The Trials of Ching Kwan

Ching Kwan was quite possibly the most skilled non mystical vampire hunter of all time. He is believed to have killed up to 700 vampires during his lifetime, as well as over 200 Demons. His greatest legacy however was his creation of the new fighting style, “Jineng Chaoguo Liliang” skill over strength, which through careful, precise technique’s, allowed normal people to take on vampires, demons, vandals, monsters and other supernatural creatures in direct combat. It’s no exaggeration to say that almost all vampire hunters around the world have utilised this method of combat to some extent, and whilst there have been many variations of the practice, its core principles still stem from Kwan’s pioneering work.

Sadly however despite these great achievements Kwan remains a controversial figure to many modern vampire hunters due to his role in the Hatsuka tragedy. Whilst he did what he did to protect those closest to him. Kwan was still indirectly responsible for the slaughter of countless innocents as well as the return of many dangerous Demonic creatures to our world. His most ardent followers will tend to downplay the Hatsuka horrors and his role in it, but ironically that is the last thing Kwan himself would have wanted. He carried the guilt over this catastrophe to his grave and spent the rest of his life trying to make up for his mistakes. He would be horrified to see the lives he had taken be airbrushed from history. Above all else however Kwan devoted his life to helping people combat the forces of darkness and therefore he would want his mistakes to be known, to prevent anyone else from repeating them. His entire philosophy was in learning to overcome superior odds which can’t be done unless you acknowledge that you have vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

With this in mind please do not view this as an insult to what was in spite of his flaws, a hero and a great man. It is simply an attempt to chronicle the cause of a real life tragedy that took so many lives, and understand how good men can be forced to do terrible things and finally how the forces of darkness can manipulate the very best of us.

Ching Kwan was born in the year 1945 in Hong Kong. After the chaos it endured during the war, Hong Kong, along with mainland China would suffer from an infestation of vampires, who attempted to take advantage of their strife and hardships. Kwan’s home town of Jaisa would be hit particularly hard by the vampire plague however. By the time he was a teenager, the bloodsuckers more or less ruled the town. As a result of several near fatal run ins with the local undead inhabitants. Kwan developed an interest in martial arts and study into the occult from a young age. Though books on vampires would be banned in the Jaisa once the vampires really got their hooks into the towns leaders, Kwan’s family held onto their collection in secret. They were a wealthy family.

Despite this however, Kwan’s parents were always careful not to antagonise the vampire forces of the town as they grew stronger. They wanted their son to be able to defend himself if need be, but they were not foolish enough to try and take on what was one of the largest vampire communities in Hong Kong at that point. Kwan however like a lot of young boys was rebellious and frequently got into fights with the vampires human servants and broke curfews and deliberately provoked the vampires as much as he could. Even as a child, the young Kwan would often shouting at the vampires as they went by the window of his house, carrying the remains of their victims.

Eventually however when Kwan was 18 he would have his first major confrontation with the undead when his girlfriend, Michelle was captured by them. Her own brother had been a familiar of the vampires and agreed to hand her over in order to be turned. It was a typical test from vampires to see if someone was worthy of becoming one of their own. Not only would the familiar hand over the person they loved the most, but they would also be forced to feed on them after turning.

Kwan fought his way into the vampires stronghold, killing up to 17 of them, including Michelle’s recently turned brother, before rescuing her. The vampires were completely unprepared for someone to challenge them, and furthermore Kwan’s knowledge of their weaknesses allowed him to catch them off guard. Even then however by his own admission it was a desperate fight, and he was forced to rely on long range weapons, such as a crossbow bolt, holy items and the sun itself to destroy them. He frequently said that had he attacked the bloodsuckers during the night they would have torn him to pieces.

Following this, Kwan, his family and Michelle would be forced to flee to mainland China to escape the wrath of the vampires. It wasn’t an easy move, as Kwan’s fathers business was local. In China the family were more or less reduced to paupers and Kwan’s father would soon be forced to take loans from the Triads to make ends meet.

This would in turn lead to Kwan falling in with the Triads. When he learned that their main enemies were vampires, he offered to help pay off his fathers loans by taking jobs to slay the undead. The Triads were actually able to gain a lot more influence by offering protection to people from the vampire horde.

At first Kwan was happy to learn from the Triads as they certainly made his hunts easier and he even learned many techniques from them. However it didn’t take long for Kwan to become disgusted with their ruthless practices and the fact that they would charge people for help against the undead.

He soon went on to hunt vampires on his own which earned him the wrath of both the Triads and the vampire population. Kwan was not only in direct competition of the Triads as a vampire killer, he also supplied knowledge to many people on the weaknesses of the vampire which further rendered their services obsolete.

Eventually the Triads responded by killing his family, and Kwan in retaliation murdered the leader of the Triads before being forced to flee from the police. Michelle remained behind, having grown to be a formidable vampire hunter in her own right thanks to his training. She initially wanted to go with Kwan, but he told her to remain here as someone needed to spread the knowledge on how to combat vampires so that the Triads hold would vanish. Michelle reluctantly agreed though what became of her is a story for another time.

Kwan fled to America where he became a freelance vampire hunter. He hated having to charge some of those he saved for money, but sadly he had no choice. He had many successes against the American vampire population, who similarly were not used to being targeted in such a direct way, and his antics soon brought him to the attention of an eccentric millionaire named Harold Jackson. Jackson’s home city, Lawless had been infested by vampires much like Kwan’s. The bloodsuckers owned everything in the city. The media, the police, etc. Jackson’s own father, a big shot tv producer had even been a slave to the vampires, supplying them with some young up and coming actresses to feed on. Desperate to make up for his fathers sins, Jackson would adopt a costumed identity, the Devil of Lawless and along with Kwan, who adopted the costumed identity of the Dragon of Lawless, they battled the vampires and their human allies on the streets of Lawless throughout the latter part of the 60s. Whilst they endured many losses over the years, ultimately the costumed vampire hunters were able to crush the bloodsuckers stronghold in the city by the end of the decade. Afterwards both Kwan and Jackson would go their separate ways and continue to hunt vampires in different parts of the world. Many believed that the two had a clash, but in truth Kwan simply wanted to explore Europe next and spread his new knowledge and techniques there.

