Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 5 Book of Farewell – Chapter 30 The Big Finale
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 30 The Big Finale
“Do you want to just give up like this?”
Wait… who is that?
“Who is it?”
I opened my eyes. A beautiful girl was walking towards me in the void. She was wearing a long white dress and had long luminous hair, shining like a star.
“If you give up, you’ll lose everything, Gu Yu.”
I recognized the girl in front of me.
“Qing Yu… princess.”
Qing Yu squatted in front of me and showed me an angel-like smile. She held my hand.
“Tell me, what is your wish?”
I still felt a little dizzy.
“Do you really need to ask, of course I want him to live!” I shouted. “But, but now it’s too late, he——Wen Jiubo, he is dead!”
However, Qing Yu ignored my words. She smiled and went on, “So… what price are you willing to pay to realize your wish?”
“Everything!” I blurted out. “If he can come back alive, I’m willing to give up anything! My life, my memories, everything!”
“Well, since you said that,” Qing Yu smiled softly and continued, “then don’t be surprised by what he is going to say.”
I was stunned. He? Who? No… what is going on here?
However, while my mind was blank, Qing Yu disappeared.
“Hey! Qing Yu! Princess Qing Yu!” I groped around like a blind man until I heard a voice.
“She has left,” a low voice said. “The one who can realize your wish is not her, but me.”
I looked up in the direction where the voice came from. A huge black shadow slowly approached me. I recognized that huge figure and its odor, and I screamed out loud.
“You, you’re… the beast Nian!”
“Yes, that’s correct.” The voice that directly echoed in my mind was low and illusory.
“Your wish, I can help you realize it. However, it comes with a price.”
“I don’t care!” I shouted. “I don’t care what the price is, I just want him to live!”
“You don’t care what price you have to pay?” The beast broke out in stifled laughter. “So, the price I want…”
The beast whispered his price in my ear. I stared blankly at the floor, but eventually, I nodded slowly.
“… I understand, I accept.”
“But, even so, the only thing I can do is keep him alive,” the beast Nian said. “Besides that, I can’t control anything else. Do you understand?”
I nodded and muttered, “It doesn’t matter. That is enough for me.”
“So, the contract is sealed.”
“Wait.” I stopped the shadow before it flew away. “I don’t understand… why are you helping me? Didn’t you help Xu Yingchen before? Why would you…”
The black shadow laughed again.
“It’s obviously because it is fun.”
“Of course, for fun. For someone as old and lonely as me, there are many things I do just for fun,” the beast Nian slowly said. “Time is my food; I can see through time and space. I have been watching you for over a thousand years. And across all time and space, you are the most special person I’ve encountered, so I gave you a chance and a punishment. If you wish to thank me, then do not let me feel boredom, Gu Yu.”
Sixty-two years later.
Another hot summer. The summers of Yan City were always associated with countless thunderstorms and muddy country roads. Fortunately, after half a month of continuous rain, it finally stopped and the sun showed up.
Shi Yangqiu shook off the water from his hair and walked out of the convenience store where he had taken refuge from the rain.
“It’s my lucky day,” he muttered. “I forgot to bring my umbrella today, but the rain stopped.”
‘Yeah, it’s been quite some time since we last had a sunny day,” said the owner of the convenience store.
Shi Yangqiu smiled at her, and then as if he suddenly thought of something, he asked the owner, “Oh right, do you know how to get to Yan City University?”
“Yan City University?” the owner paused before answering. “Oh——are you talking about the old university that was demolished two years ago?”
“Yes, yes, that one.”
“I know that place… but young man, what are you going to do there?” asked the owner. “Isn’t that university abandoned? I heard that they’ll rebuild the place into a flour mill. But there seems to be a very old residence nearby; I heard that an old traditional Chinese doctor lives there.”
“Ah, yes, I want to see that old doctor,” Shi Yangqiu replied quickly. “Can you tell me how to get there?”
“Oh, I see. Well, just go north along this road, and turn left at the second traffic light…”
Shi Yangqiu arrived at the old residence at noon.
He looked at the aged wooden door and took a deep breath. Just as he lifted his hand to knock on the door, the wooden door opened by itself.
