Chapter 1 – Scum Villain
To be more specific, <<Proud Immortal Demon Way>> was a mob-grinding, escapist3 cultivation novel, with a ridiculous and incomparable length, a heaven-defying golden finger,4 and a harem in the three-digit range, where every single female character fell for the protagonist.
This year’s hottest stallion novel; there was no other!
The male lead of this novel, Luo Binghe, was neither the heroic, invincible-out-of-the-gate type,5 nor the loser, without-redeeming-qualities type,6 yet had managed to trend with tens of thousands of readers on Zhongdian Literature,7 influencing countless male fantasy novels afterwards to follow in its footsteps.
He was the dark, vicious type.8
Next, let a veteran reader of this novel, Shen Yuan, omit the countless fanservicey details, and concisely summarize this million-word epic for everyone…
Immediately after his birth, Luo Binghe was abandoned by his parents, swaddled in white cloth and put in a wooden basin, then lowered into the water.
Those were the coldest days of the year, and it was only thanks to the river’s fishermen pulling him out that he hadn’t frozen to death as a baby. Because he’d been drifting along the Luo River, and it was the season when it was filled with thin ice, he was given that name.
Luo Binghe spent his early years wandering the streets, hungry and dressed in rags; it was a dreary childhood. A washerwoman who worked for a wealthy family took pity on him, and since she had no children of her own, adopted and raised him as her own son. Mother and son were poor, and suffered humiliation at the hands of their rich patrons.
Having grown up in such an unhealthy environment, this became the source of Luo Binghe’s future twisted personality post-darkening, including his tendencies to fight over every scrap, to seek revenge for the smallest of grievances, and to hide murderous intent behind a smile.
For a bowl of lukewarm meat congee, he’d withstood the beatings of the family’s young masters; in the end, he was still too late, and failed to give his adopted mother even a single taste before she died.
By complete coincidence, he was selected by one of the cultivation world’s four great sects, Cang Qiong Mountain Sect, and apprenticed under the “Xiu Ya sword” Shen Qingqiu.
He’d thought that he could finally start down the proper path, but he hadn’t expected that Shen Qingqiu was fair without but foul within,11 trash of the lowest caliber. He was jealous of Luo Binghe’s unparalleled and exceptional talent, and secretly feared this disciple whose cultivation improved by leaps and bounds every day, always finding all sorts of ways to taunt and demean him, even enlisting fellow disciples to belittle him.
Throughout the years of studying, he endured the humiliation; it was another heart-wrenching story filled with blood and tears.
Under much difficulty, Luo Binghe managed to turn seventeen, when he finally encountered the ceremony the cultivation world held once every four years—the Immortal Alliance Conference. Here at the conference, Luo Binghe fell victim to Shen Qingqiu’s scheming, and fell into a crack in the boundary between the demon and human realms—the Endless Abyss.
That’s right, only now did the story truly begin!
Not only did Luo Binghe survive, within the Endless Abyss, he even found the peerless mystical sword meant to be his, “Xin Mo,” and there, learned about his origins.
As it turned out, Luo Binghe had been born to the demon realm’s Saintly Ruler and a human realm woman; within his veins flowed both the blood of ancient, heaven-fallen demons, as well as that of the human race. His birth father, Tianlang-Jun, had been sealed beneath a great mountain, trapped for all eternity. His birth mother was a disciple from a righteous cultivation sect; that year, suspected of having secret ties to demons, she was expelled, and died from postpartum hemorrhage after giving birth to Luo Binghe. Prior to her death, she let her son off the lone ship she’d birthed him on, and only in this way, left Luo Binghe a chance of survival.
Luo Binghe used Xin Mo to release his body’s seal on his demonic blood, and within the dark abyss, cultivated single-mindedly and enlightened himself on otherworldly techniques, before heading back to Cang Qiong Mountain Sect.
From here on, Luo Binghe steadily headed down the path of darkening, never looking back.
Every single one of his old enemies suffered great torment and died horrible deaths by his hand. With his steadily improving acting and scheming skills, Luo Binghe slowly won the trust of many people, feigning compliance while secretly plotting against them. He seized power and rose in position, beginning a reign of terror. As the story unfolded, Luo Binghe darkened further and further. He returned to the demon realm and inherited the position of Saintly Ruler, but still unsatisfied, began to massacre each one of the the human realm’s great righteous sects, bathing them in blood, eradicating all voices of opposition.
In the end, Luo Binghe became a generation-spanning legend among immortals and demons, who talked about his unification of the three realms, the uncountable size of his harem, and his boundless number of descendants!
“Stupid author stupid novel!”
With his dying breath, Shen Yuan spat this final curse.
