Duck Emperor Chronicles – Chapter 6


    [Author – Blurry]

    [Proofreader – Samael]

    — — —

    Chapter 6: Karma Swallowing Physique.

    The man and the duck looked at each other.

    The white-haired youth opened his mouth, before closing it back up nervously.

    ‘Oh? Have you nothing to say?’

    Ya Jiao smirked menacingly. He was currently utilizing a fraction of his soul power to send out waves of pressure. It wasn’t much, but with this, he could at the very least keep Ya Jing in check.

    His [Heavenly God Primordial Spirit] had degraded immensely since his revival, not to mention how he was unable to use its full might either due to his non-existent cultivation base. 

    Nonetheless. . .

    This remnant force from his soul probably felt like a mountain sitting on Ya Jing’s back.

    ‘Then I’ll first ask a question.’

    ‘Since how long ago did you find out that you were garbage at cultivation?’

    The Duck Lord covered his mouth.

    ‘Ah, I’m sorry if that was too abrupt. But your absolute inability to cultivate is truly too shocking.’

    ‘It’s like a fish who can’t swim. Your disability has simply rendered me speechless!’

    The white-haired youth’s hair flared, his face the colour of ripe tomato.

    ‘Motherduck—Alright I get it, I get it.’

    Ya Jiao’s black eyes suddenly stared directly at him.

    ‘Then answer.’

    The Duck Lord waved his wings and shattered the space between them. The endless void flowing in, as he appeared right in front of Ya Jing, his gaze still intense and frightening.

    “Here. I’ve made this easier for us.”

    His voice resonated throughout nothingness.

    “You—Cough, cough!”

    The white-haired youth gasped and sputtered, shocked at the sudden presence of air. The realm of primordial spirit was one without any physical constructs, so Ya Jing hadn’t been breathing for quite a while, though there was no particular need for breathing in the first place.

    A soul did not have lungs.

    But now he did.

    “Remaking the physical matter was a chore, so I do hope you have some interesting things to tell.” 

    “Urgh! That hurts!”

    “Living will do that to you, yes.”

    The surroundings suddenly morphed into a luxurious throne room as Ya Jing heaved breath.

    Intricate carpets adorned with mythological imagery of long-forgotten beasts. Ornate steps made of jade and marble, leading up to a golden throne stabbed through by a thousand blades.

    And on that throne was a handsome, scholarly man holding a wine cup.

    Ya Jiao’s original appearance.

    Ya Jing, who was at the very bottom of those stairs, looked upwards with a pained expression.

    “What do you want from me?”


    “Is—is that it?”

    A fragrant aroma wafted through the air as wine sloshed about in the porcelain cup.

    “Of course. I do not lie.” 

    Struggling to his feet, Ya Jing gritted his teeth, and began to slowly ascend the steps.

    Even as his face popped with green veins, the white-haired youth never once stopped moving.

    “Oh? How interesting. . .”

    But determination alone was not enough to overcome any hurdle. Ya Jiao leisurely descended the gleaming staircase, before meeting the panting Ya Jing halfway.

    The Duck Lord was rather impressed.

    One must know that he had never decreased nor eased up on his pressure this entire time, so the white-haired youth’s ascension against all odds was truly fit to be called a miracle of the mind.

    Ya Jing stared at him.

    “I’ll do as you want, on two conditions.”

    Opportunistic little motherduck—

    Ya Jiao grinned chillingly.

    “You seem to have misunderstood. There is no need for me to ask for your permission. If I so wished to, I could split your soul open and find my answers that way. So what makes you think I’ll take the suggestions of a mere duckling who cannot even humanize into account?”

    “Moreover, is there anything you can offer me in return for my favour? Is there anything at all that I lack? Money. Fame. Power. Look around this hall; do you see something that I lack?”

    [PR/N: A nun. *gets struck by lightning*]

    Every jewel surrounding them seemed to glimmer with a sinister light at his words.

    The ‘mere duckling’ flinched a little, though his mental state seemed much better than it was previously.

    He stood his ground against this harsh critique.

    “I can think of a few. Ever since those Huai bastards beat me up, I lost control of my body, and you were given full control. I was groggy and didn’t see much, but the bits and pieces I did see made it clear that you are a vengeful and cruel person.”

    The white-haired youth paused, as if he was hesitant to continue.

    “That said. . . I saw how you interacted with my family. You neither seemed angry nor frustrated even when they insulted and disdained you. And most importantly, it weirdly feels as if you have some subtle connection to us, like you’re somehow related to us.”

    “Like you said. I have no way to repay you. You have everything, and I don’t have anything. Maybe it’s just my foolish request as a beggar to an emperor.”

    Ya Jing met Ya Jiao’s solemn eyes.

    “But if you really did want to hurt me, you had no need to ask for my permission or my reasons.”

    “You could have just done it from the start.”

    The silence was heavier than iron. Not a single breath passed through the air as the world stilled and shook. Ya Jiao stared back at the youth before him, his eyes containing an inscrutable emotion.

    He then sat down on the steps. The two ducks finally saw eye-to-eye.

    “It seems you are not the waste I thought you to be.”

    The throne room vanished, replaced by a round table and two redwood chairs.

    “We shall talk. I will agree to your requests as long as they are sensible and do not harm me.”

    Ya Jiao handed Ya Jing a black teapot and a cup.

    “Now pour me a drink, courageous little duckling.”


    “I see.”

    Taking a sip of oolong, Ya Jiao contemplated for a moment, having now heard practically the youth’s entire life story from start-to-finish. This newly gained information had cemented the few suspicions he originally harboured, while also dispelling some others.  

    “You have a very special cultivation physique.”

    Ya Jing seemed stunned.

    “I-I do?”


    The youth’s brows slammed together as he gave the Duck Lord an incredulous look. It was a weird gaze that seemed akin to one a person might give a quack doctor who wanted to cure an injury on their arm by cutting off their entire leg. 

    To put it simply, Ya Jing thought he was spouting a load of bullshit.

    “Listen first, assumptions later. You do indeed have a special cultivation physique. However, I did not say that all cultivation physiques in the world are necessarily beneficial.”

    The Duck Lord drew in the air with a finger.

    “There are most certainly beneficial cultivation physiques in the world. The World Dao Physique is one such example. The chosen few blessed by the world will be able to converse with the natural Qi lines unaided, having cultivation speeds almost ten times faster than your average person.”

    The image of a meditating monk appeared in the empty space between them, before melting away.

    “Yet there are also cultivation physiques that require a tad more maintenance, physiques that can be fatal when left alone.”

    A soaring phoenix of ice and a fiery dragon soared up into the sky.

    “The Nine Yin Physique and the Nine Yang Physique are two supreme cultivation physiques. They are generally harmless and will help the possessor in their cultivation, sometimes even bestowing them with the abilities of True Yin Ice and True Yang Fire.”

    The figures flying in the sky suddenly merged. Dark clouds descended as fire and ice clashed, causing untold destruction to the land beneath. The earth trembled as thunderclouds boomed.

    “Unfortunately, there’s also been some instances where a Nine Yin Physique appeared on a male cultivator and a Nine Yang Physique on a female cultivator. This leads to a clash between Yin and Yang, turning the body into a warzone for the conflicting energies.” 

    A person on the ground screamed in agony as ice and fire ripped their skin and rent their flesh.

    “Death is the usual outcome.”

    The person subsequently exploded.

    Ya Jiao wiped away the image before Ya Jing—who was now green—could hurl at the sight.

    “You possess the Karma Swallowing Physique.”

    The Duck Lord drew in the sky a hungry mouth with jagged teeth.

    “It is considered a mostly benign and beneficial physique. It would have been a blessing if you had been born in a family that could recognize and utilize this physique to its full potential. It requires only moderate maintenance, and is classified as a high-tier physique.”

    Ya Jiao fed the mouth with a few treasures he manifested, and watched as it chewed happily.

    “It is a pity you cannot meet the physique’s sole requirement. . .”

    “And that is because it eats an ungodly amount of resources.”

    The jagged-tooth mouth cried in grief as the shiny treasures vanished into smoke.

    “Without resources, the Karma Swallowing Physique is more or a curse than a blessing.”

    He transplanted the mouth onto a clay man and made it gather Qi through meditation.

    Heaven and Earth Qi congealed and filled its every pore. Revolving and circulating, the Qi distributed itself across each acupoint and Qi channel.

    However, unbeknownst to the clay figure, the dormant physique had awakened as well. The starving mouth munched on the Qi strands, ravenously having its fill. And although it was far from enough to sate the physique’s appetite, the minimal nutrients were sufficient to stave off its hunger for a while.

    The clay figure shuddered. Now struggling to retain even a sliver of Qi, it started to visibly sweat, and soon gave up cultivating after a fruitless handful of minutes.

    “See? Without its food supply, the physique has no choice but to feed off your cultivation instead, halting your progress. That is the true reason why you were considered cultivation trash.”

    “T-this. . .”

    Ya Jing’s expression was so gloomy one could wring out water droplets from it. His pale hands were trembling with anger and a sense of helplessness. His brows furrowed in furious frustration.

    [PR/N: Nice tongue twister, author.]

    “All this time. . . was all my effort for nothing?”

    The Duck Lord looked at the despairing man, before continuing:

    “Not quite. Your tenacity and determination wouldn’t fail you. I wager that you have been training ceaselessly ever since you realized your inability to cultivate?”

    The white-haired youth momentarily stirred from his stupor and replied.

    “I have, yes. Even when no one believed in me. I cultivated until I fainted, then cultivated again.”

    With  a swish, Ya Jiao unfolded his white fan to conceal the faint smile forming on his lips. A few seconds later, he closed the fan with a snap, slammed it onto the table, and directed Ya Jing’s attention once more to the clay man.

    Pointing at the clay figure, Ya Jiao laughed in derision.

    “Do you know the most important thing a cultivator can have? It is not a good physique, nor is it a good aptitude for cultivation. It is not having a good family or a good master. Persistence and grit are the best qualities one can possess.”

    The clay man twitched. It looked very uncomfortable under the Duck Lord’s watchful eyes.

    “We are Cultivators. People who go against the Heaven’s Mandate, who go against natural order and law. If we do not advance, then we have to retreat. If we do not progress, then we no doubt regress. It is not easy to swim against the current of a mighty river. . .”

    It twitched some more, now convulsing in agony, underdeveloped fingers clawing at its own skin.

    “Going with the flow can be an easy option. However, who knows where the waters will flow? It may lead to salvation, or it may lead to a bottomless abyss. And who knows what awaits us if we choose to continue struggling? Is it a dead end? Or will there be a bountiful shoreline?”

    “There is only one thing I know for certain.”

    Dozens of hungry mouths with jagged teeth erupted from the man’s skin. They bit and they chewed and they ate. Mad with starvation, they consumed the flesh and blood of their owner. The physique tore him apart, destroying him from the inside—out.

    The four limbs and five viscera of the man burst out across the table, splashing everyone with clay.

    “Hard work will never fail you.”

    “You were lucky too. If you had stopped cultivating for even a single day, we might not have met at all. Because the physique would have eaten you whole without a single bit of respite.”


    The youth’s face looked about the same colour as his hair. Ya Jing nodded frantically, his hands were trembling from fear now, his earlier anger long gone, thrown to the winds.

    Ya Jiao took a deep sip of his oolong as Ya Jing attempted to regain his cool. Confronting one’s own mortality had always been a terrifying thing, especially when the ‘thing’ threatening your life was a somewhat benign physique shaped like a mouth inside your body that might end up devouring you with one wrong step.

    “Haha. I’m sure you didn’t have it easy.”

    “Urgh. A-alright, I think you’ve frightened me enough. Let’s just get to the main point.”

    The Ya Jing who had calmed himself down finally managed to stammer out a response.

    The Ya Jiao who had finished his oolong still seemed rather parched.

    “Yes, let’s.”

    The teacup vanished from his hand. A roll of contract parchment unfurled itself in the air.

    “There are two things I want from you; similar to how you yourself have two conditions. Firstly, I wish for your assistance in guiding me through Jiang River City. I could slaughter my way through this place, but I wouldn’t want to frighten your family. That is why I require your help to pinpoint who exactly I should kill and whom exactly I might spare.”

    Indifferent. Domineering.

    His voice was casual and relaxed, as if he did not just speak of massacre and death. It was an apathy so chilling that Ya Jing felt a shiver creep down his back. The paled youth seemed to envision a path of guts and gore leading straight through the village, with a handsome, bloodied man at its centre.

    He shuddered.

    “And secondly, I want your physique.”

    “. . .You want my physique?”

    “Correct. For the reasons I’ve stated above, I feel that your physique is better off—”

    “Take it.”

    That made Ya Jiao pause.

    “Hm. You’re quite the vengeful one yourself, aren’t you?”

    “I just don’t want to own something that might bite back at my arse.”

    The parchment quickly filled with writing, though there was neither brush nor ink present. With the two words, [Heavenly Vow], printed in a large curvy font at the top, it exuded an ethereal and undeniable immortal aura. An inviolable existence.

    “I’ll take your word for it.” 

    Four more words were added on one-half of the agreement.

    [Signed by Ya Jing.]

    The aforementioned duck stared at the floating contract, his skepticism apparent.

    “Is that. . . the Heavenly Vow?”

    “Your doubt is showing, but yes.”

    “It looks—”

    “Less majestic than expected? This realm probably has its own backwater version of the Heavenly Oath too. If I remember correctly, the most outdated form of it was a verbal promise.”

    [PR/N: The Heavenly Vow is a type of Heavenly Oath, but not every Heavenly Oath is a Heavenly Vow.]

    Ya Jing nodded in agreement.

    “Ah, well, this is the most modern form of the Heavenly Oath. It was consolidated after countless revisions and patch-ups. The vow is now almost unshakable, a far cry from the lacking efficacy of the archaic verbal edition.”

    “. . .”

    “Though I do have to admit that the old way had more pizazz. Seeing heavenly lightning descend from the heavens to seal a vow is quite the spectacle.”

    Ya Jiao snatched the contract from the air, the fan in his hands changing into a wooden inkbrush.

    “Now for my end of the deal.”

    The room suddenly got a lot colder.

    “What are your conditions?”

    The surroundings went dead silent. Ya Jing stiffened, caught off guard by the drop in temperature. The Duck Lord’s eyes were humming with an unseen pressure. They glowed crimson-gold, flaring and burning, like an eternal bonfire.

    “My conditions. . .”

    “You may ask for anything in my power, and I do have a lot of power. You could ask for a [Martial Art] stronger than even the strongest martial art in your world. You could ask for immortality, the method to become a divine deity.”

    “You could ask for infinite wealth. Boundless fame. Unfathomable strength.”

    Ya Jiao’s grin was the devil itself.

    “What do you wish for?”

    The white-haired youth grew quiet. Pressure and greed, it always drove the worst out of people, no matter how stalwart they thought they were. The Mad Duck had seen so many instances of parents selling their children, or children betraying their parents. Of students who have killed their masters. Of lovers who had turned on each other. So he wanted to know…

    Was this duckling really worthy of his favour? 

    Ya Jing raised his head with a resolute expression. 

    “Don’t harm my family.”

    “No matter what happens, you are not allowed to hurt them, ever. For as long as you are here and even after you have left. My mother and sister, I won’t let you touch a single hair on their heads.”

    The Duck Lord’s smile shone brighter than usual.

    “A family man. I approve. And your second condition?”

    Ya Jiao seemed to fret for a while, before an idea struck him and he smirked widely.

    “I’ll tell you another time.”

    “. . .Another time?”

    “I don’t quite know what I want now, so I’ll postpone the second condition and go through with our deal first. I’ll discuss the second condition once I’ve thought it over.”

    “. . . “

    “What a cheeky little runt.”

    There was no doubt that this opportunistic duckling was attempting to scam him. It was practically written all over his face! Think it over? What a joke. Ya Jiao could tell he just wanted the luxury to change his condition on the flip of a dime.  

    Because that was what he himself would have done in the same situation.

    ‘Tch. Clever.’

    “I’ll grant your request.”

    The white-haired youth secretly pumped his fist with excitement underneath the redwood table, all while unaware that a cultivator was close to being omniscient when inside their own spiritual realm. Ya Jiao wondered if he should just take the kid’s memories by force and save himself the headache.

    The Duck Lord’s smile grew a bit unnatural.

    “Whatever. The deal is sealed.”

    Immortal fire crackled as the [Heavenly Vow] turned resplendent, before morphing into a beam of light and disappearing soon after, completely vanishing from sight.

    “If you wish to review our contract, just think about it, and the [Heavenly Vow] will appear.” 

    The table disappeared. The chairs evaporated into thin air, dropping Ya Jing on his a*s.

    “Alright. It’s about time for me to return, be prepared to help me later on.”

    “Uff, why do you keep—Yeah, yeah, I’ll be prepared. But one last thing. . .”

    Ya Jiao’s fading body paused.

    The reckless little duckling had a look of dead seriousness on his face, his gaze fierce and hostile.


    “I know you’re strong, stronger than anyone in this goddamn village. Stronger than the Gu Family Head. Stronger than the Huai Family. Stronger than my father! But I don’t care whether you’re a great deity like in the legends, or a descended God from the myths.”  

    Ya Jing’s eyes smouldered like the budding sparks of a rising fire.

    “If you break your promise, I’ll kill you myself. No matter how hard it might be. No matter—”

    “Aha, Haha, AHAHAHAHAHA!”

    An insane, terrifying laughter cut off his following words. The noise of condensed madness stormed throughout the empty plain. ‘His’ world grew darker with every passing second.

    It became a sea of corpses, the bodies cackling as they drowned in their own blood. 

    Like the numbing drone of a dynasty on its final breath, the skeletons of people cried out in pain and lament. Emaciated and poor. It was a place where children eat their parents, before eating other children, and thus finally eating themselves, nibbling on their own flesh and blood.

    The noise of a sobbing boy echoed, as he watched his sect crashing to the ground around him. 

    Because of him.

    Jarring. Jagged. The mental images converged onto a lonesome man, slowly walking forwards. 

    “It seems I was mistaken. You’re not courageous. You’re just a reckless kid.”

    Ya Jiao stared Ya Jing dead in the eye.

    “That is the second time you have threatened me.”

    The white-haired youth trembled where he stood. He knew instinctively. He understood that Ya Jiao was no longer joking around nor testing him. This was real bloodlust. Real danger.

    He might actually die here. The reckless youth lowered his head.

    “Please. I-I’m sorry—”

    Too late. Splash. Splatter.

    Ya Jing looked down in horror at the hand piercing straight through his chest. 

    Right before Ya Jiao tore out his heart in a torrent of crimson, and crushed it into mush.

    “You want to kill me? If so, you better be prepared to die a lot more than once.”

    He pushed the motionless body with a single finger, watching as it fell through the red void. The expression on his face was still like water, unmoving, and yet it contained such hatred within it that his spiritual realm filled with enough blood to form a limitless ocean.

    “Remember this, if nothing else.”

    The blood-drenched Duck Lord spoke into the crumbling space.

    “My name is Ya Jiao. The Heavenly Duck Lord. The Mad Duck. The Sect-Destroying Demon.”

    “And you should never, ever threaten me.”

    “Because the next time you do so, I won’t care if we share the same blood, and I won’t care if we come from the same family. I will kill you, flesh and spirit.”

    “I will erase you from existence.” 

    And as Ya Jing plummeted silently into the vast void, the last image that graced his fading vision:

    A handsome man, bathed in the life of his enemies, sitting atop a mountain of corpses. Laughing and crying hysterically, he stabbed at himself. He stabbed at the thousands of eyes growing from his bare skin. Each one a different colour, but they all carried the same hatred, glaring murderously at him.

    Was it an illusion? A trick of a dying mind? Ya Jing’s mind failed before he could think any further.

    As everything faded to black.

    — — —

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