Thirty Years of Demon Slaying at the Demon-Slaying Department - Chapter 1
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
When Zhou Yi opened his eyes, he found himself on a cold and hard bed.
His surrounding was so dark that he could not even see the fingers on his outstretched hands.
Beside him, he could hear a medley of thunderous snores. He was not alone, and the sleeping people around him were snoring ceaselessly. Their snores were sometimes loud and sometimes soft.
He also detected a sharp whistling sound outside, but it was very faint. It seemed as if the sound was made by a beast lurking outside.
Where am I?
Have I died on the hospital bed?
Zhou Yi subconsciously touched his chest and felt his heart thumping. From what he could recall, his heart had never beaten this strongly before, so there was no way he was dead.
All of a sudden, there were fragments of memories flashing through his mind, and he could see images like the mountain village near Hengyang, the drought and disasters of war, and people begging to enter the capital city.
He then recalled that half a year ago, the captain of the prison of the Demon Slaying Department had paid a visit to the refugee camp of the city. He was there to select and recruit strong, young men to work at the prison of the Demon Slaying Department. The conditions that he promised them was that all recruits would be provided food and lodging.
From these fragments of memories, the present Zhou Yi also learned that this was how the previous Zhou Yi became an executioner of the Demon Slaying Department. By becoming the replacement of the previous Zhou Yi, naturally, he had to be an executioner.
Earlier in the day, he had executed a murderous soul, but Zhou Yi found himself feeling bewildered after the entire episode. He did not know exactly when he began to feel this way, but it was a frightening experience that had scared the wits out of him.
After skimming through the memories of his predecessor, the present Zhou Yi vaguely concluded that he had traversed to another dimension and time.
He was now at the headquarters of the Demon Slaying Department of Luocheng, the capital city of the Great Qian Dynasty. The original owner of this body was also called Zhou Yi and he was twenty years old.
This world was definitely not like any other he had been to before. It was not the Blue Star that he thought he knew. From his memory, on the Blue Star, there was no “Qian” through the entire timeline of dynasties and there were no such existences like demons and monsters.
“Demon Slaying Department, ferocious souls, and evil spirits, monstrous demons, and evil devils….”
“This world is too dangerous!”
Zhou Yi tried his best to calm down as he felt his heart thumping powerfully. “But it feels so good to be alive.”
Then everything began to blur as sleep caught up with him.
He was dreaming as he slept.
In his dream, there were countless horrifying figures flashing by. All of them were wailing incessantly as they wanted to climb out of the abyss. And Zhou Yi was there, standing right above that abyss.
Then he awoke.
When Zhou Yi opened his eyes, the first sight that greeted him was an ugly face covered with black hair. There was a wide grin on this face that revealed nothing more than a set of black and yellow teeth.
“Brother Zhou, it’s almost time for the morning roll call. If we are late again, the captain is going to whip us.”
“Morning roll call?”
Zhou Yi gradually came to his senses. He could now determine that what happened the night before was not just a dream. He had traversed to another world.
In order to learn the ropes of the job as soon as possible, Zhou Yi thought it would be wiser to speak less and observe more. So, he quietly followed the hairy, burly man who was leading them to the place where they could collect their food rations. Then, they headed to the assembly area of executioners of the torture rooms.
The executioners all resided within the prison premises. There was a room built adjacent to the torture rooms, with a long stretch of bunk beds for them to sleep.
It had been half a year since Zhou Yi joined the Demon Slaying Department. Every day, he just needed to step out of the bunk room, and he would be in a torture room. And at the end of the day, he would step out of the torture room and be back in his sleeping quarters. Since there was no fanciful Labor Law in the Great Qian Dynasty, his daily routine was simply waking up to work and then be hard at work till it was time to sleep.
In the torture room.
The prison was built more than ten feet deep underground, so the entire place was perpetually in darkness.
It was impossible trying to distinguish between day and night, and the only way to tell time was through the use of an hourglass. At the moment, it was probably dawn.
At the assembly area, there were more than fifty executioners who had divided themselves into three rows. Zhou Yi joined the hairy-faced man, Shi Liu, in the second row.
Soon after, the captain of the Demon Slaying Department, Lu Gang, arrived. He was fully clad in black armor. Starting from the right end of the first row, he got all the executioners to do a headcount.
Lu Gang’s eyes slowly swept by everyone. Then, in a low and gloomy voice, he asked, “Who is not here?”
“Captain, Li Jiu of prison cell A7…can’t wake up anymore.”
Zhou Yi shuddered when he heard what was just said. “Can’t wake up anymore” meant the other person was dead. This was very common in the prison. Every two or three days, there would be executioners who “can’t wake up anymore.”
Every day, the executioners of the Demon Slaying Department would be tasked to handle the captured demons and monsters. After they were done killing these demons and monsters on the execution stage, they would send the useful remains to either the Demon Refining Grotto, or the Monster Refining Grotto.
The Demon Refining Grotto was in charge of handling the remains of demons, ghosts, and spirits, while the Monster Refining Grotto was in charge of the evil monsters and heretics.
Somehow or rather, the executioners recruited to kill demons were all very short-lived, and Zhou Yi really did not know why. But since majority were not long-lived, and he had survived in here for half a year, he was already considered a veteran amongst all the other executioners. Among those from the same batch as him, Shi Liu was the only one left.