In Europe Kwan would work with many other famous vampire hunters over the next few years and continue to improve on his knowledge and fighting skills. He decided that many traditional forms of vampire hunting were inefficient for single combat. Prior to Kwan’s pioneering work, most vampire hunters avoided direct, one on one combat with vampires if they could.

Legendary vampire killers like Daniel Holtz and the Cushings preferred to hunt the undead using traps, long range weapons such as crossbows, flaming torches and crosses. They also preferred to combat them during the day time and when they were on their own too. When it came to staking meanwhile, it was often a messy and prolonged process. Simply stabbing a wooden stake through a normal persons chest would be a very difficult process contrary to how most modern vampire hunters make it look. Vampires meanwhile often have stronger bodies than humans and therefore most vampire hunters for centuries where forced to use a hammer or a mallet to drive the stake into the chest. As a result hunters could only really stake vampires during the day when they slept.

That’s not to say that the likes of Daniel Holtz and the Cushings couldn’t handle themselves in a fight, and that there were never any instances of a skilled fighter overpowering a vampire. Generally speaking however, one on one fights were things that vampire hunters wanted to avoid, due to vampires supernatural strength, speed, agility and endurance.

Kwan however was determined to find a way for an ordinary human to defend him or herself from the undead in any scenario, and so he built a new method of fighting that not only incorporated many different kinds of martial arts, but also numerous different techniques from vampire hunters too.

Using this style Kwan worked out how to use a vampires greater strength and endurance against it, studied all of the information available on the different breeds and matched them with the correct forms of martial arts etc. Perhaps his greatest contribution however was the creation of a new method of staking vampires.

Using a similar process to the famed one inch punch. Kwan worked out a method where an ordinary person, through carefully pressing their entire body weight onto the stake, could push it with enough force to cut through even a vampires chest easily.

This method soon spread throughout the vampire hunters community thanks to the many contacts and allies Kwan had built up during his time in Europe and would eventually become mandatory training in most vampire hunting organisations. Even freelance and lone vampire hunters would study and learn Kwan’s new staking technique that would jokingly be referred to as the “one inch stake.”

Many tall tales and stories would be told about Kwan during this time, with some claiming that he could beat any vampire or demon or monster. Kwan himself however always remained humbled by the admittedly few defeats he had endured. He constantly reminded his students that no one is unbeatable, and that one must never become arrogant when dealing with the supernatural. The basis for Kwan’s entire philosophy was that it’s not just about the punches you throw, the kicks you make, but also the environment, the weapons and above all else your knowledge of your opponent. The second you buy into your own hype as unstoppable vampire killer and forget that, then even the most inexperienced, common vampire can defeat you.

Kwan’s new fighting style that he dubbed Jineng Chaoguo Liliang would prove vital in pushing back the massive wave of vampires that had emerged in Europe after the second world war. Whilst the Nazis were thankfully crushed at the end of the war, the vampires they had allied themselves with and who had been given a chance to spread and unify throughout Europe, would continue to thrive and grow in power throughout the 50s, 60s and early 70s to an even greater extent than in the East.

Kwan’s technique couldn’t have come at a better time, and in addition to this, Kwan himself would also play a vital role in taking down one of the leaders of the European vampire war machine, Roskaria, a vampire king and former friend of Hitler, who was carrying out a eugenics program on a secret island. Roskaria wanted to create the perfect human who in turn would make the perfect vampire. Those he captured were subject to horrific experiments as well as put through gruelling tests to make sure they were strong enough mentally to be part of his super race of vampires. From this island Roskaria also controlled many of the vampire operations throughout Europe.

Kwan would be part of a special team, which also included his old friend and former partner Harold Jackson and his former lover Michelle who infiltrated the island, though it was Kwan himself who personally slew Roskaria.

Following this incident, Kwan would travel back to Hong Kong. Feeling that he had somewhat neglected his own people by focusing too much on the vampire crisis in the West.

Kwan would come to settle in the small city of Hatsuka, which always had a thriving vampire population in the year 1975 after taking care of the original vampires that had forced him to flee from Jaisa in the first place.

He initially hoped he could free Hatuska as easily as he had done his own town and Lawless, but he soon learned that these bloodsuckers were much better organised and were in fact at the centre of the vampire operations of Hong Kong, forcing him to stay a lot longer than he he had intended.

Whilst there he soon fell in love with a young woman named Valerie Yeoh, whose husband had been killed by a particularly vicious vampire. With her help, Kwan tracked down and killed the vampire which would subsequently inspire other people in the city to start fighting back against the undead. Kwan would also open his own martial arts school in Hatsuka, which was helped many others learn how to fight back against the vampires.

Kwan and Valerie meanwhile would later marry in 1976, with Kwan becoming the adopted father of her daughter, Amy. Unfortunately however, Amy did not like Kwan. In spite of the fact that he had avenged her fathers death, she viewed him as a menace, who was antagonizing the vampires unnecessarily and that sooner or later it would lead to catastrophe. In all fairness to Amy this would be proven to be correct somewhat, not only by the constant attacks by vampires against the family. (At one point Amy’s school was even attacked by a pack of vamps) but the greater tragedy that was to befall Hatsuka as a result of Kwan’s notoriety.

