Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 3 Book of Exchange – Chapter 36 The Teenager
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 36 The Teenager
There was a burst of laughter from the phone.
“Take care of yourself.”
“Yeah, I know…” I rubbed my nose, feeling a little embarrassed.
“Don’t try any weird snacks.”
“Don’t stay up late at night.”
“I know! Are you my mom?” I said angrily.
However, it was clear to me that not even my own mother cared for me like that.
Wen Jiubo laughed again. “Okay, it’s late, you should sleep now.”
“En, okay,” I replied as if I was still a child.
“Hopefully you’ll dream of me.”
After hanging up the phone, I fell asleep quickly. Though Shi Yitong’s snoring was as loud as thunder, I was feeling better nonetheless.
However, that evening, I didn’t dream about Wen Jiubo. Instead, I had a weird dream.
The scenery in my dream seemed to be a mountain valley with running water and fresh air. You could also hear the birds singing.
Is this place… Mt.Diecui?
While I was still confused, I could hear a melodious flute sound coming from afar. The flute sound echoed in the quiet mountains, making it even more pleasant.
A teenager in white was sitting on a stone, playing the flute. His eyes were closed as if he were immersed in the music.
Wait, this boy looks so familiar… Isn’t he Zhu Xuan?
A hearty voice called out from a distance. I followed Zhu Xuan’s gaze and saw a dark-skinned boy with a straw hat. He held a bamboo basket used for fishing in one hand and waved at Zhu Xuan with the other.
“Ye, you’re here again.” When Zhu Xuan saw the boy, he put down the flute and smiled.
“You too, you’re sitting here again.” The boy called Ye smiled. He sat down right beside Zhu Xuan. “Whenever I come up the mountain, I always see you sitting here.”
“Of course, this mountain is my home.” Zhu Xuan smiled.
“Not this again. No matter how much you like the mountain, you need to go home to sleep at night, right?” Ye looked a little upset; it seemed that he thought Zhu Xuan was lying to him.
Zhu Xuan smiled and changed the subject, “What about you? Did you hunt something good today?”
“Today is not my day. Usually, this is the season when hares and pheasants come out. However, I’ve wandered in this area for a long time and haven’t seen any yet. So, I went to the creek and caught some fish.” Ye opened the bamboo basket and showed it to Zhu Xuan. There were about four or five grass carps inside. “I only caught grass carps, but they can only be sold for a few copper coins. So I think I’ll bring them home and eat them with my grandfather.”
“Is that so?” Zhu Xuan looked at Ye sympathetically. Ye’s low mood apparently impacted him.
“Zhu, don’t you think that strange things are happening in the mountains lately?”
“Pheasants and hares were common in the past, but now they’ve disappeared.”
“Really? Maybe there are too many hunters, so those animals are too scared to come out,” Zhu Xuan said with disapproval.
However, Ye shook his head. “I don’t think so… Because while I was wandering around earlier, I found a lot of animal bones along the way. They were not only bones from small animals like hares and pheasants but also a wolf. It really scared me. Something ate such a big wolf and left only the bones. Are there any beasts more ferocious than wolves on this mountain?”
Zhu Xuan was also dumbfounded after hearing it. “So… maybe some hunters did that. It’s possible that they dumped the body after skinning it.”
Ye looked extremely worried. He shook his head. “Em… it’s possible. But I’ve heard some rumors recently. The seniors said that a young man went hunting on the mountain and never returned. Later, someone went up the mountain and found only his skeleton. He had been eaten by something.”
“How come…But it’s impossible for a beast like that to live on Mt.Diecui, right?” Zhu Xuan frowned, half-skeptical.
“How could you know, you’re not the god of this mountain,” Ye muttered.
Zhu Xuan smiled, revealing beautiful dimples.
“Zhu, what would you do if I were to die on this mountain?”
Zhu Xuan was startled by his sudden question. He hit the back of Ye’s head without thinking.
“What are you talking about, how could you possibly die?”
“So… I mean, what if.” Ye came closer to him. “What would you do?”
“Don’t worry, I assure you, I will never let anything happen to you!” Zhu Xuan reached out and patted him.
“Hmpf… I don’t think so.” Ye hugged his arms and looked Zhu Xuan from head to toe. “You look weak and skinny. If anything dangerous happens, I think you’ll need me to protect you.”
“Alright, alright, you’re the strongest,” Zhu Xuan said helplessly.
