Chapter 4: Two for the Bar

Translator’s notes:

Gonna start you guys off with four chapters so you can get a feel for the story. Also this number is quite thematically appropriate. Will try to translate one chapter a day moving forward. No sponsored chapters for now while I try to balance this with work and some family matters.


Xiao Xia was startled awake.

Another nightmare. Another round of torment!

She was covered in cold sweat. She really wanted to remove the covers, get out of bed and grab a glass of water. However, she didn’t dare leave the blankets. At least the warmth gave her a hint of security. The glowing clock on her nightstand showed 02:40. The faintly lit clock hands trembled, and along with its ticking made it seem like something was approaching her bedside.

This made Xiao Xia burrow into her blankets and she ended up completely covering herself. The only thing she could hear was her own beating heart.

She shouldn’t have rented this dark and small house for the sake of saving money. Even the sunlight wasn’t able to shine inside. In the past it wasn’t a big deal, but this recent case made her unable to sleep peacefully. Perhaps she should get married or find a boyfriend to live with. Then, she wouldn’t be so afraid. Although it was just a nightmare, the realistic feeling wasn’t something a timid person like her could withstand.

How about Wan Li? But they were too familiar with each other. Just thinking about lying in the same bed made her get goosebumps from awkwardness. No, no, it has to be someone else. How about Ruan Zhan?

This name startled Xiao Xia, even more so than her nightmare.

Why did she think of him? She had only seen him a few hours before, and she didn’t have a good impression of him. Could her thoughts be lingering on him because their encounter was so recent? That must be the case!

But can he really communicate with spirits?

Wan Li wouldn’t lie to her, but she really couldn’t sense that he had such abilities. Her intuition had always been accurate, and there was no reason for it to be off this time. However, what if it was wrong? What if he really could? Didn’t that mean he could help her!?

Why didn’t she go talk to him after finding him!?

She was always like this, giving up halfway. If she had talked to him, he could help her if he had the ability, and if not she wouldn’t lose anything. At least it would be better than having nowhere to turn to after her nightmares.

She was truly out of options. She had long since burned incense and offered prayers to Buddha, but Buddha must have been busy so he couldn’t pay her any mind. She had to think of something, or she would go insane. Before this case was over or before her director returned, she might very well have died.

How about going to find Wan Li tomorrow to see if it was a mental issue? If that didn’t work, might as well go find Ruan Zhan and give it a shot. Although it wasn’t really rational, might as well try to cure a dead horse as though it were still alive!

The next day, Xiao Xia couldn’t find Wan Li. She even thought he was avoiding her, but then recalled that on Tuesdays he had to fulfill his obligations as a guest lecturer. Therefore, she could only skip work and make another trip to the Nocturnal Revenant.

When she arrived, it was only two in the afternoon. From far away, she saw Ruan Zhan just opening the doors. His skin was a healthy wheat color, without any of the paleness a night owl should have.

“Can I go in at this time?” Xiao Xia asked while standing over three meters away.

“I just opened the doors and it’s not officially business hours yet. However, it’s fine.” Ruan Zhan made an inviting gesture and furrowed his brows imperceptibly. He could tell this woman was the new customer from last night. Why didn’t she say anything last night, but ended up coming back so early today? He hoped she wasn’t here to bug him or make trouble.

Xiao Xia walked into the bar. It was completely empty. Furthermore, the bar’s windows were made with patterned glass that prevented the afternoon sun from shining inside. The entire place was dark and gloomy. On the wall across from her was an ornament made of transparent tubes, arranged in the shape of the eight trigrams. She didn’t see this last night, probably due to the lighting. Instead, it was easier to see in the dark.

Ruan Zhan only followed her in after a long while. However, Xiao Xia didn’t feel nervous and unsettled at being in an enclosed space by herself the way she usually was. This made her feel perhaps her judgement from yesterday was too negligent. There was something about this man.

“Where are your waiters?”

“They are college students working part time. If you are looking for them, you’ll have to wait until after four.”

“No, I’m not looking for them. But this place doesn’t seem to close until midnight. Wouldn’t it affect their studies?” Xiao Xia suddenly stopped speaking, “Sorry for asking this and that. It’s a habit due to my job. It’s really annoying!” She saw Ruan Zhan had already walked behind the counter and she found herself a place to sit. “My name is Yue Xiao Xia, a lawyer from the Vast Sky law firm.”

