“Lingxi, I want to show you something.”
Xiao Lingxi was about to ask what when a pitch black slate suddenly appeared in Yun Che’s hands.
The moment her eyes made contact with the object, her heart suddenly shook like it had been struck full force by a giant hammer. Her inquiry never made it past her lips.
“This… is…” Even as she spoke, it felt as if her eyes and her mind had flown somewhere else.
“The Heaven Smiting Devil Emperor gave it to Meiyin before she left, and Meiyin to me afterward,” Yun Che said. “The engravings on the slate are probably—”
Suddenly, the seemingly inert, pitch black slate shone with a dark, devilish light.
“…” Yun Che cut himself off. It was the same anomaly as before, but it still stunned him nonetheless.
The light scattered quickly into several thousand smaller beams, but they didn’t travel into the distance. Instead, they paused unnaturally in the air before taking the form of many odd words.
It was the Divine Text of Absolute Beginning!
Xiao Lingxi stared at the strange, floating words dazedly. She mumbled, “It’s… the World-Defying Heavenly Manual again.”
The first time she saw the World-Defying Heavenly Manual, she had been surprised and perplexed by it. But now, her emotions felt a lot flightier and more difficult to describe.
Also, unlike the last time, the color of the floating text was pitch black. It could be the effects of the Heaven Smiting Devil Emperor’s power, or maybe it had been like this from the start.
“The World-Defying Heavenly Manual was split into three parts, and this is the last one.” Yun Che said with a sigh. “Even the gods and devils of the Era of the Gods weren’t able to reunite them. That it has been during our time can only be described as a miracle.”
The first part of the World-Defying Heavenly Manual had come from the Moon Slaughter Devil Sovereign of the Eternal Night Devil Clan, an ancient devil who just barely clung to life since the disaster of the Evil Infant's Wheel of Myriad Tribulations until he was ended by Yun Che.
The second part had been discovered by Qianye Ying’er in the God Realm of Absolute Beginning.
Finally, the third part had been in the possession of the Heaven Smiting Devil Emperor, an existence who was thought to have passed away an eternity ago.
The past, the present, and the beyond.
The three parts of the World-Defying Heavenly Manual had literally existed in three separate times and spaces until they fell into Yun Che’s hands.
For the first time ever, the complete version of the Ancestral Divine Art would appear to this universe. It was a boon not even the ancient Creation Gods and the Devil Emperors had the karma to partake in.
A long time later, after Xiao Lingxi showed no signs of breaking out of her daze anytime soon, Yun Che asked in a tentative tone, “Do you still recognize these characters? The Divine Text of Absolute Beginning?”
“Mn.” Xiao Lingxi nodded subtly. “Not only do I recognize them, I feel like I’ve seen this somewhere… even though I know that I’ve never seen them before.”
Yun Che: “… !?”
Xiao Lingxi slowly recited, “At the beginning of heaven’s end and the eternity of earth’s depths, the universe came to be, and the way stretches forever…”
“The lightning ached, the thunder severed, the cold labored, the ice perished, the wind mourned, the cloud grieved, the mountain sorrowed, stone lamented, the flame wept, the blaze sobbed; light and darkness fusing seamlessly only to return to nothing in the end…”
Xiao Lingxi’s slow, soft words flowed into his ears. Not a sliver of profound energy could be detected in her voice, but it easily intruded into the deepest corners of his mind and soul just like before.
Yun Che’s eyes were shut before he realized it. Not only that, his consciousness had, uncaring of his will at all, automatically blocked out all other sensory information and put him under a unique state of emptiness.
In this emptiness, there was only Xiao Lingxi’s voice and the Ancestral Divine Art that was slowly but surely growing complete with every word she spoke.
“… a heart spawns countless thoughts, but all thoughts eventually run out of desire, and the lack of desire leads to nothingness. However, nothingness creates countless spirits, and countless spirits nurture countless hearts… Man is not self, but self becomes more like Man as a result… The beginning of heaven, the end of earth, the creation of Primal Chaos, the conclusion of samsara… one way or another, it all returns to nothing…”
Xiao Lingxi didn’t notice Yun Che’s condition at all. She kept speaking even as her eyes grew more unfocused, her expression turned solid, and her voice steadied to the point where it was almost perfectly even and emotionless.
The World-Defying Heavenly Manual—the Ancestral Divine Art was unfolding in her mind and soul at the same rate as it crept toward completion in Yun Che’s…
In the sky, Mu Xuanyin was caught by hesitation after Yun Che and Xiao Longxi had entered their unnatural state. Worried as she was, she didn’t dare to approach them.
Moreover, Xiao Lingxi’s words were going in one ear and out the other. She couldn’t remember a single word even though she heard them clearly.
“This… is the World-Defying Heavenly Manual?” Mu Xuanyin whispered to herself.
“… Lightless is dark, darkless is light. Pathless is path, lawless is law. Only nothingness is endless and eternal.”
When the final word left Xiao Lingxi’s lips, the devilish light suddenly dispersed, and the pitch black Divine Text of Absolute Beginning vanished like it was never there. All that was left was the pitch black and inert slate sitting on Yun Che’s knees.
The color in Xiao Lingxi’s eyes suddenly dissipated. Her pupils vanished bit by bit as endless gray and white devoured the world before her eyes.
