Chapter: 77

Chiyou perished from fatal wounds of war, and turned into a blood-red maple forest. The Yellow Emperor was impressed by his bravery, and named him the God of War posthumously.

From then on, witches and fairies of the world worshipped Lord Kunlun as their leader, and were protected by the mountains.

Unfortunately, after the great war, humans continued warring, among tribes and among races, and soon a single tribe could split into several, and so on.

Yet, Lord Kunlun never showed up. He was waiting.

He witnessed Fuxi’s downfall, Nuwa’s solitude, Shennong losing his powers, and went missing. For all this time, he waited.

He witnessed the Yellow Emperor lifting Chiyou’s head up, without a word. It mattered not who it was, but he needed someone to bring peace to the world.

He awaited the Yellow Emperor to conquer the Land of Gods, and he awaited the end of all conflicts. But the Yellow Emperor fought all his life, and passed away having only made slight progress.

The Flame and Yellow Emperors left descendants who fought for power along the Yellow River. The East was not in peace either, for the descendant of Chiyou, Houyi, somehow acquired the great bow Fuxi left behind, crowned himself “Emperor Jun”, fought the barbarians and won, and united the Eastern tribes, along with the witches of the primordial lands.

That year, all the ravens fell to the ground and never made a sound again. The descendant of Shennong, Gonggong the God of Water, and the descendant of the Yellow Emperor, Zhuanxu, began another great war.

Gonggong had power over water, and was the descendant of the Flame Emperor. He made an army of dragons from the oceans, and subsequently fairies were involved in the war as well. Though Houyi from the East had yet to partake in the war around the Yellow River, the witches and the fairies, who were both protected by Kunlun, started splitting paths.

In that war, many of the fairy tribes perished. The world was in great chaos, souls trapped among the living howled with great despair day and night amidst the charred battlefields.

After Chiyou’s death, he got the utmost respect of his rival, but his descendants had burnt the Temple of the God of War to the ground. Gradually, no-one seemed to remember this ancestor anymore, who was the very symbol of savagery and bravery.

In common folklore, Chiyou slowly took the image of a hideous and evil deity.

Lord Kunlun was greatly disappointed.

He finally understood why Nuwa was in such great shock. She must have foresaw the tragedy that would befall the world as soon as she created mankind. However, she could not resist the hands of fate, and could not bear to see the world decay.

Lord Kunlun was master of all the mountains of the Earth, and always took a liking to spirits of the hills and rivers. Chiyou lured the black kitten to lick his blood, and Lord Kunlun had no choice but to suffer the consequences. Still he promised Chiyou that he would protect the witches and fairies of the lands.

He witnessed them grow, cultivate and find their places in the world.

Then, he had to watch them perish in the war one by one.

If this is destiny, if destiny means endless warring and bloodshed, if destiny dictates boundless chaos that troubles the world and waxing and waning depair…

Gonggong lost the war and rode the godly dragon to make his retreat. The dragons were always a cherished bunch on Lord Kunlun’s part, and yet as Gonggong reached the great void ofthe Northwest, Lord Kunlun stabbed the godly dragon in the eyes, and Gonggong crashed on to Mount Buzhou along with the dragon, puncturing a hole in Fuxi’s Great Seal.

The ghosts of the Land of Great Blasphemy wailed horrifyingly, sending a surge of evil energy into the atmosphere. They enveloped the entire Mount Buzhou with nothing to fear, as if they were deities themselves. Lord Kunlun took a soul flame from his left shoulder and awakened the entire Hell from its deep slumber. He destroyed the heavenly pillars, and the sky collapsed.

Whereat do the Sky and Earth converge;

whereto doth the bourn of Heav’n extend?

Whereat are the Eight Pillars of Skies;

wherefore are the East and South havocked?

The God of Mountain standing atop Mount Kunlun had finally grown to become a man, and went on a path that differed greatly from those before him. Nuwa finally reappeared

after years of disappearance. She almost did not recognise the child who was so easily distracted by a kitten… his green cloak danced vigorously amidst the strong gusts of the mountains, eyes sharp as the great axe of Pangu from all those years ago.

Lord Kunlun had already sent the cat down the mountain. He turned around at the roaring collapse of a fallen sky pillar, and saw Nuwa. He was not surprised, and simply said, “What you could never bring yourself to do in the past, I have done in your stead.”

Pangu spent his life separating Heaven from Earth, and shattering darkness. Finally, he was destined to perish. Why should the deities of primordial lands bow to something so nebulous? Why should they all be pushed towards a predetermined tragic end?

“I want the sacrifices of the sons of Zhuanxu to bring a land of peace. I want Heaven and Earth to no longer converge, so unknown forces above shall no longer interfere. I will cut off the pathway to Heaven, so that life on Earth will be born of Yin and Yang as in Fuxi’s Eight Trigrams. They will be their own individuals, and they will take fate in their own hands. No-one shall ever judge my deeds, I will make an ink brush from the dying branch of the holy tree: every living soul shall write their own destiny. I will purge this world of its sufferings.”

Nuwa stared at him, wordless.

“Whatever shall come, let it come my way… Pangu and Fuxi are gone, now it’s only you and me. You wish to retire from this world, but I have my aspirations.” Lord Kunlun laughed lightly, and his voice was quickly swallowed by the howling wind, “I will never stop, unless Heavenly Thunder crash down to Mount Kunlun, and strike me to death.”

