Reborn: Evolving From Nothing / Reborn: Evolving From Nothing Chapter 197 Merge
“Well, that’s rather vague and unhelpful.” He threw his hands up in the air, but got no response.
He concentrated for a moment before sighing.
‘Can’t use any Laws or Abilities from my Soul Spell Matrix.’ The last challenge apparently wanted him to purely rely upon himself.
He looked out at the blank canvas of reality in front of him.
And then willed it to change.
“Why can’t you just tell me how all this works in clear terms? No need to be so mysterious.” He walked over to the edge of the island he was standing on, leaning off the edge slightly to look down.
Beneath him appeared a seemingly endless void of whiteness. He could see no bottom or ground beneath him, only stark whiteness.
‘It kind of reminds me when I was trapped in my Soul Spell Matrix, with time operating weirdly around me.’ He muttered, rubbing his chin.
As he stared at the void, he felt a certain compulsion seize over him. An idea that sprouted in his head, tugging at him.
‘Step… step… step forward?’ He blinked slowly.
Tentatively, he picked up his right foot and placed it out over the void. Steadily, he lowered it.
When he was at about even with his other foot, it landed on something solid. Dorian stared at this, curious.
‘I’m standing on the air?’
Indeed, as he pressed his weight against whatever he was standing on, he found it to be stable and solid, able to handle him. He took another step forward, both feet standing on air itself.
He took a few more careful steps. As he moved, he became more and more confident. Despite the ground he was walking on being invisible, it felt the same as any other floor he’d stood upon.
“Hey bubble, come check this ou-” He turned around with a smile but abruptly cut himself off.
The floating island that he had appeared upon was no longer there. Instead, the entire world around him was now the endless white void.
He gulped slightly as he saw this.
‘Well, I guess I’m not in Kansas anymore, that’s for sure…’ He thought, looking around.
Dorian blinked as the world around him jarringly changed. The endless white void vanished, replaced by a large, mostly-empty gym room.
The lights were dimmed and music echoed out loudly, with several large posters hanging up on the walls. A few tables were set up, with punch and light snacks.
‘Dancefest Prom! J&S.’ He stared at the posters, memories arising.
He was back on Earth, at the scene of his Junior Year prom back in high school. He recognized the old gym, the location their Prom had been at. The school directors had cheaped out on dance planning, something that caused a minor scandal with the parents that year.
‘Huh, memories again. Reusing old concepts, that’s starting to get stale with these Inheritances, ol’ Empery.’ He smiled nostalgically as he looked around the hall.
“Go Stacy! Yeah!”
“…♪ Weeee are the Champions my friiieeends ♪…”
Dozens of teenagers abruptly appeared, dancing out on the makeshift floor. The music taste was great, but not exactly dance material, something that had already exceeded the younger Dorian’s expectations.
“Tom… Sarah… Jessica…” Dorian’s eyes widened as he saw several of his childhood friends, people he had grown up with. Tom with his dark black hair and obsession with lifting weights, Jessica with her desire to be a Lawyer, Sarah with her… well, she was Sarah, anyway.
He smiled and laughed out loud as he saw all of his old friends, taking a step forward.
He froze as he heard an echoing clink. He looked down, at his Demonic form. The body of the ferocious and monstrously powerful Balance Demon.
He held up his hands, staring at them for a moment. He slowly lowered them, a small smile appearing on his face.
He looked back out at his old friends, his eyes glimmering.
“Ah. I see what it is trying to say.” He nodded slightly,
“I am envious of them. Living their lives back on Earth, carefree and not having to worry about constantly getting hunted down and murdered, branded a freakish ‘Anomaly.’ Hated by many, understood by few.” He spoke his thoughts aloud.
He raised his hand again as he looked at his old friends, his old life. He sighed.
“Just like I let my family go, I guess I have to let you guys go too. There is no turning back the clock. I can never go back.” He eyed the cheerful dance hall, unable to help himself as he smiled,
“But that’s right. I do envy you. I understand that. I envy you all.” As he spoke aloud, his eyes flashed with light.
The world around him quivered.
His soul felt some sort of signal, something that indicated to him that he was making progress with the Inheritance.
The scene around him jarringly switched once more.
He blinked as he looked around.
He was standing at the edge of an enormous cliff. Down below, his vision was obstructed by some type of fog, not letting him see the ground. He turned to look behind him, scanning his environment.
Behind him was a large, familiar looking city wall. A huge crater could be seen right in front of this wall, with large burn marks covering a once grassy ground.
