‘Those missing pieces of memory have something to do with these ghosts? You mean I really do have a connection with this haunted mansion?! Fuck! This setting is giving me(bbb) a headache… Can’t it be simpler? Something like, oh I dunno, having my body tossed out into the wilderness after a little murder or something? Come on, why can’t you gimme something easier? Why make me go through all these complicated storylines involving clan grudges and shit…’
“Can I see your arm?” The woman suddenly raised a request. Shi Sheng pondered for a moment before rolling up her sleeve to let the woman take a look. ‘This ghost must be an important NPC to find those memories; best not to upset her. After all, when NPCs turn wilful, they can raise the heavens and lower the earth!’
There was a very small red mark where Shi Sheng’s arm met her shoulder. It looked like the kind of mark that would be left behind from a childhood injury.
The woman’s name was Ning Xian, while the boy’s was Ning Yan.
They brought Shi Sheng and Feng Jin down to the basement. It was very clean, but there was a strange stench hanging in the air that made Shi Sheng frown and draw closer to Feng Jin.
Noticing her reaction, Ning Xian smiled a bit awkwardly. “Xiaoyan’s very cheeky; he brings back all sorts of oddities.”
“You two are all alone down here?” Shi Sheng calmly surveyed the basement. Everything was old, but by no means plain. The intricately designed bookshelves and impressive writing desk proved that this place had been carefully furnished before it was abandoned.
“En, it’s just me and Xiaoyan. You guys can sit anywhere…” Ning Xian glanced at Feng Jin rather timidly.
“No need. Can you tell me about my past?”
Ning Xian nodded. “Of course. Xiaoyan, go out to play for a bit. Big Sis has something to discuss with Second Sis.”
“Then, can I play with Second Sis when I come back?”
Ning Xian looked at Shi Sheng. “If Xiaoyan is good, I’m sure your Second Sis will play with you.”
“Xiaoyan will definitely be good!” Xiaoyan wholeheartedly promised as he slapped his chest and smiled at Shi Sheng. “Second Sis, I’ll play with you later.”
Shi Sheng showed a smile, but it raised nary a ripple in her eyes.
“Your name is Ning Ying. You are the second daughter of the Ning Clan…”
The Ning Clan was a mercantile family. Although it was the norm back then to have at least a couple of wives and concubines, the head of the Ning Clan, Father Ning, only had one wife.
Sadly, Mother Ning’s body wasn’t in the best condition and had to carry great burdens to bear children. After giving birth to two girls in succession, she blamed herself greatly for being unable to continue the Ning family line.
But Father Ning didn’t care about such things; he loved those two little girls with all his heart. The more he adored his daughters, the heavier the guilt Mother Ning felt. Her body’s condition worsened by the day to the point where it seemed like she wouldn’t make it.
One day, Father Ning consulted someone of unknown origins about Mother Ning. That person told him that Mother Ning’s condition was due to her heart’s obsession.
For the sake of releasing her from that obsession, Father Ning learned a method to contract a ghost king from that person. He would have to promise the ghost king Ning Ying’s hand in marriage after she had come of age.
In exchange, the ghost king would have to make it so that Mother Ning became pregnant with a son. As expected, she became pregnant not long after.
Eight months later, she gave birth to a lovely baby boy, Ning Yan.
Perhaps it was because they felt guilty towards Ning Ying, for the Ning couple doted on her far more than their other two children.
As the days passed, Ning Yan slowly grew older and Ning Ying’s coming of age ceremony also drew closer.
Although Ning Ying had heard her parents’ discussions before and knew they were planning on marrying her off to a ghost, she merely felt it was ridiculous, for how could ghosts possibly exist?
She didn’t place much importance on it until the day when wedding decorations started to be put up in the mansion, and the number of servants was suddenly reduced drastically, leaving only the most trustworthy servants who had served the Ning Clan for a long time.
Only then did Ning Ying begin to feel fear. Father Ning kept her under house arrest. She was only allowed to walk around the Ning Mansion, and was to be accompanied by two female servants who kept watch over her at all times.
