Daily Disposable Persona - Chapter 84
Although it wasn’t unusual for a human to feel a tingling in their eyelid, it was very unusual for an evil god.
Zong Yan had previously tested it out. In his current evil god body, the entire concept of pain had been stripped away.
To put it simply, he could cut off any part of his body if he felt like it, and not only would he feel no pain, he’d shed no blood, and he could regenerate the part with a thought.
Compared to lower beings, evil gods existed in more dimensions and were more highly evolved. “Pain” was useless for them, so their bodies didn’t have nerves that sensed pain.
It was up to each evil god to decide whether they wanted to feel pain.
They had mastery over every part of their bodies. They could divide themselves into smaller pieces and use them as secondary identities, and they could split their minds into multiple strands. Zong Yan could even transform himself into a giant tentacle monster, otherwise known as his true body.
But that kind of thing was way outside the limits of human aesthetics. Normally, Zong Yan and Cthulhu weren’t that similar in appearance, but their true bodies were carved from the same mold. When Zong Yan saw his own gigantic reflection in the sea, his eyes rolled up and he almost passed out. Meanwhile the inhabitants of R’lyeh fell to their knees in awe, fervently worshipping the body of the evil god.
And Zong Yan experienced many other things he’d never encountered as a human. In a word, it was incredible.
Only now did Zong Yan understand why, when the three original pillar gods looked at him, they treated him like a toy.
To be honest, if Zong Yan didn’t still have his human memories, he would have behaved exactly like a second Cthulhu. He too would have become a standard-issue arrogant evil god. After all, the instant he was born, he stood above all other creatures. There was no higher form of existence.
Because in the eyes of an evil god, everything else was trivially small. This viewpoint didn’t apply only to humans.
The young evil god sat on his throne.
This was the high palace in the center of R’lyeh. Originally it only contained one throne, but after Cthulhu returned from his tour of the world with Zong Yan, the craftsmen of R’lyeh skillfully added a second kingly seat.
Now, on the top floor of the high palace, a pair of thrones studded with emeralds stood side by side. The upper half of each throne was covered with ferocious fangs, and the material from which the thrones were carved was unusual in itself. When the light shone through it, a dark red glow spilled across the floor like a layer of blood, as though the two bone seats were floating in a sea of viscous gore. The color dyed Zong Yan’s beautiful, somewhat androgynous face a gorgeous crimson.
Forget it. Since he had no idea what caused it, he wasn’t going to think about it.
Zong Yan carelessly lowered his hand from his eyebrow and waved the question to the back of his mind.
After he gave the order, Dagon trembled and immediately resumed his report on political matters.
“While the two sires were sleeping, the vile barbarians of Carcosa launched a surprise attack on R’lyeh from the air. Byakhee—they’re a lowly type of creature with sharp, hooked claws—came flying out of the sky carrying Lloigor soldiers. Fortunately, Your Majesty, you reinforced the runes of R’lyeh twice before your slumber. That’s how we were able to hold off the attack.”
The Elder of the Deep Ones continued respectfully, “There aren’t many Star-spawn in the city. You sent most of them to the outer planets years ago. This made it difficult for us Deep Ones to withstand Carcosa’s aerial attacks. However, now that you’ve awakened, the time is ripe for R’lyeh to strike back.”
Zong Yan was taken aback. He recalled the memories of London from his past life.
The city of Carcosa belonged to another Great Old One—the Lord of Interstellar Spaces. It was the domain of Hastur, the King in Yellow.
Just as Cthulhu was the king of R’lyeh, Hastur was the king of Carcosa.
Humans were familiar with both of these Great Old Ones. Both had created kingdoms for themselves to rule over, and the traces of the former glory of these kingdoms could still be found by modern archaeologists in the 21st-century.
Like R’lyeh, for example.
Currently, R’lyeh controlled the oceans of Earth, and oceans made up more than ninety percent of the planet. The continents weren’t yet fully formed. Carcosa seemed to exist in another dimension and didn’t overlap much with Earth. Unless Zong Yan was missing something….
He wouldn’t have guessed these two Great Old Ones were deadly enemies.
Zong Yan really had no idea. After all, no matter how powerful Miskatonic University was, there was no way for them to understand the relationships between evil gods. Investigators on assignment frequently never managed to figure out which evil god was working behind the scenes. Most of the time Nyarla was responsible, and he was notorious for his trouble-making. That was why every investigator had to memorize the summoning and banishing spells of Nyarlathotep’s enemies before they joined the investigator organization of the Spire Council, just in case of emergencies.
He quietly sank into his thoughts.
After Cthulhu’s casual destruction of Atlantis, they’d retrieved the imitation perpetual power source constructed by the Atlanteans.
Since it was a copy, it was nowhere near as good as the genuine article in R’lyeh. At best it was a substandard counterfeit.
“Let’s go. We shall return.”
The evil god didn’t spare a single glance for the land below, which was engulfed in calamity and despair.
Fire rained down from the sky and lava poured into the cold sea. When the searing heat engulfed a human body, a bitter, fishy smell rose from the water, extinguishing the red magma but also burying those who’d lost their lives.
