Even a Shaman Needs Evening Self Study

Even a Shaman Needs Evening Self Study

Chapter 10 - Offending the Tiangou

Kong Xuan's academic performance can be said to be quite... outrageous.

It made everyone wonder how he got into Nanchu No. 1 Middle School in the first place. After all, it's a key high school. He didn't just get the answers wrong.

During the second physics class, the teacher was also very puzzled by this performance. He called Kong Xuan to stand up and asked him a question, wanting to know what progress Kong Xuan had made in his previous school. What kind of school had such a low teaching level?

The physics teacher was called Chu Weiping. He thought he was quite humorous and changed the question slightly: "Suppose you got into a fight with your deskmate Lin Yang, and you punched him with full force, making him roll away at a speed of 40m/s. If he needs to stop within a distance of 500 meters, how long will it take? Here we assume his acceleration is negative—" The teacher said while writing the data on the blackboard.

Lin Yang: "..." Damn, why is it him again.

The classmates all laughed. Lin Yang liked to joke around, so many teachers liked to tease him.

Kong Xuan glanced at Lin Yang. Before the teacher finished writing, he said without thinking, "It's impossible to stop within five hundred meters."

The classroom fell silent for a second, then burst into laughter.

Lin Yang: "Ah?? What great sin have I committed!"

"Not bad, not bad, Lin Yang is tough."

"What a grudge, hahaha!"

The joke was lively, but the problem-solving was terrible.

Kong Xuan once again demonstrated his astonishing... unfamiliarity with knowledge, as if he had never been close to physics.

Chu Weiping said "aiya" twice in confusion. Facing Kong Xuan's calm demeanor, he inexplicably didn't dare to scold him and could only say, "You just transferred here, so I won't say anything. But you have to work hard since you chose this course yourself.

"Next, I will explain to everyone how to solve this problem. When Lin Yang was punched and sent flying..."

"Hahahahaha!" Yu Zhenzhen's laughter was particularly loud amidst the laughter, almost crowing.


In rainy Nanchu, half an hour before school ended, it started drizzling again, stirring up the earthy smell in the air and making people feel restless.

Tan Xiao looked up and saw Kong Xuan's tall and straight back. He was looking at the world being washed by the rain outside the window.

After the physics class today, Teacher Chu found Tan Xiao and said that Kong Xuan's foundation was too weak. As the physics class representative, Tan Xiao should actively help the new classmate.

Tan Xiao had nodded at the time.

He found that Kong Xuan often looked out the window absentmindedly. It seemed that this classmate's mind was not on studying.

Moreover, Kong Xuan's temper was not very approachable, and he even seemed to target Tan Xiao. Tan Xiao thought, how should he help this new classmate?

The bell rang. Tan Xiao, who was still thinking while staring at Kong Xuan's back, found that Kong Xuan also turned his head to look at him.

He was startled. Had he been staring for too long?

But Kong Xuan seemed to only glance at him before getting up, grabbing his schoolbag with one hand, and leaving swiftly. He didn't even bring an umbrella and just rushed out.

Tan Xiao was still recalling how Kong Xuan's eyes seemed a little gloomy when he looked at him...

Yu Zhenzhen asked while packing her schoolbag, "Hey, Tan Xiao, do you live on Huaxi Road?"

Tan Xiao nodded.

"Oh, when I went to help the head teacher with work this afternoon, I saw Kong Xuan's information." Yu Zhenzhen said softly, "His address is also on Huaxi Road, just like yours. Were you neighbors before? Could it be that you were childhood playmates, and he recognized you, but you didn't recognize him?"

Tan Xiao really tried to recall but still couldn't remember any childhood friend named Kong Xuan. Thinking of Kong Xuan's eyes, he shook his head and said, "I don't know, maybe."

Seeing his flat response, Yu Zhenzhen sighed in her heart. Look at his state of mind. No wonder his grades are good. He doesn't even remember such a handsome face and only memorizes formulas, right?

Tan Xiao walked back under an umbrella. He didn't see anyone who looked like Kong Xuan on the way. Maybe Kong Xuan's eyes left too deep an impression on him. Fearing that he might not remember correctly, he even sent a text message to Tan Chunying, asking if she remembered him knowing a friend named Kong Xuan nearby when he was a child.

Tan Chunying replied quickly, [I don't remember the name. There are so many neighbors around, plus the children from their relatives' homes. You had so many playmates when you were young, and they all loved playing with you, but you don't remember any of them, hahaha.]

"..." No way. Tan Xiao really couldn't remember. Could it really be a childhood playmate?

After returning home, Tan Xiao washed up as usual and wiped all the masks hanging on the wall with wet wipes.

In Tan Xiao's home, there was a special wall with dozens of Nuo ritual masks hanging on it.

The attribute of a spirit master is more of a "shaman", also absorbing and integrating some Nuo rituals. Tan Xiao's family had so many masks, but they didn't use many of them. They were mainly for a lively appearance, and tourists liked them.

