The familiar sound broke Wei Wuyin out of his chaotic thoughts, forcing him to hone onto that voice ’s origin. He couldn ’t see, feel, hear, taste, or smell anything as he was, and besides the sensation of steps that seemed both his and not his, there was nothing else. Only his memories and his thoughts seemed to truly exist. All else was illusions.
”Here! Here! Here! ” An energetic voice resounded as well, but it too was soft to be heard. Wei Wuyin grew sluggish as he tried to find the origin of the voice, yet he couldn ’t feel his body. No matter how much he wanted to see, how much he wanted to look around or even turn, he couldn ’t.
The sensation of isolated despair and chilling dread enveloped his entire mind and every fleeting thought, like cold and wet blankets on a winter day. It was an endless discomfort that refused to slither away from his mind. Wei Wuyin ’s mind continued to swirl, recalling his death and delved into that vivid memory in continuous repetition.
’It ’s all my fault. I should ’ve…I should ’ve… ’
”Hear us. Hear us! ” A voice that seemed to distort throughout time and space, quivering the senses until surrealism, echoed out endlessly. It pleaded and shouted.
Yet Wei Wuyin ’s thoughts were ensnared further into that memory, thinking about the fate of his women that likely suffered unbearable grievance. The thought of another person torturing them with delight, mocking him in death, was pounding his heart. It was painful and if he could feel his eyes, he felt an urge to cry out.
’I didn ’t deserve it. I didn ’t cherish them. I should ’ve…I should ’ve… ’
All the power and talent he had, all the numerous means he possessed, yet he had neglected the fundamental foundations of happiness in this vast world of cultivation: Strength. Only with the strength and willpower to step forward could one grasp their own fate. It required an relentless desire that was like an insatiable hunger.
”Life isn ’t about looking back and wishing for change. Remember this, little demon, life is about moving forward to ensure that you ’ll never have to look back in regret, to never want change of the past. Do you understand me? ”
A gentle, warm, and familiar voice resounded within those twisted and sinking thoughts. They battered the walls of Wei Wuyin ’s mind with relentless fervor, declaring war upon the horrific thoughts of regret, depression, and hopelessness.
Wei Wuyin halted his third step, seemingly standing in place despite the urge that originated from his entire existence to push forward in this dark, unfeeling world without an end. The boundless darkness rippled as a faint glowing silhouette flickered into existence.
The silhouette effused warm rays of light that comforted the soul, taking one away from the traumatic pain of one ’s own thoughts and exhaustion.
A soul was the amalgamation of individuality. This individuality was often described as personality, but it wasn ’t so simple. It was an interconnected complex system of experiences, thoughts, and emotions that established a way that the soul responds to stimuli.
A man drenched in fear their entire life will run away when threatened. If there was no way to run, a breakdown would ensue. It is because fear and escape was all he ’d ever experienced, thought about, and felt within his heart. This defined who he was—a coward.
A woman given nothing, forced to fight for survival will similarly run if threatened, but stand their ground if there is no escape. Even at the cost of her life, she would fight to the bitter end without hesitation. This defined who she was—a survivor.
”See us. ”
Wei Wuyin ’s entire life flashed before his mind in incredible vividness. He saw the gentle smile of his mother, heard the stern words of his brother, and felt the soul-ripping pain of his past. He recalled who he was, the man forged from his experiences, thoughts, and emotions. He lived by principles and a set of morals of his own making, influenced by his greatest beliefs.
Within the darkness, two faint and dimly lit silver lights slowly emerged. It was as if an individual was opening his eyes for the first time in a thousand years, with eyelids that were as heavy as a world. With a trembling lift, the eyes slowly escaped and were clearly seen within the darkness.
There was no silhouette that glowed before those eyes, yet they quivered without end.
’I understand…I understood. ’ Wei Wuyin felt the awareness of his sense of self had returned. The memories that had been vague and distorted had been returned, brought to the forefront of his thoughts and resisting the feelings of dreadful despair.
”He ’s awake! He ’s awake! He ’s awake! ” Ori ’s exuberantly vibrant voice echoed within the darkness.
