Chapter One - Disaster’s Eve
Sun Weiwei had long since noticed Li Jiayu who snoozed his life away at the last rows of desks.
‘This detestable guy!’
‘This disappointing student!’
He had the audacity to doze off during the heated discussion of 'Love and Peace' she was having with their classmates!
No matter what they thought inwardly, the other students remained courteous and respectful of Sun Weiwei, even to the extent of giving out perfunctory replies. Meanwhile, she could resume sharing some of her favorite romantic stories to cheat them of their tears...
This fellow was the only exception! Not only did he place no importance to the discussion, his snores would resound in the classroom. Yet, this was just the beginning of their sophomore year!
"Li Jiayu, how much longer do you plan on being inattentive?! Does the class program I host bore you to that extent? Do you have something against me? Is this the right attitude to treat the class president with?"
Flushed red with indignation, Sun Weiwei strode toward Li Jiayu and questioned him with creased brows.
"...Who..."Li Jiayu groaned in response, listlessly lifting up his head from the desk only to reveal his terrible expression. Akin to a rotten piece of wood, his dulled eyes exhibited bewilderment, completely devoid of the vigor present within a teenager. It was as though his soul had drifted away.
Sun Weiwei's little heart shuddered inexplicably. Never had she seen someone whose eyes resembled that of a stagnant pool of water. The emptiness within them made her feel a chilling decadence and at that very moment, she immediately thought of one idiom: every hope turns to dust.
His appearance seemed like an unfortunate individual that had been thrown into the desert, only to be abandoned and left to die, like a terminally ill patient rid of any hope at life.
"A drama is about to unfold!"
The classmates who had congregated around them became restless and their whispers came in waves. Sun Weiwei had a feisty personality while Li Jiayu was the exact opposite, renowned for his politeness and gentlemanly demeanor. Many had suspected something was going on between this pair.
Whether these rumors were true or false, the onlookers belonging to the soy sauce party looked forward to more intense conflict to arise between the pair, hoping a melodrama would unwind before their very eyes.
Sun Weiwei who overheard the ruckus failed to maintain her facade. The tip of her ears turned beet red as she bit down gently on her lip. She stared at Li Jiayu for a good minute before hollering, "I'm talking to you! Stand up!"
"...T-this voice... This familiar voice... Y-You are... S-Sun Weiwei?!" At that moment, Li Jiayu's lifeless gaze was replaced with stupefaction, as though his entirety was submerged in ice.
"D-Didn't your skull get pried open and your brain sucked dry by the Soul Devouring Beast...? No... This isn't right... M-my eyes... I should be blind but why is my vision fine…." His appearance resembled that of a man who had uncovered a treasure.
A plethora of expressions flashed across his face and “Bang” he shot up from his seat and began scanning the room. Staring at Sun Weiwei, the familiar faces of his classmates, the stools and the desks, the mottled walls and the unsightly colors of the classroom, nostalgic memories resurfaced one after the other in an instant, making him somewhat emotional.
"Aish... Suffering from amnesia?"
"Jiayu, this trick has gone out of date... This sister here won't buy it...."
"Ah! Maybe, it isn't amnesia but reincarnation...."
"Idiot! The reincarnation novels have brainwashed you, how is it possible for such a good thing to occur?!"
The crowd of students jeered, mistaking his acts of amnesia as tricks to pick up hot chicks.
Sun Weiwei's rage soared. Her widened eyes threatened to swallow Li Jiayu whole as she stomped her foot in a fit.
"Are you serious? Was this all a trick just to attract my attention? I'm telling you now that you're lame!"
Li Jiayu's lips moved slightly, he wanted to clarify but was at a loss for words. He attempted to listen in on the students' chatter but not a single word sank in. In fact, it felt as though a thousand bolts of lightning had struck his mind, causing his thoughts to be in utter disarray. The regrets, remorse and untold sufferings he'd experienced washed over and suffocated him.
'Class meeting? Which one?'
'That ironic 'Love and Peace' discussion?'
