Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 3 Book of Exchange – Chapter 26 Secret Investigation (1)
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 26 Secret Investigation (1)
Who is it?
“Your Royal Highness, it’s time.”
It’s time? It’s time for what?
When I opened my eyes, I saw a female servant. In front of me was a luxurious bedroom, decorated with huge draperies made from silk. Furthermore, you could see jewelry and make-up on the dresser.
Oh, right, it’s time for ‘it.’
I silently sat up on the bed, my long and shiny hair loosely spread on my back. The female servant began to comb my hair behind me.
“Your Highness has such smooth and shiny hair, I’m so jealous,” The female servant said from behind me.
I grinned. “It’s a pity that this is the last day it belongs to me.”
The female servant suddenly became silent. I thought she decided to focus on doing my hair, but unexpectedly, I felt the grip on my hair loosen.
“Your Highness… can’t you just stay?” She choked out. I felt something warm and wet dripping onto my shoulder.
“No, I can’t,” I turned around and held her hands to reassure her. “This isn’t for me; it’s for the survival of our country. Please stop worrying about me. My sacrifice will bring us something more valuable.”
While she kept sobbing, I took off my clothes, stepped into the wooden barrel and soaked myself in the hot spring water to cleanse my body.
Once I was done cleaning myself, I put on a luxurious gown. It was a very long, white gown which tailed on the ground; it took 12 skilled craftsmen 49 days to embroider the golden patterns on the dress. All of this work was done specifically for today’s occasion.
On the other side of the wide moat… and on the mountain far away was…
“…Gu Yu, Gu Yu!”
On the mountain far away…
I suddenly woke and instinctively stood up. The chair I accidentally kicked over crashed on the floor.
The class burst into laughter. The teacher stared at me, upset.
“Gu Yu, please translate the sentence I just read.”
“Oh, okay…” I hurriedly flipped my English textbook, but I didn’t know which sentence the teacher was talking about.
“Here.” While I was so anxious I started to sweat, Shi Yitong, who sat in front of me, turned around and showed it to me. “The sentence starting with ‘Table tennis’.”
I cleared my throat and read, “Table tennis is a sport which gained much popularity and praise in China.”
The teacher frowned as he glanced at me. He was silent for a minute before he waved his hand to signal me to sit down. “Correct. Pick up your chair and sit down. Don’t sleep in class anymore, understand?”
I breathed out in relief and glanced at Shi Yitong to show my gratitude.
Speaking of which, I think I had a weird dream just now, and yet I couldn’t remember anything.
“I feel you’re absent-minded lately. Are you okay? Are you sick?”
On the way to the school cafeteria, Shi Yitong asked worriedly.
I shook my hands. “No, I’m fine. It’s probably because I’ve been sleep-deprived lately, so I fell asleep during class. But, you can’t blame me for this, the English class is so boring. The teacher just reads out whatever is in the books. I’m totally uninterested.”
Shi Yitong laughed and nudged me with his elbow. “No, it’s your fault. Don’t give excuses for sleeping in class.”
I laughed embarrassedly and changed the subject, “Right, I saw Su Xiaoyun leaving the classroom alone. Why didn’t you ask her to have lunch together?”
Shi Yitong’s face immediately became gloomy when he heard my question. “It’s a long story.”
I became curious when I saw Shi Yitong’s face. “What’s wrong? Did you guys fight?”
“No, of course not, we didn’t fight,” Shi Yitong punched me, annoyed. “I never argue with Goddess Su, okay?”
“Okay, okay, whatever you say. But, what’s going on here?” I asked with curiosity.
“The thing is,” Shi Yitong agitatedly scratched his head and answered, “Su Xiaoyun called me yesterday and said there was something wrong with her laptop. There was a software she couldn’t install, so she asked me if I could help her since she had an assignment to submit the next day. I don’t know much about computers, but it’s still more than the average girl, so I said yes. Goddess Su brought her laptop to me, and I reinstalled her operating system which was where the problem was. However…”
“However, the whole laptop broke down?” I interrupted.
Shi Yitong nodded, he seemed even more upset. “I never thought that would happen. Now, her laptop can’t be turned on, and she had to send it to the store for it to be repaired. Although I paid for the cost, she is still angry with me.”
