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536 In Search of a Meaning

    Doom Palace, Horror's Domain.

    Within the deepest and darkest corner of the universe, was the Doom Palace. An immense castle built entirely of black stone, and hidden by the massive fragments of a long collapsed planet. Known as the birthplace of the aspect of Horror himself, the Doom Palace was the first and most important stronghold of the entire domain, and the place where the leading champions of Horror resided.

    While usually scattered around the universe these leaders were now reunited under special circumstances, and along with one of the disciples of the Murderous God, and his direct descendant, they were all quietly waiting within the throne room of the Doom Palace for the Overlord to make his appearance.

    The very walls, floor, and pillars of this castle emitted an uncomfortable feeling-A heavy breath which crept from the back of one's neck, and reached all the way around and into their ears.. A nightmarish feeling that reminded them that despite their power, they were still prey in a world of predators. The despair and anguish that these blood cultivators felt was reflected in their expressions, which were directed at the hooded figures that were standing quietly around them in hope to discern their intent. Their minds filled by a thousand guesses, all regarding the reason for this summoning.

    The disciple of the Murderous God, an emaciated old woman with short white hair and dry skin, had arrived in Horror's domain along with her descendant only minutes earlier, right after receiving the news that the people to whom she had given the task of recovering the blood legacy, and whom she had entrusted to the Monstrous Clan, had suddenly died. She had accepted the invitation of the Monstrous Clan in hope to find what had happened to her people, but more importantly, what had happened to the blood legacy, whose beacon had suddenly disappeared.

    From what she knew, Daniel was a champion of Destiny at the godhood stage, the highest level of cultivation achievable by his kind. For such a weak cultivator to be able to defeat three of her followers should have been impossible, let alone the whole party. It was much more likely that they had perished by the hands of the Monstrous Clan, and that was why she had accepted the invitation.. Not to demand justice, but to apologize for any action that might have caused her followers' deaths..

    When she arrived at the Doom Palace, however, she found that things were not that simple as she had thought. Instead of being welcomed by one of the leaders of the Monstrous Clan, she had been asked to wait for the arrival of the Overlord of Horror's Domain himself, an entity that even her late master, the Murderous God himself, would have treated with the respect that a peer was due.

    After a few excruciating minutes, a screeching sound resounded within the vast hall, accompanying the appearance of a portal made entirely out of a gloomy and terrifying essence which contained a good amount of Horror's very own terrifying power. At the sight of this portal, the old blood cultivator and her grandson struggled not to shriek in fear, and managed to maintain their calm just long enough for the figure of a monstrous entity to crawl out of it and onto the throne, over which it sat casually as soon as the portal closed.

    Had Daniel or his companions been here, they would have immediately recognized this monster, as while their encounter had happened an eternity ago for the Overlord, only a few days had gone by for them. With the same greasy skin, beady and lucid eyes, and a thin and crooked build when compared to that of his clan members, this monstrous cultivator had a perfect resemblance with the shaman that Daniel had the others had encountered when stuck eons in the past.

    As the shaman, now known formerly as the Overlord of Horror's domain, sat on the throne, the blood cultivator nervously said, "S-Sir.. I don't know what my foolish disciples did to deserve what happened to them, but allow me to apo-"

    "Did I ask for an apology?" Said a cold voice that came from within the Overlord's unmoving rows of pointy teeth, along with an oppressive wave of horrendous power that attached itself onto the mind of the old woman, eroding it like water thrown onto a sand castle. Barely able to maintain her sanity, the blood cultivator closed her mouth shut, and patiently waited for the purpose of this assembly to be made known.

    Once everyone was quiet, a second monstrous cultivator stepped out of line, and after removing his black hood, and uncovering his disgusting and scarred appearance, he said to the disciple of the blood sect, "Three days ago, a party blood cultivators requested our help in recovering your sect's legacy. We have locked the universe, as requested, and allowed seventeen of our best soldiers to join the pursuit of the thieving traitor. We have lost contact with them.."

    The disciple of the Murderous God could not believe what she had heard. After the death of her disciples had been reported by their individual blood vitality beacons, she had believed that they had died by the hands of the monstrous clan, but according to the words of this monstrous cultivator, that did not seem to be the case. In her mind she formed several questions aimed at helping her understand, but before he could ask any of them, the monstrous warrior added, ".. Until a few hours ago."

    "A message from a member of your sect arrived, claiming the impossible." Said the monstrous cultivator while revealing a hint of anger. He then took a step towards the blood cultivator, and added, "He claimed that the CHAMPION OF DESTINY that they were following, has broken through the true champion stage. Care to explain yourself?"

