The Shaman's Poison- 药人毒 The Shaman's Poison Chapter 3

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The Shaman's Poison

Chapter 3

Bai Tan was deep asleep and too far into dreamland to be aware that he was being watched by the person next to him.  

In Bai Tan's dream, there was a stone altar and on the stone altar, a flame burned strong like the h.e.l.l fire that can never be put out – burning and scorching. It was intimidating.

Yet, Wu Yanfu sat on the same altar, with his legs crossed. He had removed his robes leaving them around his waist, revealing his muscular and toned chest. His long hair was messed up by the movement of the air surrounding him. He was covered in sweat, and the sheen from the sweat made him look like a bronze statue, but a crinkle had formed between his eyebrows.  

Not only were his brows furrowed, his breath was irregular, and he also looked pained. His hands that were held in a hand seal were white around the knuckle. It was very much different from his usual state when practicing.  

"Shizun[1]… Tan'er likes you. To die for you, Tan'er is happy."  

"Shizun, take me…" Bai Tan ventriloquized[2] in an alluring manner.  

With dew in his mouth, Bai Tan moved closer to Wu Yanfu and pressed his lips to Wu Yanfu's. He hooked his arms around Wu Yanfu's burning, hot neck as his tongue probed tentatively into the other's mouth and slowly fed him the dew.  

Like a timely rain during a drought, Wu Yanfu parted his lips and pulled the youth into his embrace.  

As Bai Tan fed Wu Yanfu dew, he reached for the bronze candle holder by the side and removed the candle on it. With the candle holder gripped tightly in his hand, ready to attack, he heard a throaty groan from Wu Yanfu.  

Wu Yanfu's eyes which were firmly shut just a moment ago flew open, revealing a pair of bloodshot eyes. He grabbed Bai Tan's hands as blood trickled out from his mouth.   "You…"  

Knowing something had gone wrong during Wu Yanfu's practice, Bai Tan clenched his teeth, raised his hand, and drove the sharp end of the candle holder down into Wu Yanfu's chest.  

Wu Yanfu's body stiffened and he stared at Bai Tan in shock. He lowered his head to look at the wound and began to apply pressure when he saw it bleeding profusely. He tried to speak but coughed up blackened blood instead.  

Bai Tan was worried that Wu Yanfu would retaliate and quickly moved away only to see Wu Yanfu shaking violently. It was as though Wu Yanfu's blood had gone in reverse; the bluish veins under his skin bunched and bulged, as though there were insects crawling inside his blood vessels.  

Wu Yanfu ended up sprawled on the floor, looking battered and worn out. In his state, even the simple task of getting up would be a ch.o.r.e, his poise as a grandmaster was long gone.   Debating if he should step forward, Bai Tan finally decided to take a step forward and he did so cautiously. He picked up Shiyue, which was embedded in the rock beside him, as he approached Wu Yanfu. He raised Shiyue and with a strike, Bai Tan broke the chain connecting the shackles that cuffed his ankles and continued to make his way towards Wu Yanfu slowly.  

"You probably never thought that this would ever happen when you brought me back, did you, Shizun?"  

The man on the floor coughed twice but it also sounded like he was laughing as the laughter that resounded in the room was tinted with forlorn.  

He turned over with much difficulty and leaned against the rock wall behind him. In that instance, he returned to his usual lazy, yet elegant demeanor, as though he was not on his death bed but just about to go to sleep.  

Taking a few breaths, he gazed at Bai Tan for a long time before his blood-stained lips curled subtly, almost undetectable. "Tan'er, I have a secret that I want to tell you. Do you know what I was shown by the illusion when I was trying to make the breakthrough?"  

"Hm?" Thinking that Wu Yanfu wanted to pa.s.s a secret skill on in his final moments, Bai Tan leaned in, bringing his ear close. He had let his guard down and without warning, Wu Yanfu bit him hard, blowing into his ear as he whispered, "It's a pity, such a pity, I am about to die so you will never be able to find out…"  

"You are about to die and yet you still!" Bai Tan pushed him aside and stood up. Raising a foot with the shackle still on, Bai Tan stomped on Wu Yanfu's chest. Looking down at him, Bai Tan asked, "Any final words?"  

