The scream came from the scholar who had stayed up all night reading.
The moment Song Ci realized it, he intentionally slowed down. The two disciples from Mo Yao Sect overtook him and broke down the door to enter the room.
Even before he entered the room, he could smell the thick stench of blood in the air. Song Ci felt an ill sense of foreboding.
When he stepped into the room with Big Beard, Song Ci saw a badly mutilated corpse sprawled on the floor.
His attire was soaked in blood and had turned scarlet. It was casually discarded on one side. The corpse looked as if it had been skinned alive; the scene was both savage and terrifying.
Song Ci took a look and immediately turned his line of sight away, while Big Beard uttered a small cry of alarm.
The faces of two Mo Yao disciples turned ugly. One of them picked up the red apparel on the ground, put it under his nose, and smelled it. He then said to his Shixiong, “There is no smell. I’m afraid it’s a human-turned-demon.”
It was then Song Ci got a clear look and saw that the outfit was originally red and not soaked with blood as he had thought. Scrutinizing it, he noticed that this was the red dress worn by the maiden who was knocking on his door earlier. It seemed that maiden had also knocked on the door of this scholar’s room, and he had met with misfortune after he opened the door for her.
He shuddered at the thought that this woman had also knocked on his door earlier.
Blood had spilled all over the ground. There was hardly a clean spot left. The junior disciple closed two of his fingers together, and small rays of white light appeared at his fingertips. He pointed at the corpse on the ground, and the glow slowly floated as the bloodstain was gathered. Together with that wretched corpse, they vanished among the light.
“How audacious of this evil thing to create trouble right under our eyes. It’s really arrogant.” The senior disciple said in a cold tone.
“You saw it. This has nothing to do with us.” Big Beard took the chance to clarify.
The senior disciple gave a snort and said, “That’s hard to say. I think you guys are accomplices. Both of you stalled us in the courtyard to let this demon get its way here.”
What he said was a little unreasonable. Song Ci jumped out and said, “No, no. If you had not insisted on attacking me earlier, you wouldn’t have been unaware that the demon was harming others here. What’s more, if we were really accomplices, we could have attacked you. There are only two of you, but there are three of us. Why would we be afraid of you?”
Big Beard pressed down on his shoulder and asked in a low voice, “Why are you provoking him?”
“I’m not.” Song Ci said with a blank look. “I’m just reasoning with him.”
He took a quick glance and saw that the Mo Yao senior disciple’s face had turned red with fury. In just a flash, he was already holding the sword in his hand. A greenish light surrounded him, and he gritted his teeth so hard that a grinding sound could be heard. “You brazen little demon, I’d just like to see how you are going to attack me!”
Song Ci felt like he needed to explain himself, “You misunderstood……”
“Stop talking nonsense with him. Hurry and go!” Big Beard grabbed his arm and yanked it.
Everything became a blur in front of his eyes. Song Ci could only feel as if he was dragged by someone and swung around in circles. When he stopped, he discovered that he was still in the scholar’s room, except that the two Mo Yao disciples were no longer there.
He cast a puzzled look at Big Beard around him. “Where are those two?”
“I created two dummies as a smokescreen. They went to chase after the dummies and won’t be coming back for a while.” Big Beard stretched himself and yawned, “It’s not time yet. I can’t let them ruin my matters. This is so troublesome.”
“Your matters? What matters?” Song Ci took two steps back and warily increased the distance between them. “Are you in cahoots with the demon here?”
“You little demon is too heartless. I saved your life earlier.” Big Beard saw his action and pretended to be sad as he pointed to his face full of beard and asked, “Do I look like a bad guy?”
“In any case, you don’t look like one of the good guys.” Song Ci answered honestly.
“You sure are a glib talker.” He said in a huff. Saying so, he raised his hand and tore away the beard on his face, revealing an attractive face. At the same time, his fingers grew more slender, and his skin gradually whitened.
In the blink of an eye, the rugged Big Beard had turned into a handsome man. He pulled out a hair ribbon at random and tied up his long hair with it. He smiled brilliantly at Song Ci and asked, “How about now? I look like a good guy now, right?”
Song Ci was shocked at first, but then he felt that this man kind of looked familiar. His long hair was not ink black like others, but a dark red color, which somehow seemed to be seductive.
“You…” Song Ci couldn’t understand his action. “Why did you dress up like that?”
“The demon in this inn hate those with good looks. If I hadn’t dressed like that, she would have knocked my door down.” The handsome man replied.
Song Ci, “……” He could not really think of anything to refute him.
“Little demon, you look a little strange.” He stroked his chin as he sized Song Ci up. He asked thoughtfully, “Why are you here? Are you a domestic or wild demon? Do you have a name?”
