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Rise of the Heavenly Forge Demon

Zucheng was born and raised in Low Dew City his whole life. Born to an influential city official. Zucheng lived a comfy life for a mortal. But, the Heavens are ever changing, and Zucheng's life and predicted future is turned on their head when he becomes one of the direct disciples of the Heavenly Demon. Read as Zucheng's childish dream of becoming a blacksmith becomes his only hope of survival.

Craylos_1s_C0ol · Eastern
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4 Chs

Chapter 1 - Zucheng the Fool

Peace. That was what it was, right? The loud bustling of the city. The constant yammering and yapping of mortals and the odd one or two Cultivators alike. It was peace. Wasn't it?

The young man barely out of his boyhood couldn't quite remember. Not a lot of time had passed, and yet he felt decades older. Though, he thought, technically even in a few decades he would still look in his early 20s. And, if he continues down the path of Cultivation, he may look 20 forever.

The young man looks out towards the fields of warriors and sighs heavily. That isn't what he wants.

And yet, he knows, that if he continues to fail, it will be his only choice. So, without any other hope of salvation, the young man looks back towards the sweltering heat of the forge he dreamed so desperately to pursue the practice of. If he doesn't figure this out, he will fight and die. If only that peace he could barely remember was still within his grasp.

--Six Months Ago--

"Zu-" 

"Zuche-"

"ZUCHENG!"

The young man, whose name is Zucheng, wakes up with a sudden bolt. Causing his forehead to hit another's. Zucheng winces and then cringes when he hears a wince coming from the person who woke him up. His childhood friend and fiancée, Daoxing.

Zucheng opens his eyes to see the less than amused face of the red-haired woman. Her slightly tan skin, which is unusual within the Frostjade Empire of which Low Dew City is a proud member of, was well covered with the long pink silk of her robes.

Since they were children, Daoxing always dressed like a Cultivator. Zucheng's earliest memories of childhood involved him and Daoxing pretending to fell evil Cultivators and Demon Beasts. Rescuing the Frostjade Empire from the forces of darkness. The usual childish dreaming. And yet, that was never Zucheng's dream.

Zucheng pushes those childish thoughts and foolish dreams aside to check on his fiancée. Despite a slight red mark, her forehead is fine.

"Zucheng, you meanie!" cries out Daoxing in the tone she uses whenever she feigned anger.

"Meanie? Me?" gasps Zucheng, who has decided to play along with Daoxing once more.

"Yes you! Are there any other brutes named Zucheng?" cried out Daoxing.

Zucheng places his right hand under his chin, and rubs it slightly. A loud, annoying "Hmmm" sound vibrates out from his pursed lips.

"Well, the Frostjade Empire does have a large population, so you never know- ow." Zucheng's masterful comedy was interrupted.

A light chop had hit his head, nothing painful. He was just being dramatic.

"You better apologize if you don't want my, Daoxing the Great Cultivator's, Chop of Yin-Yang Disruption!!" roared Daoxing proudly, puffing out her chest as she did so like a proud beast puffing itself up after a successful battle.

Zucheng stares downwards.

"Oh please forgive me Daoxing." he said to the two objects whose true form was obstructed by the robes.

"...Pervert." replied Daoxing in a mute matter-of-fact way.

"Eh!?" yelped out Zucheng.

Zucheng had walked to this hill to think on his brother leaving, and had taken a nap. It was a nice nap too. 'Thigh pillows are a gift from the Heavens' thought Zucheng.

But alas, his nap had to end eventually, no? And so, Zucheng jumped up, twisted his ankle, and begin to roll down the hill. Each roll causing bruises and slight scrapes.

"Zuuuucheeeeng" Daoxing cries out.

She began to chase after him, pushing her mortal body to the limits. Not because of the damage the hill is causing, but because Zucheng is about to hit a moving carriage. Being trampled to death is never fun, especially by an archaic Truck-kun. The story just started, you know? It wouldn't make sense for a reincarnation to happen so soon!

Zucheng, who was only half conscious due to the sudden, repeated head trauma that is the hill, was unable to try to stop.

And yet, the carriage did not hit Zucheng. He was caught.

A pair of strong, heavily calloused hands pry open Zucheng's mouth as he is fed something. It was like bitter water, and the disgusting taste wakes him up from his mentally damaged stupor.

Zucheng looks at his arms, no wounds.

"That... that was a pill!" expressed Zucheng, the level of his shock quite palpable within his tone of voice. 

Kind of. It was diluted with water." said a gruff voice.

"Otherwise you would have died, kid." said the voice again, this time followed by a hearty, loud laughter.

Zucheng focuses on the source of the sound, still in some shock, it takes him a moment to realize who, or more importantly, what the man in front of him is.

A Cultivator. An Outer Sect Disciple of the Mourning Lily Sect to be exact. 

Zucheng immediately bows, expressing his respect as quickly as possible.

"Lord Cultivator, thank you for rescuing this foolish Zucheng" Zucheng says with as much audible respect as he could possibly hope to muster.

However, instead of enjoying Zucheng's respectful actions, the muscular Cultivator with graying black hair and, to be honest, a hideously large, untrimmed mustache found his way to annoyance instead of enjoyment.

'Yet another pushover Mortal' thought the Cultivator.

But it didn't matter. The Cultivator didn't save Zucheng because of a sense of honor, or because he found Zucheng interesting. It was because of the young woman running after Zucheng.

