Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 3 Book of Exchange – Chapter 38 Meeting Zhu Xuan Again
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 38 Meeting Zhu Xuan Again
“Really, what happened?” His story fascinated me so I asked.
“The master said that the beast Chen likes to harass the Buddhist temples. If a practitioner of Buddhism is distracted, the beast Chen will come to the temple.” The young monk said bitterly, “Because of Bai Ze’s blessing, we lived in peace for many years…”
When we heard the words “Bai Ze”, our eyes glittered with light.
“Bai Ze? What does this beast Chen have to do with Bai Ze?” I asked.
“Don’t you know the legend of Bai Ze in Mt.Diecui?” The young monk was suddenly in high spirits. “’The Classic of Mountains and Seas’ recorded that ‘on Mt.Dongwang, there was a beast named Bai Ze, which can speak…’”
“Oi,” Shi Yitong had to interrupt him politely. “We know about that, can you tell us something else?”
“Oh,” The young monk nodded hurriedly and continued. “Almost 30 years ago, the beast Chen harried Longning Temple. At that time, no one in the temple could stop it. All the nearby villages were slaughtered by it, let alone our temple. Just when everyone was desperate and didn’t know what to do, the legendary Bai Ze suddenly came to Mt.Diecui and sealed the beast Chen. At that moment, peace was restored. Our abbot was still a small child at that time, and he saw Bai Ze’s arrival with his own eyes. He said by the time he saw a white light, Bai Ze had already left…”
“Okay, we get you,” I made a hand gesture to stop this overly excited monk. “And then what? The beast was sealed, why has it appeared again? ”
“We don’t know either.” The young monk immediately became gloomy again. “I asked the master once, but the master said that we lured the beast here because we have too many evil thoughts in our hearts. He only asked us to focus on doing our chores to purify ourselves from evil thoughts. He said that by doing so, the beast would leave on its own. Besides, it’s been 30 years so we don’t know where Bai Ze is, and if this situation continues, there will be more victims…”
I frowned.”So, why didn’t you cancel the temple fair? You should tell the local residents and people in the temple to take refuge!”
The young monk shook his head. “It’s not that simple. There are 104 people in Longning Temple alone, not to mention the residents in nearby towns. And not all masters in the temple agreed to take in refugees.”
“Why?” Shi Yitong was confused. “Isn’t it better to let the professionals handle a serious situation like this one?”
Shi Yitong had such a big mouth. I elbowed him, but he didn’t react.
The young monk smiled bitterly and said, “There are no so-called ‘professionals’ here. The masters believe that some things are meant to happen and you can’t stop it.”
“What about canceling the temple fair?” Su Xiaoyun asked, “Can’t you just cancel the temple fair? It would reduce the potential casualties as much as possible.”
However, the young monk shook his head. “Well… this issue was discussed among the masters in the past few days, but the abbot was strongly against it. The abbot said that the annual temple fair is a major event for Longning Temple. It cannot be stopped because of some rumors. If that happened, nobody would take the temple fair seriously anymore.”
Shi Yitong and Su Xiaoyun looked at me simultaneously before pulling me aside and whispering,
“Gu Yu, what do you think about that?”
“About what?” I was confused.
“The beast Chen that young monk mentioned,” Shi Yitong eagerly said. “This is a matter of life and death. What if Mr. Wen was the one who sealed the beast Chen thirty years ago? Should we tell him to hurry back here in order to fix the mess he made back then?”
“However, the problem is… we don’t have any evidence that Wen Jiubo is Bai Ze now.” I was also anxious.”Moreover, even if I tell him, that guy will probably deny it.”
“But we have to ask him to find out how he will react, right?” Shi Yizhen whispered. “If we don’t do anything, the beast might eat all the tourists later on.”
Even Su Xiaoyun opened her mouth, “I think he’s right. We can’t deal with this situation. Even if Wen Jiubo is not Bai Ze, it doesn’t matter at all. He definitely has a way to deal with the current situation, right? ”
Shi Yitong nodded.
While I was stuck in a dilemma, a voice suddenly interrupted us.
“You are… Shi Yitong?”
Shi Yitong heard someone call his name and looked back. Surprisingly, the person standing behind us was Zhu Xuan.
Zhu Xuan held a broom in his hand as if he had just finished sweeping the floor. He saw us turn around and immediately frowned. He threw the broom aside and quickly walked towards us.
“What are you doing here?” His tone was not welcoming.
