Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 4 Book of Kan – Chapter 23 Discussion
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 23 Discussion
After hearing me out, Wen Jiubo nodded. “What you said is reasonable.”
“Of course it’s reasonable. Isn’t that common sense?”
“Yeah, it’s indeed common sense. As you said, destroying the world wouldn’t benefit anyone, and the culprit himself cannot escape the fate of being destroyed. It is really hard to believe someone would do such a thing.”
“Of course,” I replied.
“But, if you think about it this way, then what benefits does a murderer get from killing someone?” Wen Jiubo looked at me and asked back.
I was tongue-tied for a moment and then felt that his question was quite funny. Why did Wen Jiubo ask a question with such an obvious answer?
“There are some benefits. All murderers have their own motives.” I gave him an example, “Like a wife killing her husband’s mistress after she finds out he cheated on her, or a person taking revenge on someone they hold a grudge against, or someone murdering another person in order to inherit their assets. There is always a motive to murdering someone. If there wasn’t, who would be willing to kill someone else?”
“But, will the murderer always receive benefits after his actions? I don’t think so,” Wen Jiubo looked at me sharply and questioned. “First of all, although whenever we discuss a murder case, we always say the murderer deprived the victim of his life. However, after the murderer kills someone, he doesn’t get the victim’s life, and killing someone won’t make him live any longer, right?”
I was puzzled. “It’s true, but…”
However, Wen Jiubo interrupted me, “If you want to say that the murderer can gain other benefits like the satisfaction of revenge, or that some disputes can only be solved by murder, I don’t think it’s right. There is a saying that ‘revenge is a never-ending cycle’. Assuming that someone takes revenge by killing their father’s murderer, it is likely that the children of the person he just killed will come for him to take revenge. Consequently, the vicious cycle begins. Therefore, neither the murderer nor the victim gains any benefits from it, not to mention that neither of them will obtain peace afterward. Killing is never a way to solve any problem, no matter how severe the problem is. Have you ever heard of a couple that lives happily ever after, after the wife killed the mistress?”
I frowned, feeling that there was something wrong with his statement. “Even if what you said is right… but as I mentioned, some people would kill their own father in order to inherit the family assets? Those benefits are real, aren’t they?”
“No, not really,” Wen Jiubo said firmly.
“If it were you, would you kill your family members for money?” Wen Jiubo asked.
“Definitely not…” I subconsciously replied, but I quickly explained. “But not everyone in the world thinks the same way. Besides, I’ve heard that many rich people’s children have very bad relations with their families and their relationships aren’t that close.”
“That’s right,” Wen Jiubo suddenly interrupted as he nodded. “In other words, perhaps only rich children who are not close to their family would murder their relatives for their properties, right? If they have a good relationship with their parents, the chance of murdering their parents is almost zero, right?”
I nodded doubtfully. I had to admit he was right.
“On one hand, those children will inherit their parent’s assets sooner or later after their parents die. On the other hand, if we’re talking about their parents whom they have a very close relationship with, I think everyone would rather decide to take care of them until they pass away,” Wen Jiubo went on. “Moreover, if we assume that the desire for money is bad enough for the murderer to kill his family in order to inherit it sooner, then what?”
“…Then what?” I didn’t know how to respond. “You get what you want.”
“Once again you prove my point.” I was completely confused, but Wen Jiubo looked at me as if he was pleased with my answer. “Even if the murderer kills someone for a huge amount of money, then what? No matter how much money he has, he will spend it all one day, and if the murderer himself is a lazy loser, he will starve to death after the money runs out. If the murderer is a diligent and wise person, he will certainly be able to earn enough money even if he doesn’t inherit, won’t he?”
“No, even if you’re right,” I finally found a point that I could refute with. “in this world, it takes a lot of effort to earn money. If people don’t work, they will have no money to buy food. Everyone needs to work, blue-collar or white-collar. You see, even you have to be an exorcist, otherwise, you wouldn’t have been rich, am I right?”
“No, you’re wrong.”
I didn’t expect that even though I made such a clear argument, Wen Jiubo still refuted without hesitation. I felt a little dumb.
