Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Whirling puffs of smoke rose from the burning sandalwood incense, filling the room with a pleasant aroma.
Deep carvings adorned the window frame made of a rich reddish wood. Sunlight streamed through the window, glinting off the surface of a vintage desk and gilding the layer of dust that lay atop it.
The study's four treasures—brushes, ink, an inkstone, and a crisp sheet of paper—were displayed neatly on the desk.
The high-quality sheet of rice paper lay flat on the surface with the inkstone standing next to it. The inkstone was still damp with ink. Brushes of various sizes hung not far from a set of jade stamps, big and small, with the character "Fan" engraved on each of them. The interior decorations perfectly captured the essence of the ancient Chinese scholarly style.
A wooden bed stood in the room, intricate patterns carved across its posts and frame. Behind the silk canopy of the bed, a silhouette tossed and turned restlessly. After a while, the man finally sat up, supporting himself on his arms.
Lu Fan turned to look outside of the canopy, trying to take in his surroundings. The antique style of the room sent a chill down his spine.
Where the heck was he?
As a newbie programmer, he usually had to work until three or four o'clock in the morning. He felt like he had accumulated two years' worth of experience in the one year he had worked since graduating from college. Computers were his life. An old-style set of writing implements on an elegant desk was not.
He remembered that he had been working day and night on a project for one of his company's biggest clients. At some point, he had felt a sudden, throbbing pain in his chest. That was the last thing he could recall.
Then he had woken up in this completely strange room.
Lu Fan started to get out of bed to take a better look around, yet as he tried to move, he realized that he had no sensation at all in his lower body. He instantly lost his balance and fell off the bed.
The deeply carved door flew open.
Three maids entered the room and helped him up. He could tell that they'd done this many times.
With the smooth sound of rolling wheels, one of the maids pushed a well-made wooden wheelchair toward him from a corner of the room. The other two helped the dazed Lu Fan get into the wheelchair.
"Young Master, considering your condition... Please let us help. If you need anything, just let us know."
Lu Fan slumped into the wheelchair, bewildered. He had so many questions.
Who was he?
Where was he?
How come he was paralyzed?
After mulling over the three major questions, he concluded that he had surely transmigrated.
His soul had gone into a paralyzed body!
Transmigrating into such a situation was… very unique!
In his mind, the faint memories of the body's previous owner started to rise to the surface.
"Lu Fan, courtesy name Ping'an. Great Zhou Dynasty. The only son of the City Master of Beiluo City. Legs paralyzed, rendering him unable to walk."
Despite struggling to digest the sudden memory of his sad background, Lu Fan still managed to sneak a glance at the three maids in front of him.
In consideration of the fact that his legs and mobility were compromised, Lu Fan's father had arranged three maids to take care of his daily tasks and safety.
They were all lookers.
The oldest was 24 or 25, slender built, but with curves and a charming face. She bore an unusually enchanting aura that could only belong to a mature woman.
The youngest was only 11, still a child.
The last was 17, with a foxy and enticing face. She had a long whip tucked into her belt.
A domineering lady, a loli, and a queen...
Only one word could describe this bonus that had come with his transmigration:
Lu Fan dazed out as he indulged in this fantasy, and to his maids, he appeared to be lost deep within his own thoughts. He stared at the three girls in a slightly creepy way.
The image of the girls faded away in front of his eyes and was replaced by...
A pop-up window of stats.
[Host: Lu Fan]
[Title: Qi Refiner (permanent)]
[Refined Qi Level: 0]
[Soul Strength: 1]
[Physique Strength: 0.5]
[Spirit Qi: 10 wisps]
[Transformation Reward: Temporarily Unavailable]
[World Leveling System: Wuhuang Continent (Low-Level Martial World)]
[Access: Not Yet Activated]
Lu Fan's eyes popped. Was that a stats system interface?
Had he gotten the cheat sheet for this world?
Finally! That was the way transmigration bonuses were supposed to be rendered!
"Wait, a Low-Level Martial World?" Lu Fan muttered to himself as he looked over the data for the world he had entered.
He was no stranger to the concept of a "Low-Level Martial World," thanks to his familiarity with relevant novels, movies, and TV shows. It was simply a concept for the leveling system of capability classification.
Above that, there should also be Mid-Level Martial Worlds and High-Level Martial Worlds. However, even in a Low-Level Martial World, there should be martial arts practitioners and cultivators.
Lu Fan now had a great many questions, but the system interface didn't give any further information. He had no choice but to try to figure out what each entry meant.
His title was "refiner," but why had the word "permanent" been added?
What did that mean?
He had to work on refining Qi for the rest of his life?
And what was the "transformation reward?"
How could he increase his soul strength and physique strength?
The stats page looked simple. Yet without any explanation, Lu Fan had no clue what to do with this information or how he was supposed to advance.
Lu Fan focused, pouring his full concentration into the limited data he had been given…
A trembling cry pulled him back to reality.
As he shook himself and looked up, he realized that only one girl was still there. The other two were gone. He had no idea when they'd left the room.
The girl who remained was the youngest, the maid who looked like a kid.
At that moment, the girl's eyes were wide in terror and anxiety as she stared at Lu Fan. She looked lost.
"What's the matter, Ni Yu?"
Lu Fan was momentarily confused by what he'd just said, then another memory came back.
Ni Yu was the girl's name.
"Young Master... You've been in a stupor like that for half a zodiac hour. You didn't move at all. We did everything to wake you up, but you didn't respond."
Seeing that Lu Fan had come back to himself, Ni Yu looked a little relieved.
He hadn't moved for half a zodiac hour?
