Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 4 Book of Kan – Chapter 17 Analysis
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 17 Analysis
At that moment, someone shouted from the other room, “Master! I‘ve pasted all the charms!”
Zhu Xuan glanced at me. “Let’s go and check on the old lady.”
I looked at Zhu Xuan and asked hesitantly, “Do you still want to go? As you said, the old lady may have died several years ago.”
Zhu Xuan asked me, “If it were you, would you still go?”
I looked at him for a minute, and in the end, I nodded.
“Alright, so let’s go.”
Zhu Xuan took the old lady’s pulse and then prescribed the same medicine as the day before. I saw that he revised the prescription several times, as if he was trying to find a better treatment.
“Okay. Go and get the medicine.” Finally, Zhu Xuan finished the prescription and handed it over to Mr. Yang.
“Okay, okay, I’ll go right away.” Mr. Yang took over the prescription as if he had been given a treasure. Just before he left, Zhu Xuan stopped him again.
“What’s wrong?” Mr. Yang turned around.
“Ah, it’s … I suddenly thought of something.” Zhu Xuan smiled and pointed to the bathroom next to him. “Mister, you told me before that your son was frozen to death in a bathroom, is this the one?”
The old man nodded. “Yes, it is. So? Is there anything wrong with it?”
“No, it’s okay.” Zhu Xuan shook his head. “Just curious. You should go and buy the medicine!”
After the old man left, Zhu Xuan stared blankly in the bathroom’s direction.
“What’s the matter?” I walked over immediately.
“Just wondering, maybe Ling Xiao trapped us here because he wanted to play a game with us,” Zhu Xuan suddenly said.
“Play a game?” I murmured.
“Yeah. I heard that Ling Xiao is a very smart and cautious person. He has a high IQ and he’s really good at manipulating people. He must be hiding somewhere right now, watching us closely. If you think about it, from his point of view, perhaps… it’s just a game for him, isn’t it?” Zhu Xuan looked at me. “He might have thrown us into a puzzle game.”
“A puzzle?” It suddenly dawned on me. “It must be the haunting of Mr. Yang’s house!”
Zhu Xuan nodded. “I’m afraid we have to find out the truth here, otherwise we will be trapped here forever.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
“No matter how much I think about this case, it always gives me a weird feeling. I don’t mean the fact that we are trapped here, but Mr. Yang and his family,” Zhu Xuan said, thinking hard. “First, Mr. Yang and his family are not bad people. They’re just ordinary people, and for no reason, they got targeted by an evil spirit. And the spirit doesn’t just harass the family, it wants to kill them. This is where my first doubt lies. Furthermore, according to Mr. Yang, his son was frozen to death by a strong cold wind while taking a bath. A few days after, Mr. Yang was also hit by the same cold wind, but his wife saved him in time, or else he would have died in the bathroom as well.”
“That’s right.” I nodded.
“However, there is something strange about Mr. Yang’s story.” Zhu Xuan walked into the bathroom, pulled open the shower curtain and showed it to me. “Look, there is no shower head, only an old faucet that serves as the shower head. This kind of faucet is made of iron. Judging by its rust, the faucet has been used for a long time.”
I walked over and looked closely at the faucet for a while, but I didn’t see anything weird. “So?”
Zhu Xuan shook his head. “Think about it, if the temperature in the bathroom was low enough to freeze people to death more than once, would an old faucet still be working as it does now?”
I suddenly understood. I was so surprised that my mouth was wide open. “You’re so good at this, you could become a detective.”
Zhu Xuan looked at me, amused. “Please, don’t flatter me too much.”
“But, are you saying that Mr. Yang is lying?” I asked. “Why would he do that? It wouldn’t benefit him in any way.”
“I don’t know.” Zhu Xuan shook his head. He looked at me and said, “But Gu Yu, from now on, you shouldn’t believe what your senses tell you. Everything here could be fake, and every doubt has a reason. It’s the only way for us to find out the truth.”
Afterward, as we expected, Mr. Yang went to the market and brought the medicine back. Then he went to prepare the medicine while Zhu Xuan and I went to the kitchen to prepare dinner.
The ingredients were exactly the same as yesterday, so we didn’t need to think about what to cook. We started right away. The kitchen was quiet, Zhu Xuan and I didn’t talk to each other, probably because we were both thinking about our situation.
“Okay, we can call Mr. Yang for dinner.” After the dinner was ready, I wiped my hands on the towel and was about to leave the kitchen.
“Wait a few minutes.” Zhu Xuan stopped me. “Don’t forget, we prepared the dinner much faster than yesterday. Mr. Yang certainly isn’t done with the medicine yet.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” I sighed and sat down on a chair. I didn’t do much, but I felt extremely exhausted.
“Is there any way…” I muttered to myself, “to directly find the villain hiding behind the scenes?”
Zhu Xuan also sat down. He said with a wry smile, “There has to be a way. But, right now the enemy is hiding in the shadows while we’re in plain sight. I don’t know what will happen if we just rashly take action. Poor me, I’m just an irrelevant person, but somehow I got involved in the battle of my old enemy.”
He was right, it was true.
Zhu Xuan had nothing to do with this. This whole matter was caused by Wen Jiubo, he could have turned a blind eye to it. There was no need for him to accept this strange request for Wen Jiubo.
I was afraid … that I was part of the reason too. If Zhu Xuan hadn’t met me, he would not have accepted this request and he would not have been involved in this matter.
“Don’t get me wrong. Though it’s the truth that I wouldn’t have visited the old fox in person if I never met you,” Zhu Xuan suddenly said as if he read my thoughts, “but you’re not the reason why I accepted this case. However, if you really want a reason… I should say it’s because I’m too soft.”
Zhu Xuan smiled as if he was mocking himself. “Towards human beings, no matter how cunning and evil they are, no matter what heinous and unethical things they have done, I still hold hopes and expectations for this race. Perhaps this is the ‘kindness’ that you humans always talk about. I can’t stand watching any creature dying in front of me without doing anything. Ling Xiao probably found out my weakness, and that’s why he set such a trap to lure us in.”
His expression was quite calm, but the sadness gleaming deep in his eyes betrayed him.
Perhaps Zhu Xuan suffered a lot due to his kindness before. Tons of anonymous history records showed that when the admiration for the divine beast Bai Ze turned into greed, many people wanted to capture him and keep him for their own.
It was hard to imagine that after whatever painful experiences Zhu Xuan had been through, he still kept a kind heart…
“Kindness,” I cleared my throat and muttered, “no matter what, isn’t a bad quality to have.”
Zhu Xuan stared at me in surprise, and then he burst into laughter.
At the same time, he patted my head.
“I know. Thank you, Gu Yu.”
My face flushed and I almost stood up. I looked up and met Zhu Xuan’s eyes, who was calmly staring at me with a smile on his face.
“Speaking of which, who is this Ling Xiao guy?” I hurriedly changed the subject. “He must know you and me very well. Otherwise, it would be impossible for him to set such a trap.”
“I wish I knew.” Zhu Xuan sighed. “I’ve never met this Taoist priest, and I don’t know how powerful he is. If Wen Jiubo were here, the odds would be in our favor. However, since he is not here, the only thing we do is to discreetly handle the current situation.”
The current situation…
“Mr. Yang’s wife, the old lady, will she die tonight?” I asked solemnly.
“I don’t know,” Zhu Xuan said. “We haven’t found out how she died yesterday. Theoretically speaking, no one entered that room after she took the medicine. The charms you wrote are still on the walls. If anything with negative energy came in, you should have detected it.”