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Internal Devils - Chapter 1

Published at 3rd of May 2017 09:58:41 AM


Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Lord Nine


 

Thunder crashed in the clouds, and squeezed all the water they contained out. Since the the first drop fell from the sky, only 2 breathes of time have passed. However, the rain is now pouring.

In the brightness of the lightning, Li YunXin* saw the curved roof  of a house in the distance. On the roof lay a dark cyan ChiWen*, which glared at his direction through the curtain of water. Covering the finger length stab wound on his arm, he staggered towards the house.

If there is someone in that house, he may be saved. If not, he could at least die indoors rather than in the mud.

When he eventually made it to the house, his clothes were already torn up by the bushes and branches in the wild. Although air was really wet due to the rain, when he fell to the floor, a huge amount of dust bounced up. The dark hall was filled with a musty smell, and a bloody smell, which came from Li himself.

Dark and silent. He knew it was a ruined temple when he came in.

Li YunXin panted heavily on the floor for a while. Then he struggled to sit up, and crawled up to the altar, leaned on it, facing the door. He thought he couldn’t make it through the night.

“Dying sitting is better than being backstabbed in the rain.”, He thought.

When the lightning flashed in the sky again, he tried to rise his head and looked at the altar. Paint peeled off the statue on the altar, and more than half of the statue was missing, so he couldn’t tell which deity it was. He sighed and patted the leg of the statue. With a sad smile on his face, he said:“Nobody would come to worship you in this wilderness. It seems that you are quite miserable, too.”

After saying this, he heard footsteps of soaked cloth shoes. Two priests* rushed out from the rain, with a 2 fingers width sword* in their hands. Water slid from the blade of the sword to its point, and made a series of trickling sound when they dropped on the bluestone floor.

“Hand it over,” the priest said, “or I shall take your life instead.”

Li YunXin saw their faces when the lightning stroke again. They looked like 18 or 19 years old. He sighed again for this cruel world and his unfortunate life. Isn’t the story supposed to be “Some traveling superb cultivator realized his potential and led him to the top of the world as his disciple”? …and why isn’t this deity or something inside this clay statue showing his power to save him!?

He was so stressed that his teeth were tightly clenched. “Why do you have to do this? Isn’t the purpose of you cultivators to abandon all emotions and desires? Why do you want that stuff so bad?” He asked.

The priest stopped frowning and answered with a gentler voice:“We have never tried to hurt you. We just need to know where did you hide it.”


It’s really a pity that I’m not stupid enough to believe your bullshit, Li thought.

Li YunXin has never tried to convince anyone. He made the priest talk so that he would have time to recover from exhaustion. His death wouldn’t be worthless if he could kill at least one of them.

However, the other one didn’t give him the chance to. He pointed at Li’s throat with his sword, and said:“Tell us now, then you can leave alive with a complete body. We have hundreds of methods to make you talk. Aren’t you aware of your situa…”

He paused, for the reason that Li YunXin opened his eyes wide and gaze at something behind them. Soon he laughed out, and said:“Do you really think your trick would ever work on this poor priest*? How naive you…”

He paused again, but this time he didn’t mean to do that. His head suddenly fell to the floor from his shoulders, splashing a great amount of blood. The other priest was shocked by this terrorific scene and stood in startle.

He finally got his consciousness back when he saw a giant claw covered by slate gray scales reached from behind and grabbed the headless body of his partner. He turned around and stabbed with his sword at once.

As he stabbed, another lightning flashed, thus he recognized the thing outside clearly:

It was an eyeball, a blood red eyeball which was half of his height, and the dark vertical pupil in the middle of the eye, was glaring at him, reflecting his frightened face. He stabbed the eye with his fine steel sword, but he couldn’t push it any further into the eyeball.

As the monster waved its claw, the blade of the sword broke into pieces. The priest dropped the rest of his sword, and tried to run away. However, another claw reached into the temple and caught him. He screamed, and tried to escape from the claw. Despite of his helpless struggle, the monster put more pressure on him, and this caused his head to break, too, while making a horrifying sound.

His scream suddenly stopped, after that only rain and thunder can be heard in the temple.

Li YunXin stared blankly at all of this. He was extremely scared, but he still managed to hold back his voice.

The giant eyeball blinked, and faded away. Holding the headless corpses of the priests, its claws went back into the rain, too.

Li YunXin saw a enormous thing floating in the air outside the temple, but he couldn’t draw a outline of it, because it was too large. His sight was like observing a leopard through a bamboo tube*.


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After 2 or 3 breathes of time, it disappeared in the air.

Li YunXin sat on the floor for a few more seconds, because he was afraid that the monster would be attracted by the sound he makes when he stands up. However, soon he started to regret for losing his only chance to escape.

A figure walking into the temple in darkness, leaving water stains on the floor. It had something in both hands, they made rustling sounds while being dragged on the floor. The sounds soon became sticky, and the bloody smell came from them almost suffocated Li – they were the corpses of the priests.

It walked up to Li, looked at him for a while, and had a deep, creepy laugh. “You can be my dessert after the dinner.” It said.

