Book 1 (Spoiler alert, there’s only 1 book)
Chapter 1: Lin Dong
When Lin Dong gathered every ounce of strength to open his heavy eyelids, a simple, crude yet tidy room appeared before his eyes. This familiar scene caused him to blink distractedly, unable to make sense of why he was here, though soon after, he promptly turned his head in a flash of understanding. Sure enough he saw the two figures of a man and a woman seated at a table in the room.
As Lin Dong gazed at the two figures, he grew spirited and let out a soft cry.
“Dong-er, you’ve woken?”
Hearing his cries, the woman first turned her head, as she saw Lin Dong finally opening his eyes, she immediately exclaimed in happiness.
Dressed somewhat plainly and about thirty years in age, the outline of her cheek gave a sense of elegance to her face and also a type of sweet-tempered and gentle feeling. This was Lin Dong’s mother, Liu Yan.
“Unskilled and yet you pick fights with others, you are literarily asking for trouble.”
Seated besides the woman was a man who looked to be about thirty or forty years old. His body was slightly frail yet he had a bit of sternness in his brows, he also seemed to be suffering from serious injuries as his face was pale which in turn masked up a large part of his sternness. This was Lin Dong’s father, Lin Xiao.
Turning to face his often-times stern father, Lin Dong ostensibly displayed a sliver of fear, pulling back his neck, though soon after he somewhat defiantly declared: “Who asked them to call my father useless right in front of my face…”
As he spoke, Lin Dong reached to feel the still aching wound on his chest, and clenched his teeth. Today was merely one of the tests for the Lin Family and he had only went down to gauge his progress. Today’s setback hardly dented his faith in himself because he had only been training for about half a year and he did not expect to make much progress. He remained confident that given the same time and conditions to train, he would not lose out to anyone.
Nevertheless, right after the test ended, as Lin Dong was preparing to make his way home, he encountered a fellow which he had some bad history with. His original plan was to ignore that chap, however after a few rounds of deliberate provocation, he could no longer stand it and in a moment of fury, the young and hot-blooded Lin Dong attacked the provocator. Nonetheless, the results were clear as day as he was immediately soundly knocked out by a heavy punch……
“Lin Shan, you had better remember this! The next time, I vow to smash your head into a pulp, or my name is not Lin Dong!”
Lin Dong ground his teeth together. The Lin Shan mentioned, was the perpetrator of this incident, and also the number one enemy in Lin Dong’s heart. Because their fathers had bad blood between them, Lin Shan constantly tried to inconvenience Lin Dong, and the latest incident was just one of many.
One moment he was resolutely clenching his jaw, yet the next, Lin Dong was hanging his head dejectedly. Though Lin Shan was extremely vile, the fact remained that he was currently already at the 4th layer of Tempered Body. In the Lin family, this kind of achievement was considered better than average. Compared to the 2nd layer that Lin Dong was at, it was indeed much better.
In the path of training, the body should be trained first as everything begins with one’s body. After all, the human body is the most wonderfully mysterious thing in the world.
Simply said, Tempered Body was the cultivation of one’s body, allowing one’s body to gradually strengthen and eventually grow stronger from outside to within. When the muscles and bones within the body have strengthened to a certain level, it will give rise to a seedling of Yuan Power. Only when a seedling of Yuan Power naturally appears in the body, can one then be called a true practitioner.
Tempered Body is divided into 9 layers, the difference between the first 3 layers is not significant as it only improves one’s physical body and foundations slightly. Only when the body has been cultivated to the 4th layer, will the advantages of training gradually surface. At that level, the skin will slowly harden to become as tough as wood or rock, and both one’s strength and speed will be substantially upgraded.
Since Lin Shan was currently at that level, Lin Dong, who had only mastered the 2nd layer of Tempered Body, was clearly outclassed.
As for why there was such a disparity between the two, although they were both of similar age, it was not due to a difference in their potential. For the Tempered Body levels, talent was not a key factor, in fact it could be said that anyone could train in it. However, how far they were able to progress, would depend on one’s wealth and affinity.
Nonetheless, to reach the 9th layer of Tempered body is an extremely difficult and tiring affair. This was because only by constantly pushing the limits of one’s physical body, could one’s body gradually grow stronger.
Yet this way of testing one’s limits was akin to squeezing out the potential in one’s body. If one’s body was not sufficiently restored after the ‘squeezing’, one’s body would be injured due to the strain. At that time, not only would the training be affected but the whole body would be riddled with injuries. An overall loss.
Thus, as one attempts to master the Tempered Body, they would need various nourishing elixirs to supplement their body before they can progress with their training. However, as these elixirs are mostly expensive commodities, those without adequate wealth would not be able to afford it.
