Chapter 1: I Am Back
Henyee Translations Henyee Translations
In the summer of 2007, a bus operated by Golden Dragon Travel Service was heading towards the County of Si Shui near Chu Zhou, a city in the Hu Dong Province.
Si Shui was a backwater county in the middle of nowhere. In the heat of the summer, the passengers on the bus had mostly fallen asleep.
A five foot six, handsome boy with a smooth face and a sleek haircut suddenly jerked his head up as he woke up from a nightmare. He scanned the bus with a weary look.
As reality finally set in, his face suddenly hardened with a frown. He had been to another world and back, yet no one on the bus would have any idea of what he had just been through.
"This is the same bus as the one I took to Chu Zhou City for my last year of high school!"
"Why am I here? Am I no longer in the Tribulation?"
"Could it be that I am back in the mortal world again?" Disbelief flickered in Chen Fan's eyes as he thought to himself.
"How is it possible that I, Chen Beixuan, escaped the heavenly tribulation, and was reborn again as my former-self?"
Chen Fan, also known as "Chen Beixuan," was a cultivator. "Bei Xuan" was the cultivation name that his teacher had given him when he met his teacher for the first time.
He cultivated for five hundred years under one of the nine celestial sects in the universe: the True Martial Immortal Sect, and he was the disciple of the sect's Grand Elder: Cangqin, the immortal cultivator.
Thanks to Chen Fan's incredible talent, it only took him five hundred years to enter the last stage of his cultivation: The Tribulation. He was thought to be the most likely cultivator in centuries to successfully ascend beyond the current realm to that of the immortals.
Chen Fan lived in this universe for five hundred years, fighting and winning every battle against any sentient being across the universe that dared challenge him. His invincibility had earned him the title: The North Mystic Celestial Lord.
However powerful he had been, he had lost himself in the heavenly tribulation after all.
It was not until his doom was knocking on the door did he realize that the culprit of his failure was the hastened pace during his cultivation. Fast and furious was his motto, but it had also made his cultivation foundation riddled with weak points.
His resolution and dedication— the so-called "Dao-Heart"—crumbled when he had to face the mental demons that lurked in the darkest corners of his mind.
His eagerness to complete the cultivation had become his downfall. To advance as fast as he could, he had left many regrets and made countless mistakes. As guilt and self-resentment slowly eroded his mind, he became vulnerable to the mental demons' deceits and illusions.
As Chen Fan reflected his battle against the mental demons, he tried to tap into the energy within his system, to see if he was in another illusion. To his surprise, he found that not only was there no trace of his star-devouring Dharmic Power, but his boundless Primordial Essence had also disappeared.
"This is not the work of mental demons. I really am BACK!" Chen Fan furrowed his brows as realization finally dawned upon him.
Chen Fan knew that however real and vivid mental demons' illusions were, they could not mask all traces of a Celestial Lord's Primordial Essences.
"My powers are gone. There is not even a trace of Dharmic Power, Primordial Essence, Immortal Enlightenment in me, much less my precious Dharma Treasures. I am now no different than an ordinary man, and anyone could strike me down if they try hard enough."
Despite the huge setback in his cultivation, he did not seem to be too upset about it. Instead, he laughed at his defeat lightheartedly.
"So be it, my last life's cultivation was doomed from the beginning anyways.
"This time around, I will make sure that I take my cultivation one step at a time. I will not only complete but also perfect each and every level."
He cracked a smile as fire danced in his eyes.
"I will return the humiliation and contempt the world had given me in kind, and I will learn from my previous mistakes and leave no regrets as I progress."
There had been many regrets in his past life. Although his mind had always been preoccupied with cultivation, the regret and sorrow persisted.
"Mom, Dad, Sister-An, and Xiao-Qiong. I am BACK! This time I will not fail you."
Chen Fan lowered his head as resolution rose in his heart.
Chen Fan was born in an ordinary family in the Si Shui County. His father, Chen Gexin, was in the Jin City of the Hu Dong Province. His mother, on the other hand, hailed from a prominent household in the Yan Jin City.
The two met at college, and they quickly fell in love, despite the outcry from Wang Family. The overall sentiment of the society was hostile towards marriage without the parents' arrangement. It was particularly true in a prestigious old-money family such as the Wangs.
After failing to put a stop to the marriage, Chen Fan's grandfather went as far as denouncing his own daughter.
In a fit of anger, Wang Xiaoyun left her parents with her husband and settled in Hu Dong Province.
In order to prove to the Wang Family that he was worthy of their daughter's hand, Chen Gexin did not choose to stay in the populated cities where Wang Family's influence was strong; instead, he had moved to Si Shui County and started working as a low-ranking public servant.
Chen Gexin continued working for the county for a few decades, and never once had he tried to seek advantage using his connection with the mighty Wang Family. He had worked his way up from his first low-ranking position to the management level, but it was still a far cry from the expectation of the Wang family.
The tension between the two sides finally started to ease after Chen Fan was born. Chen Fan's grandfather granted the couple a visit during the Chinese New Year. However, unbeknownst to the young couple, what awaited them at Wang Family were cold sneers and lofty disdain.
