Editor: Xu Xian
Chapter 075 Ugly Bird
It was a demon that didn’t exist in Painting of the Hells, a monster that eluded nightmares of the living.
It was an incomparably large bird with a head that had shrunken into its shoulders. From the chest up it had speckled, wrinkly skin and was naked of feathers except for the five long, scarlet feathers on the crown of it's head. They were like an ornament adorning a general's helmet. It's metallic grey beak resembled two knives crossing each other and had a pattern akin to rust on its surface.
Its eyes were blood red, like burning rubies.
The giant bird barely had any feathers, the ones it did have seemingly messily glued on and giving it a cheerful and confident drenched chicken look. In comparison, its wings had thick feathers that stood upright like a row of long swords. 1
The chick had grown up, but other than its incredibly big body, it didn’t look like it's unwaveringly upright parents at all. It was more like an ugly, mad old man with ferocious eyes.
It spread its wings, standing at the edge of the cliff like a wall. The shadow of its body almost completely covered the three people.
It was hungry, it had been many days since food last fell from the sky. It finally smelled the familiar scent, so desperately grabbed onto the trees and rocks on the cliff and climbed up – it still couldn’t fly.
The three were so astonished they were speechless, Gu Shenwei could never have imagined that what he'd been feeding killer disciples corpses to was such a monster.
The red-crowned roc ignored the three living people. It paused for awhile at the cliff edge then ran to the giant boulder within two steps. The corpse carried by Gu Shenwei had been dropped there. For its first two bites, it pecked off the eyeballs, which were its favorite. Its third peck pierced the chest and it swallowed the heart. In just a moment of time, the red-crowned roc had eaten up almost half of the corpse.
The three living people nearby were motionless, as if they were paralyzed by a wicked spell.
Shangguan Yuxing was the closest one to the red-crowned roc, his legs softened from fear once the bird pecked off the corpse’s eyeballs. He was also disgusted at the same time. He couldn’t bear it anymore, he kneeled onto the ground and vomited, then raised his head to say with a tremble, “What the heck is this? Clouded Leopard, go kill it now.”
“Don’t bother it,” whispered Gu Shenwei to warn him.
He had seen how those two golden rocs killed those experts of Golden Roc Castle, though the red-crowned roc was still a middle-sized chick, it didn't seem too inferior to it's parents.
Gu Shenwei’s dissuasion had no effect. Clouded Leopard seemed ashamed and annoyed about himself panicking. In order to regain his face, carrying his narrow sabre, he dashed forward two steps, jumped high and slashed at the red-crowned roc’s neck.
Gu Shenwei jumped to block Clouded Leopard’s sabre. He wanted to protect the ugly roc as well as prevent Clouded Leopard from dying in vain.
The red-crowned roc was eating happily, but it was a born killer. The man’s attack just reached its back before it suddenly stood and turned around to face its enemy. Its spreading wings caused a gust of wind that blew Shangguan Yuxing to the ground, its beak pecked at the audacious offender lightning fast.
Clouded Leopard threw away his sabre and fell from the air. He got back up as soon as his body touched the ground, he flailed wildly, his hands clutching at his eyes and his mouth opened to utter a terrible ho ho sound. Under the extreme pain, he lost his footing and was tripped by the iron chain at the cliff edge. He fell into the abyss.
He was a mute.
Gu Shenwei landed in time and retreated to the wall, unsure if the chick still remembered him.
Shangguan Yuxing seemed to have been scared to be stiff. On hands and feet, he tremblingly crawled towards the exit and almost did not notice Clouded Leopard's end.
Tasting how delicious living people's eyeballs were too, the red-crowned roc’s appetite was greatly stimulated. It jumped up more than 3 meters high and landed precisely onto the cowardly man’s body, its claws pierced into his skin and its sharp beak pecked twice in quick succession. Shangguan Yuxing didn’t utter a single sound, not because he could bear the pain, but because he had already been scared to death when the bird jumped into the air.
Only one man left. The red-crowned roc turned around and moved step by step towards the cornered Gu Shenwei, the long feathers on its wings intimidatingly bristled.
Gu Shenwei could yell for help and bring the killers at east castle to besiege this flightless, big bird. However, he didn’t open his mouth, expecting it to recognize him instead. He dropped his narrow sabre and slowly walked towards it.
The red-crowned roc was a bit puzzled, it didn’t recognise this man’s appearance, but it smelled something familiar, a smell that had been engraved in its mind since it broke out of its shell, a smell that had lingered on every piece of food that fell from sky.
It stopped. Slowly putting away its wings and tilting its head, it sized up the weird creature, like the first time they met at the bird’s nest.
Gu Shenwei stuck out his hand and touched the sparse feathers at its chest. The red-crowned roc cautiously pulled back its body a bit, its wings spreading slightly. But the man’s touch had recalled more of its memories, it dropped its guard and released a sound like a man’s burp.
Thrilled tears filled Gu Shenwei’s eyes, as if he had found one of his family members, he spread his arms and held the red-crowned roc tightly.
The red-crowned roc wasn’t used to this form of expression, it appeared slightly reluctant at first, then it helplessly accepted this man. It even patted him with its wings and pecked him on the shoulder.
Feeling the pain in his shoulder, Gu Shenwei let go of the bird, and smiled again. “You’re still so ugly, when will you be as mighty as your parents?”
The red-crowned roc shook its head, several feathers on its head swayed with it.