Lu Gang began assigning the tasks of the day in a monotonous voice.
“Ma San’er, prison cell C5.”
“Zhao Dazhuang, prison cell B14.”
“Sun Cai, prison cell C7.”
The prison cells of the Demon Slaying Department were divided into three classes, namely A, B, and C. In general, executioners were rarely assigned to Class A cells. Usually, it would just be Class B or C.
From the experience he gained over the past six months, Zhou Yi concluded that demons and monsters in the Class B cells were much stronger than those in Class C.
Yesterday, the previous Zhou Yi had been assigned to prison cell B1 and was tasked to slay a ferocious thousand-year-old ghost. But just that one ferocious ghost was enough to scare the wits out of him. Furthermore, that particular task actually became his last before his life was brought to an end.
“Zhou Yi, prison cell C25.”
“Shi Liu, prison cell B13.”
Zhou Yi secretly observed Lu Gang’s expression. He realized that there was no change in the former’s expression when he called out Zhou Yi’s name.
Zhou Yi could not help but secretly sighed in relief. The captain of the prison of this Demon Slaying Department was solely responsible for the assignment of tasks. If he wanted to get some executioner killed discreetly, all he needed to do was assign that person to a Class B cell every day.
“Even if I am going to die naturally, how much longer do I have?”
The present Zhou Yi had no fear. He had experienced death once to eventually emerge as a survival, so he was definitely not going to give up any hope of living now.
He was now someone with an agile and healthy body, why would he willingly give up on life without rhyme or reason?
He tried his best to recall the conditions listed in the deed of sale signed between his predecessor and the Demon Slaying Department. Most of the words on the deed were foreign to him, but the wordings of the Great Qian dynasty were very similar to the ancient Chinese characters, so with some guessing, he was able to make out most of the contents in the contract.
This body was sold to the Demon Slaying Department for ten years…
Zhou Yi frowned slightly. Choosing to lead a life bound to such a contract was not going to work out well. Ten years of life in a dark prison packed with demons and monsters, even if they did not kill him, he would have died from insanity.
While Zhou Yi was still pondering how he could extricate himself from this difficult situation, Lu Gang had already finished assigning all the tasks for the day.
“Go, those who can’t complete the tasks assigned to them will taste the lash of my whip tonight!”
The moment Lu Gang finished giving out his orders, the executioners all bowed respectfully and scattered off in all directions without further ado.
Classes A, B, and C cells were located at different locations in the prison. Generally speaking, Class A prison cells were deep underground, Class B prison cells were in the center, and Class C prison cells were the closest to ground level.
Zhou Yi ventured along a path according to what he could remember and continued walking till he arrived at prison cell C25.
The entire prison cell was made of bluestone. Beneath the cell number on the door, there was a keyhole.
He inserted his executioner’s copper medallion into the keyhole, turned it to the right, and the next moment, the bluestone door made a rumbling sound. The door of the prison cell gradually opened.
After stepping in, Zhou Yi closed the door of the prison cell in the same way it was opened. Now, he was in the space that was sandwiched between the outer door and the inner door.
The double-door approach was a means to prevent demons from escaping with the aid of secret techniques, and particularly to prevent them from any opportunities to escape when executioners open the doors to enter.
After passing through the inner door, Zhou Yi saw the demon that he was tasked to execute that day.
Under the dim light, he saw a monster with the head and tail of a fish, but the body of a human. It was firmly tied to the execution rack with fine steel chains woven throughout its chest and limbs.
Large patches of scales were falling off the body of this fish demon. Its wound was charred, most likely caused by fiery flames.
Upon seeing Zhou Yi enter, the hideous-looking fish demon immediately attempted to pounce in his direction. But the fine steel chains wound around it automatically tightened, causing the fish demon to scream miserably.
“Is this the demon? It’s much uglier than I imagined it to be. Is this combination of a fish head and human body a result of genetic mutation or radiation deformity?”
Zhou Yi looked at the execution platform and saw all kinds of torture tools, like swords, spears, halberd, axes, battle-axes, hooks, and forks. Almost everything was available.
Right after killing the demon, everything found on the its body had to be utilized as far as possible. In other words, it was necessary to maximize the use of materials like the fisheyes, fish scales, and fish liver, etc.
There was a use for every part of the fish demon’s body. Ordinary fisheyes had an eye-brightening function, but the eyes of fish demons were capable of a much stronger effect.
Fish scales could be used as a cast for armor, while fish liver could prolong life.
Zhou Yi covered his mouth and nose. Then very skillfully, he dug out the eyes of the fish, peeled off the scales piece by piece, sliced open the belly of the fish to remove its liver…
Amidst its painful wails, the fish demon gradually died. And Zhou Yi could feel the temperature in the prison drop by at least a dozen or so degrees due to the extreme resentment of the fish demon before it died.
Then all of a sudden, Zhou Yi felt the world around him spinning. He lost clarity of senses and fell into a trance.
A book made of bright yellow silk appeared in front of his eyes, with four bizarre words written on it. The moment he laid eyes on it, he understood what the book was all about.
This was the catalog of demons and monsters.
After flipping through so many pages, the catalogue finally came to a halt at the picture of a fish demon.
With the head and tail of a fish, but the body of a human, it seemed that this was the fish demon that he had just killed.