“I’m… back on Taprisha?” Memories flooded within him as he looked at the city wall and the crater.
Memories of his harried journey here, right after entering this strange universe.
Memories of the Eleventhborn lobbing a gargantuan fireball at him and how he barely stopped it using his Ifrit form.
Memories of meeting Helena for the first time, the genius Vampire warrior that had lived a rather lonely, training-intense life, focused on a singular goal.
And lastly, memories of the time he spent trapped in his Soul Spell Matrix, the mental trial honing his will and helping shape the expertise he’d gained in using his will to bend Fate.
‘I was just thinking about that.’ He thought, his eyes flashing.
He took a single step forward.
Instantly, his body and surroundings blurred as he was transported into the city, flung over the tall city walls. He passed over dozens of various shops and buildings, soaring through the air.
‘Oh, hey, that’s where all those Palace Lords were, and the barrier that I absorbed was.’ He smiled as he looked at a collection of towers. He quickly turned away and whistled casually, pretending he saw nothing.
In no time at all, he landed down in the middle of an empty intersection, arriving at a familiar looking inn. The same Inn Dorian had woken up at after his soul was repaired.
He felt a compulsion seize him, a type of morbid curiosity. He walked into the inn.
He didn’t see anyone inside. He followed the compulsion that had seized him, walking in through the main entrance and up a flight of stairs.
He entered into a dimly lit hallway, glowing magical torches of some sort set on the walls. A thin rug covered the floor, the hall opening up to several different doorways.
He walked down it till he stopped in front of one particular door. As he stepped to it, his heart palpitated.
He opened the door.
“…and that is why it’s extremely important that you donate to my Everbel Walrus Restoration Fund!”
“Trajan! Stop trying to steal Probus’ money!”
“Quiet, Helena, it’s for a good cause! They need it more than he does!”
“Also, how exactly would the seals spend the money in the first place?”
“They’re walruses, damn it! Not seals!”
A myriad of familiar voices echoed in Dorian’s ears as he stepped into the room.
It was a large living room, one that connected to a bedroom in the back. It was lit using the same magical torches, giving the closed off room a warm and bright appearance. A large wooden table and several comfortable looking chairs were set up, three of which were occupied.
‘Helena and her friends…’ Dorian looked at Trajan and Probus, recognizing them.
Warmth and camaraderie, built from a friendship that spanned decades, could be sensed in the air as the trio talked to each other. It was like looking upon a family, watching close friends relax and have fun.
“Hahaha, sureeee Trajan. The seals will create a fiscally independent commune, mhm. Totally.” Dorian smiled wide as he saw Helena take a crack at Trajan. This scene looked to have been constructed from right after they had defeated the Eleventhborn, when spirits were still high.
‘Did this actually happen? Or are these memories magically created based on my knowledge of them?’ He had no idea either way.
“You know, Trajan. She does have ” Probus began,
“Don’t you say it.” Trajan interrupted him, slamming his hands onto the table as he glared at his comrade.
“A point.” Probus smirked slightly, fingering a long blade he had strapped to his back,
“She really cuts straight to the chase. A sharp woman. Her thoughts are on the bleeding edge of-“
“NO MORE!” Trajan threw his hands up into the air and spun around, abandoning the party to peals of laughter from Helena and Probus.
As Dorian saw this, he felt his heart twinge.
‘Ah…’ He took a deep breath, feeling emotions run through him.
‘I get it. I envy this too. Having a relaxed, silly, fun relationship with Helena. Not one fraught with danger and peril.’ He could definitely feel something between him and her. But they hadn’t had the free and relaxed time to enjoy it, to take it slow, to really get to spend some quality time together.
‘I envy that.’
The world around him quivered. Once more, he felt as if had made progress, as if he was getting closer to finishing the challenge.
Finally, Dorian arrived in a place he didn’t recognize.
A world covered in unfamiliar darkness. Chaotic lights flashed in the background, giving everything an ominous appearance. He seemed to be standing on some type of island again, a sea of darkness surrounding him on all sides.
Dorian’s heart spasmed as he heard a voice speak in his mind. He spun around, searching the island for this voice, finding no one.
The voice was a familiar one. One he had not heard in a very long time.
The remnant of Yukeli, speaking to him from his soul.
“You… what do you want?!” Dorian’s tone was harsh and unfavorable. Yukeli had helped him out before, but was also a huge liability. The danger the man put Dorian in was considerable. Dorian would do a great many things to get rid of him, removing the remnant soul.
