Stark white lightning flashed past the window, illuminating the three immortals in the room, as well as that mole on Huang Baokun's neck.
Huang Baokun's smile faded. He looked straight into Qin Ye's eyes, and a hint of emotion that Qin Ye couldn't quite identify surfaced in his eyes. Meanwhile, Lee Jung-sook merely sipped on her tea in silence.
Right at this moment, the sound of a melodious piano tune rang out from behind the door.
Huang Jiansen's house was no different from that of a normal person's house. The only difference was that on the way from the master bedroom to the guest bedroom, there was a black curtain that concealed everything.
The piano tune was very pleasant to listen to, and it was the vastly renowned "Mariage d'amour" composed by Paul de Senneville. As the music began, the black curtain was slowly drawn apart.
The wall between the master and guest bedrooms had already been knocked down to create a single large room. The room was only dimly lit, just barely illuminating the figure of a woman wearing a ballet dress.
"This is my daughter," Huang Baokun introduced with a doting expression. "She's always loved dancing from a young age, but unfortunately, she didn't have much aptitude for it, so she only dances at home for recreational purposes now."
Neither Qin Ye nor Lee Jung-sook said anything.
They couldn't sense any life force from this so-called "daughter" of Huang Baokun's.
As the music continued, the lights in the room grew brighter and brighter, and both Qin Ye and Lee Jung-sook were horrified by what the lights revealed.
This was a beautiful girl who appeared to be around 17 to 18 years of age.
She was wearing a ballet dress, and she began to twirl and dance with the music, but the problem was... she wasn't a human at all!
Her face, her lips, her wrist joints... Her entire body was riddled with countless stitches! Furthermore, as she turned around in a pirouette, it could be seen that there was a spring protruding out of her back!
This was a puppet, one that had been created from a living human, one that had been created from the body of his own daughter!
The atmosphere in the room had become extremely strange. The "daughter" completed her performance before extending a bow toward everyone, then danced back into the room, upon which the black curtains were drawn again.
"She's adorable, isn't she?" Huang Baokun smiled as he took a sip of tea. "I really like watching ballet, but she didn't have any talent in dancing. In order to see her and listen to this classic song every day, I get her to perform for me every night."
He picked up the photograph on the table and gently caressed it with a doting expression. "Sometimes, I really miss the days when she could still speak to me..."
Qin Ye's expression completely darkened. This man's humanity had already completely warped into a ball of darkness, and there wasn't even a sliver of a chance of salvation for him.
Never did he think that a fellow consumer of the Taisui fungus would become so horrifically twisted and irredeemable.
Huang Baokun was the first to break the silence. "How did you find me?"
"There were traces of your actions littered throughout the earthen building," Qin Ye replied in a cold voice. "After our first meeting, the Huang Clan's earthen building threw me its first curveball in the form of one of its laws, which mandates that no resident is able to leave. As a result, I didn't even consider anyone outside the village... That was until I saw the Taisui fungus. At the time, the possibility that you could be the culprit only surfaced in the farthest reaches of my subconsciousness, and only around one or two hours ago was everything truly confirmed. Even if I had come to find you right away, I would only have arrived an hour or two earlier than I did now."
To his surprise, Huang Baokun extended an earnest bow toward him. "Thank you for answering my questions. In return, I would be happy to answer any questions you have for me as well. What would you like to know?"
Qin Ye smiled and replied, "There's no hurry, let's take this slowly. After all, a debt that's been outstanding for 1,000 years is not going to be easy to sort through. Huang... Let's just call you Bu Wantian, I think this name would sound more intimate to you. If you hear something wrong or notice something that I've missed, I hope you can correct me and fill in the holes."
Bu Wantian nodded with a smile in response. "Of course."
The room fell silent, and several seconds later, Qin Ye said, "Over 1,000 years ago, you married into the Huang Clan and changed your name to Huang Baokun, but you didn't actually run away after noticing the Huang Clan's issues as you proclaimed, right?"
