Record of All Things

Record of All Things Chapter 21 – Vacation

This year, the National Day holiday lasted for seven days, but at Sky University, there was a three-day teaching seminar after the holiday, and students got an additional three-day break, adding up to a total of ten days off.

On the last day before the holiday, half of the school was empty, as everyone either went home or traveled for vacation. The people in Room 903 woke up early and packed their bags to head off in different directions. Zhang Xiting went to Beijing to see his girlfriend, Jin planned to go home, and He Jian’s family came to visit him in Xi’an.

Jiang Hong’s parents were still out having fun on the northwest ring road and had made it all the way to Dunhuang.

“See you after the holiday,” everyone said goodbye to Jiang Hong.

“See you after the holiday.” He Jian patted Jiang Hong’s shoulder. “Take care.”

Jiang Hong still had classes, and today, Cao Bin was teaching them alone since Lu Xiu had something else to do.

After a week of relaxation, Jiang Hong finally felt better, but he had a new problem on his mind:

“Are the things that Chen Zhen said true?” Jiang Hong asked Cao Bin.

Cao Bin asked in return, “Do you believe them?”

“I think it’s really serious,” Xiao Pi said. “My dad is thinking about this every day.”

Xiao Pi’s father was Xuan Hezhi, the head of the teaching department, and he had more contact with exorcists than any other student.

Cao Bin nodded, and Jiang Hong replied, “To be honest, I don’t really believe it.”

The school always had an appearance of peace, but Jiang Hong also had a vague feeling that something was off. Plagues, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, global warming, volcanic eruptions, large-scale wildfires, sudden cold in winter, frequent tornadoes… In recent years, it seemed like more and more things were happening behind the scenes, but in real life, everything appeared normal.

“Although we use the power of the earth’s veins every day,” Cao Bin said solemnly, “most exorcists know nothing about them.”

Cao Bin picked up a pen and went to the whiteboard to begin today’s lesson.

“For now, let’s focus on the stability of the earth’s veins and talk about them,” Cao Bin said. “The earth’s veins are like the planet’s blood vessels, transporting the energy that sustains all living beings…”

Jiang Hong opened his notebook and listened attentively. The earth’s veins were the “qi” of the earth. A more common description was the traditional terms of feng shui and dragon veins. In recent decades, there had been violent fluctuations in the earth’s veins, and each wave of fluctuations had been accompanied by enormous disasters.

“Currently, the entire Exorcist Committee is helpless against this. We have yet to find the cause,” Cao Bin said.

“Could it be related to Mara?” Jiang Hong asked proactively.

In his recent studies, Jiang Hong roughly understood the origin of “Mara”. The cycle of birth, aging, sickness, and death, along with hatred, anger, love, separation, and the pursuit of desires, all contributed to the accumulation of “resentment,” which could be purified through the circulation of the earth’s veins. However, once the amount of resentment exceeded the purification threshold, it would start to gather and condense into “Mara.”

According to legend, “Mara” was born once every thousand years, from a seed left in some corner of the earth. The most important responsibility of an exorcist was to purify “Mara” and send it back into the cycle of rebirth.

“But ten years ago,” Xiao Pi said, “didn’t Mara reincarnate and was then destroyed?”

“Huh?” Jiang Hong had no idea about this and looked towards Xiao Pi.

Cao Bin answered, “Yes, that’s right. The last person who successfully exorcised the demon was the president of the Sky University, Xiang Cheng. However, later on, the exorcists discovered that Mara was not completely eliminated. Behind all of this, there may be even greater dangers, or perhaps the battle ten years ago was just a warm-up.”

Jiang Hong didn’t know how to respond.

“We have hidden enemies,” Cao Bin said. “The Mara ten years ago may have just been a scout sent by this enemy to explore us. Or, in the five thousand years since the birth of human civilization, the continuously reincarnating Mara may only be a vanguard. We are about to face the truly powerful and ominous enemy lurking behind the scenes.”

“Really?” Jiang Hong sounded alarmed.

Xiao Pi quickly added, “Yes, my dad said the same thing!”

Jiang Hong asked, “Can this be resolved?”

“At present, everything is still shrouded in mystery,” Cao Bin said. “That’s why when we discovered that you were a descendant of a great geomancer, we were pleasantly surprised. Your knowledge of the earth’s veins is too limited, and we need new discoveries…”

“Ah, I’m really sorry,” Jiang Hong said.

Cao Bin casually replied, “No, there’s no need to apologize. I believe that there is a special power in you, but the time has not yet come. Since the topic today is about the earth’s veins, let’s talk about geomancy…”

For the next class, Cao Bin opened up theoretical lectures on Feng Shui for Jiang Hong and Xiao Pi. Although Cao Bin did not specialize in this area, his knowledge was sufficient to teach two undergraduate students.

The bell rang for the end of class.

Cao Bin looked at the two students who were taking notes. “The final assessment for this course is to do something.”

“Huh?” Jiang Hong asked. “What should we do?”

“You can do anything,” Cao Bin said lightly. “At any time, you can submit something as homework, like finding a magical treasure, exorcising a demon. You can work together or complete it independently. Or help a classmate complete a task, help those in need… Any deeds that apply what you have learned in class will work. Once done, report it to me.”

Jiang Hong and Xiao Pi thanked Cao Bin and left the classroom. Xiao Pi went to find Xuan Hezhi after school, preparing to go to Beijing with his father. Xuan Hezhi had business at the Exorcist Committee, while Xiao Pi would spend a few days playing in Beijing. After saying goodbye, Jiang Hong returned to the dormitory and waited for Lu Xiu to come find him.

Lu Xiu texted: “Wait a moment. I’m a bit busy today.”

Jiang Hong finished packing and taking a shower. He changed into clean clothes and replied to Lu Xiu: “No rush. I’m good whenever.”

“Oh! Going out on a date!” Chang Jun, who was also dressed up, came over from the next dormitory.

Jiang Hong had been attending classes for a month now and was no longer afraid. Not only was he not afraid, but he also found Chang Jun quite cute. Even if he turned into a human, he would occasionally retain some habits of the demon race. For example, he would lick his lips from time to time. When a guy did this, it could seem a bit sinister, but when this expression appeared on Chang Jun’s handsome face, Jiang Hong felt that it was still acceptable.

