Zhan Qisheng looked around the stone room in disgust. There was a horrible stench and it was filthy. Although he was not germophobic, this was still the fourth young master of the Zhan family, used to riches and luxury. Had he ever entered a place like this?
But when he thought of Chengfeng, the person who caused him harm multiple times, hatred welled up in his heart so he forgot about the pungent smell.
When he entered the room, every step made a disgusting squelch as his deerskin boots stepped across the sticky ground. He came before Uncle Kun, intending to tilt his chin up but then took out a handkerchief, wrapped his hand inside before lifting Uncle Kun’s chin. He forced his expression to look calm as he asked softly. “Old man, what is your name?”
Uncle Kun opened his eyes slightly. They were murky and hopeless. He slowly opened his mouth, his voice as hoarse as sandpaper sanding a piece of metal and void of its past brightness. “My surname is Li, my name is Kun. Li Kun.”
Zhan Qisheng gave a small smile. “No your surname is Shen, your name is Kun. You’re Shen Kun.
As if Uncle Kun didn’t hear him, he repeated, “My surname is Li, my name is Kun. Li Kun.”
Zhan Qisheng slightly furrowed his brows. “You’re a descendant of the Shen family of Shanyuan County, a clan that declined due to the White Silver Incident. You and your family escaped to Qingzhou, then you were bought by the Li family as a servant. Right?”
Zhan Qisheng had paid someone within the Hidden Beauty Court for this information. They had the Spiritual Mountain Sect’s best information sources.
Uncle Kun continued to repeat the same sentence. “My surname is Li, my name is Kun. Li Kun.”
Zhan Qisheng raged. He was never a patient man in the first place. He grabbed Uncle Kun by the chin and roared, “This is the last time I’ll tell you this! Your surname is Shen! Not Li! There are still Shen descendants alive right now, don’t you want to meet them?”
Uncle Kun could barely open his eyes enough to look up, his dim yellow eyes resembling dead stones in the fiery glow. “Other than… the Li family, I do not have any other family!”
In a rage, Zhan Qisheng lifted his hand to hit him while Uncle Kun lifted his head slightly. His expression was like a tiny life form in the dust surviving on sheer willpower in the face of a higher deity.
Sun Boyi sighed. “Junior Zhan, it’s useless. This old man is too stubborn, we’ve done everything. Anything more and he’ll die.”
Zhan Qisheng stared at Uncle Kun and nodded slightly. “I respect your loyalty to your owner’s family. You’re a loyal servant! But let me tell you this…” As he spoke, he produced a tiny porcelain container, then opened it. “We are the Zhan family! There is no enemy we cannot defeat! We can pry open any mouth in the world!”
Uncle Kun’s eyes squinted sideways at Zhan Qisheng. He did not speak.
Zhan Qisheng placed the jar in front of him so he could see a worm resembling a green millipede inside. It did not have as many legs, just four extremely thin and long legs on its segmented body. “Do you recognise this?”
Uncle Kun shook his head. There was no light in his eyes.
Zhan Qisheng continued, “This is a soul-eating worm!” He extended a finger and pressed it on Uncle Kun’s head. “Soon, it will chew a hole right here and wriggle into your brain, slowly releasing poison and dissolving your brain, eating your soul up! After a while, you will become a walking corpse. You will do whatever I say, and tell me whatever I ask!”
Uncle Kun’s eyelids fell, his lips trembling as if in fear.
Zhan Qisheng licked his lips excitedly. “Then, your soul will perish and you’ll never be able to reincarnate! You’ll be a corpse who obeys all my commands forever! Do you want to become that?”
After a while, Uncle Kun looked up and said slowly, “Do you have children?”
Zhan Qisheng raged, “Do YOU?”
Uncle Kun smiled, his voice was hoarse as he continued, “That’s right, me neither. But… I was the one who raised Young Master Chengfeng. He’s my son!”
Zhan Qisheng went mad with fury and emptied the jar unto Uncle Kun’s head. The green soul-eating worm fell on his head and quickly bit into his scalp.
Uncle Kun could not help but groan softly, his breathing quickened but his eyes gradually shone. He spoke faster and seemed to be muttering to himself, “I still remember how Young Master Chengfeng seemed different from regular people when he was young. He wasn’t like other children who liked riding or playing games. He always climbed up to the roof, then… pee off it…”
Uncle Kun chuckled to himself but his features contorted. The worm on his head had bitten a hole and was wriggling inwards. Half of its body was already in his scalp.
He continued, “Young Master… Young Master Chengfeng was an intelligent child. One time, he wet his bed but hid the covers in my bed the next morning, saying I was the one who wet the bed… Hehe, this Young Master was a mischievous one.”
He muttered quickly, as if wanting to speak of all his most precious memories because he knew that he would no longer remember them very soon.
“During Young Master Chengfeng’s sixth birthday, the entire family was there to celebrate his birthday but he was busy secretly making a walking cane for me. I used that cane for thirteen years! Thirteen years! How time flies!
“When he was ten, we just arrived at Cheng’an. When I was bullied by the Ocean Sand gangsters, he brought Xiaobao over to beat them all up. When he returned, his arm was broken. All because… I was so useless.”
As he spoke, tears fell from his eyes. A layer of terrifying milky white started to spread across them. The soul-eating worm had already completely eaten into his head as he started to violently tremble, letting out a deep groan.
Zhan Qisheng sneered. “Aren’t you going to continue speaking? You won’t have another chance!”
Uncle Kun looked up with great difficulty, his eyes dimming but he focused ahead as if looking for Zhan Qisheng. “What… what… what is your name?”
Qisheng sneered. “Zhan Qisheng of the Zhan family! Remember this name, for I am your master! You shall betray your beloved young master soon, and you shall personally kill the Li Chengfeng you raised!”
Struggling hard, Uncle Kun forced out a terrible smile as his face twitched uncontrollably. In a broken string of words, he made out, “S-s-sir Zhan, y-y-you say there is n-no enemy y-you cannot defeat. I s-say that our Li f-family has only loyal s-servants!”
“You must be looking for death!”
Zhan Qisheng was so angry he slapped his hand directly at Uncle Kun’s head. At that moment, a smile of tranquillity and release surfaced on Uncle Kun’s face.
Startled, Sun Boyi grabbed Zhan Qisheng. “Calm down, Junior Zhan! He wants you to kill him?”
Zhan Qisheng calmed down and stared at the violently shaking Uncle Zhan with a sneer. “I’d like to see how long you’ll last!”
Sun Boyi asked hesitantly, “How long can he last, at most?”
He huffed. “The most determined warrior only lasted ten days! I’d be surprised if this old man lasts for three!”
Sun Boyi’s eyes lit up. “That means in three days, I will have evidence to show the martial uncles that my elder brother was harmed by the Li family!”