Paragon Of Sin - Chapter 559
A boundless world of infinite darkness, absent of the slightest trace of light. Hope was not permitted here, and the endless desire to move without purpose or reason wore upon the soul at its most vital essence. This darkness wasn't alone, accompanied by vivid memories of the most terrifying memory a cultivator could possess, tailored made for them.
Wei Wuyin lost eighty percent of his soul's outer shell in a matter of three minutes, and this affected him drastically. The outer shell of the soul was a living being's existential consciousness. It defined who they were, tethered their memories, emotions, and experiences to the core of the soul, shaping it and creating individuality.
To lose eighty percent of it was not to be underestimated, and if it wasn't for his unique location, he might lose himself in madness at the incomplete portions of himself. Fortunately, he had four Astral Souls who helped instill his emotions, memories, and experiences back into his thoughts..
After regaining his sense of self, Wei Wuyin had to relive his entire life to regain himself, and more than once. It was only then that his soul's outer shell that sculpted his individuality started to make repairs, restoring itself little by little.
'This world is without end, and it takes away all your senses. I know my soul is here, but as an Inheritor of Sin, my physical body should be present as well. This separates me from normal souls, yet I feel almost entirely disconnected. I can only feel the steps I take to move forward.' Despite opening his Celestial Eyes to observe the world, the enveloping darkness was ever-present. He wasn't even certain if he was actually moving or not.
"Strange," Eden calmly remarked.
"Tch." King urged Wei Wuyin to slice through the darkness with that single sound. With its edge, what darkness? What calamity? Just end it all. If one swing won't do, then use two. If not two, use three!
Wei Wuyin ignored such urgings. He couldn't even feel his arms or legs, let alone his dantian or cultivation. It was as if he was just a wad of thoughts in motion, strange and hopeless.
"If we want to leave, even this trifling Hell can't stop us!" Kratos' response wasn't much different from King's, focused on escaping. As an Astral Soul forged by the Dao of Void, it believed that there wasn't a single location in the world it can not go or leave from. Whether it could or not, Wei Wuyin wasn't really sure.
However, Wei Wuyin wasn't too far gone yet. Their desires stemmed from the dangerous and terrifying environment that they were in. He could still feel the unease and discomfort from their voices, and this revelation placated his own fears after realizing that he wasn't alone.
After regaining his sense of self, his soul's outer shell was slowly restored little by little, while the memory of Long Chen's revival and revenge kept springing into his memory every three seconds. He was forced to halt his thoughts, relive that moment in vivid detail, and then was returned to this world of endless darkness with the urge to take a step.
After three steps, which took three seconds, this process would repeat itself.
'If I wasn't aware of myself, I would've sunk deeper into regret until my soul lost its individuality, being sent to the River of Souls after this cleansing. Yet the calamity has little impact on an alert version of my thoughts now.'
He didn't know if having a tempered soul meant retaining more of one's awareness in this situation or that the deterioration of the soul's outer shell was drastically reduced. There were too many uncertainties and unanswerable questions. The core issue was that his soul wasn't tempered and he wasn't in the Realm of Sages. From the beginning, he was given the most terrifying set of pitifully low odds of survival to face this situation.
It was incredibly unfair.
It was fortunate that he never dwelled on the concept of fairness in this world of cultivation. After all, if he hadn't been passed the mantle of Inheritor of Sin, his life might've come to an end by Long Chen's sword already. It wasn't fair to Long Chen that he survived, that he thrived, and that the future had changed where Long Chen lost his life to him instead.
Step. Step. Step.
Three thousand and forty-five.
This was the number of times that he'd relieved that vivid memory. It had lost all effect on his thoughts and emotions. To relieve the same horrifying event as if it was fresh with a deluded consciousness was terrifying, compounding the affliction to one's sanity. One thousand and fifteen, that was the number of times he'd experienced it. A little over fifty minutes.