'... Am I not supposed to be dead? Then how... What in the world is going on....'
'Hmm? Resurrection? No... Definitely not a resurrection, a rebirth or a time slip is more likely! Has fate heeded the pleas of my agonized soul? To think that I was reborn! This was the time before everything occurred. I've actually returned to the starting point….'
'I can repent.... My past mistakes... I can protect what I've lost, the things I held dear!'
'Even if I have to put my life on the line, it's worth a try...'
In his previous life, Li Jiayu had simply been too naive for his own good and that alone had cost him, making him eat quite a number of losses. He was too soft-hearted and mistook wolves in sheep’s clothing as companions. During the great escape from school, one of these wolves shoved him towards the insects. Although he had survived the ordeal, his vitality was inadvertently wounded and he almost turned into a human skeleton. Li Jiayu eventually recovered but he lagged behind others in the pursuit for strength, probably even more so than when everything had first started.
His self-righteousness brought about a domino effect which led a disaster to befall his companions, ultimately causing the decimation of the entire Demon Hunters group. They were massacred brutally. Blood flowed like rivers and his benefactor, the captain, had been skinned alive and turned into dog food.
He regretted many things. Amongst them was that he had not heeded the advice of his dear father. He had insisted on hunting the giant insects alone which resulted in a heavy injury. Left with a wisp of breath after he had reached the shelter, his dear father sacrificed himself in exchange for a Vial of Restoration. He had volunteered to become a Biological Corpse Puppet, whose mind was filled with nothing but murder—a mere killing tool.
Blinded by hatred, he failed to understand his sister's true thoughts and watched helplessly as she was sent to the tiger's lair. The thought that the powerful man would be her safe haven turned out to be utterly untrue as his dearest sister slit her wrists afterward.
His sister-in-law, who had supported him silently, had been inevitably dragged into the involvement of his scuffles and chopped into pieces. Everyone who had close relations with Li Jiayu lived a miserable life. There were some whose life or death remained unknown and there were those who no longer came into contact with him.
His heart was ingrained with regret and sorrow but alas, his realization dawned too late. Time and time again, day after day, night after night, nightmares stalked him. They haunted him like a shadow, rocking him awake like an old friend every single time he drifted into slumber during cold, desolate nights.
He’d had a chance to become a powerful warrior but the torn tendon in his hand prevented him from doing so. He’d had an opportunity to be recruited as a Raging Flame Dancer but gave it to someone he was indebted to. He could've inherited a treasure but eventually gave it up for various reasons…
During the trickle of time, the world underwent many transformations and people were bound to change. The ones he’d held close to heart gradually drifted away and all that remained were just knots of hatred and a legion of sworn enemies out for his blood.
His memories were vivid as though it had happened the day before. Earth no longer had a seat for him. There were no shelters from the rain, no safe haven from the enemies and the reality of life. Insects, undead and various other races from many different civilizations sought him out while humanity's forces forced him into a corner. He had been alone. Lonely, he ultimately died in the embrace of the loneliness, drifting into the otherworld in a damp, tree hole.
No one had a clue. The person who caused a great deal of trouble for the various forces of the Celestial Empire, he: whom they had deemed as a wild summoner; a wretched bandit; an enemy of humanity; and who held countless contributions to the defense against the invading opposition... The Dark Summoner Li Jiayu, who had been merely 24 years of age, died a disgraceful death without so much as a proper burial ground.
Everything would now be shuffled once more!
Bitterness and sadness surged over him like a crashing wave. Tears welled up in the rims of his eyes and his heart quivered. Taking a deep breath to calm himself, Li Jiayu smiled.
"Sorry, I just wanted you to laugh. You've worked so hard on this program, yet I failed, caused a misunderstanding and even made you mad."
Li Jiayu's unique voice rang out. It sounded a little bit different. It was not as amiable but had a tinge of delight like the collision of metals.
His smile was the same but somewhat different from the past. Yet, Sun Weiwei couldn't tell what the problem was. It was a light, restrained smile but vastly different from those of snowflakes.
