The Line between a Devil and an Angel

This story follows the adventures of a boy, Chen Long, as he grows up in a alternate reality world that mirrors Earth but is filled with monstrous beasts, demons, undead, saints and immortals. In his youth, he is pure and relatively innocent, but as he and the community he cared about is continuously exposed to dangers, he finds his innocence lost, and his personality changed.

Why does immortals stop caring about their family and love ones and cut off all ties to the secular world? At what point did he become a man who killed another without regards to their lives?  At what point does a good man looked into the mirror and see himself as a demon? Can a man who walked the path of a demon redeem himself or is his soul lost forever?  It seems if heaven has a heart, it will also be tired.

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Chapter 1: A Thirst for Learning. (Part A)

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At the foot of a mountain range is a small valley, with a river flowing through it. Near the valley is a massive lush forest, and roars of various beasts will echo throughout the valley from time to time. It is already spring, but there still remains trace of snow on the mountain range, and on the roads.

In the intersection of the mountains, the river and the edge of the forest is a small village, consisting of about 40 wooden huts, and surrounded by a wall of timber. The village is named Thames Valley Village.

Thames Valley Village is pretty self sufficient – food are fished from the river, meat are hunted from the forest, and occasional fruits are abundant in the forest. Wood for making huts are all around and there are even metal ores from the mountains. The natives of Thames Valley Village have little contact with the outside world, other than once a year, where the hunters will travel to GuangZhou City to trade for other needed products or materials. As a result, there is little contact with the outside world.

A loud thud reverberated within the village near the hunter’s lodge, as an arrow embedded itself in the middle of an archery target.

The hunter’s lodge is located at the edge of the village, near the forest. This place, like all others, is made up of of a wooden hut. At the entrance to the hut is a sign board, but it has no words on it. Instead, a picture of a bow with a quiver of arrows is engraved on the sign board. The hut itself consists of a bowyer and fletcher store, selling bows and arrows. Behind the hut is a massive courtyard. In the courtyard is a table full of arrows, where a group of young men gather. At one end of the courtyard are targets that are used for archery practice.

The hunters will test their bows each morning to make sure it is working before heading off , as well as to compare archery skills before heading to the forest to hunt. It has become a daily practice for them, because a faulty bow means no food for them or their family.

A short distance from them, a few people are observing the hunters, and among them, an elderly man has an exceptionally sharp gaze. He is the archery instructor in the village, and the owner of the village’s only bowyer and fletcher store. While he is too old to hunt and his hearing is not what it used to be, he has exceptional eyesight and his archery skills are top notched within the village. As well the bows and arrows he made are of exceptional quality. It is for this reason that he is an elder within the village, and most of the hunters cheerfully offer him a portion of their catch in return for creating new arrows for the hunters to hunt.

“Oh…. Archery… How cool!” exclaimed a small, cute voice coming from behind. The hunters and the elder turned and saw a young woman walking towards the archery range with a small child in her arms.

The lady had smooth, flowing black hair with a hint of lavender scent that reached to her waist. Her hair swayed in the wind as she walked, leaving a bright fragrant scene of lavender behind her. She had gentle brown eyes, pale white skin, and looked very young, between the age of 18 to 20. Despite her young age, she was already married and had a child.

The lead hunter broke into a smile at the sight of woman and child. The other hunters might have been shocked at the sight, for the lead hunter is well known within the village to be a serious person and very strict with his team of hunters. But it is not surprising to see the smile, for which man can resist smiling in the face of their wife?

“Chun Xue, to what do I own the pleasure of this visit? It is rare to see you visit the bowyer.”

“I just wanted Chen Long to see his father’s workplace, and what his father do, so I made a detour from our usual stroll.”

“I see. Well, Chen Long, what do you think of Dad’s job?” The man smile at the kid that was held by his wife and asked. But the child did not seem to hear the man, and was staring intently at the bows and waving his hands. His eyes seem to shine with a bright passion as he looked at the group of young hunters practicing their archery skills.

