I translated this teaser to test my skills. I think I got pretty good at translating, hehe.
Also, this was an absolute hell to translate. So many names and techniques…. took me 3 hours.
序章 (TL: This means “prologue”. It appears at the beginning of all Korean wuxia.)
Was there anyone ignorant enough to not know of the name Zhang Hu (長吼)?
He was the third person in the world who had managed to take up the title of the Heavenly Demon (天魔) after the creation of the Martial World (murim).
In just eight years after his appearance in the Martial World, he took down the Demon Alliance (集魔盟), which had taken up about seven tenths of the martial world at the time, and showed clearly who had the true right to become the master of the Martial World.
But his legends ended there.
The day he took up his glass of alcohol in order to celebrate the destruction of the Demon Alliance, he was assaulted by the combined force of 3000 experts from the Righteous Side and the Evil Side. He fought with power that truly made him worthy of being called the strongest, but in the end, he had to run while leaking out tears of blood from his eyes.
The entire situation might have changed if he did not drink the alcohol poisoned by one hundred forty eight different poisons prepared by his direct subordinates, the Five Demon Phantoms (五大魔靈).
No, if the Three Great Heavens, the experts that were hailed to be the strongest before him, did not come out of their seclusion just to fight him, perhaps he could’ve survived to reign as the sovereign ruler in the Martial World.
But he was not given such luck.
Because of this, after being chased for a long time, he managed to reach the Lianhua peak (莲花峰) of Huangshan (黃山).
He had nowhere left to go, and didn’t have the strength to go anywhere else either.
It rained quite a bit that day.
The sky was wailing!
But just why was it doing this, and who was it expressing its sorrow for?
Was it because of the man who was standing at the Lianhua peak, who was standing with a might that threatened to split the entire mountain in half?
The man’s body was dotted with tens of various swords, knives, and spears.
It was almost strange to see that he was still standing.
But anyone would nod if they were to hear this man’s name, and say that it was obvious that the man was still standing.
Heavenly Demon Zhang Hu!
The strongest man in the Martial World, and perhaps even an expert who could stand as one of the five great experts in the history of the martial world!
It was said that his age was to be seventy three, and yet he looked not a day older than twenty.
This was only possible due to the fact that he went through rejuvenation (返老還童), an effect that made one’s age progress backwards.
This was also proof that he had surpassed the stage of the Peak Demon Stage (極魔), which was said to be the highest stage one could reach with a Demonic Technique, to reach the stage that only two people reached previously in the Martial World, the Transcendent Demon Stage (脫魔).
Three old men were standing in a 品 formation with him in the center.
They were the Three Great Heavens, the experts who had come out of seclusion in order to defeat Zhang Hu.
Behind the Three Great Heavens were five people dressed in black, who were hidden in the shadows with expectant eyes.
They were the Five Demon Phantoms, the directs subordinates and the brothers of Zhang Hu, and coincidentally also the the ones who betrayed Zhang Hu.
The Five Demon Phantoms and the Three Great Heavens quietly observed Zhang Hu.
The Heavenly Demon, Zhang Hu, kept stumbling, as if it was hard to even stand. But his two eyes emitted a light that made him resemble a starved tiger, and he constantly moved to find a chance to attack.
The Mad Buddha (狅佛) of the Three Great Heavens spoke in astonishment.
“Amazing! You truly are worthy of the name Heavenly Demon.”
The Heavenly Demon, Zhang Hu, smiled.
“And you are not worthy of your title as the Three Great Heavens. How are you even referring to yourselves as the heavens itself, when you are attacking me with such shameful methods?”
When Zhang Hu said this, the Confucian Scholar (儒公) nodded with a bitter face.
“You are correct. We won’t try to deny it.”
The Drunk Immortal (醉仙) of the Three Great Heavens took a sip from a gourd in his hand, and held it out to Zhang Hu.
Zhang Hu laughed.
“I’m sick of drinking, especially after drinking all the poisoned alcohol I could ever have wanted.”
