“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.