Thousand Illusion Monkey
Yun Yang had never felt more alive.
A jade-green lotus leaf grew in his subconscious, slowly growing into the size of a fan, and now, the budding tip of another leaf could be seen as well. A plethora of information surged through Yun Yang’s mind, and the intensity of it rendered him drunk and insensate. Straightening up, he quickly started making his way back to the Residence of Yun, while his mind possessed enough clarity to remember the way there. Due to the air of vitality that the Lotus of Endless Fate exuded, the entire sight of Tiantang City was painted in chaotic lucidity as he began his trek home.
Among all the creatures in the universe, none were more sensitive to the ebb and flow of spiritual Qi than the mystical beasts on the Tianxuan Continent. The higher the level the creature was, the more perceptive it would be towards changes in the mystical Qi and the refined air of vitality.
Tiantang City, being one of the top three cities on the continent, contained all sorts of crouching tigers and hidden dragons1; mystical Qi experts, professional martial artists, renowned schools and clans… there were countless numbers of them. Among these people, it was not uncommon for them to own a mystical beast or two. Of course, these beasts were not regarded as pets, but as battle partners or familiars. These mystical creatures possessed an impressive array of combat skills, and it was widely known that the combat skills of a ninth level beast was equal to that of a grandmaster.
Of course, ninth level beasts were extremely rare, and were more likely to be found in legends and stories shared by bards. Third to sixth level creatures, however, were plentiful in Tiantang City, and it was not entirely impossible to find seventh level mystical beasts as well. Right at this moment, all the mystical beasts in the entire Tiantang City were abuzz with anticipation…
In Sky Room No.1 of Tiantang City’s Soaring Cloud Tavern, a young lady dressed entirely in black rested her face in her hands as she played with her pet happily. It was only by being in front of her little friend that she could be this relaxed and at peace.
The creature stood approximately 3 feet tall, with a pair of jade-like horns on its head and lively crimson eyes; there were actually three tails on its back, its fur as smooth as silk. It was lounging on the bed cozily.
Anyone who had an inkling of what it was would have exclaimed, “Thousand Illusion Monkey!”
Mystical beasts were rare, but what was even rarer were their offspring! Any mystical beast hunter worth his salt could kill a mystical beast, but the magnificent creatures would usually take the lives of their own offspring first before succumbing to death. It was preferable that their offspring perished than to live on as slaves to humankind. This practice was especially true for the higher leveled creatures.
In the case of the Thousand Illusion Monkey, it was even more so, hence, the word ‘invaluable’ would be a poor way to describe the value of a young Thousand Illusion Monkey!
Thousand Illusion Monkeys belonged to the Eight Mysterious Beasts, the highest ranked in the food chain among all known mystical beasts in the Tianxuan Continent. Furthermore, Thousand Illusion Monkeys could be leveled up; an extremely rare occurrence but not an impossible one.
If the people had known that there was actually one now in Tiantang City, it would definitely cause a great deal of commotion and talk. At this moment, with the owner looking at it, the monkey suddenly straightened up; ears perked and crimson red orbs glowing. Something had made it so agitated that even the horns on its head seemed to be glowing!
“Lingling, what is it?” The girl was surprised as she gasped, “Lingling, what are you doing? Hey, where are you going? Come back!”
Instead, the Thousand Illusion Monkey stood up and with a wag of all three tails, shot out from the open window. It was a tall, eight-storied building, but height was nothing for the monkey as it scampered into the dark. The girl shouted for help, but realized that there was no one for her rely on since she had run away from home.
Without giving it a second thought, she hopped off the window as well.
Yun Yang finally felt at ease and was only plagued by a slightly pulsing headache as the flow of information continued to rush into his mind. He had no time to inspect his thoughts, however, and continued to hurry back home.
The Residence of Yun would be around the next corner. As he was about to take the turn, an odd noise arose from somewhere in front of him in the gloom, and in the next moment, a dark shape charged towards him like lightning. Its speed was impossibly fast, and within a blink, the dark shape coalesced into a discernable shape before his very eyes.
At first glance, it looked like a small, golden-furred monkey squatting in front of his feet obediently, its lifted head looking at him earnestly with a pair of bewitching eyes.
“…” Yun Yang was speechless.
A monkey had materialized out of nowhere, right in front of him.
“What is this? It’s looking at me like we’re familiar with each other. What a friendly gaze! I’m sure this is the first time we’ve encountered each other though.”
Yun Yang was tempted to look around to see if he was still in Tiantang City or if he had been magically transported to the mystical beast forest.
The little beast was eagerly hopping up and down like all monkeys do, and would not put up with being ignored by Yun Yang. Scratching its head, it clung onto his legs and looked up, as if asking for Yun Yang to carry it. It was the scratching, however, that revealed its pair of tiny horns, further surprising Yun Yang. “Dragon’s horns on its head, several tails on its back; jade white as bones, crimson eyes; a mystical beast… Could it be a Thousand Illusion Monkey?”
