That night, Wan Li called.
“I couldn’t find you after I returned to the clinic in the afternoon, and didn’t dare call you in case you were busy with the case.” He said. “How were things today?”
“Why so dispirited? Didn’t sleep well last night?”
“Yep.” Actually, she was very tired these days, but due to the nightmares she was always a little afraid to sleep. Now, she was considering whether she should just not sleep.
“Did you go find Ruan Zhan yet?” Wan Li probed. “You wouldn’t have forgotten, right? That friend of mine who can communicate with spirits!”
“You have a friend who can communicate with spirits?! I’ve only met with a friend of yours who really deserves a beating.” When Ruan Zhan was mentioned, Xiao Xia felt an inexplicable fire rising from somewhere, immediately becoming enraged instead of listless.
“Sounds like you’ve met him.”
“This means he wasn’t willing to help you?”
“Why have me go if you knew the outcome? Trying to embarrass me?”
“Hey, be reasonable. I’ve already told you he’s afraid of trouble and most likely won’t agree. However, I didn’t expect you to get angry. His reputation amongst women has always been pretty good.”
“Those women may be blind but I am not. Actually, I’m the one asking for his help. It would be a kindness if he agreed but it’s also the norm if he didn’t. It’s also all thanks to you. What do I have to be angry or complain about? He isn’t obligated to help me. I’m just angry about his attitude. He puts on such a beautiful smile, acts so amicable, but is actually just refusing everything. Nothing stirs his emotions. He looks like a gentle prince charming but is actually the evil witch! He’s got no humanity, no compassion, and no conscience!” Xiao Xia was furious. Although she knew that asking for help required her to lower herself and the outcome was never certain, she felt angry whenever she recalled Ruan Zhan’s face for some reason.
“It’s good to be a little angry, it’s good to be a little angry. This can help distract you from your negative emotions.”
“Fine, fine, don’t be angry anymore. Tomorrow won’t work, I can’t take off. How about the day after tomorrow? I’ll go with you to find him. This guy isn’t giving me any face at all. Shouldn’t he consider who’s asking him for this favor? Great Lawyer Yue asking him for a small favor, isn’t that thinking highly of him!?”
“I won’t go!”
“Why won’t you go? The more he’s afraid of trouble, the more we should trouble him to death! And then use him to death!” Wan Li followed up on Xiao Xia’s words. He knew Xiao Xia was very childish when she loses her temper. Instead of comforting her, it was better to stimulate her desire for revenge and her competitiveness. He still wasn’t sure if Xiao Xia’s nightmares were due to mental issues or due to something foul. Therefore, he had to figure out the truth no matter what.
As expected, Xiao Xia expressed her agreement.
“To tell you the truth, you also can’t blame him.” Wan Li also spoke up for Ruan Zhan. “Everyone has their own peculiarities. Ruan Zhan isn’t someone easy to understand. Even I don’t understand him completely. However, I didn’t think you would see through his front at a glance. Very impressive!”
“Cheh, don’t know you know I am?”
“That’s right. Your intuition is your biggest strength. You should join my field. It’s a waste for you to be a lawyer.”
“If you have any other compliments, you should lay them all out.”
“I’d be talking the entire night! It’s better to talk about Ruan Zhan. Aren’t you interested in how we became friends, and why I say he can talk to spirits?”
“Not interested.” Xiao Xia huffed, but her heart itched with curiosity.
“Then just treat it as a bedtime story. I’ve been friends with him for many years. We actually met when we were seven. Now, it’s been twenty-four years already. He wasn’t his parents’ biological son. He was found by his dad when he was five, who then adopted him. It’s not clear if he remembers anything before then. Regardless, he’s never brought it up. His adopted father used to be a Daoist priest, but since society is trying to abolish bad elements and outdated superstition, he could only return to a normal life. He moved to our town afterwards. His dad was very knowledgeable in ancient history. Even his name came from ancient literature.”
“Stop speaking nonsense. His name is just weird. There’s nothing profound about it.”
“See, you don’t know it. His name comes from “Records of the Jin Dynasty: Ruan Zhan Encounters a Ghost”. It’s said that the Ruan Zhan in ancient times was someone who didn’t believe in ghosts. He got into a debate with someone about this and that person lost in the end. However, he then told Ruan Zhan that he was a ghost before fading away. Ruan Zhan fell ill from his shock and passed away afterwards. I don’t know why his dad chose this name for him, but it might be because he was born with such abilities. It’s like how you are called Xiao Xia because you were born in the summer, and my parents hoped the fabled roc would fly ten thousand miles when they called me Wan Li.”
“How do you know he has “that sort” of ability?” It was nighttime and Xiao Xia didn’t dare say the word “ghost”. However, this was what she was most curious about.
“I found out the year we met each other. That year, something weird happened in our school. Afterwards, some supernatural events happened at my college as well, but I can’t tell you about it now. You aren’t mentally stable at the moment and will get terrified. I’ll find a chance to tell you later. Regardless, you should believe me. He can truly see what we cannot, and can also banish them.”
“Weren’t you scared? You still became friends with him?”
“I was! How could I not have been?! However, my curiosity was too great and it overcame my fear. Speaking of which, our fates were interwoven quite firmly. We were in the same class from elementary school until middle school. During middle school, we sat at the same table. During high school, my family moved to Chongqing and we kept in contact via letters. Afterwards, he stopped responding to me and I assumed we had drifted apart. Who would have thought I would meet him when I went to Beijing University for college. We were even in the same major.”
“He also studied psychology?” Xiao Xia was surprised. No wonder he was so good at acting. However, he wasn’t able to fool this Yue Xiao Xia’s super vision.
“That’s right. However, he vanished again after graduating. Then, after I came to this city for work, I unexpectedly encountered him again. At that time, he had opened his bar. It’s not clear why he didn’t pursue a career in his field of study. But think about it. We keep encountering each other after all sorts of twists and turns. We were destined to be friends, and cannot get away.”
“It sounds like you’ve been stalking him.” Xiao Xia said sarcastically.
“Hey? It really does. That guy is very passive about relationships. If we hadn’t known each other for so long, and if I weren’t such a great and understanding person, it would be hard for us to become friends.”
“I feel it’s because you were childhood friends from a young age.”
“That’s right. That’s the key reason. No matter how a child rejects the world, it’s still easy to make friends. If I only met him after growing up, he would probably act cordial but remain distant like you said.”
“Now that you mention it, this is all your fault. You clearly knew his personality but still refused to go with me.” Xiao Xia recalled Ruan Zhan’s polite yet firm refusal and couldn’t help but feel her ego took a blow.
“You’re mistaken about that.” Wan Li could sense Xiao Xia was hung up over this, and hurriedly spoke his thoughts. “No matter what, helping you means betraying him since I’ve promised not to speak about his matters. He would be angry that I broke my promise, so me coming along would just make things worse. Only after his anger fades will there be a chance if I appear.”
“But do I really need his help?”
“There’s no need to doubt it, and no doubt you need it. I don’t know whether there’s someone better, but he’s the only one I know. Therefore, this is all I can help you with. Don’t overthink it. Sleep well and we will go see him the day after tomorrow. Whether it works or not, we might as well try. Alright, I’m going to hang up. Goodnight.”
After hanging up, Xiao Xia started worrying again. Should she sleep? She’ll have nightmares, and she couldn’t endure another fright. Better to not sleep? But she still had to work tomorrow, and she felt exhausted and extremely uncomfortable.
Forget it! Come what may!