Sovereign of the Karmic System - Chapter 581 - A Case Not Expected
The simple motion of eyes opening was able to blow away the dust that had accumulated on the vast surfaces of the temple for uncountable eons, giving way for an almost tangible light which radiated with impossible brilliance, and making the atmosphere extremely heavy.
Both this blinding light and feeble, yet unstoppable wind were accompanied by an overpowering pressure. One that did not weigh on the shoulders of others, but that grip at their throat, squeezing every form of rebelliousness out of their hearts.
The old man who had been sitting in front of the temple, however, did not appear to be affected by this pressure, as the dusty wind moved around and past him as if the space that surrounded his body was off limits. Instead of acknowledging the owner of those eyes, he quietly resumed the game of chess, unbothered by the shocking news that had awakened his opponent’s interest.
The avatar of Order who had come to report Equilibrium’s death, on the other hand, could not help but take a step back due to the pressure. He had yet to give a full report, yet he did not dare speak another word without being allowed to. As he stared at the eyes hidden within the darkness waiting for confirmation, an uncomfortable silence took over the whole island.
To interrupt this oppressive silence, a few seconds later, was the feeble sound of scraping wood that originated from beside him, where the old man had pinched his wrinkly fingers around a pointy piece with a small cross carved on the side, and dragged it across the board in a diagonal line, placing it on the g5 square. This move appeared to have taken a large portion of the old man’s focus-painting of him the image of a truly devoted player.
Once he made his move, the signs of focus seemed to disappear from the old man’s face, and were replaced by the same jovial smile he had shown when Order’s avatar had first arrived. “Nothing you have to tell him, you have to tell standing.” he said to the avatar, who turned to look at him with enough disdain and hostility to kill a man. “Or perhaps you do.” The old man then muttered through a faint smile before focusing once again on the board, on which the black pawn at the far right had mysteriously advanced by a square without making a sound.
*Tch* the old man sucked his teeth, “Always when I am distracted..” he whispered jokingly.
Order ignored the old man, and once again turned to look at the pair of milky white eyes, which soon after hinted for him to continue with the report with a slow, yet firm motion.
“A few days ago Equilibrium claimed to have felt the presence of an abnormal source of imbalance in one of Trade’s universes, and went to investigate..” Order began to explain to the pair of curious eyes. The report was short and concise, and with no unnecessary details.. Yet, as the old man moved his pointy piece back to the h4 square, once again catching the attention of the hidden entity, Order could not help but feel dejected, and wonder whether he was wasting his time with this report.
While all three of the beings present belonged to the same kin, a minute in the entity’s presence was enough of a reminder that even among deities, there were drastic differences..
Although most universes were part of a domain, and were used as the domain’s territory, that was only a regulation made for mortal cultivators. The reason why that rule had been set, was due to the incapacity of the members of different domains to share a territory without burning it to the ground.
This system, however, did not affect the aspects of existence, for they were beings whose powers went beyond the boundaries of their bodies, and reached far into each and every universe-Making the multiverse not something that needed to be split, but something that, to some extent, they all shared.
However, exceptions to that rule existed.
Among the thousands of aspects of existence, a very few ancient and powerful entities resided in universes where only their powers existed. Universes where their presence was so distinct and pure, that while inside them, they were omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. In these small domains, these primordial aspects lived in isolation, allowing themselves to be detached from the rest of the multiverse and its changes, for which they had no interest.
One advantage that the aspects of existence that shared the universes possessed, on the other hand, was the ability to feel each other’s presence even when their consciousness was not present. Like threads in a piece of fabric, they were intertwined, and connected to a point where any abnormality was felt. That was the reason why, when the aspect of Equilibrium had perished, most aspects of existence had felt her disappearance.. pulled out from the fabric like a loose thread-Yet, entities who isolated themselves in their omnipotence couldn’t.
Such important changes had almost never happened in history, hence why the higher aspects of existence did not regret the loss of awareness in exchange for isolating themselves in their own powers.
When Equilibrium had died, the first aspect to feel her disappearance, and reach the the place where she was last felt alive, was the aspect of Order, who had immediately fulfilled his duties and reported the events to the high lord he served.
To stop him from fulfilling his duty, however, was the entity’s lack of interest, as well as the continuous interruptions of the old man.
“Brother, I have never beaten you at a game before.. But this time, I have high hopes.” Said the old man with a matter-of-fact tone. Yet, as a satisfied grin formed on his face, one of the black pawns advanced by two squares, taking the place that was formerly occupied by the old man’s bishop.
Following this change, the satisfied smirk present on the old man’s face quickly disappeared, covered by a dry cough and a faint laugh.. a pale attempt to hide his embarrassment.
Irritated by the old man’s behavior, which appeared to be aimed at instigating him, the silhouette flared up with anger. He had had enough of being interrupted, and had the intention of giving the lowly old man a piece of his mind.. Yet, before he could say anything, the disembodied voice resounded once again, “Continue.”