Jiang Hong said, “Oh, you’re all dressed up to go on a date too!”

Chang Jun grinned. “Can I borrow some hair gel from you?” He went to the bathroom to style his hair. “Are you going to book a room tonight?”

“Don’t talk nonsense. I’m going out to play with my senior,” Jiang Hong replied.

“Oh, going on a date with your senior?” Chang Jun said.

“You’ve said enough!” Jiang Hong retorted.

While waiting for Lu Xiu, Chang Jun finished styling his hair and asked Jiang Hong to help him tidy it up. Chang Jun then said, “Lu Xiu is my male god!”

“I know,” Jiang Hong said expressionlessly, “you’ve said it several times. Do you especially admire him because you’re both reptiles?”

“Dragon!” Chang Jun said, “How can you call such a noble dragon a reptile?”

Jiang Hong found it funny himself. Chang Jun winked at Jiang Hong in the mirror and said, “Do you know about his feat of defeating the exorcists in Lingjing Alley?”

Jiang Hong had heard Lu Xiu talk about it before but didn’t dare ask more, and now he was curious.

“Oh, I’m not sure,” Jiang Hong said.

Chang Jun said, “He went alone, defeated all the exorcists, and laid them out flat!”

Jiang Hong asked, “So… did he win?”

“At first he was winning, but then they called for reinforcements, and he couldn’t win anymore,” Chang Jun said.

“Was it Chen Zhen?” Jiang Hong asked.

“Chen Zhen alone couldn’t beat Lu Xiu, so they called Xiang Cheng, the principal,” Chang Jun replied.

“Is the principal that powerful?!” Jiang Hong said in shock.

“He’s also a dragon! Later, the vice principal came too, and I heard they both fought Lu Xiu together, and finally, Lu Xiu couldn’t win,” Chang Jun said.

“Wow! Is he Sun Wukong?” Jiang Hong exclaimed.

“…” Chang Jun was speechless.

Chang Jun asked, “I also heard that the principal sealed him. Is that true?”

Jiang Hong was scared that Lu Xiu might suddenly appear and deny it, but fortunately, he didn’t.

“I don’t know,” Jiang Hong said. “Ask him yourself when you have the chance.”

Chang Jun admired his handsome hairstyle and said, “I’m off!” Then he pinched Jiang Hong’s face and left for his date.

Jiang Hong waited until after six o’clock, bored and playing on his phone, when suddenly a strange sound came from downstairs.

It was as if two temple bells had collided, like the deep bass string of a rich and sonorous cello vibrating within a giant bell, a hum resonating from within.

The last time Jiang Hong had heard this sound was on top of Jialing River Bridge. He jumped up and ran out of the dormitory, with all the other students who hadn’t gone home yet following him and leaning against the railing to look down.

“Wow–senior!” Jiang Hong finally heard it clearly. It was a dragon’s roar!

Jiang Hong turned around, locked the door, and saw a huge black dragon descending, swooping over the dormitory building. In an instant, Jiang Hong’s playful heart was aroused, and he flipped over the railing and jumped out.

As the black dragon’s body passed by, it caught him and suddenly rose up. Under the gaze of countless students, it broke through the air and disappeared.

“So cool!” Jiang Hong knelt on the dragon’s head with one knee and grabbed one of its horns with each hand. In an instant, he was taken up to a height of nearly a thousand meters. The turbulence came, but a rotating magic circle appeared at the horn, protecting him from the strong wind.

“I thought you would ride a motorcycle over here–!” Jiang Hong shouted excitedly.

“Lower your voice,” the dragon spoke with Lu Xiu’s voice. “You’re yelling in my ear. I’ll go deaf!”

“Oops, sorry…” Jiang Hong shouted on impulse, even though the howling wind around him was blocked by the black dragon’s magic.

“I’ll take you for a ride in the sky,” said Lu Xiu in dragon form, “but only for a few minutes.”

“Awesome–oops, sorry. I can’t help but shout again…” Jiang Hong was going crazy with excitement. In just a short moment, they had already left the school and flew over small villages in the mountains of Qinling.

The dragon found a place where no one was around and suddenly descended.

“Ah–” Jiang Hong experienced the thrill of riding a roller coaster without a safety belt as the dragon rushed down with him, his legs flying backward and his hands still tightly gripping the dragon’s horn.

In mid-air, the dragon suddenly disappeared, replaced by Lu Xiu’s hand. He grabbed Jiang Hong’s wrist and pulled him towards himself, then turned around. He hugged him with one hand and flipped in the air together before landing safely.

Jiang Hong: “…”

Jiang Hong felt dizzy and exhilarated. They landed in front of a bus stop. Lu Xiu let go of Jiang Hong and remained expressionless, rubbing his outer ear with his slender fingers, clearly annoyed by his loudness.

“Where are we going now?” asked Jiang Hong.

“Xi’an,” Lu Xiu replied. “Did you lose your memory again?”

Jiang Hong tried to climb on Lu Xiu’s back, but Lu Xiu agilely turned around several times, and Jiang Hong missed every time, but he still persistently clung to him.

“Where in Xi’an?” Jiang Hong said. “Are we going to play for ten days? Shall I arrange the itinerary? Did we book the hotel? Should I book it…?”

Lu Xiu ignored him. Jiang Hong tried several times to get close, but failed. Then the bus arrived. Lu Xiu lifted Jiang Hong by his collar and dragged him onto the bus.

Having ten days off and being able to play with Lu Xiu made Jiang Hong very happy. He shouted like a fool as Lu Xiu dragged him onto the bus.

When they arrived in the city center of Xi’an, it was already 8:30 pm. Lu Xiu and Jiang Hong went to the commercial street, where they had hot pot. Nightlife in Xi’an had just begun, and the pleasant autumn weather ushered in the busiest season.

“Show me your assignment from Zhu Jinling’s class,” Lu Xiu said to Jiang Hong when the dishes arrived.

Jiang Hong took out the photos on his phone and showed them to Lu Xiu. Lu Xiu looked at them for a moment and seemed to be thinking.

