Book 8 Chapter 3: Lucky gambler

Three sticks of incense shone in the darkness of the mountains like fireflies, flickering in and out.

Ever since he took hold of them, weird movements and noises erupted around him. He Fu Gui desperately braced his body which was shuddering like falling leaves as he walked down the mountain, step by step.

“Whatever you do, don’t look back!”

He repeated Three Inch Golden Lotus’s words over and over again in his mind. He kept his head lowered, his eyes fixed on the road ahead of him to avoid falling over. If the incense sticks broke, his life would also be cut short. The two great immortals had especially reminded him of that.

“Oh, Fu Gui!” His dad’s voice suddenly came from behind him, causing his heart to tense. His breath caught and he almost died on the spot.

“What’s that in your hands? Let dad take a look, ok?” A hand was placed on his shoulder. The sudden force almost caused the already unsteady He Fu Gui to fall. Yet the chill spreading from his heart gave him a burst of strength and he scurried into the trees.

His dad had been dead for over a decade His mom had also passed away three years ago. Although he shouldn’t have been afraid of his own parents, he had gambled away his dad’s business and angered his mom to death. He had a very guilty conscience.

“Fu Gui, you’re still gambling!” Right as he thought of his mom, a blow struck his neck and his back became heavy. It seemed as if his mom had climbed onto his back. His legs buckled and he finally sprawled to the ground. Yet he kept his arms rigidly extended, preventing the incense from being extinguished.

“Many resentful spirits, and many people you know who have passed away will come looking for you the moment you leave the children’s cemetery.” He Fu Gui recalled the words of the two “great immortals”. “However, they won’t kill you, and will merely scare you. As long as you aren’t afraid, as long as you keep the fierce desire to become the god of gamblers in your heart, as long as you can make it back home and stick the incense into the burner filled with chicken blood rice, your days of suffering will be over. You will be able to live as you please for the rest of your life.”

The process of becoming the god of gamblers wasn’t complicated. He also had plenty of fierce desire in his heart. Yet remaining unafraid was too difficult!

The moment he fell over, his face was immediately covered by weeds. Yet he heard many voices in his ears. Countless malicious “people” surrounded him, chirping and buzzing with sounds that weren’t human. Yet they also didn’t sound like insects or birds in his ears. A numbing sensation spread from his heart.

He didn’t dare look up. He really wanted to remain unmoving like this until dawn. However, the incense sticks continued to burn. Although they were tall enough to burn for two to three hours, they wouldn’t last until dawn. Especially since something cold and clammy seemed to be climbing up his arms, trying to pry his fingers open and make the incense sticks that could grant his wishes fall to the floor!

“Fu Gui! Fu Gui! Old He! He Fu Gui!” Different voices called to him. He was shoved and pulled. They seemed to be trying to keep him in place. A moment of inattention and he would look backwards.

He knew he had to get up quickly and leave. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to turn this resentful aura into luck. Yet when he forced his eyes shut and stood up, he felt his body become even heavier. A large slab of ice seemed to be resting on his back.

“Fu Gui, you wastrel!” His old ma cursed as she repeatedly slapped his head. He could even feel a pair of withered hands covered in maggots rubbing the back of his head. “Where are you going carrying your old ma. Put me down!”

He really wanted to, but the thing on his back was stuck fast like maggots in bone. He felt another weight and sensed his dad had climbed up too. His body bent from the pressure. He could only carry them as he continued down the mountain. Cold sweat, heavy breathing and sinister giggling accompanied his steps. He stumbled and fell once more.

A woman’s head appeared on the ground and their eyes met. He Fu Gui let out a yell and shrank backwards. He recalled that she was a widow from their town who committed suicide jumping from a building to escape rape. She had landed head first, her bones shattering and becoming a bloody mess. At this moment, her head was against the ground as she glared askew at him, as if he was her hated enemy.

“It wasn’t me! It wasn’t me!” Involuntarily, He Fu Gui started shouting. The incense in his hands shook and almost dropped. Luckily, his fierce obsession supported him and he narrowly avoided letting go.

“Don’t hold me back. I’m going to become the god of gamblers. I want to win every bet. No one can stop me!” Having been frightened to the extreme, he instead grew braver as he yelled. His timid yet ruthless voice echoed in the empty forest, as of countless people were shouting along with him.

