In the time of the Tang Dynasty, the Empress Wu Zetian had imposed strict laws against the killing of animals. But corruption and greed ran rampant, and many officials indulged in secret feasts of forbidden meat.
One such official was Shi De, a powerful censor who had been sent to the province of Shaanxi to root out corruption. But Shi De had his own dark secrets.
One night, while dining in his quarters, a servant brought him a dish of succulent meat. Shi De asked where it had come from, and the servant replied, "The butcher's dog caught a sheep."
Shi De scowled at the servant. "You think I'm a fool? That's no sheep. It's human flesh."
The servant trembled with fear, but Shi De was undeterred. He savored the meat, relishing the taboo and the power it gave him.
The next day, the servant brought him a platter of fish. "The butcher's dog caught a carp," he said.
Shi De narrowed his eyes. "I know your lies. That's no carp. It's a monster from the depths of the underworld."
The servant quivered with terror, but Shi De only laughed. He sliced into the fish, savoring its otherworldly flavor.
Days turned to weeks, and Shi De grew ever more addicted to the forbidden flesh. His servants whispered of his depravity and his monstrous appetites. They feared for their own lives.
One night, as Shi De feasted on a dish of mystery meat, his stomach roiling with pleasure, a strange figure appeared in his room. It was a demon, its eyes burning with madness and hunger.
Shi De tried to run, but the demon caught him with its clawed hands. It whispered to him in a language he did not know, promising him eternal feasts of human flesh in the underworld.
Shi De screamed in terror and agony as the demon dragged him down into the darkness. The sound of his cries echoed through the halls, a warning to all who would dare to break the forbidden laws of the Empress Wu Zetian.