Chapter 1 – Luo Xiao

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The sun cast down its fiery red rays upon the clouds in the sky. Half the sun had sunk under the horizon, and as the sun’s rays were cast over the village of Jinwei, the entire place seemed dyed a beautiful shade of red.

A bustle of activity could be seen throughout the small village. Men were coming back from their trips into the forest to hunt for beasts and search for magical herbs.

Although it was a small forest, there were still beasts within some who were even capable of cultivating and had managed to form their own inner cores. These types of beasts were especially difficult to deal with. Even when the villagers attacked in groups, there were risks with trying to kill an enlightened beast.

Inside the village of Jinwei, women walked with their children in tow to pick up food for their meal later in the evening after having tended to their fields all day or harvesting fruits and berries at the edge of the forest.

It was a warm summer evening, and in one of the smaller houses, a young boy was sitting in a bed. A blanket was covering his fragile body and his head was turned towards the window.

This boy seemed otherworldly as he was simply breathtakingly beautiful. His face was oval and perfectly shaped, his phoenix-like eyes were slanted upwards, and his jet black hair was neatly tied up in a bun on top of his head.

He was wearing simple linen clothes, but these did not seem to do justice to his otherworldly appearance.

His eyes were like two bottomless pits, as they stared outside the window observing everyone who passed by.

From time to time some of the passing people would wave to him, but the majority completely ignored the delicate boy that was seated in bed.

This was the Kingdom of Zhanshi, in the continent of Tiandi. It was a small kingdom on the outskirts of the continent, and as its name implied, it was the place where every man wished to become a warrior.

In the continent of Tiandi, there were two methods of cultivating: one was a Qi cultivation, the other was Soul Cultivation. While both were equally admired, cultivating one’s Qi was much more widespread than cultivating the soul. Normally poor people could only hope to cultivate their Qi, whereas their souls would almost always be their weak point.

Every man in the village of Jinwei was able to cultivate to the first tier in the Qi cultivation system usually called the Earth rank. There were seven stars within each rank, and the villagers knew of the Earth, Sky, Star, and Moon rankings.

To these commoners, the Moon rank was already a mythic feat that none of them could even dream of, yet legend had it that there were ranks even higher than it!

On the continent of Tiandi, there were humans, demons, spirits, and beasts. The beasts and humans flourished reproducing rapidly and were both capable of cultivating. This was the reason that the majority of the inhabitants on the continent were humans and beasts.

Spirits were much rarer. They were created by nature and took thousands and thousands of years to form. Spirits were ethereal and beautiful; they were naturally gifted when it came to cultivation, but the ones endowed with the greatest gifts were the demons.

Demons were blessed with the most outstanding natural talent for cultivation. Whereas beasts could only cultivate Qi, spirits could only cultivate their soul, humans and demons, however, could pick between soul or body to cultivate their strength.  

Luo Xiao sighed. He had been thinking about many things while looking out the window, but when he heard the door to his house open, he straightened his posture and slowly climbed out of bed.

“Little Xiao!” a middle-aged man exclaimed when he saw him. “My dear, why are you out of bed? You should hurry back under the covers before you get a cold. You know you are weak, and you had the flu last week. If you do not stay in bed, you  will become sick again!”

The man sounded harsh, but Luo Xiao knew that he was not too serious. This man was his father, Luo Guang. There was no one else than these two within their family. Luo Xiao had never heard anything about his mother, and although he had asked his father twice, he dared not ask again after seeing the expression his father made.

“Father, do you think that I can try cultivating with the other children?” Luo Xiao asked gently, but upon hearing his words, his father immediately shook his head. “You are not strong enough!” he exclaimed, and Luo Xiao knew that his father was probably correct so he couldn’t really disagree.

Sighing, Luo Xiao went to eat the food that his father had made for him, and after talking about how his harvest had gone today, he returned to bed. Once more he was staring out at the village, watching the lights outside slowly being lit as the day came to an end.

Luo Xiao was weak from birth. He was lithe, and although he was fifteen years old already, his body was fragile and looked as if it had been carved from beautiful jade.

As he sat still in his bed a majority of the time, everyone felt that he was more akin to a jade figurine than a real person.

Luo Xiao was well liked in the village. This was the village where his father had grown up, and the elders had watched his father since the days he was a child until he set out on an adventure.

One day, years later, Luo Guang returned with a child in his arms, claiming that it was his son, and settled down once more. No one knew anything about his mother, but when one took a glimpse at Luo Xiao, they could tell that she had to be a woman whose beauty could destroy nations.

It was a typical day like any other, one where Luo Xiao had nothing to do. Up until now, he had spent just about every day of his life in bed and only went out walking now and then whenever his father was not around.

Previously, he had been walking around borrowing books from all over the village. He had long since read every book in the whole village, and when new merchants came by the village of Jinwei, he would use his meager pocket money to buy new ones.

