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Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 4 Book of Kan - Chapter 8 Old Enemies
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 8 Old Enemies
Zhu Xuan nodded. “The old veterinarian said that almost three days after his son died, they began to experience strange things. One day, the old man heard an eerie noise coming from the yard in the evening, after he had finished dinner. According to his description, the noise he heard sounded as if someone was talking, but when he listened carefully, the sound changed. It went on and off, as if a group of people was whispering together. The old man was curious and went out to check. However, the moment he stepped out of the house, he was blown down by a strong cold wind, and the noise disappeared. Later on, the old man discovered that he got a patch of frostbite as large as a bowl on his abdomen. He pulled up his s.h.i.+rt and showed the injury to me. It was really frostbite.”
“How could this happen…” I murmured.
Zhu Xuan nodded and went on, “However, this was only the start. He told me that after that night, they were extremely scared, so they invited Buddhist monks and Taoist priests to their house, but n.o.body could understand what happened. After that, the old couple decided to bury their son as soon as possible, so they didn't wait until the seventh day after the death of their son. They hurriedly took his son’s body to the crematorium, thinking that in this way, they could get rid of the evil spirits. But unexpectedly, another strange thing happened again after their son was buried.”
“What is it?”
Zhu Xuan crossed his legs, leaned over to me and said mystifyingly, “The old man went through the same strange events as his son.”
My mouth was agape. “You’re saying…?”
Zhu Xuan nodded. “After they buried his son, the old couple didn’t encounter anything strange for a few days. The old man thought he could finally relax, and he decided to take a comfortable bath that night. But guess what? After the old man entered the bathroom, he found that the shower wouldn't work. He felt that something was odd and just when he wanted to go out to check, he found that the bathroom door was locked and he could not open it. At that moment, the old man realized that something was wrong. He began to shout for help. His wife heard him from another room and rushed over to save him before it was too late. After his wife smashed the bathroom door open with a fire extinguisher, she found him lying on the ground. His body was cold and his lips were purple and trembling.”
I frowned. “That’s terrible…”
“What happened afterward?” Wen Jiubo, who remained silent during our talk, suddenly asked. “This old veterinarian who was haunted by the evil ghosts, what did he decide to do?”
“Well.” Zhu Xuan suddenly grinned with his eyes narrowed. “The old man told me that they had no choice but to keep looking for a Taoist priest or a Buddhist monk. As soon as I heard him say so, I thought that I should help them, so I said——”
“You said that you know a very reliable and powerful exorcist, that’s why you came here to tell us this story,” Wen Jiubo interjected. He said helplessly, "You're not here to ask for my help, are you? You just accepted the request for me.”
Zhu Xuan said with a smile, “So? Aren’t you interested?”
This was the first time that I saw Wen Jiubo meet someone as good as him when it came to tricking people, and I looked at Zhu Xuan with admiration and respect. When I first met Zhu Xuan, I thought he was an ordinary teenage boy, but now he looked like a sly old dog.
Wen Jiubo shook his head. He stared at Zhu Xuan with a spurious smile. “Bai Ze, you… Fine, what's done is done. As you expected, I’m interested. But now isn't the time. You know about the Taoist priest Ling Xiao. My hands are tied until I thoroughly investigate this matter. Bai has already gone to help me make some contacts and seek for information. I can’t leave the old residence since there will be trouble if I miss anything important.”
Really? Had Wen Jiubo already prepared in advance or had he just begun to investigate the Taoist priest? I looked at Wen Jiubo in surprise, and he gave me a sly smile.
This old fox! How could he pretend to be indifferent about his death, but in fact, he had already begun to make preparations? If I knew this in advance, I would not have said so many heartfelt words to him! Didn’t he just trick me?
“I see,” Zhu Xuan thought it over and said. “It’s a good thing for you to investigate the Taoist priest Ling Xiao. How about this? Gu Yu and I will take a look into this first and go to the old veterinarian's house to ask about the situation and see if we can find anything. You can come and meet us later once you're done with your own matter or after you've made some progress.”
Wen Jiubo narrowed his eyes. “Really? Should I trust you?”
“No, but you should trust Gu Yu.” Zhu Xuan smiled.
Wen Jiubo narrowed his eyes and stared back at Zhu Xuan. One of them smiled while the other had a cold expression. The atmosphere was tense. Finally, Wen Jiubo gave in and nodded.
“Fine. This is the only way.”
Zhu Xuan let out a sigh of relief and stood up from his chair. “Then we have a deal. We can’t waste any time. Gu Yu and I will visit the veterinarian tomorrow morning.”
When I saw they had reached an agreement, I finally relaxed a little. Watching these two talking made me more nervous than listening to the national leaders negotiating important issues.
