“And done!” the perfect man smiles in a rather dopy way, like a puppy expecting praise.
“And what do you want, really?”
“Nothing, man. I just want to experience life a little, you know. Maybe have some fun here and there. Just enjoy life, you know!” I ignore his wiggling eyebrows as he moves his hands in a figure-eight shape. “I just need some power now and then. Going back to the big guy will basically kill me, but he’ll gain nothing! Not worth it, in my opinion.”
I take a good long look at the soul fragment. “Some power?”
“Yeah, man. Not this stuff though,” he gestures at the qi all around him. “And especially not the terribly smelling stuff that’s coming from that minuscule planet. That is just foul. You’ve got a little bit of the good stuff already, but I’d really like the energy of a few levels higher, provided freely.”
“I will see what I can do,” I reply carefully. I try to send him the feeling that I will hand him the world, but am extremely careful not to make any promises whatsoever. He thinks that mana is foul, qi is basic, and Will is barely passable. I’m having some trouble with keeping up, such a massive amount of my theories are either being confirmed or destroyed.
“Yeah man, I knew I could count on you. Anyway, I put those guys in their perfect places, you’ll see. It’s stable now too, so no worries about that man. You can pop through whenever.”
“And bringing them here…”
“Nah, man. That would have cost me a couple of thousand years of life! There is no way I want to go back to the big guy that soon.”
I keep my face from showing any form of emotion whatsoever.
“That gloomy guy pissed me off, so I tossed him in the closest dark territories I could find. That’ll show the little shit.” It’s seriously distressing to see his immaculate face twist in such a perverse and idiotic manner. It’s like a mentally handicapped person either got perfect genetics or perfect plastic surgery.
“Water chick, that one I tossed into that large pond. That white boy, I sort of lost him, sorry about that. The greedy one, I tossed down a gem mine. Thick and furry landed in some crop fields while the sharp-faced one, well…”
“Haha, I knew it. You’re fucking her, right? As a gesture of goodwill, I put her in the safest place, the biggest city I could find.”
My stomach sinks to my feet as I realize what he just said. “You threw Rhea into the biggest city?”
“Yeah, man. Should keep her safe while you venture to retrieve her! That way, you just can’t help but fall in love with a few other side-chicks, right? Dangerous situations that force you to work together? Having to couple-cultivate in order to survive, all that stuff. Fate seems rather tightly knit around you, so you’re bound to get fortunate encounter after fortunate encounter. Take your time here, though. It’ll take a while.”
“Take a while?” I know full well that I’m digging myself deeper into karmic debt here, but there is a fragment of a being many, many realms above this one speaking to me, and I need to confirm the basics, at the very least.
“Yeah, man. This place turned to shit because it took big daddy up there at least a couple of seconds to realize that the brat had stolen his credit jade. She is still being spanked while we speak. This is a dark space, though. Cost a lot of karma and energy to buy this stuff and get it here. He is not too happy about it.”
More theories are confirmed. This entire planet must have been here for hundreds of thousands of years, and this small eternity must have only been seconds in the higher realms. One more question, then. “And the difference between here and the Cultivation World?”
“Thousands! Energy takes energy to exist, you know. Dude, that is the biggest question, you know. Live hard or die low energy, you know. Even the universe agrees with that! So let’s have a party and just have a good time.”
Then I realize I’m done with this person. I make a holy vow to myself that I will never break apart my soul like this. I’m not sure what happened to this fellow, but if this soul fragment is similar to the main person, I’m not sure I want to meet him. “Thank you so much. Please feel free to explore. Please follow the tenets of freedom. I will strive to provide you with power, no strings attached, as thanks. Thank you.”
I then take a large step, getting over myself while burying my ego. I force myself to make a shallow bow. Then I step back into Tree.
Once there, I fall onto the grass. I see the last remains of a massive viewing screen wink out of focus, a cadre of pale braincores disconnecting from the projection. “You all saw?”
The general crowd around me all nod in affirmation. Lola appears above me, falls onto my chest, hops over to me, and stares me in the eye. I can see a strange fire in her dark, glassy orbs. A small hint of greed and a firm determination. She sends me a small thought, a dissatisfaction at being played around with by the perfect man. A desire to only let the ones she likes pet her.
“It’s going to be boring, though,” I reply.
Lola whips her little head to the side, flicking her blue and red forehead lock. She then curls into a ball and goes to sleep. “Sure, you spoiled little shit. Make me take care of all the tedious stuff, sure…”
I pick up the little sleeping form and tuck her in the crook of my elbow. Standing up, I see that I’m surrounded by a large number of silent faces. All of them are Foundation Realm students, and it’s quite the crowd. I do a tally and see that every single person of power and means is here. From the powerhouses like my original students to the latest one that has stepped into the Foundation Realm, one of Selis’ kids, they’re all present.
“Thoughts?” I ask.
“How?” asks a red-eyed Tess.
“I’m going to make everything here mine, take it all for me. Then I’m going to step across.”
She nods while sniffling and rubbing at her eyes. “The closest dark territories?”
“Probably the dark continent. Loads of necromantic and shadow guilds and sects. Ket will be fine, as he isn’t likely to be sacrificed in some ritual.”
“Selis?” asks one of the kids. He is clutching a spoon with a white-knuckled grip.
“Might be in the Holy Water Inference, that sect that based everything on ripples I told you all about. They have been carving that artificial lake for centuries now.”
Angeta speaks up next, her voice a barely contained ocean of hate. “The fuck is he talking about thick and furry? What crop fields?”
“I don’t know. Could be anywhere.”
“Where’s big bro? Is he really gone?” wails Ares.
Having to answer her breaks my heart. “I don’t know. He lost him. He can’t be that far, and he’ll be able to outrun basically anything but a sect elder.”
“Gem mine?” asks Rodrick.
“Not a clue,” I reply defeated. He nods and walks off, twirling his ax in his fingers.
“Re-Haan?” asks Bord. He winces as I look him in the eyes. His fat hand goes for his heart, as he likely feels a bit of what I am going through.
“Empyrean Lodge of Divine Light. She’s already biological immortal, so they’ll lock her up and start brainwashing her. The biggest city in the Cultivation World is an immortal production farm for line and file troops. All under control of a couple immortals from a layer higher. I’ll just have to break her out. Simple.”
Bord doesn’t give me a single sign that he understood. He just keeps looking at me. “Now what?”
“I’m going to take the entire planet for myself. Rhea already started the process. First up, I’m going to replace the portals with something of more substance. Then I’ll start taking it all in. You all are free to stay. New people go on the south pole. I’ll be in Tree. Don’t bother me.” Having said my piece, I leave.
I feel a twist in reality happening, and a certain perfect and empty-headed person appears in the spot I just stood. “Hey, this is a pretty nice place! Wow, it’s actually your dantian? And your dantian is in your head? That’s heretical on so many levels. I fucking love it! Oh, hello there. How are you doing.”
I ignore the chatter that follows, and just order Database to keep an eye on the clone. I also order Database to keep his name from me. Having a connection with someone that high up is just trouble. An ant never profited from a friendship with a human, and a single-celled organism never benefited from befriending a skyscraper. I can just rest assured that there is an endless layer of higher realms to visit, an even better perch from where to watch everything end.
Stepping into Tree, I slam the door shut behind me. The perfect voice that was talking about finding some food and a party cut off, and I finally allow myself to relax.
I barely make it to the circle room inside Tree before I collapse into a sobbing heap.Previous Chapter Next Chapter