    It was only days ago that the disciple of the Murderous God had made sure to remind his people to hide this particular detail. If aware that Daniel was a champion of Destiny, there was no knowing whether the Monstrous Clan would have bothered to help them recover their legacy, or if they would have killed him right away. Instead, she had given the order to claim that Daniel was nothing but a peculiar blood cultivator that had killed the Murderous God while on visit to a newly opened universe, where his power had been drastically limited to that of a high immortal.

    The nostrils of the blood cultivator flared in anger. She knew exactly which one of her disciples would have been so devoted as to send an incriminating report back, however, while she wanted to curse the name of the malformed blood cultivator out loud, she kept her calm, and said, "I chose not to share that detail, because we were not sure. All we knew was that he had disappeared from Competition's domain a few days ago along with the legacy.. Him being a champion of Destiny was only a rumor until now."

    As she reached this point, the disciple of the Murderous God decided to take a risk, and said with a righteous tone, "But that changes nothing. Without our blood legacy, the domain of lord Sacrifice will eventually fall apart. I am sure that Lord Horror will not be happy with losing such a vast source of influence."

    "We will still help.." said the clear and powerful voice of the Overlord as he quietly reappeared next to the blood cultivator. Then, before the latter could react or even realize what was about to happen, he engulfed her with the obnoxious and horrifying power of his clan, which immediately erased her consciousness, and caused her to fall limp on the ground, still alive. As the skin of the blood cultivator started to turn pale and her eyes lucid as a sign of her transformation, the Overlord added, ".. but we won't help you." As he finished speaking, he once again disappeared, and reappeared on his throne.

    "Overlord, what do we do with the other?" Asked one of the hooded figures while slowly turning towards the old woman's grandson.

    The eyes of the overlord shifted to the surviving guest, but right as he was about to give the order to kill him and begin the hunt for Daniel, the head of the blood cultivator twisted to the side, and he began to stare at an empty point in space.. Where the others could see a black stone in front of him, the blood cultivator could see a blinding light, eager to be reached and retrieved by anyone who had cultivated the path of blood.

    Aware of what the look in the eyes of the blood cultivator meant, the Overlord said, "Take him with you.. Give him a chance to recover their legacy, but if he fails he dies, and his sect with him."

    -----

    In a dark patch of the endless universe, observing the dashing silhouette of a spaceship, was the figure of an inhumanly tall man with long black hair suspended in mid air, and eyes that contained a darkness wider than space itself. Around this humanoid being was nothing, and any rock, or piece of ice that approached him, was instantly consumed by the power that was emanated by his body.

    "It's him.. After all this time.. I haven't forgotten." Said this entity as the corners of his mouth moved downwards, and his upper lip rose into a faint snarl. "I could take him out right now.." he added, fighting against the instincts of taking the entire universe into his hands, and collapsing it, putting an end to its history with just the flick of one of his fingers.

    His eagerness to act on his instincts, however, dissipated the moment another voice reached him. "But you won't.. You know the rules." The voice said, resounding clearly in the ears of the first entity, and forcing him to regain its composure.

    When the first entity turned around, he saw the figure of Conflict, who was floating next to him as if he had always been there. "He is not human anymore, older brother.. And I owe him." Said the larger figure as the surrounding thousands of miles of space turned into pure horrendous essence.. A power that only the aspect of Horror himself could display.

    While still in its infancy state, the aspect of Horror had a clear recollection of the day of its birth.. Be it the brutal behavior of the race that had created him and which he had saved from their planet's collapse, being saved by Chaos during their first and last encounter, the origin of mana.. And more than anything else, he remembered Daniel. The human who had almost killed him, and against whom he had sworn to take revenge upon.

    What had stopped him from killing Daniel at any point since the moment he had been conceived, was one of the rules created by Fate and Chaos. A rule that stated that, as aspects of existence, they were the consequence of a nature created by the objects and creatures who were part of it, and therefore, their existence was dependent on them.

    As an entity dependent on the horrific behavior of the worst kinds of creatures, the aspect of Horror belonged to this category, and as such, he was forbidden to harm any sentient living being. With this limitation, the omnipresent Horror could only observe as Daniel grew to the cultivator who would one day travel to the moment of his birth, and by threatening to kill him

    had become part of the loop that had changed the course of history.

    "He still feels human, to me." Responded Conflict before emitting a faint layer of power that instantly dispelled the oppressive and horrifying essence.

    With a clearer mind, Horror turned his massive body towards Conflict, and while pointing his squinted black eyes towards him, he asked, "Why are you protecting him?"

    "Why? You are still too young.." Said Conflict with a tone that resembled that of a grandfather, disappointed by the ignorance of his descendant. He then added as his eyes narrowed, and his lips curved into an enthusiastic smile, "Neither a being of order or chaos.. His very existence goes against everything we are.. Maybe he can give us a meaning.."

    "A meaning?" Asked Horror, "A meaning to what?"

    "The our existence."
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