The dried up lake was encircled by layers of withered trees. During exuberant times, this place had mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and giant trees with twisting and intertwining roots. But now, it had become an eerie, ghostly land.
There was an islet in the middle of the dry lake. On the islet, a young man clothed in white robes sat under a tree who looked around Chen Xing’s age. Xiao Shan squatted beside him, and like a wolf, he had one leg raised up as he kept scratching the back of his ears, and he was grunting as he gesticulated to that white robed young man.
“My name is Lu Ying,” that young man said softly, “I’m sorry, I can only talk to you while sitting like this. Because of Shi Hai’s Devil God blood, all of my strength has been sapped away.”
Chen Xing had a vague premonition that they had come to the right place.
After Xiao Shan scratched his itch, he moved a little and blocked the young man called Lu Ying, studying Xiang Shu with distrust in his eyes. Chen Xing handed him the other claw. Xiao Shan accepted it and put it on.
“I’ve seen you before,” Xiang Shu suddenly said.
“I’ve seen you before too,” Lu Ying said, “You’re the human Great Chanyu Shulü Wen’s son, Chi Le Chuan’s little master. I’ve seen you from afar many years ago, by Barkol Lake.”
“Human...” Chen Xing said, “You’re... wait! You! You’re...”
Lu Ying said wearily, “Yes, I’m a yao.”
At that moment, Lu Ying turned around slightly. Under the light of the stars, Chen Xing clearly saw a full view of him and suddenly exclaimed!
At first, half of Lu Ying’s body that was facing them was that of an elegant and handsome young man who only seemed about 16 or 17 years old. However, the other half of his body hidden within the shadows was already so rotted that eerie white bones were exposed, and his black viscera could be vaguely seen. Chen Xing quickly walked over and knelt down in front of Lu Ying to inspect his abnormality.
Xiao Shan instantly became nervous, yet Lu Ying motioned to Xiao Shan that it was fine. He said, “Xiao Shan’s just worried about my body, please excuse him.”
Xiang Shu slowly walked over and studied Xiao Shan and Lu Ying.
“Is he a yao?” As Chen Xing examined Lu Ying, he glanced at Xiao Shan.
Xiao Shan then climbed behind Lu Ying to find something.
Lu Ying answered, “He’s human like you. But before the wolf god died, he passed his yao powers to him in order to save his life.”
“Who’s the wolf god?” Xiang Shu asked, frowning.
“The other god who guards the sacred mountain Carosha with me after the Dragon God, Zhuyin, descended upon the human world... But for you exorcists, he should be called a big yao instead.”
“Wu.” Chen Xing inspected Lu Ying’s body, only to find that most of his body had already rotted away. His body had clearly been corroded by some strong toxin, and he really couldn’t do anything to help.
“Can’t be saved,” Lu Ying said, “If silence hadn’t befallen all magic, there could still be some hope. Throughout the past several hundreds of years, I’ve racked my brains for all sorts of ways. In this world, only the Heart Lamp can get rid of the demonic Qi for me, but the you now can’t do it.”
Chen Xing frowned. “Demonic Qi.”
“After I was infected with the Devil God blood, my viscera started rotting,” Lu Ying answered, “Only by summoning the spiritual Qi of the heavens and earth and using the Heart Lamp to forcibly purify my corporeal body can my life then be saved.”
Xiao Shan fished out a very small piece amber waist token from the tree behind Lu Ying. He handed it to Chen Xing, motioning for him to hold it.
Chen Xing, “?”
Lu Ying whispered, “The phoenix’s ashes are sealed inside that. I once thought that perhaps the phoenix’s strength from its centennial fire bath rebirth could rebuild my body in passing. But after the Silence of All Magic, even the phoenix would not be able to reincarnate. Save it, and when all magic is reawakened, it might still have a chance to be reborn.”
Chen Xing looked down at the waist token, only to see flickering ashes sealed within the amber. He had once read about it in books: the phoenix reincarnates once in a hundred years. After burning until nothing is left within the True Fire of Samadhi, a new chick will be born amidst the ashes. During the fire bath rebirth, if one were to properly use the powerful energy released then, it could rebuild a human body and even possibly resurrect the dead.
Now, only a small cupful of ash was left of the phoenix. It probably couldn’t be reborn after it was burnt.
“That day will come.” Chen Xing simply covered Lu Ying’s rotten half with his clothes. After pondering for a long time, he glanced at Xiang Shu.