“Eh, he doesn’t seem to be listening…”

The man smiled as he patted his 3 years old son’s head. The son had inherited his mother’s adorable features — black silky smooth hair, an oval face exactly like his mother’s when she was young, and a pair of bright brown eyes. His sharp gaze showed a hint of his paternal heritage.

“Ohhhh, Chen Long, you are paying more attention to the archery range than your own father, just like a boy. Do you really like archery so much?”

“I heard that lots of kid dream of being a hunter, Chen Long seems to think so too.”

Both parents smiled as they watched Chen Long display his curiosity for this boyish interest. He was so cute. The little boy watched the scene excitedly while waving his arms and legs, unfazed with being the center of attention. He focused on the training ground without blinking, displaying his exceptional concentration . The man rubbed his son’s soft hair for a while but gave up after getting no reaction.

“You really like it huh. How is it? Chen Long, this is a bow and this is an arrow. This is what we use to hunt for food”.

“Bow… Arrow…”

The child seemed to acknowledge the words of the man for the first time, repeating his words with a slur unique to toddlers as he fell deep into thought. The man smiled bitterly after seeing his child behave this way and returned to his post after conversing with his wife for a while. On the training ground, the hunters finished their practice and were preparing to go hunting

Suddenly the child said “Hunt ….. Food….. Hungry…..”. And a small rumbling sound growl from his stomach.

“Right, let’s return home. We need to prepare breakfast and wait for daddy to return.”

The lady coaxed the child who kept looking back, reluctant to go. They were going home.

“Hunt….. Food …”

The child in her arms watched the hunters entering the forest until they were out of sight.

The child’s full name, referred to as Chen Long, was the son of Chen Gong, a hunter, borne by his mother, Chun Xue .

It had been three years since his birth. This was the age when a child forms his sense of self, a period when they become playful. But Chen Long was very sensible. He understood his parents from an early age and was well behaved.

“You really like archery. don’t you? Why don’t we ask daddy to teach you how to use the bow and arrow when he comes back from work?”

“Ok” exclaimed the child in earnest.

“But first you must eat, and grow strong, or you will not be able to use the bow. The bow requires a lot of strength to pull.”

“Yes, mum!”, exclaimed the child. Filled with new resolve, Chen Long gobbled up all the rice on his plate, and even ate the vegetables that he do not like. His mother smiled at the obedient little boy. After eating, he helped his mum wash the plates. Chen Long’s exemplary behaviour pleased his mum.

After breakfast, Chun Xue and Chen Long were in the study. The study was filled with simple but practical wooden furniture that was kept clean and tidy. The shelves in the study room were filled with all sorts of literature, including picture books for children.

Chun Xue sat on the couch in the room, resting the tiny Chen Long on her lap, reading the picture book slowly to him. She spoke clearly and calmly. Chen Long, who was enjoying this yesterday, listened for some time before he started to fidget. He called out to his mother:

“Mom, mom.”

“What is it Chen Long? You don’t like this book?”

Chun Xue tilted her head, but Chen Long’s next words dispelled her confusion.

“I like books… But, I want to know more about hunting animals!”

Chun Xue set the book aside and studied Chen Long’s expression. Looking at his bright eyes filled with curiosity and joy, she couldn’t turn him down.

“Ara ara, I see. Although it is still early for you Chen Long, if you want to be a hunter, you have to first master archery.”

“Hunter… how do I become a hunter?”

“Let’s see, you need to read many books and practice archery. Right, let your daddy teach you about hunting. How about reading your favourite book about the different types of beast okay?”

“Okay!”

Chen Long finally focused back to the book. Chun Xue rubbed his head lovingly, took out a book related to animal, and read it to him slowly. Chen Long was enchanted with the picture book, showing the illustration of various monstrous beasts. He listened to the story that was simple enough for a child to understand excitedly, and tried his hardest to remember the characteristics of each monstrous beast.

Chen Long imagined himself as a mighty hunter who hunted various beasts to bring back lots of food. Since he achieved his sense of self, he craved eating meat a lot. However, hunting was a tough occupation, and during the preceding winter, there was often no meat to be had. While the rice filled his belly, it is incomparable to the taste of meat. In addition, sometimes the hunters became the hunt, as the various beasts in the forest and mountains can easily cripple or kill a careless hunter.

