Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 4 Book of Kan – Chapter 26 The Cause (1)
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 26 The Cause (1)
Wen Jiubo glanced at me and said slowly, “The Taoist priest Ling Xiao is not really a Taoist priest.”
“Really?” I was surprised.
“When I first met him, he was a priest serving the princess,” Wen Jiubo said. “She was the princess of the country you saw in your dreams that I destroyed. A long time ago, I was still quite young. At that time, my thoughts were simple. I was utterly reckless and impulsive and never thought of the consequences.”
It was hard to think of Wen Jiubo as a reckless person, but based on the murals I saw above the altar, he did have a period of such unbridled recklessness.
“Back then, my knowledge about this world was quite limited and the world seemed so large. Therefore, I made unforgivable mistakes due to faulty generalization,” Wen Jiubo confessed. “I was once betrayed and experienced the deepest kinds of malice from the human race. I was tortured by them, so at that time, I was scared.”
“Scared?” I asked in surprise. I thought Wen Jiubo would use words like resentful or angry, but I never expected that he would use a word like scared.
“Yes, I was scared,” Wen Jiubo said calmly. “I fled because I feared the human race. Eventually, I fled to a mountainous area, far away from the central plains, and I decided to stay there. I made up my mind that I would never have any contact with human beings. However, I was too young, I didn’t know that it was impossible. After about several decades, a small country called Qingqiu was established there.”
“I’ve never heard of such a country,” I couldn’t help but speak out.
“Of course you haven’t.” Wen Jiubo smiled. “At that time, human beings were not in control of the world. They shared the world’s resources equally with other living creatures. They didn’t know how to write, and thus, there are no written records of that era except for verbal legends.”
Did that happen… so long ago?
“Even though they are only legends, there are still some vague records passed on until today, such as this one.” Wen Jiubo stood up and walked to a nearby bookshelf. He browsed through it before pulling out an old thread-bound book. He then opened it and read,
“‘The history of Yi’, volume 5 ‘Guizang’ cited, The beast Chiyou ascended Mt. Jiunao to harass the city Kongsang, and the Yellow Emperor killed it in Qingqiu.’ And ‘The book of the Emperor Yang of Sui’ recorded, ‘All countries except for the country of Qingqiu came to pay their tributes to the emperor. The countries sat beside the blue oceans used the calendar created by the kingdom of Sui.’ Although most of these records were made up by later generations, they still possess some truth in them. However, what’s interesting is that the only truth recorded in those books are now seen as legends.”
“What is that?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“That is ‘there was a nine-tailed fox in the country of Qingqiu.'” Wen Jiubo closed the book and looked at me. “Every ancient book, as long as they mentioned the country Qingqiu, recorded my name. The nine-tailed fox and Qingqiu were almost inseparable, and later generations even gave the nine-tailed fox the title ‘the fox of Qingqiu’.”
I forced a smile. “You can’t blame them since it was you who destroyed that country.”
“Yeah.” Wen Jiubo smiled slightly. It didn’t seem like he was blaming me. He stood up and put the book back. “But memories fade over time. Human beings are a very forgetful species. They forgot why the nine-tailed fox was brought up every time Qingqiu was mentioned, and they forgot why the nine-tailed fox was associated with Qingqiu. No matter how sad and tragic the history was, if the period is old enough, people will forget about it, and then repeat the same mistakes which will lead to the same horrible consequences over and over.”
I was surprised; I studied the expression on his face. “What did they… do to you?”
Wen Jiubo was dumbfounded for a moment, and then he smiled. He poked my nose with his finger. “You, Gu Yu, you’re such a sensitive man.”
I was not happy at his compliment. I pushed his hand away and said, “Come on, can’t you just answer me honestly?”
Wen Jiubo thought for a moment. “I think you can see it yourself.”
“Huh?” I didn’t understand what he was saying.
“Close your eyes,” Wen Jiubo suddenly said.
“What are you doing——”
“Please, just listen to me and close your eyes,” Wen Jiubo ordered.
I had to follow his order and nervously closed my eyes. Then I felt Wen Jiubo approaching me, he pressed his forehead against mine.
What is he going to do?
Just before I could ask, I suddenly felt a wave of pain in my head. The world began to swirl, and soon after, some memories that did not belong to me entered my mind.
“It hasn’t rained lately.”
Two farmers were chatting as they walked on a dirt road, with hoes on their shoulders. It seemed that they were coming back from farm work, however, their faces were frowning.
The other person echoed, “Yeah, why is there a drought so suddenly? It’s so strange. It hasn’t rained for nearly a month. If the situation goes on like this, our crops will die because of the lack of water.”
“Alas!” The first farmer sighed. “Isn’t everyone all saying that there must be something evil that’s deliberately making our lives harder? There are only a few fields that can be used as farmland in this miserable place. We’re all going to starve to death if it continues.”
“Yeah, you’re right. There must be an evil monster nearby!”
At this moment, a voice came from afar.
“Laosan! Laowu! Something terrible happened!!” ”
Another farmer ran over in panic, shouting while gasping, “Something terrible happened!”
“What’s the matter?” After hearing this, Laosan and Laowu asked anxiously.
“Monster, monster!” The man was out of breath. He said while waving his arms in the air. “Our neighbor, the one with the pockmarked face, went hunting in the mountains and accidentally found a monster! The monster is as large as a mountain and it has nine tails! Ah!”
Laosan and Laowu’s faces changed. They immediately dropped their hoes and ran towards the mountain.
After they climbed the mountain, they bypassed many jagged rocks and crooked branches, and then they crouched down as they approached a big cave.
Laosan and Laowu found that there were many villagers they knew gathered here. They secretly waited behind the bushes, watching the dark cave in silence.