A shabbily-dressed youth leisurely cruised the busy streets while occasionally exclaiming softly when his eyes would meet something he enjoyed. Right behind him, a young woman with her head bowed nearly to her chest followed, her shoulders slightly slumped, yet her eyes brimming with strange fire.

The ‘outer town’ of the Su Family’s compound was the part that was open to public, and it saw quite a bit of traffic despite where Clan’s headquarters were stationed. There were merchants left and right as well as random travelers looking for better life. However, Lino didn’t pay much attention; he’d only occasionally exclaim upon seeing an above-average item.

He followed the main street and, after almost an hour, he found himself in front of a gated part. Walls made of green limestone rose to nearly six meters in height, wounding round the main headquarters. There were dozens of guards stationed in front of the gates and up on the walls. Gates themselves were made out of strange, yet sturdy wood, with a carving of sun and moon taking the centerpiece position.

To most others, this sight would appear majestic and even overwhelming; yet, to Lino, it was nothing but empty flaunting. However, he held himself back from ramming right through and instead casually approached whereupon he was stopped by one of the guards. Before the guard even had a chance to utter a word, Lino grabbed him by the collar, whispered something into the guard’s ear, and suddenly heaved his arm backward before throwing the guard over the gates and walls, toward the tallest spire.

It all happened so quickly that the other guards didn’t even have a chance to react; by the time they realized what had happened, the thrown guard was halfway through to his destination. The other guards, clad in yellow armor, quickly came to and raised their weapons. It was then that a deep, woman’s voice echoed from the depths, causing them all to freeze in spot.

“Stay your hands.” Lino recognized the voice; he’d forgotten the name behind it, but not the proud, filthy face. He looked up toward the tallest spire from which a woman, followed by dozens of people, flew out. She flew rather quickly, stopping as she reached the gates, looking down at Lino. “...” Lino noticed a complex flash of emotions inside the woman’s eyes, yet seemed entirely indifferent to it. Behind the woman, he saw several familiar figures, including old man Van, Velin and even Sylvia. “I’m sorry.” the woman spoke.

“...” Lino looked at her, yet wasn’t really paying attention to her; his focus was on the shaking body behind him. “Aeala,” Lino spoke softly. “Fish... Kraval... Smite... Shaneine... Freya...” Lino continued in a rather soft voice, yet the kind which hid cold sharpness of death. “I may be selfish, but even if you abandoned the entire village and took them with you... I’d have thanked you rather than anything else.”

“... there was no time--”

“I’m not here to hear your excuses,” Lino said, interrupting the woman; his attitude seemed to have annoyed quite a few people behind the woman, yet he didn’t even look at them. “The only reason you abandoned them is because you thought I couldn’t threaten you. I get that,” Lino suddenly smiled. “Self-preservation is, after all, a powerful thing.” the woman suddenly had a strange, dangerous foreboding appear inside her heart, causing cold sweat to break out as she looked at the boy through whom she still couldn’t see. “And know that, while I’m removing your name from the annals of history,” Lino’s smile suddenly turned frigid, his eyes like two mirrors reflecting nothing but pure chaos. “I’m doing it with full understanding of your actions. I ask the same of you.”

“Humph, you... erasing our name?” the woman’s brows furrowed quickly as she stared at the youth beneath her; she at first wanted to offer him to stay here and cultivate, and even help him the best way she could. However, all those feelings immediately disappeared when she heard Lino threaten her Clan. “If I were you, I’d turn around and leave while I still hold some good will toward you.”

“...” Lino smiled softly, a smile of almost boyish innocence, as he extended both his arms. In one, a radiant spear appeared, seemingly causing a roar of a dragon to echo out. In the other, a slick and straight sword appeared, cyan sheen atop its surface, exuding chill of the frost. “Here’s to their amaranthine voices.”

A dangerous feeling once again swarmed the woman as she called out “RETREAT!!!”. Just as her voice bellowed out, Lino threw both the sword and spear with all his strength toward the gates and the walls. Both immediately imploded as though they were made of paper, causing one explosion after another to echo out while rubble of stone and wood flew like an upward rain all around. His eyes grew colder by every second, his arms still extended whereupon a sword and a massive axe appeared.

Without pausing, his muscles bulged as he threw them both toward the sky where a woman suddenly pushed her arm forward, causing a strange, mystic shield-like screen of light to appear in front of her. The screen managed to repel the sword, but when the axe crashed into it, it too collapsed just like walls, sending the woman spiraling backward like a kite while spitting out blood.

“MADAME!!” voices cried out, but Lino was unaware of them. Inside, only a single voice can be heard.

[Analysis complete...]

[Body’s Endurance is enough for forcible increase...]

[Level increased to...]

