Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 3 Book of Exchange – Chapter 30 Mt.Diecui
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 30 Mt.Diecui
“Oi, since no one booked a hotel room, where are we going to stay tonight?” Shi Yitong groaned.
“Uhh, don’t worry. We’ll look for a hotel when we arrive,” Su Xiaoyun tried to calm him down.
However, the worst case scenario happened. When we arrived at Mt.Diecui, it was already evening. Not only were the mid-range hotels completely full, but the high-end hotels had no empty rooms either. The streets were so full of people continuously going back and forth that you would have mistaken it for the city center.
“This is… so strange,” said Shi Yitong, standing confused next to a fully-booked hotel. “Although Mt. Diecui is a tourist attraction, it usually doesn’t have that many tourists. What’s going on?”
“It’s because of the temple fair,”
A voice suddenly answered. We looked back and saw a man in his forties, standing right behind us. He wore a gray woolen coat and had a gentle smile on his face.
“The temple fair?” Su Xiaoyun asked.
“Yes, the biggest temple fair in Yan City will be held on Mt.Diecui in two days, that’s why there are so many tourists. You look like college students out for fun, aren’t you here for that?”
“Um, we didn’t plan anything at all, and we didn’t expect to see so many people here.” Shi Yitong helplessly scratched his head. “All the hotels are full.”
“I see.” The kindly-looking middle-aged man smiled. “Since you’re here, I suggest you visit the temple fair. It’s worth having a look. By the way, since all hotels are full, you have nowhere to sleep, right?”
The three of us look at each other in dismay and nodded.
“If you don’t mind, how about staying in my hostel?” The middle-aged man invited us warmly. “I have a double room and a single room available.”
Shi Yitong’s eyes suddenly glittered. “Really? You’re a hostel owner?.”
“Yeah, my hostel is at the back of this street. I was just going out to buy some food,” The middle-aged man said happily. “Would you like to go to my place and take a look?”
We couldn’t miss this opportunity, so Su Xiaoyun and I nodded.
As the man said, after we walked across the street, we saw a small, inconspicuous hostel at the corner. No wonder this hostel still had vacant rooms, it was really unnoticeable.
It had neither neon signs nor any prominent signage. It was just a small house, sitting alone on the street corner. When I came closer, I found out that it had a wooden signboard over a porch. The decor reminded me of Wen Jiubo’s old residence.
“Come in; it’s here. You just need to register your name at the front desk.” The man opened the wooden door, walked behind the counter, and began to look for something in the drawer. “Ah, the register, the register… How strange, where is the registration book?”
We stared at the man who was searching his register book in a drawer, feeling speechless — what a careless hostel owner he was.
“Oh, it’s here. I found it.” I didn’t know how much time had passed, but the man finally lifted his head and handed over a creased register book. “Write your name and phone number here.”
Shi Yitong and I looked at each other helplessly before picking up a pen to start writing.
“This hostel isn’t that small, but I don’t see a lot of people in here.” Su Xiaoyun curiously looked around. She seemed very interested in this small, old hostel.
“Yeah, it’s located away from the center of the city, so we don’t usually get a lot of guests. Usually, I’m the only one that does all the cleaning chores,” The man said with a smile. “Oh, right, I almost forgot, I haven’t introduced myself. My name is Xu Yingchen. You can call me Uncle Xu, or Yingchen.”
‘Uncle Xu is kind of cute,” Su Xiaoyun couldn’t help but laugh out.
Xu Yingchen laughed out. “Really? Although people often say that to me, it’s the first time I’ve heard it from such a lovely young lady.”
Su Xiaoyun introduced us, “I’m Su Xiaoyun, a college student from Yan University. These are my classmates, Shi Yitong and Gu Yu.”
Shi Yitong finished the registration. He looked up and greeted him respectfully,
“Hi, Uncle Xu.”
“Gu Yu, your name is Gu Yu?”
As soon as I looked up, I was startled because Xu Yingchen was looking at me strangely,
“Uhh… yes, that’s right.”
“Good name.” Xu Yingchen laughed heartily, making me feel even more perplexed.
“Okay, these are your keys.” Upon saying this, Xu Yingchen turned around. He took out three keys from the drawer and handed them over. “Boys, these are your keys. You’re in room 203. As for the young lady, this is your key; room 204 is right next door.”
We took the keys and studied them with curiosity. Hotels nowadays no longer used such old fashioned keys. They all used room cards to prevent theft or customers from losing them.