The discontent present in Order’s mind, hidden behind the faceless silhouette of his avatar, immediately disappeared as he continued his report. “Not long after her departure, we felt a disturbance in the territory of Trade. It felt like a collision between two powers of existence, one of which overpowered the other greatly, so we thought nothing of it. However, soon after the disturbance grew beyond control, and our connection to that universe was cut off abruptly.” Order explained while taking a few steps forward in hope to get the old man out of his sight.
The mention of a universe being cut off from the rest of the multiverse seemed to light the interest of the hidden entity, as shown by his eyes which, for the first time, moved on Order’s avatar. The old man did not appear to share the same interest, as he quietly grabbed the pawn on E2 and pushed it forward by two squares. He then crossed his arms and remained quiet. On his face was a cryptic smile that neither of the two others noticed.
“As soon as we noticed the abnormality, we immediately moved to investigate.. When we arrived, we saw one of our kin, immersed in the void left by the collapse of Equilibrium’s core existence.”
As soon as the aspect of Order finished speaking, the pair of eyes closed, allowing for the darkness that once shrouded the entire hall to rule again. Then, the sounds of steps.
One step after the other, light, yet able to create ripples in space, and cracks on the pearly white ground that were immediately mended by a pure white light. The sound was faint, but threatening to a point where the aspect of Order had unconsciously stepped back enough times to once again have the old man in his field of view. To a normal mortal, the sound of these steps alone would send their mind spiraling, imagining gargantuan monsters swimming through stone and dirt to reach them.
The ripples created by the sound of steps left spatial rifts in their wake, unbalancing the surrounding spatial essence to a point where the avatar of Order, formed by a cluster of essence controlled by a fragment of the aspect’s consciousness, was phasing out of existence.
With a seemingly infinite crescendo the pressure kept increasing, until suddenly, from the darkness of the temple emerged an individual. A young boy who appeared to be no more than ten years old, with short snow white hair, and pearl-like eyes. His attire was in stark contrast to the old man’s tattered clothes, consisting only of a spotlessly clean white shirt with brown buttons, and egg shell shorts.
Despite the difference in both age and attire, one would be able to notice a stark resemblance between the young boy and the old man, almost as if looking at either meant looking at the past or future picture of the same person. At the same time, the same person would be able to feel that their existences could not be more different.
While the clean appearance of the young boy was like a sunny day, a peaceful morning untainted by the uncertainty of the future-A world where everything was clear, and in which the need to intervene did not exist, the old man was a moving world of darkness. A world that was in constant motion, and that was forged day by day.
These two contrasting yet similar entities, separated only from a matter of perspective, were also known as Fate, and Destiny.
Once uncovered, the young boy turned his childish, yet deadly serious face towards the avatar of Order. His lips opened slightly, yet, when anyone would have expected the young boy to speak with a voice that matches his appearance, his voice came out in different forms. Among the mixture of voices, all speaking the same words in unison, one could hear the voice of a young girl, a young boy, an adult man, an adult woman, and their elderly counterparts. “Who was it? Who did you find there?” Fate asked.
“You still have to make your move!” Destiny burst out in anger. His jovial attitude had now disappeared, replaced by an odd agitation that took the avatar of Order aback, but that left the young boy indifferent.
“SPEAK! WHO WAS IT!?” The six voices that emerged from the young boy’s mouth asked once again. At the same time, on the board, the pawn on G5 began to move. It’s movement was slow and its direction was diagonal. Its target was the old man’s bishop, which was turned to dust the moment the pawn touched it.
The sudden outburst increased the pressure by a thousandfold, causing the avatar of Order to begin to shatter. Starting from his toes and fingers, his limbs began to disperse into the surrounding space, burned off by the single power of existence present in this universe. The Avatar’s survival was barely kept in place thanks to the fragment of Order’s consciousness, which, while struggling to maintain its ability to talk, was able to utter a single word: Karma.
The young boy, who was showing anger just a few moments earlier, was now struck by a deep sense of confusion. His lips parted, his eyes stared into the pearly white ground, and the surrounding noises found in him deaf years.. Leaving only silence.
Unaware that the entity in front of him was capable of showing confusion, Order did not dare to utter a single word, contributing to the deafening silence that took over the entire universe. However, this silence did not last long.. “Hehe.. hehehahah.. HAHAHAHA!!” A giggle, once faint and private, became louder and louder, turning into a diabolical cackle, then into a deep and joyful laugh.
Both the young boy and Order’s avatar turned to look at the old man.. But while the latter expressed his shock and confusion, the former felt a profound sense of defeat instead. An emotion that only a dethroned king had any chance of understanding.
The old man soon stopped laughing, yet the satisfied smile never left his face. Instead of acknowledging the two entities that were staring at him, the old man picked his queen, and moved it diagonally until it reached the far right edge of the board, blocking his opponent’s unprotected king from ever being able to move again, and sealing the game in his favor.
As he committed the very first win against Fate to memory, Destiny muttered, “Do you see, brother?.. I told you.. I had a good feeling about this one.”