Lin Long felt all of his hair stand on end as the deafening roar smashed into his bleeding ears. The tremors that followed the roar shook his body and soul, while a sinking feeling in his chest overwhelmed him. It was horrible, and his disoriented mind barely held onto a bleak thread of consciousness.
Even without checking, he knew his internal organs had shifted, and his Blood and Qi were completely out of control. And although he was some two hundred kilometers away from the actual battle zone, the roars and blasts still affected him. It was Armageddon.
The ground kept shaking with such intensity that he thought it might burst open at any moment and swallow him whole, while the blasts gave him the illusion that the sky might fall at any moment. He didn’t know how long the dark cave he hid inside could hold on, and he could only pray for his safety.
He had gambled with his life, and all he could now do was await the results. If he won, he would be crowned King, but if he lost… well, nothing a shredded corpse need worry about. Curled up on the violently shaking floor of the dark cave, his blood-red eyes gazed at the soft silver glow in front of him.
Through his blurred vision, he could see a snow-white ball of fur placed in a peculiar, transparent crystal pond. The surface of the pond was calm as if the shaking ground was but an illusion that affected only him. The ball of fur inside, too, didn’t move an inch even after so much movement and noise coming from the outside.
It was all so strange yet magical. But Lin Long knew it wasn’t as simple as it looked. The crystal pond with the clear surface was some sort of ancient treasure, while the ball of fur…
Suddenly, an earsplitting beastly roar that seemed to have come from the deepest pit of hell crashed into Lin Long’s ears and mind. His already disoriented mind abruptly crashed and the monstrous roar knocked him unconscious. His breathing almost halted, and he appeared to be dead.
Still, the battle outside kept going.
“Ugh!” Lin Long moaned in pain as he regained consciousness after an unknown amount of time. Immediately, a splitting headache assaulted him, and waves of pain crashed all over his body. He felt as if someone was crushing his bones, and cutting him with blades.
Clutching his aching head, he opened his blurred eyes to get a hold of the situation around him. Right at that moment, a soft silver glow caught his attention and his body jolted up with a start.
“Argh!!” he growled in pain as he felt his organs shift further, and he spat out blood mixed with torn pieces of his flesh and injured organs. The pain hitting him from the inside made Lin Long fall forward on all fours, and he barely kept himself from fainting once more.
He looked ahead towards the soft, silver glow of the peculiar pond which previously contained a snow-white ball of fur, and realized that his treasure had disappeared. He could not see the ball of fur in there anymore.
Thinking that someone took away his treasure, Lin Long felt like howling his lungs out. But unfortunately for him, any big movement of his would certainly be lethal. A look of loss and despair appeared in his crimson eyes, as he accepted his fate.
He remembered the words his grandmother used to tell him, “If it is yours, not even the Heavens can take it; if it isn’t, then even a God can’t help you!”
Recalling the words of his late grandmother, Lin Long slumped down on the ground and let the weak silver glow of the pond illuminate his despairing face. Soon, he took in a long breath and sat up into a meditative posture, closing his eyes. His weak breathing started to get deeper and longer.
In just a few minutes, the traces of loss and despair were washed away from his expression. With eyes closed, he lost himself into a trance as he used the Natural Energies in the atmosphere to heal his internal injuries. Small specks of invisible energy in the air made their way over to the meditating Lin Long, disappearing into his body.
As Lin Long lost himself in his Cultivation, he failed to see the ripples on the surface of the peculiar pond. The pond — whose surface didn’t even budge when the land shook as if Armageddon was upon it — now showed visible waves originating from its surface.
Soon, a small ball of snow-white fur, which wasn’t there just a moment ago, surfaced from inside the pond. All the crystal clear liquid in the pond began swirling around with the ball of fur at its center.
The rotation of the water got faster and faster, as if it would speed up for an eternity. But then, without any indication, the liquid stopped as if something froze it. Abruptly, all of the crystal clear liquid acted as if it had gained life and enveloped the ball of fur from all sides, disappearing into it.
At the same time as all the liquid inside the crystal pond disappeared into the snow-white ball of fur, the soft, silver glow of the pond also disappeared — plunging the faintly illuminated cave into absolute darkness.
Not only could one not see anything inside the cave, there wasn’t any sound to be heard either. The sound of Lin Long’s breathing also disappeared, as if the void had devoured it all. Still, Lin Long had no idea of the happenings around him as he was lost in his trance.