Chapter 0 — Prologue: Final Battle. Peak of Mount Everest
Presenting the prologue of Little San’s new novel to everyone, this new novel will officially begin and replace Magic Chef of Ice and Fire upon its completion in roughly a week. Invite friends to bookmark this novel early as it is a marvelous, one-of-a-kind urban transformative masterpiece!
Located right in the middle of the Himalayan Mountain Range, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain peak in the world at an elevation of 8848.13 meters. The peak, formed through the collision of tectonic plates, served as the primary boundary between the Chinese Republic of Tibet and the Kingdom of Nepal.
Mount Everest is the centre of glacier activity in the lower latitudes, with over 600 large-scale glaciers covering 1600 square kilometers. The tip of the ice reaches up and develops into a tall serac, becoming an extraordinary formation in the middle of the Mount Everest glacier valley. On the northern, eastern, and southwestern faces of the mountain, cirques combine to form a cirque basin that makes the pyramidal summit sit a mere 3000 metres above it. .
On the northern slope of Mount Everest, at an elevation of 7450 meters, lay a clear trimline of pure white glacial ice. At the precipice of the mountain, the prevailing wind prevents ice from piling up on the peak, leaving it bare. Shrouded in clouds and mist, the peak of Mount Everest seems to be a thick flagpole whose banner ripples from the west to the east. This is a trademark meteorological phenomenon of Mount Everest known as the ‘Mount Everest Flag Cloud.’
At this moment, at the trimline of Mount Everest’s northern slope, a delegation of a dozen or so people were climbing rapidly. At any elevation greater than seven kilometers above sea level, both the temperature and the oxygen level were already well past the limits of a normal human. Yet the people climbing the mountain peak looked incredibly relaxed and wore civilian attire rather than winter clothes.
The bone-chilling strong wind was accompanied with a veil of light snow. In the middle of the group, a fat person complained while climbing up the peak, “Boss, if we’re gonna have a final battle, then let’s have it already. Why did you choose this place? It’s cold and so high up; it’s miserable.”
“Are you illiterate? Back then, the decisive battle between Ximen Chuixue and Ye Gucheng was at the apex of Zijin County1, so why shouldn’t our final battle be at the summit of Mount Everest? Boss, I stand by you,” a handsome man stated. Despite the howling arctic wind, everyone could still clearly hear his words.
A deep voice from the front echoed back. “Enough— don’t prattle; let’s hurry on. This place was decided with an offhand remark in the first place. At any rate, this 8800 metre peak isn’t actually that difficult for you at all.” He spoke with a very low register, his voice still slightly hoarse. This man wore a dark red cloak that covered him from head to toe completely. With his visage hidden from view, only his voice distinguished him as male.
They crossed the glacial zone and stepped onto the edge of the barren summit. Although the arctic wind was exceedingly bitter, climbing up was relatively easy. The willowy figure in the middle of the procession, a female dressed in a blue cheongsam, said, “They should be climbing up the south face; we should hurry a bit more. After all, this is the territory of our Chinese Republic. How can we allow those foreigners to arrive first?”
The red attired boss nodded and said, “Right. Let’s quickly finish this climb; this will also conveniently warm us up for battle. Chen Long, Yin Hu, Mao Tu, Wu Ma, Wei Yang, and Xu Gou2— you are experts at forging ahead, lead the others. We’re speeding up.” Faint azure light emerged from beneath his feet, unexpectedly forming two discs of light that lifted his body up into the air. He left behind a trail of azure-red light as he sped towards the summit.
The fatty sighed, turned to a woman dressed in a white leather jacket of average build with a pair of beautiful, long, shapely legs, and said, “Ah, Boss’s seems to be in a bad mood! He rarely addresses us so sternly with our aliases.”
The white clothed woman sighed, her exceptionally soft voice exclaiming, “Ah. After all, he is confronting his lover! I think if any of us were in his shoes, our moods would be equally foul. To him, today’s battle, regardless if it is victory or defeat, will not necessarily be a good outcome. Come on, climb.” She tugged the fatty’s hand. Her two legs pushed against the ground, and surprisingly, she bounced up as if flying, already travelling at least 10 meters ahead in a split second.
Not far behind the white clothed woman was a man who looked approximately 30. “Hey! Mao Tu, that pair of beautiful legs is becoming increasingly flexible,” he said, mouth watering.
“Yin Hu, let’s get going already, or Lao Shu3 will have your hide for it.” Within the procession, the shortest man wearing a distinctive pair of thick coke-bottle glasses grabbed onto the waist of the man in front of him, pulling himself up onto the other’s shoulders.
“Goddamn, why do other people get beautiful women while I’m stuck with an obscene male like you. Oh, the heavens are unfair!”
