Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 3 Book of Exchange – Chapter 43 A Night Talk
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 43 A Night Talk
“This is what the abbot of Longning Temple told me, I don’t know the details.” Zhu Xuan shook his head. “If this is the case, then the beast Chen was probably aware that I awoke and came back here to cause a mess. Then it is my responsibility to re-seal this beast and never let it run wild again.”
“You’re a poor thing.” Su Xiaoyun gave him a sympathetic look. “You were chased by the beast Chen 30 years ago. And after you woke up, you have to deal with it once again.”
Her words seemingly devastated Zhu Xuan, and he became even more frustrated.
“You said that you need to seal the hawk-beak beast, but, uh…” Shi Yitong said cautiously, “it beat you up pretty bad today.”
“I know,” Zhu Xuan said frustratedly. “Since I gave my vitality to Ye’s spirit, I’ve lost too much power. And now that the beast Chen is stronger than before. It is very difficult for me to protect myself, let alone to seal it.”
We were speechless as we looked at each other because what Zhu Xuan said was true. The beast got stronger day after day, but Bai Ze’s injury worsened as time went by. However, if we didn’t stop the beast Chen, the same tragedy which happened 30 years ago would repeat once again, and more innocent people would die.
Just when we were in dead silence, suddenly, a voice broke the silence in the room.
“So, do you want to have sweet corn porridge or sweet potato porridge? It’s the only thing we got in the kitchen, so I just cooked them all——” Yingchen walked inside the room, carrying a plate on his hand. He said embarrassedly when he noticed our gaze. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, it’s nothing.”
“Everything is fine. We’re fine.”
“Sweet corn porridge, please give me a bowl of that.”
Just like that, the day passed quietly. We didn’t talk to each other again after that conversation. And at around nine o’clock in the evening, we said goodnight to each other and went back to bed.
However, even in the middle of the night, I was still unable to sleep. As a result, I got up from bed and went to the rooftop on the third floor of the hostel.
Although Xu Yingchen’s hostel was not big, it had a very romantic rooftop. I stood by the fence on the rooftop. The cold wind at night blew up my hair, making me feel refreshed and comfortable.
There were no stars in the sky except for the light of the moon flickering through the thick clouds. It looked like it would rain tomorrow.
I took out the phone from my pocket. I leaned against the railings and aimlessly tapped the screen.
I couldn’t tell if I did it intentionally or not, but my finger finally stopped on Wen Jiubo’s name in the contact list.
Should I tell him about what happened today?
No matter how you looked it at, what happened on Mt.Diecui was far beyond what we could handle. If we couldn’t seal the beast Chen, the consequences would probably be disastrous…
Just as I was hesitating to call him, a clear voice came from behind.
“It may rain tomorrow. There are no stars in the sky tonight.”
I turned my head and saw Zhu Xuan standing behind me. He, wrapped in a blanket, was looking up at the cloudy sky.
I couldn’t help but smile. “In my hometown, it’s very rare for us to see the stars. But that is because of the air pollution.”
“Air pollution?” Zhu Xuan frowned, unfamiliar with this new term.
“Yeah, because our city is very large and people built many factories in the city center, these factories and cars on the streets emit sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, as well as some other waste gases. as a result, the atmosphere is polluted and the stars are covered by clouds made of these gas.” I looked at the sky and shrugged.
“Are you saying the sky is covered by humans?” Zhu Xuan was suspicious. He raised his eyebrow. “Really? Can humans really do that?”
I can’t help but smile. “Yeah, we can do much more things than you think.”
It seemed that Zhu Xuan was still thinking about how humans can cover the sky, so I quickly changed the topic. “Speaking of which, are you able to get out of bed now? The injuries on your body…”
“They’re already healed.” Zhu Xuan came near and untied the bandage wrapped around his arm. I then saw that those terrible wounds he had were already healed, leaving only his smooth skin. “I’m not as fragile as you humans.”
I breathed a sigh of relief and nodded. “That’s great. Thank god you healed far quicker than we thought, or else our guilt would have tortured us to death.”
Zhu Xuan laughed. “So why are you here? Can’t you sleep?”