Sun Weiwei adored this smile. She thought that it looked great even though he wasn't her lover.
"Fine, I shall let it go since you've already apologized. However, you must participate in the 'Young Volunteers Association'. Hand out leaflets during the weekend and do some volunteer work such as cleaning the streets since you're idle…." Sun Weiwei proposed this condition. In her opinion, Li Jiayu would never refuse any requests from girls, much less if it was her personal request.
"Oh, 'Young Volunteers Association'? I apologize, I'm not one of those 'eat my fill without anything better to do' guys..."
Li Jiayu's lips curled up into a ridiculing arc and the mockery in his eyes pierced Sun Weiwei like a sharp blade.
"Eat your fill without anything better to do? How can you speak like that? Do you look down on volunteer work?"
Sun Weiwei's brows knit closely and her pale face stared heatedly at Li Jiayu.
The crowd of students booed, denouncing Li Jiayu. After all, many amongst them belonged to the association. Yet, Li Jiayu dared to look down on them, saying they had eaten their fill and had nothing better to do.
Li Jiayu's words were laced with sarcasm as he spoke, "Young volunteer work is built on the basis of labor, an outlet specifically made for young students who have nothing better to do. It’s for you to satisfy your ego and allow you to vent your energy simultaneously.... However, during these perilous times when you may be devoured by worms, stabbed by your closest companions, living a life worse than death itself, do you think all that matters?"
Li Jiayu brought out his cellphone and looked at the time - August 29, 2013, 4:32:39 PM.
"Time is running out. There's less than a minute left on the clock. It’s too late to even notify your parents but since we're classmates, I'll fill you in on a little more..."
"We've all learned physics, so you should know that one-dimensional is a line, two-dimensional is a plane, three-dimensional is solid and four-dimensional is made up of the third-dimensional space with the addition of a time axis... and so on so forth. We all know that in this vast universe, there exists an N number of dimensions. A simpler explanation would be that different worlds and planes exist!"
"Nonsense! Who doesn't understand something that simple! Stop spouting no-" Sun Weiwei did not seem to appreciate his warnings and interrupted crudely.
"Hear me out!"
Li Jiayu shook his head and ignored Sun Weiwei's useless blather. He resumed, releasing the first piece of earth-shattering news. "Half a minute from now, Earth will experience multitudes of shockwaves and dimensional cracks will appear. Simultaneously, a cosmic storm will sweep across Earth and this will result in changes of Earth's laws, gravity, climate, geography and a chain of other changes!"
Noticing the expressions of disbelief plastered across their faces, he sneered coldly, "You do not know the devastations the storm will bring about... Humanity will receive a heavy blow. Electronics such as your cell phones, air conditioners, lighting, the massaging products that you women use, everything that’s inseparable from our everyday lives will be rendered worthless. And when that time arrives... Everything will change... It'll be a primal, brutal, dark and bloody era for humanity!"
[TLN: It says women's massaging device/product 女生用的按摩棍]
Li Jiayu's face turned solemn as he smiled helplessly, as if poking fun at himself, "Everything that I've told you is just the beginning. There are more terrifying and deadlier events to come..."
--- Translator Notes ---
Every hope turns to dust - 万念俱灰 - Every hope turns to dust (idiom); completely disheartened.
Soysauce Party - Soysauce meant that they're like the condiments of the situation, the side characters if that made sense.
Snowflakes - 小白脸 - Well, the literal translation for this term was Little white face but it did not sound all that nice. It can mean pretty boys or gigolos. Not sure why I used Snowflakes as the replacement but it sounded better much better!
 "We've all learned physics, so you should know that one-dimensional is a line, two-dimensional is a plane, three-dimensional is solid and four-dimensional is made up of the third-dimensional space with the addition of a time axis... and so on so forth. We all know that in this vast universe, there exists an N number of dimensions. A simpler explanation would be that different worlds and planes exist!"
These are the raws for this particular part just in case any of you are wondering.