Yang Jian: If I was stronger, I would be able to lift this Peach Mountain and get you out...
Saintly Mother: Silly child. Even merely your thought to do so suffices.
Yang Jian: That old fool! What right does he have to trap you under a mountain?
Yang Jian: You didn’t actually do anything wrong...
Saintly Mother: You are still young. There is a lot you do not understand.
Yang Jian: I don’t care! All I know is to get you out no matter what!
Saintly Mother: Wait...Yang Jian! Don’t do anything stupid!
Ignoring his mother’s cries, Yang Jian ran away from the Peach Mountain in search of some ways to save his mother.
He came to an agricultural village near Peach Mountain. Peeking from the outskirts, he saw the villagers turning soil when he was struck by an epiphany. He ran back to Peach Mountain where he picked many peaches; running back to the village, he offered to trade the peaches for a shovel.
The villager hesitated; the shovel he held in his hand brought in his livelihood. If he traded it for peaches, what would he do for a living?
Yang Jian: Please trade with me! I desperately need that tool you are holding!
Yang Jian: Please! I need it to rescue my mother!
After brief thought, the villager laid his shovel by Yang Jian’s side and took the peaches that Yang had brought.
Villager: I understand; I will trade with you then.
Villager: I hope this shovel can truly save your mother...
Yang Jian: Thank you so much!
Yang Jian returned to Peach Mountain with his shovel and worked, removing the dirt from his mother’s side incessantly. He continued regardless of weather and temperature; although the chance was slim, he continued without pause. His mother tried dissuading Yang Jian, but he did not listen. He believed without a doubt that he could save his mother.
The heavens watched over the determined; Yang Jian’s filial piety touched the heart of the Prime Terra Ascetic. The Hermit bestowed a mountain-cleaving axe to Yang Jian to save his mother. However, as Yang Jian returned to Peach Mountain, he unexpectedly ran into multiple hindrances.
Raging Sea Elf: ‘This punishment was handed out by a Celestial Welkin Lord.'
Raging Sea Elf: 'None can change it!’
Yang Jian: Pmf! Who would listen to that old fool!
Yang Jian: I am going to save my mother! No one can stand in my way!
Yang Jian: Xian huh? Not exactly impressive.
Yang Jian was not a mortal. His Xian pneuma is above Xian and fairies and did not take them seriously. After proclaiming his words of contempt, he turned around and continued on his way.
Female Xian: Quickly tell the Celestial Welkin Lord...Yang Jian...
Female Xian: He plans to ignore the rules and save his mother!
Yang Jian leveled the mountain with his axe. After leaning down to help his mother up, Yang Jian lunged into his mother’s embrace with rejoice.
Saintly Mother: Good boy...Such a good boy...
Saintly Mother: But why didn’t you listen to me? You’ve committed a huge sin!
Yang Jian: I wouldn’t listen to that old fool!
Yang Jian: I am finally reunited with you, mother...
???: Yang Jian! You dare defy the Celestial Welkin Lord?
Myriad Xian officials appeared in the skies under orders to punish Yang Jian. To protect her son, the Saintly Mother was willing to face the penalty on Yang Jian’s stead. Reluctantly, Yang Jian had no choice but to accept; yet, he did not anticipate a permanent separation from his mother by death...
Since his mother’s demise, Yang Jian stayed in Peach Mountain by himself. Although he did not hold a grudge against the Celestial Welkin Lord, he contended that he was a mere mortal and refused all appointments from the Celestial Court. His days passed peacefully: sometimes, he would set up a tent at the foot of the mountain and help the masses with his godly powers; other times, he would hike on the mountain or journey to the peak and worship his deceased mother.
Yang Jian had expected a life of eternal loneliness: his heart would never be understood; his wounds would never be tended. To hide the weakness in his heart, Yang Jian would always maintain a solemn facade with a tough exterior. However, fate would surprise people when unexpected. On an ordinary day, Yang Jian met something extraordinary...
That day, Yang Jian had carried his water and flowers towards the peak of Peach Mountain when loud commotion suddenly rung nearby. It sounded like the roar of a vicious beast. In this world of battle between Gods and Demons with various monsters running rampant, the appearance of savage beasts is not surprising. However, villagers often travelled through these mountains. To ensure their safety, Yang Jian quickly investigated.
Ice Lizard Warrior: Pest! You dare steal the rations we worked so hard for!
