Pi met Wen Xi, the ghost scholar, when he went out to throw away the garbage after dinner.
At that moment, Mr.
Pi was standing in front of the garbage bins, separating the garbage into recyclable, food waste, and so on.
After raising his hand to throw each garbage into its corresponding bin, out of nowhere, a jar that was as white as jade fell into his arms.
Actually, Pi Xiu1 is the Pixiu2 beast who is well known for his ability to attract good fortune and gather wealth.
As he held the white jar, he looked at it up and down, thinking: ‘Can I attract wealth and treasure again? But, even if that were the case, it doesn’t mean that treasures would suddenly fall into my arms, right?’
‘Could it be that the prejudiced Way of Heaven has finally opened its eyes and remembered that this beast is its own son?’
Pi Xiu held up the jar and scrutinized it.
Just then, he remembered that one of the Monkey waiters had carelessly broken a pickle jar.
With that thought in mind, Mr.
Pi thought that the quality of this white jar was perfect for pickling food.
Pi realized that this jar contained a certain evil energy.
‘Someone must have put a curse on it, so that whatever is inside cannot reincarnate,’ he thought.
Pi Xiu had already seen this kind of evil work several times in the past.
He also knew that those who were commonly sealed this way must have very bad fortune, or were evil ghosts.
After meditating for a while, Pi Xiu finally reached out to scratch off the seal on the jar, ripping the spell off the jar and turning it into dust.
‘No matter what’s inside the jar, I still need it.
There’s no point in wasting a pickling jar that I was lucky enough to obtain.’
However, as soon as the spell turned to dust, Pi Xiu smelled the faint scent of the Taotie3 on the jar.
After committing a number of crimes hundreds of years ago, Taotie fled and disappeared from public view.
He committed a series of crimes consisting of swindling and theft, from which Pi Xiu was deeply affected by.
Taotie swindled Pi Xiu out of the savings he had accumulated over the years, as well as the mountain where he used to live on.
Pi Xiu stared at the jar, and his hands trembled as he thought: ‘Don’t tell me this bastard was killed out there and made into pickled vegetables by the Cantonese, right?’
‘Fuck, would you rather die than pay back the money you owe me?’
Pi opened the jar and a strong fragrance came out of it.
Although the Taotie’s scent was stronger, the frown on Pi Xiu’s face relaxed.
Since the Taotie wasn’t inside.
However, it seemed that the outside spell to seal the soul wasn’t enough, as there was malicious magic inside the jar.
The bones of a human had been soaked in the jar, locking their soul inside.
‘I wonder how much hatred there was to do this.’
After placing the jar on the ground, Mr.
Pi reached out and tapped gently on the side of the jar to call the soul: “If you have a conscience, come out and speak.”
Even then, after a short time passed, nothing moved inside the jar.
Due to the fact that Pi Xiu was already feeling impatient, he reached out his hand to pull out the soul, which was about to dissipate, from inside the jar.
Then, a scholar dressed in a white robe with disheveled hair appeared in his hand.
As Wen Xi slowly woke up, he felt as if he had a long dream.
In the dream, he saw wine goblets intertwined with gambling chips4, sumptuous mansions, luxurious carriages with beautiful horses, as well as the incomparable beauty of the gentle breeze and bright moonlight5.
There, he was still the youngest son of the Wen family, and the number one playboy in the Capital.
When Wen Xi finally opened his eyes, the first thing he saw in front of him was a man.
This ferocious and ruthless looking man was even more terrifying than the General going on a campaign Wen Xi once saw.
Suddenly, a red light flashed before Wen Xi’s eyes, and his dusty memories spilled out, one after another.
At that moment, the scene of the military breaking into his house appeared in front of him.
The face of the man in front of him was intermingled with the vicious faces of the soldiers, so Wen Xi began to struggle and scream.
Pi made him shut up, and quiet down, with just one finger.
Aside from the strong smell of human bones soaked inside the jar, the smell of soul-binding incense present in the Scholar’s ‘body’ was mixed with the scent of the Taotie.