The end to his story was so obvious. I patted Shi Yitong’s shoulder to comfort him. “You’re so lame. Though you had good intentions, the result was bad. How can you ask a girl out if you continue to act like this? I tell you, you should shamelessly approach her right now and say something nice to her, girls like that.”
“Goddess Su is no ordinary girl.” Shi Yitong was depressed. “She will hate me even more.”
“No, she won’t. What you should do is apologize. She’s a straightforward person; she will forgive you anyway.” I laughed.
“Well, let’s stop talking about me,” Shi Yitong scratched his head and changed the subject to me. “Gu Yu, how’s everything going with Mr. Wen? I know that you haven’t been to the old residence in a while.”
Yeah, speaking of which, it had been a week since I stayed overnight in the old residence after Chu Bai’s event.
On the surface, he and I were still acting as usual, we still drank tea and chatted. I helped him prepare herb medicines and receive customers. But, deep down I clearly knew that we were growing apart.
And it was mainly because Wen Jiubo refused to reveal his true identity to me.
The longer I stayed with him, the less I trusted him. However, Wen Jiubo was the person I wanted to trust the most in this world, and this mixed feeling was driving me crazy. That’s why I decided to find out his true identity and his past, no matter what.
What kind of demon he was, why did he live in that old residence, what happened in his past and most importantly, what secrets he kept from me.
“Oi, Gu Yu.” I pulled my wandering mind back after Shi Yitong pushed me. “I’m asking you, why aren’t you saying anything? What are you thinking about?”
Suddenly, an idea occurred to me. I looked at Shi Yitong.
“Ay, Shi Yitong!”
Shi Yitong was probably startled by my weird expression. He moved one step back.
“Do you think there is a big demon who lived in Yan City for a very long time?” I put a finger on my chin, asking him.
“Big demon?” Shi Yitong was confused by my question. “Umm, what kind of demon is considered a big demon?”
His question dumbfounded me and I scratched my head.
“Well… probably a very powerful demon who has a long life expectancy.”
“Gu Yu, tell me honestly.” Shi Yitong looked at me with a serious look on his face. “Recently you’ve been sleep deprived, is it because you stay up late to read web novels?”
I threw a punch at him. “What web novels? I don’t read those things! I’m asking you a serious question!”
“Alright, alright, how could I know?” Shi Yitong rubbed his head and complained, “You know I’ve only lived in this city for a couple of years. As the city slowly modernized, folklores died off, little by little. My grandpa’s journal might have mentioned something…”
My eyes glittered, and immediately I asked him, “Really?”
“Of course, but you know the piles of books and journals in my house, it will take a lot of effort to go through all of it.” Shi Yitong looked at me strangely. “However, why do you want to know that? Did you accept some weird request from Wen Jiubo again?”
“No, not this time.” After we paid for the lunch, Shi Yitong and I found a relatively quiet place and sat down. I briefly told him my plan.
“…Although I want to believe in him, his dubious attitude towards his identity makes it hard to trust him.” I sighed. “If this continues, I will become crazy because every time I see him, I would think about how many secrets he keeps from me.”
“That’s why you decided to investigate on your own?” Shi Yitong asked while stuffing a spoon of rice in his mouth.
I nodded. “The information I have now is very limited. It seems like he has lived for a very long time, and the old residence he currently lives in once belonged to Cao Xueqin. The female ghost who possessed me told me that Wen Jiubo lived alone there for quite a long time, waiting for someone.”
“This isn’t enough information.” Shi Yitong shrugged. “He could be an evil demon, a fairy, or maybe he ate the life elixir of Taishang Laojun (the Grand Supreme Elderly Lord).”
I punched him. “Oi, please stop joking, I’m talking seriously right now!”
“I don’t know anything even if you punch me.” Shi Yitong gave a little shrug with his hands outstretched，”We have to go to my house to look it up after school.”
“That’s my good brother!” I gave him a high five. “I was just waiting for you to say that!”
Shi Yitong instantly looked at me with distressed eyes. “My grandma will be so mad at me if we make a mess while going through grandpa’s belongings again.”