Before the echoes faded, the sound of a baby crying suddenly rang out. The infantile voice came from above He Fu Gui, swiftly approaching his position. Frightened, he no longer cared about the clammy and heavy sensation covering his body as he swiftly scrambled down the mountain. His hands still gripped the incense tightly.

He was surprised that the incense hadn’t broken due to the force of his grip. He only felt as if his fingers were about to snap. The three faint glows were the only light in the darkness.

The crying drew closer and the things around him were still there as well. They seemed to be going home with him as the grass on either side were flattened by something rolling.

“Whatever you do, don’t look back!”

Keeping Three Inch Golden Lotus’s warning in mind, he refused to look back despite the horrifying noises and his parents’ repeated pleas. His neck was so stiff it was aching.

“I want all the gambling luck in the world!” He desperately repeated in his mind, strengthening his will. However, the noises around him were too piercing and he couldn’t help but glance sideways.

He saw several black balls rolling in the bushes on either side. The moon shone upon them like stage lights, allowing He Fu Gui to see that the things were actually babies. However, they didn’t appear to have been born yet. They were in their prenatal state, curled up into a ball, as they rolled down the mountain from the cemetery. They were completely blackened but each of them had a mouthful of white teeth. They were exposed inside the mouths without lips, glimmering like animal fangs!

Newborns weren’t supposed to have teeth. Had they grown after death? They wouldn’t think he was food, right?!

He Fu Gui staggered, those weird fetuses rolling past him continuously like a film being rewound. They kept hindering his steps as they rolled down the mountain.

The incense sticks in his hands were only a little over two inches tall now. He sprinted like mad towards his house.

He had to get there before they finished burning. Otherwise, he would remain a jinx who lost every gamble. He would get kicked out of the casinos, always unable to scoop all those chips towards him, always like a pool of mud to be stepped on by the rest! He was going to change his fate. This was his only chance. He had already prayed thirty six times. This was the last stretch. He definitely couldn’t drop before making it home! He just had to endure a little longer and he would become the god of gamblers!

The streets were empty. Only He Fu Gui was there, sprinting while holding three incense sticks. He still felt those things following him, and more were gathering. Those horrifying fetuses were even rolling in front of him. He had to avoid them as he ran, terrified he would step on them. It was scary enough if he fell, but he’d be done for if those teeth started biting him.

Three blocks left, two blocks, one block. The incense fires had reached his fingertips…

Finally, right before the incense extinguished, he reached his house. The front door was wide open. He had purposefully left it so, afraid of the delay if he had to open it. Regardless, there wasn’t even a bed inside. There was only a battered table, upon which sat a bowl of chicken blood rice. There was nothing worth stealing.

He had just inserted the incense into the bowl when they suddenly extinguished as if suffocated. The smoke rose upwards weirdly in a straight line towards the roof. A large chunk of the unmaintained roof immediately fell, landing in front of He Fu Gui. After being repeatedly frightened this night, he shrank down in fear one last time and didn’t get up again. He was too tired. Even if the king of Hell came, he wouldn’t be able to move!

But had he succeeded?

The question resounded in his heart. He looked up and saw that the portraits of his parents seemed to be frowning. There were even tears streaming down his old ma’s face. So had he still failed in the end? Did bad luck still follow him? Was he unable to win a single bet in his life?

“You succeeded!” Just as he was about to express his frustration, Three Inch Golden Lotus’s voice suddenly rang out. She sounded very pleased.

He Fu Gui felt a chill as he saw the two “great immortals” enter through a wall. They still wore those embroidered shoes, crimson dresses and the makeup of female parts in the Opera. However, those things didn’t cover their joy. “Could it be that you haven’t noticed those spirits bothering you have all vanished?”

He Fu Gui hadn’t snapped out of his sudden success yet. He looked around blankly and saw nothing else. His body also felt lighter, without the cold and clammy feeling. He looked back at his parents’ portraits. They were just photographs. What tears could there be?!

“I really…succeeded?” He suppressed his exhilaration.

“Of course. Haven’t you heard? Even gods and spirits fear the wicked.” Ordinary shoes’ attitude had improved somewhat. “You turned the most terrifying, most extreme Yin resentment into your lucky star of gambling. When you gamble now, no matter what you encounter, there’s no way you can lose!”

He Fu Gui leapt up in delight. The thought that we would dominate the tables henceforth almost made him mad with joy. He slapped himself several times, confirming he wasn’t dreaming, before falling to his knees. He kowtowed to the two great immortals, his head thudding against the ground.

