I yawned loudly and asked “Okay~ then, so Shamans, Necrophiliacs and Ex-Whore Cysts all deal with spiritual garbage… What’s your point?”
“If a soul is constantly supplied with Qi, it can potentially exist forever! Course, it ain’t exactly a good thing either. Without a physical form, they’ll eventually lose all their memories… Then they’ll be able ta reincarnate properly. But, there’s also another path that they might end up taking. If they’re given enough power, they could interact with shit. By then they’re what we call ‘ghosts’, ‘apparitions’, ‘Spirits’ or ‘Devils’. There’s plenty uh other names for em, but ya get the point, right? Anyway, if they can possess a puppet, corpse or golem, then they’ll be considered ‘Elementals’. They follow the same rules as Beasts, with ranks and everything.”
He frowned at me when I wasn’t impressed with his info-dump. After a few seconds of awkward silence, there was a loud croaking noise and a colossal head poked out of the water to the left of the boat. Those enormous teal eyes had horizontally slit pupils. It glared at me and I felt like my brain was going to explode, but Long Di immediately hopped out of the canoe and landed on toad’s enormous forehead. He pulled out an ornate, twisted wooden staff and smashed it down onto the creature’s skull with a deafening *thud*.
“Ya damn brat! I ain’t seen ya in a few decades and ya think yer so tough now, huh?! If I wasn’t a pacifist, I’d beat yer freakin brains out yer ass!” As he finished scolding the massive brown toad, he casually put his staff away and jumped back onto the boat. Once he sat down, the giant monster let out an angry *croak* and submerged again.
My head stopped pounding and Di told me “That’s ole Cao Chu… Well, he’s young compared ta me, but he’s already a few centuries old now. Anyway, he’s the Rank-D Beast I told ya bout yesterday. He guards this lake and acts like a little tyrant to all the critters that live here.”
“So~, where exactly are we going? If you say ‘The Underworld’ I’m gonna be pissed…” There were neon-orange mosquitoes and plenty of other random insects constantly buzzing around us. One of those bugs bit my right forearm and within seconds, there was a pulsating boil the size of my fist. When I saw it, I couldn’t help but yell “What the fucking fuck?!”
However, the old man quickly pulled a green needle out of his ring and stabbed it into the glowing red bubble. My skin exploded and purple mist escaped from the wound, while a bright-blue lotus blossomed over the torn apart flesh.
“Ah, yeah, try not ta let those buggers get ya anywhere important! Imagine if that’d been on yer face! Hahahaha~!” He didn’t seem concerned for my safety in the slightest and I was in way too much pain to worry about his apathy. Also, I had to constantly keep fidgeting around and swatting at any mosquitoes that came close to me.
Within a few minutes, the lotus blossom fell off of my forearm and the flesh had been totally healed back together. I asked “Is this like Shamany voodoo or something? Seems more Druidic to me…”
He let out a deep sigh and explained “Druidry has ta do with plants and animals most times… I only know a few tricks, but nothin too fancy. As for Shamanism, it involves communicating, consuming and controlling spirits.”
“Wait, are there any spells that can like, turn my right hand into some kinda flower-pussy? Oh, and is it possible to have sex with ghosts? Ah, if I can shapeshift into a horse, will it still be bestiality if I fuck one of your mares?” Long Di just squinted his eyes and had his mouth half-opened, it seemed like he was about to have a stroke for a moment there. His hand was raised, but he finally decided not to smack me.
“I’m just gonna pretend like I didn’t hear the first and last question… As for the second one, it depends. Ever heard uh succubi and incubi? Well, if a person was lustful enough in their life, then when they die and their souls lose all their memories… Their personalities and certain habits manage to remain intact. This ain’t a joke Brat. A Rankless Dreamwatcher is pretty benign and they just feed off yer excess Qi while ya sleep. Rank-G Dream Eaters are a bit more dangerous. They usually suck up tiny chunks of yer life force and drain yer stamina, making it so that yer exhausted even after ya get a full night’s rest. Rank-F Lust Reapers can force an Apprentice into an unconscious frenzied state where their bodies are constantly releasing their evil fire for up to twelve hours… By that point, they almost have corporeal forms! Rank-E Lesser Succubi are in a semi-physical state… They can easily rape men in their sleep.”
