Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 4 Book of Kan – Chapter 37 Phone Call
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 37 Phone Call
“I set it up,” Wen Jiubo said lightly, “to protect you. I set up a layer of magic barriers centered on Yan University.”
“What? When did you…” Before I could recover from the shock Wen Jiubo brought since I never knew about those barriers, I thought of something else. “But if you set up the magic barrier long ago, why did we still encounter all kinds of unscrupulous monsters? The ghost even haunted our school back then.”
“Do you know how hard it is to maintain a magic barrier that is as large as half a city?” Wen Jiubo criticized me again. “I can’t stop all the small demons and troublesome monsters. The bigger the net, the easier it is for small fries to slip through. Ordinary demons and monsters are easily able to get in because of it. The magic barrier I set is to stop the big monsters like the beast Nian.”
“If the parasite spirit is considered to be ‘a small troublesome monster’, then I really don’t know what the big monster will look like,” I muttered.
“What did you say?”
“Nothing, nothing,” I quickly clarified. “So what about the magic barrier now? Is it keeping Lingxiao and his pet outside of the city?”
“No.” Wen Jiubo sighed. “The magic barrier is broken, that is to say, Lingxiao broke through along his little pet, which is good news.”
“You call that good news?” I felt stunned.
“Because they must have left a trail when they forcefully entered. Thankfully I can more or less figure out where they’re headed for due to the traces left by their spells. It’s highly possible for them to be heading towards your school, Gu Yu.”
“Wha——why is my school the center of everything again?” I muttered angrily. “Why did they come to my school? Could it mean, that thing is really here?”
“What did you say?” Wen Jiubo pointed out sharply. “Why did you say ‘again’?”
“Um, nothing,” I equivocated and quickly shifted the subject. “Well, if that’s the case, you and Bai should come back soon! You have to come and look for him.”
“Well, Gu Yu, this is the bad news.” Wen Jiubo let out a long sigh. “I really hate to admit it, but… Bai and I, we’ve fallen into a trap set by Lingxiao.”
“What?” I was speechless.
“A trap set by Lingxiao. Bai and I… we can’t go back to help you for a while.” Wen Jiubo still kept calm at this moment. “Because of Bai’s recklessness, we’re trapped in a barren hill in the suburb.”
“That’s not my fault!” I heard Bai’s refute in the background. “It’s you who said you were in danger, then I rushed over, right?”
“I said it was dangerous to warn you to get away!” I could feel Wen Jiubo was annoyed from his tone of voice. “At least, Gu Yu is much better than you at dealing with dangerous situations.”
“You damn fox, what did you say?”
“Okay, okay, can the two of you stop arguing for now?” I helplessly interrupted them. “Can someone tell me what happened?”
“It’s no big deal,” Wen Jiubo said. “It’s just a temporary seal trap that makes us unable to use any demon power for a while, which supposedly would be no big deal——”
I sensed his implication. “Supposedly?”
“Until Bai, this damn weasel, insisted on attacking the puppet scarecrow which was casting spells, and it triggered a landslide. Now we’re trapped in a dark and cold cave, waiting for the seal to expire,” Wen Jiubo’s voice was filled with helplessness.
“How can you blame it on me?!” Bai said indignantly. “I just wanted to help you!”
“How could this happen?” My first reaction was to find them as soon as possible. “Where are you? I’ll go and find you right away!”
“No, don’t come,” Wen Jiubo calmly stopped me and said. “It would take you at least half a day to get here. And if Lingxiao was using this to lure you out of the school, he’d be able to take us by surprise.”
“But… actually, Zhu Xuan is here now.” At this point, I did not have to hide the fact from him anymore, so I told them about Zhu Xuan. “So even if I come to save you, he will still be here——”
Wen Jiubo interrupted me before I finished, “Bai Ze? I knew that he must be involved in this matter. No, you can’t leave him there, I don’t trust him.”
He really gave me a headache. “Really? Even now, why don’t you just…”
“No, there is no room for negotiation.” Wen Jiubo was very determined. “Look, it’s okay for me to be trapped by a landslide for several days. Unlike humans, Bai and I don’t need to eat or drink. The biggest problem is that after our phone battery dies, we’ll be bored to death. You must never leave school. If what you said is true, that Bai Ze also went to Yan University, then it’s highly possible that the Jade Ruyi is there. And if Lingxiao gets the Jade Ruyi, not only you and I, but the whole world will be destroyed. Besides, I’m not against you and Bai Ze acting together, I just don’t trust him.”
“Yeah, yeah, of course you don’t. Neither of you can trust each other,” I muttered.
I wondered if Wen Jiubo sensed my dissatisfaction from my tone, because his voice suddenly softened, “I promise I’ll escape from here soon. But before that, you must be careful and take care of yourself, okay?”
My mind was in a whirl, and I answered perfunctorily, “I know, I know. Anyway, you just stick to your plan. You don’t need to worry about anyone else at all——”
“Gu Yu, I love you.”
I was dumbfounded after hearing him saying this sentence in such a solemn way.
“I love you. I know that I’ve told too many lies in my life, but this isn’t one of them.” Wen Jiubo’s low-pitched voice sounded deep and intoxicating as if it was gently brushing my ears. “I always put your safety above everything else. Watching you die is the one thing I fear the most. So please listen to me this time, all right?”
I certainly knew what kind of person Wen Jiubo was. If it was necessary, he would lie to my face without blinking. But this time, for some reason, though his words sounded like some line copied directly from a cheap romantic TV series, he seemed sincere or even sad.
As if it was going to be the last time we ever spoke to each other.
“I know, I know!” I hurriedly interrupted him before he said more sad sentences. “I believe you! Stop speaking nonsense, nothing will happen to me. If you insist, I won’t go looking for you, but you’d better find a way to get out, you can ask a friend or call the police——”
Before Wen Jiubo could answer, the line was cut off. I was surprised and tried to call him back, but the only thing I heard was the cold mechanical voice saying ‘the phone you dialed is switched off’.
…It seemed that his phone was dead. I was a little annoyed and threw mine back on the bed.
Wen Jiubo was that kind of person, it seemed like he always tried to deliberately hide his secrets without ever revealing anything about them. Afterward, he would find various excuses for himself, either saying it was to protect me or telling me to think of the big picture.
He always felt that no one would understand his suffering and loneliness he had borne on his shoulders for a millennium. Therefore, he never learned how to share; he just shouldered all the pressure and sadness himself, and then put on a smiling face to hide that dark past, as if this was something everyone did.
Did he ever consider that the person he protected also wanted to protect him as well?
After throwing the phone aside, I tried to sort out those messy thoughts in my mind. Gradually, I fell asleep with my clothes on.