“This world’s called Genesis and it’s big… Though I ain’t never been to any other worlds, so don’t quote me on that. The Sun’s named Ra and the three moons are Khonsu, Iah and Thoth. Ya can usually only see one a night, but sometimes there are more. Hmmm~, we’re in the Qing Republic… Used to be an Empire a few years back, but that shitty old Emperor and his whole family pissed off the ancient Qing Clan. Anyway, there ain’t much different between how I was livin before then and now, so for all I know, someone else might’ve taken over in the past hundred years that I wasn’t payin attention.”
When I heard that last bit, asked “Wait, wait a second, how old are you? I thought you were like, ninety at the most, but then again…” He showed me the back of his left hand and four tiny symbols appeared. The first one was three little lines, the second kinda looked like two rectangles with a line above it, the third seemed like a Japanese letter, while the last one was a cross.
“Damn boy, ya don’t even know how ta read… I’m three-hundred and seventy-nine! Hahahaha~… Ya don’t seem very impressed?” I honestly had no idea why he was so proud, but well, I still didn’t understand the significance of ‘age’.
I muttered “Congratulations~? You look don’t look a day over ninety… Actually, where I’m from, people usually didn’t even live past eighty and the oldest person in the world was like, a hundred and fifteen.”
Long Di let out a long and overdramatic sigh, before explaining “It means I’m an ‘Expert’… Ugh, ya little bastard! Ya better not be screwin with me! Ya really might be from a different world if ya don’t even know bout cultivation levels… Here, look at this.” He showed me the back of his right hand and when he clenched his fist, a black cross mark appeared.
“Cool tattoos bro? Not really sure what you’re getting at here though… Ow! Stop fucking hitting me! Shit! Ouch~!” Once he satisfied his sadistic desires by smacking me in the head a few times, he finally continued speaking again.
“Stop cursing so damn much! Ain’t yer mama ever told ya… Never mind, a kid like you is probably an orphan. Oh, I’m sorry~, I meant ta say ‘Reincarnated Eternal Deity’ hahahaha~! Hah~, anyway, the cross means ‘ten’. I’m a level-ten, Mortal Expert… Normally, when people find out that an old farmer is actually one uh the strongest people in the country, they would at least be a little impressed! Brat, aside from cripples, everybody in this world is a cultivator! Even if ya never practiced any martial arts or magic, you’d still be able to reach the peak of Mortal Novice by the time you’re an adult… Shit, ya don’t even know what I’m talkin bout!” My ignorance was totally understandable, since I had only been on Genesis for an hour or two. Of course, that old bastard seemed to think that I had some sort of mental disability instead of being reincarnated.
He grumbled “Alright, listen up, cause I ain’t gonna be repeatin this! There are three ‘Realms’ uh power: Mortal, Immortal, and Deity. Now I don’t know bout no Immortals or Gods, cause it ain’t the kinda stuff that we Mortals gotta worry bout. In the Mortal Realm, there’s six Stages. The first is the Novice Stage… Most people never make it past Novice. Now listen here, this is the important part, specially for ‘you’. A Novice can live for a hundred years and not a single day more than that!”
I stared into his dark-brown eyes for a few moments, before shrugging my shoulders and asking “Isn’t that already pretty good? I mean, in my last life I only made it to twenty before I bled to death from accidentally castrating myself during an earthquake, so I think I could accomplish a lot in a hundred years…”
“Hahahaha~! What in the hell… Aw damn, ya sure got yerself a mighty twisted imagination, but at least ya got a sense uh humor! Anyway, the catch is that if ya wanna break through to the next stage, ya gotta do it before yer tenth birthday! That’s why most lazy bastards never make it past the Novice Stage… Well, there’s another reason too.” Long Di went from smiling to scowling in what seemed like an instant, before he muttered “In most countries that have a draft, they conscript all the kids who make it to the Apprentice Stage. The laws and rules are different everywhere, but for the most part, people ain’t too happy ta send their children off ta become soldiers and die in some shitty war between nobles or kings.”
He took a long drink of iced tea, before continuing “Apprentices can live for exactly two-hundred years, but if they wanna make it to the next Stage, they gotta do it before they turn twenty. Course, there are all sorts uh levels of talent… I’m just talkin bout ‘normal’ people at the moment. Hmmm, lemme see yer eyes for a second!”
Without waiting for my permission, he just stood up and reached across the table, grabbing the top of my head with his wrinkly left hand. Then he shouted “Heavenly Shit! What in the Holy Hell!” After that, he walked over to the kitchen counter and searched through the cabinets until he found a simple glass hand-mirror and tossed it to me. I caught the bronze handle and finally saw my ‘new’ face for the first time.
“What the fuck? Wait, is everybody on this planet Asian? That seems kinda weird, maybe that woman just gave me a body like the other people in this region? Well, whatever, I’m still pretty pale either way… Hmmm, I really am a little kid, my hair is still black, generic brown eyes… What were you freaking out about anyway?” I glanced up at the old man and noticed that his irises suddenly started glowing neon-orange, which made me unconsciously shout “Wow, that’s actually pretty badass!”
He complained “Ya lazy little prick! I can’t believe someone with top-rank Violet Innate Talent could possibly be so weak! If I wasn’t a pacifist, I would beat ya ta death for wastin yer potential!”
