Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 3 Book of Exchange – Chapter 44 In-depth Conversation
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 44 In-depth Conversation
“No.” I laughed a little, scratching my head. “It’s a long story.”
“Do you mind if I ask you to shorten it?” Zhu Xuan leaned on the railing and looked at me with interest.
I sighed and briefly told Zhu Xuan the story of how I met Wen Jiubo and all the things that happened afterward.
“…Thus, I told Su Xiaoyun and Shi Yitong, and they agreed to help me. We were looking for clues about Bai Ze on Mt.Diecui because we suspected Wen Jiubo to be Bai Ze.” I shrugged. “Of course, now we know that you are Bai Ze.”
“I see.” Zhu Xuan nodded and then asked with curiosity, “This Wen Jiubo you’re talking about… is he a really powerful man?”
“Yeah, he’s very powerful. Life with him is really extraordinary, it’s like being on a roller coaster. Though we faced dangerous situations, he always managed to save everyone in the nick of time.” I laughed quietly. “If you could meet him, you’d understand what I mean.”
“So… I guess you must love him a lot,” Zhu Xuan said seriously.
“What?” I was surprised by Zhu Xuan’s words and didn’t know how to react. “Oh, no, no, our relationship isn’t the same as yours…”
“No?” Zhu Xuan narrowed his eyes in doubt.
“No, absolutely not.” I denied it as if I never ever considered that possibility. “How could that be possible? Why do you think in this way, hahaha…”
“Really?” Zhu Xuan leaned over and looked me in the eye as if he wanted to read my mind. “I think you are lying.”
“What? Why?” I subconsciously took a step back.
“I think he must be very important to you,” Zhu Xuan said seriously. “You said that you didn’t know his past, where he came from, or even who he is.”
I was speechless and looked down.
“But when you talk about him, your eyes shine. You have a lot of trust in him. If something happens, I think you would sacrifice yourself to save him. I have lived in this world for so long, I’ve watched too many human stories, and I experienced those feelings myself.” Zhu Xuan calmly looked at me. “That’s why I believe that this unconditional trust should be called love.”
“I… I don’t know.”
Zhu Xuan’s words caught me off guard as if the secret that I had been trying so hard to hide was suddenly uncovered. I completely panicked.
“I really don’t know.” I shook my head, staring at the horizon, and said incoherently, “Things weren’t supposed to be like this… you know, I don’t know him, not even a little. But he knows me very well; my age, my personality, where I go to school, where is my family, he knows everything. Even at the time when we first met, he…”
I looked at Zhu Xuan and subconsciously wanted to seek help from him. “Zhu Xuan, sometimes I think he might have known me for a long time. He knew me before our first meeting, but I couldn’t remember him. Sometimes, it feels like whenever he looks at me, he doesn’t really see me, but instead, he sees another person through my eyes.”
“Another person?” asked Zhu Xuan.
“I don’t know.” I irritably scratched my head and sighed. “Logic tells me that this doesn’t make sense. I grew up in Beining city, and I had never met Wen Jiubo or anyone who looked like him. I’m pretty sure I never suffered from amnesia, and I grew up like any other child…Oh, maybe my mother was a little abnormal, but I’m quite sure that I never encountered anything strange before.”
“But you trust him, don’t you?” asked Zhu Xuan.
“I really want to trust him.” I sighed and turned to face Zhu Xuan. “But my reason constantly tells me that I shouldn’t trust him. He is not a human being, and he almost never talks anything about himself. Whenever I ask him, he always beats around the bush and is reluctant to talk.”
“That’s why you came here to investigate his identity because you don’t want him to have you over a barrel, right?” Zhu Xuan asked.
“So you can also read my mind now.” I laughed.
“Well.” Zhu Xuan also laughed. “I really want to meet Mr. Wen if he is really as powerful as you said. I’m very curious about what kind of person he is.”
“I have been thinking about it these days, I think it would be easier if Wen Jiubo was here,” I whispered. “If he was here, he would have a way to deal with the beast Chen. It wouldn’t take long for him to figure out the cause of this whole thing and come up with a brilliant idea to solve it.”
“Then why don’t you ask him to come?” Zhu Xuan looked at the phone in my hand, lifting his chin. “I saw you staring at the phone for quite a while.”