For spirit masters, the various masks they use in rituals need to have rooster crest blood dripped on them after they are made. This ritual is called "pointing the general," which is similar to "consecration."

After the pointing, the mask is equivalent to having the will of a god, similar to a religious idol, and can be attached to the will of a deity. It cannot be casually placed and needs to be regularly worshipped with incense.

In Tan Xiao's home, most of the masks were not pointed, so they were only regularly cleaned and oiled. The mask materials and craftsmanship were very expensive. They couldn't look full of cracks and dirt during performances and tourist visits.

While wiping, he reached the peacock mask made of kraft paper.

This couldn't be wiped with wet wipes. Tan Xiao switched to dry tissues to wipe it. This was drawn by Tan Xiao himself. His family had never made a peacock mask before.

After finishing all the sanitary maintenance, Tan Xiao went to rest and turned off the light with a click.

As the footsteps faded away, in the darkness, only the colorful masks remained, responding with silence.


The next day.

Tan Xiao ate beef noodles as usual and entered the school.

He arrived a little early today. It wasn't time for morning self-study yet. Lin Yang was still lying on the desk reading a novel, covering his mouth and laughing from time to time. However, the dark circles under his eyes had faded a lot. As soon as he saw Tan Xiao coming, he waved something at him.

Tan Xiao took a look: "A talisman?"

Lin Yang said proudly, "What do you think? Do you recognize it?" He not only showed it to Tan Xiao but also waved it around to the surrounding classmates. When he reached Kong Xuan, he obviously paused for a moment.

Kong Xuan was looking over expressionlessly.

Lin Yang felt a chill and quickly passed by. "Hey, do you guys know what this is?"

On the talisman was a string of crooked writing, like a crawling snake, and it looked like seal script. Anyway, it was very difficult to recognize the original meaning.

Everyone may have been mistaken, but after glancing at the talisman, Kong Xuan seemed to let out a cold laugh.

Tan Xiao took a look and read out loud: "The Qilin arrives here?"

Lin Yang: "...I was just casually asking, how did you actually know?"

"This uses the snake foot script." Tan Xiao said calmly, this is basic stuff.

Snake foot script is an ancient writing form from the Chu region. Some unearthed cultural relics from Chu even have this type of script.

However, after thousands of years, only a small number of these characters are still circulated among the people. The tools of professions like carpenters, midwives, and spirit masters in the Chu region all have snake foot script characters that can be seen.

As for writing "The Qilin arrives here", it implies warding off evil. There are also many that write "The Phoenix is here".

"Well, didn't our family have a collective dream? Last night when I went back, my mom said she requested a talisman for me from one of the grannies." Lin Yang rewrapped the displayed talisman into a brocade pouch. To be honest, it may just be psychological comfort, but after having this, he didn't have many dreams. "She only requested it for me, saying my fortune this year violates the Tiangou star, more dangerous than them."

This made everyone curious. These days, young people are more interested in metaphysics than in chicken soup for the soul.

"There's an old saying 'The Tiangou star hangs over guests, if not hurt then ruined'. If your fortune violates the Tiangou star, there will be a bloody disaster, and men will subdue their wives while women will subdue their husbands." After Tan Xiao said this, everyone let out an "oh" and looked at Lin Yang sympathetically.

Lin Yang also felt like he was struck by lightning, "Brother Xiao! I haven't even had time for puppy love, and I'm already subduing my wife?"

Everyone laughed knowingly.

"No need to sympathize with him, everyone has a share in this." Tan Xiao said, "Those who entered school the same year are about the same age. This is calculated based on the zodiac animal. At least two-thirds of our class will be the same as Lin Yang in subduing their wives or husbands."

Everyone: "..."

The metaphysics topic suddenly became a bit uninteresting again.

Lin Yang also quietly put away the brocade pouch. Turns out it was a widespread tactic, everyone this year is violating the Tiangou star.

As a student of the new era, Lin Yang originally didn't firmly believe in these things. He was probably on the same level as Yu Zhenzhen playing with tarot cards, maybe occasionally forwarding koi fish and such.

This time, having frequent dreams, he just started to get into it a bit. But with Tan Xiao casually stirring things up twice, the atmosphere disappeared again. However, he did feel comforted and wasn't as scared anymore.

It doesn't matter anyway, just treat this talisman as a good omen. Lin Yang still stuffed the talisman back into his pocket.


The class bell rang.

Today's morning self-study belonged to physics. Chu Weiping came over and instructed Tan Xiao to explain a few problems, then quietly said a few words to him.

Tan Xiao nodded. After explaining the key problem types instructed by Chu Weiping, he returned to his seat and poked Yu Zhenzhen, whispering: "Class rep, let me switch seats with you for a bit."

He pointed at the problem set, then pointed at Kong Xuan.

Yu Zhenzhen understood. So Teacher Chu just now was telling Tan Xiao to explain the problems to Kong Xuan. Kong Xuan's physics was indeed a bit arbitrary, almost the opposite of his appearance, you could say. She picked up her books and went to the back.

