Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 2 Book of Xun – Chapter 37 The Lecturer Wen (1)
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 37 The Lecturer Wen (1)
“Alright, alright, stop talking about your metaphysical theories. It makes my head hurt,” I interrupted Wen Jiubo, “I don’t care how death is defined. What’s your plan?”
“My plan? My plan is to solve the problem,” Wen Jiubo smiled slightly and said, “It’s my client, so I should take responsibility. That’s why I’m here today. I’m the new lecturer at this university.”
“Lec…Lecturer?” I almost choked on my saliva. “You, a lecturer?” I repeated, almost screaming.
However, Wen Jiubo didn’t answer me. Instead, he walked away, turning around only to give me a meaningful smile.
Before I could process what had happened, the dean of our department strode into the lecture hall and announced that a new teacher would be taking over for the Ancient Chinese Language class since the current one was pregnant and on maternity leave.
Then, Wen Jiubo walked into the classroom from the back door, smiling slightly.
The moment he stepped into the classroom, the silence was broken by a wave of whispers across lecture hall. I heard some girls burbling:
“He’s so handsome…”
“Yes, he is, and his long hair makes him look amazing.”
“Is he really a teacher? Are you sure he’s not an actor?”
I sighed secretly. Wen Jiubo was not as good looking as they said. To me, he was pretentious.
“Be quiet.” Wen Jiubo stepped onto the podium with a faint smile. He tapped on the wood to draw our attention, then picked up a piece of chalk and wrote his name on the chalkboard, saying, “My name is Wen Jiubo. Jiu is the character from ‘He Ming Jiu Gao’ (TL Note: the phrase depicts the traditional auspicious image of China – a crane singing in the middle of a lake); bo is the character from ‘Zhen Song Jing Bo’ (TL Note: the phrase means tall and straight pine trees, a symbol of the highest virtues of a man in China). I’m the substitute lecturer for Mrs. Li, and I’ll be teaching the course on Ancient Chinese Language during this time.”
I wasn’t paying much attention to what Wen Jiubo was saying right now. Instead, I stared at the vacant seat in front of me.
The seat in the middle of the third row was the seat Su Xiaoyun liked to sit in. But now, it was vacant.
Actually, the classroom was half empty, less than a half of the students had come to the class.
Although it was possible that some may merely be playing hookey, some of them had gone missing, and the others were too afraid to come.
Many students in the classroom seemed nervous.
“Now, let’s begin our lecture today. Turn to page 117 and please tell me where we should start.” Wen Jiubo gently tapped on the desk with one hand while holding the textbook with the other.
However, I still wasn’t listening. My mind drifted off to Liang Kaifeng’s bizarre death and people’s mysterious disappearance.
We should treat Liang Kaifeng’s death as a regular murder case, we need to find out the exact time of his disappearance, and then eliminate the suspects one by one to discover the murderer…
No, that’s wrong. A gloomy thought forced its way into my mind. What should we do if we figure out the suspect? It doesn’t matter whether Liang Kaifeng committed suicide or was murdered. The point was how had he become like that? Is there any chance to save him? Where were Su Xiaoyun and other missing people now? Has the university begun to investigate? If they have, what have they found?
My name was suddenly called. I was startled and stood up instantly. Then I saw Wen Jiubo was looking at me angrily.
There was a burst of laughter in the classroom. I looked away, embarrassed.
However, Wen Jiubo wasn’t actually angry. He still spoke with a soft tone, “Gu Yu, could you tell me which chapter Mrs. Li taught you in the previous lecture?”
“Uh, it’s…” I quickly flipped the textbook and found the notes I wrote before. “It was chapter 13.”
“Good. Please sit down.” Wen Jiubo nodded. I took a deep breath and slumped down in my seat, relieved.
Later, I opened my notebook, trying to recall what was taught in the last lecture; Wen Jiubo made his pass by me. His action seemed unintentional, but I suddenly felt a warmth on my hand.
Wen Jiubo pressed his palm on me for a second before quickly moving it away. He spoke quietly, so only the two of us could hear, “Don’t worry, there is always a solution.”
I didn’t know why, but as soon as I heard his words, I immediately felt relieved. I looked at him with appreciation, but he had already turned around and walked away.
“Could anyone tell me, what should we learn from this course in Ancient Chinese Language?” he asked, as Wen Jiubo returned to the front, and looked over at us.
We glanced at each other, confused. Although his question was odd, some students still raised their hands.
“Ancient Chinese Language, as opposed to the modern Chinese language, is the language used by the ancient Han ethnic group. Broadly speaking, the written language of ancient Chinese has two systems: one system includes the ancient Chinese written system formed on the base of the spoken language used by people prior to the Qin dynasty and the books written similarly by their descendants. The other one is the ancient Baihua system formed on the base of the Northern dialect after the six dynasties period (TL Note: 220-589 A.C.E.).”
Wen Jiubo smiled and gestured for him to sit, “You remember the academic knowledge very well. Please sit down.”
The student returned to his chair, confused.
“However, that is not my question.” Wen Jiubo smiled, crossing his arms. Then he said slowly, “It’s a weapon.”
“A weapon?” All the students were confused. They couldn’t understand what this new lecturer was talking about.
“The ancient language is a powerful weapon formed with our ancestors’ wisdom. If we learn it well and apply it appropriately, it will be a mighty and lethal tool,” instructed Wen Jiubo.
Damn… I knew it was a terrible idea to let Wen Jiubo be a teacher. I put my hand to my forehead and sighed helplessly. Listen to him, what is he talking about?
Of course, Wen Jiubo, standing in the front, could not know my thoughts. He continued, “Do you know, among the hundreds of thousands of species in nature, humans are the only species that can use ‘language.’ From this perspective, don’t you think that language is fascinating? Additionally, humans use language to communicate, to spread their thoughts and record history, the power that language possesses is beyond your imagination.”
“But, Mr.Wen, even if language is powerful, isn’t it exaggerated when you said language itself is a weapon?” At this moment, someone in the classroom interrupted him.
“Can I know which student is talking?” Wen Jiubo scanned the students in the room.
“Sorry, it’s me.” Qi Bojian hesitatingly raised his hand.
Wen Jiubo found his name on the attendance register. “Qi Bojian, right?”
“Ah, yes!” Qi Bojian stood up hurriedly.