Just as in most other places, the local gangsters, the “Red Dragons” in Hatsuka had been feuding with the vampire community for many years and the vampires had by and large emerged victorious. Prior to the war, the Red Dragons had been the equals to the vampires who also always had a presence in the city, but the greater influx of vampires after the war had diminished them to a small, pitiful collection of thugs and amateurs, forced to carry out a few petty crimes just to make ends meet. Most people weren’t even aware they still existed.

This would prove advantageous to the remnants of the gang however when they were able to successfully capture both Valerie and Amy. The gang threatened to kill them unless Kwan agreed to destroy a powerful resurrection spell contained within the legendary Hatsuka Pagoda.

The Pagoda was located outside of the city and was long believed to have been abandoned. Rumours however persisted that it was haunted or populated by unnatural creatures, but no one, including even the vampires were seemingly brave enough to check it out.

In truth however the Pagoda contained a powerful spell that had been created by the supreme vampire king of the East, Hu Sian. Once a powerful wizard who fought to protect the people of China. Hu Sian had fallen victim to a vampire during one of his many battles against the undead. Slowly but surely he united his new people, the vampires and other supernatural creatures together under his rule. Sadly for him however any empire or organisation he tried to build never lasted, as vampires were such cowardly, self serving creatures. Still using his various resources and knowledge of magics. Hu Sian was able to build a powerful spell which could bring anyone who died in one particular area back to life, regardless of how they died. It was arguably the greatest resurrection spell ever devised in the history of the planet at that point, outside of the Gods own resurrection spell to revitalise the earth after Set’s rampage.

Hu Sian then built a stadium of sorts using magic in this area where he would force creatures to fight one another over and over again. Each creature would be allowed to die five times after which if they had failed then they would be banished through a portal to Quortoth, the darkest of the dark worlds. If they survived however they would not be released, but they would be given extra lives. Obviously none of the combatants were volunteers. They d all been kidnapped by Hu Sian’s vampire and demon minions from all over the world.

The arena was located below the city of Hatsuka. Most of the cities population didn’t even know it existed and even Kwan himself was sceptical.

These sick and twisted games became a useful way for Hu Sian to further gain influence and power as vampires from all over the world came to see these games and would pay anything, magic, victims, favours of various kinds.

The magics required not only to resurrect the creatures involved, but keep them locked up and the portal to Qurtoth open were kept at the very top of the Pagoda in the form of a large magical sphere. Hu Sian had tremendous affection for the Pagoda, and Hatsuka in general, as it had been the scene of one of his greatest triumphs as a man. Though some think by making it the center of his new vampiric empire, Hu Sian was also wanting to purge himself of his former humanity as most vampires do.

Each floor to the Pagoda was guarded by a creature that had previously fought in the games and proven its worth. There were five floors in total. Kwan knew that he would have no chance to defeat the creatures on his own, but fortunately he would be allowed to take only two men to accompany him on the floors of the Pagoda. The magic that guarded it would prevent any more than three people from taking part in this twisted game. Quite why Hu Sian had designed it this way, is not known, but many suspect that it was because he never lost his sense of honour and wanted to give even his opponents a sporting chance. Kwan chose his two most promising students, Yixen Chan and Ying Hung who had already helped him take down a particularly vicious nest of vampires.

The Red Dragon wanted Kwan to destroy the talisman that was creating and sustaining the games in the hopes of crippling the vampires empire and influence. Sadly there was nothing Kwan could do to save his wife and adopted daughter other than to go with the Red Dragons wishes. The criminals had enlisted the aid of a powerful demonic sorcerer and rival to the vampires for help, and through dark magics he had encased both Kwan’s wife and step daughter in a bubble which would rip them slowly apart if any of the Red Dragon were killed. It would also only evaporate if the Pagoda’s spell was destroyed.

Finally the Red Dragon had also lied to Kwan, stating that the vampires were forcing innocent humans to take part in the games. (The bloodsuckers only didn’t use humans because they didn’t last long enough.) Kwan however should have investigated further and would have if it had been any other case. Sadly he was all too eager to brush aside the larger consequences for the sake of his family. To be fair even the Red Dragon themselves had no idea of the full horrors they would be unleashing, thinking that the monsters would turn on the vampires for enslaving them.

Kwan insisted that they visit the Pagoda during the daytime however. He wanted to be sure to have the sun as an advantage if there were any vampires nearby.

When they reached the Pagoda they saw that there was no entrance. The entire building looked beautiful. It was bright gold (gold was the colour of magic, which suggested that the entire building was constructed out of magic.) Suddenly however a skeleton creature appeared out of thin air to Kwan, asking him if he was here to compete in “the Trials”. Kwan reluctantly said he was, and the Skeleton then told him that in order to destroy the sphere at the top he would have to wear a special magical suit. A yellow suit, with black stripes down either side. Again Kwan agreed and the suit suddenly appeared on him, after which a door opened up leading to the first floor, with the skeleton creature vanishing just as quickly as it had arrived.

The first floor of the Pagoda was straight forward enough. It was filled with six zombies, all of whom could move fast and were very skilled fighters, though other than their instinctive fighting skills, they were still dumb and consumed with a desire to eat the flesh of the victims. The first floor was also filled with the bones of their former victims. Kwan and his two students weren’t allowed to bring weapons into the Pagoda either. Instead they could only use the weapons that were supplied on each floor. On the first floor were three large blunt object’s at the very back.

Kwan had never dealt with zombies before. His speciality was after all the vampire. Still he knew that most breeds of zombie could be killed by a sharp blow to the head. (The magic that reanimated them, often took root in the head.)