“My humble self’s1 surname is Song, name Ci.” Even in his speech, Song Ci never forgot his fake identity and replied, “I came here to eliminate demons, and to search for the Demon Gate.”
The man was still laughing at his words ‘my humble self’, but when he heard about the Demon Gate, his countenance changed, “Song Ci? I think you might as well be called Song Ming.2 Entering the Demon Realm at this time, aren’t you just asking for death?” He shook his head. “I think you shouldn’t go. Know your own place and just stay in the Human Realm.”
The man said, “Now that Mo Zun (Devil Lord) is reborn, the Demon and Devil Realms3 are in turmoil. If you go, you will be devoured until there’s nothing left of you.”
“There is something my humble self needs to do in the Demon Realm. Please tell this humble self how I can find the Demon Gate.” Song Ci turned a deaf ear to his threats.
The news of the Devil Lord’s return had already spread to the world, so naturally, Song Ci had heard of it too. But he had no choice.
The man was rather puzzled by his persistence. “Why do you need to go to the Demon Realm?”
“To look for the Demon King.” Song Ci said with a sigh. Every time he talked about this, he felt hard-pressed to explain it.
When the man heard this, he was stunned for a moment, then he raised his eyebrows and looked out of the room, saying, “The Demon Realm is split into twelve Demon Capitals. But the Demon King is not in any of these capitals. If you want to find him, you will have to cross three rivers and five capitals. You will not make it there alone.”
“I’ll think of other ways. All you need to do is to tell me.” Song Ci was getting antsy. From his words, this man seemed to know where the Demon Gate was, but for some reason, refused to tell him.
The man, however, assumed an enigmatic look. “If you are determined to die, I’ll not stop you, but I can only tell you tomorrow night.”
“Why do we have to wait until tomorrow?” Song Ci was confused, “Is there a timing we need to pay special attention to?”
“No, no.” The man imitated Song Ci’s tone and said sourly, “Because now I’m really sleepy. I’m going to bed.”
After saying so, he gave a big yawn. His beautiful eyes were covered with mist. As he walked out, he muttered, “Why does everyone like to stir up trouble in the middle of the night?”
There was no reason for Song Ci to stop him from sleeping. He looked at his retreating back, and anxiously shouted after him, “Then you must tell me tomorrow!”
The man waved his hand.
After he returned to his room, Song Ci realized that he had not asked the other party’s name and identity. Thus he quickly walked to the room and extended his hand to knock on the door, “Sire, please wait, I still have……”
He has yet to finish talking when the door of the adjacent room was suddenly pulled open, and the former Big Beard reappeared before his eyes. He stared at Song Ci and exclaimed, “Goodness me! You are really my ancestor. Why are you knocking on that door?!”
Song Ci was so shocked that he curled up his fingers and looked blankly at Big Beard. It was then he noticed that he had knocked on the wrong door.
He took a few steps back and was about to speak when Big Beard raised a finger to his lips and said, “Shhhh— Don’t say a word.”
Song Ci was scared stiff by now and subconsciously shut his mouth. Big Beard nervously stared at the other door, and it was only after staring for quite some time that he slowly relaxed.
His reaction was really unusual. He was not in the least bit nervous even when the two Mo Yao disciples were making things difficult for them earlier. Yet now, he showed such an expression when all Song Ci did was to knock on the door.
Song Ci cast a puzzled look at the door. What was inside?
Big Beard seemed to sense his doubt and said with a sigh, “I was only just swapping my looks, and you nearly caused a big mess. If you wake Master Rong up, none of us will get any sleep tonight.”
He had initially come to ask for his name, and now he had a fresh doubt, “Who is Master Rong?”
Big Beard glanced at him and beckoned to him, “Come here.”
Song Ci approached him with his guard down and pricked up his ears…
Only to feel a sudden pat at the top of his head before his vision darkened. He quickly lost consciousness and his entire body limply tilted to one side.
Big Beard stretched his hand out to catch him and drag him into the room. He said wearily, “What a trouble-maker.”
- 贫道, Pindao, the word he used to refer to himself is ‘Pindao’ which is usually used by Daoist priests to refer to themselves. Kinda means ‘my humble self’.
- 送命, Song Ming; sending oneself to one’s doom. He’s saying Song Ci is just asking to die.
- To clarify, there are two distinct realms in this novel, namely the 妖界 and 魔界, there are also two Lords, 妖王 and 魔王. Mo is also sometimes called demons, so to keep things consistent and clearer in this novel, I’ll be calling the 妖界 Demon Realm and 魔界 Devil Realm. For more detail and explanation on the differences between the various realms, see Realms Glossary.