Houyi was almost sorry to have shot them now that their dying forms surrounded him, cooling as their blood watered the parched earth. He could have simply subdued them as their father Dijun had requested—but no. The Sun-birds were spoiled, mischievous creatures who might have done this again someday if not dealt with.
He surveyed crops destroyed by heat, rivers boiled to bare land, raw red bodies of people and animals who had not found shelter in time. No, never again would all ten Sun-birds take flight at once, now that there was only one left.
Their mother Xihe descended from her carriage and ran from one corpse to the next, sobbing. He watched impassively, leaning on his bow. Dijun arrived, rage gleaming in his eyes.
“You are banished from the heavens,” he told Houyi. “If you will kill for mortals, then you will die like one. Begone.”
Houyi left. It was just as well. Emperor Yao had asked him to stop the Count of the Winds, and many other errant gods troubled mankind. If he did not help, who would?