"How laughable. Tribulation Demon, you conquered destiny, put the omniverse on its knees, overthrew the Firmament and claimed the seat of sole Supreme. Yet, trillions of years afterward, you still remain shackled by the ghosts of your past.
Such Supremacy is indeed laughable."
The Dharma Lord stated without an ounce of emotion, for even in that state of subatomic destruction, his existence remained unharmed. Among the three Supreme Forces, Infiniteness possessed the greatest destructive potential while Nothingness boasted the highest resilience.
Achieving Supremacy through Nothingness meant that regardless of what state he was reduced to, the Dharma Lord's existence could never vanish. Unless, of course, an Almighty Supreme appeared. But sometimes, such abilities could easily turn into curses. And when the Dharma Lord's words echoed, Tribulation Demon became more resolved to trap him in perpetual misery.
Though, such a deed was by itself a fool's errand. Nothingness Supremes possessed neither emotions nor desires. How could such an existence suffer? Ignoring the Dharma Lord, Tribulation Demon shifted his attention back to the ongoing Tribulation. The inability to see through Konrad's current state filled him with a new wave of wrath.
Still, he couldn't act rashly. The Dharma Lord spoke true. In this place where the Three Supreme Forces stood in harmony, interfering with the Ten Thousand Tribulations was no different from challenging an Almighty Supreme. If there was one thing he couldn't afford to do, then this was it.
Wait. He could only wait!
Meanwhile, unaware of the events ongoing in his vicinity, Konrad fell into his first incarnation. And without a shred of doubts, all incarnations considered, this one was by far the most glorious.
In this life, he was born within the multiverse's grandest imperial palace. When he appeared, auspicious clouds filled the sky, the Dao sang, and the Empyrean Realm rejoiced. Though he was but the second prince, as the first son of the empress, and pureblooded Empyrean Dragon, he was destined to be the Crown Prince!
Immortals and deities gathered in legions, from Fledgling Gods to God-Kings, none missed the day, but for so many deities of that caliber to gather, the reason couldn't just be an outstanding prince. No, they gathered to pay their respect to their invincible ruler, the Emperor of the Three Realms, and lord of the Empyrean Dragon Race, Celestial Slaughter!
In that era, the multiverse was divided in two dimensions, each with Three Realms:
The Three Life Realms, and the Three Hidden Realms. An impregnable barrier forever barred the people of those two dimensions from interacting with one another.
The Three Life Realms were the Nature Realm, the Demon Realm and the Empyrean Realm.
The Three Hidden Realms were the Dao Realm, the Tribulation Realm and the Nether Realm.
Across trillions of years, the people of those two dimensions never interacted. However, their lives remained intricately connected.
The baby was born in the Empyrean Realm's imperial palace as the second dragon prince: Dragon Warden. The name, given so that he would one day become the shield that sheltered his clan against all insurgence.
But none believed he would ever have to. Because in those times, the hegemony of his clan went without question. In fact, from the beginning of times, the Empyrean Dragon Race had always ruled the Three Life Realms. Known as the Blessed Children of All Heavens, pureblooded Empyrean Dragons all possessed a unique ability that put the world in fright:
Innate Skill: Auspicious Clouds!
Once triggered, the opponents would lose control of their cultivation and all the laws they cultivated in life! It didn't matter if they were mortals, immortals or gods. Beneath Law Wielding, Auspicious Clouds spared none. And even Law Wielders had to thread carefully before it.
With that ability and their already unrivaled bloodline strength. The Empyrean Dragons put all three Life Realms on their knees and ruled all eras. Yet, even if their strength trumped all clans, to say nothing of all Realms, even the vast Empyrean Realm alone required careful diplomacy.
After all, the great clans such as the Phoenixes, the Golden Crowns, the Great Rocs, the Nine-Headed Serpents, Heavenly Tigers and Great Tortoises, all were mighty in their own right. And beyond the Empyrean Realm, the Demon Saints and Nature Sages both were forces to be reckoned with.
Therefore, a precarious balance existed. But this all ended in the Demon Realm's rebellion that saw the rise of the two strongest experts in the Empyrean Dragon Race's history:
First prince, Highest Dragon.
Second prince, Radiant Dragon.
The day those two broke through godhood, all realms shivered. In one step, Highest Dragon became a matchless God-Emperor and single-handedly suppressed the invading armies. But better, Celestial Slaughter became a Zenith God and exterminated all Demon Rulers, the passive Nature Ancestors, and those Bird Gods that chose to stand by and watch the events unfold.
Highest Dragon became the Great Elder, Radiant Dragon became the Empyrean Emperor, took the imperial name of Celestial Slaughter, and installed a regime of absolute terror that kept all realms groveling.
One-hundred-thousand years later, the two brothers again broke through. One becoming a Zenith God that stood infinitely close to the next level, while the other rose to the unprecedented altitude of Primordial Deity. Henceforth, all firmly believed, that none could again challenge their rule.
The immortal clans crawled, endlessly currying favor with the Empyrean Dragons, and forsaking all past dignity for a bit of respite. The Demon Saints and Nature Sages were no better, forced into a life of humiliation and reckless oppression. Meanwhile, the innocent mortals suffered the abuse of the immortal clans, either through the aftermath of wars they had nothing to do with or by direct slaughter to turn them into cultivation resources!
It was in those times that Konrad, or Dragon Warden as we should call him here, was born. From infancy to maturity, all adored and hailed him as the number one talent of the Life Realms in one-hundred-thousand years. And indeed, that wasn't inaccurate.
He was born an immortal, and in less than three-hundred years of cultivation, reached the Great Dao Immortal Realm. A cultivation level equal to the current True Gods.
Indeed, cultivators of that era were incomparably more powerful than those of today's Three Realms. The word "God" simply didn't have the same meaning.
On the day he achieved that realm, Dragon Warden was officially sealed as Crown Prince under the gaze of all immortals and deities. All sang his praise, all gawked at his immeasurable talent and future. But only Dragon Warden knew, that all those praises were misguided.
He wasn't the number one of his generation. He could never be. Because above him, his elder brother stood!
The number one talent of all eras, unrivaled in the past, present or future, born without equal!
At birth, his bloodline was sealed, thereby ensuring he could never become a God. But even in that state, he outpaced all peers and achieved Wielding in all Laws!
Although there only was ten years of difference between them, although that elder brother never fought for fame or glory and could perhaps never become a God, when he looked at his back, Dragon Warden always felt incomparable pride and elation.
This, was the hero to whom all that glory should belong, his elder brother:
And though the world and their father, especially, strove to set them against one another, Dragon Warden didn't doubt that this brotherhood would endure an eternity.
The bond was just that strong.
Or so he thought.