Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 5 Book of Farewell – Chapter 9 Qing Yu (1)
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 9 Qing Yu (1)
——Darkness engulfed the earth.
——People lived in pain and fear, and death threatened all of us. But if I can sacrifice myself in exchange for the peace of this world, why wouldn’t I?
This was a great legend that happened long long ago.
In a mountain area surrounded by the sea on three sides, the waves crashed violently against the base of the crumbling cliffs year after year, sharpening the rocky shoreline. And within the mountains, there was a small plain, surrounded by the mountains as if they were mothers watching over their children. Over time, on that small plain, humans prospered and established a small country. They named it Qingqiu.
It was a small country, but life was peaceful and natural resources were abundant. There were well-tended fields with straight paths crossing among them. There was no dispute and no strife. Occasionally, people would catch some thieves and robbers, but those incidents wouldn’t have lasting consequences, and not long after, the usual peacefulness would settle again in the country.
However, one day, bad luck befell this small country.
The fertile land which would always bring great harvests suddenly lost its ability to cultivate anything, and the rain stopped coming even during the rainy season. The people of Qingqiu suddenly felt the crisis, but they did not understand the reasons and they became anxious.
Until one day, a hunter who went hunting in the mountains found a gigantic white fox with sharp fangs and claws. He was so scared that he quickly ran back to the village to tell everyone about it.
As a result, everyone knew the existence of the nine-tailed fox, and as one could expect, they believed the bad weather and the barren farmlands were its doing.
Our suffering must be because of that evil beast, it wants us all to die horrible deaths!
Therefore, the villagers gathered together, grabbed weapons and marched to kill the monster.
The nine-tailed fox was enraged by their actions.
Qingqiu went to war against the nine-tailed fox. This matter troubled the king every day. He sent all his armies into the mountains and vowed to defeat the demon fox in order to bring back peace to the country of Qingqiu. People in this country were convinced that darkness happened from time to time, but the light of peace would surely come one day.
However, as a small agricultural country, Qingqiu had neither war experience nor decent weapons. The weapons they used to fight with the nine-tailed fox were only sharp enough to kill a mountain tiger, and for that to happen they had to be wielded by a strong person.
This peaceful small country was threatened by the darkness of death.
Every day people died. Males were forced to join the crusade, but they never returned. Women shed tears all day at home to mourn their fathers and sons. Soon after, every able-bodied man died, and their children were forced to join the army; they were forced to hold spears to attack the nine-tailed fox.
However, although the people of Qingqiu had exhausted their strength, they could not hurt that abominable demon fox.
People died day by day, and the cries became louder and louder.
Even the king was desperate. He sat on the throne, looking at the distant mountains and sighing every day; it seemed that he had given up.
They seemed doomed to lose this war. However, at that moment, a woman proposed a new plan.
“Father, let me go.”
The woman who spoke had a face that was as refined as a piece of art; she was wearing a veil, and her long hair flowed over her shoulders like a waterfall.
She was the most beautiful woman in the whole country; she was the only daughter of the king, Qing Yu.
Her proposal was quickly vetoed by the king.
“Absolutely not! There are still many people who can fight, we have not lost yet!” The king insisted. “Even if we were to send you to the battlefield, what would you be able to do beside needlessly putting yourself in danger?”
However, Qing Yu shook her head.
“No, no. You misunderstand. I don’t want to go to the battlefield, but I have a plan.”
Princess Qing Yu told the king her plan. It turned out that the princess had observed the fox for a long time. She noticed a strange thing, that is, the nine-tailed fox appeared to have a strange attachment to beautiful things.
If the fox caught a middle-aged man or woman, he would immediately eat them. But if he caught a cute child or a teenage girl, he would take them back to its den.
Although they may die eventually, the fox would not immediately eat them.
Princess Qing Yu believed that just like human beings, the nine-tailed fox loved and longed for beautiful things.
“I have decided to sacrifice myself,” Qing Yu said calmly. “During the sacrifice ritual, father needs to arrange the band to play music, and I will wear the most beautiful gown in the world along with the most exquisite of makeup. The demon fox will take me away and let the others go. And then father, you can use that opportunity and let Yingchen cooperate with me to cast a spell which will seal the evil beast.”
