall the system as soon as possible, but then again…
“Does this thing always work without batteries since it’s a spirit weapon?”
Xing Jiang: “Yes.”
Yin Ren: “We have to find a way to change it into a rechargeable treasure.”
Xiang Jiang gave him a confused look. The phone, noticing something, began to ring wildly in Yin Ren’s hand. It seemed to want to go back to the pile of debris.
Yin Ren sneered and put it in his pocket, then tapped hard on it twice. “You’re the one who called to me. Don’t try to back out now.”
Even if he disliked this thing, he had to confirm and see if it would ring when it was held by other people or if it could detect something that couldn’t be detected.
The old cellphone lingering in Yin Ren’s pocket: “Ring…”
It rang weakly; it was unknown whether it was responding to Yin Ren or not.
“Well, seeing that my spirit weapon is registered, Senior Xiang, is there any kind of symbolic meaning to this kind of muddied phone? I don’t think this has anything to do with my character…”
“Maybe you prefer to fish at work*.” Seeing that Yin Ren’s spirit weapon was mediocre, Xiang Jiang seemed to have lost interest.
*Refers to basically slacking off while at work. This derives from the idiom “catching fish in troubled water” (浑水摸鱼) which means to cause chaos for the enemy and then take advantage of it to gain benefits. || He’s mostly correct because Yin Ren’s entire goal is to be a slacker with no ambition (a salted fish) and try to get by in life by “working” at Shian.
Yin Ren choked. Isn’t this a bit too accurate? Shian was truly terrifying.
Yin Ren squeezed through the subway again. When he finally entered through the door, he threw down his bag and flung himself onto the sofa.
This thing was softer than a bedboard, so Yin Ren liked it a lot. He quickly nestled onto it and stretched out lazily.
Since Shian gave them three meals a day on weekdays, there was no need for Zhong Chengshuo to cook tonight. He stood in front of the sofa, showing a tangled face.
“Do you mind if I sit here for a while?” Zhong Chengshuo sat at the edge of the sofa with clasped hands. “I’m not used to staying in the bedroom all the time.”
“This is your place. Why are you being so polite? I don’t mind as long as you don’t mind me eating.” Yin Ren tucked in his legs and opened the food delivery app on his phone.
It seemed that this time he had to behave properly, which made Yin Ren somewhat regretful. Still, the feeling of living with someone day and night was quite new to him. Seeing Zhong Chengshuo’s stiff posture, it was most likely he felt the same as well.
The quiet atmosphere only lasted for half a minute.
Zhong Chengshuo scooted inward on the sofa and sat upright. “We didn’t train together today. What did you do on your side?”
He paused for a moment, then added solemnly, “I need to understand what you experienced.”
“Nothing. I was just handed ghost master training materials and was given a work task—find a ghost-like evil creature, talk to it, and try to get on good terms with it.”
That sounded weird.
Yin Ren narrowed his eyes at his bag. The bag was an induction gift issued by the personnel department. It had the logo of Shian printed on it and was filled with books, post-it notes, and talismans that were accompanied by a large number of soft-headed cinnabar brushes.
Thousands of years had passed, yet the tools a cultivator used had remained the same.
Yin Ren didn’t worry about his metaphysical task. He could just talk with Miss Hu Tao next door some other day and easily complete it. Even if Hu Tao didn’t want to cooperate, he could just go for a stroll in the community and randomly capture some unlucky “kid”.
The real headache was the non-metaphysical tasks.
Yin Ren’s handbag had a huge bulge in it due to the thick manuals of <Shian Combat Fundamentals>, <Wilderness Survival Manual>, and <Compliance: The Encyclopedia of Laws You May Come into Contact With>. When Lord Ghost King swept his eyes over those books, he felt as though he was almost suffocating.
Zhong Chengshuo looked at the bookshelf speechlessly. The training materials on his side were already sorted out. In addition to the same three books Yin Ren had to read, his also included <Common First Aid>, <Common Mechanical Repair>, and <The Art of Communication>.