He wanted to be a successful hunter like his father, no matter what and the sooner the better. To achieve this, he needed to use his mindset to his advantage and achieve all he could within his power. He prepared a schedule for training himself to be a successful hunter in the future in his mind, but for now, he listened quietly to the story. Like all children who aspire for greatness, he dreamt of being a mighty hunter, and caught massive monstrous beasts in legends.

After lunch, Chen Long took a short nap.  There was a brief period of peace in the house.

Suddenly the peace was shattered by a loud yell – “Master Hunter!” Chen Long seemed to have dreamt of something he kicked off his blanket and leapt up from bed. He was unaware of his mother laughing because of his yell. Chen Long looked around him, realized he was in the bedroom, and climbed back into bed.

He was too excited last night and couldn’t sleep. Instead, he lay in a dreamlike state, smiling in his bed.

[Continued in next post..] 

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The continuation of this series, and subsequent chapters can be found at http://youjinsite.com/about-the-story/

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About the authors:
==================

This story is a collabouration between two deaf men. 

Fruits and Veggies is the author. He had applied to numerous publishers with his manuscripts of over 50 chapters and was unsuccessful in his efforts to get a publisher. 

Fruttelimsg is the translator, co-author and the author's best friend.

Comments

  • ============= =============
    Part 1B
    ===========================
    But try as he might, Chen Long could not drift back to sleep. So he tiptoed out around the house to avoid waking his mum. Usually his mother will be napping as well at this time before preparing dinner for his dad. Chen Long sneaked into the study and tried his best to lift the massive book his mother read in the morning. At only 3 years old, Chen Long is about 80 cm tall, and his tiny hands fumbled at the weight of the book.With some difficulty, he managed to take the book out and placed it on the fur carpet. Chen Long attempt to re-read the picture book about beasts. He was quietly enchanted with the pictures and illustrations of the various beasts, but he could not make sense of the words. He tried his best to remember what he has learnt in the morning.

    “Orhaaa…. this is ….. horned rabbit ….” Chen Long recalled. “Very fast …. will attack if cornered …. the horn is magicial….”

    Flipping to another page, Chen Long saw an illustration of a canine creature. “Let’s see…. arrhhhh…. this should be ….. Arhhh, I know! A dog! Yellow dog… called Ding guo? Hunt in groups…”

    As Chen Long quietly flipped over each page, he tried his best to recall the characteristics of each monstrous beast. It is a pity that he could not read, or he would find recalling even easier.

    Chun Xue was awaken by Chen Long’s yell, and was curious. Usually when Chen Long woke up, he would rush around the house to find her and chat to her, but today, it was quiet, too quiet. Did Chen Long went back to sleep? Chun Xue smiled, and walked to Chen Long’s bed to check up on him. When she saw the empty bed, her pulse quicken. Did something happened to him? In a state of mild panic, she begin to search for Chen Long.

    Well, Chen Long love to eat. Guessing that he would be sneaking food from the kitchen, Chun Xue could not suppress a tiny laugh – “the tiny little glutton!” thought Chun Xue. She sneaked into the kitchen, hoping to catch Chen Long in the act of stealing food from the kitchen. But her smile faded from her face, when she saw that her son is not in the kitchen. The feeling of panic in her heart rose. “Hope nothing (bad) happened to Chen Long”. As she was passing by the study, she heard a familiar sound… “Bear…. Bear…. , big creature ….. very fierce….. ”

    Chun Xue turned into the study. The sight of her child actively looking over a massive book greeted her. Chun Xue could not help feeling relieved, and a grin broke out across her face. So he was reading in the study… “Wait a minute, he is only 3 years old! He has not learnt how to read yet! Is he a genius who learnt how to read just from listening to me?” Curiousity filled her as she walked towards her son.

    Chen Long heard the sound of footsteps, and knew his mum has woke up. “Mum! I missed you!” Smiling, he quickly ran up to his mum for a hug. Seeing her son running towards her, Chun Xue momentary forgot that question in her head, as she squatted down and enveloped him in a massive hug.  Chen Long was just so cute and is so irresistible!