Red Lizard Warrior: You are going to be our main course tonight!
Emerald Lizard Warrior: You get guts considering you puny size...You actually dare resist us!
Before Yang Jian was a chubby puppy that resembled a ball of fur, completely encircled by a group of lizard warriors. Despite its weak appearance, it had a resounding bark which could be heard hundreds of miles away. The lizard warriors were intimidated by its bark and did not dare approach...
Despite facing strong foes on all fronts, the puppy did not back down. Instead, it continued barking viciously at the lizard soldiers. Taking the whole scene in, Yang Jian could not help but be reminded of himself in the past... Perhaps it was simply because he felt he was unable to stand by and watch, or perhaps he sympathized — Yang Jian decided he would help the silly-looking puppy.
Yang Jian: Aren’t you ashamed of picking on the weak?
Red Lizard Warrior: Hmm! None of your business!
Ice Lizard Warrior: You wanna play hero?
Yang Jian: Get out of here!
Golden Lizard Warrior: Re...Retreat!
Ebony Lizard Warrior: I will let you go just this once!
Yang Jian picked up a rock on the ground and pretended to throw it at them. The lizard warriors were frightened and quickly ran, leaving Yang Jian alone with the puppy. When all of the lizards were gone, Yang Jian crouched down and looked at the puppy.
Yang Jian: Do you know how much danger you were in?
Yang Jian: If I didn’t show up, you would be dead. In fact, you would be their dinner!
Yang Jian: But it’s okay now. Come on, go home.
As Yang Jian turned to leave, the puppy’s bark came from behind him. He turned back slightly to look at the puppy, only to see the puppy’s tail wagging, and its mouth opened in excitement almost like a laugh.
Yang Jian: Go.
Yang Jian waved at it to go, but unexpectedly, the puppy remained seated and looking at him. With a sigh, Yang Jian turned to leave — every step he took, the puppy followed; every time he paused, the puppy paused. This continued all the way to the peak of Peach Mountain where his mother died.
Finally, Yang Jian could not stop himself from asking the puppy...
Yang Jian: What’s wrong with you? Why are you following me?
Yang Jian: I have no idea what you are saying...
???: Woof! Woof!
Yang Jian has had a lonely existence over the past several years; he had only kept up a tough facade to assuage any potential worries his deceased mother had and therefore, had ignored his own pain and suffering. As Yang Jian looked at his mother’s epitaph and gently stroked the puppy’s side, an idea arose in his heart — perhaps his mother had arranged for the puppy to stay by his side and soothe his loneliness.
Yang Jian lifted the puppy, and the pair looked each other in the eye...
Tears slipped down Yang Jian’s cheeks, but a smile slowly dawned on his face. He knew he would never be alone again.
Yang Jian: Your bark echoes through the skies.
Yang Jian: From this day forth, you shall be known as the Skyhowling Hound!
Skyhowling Hound: Woof! Woof!
After offering sacrifices to his mother’s grave, Yang Jian took the Skyhowling Hound and began his journey home to the foot of Peach Mountain. He had been plagued by loneliness every step he took; yet, he now felt a relaxed joy he had seldom felt anymore. He looked at Skyhowling Hound by his side and smiled with bliss.
Yang Jian: Mother, I have to leave the mountain to combat monsters and elves.
Yang Jian: Please watch over me as I strive to accomplish my goals.
Yang Jian: I shall remove all misguided paths to Xian-hood.
Flower Elf: Honorable Yang Jian, it is time to go.
Yang Jian: I understand.
Chaos reign in the world; the realm of Humans is plagued by monsters and elves as the masses suffer unspeakably. Upon seeing this, the various Xian decide to deploy a heavenly army under Jiang Shang and other scourge.
Although Yang Jian does not involve himself with worldly affairs, he has defeated many threats and killed many evil for the masses. When the Celestial Welkin Lord sent a heavenly envoy for him, Yang Jian accepted the request to aid Jiang Shang despite the objections of the Peach Mountain population. This is not only an observance to the Celestial Welkin Lord’s request to him, but also to rid the masses of plagues; he sought to remove the fallacies that claim one can achieve Xian-hood through strange means.
After bidding farewell to his mother, Yang Jian led the mystical beings of Peach Mountain on their expedition. He took responsibility of food supplies after arriving in Jiang Shang’s army and despite his companions’ complaints about this arrangement, Yang Jian never objected. He believed that everything would work out; he needed neither rush nor question.