“I have to find a way to solve it myself and not rely on you entirely,” Jiang Hong said.

Lu Xiu originally wanted to say something, but when he heard Jiang Hong say that, he changed his words. “So what have you found out?”

“This is a golden text,” Jiang Hong said. “It means ‘ink’.”

He scanned the symbol with the software and compared it in the character library, drawing a preliminary conclusion. At the same time, the leader Lian Jiang also exchanged information with other groups.

For Zhu Jinling, the teacher of the Exploration of the Inner World class, she certainly didn’t want a simple definition of a word. There must be other meanings behind this golden text than just “ink.”

“Anything else?” Lu Xiu asked.

“I don’t know,” Jiang Hong said. “I want to go to the Shaanxi History Museum to take a look. Professor Zhu said she decided on these assignments through divination, and each assignment is more or less related to the students participating, but I always feel like I’m not involved.”

“Zhu Jinling’s knowledge of divination is exceptional. This is her custom when assigning homework. When you get to the end of the assignment, you’ll find out,” Lu Xiu said.

“Have you taken her class before?” Jiang Hong asked.

“Yes, she gave me a hint about a valuable artifact,” Lu Xiu said. “It’s really important.”

“Oh…” Jiang Hong replied.

Since Lu Xiu said so, Jiang Hong was filled with anticipation. Perhaps there was indeed a mysterious connection.

“Let’s go tomorrow.” Lu Xiu agreed to Jiang Hong’s proposal to go to the Shaanxi History Museum.

Jiang Hong noticed that Lu Xiu was absent-minded and asked cautiously, “What’s wrong?”

“I also have something to take care of,” Lu Xiu said. He then noticed Jiang Hong’s hopeful gaze and knew he wanted to ask “Can I come with you?” so he replied, “Behave yourself and I’ll take you.”

“What does behaving mean?” Jiang Hong asked eagerly, trying to please Lu Xiu. “I’ll do your laundry tonight.”

“Stop asking so many questions,” Lu Xiu said.

Jiang Hong and Lu Xiu shook hands and sealed the deal.

After being locked up at school for a month, Jiang Hong wanted to eat everything and play with everything. They played darts at the Tang Dynasty City for half a day, and Lu Xiu even threw a few darts for him. He won a prize—a game console with 64 games. The two of them booked a hotel room, but with the National Day holiday approaching, all the standard rooms were sold out, and they could only book a double bed room.

The two grown men lay on the bed, with Jiang Hong playing with his new game console and Lu Xiu browsing through some materials on his phone.

“What’s that?” Jiang Hong caught a glimpse of Lu Xiu’s notes, which had complex diagrams. “Is that your paper?”

“Tomorrow’s task,” Lu Xiu answered. “A request for assistance from the Exorcist Committee sent to the school.”

Jiang Hong didn’t ask any further, and Lu Xiu said, “Sleep. We’re going to the museum tomorrow.” Then he turned off the light.

The next day, they queued up at the entrance of the Shaanxi History Museum. On October 1st, all the attractions were packed with people, and Jiang Hong regretted coming at this time.

But Lu Xiu always had an indifferent expression. When someone took a photo of him with their phone, he didn’t get angry, letting them take the photo as they pleased, as if he didn’t notice.

“Are you going to catch the demon today…the one from the Exorcist Committe’s request?” Jiang Hong asked curiously.

“Not exactly.” Lu Xiu looked at Jiang Hong. When he had nothing to do, he unconsciously stared at Jiang Hong, but his gaze didn’t seem to focus on Jiang Hong’s face. Only in occasional moments, or when Jiang Hong spoke, would Lu Xiu recover from a kind of trance.

“I’m just helping them survey the area,” Lu Xiu said. “Scouting.”

“Oh,” Jiang Hong responded.

Lu Xiu then said, “I’ll teach you the language I use.”

“What?!” Jiang Hong was shocked. “Can I learn it? It’s not…not restricted?”

“It’s restricted,” Lu Xiu said.

Jiang Hong thought, “Then what’s the point of learning it? I can’t just use it to insult people like you do with dragon language.”

“Do you want to learn it?” Lu Xiu asked.

“Yes!” Jiang Hong immediately replied.

“Overall, there are nine basic pronunciations, which can be combined in countless ways to express over a thousand meanings,” Lu Xiu said, “First, you’ll learn these nine pronunciations: ‘ka,’ ‘hak,’ ‘ci’…”

“Some of them sound like the Russian rolling ‘r’,” Jiang Hong said. “Even if I can’t use it, it could still be used to intimidate people.”

Lu Xiu said, “Even without using magic, it has a deterrent effect on lower-level existences.”

Jiang Hong was talented in language and learned quickly. Lu Xiu explained the nine sounds and their respective meanings, with each character representing an emotion, such as anger, pain, happiness…

It was truly a magical language. Jiang Hong learned from Lu Xiu that the basic pronunciation of dragon language only represented emotions, and the existence derived from the emotion depicted by the word was the object of that emotion. For example, “hak” represented joy and satisfaction, so it became the word root for describing “food” because it produced a sense of satisfaction when eaten.

“‘Su’ represents tangible entities and also represents ‘you,’ while ‘tule’ means ‘to destroy,'” Lu Xiu continued. “So…”

“‘Tule su’ means ‘to destroy you,'” Jiang Hong recalled the dragon language spells that Lu Xiu had used twice against Wuzhiqi.

“Very clever,” Lu Xiu praised Jiang Hong, and the two of them entered the museum.

As they were about to enter the museum, Lu Xiu turned his head and scrutinized the outside of the museum, as if he had noticed something unusual.


Record of All Things Chapter 20 – Comprehensive

“For now, we will name this course ‘Exorcism and Comprehensive Studies.’ Currently, because we are still in the experimental phase. There are no rules, and we won’t set any direction for you two.”

Cao Bin handed the coffee to Lu Xiu, who nodded in agreement.

“Everyone can easily attend the class and complete the assignments. We will focus on Q&A sessions. For the first class, two students will ask questions, and I and the teaching assistant will answer all of your questions. Of course, only those we can answer…”

“Really?!” Jiang Hong was ecstatic, as if he had just won the lottery. “Can we ask any questions? Is it that great?!”

