Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 5 Book of Farewell – Chapter 3 Reunion (1)
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 3 Reunion (1)
I walked towards that direction and saw two people embracing each other.
I know that guy.
He was Wen Jiubo, the person I was looking for. The young man who was in his arms was me, the ‘Gu Yu’ from the past.
Wen Jiubo pressed his index finger against his lips. “Shh, no need to say anything, there is nothing to be sad about. My time is up. I’ve lived long enough, and everyone and everything in this world has an end.”
Yes, I remember those words.
At this moment, the people I desperately wanted to save disappeared before me.
“No, wait! You can’t die!” Past me reached out and desperately tried to grab the person in front of him. “How dare you! It took me so much effort to find you! How dare you die before me! What will I do if you die!?”
What happened in front of me really confused my brain since what was happening now was also what had happened in the past.
If I rush over now, will I disturb the timeline again and cause the whole world to collapse?
Really… what am I thinking? After being in Hell twice, I finally found him. How can I give up at this moment?
I laughed at my lack of courage, but just when I was about to rush over, I froze.
I remembered clearly that at that time, I watched Wen Jiubo’s body gradually turning transparent until my fingers passed through his body and grabbed nothing but air.
But now, when I looked at the two of them from the perspective of a bystander, I clearly saw that the person whose body was becoming transparent and gradually disappearing was actually not Wen Jiubo, but… me.
Yeah, that’s right, ‘Gu Yu’ from the past gradually vanished, but he was seemingly not aware of that.
Now ‘Gu Yu’ disappeared while Wen Jiubo lowered his hand and stood up.
Although the blood on his clothes made him look injured, he showed no sign of disappearing at all. Instead, it looked like he was in a good mood.
I walked out of the shadows and stared at Wen Jiubo. I opened my mouth but was unable to say anything.
Oh, the mask.
I lifted my arms and slowly took off the mask on my face.
“Is this… an illusion?” I muttered. I didn’t even know why I asked such a question.
Then, I noticed that Wen Jiubo’s expression looked a little awkward after I took off my mask.
I felt a chill run down my spine as if someone had poured a bucket of icy cold water over my head.
He … doesn’t remember me?
However, that made sense. I was late, but in fact, I had no regrets. To be honest, I couldn’t even remember exactly what happened before I arrived here.
My own memories had already faded, let alone others. In the end, perhaps nobody in this world would remember me.
This was actually——
At this moment, Wen Jiubo suddenly opened his mouth and interrupted my thoughts.
“No, this isn’t an illusion.”
His voice was sonorous and forceful, as if calling me had used all his strength.
Before I could know, Wen Jiubo suddenly walked towards me and pulled me in his arms.
For the first time in my life, I was held by someone so hard that it felt like my ribs were on the verge of breaking.
Just when I opened my mouth and wasn’t sure about what to say, I felt something wet on my shoulder. He was crying.
I heard Wen Jiubo whispering in my ear, “You’re not an illusion. Finally, after so long, I finally found you.”
My eyes became watery. That should be my line.
All of a sudden, for some unknown reason, my memories all returned.
Wen Jiubo, the old residence, University Yan, Xu Yingchen, and all the strange cases I had experienced flooded into my mind like waves. It was as if I just woke up from a dream and all of those near-death experiences were just an illusion.
What the hell is going on?
But before I could ask, I heard something fissuring above us.
I looked up and saw that the stone dome over our heads had somehow begun to crack. It made creepy crackles like it could no longer bear its weight.
“Run!” Wen Jiubo reacted immediately; he grabbed my wrist and began to run.
The whole corridor behind us completely collapsed a few moments after we escaped from there, revealing a dark void.
“That was so close.” I wiped the sweat from my forehead. If I was one step late, the falling rocks would have crushed me.
I turned around to look at Wen Jiubo. He was panting a little, some sweat on his forehead.
“Be careful, this is different from the world above. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.” Wen Jiubo smoothed away a wisp of hair on his temple. “That means, this building here may have collapsed due to your wavering heart, or that ghosts born from your fear may block our way ahead.”
