Wei WuXian received a kick just as he opened his eyes.
A voice thundered beside his ear, “Stop playing dead!”
The kick threw him backwards, headfirst onto the ground. Fighting the urge to vomit, a thought formed in his head—that’s quite a lot of courage you have to kick me, the Patriarch.
It was his first time hearing a human voice in quite a few years, let alone such a loud, fierce shriek. His head swirled and ears buzzed with the echoes of the voice, “Whose land do you think you’re living on? Whose rice are you eating? Whose money are you spending? What’s wrong with taking a few of your belongings? Everything you own should be mine, anyways!”
Aside from this adolescent, duck-like voice, there were the clunks of ransacking chests and smashing objects as well. His eyes gradually cleared up.
A dimly-lit ceiling appeared in his sight, followed by a slant-browed person with a sickly composition, drenching him with spittle, “How dare you tell Father and Mother? Did you really think that anybody in this house is going to listen to you? You actually thought I was scared of you!”
A few servant-like hunks shifted over, “Young Master, everything is smashed!”
The young master asked, “How did you finish it this quickly?”
A manservant replied, “There’s nothing much inside this shack anyways.”
The young master seemed to be quite pleased, poking Wei WuXian forcefully on the nose, “You dared to tell on me, and look at you now, playing dead on the ground! For whom? As if anyone actually wants these piles of junk! Now that I’ve smashed everything, let’s see how you’re gonna tell on me in the future! Are you proud of yourself just because you’ve studied cultivation for a few years? Well, how does it feel when you’ve been kicked back home like a stray dog?”
Wei WuXian thought wearily.
I’m not pretending to be dead at all, since I’ve actually been dead for a couple of years.
Who is this?
Where am I?
When did I do something as immoral as stealing another’s body?
The young master let out enough anger by kicking the person and wrecking the house, and strutted out with his two man-servants, slamming the door with a “bang”. He shouted his orders, “Watch carefully. Don’t let him outside anytime this month, or he’ll make a fool of himself again!”
As the group went away, silence fell upon the room. Wei WuXian thought about getting up.
However, his limbs failed to uphold themselves, so he lay down again. He turned on his side and stared dizzily at the strange environment and the heaps of mess on the ground.
A bronze mirror rested on the side, probably thrown onto the ground. Wei WuXian grabbed it and looked into the mirror, only to see a ghastly pale face, with two asymmetrical piles of red on each side of his cheek. Add a blood-red tongue onto the features, and he would look like a hanged ghost. He tossed the mirror to the side and wiped his face, finding his hand covered with white powder.
Fortunately, the body wasn’t born this way—it was only one of the owner’s penchants. He was no-doubt a man, yet he was covered with makeup (not to mention, badly applied makeup). Ugh, how unbearable!
Taken back by the shock, some energy came back to him, and he finally sat up, noticing the circular array* beneath him.
The array was scarlet in color and crooked in shape, appearing to be drawn by hand, using blood as the medium, still damp and emitting a strong scent. The array was filled with warped scribbles of incantations, which were somewhat smudged by his body, but came across as gruesome nonetheless.
After all, Wei WuXian was known as the Supreme Leader and Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, so he was most certainly accustomed to vile-looking arrays such as this one.
It turned out that, in fact, he did not seize the body of another—he was offered one.
It was an ancient, forbidden technique. Compared to an array, it resembled a curse more. The caster of the array injures themselves by creating incisions on their body, and draws the array and writes the incantations using their own blood, finishing by sitting in the center of the array. They can then summon an extremely villainous ghoul and ask for it to complete their wish. The price to pay was to offer their body to the evil spirit, with their own soul returning back to Earth.
This was the forbidden technique opposite to stealing another’s body—offering one’s body.
Because of the grave sacrifices, only few people were brave enough to put it into effect. After all, there were hardly any wishes strong enough for a living person to willingly sacrifice everything that they own. Over thousands of years, only three or four examples have been proven to be true and recorded by history. Without exception, the three or four people’s wishes were the same—to take revenge.
Wei WuXian refused to accept this.
Why would he be put into the category of “extremely villainous ghouls?”
Although his reputation wasn’t great and he had died in a horrifying way, he neither haunts the living nor seeks vengeance. He could swear that one can’t find another wandering ghost as harmless as him.
The difficult part was that, as soon as the evil spirit has taken over the body of the caster, the contract is sealed by default. The evil spirit must grant their wish, or else the curse will cause a backlash. The spirit in possession of the body will be completely annihilated, never to be born again!
Wei WuXian raised his hands to find that, unsurprisingly, both of his wrists were crisscrossed with multiple cuts. He proceeded to take off his belt. Under the black clothes, his chest and stomach areas were also covered with what seemed to be lacerations from a sharp tool. Although the bleeding had stopped, Wei WuXian knew that these weren’t normal wounds. If he didn’t fulfill the wish of the body’s owner, the wounds would not be able to heal. It would worsen as the time goes on, and if the time limit was passed, both his soul and this body would be ripped apart.
Wei WuXian confirmed his situation several times, repeating “how can this happen to me?” in his heart even more times, and could finally stand upright, leaning against the wall.
Even though the house was large in size, it was empty and shabby, with sheets and blankets looking like they hadn’t been changed in a long while. There was a bamboo basket in the corner. It was supposed to be for storing trash, but, having been kicked over earlier, the scraps all tumbled out onto the ground. Wei WuXian scanned around the room and picked up a crumpled piece of paper. He unfolded it and was surprised to see it crammed with words. He hurriedly gathered all of the paper.
The words on the paper must have been written by the owner of this body to vent when he felt stressed. Some sentences were incoherent and disordered; anxiety leaped off of the page through the distorted handwriting. Wei WuXian sat through every single piece of paper, and began to notice that something was wrong.