“We don’t need your kowtows. We’re just making a transaction. Remember, just gamble as you please. When the time comes, we will tell you what we need you to do. Your gambling luck was gathered with our help. I’m sure you’re aware of the consequences if you break our agreement. It’s definitely not something you can stand.” Three Inch Golden Lotus said, a ruthlessness in her voice that covered He Fu Gui in cold sweat. An inexplicable yet concrete fear arose in his heart, but he was too excited and immediately ignored the strange sensation. Especially since it was too late for him to turn back.

He Fu Gui continued kowtowing while hurriedly responding, “I definitely won’t break our agreement. I will do whatever the two great immortals ask of me, even if you want my life…”

“Your life is completely worthless. Obediently fulfilling our wish is enough!” Ordinary shoes said.

“Yes, yes!” He stopped beating his head against the ground, ignoring his forehead’s bloody state and no longer afraid of the so-called “great immortals”. “I’ll go for a round of gambling right away.”

“Not waiting until tomorrow? Do you not believe our words, and want to try it out for yourself?” Ordinary shoes said.

“That’s not it. Didn’t he have zero doubts when we first told him?” Three Inch Golden Lotus “kindly” defended He Fu Gui. “Even if this person isn’t the biggest gambling addict in the world, he would rank within the top three. Now he has the ability, of course he’s immediately going to go gamble. But will the casino let you enter in your current state? Also, do you have any money?”

“Two great…great immortals might not know this. Well, casinos, they don’t care what you look like as long as you have the money to gamble. It’s just, about the money…” He Fu Gui revealed a troubled expression.  Even the incense had been bought on credit, and he hadn’t eaten a single grain of rice today. How could he have money for gambling?

“Huhu, this is what is meant by rebirth through adversity.” Three Inch Golden Lotus sounded as if she were either crying or laughing. “However, you didn’t forget that we’d always be with you, right? Like mother and child. Do you need to worry about money if we’re with you?”

He Fu Gui’s heart clenched, suddenly recalling that fact. He felt a moment of fear but he no longer had the right to refuse. Besides, if he could gamble and always win, he was willing to pay any price. Therefore, he immediately agreed.

Before he could nod his head, the two “great immortals” suddenly rose into the air and dissolved into black smoke. They shrunk until they became two ruby stud earrings that attached themselves to He Fu Gui’s earlobes.

He felt piercing pain in his ears and reached out with his hands. They were covered in blood. He had ended up with ear piercings.

“It’ll be easier for you to hear us if we’re by your ears.” Three Inch Golden Lotus laughed by his left ear. “Besides, luck is expressed via the ears. The moment we left, even if we didn’t exact punishment, your luck will flow away through the piercings. However unlucky you were before, the word ‘more’ will be added to it. Therefore, it’ll be good if you’re obedient.”

“Sis, give him money.” Ordinary shoes was a little impatient.

Three Inch Golden Lotus murmured in agreement. He Fu Gui immediately felt something appear in his hand. Raising it, he saw it was actually a stack of hundred yuan bills! …….

That night, after He Fu Gui made it into the casino using all his wits and spit, the god of gamblers was born. He stunned everyone. In one night, he won over a hundred thousand from such a small place. Then, he started betting at all the casinos in the nearby counties. He went wherever he heard had casinos. In a short half month’s time, he accumulated millions.

With every casino almost going bankrupt, they had tried everything. Cheat? The cheaters inexplicably messed up! Send people to threaten, or even kill him? Those who were sent all suffered horrifying accidents!

Finally, all the dealers ran at the sight of him. They claimed he was protected by the heavens and it was impossible for him to lose. All types of gamblers viewed him as a legend, and a role model. The dealers ended up making the money lost to He Fu Gui back from these people. The tiny place was no longer able to contain him. Someone who had previously argued over a penny till his face turned red now didn’t take places with low limits of a few hundred thousand seriously. The casinos here also didn’t dare welcome him anymore.

Therefore, he wanted to gamble throughout the nation, and make his way across the world. The two great immortals that followed him always actually agreed with his thoughts. However, his identity was no longer the same as before. Therefore, he decided first work on his public image. He would hire a secretary from a large city and a ex-special forces bodyguard with computer skills. It was best if the secretary was knowledgeable in the law, because the two great immortals said what they had to do would require a legal consultant.

He felt is luck was incredible, because the moment he had this thought, a beautiful young city girl came looking for a job. Her name was Yue Xiao Xia.

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