"Qing Wu!" Chu Yang jolted awake. Without opening his eyes, he gave a pained, heartfelt cry. He could feel his own heart aching and beating softly, almost like it was groaning, so softly that it was barely audible...
After regaining consciousness, Chu Yang was briefly shocked.
"I... Didn't I see Qing Wu coming to receive me with her gentle smile and her tender emotions, carved into the depths of her heart..."
"And yet... where am I?"
Before his eyes lay boundless mountains cutting through the sky, and a setting sun, a shade of crimson like dried blood. Green bamboos grew all around, gently swaying in the wind, causing the purple-tinted evening glow from the horizon to ripple with the breeze, one wave after another...
A pool of blood remained near his legs, an excruciating pain shot down from his head. He reached towards his head, touched it and felt something sticky. He looked at his hand and saw that it had been completely covered in blood.
"These mountains, those rocks, this scenery, and this wound - they feel surprisingly familiar! Where am I?"
Suddenly, in a quivering voice, someone said, "Hey… please... please don't scare me, I, I... I am too good-looking... ah… I can't take this..."
Chu Yang was confused. He thought, "Maybe I haven't really died? But, who is this person speaking to me? He really is quite something - scared to death, but still a narcissist..."
After some time passed and it seemed like Chu Yang would not respond, that person, once again, in his peculiar quivering voice, this time considerable more panicked, cried, "Oh my goodness... is he not breathing anymore? Wu..." His cry sounded like the whistle of a train. If someone heard it from a distance, he or she would definitely mistake it for the howl of a hungry wolf.
The sound rang out, protracted, and it reverberated through the air. A faint echo was audible. It sounded as if someone replied "Ao~~~"...
"He's really talented." Chu Yang silently thought. He could also tell that whoever was making that sound was utterly frightened and extremely sad, and was not faking it. However, it was a sound which... was not something to be proud of.
It was as if the Heavens had made a mistake when creating his voice, shoving a duck's throat into his body, instead of a normal throat. And then, upon completion, the Heavens, feeling that something was not quite right, had tried to make amendments by also borrowing half the throat of a wolf...
"That sound, hmmm, it really seems quite familiar... That sound is kind of unique isn't it!" Chu Yang felt his heart shudder briefly, and like an unstoppable wave, memories from ages ago suddenly rushed into his consciousness...
"We were just practising rod techniques, there's no way for you were knocked dead by me in a single strike, right?" That person's voice was trembling, and he was obviously scared out of his mind. "... the rest had all struck you so many times, and you were fine! Why is it that after just one strike from me you already lost your consciousness… This, this... this is really unfair! Or maybe, you are jealous of my good looks and are trying to slander me, huh?"
Chu Yang was at a loss for words.
"Who is this person? To be in such a situation and still complain… well, I guess it's okay for him to be complaining; after all, no one would be willing to cause such an unfortunate incident, right? It's just that, even while complaining, he still unexpectedly praised himself a few times..."
To be narcissistic to this extent was enough to shock all the Heavens and the Earth, and make both ghosts and gods alike cry!
With a groan, Chu Yang finally mustered the strength to force his eyes open. He could no longer stand it. Even if he had been the Poisonous Sword Revered Martial Artist of a generation, he still could not tolerate that voice.
That voice, an extremely peculiar and eerie mix of a voracious wolf's howl and a duck's hoarse, throaty sound... even a tiger would also collapse after listening to it for a prolonged period of time, not to mention a human ...
"You woke up, you woke up, wahaha! I knew it. You were simply too shocked by my amazing looks, and it wasn't that you fainted..." The voice continued ravaging Chu Yang's ears, "It's exactly as I had said, huh? Otherwise, why did you begin to stare intently at my face while we were having such a good time sparring... I see, so it was like that!"
Chu Yang furrowed his brows. His head was still in extreme pain. With a soft but firm voice, he said, "Shut up!" He could no longer tolerate the voice. "If you say even two more words, you might as well stab my heart twice and just kill me. After all, I've already died once, and yet I still have to suffer the grating clangour of your horrifying voice? Does this make any sense, huh? Even in death, I can't have any peace..."
"Is there any sense left in this world..."
Chu Yang's voice was low but dignified, and the overwhelming power of the Poisonous Sword Revered Martial Artist diffused, unseen but very tangible. Shocked by the harshness of Chu Yang's words, the person stopped his incessant chatter.
As Chu Yang opened his eyes, he realised that the bright sunlight was too glaring, and an unexpected burst of brightness momentarily flooded his vision. He could only close his eyes, before slowly opening them again...
Before him was a human face. And indeed, he was also the person who was exceptionally good at praising himself. There was no doubt about it. Other than Chu Yang and him, there was not a soul around.
However, when Chu Yang saw that face, his heart was immediately filled with a sense of nostalgia. At the same time, he did not know whether to cry or laugh. To actually use the phrase "handsome and smart" to describe that person seemed to Chu Yang like an utter waste of words!
That face was not ugly. It had two large eyes, a straight and prominently arched nose, small mouth and a pair of dashing eyebrows. All the above features sat on a white and smooth face, which was neither scrawny nor obese.
However, the most bizarre thing was that, although his eyes were large and filled with vigor, the distance between both eyes were quite large. One eye was just beside his left ear, while the other eye... and his right ear seemed like neighbours.
