It just happened, how easy it is, how fickle it is, and how weak it is that man’s life could end so abruptly and without notice. I have no clear recollection of what went on, I had just finished a day of hard work in the office, staying late was the usual, as I had no one to go home to. My parents have long since passed away, and I had no siblings or close family to care or bother remembering who I was, or if I had lived or died.
My life was insignificant, yet I lived it with all I had, took opportunities when they were presented to me, and was not afraid to take shortcuts. I was not a good man, and I will not deny it. But at least what I do know is that I am honest, and that will not change.
I was walking down the street, down a shady ally, an ally that I have went passed it uncountable times during my working life. I was a manager in an engineering company and was a few hard-working years away from making it to director. Life, though dull, filled with the daily banter and hassle of work still had a future to present to me. Perhaps making it to the director’s position was going to change who I was. And though a faraway hope, it was hope nevertheless.
The last thing I remembered was the shout of a gruff sounding man, then I received a powerful blow on the head. The pain didn’t register until a few moments when my cheek was placed against the ground, my eyes could only see red, then after a small jolt of pain, I felt nothing.
A dark world received me with open eyes.
I turned and turned, there was no denying it, there and then, I knew I was dead. And for some reason, this welcoming darkness was not as horrid as I had believed it would be. The abyss was by no mean cold nor hot. It was just...it. Somewhere, I was stuck unable to move, yet with a lackluster will to do so. Why should I care for what is going to happen next, and this darkness was not as terrifying as I had imagined it.
Perhaps I will be here for all eternity. Then a thought crossed my mind. God? Should I pray, ask for help? But why should I do so? This place feels rather good.
As I was thinking to myself, not bothering with how much time I had spent floating in this inexistent place. My eyes flared with a burning light. I was able to see, and soon I was pulled out of the comfortable darkness into a world of pain.
Had I been resuscitated? Perhaps I was taken to a hospital I thought. Yet the scorching sun and the taste of dirt in my mouth told me otherwise. I stood up, barely able to do so, my body...not my own as I clearly was a man of forty-five years old, this body was that of a child, probably twelve to fourteen.
The clothes I wore, no, robe. Was a pale blue... dress? I have no idea what they call these, it looked like a bathrobe only it was made of silk.
I felt something heavy on my head, touching it, it was a hair bun, I unintentionally undid it and my hair fell to my waist. Surprise overtook me at first, as I looked around. A group of kids was running away in the distance where I was on a part of a small hill overseeing a small village. Every move I made hurt me in ways I couldn’t describe. It was as if my body had nails pierced all over it, and with each move, one of these nails would dig deep and bring me more suffering.
For some reason, such pain would have brought a man to his knees in pained gurgling cries.
Yet I had the will to take in the pain, and suffer through it with sheer will. How was I able to tolerate a pain that would have undoubtedly made my old self fall unconscious? I did not know the answer then. 𝗶𝙣𝗻𝚛eα𝑑. 𝒸𝗼𝑚
I dragged myself toward the village, I have no idea who I was, who this body was, but if I am not mistaken, could what I have been reading when I was young be true? Was I reincarnated? And if I was, is this a world of immortals? Stories turned to reality, my dreams of youth coming true, yet as I grew up, I realized that those were nothing but fables. Yet, here and now, such fables became true.
And only to make matters more concrete, a man, wearing a dark purple gown, and a golden hair bun over his head appeared right in front of me, I had no idea how he had done it. Two other men did the same and appeared right by his side.
"This kid is still alive?" the man spoke.
Yet, this was not English, I know English and his words were not it, but for some reason, I understood them. Perhaps I retained the memories of the person who had resided within this body before me.
I tried to make a recollection of past events, yet nothing came to mind, it was as if this body had come with nothing but its vital function, its soul was dead. The man kept his eyes peeled upon me. Making me feel like I was being probed and I could hide no secrets from him.
"Shen Bao, you still live. Worthless, you should have died then and there, better than to waste more of our village’s resources."
’So, my name is Shen Bao, huh, but what is he talking about?’
"Lord Patriarch, he seems to be in shock, all of his meridians have shattered. He is no better than a cripple. Should we kill him and be done with it?"
I panicked at the hearing of the term ’kill’.
"No need, we do not acknowledge cripples, he is of no use to us. Remove all of his privileges, send him back to where he came from. The world of Cultivators is closed for this one. He will die, sooner or later, either by bandits, or some ruffians, or at least, by old age." The patriarch turned around and began walking, every step he took, took him ten times the distance one step a normal person can walk with. It was weird, it was strange but at the same time frightening.
These were people with abilities, powers beyond what is scientifically believable. I come from a world of mathematics and physics and these people just threw everything I ever worked hard for, lived for, strove, and believed in, down the drain in mere seconds.
"Cultivation, huh, can you believe this, it’s actually possible. Books and stories were not false after all." I said to myself as I laughed.
"Come with me," said one of the two men that accompanied the patriarch, and he moved first. He was not walking as fast as the Patriarch, but his steps were still too fast for the current me.
Pain pervaded my body with every step I took, and I had to take many to get to the said city. And it was difficult to keep up with the man.
It didn’t take much time to get there, or so I thought, but once I arrived, there was a carriage waiting for me while the man I followed after was speaking to the driver and pointed at me. He then tucked his hands under his long sleeves and walked away.
"Boy," spoke the driver, to which it took me a few seconds to understand, I haven’t been called a boy in a long time.
I answered, "Yes?"
"Get your ass in, we’re moving."
"Right," I answered and rode along, world unknown, destination, unknown, fate unknown.
My start in a cultivation world is definitely not like any of the other characters I have read about. It is probably not the worst, but definitely not the best. So, perhaps, as it was told in those fictions, fate always had a say in these scenarios, and probably it might be hiding something interesting for me too.
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