Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 3 Book of Exchange – Chapter 59 Lost
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 59 Lost
“Fine.” I started with a question, “Who attacked you?”
“Taoist priests,” Wen Jiubo said. “It’s the gray-robed Taoist priests that Bai saw. I guess one of their leaders once told Su Xiaoyun how to conjure ghosts. It’s the same man who also destroyed the seal on the temple and has been messing up our plans for a while.”
And that Taoist priest also deliberately released the beast Chen to harm people. He’s guilty of another crime, I silently thought to myself.
“I know. But who is he? Why does it seem like you’ve known him for a long time?” I asked. “Why does he want you dead?”
“No. He doesn’t want me dead, Gu Yu.” Wen Jiubo sighed. “He just wants justice.”
“He, what?” I was stunned.
“This may be a very long story, and I hope you’ll listen to me patiently,” Wen Jiubo said with a smile. “A long time ago, long before any kind of human civilization, during a time humans will never know. When I was still a nine-tailed fox, there was a beautiful country called Qingqiu. At that time, I lived on the hill north of this country. By the way, have I ever told you that during ancient times, the nine-tailed fox was the head of the nine evil beasts?”
I was dumbfounded and stammered to reply, “You… told me when you sealed Gudiao…”
“Yeah, that’s it,” Wen Jiubo continued with an expressionless face. “I remember very clearly. I was extremely bored, so the nine-tailed fox killed people and ate them; men, women, and children alike. The blood of those people I killed every day could dye a mountain red. They couldn’t run since the nine-tailed fox was able to smell them from hundreds of miles away. No matter how much they ran or how they tried to fight back, they couldn’t defeat the fox.”
“Why? Why did you do that?” I couldn’t help but interrupt Wen Jiubo.
“As I said, life was too boring.” Wen Jiubo looked at me quietly, “And human beings were too weak, and they didn’t have much meat on their body. That’s the reason why I killed so many people. Later on, humans began to learn how to make offerings. They offered the grain they harvested in the fields and the domestic animals they raised in their villages. However, it only amused the nine-tailed fox. The nine-tailed fox would take their offerings, swallow all the food before initiating another round of killings.”
“Humans are just like ants, no matter how many of them I ate and slaughtered, they would just breed more. At that time, the nine-tailed fox was too young to know and understand human nature.” Wen Jiubo shook his head and said, “They looked weak and vulnerable, but in fact, they possess incomparable power and might.”
“What happened afterward?” I asked.
“Then, among those weak humans, an outstanding person came up and sealed the nine-tailed fox,” Wen Jiubo said airily. “His power was sealed, and he could only live in this world in the form of a human being. Justice defeated evil, and the story ended.”
“But …” I subconsciously felt that Wen Jiubo still hid some important information from me, such as the details in between, why he became like this, and who was the woman in the mouth of the nine-tailed fox on the mural. However, Wen Jiubo interrupted me.
“So, as you said, I’m not a good man. I was the evil nine-tailed fox that has been hunted down by humans for thousands of years, and the man who killed me just wanted revenge.” Wen Jiubo looked me in the eye and said, “I’m not the man who you believe I am. I’m nothing but a cowardly fugitive.”
“I don’t believe you!” This time, I interrupted him. I stared into his eyes and brought my face near his. “I don’t believe anything you said, because I know you. Fugitive? Perhaps. But coward? No, you are not a coward. Now get up, we still can get out of this place before the Taoist priests find us!”
“Gu Yu, Gu Yu!”
I squatted down and wanted to carry Wen Jiubo on my back again. However, all of a sudden, he turned me around, held up my face and said sincerely, “Gu Yu, look at me.” He lowered his head and pressed his forehead against mine. The expression on his face suggested he was very serious about what he was going to say. “Listen to me. You must listen to me very carefully, alright?”
”I nodded, although I was confused.
His vivid black eyes had a distant stillness to them. He held my face, stressing each word he said, “I’m already dead, what you’re seeing currently is just a spirit. It’s not your fault. It’s an established fact, and you can’t change it.”
“But, but …” I stammered.
Wen Jiubo shook his head and whispered, “Shh, don’t say anything, don’t be sad either. It’s just that my time is up. I have lived long enough in this world, and everything has its end.”
While Wen Jiubo was talking, I noticed that his body was gradually becoming more and more transparent. At first, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I didn’t realize that he meant every word he said until I couldn’t feel his fingers on my face.
Wen Jiubo slowly vanished right in front of me.
“No, wait! You can’t die!” I lifted my hand and tried to hold his hand, however, my hand went through his body, “How dare you! It took me so much effort to find you! How dare you die in front of me! What should I do if you die?”
Wen Jiubo smiled lightly as if he heard a funny joke. He put his translucent finger on my lips. “Shh. I’m talking about myself. As for you, you have a long future ahead.”
“I’m trapped here like you!” I said angrily. “If you die…”
“No, you’re not.” Wen Jiubo smiled.
“You’re not trapped here,” Wen Jiubo said in a gruff voice. His body became more and more transparent, and he almost disappeared in the dark. “Fragrance, remember?”
“What? What are you saying?” I was about to cry out, “I don’t care about the fragrance, please just tell me how can I save you!”
“No, it is important. Remember that fragrance.” Wen Jiubo’s face was almost invisible in the dark, I could only vaguely see the movement of his lips. “Gu Yu, you have to wake up if you want to save me. Go, my fate can be rewritten. Even though I have transmigrated between life and death thousands of times, I never had a chance to meet you…”
Wen Jiubo’s voice echoed in the air before it faded away, along with his body.
What did that mean? Fragrance, what fragrance? I was so confused that I didn’t notice I dropped the torch on the ground.
Fragrance … Oh, right, that fragrance. Why did that smell suddenly appear?
I could smell the same fragrance at different places. What exactly was it?
Remember that fragrance.
I remembered. The fragrance smelled like the scent of Chinese roses, but it was mixed with a slight hint of sandalwood and ashes.
It was incense. Yes, it was definitely incense. But, why would someone light incense here?
As I was pondering, all of a sudden, I smelled that intoxicating fragrance again.
The smell got stronger and stronger. At the same time, everything started to fade away, along with my consciousness.
Everything in front of me became blurry. The walls, the dark room, and the torch flame gradually faded away. However, I could still smell that fragrance. Before I completely passed out, I saw the boy with the weird mask running towards me.
But it was too late, I finally lost consciousness and collapsed on the ground.
No, it’s not right…
Rather than saying that I fainted, I should say that I slowly woke up from my dream.
【Third Book – Book of Exchange End】