Wei WuXian wanted to wash his face to have gaze upon the face of his body’s owner after death, but there wasn’t any water in the room, not even for drinking or washing.
The only basin-like container was probably, he suspected, for lavatory purposes instead of cleansing.
He pushed the door, but it was fastened with a latch, probably to prevent him from wandering outside.
None of these things made him feel the joy of reincarnation at all!
He figured that he might as well sit in the Lotus position* and get used to his new home. Time flew by, and the day had passed. When he opened his eyes, sunlight seeped inside from the gaps of the door and windows. Although he could stand up and walk around, his still felt lightheaded.
Wei WuXian was puzzled, Mo XuanYu’s amount spiritual powers are insignificant enough to be ignored, so there shouldn’t be a reason as to why I can’t control this body properly. Why doesn’t it work?
Then, a noise came from his stomach, and he realized that this wasn’t related to his spiritual powers at all. In fact, it was because this body had not practiced inedia, and felt hunger. If he didn’t scavenge for food, he might become the first villainous ghoul who starved to death upon arrival.
Wei WuXian lifted his foot and was about to kick the door open, when suddenly, the sound of approaching footsteps appeared. Someone stomped on the door and grunted, “It’s mealtime!”
Nonetheless, there was no indication of the door being opened. Wei WuXian lowered his head and saw a miniature door on the bottom of this one opening, with a small bowl set in front of it.
The servant outside shouted again, “Chop-chop! What are you waiting for? Take the bowl out after you finish!”
The door was slightly smaller than the kind for dogs to crawl through—it didn’t allow the passage of humans, but bowls could be easily taken inside. There were two dishes and one serving of rice, which looked quite unpleasant.
Wei WuXian played with the pair of chopsticks that were stuck into the rice, feeling quite bitter.
The YiLing Patriarch had just returned to the mortal world, but the first thing he came upon was a kick and a scolding, not to mention the leftovers that served as his welcoming-meal. Where were the blood and gore? The ruthless slaughter? The absolute destruction? Who would believe him? He was like the tiger in a flatland, the dragon in shallow water, the phoenix without feathers, losing his advantage and belittled by those weaker than him.
Then, the servant outside spoke again, but with laughter this time, “A-Ding*! Come here!”
*The prefix “A” (pronounced “ah”) can often be found in front of the names of servants.
The sweet voice of a girl answered from a distance, “A-Tong, are you delivering the meal to the one in there again?”
A-Tong clicked his tongue, “Why else would I come to this ominous courtyard?”
A-Ding’s voice sounded closer, as if she was in front of the door, “You just deliver one meal a day, and nobody cares if you’re lazy. This is such an idle task, yet you think it’s ominous. Look at me. I’m busy to the point that I can’t even go outside to play.”
A-Tong complained, “Delivering his meal is not the only work I do! How can you dare to go outside these days? With so many walking corpses* out there, everyone’s locking themselves in their houses.”
Wu WuXian squatted by the door and listened while eating.
It appeared to be that, ever since a while ago, the Mo Village hadn’t been peaceful. Walking corpses, like their name, were dead people who could move, a type of low-level altered corpse*. Unless the deceased person held strong resentment, they were usually dull-eyed and sluggish. They weren’t overly dangerous, but they were enough to alarm the average person, especially their vomit-inducing stench.
However, to Wei WuXian, they were the most obeying puppets. When he heard them being mentioned, he even felt a sense of familiarity.
A-Tong seemed to be making a face, “If you want to go outside, you’ll have to take me so that I can protect you…”
A-Ding replied, “You? Protect me? Stop bragging. Are you sure you can defeat those things?”
A-Tong said bitterly, “If I can’t defeat them, other people can’t either.”
A-Ding laughed, “How do you know that other people can’t defeat them? Let me tell you—today, some cultivators came to Mo Village. I heard that they were from a very prominent clan! The madam is talking to them in the main hall, and everyone in town is watching. Can’t you hear the noise? I don’t have time to play around with you; they might give me more work afterwards.”
Wei WuXian listened attentively. Sure enough, the faint bustling sounds of people came from the east. He pondered for a moment, stood up, and kicked the door. It cracked with a clank.
At the moment, the two servants, A-Ding and A-Tong, were flirting with each other, and screamed when the door suddenly flung open. Wei WuXian threw away his bowl and walked outside, flinching from the glare of the sunlight. He brought his hand to the tip of his brow and closed his eyes for a moment. Just now, A-Tong screamed even louder than A-Ding, but as he took a closer look and realized that it was Mo XuanYu, the person whom everyone could humiliate, his courage came back to him. He figured that he probably lost face in front of A-Ding, and wanted to make up for it, so he jumped over and waved his hands like he was reproaching a dog, “Shoo! Shoo! Go away! Why did you come out?”