“Ah, oh sweet… My irises really are kinda purplish, but it’s really hard to tell unless you look super-closely. How do I get my eyes to glow like yours do? Is it some kinda magical technique or what?” Actually, it seemed like the little flecks in my irises were so dim that they were closer to black. They looked dark-red sometimes too, so it was sort of hard to tell.
Long Di sat down and drank the rest of his iced tea, then grumbled “Listen Brat, it’s tough to be sure whether you’ve got Violet or Red Innate Talent. If ya didn’t spout all that bullshit bout being reincarnated, I would never have been able to realize your real potential… Trust me with this, kay? Don’t tell nobody any uh that Eternal Deity nonsense! They probably won’t believe ya even if ya did, but it’s better if ya don’t go raise-in no suspicions!” His irises slowly went back to being brown, before he told me “The color of the Qi crystals in a person’s eyes is the easiest indicator for their Innate Talent… The darker it is, the higher the potential of their physical body. At least that’s what I’ve heard… Assuming that the kid practices martial arts diligently, that Innate Talent is how strong they’re gonna get. Red is the worst and Violet is the best. My Innate Talent is only bright Orange. So it was pretty much guaranteed that I’d at least make it to Apprentice, even if I didn’t practice martial arts! Even in those huge Sects, the best you’d find would be bright Yellow and those bastards almost always make it ta the Master Stage!”
I put the mirror down and started drinking some of that sweetened iced tea. After about a minute, I finally asked “Umm, so yeah, about these so-called ‘Stages’… I feel like you kinda got side-tracked by all this talent bullshit, so can you please get back to the point? Fuck! Stop smacking me goddamn it! Ow!” After hitting me a few times, he finally sat back down and let out a long sigh. It seemed like he had totally forgotten where he left off, until I whispered “What’s after Apprentice?”
“As I was sayin! After Apprentice is Adept! Them Adepts can live for three-hundred years, but if they wanna break through to the Expert Stage, they gotta do it before they turn thirty. There’s a few Adepts that become generals in the army or claim a mountain as their territory, but they’re really only mediocre when it comes to Clans and Sects. The ruler of a country usually needs to be an Expert, if they wanna treat people like shit. Otherwise, their subjects would just rebel and kill the bastards… Someone like me, at the peak of the Expert Stage, could become an Elder in a big Sect or Clan, but if I really wanted to, I could create a small one of my own pretty easily. Are ya impressed yet, huh?!” I yawned and crossed my arms on the table, before laying my head down and trying to stay awake through his endless info-dump.
“Even though I’m closing my eyes, I’m still awake… Oh, and I’m impressed by your awesomeness. I’m sure it was really hard to get to where you are today… Ow! Motherfucker! Just cause you’re old doesn’t meant that it’s okay to abuse children! Stop hitting me! Why couldn’t you be a sexy granny instead of an ugly dude?!” I’m not saying that I have a fetish for elderly women, but I’m also not denying that I would rather get beaten by a female of any kind, than a male. Unless the guy was really feminine or an Elf… An anthropomorphic cat-man would be fine too.
When I took a look in the small hand-mirror, I saw my bloody nose, two black eyes and my lips were busted open. However, my pitiful appearance didn’t even seem to slightly bother Long Dick, as he casually continued explaining the basics of cultivation to me.
“All Mortal Experts get exactly four-hundred years of longevity… So I’ve only got bout two decades left, before I finally kick the bucket! For my mediocre Innate Talent, I’ve done pretty well for myself… But there’s no way that I could’ve become a Master, without some sorta Heavenly luck or an unholy mountain of expensive resources. Mortal Masters are strong enough ta be Patriarchs and Matriarchs of them huge Clans and Sects. They can live for up to five-hundred years at the most and if they manage to break through before they turn fifty, then they can become ‘Legends’.” He frowned at me, so I put the mirror down and started paying a bit more attention to what he was rambling on about.
“They’re called that cause anyone who can make it that far really is a damn Legend to Mortals. If I had ta guess, I’d say that there’s probably only one or two people at the Legendary Stage within the Qing Republic or whatever the hell this country is called right now. Maybe throughout the whole continent there’s a decent amount uh Legends wanderin about or settlin down. But them old freaks usually don’t bother with normal Mortal drama. The biggest power that I know of is called The Arcane Academy… I’ve heard they’ve only got a handful uh Legends on staff.” Seriously though, it wasn’t rocket-science. Even if I was half-asleep, it still wouldn’t have been difficult for me to follow.
At that point I couldn’t help but interject “Yeah, yeah, I get the fucking point. Legends are awesome, woo-hoo~, they can live for a really long time, but they gotta have the talent to break through before they’re like-argh~! Did you just use magic to give me a titty-twister?!”
He ignored me and just kept going on and on… “Legends can live for a thousand years, but if they wanna become Immortals, hah~! I’d be surprised if there was more than a single Immortal on this entire planet! I heard fairy tales about three beautiful sisters who each live on Khonsu, Iah and Thoth, but that’s probably horseshit. There might be one nine-hundred year old Legend on this continent who made it to level-ten… I just can’t imagine what kinda lucky bastard could reach Immortality before their hundredth birthday!”