Death Sutra (死人经) by Bing Lin Shen Xia (冰临神下)
Death Sutra (死人经)
Author: Bing Lin Shen Xia (冰临神下)
Genre Tags: wuxia, martial arts, revenge, suspense, and humanity
Translated by Goodman
"The soul rises to the nine heavens, the spirit falls to the nine abysses. The living suffer in grief, the dead settle in peace."
Volume 1 The Teenage Killer
Prologue Two Commandments for a Killer
To kill someone, you may as well do it neatly, don’t drag your feet. If you can be stealthy, then be stealthy. If you can kill in one move, then kill in one move. If you can be ruthless, then be ruthless and exterminate everyone. What white robes purer than snow, what fair competition. What rules of the Wulin and the Jianghu legends? All these are all bullshit. A killer is not an actor, who are you trying to show these tricks to?
There was only one principle for top killers - survive and live long.
Every generation of the "Unique King" educated their descendants like this, and now, Shangguan Fa was teaching his own sons the same words.
The first commandment for a killer is to be covert. Be prepared before making a move. Try your best to occupy the right place and strike at the right time. Hiding in the darkness is your biggest advantage.
Even if your target is a partially paralyzed beggar, you should still treat him as a peerless master. Approach him quietly and from behind, serve a fatal strike.
You think it's shameful, right? That’s right, that beggar was not shameful, he was already dead, and there was a one percent possibility that he was a real peerless master, trying to lure you into the trap by disguising as a beggar.
All is fair in war. The one who wins the battle is a good general, who cares what methods he had used? Especially the soldiers, they should be thankful for the general's unscrupulous tactics. It is only because of these tactics that they were able to survive and have the opportunity to enjoy the sweet taste of victory.
A great general will always attack from the enemy's rear and flank; only an arrogant idiot talks about a fight to the death every day.
A killer is not a general, so he should be even more cunning, more insidious, and much more merciless than a general.
Once upon a time, there was one such master; he was born into a martial arts family, And had extraordinary kung fu skill, He rarely ever met his match since adolescence. If one wanted to seek advice, they even had to make an appointment. After a competition, they were all convinced that he was "the best in the world" and was just missing a plaque to hang on his door.
And what happened to this master in the end? Dead. He wasn’t even 30-years-old at that time. His dead body was found lying in the sewer ten days later, decomposing to the point it could not be identified. Even the morticians didn't have the heart to let his parents see his corpse.
Why did he die? Because he had made the mistake of leaving his family and starting his martial adventures in the Jianghu world.
All the people who came for consulting would obey the rules, compete face-to-face. Surrounded by martial arts legends, only with the word of "start", would they would start to compete who was the swiftest, firmest, and most accurate. Everyone was too ashamed to use the low-level tactics, and even the slightest deviation in the moves would be ridiculed.
The master who was accustomed to "fair competition" became vulnerable once he left home and entered Jianghu. Nobody knew who killed him, and nobody knew how he was killed. The only thing people knew was that he received a fatal injury in the back.
Although everyone sympathized with the early death of the young master and openly criticised the sneaky killer, privately, they argued that the master was not a real master. How could a master not be able to defend against a surprise attack on his back?
Even those who had been defeated by the master’s sword gradually changed their tone, claiming that they had been defeated only because they did not want to take any advantage. If it was really an unavoidable confrontation, it would have been hard to say who would win.
What could the master do? He was already dead and had become a bunch of bones; he couldn't even utter a single word to defend himself.
In the end, the mysterious killer had become an idol. Everyone was gossiping about his deeds, claiming to have witnessed his moves before. Some even claimed that they were the killer.
This is the real face of Jianghu legends. No matter what methods you use to climb up high, admirers will naturally change things such that you led a moral and upright life. People would only see that you stood on the peak; nobody cared about the methods used and how many dead bodies you stepped on.
The second commandment of a killer is to restrain from being soft-hearted. When attacking, do it ruthlessly. Make sure to cut off the weeds and dig up the roots. Killing people is not only to ensure silence, but also for the "pretext".
There was one such master. To avenge his father’s death, he studied and trained martial arts for 10 years. After his debut, he immediately swept away all his opponents and gained full confidence. He found his enemy and slew almost all of his family. Even the fowl and dogs were not spared. However, when he was about to kill the pair of orphan and widow, he became soft-hearted. He wanted to be known as a hero, having the good reputation of "not killing women and children". It was this thought that was his downfall, causing him to be killed later.
Could the orphan and widow have taken revenge on the master? Of course not. That orphan had low talent, and would not be able to match the master's one finger even if he cultivated for a hundred years. That widow didn't know any martial arts and looked so ordinary that she couldn’t sell herself to make a living, let alone to seduce somebody to avenge herself.
However, they were very wealthy. Naturally, their property had been taken away by that master, but the orphan and widow didn't think so. The woman let word get out that, whoever took revenge for her, could share half of the family business that originally belonged to her.
Although that weak woman’s reward was just pie in the sky, could you imagine how many people were touched by such a promise? Countless. Since then, the master's house was visited frequently; he always had to keep one eye open, even when he was sleeping. In the end, he was killed by a nobody.
Did the orphan and widow take back the money? Obviously not. The nameless pawn became indifferent to the mother and son after giving them a small piece of land. He had finally gotten the exclusivity to the family business that was worth millions.
The fate of the orphan and widow's was not important. What counts was the "pretext". Without the orphan and widow, no one had the right to ask for the family business from the master. With these two puppets, anybody in the world had a perfectly justifiable reason to kill the master.
