The Great Worm Lich Chapter 1
In ancient times, the northwestern region in China's Western Sichuan Province was called Jiuli. Mountain ranges spread across the region within its borders. Aside from its capital Chengdu, which supported a long-standing civilization due to the mountain basin landform it had coupled with farming activities on fertile land, the rest of the cities were built close to the mountains. As the outskirts were often mountain ranges, it was a place where barbarians lived since the beginning of time.
Hengze City in Qu County within the Western Sichuan Province was like a little city that turned into an ancient jungle. In ancient times, during the earliest development period in the Miao Yi Mountain Village, the people there initially led a very poor life. However, the people there became rich following the growth in China's economy in recent years. Since then, they have opened up the region for activities, and have increasingly ventured into tourism. Eventually, this caused the occlusive region to change, slowly bringing out its natural beauty as it grew more prosperous.
It was late autumn and the weather was chilly. The noon sun was shining on the stone roads of Guawo Village in Damu Town, Qu County, but there was no warmth at all. Shadows were reflected on the road.
Far away, tens of sixteen or seventeen-year-old young men in their used but not old uniforms messed around as they walked along the stone road following the shadows under the trees on the side. If they were born in big cities, young men of their age who were obedient would be going to review classes day and night for the sake of getting into good universities and would suffer immense pressure for a great future. The more mischievous young men, on the other hand, would have learned to be in a relationship, smoke, drink, and fight. Those who were in a well-to-do family would even become regulars at night clubs.
However, the young men who were living in this remote mountain village that was rather impetuous seemed plain due to the growing number of tourists. Unfortunately, being plain did not mean that they were kind or peaceful by nature, especially those in Guawo Village. The place where the minorities lived had always been accustomed to a tough life since the beginning of times.
"Da Dan, I heard from my father that they're going to build an internet base station in our village soon. When it's done, we don't have to go all the way to town to surf the internet anymore."
"You're dreaming. The network company must be an idiot to build a base station in our place that's so small and remote."
"Why can't they come to our village? The place we live in is dubbed the 'Natural Ecology Cultural Tourism Zone' where we have tourists every day. The tourists come to our village to enjoy the sceneries, but even the foreigners are now bored of it. Now, we even have foreigners teaching at schools, so how is it impossible to obtain internet access here?"
"Look at your incompetently low IQ. The tourists are all rich, they're using a satellite to surf the internet, so why should they rely on the base station? Moreover, not having internet would make our village seem 'all natural'. Do you understand what 'all natural' means?"
"Look at you, you're just like the nickname that your father gave you, which is a piece of 'rough stone'."
"How dare you criticize me, how dare you call me a rough stone? I-I'll give you an eye bomb!"
A couple of rude, half-grown young men began fighting as they talked to each other on the stone road. The square-faced young man who had a face that was as big as a square melon and eyes as small as broad beans was enraged and wanted to beat up the other young man with his friends.
However, the square-faced young man was not to be blamed for being mad. Guawo Village prioritized the Miaowei people. The young man was called Ge Pushi; he had the authentic old family name of the Three Miaowei Old Family Names which were the Hei Yi, Bai Yi ,and Hong Yi ethnics. Naturally, he understood that 'rough stone' indicated the useless stone that was loose like honeycombs within the mountains which was always used to build latrines.
His parents gave him such a name with the intention of preventing their child from dying at a young age. They came up with such a lousy name so that he could grow up normally. It was only natural that Ge Pushi was ashamed of his name when he grew up, but he could not complain about his father and mother, otherwise, he would have been taught a lesson by getting beaten up.
Ge Pushi's ordinary friends would lack confidence when they saw him getting really angry and would end the fight by comforting him. However, Hejia Heiyu, who was disrespectful to Ge Pushi this time, was not a weakling. Refusing to yield, Hejia Heiyu rolled up his sleeves and went toward him like a bickering gamecock.
Seeing Ge Pushi, who was usually mischievous, about to fight Hejia Heiyu, the honest kids who were on their way home after school dodged aside as the duo's mischievous friends did not stop them but encouraged the fight in unison.
"Stone, give this kid an eye bomb. He'll only know how good you are when he starts to bleed."
"Heiyu, haven't you heard the old saying of 'he who strikes first gains the advantage'. You must attack first, you won't be at a disadvantage if you attack first."
Persuaded by his friends, Ge Pushi shouted loud and swung a punch. What he did not expect was that the skinny Hejia Heiyu jumped off the slab agilely and avoided his quick attack. He then extended his leg as his body turned sideway, which hit Ge Pushi's butt.
'A pull of the butt moved the entire body'Ge Pushi's punch did not land on his enemy. Since he could not pull away from his punch due to the swing of his butt, his punch landed on an innocent, clueless young man's face who was walking toward him seven to eight steps away. The innocent young man was skinny with high cheekbones and looked like he was not a person to be offended.
"Fwahh" He was stunned as his nose bled continuously after suffering the punch.
"M-Mountain Worm, how how did I get you," Ge Pushi stammered as he spoke. He suddenly looked troubled as he looked at the skinny young man's face that was flowing with blood. However, his childish pride that a young man usually possessed immediately made him realize that he definitely could not lose his dignity at the moment. As such, his tone became overbearing as he said, "Why did you stand in front of my punch? Are you in the same gang as Heiyu? Hmph, you must be blind then. You deserve that punch."
The skinny young man who was punched for nothing snapped out of his astonishment when he heard the square-faced young man challenging him. To their surprise, he said nothing at all and ran away quickly after wiping off the blood on his face.
There were mumbling noises of discussion coming from his back.
