“This is what you have brought me?”
A man with his chest exposed, dressed in a kitchen apron, was holding a bright green jade statue of Guanyin Bodhisattva1.
The white apron wasn’t clean.
It was completely stained with old yellowish and black greasy stains.
Although the man with the shaved head was quite handsome, his eyebrows and eyes were hostile.
Contrary to him, the Guanyin statue still in his hand was smiling as she held a lotus flower in her hand, while under her feet, there were curly clouds.
The jade that was used to create the statue looked almost translucent, given that its original owner had kept it in their hands for years.
It looked as if it was covered in a thin layer of oil that made it glow brightly under direct light.
The fierce looking man, who was currently holding it, didn’t match its delicate beauty at all.
The head of the Wang family, whom Zhang Ming had known since childhood, was the one who made him come to this place to make business.
However, when Zhang Ming heard the question asked by the man standing right in front of him, who spoke as menacing as a gangster, Zhang Ming completely regretted having come here.
Filled with fear, Zhang Ming hastily nodded his head and said: “Yes, this is an ancestral artifact that belonged to my mother’s family.
It’s a few hundred years old, so it’s a priceless treasure.”
Wang Da nodded repeatedly and said: “Mr.
Pi, long ago this used to be placed in front of Buddha as an offering for good deeds.
It has been dyed with incense and prayers for a hundred years, plus it hasn’t lost its powerful value over the years.
After hearing your request, I thought this would be the most suitable thing to bring to you.”
Pi turned over the Guanyin statue in his hand, to take a good look at it under the light.
However, the frown present in his face never relaxed.
Old Zhang and Old Wang were worried, afraid of what might come out of this man’s mouth.
“What price do you want?”
Old Zhang gave a number, and upon hearing it, Mr.
Pi gave a rare smile.
But that smile didn’t look friendly at all.
It even made the other two people feel scared and nervous.
Pi Xiu: “The bottom of the lotus base is missing a piece, and the golden covering at the back is also nowhere to be seen.
Do you really think this item is worth that price?”
Old Zhang gritted his teeth and said other series of numbers.
After seeing that Mr.
Pi was about to ‘laugh’ again, Old Zhang hurried to add: “I won’t go any lower! If my mother hadn’t died, I wouldn’t have offered this jade statue.”
Pi Xiu glanced at him and said: “Alright.
Cash or check?”
Old Zhang was stunned: “But….If it’s by cash, I would need a truck to transport it.”
Thus, Pi Xiu took out a check from his trousers and filled it out.
Then, he placed the check in front of Old Zhang and said: “Alright, now take it and go.”
When looking at the number written on the check, Old Zhang gulped and asked in a trembling voice: “Th-this….can it really be cashed?”
On the verge of becoming angry, Pi Xiu raised his eyebrows.
However, Old Wang was able to notice this on time and hurried to pull Old Zhang away with the check: “What nonsense are you spouting?! Mr.
Pi isn’t that kind of person! Mr.
Pi, we’ll be leaving now.
Pi’s business is thriving and booming, as always.”
Zhang Ming was pushed out of the store by his old friend.
Only when the warm wind touched his face, he was finally able to relax.
When Zhang Ming touched his forehead, he realized how sweaty he was.
It was proof of how frightened he had been just now.
“Wang-ge, what kind of person is that man?” The hand that was still holding the check was shaking.
When Zhang Ming turned around, he pointed at the somewhat dilapidated signboard with the word ‘Restaurant’ written on it.
The open-air kitchen under the sign was emitting a greasy smoke towards the outside, dyeing the white tiles at the entrance yellow.
No matter how you look at it, it had the appearance of a store that was fined by the City Management.
Zhang Ming: “If he can take so much money at once, why doesn’t his business look cleaner?”
The man surnamed Wang glared at Zhang Ming and said: “You don’t know shit! Rich people are usually really weird.
Besides, didn’t you see the inside of the restaurant just now? All of the decorations and furniture are expensive, quality items….”
Wang Da then lowered his voice and added: “Think about it, the shabby outside is done on purpose.
That way, when ‘they’ see it, they wouldn’t bother to check the inside.”
As if he had suddenly realized something, Zhang Ming nodded his head repeatedly.
He heard that the city had become quite strict lately, since many gangs had sprung up everywhere.
Of course, it’s not surprising that Pi Xiu would choose a place that was located right next to the farmers market and the bus station, in a hidden area within the city.
Wang Da grabbed Zhang Ming’s arm and pulled: “Let’s go now.
You can still cash this check while the bank is not closed.”
As the two men walked away, the Monkey Waiter, who had been standing at the door all this time, immediately rushed to the private room and knocked on the door: “Boss, they’re gone.
Hou Er is following them.”
Follow them for a while and then come back.
Don’t get caught.”
“Got it, Boss!”
As the sound of voices outside the private room faded away, Pi Xiu sat at the table, frowning.
