Chapter 67: My Name Is Lan Zao

A glimmer of light began to appear on the horizon.

The light was very faint, but nevertheless distinct in the darkness of night.

Closely following it, as if accompanying a pulsating heart, the glimmer gradually increased in grandeur.

The darkness waned under the propagation of the light, it was as if the latter was a giant that had just awoken and was unfolding their arms and stretching its limbs.



The light shone on Huang Zao’s face, but it did not bring him the slightest warmth.

“Waaaah…” Huang Zao cried bitterly as he abruptly fell to his knees on the desert sand causing Lan Zao on his back to also fall to the ground

“Oasis…oasis!” Huang Zao shouted, his eyes muddled and bleary.

The only thing in his vision was an empty desert with no sign of the oasis that encouraged him.

“But I definitely heard the sound of water. I know I heard it!” Huang Zao hissed without regard for damaging his throat.

“There really is the sound of water.” Lan Zao unexpectedly came to.

This was a sign of terminal lucidity.

“That’s right, older brother, you heard it too, you heard it too!” Huang Zao crazily shouted like a perplexed child who suddenly found his views verified.

But Lan Zao did not respond to him, rather he kept murmuring: “I hear it, the sound of the sea, the sound of waves.”

Huang Zao was suddenly petrified, he realised with a jolt that Lan Zao was hallucinating.

Stuporous and shaken.

Lan Zao felt wonderful.

Hunger had left him and he felt as light as a feather, like…like he was doing the thing he liked the most.

It was diving.

He liked diving into the sea, and then floating, letting the currents pull him in whatever direction, or perhaps slowly sinking into the water while looking at the vast azure sky.

It was such a pure blue devoid of all impurities.

Originally, the blue of the sky seemed aloof and aloft, but through the seawater, the blue became gentle, graceful, melancholic, and even approachable.

Lan Zao loved this blue the most.1

Immersed in such ethereal blue, he could forget himself.

In such a beautiful scene, did it matter who one was?

It did not matter.

“Just stay like this…” Lan Zao’s heart sighed contently.

Then, a huge shark appeared stealthily.

It had a snow white belly, knife like fins, rows of sharp terrifying teeth, and blue eyes that glittered like glass.

The shark and the stuporous Lan Zao stared at each other; observing those pair of eyes up close, a wisp of horror rose up from the depths of Lan Zao’s heart.

As if he had been electrocuted, he woke up with a jolt and remembered who he was.

“That’s right, my name is Lan Zao.”

“I was born in a seaside fishing village, I love diving into the sea the most, and I almost didn’t grow up.”

When Lan Zao was ten, a famine occurred in the village.

Of course, it was not only in the fishing village, but throughout the entire territory. However, the territory master still levied a heavy tax. The fishing village’s surplus grain was all forcibly plundered.

In a crude thatched hut, Lan Zao’s family sat at the dining table.

Before the others were large bowls, at the bottom of each bowl was a small handful of dark green paste for food. But the bowl before Lan Zao was half full.

Lan Zao looked at his bowl of food, it was an unprecedented amount. In the same way, unprecedented terror also enveloped his entire body and soul.

“Eat, eat more.” Lan Zao’s father spoke in a gentle voice, like undulating waves lapping against the sea shore.

Lan Zao raised his head but could not see his father’s face. The barren fishing village could not afford candles. In the tenebrous room, most of his father’s face was hidden in darkness, he could only see his blue eyes that glittered like glass.

Late into the night, Lan Zao could hear the sound of breathing, the sound was becoming increasingly ragged.

He opened his eyes and saw his father at his bedside staring down at him, his father’s face almost touching his.

Lan Zao opened his mouth to shout, but at that moment, his father stretched out his hands and choked Lan Zao by the neck.

Lan Zao struggled frantically, the sound of thuds woke up his mother and younger brother, Huang Zao.

Seeing the father choking Lan Zao, they promptly ran over to stop him.

“Get lost!” His father kicked his mother away.

Huang Zao cowered and shivered in the corner of the house with fear.

“That’s your son!” His mother mournfully cried like a dying bird’s last chirp.

“I gave him life and now I will take it back,” his father roared, “Don’t struggle, become my food, become my food! Become my food so that I can live, so that our family can live!”