However when Kwan and his two friends struck the zombies in the head though they would die, the magic of the Pagoda would instantly revive the magical creatures.

Worse there was no way to simply skip past this stage. The stairs to the next level would only appear if all the guardians of the first floor were slain. Kwan however soon figured out that the zombies could be killed by completely destroying the head, rather than just a simple blow. Working together, Kwan’s two students would hold the rest of the zombies off, whilst he used the weapon to smash each zombies head into mush. Once the last of the corpses was taken care of, stairs appeared at the back of the room, allowing Kwan and his students to ascend to the next level.

On the second floor, there was a giant praying Mantis creature, whilst the weapons, which this time were by the stair case, were three cutlasses. This creature was not a demon however. It was a beast, an order of creatures that originated within the Savage Realm. Beasts were not as malicious as Demons. They simply hunted and killed to survive like animals, though unlike animals they possessed unnatural powers and in some cases greater intelligence. Cyclops, Centaurs, Manticores, Hydra’s and Minotaurs were other more famous examples of beasts.

This creature’s species meanwhile known as the Instregia, were very rare. They stood up to 12 feet tall, and possessed tremendous physical strength. What really made them so dangerous however, were their lightening fast reflexes.

Kwan and his two students attacked the beast at once, but it easily managed to deflect their blows with the cutlasses using its pincers. No matter where and how fast they tried to strike, the Mantis continued to deflect their blows. Kwan tried to work round this by having his two companions strike either pincer whilst he tried to go for its eyes, but the beast it seemed was smarter than it looked, and pushed Kwan’s student into him as he prepared to strike.

The beast then started to make its attack and began slashing its pincers at Kwan. He did his best to try and block, but he wasn’t fast enough and the Mantis slashed his chest and then clubbed him out. Again Kwan’s two students tried to strike the insect from behind, but it swung round and knocked them both out. The beast then dragged Kwan towards the other end of the room, where the remains of its previous victims were. It intended to wrap Kwan up in a sack where it would keep him alive for weeks, possibly years as it slowly ate his flesh. The Instregia did not have to eat much to survive and therefore could live off of its prey for a long time. The magical properties in its sack could keep its victims alive without food or water, and even after their organs had been removed. The creature liked its meat to be fresh after all.

Kwan came to as the Instregia started to wrap its sack, which it spun from its mouth in a delicate process around his legs. He’d never felt a force like it before. He honestly thought his legs were being crushed at first and he couldn’t move them at all. He tried to crawl away using his arms, but the giant insect held him tight. As he looked around he could see the remains of the previous creatures victims wrapped up in similar sacks. Only the head and torso of the one closest to Kwan remained, and even then most of its skin had been peeled off and its torso ripped up the middle. Its face had been so mangled and disfigured it would have been impossible to know who it was in life, but even then Kwan could still see an expression of unbelievable, horrific agony etched onto the unfortunate souls distorted face.

For the first time in his life Kwan was genuinely terrified and did his best to try and crawl away. He wasn’t even attempting to fight back as he knew it would be pointless. Fortunately however Yixen Chan distracted the beast long enough for his master to crawl towards his cutlass which he used to cut through the sack covering his legs. Chan’s distraction did nothing to hurt the giant insect meanwhile. He struck at one of its legs, using his cutlass with all his might, but the cutlass actually bounced off of the creatures skin.

It was at that point that Kwan realised that the creatures only weak points were its large bulbous eyes and a plan started to form in his head.

Running under the creature and towards his student. Kwan snatched Yixen’s cutlass and pushed his student behind. He then struck at the Insect with one of the cutlasses, and again the beast effortlessly blocked it.

This time however Kwan held on and pushed his cutlass towards his opponent, until eventually Kwan’s sword was knocked high into the air. Kwan then struck the Insect with his other cutlass, and yet again it blocked it, but this time Kwan held the animal in place whilst his previous sword fell on top of one of the Instregia’s eyes and cut it.

That had been Kwan’s plan all along. He knew that if he just threw the sword at its face it would block it, so he had to make the abomination think that the sword had just been flung out of its hand and then he had to keep it in place and distract the abomination with another strike.

His gamble paid off, and whilst the Instregia was distracted by the pain, Kwan struck its other eye with the cutlass, blinding it.

The beast started flailing around, desperately clawing at the air, whilst Yixen dragged Ying who was still unconscious to safety. Kwan meanwhile waited for the right chance and soon jumped onto the Mantis’ back. Holding on tight, he climbed up towards its head and stabbed his cutlass straight through its eye and into its brain.

The beast instantly collapsed to the floor and with its death, another stair case appeared leading to the next floor.

The three men needed a few minutes before ascending to the next level. Kwan knew it was wrong to even ask his two students, who despite their skill were clearly out of their depth to come along, but sadly, even now he wasn’t prepared to ask them to leave. The Instregia had shown him how much he needed help.

The guardian of the next floor was a monster. Much like beast, monster has come to refer to any unnatural creature in the modern age, but originally the word was used to refer to a particular group of creatures who originated from outside our omniverse. Where they actually came from, no one knows. Some speculated that they were from another omniverse that had died, others that they were the creation of a rival to our the creator of our universe. Whatever the case, the monsters came in many shapes and sizes, but they were all seemingly devoted to the destruction of all life in our reality.

This monster however appeared to be relatively human in appearance, but as soon as Kwan approached it, one of its arms turned into a long green tentacle and it not only smacked the cutlass out of Kwan’s hand, but hit him across the face, knocking several of his teeth out in the process.

Kwan’s two students instantly tried to retaliate, but this time both of the monsters arms turned into tentacles and it grabbed both men by the legs and started swinging them into the air before tossing them to either side of the room.