“You must be kidding me…” Shi Yangqiu muttered. He looked around. There was no one in the courtyard. He felt a little frightened, but he still walked inside.
The courtyard was very large and the sweet smell of flowers and plants filled the air. A tall old ash tree stood in the middle. The words ‘Ji Shi Tang’ was the first thing he saw when he entered the yard.
Is it here? Shi Yangqiu peered into the hall, and at that moment, a voice could be heard.
Shi Yangqiu was startled. “Who, who is there?”
The lazy voice was heard again.
“I said it’s not there. Turn left and walk ten steps forward, then you’ll be able to see.”
Shi Yangqiu listened carefully and found that the voice actually came from next door. It did not sound like a ghost. He breathed a sigh of relief, followed the instructions of the voice and found a bigger room.
This room was clearly the main hall of the entire residence, but it was situated in an unobtrusive location. There was a board hanging at the top of the door, with the words ‘House of Exorcism’ written on it along with a couplet at the door.
“Em… I have reincarnated hundreds or even thousands of times, but you left… ” It seemed that the couplet was deliberately destroyed by someone, because the last few words were illegible.
“But you left before you could know my name.” He suddenly heard the voice again. Shi Yangqiu raised his head and saw a man sitting in the middle of the room.
The man had waist-long hair and a delicate face. He was wearing a dark gown, sitting cross-legged on the mahogany floor. He held a cup in his hand and elegantly sipped the tea in the cup as if he had just walked out of a historical period drama.
However, he had the face of an eighteen or nineteen-year-old teenager.
“Sorry, I always want to fix the couplets, but I never find the time.” The teenager put down the teacup in his hand, stood up and walked to Shi Yangqiu. He smiled and held out his hand. “I’m Gu Yu, the exorcist here.”
“You’re Gu Yu, that’s great. I finally found you.” Shi Yangqiu breathed a sigh of relief.
Gu Yu was confused. “Found me? What do you mean?”
Shi Yangqiu quickly took out a letter from his pocket. The paper had become yellow and it seemed that it was written a long time ago.
“My grandmother entrusted this to me to give to you before she died,” Shi Yangqiu said. “The city has changed a lot after so many years. Grandmother was old so she couldn’t remember where your old residence was. I had to ask so many people to find you, it was tough.”
“Your grandmother?” Gu Yu asked as he took the letter.
Shi Yangqiu nodded. “Grandma said that she was a good friend of yours when she was young. Her name is Su Xiaoyun. Do you still remember her? ”
Gu Yu did not answer. He lowered his head and opened the letter. Shi Yangqiu did not read his grandmother’s letter, so he did not know what his grandmother wrote in her letter to this exorcist named Gu Yu. Though it was long, Gu Yu read it carefully before he folded the letter back.
“When did your grandmother pass away?” Gu Yu raised his head and asked.
“Er… just last week,” Shi Yangqiu answered. “On her eightieth birthday.”
“I see,” Gu Yu murmured. “It has been more than 60 years——What about your grandfather? His name is Shi Yitong, right?”
“My grandfather passed away ten years ago,” Shi Yangqiu was a little surprised, but he still replied honestly. “From lung cancer.”
“I see. Lung cancer, it really doesn’t sound like him.” Gu Yu smiled, which confused Shi Yangqiu. But because of this, he became more curious about this exorcist in front of him.
“Well… Mr. Gu Yu,” Shi Yangqiu asked cautiously. “Grandma told me that she was one of your university classmates. But you have not aged, and your appearance has not changed at all… Why?”
“Curious?” Gu Yu showed a sly smile.
Shi Yangqiu hesitated, but then nodded.
“Then, I’m going to tell you a story,” Gu Yu answered as he poured a cup of tea for Shi Yangqiu. “A long time ago, the place we’re living in right now was not a city, but a small country called Qingqiu. It was a small country surrounded by the sea…”
“… until one day, the nine-tailed fox took the princess away.”
“… and the princess sealed the power of the nine-tailed fox with her soul while trapping herself in the infinite samsara cycle.”
“…The nine-tailed fox guarded the reincarnations of Qing Yu with his life, until one day, his enemy found him and the reincarnation of Qing Yu. He got the fox killed using very cruel and despicable means.” After Gu Yu said that, he looked at Shi Yangqiu seriously.