Cao Bin gestured for him to wait and not interrupt.

Ah – this is great! Finally, there was a place where Jiang Hong could ask questions to his heart’s content! He had countless questions pent up inside him these days, and even though attending class could temporarily relieve his curiosity, it generated more questions every day, every night, every minute, and every second… Jiang Hong’s curiosity always remained unresolved, like a starving person constantly moaning and turning over in bed. Now Cao Bin was telling him that today’s class was “open-ended”! All of Jiang Hong’s doubts would be answered in a self-service buffet style. Jiang Hong’s eyes were now beginning to glow green.

“Jiang Hong…” Xiao Pi said. “Your expression is a bit scary.”

“Uh, I need to calm down…” Jiang Hong also realized that he was too eager.

Cao Bin said, “Before you ask your questions, I want to ask you two a question. Although I can probably guess the answer, I still want to hear it from you… Why did you choose, or hope to become, an exorcist?”

As he spoke, Cao Bin walked to the window with his coffee, gazing at the lush scenery outside.

Jiang Hong and Xiao Pi looked at each other and didn’t speak for a moment.

Cao Bin leaned against the window and made a “cheers” gesture to his two students. “I am not asking this question to emphasize anything or discuss our initial intentions. I am genuinely curious. What was the reason for us to become exorcists and explore this world in the beginning?”

“… Perhaps this was also the original intention of establishing Sky University.”

Lu Xiu sat quietly behind the bar counter the entire time. After hearing Cao Bin’s question, Jiang Hong inadvertently turned to look at Lu Xiu, and the two made eye contact.

Lu Xiu did not avert his gaze, but simply stared at him without blinking.

“Because of my dad,” Xiao Pi said first.

Cao Bin couldn’t help but smile. This was exactly the answer he expected.

Jiang Hong replied, “Because… of Lu Xiu.”

“Besides that?” Lu Xiu spoke up in the quiet, “Don’t you have any other motivations?”

“Well, yeah.” Jiang Hong laughed. “You’re the first reason, and the second reason might be curiosity or a desire to become a certain type of person. As for the specifics, I don’t have a clear idea.”

“The desire for exploration of the unknown world and the pursuit of knowledge,” Cao Bin praised, “are also the sources of all disciplines in our world. Pi Yunhao, if we exclude the factor of your father, what motivates you to become an exorcist?”

“Actually, when I said it was because of my dad… well, it’s not what most people think,” Xiao Pi said. “Although he has expectations for me and it seems like I’ve always listened to him, I also want… I also want…”

Xiao Pi hesitated for a long time before saying, “It’s a bit embarrassing to say, but I also want to be filial to him, not disappoint him, and… I hope to earn more money and give him a better life.”

“Very good.” Cao Bin nodded. “We will discuss this issue again after the end of the first semester. Now, you can ask questions freely.”

It’s time for the free-for-all! Jiang Hong was overjoyed and made a gesture, and Xiao Pi immediately handed over the right to ask questions to him.

Jiang Hong took out a thick notebook filled with writing, which was his “Question Compendium” that he had summarized since enrolling.

Cao Bin and Lu Xiu looked at the black notebook with somewhat rigid expressions.

Jiang Hong flipped to page 143.

“Teacher.” Jiang Hong raised his hand. “When the demon clan turns into humans, they wear clothes, but when they turn back into their original form, they are naked. How do they have clothes again when they turn back into humans? Won’t they be naked?”

As he said this, he looked at Lu Xiu with curiosity.

Lu Xiu: “…”

Cao Bin: “…”

Xiao Pi: “…”

Jiang Hong: “I’m not imagining anyone naked! I’m just curious…”

Cao Bin gestured for Lu Xiu to answer, and Lu Xiu replied expressionlessly, “All external decorations, including treasures and weapons, will briefly enter a special dimension during the transformation from human form to original form. They seem to disappear from the outside, but in reality, they still exist and are just overlaid on the current dimension. You can simply understand it as being stored in a spatial container.”

“Oh, I see.” Jiang Hong recalled the classmate who magically conjured a forty-meter-long machete out of nowhere during practical class and understood the concept.

“Why can this dimension be used?” Jiang Hong had another question.

This time, Lu Xiu interrupted him before he could ask another question. “Because of the spiritual veins. Spiritual veins can work on two different dimensions. The stronger your cultivation, the more physical things you can store in this ‘void’.”

“Okay.” Jiang Hong was temporarily satisfied with this answer and flipped to page ninety.

“Why can some animals become spirits, but not others? Lions can train to become human. Why not sea cucumbers? If insects can become spirits, why can spiders but not cicadas? And why can’t washing machines and air conditioners become spirits, but pens can?”

“Um…” Xiao Pi weakly spoke up, “Cicadas can also become spirits, but you haven’t seen them, Jiang Hong. Maybe they are too noisy and have all been captured.”

“Oh, then why can’t cockroaches become spirits?” Jiang Hong corrected his question and looked at Cao Bin and Lu Xiu with anticipation.

Cao Bin remained silent. Lu Xiu organized his thoughts and spoke seriously, “First, it’s because of the form of the chakra. The shape of the chakra determines whether it can absorb the power of the heavens and earth’s chakra, and the efficiency of accumulating and digesting it for personal use. The specific shape of the chakra is influenced by genetic evolution, and some species’ chakra may be in a fractured form, making it unable to form a self-circulating spiritual energy in the body.”

“Oh, so they won’t become spirits,” Jiang Hong said.

Lu Xiu nodded and continued, “Secondly, becoming a spirit also depends on the diversity and quantity of species, as well as the length of life. From a macro perspective, it also has a probability, like endangered species have fewer individuals that can become spirits, but it’s not a certainty. Certain countries have better environments and faster cultivation for certain animals that are classified as first-level protected animals.”

“Thirdly, the chance of inanimate objects becoming spirits under natural conditions is extremely low, and most of them concentrate on magic tools. Magic tools can transform into human forms because during the manufacturing process, the craftsman engraved a complete chakra into the tool.”

“Oh.” Jiang Hong understood and asked again, “What about stones?”