Kwan meanwhile noticed that there were three pairs of nunchucks on the wall beside the stair case. He instantly ran towards them, picked up a pair of nunchucks and went to his friends aid, before the monster could keep tormenting them.

The guardian swung its tentacles at Kwan, but he managed to deflect them with his nunchucks, which seemed to create electrical shocks for the monsters tentacles. Obviously they were made of some mystical force that could harm this relatively unknown creature. The two fighters continued to strike at each other, both landing blows, but nothing serious for the next few minutes. It soon became obvious to Kwan that the monster was merely toying with him however, as it slowly drove him back to the staircase. Yixen attempted to intervene and attack the monster from behind cutting off one of its tentacled arms. He then managed to impale it, before the beast whacked him with a tentacle towards Kwan.

Enraged, the monster started to assume its true form. Both its legs and its arms (with the severed arm instantly re-growing) turned into several long tentacles, whilst its skin turned completely green. The monsters head meanwhile transformed into a bald, green skinned, reptillian looking monster, with large fangs and a forked tongue.

It was hard to make out the rest of its body as it was concealed behind a mass of tentacles but it appeared to be long and serpentine. Kwan tried to use his nunchucks again, but this time there were so many tentacles that he was overwhelmed. The monster not only beat Kwan to the ground but it soon ensnared him in several of its limbs.

Yixen meanwhile tried to slash at its tentacles, but a quick strike from one sent him tumbling back down the stairs to the second floor again, breaking his arm in the process. The monster then picked up his cutlass and shattered it to pieces.

Ying meanwhile, having dislocated one shoulder when the monster threw him across the room, still continued to try and fight the tentacled abomination. He slashed his sword as fast as he could at the incoming tentacles and managed to slice several of them off, but there were just too many of them and worse, much like a Hydra they’d keep regrowing. Several of the tentacles were able to trip him up from under, whilst more soon came down on his back whilst he was on the floor. Cutting him like a vicious cat o nine tails.

Meanwhile Yixen managed to crawl his way back up the stairs and fetching another pair of nunchucks attacked the monster. He was soon overpowered, but his distraction bought Ying enough time to take off more of its tentacles. He even managed to hack at several of the tentacles that had ensnared Kwan, though Kwans attempts to try and reach the monsters head proved to be just as futile as his two students.

Once again however just as it seemed as though this monster was indestructible. Kwan quickly got an idea. Picking up his nunchucks and his cutlass, Kwan sliced off one of the monsters tentacles, but before it could regrow he struck the stub of its tentacle with the nunchuk. Whilst the tentacle did regrow, it took almost a minute longer and the monster actually recoiled in pain when the nunchuck hit its stump, which it had never done before.

Using this combination Kwan sliced off almost all of the monsters tentacles, and hit them with the nunchucks afterwards until they were almost all gone. In desperation the monster resumed its human form, with both its limbs (made up of surviving tentacles.) It dodged Kwan and tried to make a break for ironically the last pair of nunchucks to defend itself until its limbs could grow back, but with one strike of his cutlass, Kwan parted the monsters head from its shoulders. It resumed its original form one last time, before melting into a puddle on the floor, after which the staircase to the fourth floor appeared.

The guardian of this level of the Pagoda was a vandal. These demons were rivals to vampires. Both were created by two different members of the same ancient race of demons. The Kardons, and therefore were ironically much more closely related to each other than they were to other demon races. Both however instinctively despised one another as their creators had been bitter rivals.

Whilst vandals shared many of the same powers and weaknesses as vampires, they fed on their victims souls rather than their blood, and they fed on them using their claws instead of their fangs. There were many different species of vandals, just as there were vampires. Kwan had a few dealings with vandals over the years. In fact he had even been forced to work with one, reluctantly, to take down a powerful European vampire king. Still just because vandals were the sworn enemies of vampires did not mean that they were not every bit as evil and twisted as the bloodsuckers themselves.

This vandal belonged to a particularly vicious breed known as the Tascersia, though its appearance was mostly human however. It was slightly more gaunt and its expression more blanc than a normal human, and as soon as the three challengers entered the fourth floor, the vandal’s finger nails grew into 12 inch long claws. Its eyes also started to glow red and a cruel smile started to form on its lips.

Kwan as always was the first to strike with his nunchucks, but the vandal sliced through them instantly and delivered another deep scratch into Kwan’s stomach, and then another across his right hand cheek, before kicking him in the chest.

Yixen attempted to land a blow next and went for the vandals feet. He did actually manage to catch the demon off guard and trip it to the floor. Ying then intervened and impaled the monster through the heart with his cutlass. Sadly however it didn’t even hurt the vandal, who responded by slicing Yings throat with one of its claws.

Yixen attempted to help Ying as he chocked on his own blood, but sadly there was nothing he could do and the vandal after pulling the sword out of its stomach sliced Yixen with it across the chest as he attempted to defend his friend, whilst a quick slash to the chest sent Kwan crashing to the ground. The vandal then picked up Ying as he was nearing death and stabbed its left hand straight through his stomach.

The vandal glowed blue as Ying’s body started to wither. Kwan had seen this revolting process of the vandal devouring its victims soul before and sadly he had been just as helpless to stop it the last time. After the demon stopped glowing it threw Ying’s lifeless husk of a body at his two friends, and then pulled Kwan out from under the withered corpse of his student by his foot.

It was stronger than before after its recent “meal” and felt it could have fun with Kwan. It repeatedly slashed at him. Kwan however was able to trip the soul devourer to the ground by grabbing hold of one its feet with both of his.

