Nine Paths Of Asura Chapter 11
11 Pillarfall And Unexpected Chance
In a room carved out of the wall of a cliff, which hangs above the clouds, there is a screen made of mist. On it are fantastic portrayals of events in a city, a town, and all manner of life. The ocean, the dessert, and even the moon flash by, perhaps a good portion of the world will be shown in time. However, the screen crackles out, all-seeing magic dispersed as the center is stabbed by cold metal.
A black sword penetrated a maid's silken chemise and opened a hole in her heart, thrusting her body through the rapidly fading screen of mist shattering its stunning vistas. The room is plunged from animated life into darkness. As the woman dies, she painfully smiles, enjoying the thought that her death was always part of the plan.
"You know the Mistress will never let you go, not after what you've done here!" With a weak moan she slides down, to stare feebly at the ceiling, the smile fading, blood spent.
A white-robed man takes back his sword from her chest and laughs without a hint of real mirth, crimson stains slowly dyeing his front a spreading red.
"Let me go? As if I care about punishment! When I'm done with this world, there won't be anyone left to hold a hand higher than mine. The Mistress of Fate has always taught that she controlled everything, but tell me, after all these years, why is it that you lie here dying, and I stand here delivering your eulogy? Why is it that the lands, which you oversaw, are free of your cursed influence now? Man need not be born in chains at all. All that needs to be is your end! I will not be stopped by Gods, nor Goddesses, and certainly not by men or women. I will show you all what the true order looks like, and it is in no way so random as to allow the Mistress of Fate free rein. It has been done before, and I mean to do it again. To set man on the proper path!"
The woman died with a few whispers, perhaps the man didn't even catch them all.
"If we were to cut our ties...perhaps we would be immortal..." Her smile faded into the mask of death.
"You wish to follow in his footsteps, but you don't even know the beginning of his intent. You will see, when you meet the Mistress, remember what I told you and remember that I am laughing in the next life. You remember the words of The Unbound One. But do you remember how his dream ended? The destruction of an eons old age and the loss of millions of souls."
The man tried to retort to her words but spoke too late to have the last word, she was already dead,
"I'm sorry. But so long as the Heavens do not fall, nobody will see past the sky. Nobody that is, except dreamers. This is my dream. As for Madraeyal... Madraeyal is not dead."
He walked out, whether he truly had regrets or not, there was no one to say. As he walked out, the cavern began to collapse, towering spires and age old architecture falling indiscriminately. The entire cliff shook, the tip falling into itself to be nothing but broken dreams. However, while there was no one left in the room, the screen of mist which had been shattered displayed one last broken image. Somewhere between the cracks in the shattered mist, a small province is shown, and in this province miraculous things are happening. An old man with kind hands stumbles upon a crying child clutching the bloody hands of dead parents. Perhaps the old man takes the child in, the screen flashes mercilessly onward. A bright eyed youth enters the service of an army, perhaps he is successful. A princess is locked in her castle, perhaps she escapes. Some man finds true love, perhaps he is successful in keeping it. Each scene comes faster than the last, and the screen is spent at the end, unable to show more as the rocks pile down. The cliff, in reality a pillar holding up the Heavens is broken and no more, and yet nobody below notices.
Lineir was definitely dead. Even those who had achieved immortality and did not age would not consider a sword to the heart a trivial injury. That being said, where was Buddha? He should be free of suffering and desire and reach enlightenment. Instead, there was the incomparably perfect owner of that voice in front of him, and she was staring blankly at him in his innermost mind.
"So if I'm dead, does that mean you're Buddha? If I had known Buddha was so beautiful, I would have killed myself long ago," Lineir mumbled.
"Who's your Buddha? I'm to be addressed as master, or great one! Also, what ARE you doing here, you should definitely be dead."
Huh? So this wasn't the doing of the sword. How was he still here?
"Well, I'm sure the reaper will come to claim your soul soon anyway and drag it to hell, so I suppose you might as well know my name, maybe it'll gain you some favor with the demon gods. I'm called Fung-Mei by those who are worthy."
"Excellent, Mei-Mei, my name is called Lineir and I'll be in your care." The face of an angel frowned at his casual nickname, but then quickly smiled again unexpectedly.
"Call me whatever you want, the reapers coming for you, look, you're definitely dead." An image was projected in front of his mental form.
"I never would have believed he'd actually have the guts to kill himself just to spite us. What did we ever do to him? Does anyone even know his name" The image showed Lineir's body from above, it was crumpled on the ground and the white robed figures were prodding him with their swords. One searched him looking for the sword which had vanished after carving a hole in his heart.
