As dawn broke, Lu Xiu, Hu Qingquan, and Jiang Hong returned to the school.
The school was empty, and Jiang Hong looked around nervously.
After taking a short nap in the car, Jiang Hong felt much better, especially because Lu Xiu was there. It was as if the senior had a strong aura that formed a protective circle around him.
Despite this, Jiang Hong still kept a distance from Hu Qingquan.
Early in the morning, Dean Xuan Hezhi arrived at work with sleepy eyes, thinking that the three of them had come to see him for fun.
“What did you say?” Xuan Hezhi asked.
“It’s true. He doesn’t know anything about the supernatural. He has never seen any supernatural phenomena since he was a child, and he doesn’t even know that he has spiritual veins. No one told him when he entered the school…” Hu Qingquan explained.
Xuan Hezhi scrutinized Jiang Hong, who looked nervous and doubtful. Xuan Hezhi said incredulously, “You…you don’t know? This is a school for training exorcists and demon hunters.”
“What? What is that? What kind of hunters?” Jiang Hong asked.
“Exorcists.” Xuan Hezhi pointed to his own mouth. “Qū – exorcise, mó – evil.” He then made a gesture of shaking a bell and catching ghosts, saying, “Catch ghosts with the sound of the bell!”
Jiang Hong was speechless.
“It’s my fault,” Lu Xiu said in a low voice.
Jiang Hong hid behind Lu Xiu and looked at him. He was about to say, “No, it’s not your fault,” but Xuan Hezhi beckoned to him and said, “Come here, Jiang Hong.”
Jiang Hong was very timid, afraid that the dean would suddenly scare him with something strange.
“Don’t be afraid. I’m a human being.” Xuan Hezhi roughly understood what had happened and his tone softened a lot. “Come, let me take a look at you.”
Jiang Hong walked over, and Xuan Hezhi didn’t touch him, just looked him up and down, asking, “What prompted you to apply to our school?”
“I don’t know.” Jiang Hong had said “I don’t know” in the past 24 hours more than he had in his life. “My mother applied for me.”
“That’s impossible, right?” Xuan Hezhi said, “Without our school’s admission code, it doesn’t even appear in the list of universities.”
Jiang Hong suddenly remembered. “It was the master at the temple near my home… My mother took me there to pray before the college entrance examination, and we talked for a long time… He even told me about… the China Sky University in Xi’an, which could be a backup option…”
“That makes sense.” Xuan Hezhi opened the computer and found the recommendation column under Jiang Hong’s form. “Master Yiwei?”
“That seems to be him!” Jiang Hong said.
“That’s our admissions office’s special teacher,” Xuan Hezhi said.
Jiang Hong: “…”
Hu Qingquan said, “Should we give him a call and ask?”
Jiang Hong replied, “He… He has already passed away.”
Hu Qingquan suggested, “Should we summon his ghost?”
Jiang Hong quickly objected, “No, that’s not necessary!”
Xuan Hezhi added, “He passed away at the end of May. Maybe after finishing his job with Jiang Hong and these students, he ascended to heaven.”
Everyone in the office was speechless.
Xuan Hezhi took a deep breath. “This… is not easy to handle. In theory, he should have explained everything to you. Jiang Hong, think back. Did he not inform you of these related matters? He should have obtained your consent. This is the job of a special teacher. Think carefully?”
“Oh…” Jiang Hong slowly recalled, “When I was young, my mom occasionally took me to see him… Last time, Master Yiwei did call me to his meditation room and gave me a string of prayer beads. He also talked for almost an hour…”
Xuan Hezhi asked, concerned, “What did he say?”
Jiang Hong replied, “He… He… He was from Fujian, and his accent was too heavy. I couldn’t understand almost anything he said…”
Everyone was silent.
Xuan Hezhi continued, “You see, there is your signature here. Did he not give you an informed consent form?”
“I… I thought it was just a signature for the temple’s donation. I didn’t read it carefully.”
“You…” Hu Qingquan started to say something.
Xuan Hezhi interrupted him, “Okay… Then…”
Xuan Hezhi and Hu Qingquan looked at each other. Lu Xiu hesitated but didn’t interrupt them.
“But why are there demons in this school?” Jiang Hong continued, “I don’t discriminate against demons, but even Hogwarts, which trains wizards, doesn’t have demons… I mean, why are they here?”
Jiang Hong was a bit incoherent. After all, what had happened today had completely shattered his worldview. He couldn’t believe that there were demons in this modern world.
“Human and demons are equal,” Xuan Hezhi sighed, realizing that Hu Qingquan was a demon and was standing in front of him. He immediately squeezed out a professional smile. “Demons can also catch demons and exorcise ghosts, just like the police who catch bad guys in human society. It’s the same principle, right?”
Jiang Hong couldn’t argue back but still felt it was very strange.
“I thought you knew,” Hu Qingquan said. “The red nameplate in the dormitory represents demons, and the blue one represents humans. The nearby dormitories all have a very deep impression of you. Jiang Hong, you are the first human being in our school’s history to not have any racial prejudices. But now it seems…”
Hu Qingquan couldn’t help but cry and laugh. “So, it turns out that you didn’t know they were demons?”