The earth collapsed, the mountains and rivers fell, and a city’s utter destruction was just a whim in the mind of an evil god.
It was a power so incredible it made Zong Yan shiver inside. He frowned slightly, lowering his gaze, and his long eyelashes dropped like crow feathers, sweeping the thoughts from his mind.
There were no grounds for Zong Yan to intervene. He had no standing, no reason to stop any of it.
Atlantis deserved to be destroyed. It had offended the authority of the evil god.
In another part of his mind, thoughts belonging to an evil god stirred and swayed, floating in the sea of his consciousness, constantly whispering to him.
He turned his head away and said lightly, “I feel much better. Thank you for the gift, gege.”
When they returned, Cthulhu stroked Zong Yan’s head and told him he was leaving to deal with a few insects, and Zong Yan should feel free to roam R’lyeh at will. If he got bored, he could go to a nearby galaxy and wander around a bit.
So Zong Yan stayed behind.
Cthulhu didn’t conceal from Zong Yan where he was going. It seemed the evil god was planning to return to his homeworld, the binary star of Xoth, which contained a huge planet hundreds of millions of light-years from Earth. It was said that many Great Old Ones still lived there, and it was also Cthulhu’s birthplace.
Even for an evil god, it took time to travel back and forth. Cthulhu didn’t have the ability to control space, so he couldn’t just open a gate and traverse vast distances like Yog-Sothoth.
But it was clear the Lord of R’lyeh was a bit worried about his new brother. He’d left in such a hurry that he didn’t know Carcosa, his nemesis, was on the move.
It wasn’t clear how Carcosa got the news. Perhaps it was just that the clans on both sides had been at odds for so long they were eager for war.
There hadn’t been many occasions when Hastur and Cthulhu had clashed directly. After all, if these two beings fought, they would likely destroy the Earth or at least a continent. Moreover, they’d restrained themselves before and hadn’t bothered with sneak attacks. In past days when they used to fight each other constantly, it was usually a straightforward collision between their true bodies. They fought whenever they ran into each other around the universe.
It was clear this was something new and unexpected.
“When will Carcosa attack?” Zong Yan interrupted, calmly evaluating the situation.
He jumped down from the throne and stepped barefoot on the smooth green onyx floor. His long, dark green hair swept back from his shoulders, trailing and twisting on the ground. The ends of his hair were dotted with crystal droplets of water like gemstones adorning a forest, deep and beautiful.
“Maybe, perhaps…” The elder froze a moment, then his expression changed. “It’s now.”
“I see,” Zong Yan said, nodding. He descended the lapis lazuli stairs step by step, as if he were taking a leisurely stroll through the cold, magnificent palace, permeated with an aura that was eerie and unclean.
Since he was now one of the kings of R’lyeh, Zong Yan was obligated to protect the city before Cthulhu returned.
“Mobilize R’lyeh’s troops and prepare for battle.”
The eyes of the young evil god were an alien shade of dark gold. As he walked, the jagged hem and sleeves of his lightweight, dark gray robe fluttered in the air behind him. Exquisite gold pendants inlaid with emeralds tinkled with a series of soft, metallic notes.
Although they were the same god, the two masters had very different temperaments.
Cthulhu liked to exhibit his powerful body. He was a cold and decisive king who killed in an instant.
The new king, named “Zong Yan”, had a face so beautiful it could be called demonic, and in every gesture and manner he was noble and reserved. In that sense he was strangely similar to the king of the city of Carcosa. The Lord of Interstellar Spaces was also aloof and remote and a lover of art.
Dagon quickly cast aside his traitorous thoughts. Trembling, he took out his staff and lightly tapped the air.
The young king walked through the palace gates.
Outside, a forest of stone and statues stood silent on the surface of the sea, and a throng of Deep Ones floated in the water in dense masses, raising their harpoons high in the air. The Star-spawn retreated from the atmosphere, and the shoggoths shouted “Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!”.
These voices disappeared the instant Zong Yan stepped forward.
They lowered their heads in absolute silence to demonstrate their devotion.
The young evil god lifted his gaze. In the distant sky there loomed a tower, and its highest reaches were concealed by white mist.
He’d been to Carcosa, the country of the dead. He knew the spire belonged to Carcosa’s castle.
Countless Byakhee surrounded the mist-wrapped tower, guarding it, and the ragged King in Yellow gazed down coldly from the sky.
War was imminent.
The author has something to say:
Zong Yan: Brother soldiers, we go to battle! Although gege isn’t here, you can rely on didi! Charge!
mountains and rivers – 山河 – This is also an idiom meaning “the land of a country”
demonic (face) – 魔魅 – mómèi – devil, magic charm
Glossary of world terms—new in this chapter:
Lloigor – 罗伊格尔 – Luōyīgéěr – Vortices of living power completely invisible except on occasions when they appear reptilian
Image source: Call of Cthulhu, French version – H.P. Lovecraft Wiki
Image source: Call of Cthulhu – H.P. Lovecraft Wiki