I didn’t know if Xu Yingchen could read our thoughts, but he said, “Little brother, although my hostel is old, my rooms are clean and tidy, and all the sheets and blankets are sterilized. So don’t worry.”
“Ah, no, that’s not what I meant,” I immediately explained. ” It’s just that I haven’t seen this kind of hotel key in a long time, that’s why…”
“Well, I’m running a small hostel; usually not many customers come here. So I can’t be bothered to spend money on a new high-tech system. These old keys are pretty, aren’t they?” Xu Yingchen shook his hand as if he was indifferent to the use of new technology. “This is our style, and it makes us unique and different. You should know, there are many priceless old paintings in the guest rooms and corridors.”
We all thought that Xu Yingchen was just joking, so we all laughed. Of course, we later discovered that what he said was true, but that happened at the end of this story.
“So?” Su Xiaoyun sat on the bed of our room without invitation. “Have you decided on what we will visit tomorrow?”
“Well… ” Shi Yitong took out a Baidu map and stared at it seriously. “Should we go pick mandarins first, or go boating? It’s hard to choose.”
Su Xiaoyun slapped Shi Yitong on the back of his head. “Oi, what makes you think we’re going to play. We’re here to help Gu Yu find clues about Bai Ze.”
“Oh, oh, oh, we need to find clues, clues…” Judging from his tone, Shi Yitong had completely forgotten the purpose of our trip.
“Um, but even if we want to find clues, it’s going to be really difficult,” Shi Yitong lowered his phone and said worriedly. “It’s not located in a tourist site, so we can’t use the map to find it. We only found one sentence in the booklet, and it only mentioned Mt.Diecui.”
“That’s true.” Su Xiaoyun lowered her head, thinking it over. “I think we should look at the historical sites first, and maybe we can find some clues about Bai Ze.”
“It won’t work. Mt.Diecui is a tourist attraction. Even if there’s something related to it, you can’t tell whether it is true or was deliberately added to attract tourists.” Shi Yitong shook his head and opposed, “This proposal is rejected.”
“What is your opinion then?”
“Well, I think that we should go to some remote and inaccessible forest. We will probably run into Bai Ze!” Shi Yitong patted his thigh and said.
“I think you will run into a wild wolf before running into Bai Ze.” Su Xiaoyun rolled her eyes, and disdainfully scoffed at his suggestion. “Gu Yu and I don’t want to die with you. Ay, Gu Yu, do you have any ideas? ”
I thought for a moment before looking at them. “I think, rather than looking for tourist attractions, we should find someone who knows.”
“Em, this place has a long history, so there will definitely be some seniors living here,” I said seriously. “For ancient legends like this, I think that it’s better to meet the local elders, rather than cluelessly search through this place. Maybe we can find something interesting.”
“Hey, didn’t the hotel owner mention that there will be a temple fair in two days?” Shi Yitong became excited and said, “You know, old people in Yan City are very fond of this tradition. We should be able to see many local elders during the temple fair.”
“That’s great! This matter just became easy,” said Su Xiaoyun, as she clapped her hands.
“So that’s it,” I said as the final decision maker. “Well, tomorrow we’ll do what Su Xiaoyun suggested first; we’ll go to some historical attractions to see if we can find anything useful. Then, after two days, we will ask some elders at the temple fair.”
“Ay, hold on, what about my suggestion?” Shi Yitong pointed his head with his thumb, staring at me as he was looking forward to my approval.
“Your suggestion has been rejected, end of discussion!” I rolled my eyes.
“Ahh… but why?!”
“Get off me; you’re too heavy!”
Afterward, we chatted in our room for a long time until Su Xiaoyun yawned and said that she needed to go to sleep before returning to her room next door at a snail’s pace. Shi Yitong and I were also really sleepy. It was almost midnight, and we prompted each other to bath before going to bed.
Just when I turned off the lights, I saw something light up on Shi Yitong’s wrist.
“Oi, Shi Yitong! What’s that on your wrist and why is it glowing?” I asked curiously.
“Ah? Are you talking about this?” After hearing my question, Shi Yitong took his arm out of the blanket again. Unsurprisingly, I saw something emitting a dim light in the dark.
“It’s a jade bracelet that belonged to my grandfather. I don’t know why it can emit light in the dark, and I don’t know either there is anything special in it.” Shi Yitong pouted his mouth and said, “My grandma believes it’s lucky, so she gave it to me to wear as a protective charm.”