After Pi Xiu sniffed carefully, his face turned gloomy.
“Why do you have the scent of the Taotie?” Pi Xiu asked.
As he pinched the Scholar’s good-looking face, Pi Xiu asked him: “Tell me where the Taotie is, and I’ll guarantee you a good reincarnation.”
However, Mr Pi was so fierce that he exhorted too much strength in his hand.
Right when the Scholar had opened his mouth to say something, he passed out.
Pi made a quick move, put the ghost of the Scholar back inside the jar, and hurried into the restaurant.
If it hadn’t been because Mr.
Pi lit a soul-binding incense, the Scholar’s soul would have already scattered away. ‘Otherwise, how could this little ghost sit on my couch and watch TV all day long?’
When Pi Xiu realized that Wen Xi had remained silent, he reached out and tugged away a lock of hair touching Wen Xi’s cheek and said nonchalantly: “Since you woke up not long ago, and you don’t know how the world works nowadays, I knew you would need time to adjust.
That’s why I gave you enough time to remember.
But you have already watched more than a dozen TV shows, read every book on the bookshelf, and completed two sets of college entrance exams.
You should be used to it by now.”
Wen Xi still didn’t say anything.
“Speak.” Pi Xiu unenthusiastically said.
“Don’t make me get angry.”
“I got used to it.” Wen Xi flatteringly smiled at Pi Xiu, and then said softly: “Just ask me.
As long as I can remember, I will certainly tell you about it.”
Pi ‘hmm-ed’, and thought: ‘I can see that this Wen Xi is quite astute.
My precious treasures that I spent on him to replenish his soul have not been wasted.’
“As long as you tell me where the Taotie is, I will help you reincarnate, ensuring you a next life of wealth and peace.
Once the weather cools down, of course.”
Wen Xi asked stunned: “Why do you want to wait for the weather to cool?”
“It’s because summer is way too hot, and you have to stay with me to cool me down.” Pi Xiu looked at the weather forecast on the TV and frowned.
“Fuck! We’re in May, why is it so damn hot?”
Wen Xi smiled with anger, but when Pi Xiu looked at him, Wen Xi immediately lowered his head and said: “The Taotie is an odd beast, I’ve never seen it before.”
“Naturally, he wouldn’t appear in front of humans with his beast form.
The Taotie, that ugly bastard, likes to disguise himself in the skin of an attractive human to brag, seduce and swindle people in the Human World.” Pi Xiu scolded disdainfully and then asked: “Have you ever seen a man with a particularly good appetite?”
Wen Xi asked back: “Particularly good appetite? To what extent?”
“Have you ever seen a man that can eat a whole rice bucket and a full cow in one breath?” Pi Xiu pondered for a moment and then added: “Plus five chickens, six geese, and ten fish.”
Wen Xi: “…..”
Wen Xi: “I haven’t seen someone like that.”
Pi frowned, and his body temperature, which had just dropped, rose up again.
Thus, Pi Xiu took Wen Xi’s arm and pressed it against his face.
The cold touch made Pi Xiu finally calm down.
Since Wen Xi’s arm was tightly grabbed, he didn’t dare to move.
Although Wen Xi was angry, he had to force a smile as he thoughtfully asked: “Are you feeling more comfortable now?”
Pi Xiu nodded: “Have you really not seen him?”
“No, I haven’t.” Wen Xi replied.
Pi Xiu: “Then why would the Taotie fix your soul in order for you to still exist? If he hadn’t fixed your soul, and just sealed you in that Yin jar, you would have disappeared a long time ago.”
“I don’t know.” Wen Xi shook his head.
“Then how exactly did you die? Give me your surname and name, I’ll find out for myself.” Pi Xiu looked at Wen Xi in the eyes, and said: “If you don’t tell me yourself, I can still find out through other means, but….”
“I really can’t remember.” Wen Xi’s face turned even whiter as he kept smiling at Pi Xiu: “Of course I wouldn’t dare to lie to you.
