Sovereign of the Karmic System - Chapter 580 - Born From A Mortal’s Ashes
After the death of Equilibrium, and the departure of her murderer Conflict, Daniel was left standing by himself, in a patch of space that once hosted the encounter of three aspect of existence, but that had now gone back to its usual quiet state. In his mind, Daniel could not help but reconsider his position.
While his encounter with the aspect of Equilibrium had almost been fatal, and had cost him something that the former he wouldn’t have been able to put a value on, the current Daniel, as the aspect of Karma, had gained from it. Facing the weight of his imbalance had helped him realize that the mortal side he was so stern in preserving, was a stain within his existence as the aspect of Karma, and that only by shedding it, he would be able to become a true aspect of existence.
With this evolution Daniel could feel an even higher attachment to Karma, whose every speck he could feel no matter how far away they were. Furthermore, by expanding his senses through the void, and into the other universes, Daniel noticed that the reach of his control had increased greatly, allowing him to, had he wanted to, to judge an entire universe’s worth of life at the same time.
Unfortunately, this evolution did not come without a cost. His unified essence had broken, separating his mind, spirit and body into three separate elements, forcing him to bear the constant struggle of three powers that, no matter his attempts, would never be able to merge again. He was no longer a perfect cultivator, but a spiritual, martial, and mental cultivator in one body.
By this change alone, Daniel knew that, as independent elements, if he lost either of the three, the remaining two would not help the damaged one’s recovery anymore, causing the last bit of mortality he had left to dissipate. His body would decay, and his spirit would leave for the spiritual world, awaiting reincarnation.
Despite this being an immense loss for Daniel, he was not worried about it, for he knew that, unless another aspect of existence annihilated his consciousness, he would at some point in time be reborn within the power of Karma, of which the universes were being filled bit by bit every day.
His biggest concert at the moment, were the hundreds of eyes that were staring at him from within the darkness of space. Each powerful and distinct, and all showing their clear and open hostility towards him. While threatening, however, the entities behind these eyes did not dare to approach carelessly. Whether that was because they were alerted by his apparent ability to destroy one of their own, or whether they needed their superior’s permission to act, Daniel did not know.
As he noticed this unwillingness to attack, Daniel put these presences to the back of his mind, and began thinking of his next step.
All Daniel had done so far was to protect the family and friends he had left behind. That had been his only goal, as well as the fuel that had allowed him to push through all the obstacles he had faced. However, now, Daniel the cultivator, father, friend, and husband, was no more. What was now in its place was the impartial aspect of Karma, who judged mortals based on the nature of their actions.
The path to become such a being had been forced upon him, leaving him no choice but to forgo his goals-Yet, those goals had not been abandoned yet. Before getting rid of his attachments, Daniel had made a deal with himself. He had sworn that the only reason he was willing to give up on his mortality was to survive this ordeal, and that by doing so, whatever entity would emerge would be bound to fulfill his wishes.
Once free of his mortal attachments, Daniel the mortal cultivator had died, and the aspect of karma had taken his place.
While not truly bound by this agreement, Karma, who now felt no attachment to his friends, family, and followers, intended to respect the wishes of his former self. Not because of his good heart, or because his integrity forced him to repay a debt, but because the mortal he had taken the place deserved it.
All the positive karmic power Daniel had accumulated through his life, had now been burned away, making his mortal self unable to receive the repayment of all the good actions he had performed as a mortal.. And this, Karma could not accept. It was for that reason that, while not bound to it, he had accepted the request of his former self to protect his loved ones, at least from threats that they were unable to stave off by themselves.
In order to do so, he needed to find them.
With a simple thought a speck of karma emerged from Daniel’s body, and floated in front of him. Within this small golden light was the figure of Elijah, whom he had recovered in order to prevent Conflict from killing him. As he suffered the pain of his karma, Daniel remembered how, when he was facing Equilibrium, Elijah had betrayed him, and exposed his nature as a former champion of Destiny to the late aspect of existence, whose goal immediately became to destroy him.
Had Daniel not needed Elijah’s system to find the members of his group, Daniel would have left him in his personal hell for the rest of eternity, or at least, for the eons it would take for all the negative karma he had accumulated to be consumed.
With a second thought the speck of golden light expanded, turning into a human-sized bubble inside which were displayed the memories that the champion of Destiny was reliving. The size of the bubble kept increasing, making the surface thinner and thinner, until finally.. *POP!* The bubble burst, releasing both Elijah, and the karma that was attached to him and that fueled his sufferings.
“AAAAAHH!” Screamed a discombobulated Elijah who just a moment ago was being tortured, and ripped into bits by a shadow that was just mimicking what he had done in the past. Even after several seconds of being freed, the images, the pain, and the unspeakable suffering he had experienced were still clear in his head, making the awakening a long and tortuous one, incomparable from just waking up from a normal nightmare.
As he realized that he had been freed, the feelings of pain disappeared, but not the fear, for he knew that the next time he would leave his personal hell, he would either have to face the omnipotent Conflict, who would likely smite him out of existence, or Daniel, the aspect whom he had betrayed.