Suddenly, a blurry image appeared in the grayish white world. When she subconsciously tried to see what it was, a dozen more images appeared in the world. Their number quickly grew to a hundred, a thousand, a million, a billion…
The infinite images that appeared quickly and without warning easily blew apart Xiao Lingxi’s fragile soul sea. Her crumbling consciousness couldn’t sense it, but her body was falling back toward the floor.
Yun Che never noticed it from the start until the end.
What was nothingness?
Every animate and inanimate object in the universe was born from nothing, ended in nothing, evolved from nothing, and dissolved into nothing. It was the beginning and the end of everything.
What was the Law of Nothingness?
Yun Che was the only person in the universe who possessed it.
However, he couldn’t even begin to explain what it was.
It was thanks to the Law of Nothingness that he was able to absorb the energy of a profound crystal and even a profound beast’s profound core directly as his strength. It was why he could take control of any king realm’s lost divine artifact or divine origin power by force despite not having the necessary bloodline.
Common sense and basic laws simply didn’t apply to him.
He didn’t know how to circulate the Law of Nothingness. He couldn’t even sense it in his power or his body.
However, it didn’t stop him from doing impossible things such as achieving his current cultivation, outright ignoring the basic rules of the universe in many cases and more. It all came naturally to him.
To give an example, it was like his eyes suddenly but naturally grew the ability to identify a new and never-before-seen color. He didn’t need to learn, practice, study, use anything or employ any outside help at all.
He had never been able to study the Ancestral Divine Art Xiao Lingxi had kindly interpreted for him. He didn’t even know how to begin to do so. However, it didn’t stop him from suddenly—but naturally—gaining some sort of supernatural and rule-breaking ability afterward.
Not only that, the World-Defying Heavenly Manual had thrown him into weird and inexplicable dreams every time it worked its power on him, and this time was no exception.
Right now, Yun Che was contending with all kinds of strange “dream” fragments in his mind:
“Yuanba, you’re really way too awesome. Grandfather said that you’re the number one genius in Floating Cloud City, a genius that our Floating Cloud City might not produce again even after a thousand years. He also said that you might very well shake up the entire Blue Wind Nation in the future… I really really envy you.”
“Heh heh!… actually, I’m the one who envies you! You already have a little aunt and you can do everything together. But as for me, Mother passed away early and I’m the only person in the house, I don’t even have any brothers or sisters. If I had a big brother or sister… or even a little brother or sister, then I wouldn’t feel so lonely and bored anymore.”
“Then ask Uncle Xia to marry a few new concubines so that you can have lots of brothers and sisters.”
“My father just doesn’t want to. Every year, there are many people who are trying to get my father to take new concubines, but my father won’t relent no matter what.”
It was a familiar dream Yun Che had dropped into.
There was a marked difference, however. Previously, the “dreams” were blurry, ephemeral, and almost impossible to recall besides some bits and pieces. It was why he had paid them little to no attention previously. Dreams were naturally illogical and fleeting.
This time though, he was completely awake even though he was supposed to be dreaming.
Unlike the previous dreams, this one felt so clear that it was like he was actually present at the scene.
This time, he also had a clear view of Xia Yuanba’s dream appearance.
The Yun Che in the dream looked exactly like what he was in reality, but Xia Yuanba… the young boy looked to be around ten years old, and he was one year younger than Yun Che. However, he was about half a head taller, and his physique was unnaturally thin.
It was completely different from the brawny Xia Yuanba he remembered!
Moreover, his thinness wasn’t the skinniness of a ten-year-old. He looked thin only because there was little to no fat in his body. It was the kind of muscular physique that only a trained person could acquire.
It almost felt like every cell in his body was hibernating or something. They were just waiting for a great power to awaken them all.
Ten years old. He was just ten years old.
Yun Che hadn’t exactly led a long life, but he had never seen a body like this!
Even better, Yun Che’s soul shivered for an instant when he met Xia Yuanba’s eyes.
His young features were etched with concern and determination for dream Yun Che… but his eyes also contained a kind of power that pierced the soul itself.
Yun Che wasn’t the fragile young man of Floating Cloud City he used to be. He was the man who defeated the greatest profound practitioner ever to stand at the pinnacle of the universe. There was nothing and no one that could threaten him anymore.
However, the hidden light in young Xia Yuanba’s eyes had caused tremors in his soul. Him, the great emperor of the God Realm!
He was very familiar with Xia Yuanba’s Tyrannical Emperor’s Divine Veins. It was an incredibly rare talent even in the God Realm, so much so that he would’ve become a realm king had he been born in an upper star realm.
However… the divine light in this Xia Yuanba’s eyes was far stronger than even the real Yuanba’s eyes after he had awakened his veins.
It was… beyond even the supernatural body he had been gifted by the Tyrannical Emperor’s Divine Veins.
Forget seeing it, he didn’t think this extraordinary physique was even recorded in the long history of the God Realm.
If he had to make a comparison…
He would say that it was at least on par with the female-only talent, the “Heart of Snow Glazed Glass”.
Yun Che stared at the “dream” Xia Yuanba with the clearest eyes and coolest mind since he began having these dreams. At just the young age of ten years old, Xia Yuanba possessed a thin but unnaturally muscular physique, a talent that exceeded even the Tyrannical Emperor’s Divine Veins, and a completely different future…
However, he neither had an older sister nor any siblings whatsoever.
Why was his dream warped like this?
Why was it happening again?
And why did it all feel so eerily real!?