”Tch. ” King ’s judgmental sound followed, and it clearly carried a hint of impatience. He was dissatisfied that Wei Wuyin took so long to escape. Yet the reverberation of relief was also included in that single sound.
”There ’s nothing that can halt us! ” Kratos ’ powerful voice exploded in raging excitement.
”Good. ” Eden ’s content voice was last yet the most impactful. Wei Wuyin could feel it the most and while it had never called out to him, it had performed the most.
Wei Wuyin ’s silver eyes observed only darkness, and he couldn ’t feel his body. With a brief glance around, Wei Wuyin calmly muttered to himself: ”So it worked. ” A satisfied glint flashed past those silver eyes.
”It did! It did! What ’s next?! ” Ori spoke, far too excited to keep its voice down and controlled. However, Wei Wuyin found only comfort in its energy. It had been a risk, yet to think that he ’d be able to accomplish the first steps of his plan.
When Wei Wuyin had first gathered the details of the Second Calamity, that it was surrounding darkness and surviving, his first thought was the overall goal of the calamity. Darkness was often regarded as being encroaching and overbearing, so he feared that his sense of self would be strippee away or details of himself would be taken away.
The first solution in overcoming this trial was to reverse this process. Unfortunately, he didn ’t have much else to go on despite his tortuous experience with Ming Shufeng. However, he delved into the Scripture of Sin and made some conclusions.
The Calamity of Hell ’s explanation stated that one ’s soul would be drawn into the Calamity, and this likely meant his entire soul! It was very likely that his Astral Souls, forged from a portion of his soul, might be brought along. Instantly, he sought out answers from King and Ori regarding their experiences.
Unfortunately, they were sealed and dormant at the time alongside him and their sense of self was still in the midst of being developed. They had determined that they felt foggy throughout the incident. There weren ’t any assurances, but if they were brought along, they might be able to help reestablish his sense of self.
As long as he survived this darkness, he would be able to overcome the trial. He just couldn ’t afford a single mistake. Not only had his Astral Souls been brought here, but his Celestial Eyes were continuously active. While it was ineffective in this environment, it was an unexpected discovery met with joy.
If he reached higher levels, these Celestial Eyes of his might bring him unimaginable advantages in surviving upcoming calamities.
’If it wasn ’t for your voices, I might have never regained myself. Thank you. ’ Despite having no senses of his body outside of thoughts, he felt a chilling shiver course through his spine. This Calamity of Hell was terrifying. It created an alternative future of the most horrible mistake a person could make, and then stripped one ’s sense of self until only that mistake defined them. They were engulfed by despair and agony over their mistake that their regret would eventually consume them.
They would slowly descend into utter madness. It was exceptionally cruel, even more so than the Calamity of True Loss that showed alternative pasts and futures of losing those you loved. That was merely death, but here, death was the defining start, not the end result.
He was more agonized over his negligence than the loss of his pride or dignity at a humiliating death. It was he who caused it to occur! It produced turmoil that ripped at his soul and he hadn ’t even felt the pain he was causing, but after regaining himself, he was very well aware of his soul state.
Since becoming an Inheritor of Sin, meeting the Black Skeleton, his awareness of his soul was extraordinarily clear and defined. It was how he recreated a better version of the Haven Heart Qi Method, forging four Spirits of Cultivation.
At the moment, the outer shell of his soul had been grinded away until twenty percent had remained. He had only a fifth of his outer shell that kept his individuality, his self, attached to his soul!
He was shaken.
’How long has it been? ’ He couldn ’t tell the passing of time. It could ’ve been a second or ten years. It was hard to tell.
”…Three minutes, twenty-two seconds. ” Kratos answered, a hint of graveness within its voice.
’Just three minutes? ’ With a Mortal Soul, he lost eighty percent of his outer shell in three minutes!!!
A few dozen seconds more and it was over, his soul would lose its outer shell, his individuality and consciousness would be dissipated while his soul moved to the River of Souls after this terrifying cleansing.
’What matters now is overcoming this calamity. ’ He thought, pushing the unchangeable to the furthest reaches of his mind. With a renewed self, he followed the urge of his soul to continue forward.
Step. Step. Step.
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