“I-I.. It was the only way out I h-h-had..” He muttered to a seemingly indifferent Daniel. As he noticed the absence of understanding in his opponent’s face, Elijah tried to think of what he could say to keep himself out of his personal hell, but before he could think of anything, Daniel stopped him.
“Read to me the mission’s update.” Daniel ordered with a tone that was drastically different from the one Elijah was used to. It lacked any form of humanity, and it was marked by the characteristic elements of an aspect of existence.. Indifference, coldness, and aloofness.
Elijah did not dare question these changes, and immediately followed the orders. He closed his eyes and sought for his system to respond, and after a few moments, reopened them. Just as he was about to describe the changes in the mission’s window, however, Elijah felt a very distinct mental power penetrate his mind, and reach for his most recent memory, where was hidden the system’s window. There was no need for Elijah to guess, to know that Daniel had chosen to pry his memories, as he preferred it from listening to him talk.
Daniel’s behavior worried Elijah greatly, to a point where his fear turned into desperation. He immediately began pondering on how to increase his value to the aspect of existence, unbothered by the fact that Daniel’s mental power was still inside his mind, and that anything he thought was quickly read through.
Unfortunately, nothing of what Elijah could think of made the cut, and before he could start negotiating, the champion of Destiny felt the feared sparks of golden light attach to his body. “NOOOO!! PLEASE!!” he screamed in horror as he was dragged back into his personal hell, unsure of whether or when he would be able to get out again.
After reabsorbing Elijah’s karma, Daniel released his spiritual essence, and used it to encompass the unconscious champions of conflict, whom he then stored into a spatial ring before disappearing from where he was standing.
As his silhouette disappeared, several consciousnesses diverged where the battle had taken place, each looking through every detail of what had ensued, committing it to their minds so as not to forget any of it.
In an unspecified universe, floating through an unknown patch of peaceful space, was a milky white island. This island was not particularly big, and could be only compared in size to a large city, but its appearance was nonetheless unique and majestic. What made this island dazzling to the eye was not the fact that it floated endlessly untouched, but the fact that it appeared to have been carved out of an enormous pearl, just like the grand temple that was built on top of it.
This temple was quite simple, composed of hundreds of enormous white pillars that supported a twenty feet tall frieze, and on top of it, a pediment on which were carved the silhouette of evermoving waves. In the innermost part of the temple was an immense inner chamber which no one, throughout the uncountable years of this temple’s existence, had had the pleasure to see.
By the entrance of this temple were a vast flight of stairs which connected its
base to a large platform, one which could have held a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people, but that was only occupied by a single old man dressed in brown tattered robes.
This old man appeared to be at peace with his surroundings, as he sat with his legs crossed in the middle of the square, while facing a small wooden table on which rested a wooden board underneath several carved pieces. The man’s attention seemed to be focused on the board, for it was his time to make a move.
For what felt like ten minutes, the old man raked his gray beard and chewed on his lip. His golden eyes were aimed at one piece in particular, which, based on the attention the man gave to it, one would guess was the most important piece on the board. “I grow tired of this game.” the old man uttered. “How about a different one?”
While the man’s tone was apathetic, that was only a front to hide the bitterness he felt due to the umpteenth loss, which added to the nearly infinite winning streak of his opponent. This had been a recurring event through history, one which he wasn’t able to change no matter how often he tried, and that went on for so long that his opponent had stopped caring for his childish behavior.
Seeing the lack of a response, the old man smiled in satisfaction. In just a moment the board and pieces on top of the wooden table disappeared, and in its place, appeared a different board, square in shape, and painted in a white and black checkered pattern with black and white pieces of various shapes on top of it.
With a satisfied grin, the old man placed the black and white pieces in four rows, two facing his side, and two facing the opposite side, with the whites being placed in front of him. Once done, he pinched the top of one of the white pieces, and moved it forward by two squares. “Pawn in d4.” he muttered to himself before turning his attention to the large temple.
A few moments after the old man made his move, a piece similar to the one he had just moved started to move on its own, advancing two boxes, and stopping on f5.
Amused by this move, the old man once again started staring at the board. As he resumed brushing his beard, he said, “This game is called Chess, it’s played..”
“I know how this game is played. Just make your move..” Interjected a disembodied voice that resounded through space, and that seemed to originate from every direction.
*Sigh* “Never change, brother..” the old man whispered before suddenly turning to the side, where the silhouette of a tall man appeared.
This simple silhouette emanated a stable and immense power, one that stood strong regardless of the forces that went against it, like a tree facing a storm, or a cliff standing still against the ceaseless erosion of the waves.
“Order! Do you want to sit and play with us?” The old man said with a jovial tone. One that only found in response a scowling look from the silhouette.
Ignoring the old man, for which he did not appear to spare any positive emotion, the silhouette turned towards the temple, and with a tone as respectful as possible, said, “Equilibrium.. Our sister is.. gone.”
As these words were spoken, past the pearly white pillars that cast shade into the enormous dark chamber, two large slits were opened, revealing a pair of pure white eyes.