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Backstory

        “Smells delicious… Is that the demon buster Tang Sanzang? The aroma of righteous man… Time for a feast finally!” A vicious monster grinned with drools, lurking in the dark and staring at the coming prey.

        Tang Sanzang and his apprentices had been walking through the mountain for three days, and they finally found a town ahead of them. “Lehua Town…It means the prosperous town near the Luo River. There should be many savouries in the town! Master you must be hungry and exhausted now. Let’s find an inn and eat!” Zhu Bajie said as he looked at the sign on the watchtower.

        “You’re the hungry and exhausted one!” Sun Wukong knocked Zhu Bajie on his forehead.

        Witnessing the apprentices’ messing with each other, Tang Sanzang heaved a sigh and moved on. Following the master, Sha Seng walked behind him carrying the luggages. Suddenly, a tiny hand signalled him by pulling his hem.

        Sha Seng turned around then saw a kid looking at him with a pair of round, watery eyes. “Sir, are you looking for rooms? My mama’s inn is right ahead.” the kid told him in a childish tone.

        The lovely look on the kid hit Sha Seng’s soft spot and had him surrendered. Before he asked, Tang Sanzang nodded to approve as he had already figured Sha Seng’s question.

        Yet, Sun Wukong was the skeptical one. “Master, beware! Let me check first.” Sun Wukong said and blocked Tang Sanzang from the kid.

        Sun Wukong activated the Fiery Gaze to inspect the kid. He let the guard down when he saw the kid was just a normal human. Sha Seng couldn’t help but complain about his skepticism, “Wukong you’re being too paranoid. How harmful could an innocent child be?”

        “They are the innocent one, aren’t they?” Zhu Bajie said as he saw the pigs in the inn’s pigsty. A horny look appeared on his face naturally.

        Sun Wukong lectured his big-mouth pals then escorted Tang Sanzang to the inn. There weren’t many customers, but only few locals dining in. The bosslady arranged rooms for the crew and recommended some dishes to them hospitably.

        “The chef can cook! Even the stir-fried veggie is delicious.” Zhu Bajie said while he was wolfing down the food.

        After a while, the crew started to feel lightheaded and went into a trance, except Tang Sanzang who didn’t eat much. The bosslady joined hands with other customers to capture the crew.

        “Sinful. Sinful. Why did you do that?” Tang Sanzang asked calmly.

        The bosslady revealed her conspiracy hiding under the friendly disguise. “I don’t want my son to be eaten by Qiongqi,” she said.

        Tang Sanzang didn’t sweat a bit even when he was all tied up. “If my sacrifice can exchange for your safety, so be it. But if this comes back to you, are you going to sacrifice more innocents again?” he asked.

        Before he could get the answer, an unexpected bang shook him. Qiongqi made its grand entrance and greedly drooled over him.

        “Qiongqi the ferocious monster, predator of righteous men and a sinful creature…Listen to me. Abandon all evils and cultivate the virtues.” Tang Sanzang looked Qiongqi in the blood-lusting eyes fearlessly.

        Qiongqi couldn’t care less of Tang Sanzang’s words and attempted to swallow him, but the strike paused right before it crushed his skull.

        “Eating fearless prey is dull…” Qiongqi stepped back and changed its target to the apprentices instead; Then it murmured some kind of beast words to them.

        The apprentices suddenly quivered; Sun Wukong jumped up first then took out the Vajra Staff, attacking one of the customers.

        “Wukong, STOP!” What Tang Sanzang said was totally not working on him. Next moment, Zhu Bajie and Sha Seng started targeting at the bosslady and the kid. They assaulted civilians as if they were insane. And Tang Sanzang knew that it was Qiongqi who put a spell on them.

        “Gotta stop them.”

        Tang Sanzang understood that the way to get their sanity back was having Qiongqi to break the spell. He glared at Qiongqi with an intimidating look. Witnessing the change of Tang Sanzang’s face, Qiongqi grinned satisfyingly.

        Tang Sanzang tried to break free from the rope on his wrist, but the rope seemed unusual as well. It didn’t move an inch no matter how hard he struggled.

        “Tang Sanzang… I got you finally! Struggle all the way you want. You can’t escape from me. Despair will only make you more delicious. HAHAHAHA!”

        “Everything with form is unreal; if all forms are seen as unreal…” Tang Sanzang mumbled the sutra to focus on his legs. And then he stamped his foot, shattering the ground into a big hole. The apprentices fell into it and fainted instantly. But Tang Sanzang swiftly avoided the impact force and returned to the ground with a still position.

        “Everyone says Tang Sanzang only uses his fist, but not the legs… No! I won’t surrender! I will eat you!” Qiongqi yelled a roar; The fire on its forehead burned with rage. It started spreading its wing and striked at Tang Sanzang.

        But the calm Tang Sanzang remained still until the fire almost hit him. He moved, twisting his body with an unbelievable flexibility, then hit Qiongqi’s right cheek by a fully-powered swing kick.

        BOOM! Qiongqi was blasted away as if it was hit by a cannon of some sort. He didn’t stop until he broke several houses to bits. The severely wounded beast tried to get up, but there was a force keeping it down——Tang Sanzang’s feet stepping on Qiongqi’s head!

        “Your mind is filled with evilness and violence. Cultivate virtues with me, so that you can return to the righteous path.”

        “NO! Never——AH!” Qiongqi struggled hard and spat at Tang Sanzang, but Tang Sanzang’s kick stopped his words.

        “You’re obsessed. Let me ease your sins with a prayer. Sarva āthaduh śubhaṃ…”

        “You damned monk! Shut——AH!” Qiongqi was interrupted again, but he didn’t give in and keep yelling, “I won’t sur——AH! Don’t be too——AH! Shut——AH! AHHHHHH! ……Okay! I’ll learn from you! Make this stop!”

        What Qiongqi said finally made Tang Sanzang smile. “Great. Now you know the bright side of asceticism” he said gently.

        And just like this, Qiongqi embarked on an ascetic journey with Tang Sanzang and the crew…...

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