Chapter 1: Reincarnation Start
Entrance of FengLingDu Bridge*(1)
The time is early February, recently the atmosphere has been at times cold and at times warm, the Yellow River*(2) has defrosted, however when the Northern winds blow it begins to snow, and the river has once again frozen over. Neither boats or carts can cross the river, and all the passengers who need to cross the river are stuck at the Entrance of FengLingDu Bridge, unable to leave.
The passengers from the North are unending and the FengLingDu crossing has only few inns, they have all been filled up within half a day, leaving the customers who come after with no place to stay.
The town’s largest inn is called “Safe Crossing Old Shop”, named for safe crossing of the river. Since this inn is large, the guests who couldn’t find space elsewhere all flooded here, so it is particularly crowded. The manager tried his best and managed to fill every room with three to four people, the twenty something leftover guests could only sit in the lobby.
Employees under orders of the manager moved tables and chairs out-of-the-way, and set up a large bonfire in the lobby. Blowing inside from under a crack are the north winds whistling with snow, making the fire flicker, with worry in their hearts and eyes the guests could understand that they would not be able to set out tomorrow.
However, in the corner of the lobby, where there is little light and no one is paying attention to, a curtain of flickering light comes and goes, covering a small area where there is a young man of around twenty lying on the ice-cold floor.
“The game……Has already begun?”muttered JiangChen as he woke up with his head ringing, and fragments of grayed out memories quickly combine within his mind, he subconsciously lifts his left hand to find that there really is a silver watch flickering in and out of view, and a bitter smile could not help but emerge on his face.
Reincarnation, is the name of this watch!
Perhaps, this is only a game, but it may also be a race of life and death, there is no need to think of how it appeared as to how it came to be, perhaps it is god’s gift, but it’s more likely that this is the devil’s game, In any case, he is already a member of the game.
Retreat? Utterly impossible! Because, JiangChen already has no escape route, since before he participated in this game he…… was already dead!
Yep, he is already dead, died because he saved someone, to save his neighbour’s seven year old daughter, he was hit flying by a speeding sports car on the road, dying instantly!
Buddha says, saving a life makes a seven floored pagoda!*(3)
JiangChen didn’t get any pagodas, and has no idea what one would even look like. However, in his death, he found out that his conscious did not disappear, it just existed in another state, and this convinced him on something: Humans, really have souls.
He was relieved, since souls exist, then reincarnation or something should be possible. So he waited for the workers of hell to come pick him up for reincarnation. No matter what, he died because he saved a life, not really asking to reach the heavens in a single bound, by become an immortal or a buddha, but at least a nice birthright should be fine right? Enjoying some splendor and wealth in his next life shouldn’t be too much right?
However, he waited for a long time, but didn’t see any *(5)Ox-heads and Horse-faces, Soul reapers and the like coming to pick him up, rather his soul was becoming more and more faint, and he would drift with the wind with the passage of time, in fact, his consciousness was becoming increasingly blurred, and later on he simply did not know anything that was going on.
Just like that, muddling along without any regard of time, until he vaguely saw a purple light fade in and out did he wake up a little, unconsciously, he drifted in that direction, and only when he got close did he see clearly that it was a road paved in purple light.
Dazzling purple light, radiant street, as if filled with indescribably charming atmosphere, JiangCheng simply could not resist with his blurred consciousness, he embarked immediately onto this bright road of no return!
Step by step, slowly advancing forward, and as JiangChen advanced forward on the purple road, the light started fusing with his soul, and in his trance, there was no way to remember how much time has passed, until he made it to the end of the purple road, as the last bits of the road fused with his soul, a beam of silver light fell onto his body, and an intense shock of his consciousness woke him up from the befuddled state he was in.
Opening his eyes, all that is within his sight is a space threatening to collapse.
Broken down! Broken down! The only things that JiangChen could think of are these two-word, because, besides these two words he could not think of anything else to describe the ruins in front of his eyes.
Appearing within his vision is an incomparably desolate space, while appearing endless, it is also filled with bursts of colourful gasses, there are cracks everywhere on the ground, and there are huge holes that are smouldering, and forming thick black smoke columns straight into the sky.
Smoke columns filling up the sky, stirring the colourful gasses, all kinds of shapes and sizes, the big ones are a few miles, seeming like a sunset in the sky, while the smallest ones are only a few centimeters long, like thin strands of yarn, but regardless of size, it is all exceptionally bright.