But now my head is in a mess, and my soul isn’t complete.
The only thing I remember is that my surname is Wen, my name is Xi, and I used to be the son of a rich family.
I don’t remember anything else.”
Pi Xiu frowned.
Right when he was about to say something else, Pi Xiu heard the sound of the bead curtain ringing.
“Boss, food is ready.”
The voice of the Monkey spirit trembled slightly behind the bead curtain.
Afraid that he would interrupt his Boss, the Monkey spirit ventured to say: “Do you need me to bring it to you?”
After a while, Pi Xiu replied: “No, I’ll go down.”
Only then did the Monkey spirit retire and walked downstairs, as if he had been absolved
At that moment, Pi Xiu realized this was the first time Wen Xi was going downstairs.
As for Wen Xi, he felt as if everyone was looking at him.
However, by the time he looked over, everyone avoided his eyes.
‘It’s the same as when I was alive.’ Wen Xi sneered in his mind, but his face looked as stoic as ever, following behind Pi Xiu.
When he stood by the table, Wen Xi saw that all the bowls and chopsticks had been arranged.
Except for the jade chopsticks as well as gold bowls set up for Pi Xiu, the rest were ordinary porcelain bowls and wooden chopsticks.
However, after counting them, Wen Xi found out that there were no bowls and chopsticks set up for him.
Neither did he have his own seat.
With a frown, Wen Xi was about to say something, when all of a sudden, he saw a young boy carrying a bowl of medicine.
As he stammered, he said: “B-boss, the me-medicine i-is r-ready.”
Pi Xiu glanced at it and asked the young boy to go get a spoon.
After saying that, Pi Xiu held Wen Xi and made him sit by his side.
The broad throne was padded with thick cotton cushions, and the cushions were covered with a mahjong cooling mat6, which looked a bit unconventional.
The sensation of sitting on the mat was strange.
When Wen Xi touched the strange-looking mat under his body, he thought: ‘If this piece of bamboo were replaced by jade, it would be cooler.‘
However, when Wen Xi saw the size of the man sitting next to him, he thought: ‘If the bamboo mats were changed to jade, then this creature or beast next to me would break it as soon as he sat on it.
It would be such a waste.’
The young boy came back with a porcelain spoon, and Pi Xiu pushed the bowl of medicine towards Wen Xi: “This medicine will replenish your soul.
Wen Xi didn’t touch the medicine, and instead, looked at the fresh food in front of him.
“What’s this?” Wen Xi asked, looking at the food in front of Pi Xiu.
Most of the dishes were tofu and green vegetables.
In other words, vegetarian and bland food.
In Wen Xi’s opinion, this kind of food felt a bit out of place when it came to Pi Xiu.
‘Shouldn’t this fierce and vicious-looking beast eat meat and drink a big bowl of wine? Why is he eating as if he were a monk?’
Then, Wen Xi glanced at the dishes in front of the other people, dishes with red oil and chunks of meat, then asked: “Why is your food different from theirs?”
Pi Xiu scooped up a mouthful of tofu, ate it, and replied: “Because it’s more refreshing to eat food like this.”
After noticing that Wen Xi hadn’t drunk the medicine yet, and was staring at their food, Pi Xiu frowned.
Right when he was about to say something, Pi Xiu remembered that this old ghost hadn’t seen the light of the day after being sealed in a jar for hundreds of years, which meant he probably wanted to eat, but didn’t dare to say it.
Pi put down his chopsticks, picked up the bowl of medicine, and placed it close to Wen Xi’s mouth: “Drink the medicine first, and then you can eat.”
Wen Xi glanced at Pi Xiu and asked: “Ghosts can eat?”
The question asked by Wen Xi was thought-provoking, so the entire dining room immediately fell silent.
Pi Xiu’s face quickly darkened, and he shoved the medicine bowl against Wen Xi’s mouth as he viciously said: “Drink it!”
I’ll drink it.
Anyways, it’s not like I can die again.’