Jiang Hong suddenly remembered the strange scene when he and Zhang Xiting went out by car. So that was the car of the demon clan! Why did the students always strangely gather in groups of three or four, and even those in the same dormitory separated? Many of them were demons! With over 200 students, there were more than 100 demons!
Over 100 lively and active demons! Was there anything more terrifying in the world?
“This is one of the school’s educational policies,” Xuan Hezhi said helplessly. “We hope that humans and demons can learn together, grow together, and slowly live in peace, eliminating racial prejudice.”
Then, Xuan Hezhi shrugged his shoulders, meaning that he had explained everything to Jiang Hong, so they were done here.
“Lu Xiu, will you take him back to military training?” Xuan Hezhi said.
“No, no, no! Wait a minute!” Jiang Hong went crazy again. “It’s not like that–! It’s not!”
Everyone: “??? “
Jiang Hong took a deep breath and organized his words for a while before saying, “But I don’t know any magic! I never thought of becoming a mage…”
“Exorcist,” Xuan Hezhi corrected.
“You have the talent for spiritual veins,” Hu Qingquan said. “You just haven’t realized it. If you study with everyone else, you can develop your talents…”
“No, I don’t!” Jiang Hong said.
“You do,” Lu Xiu said. “I know you do.”
Jiang Hong: “I don’t.”
Lu Xiu: “You do.”
Jiang Hong said, “No, I’m sure I don’t, and I don’t want to catch ghosts either! I’m scared of ghosts!”
“Catching ghosts is just a course in social practice,” Hu Qingquan patiently explained. “You won’t catch ghosts every day, and there aren’t so many ghosts for you to catch. Most ghosts don’t do bad things, and you can’t bully them…”
“That’s not what I wanted to say!” Jiang Hong was about to go crazy. “I… I want to go home! I don’t know anything. Why do I have to become a mage… an exorcist!”
Xuan Hezhi turned to the computer again. Surprisingly, the three other people in the office besides Jiang Hong were calm.
“You have the talent, see?” Xuan Hezhi said, “It’s written in the background check. Counting up, your great-grandfather was a great feng shui master during the Republic of China period, named Jiang He. He oversaw the selection and expansion of Zijin Mountain, and was also a famous exorcist who sealed many evil spirits…”
“I don’t even know him,” Jiang Hong said in despair.
Xuan Hezhi said, “Your great-grandfather was an amazing person, and you must be too.”
Jiang Hong sighed. He had no idea how to answer, and the office fell into silence again.
“What do you want, Jiang Hong?” Finally, it was Lu Xiu who broke the silence.
“I… I… I want to go home.” Jiang Hong’s only thought now was to go back, back to a familiar world.
“You want to drop out of school?” Hu Qingquan said incredulously.
Xuan Hezhi and Hu Qingquan glanced at each other.
“Do you want to drop out?” Lu Xiu also asked.
“Can I?” Jiang Hong pleaded, looking only at Lu Xiu.
“This… ” Xuan Hezhi was obviously very hesitant. “I can’t make this decision, but what will you do if you drop out and go back?”
Jiang Hong said, “I can only repeat the year if I go back… I guess.”
He thought to himself: Of course, that was the only thing he could do!
Hu Qingquan was encountering this kind of situation for the first time and was at a loss.
“We have to wait for the vice principal to come back,” Xuan Hezhi said. “I can’t make this decision.”
Lu Xiu silently watched Jiang Hong with a slightly complicated expression in his eyes.
Jiang Hong held onto Lu Xiu’s clothes since he came in and hadn’t let go.
“When will Cao Bin come back?” Hu Qingquan asked.
“He’s at the disciplinary committee meeting,” Xuan Hezhi said. “Let me call him…”
Xuan Hezhi thought for a moment and said, “Lu Xiu, take him to rest for a while and let him think carefully. Don’t be impulsive. If he changes his mind, send me a message.”
“We’ll talk to the vice principal later. Qingquan, you should go back and lead the military training in the afternoon.”
Lu Xiu didn’t say a word and took Jiang Hong out of the dormitory.
When Jiang Hong said he wanted to drop out, he finally breathed a sigh of relief. It was drizzling outside, and he followed Lu Xiu, walking in the rain.
“Where are we going?” Jiang Hong asked.
“My dormitory,” Lu Xiu said. “Is that okay?”
Jiang Hong nodded. He felt that he needed to rest. From last night until now, he had slept for less than three hours.
After Jiang Hong left, in the office of the Education Department:
Xuan Hezhi hung up the phone and broke down.
“Ah – what should we do! This is a serious teaching accident ah!” Xuan Hezhi covered his head with both hands and screamed frantically.
Hu Qingquan said, “Dean, you… calm down, calm down.”
“What should we do!” Xuan Hezhi paced back and forth, then turned around suddenly, grabbing Hu Qingquan and shaking him vigorously. “What did Yiwei do?! The disciplinary committee will kill me! The performance bonus this month is gone again ah – I have to pay for my own airfare to go to Beijing to explain and review! How can recruiting a student lead to a teaching accident – what did I do wrong?! Is this fate?! And why him?! Why is it this kid?! Even if Cao Bin let me go, Lu Xiu will still cause trouble for me! Lu Xiu will definitely find a chance to hit me!”
