Those Years I Employed Non-Humans as Actors - Chapter 2.1
When the woman in the dress was pinned to the ceiling and turned into a power bank, clusters of phantom winds scampered all over the villa. Even when he only did a rough count, Zhong Jiudao noted that there were more than ten phantom winds. This haunted house was truly hiding a large number of evil spirits.
When he first decided to rent this place, Zhong Jiudao originally planned to drive away all the ghosts occupying the villa. After that, he would contact the owner in hopes that they might waive his rental fee out of gratitude for his service. This way, he could allocate more funds to the filming crew and use the money to rent a few more outfits for the actors.
But after he discovered a new ‘practical use’ for the female ghost, Zhong Jiudao felt that he didn’t need to drive them all out. Perhaps, he could find more ways to save money by using these ghosts. After all, he had decided not to take any action if he didn’t absolutely have to.
This decision stemmed not from his indifference, but because after he left home, in order to cut off his dream of being a director, his father forbade him from making money out of anything related to the family business.
As for what his family business was, it was none other than the ancient, traditional and mysterious practice of celestial masters.
With a legacy spanning over a thousand years, the Zhong family was an influential family of celestial masters that had reached its golden age more than a hundred years ago and gradually declined over the new century.
This decline referred not only to the prestige of the family, but also to the talent of their later generations.
As the world began to enter a peaceful age, its lingering grievances gradually dissipated—and so did the spiritual power of the celestial masters. Peculiar as it might be, instead of flourishing as the other withered, these opposing sides were locked in a symbiosis in which their strength was directly proportional to one another.
As such, the talents of the Zhong family’s descendants kept deteriorating. Just when the worries of the elders were about to hit its peak, Zhong Jiudao was born.
He was endowed with an astonishing amount of spiritual power and innate aptitude for the family profession. Let alone his peers from the same generation, even if you were to comb through all the Zhong family descendants from the past five hundred years, none of them possessed a talent as strong as Zhong Jiudao’s.
When his mother gave birth to him, Zhong Jiudao’s left hand was forming an empty grip, as if holding an unseen object. A family elder used their third eye to look at his left hand and saw that he was grasping an invisible pen in his palm. He was actually born with the ability to draw talismans out of thin air without needing talisman paper, cinnabar, or any other props.
It shook the entire Zhong family. With such unprecedented talent, Zhong Jiudao would certainly grow up to be an unrivaled genius who would lead the Zhong family back to its prime!
But the one thing they found strange was that the pen in Zhong Jiudao’s left hand was not a writing brush or anything of the like. It wasn’t even a fountain pen. It took the elders a few years to discover that this kind of pen was called a signature pen.
And when Zhong Jiudao willfully insisted on enrolling into a film school instead of the university they had chosen for him, the elders finally realized that this pen might not be what they wished for it to be.
In order to make Zhong Jiudao change his mind, they stopped paying for his tuition fee and living expenses. Because the tuition fee for filming school was very expensive, his family thought Zhong Jiudao wouldn’t be able to afford it and would end up returning home in no time.
However, with his natural gift, Zhong Jiudao would never run out of a way to make a living. Just by taking on a few jobs, he had earned enough money to pay off his school fees and living expenses for the next four years, and even managed to save up two million yuan. If it went on like this, he would have no problem gathering enough funds during the ten year agreement.
Left with no other way, the Zhong family had to resort to giving him an ultimatum. If Zhong Jiudao wanted to continue pursuing his dream, he must never use his family profession to make money. Should he break this rule, he would have to go back home and inherit the family business.
Ever since then, Zhong Jiudao stopped actively using his power to earn money for himself. Whenever he encountered any supernatural event, he would immediately notify the nearby celestial masters instead of dealing with it on his own.
Even when he rented this haunted house, Zhong Jiudao never thought about getting an additional investment for the crew by driving away the evil spirits. He only hoped that the landlord could reduce the rent, because even if the landlord wanted to pay him, he wouldn’t be able to accept the money. This was the rule he had agreed upon with his family.
Zhong Jiudao yearned to realize his dream, but at the same time, he respected his family’s stand. After all, he was the one who decided to step down from the family business, so their ultimatum was completely reasonable.
But using his spiritual power to save electricity should not be considered a violation of the agreement.
That female ghost, the woman in the dress, possessed a very strong Yin energy. Judging from the current power of the Five Thunder Talisman, he roughly estimated that it would take at least seven days and seven nights to completely exhaust her spirit. Using her energy to power up the chandelier could greatly lower his electricity bill. However, the Five Thunder Talisman could only last for twelve hours at a time, which meant that he had to draw a new one every twelve hours.
Considering the time limit, it would be a waste to only use her for lighting.
With a casual flick of his finger, Zhong Jiudao moved the female ghost from the chandelier to the main power supply of the villa, making her provide a steady electrical output to the entire house.
Watching Zhong Jiudao do such a cruel thing right in front of her eyes, the white cheongsam ghost couldn’t help trembling. Her body tensed up as she tried her best to reduce her sense of existence, fervently hoping that this ruthless celestial master would deal with her in a quick and painless way instead of prolonging the torture like the woman in the dress.
Zhong Jiudao swiftly went up to the second floor and opened one of the doors at random. A thick layer of dust covered the whole bedroom, a far cry from the clean and tidy hall and yard.
What half-assed work. These ghosts really can’t be trusted.
Zhong Jiudao frowned and asked the white cheongsam ghost who was still frozen downstairs, “Who cleaned up the garden and the hall?”
Frightened by the sudden question, the white cheongsam ghost flinched her shoulders. She timidly answered, “The one who swept the leaves is Old Ding, the gardener. The flowers were planted by the third concubine, and the hall… was cleaned up by Aunt Yang.”
“Tell Aunt Yang to clean up a few more bedrooms,” ordered Zhong Jiudao without asking her who the third concubine was.
As soon as he said this, a cluster of phantom wind surged into the room and blew all the dust and cobwebs out of the window, disposing them onto the soil in the garden. In the blink of an eye, the bedroom had become impeccably tidy, cleaner than even a five-star hotel room.
Aunt Yang didn’t show up before him, but she used her high standard of work to prove that she was a well-behaved, sensible, and harmless ghost.
“Thank you,” Zhong Jiudao nodded to the direction of the whirling wind and politely thanked her.
He dragged his suitcase into the room and took out the contents, putting the expensive camera on the table before hanging the clothes one by one inside the closet.
Zhong Jiudao initially thought he would have to spend the whole night cleaning up the house, but thanks to the help from the ‘enthusiastic and hospitable’ ‘original residents’ of this villa, there was nothing else left for him to do tonight.