Thirty Years of Demon Slaying at the Demon-Slaying Department - Chapter 11
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Tragic fates were always strikingly similar.
After developing intelligence, the red fox remained in the mountains to cultivate and refine its Qi.
The cultivation process for demons was slow. It was more than ten times slower than that of the human race. The red fox had been cultivating for decades before it finally barely took its human form. And after it had a human form, it gave itself the name Hu Jiuniang.
The twist of fate happened ten years ago.
Feng Zhen, a poor scholar, was rushing to the capital city to sit for the imperial examination. As he was passing through the forest, he found Hu Jiuniang caught in a trap and rescued her.
To repay his kindness, Hu Jiuniang gathered elixirs from the mountains, found gold and silver, and secretly, she helped Feng Zhen break free from poverty.
During the six years that he spent on the imperial examination, he failed three times.
Feng Zhen was disheartened and decided to do business in Luojing.
About three years ago, Feng Zhen’s business failed terribly, and he suffered a crushing loss. Hu Jiuniang then stole the Bright Moon Jade, a treasure of the fox clan, to help Feng Zhen through his difficulties.
It was also at this point that Feng Zhen saw Hu Jiuniang by accident and was deeply mesmerized by her beauty. To win her heart, he showered her with sweet words and even made a vow to the Heavens. Eventually, the two got married.
Up until now, it almost seemed like the couple had achieved a happy ending. What a pity, humans were always so fickle-minded.
The daughter of the assistant minister of the Ministry of Rites, Su Yun’er, was obsessed with jade and heard about the Bright Moon Jade. To be able to appreciate that piece of jade, she repeatedly visited Feng’s residence.
So, what started as one visit led to the next and it didn’t take long for both Su Yun’er and Feng Zhen to develop feelings for each other.
Hu Jiuniang was not bothered by this and even gave birth to a daughter for Feng Zhen.
On the other hand, the assistant minister of the Ministry of Rites looked down on merchants and demanded that Feng Zhen first assume an official post before he could even think about marrying Su Yun’er.
Officials of the Great Qian Dynasty were extraordinary people with exceptional ranks. These titles were not easily conferred as decisions of the officials in court had a direct impact on the dynasty’s fate. Furthermore, they were the ones practicing the laws of the dynasty.
Feng Zhen was a scholar himself, so he certainly met the requirements of an official, albeit barely. He exhausted his family’s fortune while trying to buy himself an official post and, finally, a few days ago, there was a vacancy for a county magistrate. Now, all he had to fulfill was the requirement of making a meritorious contribution.
The wealthy aristocrats and learned gentlemen had the means to build bridges and pave roads. They would also do good deeds and help the poor. All these acts were potentially meritorious contributions.
If their contributions met the standard requirements to be considered meritorious, and the court happened to have a vacancy, these people would be given priority during the selection process.
Feng Zhen was already over 30 years old. He had no time to slowly accumulate such merits and achievements. Besides, he could not expect Su Yun’er to wait that long. He had to achieve something meritorious as quickly as possible.
A few days ago, there was news of a Taoist casting spell to induce rainfall and it brought great shock to the entire city.
An intensive and thorough investigation was conducted throughout the capital city to capture all the hidden demons. The court also promised a generous reward to encourage people to report to the authorities if they knew of any.
Seeing that he was about to lose the opportunity to become a magistrate, an anxious Feng Zhen heartlessly reported Hu Jiuniang and her daughter to the capital’s yamen.
Hu Jiuniang was playing with her daughter when an immortal master of the Demon Slaying Department came to capture both mother and daughter. He then threw them into a torture room within the prison.
Disheartened and distraught, dying under the knife of Zhou Yi became a relief for Hu Jiuniang.
“Pitiful, pathetic, lamentable.”
The more tragedies Zhou Yi saw while working in the Demon Slaying Department, the more he understood why the law forbade humans from falling in love with demons or ghosts.
Almost all of them would find their lives ending in tragedy. Only a handful could really have happy endings.
Widespread love stories that only showed the good side of life and portrayed it as a pretty bed of roses, in professional terms, could be described as, “survivor bias”.
Human-demon relationships that were widely accepted by people in this world would usually end with the intervention of a true immortal like Buddha.
Just as her soul was about to shatter, Hu Jiuniang seemed to hear Zhou Yi sigh, so she transmitted a message to him via a wisp of fluctuation.
Zhou Yi thought for a moment, then slowly nodded.
“I give you my word.”
Hu Jiuniang had begged Zhou Yi to spare her daughter, Feng Ling’er’s, life, and at least preserve Ling’er’s soul so that she would be able to reincarnate.
The torture instruments of the Demon Slaying Department could slay and destroy souls. Furthermore, there was a soul-refining array enveloping the prison, so the souls of demons that were killed there would be utterly destroyed.
The demon’s soul trembled slightly and could not hold out anymore. Turning into a wisp of green smoke, she dissipated into thin air.
“I’m getting a little emotional. I hope it’s still not too late.”
Zhou Yi extracted a wisp of blood from Hu Jiuniang’s remains and blew gently. The wisp of blood drifted with the wind and was infused into the atmosphere of the torture room.
The tip of his nose twitched as he detected a similar aura.
He followed the aura that he detected in the wind and sought to find traces from the surrounding air.
