Chapter 1: A Betrayal of Grace
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The Magnolia Guild, Qingshan Town.
This is… my past… my room in the Magnolia Guild?
Wasn’t I on Earth?
The young man, roughly fifteen to sixteen years old, looked around at the familiar setting of the room: a smooth, unweathered face in the mirror stared back at him, and a calendar hung on the wall. He was at a complete loss, and it took him a long time to regain his composure.
The date according to the latest page of the calendar on the wall was, shockingly, the twelfth day, the twelfth month, year 1227 of the Ziyun Era.
Zhou Donghuang took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and searched through his memory of what had happened moments ago…
He had been at his home on Earth conducting research on a wondrous circular slate in the year 2359 of the Ziyun Era, which was year 3150 of the Earth Era.
He suspected that wondrous circular slate, which was unique in every aspect, had been handed down from generation to generation since ancient times. Even though he had the power to extinguish any star in the universe as he wished, he could not leave a slight mark on this wondrous circular slate.
It all came back to him now… when his psyche entered the circular slate, the term “chronospace slate” had appeared in his mind out of nowhere. A mysterious and irresistible force reached out from the circular slate and completely enveloped him. Then he blacked out.
When he was awake, he realized that he had been transported back to this familiar, yet faraway place from the depths of his memory.
This was not Earth but another planet in the boundless universe, Ziyun.
The Ziyun Era was the astronomical calendar of the planet Ziyun.
Wait! Chronospace slate… chronospace?
Is it possible that this chronospace slate has sent me back to a thousand years ago?
Zhou Donghuang sobered up immediately at this thought, suppressed his raging emotions, and gradually began to calm down.
Year 1227 of the Ziyun Era… I turned sixteen that year.
That mad cultist appeared in Qingshan Town when I was sixteen and took me away from Ziyun all the way across the universe to Earth.
I remember it was the twenty-second day of the twelfth month in year 1227 of the Ziyun Era.
And today is the twelfth day of the twelfth month in year 1227 of the Ziyun Era, so if the date is accurate, the mad cultist will show up here in ten days.
Zhou Donghuang shut his eyes as countless scenes flashed through his mind.
He arrived on Earth on November 5, 2018 of the Earth Era.
Earth was a planet where the Spirit was thin and weak. However, there were ancient legends there such as “Pan Gu creates the heavens,””Nu Wa repairs the heavens,””Hou Yi shoots the suns,””Chang’E flies to the moon” and others…
It was not difficult to deduce that a group of mighty practitioners had once dwelled on Earth, and their world had once been glorious.
However, by the time he had reached Earth, the world that the practitioners had built was already in decline, and the whole Earth had descended into an age of ignorance about the arts.
Who knew that even though he could claim to be among the most talented in the universe, he would still end up spending a hundred years on Earth before he was able to leave?
Upon leaving Earth and travelling into intergalactic space saturated with the Spirit, his true potential was unleashed…
A mere thousand years later, he had travelled across the stars, engaging a countless number of mighty opponents in battle and never tasting defeat. He had earned himself the title of “Battle-lord Donghuang.”
Back in my youth, I did not have the power to extinguish stars with a gesture or reach out across the stars with my supernatural will with a mere thought or even project my essence out of my physical form and wander the cosmos…
Zhou Donghuang sighed. Just a moment ago, he tried to trigger some response from inside him but found that he was completely empty inside.
The “seal” that would be broken on Earth later by the mad cultist was still there.
He was now quite literally where he was a thousand years ago before he had encountered the mad cultist.
I’m not dreaming, am I?
On a childish impulse, perhaps because he was now in the body of a sixteen-year-old, Zhou Donghuang reached up and pinched his face hard.
The sharp pain that registered in the next instant made him realize beyond any doubt that it was not a dream but entirely real!
Why would Lady Dandan be with the master of the Sunset Guild? Moreover, the master of the Sunset Guild is following Lady Dandan as though he thoroughly respects her.
When I glanced into the receiving chamber, I saw the expression on our guild master’s face was terrible and frightening.
On the other side of the door, the voices of two serving girls in conversation brought Zhou Donghuang back to reality.
That’s right… today is the twelfth day of the twelfth month in the year 1227 of the Ziyun Era!
Today, Chen Dandan will reveal the formula that the Lin family offered Mother to support the business of Magnolia Guild to their rivals, the Sunset Guild!
After this, the Lin family would be furious and would withdraw their support for the Magnolia Guild and expel Mother from the Lin family… When word from the Lin family reached Qingshan Town eight days later, Mother would be overcome with a rage that would lead to her death!
Without hesitation, Zhou Donghuang burst out of the room through the door and sprinted to the receiving chamber.
The Magnolia Guild was one of the two major guilds in Qingshan Town, and the room which was used as their receiving chamber was spacious, luxuriously decorated, and unrivaled in its extravagance.
But now, something seemed off in the atmosphere of the receiving chamber.
Zhou Donghuang strode into the receiving chamber, his eyes fixed on the beautiful lady standing in its center. Emotions that were impossible to express in words glittered in his eyes.
He had not seen his mother in over a thousand years.
“Donghuang, why are you here?”