Gu Shenwei suddenly awakened, the red-crowned roc was in a very dangerous situation. Once it was exposed, Unique King would catch it no matter what, he might even send someone to go underneath the cliff.
“Go, Go now.” Gu Shenwei pushed the red-crowned roc, urging it anxiously.
The big bird obviously couldn’t understand the man’s behavior; it was still immersed in the joy of their reunion and its stomach was not full yet, it didn’t want to leave now.
“You have to learn how to fly, go find food at the bottom, don't come up again, ever.”
Gu Shenwei pushed the red-crowned roc to the edge of the cliff and helped it spread the wings, “Go, the wind will carry you, you will fly, think about your parents, go fly, do not eat the dead again, go peck the fresh eyeballs of wild wolves, that's your favourite food, stay away from mankind, do not get close to the castle, spread your wings, fly.”
Not fully understanding what he said, the red-crowned roc still wanted to walk around the familiar human being and eat the food it hadn’t finished.
Gu Shenwei used all his strength and pushed. Although the red-crowned roc was born ugly, the ugliest thing in the world was the castle behind him. He would never let the only family he cared about get hurt again.
The red-crown fell, rustling the rocks on the cliff upon impact.
Gu Shenwei kneeled onto the ground and listened anxiously, praying in his heart to the mysterious ‘heaven’s will’. Let the roc not be flightless and let the noise not attract killers from the castle.
After a seemingly endlessly long wait, a gust of wind blew against Gu Shenwei’s face, he couldn’t even kneel stably. Then, a large blanket of ‘dark clouds’ tore into the sky, dispersing the clouds. The ‘dark clouds’ flew a circle around the human, then lurched and fell, disappearing without a trace.
Gu Shenwei sat on the ground, let out a long breath, then realized he himself was also in a dangerous situation. A highly skilled killer's disciple fell off the cliff and died, and the corpse of one of Shangguan family’s scion’s lay near the cliff edge, how could he explain everything on the premise of protecting the chick?
The priority was to eliminate all traces of the corpses. Deciding to throw him off the cliff, Gu Shenwei stood up and grabbed Shangguan Yuxing's legs.
“Do you need help?”
Gu Shenwei quickly raised his head, seeing the expressionless Lotus.
There were two sabres nearby but both were out of his reach, Gu Shenwei momentarily froze.
“Take off his clothes.”
Gu Shenwei didn’t understand what Lotus meant, he didn’t even know if she was a friend or foe. This taciturn girl was always deeply secretive.
“Everybody will suspect you if you simply throw him like this, time is running out, take off his clothes.”
It seemed that Lotus indeed wanted to help, Gu Shenwei didn’t have time to dwell on this, he quickly peeled off Shangguan Yuxing’s clothes.
“Do not let the blood get on your body, take off another corpse’s clothes.”
Lotus turned around and continued giving orders, as if she was a lord talking to a servant.
Gu Shenwei already understood her intentions, so he immediately started taking off the clothes of the corpse he had carried here. The corpse's top was too stained with blood, so he could only take his pants off.
Gu Shenwei bustled about. First, he dropped the two naked corpses off the cliff, he folded their clothes and placed them underneath the giant boulder. He then found the broom kept there and tried his best to clean the ground. For the bloodstains he couldn’t remove, he covered them in some dust to make them appear dark and old.
The disciples’ clothes were all the same and Shangguan Yuxing’s small accessories could prove his identity.
After a bit of arrangement, the scene looked like two men accidentally fell off the cliff while having sex. As for how many people could be fooled, it depended on how much Shangguan Yuxing was valued at the castle. If Golden Roc Castle really wanted to find out the truth, this little trick wouldn’t hold out for too long.
Even so, Gu Shenwei was very grateful for Lotus’s help, at least it had bought him some time.
Lotus had had her back to Gu Shenwei as he faked the scene, now she turned around. “Ask your Master to help when you go back, Lian Huo Yuan will not care about these two people that much.”
Gu Shenwei wanted to say ‘thank you’ but felt something was not right, “Are you following me too?”
Lotus said ‘two people’, which definitely didn’t include the corpse Servant Huan carried here. Since she knew Clouded Leopard had fallen off the cliff, she had naturally been watching in secret for a long time so had probably already discovered the red-crowned roc.
“I have a test today, now everyone follows your example and drops off corpses by themselves at Afterlife Cliff.”
Lotus’s explanation seemed to be unassailable. Afterlife Cliff was close to the Giant Boulder Cliff, the chick had caused a big commotion, it was normal to come and check after hearing it, but…. Gu Shenwei didn’t know why he took precautions against her. The two of them held no grudges, they were once pawns controlled by Xue Niang, now they faced the same fate of dying in three years because of Qi deviation, they should trust each other.
“Thank you.” Gu Shenwei finally said those two words.
Expressionless, Lotus was indifferent to it. Gu Shenwei couldn’t help but think again that Lotus’s expression was more and more like the late Xue Niang. If she could remove this mask, she would be a rare beauty.
“It’s not necessary to thank me, but, when do you plan on telling me you have found the cure to Qi deviation?”
Lotus’s voice was still monotonous, Gu Shenwei was surprised and puzzled.Translator's note: My editor Xu Xian is confused about what a drenched chicken looks like, so I have uploaded a picture here. A drenched chicken is usually used to describe someone who is completely soaked through or has a great loss in fame or money. ↩