From the study came the continual pit-a-pat of the keyboard being struck forcefully.
Wang Xiaoming circled the living room and realized that because they had been rushing to get out the door the other day, they hadn’t had the time to wash the dishes and the newly-bought potatoes were still on the kitchen floor. Nobody had put them away.
He bent down and tried to put the potatoes away, but his finger passed straight through the potatoes. He refused to accept that and tried a couple more times, but the result was the same each and every time. Then he remembered that in Ghost, an old ghost had instructed the male lead to use his willpower to pick things up. So, he tried to remember how the film had done it, gave that potato a death stare, and reached out a finger—
It passed through.
He took a deep breath. Come to think of it, persistence and stubbornness were among his good points.
So he persisted very stubbornly for one, and then two hours before giving up.
It was certain now that neither the screenwriter nor the director for Ghost had ever died before, which was how they imagined a scene involving a soul touching a physical object.
He stood up and silently walked back to the living room.
His corpse lay on the ground, unmoving. Wang Xiaoming was very much not used to looking at himself like this. This was a completely different feeling than looking in a mirror.
He watched silently for a while and then walked back to the sofa in boredom. Just as he was about to sit down, Xiang Wenxun’s figure appeared in the bubble.
He was walking from the kitchen to the bedroom, wearing a white bathrobe and carrying a cup of milk.
“Baal! President Xiang is back,” Wang Xiaoming yelled as he jumped up.
Something like an explosion sounded from the study, followed immediately by Baal walking out.
Wang Xiaoming looked at the black smoke emitting from the study and asked in stunned surprise, “What happened?” He couldn’t have made the entire computer explode, right?
“Pretty much what you’re thinking.”
Wang Xiaoming blanked for a moment and then thanked the stars that he had left some money behind for Baal so there’d be enough to pay for damages.
Baal reached a hand out and tossed Wang Xiaoming’s body into his space.
“Uh, where did you put it?” Though they were separated, they had kept each other company for 23 years and Wang Xiaoming was quite attached to his own body.
“Ice space. Keeps things fresh.”
Wang Xiaoming smacked his lips, unsure of what to feel. Why did the words “keep fresh” make him feel like… he’d get eaten? Sort of like a dumpling?
Baal pointed with his finger and burst the bubble. Then, with a snap of Baal’s fingers, Wang Xiaoming found himself standing in Xiang Wenxun’s living room. Additionally, the living room curtains were drawn tightly and only the light overhead was lit.
“President Xiang is sleeping. It’s not nice for us to just barge in like this, is it?” Wang Xiaoming asked very quietly.
“Why are you talking so quietly?” Baal lifted an eyebrow.
Wang Xiaoming lowered his voice to answer, “Because we didn’t ring the doorbell before we came in.”
Baal raised his hand and gently stabbed the air a few times with his finger.
Then, the doorbell frantically rang.
Wang Xiaoming hid behind the sofa nervously.
Xiang Wenxun walked out from the bedroom and paused briefly when he caught sight of Baal. “May I ask who you…”
Baal’s lips lifted.
“Mr. Baal?” Surprise flashed through Xiang Wenxun’s eyes for just a moment before it was taken over by the joy that almost spilled out from his eyes. “You’ve already recovered?”
Wang Xiaoming stuck part of his face out from behind the sofa and asked in surprise, “President Xiang, how did you guess who he was?”
Xiang Wenxun didn’t react at all.
Baal smiled in pleasure. “Forgot to tell you, you’re in the same situation I was in.”
Wang Xiaoming blinked and then scratched his scalp. He walked out self-consciously and remarked, “That’s right, I’m a ghost. President Xiang shouldn’t be able to see me.”
Baal wondered if Wang Xiaoming’s ability to accept things was a little too great for a human.
Xiang Wenxun looked in the same direction as Baal and asked, “Mr. Baal’s friend?”
“Someone you know.”
Xiang Wenxun was slightly caught off guard.
“Wang Xiaoming.” Baal said those words very calmly.
As calm and calculating as Xiang Wenxun was, he couldn’t understand the sudden change in situation. But that didn’t affect how he reacted. “Xiaoming, what happened to him?”
Baal squinted. “Dead.” So your desires should die too.
Xiang Wenxun’s eyes flashed with a trace of sadness, gone so quickly that even he himself hadn’t realized it. He had always known that his emotions when it came to Wang Xiaoming were out of the ordinary. Of course, those feelings had nothing to do with love but rather a kind of pure admiration for something that was beautiful. When he heard the news of Wang Xiaoming’s death, his first reaction was sadness, but the sadness turned into nothing when he noticed Baal’s uncaring expression.
Maybe for fallen angels, humans dying wasn’t something to fear but rather a new kind of life?
Wang Xiaoming walked up to Xiang Wenxun and cautiously waved his hand. After making sure that Xiang Wenxun really couldn’t see him, he circled around the man curiously. “So this is what being a ghost is like.”
Baal asked in surprise, “You don’t think it’s lonely?”
“Not at all,” Wang Xiaoming answered off-handedly, “as long as you can see me.”
Maybe it would be fine to have him stay as a spirit.
Baal started to consider that possibility.
Xiang Wenxun set aside all of his emotions and sincerely asked, “Is there something I can help with?”
“Do you think there’s something that you can do but I can’t?” Baal asked cooly.