"Looks like he was telling the truth, there is nothing on his body, not even a penny, let alone any treasures, that sword is gone. We've wasted our time here. Throw his body into that pool of undead filth, that way he can more peacefully rest with the trash where he belongs. He wanted to hide from us? Well he can stay there forever. We tell the Great Sects nothing understood? If they know what happened here they'll come back and overturn our city stone by stone. We must find out what happened before then. There is always something to gain from miraculous events such as this, but only if we discover the truth first!" With that, Lineir's body was unceremoniously tossed back into the pool of black liquid and the members of the sect flew off back to the city for the night.
"See the size of that hole in your chest? Impressive, you really put your all into it, how you're still here is beyond me. Maybe you're a ghost in the sword!" The beauty in front of him seemed rather happy at the thought, despite how she feigned a graceful atmosphere, she must have been quite lonely alone all these years. Lineir was unbelieving though, "Something's definitely wrong here, I can't be dead... ahh jeez look at that black liquid getting inside of the hole, that's definitely going to be infected."
"I'm telling you, you're dead, nobody short of the immortal level could survive what you just did, look even the White Horizon Sect thinks you're dead. Just accept that you're stuck here in the sword with me and we will wait until somebody worthy comes along just like you did in a few decades." Lineir panicked then,
"I can't be dead, what will happen to my sister! For that matter, there were so many things I wanted to do in life, once I sold you, I was going to be rich, and live happily ever after!" He was naturally, not able to accept that he was dead despite the evidence in front of him. The two began bickering naturally, to be honest, Lineir had given up hope. His body was definitely dead and not only was his heart not beating, it might not even be there anymore it had been completely destroyed by his suicidal actions. There wasn't much else to do but argue, it distracted from being dead. Unbeknownst to both of them however, the image Mei had summoned was still projecting, and something very interesting was happening. As undead blood slowly seeped into Lineir's crushed heart, it began to take solid form. Strand after strand of liquid weaved around inside of his body and soon it took a shape. This shape was something the two would recognize if they could see it but they were too busy bickering. It was the undead heart! A small miniature version had formed in Lineir's chest cavity and after it did, the cavity slowly closed, a black scab covering the cut.
As they were arguing, suddenly Lineir's mental form winked out and the beauty was left alone,
"Hey, where'd you go? Did the reaper finally take you?"
Lineir opened his eyes and stared around. He was surrounded by black liquid and yet he didn't feel particularly bad. As a matter of fact, for a dead man, he felt pretty amazing. He immediately reached down and grabbed his chest looking for the hole. With shock he found a black scab where the hole had been and gasped. Or tried to, there was no air in his lungs. Flipping himself upward, he took a huge breath of air, floating on top of the blood pool. A few short strokes and he found himself climbing out of the filthy pit for the third time in two days.
"Mei, what the hell is going on, I was dead! Yet now I'm here... and this..." pointing at the hole in his chest now just a dark black patch.
"I don't know either, kiddo, this is a first even for me. I've seen a lot of things, but I was sure you were dead." Lineir continued to feel his chest, and then froze,
"I don't have a pulse! What is going on! Could I be.... undead?"
"That's impossible, you had no heart, there is no way you would rise as the undead no matter how much death Qi is here... unless... no! Those old bastards dare chase even this far!?" Mei who was currently fused into Lineir's blood found it a simple matter to see what was going on his heart region.
" HAHAHAHAHA, those old bastards really overestimated themselves this time, this shouldn't be possible, but apparently it is. The undead heart we slew before was created by those old bastards who chased me through the heavens. I thought I destroyed them, but who would have thought that some of the undead filth actually still retained a free will! When your freshly dead body was flung into the pool, it must have entered you then and immediately built a new heart. However, this heart is not beating because it's of an undead nature, if this continues your mind will die and you will become a mindless undead just like any other.
Fortunately, I am with you. I am skilled in the arts of manipulating darkness. It should be a simple matter for me to gain control of this thing from within you. This'll only take a moment." A second later Lineir felt a huge pain in his chest as if an electrical current was running through him, and a second later a mighty thump in his chest so loud he could actually hear it came out. Then again, and again, until it was inaudible.
"Got it on the first try! I'm just too good, I'm not even a healer and I brought somebody back from the dead...!" Lineir was jubilant as well,
"So does this mean I'll be okay?" Mei took a moment before answering excitedly,
"Better than ok, there's no way your body would have survived without a working heart for so long if I hadn't already worked on it and used so many forbidden techniques. However, since I managed to take control of this new heart, I am now part of it, I can even manipulate your heart, look!" Lineir staggered as suddenly his returned heartbeat faltered and missed a step.
"Sorry, my mistake, but the point is that your new heart is quite durable, there's an unusual amount of death Qi in it. Given time, I might even find a way to harness this energy... but for now, just know that you have been given a second chance at life. Don't waste it this time, remember, the White Horizon Sect absolutely cannot know your alive, they won't be fooled again." Lineir sighed. His life just kept getting more and more difficult. But then he smiled.
"You're forgetting something Mei-Mei, my gambit worked again, you have to admit, your disciple has promise Mei-Mei."
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