About the Serpent
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Back at the end of the Qin Dynasty, when the first emperor of Han, Liu Bang, was but a local officer, it was rumored that a great serpent lurked in Fengxize. Arriving to investigate, he encountered a strange being with the body of a man and the head of a snake. Seeing that it was a monster, he pulled out his sword to slay it. Panicked, the being explained that he was no monster or demon, but a descendant of Fuxi and Nüwa, a remnant of the Xia Dynasty.

Upon closer examination, Liu found that the being wore the clothing of scholars and officials, adorned with a white jade belt, indeed a well-learned person. He hence asked the being about gods, kingdoms, kings, beasts and men. With stories, the serpent-man answered accordingly.










About the Gods

At the beginning, the world was like an egg. When Pangu cracked it, the Great Abyss was formed. The Great Abyss was called Guixu. The gods were drawn to it like insects flying into a fire. There, they fought and consumed each other; hence Guixu was also the tomb of gods. Two Great Dragons, of Yin and Yang, also lurked beneath and fed on the gods, one called Fuxi, the other Nüwa. The two Dragons mated and spawned nine offspring, and from the Nine Children, men were born. Hence men were the most distinguished among all beings.

Tens of thousands of years later, the two Dragons fought. Fuxi was shattered, and Nüwa was imprisoned in Taisui. The rule of men was broken, and the gods all cheered.

One Qilin among the gods had the shape of a deer and the face of a man, carrying large antlers with black and white patterns. Upon hearing the event, Qilin abandoned its form and fled to Saturn.

A faceless god witnessed this, and laughed at it: “How come you fear the two Dragons this much?”

Qilin answered: “Gods are the greediest and the most foolish of all beings, and men are descendants of the Dragons. Now that the two Dragons are both gone, the gods will surely feed upon the Nine Children and men. And when the Dragons return, they will surely consume all gods in turn. I only wish to avoid such disaster.”

The Faceless God said: “The two Dragons will fight and consume each other, just like the gods do. No need to be concerned with this.”

Qilin answered: “But one will surely remain between the two Dragons. And by then, we will all end up in its stomach.” And so it no longer responded to the Faceless God, and hid deep within the planet of Saturn.
















About the Kingdoms

In ancient times, a war between the Xia Dynasty and a kingdom of apes was fought. The Lord of Apes summoned the king beast and the mother tree, with animals and plants of a thousand kinds under its control; the King of Xia commanded soldiers and chariots of iron and bronze, and harnessed great weapons that could wipe out cities.

Over fifty great wars were fought, with countless smaller battles. Wherever the fires of war reached, waters were vaporized and rocks were turned into sand. The savages who witnessed this all fled in terror as they thought of it as the wrath of gods.

The war continued like this for over a hundred years, until King Mang of Xia rode a wyrm to the great salty lake, and met with the Lord of Apes.

The King of Xia said: “The taming of beasts is the Way of the Dragon; the construction of machines is the Way of the Serpent. The Dragon and the Serpent are partners; hence the beasts and the machines originate from the same source. It is futile to continue the fight, so the war must end.”

The Lord of Apes asked: “If the war is to end, what should we do?”

The King of Xia said: “We can each rule one part of the land.”

The Lord of Apes asked: “But the land is limited, what if we conquered it all?”

The King of Xia pointed skyward and said: “The Milky Way is endless, and we can rule the stars.”

So the Lord of Apes agreed. It is then decided that the Kingdom of Apes shall have the West, as well as Mercury, Venus, and Mars; Xia shall rule the East, along with the Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter. The war hence ended.

Another few hundred years passed, Golden Crows, the sun spirits, caused ten suns to appear in the sky. The apes rested during the day and worked at night; the Xia people lived near waters and practiced agriculture. Hence both the Kingdom of Apes and Xia were greatly troubled. In addition, the Sun People, lead by Xihe and Dijun, revolted in the two kingdoms. They said: “We are the children of the suns.”

The Kingdom of Apes sought to suppress them, but was unsuccessful with the interference of the ten suns. The Sun People then stole their great treasure, and made the king beast, the mother tree, as well as the thousands of animals and plants wreak great havoc. The kingdom thus collapsed, leaving few survivors amongst the apes.

King Jie of Xia heard of the event. Terrified, he sent Scholar Yi to kill the ten suns with the Sword of Xuanyuan. Nine suns fell to the ground with only one crow escaped. But the fallen crows turned the land into a sea of fires, and Xia was doomed as well.

Therefore it was exclaimed that: “Alas! Back then, weren’t the Kingdom of Apes and Xia prosperous? Ordinary people would regard them as saints and gods, and they also regarded themselves as heavenly people. Their domains were not only this land, but the stars as well. Yet they are but ashes now.” And among the stars people now saw, sometimes strange blinking lights could be found. They were what was left of the two kingdoms.








About the Kings

The King of Ajia once called upon the Great Abyss, summoning the Three Lords of Death, and said: “I wish that I will not die.” The Lords of Death answered: “You may gamble with us.” Thus the king played cards with Yulü, competed in throwing with Yama, and engaged in a chess match with Kshitigarbha, with the royal blood, the citizens, and the animals under his rule as stakes.

The king lost. The Lords of Death hence took the souls of royalty, common people, and livestock. Disasters arose, plagues prevailed, and wars broke out. Less than one tenth of the people survived. The survivors revolted, killing the royalties and officials, and trapped the king in his court.

Terrified, the king called upon the Great Abyss once more. A faceless god answered him, and said: “You must first die, and will then return in three days. By consuming all blood, you shall live.” The king hanged himself in the court, and the whole kingdom cheered. They exposed his body in the wild, where it was fed upon by the crows.