Wang Xiaoming retorted unhappily, “President Xiang has helped me a lot already…”
“From now on, I’m taking over your affairs. No, from the very beginning, you belonged to me.” Baal turned his head and directed his gaze at Xiang Wenxun but continued speaking to Wang Xiaoming, “This has nothing to do with you. It’s just a deal between me and him.”
Wang Xiaoming opened his mouth, wanting to say something, but shut it again when he saw Xiang Wenxun’s smile.
“Mr. Baal is honorable, as expected.” If Baal said that, that meant he’d take care of Xiang Wenjie’s problem.
“But now I have another very important thing to do, so I’m going to put your brother in my space first. When I’m done, I’ll come solve his problem.”
“Space?” Xiang Wenxun frowned almost imperceptibly. “How long will Mr. Baal be gone?”
Baal slowly rose into the air and crossed his legs, as if sitting on a barstool, and looked down at Xiang Wenxun. “As a vampire, your brother has eternal life.”
Xiang Wenxun answered calmly, “I know.”
“So, no matter how long I take, he can wait.”
“But I can’t afford it and my parents even less so.” Xiang Wenxun sighed gently, “I only hope that while I’m alive, I can once again meet him when he’s in full possession of his faculties.”
Wang Xiaoming said in pity, “Baal, maybe you should help him first? My problem…”
“You can’t be exposed to sunshine,” Baal interrupted.
Wang Xiaoming paused, unsure why he changed the topic so quickly. “Huh?”
“If you go to Europe with me, the chances of being exposed to sunlight will increase.”
“So, you’re worried about me?” Wang Xiaoming asked the question very quietly, as if a loud voice would scare this beautiful moment and the nice feelings away.
Baal was very unhappy. “You used a question mark?”
Wang Xiaoming hurriedly nodded, “No, no. It… it’s an exclamation mark!”
“Is my concern something for you to exclaim over?” Baal’s expression turned even darker.
“No, no… it was actually a period.”
“My concern for you… needs a period?”
Wang Xiaoming paused. He never thought that even though he had started studying Chinese in elementary school and had written quite a few essays, he still couldn’t use punctuation marks correctly. “Then can I use an ellipsis?”
“Ellipsis?” Actually Baal didn’t know a lot about the punctuation marks used in Chinese either.
Wang Xiaoming added, “This means that you’ve been concerned for me so many times, countless times, so it can only fit inside an ellipsis.”
Baal thought it over and then said, slightly mollified, “That punctuation mark is a nice invention.”
“That’s right.” Wang Xiaoming quietly exhaled in relief and when his attention returned to the matter at hand, he discovered that Xiang Wenxun had already sat down on the sofa. Instantly, Wang Xiaoming said apologetically, “I’m sorry, President Xiang, we’re just…”
Xiang Wenxun noticed Baal’s eyes were looking sarcastically in a certain direction before turning back to look at him with a smile. He cautiously asked, “Xiaoming? Are you talking with me?”
Wang Xiaoming’s eyes lit up. “You can hear me, President Xiang?”
Baal threw cold water on that wish. “He guessed.”
Xiang Wenxun looked at Baal.
However, Baal was clearly not a dutiful interpreter. He said perfunctorily, “He said ‘Hello.’”
Without changing his expression, Xiang Wenxun faced the direction that Baal had been looking in and returned, “Hello.”
Wang Xiaoming, “…” Why hadn’t he thought of this way to deal with Baal and ignore the fallen angel back when Baal had been invisible to everyone else? No more than two seconds later, he answered his own question: Because he’d get beaten to within an inch of his life.
“If you have no other questions, I’ll put your brother away first.” Baal snapped his fingers.
Xiang Wenjie instantly appeared in midair.
At the moment, he seemed to be fast asleep and wasn’t as threatening as he had looked last time. Instead, he looked quite calm and docile.
Xiang Wenxun was excited and all of his energy was concentrated on his fingertips, which were pressed tightly into the sofa.
“Mr. Baal.” Just when Baal was about to put Xiang Wenjie away, Xiang Wenxun suddenly said, “I am willing to wait with Wenjie here at the Silver House for your return.”
Baal’s eyebrows lifted, “He could turn into a bloodsucking monster at any moment.”
“I’ll put another sturdy metal cage around the coffin.” Xiang Wenxun gazed at Xiang Wenjie and smiled. “I think he’d much rather stay beside me.”
“Of course.” Baal lightly tapped his knee once with his finger as he said, “That makes drinking blood easier.”
Wang Xiaoming murmured, “If the friend Gin talked about were here, that’d be great.”
Baal answered, “There’s a large time difference between the Mortal Realm and Noah’s Ark.”
Baal stroked his chin. “So he should be here already.”
Hope flared in Xiang Wenxun’s eyes. “Does Mr. Baal have other helpers?”
Wang Xiaoming remembered Abbadon and slapped his palms together. “Ah, why didn’t we have Abbadon help back then? He’s a fallen angel too.”
“Because I don’t want to.” Baal snorted. He pointed with his finger and Xiang Wenjie vanished into thin air. “Considering the time difference between Hell and the Mortal Realm, we won’t be gone for too long.”
Xiang Wenxun stood up and said with the utmost sincerity, “I’ll be right here, waiting for Mr. Baal and Xiaoming to return.”
He clearly had already guessed what Baal was about to do.
Baal snapped his fingers.
The two of them returned to their room.
Wang Xiaoming stared wide-eyed at Baal and asked, “Where are we going now?”
Given what Wang Xiaoming knew about Baal, he could be very certain that Baal was feeling very, very pissed off right now.