Who could have imagined that an upstanding young man like him, who’d properly purchased VIP currency and read the official version, who’d managed to persistently follow the work to its end, had ended up finishing a novel so stallion it left him speechless with rage, a money-swindling, overly-padded mess; how could he not curse?
<<Proud Immortal Demon Way>>, author: Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky.12
Just looking at this ID would assault you with a dirty feeling. Grade-school-level writing, the suspension of disbelief broken everywhere.13 Shen Yuan couldn’t even bear to call that incoherent mess of a setting a cultivation setting.
Have you seen a cultivation world where people used horses and carriages all day? Have you seen a cultivation world where after achieving inedia, people still needed to eat and sleep? Have you seen a cultivation world where the author occasionally mixed up even the Foundation Establishment and Nascent Soul stages?14
Every single person, when in front of the protagonist, would act like his immense douchebag aura15 had devoured their brain cells. Especially Luo Binghe’s master, that Shen Qingqiu, basically an idiot16 among idiots, scum17 among scum! His only purpose was to dig his own grave, and when he didn’t manage to finish, get killed by the protagonist.
Then why did Shen Yuan read this book, and even read to the very end?
Don’t misunderstand, Shen Yuan wasn’t a masochist.18 The reason, also caused him the most ball-ache.
This novel had an incredible amount of foreshadowing, dangling plotlines19 everywhere, mystery after mystery, layer upon layer of red herrings. And at the very end—not a single one paid off!
It was enough to make him to puke a fountain of blood.
Why were priceless herbs, spirit elixirs, and peerless beauties everywhere, like they didn’t cost a cent? Why were the villains’ speeches and poses as they dug their own graves and got offed20 all exactly the same?
The many girls we barely caught a glance of, who’d agreed to enter the harem, what happened to them…alright let’s skip that for the moment—The many atrocities, who were the culprits? The giant list of characters hyped up as being awesome without equal, exactly what was their purpose; why was nothing of them shown, even at the very end?!
Towards-the-Sky bro, Airplane bro, Great God,21 can we have a discussion, wrap! up! Plotlines! Okay!
Shen Yuan felt like he could come back to life from sheer rage.
In the endless darkness, a mechanical voice sounded by his ear.
[Activation code: “Stupid author stupid novel.” System automatically triggered.]
“Who is this?” The tone was similar to Google Translate.
Shen Yuan looked around: it seemed like he was floating in a virtual void, so dark he couldn’t see his hand before him, the voice coming from all directions.
[Welcome to the System. This System operates in line with the design concept ‘YOU CAN YOU UP, NO CAN NO BB’;22 we hope to provide you with the best possible experience. It is our sincere wish that during your experience, you can fulfill your desire, and according to your wishes, transform a stupid work into a high-quality, magnificent, first-rate classic. We hope you enjoy.]
In the midst of the vertigo, a man’s voice asked lightly beside his ear, “…Shidi? Shidi, can you hear me?”
Shen Yuan shuddered and settled his mind, forcibly peeling open his eyes, the scene before him a flurried blur; it took awhile for his vision to finally focus and clear.
He lay on a bed.
Looking up: a white, gauzy canopy, with finely-crafted perfume pouches hanging from the four corners.
Looking down: he wore a white robe, ancient in its styling. Next to the pillow lay a paper fan.
Looking to his left: a handsome and elegant young man dressed in traditional black robes23 sat by his bedside, looking at him with concern.
Shen Yuan closed his eyes, then sharply reached for that folding fan, opening it with a snap; he lightly waved it, fanning away the cold sweat pouring down his face.
The man’s eyes lit up with joy, and he warmly asked, “Shidi finally woke up; is there any discomfort?”
Shen Yuan reservedly said, “Nothing too bad.”
The information overload was a bit much; he dazedly tried to sit up. Seeing this, the man quickly reached out to support his back, letting him lean against the headboard.
Having read many of Zhongdian’s transmigration novels, Shen Yuan had long resolved that, if one day he woke up to find himself lying in a strange place, before he understood what was happening, he definitely wouldn’t giggle carefreely and say, “Are you filming a movie? The props look so real; your crew’s really giving their all!” the words of a person slow-wittedly trying to ground themselves. He concentrated only on acting like he’d just woken up, expression absent-minded: “I…where is this?”
The man startled and said, “Did you sleep yourself into a daze? This is your Qing Jing Peak.”
Internally, Shen Yuan was shocked, but continued to act muddled, “I…why was I asleep for so long?”
The man said, “That’s what I wanted to ask you. You were in perfect health, how did you suddenly come down with a high fever? I know that with the Immortal Alliance Conference approaching, you’ve been training your disciples, and are anxious for results. But with Cang Qiong Mountain Sect’s foundations and renown today, even if someone didn’t attend this time, no one would dare question us; why concern yourself with those empty words.”
