Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 4 Book of Kan – Chapter 10 A Fox On The Mountain
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 10 A Fox On The Mountain
Zhu Xuan petted the golden retriever, then looked up and said to me, “All right, let’s go to the old veterinarian’s house tomorrow to ask about the situation. Gu Yu, you are able to see ghosts, maybe you can see something I’m unable to see.”
I hurriedly declined, “Um, I’m not that good. I think I should just stay behind you.”
Zhu Xuan laughed. “Well, let’s stop flattering each other. I’ll pick you up at your dormitory entrance tomorrow morning.”
I was surprised and asked, “Wait, you already know which dormitory building I live in?”
Zhu Xuan slyly winked at me. “I am Bai Ze, after all. There is nothing in this world that I don’t know.”
I said goodbye to Zhu Xuan at the foothill and dragged myself to school.
It was already past ten at night. I took out my phone, and unsurprisingly, I had more than a dozen missed phone calls from Su Xiaoyun and Shi Yitong. I texted them both to tell them that I was fine, that I had gone to the old residence and that nothing had happened to me.
I walked into my dormitory and opened the door of my room. And I found that all my three roommates were looking straight at me.
“Gu Yu, where have you been this afternoon?” Di Zizhen spoke first. “Do you know that the English teacher was pissed off and said that she would tell the dean about your early absence and record a demerit on you?”
“Whatever,” I sat down on the bed and said indifferently. I was not afraid of being recorded a demerit. Even if she really reported it to the school, Wen Jiubo would help me fix it.
Alas, I silently derided myself in my mind. Since when did I become a person who would ask someone to pull strings for me?
“Man, look what a carefree life little Gu Yu lives now.” Zhou Lang laughed after hearing this. He nudged Di Zizhen with his elbow. “I’ve told you before that our Gu Yu will shoulder great responsibilities in the future. Why would he care about some credits?”
I heard the sarcasm in Zhou Lang words, and I replied impatiently, “Fuck those responsibilities, I don’t want any of them.”
Zhou Lang saw I was upset and he hurriedly apologized, “Um, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just that you haven’t come to classes lately, and when you finally come back, you ran away without saying a word this afternoon. Do you know how worried we were?”
Qi Bojian, who had been doing his homework since I returned, also turned around and interrupted, “Hey, Zhou Lang is just trying to ask you if there are any supernatural events happening to you recently. After all, we’ve all experienced those before, so we’re worried about you.”
I knew in my heart that they truly cared about me. But how could I tell them that Yan City was in crisis again?
I threw my backpack on the bed and smiled. “I’m fine, stop worrying. I just went to the old residence this afternoon. As you know, I work part-time for that exorcist. And there are no supernatural events recently. Even if there is one, it will be someplace far away from school.”
They were obviously relieved.
“Gu Yu, don’t lie to your friends.”
“Don’t worry. Why would I lie to you?” I got up and prompted. “Stop guessing. It’s late, let’s go to bed.”
“Okay. I’ll sleep after this game.” Di Zizhen stared at his computer screen again.
A while later, all my roommates soon fell asleep. Zhou Lang’s snoring was as loud as thunder, and Qi Bojian’s teeth grinding sounded like busy mice. While I laid on my bed, tossing and turning and unable to fall asleep, what Wen Jiubo and Zhu Xuan said to me repeated over and over again in my mind.
All those things mingled together in my mind like a knotted wool ball. It felt like I should be able to see some hints, but I did not know how to find them.
Wen Jiubo must be hiding something from me. It was what that old fox was the best at, hiding lies beneath the truth, while telling the truth hidden beneath the lies.
I suspected it long ago. Why didn’t Wen Jiubo want me to know his identity? Was it just because he was a vicious nine-tailed fox?
No, it shouldn’t be. I was not a person who had a strong sense of justice, however, even if I really could not accept his evil side, he would not have needed to consider my feelings and could have just baited me directly with his beauty and charm which he was so proud of. After all, I had already fallen in love with him, any person who was as shrewd as Wen Jiubo must have expected that.
Somehow, there seemed to be a missing link.
I did not know how long I had been lying in bed and kept thinking about those stuff in my head, but I eventually fell asleep after a while.
The dream appeared again as if it was scheduled.
I opened my eyes. At first, I was still a little confused. I didn’t realize where I was until I saw the face of the maid nearby.
“Xiao Cui, what time is it now?” I asked.