We were dumbfounded when we heard his impolite question.
“Well, Longning Temple is a public place, why can’t we be here?” Shi Yitong was perplexed. “We also haven’t asked you why you’re here yet, have we?”
However, before Zhu Xuan could answer, the young monk called him.
“Benefactor Zhu Xuan.” The little monk folded his hands together to greet him.
“Wait, do you know this young monk?” Su Xiaoyun looked at them in confusion. “So, you are…”
“I come here occasionally to help, that’s how we know each other, nothing special.” Zhu Xuan still frowned. He returned the greeting. “Little master, they are friends of mine. My apologies if they are bothering you.”
“Um, no, they’re not.”
“We won’t bother you any longer.”
“Well then, I will leave you be.” The expression on the young monk’s face suggested that he was still curious. However, since Zhu Xuan said that, he didn’t have any reason to stay.
Zhu Xuan watched the little monk leave and his expression immediately changed as soon as he looked at us again.
“What are you doing here? If you came here to play, you should leave now,” Zhu Xuan said.
“Why?” Shi Yitong was confused. “It seemed like you were eager to show us around and hunt with us in the mountain yesterday, weren’t you?”
“The situation has changed now. This area is dangerous,” Zhu Xuan frowned and said. He stared at Shi Yitong. “You should go back now.”
We looked at each other and wondered about the same thing.
“Zhu Xuan, do you know anything about beast Chen?” Su Xiaoyun asked straightforwardly.
“How do you know?” Zhu Xuan was shocked at first, and then he immediately understood. “Did the young monk tell you?”
We had no choice but be honest, so we nodded.
“What? Not him again, he’s too talkative,” Zhu Xuan muttered.
“Zhu Xuan, are you from Longning Temple?” I asked.
“No, I am not,” Zhu Xuan let out a sigh and answered. “I just come over to help from time to time. Over time, I became friends with some monks. Anyway, since you have already heard about the beast, why are you still here? Are you still going to see the temple fair?”
“We just want to visit the temple fair. You got a problem with that?” Shi Yitong suddenly interjected. “Who are you to judge us? Why are you here if it’s so dangerous? ”
“I…” Zhu Xuan was speechless.”I’m here not for fun! I helped the monks in the temple sweep the ground!”
“I don’t believe you.” Su Xiaoyun narrowed her eyes, showing her signature suspicious expression. “You, are you hiding something from us?”
“Yeah, did you come here to investigate like us?” Shi Yitong suddenly said excitedly.
Su Xiaoyun and I kicked Shi Yitong’s ass simultaneously, but we still failed to stop this stupid teammate from leaking our secret.
“Investigate?” Zhu Xuan was dumbfounded. “What are you investigating?”
“Um… homework!” I interjected before Shi Yitong answered. “We’re here for our essay, it’s about the relationship between … religion and temples.”
“Ah yeah, what he said!” Su Xiaoyun added quickly.
“Homework?” Zhu Xuan’s expression looked even more confused.
“Yes, it’s a very important essay,” I firmly said. “So we have to go to the temple fair tomorrow. Also, we need to find out what is this beast Chen. ”
“I don’t care what you are doing, but it’s really dangerous here. No one knows when the beast will appear and what it will do,” Zhu Xuan said solemnly. “No one can escape from the claws of that beast!”
“Wait, you sound like you’re sure that the beast really exists,” Shi Yizhen suddenly interrupted. “Isn’t it just a legend like Bai Ze? Perhaps it could just be a big beast like a lion or a tiger that’s in the mountains, or maybe a nearby zoo lost a few animals.”
Zhu Xuan laid his eyes on Shi Yitong, and then he suddenly held Shi Yitong’s hand.
“You…hold on, what are you doing?” Shi Yitong was completely dumbstruck.
“I don’t care about the other two, they can go wherever they want,” Zhu Xuan said seriously, his pair of brown eyes staring at Shi Yitong. “But you can’t stay here, it’s really dangerous!”
Su Xiaoyun and I looked at each other. We were surprised by his words before bursting into laughter.
“You two stop laughing!” Shi Yitong shook off Zhu Xuan’s hands, embarrassed. “I won’t go back. I’m here with my friends!”
“Stop being a child. This is a matter of life and death. I’m not joking!” Zhu Xuan frowned and said loudly, “Can you just listen to me this once?”
This time Shi Yitong was not the only one who was dumbfounded, so were Su Xiaoyun and I.