<The Art of Communication> was handed to him by Fang Yuanyuan herself, who said that it was a special treatment only for him among all the newcomers this year.
Seeing Zhong Chengshuo’s gaze floating to the bookshelf, Yin Ren propped himself up. “Do you want to read here? Then I’ll go to the dining table to eat.”
As soon as Yin Ren got up, the old cellphone slipped out of his pocket and fell to the floor. Its screen smacked on the floor, and it made two exceptionally weak “ring”.
Zhong Chengshuo pinched a piece of tissue and used it to pick up the dirty old phone. Looking at its weakly lit screen, which now had a freshly new crack, he saw a 1% battery life.
“…This is your ‘registered spirit weapon’?”
“Yeah, I have to take it with me every day. It doesn’t seem to have any special use except having too much power that never runs out.”
“This is a classic model from six years ago.” Zhong Chengshuo looked at the phone curiously. “If there are no other major problems, you can ask Shian if you can use it. In many cases, ‘endless power’ is an incredible advantage.”
The phone vibrated twice on the spot, and the battery level soared to 10%.
Yin Ren: “…” Is the battery the mood index of this thing?
Yin Ren: “It looks in such bad condition. Can it really be used?”
“Wait a minute.” Zhong Chengshuo stood up.
He walked to his bedroom. The sound of rummaging through boxes and cabinets could be heard coming from the room. Since Zhong Chengshuo had always closed and locked his bedroom, Yin Ren hadn’t seen what it looked like.
Soon, Zhong Chengshuo walked out the door carrying a small toolbox along with a cellphone that was the same model as Yin Ren’s spirit weapon. Unlike the spirit weapon found in the garbage pile, this old phone looked as if it was brand new.
Zhong Chengshuo sat at the dining table and lined up the shiny silver tools. “I happen to have the same model. They don’t make them anymore. I can help you repair yours… The particularity of this thing isn’t in the case or the screen, right?”
“No, it’s not… Forget it. You can do your thing first.”
Considering that this phone had to be kept close to his body at all times, it was better to clean it up first.
The cellphone spirit weapon lay obediently on the table, and its battery power rose to 50% out of nowhere, as if it were inexplicably eager to give it a try.
Zhong Chengshuo’s movements were as precise as if he were doing surgery. He gently removed the outer case and screen, disassembled the parts, and carefully cleaned the accumulated dirt and dust that was inside the phone. A bright light illuminated his face, showing eyes full of concentration, as if what he was holding in his hands was the top priority in the world.
Seeing him so serious, Yin Ren felt awkward slumping on the sofa. Lord Ghost King pulled a chair over and sat next to Zhong Chengshuo. He propped up his face and watched his partner swipe with a soft brush and then wipe with a silk cloth.
While one person operated quietly, the other was watching silently. There was only a slow breathing sound left in the room, making it seem as if time had stagnated.
Yin Ren couldn’t understand the purpose of Zhong Chengshuo’s movements, but this person’s hands were indeed beautiful. There were no wounds or calluses on his hands, his fingers were slender, his joints were distinct, and there weren’t many obvious blue veins in between them.
Yin Ren thought absentmindedly that the bones underneath his skin must also be extremely beautiful.
With neat movements, the old phone was cleaned up with a new case and screen, allowing Yin Ren to successfully install his phone card. The old case engraved with Shian’s number was removed in a small strip and polished before it was glued to the back of the new case, making it look like a delicate and unique ornament.
Zhong Chengshuo then used a soft cloth soaked in alcohol and wiped the entire case carefully. “It’s fixed.”
When the phone returned to Yin Ren’s hand, it looked completely brand new, as if it had never left its packaging.
After one cleaning, its power had increased to 100%.
Zhong Chengshuo didn’t miss a single thing. Even the apps that Yin Ren often used were already installed on it. Yin Ren fidgeted with the phone for a quick moment and found that it operated quite smoothly—this thing seemed to be honest and didn’t give him any weird apps.
