Look What I Found (°△°lll) ︴
“Demon Star”, was a phrase synonymous with “Calamity”.
There were nine drawings – or nine scenes – on the walls that made up “Calamity” and not much text. To speak more precisely, there were few Chinese characters to glean much from the artwork. At the top of each drawing, there were several lines of text that I could only compare to runes that spirits would use or something. The only way I could tell that the texts had actual meaning was the section dead centre which connected to the different big text in the middle – Supreme Demon Destroys the World Mural.
The only other line of legible text for me was the text in the top left of the first drawing, which was where I spotted “Calamity”. The full section read, “Chaos descends upon mankind and threatens to bring ruin. It all starts with Calamity.”
It was clear that the same person wrote the two sections of comprehensible text based on their handwriting. I assumed the “Supreme Demon Destroys the World Mural” section was something that somebody from a later generation translated as the difference in when the murals and text were added was evident.
I folded my arms and ruminated on the “Calamity” part. I had heard it mentioned more recently as well as long ago, and I had heard it from different people. Jiang Chen had mentioned he was still searching for it. Grandmaster mentioned it once, and I believed it was a big deal because he had his brows furrowed when he brought it up, although he usually had his brows together due to his poor eye sight. Anyhow, I believed that frown was different to his usual frown. Shifu didn’t seem to give a toss when he mentioned it, so I didn’t care about it, either. I vaguely remembered Ximen Chuideng mentioning the word had something to do with an old legend. The word left a big impression on Ximen Chuideng because he didn’t realise the legend was also told in the Central Plain. Unfortunately, he wasn’t privy to the details.
While I didn’t know much about what the world implied, thanks to my wisdom, I was able to draw an inference based on the reactions from various people. I believed Calamity referred to an individual, not a star.
… Who just called me stupid?! I can hear you!
I wasn’t about to believe that so many old folks qualified to call themselves stalwarts of the martial world just happened to be astronomy hobbyists. If you told me they got together to play mah-jong, I’d believe you. If you told me that were counting stars and praising the night scenery together, I wouldn’t be able to imagine it, nor would I dare to.
If this individual in question wasn’t important, Jiang Chen wouldn’t have spent decades searching for them and still be searching. From this alone, we knew two things. Firstly, the individual was incredibly important. Secondly, they were tough to find. I was dead sure about the second point since even Grandmaster couldn’t find the individual with his wealth of knowledge.
Jiang Chen suspected my shifu and Shang Bieshi of being Calamity, but it was later proven that neither of them were Calamity. Shifu and Shang Bieshi didn’t have any connection. From what I knew, Shang Bieshi was the scion of some mysterious imperial family or military family of an erstwhile dynasty. My shifu was a bum from a fishing village. Seeing as Jiang Chen considered them to be Calamity, it was probably safe to assume that Calamity’s identity didn’t have anything to do with lineage. They couldn’t have been someone related to martial arts competence, either, since Shang Bieshi wasn’t able to fight before Jiang Chen took him in, and my shifu only learnt martial arts later in life. The only common denominator between Shang Bieshi and my shifu – as much as I hated to admit it – was that they were both blessed with woman-killer appearances. But how did looking ugly or cool have anything to do with a calamity destroying the world?
The young elites of Valley of Villains were called “calamities”, too.
I better be careful from now on just to be safe.
Jiang Chen’s so-called big secrets are these murals?
I wouldn’t be surprised if the murals were drawn over a century ago given Jiang Chen’s age, but I didn’t have any reliable estimation as to when they were drawn.
Instead of drawing the murals with the intention of combining hues into a pleasing colour combination or black and white aesthetics, the artist boldly filled in all of the space without any regard for aesthetics or order. That disorder and rawness made the art feel more chaotic and creepy. The demons had long eyes and sinister grins that looked extra freaky with the demented trails of blood. This art style was completely unlike anything I knew of in the current era. Even if you had been staring at it for a while, which was tough to do, it didn’t feel any less freaky. Calming colours were rarely used in the murals, while red, dark purple and dark blue occupied most of the space. The ubiquitous clash of colours created the impression of constant chaos. The grinning demons looked ready to pounce at any onlooker who disapproved of their behaviour.
I had to meticulously study the murals to realise that the murals had actually been moved to these walls from somewhere else. Besides the way it was awkwardly attached to the unfitting wall, the splits around were also unnatural. Judging from the colouring job at the bottom looking undone, the section underneath must’ve been torn off, or they failed to move it over.
Assuming this cavern was the tomb of the previous dynasty, then this place was constructed around decades to a century ago. This stone room was completed before that, but only around the last century mark. This mural was brought over from somewhere else, meaning that the mural was possibly even older than this room. However… the colouring job looked unreasonably new no matter if you argued I was in a dark room or if you shone a bright light on it. It was almost as if the mural was some ancient blood-sucking demon.
As I stood there examining the mural, it genuinely felt as though I was standing there among a group of demons. It was impossible to feel any peace for as long as you stood in the room. The art style, or maybe it was the colour scheme, instilled fear.
Just who would draw this?