Having said this, Zhang Hu glared at the Five Demon Phantoms. They stood unflinchingly under his gaze.
The Drunk Immortal put the gourd on his waist, and stepped forward.
“In that case, let’s end this. Dragging on such a depressing event would make this harder for everyone.”
The Mad Buddha nodded, and pulled up his sleeves.
“Yes, let’s. Just who would go to hell, if I do not?”
The Confucian Scholar let out an uncomfortable sigh, and took out a fan.
When the three experts began circulating their qi, the falling rain began to rise upwards.
The Heavenly Demon Zhang Hu glared at the Three Great Heavens, and bit his teeth.
The centre of Zhang Hu’s forehead split, and began to emit a red light. After this, a gang qi (罡氣) shaped like an arm sprouted out from his shoulders, and armpits.
This was an effect that came from practicing the Asura’s Heaven-Destroying Technique (阿修羅破天魔功), which was the technique that gave Zhang Hu the title of “Heavenly Demon”.
Because of this effect, the people of the nation did not see him as a human. But instead, they saw him as a three-eyed, six-armed demon, and feared him.
But due to his injury, the Demon Eye of Shura (修羅魔眼) did not take on its proper shape, and the legendary Six Heaven-Destroying Arms (破天六臂膀) that Zhang Hu possessed became blurry.
Even so, the Three Great Heavens were extremely nervous, and were unable to approach him.
Time flowed like water, and eventually, the Mad Buddha punched out with both his hands.
He was using the Hundred Steps God Fist (百步神拳), the strongest technique recorded in the Shaolin Temple’s Hundred and Eight Techniques (百八節藝).
At the same time, the Drunk Immortal traced a circle in the air with his hands.
Reverse Yin-Yang (反陰陽), First Foundational Change (易一元).
The power of destruction that comes when one breaks the harmony of Yin-Yang, and flips the truth of the Dao!
This was a demonstration of one of the Ten Forbidden Techniques (十段錦) of the Wudang Sect.
The Confucian Scholar opened his fan, and spun his body, as if he was dancing. Then, his body soon disappeared, and changed into a frighteningly powerful wind.
This was the 10,000 Li Traveling Spinning Wind (旋風萬里行), the technique that allowed the Confucian Scholar to climb to the top of the Martial World, despite having been a mere scholar at the Hanlin Academy.
The falling rain exploded outwards, and the Lianhua Peak shook violently.
When the sound faded, the rain quickly dispatched the cloud of dust formed from the Confucian Scholar’s technique.
At the centre of where the dust cloud had been, was the Heavenly Demon Zhang Hu, who had fallen down on the ground. The Three Great Heavens, who were looking down at him, could also be seen.
The Mad Buddha put his hands together in prayer.
The Drunk Immortal grabbed the gourd of alcohol from his waist, and spoke.
“This is the end, right?”
The Confucian Scholar nodded.
The Heavenly Demon, who was thought to be dead, opened his eyes.
At that moment, the Three Great Heavens became anxious, and became alert. But once they realized that Zhang Hu was becoming conscious one last time before death (回光返照), they calmed down.
Zhang Hu looked at the Three Great Heavens, and shouted.
“Hear me. I die like this today, but this is not the end! I will return one day, and will stand in front of you once again! I will dye the river with blood, and create mountains out of corpses! The living will envy death, and the dead will curse life, and only then will I have the qualifications to be truly be called the Heavenly Demon!”
After shouting this, Zhang Hu’s breathing stopped completely.
But the Three Great Heavens were unable to move, and just trembled instead.
It was a terrifying curse.
But the dead cannot come back to life.
No, this might not be true.
If it was Zhang Hu, if it was this demon, it could be possible that he would come back to life. This fear lingered in their mind like a ghost.
The Five Demon Phantoms, who were watching from afar, moved.
“You have worked hard.”
The Three Great Heavens turned with a frown. The Five Demon Phantoms were moving towards them.
