Sovereign of the Karmic System - Chapter 577 - An Equalizing Force
“A deity facing mortals.. There is a limit to how broken I’ll permit the multiverse’s balance to become.” Said a disembodied voice that resounded throughout the whole universe. One that did not only shock the champions that were in fighting positions, but also their opponents, Daniel and Elijah.
Following this simple sentence was the appearance of a woman with short black hair, and dressed in an overly long, almost transparent white dress. She had materialized in the space above the soon-to-be battlefield, from which she stared at the two invaders with an aloof expression that betrayed the slight anger present within her voice.
While devoid of any form of cultivation, this woman did not appear to have any problem surviving in open space, in which she floated by keeping her hands by her sides, slightly separated from her waist, as if she was an acrobat standing on a rope and trying to keep balance. Her legs, on the other hand, were crossed, with her left leg going behind the right one, allowing for her left foot to hook around the right one.
Despite this being the very first time both Daniel and Elijah had met this woman, both of them had immediately realized who she was. To Elijah, she appeared as a superior entity, a whole of what he was only halfway there to become. Her peculiar power, both shaky and on the brink of falling apart, and as stable as a mountain, roamed around her body with no beginning and no end, as if she was the power herself.
To Daniel, however, this woman appeared in a different light. While in possession of the same power that was hidden within his opponents’ bodies, yet in an infinitely higher amount, what gave her identity away was the complete lack of karma attached to her body, a detail that to him was more telltelling than the familiarity her unknown power made him feel.
Before either of the two could guess her identity, however, the cultivators who were on their way to attack Daniel and Elijah stopped their advance, and bowed low enough for their bodies to reach a ninety degree angle. “We greet our lady, Equilibrium.”
The lady did not acknowledge her champions. Instead, she kept observing the figures of Daniel and Elijah, an aspect of existence and a champion of Destiny, two entities whom she did not expect to be a part of the same team. “Chaotic and unpredictable..” she muttered while staring at the two. In her tone, Daniel and Elijah could feel a purposefully unrestrained hint of hostility.
Immediately, Daniel understood why Equilibrium felt the need to oppose him. Despite his lack of power, he was still an aspect of existence, one whose capacities a common cultivator could not fight against. For him to fight against her mortal champions was too vast a violation of her nature to stand. But, alas, Daniel was very conscious of his powers, which, contrary to the other aspects of existence, he was in charge of developing, instead of being born within an already developed version of it. Needless to say, he was no match for this gentle-looking, yet openly hostile lady.
Unwilling to start this fight, Daniel adjusted his posture, and after clearing his throat, said as arrogantly as possible, “I do not care for your followers, I am here to recover Conflict’s little ones.” If Daniel had any hope of surviving this encounter, he had guessed that his best bet was to pass as a regular aspect of existence, in which case arrogance was more regular than respectfulness, or kindness.
He had hoped that clarifying his intentions would prevent the current situation from escalating any further, as he had felt first hand the difference between his power and that of his opponent, which he instinctively compared to the difference between a stream and an ocean. Unfortunately, he soon realized that that was not the case, for he had underestimated the depth to which the concept of equilibrium was rooted within the woman’s mind.
“Your presence alone already breaks the balance.” Equilibrium retorted as her voice became louder, and even clearer than before, showcasing how unimpressed she was with her peer’s words. Her body, on the other hand, did not move.
Although for Daniel this was a dire situation, that was not the case for Elijah.
While he was sure that the aspect of Equilibrium saw him as someone who had to be destroyed at all cost, Elijah did not fail to notice that dealing with Daniel was the entity’s first priority.. To a point where his presence had fallen in the background. As he realized this, in a mind otherwise filled with thoughts of despair, fear, and surrender caused by the grim future that awaited him the moment his usefulness ran out, a glimmer of hope started to form.
“I-I have no stake in this.. He is my captor, and I, a prisoner useful only for the system I possess.” Elijah said while slowly backing away.
These words caused Daniel, Equilibrium, and the whole crowd behind her to turn their eyes in his direction. While confusion was the prevalent expression within the group of champions of Equilibrium, anger and shock were the ones that marked the faces of the two aspects of existence.
Daniel, enraged by Elijah’s betrayal, immediately took a hold of the karma that surrounded his body with the intention of pulling him back into his personal hell, but before he could accomplish that, the latter’s karma was blocked in place by Equilibrium’s powers, which formed a malleable yet unbreakable barrier around his body.
“What is your relationship with the aspect of Karma?” Equilibrium inquired while slowly floating closer to Elijah.
The interest of the powerful aspect of existence washed through Elijah’s body like a sip of fresh water, reinvigorating his mind and spirit. In a moment, he began spilling everything he knew, “I met him less than a month ago.. He had the ability to pinpoint my location precisely, and a knowledge beyond my own regarding the gifts of Destiny.”
As he finished speaking, Elijah turned to look at Daniel, who was now conflicted on whether to insist in his actions, or to try to salvage the situation once Elijah stopped talking. However, in the fashion of a champion of destiny’s cunningness, the latter did not give him the chance. “He is also in possession of a mortal’s cultivation. I have witnessed it.” Elijah added, dealing the last blow.