I stood up as I scratched my head in embarra.s.sment. “Then, I should go back to school as well… I ran out of the cla.s.sroom without informing them. If I don’t go back, my friends will be worried.”
Wen Jiubo nodded. But when I was about to turn around and leave, Wen Jiubo suddenly stopped me.
“Gu Yu, wait.”
I looked back doubtfully. Wen Jiubo took out something from his clothes and pa.s.sed it to me. I took it and found that it was a charm drawn in vermilion.
‘”What is this?” I looked up and asked.
“It’s a charm written with my blood. Take it with you, it will keep you safe,” Wen Jiubo said softly. “Keep it with you, don’t lose it.”
I instantly felt embarra.s.sed after hearing Wen Jiubo talking to me in such a tone. I hurriedly took the charm and put it in my pocket. “Alright, alright, I get it! You’re so annoying.”
“Do you really understand?”
“I get it!” I looked down and tried to escape. All of sudden, Wen Jiub grabbed my wrist and pulled me into his arms.
“You! Let me go! What are you doing?” Zhu Xuan was still here! I began to struggle.
However, Wen Jiubo did not let go of me and instead, he held me even tighter. “Answer me honestly, will you remember?”
What's wrong with this guy? I glared at him, gnas.h.i.+ng my teeth and answered, “Lord Wen, your servant will remember every word you said, okay?”
Wen Jiubo ignored my sarcasm and he nodded with satisfaction. “Good, that's much better.”
“You idiot, let me go now!”
I did not know if he did this intentionally, he also added, “Oh, by the way, if this Bai Ze guy tries to take advantage of you, you must tell me right away. I will kill him on the spot.”
“Don’t worry!” I finally broke free from him, fixed my collar and said in anger. “The only one who tries to take advantage of me is you, you dirty fox!”
I heard Zhu Xuan’s laughter from behind, he did not sound mad but was laughing cheerfully.
Soon, Zhu Xuan and I left Wen Jiubo’s old residence. Wen Jiubo didn’t walk us to the door, he just sat there, drinking tea leisurely.
“Old Fox.” When I walked out of the old residence, I secretly scolded him.
“I told you before,” Zhu Xuan heard my muttering and said with a smile. “You're too young and too naive to fight with this nine-tailed fox.”
Speaking of which, I never had a chance to talk to him in private since he visited the old residence, and now I had tons of questions to ask him.
“Zhu Xuan, did you know Wen Jiubo before?” I asked.
“Yeah, old friends.” Zhu Xuan laughed.
I was even more curious. “How did you meet each other?”
“It’s a very long story. If it can be reduced to two words, it will be ‘quarrelsome lovers,'” Zhu Xuan answered with a smile.
“What happened between you two?” I caught up with him to walk side by side.
“As you know, I’m Bai Ze, the divine beast in charge of all the creatures in this world, while the nine-tailed fox,” Zhu Xuan glanced at me before continuing, “was an evil monster who brought tragedy to this world. So there have been more than hundreds of fights between us, both big and small. Sometimes I would win, sometimes I would lose, but I was never able to control that nine-tailed fox. On the other hand, he wanted to kill me, but never succeeded.”
“I see.” I nodded after hearing his answer. I asked him further, “So, Wen Jiubo and you are quite familiar with each other, aren’t you?”
Zhu Xuan glanced at me before pinching my nose. “What? It seems that you’re trying to get answers from me.”
I pretended to not understand him and laughed, but I did not deny it.
“Well, I guess our relations.h.i.+p depends on how you define the word ‘familiar,'” Zhu Xuan thought carefully for a moment and replied. “After all, as far as I know, after that incident, he became a completely different person. No one expected that he would exorcize demons and spirits for humans. I don’t know what he was thinking.”
“That incident?” I keenly captured the keyword. “What incident?”
“You already know about that incident,” Zhu Xuan looked at me and said. “Your Mr. Wen was once the person responsible for making life miserable for a lot of people. People lived in fear all day long because of him. Even I couldn’t control him, let alone those humans. However, later on, there was a very powerful Taoist priest. He called himself Ling Xiao. Surprisingly, he cast a spell and sealed the evil fox.”
“So, the Taoist priest pulling the strings behind the scenes is a human?” I asked.
“Of course he is human.” Zhu Xuan apparently was amused by my question. “If he wasn't a human, how could he become a Taoist priest?”
“You’re saying that Wen Jiubo, the evil monster even you couldn't control, was sealed by a human Taoist priest…” I hesitated.
“I don’t know how he did that either.” Zhu Xuan shook his head. “After all, I was not there at that time, and I don’t know how he sealed the nine-tailed fox. Those were just rumors. The nine-tailed fox disappeared for a long time, and none of the monsters in the mountain knew where he was. Later, someone said that he was dead, and since then no one had paid attention to the nine-tailed fox. He was thus forgotten by the demons.”