Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 3 Book of Exchange – Chapter 14 Heartless
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 14 Heartless
After saying that, Wen Jiubo stood up and put some books on a shelf.
“However, compared to those weak monsters who mess around all the time, Gudiao is only active once every nine years to eat a whole village worth of people and then goes back to its nest to sleep. He’s considered quite kind.”
“Ki…kind?” I was stunned by Wen Jiubo’s choice of words. “Hold on, you think a monster that eats a whole village is kind?”
Wen Jiubo turned his head to look at me and frowned. “At least, it didn’t intend to create a disturbance or trouble people. Generally speaking, those monsters are much more annoying.”
Wen Jiubo, what kind of person are you? I should have known that this guy was heartless, and yet I still expected him to show some empathy.
“How many people are there in a village?” I tried very hard to control my anger.
“Em…” Wen Jiubo thought about for a second and replied, “A small village probably has around four or five hundred people, larger villages might have thousands of people.”
“So those thousands of lives mean nothing to you?” I couldn’t keep calm anymore.
“Gu Yu.” That familiar expression suggesting ‘I don’t know how to deal with you’ showed on his face again. “What is something meaningful to you?”
“I…” I was speechless before shouting, “At least I won’t treat thousands of lives as if they were disposable!”
“But a lot of people die every minute and every day in this world.” Wen Jiubo’s face was cold. “Car accidents, illness, murder, suicide, they’re the reason behind more deaths than this monster will incur, why do humans not care about these?”
“It’s not the same!” I argued. “Those are deaths by natural causes, how could you compare those two?!”
“I see. So you think that Gudiao eating humans isn’t a natural phenomenon?”
“Of course not!”
“So, a rabbit eating grass is a natural phenomenon, but a wolf eating a rabbit is not?” Wen Jiubo smiled.
“It’s…” I didn’t know what to say, “Humans and rabbits aren’t the same!”
“Gu Yu, this is the arrogance of humankind.” The light in Wen Jiubo’s eyes suddenly dimmed and he whispered, “For thousands of years, humans stood at the top of the food chain. They spread all over the world, reproducing like mice and controlling the other species. For the other species, if they thought a God existed, then it would be a human being for them. Nevertheless, humans are just one species in the vast universe, it would be ridiculous of them to think of themselves as Gods.”
I didn’t know how to refute since Wen Jiubo was so eloquent.
“There are so many things in this world that humans aren’t aware of. Some evil monsters are older than human history. The Gudiao has been feasting on human meat for thousands of years,” said Wen Jiubo as he narrowed his eyes. “Like wolves feeding on rabbits, eating humans is just its nature. Compared to evil ghosts who are derived from human emotions, what the Gudiao did was just to feed itself. That’s why I said it’s a kind monster.”
What a quibbler! He just found an odd excuse for his heartlessness. I opened my mouth and tried to make a counterargument, however, I couldn’t say anything at all.
Oh right, Chu Bai. She probably didn’t want to see this, so she tried to stop me from arguing with Wen Jiubo.
Shoot, I was suddenly embarrassed. I totally forgot her existence while I was arguing with Wen Jiubo. I didn’t intend to show her this petty behavior.
I immediately shut up and the room became awkwardly silent in an instant.
I should have accepted this fact.
Wen Jiubo wasn’t human, and he always viewed everything in this world from a bystander’s perspective. He was so objective that sometimes it felt like he wouldn’t care about anyone or anything in this world at all.
However… why did a creature like Wen Jiubo decide to exorcize demons and spirits for humans?
“I found it!”
Bai shouted abruptly. I was startled and focused my mind on the situation at hand.
Wen Jiubo and I turned around and saw Bai, lying down on a thin thread-bound book, waving his little paw at us.
“Wen Jiubo! Ay, take a look, isn’t this the charm you’ve been looking for?”
Wen Jiubo stood up and walked over barefoot. He didn’t care at all that he stepped on precious old books. He pulled out the book under Bai’s body, turned over some pages and smiled, “Em, yes it is. This is the charm I used the last time to seal Gudiao.”
“But, didn’t it escape from your seal?” I managed to walk over and ask.
“Yes, that’s why I need to improve this charm and magic array.” Wen Jiubo’s tone went back to normal and he shot me a radiant smile. “Gu Yu, will you help me?”
We didn’t stop until midnight.
I had to admit that Wen Jiubo had a special charisma when he was focused on work. He narrowed his beautiful eyes and brought his eyebrows together while drawing different signs on rice paper with a brush pen. Bai and I showed great interest in helping him at first, however, after a while, we began to yawn.
“I think we’re almost done,” said Wen Jiubo suddenly, while I kept nodding off nearby.
I forced myself to wake up. “Uh? Are we done here?”
“Yes, thank you for fetching the materials and grinding the ink.” Wen Jiubo smiled at me. “I updated the charm, and hopefully, it will seal Gudiao for a little longer this time.”
“A little longer?” I put away some books that were on the table to see the charm Wen Jiubo drew. “Can’t you just eliminate it once and for all?”
“That’s impossible.” Wen Jiubo shrugged before replying, “This is a powerful monster. The best I can do is to seal it. It will escape after a period of time, and then I will have to seal it again. ”
Wen Jiubo interrupted me before I could ask another question. He seemed exhausted. “Alright, stop arguing with me. Go and get some sleep in the guest room. Don’t forget to set your alarm and make sure you’re not late for tomorrow’s classes.”
“When do you plan to seal this monster?”
“Come back once you’re done with school tomorrow.”
I didn’t know if it was because he noticed my frowning face, but Wen Jiubo suddenly gave me a smile.
“What’s the matter? Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.” Wen Jiubo raised his arm and touched my face.