However, Shi Yangqiu was fascinated by the story, and he prompted, “Then——did the nine-tailed fox die?”
Gu Yu shook his head. “No, he did not die. I saved him and made a deal with the beast Nian.”
”Deal? What kind of deal?” Shi Yangqiu looked at Gu Yu.
“…Do you want to see him?‘ Gu Yu suddenly asked.
“The original owner of this old residence, the nine-tailed fox,” Gu Yu said with a wink.
Gu Yu took Shi Yangqiu to the backyard of the old residence. An exquisite glass coffin was placed on the green grass with flowers growing all over it. When a breeze blew, those beautiful flowers would dance with the wind. This scene felt dreamlike and surreal.
“Is this… the nine-tailed fox?” Shi Yangqiu stood there with his mouth agape, while Gu Yu stepped on the grass and walked to the coffin.
“Come.” Gu Yu smiled and beckoned to him. “He won’t suddenly wake up and scare you——at least not right now.”
Shi Yangqiu drew nearer. There was a gorgeous young man inside the coffin. His eyes were closed, and his hands were put together on his chest. Around him, there were many white petals. But the man did not look like a ‘living person.’
Shi Yangqiu asked skeptically, “Is he… really alive?”
“Yes, of course.” Gu Yu stared at the man in the coffin. “He’s still alive. He still breathes, but that’s all.”
“Will… he wake up?” Shi Yangqiu asked in shock.
“I don’t know,” Gu Yu answered calmly. “But I’ll wait. I was short of time in the past, but now, the only thing I have is time.”
Shi Yangqiu looked at Gu Yu.
“Are you saying… you’ll never die?”
“On the contrary. I will die tomorrow,” Gu Yu said with his eyes lowered. “But that tomorrow will never come for me.”
“Why?” Shi Yangqiu asked.
“That is the deal I made with the beast Nian, the price I had to pay,” Gu Yu said. “The beast Nian did not take my life, instead, it gave me eternal life. He deprived me of the right to die. My life is fixed on the day before my death. I have become a monster that will never die and never change. I can’t be reborn, and I can’t die. The only thing I can do is to finish as many of the things he left behind while waiting for him to wake up.”
Shi Yangqiu stared at Gu Yu, a wave of sadness washing over him. But before he could say something, Gu Yu smiled again.
“Alright, thank you for bringing me the letter. I don’t know how to repay you. How about I treat you to dinner?”
“Ah, thank you, but it’s okay.” Shi Yangqiu pointed at the sky. “It may rain again, so I should hurry back home. Thank you for the offer.”
“Then at least let me walk you to the door.”
After saying goodbye to that boy named Shi Yangqiu, I blankly stared at the sky outside the window, sunk in my thoughts until Bai called out to me.
“Hey, kid, what are you doing there?” The white ferret came into the house. “I brought the vegetables you asked.”
I looked at him helplessly. “It’s time for you to show me some respect. I am the owner of this old residence now.”
“Hmpf, you’re just a kid, it will never change no matter how many years have passed.” As soon as Bai entered the house, he began to search around. “Where is the wine? You promised that you would give me something to drink if I helped you buy food.”
“Did you pay for that?”
“What? What kind of person do you think I am!” Bai angrily jumped on the table. “Oh, right, what did that kiddo come here for? Another request?”
“No.” I shook my head and turned away from looking out the window. “It’s just a short memory.”
Do you believe supernatural creatures exist in this world?
Different people would provide entirely different answers when faced with this question. There are some who would firmly believe that without any doubt while some would scoff disdainfully. I know that some children would be freaked out by ghost stories to the extent that they would seek refuge under their blankets while shivering in fright. Some would laugh and brush it off, treating it as a topic of idle, bored conversation over a cup of tea.
Me? Yes, I believe.
Humans and demons coexist in this world; they are hostile to each other, afraid of each other, and kill each other. And, in some rare cases, fall in love with each other.
A place where demons and spirits cannot live, must have no room for the existence of human beings either, while the dark corners of our world devoid of humans must be a purgatory for demons and spirits.
My name is Gu Yu, and my story will end here.
However, I’m sure that the stories between humans and monsters are still happening in many places, and I’m sure that these stories will never end.