"That's correct," Bu Wantian replied in an indifferent voice. "That was quite a nice period in my life. I had a wife, a son, and everything I could've wanted. It was a lazy life, but a happy one. However, the beauty of life is that you never know what could happen next."
Surprisingly enough, the conversation between the three immortals was very civil and calm, and Huang Baokun was even refilling their tea during the process.
However, Qin Ye's killing intent was more intense than ever. It was intense, but it was not fierce.
It wasn't fierce as he had already made up his mind 1,000 times over. Bu Wantian had to die!
It was a disgrace for them to both be in the same category of immortals who had consumed the Taisui fungus.
Someone like him didn't deserve to be a human!
If he didn't die, none of the residents of the Huang Clan's earthen building would be able to die in peace, not Huang Jiansen, not Chu Renmei, and not Huang Xiaoqing!
So long as this man remained alive, Qin Ye wouldn't be able to sleep at night.
Bu Wantian brushed some imaginary lint off his clothes, and before Qin Ye had a chance to say anything, he continued, "This may be a little rude of me, but this is only my second time meeting other immortals like me, so I'm very happy to tell you about my experiences. I hope you won't mind if I ramble a little."
Lee Jung-sook couldn't help but burst into laughter upon hearing this. "You're a brave man, I'll give you that. Do you know who he is?"
"Who he is isn't important, is it?" Huang Baokun sat back on the couch as he said in a slow voice, "We are the same type of people. We were chosen by the heavens to consume the Taisui fungus, and we share the same goal, so I think you can understand me. Perhaps you developed a false image of me through your investigation, but please listen to me, and by the end, I'm sure you'll agree that I'll have set the record straight."
Qin Ye was also rather amused.
It truly was an honor for this monster to have King Yanluo harvest his life in person...
"Go ahead," Qin Ye prompted with a smile.
Bu Wantian brought his teacup to his lips and blew on it briefly as a reminiscent look appeared in his eyes. "Once upon a time, the Huang Clan's earthen building wasn't just home to the members of the Huang Clan. At some point, the residents of the earthen building stopped being able to leave. It was most likely around the time those low-grade human beings ate the Taisui fungus and transformed into Monsters."
All of a sudden, he completely changed to a different topic without any warning. "Have you heard of Tao Yuanming and his renowned work, Account of the Peach Blossom Spring?"
"I have," Qin Ye replied in an indifferent voice...
"You should give it a good read. Anyway, there used to be outsiders in the Huang Clan's earthen building, many of whom were fangshis ," Hao Baokun said in a reminiscent voice. "At the time, it was already the Southern Song Dynasty, and the troops of the Yuan Dynasty had taken over half the nation, while the Song Dynasty was relegated to the southern corner of the land. These fangshis were true fanatics, and they were convinced that they would be able to find the promised land. Thus, they gathered here and set forth on a voyage out to sea. This was the ideal port for them to set off from. It was secluded and there were many like-minded individuals here. "
He took a sip of tea before continuing, "The place they were searching for was a legendary place because it belonged only in legends, and it was impossible for anyone to actually find. Thus, after the failure of countless people, everyone decided that the Peach Blossom Spring was just a baseless myth, a fool's dream. However..."
He got into an upright sitting posture as a fervent look appeared in his eyes. "It's real! Someone went to the Peach Blossom Spring and even came back!"
His voice became very impassioned, and he was almost tripping over his own words as he continued, "I was the one who sent him off on his voyage. Prior to his departure, he was just an ordinary Taoist priest, but upon his return, he had transformed into a completely different person! There was nothing that he didn't know, and he showed me incredible sights that I had never even imagined before! He told me so many secrets, including the fact that the Huang Clan's earthen building was most definitely a very special place as it harbored a supreme treasure. We agreed to set off on another voyage to find that mysterious place once he recovered physically from his previous voyage, but fate decided to play a cruel joke on me..."
A cold look appeared in his eyes, and his voice also took on a grim tone. "No one could've anticipated the arrival of the natural disasters. You wouldn't even be able to begin to imagine what it was like. At the time, he was still resting and recuperating, but I was starving and didn't even have the strength to set off on a voyage. I had to survive! I didn't want to die before I found that legendary place!"
