Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 3 Book of Exchange – Chapter 53 Wen Jiubo’s Death
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 53 Wen Jiubo’s Death
I was anxious and rushed towards the foothill as fast as I could. While I was running, I took out my phone and dialed Wen Jiubo’s number. However, no matter how many times I called him, I could only hear the tone from the other side stating that the line couldn’t be connected. A female voice told me over and over, “the number you dialed is busy now. Please try again later.”
On the way to the old residence, I could clearly feel that the road wasn’t the one I was so familiar with.
The small country road at the back of school had turned into a ragged dirt road with dried weeds growing wildly on the sides. I ran along this small path and arrived at the old residence. Fortunately, the waist-high weeds were still there. I ran through the weeds and saw the old residence from afar.
The old residence was still there! And from the outside, it didn’t look like anything had changed!
I got excited and rushed to the front gate. However, just before I pushed the door open, I noticed that the door was unlocked.
This door was always locked. Usually, it was closed and impossible to open forcefully, and it would automatically open as long as I stood in front of it for a few seconds. It was never unlocked.
I had a bad premonition and hurriedly opened the wooden door. And soon, my fears became reality.
The courtyard was empty. The vegetation and flowers that were green all year round were gone. All plants were fallen and withered, some were even rotten in the mud. It looked like the house had been abandoned a long time ago.
Even stranger was that I suddenly smelled an exotic fragrance. However, all the plants in the yard were dead, where did this familiar fragrance come from?
I didn’t have time to think about it; I quickly passed those dried plants, rushed through the yard, and reached the living room. When I opened the door, I was stunned by what I saw.
The room was a mess. It looked as if someone had broken in and robbed the place. All of the furniture was knocked over and had been violently smashed. The old books Wen Jiubo cherished so much were scattered on the ground, along with shattered vases and mirrors.
It was chaos.
What’s more, I saw dried dark red blood on some shards of glass.
Blood… I suddenly remembered the blood rain in my dream and managed to stop myself from screaming.
What the hell was going on here, what happened? A chill ran down my spine, and I could hardly feel my heartbeat.
“Wen Jiubo! Wen Jiubo!” I madly shouted his name, searching one room after another. Although deep inside I clearly knew that Wen Jiubo couldn’t be here, I still shouted his name.
“Wen Jiubo! Are you here? Come out! Wen Jiubo!”
Please, please answer me. I didn’t care who he was, I just needed him to be alive and to answer me right now!
Suddenly, I heard a weak, low-pitched voice. I shivered uncontrollably and ran towards the direction where the voice came from.
“Who is it? Who is it? Please answer me!”
“Gu Yu… I’m here!”
The voice was a little louder than before. This time I recognized it. It was that stupid white weasel!
“Bai! Is that you, Bai? Where are you?”
“Moron, I’m right next to your feet!”
I looked down. There was a large closet that had fallen over on the ground, and I could see something white stuck underneath.
“Bai, are you stuck under the closet?” I was shocked and quickly squatted down to look at the gap between the floor and the closet.
Bai couldn’t move as his tail and one of his feet was trapped under the closet. Blood dyed his white fur, he looked horrible.
“Hold on, I’m going to get you out.” I stood up, took a deep breath and tried to lift the closet. Though the closet was extremely heavy, I used all of my strength to lift it even a little bit, creating a gap for Bai to escape.
Bai quickly got out from under the closet, then I let go of it. After a ‘bang’, the huge closet fell back on the ground, raising a smog of dust.
“Bai, are you okay?” I immediately knelt down to check Bai’s injury.
Bai looked exhausted. His white fur which he cherished and groomed every day was dirty and covered in blood. One of his legs was injured and couldn’t move at all. His tail was also wounded and hung limply behind him.
“Lucky me, I thought I was going to die. It’s great to see you again,” Bai forced a smile and said.
“What are you talking about? Wait here, I’m going to find some bandages for you.” Upon saying that, I stood up, carefully walked through all the broken furniture and entered another room. Fortunately, the first-aid kit and herb medicine that Wen Jiubo prepared were still there. I returned with that small wooden box. However, as soon as I opened the box and took the bandages out, Bai started to shake violently and moved backward.
“Get it away!” Bai shouted.
“What?” I was dumbfounded and didn’t understand his reaction.
