“Our conversation isn’t over but we’ll talk later,” I said to Fatty. The row of stone heads was giving me an extremely bad feeling.
He must have felt the same as me, for when the two of us looked at each other, he said, “There shouldn’t be more than one King of Hell.”
It didn’t stand to reason, especially because up until this point, I had never heard of groups of King Yamas roaming around. But this row of heads, along with Fatty’s “this thing is a fighting corpse” remark, showed that this thing was definitely not a solitary species.
I had seen some legends in my grandfather’s notes about fighting corpses. At that time, the North and South factions fought in the Yangtze River Valley. The first story came from the North and said that a massacre occurred at the post station there—the bodies were all torn to shreds and the murderer was nowhere to be found. Only three small boats were found in the water nearby, with old coffins on board.
The three old coffins had different styles and obviously weren’t from the same dynasty. They all had dirt skins (the wet mud that dried out after being dug out of the ground) and the coffin lids were all opened. The bodies that should have been inside were missing.
Rumors spread that the three coffins had all been dug up from mountain tombs around the country and were sent to the North-controlled post station in exchange for copper coins. The people quickly evacuated and then the zombies burst through the coffins and killed everyone.
Of course, the North was furious and believed the South to be the culprit—not only was their own faction defeated but it was also a great provocation to the principles they adhered to—but the South strongly denied it. A lot of blood had been spilled for a long time but there still wasn’t any explanation for this matter. I didn’t know how many people died at that time.
After that, the South’s fleet was at the mouth of the channel ferrying people to camp when they once again found traces of the Northerners, who were disguised and heading to the mountains. The Southerners followed them the entire way and found that the Northerners seemed to have found a big tomb on the southern bank and were crossing the border in order to rob it. They prepared to intercept but found that the Northerners were pushing an ox cart with a big iron barrel on top of it.
The Southerners ambushed them, took the iron barrel back to their camp, and opened it but a giant headless corpse came out of it and killed everyone on sight. The Southerners suffered heavy casualties but eventually managed to subdue the powerful corpse. They found that its head had been artificially cut off, a large amount of white sand had been poured into its body, and wooden nails were inserted into several of its acupuncture points.
This was a fighting corpse that had been raised by the Northerners. It was buried in an iron barrel and then placed in a burial mound to absorb yin energy. There were often a large number of victims when making such a corpse, regardless of whether it was your own side or your opponent’s side.
These stories now sounded a bit like legends and I had never once believed in them. My grandfather was the same. He would say that the elements of interpretation were obvious and it was highly likely that these stories were compiled to entertain future generations.
Moreover, being attacked by a zombie was rare. If it wasn’t for the fact that the route I was chasing was reminiscent of an evil 7-Country Tour (1), then it would’ve been even more difficult for me to encounter a changing corpse for the first time in my life.
Based on Grandpa’s account, he had never seen any signs of a zombie that could be called the King of Corpses. In the old stories, zombies with this name usually came from ancient generals with huge bodies, but the chances of a giant coffin with a general’s name appearing at a corpse-raising site were too small. If there was one, then everyone would basically have to face reality and kneel tacitly.
I asked Fatty if he knew of anything similar to what I had just mentioned but he shook his head, “Your old man’s too arbitrary. Although these stories were surely fabricated, there must be an element of truth hidden in them. Although I have less experience than your old man, I’ve seen a so-called fighting corpse once before. It was a long time ago, but I had no idea what I saw at that time. It was only a few years later that I was enlightened.”
<Chapter 85><Table of Contents><Chapter 87>
(1) Just like it sounds, touring around seven countries. One I found on google sensei was a European 7-Country tour where they go to Germany, France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Hungary.