Dyon stood with Ri outside of the Acacia Academy inner world in a daze.
In the sky, he saw the fiery words that still burned, seemingly pulling him in. Dyon smiled to himself, 'interesting…'
Ri hit him on the shoulder, "don't stare at it for too long, are you trying to burn your eyes out of their sockets? Even the elders couldn't stand to stay in the castle."
Dyon chuckled, not explaining anything. She already hadn't believed him once today, what was the use in adding to that total?
But, out of curiosity, he wanted to hear what people thought of the words in the sky, "hm, that definitely wasn't there last time. What happened?"
Ri looked up at the words in annoyance, "that arrogant Zaltarish guy recently manifested his soul. So, I'm sure you understand his arrogance now."
Dyon smiled, "really? Does this sort of thing happen all the time?"
Dyon truly had no idea about what occurred during manifestations. In the books he had read from Acacia Academy, he was aware of the ranking system, and the tome, but he hadn't researched far enough to get a good understanding of how rare some of these things were. Essentially, despite knowing that there were 10 quadrants, Dyon had no gauge on how often each occurred.
Ri sighed, "unfortunately, no… The castle's tome was destroyed, taking with it millennia of history. All that's left is those words."
'Destroyed?' suddenly Dyon thought of the ancient tome that appeared before him, 'so that's what they think happened to it…'
Ri and Dyon began floating toward the direction of the orphan haven.
"what about your manifestation? What quadrant was yours in?" Dyon had been looking forward to seeing Ri's manifestation out of curiosity, but, she hadn't needed it to trample Ores. Despite the fact Ores thought Ri won with a sneak attack, Dyon was clear on the fact she never needed such a thing.
Ri smiled mysteriously, "I haven't manifested my soul yet."
Ri's words made Dyon's eyes sparkle with interest. Since she hadn't manifested her soul yet, wouldn't that mean that it was difficult to do? Meaning her manifestation, once it was released, would be quite powerful.
What Dyon didn't know was that this was a point of bitterness for Ri. She felt like she was still decades away from manifesting her soul. She worried that, much like her uncle the King, she'd spend centuries just to succeed.
She never told anyone this though… many of the major families hated the Acacia family. This animosity only increased with the disappearance of the king. If another genius on that level suddenly appeared, wouldn't she be asking for her own ruin? It was just yet another secret she'd have to keep.
"it'll probably only take you a few tries to succeed though. Considering your innate aurora," Ri said.
Dyon nodded in acknowledgement, then he suddenly started.
Originally, he had taken it for granted that he had an innate aurora. But, with Ri's words, he realized just how important it was.
"you know, I'm quite good at alchemy… what percentage of awakened is your aurora at currently?"
Ri froze at Dyon's words. It dawned on her that Dyon's array alchemy had reached unprecedented levels. To the point where he could already match some of the best experts of their island. If he could awaken her aurora to a higher level, wouldn't she be able to manifest her soul that much faster?
With the destruction of the tome, no one would be able to understand or get a feeling for how powerful Ri's manifestation was if she did it within the cave her mother left her. With the purification path density within it, hardly anything would leak out at all.
But, Ri smiled bitterly, "my aurora is awakened to 30%, but past that point, it gets exponentially more difficult. Even the guild leaders approach 40% at the most, and they've dumped all of their resources into it… which is actually part of the reason their services are so expensive…"
Dyon smiled. He was fully aware that he could use his pill condensation technique to create exactly what Ri was looking for. How could the Celestial Deer Sect not have many aurora awakening pills? It would be child's play to awaken Ri's aurora to even 60%, let alone 40.
"you'll be a part of my army soon, won't you? Why wouldn't I want my subordinates to be as powerful as possible? Don't worry about it."
Ri kicked at the back of his knees, laughing to herself as he almost lost balance.
"who said I'm your subordinate? Last time I checked, you're riding my lineage to even get a shot at participating in the campaigns as anything other than canon fodder. Why aren't you kneeling down in appreciation?"
Dyon chuckled, "sounds like someone doesn't want their aurora awakened," Dyon looked off into the sky, pretending to ignore Ri.
"you're such a child. I'll be sure to let Little Lyla know that her big brother is bullying me," Ri harrumphed, crossing her arms across her chest.
Dyon raised an eyebrow, 'I'm the child?'
"okay, okay. Vice-Commander Ri, leave it to your commander-in-chief, we'll get you sorted out," Dyon patted his chest nobly.
Ri gave Dyon a playful look of disdain but ignored him.
"So, aren't you going to tell me more about the campaigns?"
Ri took a deep breath, 'it seems he really is from the human mortal realm. Who grows up here without knowing about the campaigns?'
"It's quite simple really. Wills and higher levels of it, are the most important thing amongst all the universes. However, they're finite and built upon the laws of said universes.
For example, there are many religious wills exclusive to this universe. Wills like that have a limit that can't be increased unless the religion spreads to other universes. However, at the same time, wills like that, that depend on faith, are among the most enigmatic and powerful. They tip the scales to such a large extent, that often the most powerful experts choose to use wills of that nature."
Dyon nodded, once again thinking back to Meiying's fengshui compass. He had read about ancient China before and was clear on the fact that ancient Chinese traditions originated in this very universe.
"Unfortunately, the increased power of wills is only one aspect of the campaigns… and even worse, it's considered relatively unimportant compared to the main reason."
Ri took a deep breath, seemingly trying to hold Dyon in suspense.
"The energies of each universe are constantly headed towards an unusable state. The essence energy of essence gathering… the saint energy of the saint stage… the celestial energy of the celestial stage… as years pass, experts of this level become less and less prevalent not because we've become less talented, but because the energies necessary to reach those heights are becoming scarcer."
Dyon eyes flashed with a sudden realization, 'isn't the identical to the human world concept of heat death?'
In the human mortal realm, there were laws of physics that they believed dictated the universe. One such law was the idea that everything was constantly moving towards more chaos. On the surface, this seemed like a simple concept. For example, your room somehow becomes messier as days go on despite your efforts.
Unfortunately, this theory also has much more important implications. Unless you use energy to clean your room, it will continue to get messier. However, that energy you use, is constantly becoming less abundant. Eventually, there won't be any energy left to fix the chaos. This is known as heat death. The state where the universe no longer has any energy available to do work.
But then Dyon suddenly thought of something else, 'is this related to the expansion of this planet and the drop in energy density? Or is that completely different?'
"Because of this inevitable end, the powerful constantly want to oppress the weak to stop their cultivation. But, at the same time, they want to become more powerful to transcend this inevitable end. It's a constant battle of not wanting to fall behind your enemies by not cultivating, and the idea that cultivating is also leading to your death."
Dyon pondered for a bit, "so, how does conquering universes help this?" honestly, this question had a very simple answer, but Dyon just wanted to make sure he was right.
Ri seemed to understand this and didn't tease him, "the more universes you conquer, the more room you have to escape the inevitable end. There are true experts out there… experts so powerful that they can out live the universes themselves… experts that have religions spread over thousands of universes… experts who only care about ensuring that they remain alive as some of the most powerful beings in existence."
Dyon's blood boiled. Weren't these almighty beings the exact existences that people of the human mortal realm dreamt of? To rule thousands of universes. To have the lives of trillions upon trillions at your finger tips. And to still want more? How arrogant. How powerful. And Dyon wanted nothing more than to be one of them.