In a decisive fight with Grand Preceptor Wen Zhong, Jiang Shang finally deployed Yang Jian as vanguard, leading the Xian army’s charge against the Grand Preceptor’s forces. Although there was mutual respect between the pair, the differences in perspective between Yang Jian and the Grand Preceptor meant that a battle was inevitable. Yang Jian led his Xian warriors into battle against the Grand Preceptor’s army. To his surprise, they had fallen in the Grand Preceptor’s scheme and was trapped in the Ten Crucial Arrays.
Yang Jian: ‘Why has the reinforcements still not arrive...’
Yang Jian: ‘What is Mr. Jiang planning...’
Yang Jian: You live up to your reputation as a renowned strategist.
Wen Zhong: And you to your fame as a Xian general.
Yang Jian: It is a pity that you are under the employ of a despot and his evil scourge!
Wen Zhong: It is a pity that our allegiances are to different lords.
Dipankara: ‘The battle is won; general, please retreat.’
Dipankara: ‘The various mystical beings of Peach Mountain are awaiting you.’
Dipankara: ‘Wave your pike and give the order.’
Dipankara’s voice had suddenly rung out in Yang Jian’s mind as he and his Xian generals were caught in a bitter battle. Although Yang Jian did not understand the order, but he followed it regardless; he waved his pike and ordered his men to retreat to the sides. Dipankara conjured a fire spell and a plethora of fiery pillars arose alighting the piles of tinder that was previously concealed in the array. It immediately surrounded and surged into Grand Preceptor Wen’s Ten Crucial Arrays...
The blazing inferno annihilated Grand Preceptor Wen’s Ten Crucial Arrays. The size of the blaze rendered it unavoidable and many lives were devoured by the lapping of the flames. Yang Jian, who had been watching from the side, turned his face and closed his eyes. When he came down from the mountain, his intention was to alleviate the suffering, not to take lives...
After the battle, Yang Jian walked onto the charred battlefield; he could not help the tears of regret that fell from his face at the sight of the myriad scattered Xian spirits that lingered on the charred corpses. They had undoubtedly been his enemies, but their lives still had value.
Yang Jian: Dipankara and Mr. Jiang knew that
Yang Jian: I had come down from the mountain
Yang Jian: to remove godly powers in the realm of man.
Yang Jian: I had no intention of killing anyone.
Yang Jian: They also recognized my prioritizing of honor
Yang Jian: and therefore, would never disobey a military order.
Yang Jian: That was why they had kept the truth from me until now.
Yang Jian: But that was not my intention when I left the mountain...
Yang Jian: If I am only here to kill, I would rather return to Peach Mountain,
Yang Jian: never to interfere in worldly affairs again.
Having violated his original intention, Yang Jian bid farewell to Jiang Shang and Dipankara. He returned to Peach Mountain and continued his secluded lifestyle. Although there would still be occasional deployment orders from the Celestial Welkin Lord, Yang Jian responded perfunctorily and never acted on them again...
Since his battle with Grand Preceptor Wen, Yang Jian returned to Peach Mountain to his secluded life, never again intervening in worldly affairs. He spends his time enjoying a relaxed life of alcohol and fun with the various Xian and other mystical beings; it was as if everything off the mountain does not concern him. Although there were numerous deployment orders delivered by the Celestial Welkin Lord’s envoy, Yang Jian responded perfunctorily and never acted on them.
One night, Yang Jian and the various Xian were in a drunken stupor when a gust of cold wind snapped him awake. Standing up while supporting himself on a nearby tree, Yang Jian stumbled towards the peak of the mountain... Wind was blowing incessantly from the peak of the mountain; wave after wave of winds battered Yang Jian clearing him of his inebriation. The first image that reached his now-sober eyes was his mother’s headstone. Stunned, he gradually walked towards it.
Yang Jian: Mother, did you summon me?
Silence and stillness were his sole responses. Only that wind was left. Its origin remained unknown, but it kept howling and it grew louder and louder. The wind seemed to admonish Yang Jian for ignoring the suffering of masses despite his godly powers. Yang Jian remained silent, merely staring at his mother’s grave in deep thought. Reminiscences of his mother’s every word flooded his mind...