Upon closer inspection, there was no doubt that the creature in front of him was actually a baby Thousand Illusion Monkey.
“This is strange…” Yun Yang began to scratch his own head as well, “A Thousand Illusion Monkey coming to me to seek shelter on its own… My luck today knows no bounds!”
Looking at the young monkey’s pitiful look, Yun Yang’s heart softened as he spread his arms to scoop the money up.
The monkey nestled itself cozily in Yun Yang’s embrace, it’s thin arms spread, purring in comfort as its eyes closed, seemingly about to fall asleep. All three of its tails coiled up and it began to curl into a ball of fur. Yun Yang was left in a daze.
This was the Thousand Illusion Monkey of the Eight Mystical Beasts!
Although this was only a three-tailed baby, its intelligence was still high; legends had it that Thousand Illusion Monkeys were aggressive, ill-tempered, powerful and ever-changing creatures. How was it that this one could be so approachable?
“I didn’t do anything, but it jumped right into my embrace the first time it saw me?” It looked completely at ease as well, obviously contented with where it was, curled up in Yun Yang’s arms.
“Perhaps this baby monkey is daft…” Yun Yang peered at the monkey in his arms with a critical eye.
At the moment, his senses tingled and he sensed a chilling aura surrounding him; it was piercing, with a murderous intent. It was as if he could feel a sharp sword pointing at himself; any rash or sudden movement could cost him his own life. With his abilities that had been depleted and barely replenished, he could do nothing to ward himself against the aura.
“Thief! What are you doing?” A cold and crisp voice ordered from the gloom, “Let go of my mystical monkey!”
Yun Yang lifted his head, seeing a slim figure appear from the swirling night mist. There was no sword in her hands, but the distinct feeling of a sharp blade did not diminish. A faint fragrance not unlike orchids but also resembling musk pervaded the air. As the slim girl stood amidst the mist, she looked like a fairy among the clouds, holy and elegant. Yun Yang was unaffected, however. No mystical beast or ravishing beauty was worthy of his attention right now.
He lifted his head slightly, speaking in light tones, “This Thousand Illusion Monkey belongs to you?”
The girl’s face remained concealed in the dense mist but her voice was cold, “Could it be yours then?”
Yun Yang replied, “It’s does not belong to me, but I am no thief, so please, recant your accusations..”
Although this girl was mysteriously enigmatic and had a strong cultivation base, it was still unforgivable behaviour. “What is this, your monkey came to me on its own. I had no chance to chase it away, and now you call me a thief?”
The girl moved forward then, in anxiousness and impatience. Her pretty eyes widened along with her mouth as she looked disbelievingly at the tiny monkey lounging comfortably in Yun Yang’s embrace. If it were not for the heavy mist concealing her face, Yun Yang would have seen how astonished she was. Even then, she still stumbled in shock, and her steps faltered.
“What am I seeing?
It’s the Thousand Illusion Monkey! I’ve been at its beck and call for three months and it’s never been that close to me. It meets this man for the first time, but it’s already lying so obediently in his arms!”
It was becoming glaringly obvious that this man had not done anything forceful, and that the Thousand Illusion Monkey had been nothing but willing in all this! Seeing that she was here, the creature actually nestled further into the man’s embrace, its head going into the man’s robe as it directed its rosy bottom towards its owner.
The girl calmed down a little. “I apologize, this creature ran out on its own. I was distraught and overly rash. Please pardon me for my harsh tone.”
It was Yun Yang’s turn to be surprised.
This girl’s cultivation base was stronger than he had expected from such a young woman. Pride had always come hand in hand with youth, but she could surprisingly control her temper well and even managed an apology, albeit one spoken in a cold tone.
This was such a rare occurrence. Girls like this were usually spoiled, and acted all high and mighty.
Since she had apologized, Yun Yang backed down as well, “Since this belongs to you, please take it back.”
A Thousand Illusion Monkey was a spiritual creature of heaven and earth but at that moment, Yun Yang could barely be concerned about it.
He had not been impressed with a full-grown Thousand Illusion Monkey, what more this young one? He estimated that it would take at least another 70 to 80 years for the little fellow to grow up into a seven-tailed beast, and he would be a decrepit old man by then.
An old man with a monkey by his side? That would be a sight to see.
“Hello little one, your owner is here.” Yun Yang grabbed the monkey’s head, “Quickly, go back to her!”
If it was possible, the girl’s eyes widened even further. He had dared to grab the enchanted fur on the monkey’s head? This was considered taboo; not even their owners or partners that had spent years together dared to touch that tuft of hair at the cost of enraging the monkey!
It was what happened next, however, that left the girl dumbstruck.
1Crouching tigers, hidden dragons (卧虎藏龙 wò hǔ cáng long): Idiom to mean hidden talented people, concealed talents not yet discovered.