"You little wolf cub[3]!" Wu Yanfu involuntary laughed loudly, sadness flooding his laughs. However, his laughter did not last long as it was soon interrupted by blood choking him. His handsome face was drained of all colors and yet his lips were painted red with blood. The view was certainly shocking.  

"I was careless, why did I not guard against you?" Wu Yanfu said as he reached out a hand to grab Bai Tan's hair which was almost touching the ground. It was as though he wanted to pull Bai Tan into his arms once again but lost the strength to.  

Bai Tan retreated and swung the blade downwards, leaving Wu Yanfu with only a lock of his hair.  

Wu Yanfu unclenched his fist, the flesh on his palm already burned and in the blink of an eye, the lock of hair turned into ashes too. Instead of brushing the ash off, he brought it up to his chest and rubbed it on the wound.  

Gasping for a breath of air, Wu Yanfu mocked, "I really did this to myself. I should have left you in the underground dungeon of Ying Yue Palace…"  

The last sentence was like a sharp knife digging into his chest.  

Bai Tan shut his eyes and when he opened them again, he had slit Wu Yanfu's throat; all within the flick of his wrist, clean, neat and without hesitation.  

Seeing the light leave the open eyes, unable to rest in peace and the blood which flowed towards him, staining his toes, Bai Tan jumped. It was as though he was scalded. He forced the stiffened lips to curl up into a smile but failed to do so.  

Bai Tan clenched his teeth, tightened his grip on the blade's handle and tried to overcome the budding discomfort for his impending action. He brought the sharp end of the blade down, cutting Wu Yanfu's chest open and with some force, dug his heart out.  

The heart was then dissected, and Bai Tan picked out the bloodied blood relic. He held it in his hand and without looking at it, sent it into his mouth and swallowed it.  

As the metallic tang of blood filled his mouth, he felt the urge to vomit but he pressed his hands to his mouth forcing himself to keep the relic down. Tears welled up in his eyes from the effort as he choked on the relic, resembling a child who tried to swallow a date whole.  

While he forced himself to swallow, Bai Tan tried to convince himself, "Shizun, you taught me that only with no love and no fear can one rule the world. If you had not died, I would have to become the tool for your cultivation and would never have had another chance at life."  

Bai Tan moved to the window for some fresh air. Through the window, he was able to take in the sights of the entire Northern border from the peak of Tian Shan. The view reminded him of the loneliness that comes with being at a high place and it highlighted the small fragment of heat lingering on his earlobe.  

Still deep asleep, Bai Tan reached up to touch his ear.   Wu Yanfu, who only had his eyes closed, felt the movement and turned to look.  

Wu Yanfu did not know what the youth was dreaming of that made him move in his sleep, his attention was on the hand that was moving. More specifically, it was on the blood jade ring that was on Bai Tan's index finger. It had belonged to him; evidently, it was too big for Bai Tan and a burble rope had to be wrapped around the ring several times for the ring to fit on his finger.  

Wu Yanfu could no longer remember what he had thought of at the critical moment of cultivation that had caused him to lose his focus and led to the practice going awry. The death probably caused him to lose part of his soul and in losing part of his soul, his memories became incomplete.  

The only thing he remembered clearly was Bai Tan's face that was filled with murderous intent.  

Yet, the same face looked vulnerable, with his teeth clenched and looking like he was on the verge of tears.  

Had it been someone else, Wu Yanfu might have felt a tiny bit of pity and concern, but it was not meant for the little kid who had betrayed and killed him.  

He will never be able to forget how the only person who he did not guard against turned his back on him.  

Emotions flickered in Wu Yanfu's eyes and he fisted his right hand, making a hand seal for a curse[4], but it was difficult to raise his wrist to execute the curse. The curse would only have a form but not a shred of power in it. Before he could execute it, Bai Tan would have killed him.  

