Chapter 1: Son of the Celestial Emperor, Reincarnation and Rebirth
Jiang Chen felt like his brains were made of mush - as if he was in a dream, but this felt much more real than that. Every inch of skin, every bone in his body cried out in agony.
“Am I dead? Am I suffering through the fires of purgatory that burn in hell?” Jiang Chen’s first instinct was that he was dead, but the tenuous hint of breath in his body seemed to remind him otherwise - that he was still alive.
After who knew how long, Jiang Chen suddenly forced his eyes open with a struggle, but found himself in a coffin.
In a coffin? Then, I’m really dead? Jiang Chen became depressed.
“How laughable. I, Jiang Chen, son of the Celestial Emperor, was born with a yin constitution and thus could not practice martial dao. Even when father refined the Sun Moon Pill so that I could enjoy life as long as the heavens exist, I still became father’s burden and succumbed to my death when the cataclysm descended from the heavens….”
“Eh? What’s going on with my meridians? There’s true qi flowing through them?! It’s quite weak… wait! This… this isn’t my body, this is definitely not my body! I was born with a yin constitution, so how could I have true qi present in my body?”
“And, if I was truly dead, how could there be true qi flowing through my body?” It was as if an electrical jolt passed through Jiang Chen’s brain as he laid in the coffin. At the same time, he realized that the body lying in the coffin didn’t belong to him.
“This… what is this? Whose body is this?” This unexpected discovery brought both surprise and joy to him. He quickly discovered a few fragments of memory in the body.
“This body’s owner was also named Jiang Chen? The son of the duke of the Jiang Han province in the Eastern Kingdom? The name is right, but this is obviously not me! I am the son of the almighty Celestial Emperor - how did I become the scion of such a mundane kingdom?” Jiang Chen’s mind was filled with questions.
“Did I really die in the cataclysm? Is this the reincarnation referred to in legends? The heavens were shattered and the wheel of life smashed... I should’ve been annihilated in the cataclysm with no hope of traveling along the wheel of life! So this means… I’ve really reincarnated?” Jiang Chen finally confirmed this new reality after perusing the fragments from the past Jiang Chen’s consciousness.
“To think that I was the exalted son of the Celestial Emperor in my past life, yet was barred from cultivating due to my yin constitution. Yet, now that I’ve reincarnated into the son of the duke of such a humdrum kingdom, I’ve gained the potential to train... Oh the irony!”
“The heavens were shattered and order crumbled… I, Jiang Chen, lived a million years in vain in my past life. Although I died with the sun and moon, I couldn’t offer any help when the cataclysm arrived. A yin constitution cannot train, and thus is doomed to always be at the mercy of others. My fate was like that of a floating speck of dust - easily dispelled as the wind blew.”
Jiang Chen grew somber, lost in his thoughts as he thought of the treatment he’d suffered in his past life, and of his father who had developed the Sun Moon Pill at such a great cost, so that his son’s mortal body could enjoy life as long as the sun and moon’s.
He knew that this life and death separation was possibly an eternal farewell!
Even though he’d lived a million years, even though he possessed great intelligence - when he thought of his father the Celestial Emperor painstakingly taking care of him, hot tears still spilled out of his eyes.
He knew, the heavens were shattered. Even if one were as almighty as the Celestial Emperor, it was almost impossible to survive the cataclysm. Jiang Chen became upset as his thoughts traveled to the end of this path.
However, it was as if a bolt of thunder crashed into his soul when his soul touched upon his body’s meridians. It was like a man dying of thirst finding a sweet spring! The slowly moving true qi was so weak, weak to the point of almost flickering out. But it was this fragile hint of true qi that stoked his flames of life and swept away those depressing thoughts.
“Train? Heh, cultivated! This was once a ludicrous thought for someone with a yin constitution like mine. I couldn’t train in my past life, but never acceded to fate. Now that I have gained the potential to train due to reincarnation, is this not an opening that the door of fate has cracked open for me?”
“I was the exalted son of the Celestial Emperor, and held charge of the Tianlang Library for millions of years. I have perused countless books and scrolls. I was familiar with all disciplines and methods of training. I was unparalleled and renowned for the accomplishments in my dao of alchemy, but my knowledge was forever halted and just theoretical, at an abstract level. Now that I have gained the ability to train thanks to reincarnation, what cause have I to fear? For what reason would I, Jiang Chen, bow my head in defeat?” Jiang Chen felt a weight lift off his shoulders as he explored this line of reasoning.
Those negative emotions he had slowly disappeared. He felt that this reincarnation was a turning point that would interminably change his life! Indeed, from the perspective of Jiang Chen’s past life, the identity of the son of an ordinary noble was completely inconsequential. But even the lowliest person possessed one quality that he did not in his past life, and that was the qualification to cultivate!
The qualification to cultivate was like the starting line of a race.
Although he was an eminent person in his past life, as lofty as dragons and phoenixes, he could only watch on the sidelines. Now, despite his commonness in his current life, despite being like an ant, he had the qualification to step up to the starting line and take his place.
The path of training was ceaseless and boundless. As long as one had good fortune, one could transform and become all powerful. Even wings could be stuck onto ants for them to soar in the heavens! And now, an opportunity had come!