It was a day like all the others until a person walked into the small village. The person seemed human, yet not. It was two meters tall with red eyes and skin that was purple. It was continually growling while looking from side to side, and seeing the villagers, a smirk appeared on its lips, displaying a set of sharp teeth.

When people noticed this thing, a deathly fear crept into their eyes; they were horrified. This was clearly a corpse puppet! This was a creation of a demon! Demons had the ability to make corpse puppets out of either dead or living humans and beasts that had cultivated their Qi.

These villagers had never before seen a demon, let alone a corpse puppet. Corpse puppets were generally forbidden, since if the owner died, they would run rampant in the world, killing and absorbing the flesh of others mindlessly.

The more flesh they absorbed, the stronger they would become, and with one look at those blazing red eyes, they could see that it was nothing like the dumb, unintelligent corpse puppets that they had heard about in the past.

Seeing these humans, suddenly, it moved with a speed so fast that no one could see it until it appeared behind the first citizen, taking a big bite of his neck.

Blood splashed everywhere as the poor villager’s neck snapped and his throat was ripped open.

The corpse puppet stopped for a second, as it savored the warmth of fresh blood to the horror of all who were there to witness the gruesome scene, and right after it moved on to the next person.

A commotion could be heard, even in the house where Luo Xiao was sitting, and a curious gleam appeared in his eyes. What could have caused them all to be so loud, he thought.

Luo Xiao was about to leave his bed when his father came towards him with a stern look on his face. “Stay there, I will go take a look,” he said with a voice that offered no room for discussion.

Luo Xiao sighed but said nothing and accepted his fate. Having done so, he looked out the window again. Right after, he heard the door open then close, indicating that his father had indeed gone out.

At first, Luo Xiao was excited. He wanted to know what exactly was happening, but after a brief moment, he smelled a metallic scent waft towards him from the outside.

Frowning, Luo Xiao knew this scent all too well. It was blood!

Without any time to contemplate, the only one thought that ran through his mind was what had happened to his father? Had bandits come or was this something else? He was frightened and unsure of what to do, but after a moment of hesitation, he bolted up from the bed. As he moved to fast he felt a dizzy spell appear, but he could not be bothered by it right now, so he slowly made his way to the door and left.

He found that everywhere he walked was covered in blood. His house was not near the outskirts of the village but in the middle, yet it seemed as if not one living soul could be seen.

The scent of blood became stronger and stronger, and Luo Xiao felt nauseous. Although he had seen blood before it was not a lot. It was his blood from when he cut himself trying to cook for his father.

Luo Xiao was brought up in a sheltered family. He was not rich, but he had never encountered hardships either. This was the first time he feared that something had happened to his father. Even when he went into the forest to hunt, Luo Xiao had not worried about his well being, but right now he was very fearful.

Luo Xiao started out walking on shaking legs, yet moments after, he was running as fast as he could. Although Jinwei village was considered rather big for a village, it was after all still a village, so he reached the place where it seemed like the smell was the worst.

His eyes widened in horror as he saw everyone from the village stacked into a mountain. Some had their throats ripped open others had large chunks missing on their legs and arms.

Seated right next to this mountain was the corpse puppet. Its eyes blazed with a red light, and it was eating a person. This scene would be remembered by Luo Xiao for the rest of his life and was the most terrifying thing he would ever encounter. He felt like time had stopped, and he was stuck in place from fear; he was utterly horrified at the scene, and his whole body was tense.

The next second, what Luo Xiao feared the most happened, and those terrifying red eyes lifted and stared right at Luo Xiao. He was so frightened that he kept backing up. Tears welled up in his eyes, and he tripped, falling on his butt, yet still trying to retreat as fast as he could from the fiend in front of him.

The corpse puppet smirked when it saw Luo Xiao and rose to its feet. It started to slowly walk towards him like a lion walking towards its prey that it had caught in a trap.

“Stay away!” Luo Xiao yelled out with his voice that was filled with fear. The corpse puppet just continued to snicker as if it had not heard his words, and then took one step after another towards him.

Just before it got to Luo Xiao, it reached out its hand as the fiends blazing red eyes shown with greed. Right after, Luo Xiao’s vision went black for a moment.

He felt as if he was spiraling down a long, narrow black tunnel. Suddenly something within him seemed to break, and a massive power exploded outwards from within his body.

The world seemed to flip upside down for Luo Xiao. He was seated on the ground, and when he finally regained his vision, he found that thick, hot blood was covering his whole body. The corpse puppet was nowhere to be seen, but a deep crater had appeared right in front of him. Luo Xiao was petrified, staring in front of him blankly. What just happened?

Despite the deathly stillness around him, he suddenly heard an alluring, masculine voice come from behind him that was filled with a sense of majesty. “Did you do this?”

 

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