It was laughable that the former top pract.i.tioner of the west would be in this state.  

Wu Yanfu mocked himself and stared at Bai Tan's side profile as an idea formulated in his head. There was only one way to reclaim his cultivation.  

At that moment, Bai Tan's eyes fluttered open.  

In the faintly illuminated darkness, Bai Tan's disoriented eyes met a pair of eyes staring at him and a warning alarm went off in his head. He was ready to kill the shaman when he remembered that shamans did not need to sleep since they were the living dead, so his killing intent diminished.  

Bai Tan moved to sit up only to be aware of unusual sensation coming from his lower half. Lifting the blanket, his heart skipped a beat. There was a tent that could not be covered up by the thin material of his pants and white splatters on the mattress. He e.j.a.c.u.l.a.t.ed.  

Bai Tan pulled his knee to his chest, feeling lost and not knowing what he should do. Still stunned, he pulled at his pants and lowered his eyes to look.  

He can use it after all[5].  

To Bai Tan, this was extremely good news.  

The Sky of Six Desires, unlike other double cultivation skills, allowed solo cultivation in the first five levels. A "Concubine Ming" only needs to tempt and seduce the pract.i.tioner. It would help the pract.i.tioner to improve their will and focus. s.e.xual intercourse was only required when one reaches the Sixth level. If the pract.i.tioner is able to refrain from e.j.a.c.u.l.a.t.i.n.g. during the intercourse, the pract.i.tioner would be able to be rid of the seven emotions and six desires[6]. Only then would the pract.i.tioner be able to understand the epitome of the skill.  

It was fortunate that Wu Yanfu had gone awry before it reached the point where he needed double cultivation, which allowed Bai Tan to kill him. Had the practice progressed successfully, Bai Tan would have become a stepping stone for Wu Yanfu's journey to the peak of the skill.  

The new discovery meant that he would be able to advance to the Sixth level as well, which was fortunate.  However, Bai Tan only felt mixed feelings.  

As he remembered his dream from the last night, he felt embarra.s.sed and angry, anger and disgust bubbled in him with no outlet for release. The good news was like a prank from the dead man. He was dead, what can he do?  

Yet, it was the dead man who made him a man after making him unlike one.  

Wu Yanfu caught every expression that flashed on Bai Tan's face and it made him happy to the point where he was beside himself.  

Isn't the game of cat and mouse the most interesting when the mouse thinks that he is the cat?  

Lost in his thoughts, Bai Tan suddenly felt air hit his legs and shuddered from the sudden chill. A thin and weak arm was thrown over Bai Tan's knee. The shaman propped himself up like he was trying to climb on to Bai Tan and Bai Tan grabbed the shaman by his neck, "What are you trying to do?"  

"Please… please allow this slave to serve you, master."  

"Get lost!" Bai Tan ordered as he flung the shaman off the bed.  

"Do you think anyone can become 'Concubine Ming'? You trash." Bai Tan scorned as he pulled his inner robes together, concealing the shoulder which was partially exposed. He then got up and leisurely rang the bronze bell, which was placed by the bed, to call his subordinates.  

The shaman's arms were shaking, as he prostrated himself on the floor, "This slave would not dare to."  

With the knowledge that the shaman has absorbed the medical properties of the demonic vines and would not die easily, Bai Tan decided to ignore the shaman. He turned to head for the bath while leaving a mocking laughter behind. With his back turned towards the shaman, he removed his robes and entered the bath. As such, he did not see how the person who was described as pitiful wiped the blood from the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand.  

Trash…he said.   Having changed into a set of clean inner robes, Bai Tan sat in front of the mirror and Yin Tuo dressed him in the robes meant for the Sect Leader.  

Bai Tan looked imposing with the Capricorn crown that was bestowed by the King of Xi Ye secured on his head. The black robe embroidered with a golden-winged bird pattern looked like a pair of wings on him. He gave off a mysterious feeling, as though he was not human and could take off into the skies at any moment.  