Ruan Zhan froze for a moment. “I’m not in trouble, am I?”

“No, no, that’s not it.” Xiao Xia hurriedly shook her head, “That’s just my job, which has nothing to do with why I am here. I am here because I have something to ask you. Is that ok?”

“Of course. However, do you want to drink something first, Miss Yue?”

“What’s an appropriate drink around this time?”

“It’s a little early for alcohol. Most people drink coffee.”

“I don’t like coffee, it’s bitter! Give me soda, orange flavored. Otherwise, water is also fine.”

Ruan Zhan didn’t speak and merely smiled before handing her a glass of orange-flavored soda. This woman had childish preferences. She can be easily handled.

“What do you need from me?” He asked.

“You know that Wan Li, right? He said you guys are good friends. Therefore, therefore he told me to come find you.” Xiao Xia stammered. She was a little embarrassed at requesting something from a stranger. It’s all Wan Li’s fault for being weird and refusing to come with her, forcing her to endure this awkwardness. Now, she could only say it bluntly. “I’m in trouble, and he says only your “abilities” can help me.”

When Ruan Zhan heard Wan Li’s name, he knew he was in trouble. He was in big trouble!

Wan Li had been his friend for many years and was the only one in the world who knew his secret. However, he had never let anything slip. Since Wan Li knew clearly how much he didn’t like to mention his “abilities” and how much he didn’t like to use them, why did he send this person here for his help? Who was this female lawyer called Yue Xiao Xia to Wan Li for him to forsake his promise? Or was there something she encountered that couldn’t be solved? Did it have something to do with her weakened yang flame?

“I’d be happy to help Miss Yue, but I’m afraid of not being up to the task.” Countless thoughts ran through his mind but he still maintained his harmless smile. “However, you should first tell me what troubles you are having and we’ll see if I can help.”

Xiao Xia hesitated for a bit before telling him about her inexplicable nightmares and weird visions after taking this case. She looked at his face, hoping to get a hint of information, but he remained expressionless. His eyes were deep pools that promised to suck in anything thrown in without a trace.

“Have I encountered something foul?” She asked.

“Something foul?” Ruan Zhan smiled seemingly in disbelief. “As a lawyer, Miss Yue should be very calm and logical. You wouldn’t believe in such nonsense, right? From what I see, you’re probably under too much pressure and ended up being influenced subconsciously by some suggestions. Unlike Wan Li, I’m not a psychiatrist but I feel it’s better not to overthink things. Remove yourself from this matter and take it easy for a while. You’ll probably get better.”

“It would be great if I could. Unfortunately, I’m not able to wash my hands of it at the moment.”

“Then I’m afraid I am powerless.” Ruan Zhan said regretfully. “You are Wan Li’s friend which makes you my friend as well. I really wish I could help, but unfortunately I cannot.”

“You aren’t willing to help me!” Xiao Xia blurted out.

“No, no, I’m very willing. I only wish I could! I don’t know what Wan Li told you. He probably exaggerated things too much. I’ve just read a few things on geomancy, the Book of Changes and other such books. It’s just a hobby. I don’t have any special abilities at all. Don’t listen to his nonsense.”

“You really won’t help?”

“I’m very sorry.”

“Please, help me!” Xiao Xia begged. Actually, based on her irritable nature, she should have long since left. Especially since the more they talked, the more she felt Wan Li was right. He was definitely able to help, but just unwilling to do so. She shouldn’t speak another word to such a heartless person. However, the circumstances forced her to lower herself.


Seeing him continue to put on an innocent appearance, Xiao Xia knew there was nothing she could say.

“Fine. Pretend I never came. Goodbye.” She left fuming, purposefully not paying him for the soda. She should have known to drink a bottle of his most expensive alcohol to make up for her emotional loss with material gain. She really didn’t feel resigned to leave without letting such a person bleed a little.

Ruan Zhan sent Xiao Xia off with his gaze without feeling any guilt. This lady had encountered something foul, and whether she could get through it depended on her own fate. What did it have to do with him? His foremost principle was to mind his own business and live a good and quiet life.

As for Wan Li, that backstabbing bastard, he didn’t need to mind him. He was certain an explanation would be forthcoming.

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