Chapter 41: A High-Profile Demon Hunter?
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The man smiled shyly. "It may sound absurd but actually, I’m a demon hunter..."
Hao Ren heard a sudden noise in his ears. He turned around and saw that Lily had stopped eating. Whereas, the vampire maiden was wiping away the sauce stain on her face before saying in a quivering voice, "What did you just say?"
"I knew it. Exactly the response I had expected." There was a sense of helplessness in the man. "Your reaction isn’t a surprise to me. I had it worse when I told people about myself previously. I mean it when I say I’m a demon hunter. Have you ever watched the movie Van Helsing? What I do is more or less the same as depicted in the movie. Just that, we hunt demons in a totally different way."
The tall man sounded dead serious as he talked about himself. Hao Ren slid his butt backwards on his chair to try to keep a distance from the man. He had too many questions in his mind. "The man’s a demon hunter? Is he real or just some charlatan?"
People would have laughed if off but not Hao Ren; he had deeper thoughts than them. He knew demon hunters existed.
At the same time, he did not take the man’s word at face value as the man could have been joking. He figured no demon hunter in their right mind would advertise their presence like this dude did.
"So, you’re not going to believe me, are you?" The man helplessly spread his hands out. "I can’t blame you though. Look, being a Chinese, it would have been more convincing if I claimed to be a lay monk from Mount Wutai. But I’m not claiming to be anything more than I am. Also, the term ‘demon hunter’ may sound westernized but in reality, it’s extra-cultural. We’ve been in existence since the emergence of the four great, ancient civilizations..."
Hao Ren and Vivian looked at each other. They both felt that there was some truth in the man’s words. Demon hunters were thought to be from the west. People did not know that they had been roaming the surface of the earth since time immemorial. In ancient China, they were known as Taoists; in other parts of the world, they were called sorcerers or priests. However, true demon hunters would never identify themselves as such. Yet, what this man said was very close to the truth—a truth that most would not acknowledge.
"Mr. Demon hunter?" Lily had finally turned her focus away from her plate. She had never seen a real demon hunter but had heard a lot of horrific stories about them so, she was nervous. "Demon hunters are real?"
At last, Lily wised-up. She was slick with her tongue.
"People in general regard demon hunters as an urban legend or character from horror stories." The man smiled slyly. "But they are as real as they get. And there are still many people who believe in the existence of paranormal entities hence, the practice of exorcism in some places. Rightly, my job is to drive out demons. That explains my presence here. I’m here to investigate the paranormal events in Yorkford."
"In that sense, your job is supposed to be confidential. I can’t fathom, how could you be so conspicuous in your approach?" Vivian posed her question in a composed manner. She had suspected there was something behind this man’s haste in revealing his identity.
It did not matter whether the man was genuine or not. The fact was, his high-profile presence had already defied all logic. People of such profession would have preferred to lay low. Announcing one’s self in such a conspicuously was never the way normal demon hunters behaved. Had he become jobless just like her and had to advertise himself to get hired?
Hao Ren did share her thoughts in a way. When did demon hunters become so high-profile? Did all superheros not wear some kind of mask to keep things clandestine? Look at Hao Ren, he never went around announcing to the world that he was a glamorous agent from heaven. Of course, he had a protocol to follow, which he did not mention.
"There’s nothing secretive about it," the man said in a matter-of-fact manner. "My job isn’t something despicable. Even fortune tellers have their own websites. So why can’t we demon hunters talk about our work openly?"
Hao Ren and Vivian looked at each other, trying to synchronize their reactions and stay under the radar. Within seconds, they locked their eyes in a shared understanding. They pretended to be a naive audience who had found the story interesting but unbelievable. Vivian, in her thoughtful smile and distant manner asked, "So, you’re going to slay all those ghosts in the castle, aren’t you?"
The man’s zeal was somewhat dampened but he still smiled. "I need to assess the situation there before taking any action. I know you’re not going to believe me. And I don’t expect you to. But, we could travel together anyway. I could be your tour guide. Why don’t we catch a train tomorrow morning? We’ll be there by evening, before you know it."
Hao Ren was hesitant. He felt like he needed a day or two to recover from the jet lag. However before he could spell it out, Vivian had already taken the liberty of accepting the invitation on his behalf. "That’s great. It’s very nice of you to be our guide since we aren’t familiar with the route. By the way, what’s your name?"
"I’m Nangong. That’s my last name." The man rose to his feet and said, "Errr... for some reason, I can’t tell you my first name now. Anyway, do call me Nangong. I’ll see you guys at 6.30 tomorrow morning in this restaurant. And then we shall depart. I’ll only wait for 15 minutes tops—the train doesn’t wait."
Just as Hao Ren was about to tell the man that he possibly could not make it that early, Vivian jumped the gun again, nodding. "Okay, Mr. Nangong. See you at 6.30 tomorrow morning. Oh yeah, please allow me to introduce myself; I’m Vivian, this is—"
Hao Ren stared blankly at Vivian, she was talking to the demon hunter as if it did not concern her one bit. After Nangong left them, Hao Ren managed to ask, "Aren’t you afraid of the demon hunter?"
"No, he doesn’t look like one." Vivian sat back down as Nangong walked out of the restaurant. She took a short breath and said, "Frankly, we need a guide. He’s going to Yorkford, just like us. So, it would be way better if we follow him there, figure out his motive, and then make up some excuse to part with him rather than going on our own and bumping into him in Yorkford. It’d be kind of awkward. Of course, this would be the case if he were a demon hunter. However, if he’s only a charlatan, things will be a lot easier since he won’t be a threat. We’ll just get him to lead us there and then we’ll be done with him."
Vivian’s analysis of the situation was very much on point and Hao Ren also could not deny the fact that she was more farsighted than he was. Nonetheless, he was not done with his questions yet. He asked, "Vivian, could you tell whether someone’s a demon hunter or not? If Nangong’s a real demon hunter, there has to be something distinct and recognizable. Apart from his ‘look’, could you tell by any other means?"
Vivian frowned as she stared into the distance. "It’s kind of hard to tell. Demon hunters are like predators. They’re sly and good at concealing themselves. And that was exactly how my clan was wiped out when a demon hunter infiltrated us by posing as one of our slaves. As a first-class Blood Clan member myself, I have the ability to differentiate a demon hunter’s blood from others. But first, you need to get his blood, which I think isn’t an easy task."
There was a pause. She felt that as difficult as it was, she also had her pride to think about. So she continued, albeit unsure. "Well, now that we’re on it, I did feel something amiss about him. During the last battle between the Blood Clan and the demon hunters, I hurt my right hand. Since then, I sort of acquired some mystic ability. My hand would get hot whenever a demon hunter is present..."
"Oh, really? I think your hand’s just dipping into the hot soup now."