At the end of the chapter, Xing Yun uses a really old-fashioned way to refer to himself.
Thundering black clouds hung threateningly over a town. All the townspeople were indoors, except for the owner of one house in the western end of town, who was opening his backyard gate. Slender bamboo and grape vines rustled in the strong winds His hair and clothes danced like the bamboo leaves.
“This weather…is terrible.” His mouth curled. He looked at the sky. A pinprick of silver light descended from the storm clouds and disappeared into the hills surrounding the town. “Something’s happened.”
The next day. Xing Yun went to the bustling market, dressed in blue over white. In all the clamor he felt something else call to him. He stopped. “Selling chickens! Fat chickens!” The hawker’s voice particularly resonated in his ear. Xing Yun turned towards him.
Among the ten-some chickens in the basket was a strikingly featherless one that seemed rather listless, its head drooping like it was dying. Xing Yun was riveted by it. He smiled finally, “I want this one.”
The hawker answered, “Aye. I’ll give you a good deal since this chicken’s so ugly.”
“No need.” Xing Yun groped for some money to put in the hawker’s hand. “It’s worth the money. It won’t be happy if I buy it cheap.”
“Chickens can get mad?” The hawker scratched his head as Xing Yun walked away. He opened his fist to check the money and was dumbfounded. He immediately shouted, “Hey! Sir, the money you gave is’t enough for that broiler chicken… HEY! Sir! Hey! Hello! Argh! Bastard, wait up! You didn’t pay enough!”
But Xing Yun had already disappeared without a trace.
The world was spinning. A brawny, bearded man approaching the disoriented Shen Li. He caught hold of her ungraciously, smiling sinisterly.
“You insolent man! Let go of us!” Her skin burned. She struggled with all her might to escape. But she was too weak: her arms were pinned from behind, her legs were bound. And then…
All her feathers were plucked out.
You bastard! Untie these ropes and fight me if you dare! She needed to gouge out the eyes of this ignorant mortal cur!
Shen Li awoke from her nightmare, gasping for breath. It was ages before she sluggishly lifted her head off the grass to examine her surroundings. It looked like she was in someone’s backyard. There was a stone pond and budding grapevines. Under the vines, a man reclined lazily on a bamboo rocking chair, one that wasn’t brutish like the hunter, nor vulgar like the chicken seller. He had fair skin and wore blue and white robes. His eyes were closed as he basked in the sunlight filtering through the grapevines.
Shen Li faltered for a second. She’d seen many beautiful men, but those who possessed a refined demeanor such as his was rare no doubt even among the immortals from Heaven. Shen Li looked away. This wasn’t the time to be distracted by pretty faces. Shen Li knew she’d be discovered if she remained in one spot too long. She needed to leave immediately.
“Ah, you’re up.” The man spoke before Shen Li got up, his voice hoarse from sleep. “I thought you’d die.” Shen Li turned towards the man who hadn’t moved an inch on his rocking chair. He smiled and tossed a handful of steamed bread scraps at her. Then, he squawked boorishly: “Cluckity cluck.”
Shen Li was flabbergasted. Her true body was that of the phoenix, but she had been born with a human form from an azure pearl in the East Sea and had been revered since youth. When she was five hundred years old, she was created Azure Sky King by the Demon Emperor for her first military achievement. Since then, her prestige had only risen to new heights. None in the Demon Realm dared to mock her. Yet today…today a prince of the Demon Realm had been insulted as poultry by a mortal! For crying shame!
Shen Li gritted her beak and tried to get up. She never thought that Mo Fang’s blow to her chest would be so powerful as to render her incapable of moving even now. She thrashed bitterly but uselessly for a while. When she looked up, the man raised his eyebrows and beckoned her, “Come chicken, come.”
Come my ass! Shen Li struggled furiously and hopped up. However, she barely managed to flail for a foot or so before crashing to the ground. She accidentally speared a scrap of steamed bread with her beak as she fell.
“Don’t rush, don’t rush. I still have more here,” said the man. He went inside and returned with a large steamed bun. He squatted down in front of her and placed it before her, smiling warmly. “Here.”
Who wants your charity! Shen Li fumed. But the situation was hopeless. She shut her eyes and buried her head into the hole she’d drilled in the ground. She just wanted to die.
The man eyed her bald skullcap. He smirked abruptly, “If you’re not going to eat, then let’s first give you a bath.” He pinned her wings and carried her towards the pond.
Eh… Wait! Bath? Who said I wanted a bath! You bastard! Let us go! When I get back to the Demon Realm I’ll put a kill order on nineteen generations of your clan, if you dare touch even a hair on our head! Even a hair…
Shen Li gazed in shock at her reflection in the pond… There isn’t a hair left to touch…
Yesterday, she’d returned to her true form after being stabbed by Mo Fang. She’d fallen into a forest and been discovered by a hunter. She knew her golden feathers had been plucked by the hunter, but she’d never imagined that that churlish hunter would so damn enterprising! She looked like she’d been scalded and plucked! Nothing remained on her body, not even a single hair! How did the hunter do it! Shen Li felt like crying but no tears came out. She recalled in a flash when she used to laugh at a balding minister. Back then, she’d been young and foolish. She hadn’t understood his tears. She wanted to turn her past self into a pincushion. This was karma for being rude!
“Time to bath~” The man didn’t let Shen Li further appreciate her new appearance and dumped her unceremoniously into the pond.
Shen Li choked on some water as she fell in, but continued flapping madly out of survival instinct. The man’s laughter at her alarm disappeared as he saw her desperately thrashing. He drew his eyebrows together in concern and asked, “Eh, you can’t swim?”
What sort of chicken swims! Where is your common sense!
She was heavily injured and had no magical energy left. She couldn’t continue thrashing. But just as she thought she was about to die by a mortal’s prank, a bamboo pole swept her towards shore. The man crouched and pumped her naked bosom. “Keep breathing, don’t stop or you’ll die.”
Her soaking wet body convulsed. Shen Li glared balefully at the man as she lost consciousness. This guy was definitely messing with her! Definitely!
He held Shen Li’s gaze until she fainted. Then he smiled faintly and flicked her on her bald forehead. “Where are your manners. I am Xing Yun, not ‘this guy’.”