“I… I don’t really want to contact him. Perhaps I’m being selfish,” I turned the phone in my hand over and said. “I know that if he was here, he would solve this problem very quickly. But if I asked him for help, I would lose to him once again. Then, he’ll always treat me as a kid, and I’m afraid I’ll never have another chance to prove myself.”
Zhu Xuan stared at me. The corner of his lips curled up as if he was interested in my story. “This is the first time I heard someone say such a thing. What are you trying to prove?”
“I want to prove that I am capable to fight by his side,” I pouted and said. “I want to prove that I’m not a fragile doll that he can toy with. I want him to know that I can be trusted and that he can tell me who he really is.”
Unexpectedly, Zhu Xuan burst into laughter.
“Hey, what are you laughing at?” I was a little angry. “Is it that funny?”
“No, no, no, I’m sorry. It’s not funny at all.” It took him a few minutes to stop laughing, but I could still tell from his eyes that he was still laughing inwardly. “I just think that you, as a human being, are really brave.”
“I will take it as a compliment,” I muttered.
“Do you know that Mr. Wen is probably a very powerful monster?” asked Zhu Xuan.
“I know, so what?”
“For most powerful monsters, they have not only a big and scary name,” Zhu Xuan said while pondering. “They also have lived for many years, and their power is far beyond the imagination of humans. Their lives are as long as History, or you can say they’re History itself. It’s not easy for you, a human, to prove your ability in front of History.”
“I never said it would be easy. But I still want to…” I suddenly frowned before I could finish my sentence. I realized that something seemed to be wrong. “Wait, Zhu Xuan, have you… already guessed what kind of monster Wen Jiubo is?”
“How could that be possible?” Zhu Xuan smiled, shaking his hand at me. “I can only take a guess given the very little information you told me.”
My eyes suddenly lit up. “What?! Are you serious? You already have an answer?”
“No, it’s just a guess. I have no evidence.”
“That’s great! Tell me!” I became excited.
“No, I don’t think so. Forget about it, it’s just a guess.” Zhu Xuan shook his head and didn’t intend to tell me at all.
“Moreover, it would be boring if I just told you. Since this is your story, I think it would be better for you to discover it yourself.” Zhu Xuan smiled.
“Not even a hint?” I didn’t want to give up.
Surprisingly, Zhu Xuan changed the subject. “If you aren’t going to call that exorcist then, you, your friends, and I, the four of us won’t be able to solve this Beast Chen problem.”
I became silent. Yes, he was right. This problem was the top priority at present.
“Not even a chance?” I asked. “You defeated the beast Chen 30 years ago. Theoretically, you got serious injuries, but how could it recover so fast? And it became even more powerful than before.”
“You got a point.” Zhu Xuan nodded. “I believe that this is very strange. The beast Chen recovered too fast, I suspect that someone helped it.”
“Are you saying that… someone empowered the beast Chen while you were in a coma?” I asked with a frown.
“We can’t rule out this possibility.” Zhu Xuan said, “Though I won the fight, I was unconscious for 30 years; however, how could the dying beast Chen suddenly disappear? There was only one possibility. Like the abbot in Longning Temple said, the Taoist priest who sealed the beast, took it away. However, something is even weirder. If this Taoist priest was kind enough to seal this evil beast, then why didn’t he save me who was unconscious at that moment?”
“Yeah!” It suddenly dawned on me. “I knew it! That Taoist priest didn’t seal the beast Chen out of good intentions. He deliberately kept it, waiting for the right opportunity to release it… But why did he do such thing, was he too bored?”
Zhu Xuan smiled helplessly after hearing me mutter. “I don’t know why. But what he did exposes us to a more dangerous situation. Perhaps the only way to repent for my mistake is to sacrifice myself…”
“No, no, no, don’t be reckless,” I hurriedly waved my hand and said. “Don’t worry, there are other ways. I have a fan, remember? This green fan is a present from Wen Jiubo. I don’t know why, but the beast Chen seems to be scared of it. Didn’t I use this fan to save you?”
Zhu Xuan looked at me and said, “Your fan is a ritual instrument, all evil beasts are scared of it. However, the power of an instrument is influenced by the exorcist who uses it. The spells the exorcist chants and the power of the exorcist determine if the instrument can unleash its most powerful state. Maybe the Wen Jiubo you mentioned can seal the beast Chen with that fan, but for you, you can only frighten it for a moment. And when the beast finds out that you’re not some powerful exorcist, the fan will become useless.”