A-Tong treated him even worse than he treated a beggar or a fly. Most of the time, all of the servants of the Mo family treated Mo XuanYu like this because he never resisted. Wei WuXian gave A-Tong a light kick, knocking him over, and laughed, “How daring of a mere errand-running child to humiliate others like this.”
With that, he headed towards the commotion in the east. Quite a lot of people crowded in and around the East Hall. Just as Wei WuXian stepped into the courtyard, a woman spoke in a voice a few pitches louder than the others’, “A member from the younger generations of our family use to be a cultivator as well…”
It must have been Madam Mo trying to make connections with the cultivation family again. Wei WuXian didn’t wait for her to finish speaking, and quickly hustled through the crowd, into the hall, and grinned, “I’m coming, I’m coming. Right here!”
A middle-aged lady sat in the hall, with well maintained health and wearing extravagant clothing. She was Madam Mo. Her husband sat below her, and the opposite side sat a few white-robed boys*. Because of how an unkempt freak just appeared from within the people, all of the chatter came to a halt, but Wei WuXian spoke shamelessly, as if he did not notice the motionless atmosphere at all, “Who was calling me earlier? I am the only one who use to be a cultivator!”
*In this case, the word “boys” refers to older youths in their teenage years.
There was too much powder on his face, and as he smiled, the powder sprinkled off. A younger cultivator was on the brink of laughing, letting out a pfft sound. His face grew serious again as another one, seemingly the leader of the group, gave him a disapproving look.
Wei WuXian followed the voice and scanned over. He thought that the servants were being ignorant and exaggerated the situation, but he was surprised to see that they were really disciples of a “prominent clan”.
The boys wore robes with drifting sleeves and flowing belts, appearing to be ikemen and doubtlessly a treat to the eyes. Looking at the uniform, it was obvious that they were from the GusuLan clan. They must have also been younger generations of blood-relationship to the Lan family, as they all wore white forehead ribbons around a finger’s width, with cloud patterns sewn onto them.
The motto of the GusuLan clan was “righteousness”. The forehead ribbon implied to “conduct oneself well”, and the cloud pattern was the official pattern of the Lan family, of which cultivators who came from other families did not have the right to wear. Wei WuXian got toothaches whenever he saw anybody from the Lan clan. In his past life, he had always thought of his clan’s uniform as “mourning clothes”, which was why he would never mistake it.
Lady Mo hadn’t seen this nephew of hers in a while, and only got over her dismay after a long time, when she realized who the heavily-makeuped person was. She was furious, but she didn’t want to lose her temper and discompose herself, so she lowered her voice at her husband, “Who let him out? Get him back there!”
Her husband promptly smiled to calm her and walked over with an irksome look, ready to pull him out of here. However, Wei WuXian suddenly dropped to the ground, his limbs tightly clinging to the floor. Nobody could get him up, even after more servants were called to help. As Lady Mo’s face darkened bit by bit, her husband was also sweating. He scolded, “… You… Damn madman! If you don’t go back now, wait and see how I’ll punish you!”
Although everyone in the Mo Village knew that the Mo family had a young master who lost his marbles, Mo XuanYu had already hid in that dark room for a couple of years, scared to come outside. After seeing how both his face and actions were like those of a monster’s, the people whispered among themselves, looking forward to a good show to watch. Wei WuXian spoke, “I could go back if you wanted me to,” he pointed at Mo ZiYuan, “But tell him to return the things that he stole from me first.”
Mo ZiYuan did not expect that the good-for-nothing lunatic had the guts to cause trouble here, even after his disciplining yesterday. His face grew pale, “That’s nonsense! When did I ever steal your things? Would, would I need to steal anything from you?”
Wei WuXian said, “Yeah, yeah. You didn’t steal, you robbed!”
Madam Mo didn’t say anything yet, but Mo ZiYuan was furious, raising his foot to kick him. However, a white-robed boy carrying a sword moved his finger slightly, and Mo ZiYuan’s feet slipped, falling to the ground with his foot only scraping him. Even so, Wei WuXian still rolled on the ground, as if he was really kicked over, and pulled open the front of his robe, showing the footprint that Mo ZiYuan made yesterday.
The others thought that, obviously, Mo XuanYu couldn’t have kicked himself. Along with the fact that Mo ZiYuan had always been imprudent and arrogant, who else could have done it? No matter what, the Mo family had been being too ruthless to their own blood relative. It was plain to see that, when he first came back, he wasn’t this insane, and so it must have been worsened by the people of this family. Nevertheless, all is well as long as there was a good show to watch. This one was much more interesting than the cultivators!
Before this, Madam Mo ignored him, as she didn’t bother to argue with a sick person. She ordered the others to take him out. Now she knew—Mo XuanYu had definitely come prepared. His head was completely clear and deliberately disgraced them. She felt both shock and hatred, “You made a big scene on purpose, didn’t you?”
