Chapter 4 A Bizarre World
"Liqiang, wake up… Liqiang, wake up…"
It was unknown as to when, but an anxious shout faintly rung in Yan Liqiang’s ears. During which, he also felt that there was a person lightly patting his face. The shout gradually shifted from being barely audible to distinctly clear. This voice became so clear that Yan Liqiang had even sensed that someone had begun to shout loudly in his ears, prompting him to open his eyes.
What fell into his line of sight was the face of a fourteen to fifteen years old youngster whose face was pressed closely to his own body. His face was slightly chubby and was even covered with a couple of pimples. His eyes were also slightly reddened, filled with apprehension and fury. It was the owner of this face who had been using his hand to slap his face.
To Yan Liqiang, the owner of this face belonged to a stranger, and yet, he had an indescribable feeling that he knew the youth well. However, he was momentarily unable to recall the name of this youth.
Upon seeing that Yan Liqiang had opened his eyes, the youth’s face was immediately overwhelmed with delight. "Ah! You’re awake! You’re awake! Liqiang, are you alright…?"
Yan Liqiang’s mind was still a little hazy, his consciousness still slightly fuzzy.
"Everyone, please give way. Don’t surround him. Let’s get him to the medical hall first…" The voice of the middle-aged man’s voice sounded in Yan Liqiang’s ears. Soon after, the fourteen or fifteen year old youth quickly stood up. It was only after he had stood up that did he realize that he was lying on the ground, surrounded by a mob of teenagers. Each of their figures towered over him as they stared at him with strange expressions on their faces.
Some of them were eyeing him with concerned gazes while the others’ eyes were filled with traces of schadenfreude. Furthermore, there were some people whose faces held traces of astonishment and curiosity amongst the crowd.
However, the thing that made Yan Liqiang confused was the manner the youngsters around him were dressed; it was extremely peculiar. They were all wearing the same outfit held together by the belt clasped around their waist. The whole get up reminded Yan Liqiang of martial art training robes. They also had long hair, it was no different from the hairstyles he had seen from various TV dramas.
‘What’s going on?’ A question had begun to surface within Yan Liqiang’s mind. Was this a prank? Or was he dreaming?
The moment the idea that he was dreaming surfaced within his mind, Yan Liqiang felt an excruciating amount of pain resonating from his head, back, and right arm. The pain was distinct and intense, attacking Yan Liqiang in the form of a rhythm, provoking his entire central nervous system. Thus, warning Yan Liqiang that his body was currently in immense danger. It all felt unmistakably real.
While enduring the excruciating pain, Yan Liqiang finally managed to catch a quick glimpse of the surrounding youths when his vision grew clear enough to see. He could hear faint murmurs coming from the crowd of people.
‘It’s his fault for gloating in front of everyone everyday! Now he got his just desserts. Haha…’
‘Serves him right!’
‘I never imagined that Hong Tao would be so amazing. He had trained the Iron Palm to the third layer, and had done so under everyone’s noses! But he put too much strength into his attack, he almost killed Yan Liqiang...’
‘I never expected Yan Liqiang would still be able to open his eyes! Hong Tao should have been crueler with his attacks! He should’ve crippled this annoying fellow so he won’t be able to participate in the Martial Arts County Trial in two months... ’
Yan Liqiang felt that his vision was blurred once again, the throbbing pain in his head contrasted his empty body. The clear faces he had seen and the remarks he had heard, was blurred once again.
Who were these people? Why did he feel like he knew them, yet didn’t at the same time? He was dreaming. He had to be dreaming. He must certainly be dreaming.
The voice spiralled within Yan Liqiang’s heart. However, regardless of the voice’s words, the scene before his eyes, as well as the sensation coming from his body was becoming more and more real.
The crowd abruptly dispersed as a man who seemed roughly thirty with a bulky build and a tanned face appeared before Yan Liqiang. He knelt down, casting a glance at Yan Liqiang’s broken body with his lowered eyes. Using his hand, he pinched Yan Liqiang’s body in various locations, as though he were examining him thoroughly. Following this, he lifted Yan Liqiang’s right hand with his own, pulling and twisting before letting go. A ‘crack!’ sound could be heard from his body as the dislocated arm instantly snapped back to place.
After his arm snapped back into place, Yan Liqiang groaned with his forehead drenched with sweat.
The man got up onto his feet and gestured with his hands, instructing in a low tone, "Move Yan Liqiang to the medical hall..."
A stretcher was moved to Yan Liqiang’s side, and he was lifted into it. Following which, the crowd parted, opening up a path as they witnessed the scene of the beaten down Yan Liqiang, lying down and being carried away on a stretcher.
As he lay on the stretcher, Yan Liqiang’s field of vision only consisted of the densely packed crowd in his surrounding. He was unsure how many people were there. The crowd consisted of males and females all wearing similar training robes. They watched him leave with various kinds of expressions. Not far from this area, Yan Liqiang caught sight of an arena, protruding above the ground at around two metres high. A fifteen or sixteen year old young man with a stout build stood on the arena with arms crossed, casting an arrogant and cold gaze at him. A trace of ridicule could be seen hanging from the corners of his lips. Behind this youth, an enormous projection of a green palm looking to be more than one metre tall could be seen to be slowly fading away...
Focusing his gaze even further, he saw a banner that hung above the arena. A large line of text could be seen written on it. It read, ‘Martial Arts County Trial's Preliminary Exam in Qinghe County of Pingxi Prefecture’.