His eyebrows were dashing; they were straight with a slight outward slant. It was just that, although they were like two swords, one of the swords was pointed at the Heavens while the other sword looked as if it were ready to cut through Hell itself — both were headed in completely opposite directions!
His nose was also very straight and prominently arched. It was just... that his nose was maybe just a little too straight and prominent. The bridge of his nose was like a mountain range, drawing a distinct border between both eyes! It was exactly like the Milky Way, separating the Weaver Girl and the Cowherd apart, forcing them to look at each other from afar. These eyes, even if he were to become cross-eyed and have each eye look at the other... ah, it would still be quite difficult.
His mouth was also very small, even rosy. However, a delicate, rosy mouth on the face of a man... especially on the face of such a man...
It looked like a dish — A piece of snow-white tofu, topped with a completely red cherry placed ...
To say that his appearance had character...just didn't make it anymore! His appearance had way too much character, and it seemed like there was no one else in the world who looked like him.
"Ah... I'll kowtow to whoever can find such a similar person." Chu Yang thought in his heart. The difficulty was too great.
"Tan Tan?" Chu Yang's entire body was numb but sore. He also felt like there were several knives piercing through the side of his head, and his head was about to explode. However, he steadied himself and smiled gently. "Tan Tan, you're still so talkative and narcissistic! That's so strange!"
That person was a good childhood friend of Chu Yang's, the Younger Martial Brother Tan Tan. The first 'Tan' meant 'Speech', and the second 'Tan' was the Chinese word for 'Epiphyllum'. It was a pleasant name which people generally liked.
Tan Tan was Chu Yang's good friend, and both had been orphaned, or rather, abandoned. Their Teacher had found the two of them and raised them. When Chu Yang was nineteen, Tan Tan had left on a journey. Shortly after, Chu Yang received news of Tan Tan's death. Up until his own death, Chu Yang had never found out how Tan Tan had died. Who exactly was his enemy?! He had investigated endlessly but did not find even a single clue.
Tan Tan's death impacted Chu Yang greatly back then. It had made the already withdrawn Chu Yang even more sombre and withdrawn ...
When he had heard that voice, even without seeing Tan Tan's face, Chu Yang was already almost certain about his whereabouts. After opening his eyes and glancing around, his suspicions were almost immediately verified.
"How could I ever forget this place!"
Beyond the Heavens Storey, lay the back mountains and the Purple Bamboo Forest. That incident — when he was sixteen, he and Tan Tan had been sparring using rod techniques when he suddenly lost focus and was struck unconscious by Tan Tan who failed to withdraw his rod in time.
Did he actually return to the time when he was sixteen? How... could this be possible?!
Chu Yang's let his gaze wander around. Looking around once more, he was left without a shadow of a doubt. He had indeed been brought back to when he was sixteen! The impossible had actually happened to him! Even with his tough as nails attitude, Chu Yang was overcome with surprise and happiness!
"If I start my life again from the beginning, there is so much I can't let go!"
"And now, I have actually returned to the past!"
Chu Yang was overwhelmed for awhile before he could compose himself. He took in a deep breath and suppressed the rising tide of emotions that threatened to overflow from his heart and spill out of his mouth. His face was completely flushed red, and the only sound he could hear was the intense, drumming beat of his heart, which seemed like it would jump out of his mouth at any moment.
Chu Yang turned to face Tan Tan once again, this time carefully inspecting the face of his long-lost, but now reunited Brother. In his eyes, there was a look of deep, overwhelming gratitude. In a slightly weak and hoarse voice, he teased Tan Tan, "Hey, I finally know why you were abandoned when you were young..." Indeed, after having given birth to such a child... the family had probably been too taken aback by his incessant talking and unique face, so much so that they instantly abandoned him.
Tan Tan scratched his head in embarrassment, and said, "Well, wasn't it because I was too handsome... as for you, well, I guess you were too ugly..."
Chu Yang rolled his eyes, and felt a sudden urge to beat Tan Tan up, as well as laugh at him...
From his memories, those injuries had caused him to be bedridden for two weeks.
It was only until later that he found out that he had not lost focus for no reason. He had been poisoned by someone! If left untreated, that poison would have caused his entire body to become paralysed!
And Chu Yang was not the only target. His attacker had intended for Tan Tan to kill Chu Yang in a single strike, ruining Tan Tan's life as well… Within the Sect, sparring between Disciples were not uncommon occurrences. However, the situation would blow up if someone died while sparring! Tan Tan would definitely have been excommunicated from the sect!
However, what the attacker had completely not realised was that, during that time, although Tan Tan seemed to be equals with Chu Yang, his martial powers had actually far exceeded Chu Yang's. Whenever he sparred against Chu Yang, he would be sure to hold back a large portion of his strength. And so, at the most critical moment, although Tan Tan had not managed to withdraw his attack in time, he had managed to hold back most of his strength. As such, Chu Yang only suffered minor injuries!
Under his Teacher's charge, including himself and Tan Tan, there were a total of three Disciples! The poisoner was without a doubt Eldest Martial Brother, Shi Qian Shan!
A cold look briefly glazed over Chu Yang's eyes. He silently repeated those three words over and over again in his mind — Shi, Qian, Shan!
Chu Yang's facial expression suddenly changed, turning cold and icy like a winter chill. A faint killing intent began to emerge and envelope him. Tan Tan, who was standing beside him, without knowing why, felt a sudden chill from within his bones. Despite the heat of the summer, he could not help but shiver uncontrollably.