Chapter 63: True Appearance
chapter 63: true appearance
han li paced around the room several times before stopping.
“should i accept doctor mo’s deal right now, or should i wait i’m absolutely sure there is no cure before making my decision…” han li was helpless, unable to come to a conclusion.
then, he looked outside at the iron slave and thought back at the unintelligible chant left behind at the end of mo juren’s will. a sense of curiosity rose within his heart as he prepared the steps to control the iron slave.
han li bent down and retrieved from within the pile of items a brass bell small enough to fit in the palm of his hand. the brass bell was delicately crafted with harmonious proportions that made it look pleasing to the eyes. with one glance, he could tell that it was the work of a skilled artisan. the only difference this bell had from an ordinary one was the bell frame, which had faint traces of blood stains, making it particularly eyecatching.
han li carefully inspected all the features of this so called “soul guiding bell.” from its surface, he was unable to see what was so special about it, but by following mo juren’s structions, he could control the frightening iron slave. such an object was inconceivable!
han li held onto the small bell with his left hand and a dagger with his right hand. slowly and cautiously, he walked out past the stone door and approached the iron slave.
when he was twenty feet away from the large man, he stopped walking, unwilling to move any further. if he moved even one foot closer, he might not be able to protect himself from any accidents. at this moment, the iron slave was standing straight with his back faced towards han li.
dang! a crisp and clear sound rang out from the bell after han li used his dagger to softly hit the copper bell.
han li briefly wrinkled his eyebrows. the sound was the same as that of a normal clock, so how could it possibly control the iron slave?
his heart wavered slightly. his body shrank down a little as he prepared himself to run back to the stone room at the first signs of failure.
hearing the ringing from the bell, the iron slave’s shoulder shook almost imperceptibly. seeing this reaction, han li felt delighted, and he quickly continued to strike the bell.
dang! dang!… the bell sounded out in quick succession and the iron slave’s body shuddered accordingly until even his walking became staggered, unable to stand firmly, causing him to finally fall face down on the ground, unconscious.
the iron slave’s immense body, upon impact with the ground, unsettled a large amount of dust that caused the unprepared han li to sneeze consecutively, making him look battered and dirtied.
but at this time, han li could care less about his appearance. he quickly pounced on the iron slave and reached his hands out to tear away the his cloak, revealing a bloated face that shocked and absolutely horrified han li.
han li forcefully endured the uncomfortable feeling within his heart, unwilling to continue to inspect the iron slave any more. using his dagger to lightly cut open his own wrist, han li allowed some of his blood to flow out unobstructed, dripping onto the iron slave’s face until his face was completely smeared with blood before han li found a clean strip of clothing to tie around his wrist in order to prevent further bleeding. then he calmly stood to the side to watch the iron slave’s reaction.
then, strangely enough, all the blood on the iron slave’s face slowly sank into his skin without a single drop left behind, causing han li, who was watching off to the side, to be dumbstruck to the point where he was oblivious to the fact that he exerted too much pressure on the wound, causing fresh blood to seep out of underneath the cloth.
once the blood was completely absorbed, the iron slave opened both eyes and slowly got up. he looked incapable of speech; both his eyes seemed lifeless, without a trace of emotion.
but when the iron slave turned his head to look at han li and their eyes made contact, han li heard a “weng” sound within his mind. a strangely foreign yet familiar feeling arose within han li’s heart, almost as if something foreign suddenly appeared within his heart. this feeling was like a pet he personally raised, constantly revolving around han li, longing for its name to be called out.
(tl: weng= onomatopoeia for buzzing or droning)
han li was surprised but immediately calmed down because he saw that the iron slave’s once rigid and deadpan face was now filled with complete obedience. seeing this gave han li the feeling that he was able to control the iron slave’s fate. it was a fascinating and novel feeling.
han li suppressed his pleasant surprise and calmly gave the large man a command to test his limits.
“go and tear that stone wall for me.”
without saying a single word, the iron slave walked over to the stone door with a few large strides, raised his two fists together above his head like a large hammer, and with three to five strokes smashed apart the door. as swift as a wind, he returned to han li’s side, awaiting his next command.
han li, who had been downcast from reading mo juren’s will, could not resist anymore and grinned widely from ear to ear. with this strong helper always waiting for orders, would there be any normal dangers in the future capable of harming him?
han li was thinking about his wonderful future while he fervently sized the giant man from head to toe.
the more he looked at the giant man, the happier he felt. his originally ugly view of the man now seemed more pleasing to the eye, even going as resembling a familiar face to han li.
“a familiar face?” han li was both frightened and shocked by his own realization.
how could he think that this ugly face looked familiar when it was his first time seeing it?
faced with these questions, han li started to closely investigate the giants man’s nose and eyes in an attempt to find the answer.
gradually, he discovered that if he were to take the giant man’s bloated face and shrink it to its original size, this face would not be considered ugly to look at. in fact, the iron slave’s face would even look honest and straightforward, giving han li a sight he found both familiar and horrifying.
han li’s face turned pale. after half a day of silence, he reached out both hands to gently touch the giant man’s face.
“brother zhang, is that really you?” his words sounded downcast making him appear to be tranquil.
the face he had pieced together was remarkably similar to that of his good friend, “zhang tie.” thinking back to doctor mo’s last few ineffable words, han li was completely sure that the giant man and zhang tie were somehow closely related. was it really as it was described in the letter? if the giant man was made from zhang tie’s empty body, then his soul was already long gone. but how did his body become so huge and frightening?