Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 2 Book of Xun – Chapter 56 A Talk About Demons and Spirits
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 56 A Talk About Demons and Spirits
Wen Jiubo glanced at me before talking again, “But, if there were no demons or spirits in this world, humans would not exist either.”
“I know, I know,” I interrupted him impatiently. Feeling upset and annoyed, I murmured, “Evil is opposed to justice, Yin and Yang are opposing but complementary elements, and so on. I’m aware of these theories.”
“No, you’re wrong.” Wen Jiubo put a finger on his chin. “In fact, before Buddhism entered China, the ancient Chinese people didn’t think that ghosts were born to harm humans.”
“Really?” I muttered.
“The stories about demons and spirits are an important part of Chinese history. In five thousand years of Chinese culture, many of them are related to demons and ghosts. Chinese idioms are good examples.” Wen Jiubo blinked his eyes. “For instance, ‘Ya Zi Bi Bao’ (TL note: it means seeking revenge for the smallest grievance); ‘Wei Hu Zuo Chang’ (TL note: it means helping a villain do evil).”
I frowned. “Why are these idioms related to demons and spirits?”
“You don’t know? ‘Ya Zi’ and ‘Chang’ are the names of ancient demons.” Wen Jiubo smiled. ” According to Chinese tales, Ya Zi is the second son of a dragon. Because he was violent, bad-tempered and bears a grudge easily, people use him to describe a man who shares the same personality. You may be more familiar with the story of ‘Chang’. The ancient Chinese thought that people who were eaten by a tiger turned into the ghost ‘Chang’ and led more people to be devoured by tigers.” ”
Absorbed in his story, I nodded.
“In ancient China, there were three types of gods – the divine force in Heaven, the celestial bureaucracy in Hell and human spirits. The former two were born gods, the latter were humans who became immortals through cultivation. No one side was superior to the other, they were supreme existences representing perfection and wisdom,” said Wen Jiubo. “Because the ancient Chinese paid great respect to their ancestors, there were no such ideas like ghosts being afraid of sunlight. In ancient times, the way to distinguish evil from good was to measure behaviors and thoughts; not all demons were evil, and not all gods were good. Pre-Qin era philosophers held different opinions towards death, but also toward ghosts. Mohism during the Spring and Autumn period and during the Warring States period (TL note: an ancient Chinese philosophy, seen as a major rival to Confucianism.) worshipped gods and spirits, emphasizing their roles in governing and saving people. Well, despite various theories in the long river of history, the ancestors believed that there was no pure good or pure evil.”
“So what you’re saying is that the concept that all demons and spirits are evil emerged later in history,” I asked.
“Yes, you can say that.” Wen Jiubo nodded.
“Why did it turn out like this?” I asked. “Why do people now see demons and spirits as purely evil and horrific beings?”
Wen Jiubo stayed silent for a while before he sipped some tea and continued, “Who knows. But I think this is due to their fear.”
“Human fear grows as time goes by,” Wen Jiubo enunciated. “The world is becoming complex, and the pace of human life is getting faster, during this process, people begin to forget the essence of nature. Fear began to grow inside their hearts. And those creatures lost patience towards humans as time went by, those who used to be friendly became violent, and those who were benign became evil.”
“Did demons and spirits change too?” I questioned.
“Of course.” Wen Jiubo smiled. “All demons and spirits were born from human souls. We were born at nightfall and grew in the dark; we are weak, fragile creatures. Please don’t bully us, human.”
I was dumbfounded. What surprised me most weren’t his words but his perspective. This was the first time he chose to talk to me as a demon. It never happened before.
Before that, no matter how much I doubted his identity, Wen Jiubo always claimed to be an exorcist. When he took a case, he dealt with it from the perspective of a human. Though I sometimes thought he was cold-hearted, I couldn’t deny that he was rational and objective.
However…what did he mean by saying that? Demons and spirits were weak and fragile creatures? How could it be possible? If it weren’t for him, I would be torn into pieces by those horrible demons during Devil’s Night.
While I was lost in thought, I suddenly felt some warmth on my cheek.
I didn’t know when Wen Jiubo put his hand on my face.
I was startled and subconsciously stepped back. I suddenly thought of Wen Jiubo’s gentle, warm kiss during Devil’s Night. I swallowed a bit and felt my heart beating fast. Who knows what this guy plan to do!
But, unexpectedly, Wen Jiubo didn’t proceed further. His hand touched my face softly before pulling back.
“What are you thinking about?” Unlike the tone he used when we talked with Su Xiaoyun, Wen Jiubo’s tone suddenly became gentle.
Although I wanted to ask him ‘what kind of demon are you?’, I forced myself not to…What if he became angry again? I didn’t want to spoil his mood, so I shook my head.
“Are you… scared?” Wen Jiubo looked at me with interest while holding his chin.
“Uh?” I groaned. “What are you talking about!”
“I think you’re scared.” Wen Jiubo grinned.
“I’m not scared!” I rolled my eyes at him, retorting, “I’m not that guy who knew nothing at the beginning of the semester. How could I still feel scared after all those horrible things we’ve been through? Don’t underestimate me!”
“Really?” Wen Jiubo said softly. “But I think you should.”
I looked at him and frowned, expressing my doubt in silence.
“This time is different. This parasite spirit killed a man two years ago. More spirits are eyeing your friends, they’re being targeted by a curse and cannot escape” Wen Jiubai said leisurely.”
“But you do have a solution, don’t you?” I blurted out.
As soon as my question left my lips, Wen Jiubo rapped my head with no small amount of force, causing me to yelp in pain and hurriedly cover my head.
“You, do you really think I’m a fairy or a god? Why do you think I always have a solution?”