Grim and Desolate.
Those words essentially summed up Chu Yi's first impression of the castle.
But now as he walked through the slowly collapsing halls, fiery red smoke billowing, stinging the hairs on the arms, the crackle of broken and charred wood falling apart beneath him, and the shadowy and illusive howls that whispered in his ears like a waking dream.
He felt like this was how it was supposed to be.
A Bloody, gnarlish nightmarish hell.
Fit for monsters just like them.
With the burning flame licking his skin, in a shallow trance he seemed to be transported to the day the castle burned.
He wasn't himself anymore.
He had become one of the hapless participants in this dance of death.
He couldn't move, he couldn't escape
He was like a bird trapped in a cage
The thick wood beneath him wasn't immediately set aflame, and the fiery fire didn't immediately char his delicate skin, however helplessly he realised instead of it being a mercy, it only increased the severity of his suffering. Chu Yi could feel the phantom heat surrounding him slowly increasing , from warm, bearable heat, to hot, to sweltering before jumping straight to scorching and hellish pain .
No matter how he tried to twist and turn, he couldn't escape the fire, with every surface becoming hot enough to cook his flesh , every movement mercilessly painful and yet he had no choice but to twist and thrash in a useless bid to escape under the fire's tyranny.
Soon the intense heat made it so just pressing his against the skin against the floor for too long would make it stick there like meat in a frying pan without oil. By this time Chu Yi, was screaming incoherently, bloody tears sizzling as they left his dry eyes. With his already limited movement in the small body , he eventually could no longer move an inch from pain, his flesh already stuck, patches of ripped skin and stringy membrane all that was left as evidence of his struggles, he was slowly but surely cooking through.
The feeling of being burnt alive was unimaginable.
His senses from where his body parts were touching the clay had already burnt away, he could no longer think of anything but the pain, the heat was slowly moving inwards to completely roast his entire body.
And yet the smell of his own curdling flesh still surged into his own nose, reminding him of his nearing death . Chu Yi could not even cry, he tried to scream but to his terror he couldn't even make a sound anymore, his mouth completely dried out.
Cracks like a shattered porcelain vase, spread from his mouth to the rest of the face. The most terrifying part of this madness was that no matter how badly he was being burnt he knew he wouldn't die. Because this wasn't real. And yet the torture would not end even if he knew this, he would have to wait, in horror, until his skin peeled away from his bones, his flesh melted off his skin, until he was completely turnt to ash, enduring at least the ten minutes of the sheer agony it would take to lose all the fluids from one's body!
By the end of it Chu Yi felt as if couldn't even breath, as the smoke from the fire and crackling wood,with his own cooked flesh because his only sustinent to live.
Even amongst the blinding terror and pain of his last moment's alive , he hysterically smiled through his torment, his resentment the only thing he could cling onto.
Finally, mercifully, he died.
It was a feeling of pain before eventually a merciful darkness takes over his senses.
Death was a relief, floating in an endless void, unable to think, to feel to-
Chu Yi! Chu Yi!
The hand with distinct bones was abnormally pale, clenched tightly into a strong fist, fingertips completely white with restraint nevertheless the manical smile on Chu Yis face never dropped
What he cared for wasn't the pain but the overwhelming feeling of anger and resentment that poured over him, drowning the rationality and logic that he prided himself in.
He could neither escape nor pull away from the rage of emotions .
Even if only momentary, the feeling intoxicated him.
The emotions left a wonderful tingling sensation in his stomach and he even felt faintly dissatisfied when he was pulled out of the illusion abruptly.
"Are you OK?"
In the face of the silent worry on Lui Quishis face, he could only nod his head resigned.
"Then let's continue"
This time around, the sweltering heat didn't hold, as much fascination to him and with a impassive face, he stepped over the falling debris, ignoring the flames that licked at his face.
The Young Master stopped quietly before a locked door.
Unscathed in the chaos.
It was a place they've explored time and time again and each time, the scenes behind the door only got more and more terrifying.
The Madams room.
From a sole visual inspection, there seemed to be nothing wrong.
However the blaring alarm bells ringing in Chu Yi's head, sounded nothing but danger.
"There are many way people die, therefore, there are many ways to deal with corpses. Yes. But they still abide by the traditional rules. They pay attention to the three views not to rush."
"The beheaded, the hanged, and the standing dead can be driven away. They don't die voluntarily. They have a lot of grievances and want to return to their hometown. The Yin energy is also heavy. In other words, their souls are still in the corpse and haven't left."
"Those who died of illness, those who were thrown into a river and hanged themselves, and those who were struck by lightning and burned to death cannot be driven away. The souls of death were taken away by black and white impermanence. Involuntary death ruled by the laws. The little ghost who was thrown into the river and hanged man are all looking for a substitute for the dead ghost. Their souls have already been 'handed over' to the Yama. It must be terrible to be struck by lightning. They are sinful people. The corpses that were burned to death are incomplete, and these can't be driven away. Only by finding the missing souls can they import revenge."
XingLing looked indifferent as he spoke those almost cryptic words.
"It's up to you how you deal with this information."
Chu Yi looked at the little boy standing in front of him.
When he first saw him, he was standing expectantly at the door, now he still wore that long, pure white robe.
He resembled a mental patient.
But he no longer resembled a canary trapped in a golden cage.
He broke his wings and ripped out his feathers and climbed through the walls of his cage.
Even at the cost of death, he tore a bloody hole in his heart, and created his own freedom in his last moment.
Chu Yi abruptly spoke up.
"Did you ever regret it?"
XingLing tilted his head and glanced at him slowly with bottomless dark eyes.
He didn't speak, he didn't give a warning , instead he sharply turned away, faced the looming doors and with a strong push of his hands, opened the doors to hells.
He didn't hesitate.
He didn't need to reply
With the burning flames surging and roaring behind him.
He told Chu Yi silently.
He was born in the flames of hell and he would die in the flames of hell