Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 1 Book of Thunder – Chapter 41 Friends
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 41 Friends
As if by accident, Liang Kaifeng glanced in my direction. “I heard it directly from one of Gu Yu’s dorm mates. I heard that even though Gu Yu’s just a new student, but from the start of school til now, he’s always been alone, often not returning to the dorm at night. I bet he’s out doing unspeakable things at night,” he said gleefully.
I shook my head, it was so childish. I looked at the half-eaten plate of dumplings in front of me and suddenly didn’t feel like eating anymore. I stood up, ready to leave, not expecting Shi Yitong to have just returned from buying a drink. He looked at me, puzzled.
“Hey, didn’t you just sit down? Why are you leaving already?”
I shook my head. “Don’t worry, I just want to finish my food somewhere else.”
I didn’t expect Liang Kaifeng, seeing me stand up to leave, to suddenly raise his voice.
“Maybe Gu Yu’s actually the one responsible for raping and murdering those young girls!”
Because he was too close and his voice too loud, Shi Yitong immediately heard Liang Kaifeng’s words. He didn’t even think twice before he started arguing back.
“Who the fuck are you to diss someone so casually without proof?”
“Ohohoho, look who it is. Are you here to protect Gu Yu’s virtue?” Shi Yitong’s words seem to have pricked Liang Kaifeng’s interest. His chin rose arrogantly, enough that it made my hand itch to punch him in the face. “How do you know Gu Yu’s not a murderer?”
“I’m his best friend, how could I not know!” Shi Yitong snapped angrily.
“Hey guys, are you watching?” Liang Kaifeng turned around to address the boys around him. “This so-called ‘friend’ of Gu Yu’s must’ve been bought with a lot of money. Maybe he’s an accomplice to the murderer!”
“You!” Shi Yitong’s face was red with anger. I hurriedly stepped in before he could do anything excessive.
“Stop it, don’t bother stooping to their level.”
Shi Yitong was still fairly riled up. “But Gu Yu! He’s accusing you of being a murderer, how can you just take that lying down?”
I half dragged Shi Yitong forcibly from the cafeteria. “Ignore them. Let’s go!” Even as we got to the doors, we could still hear Liang Kaifeng’s laughter.
“Hey, what are you doing!”
As soon as we were outside the cafeteria, Shi Yitong slapped my hand away, his expression still furious.
“Why did you drag me out?! So what if I teach that guy a lesson? He was definitely asking for it!”
“And then what? You get suspended from school with a black mark on your record!” I rolled my eyes. “Don’t worry about it. It’s not worth it over something like that.”
“But he was accusing you of being a murderer!”
Shi Yitong’s words made my chest ache. I breathed in deeply, pretending to be at ease, offering a fake smile. “It’s not completely false. I did have a hand in Wang Zhong’s death after all.”
“Man, Gu Yu!” Shi Yitong stamped his foot in place. He wasn’t a very emotive person, and he could only watch me while worried and angry.
I only smiled a little, waving my hand. “I’m fine. Let’s go back.”
— It had been one week and three days since Wang Zhong’s death and my narrow, bloody, escape.
In this past week or so, I hadn’t bothered to return to the old residence behind the school. I deleted Wen Jiubo’s number from my phone and removed him from my friend list in game. But, in my heart, I knew that even if I hadn’t taken such measures, Wen Jiubo wasn’t likely to contact me first. In the end, I still didn’t know what I was so afraid of.
I couldn’t sleep through the night and even if I did fall asleep, I would wake suddenly from nightmares in the middle of the night. My dreams were filled with the image of Wang Zhong turning into a demon and the cold, expressionless face of Wen Jiubo as he dealt the killing blow.
If only I hadn’t agreed to take this case on at the start… No, if only I hadn’t gone to the back mountain at the start, never found Wen Jiubo, then none of this would’ve happened.
“Gu Yu, you haven’t been to see that Wen guy recently again, have you?” Shi Yitong asked.
I shook my head silently.
“That’s good then. See, I told you ages ago, that man has a dangerous air about him. You should stay away from him.” Shi Yitong patted my shoulder. “Even though… my grandma seems to trust him a lot, but I’ve still always felt he was very strange. As long as you stay away from him, then nothing should happen in the future. Relax.”
I glanced at Shi Yitong and couldn’t help but blurt out, “… He saved my life.”
“He saved you? Why did you never mention this to me before?”
“I probably forgot,” I muttered vaguely. “He blocked a blow from Wang Zhong’s knife. If he hadn’t jumped in front of me, then I probably would’ve died there.”
“Eh? That serious?” Shi Yitong asked, disbelievingly. “But you said, he killed without remorse…”
I nodded, a mess of emotions twisting within me. “I don’t know why he would save me either. Logically, I’m not that close to him. If I were in his shoes, I don’t know if I could’ve jumped in just like that…”
Shi Yitong seemed troubled now as well. “My grandpa said you need to repay any kindness given tenfold. He saved your life and then you ran away just like that, without a word of thanks. That’s not too polite, right?”
Hearing Shi Yitong say this, I felt even more troubled than before. I understood what he was saying, even if it was just my dorm mate treating me to a meal, I would make sure to pay for the both of us next time. And this was about Wen Jiubo saving my life, except right now, I couldn’t even handle seeing Wen Jiubo’s face. I was certain that the sight of him would trigger many unpleasant memories for me.
Regardless, I should still probably force myself to find time to go visit and say ‘thank you’ in person. I could leave as soon as I was done, I decided silently.
“Gu Yu! Shi Yitong!”
Not far off, someone called our names. Shi Yitong looked over and started smiling.
“Hey, Su Xiaoyun is coming. Su goddess!” Shi Yitong waved at Su Xiaoyun, jogging over to meet her. I shook my head helplessly but also followed.
“The two of you boys are so slow! I’ve already been to the supermarket and back.” Su Xiaoyun handed me and Shi Yitong an ice cream each. “Take it as a reward from me.”
“Of course, thank you milady.” Shi Yitong held the ice cream up with both hands, making a formal bow with a serious expression. I couldn’t help my laughter.
“Alright, alright, if you keep acting like that, your ice cream is going to melt,” I said teasingly. Su Xiaoyun also broke into a sunny smile.
When my mood was at its lowest these past few days, Shi Yitong and Su Xiaoyun were both very accommodating. They bought me food and helped me with class notes. During this time, the police had also called me several times, and every single time, they both accompanied me there, as if fearing I would run across Wen Jiubo.
In the end, I never saw Wen Jiubo again. He was like a soft mist, coming and going without a trace.