REIGN OF CHAOS (III)
How did the world begin? Since the dawn of time, many had pondered the conception of everything, the distant beginning, the start of everything known. Be it ere old Writs, Spirits, or countless races that rose and fell over the course of eons, they were not exempt from it. However much they pondered, however, no one quite knew the answer; how to understand the beginning when there are no records of it? No remnants whatsoever.
Many still, though, envisioned their own versions -- their own tales and stories over how the life came to be, how the sky cloaked the earth, donning the heaven’s crown. Lino, similarly, wasn’t free of the questions; what he couldn’t care for whilst growing up had come to consume a part of his thoughts for the last few years.
<Primordial Genesis> -- eighteenth form of the <Sword of Chaos> -- was the embodiment of what Lino believed happened. Eighteen Elements of Creation, bound together through the Entropy, dissipating into the forms and shapes that would come to form the universe, and the world itself.
The eighteen blades that had seemingly orbited the sky suddenly exploded up into curving pillars, encapsulating the entire valley within their domain, entirely ripping it apart from the rest of the world. Lino hovered at the center of the domain, surrounded by confused and alert men and women who seemed rather desperate over getting out.
Soon, eighteen shimmers of light emerged at the pillars’ bases, slowly rising up like sun on the sky over the pillars, bounding toward the topmost singularity. The world shook and shivered, yet all the sounds remained snuffed out; cries for help started and ended in their lungs, their questions, ponders... the middle-aged man soon came to realize they were frozen. They couldn’t move, speak, couldn’t even breathe. He realized they were cut off from the world; this surrounding darkness... wasn’t of this world.
If he could extend his arm, he could nigh grasp it, take it and embody it. He truly felt as though he could come to visualize the Chaos itself if only he wasn’t barred. The desire grew, the haunting gaze in his eyes only too similar to everyone’s. They all felt the same, as though the Chaos belonged to them rather than the Empyrean -- rather than to anyone else.
The lights of varying colors rose slowly and steadily, eventually reaching the top. No one knew the passage of time, not even Lino himself, as time here didn’t exist; Laws didn’t exist, nature didn’t exist, nothing save for the entropy trapping the eighteen elements.
They combined into one... and all ceased. Thoughts stopped, and even Lino wasn’t spared the consequences. Then, a stark pillar of milky-white light descended from the singularity, showering Lino and freeing him. The light was warm, tender, caring, almost childlike; he could almost hear the hymn of colorful voices singing into his ears, could almost feel the touch of countless fingers, could almost smell every single scent known to the world, could almost taste every drink, every bread, every meat, fruit and the ilk... the light was horrifyingly calm, unnaturally tranquilizing as it washed him clean.
It was beyond beautiful to behold -- not just to him, but to everyone else; they couldn’t rip their eyes away from it, a new-sprung desire to dive headfirst into it birthing inside their hearts and minds and replacing the faith of becoming the beholder of chaos. Yet, they couldn’t; whether it was the fact that they couldn’t indulge in the light’s life, or the fact that the ensuing inferno that the light would use to consume everything as it touched the ground hurt them more, Lino didn’t know.
He did know, however, that the light devoured everything within the domain. They couldn’t even fight -- or, rather, they didn’t even put up a fight. They welcomed the all-consuming light, they welcomed their deaths with arms wide open and expressions of lustful desires. In their eyes, Lino could see, it was almost as though they felt like they were born to begin with for this moment alone -- that all their lives were just a big lull, a waiting period, until this very moment.
By the time the light dimmed, Lino found himself in the realm of pure matter and energy. There was nothing still, no shape, no form, just a mass of purity that he, too, welcomed with open arms. It breached past his defenses, circling his Singularity before diving in freely in droves.
His enshrouded body slowly disappeared as he returned to being who he was all his life. Standing far up in the sky, he was surrounded in blinding light as the dome collapsed, its innards revealed to the world. The latter simply had no means to quickly fix the destruction, and was forced to show the living the gaping wound left in its crust; for nearly sixty miles across... there was nothing. Just a single man, floating high up in the sky, shining like the missing sun.
[Ascending to Aeviternal Realm...]
[---Base Stats increased by 40%...]
[Efficiency of Qi increased by 40%...]
[Qi capacity doubled...]
[Ascending to Oeuvre Realm...]
[--range of Divine Sense tripled...]
[Obtained ‘Mind Eye’ -- can see through illusions more easily]
[Resistance to Soul Attacks increased by 80%]
[Ascending to Bezaleel Realm...]
[--obtained ‘Heavenly Aura’ -- Spirits are more likely to be friendly...]
[Life expectancy doubled...]
