WORLD OF GAIA
Lino sat upright on the bed, his head heaved slightly downward as he read through a thick book in his hands. He’s been lying in bed, ‘hurt’, for about a week now. The battle had long since concluded, with Demons retreating back into the shadows almost immediately after Lino was ‘hurt’. However, even the Demon’s invasion was unable to overshadow the mysterious items that were sold on the auction, all of which had the same, winged crest engraved on the surface. It meant that they were crafted by a single person!
No matter how much they inquired, though, Ava kept her promise and didn’t utter a word about Lino. This allowed him to rest mostly in peace, with her occasional visits and pestering with better and better medicine each time. Upon his request, she also allowed him to take a peek into the Major’s Library, which Lino deemed the best reward since coming here.
After his ascension to the Soul Realm, his ability to memorize and process things increased exceptionally. While it wasn’t at the level of instant memorization, he was still able to remember the contents of a single page after looking at it for five-six seconds. This was only possible, though, because of his innate ability to memorize things quickly.
For the past week, he’d learned a heap of new things which quickly broadened his horizons more than ever before. The knowledge tied to cultivation especially intrigued him, and he learned the clear distinction that was similar to blacksmithing. While Mortal Realm, Core Realm, Soul Realm etc. all had independent names, they were all technically categorized into a single stage at large: Foundation Stage. The stage lasted from Mortal Realm all the way up to Numinous Realm, with its peak being Level 280. Crossing that threshold would land one into the next stage: Immortal Stage. The latter itself was divided into six sub-realms, namely known as Exalted, Imperial, Eximious, Saintly, Heavenly and Godly.
However, what startled Lino the most when it comes to knowledge about cultivation is a single fact: since the dawn of time, not a single cultivator had ever reached the absolute peak. Not even the Bearers of Writs! This idea shocked Lino. Most of the people theorized that there even wasn’t a peak; they concluded this by looking at the currently most powerful being: Gaia herself. If she wasn’t omnipotent, yet was way beyond everyone else, didn’t that mean even she could improve further?
Lino finally accepted Ella’s words, that road of cultivation was an endless one, and breaking past one barrier only meant chasing after another. He couldn’t help but sigh; somehow, deep down, he found it pointless. What was the reason for it all? Chasing a ghost that may not even exist? For a simple reason such as inscribing your name in history books? To prevail over all others? To realize the truth? Lino simply shook his head. Those people were millions of years old, if not more; their reasoning wouldn’t be that simple. There had to be something else, something Lino wasn’t privy to at the moment.
Besides the cultivation, he also delved into the general knowledge of the world. The place he was currently at was actually just one of the three major continents, and it was by far the smallest one, at the very western edge of the world. Further north was a massive protrusion of land known as Demonic Battlefield, a grand expanse of land where battles and wars never ceased. Far away toward the east, once one crosses the Valley of Sects, reigned the supreme power of the continent: Divine Dynasty. Even further east, beyond it, was a Sea of Sorrows, known so because of the number of people who perished in its storms. If one is lucky to cross it, though, they’d arrive at the Central Continent, second largest one, besides the Holy Continent where the Holy Lands resided.
There wasn’t much detailed information, but Lino still learned quite a bit about the world’s geography. Besides these three continents, there were still two large masses of land, standing on opposite ends of north and south; they were known as Northern Expanse and Southern Expanse, and were mainly dominated by Ancient Races and Clans who had gone into seclusion. There was pretty much no information about them, though they did tickle Lino’s fancy for a moment.
Lino also further improved his knowledge when it comes to auxiliary fields, such as blacksmithing. There were literally hundreds of such professions, and Lino nearly got a headache trying to remember them all: alchemists, rune masters, array masters, formation masters, energy conductors, talisman inscribers... nearly every field was as deep as blacksmithing itself, though some were more important than others.
For instance, in most parts of the world, blacksmiths were revered as one of the top professions; however, once one reached the true upper strata of the world, rune masters would be the most valued ones as they, in conjunction with formation masters, can craft long-range teleportation stands, in addition to isolating smaller pieces of void into isolated worlds.
Again, Lino marveled at the knowledge; no matter how talented he was, he realized, he still wasn’t worth a speck of dust. Though Ava and others drooled over his weapons, he realized it was simply because of the poor state of Eastern Continent. Because most of the good materials were gabled up by the Divine Dynasty, the rest had to scramble for the pitiful remains. Even the sect-ranking was this continent-exclusive, as even First Sects here wouldn’t qualify to be called even associations in any other place, to say nothing of the Holy Continent.