A young man, who stood behind Princess Qing Yu, looked at her. The man was a servant, named Yingchen. He looked handsome from every angle.
Of course, the king resolutely rejected the proposal at the beginning. He had no children, and his wife died at an early age. The only child he had was Qing Yu, who was called the ‘devil princess’ by the people.
However, as time went by, the country of Qingqiu was almost destroyed, and the few men left were unable to withstand the attack of the nine-tailed fox. If it continued, then the nine-tailed fox would soon enough eat the entire population of Qingqiu.
At that time, everyone, no matter if was the king or the princess, would be devoured by the darkness.
In desperation, the king ordered the sacrifice of princess Qing Yu.
On the day of the sacrifice, the king sent the band to stand at the side of the princess as she instructed. They played the drums and sang sad songs. White petals, like winter snowflakes, flew in the air, dyeing everything in pure white.
The witches wore wreaths on their heads and danced barefoot around the altar. Golden bells rang and the men dressed in white clothes began to sing. Their voices were gruff and drawn-out.
“There is a mountain in the North on which a fox lives; there is a country named Qingqiu and its people suffer!
There is a fox on the mountain and humans are what the fox eats; separates families and scatters human bones on the roadsides!
Now the king sacrifices his daughter as an offering; we pray for your forgiveness! ”
What a sad song.
The gruff singing attracted the demon fox’s attention. There was dead silence before the gigantic nine-tailed fox appeared in front of everyone.
It was the incarnation of terror itself. Its sharp teeth could easily tear up the beams of the palace, and its claws could easily penetrate everyone’s chest. Its huge figure blocked the sunlight, and it roared at the people who were too scared to move.
People, including the band and many members of noble families, screamed in terror and instinctively ran away.
“Don’t move! Stay in place!” The king shouted, “Those who defy my order will be killed on sight!”
Even so, there were still a few people who ran away in desperation, and those who stayed were slowly moving backward with their legs shaking; some even peed their pants.
A deadly silence set in.
Qing Yu sat on the altar; she bit her lip and lowered her head. She was wearing an exquisite gown and a feather crest, like a beautiful piece of art; she successfully attracted the fox’s attention.
Those huge bloody beast pupils stared at her. Qing Yu slowly raised her head.
Surprising, she saw some curiosity in that evil beast’s eyes.
That fox… is it interested in me? As Qing Yu thought, she couldn’t help but reveal a smile.
The smile of the princess was just like a precious flower which blossomed in spring. The demon fox stared at her in surprise.
However, at this moment, someone’s scream broke the silence.
“Attack! Attack! ”
Qing Yu turned her head around in horror, and she found that it was the servant Yingchen, who bore a secret love for her. The servant’s lips were shaking, apparently he was frightened by what had happened, and he desperately issued an attack command.
“Wait! No!” Qing Yu screamed, but it was too late.
Like Yingchen, many soldiers were terrified. When they heard the order, they hastily released the iron arrows in their hands, and some threw spears at the nine-tailed fox.
This time, the fox was attacked by surprise. The arrows shot into his skin, and the spears pierced his flesh, and blood splashed out.
The fox groaned in pain and was enraged.
“Humans! You have to pay for your hypocrisy! ” The roar of the nine-tailed fox echoed in the air. This was the first time people heard this monster speak human words, but those words announced their death.
“No, don’t! Stop! !” Qing Yu shouted desperately, but her voice was drowned out by the groaning and screaming, and no one could hear it.
The nine-tailed fox quickly smashed the altar and killed everyone present. Qing Yu watched the fox kill the guards of the palace, the warriors of the crusade, and her own father.
The humans were so weak compared to this mighty monster, they were like ants crushed to death by an elephant. No matter how they struggled and how they fought back, they could not escape their deadly fate.
Not long after, the place was soaked in blood. Everything was dyed red, and the smell of blood filled the air, making her feel nauseous.
The pure white gown prepared specially for the sacrifice ritual was stained with the splashed blood.
Qing Yu trembled; she could not cry. All she could do was powerlessly watch those events happen in front of her. Her mind was blank.
The threat of death made her desire to survive grow stronger.
The fox finally turned to her. She subconsciously closed her eyes, but she found that its claws did not pierce her chest. Instead, it held her up and took her away.