"I don't regret it." A voice as firm as rock, as stable as the firmament, yet was misty as an illusion echoed. It was womanly, yet suffused with an innate haughtiness that could never dissipate. Those words were like a blazing sun, releasing warm rays and soft breeze.
Yan Zaizen slowly woke from his dream. That voice had triggered his senses, bringing his consciousness to its maximum state of awakeness. As he slowly opened his eyes, his amber-gold eyes inspected his surroundings. He saw a world of darkness. It wasn't absent of light, but of misty darkness that lingered, thickened, thinned, or dissipated into absence, but there was only nothingness that remained. It gave the feeling of being a world of absolute darkness.
He felt lethargic. In an attempt to lift his arms, he discovered that his body was lagging far behind his mind. It felt like a few minutes had passed since he sent his body the order to lift his hand, unable to do so even now, yet the subtle twitching of his arms were still occurring at a slower pace.
His amber-gold eyes flashed with fascinating dao light, embodying the rays of his Dao of Sovereign Ascension. His Dao Sense, Heavenly Sense, and Soul Sense was galvanized to their maximum possible limits. Even then, he was unable to gather any information into the surroundings except a misty darkness or absolute nothing.
"Where am I?" While his body-mind-soul balance had a disjointed experience, his process of thoughts were still as swift as before. After discovering this fact, he realized many of his functions were still acting as normal. The only issue was that he seemed unable to use any form of energy or power in this space.
Recalling his earlier experience, he tried to recollect a scene step-by-step.
First, he had refined the compass with his various powers, creating a new armament that was completely under his control. He wanted to regulate its randomness to be able to determine his destination. According to his comprehension of spacetime law and the notes from Master Qiankun, he had devised an appropriate strategy to do so. While he was capable of appropriately refining the armament to his needs, it seemed an unusual event occurred.
Next, he entered the door of spacetime energy.
"Yes. I entered the door I created...then...then…" He had some trouble recalling the split second changes in his perception and consciousness. Was his memory deteriorating?
"N-no. I...I remember." After an obscenely long period of time, he finally recollected bits of information. At the time he entered the spacetime energy door, an unusual reaction occurred that required him to be sent to a location. Unfortunately, despite possessing the key, he couldn't fully control the location. To rectify this issue, he had to draw deep into his soul flame and instill various bits of information and coordinates into the door.
That still didn't work. It started to violently react, nearly ripping him apart in three states of space and time. It was an astonishingly painful experience as he felt his past, present, paradox was split into void, chaotic, and dimensional space. He wished for nothing more than to regain control over his power, but he was considerably lacking.
At the time, he couldn't help but think: "What is this compass?!"
He realized that Ezekiel had never fully comprehended the compass or how it worked, so his information was lacking in that regard. Even though he refined it to encompass his various powers, they were unable to completely subjugate all aspects of the compass, causing a chaotically unpredictable response.
"I...at the last minute, I...what did I do?" He still found recalling details blurry and unsure. Regardless of what he did next, he knew he had survived because of an action of his, and he was sent to a location. This location was…
As he inspected the misty darkness once more, he felt as if he was in a bottomless pit that never ended. It was only now that he realized his body felt as if it was falling from the sky, but there was no wind, just a descending energy acting upon his body that indicated his constant fall.
A bottomless pit…
"Pinaka…" his eyes felt heavy as they drooped, covering the amber-gold brilliance of his eyes. A bout of sleepiness and exhaustion was overtaking his soul, body, and mind. It was inevitable as he felt himself descend into an unconscious state once more.
"These people were from an enemy household of another household. They were forcefully taken after their defeat, and to survive, had to agree to work the Deep Mines." A gruff voice spoke. Yan Zaizen was surprised at the narration, looking towards the man who spoke. He had a set of torn robes, a dirty face, and a skinny appearance. He reminded him of a beggar on the streets. The only things noticeable was his eyes had a grey-blue color to it, making it a sight of beauty.
"Name's Tao." He said, his voice still deep and filled with masculinity.