Under that indistinct radiance, the delegation of 13 took a mere ten minutes to climb past the arduous final thousand meter stretch, arriving at the summit of Mount Everest. Atop the brilliantly white ice cap, they stared into the depths below, the bitter snowy wind unceasingly buffeting their bodies.
The red attired man was the first individual to arrive at the summit. Standing alone at the peak of the region, he appeared despondent. Having evidently arrived first compared to their adversaries, the twelve individuals orderly positioned themselves silently behind their boss with grave expressions.
The red attired man was looking down, seemingly pondering something. Suddenly, he lifted his head, his body trembling slightly. His gaze shot towards the south like an arrow.
At this moment, a graceful figure gently rose from below. She seemed to not need any assistance, ascending the summit as light as a feather. She stopped in front of the red attired man and the twelve individuals who were spread out in the shape of a half-crescent behind him. The red attired man stood still, his eyes continuing to remain locked on the lithe and graceful figure slowly descending as if his entire existence depended on it.
As if she was on a blossoming magic cloud, the woman finally landed on the summit, her cheongsam as white as snow. A faint light enveloped her body, making it seem as if her exquisitely slim physique was covered with gold gauze. Her faintly discernible white jade skin it made it impossible to not gaze upon her. With an oval face that was clear as snow in addition to lustrous, beautiful oceanic eyes, a dainty and delicate nose, and slightly upturned, plump cherry lips, she possessed the most exquisite facial features in the entire world. Her delicate, slender body was akin to perfection. Her slim waist could be grasped with one hand, and her beautifully slender legs drew sighs of admiration. Her exquisite curves were faintly shrouded by white light that brimmed with a divine aura. Most peculiarly, her long violet hair was natural—not bleached or dyed. It drifted down her back like violet silk. At this moment, her gaze met the red attired man’s. Misty violet eyes brimmed with desolate helplessness, her tiny white teeth lightly biting her lip.
The middle-aged man known as Yin Hu from before displayed an admiring smile. He softly let out a sigh and said, “Twenty and nine wonderful years, a beauty exceeding that of three springs. With wispy violet hair, and eyebrows akin to two crescent moons. Rosy cheeks as white as jade, vermillion lips with a hint of rouge. Not exceedingly tall, but yet not short. Not sallow, and yet not fat. Fair of temper, and fair of heart. A newborn swallow in a dress of thin gauze that rippled and pooled gently down at her feet.”
The violet haired woman seemed to have not heard ‘Yin Hu’ at all. Speaking in a traditional Chinese dialect, she lightly said, “You finally arrived earlier than I. In all honesty, I have never wished for this approaching battle.”
The red haired man’s voice was still low. “Nevertheless, this battle would have come in due time. When all’s said and done, we are the Twelve Guardians of the Zodiac, who guard the East, while you guard the West. Our faiths are not the same.” His voice, other than a few hints of world-weariness, sounded emotionless, making it impossible to determine his age.
The violet haired woman lightly nodded, softly replying, “Yes. For the sake of our charge, we cannot back away.” She slowly lifted her right hand, flicking it softly. A slender scepter fell into her hand out of thin air. This simple and unadorned scepter sparkled with a golden luster. The scepter slowly rose into the sky, a deep golden ray of light emitting from the head of the scepter. Immediately, the golden flash of light dissipated the snowy fog, and the air around them was clad in a pure and holy aura.
The red haired man stood still and did not pay attention to the emitting rays of faint gold light. He suddenly released a dazzling and tyrannic red aura, tepidly saying, “Your subordinates have also arrived. Today, the Eastern Zodiac and the Western Zodiac will battle—and so shall we. Yu Mou, between us, both sides are in the wrong, and yet both are not wrong, wouldn’t you agree?”
Yu Mou lowered her head and said, “Your East is divided by the Twelve Earthly Branches, but the West doesn’t follow the same scheme. We are differentiated another way. We use the constellations as a guide. In a sense, we differ to some extent from your twelve earthly branches. We divide the path of the sun into twelve, with each constellation approximately 30 degrees. Because every constellation once made up the legendary Sun God Apollo’s domain, they are also known as the Twelve Astrological Signs.”
At this time, twelve faintly discernible figures flickered from the southern slopes of Mount Everest. All of them appeared somewhat corpulent. As they neared, it was clear that they were carrying immense chests on their backs for some unknown reason.
- (Refers to an event even in the wuxia novel Lu Xiaofeng Series (陸小鳳系列) by Gu Long. Ye Gucheng challenges Ximen to a duel on the roof of the highest building in the Forbidden City to determine who is the best swordsman in the jianghu.) ↩
- (Chen Long = Dragon; Yin Hu = Tiger; Mao Tu = Rabbit; Wu Ma = Horse; Wei Yang = Goat; Xu Gou = Dog) ↩
- ( Lao Shu = Rat) ↩