And this is the so called wealth!
The reason why Lin Shan was able to surpass Lin Dong by 2 layers was not because he had trained for half a year more but largely because his father was in charge of the finances in the Lin family. In comparison to Lin Dong who lacked this good fortune and therefore the access to elixirs to nourish his body. Thus his training progress was naturally much slower than the former…….
Suddenly, as Lin Xiao heard Lin Dong’s mutterings, his palm that was resting on the table clenched tightly, as his expression grew a shade darker. To the side, Liu Yan who had seen this change promptly signalled to Lin Dong with her eyes before the latter hastily shut his mouth.
“No need to whine, concentrate on training and others will naturally shutup.”
Lin Xiao waved his hands as he said: “Liu Yan, take that Red Ginseng and pass it to Dong-er, with the Red Ginseng, his training should go slightly faster. There’s only half a year left till the family competition, if he doesn’t make the most of this time to train, he will only bring shame to us.”
“Xiao-ge, that Red Ginseng is for your injuries……” Liu Yan hastily said before she fell into a quiet stupor.
“I am already a useless person, no matter what kind of remedies are used, it would all be for naught. In the future, I will spend more time finding elixirs in the mountain for Dong-er.” Lin Xiao declared in a self mocking tone as he shook his head.
“Father is not useless, Father used to be the strongest practitioner in the family excluding grandpa!” Hearing Lin Xiao’s words, Lin Dong exclaimed, red-faced. As a child, his father was the biggest figure in his heart.
Lin Xiao’s subsciously clenched his fist tightly as a deep pain flashed across his face. A moment later, he stood up and tiredly walked outside the room.
“Liu Yan, brew the tonic for our child, my injuries are fine, it’s already been so many years, what use would one stalk of Red Ginseng possibly be?”
Gazing at his somewhat decrepit back, Liu Yan’s eyes reddened, who could have imaged that that the man who was once the most gifted and remarkable man in Qingyang Town would end up in such a slump.
“Mother, don’t cry, Dong-er promises that he will work hard in his training. And when the time comes, I will find a way to cure father.” Lin Dong softly said as he pulled at the corner of Liu Yan’s clothes.
“Dong-er, don’t blame your father if he is strict towards you. It is just because he has devoted everything to you, after all, you should know that you are his only hope.”
Liu Yan muttered softly as she lowered her head, lightly wiping at her eyes and stroking Lin Dong’s tiny head while she gazed at the earnest expression on Lin Dong’s young and tender face.
“Mother, I have heard that top three contestants in the upcoming family competition will obtain a type of 3rd grade elixir called Vermillion Blood Clotting Fruit. I once heard an uncle say that it is very effective in treating injuries. If I manage to obtain it, it would definitely aid to heal the wounds in Father’s body.” As if he had suddenly thought of something, Lin Dong lifted his head as he said while watching Liu Yan with shining eyes.
“Vermillion Blood Clotting Fruit……” Hearing these words, Liu Yan was slightly taken aback. Nonetheless, she helplessly shook her head: “It is not easy to be the top three in the family competition, it is good that you have the heart. Mother will leave first and brew the Red Ginseng for you.”
As she finished, Liu Yan turned to walk out of the room. Within the current younger generation in the Lin family, there were already a few that had obtained decent accomplishments, therefore it would not be easy for Lin Dong to enter the top three and obtain the Vermillion Blood Clotting Fruit. Hence, she did not take this matter too seriously.
As he gazed at Liu Yan’s leaving back, Lin Dong’s lips pursed tightly together, clenching his tiny fists: “Mother, rest assured, I will definitely obtain that Vermillion Blood Clotting Fruit and heal the injuries in father’s body!”
As Lin Dong thought of Lin Xiao’s injury, a deep hatred suddenly surfaced in his eyes. The reason why father was often ridiculed by many in the family was all because of that one man!
The Lin family that Lin Dong belonged to was only a small family, even in Qingyang Town, they could not be considered the best. Yet this unremarkable looking Lin family had a highly respectable background that would shock many people: they were of the Lin Clan.
One of the four great clans of the Great Yan dynasty, the Lin Clan!
From a certain point of view, the Lin Family of Qingyang Town could count as an extension of the Lin Clan, yet to Lin Dong who had never travelled beyond a hundred miles of Qingyang Town, the overwhelming strength of the Lin Clan in the Great Yan Dynasty was just another unfamiliar and distant thing.
What Lin Dong knew from the occasional scraps of information gleaned from his father, was that the branch they belonged to was actually once part of the inner circle of the Lin Clan. It was only because of one mission. The failure of Lin Dong’s grandfather in that mission had lead to a huge loss for the clan, consequently, he was expelled from the inner circle and banished to Qingyang Town.
