Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 2 Book of Xun – Chapter 2 Setting Out
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 2 Setting Out
I nodded subconsciously, waiting with baited breath like everyone else, for what our homeroom teacher was about to say.
“As to where we’re going, it’s Mt. Yanmian.” Right after our homeroom teacher announced this, there was a rumble of discontent and unhappy complaints.
“Teacher! Can’t we go somewhere else?”
“Anywhere else is fine, can we just not go to Mt. Yanmian?!”
“Quiet!” Our homeroom was forced to rap on the podium twice to quiet down the room. “Don’t complain. The school is already being kind enough to let you out to play, so don’t complain about this and that. Isn’t it just the fact that Mt. Yanmian is a little small and a little too close? I heard that it’s still pretty good. You should be grateful! Okay, that’s that! Let’s start class.”
My curiosity was piqued and I turned to Su Xiaoyun who was next to me, lowering my voice, “What’s wrong with Mt. Yanmian? Why is everyone objecting so much?”
“You don’t know?” Su Xiaoyun looked at me in surprise.
I shook my head. “I’m not from around here, how would I know about it?”
“Mt. Yanmian is very close to here and is basically a small hill. There’s no fun in climbing it and it’s even less interesting to look at. There’s lots of dead grass and withered branches on top of the mountain; there’s not even one small stream. It’s super boring.” Su Xiaoyun shook her head and then suddenly turned mysterious. “Though all of those aren’t even the main point.”
“Then what’s the main point?”
“You really don’t know?”
I shook my head, puzzled.
“You’re definitely not a gossiper. This news was from two days ago and was a really hot topic online.” Su Xiaoyun said quietly, pulling out her phone from her bag to show me. “People died on Mt. Yanmian. I think it was an entire car full of corpses were left to rot in the wilderness, there was no one left alive.”
I took Su Xiaoyun’s phone and on the screen was a news website, the title of it was: Tragedy on Mt. Yanmian! A family of three on road trip enter the maw of the wolf! None return alive!
“What is this…” I mumbled. “Wolves?”
“It’s media speculation. The public seems to enjoy exaggerating everything.” Su Xiaoyun said, taking her phone back. “To be honest, that family of three actually just up and vanished from their car. They left only an empty car, their bodies are still yet to be found. Because it’s on a mountain top, being eaten by wild beasts is the most likely scenario.”
“But… like you said, that small of a hill, would there even be vicious wild beasts that eat people?” I was quite skeptical.
“Who knows? That mountain is such a wasteland that people rarely go there.” Su Xiaoyun shook her head. “But no matter what, it feels really terrifying. With the school letting us take a trip to that sort of place, they really don’t care much about their students’ safety!”
“Idiot, don’t you know that that news is fake?”
Suddenly, a lazy, haughty voice came from behind us. I turned and came face to face with none other than that overly arrogant, spoilt rich kid, Liang Kaifeng.
In my mind, I stuck my tongue out at him. I had almost forgotten that this class was held together with the foreign language class. That damned rich kid was basically haunting me, I didn’t even know when he had settled behind me.
“You — what evidence do you have to say that this news article is fake?!” Su Xiaoyun was clearly driven to anger because of Liang Kaifeng’s haughty tone.
“Are you dumb?” Liang Kaifeng snatched Su Xiaoyun’s phone over, zooming in on the picture on the news article as much as he could, pointing at it. “Look at this wolf in the accompanying photo. Anyone with eyes can see that it’s been photoshopped in. That fur doesn’t mesh with the background at all, okay? And they say stuff like ‘into the maw of the wolf’. No one even saw this family of three, did they? All the pictures only have this empty car. Besides, if wolves really did attack people in a car, then wouldn’t there be lots of bloodstains left inside? How could it possibly be so clean? What a joke.”
Su Xiaoyun’s face was red from her anger and she reached out to snatch back her phone. Even though Liang Kaifeng’s tone was very annoying, but what he said did make a bit of sense. I was just about to add something but the teacher knocked loudly on the lectern.
“The ones in the back row, stop talking! If you don’t want to listen, then don’t, but don’t disturb the other students!”
“Your teacher is quite scary!” Bai used his two front paws to hold the rice stick I had just bought him from the supermarket, gnawing on it non-stop. His words were muffled.
“You’re focusing on the wrong thing, I think.” I sighed, propping up my head with my arm, petting Bai’s furry head with a finger. “I’m a little worried now after what Su Xiaoyun said.”
“What? What’s there to worry about?” Bai used a bit of effort to swallow the snack in his mouth. “Since it’s a school organized trip, even if there are any safety issues, then the school will need to take responsibility. They wouldn’t dare to get up to anything. Anyway, leaving aside the others, who are you again? You’re the indomitable and omnipotent Gu Xiaoyu!”
I tapped his head. “You’re laying on the flattery too strong!”
“Hey, who’s flattering you. I’m just complimenting you a little and you’re taking it as flattery!”
I disregarded the now-indignant Bai, turning my head to ask Wen Jiubo, “What do you think?”
Wen Jiubo was currently sitting to the side on the floor, barefoot. There was a calligraphy brush and ink next to him and he was carefully drawing something. When he heard my question, he responded with an absent-minded, “Hm?”
“Hm what, did you even hear what I said?” I complained.
“Oh…” Wen Jiubo put his pen down, thinking. “The school trip, right?”
“That’s right.” I scooted closer to Wen Jiubo and sat down next to him. “We’re going to Mt. Yanmian. Even though that news might be fake, it still makes me feel a little uncomfortable.”
“Isn’t it good though?” Wen Jiubo’s voice was still lazy. “You’re sick of staying at the school right? It’s a good chance to wander outside, isn’t that a good thing?”
“So you weren’t listening to me at all.” I rolled my eyes, saying, “The news said that there are wolves at Mt. Yanmian, and I…”
“I was listening, there’s no need to explain so hurriedly.” Wen Jiubo smiled. “They said that there were people who were eaten by wolves. But you also said that was likely to be fake news. Even if it’s real, then you’ll still have the protection of the teachers and the school. It’s not the same as that solitary family of three. What do you have to worry about?”
I scratched my head, feeling like Wen Jiubo’s words were quite reasonable. I couldn’t help but feel as if I was overthinking it.
“But you’re right to be worried, so just take Bai with you.” Wen Jiubo said lightly.
Bai immediately objected. “What? Why do I need to accompany this weak little kid? I already have a hot date with a beautiful lady!”