Ning Ying was very scared now. She didn’t want to get married to a ghost, nor did she want to die, so she planned on running. But Father Ning had been prepared.
Ning Ying’s attempt to escape failed and she was locked up instead. She wasn’t allowed to take a step out of her room until the day of the marriage.
She’d tried everything from shouting and crying to threatening to go on a hunger strike. But her struggles only resulted in being tied up and forced to eat.
On the day of her coming of age ceremony, she was forced to put on a wedding gown and wait till night fell. But it was during this hour of despair that Ning Xian appeared.
As Ning Xian was Ning Ying’s older sister, she was naturally allowed to enter the room. She also dismissed all the others with the excuse that she wanted to have a private word with Ning Ying.
Ning Xian helped Ning Ying loosen her bindings and swapped their clothes. Ning Xian planned on getting married to the ghost king in her sister’s stead. Ning Ying was extremely scared at this point and only had thoughts of escaping. Hence, when Ning Xian raised this suggestion, though she had hesitated, Ning Ying still agreed.
Both sisters had at least a 70% resemblance to each other, and their figures were also roughly the same. So when Ning Ying covered her face with a handkerchief and ran out sobbing, no one realised it was her.
Ning Xian successfully got married off that night. But when the ghost king discovered the person he married wasn’t Ning Ying, he massacred the entire Ning Clan in a single night, causing rivers of blood to flow. Not a single person escaped.
“Ning Ying, I really regret it. If we hadn’t swapped places back then, our parents wouldn’t have died,” Ning Xian choked out these words through her sobs.
“Oh?” Shi Sheng’s expression was exceedingly cold.
Ning Xian’s expression was slightly startled, probably thrown off balance by Shi Sheng’s lack of response.
Based on her expectations, even though Ning Ying had lost her memories, she should have revealed some sort of emotion upon hearing the tragic story of her past, right?
But Shi Sheng hadn’t, and merely stared at her calmly. As if the entire story of her devastating past that she had told was really just a story—a story that had nothing to do with her.
At that moment, Shi Sheng suddenly bared her teeth in a strange smile, drew her sword, and slashed at Ning Xian.
Shock and alarm surfaced in Ning Xian’s eyes. She leapt to the side and questioned angrily, “Ning Ying, what are you doing?!”
“Killing you, duh. What else?” Shi Sheng looked at Ning Xian like she was an idiot.
“Why?” Ning Xian’s expression turned pained. “Why do you want to kill me?”
“Why? Does you wearing all red count as a reason?” Shi Sheng looked at Ning Xian with a smile that wasn’t quite a smile.
Ning Xian’s felt her heart plummet as panic flashed on her face. But before she could suppress that panic, Shi Sheng’s sword was already slashing down on her.
“Big Sis!” Ning Yan suddenly appeared and blocked Ning Xian with his body, shouting in a panicked voice, “Don’t hurt Big Sis!”
“Move.” Shi Sheng stared coldly at Ning Yan.
“I won’t! Second Sis, what did Big Sis do to make you want to kill her?!”
“Ning Ying…” Ning Xian’s body was still trembling. Her already pale face was turning even paler. “You didn’t lose your memories, did you?”
“Now why would you say that?” The slight hook of Shi Sheng’s lips seemed to be mocking Ning Xian. “Was that whole story you told just a lie?”
Ning Xian couldn’t tell if the person in front of her had truly lost her memories or not, so she just fell silent for a long while.
“Second Sis, come back to us, okay? The past isn’t important; we’re family, so why does it have to come to this?” Ning Yan’s face scrunched up in distress.
“Since you’re so sure that your Big Sis cares about you so much, tell me why she hasn’t let you enter the cycle of reincarnation?”
Ning Yan was just a normal ghost, so he was still capable of being reincarnated.
Shi Sheng’s question caused Ning Yan to be stunned for a moment before he loudly defended, “I was the one who wanted to be with Big Sis!”
Please vote! Also, I want lotus paste mooncakes, steamed crabs, flower lanterns, dual-yolk mooncakes, jade rabbits, and Wu Gang! Wu Gang!! Wu Gang!!! Had to say the most important one thrice.