The entire family had considered Chen Fan's parents a taint on the family's reputation. They had defied the will of the family patriarch and gave birth to a son who had brought no joy but only shame to the Wang family.
As for Chen Gexin's achievement in the county, it was laughable and pathetic in their eyes.
The thought brought a bitter taste to Chen Fan's mouth. He shook his head and smiled wryly.
"Wang Chen, I bet that you had never expected me to be back from the future!"
"My family had worked hard to catch up with you and your parents, but in the end, we are still worthless worms in your eyes."
"My mother was a proud person, and she could not stand being looked down upon. That was why she worked so hard, but what did she get in the end? Nothing!"
"I swore I would avenge my mother. Although I am an ordinary person right now, once I got my power back, I will be knocking on your door. I will show you what it is like to be looked down upon and to be crushed like a worthless worm."
Wang Chen was Chen Fan's cousin. He was the favorite child of the great house Wang. In Chen Fan's last life, he had tried for all his worth to catch up with Wang Chen but failed. The gap between Wang Chen and Chen Fan was unbridgeable.
The last time that Chen Fan saw any visitor from Wang Family was during his mother's funeral. As if the Wang Family thought the death of Chen Fan's mother was not tragic enough for the young man, they had to gloat over the tragedy and sent only three youngsters to attend the funeral. No one from the older generation of the Wang Family had come to pay tribute to their own blood; not his grandfather, uncle, or grandmother.
To rub salt into the wounds, one of the visitors was Wang Chen. Wang Chen acted as if he was walking the red carpet instead of attending his aunt's funeral. Surrounded by his sycophantic entourage, his steps carried such a haughty and proud quality that blatantly disrespected the dead.
He was the star, and wherever he went, he deserved attention and respect, regardless of the circumstances.
Although it had been five hundred years, the thought of the Wang family still lit up the knot of fire in Chen Fan's belly. This memory was toxic to a cultivator such as Chen Fan.
Without coming to terms with the past, the cultivator would be vulnerable to the attacks of the devious mental demons. A small mistake would lay waste to thousands of years of hard work.
"Anyways, I better not dwell on the past. I wager that Shen Junwen's family fortune has not reached the Chu Zhou City at this point in time."
Looking out the window, the familiar scenery of the Chu Zhou City filled Chen Fan's heart with nostalgia.
The thought of Shen Junwen also reminded him of Xiao Qiong.
He had loved that girl, and she loved him, but that was not how their love story ended. Later on, his love for her had turned into an obsession which ultimately ruined his cultivation.
The mental demons had used her image to weaken his mind during their battle. One look of her face was enough to render his defense useless.
"Shen Junwen! You had robbed me of my fortune and the love of my life! You forced me to return to the county where I came from. You sat on your throne while I licked my wounds like a street dog." The thought brought Chen Fan's blood to a boil, and his eyes glinted like sharp steels.
Shen Junwen was the director of the Wanrong Group, a magnate of the real estate industry, and he was the son of the richest man in the Hu Dong Province.
He was also Chen Fan's greatest rival in love. Not only had he stolen Fang Qiong from Chen Fan, but he had also contributed to the collapse of his mother's company: the Splendor Group.
"Xiao-Qiong and I had a crush on each other ever since we were little, and we hit it off when we met again at university after a long period of separation. However, it was you who came in and stole her from me. You had driven a wedge between her family and me and forced her to give up in the end."
"The last time I met Xiao-Qiong was at an alumni party where I heard about her engagement to none other than you. I do not expect you to understand how I felt back then, but I promise that I will give it back to you ten times worse!"
"If not for Cangqin's help, I would have already ended my miserable life after I jumped off from the roof of my apartment. " Chen Fan murmured.
It has been five hundred years, and he should have already come to terms with what had happened. However, every single word that came out from Chen Fan's mouth carried a bone-chilling intent that threatened to claim souls.
"I will never forget the moment right before I decided to let go of my life. From that moment on, the old Chen Fan was dead, and the new Chen Beixuan was born.
"Thanks to you, I was able to focus entirely on cultivation. I fed on the anger inside of me and advanced through my cultivation at an incredible rate. It only took me five hundred years to reach the final stage: Tribulation. I felt that I almost owe you my appreciation."
Chen Fan's lips curled into a smile.
While Chen Fan had lived as the loser, Shen Junwen was basking in the glory of his success.
The Shen family had contributed to the death of Chen Fan's mother as well as the collapse of the Splendor Group. In other words, Shen Junwen and his family were responsible for nearly all the miseries in Chen Fan's life.
In his last life, Chen Fan had lost everything to his opponent. These old wounds never healed, at least not until redemption was sought and completed. He grunted as anger flickered in his eyes.
"Shen Junwen, Fang Family, Wang Family, and Wang Cheng, I will return the humiliation and suffering back to you in kind."
After five hundred years of cultivation, he was finally ready to right the wrongs in the first thirty years of his life. As he looked outside the window, his mind sought only one thing: retribution.