The more Shen Yuan listened, the more something felt off. Why did these lines sound so familiar?
No, why did this set-up sound so familiar?
Next, a single earnest sentence from that man confirmed all his suspicions.
“Qingqiu-shidi, are you listening to shixiong?”
At this moment, something dinged, and the mechanical, Google-Translate-like voice from the dreamscape sounded again.
[The System was successfully activated! Role bound: Luo Binghe’s master, Cang Qiong Mountain Sect’s Qing Jing Peak Peak Lord, ‘Shen Qingqiu.’ Weapon: the sword Xiu Ya. Starting B-points:24 one hundred.]
“F***k f***k f***k what bulls**t is this? How come you’re speaking directly into my brain? Does Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky know you’re plagiarizing <<Proud Immortal Demon Way>>’s set-up like this?!” Of course, Shen Yuan didn’t say this out loud, but that voice quickly responded.
[You have touched the System’s command execution, and have been bound to the account ‘Shen Qingqiu.’]
[As the plot progresses, many different types of points will gradually become available, please ensure that none of these points fall below 0. Otherwise the System will automatically dole out punishment.]
Stop. Enough. Shen Yuan was sure now. He’d hit the jackpot; he’d transmigrated!
Transmigrated into something he’d just finished, and it was a dark-type stallion novel he’d hated, even came with some kind of s**tty system. As a 21st century veteran VIP reader of Zhongdian Literature, he’d read through various types of do-over and transmigration male fantasy novels year in and year out, so originally, Shen Yuan could have happily and easily accepted this fact. But of all people, the shell he borrowed just happened to be the male lead’s scum villain shizun Shen Qingqiu’s. This…uh, made the situation rather complicated.
The good-natured-looking elder-brotherly type next to him was Cang Qiong Mountain Sect’s current Sect Leader, Shen Qingqiu’s shixiong, the “Xuan Su sword” Yue Qingyuan. F***k.
There was a very important reason Shen Yuan had specially gone “f***k” at Yue Qingyuan—in the original work, Yue Qingyuan’s death had been caused by his good shidi Shen Qingqiu, okay!
And what a horrific death it was.
Tens of thousands of arrows had pierced him, until not even bones remained!
And at this moment, this victim was facing his own “murderer,” showering him with concern; the pressure was immense.
But looking again now, the story hadn’t progressed to that point yet. Yue Qingyuan was still in perfect health, meaning at this time Shen Qingqiu had yet to reveal himself as a hypocrite, and his reputation was still unruined.
Yue Qingyuan was a bleeding heart,25 nothing to be afraid of. Though this character ended up suffering quite a bit, during his read, Shen Yuan had been rather fond of him. He relaxed a little, when a string of words floated eerily to the forefront of his mind.
“…Within the dark, gloomy room, a metal chain hung from a beam. At the end of the chain dangled a ring. The ring was fastened around a person’s waist. If that could still be considered a ‘person.’ This ‘person’s’ appearance was filthy and disheveled, like that of a madman. The most frightening thing was, all four of his limbs had been severed. His shoulders and thighs were only four bare knobs of flesh. When touched, he would let out a hoarse, ‘ahhh’ sound. His tongue had been torn out too, rendering him unable to form complete words.”
— <<Proud Immortal Demon Way>>, a featured paragraph on Shen Qingqiu’s fate.
Shen Yuan, ah no, Shen Qingqiu rested his forehead on his hand.
He wasn’t in any position to lament how horrific other people’s deaths were; the most horrific death was his, okay!
Must avoid any serious errors!
Snuff out any sign of a mistake√
From now on, cling madly to the male lead’s thighs√26
Be a good teacher and helpful friend who is earnest and gentle in teaching; meticulously shower him with concern√
He’d just had these thoughts, when Shen Qingqiu’s mind suddenly erupted with a long string of alarms, as if one hundred police cars carrying one hundred shrieking beasts were zooming past, so cacophonous he shuddered, clutching his head in pain.
Yue Qingyuan said worriedly, “Shidi, does your head still hurt?”
Teeth clenched, Shen Qingqiu didn’t answer.
The system shrilly alerted, [Warning. Your plan just now was incredibly dangerous, and qualified as an act of violation; please do not attempt, or the system will automatically dole out punishment.]
“How was that a violation?”
[Currently, you’re in the starting stage, and the OOC feature is frozen. You’ll need to complete starting-stage missions to unfreeze. Before unfreezing, doing anything that violates the original ‘Shen Qingqiu’ character’s settings will result in a fixed number of B-points being deducted.]
