IAT CH1

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Immortal Ascension Tower

Book 1: Reborn

First Arc: The Child And The Dragon

 

Chapter 1 – The Dirty Eight Year Old Boy

The Heavens and the Earth. Two completely different worlds that rarely had anything to do with each other, yet tales and legends of the Heavenly Realm, of the Jade Emperor, the might of his mighty guardians and the battles against powerful foes caught the ears of the mortals nevertheless.

Especially tales like the one of the Evil Saint that had once tried to destroy the world. Such a story, by the way, was also every mother’s favorite if her child refused to go to sleep. Whenever that happened, the parents would only need to casually blurt out stuff like “If you don’t go to sleep soon, the Evil Saint Xū Líng and his army of monstrous beasts will come and eat you!” At that, the child would tremble in fear and immediately go to bed.

The bad guy wanted to destroy the world, and the mighty heavens interved. How many times had scenarios like this occurred? They were way too many to count, so why would anybody pay especially close attention to another attempt of evil to overthrow good? Well, as it turned out, it’s because the actual story was not that simple at all. This… ‘Evil Saint‘ was no evil conqueror. He was no bloodthirsty demon. He was actually a simple man, an unlucky piece of a gigantic puzzle of reality that the Heavens had found unsightly and had tried relentlessly to dispose of.

A man that, together with his army of Heavenly Beasts, humans and all kinds of monsters who also held grudges towards Tian’s Nine Heavens for whatever reason, fought for their own rights and freedom. He had no intention of destroying the world, but it happens quite often that history would be laid down by the winners. It didn’t matter what had truly happened: in the eyes of the common people, what those in power said, they would accept it as the one and only truth! The losers had no say in this, and Xu Ling had, unfortunately, lost. Following his death, his righteous ideals were distorted and the records turned his existence into an enemy of all that lived beneath the Heavens!

His nickname, Evil Saint, which had been bestowed upon him many years prior, also didn’t help when it came to restoring his image. This coupled with countless witnesses, real and false alike, of horrendous acts that the Evil Saint had carried out, made it so that a righteous man had been branded as a cruel criminal.

After all, while people would, yes, fear those who had power, they would at the same time bully those who hadn’t. Xu Ling had lost and had been killed, so mortals immediately started to distort the truth even more with fake stories about his cruelty and ruthlessness. He was branded as weak and was thus slandered, as that was the way both human and all other corruptible living beings had lived, lived and would live for many, many years…

People would also admire and encourage those that went against the odds, as they would pity the weak. And yet, once that weak person won, the actions of the populace would make a 180 degrees change: admiration would turn into envy and their encouraging would turn into scorn.

One of the many reasons, apart from the lack of talent or external support, that true geniuses are rare is that some of them couldn’t endure this change of attitude and would subconsciously restrain their abilities, or would be forced to do so to avoid the eyes of the powerful. After all, in the world, even a heaven-shaking talent would account less than nothing when compared to strength!

But what about a genius that was so heaven-defying, even the strongest amongst the strong would be unable to lay even a single finger upon him? With knowledge capable to shock the world with a single phrase, connections that allowed him to step even in the most sacred of grounds… and an overbearing attitude that would never allow him to bow to no one! What then? Would such a genius be restrained by the Heavens? By Death? By Age? What could any of these weak shackles possibly do in the face of insurmountable power? And how exactly would the world change with his appearance?

A black blur shot through the forest at speeds at the very limit of what a human body could handle. It kept speeding down the mountains and running through swamps for at least half a day before it finally began to gradually slow down as the sun was halfway into its descending parable. When it finally came to a stop on top of a tall cliff, only then could the figure be seen a bit more clearly: it was a young boy. He was wearing ragged clothes, and carried a huge backpack on his shoulders.

His skin and clothing were so dirty that he appeared to be completely black. If it weren’t for the pair of bright, golden eyes and the two rows of perfect, white teeth perennially arranged into an excited grin, one could easily mistake him for a shadow.