He realized that the world was far broader than he expected, and that was only when the concurrent situation was taken into account; its history... Lino could neither laugh nor cry when reading just a surface account of everything. Origin Era - the eons of time people called the part of timeline without any records whatsoever besides living fossils that no one even dared to understand - Primes. Following it was Fiend Era, with the first signs of sentient life; after it was New World Era, where numerous races of the world began emerging into the spotlight; past it was Skyhaven Era, one in which Q’vil lived, marked by the Skyhaven Dynasty and mankind’s most glorious achievement - ruling the entire world for an entire Era. The era’s end was marked by the Skyhaven Dynasty’s fall against the newly emerged race - Titans. That era was promptly named Titan Era. Its end, however, was a mystery that hasn’t been solved till this day; as though overnight, Titans fell, and there wasn’t a single record for roughly eighty million years prior to the era’s end.
In their place, Four Great Clans arose: Human Clan, Devil Clan, Angel Clan and Godly Clan. The era was marked by endless wars between four Clans for the worldly dominance, one which none achieved by the era’s end; much like Titan Era, Four Great Clans Era also ended abruptly, with all four clans having withdrawn from the public eye.
After their retreat, new kind of force emerged into the world: cultivators. Martial Arts, Cultivation Methods, new, previously dream-like realms... cultivators dominated the land, and the most powerful ones soon gathered to create Seven Holy Towers, now better known as Holy Lands, which contained all of mankind’s knowledge.
The records of it are nearly intact, though general public only had access to some surface knowledge. However, the era’s end was publicly released for everyone, not because it was full of glory, but as a forewarning; Cultivator Era indeed ended over night. Though Lino was unaware of the story behind it all, one of the Seven Holy Lands at the time - The Fallen Sect - declared war against another Holy Land - Myriad Storms Sect. It was nothing unusual, as wars would break out often between Holy Lands, and some would fall while some would rise in the former’s ashes. What made this one different was a single entity - a Prime. For the first time in history, a Prime was fully woken from its slumber-like state.
Primes, also known as Primal Beings, are the only remnants of Origin Era, time before Gaia took hold of the universe. Nobody could gauge their power, nor have there been any attempts so far. This event simply showcased why; because they were losing the war, the Patriarch of The Fallen Sect at the time decided to do the unthinkable - wake the Prime they had in possession. Rumors state that the Prime had an appearance of a young boy with horse’s mane instead of hair and six sets of eyes. With a single wave of its hand, both sects were flattened till not even a speck of ash remained. Within a blink of an eye, nearly a million of most-powerful cultivators in the world died, with their Sect Grounds being formally declared ‘Forbidden Grounds’.
Immediately after, a world-wide pact was formed: everyone was forbidden from ever waking another Prime, no matter how dire the circumstances. Thus, the event marked the end of the Cultivator Era, and the start of the current Era: Warring Era. It was named so simply because since the day it begun, at least two Holy Grounds were always emerged in wars, to say nothing of weaker powers.
History was marred with bloodshed beyond reason, Lino learned; of billions and billions of people who’ve been born, he estimated that at least half died at someone’s hands rather than from natural causes. One might say that cultivation heralded mankind into a new age of prosperity, but it also intensified already existing conflicts to a completely new degree. Only now did Lino realize the weight of Ella’s words, that world of cultivators was one of absolute madness.
Eastern Continent was still somewhat different; cultivators here mingled often with mortals, and a semblance of normalcy remained despite the scuffles. However, the other two continents were completely different; one sign of weakness would have hundreds of cultivator mark you as an ‘easy target’. Lino put the current book he was reading, <Wars of Holy Lands>, and sighed. He at first thought that Holy Lands were impervious and tall giants that hadn’t changed since the day of inception; the truth was far different. Only a single Holy Land remained standing since the very beginning, while the other six tend to change every few generations or so. The solitary standing Holy Land was also known as the most powerful force in the world, and the utmost shield of Mankind against Devils: Heaven’s Chosen Sect. Have they turned over to Gaia? Or are they resisting? Is Ella’s Clan a Holy Ground as well? Haii... I’m way too young for this shit. I feel so cheated...