    “Mum…. I have a request…. ” Chen Long looked at his mum shyly, fidgeting his fingers. A flush of pink appeared on his cheeks…

    “Let me guess, you want some bread, you little glutton!” Chun Xue laughed as she pinched her son’s cheeks.

    “No mum…. I want to learn to read… I can remember what you said this morning…. but I can’t read… ” Chen Long’s lower lip protruded in a sulky, childish pout.

    “Oh,…. ” This clarifies her curiosity about her son ‘reading’ the books by himself just now… A complex feeling arose in Chun Xue. While she is very happy about her son wanting to learn how to read and write, she was worried about the cost of hiring a teacher for her son. As a hunter family, the finance is relatively tight. Books are very expensive in the village, and only a few people have books. The book that Chun Xue was reading to Chen Long was a gift from her father. As well, although she can read a bit, but her vocabulary is limited so she is not an ideal teacher for her son. In this village, there is no school, as almost all the children trend to pick up the craft of their parents. (i.e. the blacksmith son aims to be a blacksmith; most hunters’ sons end up being hunters; and the merchant’s son end up being merchants.) It seems that she need to discuss the issue with her husband.

    Looking at the wide pleading eyes of her son, she did not have the heart to refuse her son’s request. Chen Long has always been well behaved and seems to be intelligent. “Hummpphhh, let’s discuss this with your dad when he comes back ok?”

    Looking at complex face that his mother is visibly showing, Chen Long knew his request is selfish. He knew that his family is not very well off, and his mum is worried about the cost of tuition. “Ok!”

    Hesitating, he added some words to ease his mum’s burden “Erhh… mum…. I know we are not very wealthy… it is all right if I cannot learn to read….”

    Looking at her son, Chun Xue was filled with love. Unlike other children who requested toys and wood cravings for entertainment, Chen Long has never requested anything from her or his father. This is Chen Long’s first request, of course she does not have the heart to deny his request. “No need to worry, son. I am sure that me and your father will figure something out.”

    “Thank you mum!” Chen Long excitedly hugged his mum, and planted a kiss on her cheeks.

    Pleased with the display of affection from her son, Chun Xue could not help showing a pleased smile. But as she recalled the thankless and boring lessons she had in her youth, she begins to worry again.

    “Long Er, learning to read is an exhausting task as well as being extremely boring. You must understand that there are many different words in the continent. This isn’t something that can be learned quickly, are you sure you want to start learning now?”

    Chen Long nodded his head in confirmation, “I am!”

    Hearing Chen Long’s answer, Chun Xues smile became even more splendid. With a happy laugh, she said, “If this is what Long Er’s request is, then mother will support you entirely.”

    “All right, now it is getting late, and your dad will be coming home soon. I need to prepare some dinner for us. Can you help to bring some firewood from the shed, and draw some water from the village well for us to cook?”

    “Sure mum! You can count on me, I am a big man now!” Chen Long patted his chest with pride, prompting Chun Xue to burst into laughter. Chen Long ran out of the room to do his chores, but a few seconds later, he ran back to the room and hugged his mum’s leg again, and said shyly: “Mum, I loved you!”.

    “Mummy love you too… Run along now”

    “Errhhh, mum, before I go, can I have some bread?” Chen Long implored his mum. A rumbling sound comes from his stomach….

    ——————————————–

    The sun begins to set, signalling that it is almost evening time. Under the setting sun, Thames Valley Village seem to be enshrined in a faint golden sheet of light. From the forest, there were various roars, hisses, chips, and other sounds of beasts, as the nocturnal creatures residing in the forest awoke. The setting sun seems to make the forest appear more sinister as the trees and bushes in the forest cast long shadows everywhere.

    A few dozen people, including Chun Xue and Chen Long, were waiting at the gates of the village. Everyone knew how dangerous hunting in the massive forest is, and they silently prayed in their hearts for the safety of their family members who have gone out to hunt, gather fruits, mine or fish.