“Rocks and wooden products have the characteristics of chakras due to their mineral patterns and wood grain. Electrical appliances are not engraved with chakras during the manufacturing process, so they do not have the conditions to become spirits,” Lu Xiu explained again.

“If you think about this question in detail, it’s actually very good.” Cao Bin came over, took out a ballpoint pen, and drew a human shape on the whiteboard. “The study of chakras is still in its early stages, and currently, there are only six known chakra forms.”

Cao Bin used this question to start the class and spent twenty minutes explaining the forms of chakras to the two of them.

Jiang Hong found the reason why he had “no spiritual veins” through this, and the reason was very simple: the meridians in most people’s bodies were broken and fragmented. The only difference was that some people had more broken parts, while others’ meridians were like a car crash scene. When the meridians were fully connected, the natural spiritual energy could flow in the body by absorbing the energy of heaven and earth, and one could obtain the power of magic.

If the meridians were not too broken, they could be connected by practicing or using special medicine, but if they were a mess, there was no way.

“I understand.” Jiang Hong nodded.

Xiao Pi obviously didn’t know about this before either.

Cao Bin signaled to continue questioning. Jiang Hong opened his notebook and curiously asked, “Are there immortals in the world? Where do they live?”

Cao Bin signaled for Lu Xiu to answer, and Lu Xiu said, “Yes and no. This question and ‘Where is the underworld’ can be answered together.”

Lu Xiu took a box of pens and walked to the whiteboard. Cao Bin stepped aside to drink coffee. Lu Xiu drew a simple diagram of the solar system on the whiteboard, drew a circle around the Earth, and said, “This course on exploring the inner world should have already introduced the concept of pocket dimension.”

“Do they all live in the pocket dimension?” Xiao Pi was also very curious about this.

“No.” Lu Xiu said expressionlessly, “Understanding the pocket dimension will allow you to understand the higher dimensions. This is another world similar to the pocket dimension, overlaid on the space of our real world. The higher world and the real world are relatively independent of each other. Just think of it like everyone lives in a room, but cannot see or touch each other. Humans cannot enter this world, but according to calculations and speculation, this is where the ‘gods’ live.”

“Usually what we call ‘gods’ have a definition called ‘higher spirits’, and there are currently 413 confirmed higher spirits, of which 69 have interacted and shown ‘miracles’.” Lu Xiu drew a halo-like sign on the outer atmosphere of the Earth. “You can understand the higher dimension as separate small asteroids, and the rules on each asteroid are formulated by its rulers. Only when these rulers are willing, can they lend their power to some people in the real world.”

Cao Bin said, “That’s what is often called ‘inviting gods’. Only a few exorcists have this qualification.”

“Like Chen Zhen?” Xiao Pi asked.

Jiang Hong said, “Then the question arises again…”

“Listen to me first. Next, there is the underworld, with ‘higher spirits’, and ‘lower spirits’. The ghosts we often speak of are the lower spirits. The terms ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ only refer to dimensions, not whether immortals, gods, and ghosts are the same existence…”

“Ghosts should go to be reincarnated, right?” Lu Xiu asked again. “I guess you would ask this question too. After a person dies, their soul does enter the cycle of the earth’s veins, reincarnating again. However, some souls do not want to reincarnate and will temporarily reside in the lower dimension until the appropriate time period to enter the cycle. Some souls fear losing their memories and never want to reincarnate. You can imagine the lower dimension as a transfer station for a train, crowded with passengers waiting to transfer. It is also known as the underworld.”

Cao Bin said, “It’s meaningless not to be reincarnated after death because memories will gradually wear away over time, and after hundreds or even thousands of years, memories will be completely depleted.”

Jiang Hong had forgotten what he wanted to ask.

Lu Xiu continued, “The lower dimension overlaps briefly with the real world during the annual periodic fluctuation of the earth’s veins, which is…”

“July 15th!” Xiao Pi exclaimed.

Lu Xiu said, “Yes, for loved ones who hope to see each other again, if the other party has not reincarnated, they can try to meet on July 15th.”

Jiang Hong said, “But here’s the problem: the world’s population is constantly increasing, so is the total number of souls fixed?”

“It’s not fixed.” Lu Xiu answered very clearly this time. “The earth’s veins are constantly creating new individuals based on consciousness, or pure souls, to join the ranks of living beings.”

Xiao Pi also had a question he had been curious about for a long time. “Do all living beings mix together when they are reincarnated?”

“No, they do not mix together,” Lu Xiu replied. “From low to high, although all living beings are equal, pure souls will first be reincarnated as plants due to their weak soul power, then as birds, beasts, insects, and fish, and finally as higher animals with greater intelligence, and after many lives, as humans. Therefore, humans are the spirits of all things. This is the evolution of the soul.”

At this point, Cao Bin spoke up, “The theory of soul evolution is currently uncertain, but it is being researched.”

Lu Xiu said, “Yes, this is one of the hypotheses because we have not yet found a way to mark the soul, so we cannot track and observe it.”

Suddenly, Jiang Hong thought, did Lu Xiu have a past life? But this question was too private to ask.

However, Lu Xiu seemed to perceive Jiang Hong’s question and answered, “The dragon is a pure soul because the dragon evolved independently from the viper.”

This question had spawned many new questions. If this theory was correct, wouldn’t there be more and more people? However, it seems that there were indeed more and more people, with a population of seven billion in the world now… Jiang Hong wanted to ask more questions, but he made himself dizzy and needed to take a break and digest the information.

“Um,” Jiang Hong said again, “I have one more question! Is there any all-knowing treasure in this world?! Something that can answer all questions. Does it really exist? Won’t there be a paradox?!”

Cao Bin: “…”

Lu Xiu: “…”

Obviously, Lu Xiu didn’t expect Jiang Hong to suddenly bring up this matter.

Cao Bin looked at Lu Xiu with a slightly reproachful gaze, and Lu Xiu could only answer, “I have nothing to say.”

“I’ll answer that,” Cao Bin said reluctantly. “It’s a secret, but it doesn’t matter if you know it. Just don’t talk about it outside.”

“Oh, is it very serious?” Jiang Hong didn’t know. It was just a sudden thought, not because of what Lu Xiu said earlier. “If it’s sensitive, you don’t have to tell me.”

