A note to readers: Please read this chapter to the end or skip to chapter two before judging the novel; all things may not be what they seem. Thank you.
Wang Xia looked down at the bloodied dagger pierced through his chest, the tip resting right above his heart. He could feel a warm—but growing ever-colder—liquid flowing down, forming a small crimson pool below his feet.
He turned his head back, anger prominent in his gaze. Yet even in his rage, a small tear, perhaps the last tear he had in him, formed at the bottom of his eye.
“Are you betraying me too?” he asked in a soft voice. It was not a question asked in a tone filled with accusation and anger. Instead, his voice was brimming with the sadness of the betrayal of the only woman he had ever loved and the only person he had ever trusted.
She smiled a cruel smile and dug the dagger deeper into his flesh.
Wang Xia could feel his body grow sluggish, heat leaving him. He was a qigong cultivator, and his flesh was bolstered by the natural energies of Heaven and Earth; it was nearly immortal. She could only resort to using a diamond blade, poisoned with the vilest substance she could get her hands on, which was still only barely enough. He would not have the privilege of a quick and instant death, and she was proud of that fact.
“Your death will be a blessing to this world,” she whispered, her voice still as soft and beautiful as it was when they first met, many years ago underneath the blooming cherry trees. That same voice which had confessed her love to him was now wishing him death.
He stared into her eyes, eyes that were filled with the same emotions as the thousands of enemies he’d killed. Anger and pure, pure hatred. He knew that she was telling the heartfelt truth.
The cultivator could not understand for the life of him why she detested him so. They had been married for years now, though he knew her for much longer than that.
Why? Was it Su Jieming? That traitor had been seen around these parts recently. Did he infect her with his traitorous soul? He thought.
Wang Xia started to feel the effects of the poison. His vision grew cloudy, and he could no longer feel his body, growing ever-colder. His last tear dropped into the puddle of blood beneath him, mixing with it and erasing all traces that it ever existed.
Wang Xia died.
A thousand years later, a young master from a far away land arrived in Floating Cloud Village. It was perhaps the most interesting event that happened to the small and isolated village since the passing of the new millenia, mainly because the young master’s clan seemed to be a prominent cultivation clan. This was a rare opportunity for any child that managed to catch the young master’s eyes, for the opportunity to gain immortality was at stake here!
The standardization and publicization of qigong cultivation techniques began during the Industrial Revolution, but Floating Cloud Village remained largely untouched by the rest of the world; everything from its ways of life to even its language was an artifact from ancient times, and cultivators were still a large mystery to them.
Even if Floating Cloud Village were more caught up with the times, the resources that a major cultivator clan could provide were just too large to straight-out ignore. An unending supply of spirit stones, medicinal pills, and cultivation instructors would propel even the least talented child to immortality. Having one’s talents recognized would mean riches and glory.
And so, less than an hour after the news was spread around the village, everyone below the age of eighteen was summoned to greet the young master and his entourage, except a girl named Li Xiaoya, who was said to be too shy to show up. Perhaps it was her absence that made the young master more interested in her, for he spared no second glance at the ten-odd people gathered in front of him, instead choosing to ask about her.
Li Xiaoya was the prettiest flower in the village, her beauty surpassing even the celebrities seen on the one TV in the small town. And this was what ultimately led to disaster to a boy named Wang Xia.
Wang Xia was the childhood friend of Li Xiaoya. Their two fathers were sworn brothers to the end, and the two children were engaged with each other before they were born. And when her parents unfortunately died, lost forever in the mountains, his parents took her in.
Wang Xia’s own parents were sickly in their older age, and Wang Xia tragically became an orphan at the age of fourteen. Wang Xia had worked hard to support the two of them, and only through his careful management of their inheritances did the two children manage to survive.
