1 Broken Demon Corpse

"Help…please…someone help me!" Tied by scarlet energy chains, a 12 years old boy kneeled at the center of a massive ritual formation, screaming at the sky. Ancient runic symbols covered the floor, spreading as far as the eyes could see. Each rune glowed with a mixture of red and dark energies, firing foul radiations at the boy, and all the people that surrounded him.

Indeed, though the boy alone stood at the center of this demonic formation, many others had been forced into it as well. 16,000 children, half male, half female, formed circles around the main boy, also tied in energy chains, but a mixture of black and white chains instead. They all cried as well, begging for help, begging for salvation from some of those mighty immortals that claimed to always stand up for the helpless in their times of crisis.

This was those 16,001 children's time of crisis, but no immortal appeared. No help answered their tears, and their screams fell on deaf ears. They were alone, surrounded by demons, and abandoned by the world.

Said demons floated in the air, 600 fiends dressed in black monastic robes that contrasted with the large variety in their appearances. From matchlessly beautiful creatures to gigantic monstrosities, those demons could be said to represent diversity at its finest. And as they looked at 16,001 children, there was neither joy nor sorrow on their faces, only complete apathy at what those kids were about to become.

"Summon the Broken Demon Corpse." Ten of the demons said in tandem, and without delay, their peers formed a hand sign, causing a large white coffin to emerge from the void. In that coffin, a pale faceless corpse lay. Its hands stayed crossed like a mummy, but from that one faceless corpse, infinite Blood Energy spread out, causing the children underneath to shake like leaves in a thunderstorm.

"Send in the 8,000 Hopeless Souls and activate the Polarity of Yin and Yang." The same ten demons said, again prompting the 600 to take action. In synch, they summoned chalky white jars from their storage rings, aiming them at the faceless corpse.

A multitude of souls rushed out of the jars, pouring into the corpse. Some demons put out more souls than others, but in total, 8,000 resentful souls poured out, and even before they fused with the faceless corpse, it was as if the rage and agony they'd experienced in life resonated with the corpse, making it shine with a radiant luster.

And how else could it be, when the flesh and blood of the 8,000 had heavily contributed to the creation of this corpse? Fueled by the 8,000 Hopeless Souls, the faceless corpse stirred, empty eye sockets forming on its face while loud vibrations spread across its body.

If at first, the 12 years old at the center of this horrible formation trembled and screamed for help like 16,000 other kids, when those 8,000 souls appeared, his struggle ended, and his body went limp.

As if to give reason to his despair, the 600 demons lowered their hands, causing the 16,000 children to turn into balls of black and white energies, rising up the air while getting closer to the only remaining kid.

The Broken Demon Corpse's eyes became two black holes, and the sky turned red. Loud cracks spread across the earth, and underneath the eyes of the boy and 600 demons, one gargantuan tree sprouted from the ground, rising towards the Heavens.

"8,000 Hopeless Souls refined from a gathering of murderers, rapists, thieves, vengeance seekers, schemers, torturers, soldiers, and hedonistic deviants, 1,000 each, all of the worst kind imaginable. Add to that 16,000 virgin boys and girls to complete the Polarity of Yin and Yang, and the lords of the Demon Realm can create a sinister enough body to force the Karma-Wielding Tree back into this world.

They...weren't lying. Now they just have to sacrifice me alongside the 10 Demon Sages, and the Heaven Rejecting Blood Formation…will be complete." As he watched the tree rise into the sky, the boy whispered. His tears resumed instantly, and as they dripped onto the ground, multicolored lilies sprouted at his feet.

Huan Yi was that boy's name, a name that from the beginning to the end of his life, only brought him calamities. Hailing from the state of Qin, a mighty martial kingdom that competed for hegemony over the Barbarian Lands with six other states, Huan Yi was born in the Qin royal family as the eldest son of the Prince of Yong, the least favored son of Qin's current ruler: the mighty Huan Zhaoxiang.

In his childhood, the Prince of Yong demonstrated monstrous martial talent and was favored to become the Crown Prince. However, he grew up into an abusive monster that terrorized the commoners in his fief alongside the clique of like-minded scoundrels that he allied with for power and pleasure.

In these times of constant warfare where the country had to stay united, Huan Zhaoxiang couldn't allow such a man to succeed him as King of Qin. However, when an opportunity came to broker a peace with the neighboring Kingdom of Zhao at the cost of three royal hostages, the Prince of Yong was the only royal to volunteer himself.

But he didn't just offer to go alone. As a loving father and doting husband, the Prince of Yong didn't hesitate to offer his wife and eldest son as well, condemning all three to exile in enemy territory.

Back then, Huan Yi was just four. And if the story stopped there, he wouldn't have grown up into such a desperate and resentful child. But unfortunately for his mother and him, this move from his princely father was nothing more than a well-orchestrated plot.

From inside the State of Zhao, the Prince of Yong instigated a rebellion, allying with disgruntled local officials and foreign spies to cause a horrifying civil war that saw the death of 500,000 Zhao men and about 300,000 more women and children. He then sneaked back into Qin with his allies, but not before capturing the most beloved son of the Zhao King as hostage to maintain peace.

Thus, in that succession of moves, the Prince of Yong not only managed to deal a crippling blow to Zhao's military might and state stability, but he did all that while ensuring that they wouldn't dare to retaliate—thus maintaining the evil cycle of disgust and distrust between the Zhao King and his citizens.

Due to those accomplishments, Huan Zhong, the Prince of Yong, had his territory doubled in size, was granted control of Qin's Yellow Banner Army, and the right to wage war freely. His influence was now only second to the king's, and kept the current Crown Prince on his toes.

But there is only one problem. As he was escaping back to Qin, Huan Zhong believed that if he didn't leave valuable hostages for the Zhao people to vent their frustration on, their king wouldn't be able to prevent the state from rushing into a war of extermination with Qin. So Huan Zhong did the only reasonable thing he could think of: leaving his wife and eldest son behind.

That proved to be barely enough. With those kept as hostages on the surface, but slaves for all intent purposes, the Zhao people had a target to vent their frustration on. And vent they did.

In the capital of Kantan, mother and child were subjected to all abuse imaginable. Insulted, mistreated, beaten, tortured, starved and worse, they suffered it all and more from morning to evening. Five years later, Huan Zhong had his wife smuggled back to Qin, leaving his eldest son alone to shoulder the responsibility of suppressing Zhao's hatred.

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