“I know a day like that will come, “ Lu Ying smiled slightly and said, “But I can’t wait until then. Fortunately, you and the Protector Martial God still came, letting me wait for this last moment with dignity.”
Xiang Shu asked, “What on earth happened?”
Lu Ying beckoned to Xiao Shan, so Xiao Shan went over and lay comfortably in Lu Ying’s embrace.
“It’s a very long story.” Lu Ying answered in a daze, “Please, take a seat. I’m guessing that after coming from thousands of miles away, both of you must already know quite a bit. Hopefully, after listening to my account, it’ll help the two of you find your answers.”
Chen Xing said, “Silence of All Magic.”
Xiang Shu said, “Kjera.”
Both of them sat in front of Lu Ying. Xiao Shan couldn’t understand their conversation. As he lay in Lu Ying’s arms, he started yawning.
Chen Xing decisively cut straight to the point and said, “What’s so special about this mountain? Why does everything start from here?”
“It starts from Carosha,” Lu Ying answered, “That’s the clue you guys found?”
Chen Xing unfolded a map and showed it to Lu Ying. After yawning, Xiao Shan slightly roused and took it over. He looked at it front and back, from the left and from the right, and even turned it upside down.
“Just as I had mentioned, this is the place where the Dragon God, Zhuyin, descended.” Lu Ying pondered for a bit before saying, “Let’s start from Zhuyin ba, according to ancient records...”
“Day, with open eyes; night, with closed eyes,” Chen Xing said, “It is the beginning of all dragons, the first dragon in this world.”
“That’s right.” Lu Ying nodded politely, then continued, “Lord Zhuyin made time move, nudging the heaven and earth veins, forming the wheel of time. Just as how the great God Pangu held the sky up with his feet on the ground for 18,000 years, Zhuyin used its sacred power to move time, rotating the chakra of heaven and earth endlessly. After many years passed, it finally fell here and turned into the peaks of Carosha before you now.”
“The wolf god and I are the tomb keepers after it descended. After obtaining Lord Zhuyin’s dragon powers, we turned into yaos. The wolf god is responsible for Day, while I’m responsible for the dreams of the long, dark nights. Additionally, Lord Zhuyin has a dragon son named “Yeming”, but no one knows where he is now.”
“How long have you lived for?” Xiang Shu asked doubtfully.
“About four hundred or so years,” Lu Ying answered, “The wolf god and I aren’t like the Phoenix. Our souls aren’t reborn in samsara, but rather, our yao powers are passed down from generation to generation. Twelve years ago, the wolf god sensed an unusual change in the southeast, so he went forth alone.”
“The southeast is...” Chen Xing frowned.
“Karakorum,” Xiang Shu answered.
Lu Ying nodded.
“I still remember, the day twelve years ago was just like the winter night today.” Lu Ying said, “The wolf god brought this child from Karakorum, and he was seriously injured. He passed the last bits of his yao powers to Xiao Shan before passing out. I tried everything I could to get rid of this toxin for the wolf god but accidentally ended up infecting myself with it as well...”
Xiang Shu only wanted to know how involved this rotten youth was with the drought fiends, yet the other party kept beating around the bush without bringing up the main point, so he started feeling a little impatient. His brows were slightly furrowed, but Lu Ying already sensed it and signalled for him to not be so anxious.
“What exactly is this poison?” Chen Xing knew that after the Silence of All Magic, not only exorcists, but even the yaos of the world have lost their power. If spiritual Qi still existed, even if such a strong yao couldn’t get rid of the toxin, he could at least rely on his regenerative powers to continue struggling at death’s door for awhile.
“Devil God blood,” Lu Ying said, “That’s the reason why mortals transform into ‘drought fiends’ after they die. It comes from an ancient, powerful yao that’s even older than the records of human history.”
Chen Xing, “...”
Everyone below the tree remained silent for a moment. Xiao Shan had already fallen asleep peacefully in Lu Ying’s embrace.
“Who is it?” Chen Xing said, “I remember that there is only one being who is called ‘Devil God’ in historical records.”
“That’s the one,” Lu Ying answered, “You guessed right.”
Chiyou fought the Yellow Emperor in Banquan, who was then defeated. The Yellow Emperor, Xuanyuan, divided Chiyou’s corpse: his head, limbs, torso, and heart were buried in seven places within the Divine Land.
“The blood left behind by the Devil God,” Lu Ying continued, “Can awaken the dead, convening them to fight for it. That is the reason behind the appearance of drought fiends.”
Chen Xing suddenly remembered! That is to say, what Kjera got Xiang Shu’s father Shulü Wen to drink back then was a medicine mixed with the blood of the Devil God!