If he were to put on the ritual mask made for the Grand Advisor, he would look like Wu Yanfu. In fact, he could enter the Xi Ye Palace to give his greetings to the new king and would not be caught.  

"Sect Leader, do…you want to put this on?" Yin Tuo asked in panic as he saw Bai Tan's expression worsen.  

The country of Xi Ye and Fu Tu Sect has been related since ancient times; the Sect leader would also be the country's Grand Advisor. Every Sect Leader would have their clothes and robes painstakingly made by the seamstresses in the palace. The new Sect Leaders would also need to present himself before the King of Xi Ye when they take on the position.  

However, Bai Tan was not acknowledged as the leader. He had taken over the leader position by killing the previous leader, so no robes were made for him.  

It must be uncomfortable to put on the clothes of a dead man, after all.   The mask was brought to Bai Tan and his eyes turned cold. Nevertheless, he picked it up and put it on. Looking at his reflection in the mirror, he held his breath in shock; the white jade mask had taken on the look of that person.  

Taking another look, the change seemed to have been an illusion, but Bai Tan knew better: it was not an illusion.  

The mask is called "Wu Xiang[7]". It can change according to the wearer's thoughts and the change that he saw had been due to his thought. The devil really does come from the heart[8].  

He quickly removed the mask, not daring to take another look at it, when he heard a low call from outside the door, "Sect Leader, Wuzhang seeks an audience with you."  

Some important figures in the Sect must have arrived. Bai Tan tidied up his appearance, picked up Shiyue, and glanced at the shaman who was still on the floor. It was then he realized that the colors of the demonic vines have faded, each of them curled up, like they were starting to wither. Shocked by his discovery, he carried the shaman to the icy bath and placed him in it.  

The moment the shaman came into contact with the icy water, he wrapped his arm around Bai Tan's neck like a python. He buried his head in the crook of Bai Tan's neck and sighed as though he was extremely comfortable.  

A sticky and wet breath blew pa.s.s Bai Tan's ear and a p.r.i.c.kling pain came from his scar. He panicked and barely escaped the fate of falling into the bath by grabbing hold of the rock by the bath.  

Wu Yanfu took the chance to reach over and put his arms around Bai Tan's waist. "Master needs to be wary," he crooned softly into Bai Tan's ear.  

Despite him making fun of Bai Tan, the warning was true.  

Bai Tan calmed himself down and remembered that the demonic vines have connections to the underworld. In the sect, demonic vines were commonly used to communicate with spirits and to fortune-tell during rituals. This shaman may have also inherited the ability to communicate with spirits and tell the future. Thinking through, he asked, "What do you mean by that?"  

"Master's body is not in good shape. I only need to soak in water once a day. I am an effective medicine. Master should always have me ready." His tone was unlike that of a person with sane mind and thoughts-foolishly loyal.  

Bai Tan mockingly thought to himself that the shaman was meticulous but was only a slave used for his medical properties.  

Bai Tan stood up and pulled the shaman out of the bath by his hand.  

He opened the door and stepped out, to see Li Wuzhang who was slightly stunned by Bai Tan's attire.  

The black robe dragged on the floor, the robes clearly too long for him, highlighted Bai Tan's pet.i.te body.  

At that thought, it was as though Bai Tan was still the same child Wu Yanfu brought back ten years ago while holding his hands.  

But that was impossible; Bai Tan was no longer the same.  

At the flash of the thought, Bai Tan was already in front of him. He immediately got on his knees and together with the Ten Asura[9], bowed.  

"We humbly welcome the sect leader out of seclusion."  

The sun was blazing in the sky as the cold wind blew strongly, making the flags dance with it.  

Bai Tan leisurely descended the stairs and made a sweeping motion with his hand. It was like a gold-winged bird with its wings spread out: attractive, beautiful and arrogant. His eyes swept across the back of his underlings' heads. "You may rise."  

