Wen Xiaoyi chuckled slyly as she turned and looked at Wen Leyang and proudly explained, “It was said that this creature slaughtered every living being and perpetrated every conceivable evil in the world; the sins it committed turned the sea as black as ink. The Gods then descended from heavens and decreed that instead of killing it, its punishment would be as such: to be given eyes but be blind as a mole, to be given wings that are so deformed that it could not fly. It had been a ferocious dragon but it abused its time on the earth so in the end, it was reduced to the form of a little black snake called the Yin Chi.
Wen Xiaoyi paused for a moment and looked outside to where the Yin Chi was still intertwining amongst the red leaves. As it seemed preoccupied and did not appear to be a threat at the moment she continued her explanation, “It was said that the Yin Chi was God’s punishment towards the maniacal dragons. It was supposed to be a legend as grandfather once said there were no dragons in the world, yet the record said that…”
Wen Leyang quickly reminded her, “That was groundless talk!”
Wen Xiaoyi continued her explanation, “This creature is cunning in temperament; its favorite hiding ground is within a corpse where it could exercise control over the corpse. It was said that the smaller the size of the creature the more formidable it was. I read in the book that the smallest living Yin Chi ever recorded was at least a foot and a half long. The one here looked so small it surely must be even more dreadful.”
Wen Leyang forced a smile on his face as he thought that creature must be dreadful indeed if it was capable of initiating the complete prohibition spell of the Red Leaves Forest.
Wen Xiaoyi grabbed both of Wen Leyang’s arms and cocooned herself in his embrace. She stared out of the crack in the door with wide, unblinking eyes and chuckled, “The Yin Chi is dying!”
The prohibition spell was nearing the end of its operation. The Red Leaves Forest gave a deep howl while the red leaves covering the sky as well as the ground surged and shot towards the Yin Chi. It had lost its earlier calm as its body continued to be struck ceaselessly by the leaves. The red leaves that managed to hit the creature immediately turned black and wilted but the Yin Chi appeared to require more and more effort to keep moving. However the pair of white scales where its eyes should be remained fixed on the house where Wen Leyang and Wen Xiaoyi were hiding.
Wen Xiaoyi leaped up, grabbed the blunderbuss and started loading gunpowder into the muzzle while saying, “Wait for it to come over then I will help to shoot it, I will be damned if it does not die then!”
Wen Leyang smiled wryly while he shook his head, “The blunderbuss had just been rained on, it probably would not fire… watch out!”
Wen Leyang suddenly cried out in alarm and flailed his limbs around, resembling a weird-looking bird as he clumsily threw his body over Wen Xiaoyi!
The Wen Ancestor’s body had quietly stood up from the plank bed and was now tottering towards Wen Xiaoyi’s back!
Wen Xiaoyi had landed on the ground with a muffled ‘ouch!’ and it was only when she looked up that she noticed the eerie situation behind her. Horrified to the brink of death she screamed: “Is that… a zombie?!” Unable to comprehend the horrifying scene she ducked her head into Wen Leyang’s chest and called out to You’ve Got Me . Noticing that its territory was being invaded by a terrified and delicate small living thing, the bug came out of its resting place and curiously approached the girl.
The Wen Ancestor paid no heed to the two teenagers that had curled up on the floor at the door. Instead, it walked slowly and rigidly towards the doorway, pulled open the squeaky door and stepped outside.
Wen Leyang hurriedly pulled Wen Xiaoyi up and quickly followed the ancestor’s corpse out the door.
The prohibition spell raged on as before with red leaves piled in scarlet drifts upon the ground while the bare branches of the trees were silhouetted against the night sky, turning the once lush forest into a desolate land that depressed and suffocated the mind of those who saw it.
The Yin Chi lay flat on the ground and seemed to have lost all its energy. But it gaped its mouth as it looked at the Wen Ancestor who was walking unsteadily towards it. Wen Leyang’s hairs on his skin lifted up into goosebumps as he witnessed the snake draw back the corners of its mouth like a grin.
Could a snake smile? Wen Leyang wondered.
While Wen Leyang cautiously followed behind the ancestor’s corpse he shouted as loudly as he could to Wen Shulin, the old man who was in charge of the Life Trademark.
It was absolute chaos in the Forest yet within the Place of Birth, Life, Sickness, and Death no one other than Wen Leyang and Wen Xiaoyi had come out to peek at the situation. One could not tell if the other caretakers were hiding under their beds or sleeping soundly.
Wen Shulin draped himself with a raincoat and trembled with fear as he flashed his torch outside his door while taking a peek. All of a sudden he shrieked, his eyes rolled back and he collapsed onto the floor.
Wen Leyang leaped to the old man’s side and scattered Refreshing Heart Powder which was comprised of ethyl xanthogenate disulfide into Wen Shulin’s nostrils. The old man sneezed hard, opened his eyes and said, “Your eighth generation ancestor…”
“Why are you insulting me?” Asked Wen Leyang.