He briefly held the vandal there for a few seconds before it broke free due to its superior strength. Yixen meanwhile tried to strike at the vandals throat with his cutlass, but the with swipe of its claws the vandal cut the blade into pieces. Kwan however seized the opportunity and with a powerful air kick he sent the vandal flying several feet.

Kwan then had a quick scan of the room for weapons, only to see that in contrast to the previous floors there was nothing on any of the walls. However he soon saw that there was a large wooden pillar at the centre of the room. A wooden stake through the heart was the most common weakness of both vampires and vandals.

When the demon rose to its feet again, Kwan told his student to stay back. For now. He then jumped over the Demon as it charged at him and landed next to the pillar which he broke in half with one kick.

Kwan then lifted one half of the pillar up and rammed it towards the vandal. The demons claws however however easily allowed it to slice through the stake before Kwan could get it anywhere near its heart.

Yixen then tried to kick the the vandal towards the stake from behind, but again the clawed monstrosity was too quick, and it overpowered Yixen. The vandal held its claws to Yixen’s throat and demanded that Kwan put the stake down and kick it toward it which he did. The soul devourer then used its strength to completely snap the stake with its foot.

At the same time however Yixen managed to land a lucky strike on the vandals foot with his own whilst the demon was distracted by Kwan, after which he then flipped over the vandals head and pushed it towards Kwan, who delivered a punch with all his strength to the vandals ribs, breaking them.

Whilst the vandal was temporarily stunned by the pain, Kwan lifted it up over his head and threw the vandal several feet onto the bottom half of the broken wooden pillar sticking out of the floor. The vandal was impaled, but not deep enough to pierce its heart, but Kwan, wasting no time delivered a series of furious punches to the vandals stomach which pushed it down deep enough for the broken pillar to go straight through its heart.

The vandal instantly crumbled to dust and a stair case to the fifth and final floor appeared.

Sadly neither Kwan nor Yixen had time to mourn their fallen colleague as they were so desperate to get this nightmare over with, they both instantly ascended to the top floor. Both men were also running almost solely on adrenaline. If they actually stopped to think about it, they’d not only feel the exhaustion, but the numerous deep cuts and broken bones they had endured too.

The top floor was darker than the others. So dark in fact it was difficult to see. There were no windows of any kind and the walls appeared to be made of wood, or rather magic resembling wood. Finally there were also once no weapons to be seen. The fifth guardian meanwhile soon emerged from the darkness ahead. Kwan couldn’t believe it when he saw the creatures monstrous face came into the very little light that was there from the staircase to the fourth floor. It was a Turok Han. Kwan had read about these creatures extensively in his research, but most people believed them to be a myth or extinct. Even the Cushings whilst championing their existence more than most other hunters, had not encountered one in over 700 years. Kwan recognised the demon based on Harold Cushing’s illustration of the creature, that was said to have killed six members of his family.

The Turok Han was contrary to popular belief not strictly speaking a vampire. It was a relative of the vampire family, created by Khastran, the creator of the vampire race. Khastran was once the most powerful and feared of all demons and the ruler of the Hellish realm. He was ultimately slain on our planet, by the combined might of both the Gods and the Angels. Just before his death however Khastran created lesser demonic creatures solely for the purpose of ensuring his resurrection. Once these demonic children, who he shared a link with, even from beyond the grave outnumbered humanity then he would live again. The Turok Han were the first such attempt to create a race like this, but despite their power and ferocity. Khastran soon abandoned them. The problem with the Turok Han was that they were too demonic and could not blend in with humanity. The vampire would prove to be a much more effective creature, as whilst still as evil and bloodthirsty as the Turok Han, it’s more human appearance and the fact that they were once human, meant that they could infiltrate and understand humanity better. Though thanks to people like Kwan they had never managed to outnumber us and resurrect their father.

Still a few Turok Han would survive and continue to multiply over the centuries. The fact that Khastran didn’t bother to perfect the Turok Han curse the way he would with vampirism meant it was more difficult and unpredictable for Turok Han to turn others into members of their own kind. Whilst anyone could be transformed into a vampire, only those with the absolute strongest bodies could withstand the change into a Turok Han. Ironically Kwan himself probably would have been an ideal candidate.

The Turok Han shared their vampiric cousins thirst for blood, though they lacked any higher intelligence. They were driven purely by an instinct to kill, and torture and were feared even among other demons.

The fifth guardian was naturally the strongest of all the guardians and when Yixen tried to attack first this time, the demon sent him flying over ten feet to the other end of the room. Kwan was a little luckier and managed to land a punch on the Turok Han’s chest, but the bloodsucker didn’t even flinch. Fortunately Kwan was able to duck its retaliation and tried to trip the Turok Han up, like he had done with the vandal. Unfortunately however due to its vastly superior strength, he couldn’t even budge the brute’s legs. The bloodsucker then responded by kicking Kwan across to the other end of the room.

Yixen meanwhile jumped up and tried his best to fight off the demon. He delivered a series of punches to the vampire like creatures chest and face, but again it did nothing and the Turok Han, proving to be a lot faster than its towering, almost seven foot frame would suggest. Easily deflected one of Yixens punches and started to twist his remaining arm. Yixen tried to pull free as hard as he could, but the Turok Han’s strength was just too great.

Kwan tried to bring the Turok Han down with an air kick, but the bloodsucker simply swatted him away with its other hand. It then put its foot on Kwan’s chest and held him down.

The monster, proving that it wasn’t quite an animal in terms of intelligence despite its savageness, made Kwan watch as it slowly tortured his student. First it broke Yixens remaining arm, which it then pulled off completely. Then it ripped off his already broken arm, before disembowling him with the talons on its hands.

All the while Kwan furiously struck the bloodsucker to no avail. Yixen tried to remain stoic at first, but as the Turok Han tore more pieces off, he began to scream and beg Kwan for help, but sadly there was nothing his old teacher could do.