“No, no!” His mother crazily shook her head, “It was not you who gave him life, it was granted by the Forest Mother god. Back then, when I struggled with labor, it was a priest of Forest Mother who saved me.”2

“That is a god the elves worship, an evil god of our human race! You still have the nerve to bring that thing up?!” His father bellowed.

But at that moment, Lan Zao grabbed his hardwood pillow and viciously struck his father’s head with it.

His father was caught off guard and immediately got knocked unconscious.

“I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you!” Lan Zao did not spare him, he shouted ceaselessly as if possessed by a devil as he slammed the pillow onto his father’s head again and again.

Blood pooled and filled the room with its reek.

His father remained motionless.

“Stop hitting him, stop, he is already dead, dead!” Finally, his mother hugged Lan Zao and held him tightly in her arms.

Only then did Lan Zao cease his mechanical striking motion, his lifeless countenance disappeared as he came to his senses, he then started to cry.

In the following days, seven people in the fishing village died. Most of them were either old, weak, young, sick, or disabled; with Lan Zao’s father being the only exception.

At first, Lan Zao buried his father together with his mother.

However, hunger could torment people into beasts.

Three days later, Lan Zao and Huang Zao sat at the dining table as they stared at their mother.

Their mother was kneeling on the ground with clenched fists as she looked up at a wooden statue set inside a niche. The statue was the figure of Forest Mother, it had the appearance of a doe, but with branch-like antlers that exceeded that of a stag’s. Vines entwined around the deer’s legs, and flowers bloomed on the torso, forming deer skin patterns.

Their mother prayed piously and after she finished, she got up and looked at them.

Lan Zao saw that his mother’s eyes were red and that her face had tear stains, it was evident that she had been praying in tears for a long time behind them.

“Time to eat.” His mother said hoarsely.

Lan Zao looked down into the bowl.

The large bowl had meat inside.

The meat was deathly pale.

There was not enough meat so it had to be eaten sparingly.

Plop, plop.

Lan Zao’s tears fell into the bowl, he felt both happy and sad, both painful and joyful.

There was little meat, and the famine was endless.

In the end, Lan Zao did not finish eating the family’s meat as an accident occurred.

Orphans and widows were the easiest targets to bully and their meat was snatched by the usually gentle and kind villagers. His mother was also seriously injured as a result.

Perceiving the danger, Lan Zao’s mother secretly left the fishing village with the two brothers.

There were many small uninhabited islands in the vicinity of their seaside fishing village.

One of these small uninhabited islands became their new home as well as the tomb where they buried their mother.

“My flesh…can be eaten.” His mother called Lan Zao to her side and whispered her dying words into his ear, “My great god has told me to do this, your mother’s soul will ascend to the Forest Mother’s sacred temple. Don’t worry about me, take care of your younger brother.”

Take care of your younger brother…

Take care of your younger brother…

Take care of your younger brother…

This final wish was deeply engraved in Lan Zao’s heart and had always lingered in his ears until now.

Lan Zao forced his eyes open.

He could only see a vast and indistinct whiteness.

“Huang Zao…my younger brother, where are you?” He hollered. It made him very astounded, he actually had the strength to shout.

“It was fake, all fake.”

“There’s no oasis, no oasis!”

“Older brother, there’s no oasis…waaaaaah…”

Huang Zao lay beside Lan Zao, crying in pain, he had long since broken down.

Lan Zao suddenly extended his arm and pulled over Huang Zao’s head. He put his mouth to Huang Zao’s ear like his mother had done before.

Lan Zao declared his dying words: “Huang Zao, eat me, you can still walk! Live well and take care of yourself.”

Huang Zao shivered, as if he had been struck by a petrifying ray, he turned into a stone statue.

After a few seconds, Huang Zao suddenly launched himself, pouncing on Lan Zao and choked Lan Zao by the neck with both hands.

“Older brother, older brother!” He shouted.

“I’m sorry, so sorry!” He wept.

“I want to eat you, I want to eat you…” His eyes were as red as a beast’s.

Lan Zao felt very pained and gradually suffocated.

The corners of his mouth twisted as he tried to smile.

The sound waves flowing and ebbing seemed to echo in his ears.

Swish… swish… swish…

His body felt like it was immersed in the sea, as if he was diving into the sea, sedate and serene.