Wang Xia knew that Li Xiaoya was shy, and she rarely left the house after Wang Xia’s parents died, not wanting to see people. However, the young master arrogantly went up to their shared home and broke in, taking Li Xiaoya away with him back to his homeland. She would never agree to leave Wang Xia voluntarily; she was dependent on him. Moreso to a man who so rudely came to see her when she didn’t want to be seen. Thus, Wang Xia was sure that the young master took her by force, kidnapping her.
The young master still didn’t seem to be satisfied just by committing such a heinous crime. Before leaving the village with Wang Xia’s woman in tow, the arrogant young master badmouthed Wang Xia in front of the other villagers, saying terrible and completely unfounded things.
And the worst thing about it was that Wang Xia’s fellow villagers believed the young master over Wang Xia, even helping the young master beat him to the point where he lost consciousness.
Which was perhaps how a wandering soul entered Wang Xia’s body.
Wang Xia did not expect to ever see the blue sky again, nor did he expect that the next time he saw it would be thousands of years later. However, his soul lay dormant for many, many years until another person, also named Wang Xia, lost his soul after getting horribly beaten up by some foreign arrogant young master. The thousand year old soul rushed to occupy the empty body, and the soul and body fused into one, becoming a single person. Wang Xia gained the emotions and memories of the dead Wang Xia.
The young Wang Xia might not have been able to take revenge for having his life ruined, but the Wang Xia from a thousand years ago was a genius qigong cultivator! He was unmatched among heavens during the Song Dynasty. A mere young master from a weak clan was nothing in his eyes; he had killed many of such characters in his sleep, during his past life of course.
A year passed, and with knowledge from his previous incarnation, he did the unprecedented feat of training from a mere mortal with no knowledge of qigong to a Foundation Establishment cultivator in that short time. A Foundation Establishment level of cultivation might be weak compared to his past life, but it was enough to wipe the floor with several mortal armies back in the day.
It was time for Wang Xia’s revenge.
It was 2020, almost a thousand years since his original lifetime. It was hard to acclimate to the changing world, but he had somehow managed to work out a little bit of these new technologies.
He had painstakingly bought a phone, which cost almost all of his spirit stones he justifiably stole from the villagers who killed the previous owner of his body, and studied hard to learn how to use a mystical formation called “Googol,” an incomprehensible tool necessary for any fledgeling cultivator. With his newfound prowess in the internets, he soon Googoled the location of the headquarters of the Shinosaki Corporation, the sect that the arrogant young master belonged to.
With his remaining spirit stones, he bought a plane ticket to Aomori and marched towards the Shinosaki headquarters. He knew that the young master was a useless son, leeching all of his power from his clan. Rumors online said that he was also a Foundation Establishment cultivator at the age of sixteen, making him a rare genius even in Wang Xia's original life. However, it was an open secret that the young master used pills, lots of pills, to gain that cultivation! And cultivation done using pills could never compare to cultivation done without!
It was because of this that he was confident in defeating the arrogant young master. He would kill the young master and take back his woman.
Wang Xia walked to the entrance of the Shinosaki skyscraper, the residence of his most abhorred enemy, and prepared to slam open the doors. However, to Wang Xia’s chagrin, the doors were automatic, completely denying his chance to intimidate whoever was inside the room.
Wang Xia walked into the reception room, his first time being in someplace so modern. There was a lady behind a desk staring at him patiently.
“Do you have an appointment?” she asked, in Japanese.
“I don’t speak the language of you Japanese barbarians! Speak in Chinese like a proper person!”
The Japanese Emperor was a mere servant to the Son of Heaven. How dare they speak such an unrefined language in front of a superior! Wang Xia thought.
In fact, Wang Xia was speaking in Middle Chinese, an ancient dialect with absolutely no modern speakers. He could communicate with the people from his village, but that was only because the village had been isolated from the rest of the world for so long. It was nearly a miracle that he was able to buy a plane ticket.
And the secretary that he was yelling at didn’t even know any kind of Chinese; even fluent Mandarin speakers could barely understand him, so how could she?