The Guanyin jade statue placed on the table was then picked up and carefully touched.
“How is this thing good? And he still had the nerve to ask for a large sum of money?”
With a sneer, Pi Xiu threw the jade Guanyin statue on the table again.
The fact that two Humans had taken a large sum of money from Pi Xiu’s hands made him feel extremely upset and angry.
To make matters worse, he couldn’t even burst into frustration.
Unlike in the past, Humans now hold the majority of the good fortune on earth, while creatures like him cannot move easily.
It’s not like the time when Pi Xiu could eat as much as he wanted and do as he pleased.
Besides, Pi Xiu wasn’t interested in those two-legged sheep2 with so many bones in them.
Anger made Pi Xiu’s body feel both hot and dry.
Even the air from the 16ºc air-conditioning blowing on his body made him feel itchy, without even taking the burning feeling off him.
He sat on the chair for a while, frowning in disgust.
But then, Pi Xiu took the Guanyin statue and left the private room.
When the Monkey Waiter saw him, he bowed and saluted: “Boss.”
“Get back to work.
I’ll go upstairs and sit down for a while.
Call me if anything happens.”
Pi Xiu waved his hand and lifted the bead curtain hanging in front of the stairs heading to the second floor.
As soon as he stepped in, all of the noise behind him disappeared into thin air.
The restaurant hall behind him no longer sounded as lively as it did a second ago, and only silence remained.
After climbing the stairs, Pi Xiu turned a corner and took off his apron.
After hanging said apron on the railing of the stairs, Pi Xiu continued walking with his chest completely exposed.
The second floor was a large open room, whose entrance was the staircase, separating the two sides with a beaded curtain.
The curtain was made of jade beads and pearls that were strung alternately.
When the wind came through the window, it made the beaded curtain move slightly, producing a sound that screamed ‘expensive’.
When Pi Xiu opened the curtain, he heard an actress crying on the TV.
The dying voice of the female character gave Pi Xiu a headache, while the person in front of the TV seemed to be enjoying the show.
He sat cross-legged, without even glancing at Pi Xiu.
Pi Xiu wasn’t mad at being ignored.
He simply placed the Guanyin statue on the table and said to the person sitting in front of the TV: “Stop looking at the TV and come here.”
The young man was dressed in white robes, like a scholar of ancient times who would do nothing else but read and study until death.
His long hair was wrapped in a white cloth and fixed with a wooden hairpin, while his face looked even whiter than the robe he was wearing.
When he heard a certain tremor in Pi Xiu’s voice, the young man remained motionless on the sofa and continued watching the TV with pursed lips.
For a moment, the room became silent, and Pi Xiu’s breathing began to sound a little rough.
As Pi Xiu turned the air-conditioning to the lowest temperature possible, he spoke again: “Don’t make me say it for a second time.
Thus, the Scholar floated over.
However, the second he glanced at Pi Xiu, he immediately covered his eyes and complained: “Why are you topless?! Do you not have manners?!”
Pi Xiu sneered: “I haven’t beaten your ghostly face to the point of making your soul disappear yet.
Doesn’t that make me a hundred times more polite than other people?”
“You have no shame, no shame! Why are, why are you topless in broad daylight….?!”
The Scholar was unable to say a complete sentence and his face showed a reluctant expression.
Nevertheless, he still floated forward and stood beside Mr.
The ghost then held up his left sleeve to cover his eyes, as to not let Mr.
Pi’s muscular body stabs his eyes.
“I see that you no longer want your left hand.”
Pi Xiu sneered and reached out to bring the ghost Scholar closer to his body.
As soon as the cold touched his hot skin, the frown present on Pi Xiu’s face loosened a little.
“What are you doing?”
The Scholar wanted to struggle, but then he stopped moving all together.
Anyway, this wasn’t the first time Pi Xiu made the Scholar sit on his lap and pressed him close to his body.
Resigning to his fate, the Scholar leaned against the feracious man and didn’t move.
As Pi Xiu held him with one hand, he was quite pleased with the Scholar’s obedience.
Then, Pi Xiu pressed the ghostly body of the Scholar against his own, so that the chill emanating from the ghost would help him cool down.
After a while, the Guanyin statue on the table was given to the Scholar.
When the Scholar looked down, he was stunned to see this and asked: “Where did you find this?”
“I found two humans who sold it to me.” After seeing the Scholar holding the statue, Mr.
Pi said: “From now on, you can rest in this jade Guanyin statue during the day.
Although this thing isn’t in good condition, at least, it has accumulated prayers for hundreds of years.
It’s good enough to repair your tattered soul.”
“Two humans?” The scholar said slowly.
“Oh, I almost forgot that I’m no longer human.”
“You haven’t been a Human for centuries.” Pi Xiu sneered.
“There aren’t many ancient ghosts like you in this world, who have remained for hundreds of years.”
The Scholar stroked the Guanyin statue in his hand and didn’t reply.
