Tang Tian said, with a small smile on her face, “I heard from the ghost matchmaker that it was because those who remain unmarried after death can’t be buried alongside their ancestor’s grave?”

Auntie Zhang’s eyes widened slightly.
“I meant really, really urgently! It’s because something weird happened in the estate!

“Someone saw the light in the Young Master’s study light up even though the housekeepers made sure all lights in his courtyard were turned off.
Moreover, on the seventh day after his death, during which everyone in the family stayed in the estate for the night, everyone heard someone knocking on the Old Master’s bedroom door.
The knocking persisted for a long time, and no one dared to fall asleep afterward.

“The next day, the ground by the door, where we had sprinkled rice grains, had footprints that came all the way from the room where the coffin was kept! Don’t you think there is some supernatural disturbance happening here?”

Auntie Zhang spoke of these events in an animated tone, seemingly terrified yet excited at the same time, and Tang Tian finally understood.

“It’s because of these unsettling events that Old Master felt it was necessary to arrange a ghost marriage for his son.”

Auntie Zhang slapped her hands together in agreement.
“Exactly, that’s right.”

The old lady was really good at storytelling, so despite the eerie topic, Tang Tian enjoyed listening to her.

“But Auntie Zhang, I also heard that if a ghost cannot pass into the afterlife, there must be some sort of unresolved hatred.
Apart from being unmarried, could there be some other reason why the Young Master still lingered?”

Having seen Chen Xu’s face from his photograph and as a floating corpse in her nightmares, Tang Tian could not shake the impression that he had this cold aura about him.
It made him seem indifferent, somehow.
She had an instinctive feeling that someone like that must have come to her for a greater purpose, not just some ridiculous ghost marriage.
Her question to Auntie Zhang was an attempt to reveal more stories.

The woman took the bait, as she had hoped.
Upon hearing Tang Tian’s words, Auntie Zhang’s eyes flickered.
She leaned in closer and said in a low, mysterious tone, “They all said that the Young Master had died while he was drunk-driving.
But I’ve heard Butler Chen mention that the Young Master rarely drinks, and even if he did, he would never drive either.
How could someone like that end up dying from drunk-driving? And coincidentally, straight into the river, too?

“There were rumours about how the Young Master was actually murdered, but”—she lifted both hands and shrugged—“His father didn’t even investigate further, so no one else had the right to say anything more.”

Tang Tian contemplated for a moment.
“Why was it rumoured that someone killed the Young Master? Did he have any enemies?”

Auntie Zhang denied it right away and frantically waved her hands no.
“How is that possible? The Young Master grew up here under our care.
He had such a good temper, unlike those typical rich kids out there.
Although, the Chen family has two sons close in age.
Think about it, if even poor families can squabble over small acres of land, what must it be like for wealthy families like the Chens….”

Auntie Zhang chose her words carefully, subtly hinting that there was still something behind the Young Master’s death.

Before Auntie Zhang left, she picked up the tray containing all Tang Tian dinnerplates, and reminded her, “Please don’t repeat these things to anyone else, Miss.
Old Chen forbids us from talking about it in private.”

“Don’t worry.” Tang Tian watched as her figure disappeared behind the door.
It made perfect sense for a temporary housekeeper like Auntie Zhang, who was chatty and loved to gossip, to spill everything like she had.
Such information could never come from someone fiercely loyal to the Chen family.

Then again, if Butler Chen was really as strict as all that, he wouldn’t have purposefully sent Auntie Zhang to deliver her meals.

“Such dirty tricks.” It was her first night here, and the old man had already showed her the truth of the proverb “spiciest is the ginger most matured”1.

The stories of ghostly disturbances were meant to test if she had any ulterior motives, and bringing up the mystery behind the Young Master’s death served to warn her of the danger beyond the facade of well-known, wealthy families—to put her in her place, so she would realize that joining this family was anything but a casual arrangement.

How exceptionally wary he was in dealing with people, even someone on the verge of dying, like her.

“Unfortunately, you all are wasting your time.”

Tang Tian shook her head and got up.
From the corner of her eye, she noticed that there were some small patches of water on the floor that formed a trail, beginning from the raised threshold, all the way to the tableside.

Her first thought was that Auntie Zhang’s shoes must’ve been wet.
But she instantly realised something about that did not add up…

There had been no rainfall these past two days, and the courtyard grounds were dry.
Even if someone had gotten their feet wet, somehow, and made their way to the room with wet soles, their tracks would certainly have shown up before the threshold.
Yet, it was clear that those patches were the size of a person’s feet, as if someone had come in while she was talking and was still in the room, standing right… next… to her…

A chilly night breeze stole into the room through the half-opened door.
The large courtyard was so quiet, Tang Tian could hear her own racing heartbeat.

She didn’t dare to spend any more time in that room alone, so she walked out hurriedly.
Suddenly, she noticed more patches of water that led to the huge water tank outside the study.

It was a traditional water tank, large enough to fit an adult, and it was filled with crystal clear water, with a few water lilies floating on the surface.
Tang Tian snuck a glance at the depths of the water tank, but couldn’t see a thing through the pitch-darkness.

By the time she sat down in her own room, her heat was still beating fast.

Auntie Zhang was right, this estate really is haunted.


This is a direct translation of a Chinese proverb which means the older the person gets, the better they inevitably are at a particular skill.
In this context, the skill is conducting schemes or tricks to achieve a certain objective.

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like