This is the "pretext".
"Fame" is the most illusory, most damaging thing in the world. A real killer never seeks "fame", and never leaves the opponent with an opportunity to find "pretext".
Shangguan Fa, lord of Golden Roc Castle, was the seventh generation Unique King. Technically, he was not a real king as he had no territory. He could, however, go anywhere within the 36 countries of the Western Regions. Although he had no subjects, but whether it was kings, princes or ordinary pawns, their faces would pale when his name was mentioned.
He was the Western Regions’ Assassin King.
No one was clear about how high the Unique King’s kongfu skills had reached. He had never participated in a competition openly. Those who came after him, and those he came after all ended up dead.
The Unique King had very little enemies, as for those that he killed, even their dogs were beheaded.
Shangguan Fa had always followed a killer's two commandments. For him, these two principles were more precious than life. Therefore, you could imagine how furious he was when he learned that his eighth son didn't exterminate all his targets.
The seven generations of Unique King, had killed countless people over the last 100 years. The death count was so high that they could populate a small country in the Western Regions. It had never occurred to them that they may commit a certain flaw: killing the wrong person!
Several heads were lined up on a long table. A known guest could feel the fury of the Golden Roc Castle Lord, and tactfully hid in the shadows nearby.
Shangguan Fa picked up a head and hurled it at his eighth son, whose facial color interchanged between blue and pale. It was this head that had made Shangguan Fa lose face in front of the guest. This was the face that, no matter how much he spent, could not rectify his mistake.
"Are you my son? Are you really my son?"
Shangguan Fa had a slender face, slightly tanned skin and sunken eyes. The Shangguan family had lived in the Western Regions for many generations, and inevitably, they had mixed with those of the barbarian descent. When he was angry, his gaze was sternly cool and unmoved, like the Gobi snow-capped mountains.
His question didn't need a reply. The eighth son and his father were like two peas in a pod. The only difference was that the eighth son was relatively young, and currently his face had turned red, like two red-hot irons.
There was only one way to alleviate the raging fury of the Unique King, kill. Even when facing his own sons, he was not soft-hearted. Occasionally in the Shangguan family, it happened that father, sons, and brothers killed each other, because there was only one throne.
But Shangguan Fa hesitated. He suddenly thought of the eighth son's mother. That woman had brought him endless joy. Even after all these years, he could still vividly remember her sly smile and perfect body. She had died of an unknown terminal illness. Like all women in the world, no matter how much energy they had spent on men, their last wish was always for their own flesh and blood.
The disease had broken out very quickly, so when she was dying, she still retained three-fourths of her original appearance. Her sad and beautiful face made her plea very difficult to reject and forget.
"Let Nu'er grow into a man like you."
The eighth son had lost his mother at an early age, and Shangguan Fa believed that he had kept his promise and given his eighth son the most comfortable life, the most rigorous training and the greatest degree of trust.
Wives are a disaster, thought Shangguan Fa. His fury decreased a little, but still, he was like a beast in its cage, restless and wanting to find an exit. So he pulled out the saber at Shangguan Nu's waist.
Shangguan Fa had to do something, rules were rules. It should never be compromised for anyone or anything. He resisted his urge to kill; brandishing the saber, he cut off the eighth son's right hand, the hand that was used to hold the saber.
The sad and beautiful face faded away in Shangguan Fa's mind.
"Seven days. You have seven days to bring the right head back."
Who was that missing wretch? What was his name? Shangguan Fa only had a vague impression. He had to die by the Savior of Golden Roc Castle. He had already proven his worth by forcing the Unique King to cut off one of his own son's hand.
Shangguan Nu pushed away the arms of his subordinates, staggering out of the great hall. He was as furious as his father. A large bag of jinchuang medicine was used to stop the blood flow from his wrist, but no medicine could block the resentment inside his heart.
He hated his own father for not even giving him an opportunity to explain. Just because the guest said that it was the wrong person, his father believed that he had made a mistake. This was the first time he had the chance to take charge of a task. Originally, this meant that, just like his brothers, he could stand on his own from then on. But now, he had lost his right hand, losing more than half of his martial arts skills and had lost all his face.
He also hated his own subordinates, that group of waste. It was all because of their carelessness that caused him to make the mistake and ruined his great future.
Most of all, he hated the missing teenager that was meant to be dead; yet was still lingering for a few more days. Even killing him a hundred times could not make up for his lost right hand.
Shangguan Nu must vent his anger. His hatred to his father could only be buried deep in his heart, though, as he didn't even dare to speak it out. That missing teenager was not in front of him, so he could only release his wrath on the dozens of killers and sabremen under his command.
Killers were the essence of Golden Roc Castle and sabremen were the mercenary of Golden Roc Castle. They had all made an oath to never betray the young lord.
Shangguan Nu used his left hand to pull out the sabre. His movements looked a tad clumsy, which incensed him further.
The killers and the sabremen had already heard about what happened in the great hall. Now they all behaved like lambs waiting to be slaughtered, fearfully watching the young lord rushing into the house with a pale face.
The sabre moved up and down, down and up. No one could escape, and no one dared to hide. One hand after another was chopped off, like the falling of leaves in winter. No one uttered a word. These people were doomed to sacrifice everything, including life, when they were assigned to Shangguan Nu.
Shangguan Nu didn't know how many hands he had cut, but his mind finally became quiet. These people were all his subordinates. Abolishing their martial arts would only weaken his own strength.
"Go kill! Go fucking kill for me immediately! Apart from the head, you are not allowed to leave any complete corpses!"