The method of summoning the wind and rain of the Tiangang Spells allowed Zhou Yi to comprehend the wind spells and water spells. As a result, he was able to switch between the different methods and techniques as he pleased.
The Wind-stopping technique that he was using at the moment was very low grade, obtained from a Thunder and Wind Sect rebel. Originally, the user of this technique would blow some poison powder into the wind and silently cause poisoning.
After grasping the method of summoning the wind and rain, he combined it with the Trace and Pursuit spell and came up with a brilliant method.
He used his magic power to leave a phantom of himself on his original spot, then his real body disappeared from the prison cell with a flash of light.
Prison cell number C93.
The aura of the fox demon’s bloodline showed that Feng Ling’er was in this cell.
From the tasks assigned by his captain in the morning, Zhou Yi recalled that prison cell C93 was not assigned to executioners from the Class A division. It should be an executioner from another division inside prison cell C93.
He inserted his entry token into the keyhole and the prison cell door slowly opened.
An executioner from Division D, Wang Erniu, was coaxing a child, trying to get it to stop crying. He simply could not bear to kill the child.
Hearing the sound of the cell door opening, he turned around and saw a demon walk in. The demon had the head of a fox but the body of a human. Subconsciously, he pulled the brass bell to sound the alarm. Then his body went limp and he fainted.
There was a three or four-year-old girl imprisoned in this cell. She had a delicate, adorable appearance, and two streaks of tears stained her rosy cheeks. Anyone who saw her would have found it impossible not to feel heartbroken.
“Luckily it’s a recruit. Otherwise, I would not have made it in time.”
In Zhou Yi’s eyes, there was no little girl, just a little fox with white fur, and he pointed at the forehead of the white fox.
The soul of the white fox was drawn out of its body, bit by bit. Zhou Yi was wrapping it up with his magic power so that it would not be subjected to the eroding power of the evil aura in the air.
“This is all that I can do for you. There is no way I can release a demon from the prison without permission.”
Zhou Yi hid the demon in his sleeve, then cast his magic power over the unconscious executioner several times to cleanse the latter’s body of all the evil aura within him. Then very quietly, he returned to prison cell number B7.
Wang Erniu stirred from a comatose state and found himself feeling inexplicably relaxed and refreshed. He was completely unharmed and did not lose anything, either.
When he realized that the fox demon was dead and her body was still around, he dismissed the thought of reporting the matter to his captain.
Prison cell number B7.
Zhou Yi released the soul of the white fox.
Feng Ling’er saw Hu Jiuniang and immediately rushed over to grab her mother. However, she ended up grabbing nothing.
Sob, sob, sob…
Feng Ling’er’s cries were piercing and mournful. She was desperately trying to grab her mother’s body only to end up passing through it while grabbing nothing but thin air.
“You and your mother are both dead. When the ten-year period is up, you will be able to leave the torture room of this prison with me.”
Zhou Yi saved Feng Ling’er’s soul for three reasons.
One, after sensing what Hu Jiuniang had been through, the Catalogue of Demons and Monsters showed no response, so apparently, she had never harmed anyone.
Two, Feng Ling’er was still young, so she still had half the human bloodline in her body.
Three, Zhou Yi was executing the method of summoning the wind and rain on the day where there was heavy rain, so to a certain extent, he had played a part in speeding up the tragic end of Hu Jiuniang.
Sob, sob, sob…
Experiencing such a drastic change in her life, there was no way Feng Ling’er could stay calm enough to listen to Zhou Yi. She wailed incessantly, trying all she could to rouse the dead Hu Jiuniang.
Zhou Yi kept Feng Ling’er’s soul under a seal and hid her in his sleeves. And then, with a single shake of his body, his temperament changed, and he transformed into an aged executioner with a hunched back.
For the past seven years of his life in the torture rooms of the prison, Zhou Yi usually assumed the appearance of a half-dead man who seemed to be breathing his last. To the other people in the prison, he was old and frail and had difficulty moving about. It was as if he had reached the last moments of his life.
The newly recruited executioners were all under the impression that Zhou Yi was just a man waiting to die. Little did they know that he had already sent away a dozen or so batches of fellow executioners.
Day after day, week after week, life in prison was repeated in the same routine. At the end of the day, Zhou Yi still managed to struggle through it alive.
Many captains had come and gone on a rotational basis. However, placed under the influence of the Disappearing into Hiding spell, none of them were able to accurately remember how long Zhou Yi had been around. They could only remember that he was an executioner with exceptional skills.
The addition of Feng Ling’er did not bring about much change to his daily life in the prison.
Every day, Zhou Yi would allow Feng Ling’er to come out for some fresh air when they were left alone.
After the initial grief of losing her mother, Feng Ling’er gradually regained her active and bubbly nature. She would hover around Zhou Yi and ask him strange questions. This injected a pinch of fun into his boring and mundane life.
To maintain the stability of her demon’s soul, Zhou Yi would slay some demons every day and refine their souls into pure soul power. Then, he would get Feng Ling’er to devour the pure soul power.
There were hundreds of thousands of demons dying in the Demon Slaying Department every day. A difference of one or two demons would be completely negligible.
By consuming pure soul power every day, Feng Ling’er’s demon soul became increasingly firm and stable.
A year later.
Feng Ling’er had almost become a tangible body. The naked eye alone would find it difficult to distinguish between what was real and what was not, and there she was, stroking her soft and smooth snow-white hair.