"When will it end? I don't like this!" Ori declared, the wariness within its voice was abundantly clear. Unlike Wei Wuyin who viewed it all with a firm and cold mindset, apathetic to it all with his regained sense of self, it still affected the four Astral Souls.
They had their own individuality and experienced all the things he did, but their reactions weren't exactly the same as his own. Ori, for example, angrily shook every time Long Chen burst through the door and then felt further enraged after being helpless and forced to experience weakness before death.
Be it King, Kratos, or Eden, they all had different feelings and emotions towards this event, yet they were all filled with one single emotion that tied them together: frustration. To them, it was as much their fault as Wei Wuyin's.
They could externalize. They could cultivate independently yet they hadn't. They stayed complacent and enjoyed their luxurious status and indulged in gorgeous beauties while neglecting their strength. Long Chen's triumph was more on them, less on the others. This was what each of them felt individually.
Kratos felt that it should've sensed Long Chen coming. It was a Void Dragon! If anything, it should've been able to escape as it pleased with its siblings and Wei Wuyin! What's the point of being Void if he was forced to watch those close to him die? What's the point in being a dragon?!
Eden cursed its negligence. At the very least, it should've kept the others on a path of improvement, kept them focused, and concocted more alchemical products to ensure their safety. To it, their loss was all on its laziness! It had lived and experienced the most out of everyone, yet it still was so stupid!
King was the one who felt the worst out of the four. It was unable to even swing out a single time in this memory, being as useless as a third nipple. What's the point of being a saber if you were unable to slash? To cut? To kill?! Its Saber Intent was forged on the basis of Wei Wuyin's belief to emerge only when to protect or to kill. Yet he couldn't do either.
'...You all...are you...' The intensity of their emotions were growing by the second. Wei Wuyin was shaken by this. He hadn't expected that they would all suffer alongside him in this calamity, feeling the indignation, defeat, regret, frustration, and helplessness he felt.
'Stay focused!' Wei Wuyin mentally howled. It shook the four Astral Souls until their thoughts synchronized and united. It was only then that they realized the thoughts each of them had. This ability to connect their thoughts together was miraculous, enough for them to use each other as protective cushions and safety nets.
'It can affect my Astral Souls now? Or is this just an unexpected consequence of their sentience?' Wei Wuyin was thoroughly intrigued by this discovery, realizing that these Astral Souls of his had as much individuality and independent thoughts, emotions, and experiences as great as his own.
Fortunately, they hadn't suffered any damage to their structure. It seemed the Calamity of Hell's cleansing effect that was generated by the feeling of regret didn't affect them. It was likely because they weren't its target. He noted this peculiarity down as he kept 'moving' forward.
"That was scary. Really scary." Ori meekly stated, a large portion of its energy had been drained by its own thoughts.
Wei Wuyin agreed, comforting Ori before once more reliving the memory of Long Chen's revenge brought about by his weakness and neglect. With every experience, he felt himself become less and less impacted by this memory.
'If I survive this, I'll never neglect my cultivation. I'll never allow anyone I offend to survive to harm me. If I strike the tree, even the roots will be pulled.' Wei Wuyin felt his willpower become reinforced by this.experience, like a form of relentless training. He felt his heart solidify towards the pursuit of power, a desire of unquenchable thirst to obtain strength above all else formed. With unrivaled power, such a situation would become impossible!
Those silver eyes of his exuded a colder light than before, and despite seeing nothing but darkness, it mercilessly swept the world with that terrifying radiance.
"You can't! You can't! YOU CAN'T!"
Four simultaneous voices exploded in his thoughts, shaking him so intensely that he felt the entire world of darkness quake!
Wei Wuyin halted his steps, feeling his consciousness was tiny and near the edge of dissipation. It was only after those thunderous shouts that he discovered that his soul's outer shell that had recovered a large portion of itself had been severely degraded! It was as if he was hanging from a sharp cliff with his fingertips. Just a slight movement and he would be sent to the endless chasm below.
There was less than two percent of his outer shell left!!!