The maid named Xiao Cui replied after a reverent salute, “Princess, it’s past three in the morning. It’s time.”
The long night eventually came to an end. My short life also reached its end.
“Well, then we should leave,” I said calmly.
But the maid stayed in her salute and did not move. I heard faint sobs.
She was crying so sadly because of me.
I bent over, wiped away her tears and comforted her, “Xiao Cui, don’t cry. I leave for the peace of the country which my father reigns, it is my duty to sacrifice my life for my country.”
“Alright, Xiao Cui, let’s go.”
I slowly walked out of the hall, wearing a luxurious white gown.
Outside the temple, there were crowds of people. Maids stood upright on both sides of the road, spreading red petals over the road. I walked barefoot quietly on the petals. Delicate petals were crushed, and red sap, like human blood, dyed my feet red. I slowly walked down the road.
There were countless bystanders whispering to each other.
“The king eventually sacrificed his daughter.”
“Well, isn’t it normal for the king to make sacrifices for the safety of his people?? Why should we be the only ones to suffer? Besides, I heard that the princess is abnormal.”
“Ah? What do you mean?”
“I heard that the princess was born with psychic powers and the ability to see the future, she’s a witch!”
“Oh, I heard that too! She has the same exact powers as that evil fox! What a shame. Perhaps the fox attacked us because of this evil witch!”
“Well, seems that it is a good thing to send her out as early as possible. The evil fox will leave us alone if he eats the witch girl!”
I walked slowly forward, taking no notice of the whispers. The road paved with petals stretched from the palace to the foot of the mountain, where the altar for me was placed.
My paunchy father, the king, stood by the altar blubbering.
“Father.” It was very hard for me to see him crying like this. I called out to him, “Do not cry for me. This is your daughter’s own will.”
Father wiped his tears and shook his head as if he could not speak. In the end, he called my name.
I walked to his front, held his hands and smiled, hoping that it would give him strength.
“It doesn’t matter. The people said if the fox eats me he won’t eat other people. And the country will flourish from now on and be prosperous.”
My father shook his head. He sighed with tears still dripping from his eyes. “If there was another way, I would never, ever sacrifice you!”
I comforted my father, “It’s okay. Everything will be alright. From now on, everyone can live a peaceful life.”
My father nodded through the tears, then he bore the pain and waved his hands in the air. “The sacrifice ritual begins!”
All of a sudden, many witches dressed in white appeared around the altar that was dead silent seconds ago. They wore wreaths on their heads and began to dance barefoot around the altar. Golden bells rang and men that wore white clothes began to sing. Their voices were gruff and drawn-out.
“There is a mountain in the North on which a fox lives; there is a country named Qingqiu and its people suffers!
There is a fox on the mountain and humans are what the fox eats; family separates and human bones scatter by the roadsides!
Now the king sacrifices his daughter as an offering; we pray for your forgiveness…”
With that ethereal song, I slowly stepped onto the high altar. From the top of the altar, you could see the mountain peak on the other side. It had always been a place that people feared. However, on this day, we had to face the mountain to lure the evil nine-tailed fox out.
After a short moment, we heard something. The atmosphere became different, and everyone felt the strong murderous intent that made people tremble. Soon after, a huge roar came from the opposite side.
Yes, the nine-tailed fox was coming.
When I woke up in the morning, the sky was still dark. I pulled out my cell phone from under my pillow, half-asleep. It was only six thirty in the morning. It seemed like I had a very bizarre dream last night, but I couldn’t recall the details. All I remembered were a sacrificial altar and a song. I laid in bed for a while, trying to remember, but I couldn’t. Since I couldn’t sleep anymore, I got off the bed and lazily went to the bathroom to clean myself up.
Right, Zhu Xuan had said yesterday that he would come and pick me up in the morning… but he didn’t say at what time. While puzzled, I took out my mobile phone, but then I remembered that Zhu Xuan did not leave me any contact number at all.
Did that mean that he would be there whenever I went downstairs?
Full of doubt, I quickly put on my clothes and walked out of the dormitory. Surprisingly, the moment I came to the ground floor, I found Zhu Xuan chatting happily with our dormitory manager.
“Ah, Gu Yu, there you are,” Zhu Xuan greeted me with a smile when he saw me.
“You, when did you come?” I was surprised.
“Is this your friend?” The dorm manager, who used to be cold to me because I often slept overnight outside, smiled happily to me and said, “Your friend is really considerate and he knows everything. He just arrived, but said he knew you would come down very soon.”