Wei WuXian replied blankly, “He stole my belongings, and I’m here to retrieve them. Does that also count as making a big scene?”
With so many pairs of eyes staring, Madam Mo could neither hit him nor throw him out. Anger welled up deep inside her, and she could only forcefully compromise the two sides, “Stealing? Robbing? That’s a bit disrespectful, if you ask me. We are all part of one family, and he only wanted to take a look at them. A-Yuan* is your younger brother, so what’s wrong with taking a few of your things? As an older brother, you shouldn’t be reluctant to lend one or two playthings, should you? It’s not as if he won’t return them.”
*The “A” prefix can also be used to refer to someone you’re close to. A-Yuan refers to Mo ZiYuan.
The boys from the Lan clan stared speechlessly at one another. These young boys grew up in a cultivation clan, exposed to splendor and that only. They’d probably never seen farces like this, or even heard of this kind of logic. Wei WuXian laughed hysterically in his mind, and extended his hand, “Then, return them.”
Of course, it was impossible for Mo ZiYuan to return anything, having either thrown them out or disassembled them. Even if he was able to return them, his pride wouldn’t have allowed it. His face turned purple with anger and he shouted, “… Mom!” His glare raged, are you really allowing him to treat me like this?
Lady Mo glowered at him, signaling for him to not worsen the situation. However, Wei WuXian spoke again, “Not only should he not have stolen my belongings, he shouldn’t have stolen them in the middle of the night. Everyone knows that I am into men. Even if he was not ashamed, I knew to not look suspicious.”
Lady Mo gasped and shouted, “What are you talking about, in front of the villagers? How shameless—A-Yuan is your cousin!”
In terms of running wild, Wei WuXian was definitely a master. In the past, if he wanted to run wild, he would have to keep his status in mind, but now, he was a lunatic anyways, which meant that he could do whatever he wanted to, whichever way he wanted. He stiffened his neck and argued defiantly, “Even though he knew that I was his cousin, he chose to not avoid me, so who was more shameless? I don’t care about your reputation, but don’t ruin my innocence! I still want to find a good man!”
Mo ZiYuan let out a loud scream and started swinging a chair at him. As soon as Wei WuXian saw that his anger finally went out of control, he rolled over and climbed up, dodging so that the chair only smashed on the ground, falling apart in the process. The mass of people in the East Hall were originally gloating at the disgrace of the Mo family, but, after the fight started, they’d all fled away. Wei WuXian bolted towards the group of boys from the Lan clan, who all gaped at the scene, and yelled, “Did everyone see that? Did you? The burglar is also beating someone up! How heartless!”
Mo ZiYuan chased him, and was close to pouncing on him, when the leader of the boys hurriedly stopped him, “Please calm down. Words are more powerful than weapons.”
Madam Mo saw that the boy was deliberately protecting the lunatic, and pulled a smile warily, “This is my younger sister’s son. He’s not so bright here; everyone from the Mo Village knows that he is a lunatic, and often speaks strange words that shouldn’t be taken seriously. Cultivator, please…”
Before she finished her sentence, Wei WuXian’s head peeked from behind the boy’s back and glared, “Who said that my words shouldn’t be taken seriously? Next time, try stealing anything from me again. You steal once, and I cut off one of your hands!”
Mo ZiYuan was originally held down by his father, but, after hearing this, he was close to losing his temper again. Wei WuXian lept outside quickly, and the boy blocked the entrance at once, switching to another topic with a serious tone, “Then, we will borrow the West Courtyard for the night. Please remember the things that I’ve talked about—after nightfall, close all of the windows, don’t come outside, or worse, walk toward the courtyard.”
Madam Mo was shaking from anger, “Yes, yes, please…” Mo ZiYuan found it beyond belief, “Mom! The lunatic insulted me in front of so many people, and that’s it? You told me before; you told me that he was only a…”
Madam Mo commanded, “Be quiet. Can’t you wait until we go back?”
Mo ZiYuan had never been at such a disadvantage or been disgraced like this before, with his mother’s scolding making the situation worse. He was full of hatred, and thought, this lunatic is going down tonight!
After Wei WuXian finished flipping out, he walked out the door of the Mo family’s place, and showed his face around the Mo village. Although he surprised countless people, he was, in fact, loving every second of it, and finally realized the delight of being a lunatic. He was even starting to approve of the makeup that resembled a hanged ghost, almost unwilling to wash it away. He fixed his hair and looked at his wrists. The cuts didn’t seem like they were healing at all, which meant that a slight revenge like this would not be approved by the forbidden technique.
Would he really have to eliminate the Mo family?
To be honest, it wouldn’t be too difficult of a task.
