Chapter 1 The Dead Pit
The rain continued for one day and one night straight, outside, in the military’s dead pit, an arm suddenly stuck out.
The night patrol got so scared he dropped his lantern and scurried back to the outpost to report to the Commander.
The Commander and the night patrol went together, scimitar and lantern in hand, leaving the outpost to carefully survey what he saw.
The two of them look out, only to see in the pouring rain, a silhouette silently sitting amidst the corpses.
The Commander lifts his lantern for a wider view, revealing to silhouette to be a soldier, wearing tattered leather armor, leaning on a stack of skulls, his back turned to them.
The Commander tightly grips his blade and asks in a low voice: “Who’s there?”
From the pouring rain, only a faint sound returns: “I’m from the Vanguard Legion, right now I’m too heavily injured, unable to move”
Unable to move?
The Commander’s expression slightly relaxes, lowering his blade and walks forward: “Oh so you’re a brother from the Vanguard, come, let me help you”
“You’re welcome, die”
The blade slash separates the rain, gleaming a cold silver color, cutting straight at the soldier’s neck.
The Commander’s slash is incredibly sharp, as well as being exactly timed, cleanly hacking off the soldier’s head, sending it rolling straight back down the dead pit.
One slash, no more nuisance!
The Commander smirks and sheaths his blade, but immediately his face shifts: “Shi —–“
A silhouette jumps from the soldier’s feet amongst the dead bodies, a cold silver gleam in his hand slashes through the Commander’s arm.
The arm, as well as the blade all got cut clean and flew off, a splash of blood shoots out from where the cut is, but is quickly drowned out by the screaming night rain and wind.
An intense pain rushes through his head, the Commander’s face shows disbelief, in his eyes, reflect a silhouette descending from a jump.
A saber gradually grows bigger inside that reflection.
A single second later, the saber stabs straight into his eye socket.
The intense pain only lasted for moments, afterwards is nothing but blackness.
A few breaths later.
The young man pulls his saber from the Commander’s eye socket.
The Commander’s corpse falls back, plopping straight into the muddy water behind.
The young man keeps his grip on the saber, standing still.
The night rain keeps pouring, wiping the mud from the young man’s face, revealing a pair of shining pupils.
Suddenly, his eyes become sharp.
Right at his feet, the Commander’s stomach inflates, letting out a strange gurgling sound from inside.
The young man takes a deep breath, both hands on his saber, stabbing straight into the Commander’s now-bloated stomach.
A shriek that cannot have come from a human resounds, a black mist suddenly burst from the Commander’s stomach, the inside clearly violent, like something is desperately trying to escape
Then, the Commander’s stomach rips open, a dry, thin, black claw reaches out.
Before the horrid demonic claw could even attempt anything, the young man already starts to intensely twist his saber handle.
Only one word.
The writhing corpse suddenly stop dead, the demonic claw also drops, no longer moving.
Everything is silent again.
A stinky black blood begins to leak from under the Commander’s corpse.
Seeing that black blood, the young man finally breaths out slightly, withdrawing his saber.
He looks down at the creepy corpse, mumbling to himself at a low voice.
“Such a strange scenario, I wonder what the reward could be?”
The young man, seeming to hold a bit of anticipation, shouts in a low voice: “System!”
One breath, two breaths, three breath.
Time slowly passes, but nothing happens.
In the dark night, only the sound of unending rain and wind persists…
The young man, seeming a bit surprised, turned his head, looking back and forth from the scene – behind him is the dead pit, under his feet is the demon’s corpse, not far from there, a single militia is scared shitless, even his lips are trembling.
“Strange” the young man mutters: “The Quest isn’t cleared?”
The System is still silent, meaning the Quest isn’t cleared.
The young man looks at the militia, suddenly feeling like there must something that he missed.
The young man thinks hard, trying his best to move forward, but then almost fell down.
Right then, he had to concentrate on killing the demon so he didn’t notice, but now that he could
relax himself, he found his whole body hurting, like having been stabbed with a thousand needles.
His legs feel like lead, every step he takes would drain him of all his energy.
This can’t be right.
When the Apocalypse came, he clearly used all his power to kill the last Demon Lord, but instead of getting ejected from the game, he now carry this body full of pain, dropped into this place who-knows-where.
Where is this place exactly?
The young man squints, slowly drags himself closer to the militia and proceeds with a salute.
“Proud Steed Squad, Gu Qing Shan reporting for duty”
“You, you, you killed the Commander!” the militia trembles.
“He was not human” Gu Qing Shan replies while evaluating the militia.
He is wearing an old-type leather armor, this type of armor that doesn’t even have a device to receive spirit energy – even the most hated squad in the military wouldn’t use this old antique toy.
Gu Qing Shan looks again at himself, only to see the same type of antique toy, all of his original equipment are all gone.