Wen Xi drank the medicine held by Pi Xiu.
However, the bitter taste was so strong, it even made the ghost tremble and wonder whether this bowl was actually filled with poison.
After gulping down the last sip, Wen Xi began to cough so hard that he had to lean against Pi Xiu, hoping he would vomit it all over him.
“Why did you drink so fast?” Pi Xiu patted his back, thinking: ‘If he coughs himself to death, where else would I find another ice pillow that suits me best?’
After seeing the man in his arms coughing until he became dizzy and shivered against his shoulder, Mr.
Pi couldn’t help but ask the young stuttering boy who brought the medicine: “Did you watch over this medicine?”
The young boy nodded with fear and stuttered: “Y-yes, I, I d-did.”
Wen Xi coughed a bit more.
When he was done, he sat straight and said: “It’s fine, I just didn’t expect it to be so bitter.”
“Is it really that bitter?”
Pi Xiu thought: ‘How so? It didn’t taste that bitter when I drank it before.’
Then, Pi Xiu took the bowl and drank what remained of the medicine.
But as soon as he did so, he spat it out.
Wen Xi: “….”
Irritated, Pi Xiu knocked the bowl off the table, roaring at the demons and monsters staring at him: “Why are you all staring at me? Do I have rice on my face? Go back to eating!”
All of the demons and monsters lowered their heads, as they began to eat again, not daring to look at their Boss again.
Wen Xi had mixed feelings.
Although he wanted to laugh, he couldn’t….but he wanted to laugh so bad.
As he held back a laugh, Wen Xi handed over a napkin to Pi Xiu to wipe his mouth.
Pi had gotten irritated after choking with a mouthful of bitter medicine, his body warmed up again.
Thus, Pi Xiu grabbed Wen Xi’s arm and pulled him closer to his body.
The young boy stood aside, speechless.
Completely frightened, the young boy trembled all over as he asked: “B-boss, sh-should I serve a p-pair of bowls and ch-chopsticks to, to the Madam? Didn’t th-the M-madam just now s-say he wanted t-to e-eat?”
Pi Xiu frowned when he heard the young boy’s words: “Madam? Where is this Madam you’re talking about? Laozi7 doesn’t have a mother.”
Wen Xi: “….”
Wen Xi: ‘Damn, you really dare to talk like that.’
In chapter 1, Pi Xiu’s name was always written as 皮修 pí xiū instead of 貔貅 pí xiū (the latter being the name of the mythological beast).
That’s why I left it as Pi Xiu instead of Pixiu, because it should be read as 皮 Pi = surname, 修 Xiu = name. 貔貅 pí xiū; Mythical creature that brings good luck and wards off evil.
It has the body of a tiger or a leopard, tail and head of a dragon, a pair of wings that cannot be stretched, as well as a horn on its head tilted back.
It’s said that his appetite is voracious, only wanting gold, silver and jewels.
Therefore, the Pixiu has always been seen as an auspicious creature that possesses mystical powers capable of attracting ‘wealth’ from everywhere. 饕餮 tāo tiè; Taotie, or ‘Gluttony’.
One of the Four Fierce Beast who are notorious for their evil deeds.
Also known as the fifth son of the Dragon King. 觥筹交错 gōng chóu jiāo cuò; Chinese idiom.
It describes the lively scene when many people drink at a party / Describes a dinner party at which wine flows freely.
From《醉翁亭记》by (欧阳修 ōu yáng xiū) Ouyang Xiu [1007-1072], from the Northern Song Dynasty [960-1127]. 风月 fēng yuè; It generally refers to a beautiful scenery, but it can also imply: A place of leisure/pleasure, flirtation and promiscuity, prostitutes, etc. 麻将凉席 má jiàng liáng xí; Cool mats are bamboo or straw mats that are used to keep cool in the summer.
Because the bamboo piece resembles a mahjong block, it’s also called a mahjong mat.
It looks like THIS. 老子 lǎo zi; ‘I/Me’ said with arrogance.
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