    Suddenly they spied a small group of people walking towards the village. As the silhouette of a few figures came into view, the families waiting at the gate was filled with anxiety. Would their love ones make it back? As the figures made their way to the village gate, the waiting families could see that the silhouettes belongs the group of fishermen has returned, and these fishermen seems to have a bountiful catch! Several fishes were hanged from a large pole. Anxiety was replaced with joys and cheer as the families of fishermen rushed out to welcome their love ones home.

    For the rest of the families waiting at the gate, they were disappointed that it was not their family who returned. However, they continued to persevere with hope that their families made it back safe and sound.

    A short while later, the families spied the shadows of another group of people making their way to the village. While it is not still possible to see who these people are, everyone is thankful that someone made it back safely. As the figures of the second group of people came into view, the families of the group of miners rushed out in joy and welcomed them home.

    However, there is a still no sight of the hunters nor the lumberjacks. The families of hunters and lumberjack continued to wait (a bit impatiently) at the gate. As time drags on, the fear in their hearts for their family safety grew – at night, the forest is ten times as dangerous. Some of villagers were almost in tears – usually the hunters would be back by now. That the hunters are not back yet would mean that one of the hunters / lumberjacks or the group of villagers could be injured. As the sun sets, and the land get darker, the face of the villagers who were waiting for their family also get darker, and they begins to light torches while waiting for their family.

    “I don’t care if my hubby did not catch anything today. Please, God, let him come home safe and sound!”  A women with tears streaming down her face cried. The families of other hunters comforted her.

    Suddenly a shout rang out “They are back!”

    The figures of a group of hunters and lumberjacks were slowly turning visible, and all of them seemed to be carrying something very heavy with makeshift carts and trolleys. Fear begins to swell in the hearts of the women and children waiting for their love ones. Is someone injured? Judging the number of carts and trolleys, it seemed that a large number is injured, and possibility dead. As one, the villagers rushed out.

    What they saw amazed them. All the hunters and lumberjacks were safe. On the carts and trolleys were three massive monstrous beasts. The size of each beast was bigger than an elephant, and it took all the combined efforts of the lumberjacks and hunters to pull or push the trolleys towards the village. A sense of relief swiped over the group of women and children. Their uneasiness and fears evaporated, and were replaced by a sense of astonishment and wonder.

    “Father and the others had returned safe and sound!”

    “Heavens, to come back with so much prey, this time we really reaped a rare harvest!

    Two of the beasts appeared to be a rhino-like beast. However, it has two rows of blunt bones where the horns of the rhino should be. And it is a lot more massive than a fully-growth rhino, about twice as big. The other creature appears to be a massive winged lizard with horns on it head. In its hands and feet were covered with sharp claws. At the end of the tail is a sharp sting like that of a scorpion.

    “Hehe, with these, we have enough food for several days! We are going to have a feast tomorrow! Inform all the villagers!” Shouted one men.

    The old folk within the village all had shocked expressions on their faces. These beings were normally very hard to deal with, and some of them were even called fierce beasts. For so many of them to be hunted today and covered in blood, it was simply too unexpected.

    The rhino like creature is called a brontotherium. Brontotheriums are very aggressive, and will charge at any creatures within its territory. A hit from the brontotherium is fatal and a glancing blow is enough to shatter bones! As well, the hide of the creature is very thick, and even spears or axes will have a difficult time hurting it. If the hunters happened to meet one of them, they would normally take long detours to avoid these monstrous beasts. Yet the hunters were able to hunt two of these creatures today, completely defying common senses.

    As for the flying lizard, it is called a Wyvern. Wyvern are massive and the each claw is like a big very sharp sickle. A single hit from the claws can easily cleave a man into pieces! As well, its scorpion-like tail contains a deadly poison and the tail is insanely fast. They could leave the mountain tops and abruptly dive down and kill, causing them to be extremely terrifying. This creature has a habit of stinging and injecting poison first, then use its claws to tear apart the weaken prey. It is also covered with tough scales that repel most arrows and spears. When things goes south (wrong), the flying lizard will flap its massive wings and fly away placing it out of the reach of arrows and spears, making it a beast that is impossible to capture or kill. Yet, one of these flying lizard is dead.