[Level increased to...]

[Realm Reached: Purity Realm...]


“NOT ENOUGH!!!” Lino cried out; his veins were pulsating as though alive, eyes bloodshot red as though he was bedeviled, his voice deep and almost inhuman.

[Level increased to...]

[Level increased to...]

[Level increased to...]

[Realm Reached: Illumine Realm]

[Level increased to...]

[Realm Reached: Numinous Realm]

[Further increase may damage--]


[Level increased to...]

[First Transcendence Achieved...]

[Realm of the Exalted Reached...]

[Temporary Title Obtained: Exalted Empyrean]

[8 Gates were forcibly opened...]

[Time remaining: 1h]

[Recovery period: 3-10 Years]

Lino felt power well beyond his understanding surge through his veins; it was familiar yet completely alien. He knew how to use it instinctively, yet felt as though chains were restricting him. He knew he didn’t have a lot of time, so he entirely disregarded everything except achieving his goal. Though his body bled from every inch, and pain assailed as deep down as it can go, his focus remained on the figures in the sky.

Extending both his arms, the familiar spear and sword suddenly flew back to him. Lucky stood behind, utterly shocked; she could feel the boundless aura coming from Lino. Even if it wasn’t directed at her, it was suffocating; it seemed almost as though he belonged to another world entirely...

“E-e-exalted!!!!!” the woman finally came to her senses as she focused toward Lino yet again. However, when she sensed his aura, she felt her heart and soul freeze at the same time. She wasn’t alone; nearly everyone was shaking by now. No matter how strong they were... they were like children causing ruckus in front of this seemingly ordinary boy before them. “Sun, come to me!” without putting on any airs, the woman immediately summoned the Clan’s Defensive Artifact; it was their only chance at survival.

Golden sphere of light flew from its usual position, followed immediately by the smaller, silver-colored ones. Lino stared at the artifact for a moment, suddenly grinning as he brandished his two weapons tightly. His main goal wasn’t Su Clan; he needed to wrap things up quickly here and go back. Go back to try and find Freya even though the chances of that happening were minuscule at best.

It was then that the day suddenly darkened and turned to night; only the singular source of it remained, that being the golden sphere. It rose above the woman as everyone except her suddenly fell down onto the earth and knelt down, as though praying toward it. However, Lino was able to perceive thin threads of Qi traveling from them toward the artifact, powering it.

“First Form-” the woman cried out as she extended her arms. “Eternal Night!” for a moment, Lino felt strange sense of sluggishness overwhelm him, yet with a single circulation of Qi, it was immediately dispelled. He knew that, in order to achieve what he set out to do, it didn’t matter whether he killed the entire Clan or not; what mattered was whether the Defensive Artifact remained or not.

Lino knew the names of its forms, but didn’t know what those forms did. As such, he was slightly surprised when he realized that the Artifact actually suppressed light coming off both his weapons. He was shrouded in what appeared to be eternal darkness, and such thoughts tried to vie into his mind. He smirked for a moment, realizing it was similar to an illusionary formation.

“Cheap tricks...” he scoffed, sending Qi into his feet.

A moment later, alongside a thundering surge of lightning, Lino heaved into the sky, barreling toward the woman with speed that she couldn’t possibly follow, or he could possibly control. He barely managed to stick out both his weapons toward the Artifact as the clash occurred.

A massive explosion followed, causing a shockwave which blasted for miles on end, immediately expelling the darkness surrounding the main compound. One building after another toppled over, causing stone and rock to wash over the now emptied streets. Lino was forced backwards, but appeared uninjured; on the other hand, the woman was already bleeding profusely, feeling stifled from the depths of her soul.

Her entire being was now connected to the Artifact, and the latter was actually damaged in that clash; perhaps even more shocking was that the First Form - Eternal Night was actually forcibly sealed and couldn’t be used anymore! Though she knew Lino was an Exalted, she still believed she could somehow take him on with the Clan’s Artifact. Yet, now, doubts began to creep in; is this really the end? No! We have prevailed for thousands of years!! We won’t fall because of some brat who can’t control his emotions!

“Ha ha ha ha ha,” Lino laughed freely, almost like a madman as he landed back on earth; the sword suddenly crumbled and turned to ash, but a mere blink later, another one appeared, this one exuding a fiery sheen instead. “Hide, hide, hide you fucking whore!! Let’s see how long you’ll be able to hide behind that shitty item of yours!!!” by now, he was overwhelmed with the same old feeling of boiling blood; even if someone told him to stop right now, he wouldn’t be able to. Even if that someone was Writ itself.


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About the author


Bio: Bad writer, worse painter, terrible singer. Accumulation of all things gone wrong. Rather proud of it, actually.

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