[--ability to create Chaos Qi directly from the surrounding Qi obtained...]
A robotic voice soon listed out a string of notifications inside Lino’s mind; the latter, however, was too preoccupied by a massive surge of strength, of capacity he couldn’t quite grasp just yet, to notice. Everything around him grew seemingly smaller, the feeling of invincibility temporarily taking over. His eyes opened momentarily as Qi in his surroundings suddenly stirred, shimmering like a wave.
“... not enough.” he mumbled faintly as he suddenly bellowed out into the world, stirring his Will to encompass nearly half a mile around him, devouring the last bit of light and Qi he could as he stirred his Singularity more and more.
Suddenly, a massive boom sounded out with him as a source, the resulting shockwave shaking the skies. A straight-laced pillar of black light descended from the darkened sky and hit him squarely, devouring him whole for a moment. Crying out in pain, Lino grit his teeth and endured as every single inch of his body began bleeding, every cut seemingly stirred further by burning alcohol. Inside and out all he felt was pain, his mind shuddering and shivering, the desire to simply crawl into the earth and hide nearly overwhelming him.
He didn’t give in, however, enduring with all that he had; nearly the last shred of his Will would collapse before the pillar disappeared, leaving him tattered and blooded, hanging in the sky.
[Ascending to Godhood...]
As though the time itself had reversed, all his wounds healed immediately, his body straightening like a spear. His eyes shone momentarily in blinding white, the world around him seemingly bending and kneeling to his Will.
[Betrothal of the Imperishable -- achieved...]
[... Realm of the Ineffable obtained...]
[Level increased to 851...]
[Fifth Gate Opened -- connection to Law of Madness established...]
[Rewards: <Method to Madness>, Primal Spirit]
Lino slowly descended and landed on the ground where he was welcomed by the smiling Hannah who had a rather peculiar expression on her face, as well as the duo behind her who didn’t even dare look up and meet his eyes for some reason. He quizzically glanced over them for a moment before shrugging and leaving them be, glancing back at the destruction that was just slowly now beginning to repair.
“--well, at least I proved a point.” he said, chuckling bitterly. “Not sure what kind of a point, but a point nonetheless.”
“So... how long are you gonna keep up that facade?” Hannah said, suddenly poking his side upon which Lino grimaced and groaned, growling at her after the fact.
“W-what facade, woman? I’m as perfect as I ever was. Untouchable. So don’t touch. Please, for the love of god don’t touch.”
“Ha ha ha, alright, alright, I won’t touch,” she said, punching him lightly on the shoulder; Lino suddenly shuddered and cried out lowly, falling on his behind in the process. “Oh shit, sorry.” she hurriedly tried to help him up as he screeched and backed away.
“I just said it! No touching! All you had to do was abstain! Keep your lust in check! You goddamn nymphomaniac!!”
“... is this really the sort of face you want to show to our new friends here?” Hannah said, barely holding back from laughing as she pointed at Litha and Vyrove.
“I could literally shit on their heads, and they’d still see me as just the guy who kind of ripped a hole in the world.” Lino shrugged.
“Why do you always go for most disgusting ends?” Hannah sighed. “I mean, I’m a patient and understanding lady Lino, but I’m still a lady.”
“--really?” Lino smirked. “Hey, you two, on the scale of one to ten, how batshit insane is she?”
“Say one!!” Hannah yelled at them. “Just say it!!”
“Hey, hey, don’t encourage people to lie,” Lino chuckled, walking over. “As they say, honesty builds bridges that cannot be burned.”
“Who the fuck is they?! Nobody says that! Literally! Well, except you. Are you everybody? Do you suddenly hear a lot of voices?!”
“... hey, I’m all for the friendly banter, but you’re breaking my heart over here.”
“Be happy it ain’t your bones.”
“Why are you so angry?! I’ve literally done nothing!”
“... except call me insane? Khm, sorry, ‘batshit insane’?” Hannah smiled coldly.
“... oh. Yeah. There was that. But, hey, as they say, there is method to my madness, and there is beauty to yours.”
“... there is no ‘they’, is there?” Lino asked, sighing.
“There’s never ‘they’. Just say things, don’t attribute them to some ghost because you’re afraid people won’t like what you’re saying.”
“What did we say about speaking truth in this relationship?!”
“Do it because it’s fun to see Lino trying to patch back up his shattered reality?”
“... you’re a cruel, cruel mistress, Hannah.” Lino said, chuckling lightly as he glanced back at the destruction once more. A lot has happened today, not just for the world, but also himself; he’d gotten much stronger than he anticipated, did things he didn’t even dream he was capable of, and it was still only just the beginning. The true reign of chaos... was yet to come.