After a few more minutes of torture, the Turok Han finally put Yixen out of his misery. First it brought his spine down on its knee, breaking it in two, and then it pulled on both his shoulders and legs until he was ripped in half, after which it tossed either piece aside.

The Turok Han then reached down for Kwan and lifted him up by the throat with one hand, whilst another it dug its talons into his stomach slowly. Kwan in desperation started to dig his thumb into the Turok Han’s right eye. At first the sadistic monster tried to shrug it off, but eventually it became too much even for it and the demonic fighter dropped Kwan.

As Kwan tried to flee however, the Turok Han reached out and dug its claws into his back. Before it could hoist him into the air again, Kwan managed to pull free, albeit at the cost of the flesh the monster had grabbed onto.

Kwan knew he couldn’t possibly hope to defeat the Turok Han on his own and with no weapons, and so he headed back to the stair case, hoping he could find the nunchucks on the third floor. Unfortunately however when he reached the stair case it vanished.

He was now completely trapped and alone with this savage and for the first time in his life, he honestly had no idea what to do, other than to run from his enemy, whilst he tried to think of a strategy, if there even was one.

The Turok Han however caught up with Kwan again. (It didn’t help that entire room was now completely dark.) The Turok Han held Kwan by the arm and snapped it like a twig before throwing him on the ground. (Making sure Kwan landed on his broken arm.) The bloodsucker then stood on his broken arm, before trying to bring its foot down on his spine. Fortunately however Kwan had just enough strength left to dodge its attack, but the Turok Han was relentless. It kept trying to crush him under its feet, with Kwan only narrowly keeping out of the way, rolling ahead of the undead demon until eventually he hit the wall of the fifth level.

Knowing there was nowhere else for him to go. Kwan stood up to face the Turok Han one last time, but soon saw that the vampiric creature was suddenly being more cautious around him, after it had been gripped in the throes of bloodlust.

Kwan suddenly figured it out. He remembered reading in the Cushings diary, that one weakness the Turok Han shared with many of its vampiric cousins was a vulnerability to sunlight.

Clearly the Turok Han was scared of accidently breaking the thin wooden walls in case Kwan ducked. Now at last with an advantage, Kwan walked slowly to the side with the Turok Han following him, before reaching out with his good hand and jabbing the Turok Han in the same eye he had previously stuck his thumb into.

Whilst the super demon briefly keeled back in pain. Kwan turned around and used two one inch punches to break through the wall behind, allowing sunlight to pour into the room. The Turok Han was briefly caught in the suns rays and its body instantly began to burn, but it managed to get out of the way in time before it completely caught fire. The monster however was severely burned and overcome with rage for the first time towards its attacker, but Kwan wisely kept in the suns rays and continued to kick and punch at the wall, breaking more parts of it open. The Turok Han however kept retreating back into the shadows, and in desperation Kwan reached out to try and pull the demon into the suns rays. Instead however the Turok Han grabbed hold of Kwan and pulled him out of its rays. Fortunately however Kwan managed to lift a broken piece of wood from the wall with his feet which he then stabbed into the Turok Hans chest when it lifted him over its head.

Unfortunately however a stake through the heart could not kill a Turok Han, but Kwan didn’t stop there and ripped the make shift stake out of the monsters heart and slashed it across the face several times before stabbing it in its wounded eye which he used to push the demonic guardian into the suns rays. This time its entire body started to go up in flames, yet it still struggled to get free of the sunlight. Kwan then delivered a final air kick to the stake in the monsters eye which finally sent it tumbling backwards and out through the hole in the wall. The Turok Han’s body completely burned up into nothing but a pile of ash before it even reached the bottom of the five stories of the Pagoda.

With its death a new door appeared at the back of the room, leading to what Kwan had come here for in the first place.

Before he could finish his task however, he had to rest. The exhaustion and his injuries had finally caught up with him and he collapsed on the Pagoda floor. It also now sunk in that he had led two young men, who had originally come to him for help to their deaths. He had made it clear to both Yixen and Ying before that there was a strong chance they wouldn’t make it back, but they still readily agreed to help him. Kwan had helped rescue their families from vampires after all, and so they felt it was the least they could do to try and save his. Still he should have known they were not ready, but again he was desperate for help and they were the best he had.

Kwan actually hoped that some of the injuries the guardians had inflicted on him would turn out to be fatal, as whilst he would do all he could to protect his family. In many ways he didn’t want to make it out of this alive either.

After a few more minutes, he hoisted himself up and trundled towards the door. On the inside of the room was nothing but a large blue sphere. As Kwan prepared to muster up the energy for a flying kick, the skeleton creature from outside suddenly reappeared.

“Congratulations. I didn’t think you would have defeated the Turok Han. He had over 900 kills in the arena, without a single defeat. Including me. I was once a great warrior like you, you know.” The creature said before Kwan interrupted.

“Unless you have anything useful to tell me, please I’d rather not have an audience.” Kwan said.

“Why is that? You’ll be freeing lots of innocent people, or do you know deep in your heart that is a lie, one that you’ve spun as much as those vile men who have imprisoned your loved ones?” The creature asked.

Kwan didn’t say anything. He knew he couldn’t.

“You won’t be rescuing anyone but your family. Worse if you break that sphere, you’ll be unleashing all of the demons, monsters and beasts locked up in the arena. Your city will become a haven for the very kinds of creatures you’ve devoted your entire life to fighting. Are you really willing to let that happen?”

Kwan paused for a few seconds.

“Help me.” He asked.