Well, he would have plenty of time to study it in the future.
Yin Ren thought for a bit, then opened the settings page and changed the default ringing to a barking dog.
“Thank you, Zhong Ge,” Yin Ren said as he happily played with the spirit weapon. “It looks really good now, and there’s no need to look for an outlet in the future.”
Zhong Chengshuo nodded and glanced at the time. “I’m going to sleep now. Good night.”
“Good night.” Yin Ren was still excited. “I’ll prepare a surprise for you tomorrow.”
“What? You want me to attach evil qi to this phone chain?” Hu Tao scratched her head.
In front of her were two tacky phone ornaments, which were the fruits of Lord Ghost King’s triumphant first attempt at online shopping last night…
The two pendants were shaped like chubby hamsters, with one saying “Wealth and Prosperity” and the other saying “Blessing and Luck”. It seemed to be a popular style among elementary and middle school students.
Hu Tao looked at Yin Ren with almost pity after taking a closer look. “You’re… not going to use this for yourself, right?”
No matter how she looked at it, the cost of these two things didn’t exceed two yuan.
“Gold and red look very joyful.” Yin Ren couldn’t put it down. “If you get the aura of a powerful ghost, the average evil spirit won’t get close.”
Despite the fact that Zhong Chengshuo seemed unaffected by evil beings, they could still bring trouble to the people around him, which could implicate him. Hu Tao’s strength wasn’t weak, so if he used her evil qi, it could ward off other evil spirits.
“Then why not just do it yourself?” Hu Tao scratched her nose as she muttered.
“It’s inconvenient for me.” Yin Ren tore off a post-it note. “Hu Tao Jie, as long as you do me this favor, I’ll give you an apple. What is your birth date?”
Hu Tao suddenly cheered up. “Deal!”
Then she came back to her senses and said, in disbelief, “…Wait, hearing your intentions, are you planning to give them away?”
Yin Ren made a pained expression. “I’ll give one to Zhong Chengshuo as a thank you. Originally, I wanted to keep them both.”
Hu Tao: “…” Whatever, as long as you’re happy.
Two minutes later, Hu Tao got her offering and was munching jubilantly on an apple while Yin Ren was staring blankly with a solemn expression at the talisman with Hu Tao’s fate* and birth date written on it.
*Ba-Zi. It’s a Chinese astrological concept of a person’s destiny or fate that can be divined by two sexagenary cycle characters assigned to their birth year, month, day, and hour.
Hu Tao: “What are you thinking? If you’re not going to watch a show tonight, I’ll go back first.”
“I have another little favor to ask of you.”
“The so-called ghost master, in essence, has to do two things. The first is to strike a deal with an evil being and obtain a contract, and the second is to use a talisman to designate the specific evil being and provide them with time and location information so they can contact them.”
“…Uh, I studied accounting…” She grew up under the sun, and even after she died, she hadn’t been exposed to such weird knowledge.
“It’s okay if you don’t understand. Just cooperate with me later.” Yin Ren took out the cellphone spirit weapon and knocked on its case. “Buddy, it’s time to get to work.”
“Woof woof.” The ringtone of the phone had changed, so now it was ringing out weak barks.
Yin Ren went through the phone and clicked on new software on the screen. “Get a ghost app. The one I just clicked on.”
“Good boy. I’ll give you some evil qi later.” Yin Ren opened the ghost app and looked satisfied.
He then picked up the talisman paper that Hu Tao had written her name and birthdate. “Miss Hu, as a confirmation, you will lose some evil qi.”
Hu Tao did so unwittingly—Yin Ren had been gone for so many years that he couldn’t let himself be so easily deceived.
He tossed the talisman into a porcelain bowl, and it started slowly burning. Yin Ren’s cellphone started vibrating—
A notification from an app called “Coffin Nails” popped up. After opening it, there was an internal group called “What to Eat Today” at the top.
There were only two members in the group.
[Hu Tao: ……]
[Hu Tao: ??????????]