Xiang Shu said in a low voice, “Kjera is his incarnation?”
Chen Xing immediately retorted, “Impossible! if Chiyou had successfully obtained a human form, the Divine Land would not be like what it is now.”
Speaking of that, Chen Xing unexpectedly felt a bit of fear. Before this, he had come up with many hypotheses regarding the “drought fiends”, but all of his speculations were based on the “yao” species. It could have been caused by evil arts, or a change triggered by some sort of yao, but he never expected that the true enemy he was facing would actually be Chiyou!
What position did Chiyou hold? He’s the ancient God of Weapons! The God of all wars in the world! Even Xuanyuan had to rely on the power of the heavenly emperor, Xuannu, Rain Master Fengbo, and the sacred dragon to finally defeat him after years of warfare. Even then, they couldn’t completely eradicate Chiyou and could only dismember his corpse and seal it in seven different places within the Divine Land.
After the passing of thousands of years, this disparity in strength was truly too great! If Chiyou revived, this was a god-level devil; it was impossible for there to be anyone in the world who can be its opponent. Just meeting him face-to-face would turn anyone into ashes!
But Xiang Shu didn’t know about the Han legends and only said while frowning, “Then who’s Kjera?”
“Kjera?” Lu Ying thought about it, then said, “Although I don’t know who you’re talking about, but I’m guessing that it should be Shi Hai.”
Xiang Shu was going to continue describing, but Chen Xing stopped him with his gaze. He could clearly sense that Lu Ying’s life was being drained away slowly, and he didn’t have much time left -- only the last vestiges of the sunlight could be seen now.
“Shi Hai is the Devil God’s subordinate,” Lu Ying closed his eyes and said slowly, “I don’t even remember when he appeared in this world. The only point I can confirm is that he has lived for far longer than I and the wolf god, and he could perhaps be one of the people left behind from the ancient world. According to the wolf god’s last words, Shi Hai may have broken free from the tomb many years ago. After all, throughout the Divine Land, the Xiongnus and the Hans in the South have fought for many years and caused too many changes. The reasons for all this are beyond examination.”
Chen Xing saw that Lu Ying’s voice was getting softer and said, “You’re very tired, Lu Ying, I think you need to rest for a bit.”
“It’s okay.” Lu Ying opened his eyes and forced out a smile. “Twelve years ago, Shi Hai returned to the North for the first time and made me seriously ill. As the corrosion exacerbated with each passing day, my remaining yao powers were also affected by resentment. All of the graveyards you saw on the way here are the places where the Xiongnus buried their bones.”
Chen Xing recalled how Lu Ying had mentioned that he was “responsible for dreams in the long, dark nights”. After he was infected, the dreams must have turned into nightmares as well, just like how Xiang Shu recalled his past in the fog. So he asked, “So, these living corpses had undergone unusual changes?”
Lu Ying shook his head. “Several years later, just when I was using all my strength to resist the corrosion, Shi Hai came to the North for the second time. He was very patient. He waited until I had been corroded by the Devil God blood for a very long time before coming forth to find me. He also brought a mortal’s corpse along with him. This mortal was called “Sima Yue” when he was alive, and he once had an absolutely irreconcilable feud with the Xiongnus.”
Chen Xing, “Sima Yue, Great Jin’s Prince of the East Sea!”
Lu Ying nodded. “I have been living in seclusion in the mountains for a long time and knew nothing about the feuds of the humans. Shi Hai persuaded me to surrender and pledge allegiance to the Lord Devil God, to build a human world without death...”
Chen Xing couldn’t believe his ears. He paced back and forth on the withered islet, saying, “Insane, it’s absolutely insane!”
Lu Ying gasped for a moment before replying, “Birth, old age, illness, and death are all part of samsara. If there’s no death, how could there be life? If there’s no pain, how could there be joy? Time is like an inn, and I’m the traveler. Without farewells and departures, how could the world flourish and propagate endlessly? Naturally, I rejected Shi Hai’s suggestion.”
After that, Sima Yue fought me and broke off my horns that I could use to command beasts.” Lu Ying said, “Now, I can only stay in Mount Carosha to struggle at death’s door.”
Xiao Shan woke up at this moment. Seeing Lu Ying start to cough, he reached out and patted his chest. Lu Ying rubbed Xiao Shan’s head and continued, “Another year later, when Xiao Shan was nine, someone came from the South. He was the crown price of the Akeles tribe, who was called “Youduo” when he was alive.”
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro.