than serve in Heaven
“I am surprised that an important young man such as yourself would be assigned to such menial tasks,” the restaurant owner says. There is a brief pause, and then he chuckles, nervous, as if unsure of if what he’s said is correct or not. He returns to shifting nervously in his spot.
Tu Jiyu hums pleasantly in response.
“Do not sell yourself short,” the young man answers, looking boredly over the room’s tacky decorations. He nudges a stone xiezhi statue with his foot, tilting his head as it topples to the floor. Tu Jiyu looks back at the older man with a languid smile. "Your catering service is important for the banquet, and my sect naturally sought the finest establishment. I came by to check on your progress. There is no room for inadequacy, I’m sure you know, xiansheng."
“Of course—of course not," the older man stammers, eyes downcast in hesitance. He is scared of Tu Jiyu. He has good instincts. Most people are, naturally, which has never failed to please him. It is advantageous to be the predator rather than the prey, as much as it is thrilling.
"However," Tu Jiyu continues, idly tapping the wood of the chair he stands behind, "there was one thing I requested specially. Yes?"
He gestures towards the table in front of him invitingly.
The restaurant owner swallows thickly. Reluctant, the man makes his way to the other chair across from him. Sits with a delicacy that shows he knows what he is. A hare with its neck stretched between the jaws of a wolf.
Tu Jiyu takes a seat before him. He rests his elbow on the table. "The sedative I asked to be delivered to this table. I trust that you've planned for it well. You would not disappoint me."
The man fidgets. Tu Jiyu tilts his head. Waiting.
"No," the man finally answers, stumbling over the syllables. "No, no, it’s—it’s—"
Tu Jiyu sits back languidly. "It’s?"
"It’s—illegal, Tu-gongzi, immoral and unlawful, I’m sorry, I cannot—do what you’ve asked of me, I—"
Tu Jiyu drives the knife from his sleeve's pocket through the man’s palm. The blade pierces all the way through the flesh, pinning his hand to the table.
"We agreed on it prior," Tu Jiyu says, cutting through the sound of his screams. "Do you not remember? Or were you just intending on making a fool of me?"
"Please," the man sobs. "I—I have a, a daughter—"
Tu Jiyu sighs. Humans were so pathetic. He digs the knife further in, the sadistic itch in his chest only deepened by the man’s screams and thrashing.
"You disappoint me," he snarls, suddenly incredibly irritated. "Incompetent, useless wretch. It is a non-lethal substance, I ask so little of you, and even still you are worthless. Would you agree? Answer."
The man whimpers, nodding frantically.
"And yet you still intended on following through with this heroic, moral plan of yours," Tu Jiyu huffs out a laugh, mirthful and incensed. He twists the knife further, enjoying the jolt and squeak that comes after. "No, shut up and listen. Good. You remind me of someone, you know.
"Imagine a man like a god. Lightning lapping at his heels, night brightening where he goes. Always doing what his oh-so righteous self believes is best for others. But I’ll tell you a secret, xiansheng. He’s a dirty, wicked liar. And he’s a deceitful god."
Tu Jiyu pulls the knife out. The man lets out a small cry.
"Perhaps I’ll let you live. I have some fond memories of that man. Resemblance and sentiment are not lost on me."
The man bursts into tears. He starts begging for his life or whatever in a litany of pathetic please please thank you never again forgive this lowly one.
Tu Jiyu meets it with disgust. The god he remembers would never abandon his inhuman image to beg. Not even after he had abandoned Tu Jiyu as a young boy did he shed a tear. Show any trace of remorse or guilt.
Well, Tu Jiyu thinks. What do you do when a god scorns you? That was simple.
You become the devil.
"On second thought," Tu Jiyu says, prowling forward, blood singing with the promise of violence. "I’m in a rather poor mood today."