The child wasn’t panting and didn’t seem all that tired despite having gone through half a day of traveling at his full speed. If it weren’t for the slightly rugged breathing, the astonishing feat could have even been mistaken for an illusion, as if it had never happened at all. Looking in the distance, the youngster examined his surroundings: below the tall cliff, a gigantic fortress could be seen, the outer walls extending for countless miles to the point they disappeared beyond the horizon. Inside the fortress there weren’t just houses made of stones and buildings as one would expect. Instead, there were many lakes, forests and even actual hills and mountains. It made people wonder whether the gargantuan castle had actually been built somewhere else and only then moved on top of the fantasy-like scenery.

As his gaze landed on the majestic walls, his eyes glinted with delight. He turned around and said a few sentences, seemingly speaking to himself. “This seems to be it! We’re finally here!” The youth’s expression revealed a smug smile as two slender arms completely covered in filth crossed in front of his chest. “So, what do you say now, uh? What would have happened if I had turned left at that time, uh? Thus, as agreed, from now on, I keep the map! Mmm… anyways, this was a pretty hard journey, even I feel a bit of pressure after running for half a day… but I must say it’s quite the view!” And indeed it was. The imposing fortress was striking, but there was also a beauty in the way the nature had been preserved. Was it intentional, the boy pondered, but did not truly give it too much of a thought.

The youngster dyed in black stretched his arms and legs for a bit. His body emitted creaking noises, followed by delighted moans that occasionally escaped the thin lips. After the short stretching session, the boy turned around and then asked, “Well… Shall we head down?”

Surprisingly, a voice answered him. It seemed to be the voice of a middle aged man, yet it carried a hint of ancientness “Yes, let’s hurry, wouldn’t want to be too late, right? Especially after running so much to get here on time!”

“Absolutely, since I did all the running! Yeah, your only usage lately seems to be that of a dead weight I need to take care of. Be sure to breakthrough soon or start slithering already.” The boy looked at the valley beneath the cliff and nodded. Suddenly, his eyes glinted and the pupils within seemed to transform into golden coins as they glittered with greed. “But enough of that, look over there!” The youth exclaimed. “What a fat sheep!”

The boy rubbed his two hands together grinning, “Are you thinking the same thing I am?”

The mysterious voice responded dreamingly, as if intoxicated. “It is indeed a beautiful scenery-”

“Not that, you damn reptile! Look at those fat sheep! My pouch is empty right now and it seems reeeeally sad. Look at how it’s bending downwards! We should really help him up, if you know what I mean… don’t you think? Good! Then, let’s head down!” At that the boy suddenly bent his knees. “Brace yourself, Goldy!”

“What did you say? Did you just call me G-Goldy? Me? Blindlight, the devourer of worlds and the eclipser of stars?” The middle-aged man’s voice replied enraged. Suddenly, it stopped and the same voice that had appeared so overbearing before asked tremblingly, “Uhm… You are not thinking of… Like… No, no, no! Absolutely not! Hey, did you hear me! I said stop! STOP, DON’T J-” The voice seemed to have understood something was about to happen, because it grew louder by the word, but before it could say anything else the boy had already jumped off the cliff.

“Hey, you crazy boy, I told you to WAIT, DIDN’T I!”

“You did, I just ignored you! YEEEE~AAAAAAH! THIS IS SO FUUUUN!” The boy laughed with delight and soon his tiny figure disappeared in the valley below.

In the Four Beasts Mountain Range, one of the longest chains of mountains in the Western Continent, many sects and schools had been built by powerful figures in their time. Although these organizations also taught common subjects like math and literature, their main focus was on the so-called Martial Cultivation, a way to enhance one’s strength through training and enlightening of special techniques. Since such a resource had nearly infinite potential, it had long since been incorporated into the world.

Those people who underwent and explored the properties of Martial Cultivation and wielded powerful techniques were called Cultivators. The cores of such techniques were the so-called Spiritual Energy and Qi. The Qi was… Well, everything. Literally. Everything was made out of Qi, albeit with different kinds of attributes. It was the most basic brick that made up matter. At the same time, Spiritual Energy was a kind of energy that could be openly manipulated through various scriptures and techniques, energy that was omnipresent as long as matter existed. Cultivators used the Spiritual Energy of the world to enhance their power. At the same time, enlightening of the Qi allowed them to understand various aspects of the Qi more deeply, thus allowing greater control and strength over both Qi and Spiritual Energy.