“You clearly have greater power than that sorcerer if you’re a part of all this. Please. I defeated your champions. I overcame your trials. You owe me. Destroy the spell the Red Dragons have placed around my family.” Kwan pleaded.

Sadly however the Skeleton creature was not co-operative.

“I want to, but I am afraid, just like guardians I am bound here by the magic of Hu Sian. He would never help you. He loves to play his games. They’re the only thing that makes his immortal life worth living. The only way I can stop you is to tell you that thousands of people will die if you destroy that orb. Your conscience is the final challenge.”

The Skeleton creature vanished and Kwan would think it over for a few minutes. He tried to rationalise it in his head, arguing with himself that if he didn’t break it, his family would die, but that this way he could help fight the monsters that were unleashed into the city. He also tried to make himself believe that the Skeleton was lying to him as well, but in the end, he put all the thoughts out of his head and smashed the sphere with an air kick. He let his emotions take over for just a second and it was enough to damn him.

As soon as the sphere smashed, the entire Pagoda began to shake and break apart. Kwan wisely stumbled down stairs of every floor and outside, just as the Pagoda turned into a massive ray of light, stretching up into the sky, which then vanished completely, leaving nothing behind.

Up ahead meanwhile Kwan could see that the city of Hatsuka breaking apart. Buildings collapsed as the ground opened up at various places and hordes of monsters, beasts and demons all emerged in search of new victims. Kwan instantly ran back to the city to try and help, but there was obviously very little he could do.

For the next few weeks, the city would be completely ravaged. Hundreds of people lost their lives as Hatsuka became a no mans land. Kwan was able to find both his wife and step daughter meanwhile. Whilst Valerie was grateful for what he had done, Amy called him a murderer and selfish, accusations that Kwan didn’t argue with.

Eventually Hu Sian whilst amused by the chaos his former pets were causing, soon felt that Hatsuka was more trouble than it was worth and decided to destroy the city to avoid the paranormal being exposed. Using the portal to Quortoth underneath it, Hu Sian sucked the entire city to the darkest of the dark worlds. He gave Kwan a warning, 24 hours before as a sign of respect for passing his trials. (He also allowed Kwan to keep the yellow suit from the Pagoda too, which did allow Kwan a certain immunity to certain magics and had even healed his wounds after the Pagoda had collapsed. Kwan would continue to keep the yellow suit as his main battle costume for the rest of his life. He became instantly recognizable for it. Some say that he kept it not just because of its power, but also as a reminder of the horrors he had unleashed.)

At the same time however Hu Sian also sent a Nelapsi after Kwan to try and block his escape from the city, viewing it as another fun game. (The Nelapsi were similar vampiric creatures even more ferocious than the Turok Han. Hu Sian hadn’t even let it fight in the arena as he felt it would be pointless as it would slaughter all competition.)

Kwan was able to get several people to safety before the city was sucked into Quortoth, but sadly most of the cities surviving population would be pulled under with it. Finally as Kwan would later learn, some of the demons and beasts and monsters had also managed to escape the city, including some who had become extinct in the wild, who would once again flourish.

After escaping, Kwan and his family would flee back to Europe. Utterly crushed by what he had done, Kwan left his family for their sake. Valerie begged Kwan to stay, but he refused. He felt that not only was he putting them in danger, but that he did not deserve Valerie after what he had done. Kwan would devote himself to finding and destroying Hu Sian. He would bring down many of the vampires other operations and sick games all over China. At first the vampire king found Kwan’s antics amusing, but eventually he grew to genuinely be angry with Kwan and their feud became more bitter on both ends.

Ironically Kwan would later work with Amy, who took up being a vampire killer in his absence. Their relationship would greatly improve over this time as they both worked together to destroy the monster that had dragged her home city to hell. Amy would even apologise to Kwan for having been so hard on him, having come to see how there is a need for people to do what he does, and that had other people stepped up sooner then Hatsuka may not have been lost. At the same time however she also made clear that whilst she understood why he saved her and her mother, she could never condone the choice he had made in the Pagoda. Kwan agreed and every night he would be haunted by nightmares of seeing the city he had once sworn to protect be pulled into the darkest of dark worlds.

In 1985, after working with his step daughter for many years and finally bringing down Hu Sian’s empire, Kwan would disappear. It would later be discovered that he had joined the enigmatic time travelling vampire killer, Marcus Cushing on his travels to fight vampires throughout all of human history.

Together, Marcus, Kwan and a woman from the 14th century named Caro would travel through time and space in a magical temple, battling vampires throughout all of space and time. What became of him on these adventures is a story for another time however.

Whilst Ching Kwan would go on to do many more heroic things, sadly nothing could ever make up for the Hatsuka tragedy. Over two thousand people, either lost their lives or worse were condemned to the most nightmarish hell dimension. Contrary to what many of his defenders and followers say. He knew the full ramifications of what would happen if he destroyed the orb. He overcame the most powerful opponents knowing what would happen. Neither the claws of a Turok Han or his own conscience could stop him.

The important lesson to learn here is that you can never, ever play by the rules of the forces of darkness. No matter what is at stake. Kwan, despite his great intellect and bravery. Let himself become a pawn of not just the Red Dragons and their Demonic sorcerer, but of Hu Sian himself, who viewed the Trials of the Pagoda as an amusing little game. Kwan should have tried to find another way. Whilst his most ardent followers would insist that anyone would have done the same, and maybe that’s true, we must always remember that no good can come of bending to creatures like vampires will, no matter how we try and justify it to ourselves.

Sadly Ching Kwan, who was otherwise quite possibly the greatest vampire killer, will always serve as a stark reminded to the rest of us. For all his great accomplishments, to many he will only be remembered as the man who condemned thousands of innocents to the darkest hell dimension to save his own family.

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