    “This time we were really extremely lucky to return from such a rewarding journey without a single casualty.” The leader of the hunting group, Chen Gong laughed carefreely as he explained to the Chief and villagers. “The wyvern was hunting a brontotherium and killing it when suddenly, with a bellow, another brontotherium charged into the wyvern from the back and flung it against a massive rock. The wyvern was seriously injured by the charge and tried to flee. Before it could fly off, the engaged brontotherium charged into it again and slam it against the mountain. Weakened, the wyvern could not even get up and was trampled by the massive brontotherium. In its dying throes, it struggled desperately and managed to sting the brontotherium repeatingly. A short while later the said brontotherium also died, and we collected the corpse. But as you can see, these creatures are massive, and we sought the help of the lumberjacks to make these wooden carts so that we can transport the food home.” In any case, it was a one-time plentiful harvest, and everyone was full of happiness. Stone Village was filled with the sound of children’s laughter and the atmosphere was joyful.

    Seeing his wife and son, Chen Gong was very happy and rush up to and enveloped them in a tight embrace.

    “Here, Chen Long, I found some ripe berries in the forest. These are very sweet and I knew you will love them, you little glutton!” He took out a packet of berries and handed it to Chen Long.

    “Thank you….. Dad”. Chen Long was all smiles as he received the berries, and thanked his father in a cute slurred speech. Then suddenly he kissed his dad and said to his dad, “Dad, I love you…. food important…. but you come home safety ….. is more important!”

    Chen Gong was touched by his son’s gesture, and was very happy. They made their way home for dinner. Tomorrow night there will be a feast for the whole village, but for today, it was too late to cook the meat. In any case, cutting through hide of the monstrous beast is tough work and will need many hours. For tonight, they will drain the beast of blood. Tomorrow morning, all the hunters will proceed to skin and cut out the meat.

    ————————————————————————————————–

    That night, after Chen Long has fallen asleep, Chun Xue approached her husband.

    “Dear, Chen Long is highly intelligent, and he wants to learn to read. I am thinking of sending him to my dad…” Chun Xue was a bit hesitant as she feared that Chen Gong will disagree. Her dad and her husband does not get along well, and her dad lives in the City. This will means their son will be separated from them.

    “Errhh, Chun Xue. I think it is a bit too young for Chen Long to learn to read. He is only 3 years old. Normally students in the city start learning to read at 5 or 6.” objected Chen Gong.

    Seeing that Chun Xue was disappointed with his reply, Chen Gong decided to partially give in to his wife.

    “But Chen Long will have a big advantage if he learns to read early… May I suggest that Chen Long will learn reading and writing from my dad first? I will bring both of you to visit your dad when we go to the city to trade this year, and we can make plans for Chen Long to study in the city when he turns 6 years old.” Chen Gong’s dad is a village elder who is skilled in medicine.

    “You promised?”

    “Yes, I promise. But without Chen Long, our house will be very lonely. Can you bear to part with him?” asked Chen Gong.

    “No choice. I want him to have a bright future. What is most important is that our son have the best we can provide.”

    “Humphh…. I know! Why don’t we make another baby? then when Chen Gong left, you will not be so lonely.” a lewd look appeared on Chen Gong’s face, as he suddenly grab Chun Xue and carried her to the bedroom….

    ======================================================================

    The continuation of this series, and subsequent chapters can be found at http://youjinsite.com/about-the-story/

    =======================================================================

    About the authors:
    ==================

    This story is a collabouration between two deaf men. 

    Fruits and Veggies is the author. He had applied to numerous publishers with his manuscripts of over 50 chapters and was unsuccessful in his efforts to get a publisher. 

    Fruttelimsg is the translator, co-author and the author's best friend.

  • This is not place for translated works, this is original works. From the authors them selves, post it on translation forum. 
  • Rimge said:

    This is not place for translated works, this is original works. From the authors them selves, post it on translation forum. 

    This is an original work from Fruits and Veggies. Does it counts as an original work? :) Cheers
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