His voice grew louder and louder while his chest began to rise and fall in an impassioned fervor, and all of a sudden, a smile appeared on his face. "Perhaps at the time, he knew that without me to look after him, he would starve to death. Thus, he finally told me about the existence of the Taisui fungus. On top of that, he told me a forbidden art that can allow me to completely change the effect of the Taisui fungus on its consumer."
This is it...
Qin Ye raised his head and observed Bu Wantian with a calm expression as he asked, "So what did you transform the Taisui fungus into?"
"A light tower!" Bu Wantian replied with a hint of fanaticism in his voice. "Using the Taisui fungus, I created a light tower in this mortal coil, and once I ignited the beacon, an envoy would be sent from the promised land, crossing over the abyss of misery to find me and take me to the other side ! Having been modified by the forbidden art, the Taisui fungus will alter the course of the Heavenly Dao. The process of igniting this beacon is a lengthy one, and it's a trial designed to test me, but that's alright because I have all the time in the world to complete this monumental task..."
"Pardon me for interjecting," Qin Ye said as he leaned back into the couch. "I'm guessing that the prerequisites to create this light tower include the blood and flesh of those closest to you and a complete Taisui fungus, right?"
Bu Wantian replied in an indifferent voice, "Sacrifices must be made in order to achieve grand goals. The so-called beacon here are the three flames within the human body. As I'm sure you're both aware, those of us who have been chosen by the heavens do not have those three flames. We are the cream of the crop who transcend beyond all of the people of this world. In order to ignite the light tower in this mortal coil, the blood and flesh of those closest to me have to be used. In addition to that, there must be 108 lives that are tethered to the light tower."
Qin Ye's expression changed slightly upon hearing this.
The Huang Clan's earthen building had a total population of 110.
Subtract the two outsiders in the form of Bu Wantian and Chu Renmei from that, and you would be left with exactly 108.
"You can understand me, right?" Bu Wantian appraised Qin Ye with a meaningful expression. "Surely you know better than anyone how much of a curse this lonesome eternal life is. Initially, everything is so brilliant and vibrant, but you quickly become numb to everything. Thrills and new stimuli are needed in order to make life fulfilling. The Peach Blossom Spring, the eternal promised land, the final sanctuary; is there any greater pursuit than this? In contrast with this grand goal, human lives mean nothing! They're nothing more than maggots in contrast with those of us who have been chosen by the heavens. It's not like I didn't give them an opportunity, I allowed them to eat the Taisui fungus as well!"
His voice was growing louder and louder, and he had even risen to his feet as his chest rose and fell with intense passion. "I helped them survive the famine that would've undoubtedly wiped them all out otherwise. I gave them the gift of life, so isn't it only fair that they use the rest of their lives to repay me?"
Qin Ye looked up at the ceiling and asked in a calm voice, "By giving them the gift of life, you mean granting them a cursed existence that's forever in limbo?"
"No! It's immortality!" Bu Wantian looked straight into Qin Ye's eyes with a fervent gaze. "Immortality is something that countless people yearn for, and I gave them this ultimate gift! They should be on their knees worshipping me in gratitude every second of every day, not constantly trying to plot against me! The hideous nature of humanity truly makes me sick to the stomach!"
 [Fangshis were people in ancient China who pursued many mystical goals, among which are ascension and immortality, through the practices of alchemy and necromancy. Of course, they couldn't actually turn lead into gold and raise people from the dead.],
 [In Buddhism, there is a concept of an abyss of misery that we're all wallowing in, and those who attain enlightenment will leave the abyss. The wording here is rather vague, but I'm assuming what Bu Wantian means here is that the light tower he's created using the Taisui fungus will draw some mystical being to him, and that being will guide him across the abyss of misery to presumably a paradise of some sort. Of course, the abyss of misery isn't an actual landmark, it's only an abstract construct, so it's also possible that he's not trying to get to a certain place, but instead figuratively cross the abyss of misery to transcend and attain enlightenment. This part really is quite abstract and up to interpretation.]Previous Chapter Next Chapter