The first of the Five Demon Phantoms, the Apocalyptic Phantom (壞劫魔靈), spoke.
“We will take care of the corpse.”
He then took out his sword.
“How will you take care of it?”
When the Confucian Scholar asked this, the Apocalyptic Phantom smiled a frightening smile.
“We’re planning on cutting him up, then feed him to the dogs.”
The Mad Buddha turned red in rage.
“Do you really have to do this?”
The Apocalyptic Phantom responded with this.
“That’s the only way we can stay calm. What if he really does come back? Hahaha, it’s better to make sure of everything. You can stay and watch if you want.”
The Drunk Immortal clicked his tongue.
“Let’s go. Let’s go have a drink or something. It’s better to drink rather than to stay with these vermin.”
The Mad Buddha and the Confucian Scholar nodded, and the Three Great Heavens disappeared, then soon turned into a dot in the Eastern Sky.
When the Three Great Heavens disappeared, the Five Demon Phantoms slowly walked to Zhang Hu.
At that moment.
The Heavenly Demon Zhang Hu, who was thought to be dead, lifted his head.
“Are they gone?”
The Five Demon Phantoms were not surprised by this at all. It was almost as if they were waiting for this.
The Apocalyptic Phantom put back his sword, and opened his mouth.
“Yup, they’re going out for a drink or something.”
Then, Zhang Hu’s eyes opened.
“They’re not coming back to check if I’m dead, are they?”
The second of the Five Demon Phantoms, the Blood Rain Phantom (血雨魔靈), complained in response.
“Didn’t you hear what I said before? We can just dice up some pig and then tell them it’s you.”
Only then did Zhang Hu stand back up.
“Ugghhhhh. Those old men, they seriously pack a punch. I thought I was going to actually die.”
The third of the Five Demon Phantoms, the Night Phantom (月夜魔靈), crossed his arms, then shouted out in annoyance.
“So why didn’t you just pretend to die quietly?! What the hell is up with all of this, seriously!”
Zhang Hu glanced at him, and spoke as if he was making up some kind of an excuse.
“What do you think? I can live quietly in peace, and you can live well by splitting my power. I thought we agreed to do this beforehand.”
The fourth of the Five Demon Phantoms, the Heaven-killing Phantom (天殺魔靈), spoke.
“I never agreed to this.”
The fifth, the Cruel Phantom (殘惡魔靈), raised his hand.
“Me neither. Also, what was up with your last words? I had a hard time trying not to laugh.”
Zhang Hu grinned.
“Hey, I can’t just die like that. I wouldn’t be the Heavenly Demon if I did. I have to leave a fancy curse or something before death, you know? So that people would go, ‘Whoa! The Heavenly Demon really is terrifying.’ Right?”
The Night Phantom spoke with an annoyed tone.
“Yeah, no. Are you seriously going to live silently from now? You didn’t leave those last words so that you can come out later and say that you revived or something?”
“No, you idiot. You’re way too suspicious of everything, dear god.”
The Apocalyptic Phantom opened his mouth.
“Big brother, please, rethink this. This is our world. You can change the entire nation however you like.”
“There’s no meaning in doing all that. You should try becoming a Transcendent Demon as well, you’d be able to understand what I’m feeling.”
The Night Demon complained out loud.
“Fucking hell, you think I’m you or something?”
Zhang Hu, pretending not to have heard what the Night Demon said, stood up, and began to take out all the weapons stuck on his body one by one.
“Kya, they really stuck a variety of stuff on me, didn’t they. Is this that famous Dragon Cry Sword (龍鳴檢)? And this must be that Lightning Spear (霹靂槍). Were they trying to turn me into a hedgehog or what?”
Zhang Hu took out the weapons on his body, and presented them to the Five Demon Phantoms.
“You want it?”
The Night Phantom let out a snort.
“No, just go trade it for some shaved ice or something.”
Zhang Hu grinned.
“You really go all out with your words, don’t you.”