He took a few guesses and roughly understood the state of things.
It turned out to be that the owner of this body was named Mo XuanYu. His location was called Mo Village.
Mo XuanYu’s grandfather was from a rich family of the area. His family was few in number, and, although he tried at it, he only had two daughters. Their names were not mentioned, but the elder one was the daughter of his principal wife, looking for a husband to marry into the family, while the younger one was the daughter of a servant. The Mo family originally wanted to hastily give her to someone, but an adventure awaited her. When she was sixteen, the leader of a well-known cultivation family was passing by the area, and fell in love with her at first sight.
Everyone admires cultivators. Cultivation families, in the eyes of common folk, are like people favored by God, mysterious yet noble. In the beginning, the people of Mo Village regarded the topic with contempt, but because the Sect Leader*often helped out, the Mo family received plenty of advantages. And so, the direction of the discussions changed, and the Mo family took pride in the matter, while everyone else also envied the opportunity. The second-lady of Mo bore one son for the leader—Mo XuanYu.
But, not for long, since the Sect Leader was only involved with her to experiment with something new, he grew tired of it in a few years. After Mo XuanYu turned four, his father never came back again.
Gradually, the opinions of the Mo Village’s people changed again. The original contempt and scorn returned, alongside with disdainful pity.
The second-lady of Mo did not want to accept this; she firmly believed that the Sect Leader would not turn a deaf ear to his own son. Sure enough, when Mo XuanYu turned fourteen, the Sect Leader took him back.
The second-lady stuck her nose up in the air again, and told everyone that her son would most certainly become an Immortal* as fast as he could, and bring glory on his ancestors.
However, before Mo XuanYu achieve success in cultivation and inherit his father’s position, he was driven back.
On top of that, he was driven back shamefully.
Mo XuanYu was homosexual, and had enough nerve to harass the other disciples. The scandal was revealed to the public and, as he had few achievements in terms of cultivation, there were no reasons for him to stay in the clan.
Like adding frost to snow, aside from the event itself, when Mo XuanYu returned, he often behaved in a crazy manner, almost as if his life was scared out of him.
The story was almost too complex to be put into words. Wei WuXian’s eyebrows twitched.
Not only a lunatic, a homosexual lunatic as well.
That explained why there were enough rouge and powder on his face to make him look like a hanged ghost, and also why nobody was surprised at the large, bloody array on the ground. Even if Mo XuanYu painted the whole room red with blood, from the tiles on the ground to the walls to the ceiling, the others wouldn’t be overly surprised. After all, everyone knew that his head had a screw loose!
After he went back home dejectedly, he was bombarded with ridicule. The situation seemed like it was beyond redemption, and the second-lady of Mo was not able to withstand the blow, shortly choking to death because of the trauma.
At this time, Mo XuanYu’s grandfather had already passed away. The first-lady of Mo was in charge of the family, but, ever since a young age, she had been unable to stand her younger sister, including her sister’s son. She had an only child, Mo ZiYuan, who happened to be the person who ransacked the place earlier. When Mo XuanYu was taken away by his father, the first-lady was jealous, and wanted to have even the slightest relationship with a cultivation Sect. She hoped that the envoy who came would take Mo ZiYuan to cultivate as well.
Of course, she was refused, or rather, ignored.
This was most certainly not a case of selling cabbage. One simply can’t bargain, much less buy one and get another for free.
Strangely confident, this family all held the thought that Mo ZiYuan had potential and talent. They believed that if, back then, he was sent instead, he would have won recognition from the Sect, unlike his disappointing cousin. Although, when Mo XuanYu left, Mo ZiYuan was still young, he was repeatedly instilled with nonsense such as this, and believed in them wholeheartedly. Every two or three days, he would find Mo XuanYu and humiliate him, cursing him for snatching his road to cultivation. At the same time, he was found great interest in the talismans, elixirs, and magic tools, regarding all of them as his possessions and doing whatever he wanted with them.
Although Mo XuanYu often switched in and out of being a lunatic, he did understand that he was degraded by others. He tolerated it, but Mo ZiYuan further intensified his behaviour, almost emptying his whole room. His patience had finally drained out and he complained to his aunt and uncle, causing Mo ZiYuan’s commotion from this morning.
The words on the paper were small and compact, which hurt Wei WuXian’s eyes. He thought to himself, “How fucked up is this person’s life?”
No wonder Mo XuanYu would rather use the forbidden technique to sacrifice his body and ask villainous ghouls to take revenge.
The pain from his eyes transferred to his head. Supposedly, to use the forbidden technique, the caster would chant their wish silently. As the evil spirit being summoned, Wei WuXian should have been able to hear his specific requirements.
However, it was likely that Mo XuanYu copied fragmented excerpts of the technique somewhere, and skipped this step. Although Wei Wuxian guessed that he wanted to take revenge on the Mo family, but how should he do it? To what extent? To retrieve the items that were taken from him? Or to beat up everyone of the Mo family?
Or… To wipe out the whole family?
In all likelihood, it was probably to wipe out the whole family. After all, anyone who touched upon the cultivation world would know what phrases were used most often to describe him—ungrateful, eccentric, not recognizing his own family, intolerable by Heaven, and other spectacular terms. Was there anyone else more “villainous” than him? If Mo XuanYu had dared to summon him specifically, the wish was most likely not an easily fulfilled one.
Wei WuXian couldn’t help but to say, “You’ve got the wrong person…”
*Array: a magical formation drawn on the ground to cast spells and such
*Sect Leader: the leader of an organization dedicated towards the practice of cultivation
*Immortal: beings who gained immortality from cultivation practices