Saintly Mother: Yang Jian...My good child...
Saintly Mother: Remember...Never allow hate to reside in your heart...
Saintly Mother: All of this...is your mother’s destiny...
Saintly Mother: Humans and Xian should be on different paths, never intersecting...
Saintly Mother: But I still feel that I was fortunate to have met him...
Saintly Mother: Even if I was merely a channel for him to achieve Xian-hood..
Mortals have always desiderated Xian-hood. To achieve this, they utilized every method imaginable no matter how unscrupulous. This was how Yang Jian’s mother was tricked into a worldly relationship, and how she conceived Yang Jian with a moral that resulted in her death...It was to prevent this tragedy from reoccurring that Yang Jian had hoped to eradicate all these schemes for achieving Xian-hood.
However, Yang Jian’s earlier trip off the mountain in aid of Jiang Shang had shaken him to the core, leading him to question himself. People’s own greed, aggression, and obsession blinds them, and no matter how many nefarious schemes Yang Jian eradicated, more would simply rush in to take their place. All can be attributed to menn’s “greed.”
???: Despite your godly powers, you spend your days indulging in worldly pleasures.
Yang Jian: Oh wow... if it isn’t the Celestial Welkin Lord himself. Boy, am I impressed.
Celestial Welkin Lord: A fox elf has spelled herself into human form, a woman of otherworldly beauty.
Celestial Welkin Lord: All lives shall suffer until the annihilation of the fox elf.
Celestial Welkin Lord: You should help the masses defeat the fox elf and return normality to the world.
Celestial Welkin Lord: Who would desire Xian-hood if all live without worries.
Celestial Wilkin Lord: The Gods and Xian are restricted even more severely than mortals.
Celestial Wilkin Lord: They are unable even to protect those they love.
Yang Jian: You are referring to...
When Yang Jian turned to the Celestial Welkin Lord again, he had already gone. Only the Lord’s voice remained, reverberating through the skies...
Celestial Welkin Lord: Think carefully about what you should be doing!
Yang Jian lowered his head again to look at his mother’s grave and asked...
Yang Jian: What should I be doing...? Should I hunt the fox elf?
Yang Jian: If I rid the realm of man of the fox, would it really stabilize?
Yang Jian: Would this tragedy never reoccur?
The winds softened and brushed gently against Yang Jian’s face. He closed his eyes, tilted his head back, allowing his heart and mind to be cleansed, reaching complete clarity...
Aesthetic Vixen Su Daji: Honorable sir. Why didn’t you inform us of your arrival?
Aesthetic Vixen Su Daji: I should have journeyed to greet you.
Yang Jian: You can stop with your flattery. It is useless on me.
Yang Jian: Get out of my way, Mr. Jiang!
Jiang Ziya the Celestial General: I have some history with this little fox; I cannot just leave it.
Yang Jian: It has harmed a myriad of people. I must rid the realm of it.
Jiang Ziya the Celestial General: It has already lost the ability to resist. Why must you push on?
Jiang Ziya the Celestial General: Although it has wronged and caused casualties...
Jiang Ziya the Celestial General: But, who has never wronged?
Jiang Ziya the Celestial General: Why can’t we give it a chance to redeem itself?
Jiang Ziya the Celestial General: What do you think, General Yang?
Yang Jian did not answer as he could not fully understand what Jiang Shang was saying. He was purely worried that if he let the fox elf live today, he would be sowing seeds for future troubles. Upon realizing Yang Jian’s worries as he was mounting his Sibuxiang, Jiang Shang further elucidated...
Jiang Ziya the Celestial General: I will supervise and mentor this little fox from now on.
Jiang Ziya the Celestial General: You need not worry, General Yang.
With that, Jiang Shang rode off on the Sibuxiang with the little fox in his arms. Only Yang Jian and the Skyhowling Hound remained in the throne room. He stared at Jiang Shang who was shrinking into the horizon and thought about Jiang’s words...
Yang Jian: Who has never wronged... Is that really true?
Yang Jian laughed to himself before bringing Skyhowling Hound with him back to Peach Mountain to resume his carefree lifestyle. As before, he did not serve the Celestial Court, but instead simply resolved issues for the peasants. Later, at Jiang Shang’s investiture of the Gods, General Yang Jian was bestowed the title of the Deity of Fidelity for his virtue and his assistance to the capture of the fox elf.