However, he suddenly struggled in the hug and asked: “How much did you pay for this?”
“Tsk.” Pi Xiu impatiently squeezed the Scholar’s slender waist and pressed him back against his body.
When his hot chest pressed against the Scholar’s cold body, Pi Xiu breathed a sigh of relief: “Don’t move, let me hug you.
It’s especially hot today.”
The Scholar sneered: “I can see that you’re not human either.”
“And I can see that even though you’re a ghost, you don’t want to be one.
You want to reincarnate.” Pi Xiu said in a cold voice.
“This stupid broken Guanyin statue cost me a lot of money.
Scholar, except for cooling me down and keeping me calm, you’re of no use to me.
I’m keeping you here because I have a kind heart, but if you don’t listen to me, I will make you die again.
The Scholar didn’t dare to speak and simply sneered.
His body obediently softened again, allowing Mr.
Pi to hold him in his lap and make it impossible for him to move.
The room fell silent again and Pi Xiu hugged the ghost for a while, until he felt more comfortable.
After all, the ghost ‘body’ was really cold.
No matter how much he was rubbed, his temperature never warmed up.
So, Pi Xiu was holding the Scholar as if he was holding an ice pillow, whose cooling effect was much more effective than the air-conditioner.
An essential in summer!
Pi Xiu sighed comfortably, feeling that it wasn’t so bad to pick up this scholar surnamed Wen and take care of him.
When he saw the Scholar holding the Guanyin statue, Pi Xiu felt that those human beings had never seen the world, which explained why such a shabby item was treated as a valuable treasure.
So poor and disgusting.
Since Pi Xiu was feeling so comfortable as he held the Scholar, he didn’t want to let go.
Now more relaxed, Mr.
Pi asked: “Hey, what did you say your name was? Wen something?”
The Scholar paused before answering: “Wen Xi.”
Pi let out an ‘Ooh~’ and thought to himself: ‘Why call him Wen Xi instead of something else? Sigh, humans are so cheap, they can’t even give good names.’
As if guessing what Pi Xiu was thinking about, Wen Xi opened his mouth to explain: “Xi as in ‘bustling with activity’3.”
“Bustling with activity? Not Xi as in ‘good-for-nothing’4?” Pi Xiu raised his eyebrows.
“This little thing’s5 name has a lot of strokes.”
Wen Xi clenched hi fist and didn’t reply.
Then he heard Mr.
Pi asked again: “Do you have a courtesy name6 or alias7? After all, you died in ancient times.
Didn’t humans back then like to give themselves nicknames?”
“No.” Wen Xi didn’t want to say it.
Since Wen Xi didn’t want to say it, Pi Xiu didn’t force him.
Instead, he stood up with Wen Xi in his arms and walked towards the sofa.
Once there, Pi Xiu changed the drama on the TV to a channel with a bloody scene, and then to one with cartoons.
But he turned down the volume to the minimum.
As Pi Xiu hugged Wen Xi, he reached out to pinch the back of Wen Xi’s neck, forcing Wen Xi to look at him.
“Do you remember what I asked you to remember before?”
观音菩萨 guān yīn pú sà; In Chinese mythology, Guanyin is the goddess of mercy and considered to be the physical embodiment of compassion.
She is an all-seeing, all-hearing being who is called upon by worshipers in times of uncertainty, despair, and fear.
Guanyin is originally based on the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. 两脚羊 liǎng jiǎo yáng; Two-legged sheep doesn’t refer to sheep per se, but to people who were used as food.
In other words, cannibalism between humans.
Pi Xiu uses this term to refer to humans (instead of the word cannibalism) because he’s not human, so eating humans for him isn’t cannibalism. 文熙 wén xī; The Xi from Wen Xi’s name is the same character from the idiom 熙熙攘攘 xī xī rǎng rǎng, which literally means ‘bustling with activity/streams of people busily coming and going’. Pi Xiu thought Wen Xi’s name came from 不是东西 bù shì dōng xi, which literally means ‘a good-for-nothing / worthless nobody’. Pi Xiu called Wen Xi ‘东西 dōng xi’ which can either mean ‘East and West’ or a variety of concrete or abstract people, things, and objects.
However, note that ‘东西 dōng xi’ also forms part of ‘不是东西 bù shì dōng xi’ that means ‘good-for-nothing’.
So, Pi Xiu is teasing Wen Xi here, but it’s hard to translate literally. 字 zì; A courtesy name is a name traditionally given to Chinese men at the age of 20, marking their coming of age.
According to the Book of Rites, after a man reached adulthood, it was disrespectful for other people (especially from the same generation) to address him by his given name (名 míng; name given by one’s parents).
Thus, the given name was reserved for oneself and one’s relatives (sometimes even close friends), whereas the courtesy name would be used by adults to refer to one another on formal occasions. Scholars would often choose an ‘alias’ (别号 bié hào, sometimes shortened to 号 hào only) for themselves, which is used when signing their articles.
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