Cao Bin said, “There is indeed such a magic tool, which is kept by the exorcist association, but it’s not what you think. This magic tool can answer all the questions in the world, but it requires specific conditions to be met.”

Jiang Hong was full of expectations and wanted to ask “What conditions?” but he dared not ask.

“First of all, only high-level divine beasts can ask it questions,” Cao Bin continued. “Secondly, it only answers a question once at a specific time, which usually takes many years to come. Thirdly, the answer you get may not clearly point to your question, but you need to judge it based on the actual situation.”

“Wow…” Jiang Hong was amazed.

Jiang Hong wanted to ask why, and Xiao Pi said, “What specific time? How many years do you have to wait?”

Jiang Hong thought it seemed reasonable.

“It’s a god’s head,” Cao Bin said, “preserved with anti-corrosion treatment, and the specific time it is activated is determined by the timing of the ‘Nine Stars in a Row’ celestial phenomena. Okay, don’t worry about this matter anymore.”

As he spoke, Cao Bin made a gesture to Lu Xiu, as if warning him, and Lu Xiu pretended not to see it.

Jiang Hong finally met his match and was dizzy from this class. He asked a lot of questions, most of which Cao Bin listened to and answered through Lu Xiu, but Lu Xiu had successfully confused him.

“How many more questions do you have?”

At dinner, Lu Xiu and Jiang Hong sat in the cafeteria. Jiang Hong finally said, “I feel like I’ve asked enough. I don’t want to ask anymore in the next few days.”

The two sat and ate, and Jiang Hong was a little worried. He said, “Did the last thing cause you trouble again?”

Lu Xiu said casually, “Don’t worry about it. It’s just that the Exorcist Committee was beaten up by me because of this magic tool, and they are still suspicious now.”

“Did you really beat the Exorcist Committee?” Jiang Hong asked in disbelief.

“Yes, what about it?” Lu Xiu asked.

“Where is the Exorcist Committee?” Jiang Hong asked.

“Beijing, Lingjing Hutong,” Lu Xiu replied.

“Did you win against Vice Principal Cao?” Jiang Hong asked.

“The vice principal didn’t really do much at the time,” Lu Xiu casually replied, handing Jiang Hong an extra chicken leg from his plate and poking a straw into his yogurt.

Jiang Hong asked, “Then why did you go challenge the Exorcist Committee?”

“To find that magic artifact. Didn’t I say that?” Lu Xiu replied.

Jiang Hong asked, “What do you need it for?”

Lu Xiu didn’t answer, so Jiang Hong asked again, “Did you win in the end?”

Jiang Hong finally understood why the human students gave Lu Xiu strange looks. Maybe their parents had been beaten up by Lu Xiu before. But why would Lu Xiu go challenge the Exorcist Committee? This was too brutal!

He looked at Lu Xiu, who was drinking his yogurt, and couldn’t imagine him smashing up the exorcists’ place.

Lu Xiu: “?”

Jiang Hong’s admiration for Lu Xiu suddenly increased even more.

Lu Xiu asked, “Are you going home for the National Day holiday?”

Jiang Hong replied, “No.”

Lu Xiu asked, “Do you have plans?”

Jiang Hong, still in shock, suddenly felt excited. “Are you going to take me out to play?”

Lu Xiu replied casually, “It depends on how you perform. Didn’t Zhu Jinling’s class assign you to investigate that symbol for your Inner World Exploration class assignment?”

“Oh, that’s great!” Jiang Hong suddenly began looking forward to the holiday. “Where are we going to play?”

“I’ll take you to Xi’an to investigate your symbol. Don’t just think about having fun. I’m warning you. If you’re not careful, you’ll fail Zhu Jinling’s class,” Lu Xiu said.

Record of All Things Chapter 19 – New Lesson

On this afternoon, the members of dormitory 903 gathered together again for a collective activity: attending a class on magical tool identification and production. This was a required course for all exorcists, and the final assessment required them to submit a research paper on magical tools and to purchase one from Xiaodongmen Antique City. The paper accounted for 40% of the grade, while the practical aspect accounted for 60%.

Jiang Hong listened to the lecture attentively, as he knew that if he couldn’t practice magic on his own, he would have to rely on magical tools to help him. Broadly speaking, magical tools encompassed all media that could encapsulate energy, including electromagnetic fields. Even batteries were considered a type of magical tool.

Narrowly defined, magical tools were objects that possessed engraved meridian circuits, and could be used to exert their power on the environment.

Therefore, the protective charm given to Jiang Hong by Lu Xiu was also a magical tool. Jiang Hong took out the charm and carefully examined it, surmising that it probably encapsulated a special, interference-free communication spell. The activation condition was to hold the charm and call out Lu Xiu’s name.

There were four specialized courses for first-year exorcist students: magical theory, exploration of the spiritual world, exorcism practice, and magical tool identification and production. There were also four general education courses: the history of exorcism, college English, introductory computer science, and Marxist philosophy. This was Jiang Hong’s class schedule for the first semester.

But wouldn’t it be contradictory for a group of exorcists to study Marxist philosophy? Jiang Hong wondered what the curriculum designers were thinking. One moment they were talking about “matter is the foundation of the world,” and the next moment, after class, they were talking about “three ways to transform the world with spiritual power.” Didn’t they contradict each other?

Jiang Hong had just finished a week’s worth of classes. In his dorm room, because He Jian was studying talismans, there were abandoned yellow papers everywhere. He Jian was also diligently using a brush and cinnabar ink to draw ghost symbols, and the everyone’s bed in the dorm room was covered in half-dried talismans.

“When your family is so rich,” Xiao Pi asked when he visited, “do you still have to work this hard? Are you trying to get appointed as an exorcist?”

He Jian replied, “Sigh, the demon king is not around, and there is a lot of infighting among the demon clan. If you want to secure a good position in the demon association, you also need a graduate degree.”

“Who is the demon king anyway?” Jiang Hong had no idea about the inner workings of the other world.

“Don’t you know anything?” He Jian asked.

“It’s our missing principal,” Xiao Pi explained. “His name is Xiang Cheng.”