The Apocalyptic Demon opened his mouth.
“Can’t you rethink this?”
Zhang Hu shook his head.
“I’m already seventy-three. I have attained the Shura’s Demonic Treasure (修羅魔寶) at the age of thirty-eight, while searching for a way to destroy the Demon Alliance. Since then, we have come out into the martial world eight years ago, with me mastering the Asura’s Heaven-Destroying Technique, and you five mastering the Five Wheels Demon Technique (五輪魔功). We have accomplished our mission just ten days ago. And what comes after that? Nothing. This was my entire life. Isn’t that just boring? I want to live a fulfilled life with the little amount of time I have left.”
The Night Phantom punched his chest, as if trying to show his frustration.
“That’s why I’m telling you to conquer the world and live like a king! You can become an actual king if you want to, if you’re not satisfied with that!”
“It’s fine. I’ll be going now.”
Zhang Hu waved his hand, and walked away.
The Blood Rain Demon and the Night Demon just sighed in frustration, and the Cruel Phantom and the Heaven-killing Phantom just looked up at the sky.
It was raining quite hard.
Zhang Hu couldn’t restrain his laughter as he descended down the Lianhua Peak.
He finally escaped the circle of murder and revenge.
Wrinkles began to appear on his young face. This was because he was sending out his innate qi (先天眞氣) into the air.
He didn’t need martial arts now.
He was sick of it.
If he were to go back to the past where he first obtained the Shura’s Demonic Treasure, he would’ve thrown it away immediately.
While it was a precious treasure that allowed him to take revenge on the Demonic Alliance, which had taken away the lives of his family, but it also made him perform evil acts that were far worse than the actions of the Demonic Alliance itself.
Only when he became a Transcendent Demon was he able to understand what he did, and become regretful.
He had decided to throw away his chains of regret, but he still decided to live the rest of his life like a sinner.
‘I’m going to live a proper life.’
He would live like a proper human.
He was thinking of buying a cow and a carriage along the way. If he started farming now, he should be able to harvest food by next year.
He would give out everything he produced, leaving just enough for him to survive.
He would sit in his room, spending the winter watching the snowfall, and farm again when the spring came……..
Just thinking about it made him laugh in glee.
The rain stopped, and the sun began to shine.
Zhang Hu looked up at the sky.
A five-colored light shined from the other side of the sky towards him.
It was like a soft hand caressing him.
Telling him that it was all fine now.
Telling him that he should leave now.
Telling him to come be part of the truth of the world itself.
Droplets of tears began to roll down from Zhang Hu’s cheeks.
This was not death.
The truth itself was coming to invite him to its stead.
‘Hahaha, to think I’d experience Ascension (羽化登仙).’
A rustling sound came from Zhang Hu’s body, and his body began to crumble away into sand.
A five-colored light began to replace his place instead.
Now, he would stay in truth, in a place where there was no happiness, no sadness, no joy nor fear.
Right then, Zhang Hu’s heart became dyed black.
Zhang Hu shouted this out loudly.
“No, not yet! I haven’t lived a fulfilled life yet!”
He raised his hands to the sky, and spoke in a begging tone.
“Please, give me a bit more time! Just a little bit more!”
The five-colored light began to fade.
He could hear a whisper.
Would it be alright.
This would probably be his first and last chance of becoming part of the truth.
Zhang Hu whispered quietly with a smile.
“I want to live. Like a person.”
Zhang Hu’s body crumbled away completely. In its place was a blackish-red marble.
The five-colored light wrapped itself around the marble, and began to move. It passed mountains and gorges, and passed rivers and plains.
It soon stopped on top of a small house, put down the marble inside it, and disappeared.
A cold winter passed, and summer arrived. At that time, the couple living in the house had a child.
The couple became delighted, and named the child Zhang Hu. When someone asked them why they named the child like this, they told the person that the baby told them to do so.
While the couple got laughed at for saying this, the couple’s faces were dead serious.
And sixteen years passed since then like flowing water.