Although Wen Jiubo did not disappear, it didn’t seem like he was doing very well. Was he hurt?
I grabbed Wen Jiubo’s wrist and felt more or less at ease when I felt his warmth in my hand. But Wen Jiubo trembled when I touched him. He quietly moved his hand away.
“Wen Jiubo, what is going on? I remembered when I first came here through my dream, you should have disappeared in that place. No, it’s not right, the fact that I clearly remember that it happened isn’t right. Xu Yingchen said that since I crossed the timeline, the laws of time should have eliminated my existence by now. And I felt it myself a few minutes ago: my mind was blank and I couldn’t remember anything. At that point, I was sure I would disappear, how come I don’t feel it anymore after I met you…”
“Ask those questions one by one so that I can answer you,” Wen Jiubo sighed and said as if I gave him a headache. He surveyed our surroundings to make sure we were safe. Then he sat down, leaning against the wall. “First of all, I’m here because I never disappeared, whether in the past or now. The reason why I disappeared from your memory is because you were the one who disappeared.”
“Ha?” I did not understand at all.
“Look, I will not disappear, not from this place.” Wen Jiubo patiently explained. “How should I put this? Actually, it just requires a bit of thought from you. I’m a dead man, and this place is the home for the spirits of the dead, whereas the living is not welcome here. So when you came here through your dream, which happened minutes ago, you were the one who disappeared, not me. The bond between you and the future gradually becomes blurrier and blurrier. When your spirit and body left this world, your vision became blurry.”
I watched Wen Jiubo in surprise, who calmly told me the truth about everything.
“So… that is to say, you never disappeared. In that case, why did you tell me that ‘you’re dying’ and ‘everything in the world has an end’?”
“I just wanted you to send a message to me in the past that I would die after you return. Otherwise, I would not be able to cope with the current situation with ease,” Wen Jiubo roughly explained and changed the subject. “Now let’s answer your second question. The answer is ‘yes’.”
“I don’t know what Lingxiao had told you, but he didn’t lie,” Wen Jiubo said calmly. “Time travel is very dangerous, especially when it affects the future. When the two timelines diverge, Nature will automatically treat the time traveler as a stain in order to repair the timeline and wipe him out of this world.”
I looked at Wen Jiubo, dumbfounded. I could not believe he just admitted it so honestly.
‘So you… knew about this since the beginning?” I raised my voice unconsciously. “You sold me out without hesitation just to save your own life?”
“Ah, yes.” Wen Jiubo’s expression did not change. He looked away and said coldly. “You should know me by now. Don’t you know who I am?”
“You——!“ I forced myself to calm down before anger engulfed me. I took a deep breath. I was so close to losing it.
Of course, I knew what kind of person Wen Jiubo was. Or rather I should say, it was because I knew him so well that I was aware that even if he was selfish and cold-blooded, he would never put me in danger.
I stood here unharmed was the best evidence.
“I don’t quite understand,” I asked sharply. “How come you’re able to remember everything that happened so clearly, but I can’t even remember who I am? Not only did you call out my name the moment I took off my mask, but you also spared no effort to deceive ‘me’ from the past. Why are you doing this?”
I approached Wen Jiubo and stared him in the eye. “Xu Yingchen——the Taoist priest Lingxiao told me that because of the change of timeline, you haven’t seen me for six years. Why didn’t you forget me? And why did all of my memories come back the moment I saw you?”
Wen Jiubo did not look my eyes as the way he used to do. He looked away and refused to look at me.
“In this world, no one will really disappear,” he whispered. “The body’s decay doesn’t mark the beginning of true disappearance and death, but from the fading of the memories. As long as there is someone who remembers the deceased, then they are not really dead, because mentally, they still live in the memory of someone. Therefore, it’s not easy to erase a living person from the timeline, in other words, as long as there is one person who remembers you, you won’t truly disappear from this world. If someone can remember you really well, then you can be resurrected even if you’re dead. You can understand this, right?”