[Yin Ren: It really worked. Registration was originally a variant of forming a bond, then using the spirit weapon for text communication… The principle is exactly the same, thanks to modern technology.]
[Yin Ren: Is this called a “paperless office”? It’s nice to not have to carry talisman paper and cinnabar every day.]
[Yin Ren: @Hu Tao, you can contact me any time, and I can summon you from your place of bondage.]
[Yin Ren: I see you have read it.]
[Hu Tao: 1]
[Hu Tao: Not to say no… Help, why can’t I get rid of this even after I’m already dead!]
[Yin Ren: Don’t worry, I’ll share evil qi and offerings with you. Happy cooperation 🤝]
The phone spirit weapon was more useful than Yin Ren thought. A ghost master needed to summon ghosts on the spot, and this made it 10,000 times easier than tearing up talisman paper, drawing runes, and then burning them. Very good. This week’s work task was completed ahead of schedule.
The thing inside the phone probably didn’t expect to be used in this manner, as its battery level had dropped to 60%.
Hu Tao glared at Yin Ren angrily. Her friendly mode was crumbling, and the bloody color on her body gradually became more intense. Yin Ren didn’t panic in the slightest. He slowly opened the refrigerator door and patted his chest. “Come, Miss Hu. You can choose from half of my snacks.”
Ten minutes later, a sharp and loud alarm bell rang throughout the home. Zhong Chengshuo got up, opened the door vigilantly, and poked out his head that was wearing a nightcap… only to see Yin Ren frantically burning paper.
The living room was filled with smoke. As moonlight spilled in from the window, it wandered through the smoke, creating a dreamy scene.
Zhong Chengshuo: “…”
Zhong Chengshuo: “Why are you burning paper indoors? The smoke alarm is going off.”
Yin Ren: “Don’t worry. Just surveying some feudal superstitious customs. I’ll pay attention next time.”
“Well… Remember to quickly open the door to ventilate the space,” Zhong Chengshuo said drowsily.
He yawned, then slowly retracted his head, and slammed the bedroom door shut. In the world that Zhong Chengshuo couldn’t see, Hu Tao was sitting on the refrigerator, holding cured meats as she ate them bitterly. A mountain of snacks was piled around her.
However, soon after Comrade Zhong Chengshuo returned to the bedroom, a sharp ringing was accompanied by the sound of an electronic dog barking, as if it were singing along with the smoke alarm.
Zhong Chengshuo slowly stretched out his head again, causing the nightcap to tilt so much that it fell off. “Mr. Yin, what on earth are you…”
“This isn’t me this time!” Yin Ren was busy putting out the fire in the bowl. “It’s the phone. Our phones are ringing!”
Zhong Chengshuo glanced at his watch painfully and saw it was 2 a.m.
“Hello, how are you?” Zhong Chengshuo rubbed his face fiercely and took the lead to answer the phone. “May I ask who is calling?”
“Shian, Lu Xiaohe, Science Post, your rear commander.” A loud female voice sounded. “Come on, comrades. It’s time to get up and work overtime. The one named Yin Ren lives with you, right? Wake him up and take him with you.”
Zhong Chengshuo glanced at Yin Ren, who was currently fighting with the smoke alarm. “Something happened to him, and he can’t leave. Can we do this tomorrow—”
“Haha, I don’t want to get up at this hour either.” The female voice paused and laughed helplessly. “I can’t help it. My old contact from the police station just called me urgently. The scene isn’t waiting for anyone.”
“You two, this time it’s a serious criminal case.”
The author has something to say:
Electronic pet (???) get!
Sister Hu Tao replied with the word “1”, which is actually commonly used by social animals… After receiving the job request, answering “1” means I already know/seen it/ok. Explaining it to those who may not know this. _(:з”∠)_
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4 thoughts on “Evil As Humans Ch27”
Thank you for the update ❤️💯
Thanks for the chapter >o
Thank you so much for your hard work!
ML has a nightcap how cute haha