Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 2 Book of Xun – Chapter 6 Discussion of Barriers
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 6 Discussion of Barriers
“Wait, don’t rush. Let’s think about this calmly for a moment.” Seeing that the two of them were starting to panic, I hurriedly spoke out loud. “Maybe Liang Kaifeng wasn’t able to find a way back because of this exact situation. Our main goal now is to find Liang Kaifeng.”
“That’s easy for you to say, but how can it be that simple?” Shi Yitong mumbled. “If we’re unlucky, we might all be stuck here as well.”
Su Xiaoyun shivered, raising her head to look at the sky. “Even the sky is starting to get dark and we haven’t done any preparations at all. If we can’t get out… and if there really are wolves at night we’ll have problems.”
In a moment, our three-person team immediately sunk into a depressed mood.
It was then that a sharp voice said,
“Huh, I knew it! You humans are really so unreliable, so I guess it’s up to me to take care of this!”
This voice wasn’t from anywhere else, but from the backpack I was carrying behind me!
I jumped in fright and hurriedly pulled open my backpack’s zipper. A furry white head stuck itself out from within.
“You’re lost, right? As expected of humans, you can get lost even in a palm-sized forest. No wonder Wen Jiubo insisted that I follow along!”
“Bai!” I said in startlement. “When did you follow us over?”
“Ferret! Isn’t this Gu Yu’s pet ferret?” Su Xiaoyun clasped her hands over her mouth in astonishment. “And it can even talk?”
“You inexperienced human female, I’m no ordinary ferret.” Bai wore a look of someone not bothering to argue with humans, waving his paw and jumping up onto my shoulder. “Of course I followed you over from the very start. When you were having dinner, I even stole a few skewers of barbecued meat. How about it? My stealth skills are pretty good, right?”
“So you were the thief who stole Liang Kaifeng’s meat skewers!” Shi Yitong angrily pointed at Bai saying, “Dammit, do you know how much trouble you’ve caused for us, you weasel!”
“What? How many times do I have to say it, I’m no weasel!” Bai bared his teeth at Shi Yitong.
“Alright, alright.” I cut between the man and ferret, my head aching. “The situation is like this already and you two still have the strength to argue? Our main priority right now is to figure out how to find Liang Kaifeng and how to get out of this forest, right?”
I used my hand to pick up Bai by the scruff of his neck. “Instead of being a bother here, why don’t you join us to help think of a solution to our current situation.”
“Fine, I know, I know.” Bai struggled under my grasp. “Don’t you guys just want to find that arrogant and angry kid? Let me know, I’ve already memorized his scent. He’s definitely within this forest, that’s right.”
Hearing this, I put Bai down. This nimble ferret immediately scampered before us. “Let’s go, I’ll lead you.”
The ferret ran ahead of us as the three of us followed. As expected, when we followed Bai, who was using scent to track and lead us, we didn’t see the same scenery again. However, the forest became thicker and with the addition of nightfall, the line of sight of our surroundings became less and less. There were random gusts of ill winds that blew past, making the forest seem even scarier.
“Before we came in, it didn’t seem like it was this big.” Su Xiaoyun muttered. “Mt. Yanmian in its entirety isn’t very big. Logically speaking, the way we’re going, we should’ve been down the mountain ages ago.”
“It’s not the same. This forest we’re walking through now should’ve been sealed by a barrier.” Bai said as he walked.
“Barrier?” Su Xiaoyun asked, surprised.
“That sort of… applied magic, using magic circles to seal something?” Shi Yitong’s mouth couldn’t even shut.
“I think you’ve read too much manga.” Bai said, rolling his eyes and mercilessly dismissing Shi Yitong’s theory. “There are many different types of barriers. The stuff you learned from your manga is really just too unrealistic.”
“Then what is it really?” I asked curiously.
“The so-called barrier, it originally means to protect something internally, to stop anything from the outside from entering. Simply put, the most common barriers are the places where you humans live.”
“Live… you mean houses?” Shi Yitong scratched his head, his expression very confused.“That’s right, your houses.” Bai strode forwards with small steps, occasionally turning his head. “Houses are a type of barrier, which apart from letting the owner live in peace, also serves another very important purpose, which is to protect the owner, not letting anything outside enter. In the natural world, out of all the many tens of thousands of living things, only humans can make their ‘living spaces’ into perfected barriers. In the same vein, a door, a window, armor, shields, these are all things that you humans use to protect your own barriers. However, since there are barriers that can be seen by the naked eye, then there naturally would be barriers that cannot be seen by the naked eye.”
“Is that the same as when magicians use their spells to create a barrier?” Su Xiaoyun asked, testing.
“Not entirely,” Bai judged. “Barriers that can’t be perceived by the naked eye are also split into two types. In Buddhism, they use ‘natural realms’ and ‘Dharma realms’ to differentiate. That is, they are split by naturally created barriers and manually created barriers.”
“Are there naturally created barriers?” I asked.
“Of course.” Bai explained, “Dharma barriers are easily explained. It is a barrier created by someone with cultivation using magic. But natural barriers are also commonly seen. Hm, I’ll give you an example. Do you know someone close to you who suffers from clinical depression?”
Both Shi Yitong and I shook our heads, but Su Xiaoyun nodded.
“When I was in senior high, there was a female student in my class who was depressed. She was depressed every day and often did not come to school. Before she started suffering from depression she was clearly a very outgoing girl, but afterward, for some reason, she didn’t listen to anyone and didn’t do anything. She always looked disinterested, no matter who it was towards.”
“Right, that is because of the barrier,” Bai said decisively.
“What does depression have to do with barriers?” Su Xiaoyun asked, unable to understand.
“People who suffer from depression will automatically seal their hearts off. When the illness is serious, they don’t care about anyone and no comforting words will be able to be heard. Not only this, they will lose all interest towards life and that is because people who suffer from this illness will automatically reject the reality of living.” Bai said. “If a person is unwilling to connect with anything and is unwilling to listen to anything, then no one can get close to their inner heart. Then, in that case, don’t you think this is very similar to a barrier?”
The three of us looked at each other, all of us slightly surprised.
“This is only the smallest of the natural barriers, and it can only protect the patient’s own self.” Bai continued what he was saying previously. “However, there are times when the barriers are very powerful. For example, old houses that are always haunted, museums with a long history, like those sorts of places. Even though your naked eye cannot perceive that level of barrier, but as soon as you walk into it, you would be able to feel that it is different from the outside. That will clearly identify your problem.”