“The charms, it has charms inside!” yelled Bai with an ugly expression on his face.
I looked down and saw some yellow charms lying in the corner of the box. I hurriedly took out the charms and tore them into pieces. Bai looked relieved.
“Idiot! How dare you come near me with those charms! What are you trying to do?!” Bai complained.
“Yeah, I’m going to kill you, skin your fur, and make it into a fur coat.” I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. I took out the bandages and medicine. “Since you still have the strength to whine, it seems that you’ll be okay even if I don’t wrap those wounds.”
“What are you talking about?!”
“However, I’ve never seen you react so strongly to charms like this.” I grabbed his wounded white paw and carefully applied some medicine.
“Things always change. Now that I’m injured, I’ve lost the remaining demonic strength I had.” Bai glanced at me. All of a sudden, he put his uninjured claw on my knee. I was surprised to find that his eyes were full of sadness and earnestness.
“Gu Yu, I’m so glad you’re back! You must save Mr. Wen!”
My heart sunk when I heard the words ‘Mr. Wen’, and my hands were shaking uncontrollably. I didn’t know if my tightened grip hurt Bai.
“Where is Wen Jiubo? What happened here? Why is the old residence like this?” I asked Bai a series of questions.
Bai shook his head, looking sad and sullen.
“The men in grey… the men in grey took him away.”
“What? The men in grey?” I was confused. “Who are the men in grey?”
“It’s a group of people wearing grey Taoist robes!” Bai was furious. “They took Wen Jiubo away, then cast a strange spell and turned the old residence into this…”
“Slow down.” Although I was even more anxious than Bai, I had to force myself to calm down. “Tell me what happened from the beginning.”
Bai desperately looked at me and shook his head. “I don’t know the details. Lately, I rarely stay in the old residence. I found an abandoned ancestral hall at the back of the mountain. Some small monsters were gathering there, and I followed them to find houses with good wine…”
“So you just wanted to steal alcohol. Skip it and get to the point,” I said impatiently.
“Okay, okay. Yesterday, after I had a good dinner, I thought that I hadn’t been here in a while. So I took half a bottle of wine and came here, but I didn’t expect… to see the door wide open, with many people wearing grey Taoist robes standing in the yard.”
“Gray Taoist robes? Were they Taoist priests?” I asked.
“I think there were… more than a dozen people in the yard. They held ritual instruments in their hands, and every ritual instrument was stained with blood. They were all expressionless. I can’t find an appropriate word to describe this feeling, it’s like they were not humans but cold and lifeless objects.”
After saying that, Bai licked the wound he had on its leg and took a deep breath, “The moment I walked in, I could feel strong mana, and it instantly impaired my power. It was really a terrible force. I’m afraid that they had already set a barrier around the old residence beforehand. That’s why I didn’t feel anything when I came in. That group of people was just like ghosts.”
“And then?” I asked.
“And then… I saw Wen Jiubo.” Suddenly, Bai stopped. I could see from his eyes that he was too terrified to talk. “I saw…”
“What the hell did you see?!” His hesitation drove me crazy.
“I saw a group of Taoist priests dragging Wen Jiubo out.”
I was thunderstruck. “Drag him out?”
“Though I didn’t run over to check, there is a connection between us monsters. At that time, Wen Jiubo was lying on the ground, lifeless.” Bai closed his eyes. “I’m sorry, but they killed Wen Jiubo. I’m sure of it.”
Bai’s words pierced my heart like a knife. I couldn’t help but grab Bai’s fur. “How can it be possible?! No one can kill Wen Jiubo, I know very well how powerful he is!”
“Calm down! You’re hurting me, you’re pressing on my wound!” Bai bared his fangs at me, and I hurriedly put him down.
“As I said, we don’t need to get close to each other to feel it. Monsters’ lives depend on the strength and aura they acquire through countless years of cultivation, also known as their mana. If their mana disappears, it is impossible to survive. That group of Taoist priests understood that as well.” Bai gazed at me, still opening his mouth and revealing his fangs. “Under those circumstances, I couldn’t get close to Wen Jiubo. One of the Taoist priests quickly found me, however, because of that fallen closet, that Taoist priest couldn’t catch me, otherwise, you would have seen a rancid corpse now!”