“How? How am I wrong?”
“The logic is wrong.” Wen Jiubo took the teapot and slightly shook it as if to confirm how much water was left, and then he poured himself a cup and then raised it near his lips. The rising white steam from the cup blurred his lips.
Wen Jiubo, he always drank tea by himself. He never poured me a cup when I was with him. I saw that there was another cup on the table, and I angrily grabbed it and poured a cup for myself.
“In the end, it’s a lie. People won’t have money if they don’t work. This may be true, but they won’t have food to eat? Are you sure about that?”
“Of course.” As I was answering, I drank some tea.
“No, it’s just a misunderstanding,” Wen Jiubo narrowed his eyes and replied lazily. “Just like you’re misunderstanding me right now.”
‘Misunderstanding what?’ I thought. But before I could say it, I was almost choked by the tea and began to cough.
The tea was too bitter.
Wen Jiubo couldn’t help laughing. He looked at me and asked, “It’s very bitter, isn’t it?”
“So damn bitter!” I swallowed the rest of what was in my mouth with difficulty, then I stuck out my tongue and gasped like a dog. I never tasted anything so bitter before, I could hardly feel my tongue.
Wen Jiubo mercilessly laughed at me. Although it might just be one of his ordinary laughs, for me it looked like an evil laugh at this moment.
“You must be thinking why didn’t I pour a cup of tea for you every time I drank it. You thought I ignored you and felt dissatisfied as a result, right?”
“No, I didn’t…” I refuted weakly.
“Actually, my taste buds are not very sensitive. Or should I say, not as sensitive as you humans,” Wen Jiubo put down the cup in his hand and said. “It’s okay for me if I don’t eat. However, whenever I eat, I won’t be able to taste anything if it doesn’t taste strong enough. My taste buds are numb, as humans say.”
“Very numb,” I emphasized.
I didn’t expect to accidentally know this small habit of his. It explained why Wen Jiubo rarely cooked in this old residence and almost never dined with me.
I used to invite him for dinner many times, but he would decline mercilessly every time. I was so angry at him back then, but now I felt so dumb after I learned the reason.
“However, you didn’t know until you tasted the tea, did you?” Wen Jiubo suddenly changed the subject and asked. “You misunderstood me for not pouring you a cup of tea or not caring about you if you had never have picked up the cup and tasted it, right?”
I hesitated for a moment, but after thinking it over, I thought he was probably right. Because Wen Jiubo was that kind of person, it was normal for me to think that way. But this kind of misunderstanding——
“But this kind of misunderstanding won’t have any effect,” I explained. “You have always been impolite, even if I misunderstood you, it wouldn’t affect my judgment on who you are, or our relationship, or…”
Or my feelings for you.
“That’s true.” I could see the joy in his eyes. I was not sure if he understood my subtext. He continued, “It should be said that life is actually full of misunderstandings, many of which will never be solved throughout our whole lives, but at the same time, they won’t impact people’s daily life. Big misunderstandings that can influence our lives are rare to see, like ‘if you don’t work, you won’t afford to buy food.’ Everyone has their own misunderstandings.”
Back to the previous topic again. I tried to attentively listen to him.
“In fact, if you think carefully, will anyone who doesn’t work starve to death in modern day China? Have you ever heard of such a case? I guess not.” Wen Jiubo casually said to himself. “Even though homeless people are jobless they can beg for food at the corner of the overpass. They can write something on their signs like they’re very poor and hungry, and they can receive enough money in a day to buy food, can’t they? If they’re disabled or look extremely poor, maybe they can beg for enough money to buy a hamburger. Even if we’re talking about someone with high self-esteem who refuses to beg for money, doesn’t the government provide social welfare system for the unemployed? Since it will lead to social problems if the government left the unemployed alone wandering on the streets. The police need to deal with them if they encounter one. On the other hand, in a nepotistic society such as China, there are many freeloaders who don’t earn any money and depend on their parents or relatives to live. All in all, except for some remote areas and villages, it is difficult to starve to death in modern society.”