“Where is your young master (manager)? I demand to see him, now!” Wang Xia did his best Karen impression, but to no avail. It all sounded like gibberish to the secretary.
“Do you need an interpreter?” the secretary asked, this time in English. She could tell that Wang Xia was speaking in some dialect of Chinese, but she couldn’t make out a single word.
Wang Xia realized he was getting nowhere. These Japanese Barbarians are getting more arrogant! How dare they use their own language in their own country! He angrily thought.
He stormed off, preparing to slam open the glass doors. However, he forgot that the doors were automatic and was yet again denied the opportunity to unleash his anger.
Wang Xia went back to his phone and carefully fumbled around with it, not daring to break the precious magical device. He very slowly Googoled the daily routine of the Shinosaki Corp.’s young master but was unable to find anything of use.
He decided to snoop around the building to see when the young master would come back.
Wang Xia used the Hidden Face Among Endless Trees technique to hide from the pursuit of three Nascent Soul experts back in his previous life; however, after he had finished applying dirt to his face to camouflage among the endless trees, he realized that he was in the middle of a city and there wasn’t a single tree in sight. His technique was naturally useless, and he had smeared dirt on himself for absolutely no reason.
He slammed his foot down into the ground out of anger, creating a small hole in the concrete sidewalk. A car whizzed by; he couldn’t help but feel that he was being laughed at.
“Fuck your mom!” Wang Xia angrily hurled expletives at the car. Unfortunately for him, the car was long gone.
Surprisingly, a calm voice replied to him. “Now why would you want to do that? My mother is quite ugly, you know?”
Wang Xia’s face turned black; he was clearly being made fun of. And when he turned to look at the source of the voice, his face turned even darker,
“Good, good! Young master of the Shinosaki sect, I have finally found you!”
Was this the blessing of fate? The Shinosaki young master had left the building by himself with absolutely no guards with him. They were on an empty street, not a passerby in sight.
Perhaps not hearing the anger coated in Wang Xia’s voice and not seeing the anger painted on Wang Xia’s face (to be fair, Wang Xia’s face was covered in dirt and it would truly be hard for even a deity to make out his expression), the young master replied joyously, “Good, good! It’s always nice to meet new people! You said you’ve been looking for me? What were you looking for me for? Is it my peerless looks? My handsome face? Or my heaven-blessed visage?”
Wang Xia almost spat blood hearing this shamelessness. The Shinosaki young master couldn’t be called extremely ugly, but one would be exaggerating to even call him average-looking. He had dark patches under his eyes and on his forehead; this was evidence of him using pills to improve his cultivation and most certainly did not improve his looks. He was wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants, both lazily put on and full of wrinkles. It is often said that clothes make the man. In this case, the clothes unmade the man.
“You— I will kill you! Shameless bastard! You stole my woman! My family name isn’t Wang if I don’t kill you today!”
The Shinosaki young master looked surprised. “Oh?”
Wang Xia pulled out his sword with a soft shiing. He readied his weapon. “Draw your weapon! I challenge you to a duel to the death!”
His opponent nodded calmly, “Oh, alright. Sure.”
The young master pulled something out of his spatial ring, a small blocky item that Wang Xia didn’t recognize at first glance. Wang Xia couldn’t help but be on guard. I can’t underestimate the new weapons created in the last millenia! He thought, pensively.
It was only until the young master tapped it a few times before bringing it to his ear did Wang Xia recognize what it was. But, by then, it was too late.
“Hello, is this the police? Yes, there’s a man in front of me that’s giving me death threats, illegally carrying a sword in public, and um, destroying public property. Just get someone to go out your front entrance and look left; you’ll see him. Right in front of the Shinosaki Headquarters. Yeah, he’s a Foundation Establishment cultivator, first grade.”
The Shinosaki young master looked at Wang Xia and smiled happily, “How do you like my weapon?”