“Oh, him!” Jiang Hong exclaimed. “I’ve heard his name mentioned several times. He must be very powerful.”

“He’s simply unbelievable! It’s all thanks to him that I was able to gain some dragon power and become human. For someone like me who’s weak…”

Xiao Pi started to feel sorry for himself again, but Jiang Hong quickly comforted him. One weakling consoling another, he couldn’t help but feel sorry for himself as well.

In the first week, Jiang Hong followed along in the six sessions of spell theory basics. Xie Liao started checking everyone’s ability to use spells and listened to classmates talk about any difficulties they were having with spellcasting, except for Jiang Hong. He didn’t check Jiang Hong’s spells.

In a week’s time, everyone had mastered the basic usage of fire, and could already conjure fireballs.

Jiang Hong looked on with envy at his classmates, sighing to himself that he could only take notes seriously.

In the second week, Xie Liao started teaching the second usage of fire.

“To be honest, you don’t need to care too much,” Xie Liao said mysteriously to Jiang Hong after class. “Most exorcists can react to danger with just one or two spells. In the end, they’ll still use their most commonly used and familiar methods. This is what they call their ‘signature move.’ I have a feeling that these spells I’m teaching won’t be very useful in the end.”

Jiang Hong had seen Xu Xuyang and exorcists from Chongqing use their spells to capture demons. Their techniques were not varied, and it looked like they were just setting off fireworks. Even Lu Xiu’s most commonly used spell was a strange incantation.

“When and what kind of technique you use to defeat your opponent is very important!”

In practice class, Xia Xinghui walked past the students gathered together in a fan shape. They were all facing a summoned small Xuanwu (1).

“You need to predict your enemy’s next move based on the danger you face! Don’t be a one-trick-pony!”

Jiang Hong still hadn’t been given any homework, and he seemed to have become a special case among the problem students. Watching everyone use their supernatural skills learned in class, he couldn’t help but feel a bit lost.

“After lunch, go to the fourth floor of the administrative building,” Xia Xinghui passed by Jiang Hong and whispered in his ear.

Jiang Hong responded with an “oh” and continued sitting cross-legged, cheering on his classmates who were trying out their spells.

Jiang Hong let out a sigh.

He suddenly wanted to see Lu Xiu at noon, but ever since summoned Lu Xiu for class that day, Lu Xiu was always busy. When he took the initiative to ask Lu Xiu out today, he got the same response: “I’m busy today. Find someone else to eat lunch with.”

Jiang Hong felt that things had been a little strange between them since Lu Xiu got angry that one time. Was he still concerned about it?

He decided to take some time to himself. After enrolling in school, he always moved around with his roommates or classmates. Sometimes he needed to be alone to sort out his thoughts.

After getting his lunch, Jiang Hong sat in a corner eating when he received a message from Lu Xiu.

Lu Xiu: “Why are you eating alone?”

Jiang Hong immediately turned his head to look for Lu Xiu, but where was he?

Lu Xiu: “Stop looking around. I’m not in the cafeteria. A friend told me.”

After a moment, Lu Xiu added: “Not a very close friend. More like a classmate.”

Jiang Hong thought to himself that graduate students must also have classmates, right?

Lu Xiu then asked: “Why don’t you hang out with your roommates? Don’t get along?”

Jiang Hong had originally planned to say that he just wanted to be alone, but he decided to tell the truth.

“Besides you, I don’t want to see anyone else,” Jiang Hong replied.

Lu Xiu’s side showed that he was typing…

Jiang Hong continued, “Because everyone else is in practice class, casting spells, and I was just sitting on the side watching. That’s when I suddenly wanted to summon you…but it’s okay now.”

Lu Xiu’s side continued typing for a moment and then stopped. Jiang Hong waited for his response while finishing his lunch.

Jiang Hong told him about going to the administrative building, and then Lu Xiu’s side fell silent.

Jiang Hong picked up his sports bag and decided to go skateboarding around campus.

He arrived at the administrative building and pressed the elevator button.

“The fourth floor,” the system said, “is the residence of the ‘Riding a Dragon to Buy Vegetables’ class S group.”

Jiang Hong was confused.

He peeked around and looked down the corridor, but none of the doors had signs on them. One of the doors opened and Cao Bin’s voice came from inside, “Jiang Hong, come in.”

“Hello, principal,” Jiang Hong said.

He walked into a room that was set up like a small entertainment bar with six high stools, a pool table, a pinball machine, and a dart board on the wall.

In the corner was a tripod piano and an old-fashioned record player.

“Hey, where are we?” Jiang Hong asked curiously.

Cao Bin was making hand-drip coffee behind the bar. “It’s a friend’s entertainment bar in the administrative building. Want to try the coffee I made today?”

“Thanks,” Jiang Hong said. “After drinking today’s coffee, will I remember my past life?”

“No no,” said Cao Bin, “just a regular coffee. Can you put on a record for me? You can choose the song.”

Jiang Hong happily went to the shelf in the corner and selected a classical music record. He remembered the first day he arrived at school and heard Fei Yuqing’s song from afar. It must have come from here.

He had a feeling that Cao Bin had discussed his spiritual vein aptitude during the meeting and today’s meeting was to inform him of the results.

Bach’s music began to play.

Cao Bin asked, “Do you like classical music?”

Jiang Hong replied, “Hmm, when I was a child, I was forced to play Bach for a long time. As long as I’m not the one playing, I quite enjoy listening to it.”

“Very good,” said Cao Bin as he prepared the filter paper, weighed the coffee beans, and ground them.

Jiang Hong asked, “Very good?”

Cao Bin replied, “There is a direct correlation between music and memory. An exorcist familiar with a musical instrument has an innate advantage in breaking through the constraints of memory.”

“Oh?” Jiang Hong asked, “But I don’t have spiritual vein aptitude, so… is it still possible?”

Cao Bin looked up from the coffee powder and glanced at Jiang Hong. Then he said, “Have you ever considered dropping out of school because you don’t have spiritual vein aptitude?”

“Of course not. Because… um… how should I say it?” Jiang Hong replied.

Cao Bin placed the kettle on the induction cooker, wiped his hands with a towel, and said, “Because you’ve already dropped out of school once, and it would be a bit embarrassing to do it again.”