This is strange.
The militia leans slightly closer to the dead pit, the Commander’s deformed corpse is still sitting in the mud.
The militia hesitates: “But but… But when you killed him, how did you know he wasn’t human?”
Gu Qing Shan shrugs: “I was only being careful, he attacked first”
Gu Qing Shan went back, dragged the Commander’s corpse straight in front of the militia’s face for him to see.
“Look, this is a Skin-shedding Blood Demon”
Gu Qing Shan use his saber to reveal inside the Commander’s stomach, to see a monster with a scary face, body black all over, and strange vertical pupils.
Seeing the monster’s corpse with his own eyes, the militia is even more shaken.
Remembering his comrades that have been strangely dying one-by-one for the last few days, he felt sheer cold down his spine, finally holding gratitude for the young man in front of him.
The militia calms himself down and ask: “You said you were called Gu Qing Shan?”
“From Proud Steed Squad?”
Gu Qing Shan takes out his badge, checks for himself then throw it to the militia to check.
This badge is much heavier than he remembered.
With the current level of smithing, a simple identification badge can be as light as a sheet of paper, why does the badge he had on himself weigh so much, almost a kilo.
The young man becomes even more confused.
The militia takes the badge and check carefully, on it inscribed 6 words “Proud Stead Squad Gu Qing Shan”, looking full of life.
The badge is real.
The militia breaths out, no longer nervousness on his face, only a lot of fatigue: “Finally a living person, come, we can’t stay long outside, come with me into the outpost”
What he’s saying is true, Gu Qing Shan lightly brushes his chin and replies: “Yes”
The militia returns his badge, turns around to go back into the outpost.
Gu Qing Shan receives the badge, carefully looks at it again.
——- This badge isn’t just heavy, it is also entirely made of bronze alloy, the outside only have a few words inscribed, with terrible workmanship that’s hard to look at, clearly the obsolete kind
The obsolete kind…
Gu Qing Shan suddenly thinks of something, a fearful thought crosses his mind.
He immediately looks up, his sight set on the militia in front.
Old-type leather armor.
The answer is so inconceivable, that Gu Qing Shan couldn’t keep himself from asking: “Brother, what year it is right now?”
The militia looks back, slightly confused with his question: “Of course it’s the Last Peaceful Year”
Gu Qing Shan is baffled.
Suddenly, information streams as thick as a waterfall flows in front of his eyes, creating a clear-blue, tide-like filter.
A cold mechanical voice.
“The current time as confirmed to be the Last Peaceful Years”
“Time flow is stable, confirmed to have escaped from space-time vortex”
“Conclusion: Successfully escaped from the Apocalypse”
“Identity reestablished, current identity: Human, Vanguard Legion, Proud Steed Squad soldier”
The System is finally active again, but Gu Qing Shan doesn’t feel happy at all, only absolute disbelief.
Why is it the Last Peaceful Year, the game hasn’t even started in this time period!
This period is supposed to just be a setting of the game, bygone history, humans from Reality haven’t even officially entered this horror game of a different world yet.
When the first people started playing the game, it was already a whole year later.
Could it be I’ve returned to before the game starts?
But then what about the real world, could I also have returned back in time in the real world?
Gu Qing Shan’s heart starts pounding uncontrollably, he immediately looks around.
In front, the militia is quite far away, already inside the outpost gates.
Besides the gates, spirit energy from the Invisibility formation faintly drifts out.
Looking past the outpost to afar, in the middle of the desolate countryside, you can almost see a gigantic silhouette amidst the rain, flickering in and out of sight.
Gu Qing Shan slowly lifts his arm, and bites into it.
Two lines of teeth marks clearly shows up on where he bit into, even a bit of blood drips out.
It’s not a dream!
Gu Qing Shan stood still like a statue, unmoving in the intense rain, not minding the chilling rain water soaking his body.
-System: a younger genre in Chinese web novels, the term refers to a person-bound support system that basically only the MC possess, giving them an advantage over everybody else even if their starting point is low simply due to how Deus-Ex-Machina it sometimes is (MC needs a certain pill/scripture to advance to the next level in their cultivation, it’ll give it to them either free or through a series of hoops that are there for plot purposes). Yao Lao from Battle Through the Heavens is one example of a System (albeit not for a long time).
-Vanguard Legion: this isn’t an actual name but rather a position for a legion, basically they’re the first group that will enter battle in the war
-Invisibility formation: formations in general are a main-piece in many Xianxia and even Wuxia novels. They are a Daoist concept that Feng Shui originates from, basically the process of harnessing natural power for one’s personal use. However Formations have evolved over time and now generally refers to the art of arranging Power Items( items that inherently have power) in certain ways to achieve whatever effects the user want. Formations in novels are generally hard to grasp or use due to requiring a lot of calculations and set up.