Wen Shulin looked at Wen Leyang helplessly and said, “That was the grandfather of Fourth Elder Wen’s grandfather’s grandfather who’s been turned into a zombie. That is impossible…” Before he could finish his sentence, his eyes rolled backwards as he fainted again.
Wen Leyang did the calculations in his head a few times and sure enough, that was his eighth generation ancestor.
A soft clatter was heard.
Wen Xiaoyi swung the blunderbuss, cocked the gun and gave the trigger a squeeze but nothing happened. She yelled, “It’s too wet to fire!”
Wen Leyang was so shocked that he almost fainted on top of with the old man. He pushed Wen Shulin off his lap and ran towards the little girl and yelled, “You shall not fire at the eighth generation ancestor!”
Wen Xiaoyi was anxious and infuriated as well; she pointed the blunderbuss at the Yin Chi and protested, “Don’t you dare chastise me! I was aiming at the Yin Chi, that thing is turning into a spirit, such that it can control and manipulate your ancestor’s corpse now!”
The Yin Chi raised its head with a great effort and hissed in a low sibilant tone. The Eighth Generation Ancestor’s corpse closed its eyes and listened to it with its head cocked sideways. He then walked step-by-step hesitantly towards the direction of the sound made by the little snake.
Wen Xiaoyi held the blunderbuss in reverse and readied herself to jump towards it, exclaiming, “Do not let the both of them touch, quick, use this to pound it to death…”
Wen Leyang reached out his arm and grabbed the blunderbuss away from Wen Xiaoyi’s hands, then yelled with all his might as he used all his strength to pound the stock of the blunderbuss onto the Yin Chi. Then, abiding by the order of seniority, he rescued the Eighth Generation Ancestor’s body away from the snake followed by Wen Shulin. He also acted according to the order of seniority as he would not allow Wen Xiaoyi to attack the snake as he was the older one.
The Yin Chi looked upon the huge stock of the blunderbuss that was being used to bludgeon it relentlessly. It tried to dodge the strikes but there wasn’t an ounce of strength left in its body.
“Thud!” Came the sound of a muffled blow.
The stock of the blunderbuss broke into a million pieces and scattered in all directions as the impact of the pounding strike drove the little black snake deep into the soil; only its tiny black head could be seen above the ground, writhing in agony.
Meanwhile, black smoke rose and filled the air. Wen Leyang lay in a pool of his blood, the right side of his body was embedded with countless iron pellets and gushes of fresh red blood poured out, which was immediately washed away by the cold rain. The blunderbuss had misfired.
“Don’t ever aim the muzzle at yourself.” Wen Leyang had forgotten from where he had heard this well-known saying, it was probably said by some handsome man in a movie. Unfortunately, this clichéd prophecy had its moment of truth.
Wen Xiaoyi bawled like a child and dropped to her knees on the ground, She hesitated a moment, restrained her sobs and stretched out her arm to touch him. Wen Leyang jerked unexpectedly and said through gritted teeth as he shook his head, “Don’t touch… my entire body is covered in… poison.”
Wen Xiaoyi let out a loud wail and bawled all over again, clenching her teeth and speaking incoherently as she shook her head frantically, “Please don’t die on me… I’m not scared… no, I am scared…”
Until the end, nobody really knew how formidable the Yin Chi was, but if one was not meticulously prepped, it was feared that even the four elders of the Wen Bucao clan could not have dealt with it. While it managed to bring the entire Red Leaves Forest’s prohibition spell, it was now akin to an arrow at the end of its flight – a strong force that has been exhausted. The final strike from Wen Leyang had been the last straw that broke the camel’s back. The little snake put up a last-ditched struggle before it quietened down.
The Eighth Generation Ancestor’s body seemed stupefied for a moment then fell to the ground with a thud, never to move again.
Wen Leyang was shivering from head to toe. He first put away all the poison that he usually carried back into the medicine pouch. Then, with the help of Wen Xiaoyi’s support, he clenched his teeth and stood up. Fortunately, he was not fatally injured as the ancient blunderbuss’s limited power, coupled with the deviated angle of the misfire and Wen Leyang’s own physique which has been toughened by his training with the Faulty Punch and further refined by a poisoned medicinal potion. Most of the shot had impacted into his right arm and thigh, with a few pellets shallowly embedded into his chest area.
Wen Xiaoyi exerted all her strength to support him and while the both of them stumbled along hurriedly she said, “You wouldn’t die now, would you?”
Wen Leyang endured the pain through gritted teeth and though he was aware of the extent of his injuries, the pain may be unbearable but his vital organs were not seriously affected. He had managed to survive for the time being and said, “I will only need some period of rest to recover… don’t worry, I won’t die…”
Before he could finish his sentence, Wen Leyang suddenly let out an agonized scream!