"I didn't ask." Yan Zaizen stated plainly.
"But you were curious." The man said with a smile, his teeth abnormally white. It was a sharp comparison to his dirty face and robes. He added, "You're not from around here, are you?"
Remaining calm outwardly, but inwardly he was vigilant. This man named Tao, without a family name, without a clan name, was simply too perceptive. He contemplated for a second, "How did you know?"
"My eyes?" He asked.
"They're not filled with hopelessness despite me mentioning the deep mines," Tao spoke with an ambiguous smile on his face.
Yan Zaizen felt himself return to his earlier days. He had been betrayed, then sent to become a prisoner to a place of no hope and no return. It was a death sentence that could never be overcome, and it only gave hope, but never realized it. At that time, he was weak and ignorant, his Dao still in its nascent state. It was that day that he met his first true friend of his lifetime.
Even while he slept, a warm smile surfaced on his face.
Yet an even more important event happened in those deep depths of despair and hopelessness. He met her.
A name he found strange when he had first heard it, completely different from the norms of the Xiantu Realm.
"Pinaka?" Yan Zaizen felt the name itself was strange by his world's standards, but thinking about it, an armaments weapon's name is determined by its owner. What right did he have to say the name was strange?
"Does this name bother you?" The voice resounded, obviously dissatisfied with Yan Zaizen's tone.
She was dying at the time, yet her pride had never left his soul. When Yan Zaizen first saw her, she was the most beautiful creature he had ever graced his eyes upon, but as he was young, he had no other thoughts or even seen her as a human-like existence. He also felt that beauty was an irrelevant factor in determining a companion, and while he was young, his thoughts in that regard had matured rapidly thanks to his time in those dark depths, mining away and watching the hope and life of those dissipate into nothing.
Those memories were a painful realization of reality, but a much-needed wake-up call that his life benefited from thoroughly. Not only did he meet his first true brother of his lifetime in those mines, but also traveled upon a path that he would never regret.
"Wait!!!" A resounding shout echoed in his consciousness, awakening him once more.
He remembered now!
While he was handling the chaotic response of the key, he decided to infuse his entirety into it as a last ditch effort to survive. It was a perilous moment that a single hint of hesitation would've caused him to be lost in the three states of time and space, yet he performed this nearly suicidal action without hesitation. Thanks to his Dao, he would never hesitate when a moment came, and he always performed!
Thanks to his actions, he locked onto a familiar location and sent himself there. However, his disjointed soul, mind, and body wasn't caused by the ill-reaction of the key or the location. The moment he arrived in this ungodly location, he found himself unable to escape by any means. He had tried to extricate his soul, dao, and even his heavenly shrine from his body to no avail.
At the last moment, he recalled the words of the Sephira All-Central, the daughter of the All-Immortal Dragon. She had informed him that his soul had reached the state of a Demi-Mortal Soul, capable of splitting his soul without causing any form of damage, while remaining free of flaws. At the time, her intent was to get him to use his soul to help give a soul to her egg, but it had helped him deeply.
Without hesitation, he split off a piece of his soul, gathered this soul into the Sense Ring, the soul-connected ring that belonged to the Crown Prince of the Oneuli Empire. He couldn't use his Meteor Ring as it contained everything important to him, including Yan Linzen, the Saphira All-Central's Natal Force and Egg, as well as Yri who was still unconscious at the moment. With her celestial essence being used up far beyond its limits, it was unknown when she would awaken without his deliberate support. He wasn't sure what would happen, so he decisively injected this piece of his soul into the Sense Ring and shot it upwards with the last ounce of his power, relying purely on physical strength, but it sapped everything from him.
"The disjointedness was caused by the split of my soul!" He immediately realized it. His eyes gazing at the emptiness, unable to comprehend everything that had occurred due to the abrupt split, but he knew it was likely his only chance.
His only chance to…
In the Xiantu Realm, Meteorite City.
A small, pebble-sized meteor rained down on the bustling city.