Hu Qingquan said, “Dean, Dean! It’s okay, what did Vice President Cao say?”
“He said… ‘You wait for me’.”
“… ” Hu Qingquan was speechless.
“…” Xuan Hezhi said nothing more.
At ten in the morning, in Lu Xiu’s dormitory, Jiang Hong was exhausted and fell down, but suddenly jumped up and asked Lu Xiu if he could sleep in his bed. Lu Xiu agreed. He was busy boiling water.
As a postgraduate student, he lived alone in the dormitory, and the windows were filled with green plants. There was sunlight, and clean shirts hung on the balcony, while two helmets were placed in the cabinet. Jiang Hong’s earphones were placed with the helmets in a glass cabinet. On the desk, there was a row of books: “Strange Tales of Chinese and Foreign Demons,” “The Mythological History of China” by Yuan Ke, and “Flight and Aerodynamics Research” were among them. There was also a green workbench with a file and some black and gold-colored debris scattered about, suggesting that something had been processed.
Jiang Hong opened WeChat and found a row of chats from his demon roommates asking him how he was doing and where he was. He didn’t know if he should reply, but in the end, he timidly replied, “I’m fine.”
“I’m so tired,” Jiang Hong said as he collapsed onto Lu Xiu’s bed.
“Go to sleep,” Lu Xiu said as he sat on a swivel chair. He murmured something, and Jiang Hong suddenly felt a powerful will rush into his mind, taking over his confused thoughts. It was as if his consciousness had been blocked by a fog, and he fell asleep.
The sunlight outside the window shone on Jiang Hong’s face, and he woke up again, realizing he had slept until three o’clock in the afternoon.
“Senior?” Jiang Hong nervously sat up.
Lu Xiu was making pour-over coffee and gave Jiang Hong a cup. He also handed him a sandwich he bought at the cafeteria.
“The vice-president is back,” Lu Xiu said. “You need to see him, so finish eating and come with me.”
“Okay…” Jiang Hong was a little scared, and Lu Xiu could tell he wanted to ask something.
He said, “The vice-president is human, so don’t be afraid. The school’s top officials are mostly human.”
They arrived at the administrative building in the central area of the campus, where the layout was in the shape of a Tai Chi symbol. The “yang” zone had a nine-story ancient palace, while the “yin” zone was a large lake. It was late summer, and there were some lotus flowers on the lake, making it peaceful and quiet.
In the center of the lake was a small island with a stone platform.
Jiang Hong stopped and looked at the lake. Suddenly, he felt a strange feeling. After coming to this strange school, he had not had a chance to look around properly. Now he realized that his attention had been distracted since he was scared.
“Have you decided?” Lu Xiu suddenly asked.
“Yeah…” Jiang Hong said, forcing himself to speak. “I’ve decided.”
“Then let’s go,” Lu Xiu said.
Jiang Hong saw a sculpture of an ancient sword on the stone platform at the center of the lake. He wanted to ask about it since he had seen it before when he first applied for admission, but he couldn’t see it clearly from high up.
“What is that, senior?” Jiang Hong had been curious since the last time he saw it.
“It’s a model of the Sword of Wisdom,” answered Lu Xiu. “It’s a divine weapon of the Unmoving King, symbolizing the protection of the school.”
“Is the sword just for display?” Jiang Hong was very curious.
“It originally belonged to the principal,” said Lu Xiu, “but he is currently not in our world, accompanying his lover to another time and space. As for the original sword, I don’t know where it is.”
Jiang Hong nodded and followed Lu Xiu to the administrative building.
“Eighth floor,” the electronic voice announced. “Vice president’s office, education area, and centralized administrative floor.”
Xuan Hezhi was dealing with a pile of documents in another office. When he saw Jiang Hong, he went out to greet him, knocked on the door, and pushed open another office’s door.
It was a large office, and a man in black trousers, a white shirt, and a tie was sitting inside, taking a nap in a swivel chair. His fingers were intertwined and placed on his chest.
“Jiang Hong is here?” The man didn’t open his eyes, but spoke lightly.
Jiang Hong was a little nervous. The man looked about thirty years old and had a strong presence. Compared to Lu Xiu’s sharpness, his aura seemed unfathomable.
His features were very firm, with short hair shaved on both sides, leaving lush short hair on top of his head. His Adam’s apple was prominent and beautiful, like a young military officer who had retired and become a cadet.
Jiang Hong remembered what Xuan Hezhi had said. If there really were “exorcists” who hunted evil, the person who could give him that first impression must be the man in front of him.
“My name is Cao Bin, and I am the vice president of China Sky University. The president is currently not here, and I am fully authorized to handle school affairs.”
“Hello, vice president,” Jiang Hong said.
Cao Bin waved his hand, indicating that there was no need to be polite, then stood up and shook hands with him. His palm was large with distinct knuckles, and his movements were powerful and decisive. The moment they shook hands, it was clear that Cao Bin valued Jiang Hong, not just exchanging pleasantries.