Chapter 33 It was not Lulu
He Xiaoyong's story left me bewildered. The spirit they invited that day was Lulu, a supernatural ghost which never harmed people. Besides, why would she kill Zhang Xue? Did she, like Chen Kai, do something bad in the ghost house?
I couldn't figure it out. They all insisted that they only played Die Xian in the ghost house, and nothing else.
I couldn't think of anything I could do about it, so I asked them to meet again tomorrow. When I went to work later that night, I would ask Lulu if she knew anything. I always thought all the female ghosts in the ghost house were basically good.
He Xiaoru looked like she wanted to tell me something, but she worried about her brother's safety, so she just told me that I had to be there tomorrow and then took the youngsters and left. I watched them leave in a sour mood. I hung out on Kaoshan Street until it was the time for work.
"Brother, you promised to find my skin for me." Xiao Lingdang reminded me as usual when I entered the ghost house.
"Yes, I know, I know." I looked around and couldn't find Lulu, so I asked, "Xiao Lingdang, where is Lulu?"
"She went out."
Out? Did Lulu really do that? I felt uneasy for some reason.
Sister Hua walked up to me and said, "Lulu is helping to catch a ghost tonight. You are in charge of the till. You're still the waiter, though." Then she left.
She was helping someone else catch a ghost? Lulu was a ghost herself; how could she help someone else catch ghosts? Did that mean it wasn't Lulu who killed Zhang Xue? I was baffled.
"Hey, Handsome, I need change for this bill."
I looked toward the voice without thinking, and then turned away in a fright. What I saw was a lovely young girl... with a long, swollen tongue lolling out of her mouth. Her speech was a bit slurred; I imagined it must be difficult to speak with her tongue like that. She was a hanged ghost, the kind of malicious spirit that Xiao Lingdang told me had to search for a host to possess and consume.
Seeing me jump back, the hanged ghost looked somewhat discontented. "Do I look so horrible?" she said gloomily.
I shook my head stiffly, grabbed the bill and the money from her hand and walked around the bar to the till. Working the till was not difficult, but ghost money was very highly inflated compared to regular Chinese Yuan. I looked at the bill and saw a tally of 8000 Yuan for a cup of fruit juice and a bowl of rice.
Xiao Lingdang seemed familiar with the hanged ghost. She ran up and held the hanged ghost's hand, "Sister Tan, you haven't been here for a long time."
The hanged ghost shook her head forlornly, "Oh, I've been busy. It's very difficult to find a host these days."
Xiao Lingdang gave a few slow nods, then her eyes lit up like she had an idea. She turned to me, "Brother, can you help Sister Tan look for a host?"
My eyebrows shot halfway up my forehead. I could help Xiao Lingdang look for her skin, but looking for a host? That's killing people!
Sister Tan seemed to understand my reservations. She smiled at Xiao Lingdang, "No thanks, I can find one myself." Then she winked at me, and I gave her a stiff smile in response.
When Sister Tan left, I asked Xiao Lingdang, "Xiao Lingdang, aren't hanged ghosts malicious? Why did she come to the Fan House?" Of course, I would have also liked to know why female guests were coming to a brothel.
Xiao Lingdang looked at me strangely. "What's wrong with malicious ghosts?"
I didn't know what to tell her. Fortunately, Yan'er joined us and said, "Being a malicious ghost means they have to sacrifice a living soul to reincarnate, but many of them just can't bring themselves to do it. They just remain as ghosts and wait." She paused for a moment before continuing: "Many lose themselves while waiting for the unknown."
I felt a sense of profound loneliness from Yan'er. Xiao Lingdang whispered in my ear, "Yan'er is also a malicious ghost, but she never harms anyone."
I nodded. I was curious about Yan'er, who kept pets in hair, but Lulu was more important at the moment. I asked, "Xiao Lingdang, what did Sister Hua mean? How is Lulu helping to catch a ghost?"
Xiao Lingdang looked at me like I asked a silly question. "She just goes and catches the ghost. Lulu is very skilled at it."
Skilled? I had no idea what she meant. "Xiao Lingdang..." I began, but then stopped. I suddenly realized that there was no use asking Xiao Lingdang about it. She would probably just babble something incomprehensible again. I was beginning to think she had a few screws loose in her head.
I looked around and saw Yan'er drinking by herself in a secluded corner of the hall. I asked Xiao Lingdang to watch over the till for me and then went over to Yan'er.
Seeing me approach, she asked, "What's up?"
"Sister Hua said Lulu was out catching ghosts. Can you tell me anything about that?"
Yan'er nodded, "There was something about a mass grave recently. A vengeful ghost ate a fresh soul, and Lulu went to catch it. Eating fresh souls is a major taboo, so we had to intervene."
A vengeful ghost consumed a fresh soul, and Lulu was trying to catch it. Was Lulu stronger than a vengeful ghost?
Yan'er seemed to guess my thoughts. "Lulu is a grievance ghost. She gets special powers from Hell."
A grievance ghost. Xiao Lingdang told me about that type, but she said there were few grievance ghosts and she had only ever met one. I guessed the one she met was Lulu. However, Lulu seemed to really hate that Japanese ghost in the back yard. As a grievance ghost, why was she unable to defeat him?
I realized I really didn't know very much about the ghosts I'd met in the Fan House. Well, I had gotten rather 'familiar' with Xiao Lingdang, at least...
Yan'er seemed to be talking to herself, "Grievance ghost are very strong, but they can't hurt someone who had nothing to do with their death. If they do that, they will be considered renegades by Hell."
I nodded thoughtfully. This was about what Xiao Lingdang had told me. I wondered out loud what kind of ghost Lulu was out catching, in that case.
Yan'er said, "Lulu is there to help. She has a great sense of grievance, which can suppress hateful spirits."
I understood, but then a more important question appeared in my mind. If Lulu's powers had so many limitations, who killed Zhang Xue?
I told Yan'er what He Xiaoyong told me, and she felt that was a little bit strange too. She insisted that Lulu had absolutely nothing to do with it, and I tended to agree.
As for the rest, Yan'er suggested I have a look around the abandoned toilet in the school. I could see ghosts, and it seemed that working for the Fan House gave me a kind of special status. Most ghosts seemed to respect me, surprisingly.
In the end, I could only wait for the next day to speak to He Xiaoyong and check out the abandoned toilet which was rumored to be haunted. Then I would know what to do next.