Xiacang Anxi continued to develop over the centuries, converting forests and mountain paths into new roads, except for one area that was immutable. Said area remained proof that Xiacang Anxi was once a primitive land at least half a millennium ago. There wasnt a building that wasnt damaged and rotten without creatures dropping by. There was a palace caked in dust to the point it wasnt recognisable. In reality, the buildings were complete twenty years ago.
Nieyao was replete with snakes, not just any snake but lethally poisonous ones, a white python that could crush parts of a forest with its sheer size, tigers, leopards and wolves craving fresh flesh, as well as venomous insects. All the skeletons and fragments of once complete body parts strewn across the city were a by-product of the fighting between its unfriendly residents. Whether it was classified a cemetery or den for fiends, neither would be wrong.
Sitting on his seat constructed from beast bones and cushioned with tiger fur, Nanjiangs best shaman physician heaved a heavy breath. “Your qi meridians have been severed, and the true qi in your dantian has been expunged. The qi residue inside you prohibits any external force from entering your body. It is a miracle you can talk and walk.”
The man reclining in his seat had an appearance more frail and aged than his physician. “… Just give me the conclusion.”
“If only your meridians were severed, then your internal discipline was erased. This old one could have found a way to expel the energy within you. Unfortunately, the method used to sever your meridians…”
Ingenious and merciless were the words that the physician never enunciated. While the method wasnt lethal or peculiar, every pathway for true qi to travel through had been split by the inches. The physician already tried ten approaches. If it wasnt for Gewu glaring at him, the physician wouldve walked off already because he had never come across such a case in the decades he had been practicing.
“Is there… nothing that can be done”
“This old ones love for treating challenging conditions led to his obsession, which led to Central Plainers calling him Freak Physician. If a case is beyond him, he will be upfront about it. This old one is the sixth, if not fifth, best doctor. Beijiangs Hopeless Life only needs one glance to diagnose. Mount Lus Medicine Master Valleys master is considered peerless with medicine. There is an odd imperial physician in the Central Plain revered for his medical skills. This old one admires all of them. Howbeit, the only hope you have is find the one they call Surgical Sage. Unfortunately, he is constantly on the move. This old one does not know where he currently is. He is afraid you cannot count on meeting him.”
“In that case… I wont count on it.” Gewu sat up, seemingly having shaken off his exhaustion. Even though his remaining lifespan was now an unknown number to even him, he had in ambiguous upward curve on his lips.
Gewu meandered through Nieyao, indifferent to the putrid stench. He climbed the stacks of concrete that was once the citys wall, each step as heavy as though it was the last step in his life.
I heard Mount Wanyu has contacted branches of Shaman Faith to begin collaboration - nice. Theyre probably conducting research on the half of the beast army that Le Kuangnu forfeited to them - nice. Those four states that teamed up with him have strengthened their defences and exiled my spies - nice. Baimu has also winnowed all the pieces I spent years setting up - nice.
Gewu nearly laughed hysterically. Decades of work, yet there was practically nothing remaining now that he was on the cusp of death - unless his ever-growing hatred for the world and Ming Feizhen qualified as possessions.
The beasts assembled at the wall Gewu stood on comparably to vassals convening before their monarch.
The reason Le Kuangnu used Nieyao as his beast-breeding ground was because not a single state dared to send scouts to the city, affording Le Kuangnu secrecy. To be precise, Sky Palace was the entity that supplied them with the location in addition to the dragon eggs. While Gewu had one foot in the grave, he was still the ruler of Nieyao.
“Baidizi, Chichen, Youling Shuyu… and Wazi” - Gewu made eye contact with Wazi, the jiao, for longer than any of the other four dragons because a jiao was the closest equivalent to a dragon - “I know it has been tough for you four all these years…”
Dozens of troops in black armour dragged roughly a hundred villagers to the edge and yanked them off the walls. The troops turned a deaf ear to the cries and pleas of the villagers. For whatever reason, the horde of beasts didnt attack them.
“Enjoy the feast.”
In a matter of moments, the only sound left below the walls was chomping sounds. Once the dragons were done, they stared up at the soldiers, apparently still hungry.
“Keep feeding them.”
The soldiers threw another batch of innocent people down the wall, while Gewu laughed uncontrollably and hysterically.
Ming Feizhens decision to let the vengeful man go was a mistake - a big one.
A black field emerged from the other side of the wall. Actually, they were just soldiers in the same black gear as the soldiers who threw the villagers into the pit of dragons. It was a well-kept secret that, aside from a beast army, there were ten thousand soldiers clad in black armour hiding in Nieyao. The moment the Central Plains group opened the city doors, they would discover that their opponents werent just calamitous beasts.
“I… I cant wait for you people to arrive, ahahaha!”
Explanation of how Gewus skills were erased (and the mechanic in wuxia fiction in general) - For fellow psychologists, and the science types, you can think of it the same as sabotaged neural pathways that ruin motor control. The therapy to retrain those pathways can take a while, and they speak of this rehab as a process that takes decades in wuxia. If that hardly means much to you, below is a more detailed explanation without needing to understand the science.
You may recall talk of qi moulding method. To jog your memory, Shen Yiren was used to discuss this. When Ming Feizhen transferred his true qi over to her, she felt qi being moulded in a foreign way to her. In essence, whenever someone learns a discipline, they learn to mould qi in a specific way. The building of this pathway is like carving a pattern in concrete with a rock. If you go outside and carve along the predetermined pattern twice a day, its like moulding qi along that pathway twice a day. Consider that route the equivalent of the route qi travels along.
Now, if you were to pour water onto a certain spot of your carving, the water will flow along the route. However, when youre only starting out, the route in the concrete is really shallow, so not much water can travel along it, right You might even need to use a tool to assist so that it doesnt spill out. Over time and after endless repetitions of carving, youve carved a route deep enough for a higher volume of water to travel along. In internal disciplines linguistics, its the same as saying that you can now transport more qi along the route youve been circulating it, and its more automatic. To have your martial arts erased - as what happened to Gewu - is the same as having that carving sanded down. Therefore, you can no longer transport qi along that route. Your body no longer knows how to transport qi. In order for you to regain the skills you lost, youre going to have to restart from zero.
In addition, theres also the possibility of damage to internal structures (in some scenarios of these stories) that prevent the practitioner from ever being able to even do it again. Therefore, they have become a “cripple”.-