Jiang Hong laughed, realizing that this vice principal seemed to have the power to read people’s minds.

“Yes,” Jiang Hong said. “After all, the second enrollment was my own decision. It’s not good to be indecisive as a person. And more importantly, maybe it’s because… of Lu Xiu?”

“Why is that?” Cao Bin asked calmly. “Love?”

“No!” Jiang Hong exploded instantly. “Vice principal! Don’t get me wrong!”

Cao Bin gestured for Jiang Hong to continue.

Jiang Hong hurriedly clarified, “I don’t like boys. Everyone has a hero complex, right? In any case, I admire him very much. Look what you’re saying! Vice principal! Can’t we have a pure relationship between us? I’m not saying anything about homosexuality, but I absolutely have no improper thoughts towards my male god!”

Cao Bin said gently, “Drink some water first. Moisten your throat before continuing…”

Jiang Hong took the mineral water. “In any case, Vice Principal, don’t make wild speculations.”

Jiang Hong had never thought about this before. How could he even think like this about his male god? Vice Principal, what are you thinking about all day long?

Cao Bin replied seriously, “I trust you.”

Jiang Hong thought for a moment and asked, “So today, you have to tell me about the spiritual vein aptitude. Is there really no other way?”

“Yes,” Cao Bin said. “We had three meetings discussing this matter, and although we don’t know where the problem occurred, the aptitude jade would never be wrong.”

“Oh –” Jiang Hong was a bit disappointed. The big stone that had been hanging in his heart for these days finally fell down. Before this, he still had a little hope, such as that he might have some ability that he had never discovered and had hidden it from the powerful exorcists.

But the fact was just like that.

Cao Bin finished boiling water and began to brew coffee. He said, “Xie Liao wants to take you to Beijing for another test, but I insist that it is not necessary. We need to respect reality and accept it. If there is nothing, there is nothing.”

“Yes.” Jiang Hong thought the same as Cao Bin. Although he was a bit regretful, the fact was just like that, and it was meaningless.

“But I have already decided.” Jiang Hong breathed in the aroma of coffee and said, “I will still work hard to learn. Even if I cannot cast spells, I will become a powerful exorcist.”

Cao Bin poured two cups of coffee and handed one to Jiang Hong. “I believe you can do it too. Therefore, the school unanimously agreed to launch a special course at a very suitable time to arrange special subjects for students like you…”

“Thank you, Vice Principal,” Jiang Hong said. “The coffee is better than the last time. I will leave now… Huh? What?”

Cao Bin said, “I will personally teach this course.”

Jiang Hong: “!!!”

At this time, there was a knock on the door, and Cao Bin said, “Come in.”

Xiao Pi poked his head in at the door, and when he saw Cao Bin, he was a little nervous. “Hello, Vice Principal.”

Jiang Hong hadn’t recovered yet, and Cao Bin said, “Just sit down. This course will be very relaxed, and there will be no difficult homework, nor do you need to worry about failing the exam…”

“Xiao Pi?!” Jiang Hong was shocked.

“Ah,” Xiao Pi said timidly. “Jiang Hong, are you here for class too?”

Jiang Hong was a little flattered. “Vice Principal, are you personally teaching us?”

Cao Bin nodded. “Yes, for this grade, you two students will be taught by me personally. Starting from this week, you don’t need to attend the basic theory of spells class anymore. Of course, you can still go if you want. Exorcism practice will continue as usual.”

“Great! Is it for one semester or one academic year?” Jiang Hong asked.

“Four years,” Cao Bin said.


“But I didn’t bring anything…” Jiang Hong suddenly seemed to glimpse hope. “Do I need to go back and prepare any textbooks?”

“No, just sitting here and chatting like this is fine,” Cao Bin said. “Pi Yunhao, why are you still standing? Please sit down.”

Xiao Pi came over and sat next to Jiang Hong. He thought for a moment and said, “Principal, can you teach me how to become a qualified spirit beast?”

“It depends on you.” Cao Bin smiled.

“But Xiao Pi must have spiritual veins, right?” Jiang Hong said. “He is a demon clan, and he is a pixiu!”

Xiao Pi said, “Although I can do a little bit of magic, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Maybe it’s because I lack confidence? My father asked me to come to the vice principal’s office…”

“This has nothing to do with your father. If you want to learn, I will teach you, just like everyone else,” Cao Bin said.

Xiao Pi felt a bit touched and said, “Thank you, vice principal!”

Cao Bin looked at his watch. “We still have one teaching assistant, but he’s late today. Let’s wait a bit longer.”

Jiang Hong warmly hugged Xiao Pi’s shoulder and thought to himself that it was great to have a companion in the useless class, although he felt a bit guilty for thinking that way.

“But I think Jiang Hong doesn’t even need to be in the useless class,” Xiao Pi said. “He can summon Lu Xiu.”

Jiang Hong replied, “I can’t rely on my senior for everything! I also hope to be able to help him out. Although he spoils me a lot, an endless cycle of taking without giving is an unequal relationship. I’m afraid that one day he’ll get tired of my uselessness… Oh, by the way, Xiao Pi, don’t let him know about this…”

“I’ve already heard it,” Lu Xiu’s voice came.

Jiang Hong: “…”

Lu Xiu still had his poker face. He was carrying a sports bag and seemed to have entered the entertainment room at some point.

“This is the teaching assistant for our course,” Cao Bin said. “Now that everyone’s here, let’s start the class.”

Cao Bin took the sports bag that Lu Xiu handed him, thought for a moment, and said, “Before we start, let me correct a misconception. This is not the useless class… Well, Lu Xiu, you can give it a name.”

“Let’s still call it the S class. I remember it was called the S class before.” Lu Xiu sat in front of the bar and turned slightly on his swivel chair.

“S stands for the image of a dragon,” Cao Bin politely said. “Even now, it’s very fitting. Very well. From now on, you are all students of the S class.”


1. Xuanwu – a powerful creature in Chinese mythology and one of the four symbols of the Chinese constellations. It is also known as the Black Tortoise. Xuanwu is often depicted as a turtle or tortoise with a snake coiled around its body, and is associated with the direction of north, the element of water, and the winter season.