Son of the Celestial Emperor, Keeper of the Tianlang Library. He had devoted his millions years of life almost entirely to studying. It would be no exaggeration to say that he was a walking encyclopedia and grasped the world’s knowledge.
His belly full of theories spanning from the divine heavens to common dirt, there was no topic that Jiang Chen was unfamiliar with. Although Jiang Chen could not train in the many boring years in his past life, he loved to take in disciples and conduct experiments with them, testing out one theory or another. He’d lost track of how many prodigies he’d created in his lifetime.
What was opportunity?
He had reincarnated with the memories of the son of the Celestial Emperor, and had gained the body of the unfortunate dukedom heir Jiang Chen. Those experiments he had conducted on his disciples could finally now be acted out with his own hands!
This was opportunity!
Jiang Chen could hardly contain himself. At this moment, a striking crash sounded, as if something had slipped and cracked.
“Jiang Ying, figure it out! Find out at all costs!” Jiang Feng, the duke of Jiang Han, furiously smashed a vase, almost wishing to burn down the kingdom in his rage.
“Your Lordship, we already have a clue.” Jiang Ying spoke respectfully, dressed from head to toe in black. “Although the young master was not diligent in training, he was still a fighter of the true qi level. His control over his body would be absolute. In the face of such an important occasion, he would not have lost control and passed gas.”
“Then, someone is behind all this? Someone intentionally wanted to embarrass Chen’er during the Rites of Heavenly Worship, so that he would enrage the king and be executed?” Jiang Feng’s tone had descended to a dangerous point.
“The young master ate breakfast with friends at the Autumn Crane this morning. I did not discover anything when I investigated Autumn Crane, but found traces of “Three Laugh Powder” in the young master’s body.”
Three Laugh Powder?
Jiang Feng’s face darkened, how would he not know what “Three Laugh Powder” was? This item cleared up a person’s internal passages. While it did not have any side effects, it would cause a person’s qi to sink through their body, and be emitted from all parts of the body. His son’s damnable gas expulsion that enraged the king during the Rites of Heavenly Worship was not out of nowhere, it was definitely due to this “three laugh powder”.
“It seems that instead of being a coincidence, this was a devious, premeditated plot!” Jiang Feng easily came to this conclusion after connecting the dots.
“Your Lordship, here is a list of whom the young master had breakfast with. However, they are all sons of other dukes, so it will be difficult to find out who is responsible.” Jiang Ying was Jiang Feng’s right hand man, and his most valued and loyal vassal.
“Go, go thoroughly investigate this matter! Even if I lose my dukedom, even if I am torn asunder, I will not idly sit by when my son has been killed!”
Jiang Feng didn’t believe the crap of absolute obedience to one’s overlord. Utter drivel!
Generations of the Jiang family had been loyal, but not stupidly loyal.
The Jiang family had toiled ceaselessly for the Eastern Kingdom royal family for generations, defending the land, fighting in wars and steadfastly holding their stations. They had won their sole dukedom at high cost, but now his only son was unceremoniously caned to death?
A vassal had no need to be loyal if the overlord was not kind. If it came down to it, rebellion then! It felt as if a volcano was on the verge of erupting in his chest whenever Jiang Feng thought of King Eastern Lu’s cold expression as he gave the order to kill; the sight of his enemies gloating in that moment, or the son that had been beaten beyond recognition as he lay in his coffin.
He itched to immediately return to his territory and stampede into the capital with hundreds of thousands under his banner, to let rivers of blood flow in the streets! Upon hearing these words, combined with the vague memories left in the body, Jiang Chen roughly understood what had happened.
It turned out that the original owner of this body had the unfortunate timing to fart during the Rites of Heavenly Worship!
These rites were hosted by the most sacred temple in the country, and attended by the king and all 108 Eastern Kingdom nobles in order to pray for King Eastern Lu’s beloved daughter. The king and his nobles had commenced many preparations before the rites were held, such as forgoing meat, bathing, and changing into fresh clothes, as well as burning lavender incense. In other words - everyone had cleaned up nicely, and was striving for perfection in order to convince the heavens of their sincerity to succeed in obtaining blessings.
Everything was proceeding smoothly at first.
But just as the king and his nobles had kowtowed on the temple steps in prayer, Jiang Chen let out an earsplitting fart. One had to know that kowtowing in prayer was the most important part of the entire rite. Absolute silence needed to be maintained during this part. This was how one could communicate with the gods and demonstrate their devotion.
However, Jiang Chen’s fart rudely broke this silence and shattered this dignified gathering.
Everyone knew that farts were comprised of unhealthy gas and were extremely unsound. If this had happened during a regular occasion, it would have been simply passed over as everyone else held their breath. However, Jiang Chen’s regrettable fart was smelly and long. It was an affront to the gods! The high priest in charge of the rite’s proceedings was appalled and started cursing loudly, as if the fart had destroyed the pillar of the world and was causing the sky to cave in.
This aroused the great wrath of King Eastern Lu, as he doted on his beloved daughter so, and he called for the guards to drag Jiang Chen away and beat him to death! Even then, his anger was not abated and he gave the order to hang Jiang Chen’s corpse on the city wall for vultures and scavengers to pick on. Jiang Chen wouldn’t even have had a body left if the kingdom’s nobles didn’t persuade the king otherwise, pointing out that openly displaying a corpse was vulgar and uncivilized, and would adversely impact the kingdom’s fortunes.