Tan Xiao sat next to Kong Xuan. Seeing him glance over, Tan Xiao said: "Kong Xuan classmate, do you know the best way to improve your physics scores?"

Kong Xuan smiled ambiguously: "I know, kill those who score better than me."

Tan Xiao: "..."

"...You're quite humorous." Tan Xiao pushed that problem set in front of Kong Xuan.

There were quite a few of his notes on it, the handwriting proper and elegant. "It's doing more problems. Just use the tactic of drowning in problems. This problem is similar to the type Teacher Chu tested you on yesterday. Look, which one should be chosen for this problem?"

Kong Xuan originally didn't want to answer.

But, Tan Xiao went through so much trouble to change seats to his side to explain the problems to him, clearly trying to curry favor.

He may not have learned the subjects of the mortal world and was too lazy to use his mind, but for mere physics problems that were just explained yesterday, how hard could they be?

Kong Xuan said arrogantly: "B."

"...Wrong." Who knows what Kong Xuan was being arrogant about, but Tan Xiao still focused on encouragement. His fingers gripped the pen, unconsciously twirling it a few times, pointing at the problem. "Then let me explain it to you?"

Seeing his movements, Kong Xuan recalled his two hands pressed together, forming a complex hand seal, vaguely visible behind the hazy smoke. Looking now, it was even clearer, even the fleshy pink color showing through his fingernails.

You know to correct your mistakes, I'll give you that.

Kong Xuan slowly nodded: "Explain then."

Tan Xiao spent the entire morning self-study explaining before returning to his seat. He could feel Kong Xuan's attitude had improved quite a bit. He thought, although his temper is a bit bad, he still knows to be grateful.

Near the end of the fourth period.

Kong Xuan suddenly turned his head and said to Tan Xiao: "Eating?"

Lin Yang watched with his mouth agape. What's the situation? Explaining a few problems and they became so close. The handsome Kong Xuan is different from his appearance, quite easy to coax.

He raised his hand: "Eating, let's go to the cafeteria together?"

Kong Xuan: "Wasn't talking to you."

Lin Yang: "..."

Leaning back, clutching his heart, hurt.

Tan Xiao was also stunned for a moment. After all, Kong Xuan was still glaring yesterday, but today he wants to eat together. He felt it was a bit funny.

Kong Xuan's personality is quite simple.

Yesterday, Lin Yang invited Kong Xuan to the cafeteria but was also rejected. Seems he doesn't like cafeteria food either. He hesitated for a moment before saying: "Then do you want to eat takeout with me?"

Kong Xuan nodded.

"...Okay, wait for me for a bit. I need to go turn in the homework first." As soon as the lunch break started, Tan Xiao hugged a big stack of homework and went to the teachers' office.

The students eating had already left one after another. Lin Yang similarly shouted hungrily and ran out. The appetites of students at this age are truly unfathomable.

Kong Xuan stood up unhurriedly and glanced at Lin Yang's seat, which was next to Tan Xiao.

During morning self-study, Tan Xiao had switched seats with Yu Zhenzhen to sit next to him.

Thinking this, Kong Xuan tried sitting in Lin Yang's seat. The view was pretty good. He reached out and twirled the fountain pen Tan Xiao used.

When Tan Xiao came back after turning in the homework, there was no one in Kong Xuan's seat at all.

Instead, Lin Yang, who had been shouting about starving to death during fourth period, was now leisurely playing with his fountain pen in his seat.

Tan Xiao went up and patted him: "Where's Kong Xuan? Didn't I tell him to wait for me."

Kong Xuan: "..."

He slowly, displeased, raised his head and made eye contact with Tan Xiao, letting Tan Xiao clearly see that he had mistaken him for someone else.

Tan Xiao: "?"

Kong Xuan: "??"

In Tan Xiao's eyes, Kong Xuan once again saw genuine confusion.

After a while, he finally came back to his senses. He dug out the last remaining possibility from the corner of his mind and asked in disbelief, "You... could it be that you don't know what Kong Xuan looks like?"

He hadn't anticipated that Tan Xiao wouldn't recognize him, but now that they had met in the mortal world, how could this be?

It was reasonable not to remember his deskmate, but not remembering him? Unreasonable!

Tan Xiao recalled the endless stream of people who came to visit Kong Xuan today.

He had face blindness, but he wasn't incapable of analysis. Tan Xiao mumbled, "That's not entirely true. I know he's quite handsome."

Kong Xuan: ".................."

Author's note:

Tan Xiao, this year you've offended Tiangou, the celestial dog that is known to bring misfortune to husbands (confirmed)


Hello! I'm Echo, and I've always been fascinated by how stories can connect us across different worlds. When I'm not translating, I'm probably playing guitar or experimenting in the kitchen. I hope my translations resonate with you, just like a good melody

Give me feedback at moc.ebircssutol@ohce.