I nodded and said hesitantly, “I… I don’t want to sleep, so I came here to have some fresh air.”
“Is this because of the beast Chen?”
Zhu Xuan dropped his eyes and whispered, “I’m sorry. I’m the reason why you and all the residents around Mt.Diecui suffered.”
“What? This isn’t your fault.” I smiled. “The beast Chen is the one who caused so much trouble, and you’re the one trying to protect people.”
“No, this was my fault. It is my responsibility to guard the beast Chen. It’s my brother, and I have the duty to guard it. In fact, the last time I defeated it, I should have killed it, but I didn’t. Those people’s lives, whether the man who died in Longning Temple or the bones that we saw beside the beast Chen today, their deaths are all my fault,” Zhu Xuan muttered.
Even though I was a few meters away, I could sense from him immense and intertwined feelings of sadness and remorse, as if they were once fireworks, which exploded and burned into ashes.
“But, you must love him very much,” I whispered.
“You mean Ye?” Zhu Xuan revealed a bitter smile. “Yeah. Sometimes I feel that I had been with Ye for so long that I became a human. I became selfish and arrogant, willing to sacrifice so many lives just to save someone whom I wasn’t even fully sure of his chance of survival…”
“But you never regretted it, right?” I blurted out.
Zhu Xuan looked at me in surprise. “How could you think that way?”
“Am I correct or not?” I insisted.
“……Yeah,” Zhu Xuan gave up and admitted. “I believe that even if I was given another chance, I would do it again. I just… love him too much. And he deserves to be alive, he deserves to have something much better in his life. Perhaps I have been too selfish. He wanted to avenge his family, but I never fulfilled his wish. I hoped for him to live on, even if this was only my own selfishness, but as long as I know that he may live happily somewhere on this Earth, I, too, have the hope to continue living in this world, otherwise…”
“…You would be too lonely and find it too hard to integrate into our ever-changing human world,” I whispered.
Zhu Xuan looked at me in surprise. “How do you know what I was going to say?”
I realized that I just said what I had on my mind. I gave him a smile and adjusted my posture to lean on the railing again.
“Well… sometimes I can see things,” I answered.
“What are you able to see?” Zhu Xuan asked.
“I don’t know either. Sometimes it’s a dream; sometimes it’s a vision that flashes in my head; and sometimes, just like what happened just now, it’s an emotion.” I looked at Zhu Xuan. He looked so young, but I could see the vicissitudes of life in his eyes, telling me how long this person has walked the earth.
“Yeah. Someone later told me that it was resonance. I can resonate with many people —— sometimes other creatures. I can see their past, their life experiences, and feel their happiness, sadness, and despair.” I leaned down against the railing, looking at Zhu Xuan. “As if their life is a book, I can have a peek at a few pages and then learn a short story in their lives.”
“So, have you seen my book too?” Zhu Xuan asked with a smile.
“Yeah, that’s how I knew what you just thought about. I also learned how deep was the affection you hold towards that boy named Ye.” I looked at him wryly.
“How many people’s stories have you seen… what about stories of demons and spirits?” Zhu Xuan asked.
“I don’t know,” I muttered. “I have seen the stories of humans, female ghosts, cat demon, and even evil parasite ghosts.”
Zhu Xuan’s look suddenly became sullen. He looked at me with some unknown emotion in his eyes.
“You must be very brave,” Zhu Xuan whispered. “These stories are far beyond what an ordinary human can process. It must be very painful for you to see those stories and resonate with their feelings.”
At this time, I discovered that the emotion I could see in his eyes was something called sympathy.
“Painful? No, no, It wasn’t painful at all. You are exaggerating things.” I laughed dryly. “I’m probably just more sensitive than others, knowing a few more stories, but that doesn’t impact my life. And sometimes I find those stories to be very interesting.”
“What about your own?”
Zhu Xuan’s sudden question made me unable to react. “What?”
“What about your story?” Zhu Xuan looked at me and said seriously. “You have read so many people’s stories, then what kind of story is your own? You and your friends didn’t come here for your essays, did you?”
Right, Zhu Xuan was not a fool. He was the divine beast Bai Ze who had lived in this world for tens of thousands of years. Of course, he could instantly see through our lie.