Seeing how Equilibrium turned towards himself with squinted eyes, it became clear to Daniel that Elijah’s words had helped the immensely powerful woman realize something he had never wished to be revealed. “You.. abomination!.. Your existence is an insult to Fate. I will rectify this mistake myself!” She barked out through her curled lips, angered by learning that Daniel was what her faction within the pantheon of aspects of existence had speculated about, and hoped would never come to be.. An evolved champion of Destiny.
With nothing else left to say, she instantly collected the power of equilibrium present within the entire universe, and solidified it around Daniel’s body, mind and spirit, trapping him within it.
Unable to react in time, Daniel could only observe as the world around him changed.
Every fiber of his being was quickly detached by the universe he was standing in, and in just a moment, he found himself within a negative space. A white universe which contained uncountable black dots which shined dark light from every direction. In the place where the aspect of Equilibrium stood, was now a massive scale, as big as a planet, and pure gold in color.
As Daniel saw this scale, he felt the pressure of everything within existence, but rather than weighing on him, this pressure was split evenly into two, each part resting over one of the two plates the scale was holding. Initially, both of these plates appeared empty to Daniel’s eyes, yet, the more he observed them, the more he felt that the entire multiverse balanced itself on them.
Employment and remuneration, a man’s valiance and a woman’s elegance, the filled and empty sides of a half empty glass.. the separation between classes, peasants, nobles and royals, mortals and deities.. Each of these comparisons, along with infinite more, depicted the natural balance of things, both solid or fragile, yet impossible to break, and all parts of the multiverse’s equilibrium.
As Daniel experienced the balance of all competing influences, his mind was slowly drawn to the scale, from which he felt the compulsion to get closer. For the first time, Daniel felt that his mental fortitude was useless, as the negative world around him was able to twist and stretch his consciousness as if he had left it unguarded.
Time itself seemed to distort.. stretched and crushed by the odd nature of the negative universe, and making the few moments Daniel spent in it feel like both instants, and eons at the same time. When a few interminable minutes later these influences dissipated, Daniel regained his composure. As he did, however, he realized that he was not standing in the empty spot of space he had occupied until now anymore, but floating on top of one of the scale’s plates, on which he slowly started to descend on.
Once his feet came in contact with the plate, Daniel noticed the space above the opposite plate change. In its otherwise milky white color uncountable images appeared, depicting worlds of common mortals, societies of cultivators, ecosystems of beasts, demons and monsters. Every form of life Daniel had ever encountered would make its appearance within this morphed space, lending its weight to the other side of the plate, which added up to the value that opposed Daniel himself.
While the opposite plate supported the weight of life and civilization itself, however, the only plate that was pushed down was Daniels, as the importance of his existence alone, in the grand scheme of things, was of a vaster magnitude that anything present on top of the other plate.
The plate on which Daniel stood slowly yet inevitably continued its descent, until finally, a few seconds later, the absolute bottom was reached.
Disturbed by this imbalance, the scale began to shake uncontrollably, cracks appeared on its surface, and pure golden light started to shine through each of them. However, despite all the cracks and signs of collapse, the one to suffer from it was not the negative space, nor the scale.. But Daniel.
From the very moment the first crack had appeared, a pressure had appeared on Daniel. A power that came from each direction, forcing itself against his body, compressing it, twisting it, and morphing it into unnatural shapes. “AAAAARGH!” He cried as his body went through the unbearable torture, one of the mind, body, and spirit. His voice, however, could not emerge from his mouth, making his scream of agony could not be heard.
This pressure became sharper the more the cracks widened, and stretched through the scale’s surface, multiplying the pain Daniel was feeling by how many times longer and wider each crack became.
This torture continued for several increasingly more painful minutes, after which, Daniel could not bear it any longer, as he felt every part of his being begin to fall apart. His mind, body and spirit separated on the plate, and each reacted to the pain differently.
His body quickly began to dry up, his hair fell, his skin turned to dust, followed by his flesh and blood. His spirit, unable to bear the imbalance’s pressure, desperately sought the comfort of the spiritual world, and his mind, now unable to form a simple train of thought, ceased any form of resistance, bearing the full brunt of the pressure in hope to find a quicker release before reaching for the underworld.
As Daniel’s very existence was annihilated, and his pained moans died in his throat, his last thoughts focused on the things that, to him, mattered the most. A few faint faces appeared within his now unstable mind, feeble voices rung in his ears.. Yet, nothing more. No time he had to reminisce about his past, not before the pressure reached the peak.
Unable to bear it any longer, Daniel’s body was vaporized, and his spirit was blown out like a candle fire. Only a fragment of his mind, the most resilient of the three elements of his being, had yet to fall.. Leaving him only enough sanity to realize that his death had come. Moments later, like an ember left at the mercy of a cold night, Daniel’s mind followed suit, and began falling into oblivion.
“This is your last chance. Find balance within yourself, and I will take care of the rest..” said a disembodied yet familiar man’s voice that breached the dampened space as if it did not possess restrictions at all.