And exactly that happened. Heavenly Thunder struck down as the never-ending hail swirled around the peak of Mount Kunlun. Nuwa’s eyes watered in the glaring light; she could not see a thing.

But she could hear Lord Kunlun’s feral laughter.

Heavenly Thunder roared for an entire day. Heavy rain peltered the lands, as spirits roamed everywhere. The next day, Lord Kunlun’s clothes were unrecognisable, as his entire body was scorched black, and he sat completely nude on the ground.

Then some time later, he stood up, with new, freshly-grown skin and flesh, like a cicada having come out of its shell.

He extended his arm, and a single leaf felled off from the holy tree, wrapping around his body into a new green cloak. Lord Kunlun flicked his hair back, stood straight, and coughed up a mouthful of blood. Then, he turned around towards Nuwa with a bloodied smile, “See, what can the Heavens do to me?”

That smile looked the same as always, with a never-caring naivety.

Nuwa finally spoke, “Kunlun, come with me to get the stone to repair the sky, don’t be obstinate.”

“But I want to try.” Lord Kunlun said, “No matter what, I want to try… even if I die trying, I would die as Mount Kunlun, not just a small mound in the middle of nowhere.”

Then, he went down the mountain without turning back.

Pangu died of fatigue, then Nuwa was compelled to create humans, from which countless more stories would come. Fuxi foretold something with the symbols of the Eight Trigrams, but nonetheless could not avoid the fate of perishing. Shennong saw his own downfall, and gradually became like any ordinary being. Only Nuwa was left.

The great saints fell one after another. Then, it was Lord Kunlun’s turn.

In this world, are only the feeble and the foolish allowed to live brainless and brief lives?

Fungi of dawn know not of the month, winter cicadas know not of spring and autumn.

In myths and legends told centuries after, Mount Kunlun was portrayed as the land of the gods. Nobody knew that the primordial god of the mountain, Lord Kunlun, was the first to rebel.

Lord Kunlun came down from the mountain, and saw the countless spirits from Hell running wild. These were the Ghost Tribe. They did not come from living souls, but from the evil energy sealed in the Land of Great Blasphemy for ages. They have turned mad, and they preyed on humans and drank their blood.

And yet, such creatures had somewhat of a hierarchy.

The lowest class was the ones with no discernible shape, like muck rolling on the ground, feeding on decaying corpses. A slightly higher class above that was the ones with a barely humanoid shape, infested with pustules, with distorted faces, and savage blood thirst… those were the spirit beasts.

As the creatures went up the ranks they would resemble humans more and more. A Ghost King looked like an angel. As if the filthier the creature, the lovelier the appearance.

Legend says that in the depths of Hell, there were only two Ghost Kings. Coincidentally, as Lord Kunlun went downhill, he arrived at where Kuafu had left a field of peach woods, and encountered one of them.

It was a youngster with dark eyes and dark hair. He sat on a giant boulder, bare-footed, long hair resting on his shoulders, wearing clothes made of rough garments. He saw Lord Kunlun suddenly emerging from the woods, and carelessly fell from the boulder into a small stream.

At this instant, a spirit beast emerged from underground and viciously gnawed at the youth’s neck, which looked tender and weak, as if it could be broken with one hand.

Suddenly, the youngster’s hand extended from under the water in an eerie angle, smothering the beast’s gaping jaw. He pushed the beast into the water, crushing its skull in half. Blood gushed out on to his face, like red plum blossoms on a white field of snow.

The teenager panicked as he was covered in blood. He carefully kneeled down, and washed his hands and face in the stream. Then, he picked up the corpse habitually, and started nibbling at the neck with his sharp tiger fangs.

Lord Kunlun was then certain that he was a Ghost King. He had never seen anyone more like one than the teen in front of him. The handsome youngster sat expressionless in bloodied stream water, feeding on a dead spirit beast; it was a scene more gruesome than anything ever seen above the underworld.

As the teen realised that Lord Kunlun was watching him, the eating slowed down. He peeked at Kunlun, then looked down and took another disinterested bite, careful not to let the blood spill out of his mouth. Then, he tried to wipe the blood stain off of his mouth.

Although Lord Kunlun did sacrifice a soul fire for Hell, he only did it to break off Mount Buzhou, which connected Earth to Heaven. He had forgotten Nuwa’s regrets when the Land of Great Blasphemy was first sealed away, and he never showed any interest in coming close to these bloodthirsty creatures.

At that moment, however, he strangely walked forward, as if inadvertently, and said, “Hey kid, you’re a Ghost King, right? Shouldn’t you be able to control the Ghost Tribe, why did that thing try to bite you?”

The teen trembled and the corpse fell from his hands into the water, sending a splash on to his face. He looked at the approaching Lord Kunlun with panic, mouth agape, and could not respond for a moment.

“Do you not know how to talk? That can’t be.” Lord Kunlun leaned against the boulder awkwardly, raising his eyebrows, “Got a name? What do I call you?”

“… Wei.”

“Which Wei?”

“…Mountain, ghost.”

“Mountain Ghost?” Lord Kunlun laid on the boulder, “Fitting, but not quite impressive. Look at all the endless mountain ranges of the world. How about we add a few more strokes, and change it to Wei?”

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