Lu Fan was shocked too. The stats user interface had completely captured his attention. He had been oblivious to the passage of time.
"Where did the others go?" Lu Fan asked Ni Yu.
"They saw that you were, um, distracted, so they went to report it to the Master," Ni Yu said, lowering her voice.
Learning that the other two girls had gone to tell the Master, Lu Fan felt a little uneasy.
The father of this body's previous owner was Lu Changkong, the City Master of Beiluo City. He was a distinguished and powerful man.
Although Lu Fan had merged with this body's original soul and learned what he would need to know about the original Lu Fan's life, he still wasn't fully prepared to meet his father.
Lu Fan weighed his options and let out a sigh. He had to face this sooner or later.
"Ni, please take me to see, um, my father," Lu Fan said from the wheelchair, slightly hesitant.
Ni Yu nodded instantly. Her Young Master had always been a little aloof, and his temper was unpredictable. She had quickly learned not to show the slightest trace of disagreement.
Ni Yu brought out a light blanket to cover Lu Fan's legs. She then walked behind the wheelchair and pushed him out of the room.
The Lu Manor was enormous. The buildings were tall and delicate, with every brick and roof tile styled in traditional Chinese architecture. Accompanied by a unique spin on classical landscaping and garden design, the whole place had a soothing and pleasant atmosphere.
Lu Fan was sitting in the wheelchair pushed by the little girl, Ni Yu. The service actually felt comfortable, almost familiar, which he attributed to the fact that his soul had already merged with the original owner's.
After enjoying the scenery for a little while, Lu Fan eventually redirected his attention to the stats user interface once more.
He focused on the entry about the world leveling system, and an informative message appeared in front of him.
[Wuhuang Continent. No spiritual energy. The host can transform the world and level it up to a Mid-Level Martial World, High-Level Martial World, or above, for which the host will receive transformation rewards based on the results.]
He was intrigued. "I can transform this world into some sort of fantasy universe?"
He was no stranger when it came to fantasy. In his previous life, he had read fantasy fiction all the time. He especially enjoyed the feeling of otherworldliness.
In a fantasy universe, martial arts cultivators could sucker-punch great mountains, kick the heck out of roaring rivers, break stars into pieces with a roar of their overwhelmingly powerful Qi, or chop the sun and the moon with a single sword slash. In summary, their powers were only confined by the author's imagination.
But now he was being asked to transform a Low-Level Martial World without any spiritual energy into a fantasy universe. And he had to do it from scratch...
With a sinking feeling, Lu Fan realized that he had no idea where to start.
After all, it was a big world. How was he supposed to transform an entire continent?
This wouldn't be like coding or writing fiction. He couldn't simply create a new document and start working.
A Low-Level Martial World without any spiritual energy...
That meant that this world's martial level was currently capped. To transform it into a fantasy world, he would first have to recover its spiritual energy.
Once the world's spiritual energy was awakened, the upper limit for its martial level could then be broken. At that point, creating a fantasy universe in this world might become possible.
The stats user interface said he had 10 wisps of spiritual energy. Their status was listed as "yet to be developed."
Lu Fan let his consciousness immerse itself in the interface, and he pondered the situation deeply, gazing at the 10 wisps of spiritual energy.
If he was going to transform the world into a fantasy universe, this amount of spiritual energy was nowhere close to what he would need.
Suddenly, a message appeared.
[Undeveloped spiritual energy detected inside the host's body. Confirm development?]
After a brief pause, Lu Fan was thrilled.
Having thought it over for a moment, Lu Fan made his decision. To transform this world into a fantasy universe, what did he need the most, yet didn't have enough of?
As long as he had enough spiritual energy, he could transform a pig into a dragon if he was asked to.
Ten wisps of spiritual energy wasn't much, but it was better than nothing.
After his confirmation, the message quickly vanished.
Lu Fan's legs had never moved by themselves since the moment he was born, but now they started vibrating, waves of energy running through them.
Lu Fan's gaze traveled down his legs, which had become transparent, revealing a dense web of veins.
Clouds of some unknown substance clogged the veins.
As his legs shook, the clots melted away and transformed into streams of light blue, floating into the dantian in his lower abdomen.
Streams of light blue power! This was the spiritual energy he needed!
Lu Fan took a deep breath.
It was just like the saying: "Good fortune follows disaster."
The paralysis in his legs had been caused by clots of spiritual energy. Since spiritual energy wasn't known in this world, nobody had recognized the problem or known how to treat it.
Now the clots would become the foundation for his world-transformation plan!
An announcement appeared.
"Congratulations! The development of spiritual energy was successful. [Special Access] has been activated. Good luck!"
In the stats user interface, he noticed that the words "yet to be developed" under Spiritual Energy were gone.
His legs, which had felt as if they were under the pressure of an enormous pile of boulders, were finally liberated.
Behind him, Ni Yu was panting as she struggled to push the wheelchair. Her head was down, and her face was flushed in exertion.
The two older girls had gone through martial training and could consciously control their Qi and blood flow. They could even break bricks with their hands.
Ni Yu, on the other hand, had just started basic martial training, and she couldn't even perform a firm stance. She was still a child.
"Ni, stop!" Lu Fan shouted quickly.
Ni Yu paused. She turned her delicate features up toward him.
Lu Fan, clad in a white outfit and still sitting in the wheelchair, had pulled the blanket off his legs. He tugged a well-made boot and sock off one of his feet. He lifted his bare foot in excitement and pride.
Under the sun, his five toes were wiggling rhythmically in the wind.
The little maid was stunned by the surreal and fascinating scene.
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