"This way please, sect leader," Li Wuzhang stood up and gathered the curtain of the carriage to a side. A strange b.u.mp popped up on his arm, under his sleeve and started to twist in a ghastly manner. It was too late to try and cover it up.  

Bai Tan reached out and grabbed at the b.u.mp having witness the strange movement. The b.u.mp felt like a living snake as it made its way to the opening of Li Wuzhang's sleeve. A streak of blue flashed before Bai Tan's eyes and like a released arrow, flew straight for the shaman.  

Bai Tan looked over and was taken aback.  

A blue scaled silver tailed skink that was as thick as an arm was sprawled on the shaman's chest as the shaman trembled in fear. The skink looked at ease, as though it was close to the shaman and was acting coy.  

Bai Tan pulled the shaman and the skink to him with his skill and grabbed the skink by its body.  

Smelling the blood relic on him, the ferocious and vicious beast was tamed. Its tail wrapped around Bai Tan's wrist lightly and Bai Tan gently patted the skink on its back and smiled.  

The skink was not any ordinary lizard one would find in the wild. It was able to produce a unique poison and was also the antidote to hundreds of different poisons. It was raised by Wu Yanfu to use in case of emergency.  

The day Wu Yanfu's body died, the skink had created a hole in its golden cage and escaped. Bai Tan tried to look for it, but despite searching everywhere, he could not find it.  

Placing "San Du[10]" in his sleeve, Bai Tan turned his attention to Li Wuzhang and his smile disappeared. "Shixiong[11], when did you find "San Du" and why didn't you report it to me*? Were you perhaps intending on keeping it for yourself?"  

"Sect Leader, you have misunderstood." calling him "shixiong" shocked Li Wuzhang so much that his soul almost left his body, and he quickly explained, "Your subordinate coincidentally saw this creature in the forest on my way here. It was freezing to death, so this subordinate carried it to warm it up and did not expect it to wake up now. It must have smelled its new owner."  

"Oh, so that's how it was." Bai Tan acted as though he was suddenly enlightened and enjoyed looking at Li Wuzhang's fear for him. He stepped on one of his subordinate's back and got on to the prepared carriage with the skink. The carriage was plated with gold and a thick layer of tiger skin layered the interior. "I didn't mean to make it difficult for you, senior. There is no need for you to fear me as such."  

When Li Wuzhang finally looked up, still recovering from the fear, the curtain had already lowered.  

"Let's go."

Xiao’s Comments:

I’m actually quite surprised by the brutality in which Bai Tan killed Wu Yanfu…

What do you guys think caused Wu Yanfu’s to lose his focus and led his practice to go awry when he was so close to the completion of the six desires?

And what was it that he wanted to tell Bai Tan before he die? Or did he have nothing and that was just his way of having fun at Bai Tan’s expenses?


[1] Shizun is similar to Shifu/teacher or Master but to make the distinction between Master as in master and slave and Master as in teacher.

[2] The term can be translated to "used his stomach to speak" so I thought of ventriloquism.

[3] The term was directly translated. The term wolf is usually used to describe someone as ungrateful.

[4] The curse is directly translated to "Tiger eats G.o.d's Light curse".

[5] It can be understood as useful or that he isn't impotent.

[6] The Chinese equivalent of the seven deadly sins?

[7] Literally translates to "no appearance".

[8] It refers to a fragment of his unconscious thoughts that are bad and can't be controlled.

[9] The author probably meant it as a t.i.tle/position and not the actual Asura.

[10] The name translates to "three poison". It could also have made reference to the Buddhist culture again, in which case, it would mean the three evils/burdens, greed for the five desires, anger without patience and foolishness. *The “I” or "me" makes a reference to his position or suggests a high rank

[11] Shixiong is similar to 'senior.' Usually used when one practice under the same master/sect and the person is of a higher rank/age/year.

*The “I” or "me" makes a reference to his position or suggests a high rank

                                                                                                                                                   Chapter 4

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The Shaman's Poison- 药人毒 The Shaman's Poison Chapter 3 summary

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