"Stone, Mountain Worm is nothing, but his father isn't someone to be messed around with. You shouldn't be so tough."
"It's the generation where we have a satellite in the sky, and you're still buying those ancient superstitions. You should read 'Walking into Science', there's no such things as ghosts or a god." Although Ge Pushi was stubborn, from his tone, it was obvious that he regretted what he did.
Others were unaware, but although he was young, he was the official 'Old Miao'. He knew very well that this skinny young man named Zhang Lisheng would not be an easy man when he dared to use 'worm' as his nickname in this dense jungle as well as a barren land terrorized by venomous worms.
The family name Zhang was one of the 27 Miaowei Chinese Family Names besides Wu, Long, Zhao, Ou, Teng, Hu, Xiang, and so on. Although it was not one of the Three Miaowei Old Family Names, it had more than a thousand years of legacy. Especially among the Miaowei Chinese Family Names, it was rumored that the Zhang family has followed a witchcraft orthodoxy since ancient times. Naturally, this made them different from other families, so tourists who had the Zhang family name in the Western Sichuan Miao Village were more popular and experienced less harassment.
Ge Pushi, who was on the slab, was filled with regrets, while Zhang Lisheng, who suffered the former's punch, ran away without bothering with what just happened. Soon, he arrived at an old house with an old mahogany door along the village road. Since Guawo Village was located in the deep mountain, it was damp and moldy during summer, while the chilly wind was bone-piercing during the winter. The village homes used to be bamboo houses. The environment had gotten better during recent years since the villagers built bamboo house replicas with high cement pillars on the four corners of the foundation.
The old brick house that had the style of China's central plain gave out an unusual feel to others. The old house's door lock was a square lock made of brass. Zhang Lisheng agilely unlocked the door lock with the key that was hung on his neck. After walking into the courtyard of the old house, he then used two heavy latches to lock the wooden door firmly.
"Finally made it back before the quarter-hour mark." Zhang Lisheng, who didn't even take a rest on the road, took a couple of fast breaths after confirming that the door was locked properly by pulling it hard. He mumbled to himself with a faint joy.
He then began releasing a strange sound that went 'pst shh' as he moved his head around like he had gone crazy. Zhang Lisheng's chanting sounded meaningless. The length, pitch, and the speed were changing endlessly without any regular pattern. However, it gave out a chilling rhythm.
As the sound was getting more and more rapid, an extremely thin mound started to appear on the ocher ground in the old house's courtyard. When Zhang Lisheng's chanting abruptly stopped due to his shortness of breath, a rope with a cross of black and red that was as thick as a thumb broke out of the ground. Just like a living thing, it climbed up to the young man's body following his right leg.
Taking a closer look, the rope was actually a huge centipede that exceeded fifty centimeters with black and red colors shining on its back shell. The centipede had a flat head and bright, black eyes like black beans that showed intelligence within. There were two blue black fangs showed on the side of its mouth that seemed ferocious. It made its way up to Zhang Lisheng's face not long after.
"Blood, there's blood." Zhang Lisheng was not afraid at all when he saw the centipede that was softly rubbing against the bottom of his nose. He even whispered as he smirked, "Eat it quickly, don't waste any of it."
The huge centipede seemed like it understood what the young man said so it stopped being intimate with him. It curled its body to form a U-shape and moved toward the bottom of his nose. Soon, all of the blood that Zhang Lisheng bled was not only dried up but completely vanished wherever the centipede had passed through.
As the centipede started eating his blood, the young man became relaxed right away as he sat straight on the ground. However, the smile that was showed on his face did not last long as the dizziness kicked in. "Bleeeaaargh" He retched but nothing came out at all. Soon, his face was as pale as a dead person.
Zhang Lisheng, who had always fed the centipede only a couple drops of blood, realized how stupid his shortcut attempt of feeding the centipede right now was. It was simply suicidal, but what was done could not be undonethere was no turning back at all. All he could do was to pray that god would allow him to get away from this threat.
The more pain and fear Zhang Lisheng felt, the happier the venomous worm he was feeding with his blood. As the centipede was eating the young man's blood, there was a faint light coming off its body that was curling terrifyingly. Its head and tail were shaking at the same time, completely ignoring the flesh on its master's skinny body. Zhang Lisheng's body was shrinking at an alarming rate that could be seen with the naked eyes, and soon he was left with only skin and bones.
Fortunately, as his frightened and stunned eyes were going to fall out of its sockets, the centipede was finally done feasting on his flowing blood. It then rubbed against the young man intimately in a relaxed manner. He finally got the opportunity to grasp his breath. Zhang Lisheng sat on the ground exhausted and weak. As he slowly regained his vitality by a little, his body that was left with skin and bones slightly expanded like an inflatable doll. Although he was so skinny that he did not have the shape of a human, at least he did not look scary like a skeleton covered in skin.
Suddenly, he used all the strength that he had to pull the centipede off his face in rage then threw it on the ground. Zhang Lisheng then said in a hoarse voice, "Qing Hong, you've almost killed me. You've eaten so much blood and vitality this time. You must listen to me so that my father doesn't beat me up, otherwise, I'll never forgive you."
After mentioning his father, the young man suddenly shivered as he remembered that he had yet to complete his 'homework' that he should do in the morning. He felt that the soreness and pain coming from his weak body was not as unbearable anymore... 'Pst shh' He then started chanting an ancient incantation immediately. As the incantation went off, the centipede that was on the ground began moving its slender body in an odd manner and frantically crawled around with its thousands of thin legs. However, it was not moving in the way that the young man desired it to.