As a semi-otaku, Shen Qingqiu had occasionally seen several fanwork-related terms, you understand; of course he knew what OOC meant: the abbreviation for ‘out of character,’ defined as breaking character, acting in a way that was inconsistent with the original character’s personality.
“…In other words, before that whatever-feature gets unfrozen, my manner and actions can’t differ from what ‘Shen Qingqiu’ would do?”
It’d already let him transmigrate into Shen Qingqiu’s shell, replacing him, but still cared about a detail like OOC?
Shen Qingqiu asked again, “You just said, something like…that the points can’t fall below 0, if they do, what happens?”
[You will automatically be deported back to the original world.]
Original world? But in the original world, Shen Yuan’s body was already dead.
In other words, if he lost all his B-or-whatever points, what awaited him was: death.
Then if I just ignore the male lead and avoid doing anything, things should be fine, right?
He raised his head and swept his gaze around, but didn’t see anyone that matched Luo Binghe’s appearance among the disciples waiting on him by his side. Acting unconcerned, he said, “Where is Luo Binghe?”
Yue Qingyuan halted, and gave him a strange look.
Shen Qingqiu remained straight-faced, but was secretly filled with glee. Could it be that time wasn’t ripe, and the male lead had yet to apprentice and enter Cang Qiong Mountain Sect?
Yue Qingyuan said, “Shidi, don’t be angry.”
An ominous premonition stirred in Shen Qingqiu’s heart.
Yue Qingyuan sighed and said, “I know you don’t like him. But that child’s already worked hard enough, and he hasn’t made any large mistakes. Don’t punish him anymore, alright.”
Hearing this, Shen Qingqiu’s lips went dry; he licked them and said, “…Out with it, where is he?”
Yue Qingyuan was silent for a moment, then said, “Whenever you finish stringing him up and beating him, haven’t you always shut him in the woodshed?”
Shen Qingqiu’s vision went dark.
- This chapter is by Fae of BC Novels and http://faelicy.tumblr.com/.
- The old chapter one at Cnoveluv is a translation of the old version of Scum Villain. Fae is currently translating the newest, edited version of the story which is the same version that BC Novels is using.
- YY, stands for 意淫, lit. perverted fantasy
- 种马小说, though these novels feature one guy getting with lots of girls, they are different from harem novels in that there is little-to-no relationship development in stallion novels, focusing mainly on the sex
- 爽, lit. feel-good, or gratifying
- 金手指, a protagonist-exclusive ability or weapon, often very overpowered
- 龙傲天流, lit. style of the proud heavenly dragon, think traditional Mary Sue
- 废柴流, lit. style of the loser, basically the opposite of a Mary Sue
- 终点文学网, likely a pun on 起点中文网, a CN webnovel site
- 暗黑系, lit. pitch-black school, refers to works with heavy, “dark” themes, like murder, torture, gore, etc.
- 黑化, refers to someone’s character becoming warped, think moral blackening
- 苦情系, lit. bitter-feelings school, refers to works where a character suffers heavily, think whump
- 金玉其外, 败絮其中, lit. gilded jade without, cotton rags within
- 向天打飞机, 打飞机, lit. beating the airplane, is also a euphemism for mastur***ion, so his ID could mean “mastur***ing towards the sky”
- 雷点, lit. landmine, but refers to points in a story that cause the audience to go “wtf,” and not in a good way
- 筑基; 元婴, cultivation stages used in xianxia
- 王八之气, lit. bastard’s aura, the “bastard” is a corruption of 王霸, or tyrant
- 战斗机, lit. fighter jet, but here means top of the top
- 李天一, Li Tianyi, an infamous Chinese wealthy second-gen who led the gang-rape of a woman in a Beijing hotel
- 犯贱, a person who can’t help screwing themselves over
- 大坑, lit. giant holes, while this seems to refer to plot holes, the usage in Chinese is different and really refers unresolved plotlines
- 领便当, lit. get a lunchbox, means to die—idea is when characters die, their actors can leave the filming area early and eat
- 菊苣, affectionate corruption of 巨巨, which is used to refer to someone who is very great and important
- Engrish for 你行你上,不行别比比, basically, “If you’re capable, then you do it; if you’re not, then stfu”
- 玄端, this was a specific style of dress in Ancient China, often seen on government officials
- 逼格, this is Chinese slang, points that are sarcastically awarded to those who tell lies on the internet in an attempt to invoke superiority
- 老好人, though the wording is something like “very good person,” it suggests someone who is gentle and soft-hearted to a fault, a pushover with no bottom line
- 抱大腿, to ingratiate yourself with someone