Here, he established this small Lin Family and over these tens of years, he has tried everything he could in order to fulfill a lifelong dream: to return to the inner circle of the Lin Clan.
Yet all his efforts did not amount to much. All that he had accomplished was not even worth mentioning to the huge and incomparable Lin Clan. Therefore, he could only turn his attention to other places, such as the Ten-Year Clan Gathering of the Lin Clan.
This was the most important gathering of the Lin Clan and also an extremely famous event in the entire Great Yan Dynasty. Held every ten years, each gathering presented the perfect opportunity for the younger generations in the clan to stand in the spotlight and make a name for themselves. Moreover, many of the prizes for this humongous competition were naturally so generous, that they would draw covetous gazes. Yet, the most appealing caveat for Lin Dong’s grandfather lay in the fact that as long as one could enter the top ten in this gathering, even if you were an outsider to the clan, you will be promoted into the inner circle with no obstructions and obtain unparalleled honor.
Thus, the clan gathering had become the new dawn in Lin Dong’s grandfather’s long night of despair. But because of his age, he was already unable to participate, therefore he placed all of his hopes onto his five sons that came from different mothers. Naturally the most outstanding one of them all, Lin Dong’s father, became grandfather’s and the entire Lin Family’s ray of hope.
Even though Lin Dong’s father carried this heavy burden on his shoulders, he did not betray their expectations. Among the 5 brothers, he was the earliest to breakthrough the 9th Layer of Tempered Body, and advance into the “Yuan” stage. Furthermore, in another short four years, he once again broke through the “Yuan” stage to become the 2nd Heavenly Yuan master in the Lin Family after grandfather Lin Zhentian.
This spectacular progress caused the normally quiet and stern grandfather to elicit a kind and gratified smile on his aged face every time he met his father. It was said that in all of the ten long years, this was the time that grandfather smiled the most.
However, when the Ten-Year Clan Gathering finally arrived, the outcome shocked all the members of the Lin Family, and left them deep in the abyss of despair.
In just one move, his father, the shining ray of hope for the Lin Family, was cruelly defeated!
Furthermore, this happened in the first match right at the start of the gathering!
Years of expectations and nurturing crumbled into dust within that brief moment.
The final reward for losers was naturally countless peculiar gazes as well as an endless stream of mocking sneers. Like a pack of stray dogs, they returned to Qingyang Town defeated.
That night, his father left the inner district of the Lin Family and moved to live on a small, desolate hill at the furthest reaches of the Lin Family territory. From then on, he never again touched anything from the Lin Clan. According to him, he had already lost all right to do so.
However, fortune never arrives in pairs; disaster never strikes alone.
After that defeat, what had been bestowed onto Lin Xiao was not merely depression. Afterwards, he was even more grieved to find that the person he had fought with not only defeated him with one palm but also, without a shred of mercy, used an almost beast-like violent Yuan force to ravage the insides of his body till it was a total mess.
With injuries of this degree, Lin Xiao’s lost his Heavenly Yuan level of strength and returned to the Earthly Yuan level. In addition, the serious injuries also caused the channels in his body to be disrupted and clogged up, and no matter how he trained, he found further advancement nearly impossible.
Within the family, what was once respectful gazes had gradually turned to sighs and disappointment……
Faced with disaster after disaster, Lin Xiao finally gave up all hope. Everytime he got drunk, he would furiously pound at his own chest. The sound of the dull thuds broke his mother’s heart as she quietly stood aside and brushed off her falling tears. Even though Lin Dong was still young when he witnessed this scene, he felt as though his heart was sliced to shreds. At the same time, in his young heart, seeds of hatred were quietly planted towards the man who had humiliated and devastated his father.
He not only destroyed my father but he ruined his family as well!
As for the man in question, later on, Lin Dong by chance heard his uncle and the others mention him with loathing and powerless tones.
At 10, he started training.
At 12 he broke through the 9th Layer of Tempered Body to enter into Yuan territory.
At 14, he advanced to the Earthly Yuan level.
At 17 he advanced to the Heavenly Yuan level.
At 25, the Yuan Qi in his body exchanged Yin and Yang, finally succeeding in forming a Dan. Like a carp that became a dragon, in one fell swoop, he joined the ranks of the rarified few in the Great Yan Dynasty to ever form a Yuan Dan before the age of 30.
The story of his life was practically one legendary feat after another.
His name was Lin Langtian.
In his room, Lin Dong clenched his fist tightly, as thick hatred brewed in his eyes.