These turbulent gases mixed together make the atmosphere agitated and irritable, as if just a slight glance can provoke it.
Even higher above, over the terrifying gasses is a crack in space that spans thousands of miles, as if a black dragon is twisting and roaming above the sky, trying to thoroughly cut the earth.
Inside the giant crack in the sky, he could faintly make out endless amounts of turbulent gases rippling around, with enough force to shake the world, although he is very far away, JiangChen could still feel its indescribable horror.
“What……is this place?” JiangChen inexplicably thought, but then suddenly he felt a sense of wrongness, because, he who had been dead for a long time, could feel the existence of his body again.
“Unless, I already reincarnated? No way! In the legends when you reincarnate aren’t you supposed to drink forgetful soup, to forget everything in your previous life? Could Lethe*(6) be on vacation? Or is she on strike?
As long as the human heart still beats, evil thoughts shall never end. As JiangChen was thinking silly thoughts he started to look at himself, and this look scared him, because instead of it being a newborn, his body was that of a twenty something young man, and he was wearing a set of coarse cloth clothing, seemed like ancient ware, but on his wrist was a super modern watch, it looked very weird.
However, to JiangChen all of this was exceptionally strange, therefore, involuntarily a few words popped into his head.
“Borrowing a corpse for reincarnation!”*
Although, before his death he wasn’t that big of a book nerd, but he did read a few Xianxias*, and as a normal Chinese person’s attitude of keeping thoughts of spirits and the like at arm’s length, hearing about it is common, but it is all just myths from ancient times. Just like everybody else, after hearing about these kind of things, the only response is to laugh and forget about it, who would have thought, that there would be a day where it would happen to him.
After a long while, JiangChen finally recovered from his shock, and with a long sigh of relief he said:”Borrowing a body is not bad, perhaps, this is god giving me a chance because i died saving a life.
However, as the sigh from his mouth hadn’t finished yet, suddenly this space of the verge of destruction violently vibrated, on top of the earth, giant round arches popped up, and the arches are covered in strange lines, seemingly man-made, but also natural, while emanating a mysterious light.
JiangChen could only stare in bewilderment, and before he could compose himself, the silver watch on his wrist started vibrating, afterwards a stream of purple light along with a torrent of information shot straight into his mind:”Welcome to the Land of Reincarnation, for those players who have been favoured by reincarnation, the Door of Reincarnation is about to open!”
What do you mean? While under tremendous pain, JiangChen could only express surprise, then the corresponding information emerged from within his head:”This land is one that connects all realms and worlds, and this is a game of reincarnation above even gods and devils, drifting souls that are favoured by reincarnation shall be brought to this land, and the Doors of Reincarnation shall open. All those who are lucky enough to participate within this game, shall step onto the road to new life, rise above the heavens, or fail and die again, only to sink into the depths of hell, everything, lies upon your efforts and luck!”
“Reincarnators prepare yourselves, the game……Begins!”
In front of his eyes, the giant arches blossom with light, and within the doors, torrents of light make a giant whirlpool, before JiangChen could make any reactions he was sucked in, and his sight was filled with endless purple light, his consciousness gradually blurring, until it disappeared.
*1 风陵渡 FengLingDu is a city along the lines of the Yellow river
*2 黄河 Yellow River is the third largest river in Asia and basin of it was the most prosperous region in early Chinese history
*3 A Pagoda is a tiered tower with multiple eaves (eaves are the edges of the roof which overhang the face of a wall and, normally, project beyond the side of a building) built mostly with religious functions, most commonly buddhist in parts of Asia.
*4 一步登天 YiBuDengTian is a four letter chinese phrase that means to suddenly come into power or wealth extremely easily. Hence the saying reach the heavens in a single bound, because it is mostly used to describe the impossible.
*5 牛头马面 Ox-heads and Horse-faces are the two guardians of the underworld in Chinese mythology who are tasked with leading souls of the dead towards hell for their judgement.
*6孟婆汤 and 孟婆 MengPoTang and MengPo Lethe is not an exact translation as it is one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld that dead are required to drink from to have their memories from Earth erased so that they may be reincarnated. Lethe is also the name of the personification of forgetfulness and oblivion, with whom the river was often associated. Since there is no direct translations for these two phrases, the closest I could find was this.