An old man clad in long robes could be heard loudly roaring in the distance after Yan Liqiang had left, "The victor of the fourth arena’s seventh preliminary tournament is Hong Tao! The next group, get ready..."
Everything continued to proceed. Yet, Yan Liqiang’s state of mind remained in a state of confusion.
After being carried away from the densely packed crowd, Yan Liqiang just noticed that he was currently in a large courtyard. Within the courtyard were a few odd-looking Chinese style buildings. Adjacent to the field in the centre of the courtyard was a row of weapon racks. It was currently morning; the shades of the tree worked as a shelter for the birds that were twittering and a flowery fragrance pervaded the air from within the courtyard. Youngsters could be heard yelling from the fights in the distant arena.
The sky was so blue and enchanting that it could attracted one’s attention. With such a clear and blue sky in sight, Yan Liqiang couldn’t help but recall the last time that he had seen such a sky; it was when he had traveled to Shangri-la at Yunnan.
Suddenly, the stretcher shook and in that brief moment of time, Yan Liqiang fell from the stretcher, his entire body collided with the floor. Waves of excruciating pain bombarded him and his vision couldn’t help but blurr again….
"Xu Changle, what do you think you’re doing?" The fatty lifting the stretcher berated angrily.
"Sorry, my hands slipped…"
"You’re clearly doing it on purpose…"
"So what if I did it intentionally? Hmph! Su Chang, this has nothing to do with you. Do you think Yan Liqiang would still dare to be as haughty as he was before?"
As he listened to the argument around him, Yan Liqiang couldn’t help but laugh bitterly to himself. It seems like the previous Yan Liqiang had made enemies out of a lot of people and wasn’t popular. At this time, even the person lifting his stretcher would go as far as to seize this opportunity to teach him a lesson...
A wave of weakness flooded his mind, forcing Yan Liqiang to faint once again.
While unconscious, Yan Liqiang found himself in a long dream. In this dream, he was born in a bizarre world called the Silver Continent. The Silver Continent had many clans that stood in great numbers. In this place, the weak were prey to the strong; it was a place where powerful countries, tyrants, large clans and sects infested the world. This was a world where martial arts was held in the highest regard and dominated everything by force. In this world, he was still known as Yan Liqiang, and was no different than the other him on earth who had grown up from an orphanage. In this world, he had an insane and strict father, who was a blacksmith from the Qinghe County under the Pingxi Prefecture in the Great Han empire. From the moment his brain could store memories, his father only had one request from him: to train in martial arts. Apart from madly indulging himself in martial arts training, he couldn’t recall much of anything else.
At the end of the long dream, Yan Liqiang once again saw the earth he was born on, and his past self who very much enjoyed to act. He caught sight of Lu Jiaying, and witnessed the meteor shooting right at him, as well as the broiling white light.
Within the light, the two distinct dreams and memories ultimately and completely merged together. The two Yan Liqiangs had also became one.
Yan Liqiang woke up, opened his eyes, and realized that he had been lying in bed. At this moment, everything that had transpired on earth before were no different to an unrealistic dream to him.
The first thing to enter his line of sight was a spotless and white roof, as well as the spotlessly white mosquito net that hung over the bed. After that, his nostrils were assaulted by the stench of alcohol as well as the scent of strong chinese herbal medicines. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that this was a ward.
The room was empty. Yan Liqiang took a quick glance out of the window. Judging by the time of the day, it should be in the evening. This meant that he had been lying here for half of the day.
With plenty of time to rest, Yan Liqiang sobered up; his brain had completely recovered his consciousness. He was fine except for his chest and back that still felt some discomfort. In addition, the back of his head was still somewhat sore. As he reached out to touch his head, Yan Liqiang could feel a bump swelling at the back of his head.
Only after removing his blanket did he realize that he was topless. His chest and back were held together by a layer of white gauze. His chest felt scorching hot. It seems that medicine had been applied his body prior to his awakening.
Yan Liqiang got off the bed with his clothes still draped over his shoulders. He noticed a mirror on the wall adjacent to the bed. Yan Liqiang was dumbstruck as he stared at the fourteen or fifteen year old youth in the mirror.
The young man’s face in the mirror was exactly the same as his on earth in his previous life. Even the vermillion birthmark found on his left earlobe was present. He hadn’t changed at all. The only difference was that, during the time when he was around fourteen or fifteen of age in his previous life, his body was still in the developing stage, so it was slender and weak, practically resembling a bean sprout. However, things were different now, the current figure of the fourteen or fifteen year old young man in the mirror was extremely wonderful! He could easily be a model! Not only were the youth’s arm, the muscles and lines on his chest and belly were all easily noticeable. This was especially true in his lower abdomen where a six pack was clearly visible. His body was full of strength and vigor. For a fourteen or fifteen year old young man to possess this kind of body figure, it was pretty much impossible to train it to become this fit. At least, not without enduring years of painstaking hard work and working out.
He had really struck gold!
Initially, Yan Liqiang felt a bit depressed inside, but having seen his body and figure that was younger by ten years for the first time in the mirror, his mood changed for the better. The corners of his mouth couldn’t help but break into a smile.
"My son! Where is my son, Yan Liqiang…?" A man’s irritated voice could be heard from outside the room. Yan Liqiang was just about to turn his head before the door of the room was forcibly opened in an abrupt manner and a man barged in...