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Backstory

        Kitten in hand, a maiden strolled along the forest, her long claret hair conspicuous in the yellowish autumn. As the Devilish Coquette incident had just ended, few Humans could be seen in the mountain. Although she had returned with grievous injuries, people dared not enter the forest until they have seen the coquette’s corpse. Westerly winds blew, bringing down a shower of leaves. The maiden unfurled her paper umbrella on her way into the mountain. Piles of fallen leaves reach her knees; eerie wind blew around the gloomy forest. Here in the depths of the mountain, the maiden stopped in front of an orchid tree. The tall tree was all bald, and its trunk seemed to be covered by dust.

        “Now that I stand in front of you, you don’t dare eat me, huh?” A hideous grin suddenly spread across the graceful maiden’s face, her hands closing in for a magic seal: “Show yourself, devilish creature!”

        The fallen leaves suddenly threw themselves onto the maiden, who flung the kitten into the sky before she was engulfed by the wave of leaves. The thick roots of the tree burst out of the ground and pierced into the swarm of leaves. But the leaves were blasted away, as lightning forked out in all directions from the middle. Shen Gongbao, in his ascetic outfit, leapt from inside the swarm of leaves into the air, while the devilish tree swung its dead branches at him. However, the kitten aloft had already revealed its true form — the spotted tiger — and tore the web of branches into pieces. Just then, the swirling leaves transformed into a beast and started fighting with the spotted tiger. At the same time in the air, Shen Gongbao raised his thunder whip, prompting gusts and clouds to rage through the sky. The branches threw slashed at him, but were all parried by the dancing red umbrella. Witnessing the converging thunder power, the devilish tree screeched in fear.

        “Mighty Xian, I give up! Please spare me!”

        A bolt of lightning plunged from the sky, but dispersed before impacting the tree, scorching the ground in a circle. However, the overwhelming power still shattered the tree into chips and in the place where the tree had stood, there was now an unclothed beauty. Shen Gongbao descended while panting; diverging his attack was more exhausting than launching it. Thus, he used his power-imbued umbrella as a parachute, without revealing his fatigue to the Devilish Coquette. The spotted tiger and the beast also returned to their masters. On her hands and knees, the coquette glared alluringly into Shen Gongbao’s eyes, but the latter merely looked back at her in disdain.

        “Devilish creature, you occupy this mountain as your turf, and you have drawn men in to serve as food, prompting anger from all. Today, I have come on the order of the Celestial Divinity, and evict —”

        Blood gushed from the Devilish Coquette’s mouth before Shen Gongbao could finish his sentence. Upon contact with the blood, the green was restored in the fallen yellow leaves.

        “I admit to my sin of eating Humans; I deserve the punishment of death and can never repay for my past sins. Master Xian, can you please grant me one wish. Please extract my power, using it to grant my conjured tiger a real body, and return the power I took from the mount — cough!”

        Yet more blood sprayed with the cough. Shen Gongbao approached the Devilish Coquette, evil-subduing seals in hand. The Coquette closed her eyes and waited in despair. But to her surprise, the seal did not attack her; instead, it released a few lesser Demons, which Shen Gongbao asked the Coquette to devour.

        “I have more important things to do. I don’t have time to make amends for you!” Shen Gongbao cast a spell on the Devilish Coquette: “If you stop sinning and use your power to protect the innocent instead of harming them, I will make an exception and spare your life. But should you decide to continue on your path of evil, this spell will shatter your body. You shall die under the pain of being sliced by a thousand blades!”

        Shen Gongbao left atop his tiger. The spell he had just cast was merely an unharmful one aimed at causing pain. Having seen the purity of the Devilish Coquette’s mind, Shen Gongbao had decided to direct her onto the correct path. ‘Now that my Tao techniques are progressing much slower than before, I have to roam around the realm to subdue various evils, and utilize their power for my own use!’ While saying this to convince himself, Shen Gongbao continued his search of the next evil creature. What he did not know was that the Devilish Coquette had disguised herself as a beast, and was stealthily following behind him...

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