Amongst the ranks of those powerful sects and schools in the Western Continent was a single Sect called the Mysterious Light-Shadow Sect.

A thousand years ago, treasures, elixirs, pills, drops of blood holding within great power… anything a Cultivator could ever wish for suddenly fell from the Heavens upon the lowly mortal world! Thanks to this lucky event, many powerful cultivators rose during that period of time and it was then called the Golden Age of cultivation. According to the rumors, a powerful expert had found a big stash of these treasures and thus collected enough resources to build a first-rate sect, the Mysterious Light-Shadow Sect! After his death and a thousand years after the otherworldly treasure had rained down, the Sect had prospered and currently housed millions of disciples, some of which were extremely heaven-defying geniuses.

Right at that moment, a group of twenty youths wearing the black, white-striped clothing of the sect were standing together and were happily chatting with an older young man. The older man also wore black robes, but unlike the other youths who only had one or two white stripes going from their shoulders to their ankles, the man’s robes had three stripes, signifying that he was actually… an esteemed Inner Sect disciple! He was an existence in the Sect that statistically only appear once for every thousand of disciples that enrolled in its ranks!

“Senior, senior, is it true that you’ve successfully condensed your Core?” A person asked, his expression showering the older man with respect as well as worship.

“What? Senior, could it be… you have stepped into the Advanced Martial stage at such a young age? Senior surely must be a heaven-defying talent!” A woman’s eyes glinted with surprise as she edged closer.

“Eheh, so Senior finally broke through! Senior will now have to treat us to a drink right? We have to celebrate this great occasion with the finest of wine!” A burly man laughed and patted the person in question on the back.

The group of young people kept bombarding a young man in his early thirties with questions and showered him with praises nonstop. He stood at one meter and eighty centimeters tall, and had long, flowing, black hair that reached down to his waist, giving him a somewhat scholarly aura… The man had a somewhat haughty air and his eyes had a bit of contempt in them, but he hid both very deeply, and acted well enough for people to mistake them for affection and humbleness! “My, my! I am not such a genius, it took a full sixteen years to finally begin to condense my core, how can that be called genius? I am far from being talented…” The man waved his hands dismissively, but he was actually laughing inside. Yes, yes, praise this genius more! Heaven Defying? Indeed, indeed, these guys know exactly what they’re talking about! Mwahahah!

“Not a genius? How can Senior say that!” A young man in his late teens grabbed the chance to flatter the older man even more, and skillfully illustrated his own bootlicking skills. “Very few people in the sect have such talent, and those people truly are dragon amongst men! And yet today Senior has actually joined the ranks of such powerful monsters! This lowly Junior can only hope to one day also follow Senior’s footsteps…”

“Yes! That’s indeed right, Senior! After all, if your talent isn’t good enough to be called at the very least above average, then wouldn’t our talent be worse than dog crap?” Some disciple also laughed and jokingly hit the man’s shoulder.

“Ahhhh, you guys…” the older youth shook his head as he chuckled.

Even though he seemingly kept dodging the praises that other people were throwing at him, it was still evident to the keen-eyed that the man actually felt really proud of himself! Stepping in the Advanced Stage at the age of thirty-one truly was something worth of praise, as some people might even not reach that level of profound martial cultivation at all in their whole lives. Yes praise this genius more! Who is next? This genius can’t wait… Preach my greatness, mwahaha!

“Uuuu, seniors, is this the road that brings to the Mysterious Light-Shadow Sect?” Just then a small voice could be heard. Everybody stopped talking and switched their attention towards the new arrival: the boy clearly wasn’t even in his teens as he was nine years old at most, most likely he was still only eight. Appearance-wise, he was wearing ragged clothes, had no shoes on and his only belonging was a big, worn out backpack he carried on his back and an empty pouch on his belt… the child grinned. “I seem to be lost.”

 

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How’s it? Not much happened yet, but it’s called world building. It’s kinda hard to walk on nothingness after all (Eheheh…). Well, more chapters incoming! I’ll stay up all night to edit this stuff, you’d better reward me with a few comments… Of course support such as a simple ‘thanks’ is great, but a few analyses or even straight-out discussions on some aspects of the story are always more than welcome and greatly appreciated!

~ Cookie

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