Three days later, the whole city was lifeless. All were corpses, drained of blood. The god had sent its emissary. With a jade cup, the emissary held the blood of the city’s people, and presented it to the king. Attempting to drink it, the king grabbed the cup. But as his body was torn and broken from the crows, he dropped it by accident. The blood ran down and formed a river. The god sighed and said: “You cannot live and may not die.”

The King panicked, and asked for the blood once more. But his chance was lost. The Three Lords of Death laughed, then turned into crows and flew off.













About the Beasts

A man named Yang lived in the West, the land the Apes once walked, now ruled by Daevas. The Daevas practiced witchcraft and worshipped hideous gods. They might wear fancy clothes, but being beasts inside, they used humans as food, slaves and toys. People under their rule suffered.

One day, Yang could not stand this any longer, and fled into the night. He met a monk named Bumo, who served Fuxi.

Bumo said: “Fuxi is the Father Serpent, the god of metal, one who bears great wisdom. Your pain can be eased if you replace your flesh with copper, your bone with iron, your organs with clockwork, and your blood with mercury.”

Yang was reluctant, turning him down: “If I abandon my body, how can I remain a man? Such is foolish.”

Bumo sighed and said: “You may call upon the gods for help, but do not call upon the Mother Dragon.”

Yang then bade farewell to Bumo. Soon after, the Daevas came and caught him. Locking him up with livestock, they decided to eat him on a fine day. It was then that Yang called upon the gods, but none answered.

Weeping into the night, Yang heard the call of the Beast. It was the Dragon, who spoke to him: “I am Nüwa, the mother of you all.” Yang regarded it as a god, and knelt. He offered goats and pigs in the cage as sacrifices to feed the Six Beasts under the throne of the Dragon. The Dragon then said: "Good. So you shall receive my aid."

Yang thus became the Sorcerer, and herded dragons, snakes, and beasts. The Daevas could not match his power. They fled, leaving the city behind. Yang then said: "I shall be the Sorcerer King." As he finished, the Six Beasts all descended and congratulated him, and was fed with the city’s people.

Bumo heard of the event, and led his monks to fight against Yang. When Bumo saw Yang again, he found that the being no longer resembled a human, but a serpent-like creature with four eyes and a huge mouth. Bumo exclaimed: “Once struggled against the beasts, he now became a beast himself, such a shame!”

He defeated Yang at Yaluo, and drove him into Taisui. As a beast in the cage, Yang never again bathed in sunlight.



















About Men

During Shi Huang Ti’s reign, all lands were united, all savages were under the emperor’s rule, and people with rare talents came from all over the world to seek audience with the emperor. The emperor of Qin hence announced to the world that: “I seek eternal life.”

Panjia came from overseas. He was of the ageless ancient people, and spoke the words of birds and animals. He talked about the reign of the Dragon and the Serpent, where the Great Tower of Jianmu led to the sky, the Paradise Garden housed all beasts, and the Kunlun Palace resided by men. With beasts locked up in the base, he built Epang Palace, where towers could reach the stars. He then wrote languages of all life into a tome and presented it to the emperor.

The emperor asked: “Can I achieve eternal life through this?”

Panjia answered: “If you can accomplish such great things, you will surely be remembered by all of your people, and live forever in their hearts.”

The emperor was enraged, and burnt the tome. Panjia sighed, and disappeared into the flames, never seen again.

Yufu came from the Shu state. He was the descendant of Cancong, a remnant of the Xia Dynasty. He talked about the Yellow Emperor, the kings Yao, Shun, and Yu, and how they managed to govern the land to prosperity through the Way of Fuxi. He first forged tens of thousands of mechanical soldiers, and then a flying ship, which sailed in the Milky Way and settled on the moon.

The emperor asked: “Can I achieve eternal life through this?”

Yufu answered: “If you replace your mortal body with machines, you may live forever.”

The emperor was not pleased. Regarding the method as heretical, he abandoned Yufu’s plans.

Xu Fu came from the West. He was a messenger of Adytum, servant of Mother Dragon. He spoke of the Sorcerer Yang, who worshipped Nüwa and the Six Beasts under her throne, and was able to defeat demons, harness beasts, and wield great power.

The emperor asked: “Can I achieve eternal life through this?”

Xu Fu answered: “Yes.”

The emperor was greatly pleased. He permitted Xu Fu’s request, who asked for five hundred children as sacrifice. Xu Fu then sacrificed to the Great Dragon. Soon after, a Beast under the Dragon’s throne came. It indeed granted the emperor eternal life and great power, saying: “You must sacrifice a person daily to show gratitude towards Mother Dragon.” The emperor answered: “I shall sacrifice a hundred daily.” The Great Beast replied: “Such is good.” The emperor then collected people from all over the land. Xu Fu saw this, and fled to the eastern seas.

Terrified of the emperor’s actions, Yufu said: “Panjia is the perfection of man; the Xia people are but descendants of the Dragons; Xu Fu, howerever, is indeed of the beasts’ kind. Seeking help not from Panjia, but from Xu Fu, a grave mistake. An eternal life but at the cost of the lives of all who walk the land, such is intolerable.”

Yufu thus led the mechanical soldiers he built and trapped the emperor in Epang Palace. He then sank the palace into the ground, and left the emperor with no escape despite his eternal life.

As the stories were finished, Liu said: “People all say that a monster dwells here. Thus, I cannot return empty handed.” The being said: “You can slay this serpent.” He tossed his jade belt onto the ground, which then turned into a white serpent. Liu slew it, and saw that the serpent-man was nowhere to be found. Seeing the serpent Liu brought back, the people were all amazed, and said that it was a sign of future royalty.

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