The beautiful lady had been trembling with rage, but upon seeing Zhou Donghuang, her frosty and severe demeanour transformed immediately into a lovely smile, and the fury in her eyes gave way to a tender look of love.
The beautiful lady was the guild master of the Magnolia Guild, Lin Lan.
“Mother, I know everything.”
Standing beside the beautiful lady, Zhou Donghuang turned his gaze toward the two people opposite him before letting it come to rest on the leader of the two, the young lady.
The young lady was dressed in a pale green gown and seemed to be of a similar age as Zhou Donghuang. She was slender and graceful and her beautiful face was smooth and unblemished- every inch of her appearance proclaiming what a rich brat she was.
“Why?” Zhou Donghuang asked in a low growl, levelling an icy stare at the girl.
Previously, he did not have the chance to ask the young lady this question before he was taken away by the mad cultist.
He wanted to seek her out to ask her this question after he managed to leave Earth and return to Ziyun, but by then she had been long gone, and he did not manage to find her.
This had become a knot in Zhou Donghuang’s heart.
It was a heaven-sent opportunity to be transported back a thousand years into the past. He never expected to have a chance to undo this gordian knot in his heart.
“Everyone has his own ambitions!” the young lady replied with a stoic expression, fearlessly meeting Zhou Donghuang’s stare.
“Indeed!” Zhou Donghuang smiled a brilliant smile. “Ten years ago, you, Chen Dandan, were wandering the streets penniless and destitute with no one to turn to, almost starving to death. It was Mother and I who brought you in out of the wind and snow. We fed you, clothed you, and Mother even took you in as an adopted daughter, giving you an enviable position of privilege.
“When you were nine and you fell ill, it was Mother who braved the wind and rain to scale the cliffs of Mount Daliang, defying death to gather herbs to treat you and save your life. When you were twelve and training to build up your qi, you could not make the connection at first. It was Mother who spent three days and three nights helping you find your qi, neglecting her own well-being just to help you successfully get started on the path of the Martial Way!”
Zhou Donghuang stopped speaking. His eyes narrowed, and he clenched his fists tightly. His fingernails cut into his skin, and blood seeped out from the cuts in his palm.
“Five years ago, you told Mother that you would marry me when you grew up, but I said I saw you only as a sister. Mother and I almost had a falling out because of this. She praised you to high heaven and told me that the chance to take you as my wife was the accumulated luck of several lifetimes…
“I agreed to it later on to ease Mother’s worries. But today… who would have thought that you would ally yourself with outsiders to ruin Mother, to ruin the Magnolia Guild that she single-handedly built up from nothing! Where is your shame? Have you got any shred of dignity left?”
Zhou Donghuang’s voice seemed to grow colder, and the chill permeated the room as he spoke. It began to feel as though the temperature in the receiving chamber had dropped by a few degrees.
“Had I known earlier that you, Zhou Donghuang, were a useless piece of trash who could not manifest his qi, I would never have thought of marrying you!”
Chen Dandan laughed humorlessly, her eyes betraying no hint of emotion. Shades of condescension and spite flickered across her beautiful, delicate face.
“Fine, despise me as you wish, I couldn’t care less… but Mother? Has she ever done anything to let you down?” Zhou Donghuang challenged.
“She has never let me down… but please remember that I didn’t ask her to shelter me from the wind and snow. Nor did I ask her to scale the cliffs for medicinal herbs for me and help me find my qi and manifest it in training.”
“Perhaps she intended to use me to earn a good reputation so that the Magnolia Guild could enjoy smoother business dealings here in Qingshan Town,” Chen Dandan replied nonchalantly.
Upon hearing Chen Dandan’s answer, Zhou Donghuang was dumbstruck.
How could a person be so shameless? Previously, as he wandered amongst the stars, he had visited countless places and met countless shameless people, but Chen Dandan’s shamelessness was in a class of its own!
“I should kill you!”
Zhou Donghuang could no longer control himself. With a cold gleam in his eyes and a bone-chilling roar, he rushed towards Chen Dandan.
But at the first hint of movement from him, the man behind Chen Dandan took a big step forward, blocking his path.
“Lady Dandan is now the young mistress-to-be of the Hong family of the prefecture capital.”
The middle-aged man was the guild master of the Sunset Guild, Hong Yue. Hong Yue was a level-one adept of the gathered qi and possessed the strength of a bull.
Because of the seal within him, Zhou Donghuang had yet to manifest his qi, but banking on his memories from the past thousand years, he was able to utilize every inch of muscle in his body to channel the accumulated strength into an explosive burst.
Although his body was not yet fully developed, the maximum burst potential of his strength was more than enough to neutralize a level-one adept of the gathered qi.
A deafening sound reverberated around the receiving chamber.
It was Zhou Donghuang who made the next move, charging in a frenzy towards Hong Yue and hitting him with a strike that sent him sprawling to the floor outside with blood spurting from his mouth.
“How is this possible?!”
There was a look of incomprehension on Chen Dandan’s face as she wondered how a level-one adept of the gathered qi could be wounded and soundly defeated after exchanging blows with Zhou Donghuang.
How could such a useless piece of trash be so powerful?