Those Years I Employed Non-Humans as Actors - Chapter 1.2
The old wooden door creaked as it was pushed open, and a piercing cold wind blew out from the inside.
Countless oil lamps hung on the wall along the hall on the first floor. As Zhong Jiudao walked in, the oil lamps lit up one by one, illuminating the entire floor with their faint green glow.
Zhong Jiudao frowned. “Didn’t he say the house was already installed with electricity? Why is it all candle lights? There’s no way to use filming equipments and phones without electricity.”
Saying so, he completely ignored the eerie scene and strode inside to search for the power supply.
A moment ago, just as Zhong Jiudao entered the front door, a woman in white cheongsam appeared at the threshold. She was holding a red candle in her hand, its flickering light reflected across her face like a wisp of floating spirit.
Her movements were very quiet, leaving no sound of footsteps behind her, as if she was gliding instead of walking. She silently trailed behind Zhong Jiudao, reached out her hand towards him, and whispered, “You’re not supposed to come into this place. You should leave.”
All of a sudden, he heard the sound akin to a weeping ghost behind him. Zhong Jiudao turned around with a blank expression. Seeing the overly long nails on the woman’s pale fingers, he calmly replied, “Why shouldn’t I come here? I rented this place, so I’m the owner now. What right do you have to tell me to leave? You, on the other hand, how did you appear inside my house? The one who should leave is you.”
He took out the lease agreement, showing her the legal signatures, the official stamp, as well as the photocopy of a warrant issued by the landlord of the villa to the real estate company. Everything was lawful, fair and reasonable, leaving no room for refutal.
The woman in white was dazzled by the contract. She slowly withdrew her hand and floated two steps back while grasping the candle, distancing herself from Zhong Jiudao. She then murmured, “This lowly self1She’s using an archaic term to refer to herself in a humble way… has already lived in this house for a long time.”
“Oh yeah? How long? Do you have the right of residence?” Zhong Jiudao asked. “If you don’t have any evidence to prove your right of residence, then you should leave this place, because otherwise, you’re violating my property rights.”
He finally found the light switch and pressed on it. With a snap, the lamp above the hall was turned on, illuminating the entire hall with a bright light as if it were daytime. Taken aback by the sudden brightness, the woman in white cheongsam raised her hand to block the light.
Zhong Jiudao glanced at her feet. When he saw that she had no shadow, he figured out the situation and turned off the light, mumbling to himself, “This villa is too big, it’ll waste too much electricity to turn on all the lights. Let’s save all the money I can before filming starts.”
Once the lights went out again, the woman in white breathed a sigh of relief. She quietly stared at Zhong Jiudao and whispered, “I truly have lived in this house for a hundred years.”
“In some countries, if you stay in a place for a long enough time, you’ll automatically be granted a right of residence that can give you an exemption from eviction. But as of now, there’s no such law in our country, so unless you have the right of residence authorized by the landlord, you’re going to have to move out.”
Zhong Jiudao rolled his hand towards the front door, gesturing for the woman to leave. After that, he proceeded to ignore her. Now that he finished taking a look at the first floor, it was time to go to the second floor.
When he turned on the light just now, Zhong Jiudao had a panoramic view of the layout on the first floor. The dust and cobwebs on the walls had already been cleaned up, and a faint shadow flashed past the servants’ quarters in the corner of the hall. It seemed that something was also staying there.
The second floor was for the bedrooms. The stairs were old and creaked along with each of his step. Zhong Jiudao took a few steps, paused, and looked back at the woman in white who had stopped following him. She gripped the candle in her hand, glaring at him with a face full of hatred.
“Why aren’t you coming up?” Zhong Jiudao asked, “It’s fine if you don’t want to come up, just lend me the candle. My phone’s running out of battery, I can’t use the flashlight now.”
The woman in white: “…”
Before she could say anything, another woman in a western-style dress showed up at the end of the stairs and answered Zhong Jiudao, “Because this floor is my territory. A lowly concubine like her does not deserve to come up.”
A mix of resentment and fear muddled the expression of the woman in white.
“It’s already the 21st century and you’re still talking about such rubbish doctrines,” Zhong Jiudao shook his head. “This is my house. In the next few days, other people will be coming to live here as I start filming my movie, so you guys better move out as soon as possible.”
The expression of the woman in the dress turned ferocious. In the blink of an eye, her skull fractured, distorting her beautiful face as blood poured down from her forehead. She flew down from the second floor and hysterically screamed at Zhong Jiudao, “Since you don’t want to get out, then die!”
Without batting a single eyelid, Zhong Jiudao swiftly dodged her attack, but the stairs under his feet began to quake in an attempt to make him fall.
Zhong Jiudao was standing firmly, but his suitcase shook non-stop and toppled over. Luckily, he was sharp-eyed and deft-handed, so he managed to catch the suitcase before it tumbled down the stairs.
At last, his calm expression finally changed.
“I kindly told you guys to vacate the house, yet you actually tried to damage my equipment.” Zhong Jiudao was feeling rather angry. He spent a ton of money to rent the camera stored in this suitcase. If it really fell and broke, how was he going to pay for it?
A silver talisman materialized out of thin air as Zhong Jiudao drew a pattern with his left hand. With his quick drawing speed and steady fingers, he completed the talisman in less than a second.
The moment he pointed at the talisman, it rapidly flew towards the woman in the dress.
Even without a proper talisman paper and cinnabar ink, Zhong Jiudao’s talisman was so powerful that the instant it struck the woman, she was violently slammed into the ceiling. The pattern on the talisman burst out with a blinding silvery light and bound her in place, churning out faint crackling sounds of thunder.
The woman was pinned to the chandelier, and when the lightning from the talisman flashed, it generated enough power to turn on the chandelier, providing the villa with an indoor light.
Zhong Jiudao was stunned by this outcome. Nodding to himself, he said, “Turns out the Five Thunder Talisman can be used to save electricity. But the current is unstable, the lamp will easily burn out. I need to make some adjustments.”
After thinking for a short while, he immediately drew a few strokes in the air to adjust the mechanism of the Five Thunder Talisman, weakening the attack power and changing it to a stable and continuous discharge.
Talismans with thunder and fire elements would only react upon encountering Yin energy2阴气(yin qi), opposite of Yang energy, commonly associated with the dead and passive/negative things or evil spirits. To ordinary people, it would be nothing more than a normal piece of paper.
Currently, this modified version of the Five Thunder Talisman could continuously produce a steady output of current due to the evil energy supplied by the woman in the dress. Thanks to that, the hall was now brightly lit.
Zhong Jiudao stood on the stairs with the suitcase safely secured in his grip. Under the bright light, he swept his eyes across the first floor.
Seeing the woman pinned to the ceiling being used as a power source, the ghosts who were hiding in the corners of the house were so terrified they hugged their cold bodies and tightly clamped their bloody mouths, not daring to make a sound.
At long last, there was some peace and quiet in the villa. Satisfied by this, Zhong Jiudao went upstairs to continue checking out his soon-to-be filming location.