Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 4 Book of Kan – Chapter 29 Taoist Priest Lingxiao
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 29 Taoist Priest Lingxiao
Wen Jiubo’s tone sounded like some villain from a hot-blooded cartoon, and it made me burst into laughter.
“Really? I thought I heard you say that evil and good are just social constructs made up by human beings,” I said with a smile.
“Some are, while some are not,” Wen Jiubo paid no attention to my joke and went on. “There are some things that can capture the darkest side of human nature and use it for its own benefit. From every perspective, it is evil.”
“But you said that this Jade Ruyi can realize one’s wish, didn’t you?” I asked.
“That comes with a price,” Wen Jiubo said sternly. “If you make a wish to the Jade Ruyi, then you must pay a price equivalent to the value of the wish. And that price is not something everyone can afford.”
“What price?” I asked curiously.
Surprisingly, Wen Jiubo shook his head. “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
“I’ve never really seen that object. So, the only knowledge I have of it is from my perspective as a victim to its power when it sealed me, and some investigations I did afterward,” Wen Jiubo said calmly.
“So you’re saying that you were sealed by that object?” I asked.
“As I said, the Jade Ruyi can realize wishes. This was why a weak priest with no power such as Lingxiao was able to seal me so easily. After I was sealed, my power was scattered all over the world. I could no longer maintain my animal form and was barely able to live as a human being,” Wen Jiubo said softly. “The Jade Ruyi can be used for good or evil. But in most cases, it seduces the darkest side of human nature, which is why I called it the most dangerous ritual instrument.”
I nodded and gradually understood how the Taoist priest Lingxiao sealed the nine-tailed fox. But why did he show up again? What purpose did he have now?
Just before I was about to ask, Wen Jiubo stopped me with a hand gesture. He seemed to have already guessed my question.
“First of all, I don’t know why he showed up again after thousands of years. When I first heard that there was a strange Taoist priest from Su Xiaoyun, I didn’t think much of it. After all, he’s still a human being and there is no reason he could live that long. However, as more and more incidents occurred, and his name was increasingly linked to the mastermind behind, I became sure he was the same Taoist priest Lingxiao I knew. If you wish to know what he wants from me, I think the purpose of our mysterious mastermind is very obvious.”
“What’s his purpose? Why can’t I see it?”
“He wants to trouble me,” Wen Jiubo turned his head and said. “No matter what he did or what kind of strange plan he carried out behind the scenes, there is one common goal, that is to interfere with my plans. I know that man. He’s willing to do anything in order to achieve his goal.”
“Lingxiao is… how should I put, he’s just like a child,” Wen Jiubo thought for a moment before answering me.
I was very surprised since I did not expect that Wen Jiuo could that comment on such a dangerous Taoist priest.
“What do you mean?”
“Simply, his view of the world is highly polarized,” Wen Jiubo shook his head and said. “A child’s view of the world is quite simple. They can only distinguish pure good from pure evil, and they see this world as black and white. Their understanding about this world is limited and must be polarized, otherwise, they cannot understand the world. They won’t understand if you tell them that a person is neither good nor bad. If they meet a new person, then they will keep racking their brain until they can settle on whether this person is good or bad. Do you understand?”
That’s the way it was. I nodded and barely understood his words.
“Therefore, we can’t use the word stubborn to describe a person like Lingxiao. He actually has a defective view about this world,” Wen Jiubo said. “When he sealed me, Qingqiu had already been destroyed. The palace had collapsed, and only a few citizens survived. Those who survived also did not want to stay in their hometowns, and they all fled to other places. However, Lingxiao stubbornly guarded that barren land. I lost all my power, and he imprisoned me, tormenting me day after day. He seemed to mulishly believe that if he tortured me, he could save that country and restore everything that disappeared.”
I couldn’t help but look at him with a little sympathy. I didn’t expect that Wen Jiubo had such an experience, and I was not sure if I should comfort him or just remain silent.
“Um… my deepest sympathies,” I said dryly.
“Don’t feel sorry for me.” Wen Jiubo smiled when he heard that. “Afterward, I seized the first opportunity that came and escaped from that country. I have never met the Taoist priest since then, and I know nothing of what happened to him.”
Then, Wen Jiubo poured himself a cup of tea and also poured me a cup of water.
“Having said that, this is almost everything I wished to tell you,” Wen Jiubo sipped some tea and said. “You must have been curious about these questions for a long time, so I took this opportunity to tell you everything all at once. I’m also going to answer the question you asked at the beginning. While you and Bai Ze were trapped in the time loop, I asked Bai to find the Jade Ruyi.”
I hadn’t realized we had talked for such a long time before he said that. I found that my throat was quite dry now, and I took a sip of water from the cup.
“Looking for the Jade Ruyi?” I asked. “Why are you looking for that thing now?”
“I don’t have any evidence and everything is just my speculation. But I believe that if Lingxiao truly came back, he must want to get this magic weapon back,” Wen Jiubo said while pondering. “Therefore, it is in our best interest to find and safeguard that object before he does.”
“Why does Lingxiao want the Jade Ruyi back?” I asked curiously.
Wen Jiubo leered at me. “If you were an avenger who wasted thousands of years trying to kill your sworn enemy, only to fail, what would be the first thing you would want to do after your return?”
“Of course, I would kill my enemy,” I said immediately without thinking.
Wen Jiubo nodded. “But even though I lost most of my power, it’s not that easy to kill me. Otherwise, he would have done that a thousand years ago. Therefore, the Jade Ruyi will definitely become his first option since using it will make killing me an effortless endeavor.”