Wei WuXian strolled back to the Mo family’s West Courtyard. The disciples of the Lan clan were standing on top of the roofs and walls, discussing with a solemn look.
Although the GusuLan clan contributed greatly during the siege on him, at that time, these juniors were either not born yet or still young children. He shouldn’t direct his hate towards them, so Wei WuXian decided to linger around and observe what they were going to do. After a while, he felt like something was wrong.
Why did the fluttering black flags on top of the roofs and walls look so familiar to him?
This type of flags was called the “Phantom Attraction Flag”. If it was set on a living person, it would attract all of the spirits, wronged ghosts, moving corpses, or evil beings within a certain area, so that they would only attack that person. Because the flag-bearing person would be turned into a living target, it was also called the “Target Flag.” It could also be set on a house, but the house must have living humans inside of it. Then, the attack range would expand to include everyone inside the house. Because of how there would always be a sinister energy that surrounded the area in which the flag was set in, as if there was a swirling black wind, they were also called “Black Wind Flags”. Arranging the flag formation in the West Courtyard and not allowing anyone to approach them must have meant that they wanted to lead the Walking Corpses here and capture them in one go.
As for why they looked familiar… How could they have not come across as familiar? The creator of Phantom Attraction Flags was none other than the YiLing Patriarch!
It seemed like that, although the cultivation world hated him on the surface, they still used the the inventions that he came up with.
A disciple standing on the roof saw him lingering around, and spoke, “Please go back. This isn’t where a person like you should come.”
Although he was being driven away, it was out of kindness, and the tone also differed from those of the servants in the Mo family. Wei WuXian caught him off guard and quickly hopped up, grabbing one of the flags.
The disciple was startled and jumped down to chase him, “Do not move. That is not something you should take.”
Wei WuXian yelled while running away, looking like a real lunatic with his hair disheveled and limbs flinging about, “I’m not giving it back, I’m not giving it back! I want this thing! I want this!”
The disciple caught up to him in a few strides and grabbed his arm, “If you are not going to give it back, I am going to hit you!”
Wei WuXian held onto the flag, unwilling to let go of it. The leader of the boys was setting up the flag formation, and lightly hopped off the roof when he heard of the ruckus, “JingYi, cut it out. Do not make a fuss about it and just take the flag.”
Lan JingYi spoke, “SiZhui, I did not actually hit him! Look at him, messing up the flag formation!”
During the tug-of-war, Wei WuXian had already checked over the Phantom Attraction Flag in his hands. The motifs were drawn correctly and the incantations were complete. There wasn’t any errors, so nothing would go wrong while using them. However, the person who drew on the flag was lacking in experience, so it would only attract evil being and moving corpses from within five li*. That should be enough, though. There shouldn’t be any malicious creatures in a place as small as the Mo Village.
Lan SiZhui smiled at him, “Young Master Mo, the sky is growing dark, and we are going to start capturing the walking corpses soon. It will be dangerous at night time, so it would be best for you to return to your room.”
Wei WuXian looked him over. He was fair and refined, with a dignified appearance and smiling faintly. Wei WuXian silently approved of him. The flag formation was set in an organized way, and his mannerisms were also respectful, making him a disciple with astonishing potential. He didn’t know that, at a conservative clan such as the Lan clan, who on Earth brought up such a junior.
Lan SiZhui spoke again, “This flag…” Before he finished, Wei WuXian threw the Phantom Attraction Flag onto the ground and humphed, “It’s just a flag, so what’s the big deal? I can draw way better than this!”
He sprinted off the moment he threw the flag away. The boys who stood on the roof to watch the bustle almost fell off from the laughter, after hearing his ridiculous words. Lan JingYi also chuckled from anger and picked up the Phantom Attraction Flag, “What a maniac!”
Wei WuXian continued to roam around, doing nothing, and finally moved back to the small courtyard that belonged to Mo XuanYu.
He ignored the broken bolt and the mess on the ground, picked a relatively clean spot, and sat in the lotus position again.
However, before daylight came, he was pulled out of meditation by some noise from the outside.
A series of chaotic footsteps quickly approached, along with cries and screams. Wei WuXian heard a few phrases being repeated, “… Barge in and drag him out!” “Notify the officers!” “What do you mean ‘notify the officers’? Beat him to death!”
He opened his eyes to see that a few servants had already came in.
The whole courtyard was set alight with fire. Someone cried out, “Drag the insane murderer to the Main Hall and make him pay for it with his life!”
Lotus position: a cross-legged position for meditation purposes
*Altered corpse: a corpse that had become alive, usually due to human interference
*The “A” prefix can also be used to refer to someone you’re close to. A-Yuan refers to Mo ZiYuan.
*one li is 500 meters or 1/3 of a mile.