I snickered and he swiftly smacked me across the face with the back of his left hand, yelling “This ain’t fuckin funny! Those evil bitches can turn men and even women into blithering idiots! They can transform a talented genius into a worthless cripple in less than a month! Even if ya wanna screw em, it’s still a huge loss! They can drain away yer Innate Talent if ya aren’t careful! I’ve had two disciples so far who succumbed ta temptation and were devoured by those shitty demons!”
Long Dickhead had a lot of annoying triggers, but since he was almost four-hundred years old, it wasn’t really that surprising. After another twenty minutes of struggling to survive against those orange mosquitoes, I finally asked “Where the hell are we going anyway?!”
He smirked, revealing “The Heavens won’t let me live past four-hundred, but I could croak tomorrow for all I know! It might be my time, or maybe not… Either way, when ya get ta my age, ya constantly think about dying. I ain’t seen my kin in centuries and my last disciple died decades ago! What I’m about ta show ya is my oldest friend, who ain’t a Beast that I raised.”
As if it was sensing us approach, a gargantuan cypress tree erupted from the lake’s surface. Our little canoe almost flipped over from the waves, but it was still a few hundred meters away. The main body just looked like a regular cypress tree; greyish wood and green needle-like leaves, which clumped together on the branches and trunk sporadically. However, the roots on the other hand definitely weren’t ‘normal’. “Holy shitballs, it’s a fucking hydra! Ow~!”
“Watch yer language!” After smacking me on the top of my skull, the old man whispered to me in a low voice. Then he stood up, placed his right fist onto his left palm and bowed slightly to the seven gigantic viridescent dragon-heads. Each of them had glowing yellow crystals instead of eyes.
They all nodded their heads simultaneously and the two started at each other silently for a moment. Finally, one of the serpentine faces came all the way up to our tiny boat and submerged beneath us. I didn’t say anything, since I was ‘mildly’ afraid of pissing the giant monster off.
Then we were lifted out of the water and wobbled a bit, but we didn’t get out of the canoe. One of those huge green snakes was lifting us hundreds of meters into the air and eventually brought us up to a relatively small branch of the tree. Di casually reached out and plucked a six-inch needle-like leaf, which caused the beast to let out a disgruntled roar.
However, it didn’t try to hurt us or anything like that. It just slowly lowered the boat down into the water again. After that, the old man bowed three more times to the draconic heads and they nodded in response. As the ship started floating back the way we came, that colossal tree sank back down into the middle of the murky lake.
Once about ten minutes passed, he snickered, took out that needle-leaf and stabbed me in the forehead. It felt about as pleasant as you would expect, but it didn’t take long for the pain and discomfort to subside.
“Calm down Brat! Don’t look at me like I just banged yer grandmother! Hehehehe~… That was one uh my ancestors. Even I’ve got no clue how old it is… What I do know, is that its name is Long Bai and its been my Dao Protector since I was a kid. Its a Rank-A Hydra Cypress Treant. Some people might consider it a Spirit Beast, but it’s technically an Elemental. Anyway, if ya didn’t show up yesterday, I was gonna make a trip to see my daughter in a month or two… Maybe snatch up one uh the more talented kids in her Clan. But now I don’t gotta! Hahaha~!”
I frowned, grumbling “If you just made some kinda deal to sacrifice me to that monster, I’m gonna be pretty annoyed…”
He slapped me in the mouth and yelled “Ya ungrateful moron! Yer my last disciple! Obviously I asked Long Bai ta be yer Dao Protector!” Then he sat back down and ‘calmly’ explained “With that spirit needle in yer brain, as long as ya don’t leave this continent and ya don’t piss off any Immortals, ya should be fine! If anyone two Stages above ya tried ta murder ya, hehehehe~…
“Let’s just say, after I had become an Expert, I pissed off this Legendary asshole. That bastard ain’t around no more. Well, there are rules though. Don’t go murdering people or slaughtering Beasts unless it’s necessary. Like, if they attack ya, then defend yourself. If ya go outta yer way ta create powerful enemies, Bai ain’t gonna help ya. When that spirit needle in yer head eventually runs outta Qi, yer gonna have ta go back and get a new one. The first was free, the next will cost ya a bit. Be nice, or at least don’t become an evil prick. Bai likes it when ya help Humans, Spirits and Beasts out occasionally. Every now and then I head over ta the nearby towns ta donate some uh the food I grow…”