Chapter 1: Prologue
Translator: Mogumoguchan/Zenobys Editor: - -
The Pursuit of the Truth
Author : Er Gen
Synopsis and Preface
Before I post the story in two hours, I'd like to explore with all of you what it means to 'pursue the truth'.
The word "Pursuit", has two meanings: one is to follow after something and the other to implore.
The title "Pursuit of the Truth", uses the latter meaning. Yet at the same time, there are also other meanings to the title. I have searched for many other words, but only the word "Pursuit" was the one that was the closest in encompassing the essence of the story in my heart.
What does "Truth" mean then? It is written with the word (Mo), meaning devil. I believe all of you believe that devil is simply a villain, a person who does all sorts of bad things. Someone who would soil their hands for the sake of success, even practicing dark arts like a demon lord. In other words, I am referring to the Mo which is a devil or demon.
It is just like the Wuxia stories we have read before, where they will train with despicable ways such as eating dried human placenta or by forsaking their own humanity.
But is this devil really the Mo I want to create?
I once told a friend of mine that I wanted to create the Devil, the true Devil. Not a villain or a demon lord that will be lost in time and be viewed as crass and evil by future generations, but the Devil! One that will walk on the path and the truth he resolutely believes, even going against the natural order of the universe!
It is a deep word which reveals the life and spirit of a character.
What I want to write is a story where there was no Devil in the world before him, and neither will there be any other true Devil after him!
What I want to create is a theme different from Renegade Immortal, yet with a much more touching plot!
I want to write a story where Su Ming stands on the pinnacle of the mountains looking over the world and muttering in a voice burdened by his experiences and grief, murmuring about things no one has ever cared about.
"If the world calls me a devil, then so be it. Henceforth, I, Su Ming, shall become the Devil!" (the first devil is left intentionally in small letters.)
You will see the story I wish to write in two hours...
When I was translating, I wasn't convinced by the translated argument if I used Devil instead of Mo. There was something off about it. That's why I chose to ask a third party, someone who is not the author and neither the reader, and what you see now is the paraphrased version of the conversation between me and a Master holder in translation for Chinese-English, who happens to be a close friend of mine, and I will paraphrase the outcome of our conversation. Also, the author and I reached an agreement to use Devil for Mo for consistency in ISSTH.
"Using Mo isn't wrong, because if the title is Pursuit of the Truth and I see the word Devil suddenly being used in the preface, I'll feel cheated, and you're right, Devil is commonly used to describe evil. From what I can see, that isn't what you want in the preface, but neither is there any good English equivalent for the word, since we're losing the original meaning of the word Mo if we use Devil. Since another translator has translated this to Devil, you'd best keep to it, but what you need to do next is to associate Truth to Devil. Meaning the truth the main character is looking for is associated to Devil, perhaps it is referring to his character, but perhaps it is the path he chooses to take, which we both believe is the case. And if that's the case, you'll need to add a little more explanations to the preface itself. Things that only Chinese readers will understand if they read the source language because we know the many meanings of Mo, but not English readers, because to them Mo is only the devil."
Did I manage to convey the meaning though?
No one could not tell what that sound was. It was as if it was a sound that could penetrate the body and pierce through the soul, forcing the body to shiver in the cold caused by the blizzard that night.
The cold northern wind whistled through and the snow danced with the wind, causing the line separating heaven and earth to shatter into a million pieces, scattering on earth and causing heaven and earth to become one. Looking from afar, it was as if the world was a white and desolate place.
It was not midnight, just twilight, but the sky was already as dark as night. It brought about a heavy feeling as if it was pressing on your chest, cutting off your breath. On that white plain, a gigantic silhouette could be seen. It was the silhouette of a huge city like a huge beast prowling in the plains.
At the centre of the city was a tall altar in the shape of a tower. It was built in the shape of a heptagon, completely black, and was so tall it reached the clouds. It remained silent and unmoving even in the midst of the blizzard. When the wind blew past the altar, that creaking sound could be heard clearly amongst the moans of the wind even when the sounds were brought far away into the distance. The sounds carried about the wildness of the ancients, creating a unique harmony.
"Is there still hope... Is there?"
Hoarse mumbles could be heard from the altar, as if it was one with the wind, and it was barely distinguishable.
"If there's still hope, then where is it? If there is no hope then why do you let me see it?!" As if driven mad, the owner of voice roared towards heaven as if he was pouring out his heart and soul into the scream.
Standing underneath the altar were countless people wearing clothes made of straw. They stood silently, and if you cast your gaze further, you would see that the number of people amounted to tens of thousands. Men and women gathered densely around the altar. They may be unmoving, but there was a sort of fanaticism that could be felt among them, as if they would sacrifice everything should the person on the altar just speak.
The blizzard became heavier.
"If you've let me see it then there must be hope, but where is it?!" There was a hint of anguish and sorrow in the hoarse voice on the altar, and the voice lingered for a long time.
"Today is the day the Emperor of Ming returns, the day the gates to the Three Lands open, the day the blizzard arrives, and the day all was created. I will predict the Berserker Day once again!" The voice grew louder and with some unknown skill, the colors of the clouds in the sky changed. The countless snowflakes stopped in midair, and immediately went back the way they came. Exclamations from all around gathered in one place, making heaven and earth rumble.
There was no longer any snow falling from the sky. All the snow gathered to form a gigantic dragon. The dragon immediately lifted its head and let out a piercing roar the moment it was formed. Those who heard it felt their hearts shaking, as if the sound itself could tear them apart.
The snow dragon was quickly covered by its own blood, turning it into a bloody dragon. It let out a mournful cry and flew towards the heavens like a shooting star as if it wanted to tear through the sky and create hope.
It reached the endless boundaries quickly and amidst its own roars, the dragon crashed into an invisible and shapeless barrier. Heaven and earth shook, and the sounds scattered everywhere. The blood dragon cried out once again and its body fell apart before their eyes.
At the very moment it almost shattered completely, the tens of thousands of people standing in silence under the altar casted hand seals and bit down their tongues, spitting mouthfuls of fresh blood. As if guided by some sort of energy, the blood darted forth like a sea of blood towards the crumbling blood dragon to combine with it, allowing the blood dragon to recover slightly from its broken state, soaring once again into the horizon.
All of them watched as the blood dragon soared higher but at that very moment, the blood dragon shuddered and let out a roar that travelled through tens of thousands of miles, no longer able to stop its body from falling apart. It turned into countless bloody snowflakes and fell downwards, creating a red realm on the plains.
Yet at the very moment the blood dragon fell apart, it spoke with a sound completely different from its roars.
On the top of the altar was an old man clad in a purple robe sitting cross-legged at the centre. The old man's face was covered in wrinkles and brown spots. Mumbling, he opened his eyes but his gaze held no light, a clear sign that he was blind.
Before him was a complete spine emitting an eerie white glow. In his right hand was a stone slab, which he held on top of the thirteenth vertebrae.
With his blank gaze, he looked silently towards heaven. After a long while, he let out a long sigh.
"Tell the King of Yu... I've tried my best..."
While he spoke, his right hand moved once again on top of the odd spine. He rubbed at the animal spine with the stone slab, creating clicking sounds that travelled through a distance. He looked desolate and along with the sounds, one could also find a sorrowful loneliness and weakness from him.
"As the Court Diviner of the Great Yu Dynasty, you cannot see the world that I see..."
"You... cannot see..."