Li YunXin realized that this thing may be transformed from the gigantic monster outside. He wanted to run, but he dared not. He thought the best choice was to stay and wait for the right time. What time is a right time? He didn’t know, and was too scared to think about it calmly.

The figure sat in the middle of the hall with its legs crossed. It continued to laugh for a short time, and said: “Bring me that table!”

Li YunXin thought for a while, and realized that it meant the altar which he was leaning on. Enduring the pain of the wound on his arm, Li moved the altar to the middle of the hall, and stepped away from that thing immediately.

As it pointed at the altar with its finger, a flame was created on the altar. In the light of the fire, Li YunXin recognized his face, and that surprised him. Instead of the dark, hideous appearance Li thought, he looked like a young man who was actually quite handsome.

However, what he did next made Li realize that he was just a monster in the shape of a human. The man ripped off an arm from the corpse, and started to grill it over the fire on the altar.

Soon the hall was filled with a disgusting aroma. He smiled, and put the arm in his mouth. As he opened his mouth, the corners of his mouth reached his ear, and exposed the sharp teeth inside.

He swallowed half of the arm in one bite. While blood and oil coming out of his mouth, he said: “I have to admit that you are a brave one, kid. A man with courage tastes much better, so it would be a waste to eat you like this. The right method of cooking a brave person is to steam him with a gentle heat, and then cut him into slices. After being air-dried, they can be ate with alcohol on cloudy days.”

Li YunXin clenched his teeth to stop himself from shivering. He rose his head, look at the man’s face and asked: “What…are you?”

The young man took another arm from the corpse, and asked with a grind on his face: “Aren’t you afraid?” He thought for a moment and said: “Call me Lord Nine.”

Trembling, Li YunXin said: “They tried to kill me. Thank you, Lord Nine, for saving my life.”


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Lord Nine opened his scary mouth and started to laugh. “No problem! Later, you shall give me your flesh in return.”

Li YunXin took a deep breath and said: “Lord Nine, you saved my life. It must be destiny who brought us together. If you eat me, this destiny would be wasted.”

The young man had a creepy giggle, and said: “Destiny? Between you and me? Seriously? You are only…” Suddenly, he paused, and frowned at Li YunXin. He stared at him for a while, blinked, and said: “Interesting, you’ve got an interesting destiny.”

He waved his head, looked at Li YunXin, and said: “I shall let you live…for now.”

The chilling wind blew through the door with rain, making a sharp sound. As the fire waved in the wind, Li YunXin felt his heart bounced violently inside him.

He made it. He was still alive, because the monster thought he was interesting. Which part of him? Maybe it was his destiny or his attitude. After all, usually, all a human can do before such a mighty beast is to kneel and beg for mercy.

He moved closer to the fire, and torn off the lapel from the robe of one of the corpses.

Lord Nine gazed at him silently.

Li YunXin warped the stab wound on his arm with hands and teeth, and of course, the lapel. After that, he examined the corpse, and took out several sorghum pancakes out from the bag which was tied on the waist of the corpse. The pancakes was soft, because rain and blood wet them.

Lord Nine stared at him with his vertical pupils, seemed interested.

Li YunXin picked up the sword dropped by the priest, threaded the pancakes on it, and started to heat them over the fire, like what Lord Nine had done with their limbs.

When the pancakes were a little bit overdone, Li YunXin picked one from then sword and took a bite of it. His mouth was soon filled with the taste of the slightly burnt pancake. Apart form this, he tasted something else in the crispy pancake – the taste of blood. Nevertheless, he ate the whole pancake.

Lord Nine clapped, laughed out loud and said: “Wonderful! I have seen a cannibal once. As a human, he loved eating flesh of human, but he wasn’t so fun like you.”

Li YunXin didn’t want him to lose his interest in him, so he answered: “I have never heard of this cannibal thing, my knowledgeable lord. Could you please tell me more about…”


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Thunder suddenly crashed above them, and interrupted his words. Lord Nine seemed shocked by the thunder. He dropped the flesh in his hands at once, stood up, stared at the sky for a while, frowning. Then he turned into dark smoke and rushed out of the temple.

As soon as he left, Li YunXin ran into the rain with the sword in his hand, towards the forest, as fast as he could.

Footnotes:

Li YunXin李云心: Name of the main character. For the correct pronunciation, copy and paste the Chinese origin in Google Translate.
Li: A Chinese family name which means “plum”.
Yun: Cloud.
Xin: Heart. ChiWen螭吻:One of the 9 sons of the dragon in Chinese mythology. Sculptures of ChiWen are widely used as decorations in Chinese architecture.

A ChiWen on the Roof

Priests: Most of the “priest”s in this novel refer to Taoist priests. 2 fingers width: A width of this:

This poor priest: A pronoun used by Taoists in place of I to show their modest attitude. Yes, they even use it when they talk with their enemies. observing a leopard through a bamboo tube管中窥豹,可见一斑: A Chinese idiom, which means “to have a limited view of sth.”
The full version is ”Observing a leopard through a bamboo tube, one could only see a spot on its fur.”


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