Ye didn’t stop staring at Zhu Xuan’s face until Zhu Xuan noticed his gaze and turned his head. Then suddenly, Ye leaned over and left a kiss on Zhu Xuan’s cheek.
Zhu Xuan’s face instantly blushed. “Hey, what are you doing?!”
“Nothing.” Ye smiled. “I just think Zhu is good-looking.”
“I forbid you to kiss me even if I’m good-looking, I’m not a girl!” Zhu Xuan said angrily.
“So what? I don’t care if you’re a girl or a boy. You’re Zhu; I like you for who you are.” Ye was not convinced.
Zhu Xuan felt his face turn red. He stood up and stated, “I’m leaving! It’s going to be dark; you should head back or else the wolves on the mountain will devour you.”
“I know. Well, I’ll come over tomorrow.” Ye said with a smile.
Just as Ye walked a few steps away, he suddenly stopped and shouted at Zhu Xuan.
Zhu Xuan turned back and suddenly, a fish was thrown over towards him. Zhu Xuan immediately caught the fish.
“Have a nice dinner!” Ye smiled.
Ye then left, leaving Zhu Xuan, who was holding that lively fish, standing in the same place, dumbfounded.
“So… where are we going today?”
It seemed that the three of us were the only residents left in Mr.Xu’s little hostel. The atmosphere in the room was kind of awkward as we sat around a table in the big dining hall. The food hadn’t been served yet.
Fortunately, Su Xiaoyun didn’t seem to mind what happened yesterday as she spoke first,
“Well, we went to the mountain yesterday and didn’t find anything particular. I think we’d better go to the tourist attractions today.”
“Speaking of which, I heard that the temple fair begins tomorrow, so there should be a lot of local people there today. Maybe we can find something if we go there.” Shi Yitong suggested.
“But we don’t know where the temple fair will be held.”
“We can ask Mr. Xu later to see if he knows.” Shi Yitong scratched his head. “I don’t know where he is currently, he could’ve shown us the way if he was here.”
“You really took him as a free guide. We must handle our own affairs.” Su Xiaoyun said disdainfully, “Am I right, Gu Yu?”
I was startled as my name was suddenly called. I immediately looked up at them, perplexed. “Huh? what are you saying?”
“What are you thinking about?!” Su Xiaoyun patted me.”We are discussing where we are going today.”
“Um, I don’t have an opinion, anywhere you guys say.”
“What a perfunctory attitude you have!” Su Xiaoyun was upset.”We are discussing it seriously right now!”
As we chatted, Xu Yingchen brought our food and placed it in front of us.
“Here is your breakfast, fried rice, and stewed fish head.” Xu Yingchen gave each of us a bowl of rice. “You’re the only guests here, so I prepared a simple breakfast. Please don’t mind it.”
“It’s all right, we don’t mind at all,” Shi Yitong quickly picked up his chopsticks and said. “By the way, Mr. Xu, the food you made is really delicious.”
“Hahaha, thank you for your compliment.” Xu Yingchen smiled heartily. “Do you mind if I join you?”
“Of course not.” I moved the chair aside.
“Well, I heard your conversation just now. You were talking about the temple fair?” Xu Yingchen sat down beside me.
“Yeah, Mr. Xu, do you know where the temple fair is held?” Asked Su Xiaoyun. “We want to go there today.”
“Yes, I do… but are you going to the fair today?” Xu Yingchen asked curiously. “The temple fair only begins tomorrow.”
“Um…” Su Xiaoyun and I exchanged eye contact. “We want to see the temple fair since we have no plans today. It will be interesting to see the preparations.”
“No, I don’t think so. But, you can go there if you want to.” Xu Yingchen turned around and pointed towards a direction outside the window with his chopsticks. “Do you know the entrance to Mt.Diecui?”
“On the north side of the entrance, you can see a road. Follow that road, and you will see a big temple on the first turn. That’s where the temple fair is held,” Xu Yingchen said. “Oh, but…”
Having said that, Xu Yingchen frowned. He glanced at us and said hesitantly, “I don’t think you should visit the temple fair this year.”
“No?” Su Xiaoyun was confused. “Why?”
“It might be dangerous,” Xu Yingchen said seriously.
“What’s wrong?” Shi Yitong asked curiously.
“I heard that a person died near the venue of the temple fair yesterday,” Xu Yingchen put a spoonful of rice into his mouth while speaking.
“A person died? What happened?” I asked. “Was it an accident or…”