Daoxing just arrived, and unlike Zucheng, she did not immediately bow. Instead, she showed caution.

"Zucheng, are you okay" whispers Daoxing.

Zucheng, quickly understanding Daoxing's caution, nods.

"I am more than okay, Daoxing. Thanks to Lord Cultivator." replied Zucheng.

Daoxing's slightly hostile gaze calms down and she finally bows.

"Thank you for saving my fiancée." said Daoxing. And unlike Zucheng, her tone was more natural. No forced respect whatsoever.

Although the Cultivator showed no changes in his facial expression, he nodded in his thoughts.

'This girl, she's interesting' thought the Cultivator.

He actually came here to help with Sect recruitment, but perhaps that might not be needed.

Despite being an Outer Sect Disciple, he is almost an Outer Sect Elder. He's seen many talents and is capable of recognizing geniuses as such. 

And this girl...

That hill is steep. A careless misstep could cause the average person to easily begin tumbling downward, much like Zucheng. And yet, this young woman in front of him had masterfully used all her body to run down the hill. Not walk down, not shuffle down. But run. Full speed.

"No no. I don't need thanks." replied the Cultivator in his gruff voice.

"I did what any proud disciple of the Mourning Lily Sect would do." he says.

Zucheng continued to smile but, since young, he had been taught the ways of an Imperial Scribe, was beginning to suspect that the "kind" and "heroic" Cultivator did not, in fact, rescue Zucheng from the kindness of his heart.

Zucheng had never been very good at reading someone's character. Telling whether or not they were good or evil. However, he was still taught how to recognize such things regardless. And, he realized something.

If you cannot tell the true demeanor of an individual, you push. Zucheng is not skilled at many things, however, when it came to pushing someone's buttons in the safest way possible, Zucheng is a master, an artisan.

"Ah yes. Thank you, oh proud and noble OUTER Disciple of the even prouder and more noble Rank 10,011 Sect." says Zucheng in the same respectful tone as before. Except this time, he made the Cultivator aware that Zucheng recognized the dullish light blue of the Outer Sect Disciples of the Mourning Lily Sect. Emphasizing the Cultivator's less than impressive status as subtly as possible.

The Cultivator's stoic expression remained but Zucheng could see the subtle shift in the Cultivator's demeanor.

Before the Cultivator was, in a subtle way, acting high and mighty. Above them, albeit above them like how a hero is above the commonfolk. But now, the Cultivator was beginning to realize that perhaps Zucheng was not as foolish as he thought.

"What is your name, boy?" said the Cultivator. Emphasizing the word "boy".

Unlike Zucheng, the Cultivator was not taught the subtle art of conversation. And thus, Daoxing could sense the hostility.

Subconsciously she takes a step between the two. Protecting Zucheng, although Zucheng thought that such an action was foolish, it was the thought that ultimately counted.

"My name?" said Zucheng.

"My name is Zucheng Pi-Xiu."

The Cultivator gulps, loudly. His stoic persona crumbling like the walls of a ruined castle against the absoluteness of time. He messed up. The Cultivator quickly bows, hoping to correct this situation as swiftly as possible.

"Greetings to the Imperial Family!" shouted the Cultivator.

Several Mortals going about their day turn their heads towards the loud Cultivator who said something ridiculous. But upon seeing Zucheng, his arms crossed, looking smugly down upon the quivering Cultivator, the Mortals only felt one emotion.

Pity.

They pitied that Cultivator. For that poor, pitiable bastard had fallen into the trap of Zucheng the Fool. Oh yes. Zucheng is quite well known in Low Dew City. Despite it's population of nearly 20,000, just about everyone knew of Zucheng. Zucheng wasn't given the less than noble title of "the Fool" because he was foolish or idiotic. No, the reason was a bit more complex.

"Do you understand the weight of your careless actions, Cultivator?" said Zucheng with as much royal young master energy as he could put out.

Daoxing tried her best to look serious, but she always thought Zucheng was quite adorable whenever he did things like this.

"Y-yes, oh wise Imperial son." replied the Outer Sect Disciple.

"And what was your careless action?" asked Zucheng, the tone of his voice implying he knows everything already.

"I... does my foolishness need to be spoken aloud, no less in public of all things?" asked the Cultivator.

Zucheng the "Imperial son" looked VERY displeased, causing the Cultivator's trembling to increase.

"I... apologize, oh noble one. This fool had dared to try to manipulate the situation in order to recruit the young lady." replied the Cultivator at last.

Zucheng was not expecting that. For a moment, his royal terrorist energy was almost disturbed. But, Zucheng is able to recollect his calmness quickly. Zucheng's eyes shift towards his side. Towards, Daoxing. Her expression was one of confusion, at least, to anyone who did not know her. But, Zucheng, who adored his fiancée, could see pass that. Towards her eyes was an overwhelming want. A want that Zucheng has tried to bury within himself. Dream. Her dream is right in front of her.

And, Zucheng felt... an oddness in his heart as she doesn't even focus on him anymore. Her eyes wholly focused on the Cultivator. On her desire. On what could be her once chance.

And little did Zucheng know, that his beloved Daoxing's fortuitous encounter would bring about the end of his peace.

This is my xianxia/cultivation novel, Rise of the Heavenly Forge Demon. I'm not well versed in the naming schemes of China, thus if the names seem kind of scuffed at any point, I do apologize. Hope you enjoy!

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