Although the Yin Chi appeared to be dead, when the two of them passed by its side it jerked its mangled body in a sudden and violent motion and sank its fangs into Wen Leyang’s left thigh. Wen Leyang felt as if there were numerous gigantic serrated steel blades that were stabbing his body from multiple directions.
Wen Leyang pushed Wen Xiaoyi away instinctively, afraid that the Yin Chi could still be harmful towards others. He bent over and with lightning speed ripped the little snake from his thigh.
The snake’s body was ripped into two, with the head still securely pinned on his thigh while the rest of the body dangled from Wen Leyang’s hand.
As he attempted to straighten his back, his wound felt as though it was exploding, the pain was so severe he gave a muffled groan and almost collapsed.
The bite of the Yin Chi alternated between the sensation of extreme cold and sharp pain as if pieces of sharp ice were eroding his body bit by bit. At the same time, he felt his entire body’s 36,000 pores open and close vigorously, releasing a puff of foul stench unbearable even to himself – it was the stench of rotting corpses!
Half of Wen Leyang’s body was embedded with iron pellets and any minor movements caused heart-wrenching pain, so it was utterly impossible to use the Faulty Punch to overcome the poison.
An Inner Disciple with Wen Leyang’s background in practicing the Faulty Punch would soon be immune towards common poisons. However the Yin Chi was not just any common poison, and even if it was Wen Tunhai or Grand Elder Wen, they would be slumped motionless on the ground and severely injured too.
Wen Leyang swiftly tore through his pants, gripped hard on the snake’s head that was still biting his thigh and pulled apart its fangs. Soon after he let out a shrill cry as his whole body convulsed in pain. One could see with the naked eye that the bite mark had grown into a fine gray line which was moving along his blood vessel slowly upwards, inch by inch with each moment’s passing.
Wen Xiaoyi grabbed onto his thigh and puckered her lips in preparation to suck out the poison from the wound but Wen Leyang shouted at her harshly for her to go away. He used his other leg to push her away and the little girl was tossed into a mud puddle.
Wen Leyang forcefully fed himself the Wonder Cleansing Pill but it did not seem to produce much effect. The Yin Chi’s poison was too strong, it was far from sufficient to try detoxifying oneself with just the pill.
Wen Xiaoyi was still sobbing uncontrollably and she hoarsely screamed with all her might with that delicate voice of hers, asking any bystanders to help.
Wen Leyang’s wounds continued to bleed profusely, but the blood was immediately washed off by the heavy rain.
The square remained as still as death, no one poked their head out to take a look, regardless of the little girl’s now hoarse crying, which was soon drowned out by the sound of the ice cold rain.
The storm that had been raging in between the mountains came fast passed on fast as well. The unbridled shower of rain stopped all of a sudden but the gloomy set of rain clouds remained, as if it was brooding for the next towering rage.
As soon as the storm has passed, the Buddha’s Light Bug immediately made an odd croak, leaped out with lightning speed from Wen Leyang’s chest. It wandered up and down his body as its mouth continuously ululated, producing an anxious and depressing buzz, as if it was trying to cry for Wen Xiaoyi’s attention to save his master.
The Buddha’s Light Bug was a poisonous bug of celestial Yang force born to walk under the sun and fire, its natural instincts feared the rain, thus it would not come out in the storm but now that the rain had stopped it came out of its hiding place immediately.
Wen Leyang forcefully smiled towards Wen Xiaoyi, just as he was opening his mouth to mutter a few consoling words, an ear-piercing flute music was heard abruptly. It echoed from the borders of the forest and sounded like the wailing of ghosts cast into hell, or the long howls of mandrills before they were put to death by body dismemberment.
Soon after a loud and clear sound of a metal whistle could be heard from all four directions, resonating from the bottom of the mountain as it chimed in time with the sound of the flute.
The prohibition spell of the Red Leaves Forest had been lifted, alongside with the deaths of the giant serpent and the Yin Chi, which has dissolved and vanished entirely.
The few hundred people that lived in the village, other than the Old Wolf and Yuan, there was no other being who could defend all of them from the power of the enemy.
Wen Leyang did not know how he regained his strength, but as soon as he heard the flute’s song, he sat upright abruptly and spoke with effort through his clenched teeth, “Help me up, we shall return to the house.”
Wen Xiaoyi frantically agreed and supported Wen Leyang to stand. As the two teenagers stumbled into the house, the little girl raised her head as she felt a sting followed by numbness all of a sudden. She looked towards Wen Leyang who was standing by her side as he administered a silver needle to her arm. A mournful expression swept over her face and he slowly lowered her unconscious body onto the floor.
Wen Leyang stood with no discernible expression on his face. The skin of his face was twitching and writhing in agony from the poison. He struggled to reach for something with the good half of his body, then crawled out of the wooden house.