‘What do I want, child? It is not for me to ask.’ Yukeli’s voice was wizened and old, echoing with ancient power.
‘I did not come here of my own will.’
As Yukeli finished speaking, the air began to blur in front of Dorian. Gradually, a vague, shadowy figure formed, standing on the isolated island with him.
“After all, you are the one that called me here.” Yukeli’s voice echoed out loud, coming from the shadowy figure. The darkness seemed to tremble all around them, the flashes of light shaking the air.
“I brought you here?” Dorian muttered, his hands tensing up. While he couldn’t use any of his Abilities presently, he could still make use of his powerful Balance Demon form. His mind raced ahead of him as he tried to understand the situation.
“I am… envious of YOU?” He said out loud, incredulous.
“It would seem so. Believe me, I do not envy you a whit.” Yukeli responded, his ancient voice mildly amused. The shadowy figure seemed to look around, turning its vague head about.
“This reeks of the Demonic Laws. Ah, right, you are practicing several of them. I am somewhat up to date on your developments.” Yukeli mused out loud. It had been so long since Dorian heard him speak, he had begun to forget he was still with him, lying dormant in his soul. Well, he would’ve forgotten if that was possible with his Jade Memory.
“Vile Laws from a vile race.”
Dorian ignored Yukeli as he focused, taking several deep breaths. He calmed himself down, trying to understand the situation.
“Why on Earth would I be envious of you?” He muttered out loud, frowning.
There was a quiet moment. In this strange world of darkness and flashing lights, there was no other sound save for him and Yukeli. It was strangely surreal to hear, unsettling.
“Hmph. It’s obvious, isn’t it?” Dorian looked up as Yukeli spoke. The shadowy figure had crossed his arms as he looked at Dorian, supremely confident.
“Many people were envious of me while I was alive, all for the same reason.” Yukeli gradually raised an open hand.
He then clenched down hard, forming a fist.
“You’re envious of my power.”
A few memories rose to the forefront of Dorian’s mind. A few leftover scraps of memory from Yukeli, vicious battles of him fighting against ridiculous odds. Memories of his genius battle technique that made him the strongest warrior in all of existence.
Yukeli was able to take on the powerful King Class Demonic archer Leader while Leader was in his Super State.
All using his own talents and skill, without even being able to access the power of Law. Purely with technique and a little help from the Perfect Body Ability that he constructed.
At least during the time when Yukeli was alive, there was literally no one else that could match him in battle skill and technique. He was the absolute greatest.
‘His power…’ Dorian stared at the shadowy figure, his face frozen. Slowly, he nodded.
‘That’s right… If I had that power, I wouldn’t have to take on all these ridiculous disguises. I could directly break out of the Commune and save Helena.’ Dorian clenched his fists, staring at the shadowy figure.
‘Power. If I had that, I wouldn’t have to live in fear or constantly on the run. I could fight off even the strongest foes. He’s right.’
‘That is what I’m envious of… his power.’
Dorian’s eyes flashed.
“Oh good, it looks like yo-“
Before Yukeli could finish speaking, the world around Dorian transformed once more. The world of flashing darkness faded away, returning back to the initial white plane he had started at. He was back on the original island, standing just a meter from the edge.
The whiteness in front of him now, however, was full of twisted images. His memories were spread out upon it, causing the plane to transform into a myriad of colors. His desires were full of emotion, of raw want and desire, and seemed to have satisfied whatever requirements the challenge had put into place.
“Congratulations on completing the Inheritance of Envy!”
Dorian ignored the voice that called out to him as he felt a new source of energy flicker into his awareness. The world around him seemed to shift and focus, enabling this sensation to reach him. This energy source resonated with the various other power sources in his soul.
A source that he instantly seized upon, not allowing to escape. As he grabbed hold of it, this energy began to serenade his soul, surrounding it. It ran flush within his mind, rippling waves of power that covered his soul and body.
It was an energy source he instinctively recognized…
The Law of Envy.
He had successfully obtained the last Baptism of the Demonic Laws he would ever need.
And, as his body once more teleported and vanished, returning him back to where he came from in the Castle of Envy, Dorian felt an odd sensation in his mind.
As he took in the Law of Envy, the energy source gradually becoming available, he felt something unique start to occur.
Seven of the various energy sources in his soul, from all of the Demonic Laws he had successfully obtained and from the still-forming Law of Envy, were slowly starting to react. Individually, they each began to writhe and shake, fluctuating.
Bit by bit… deep within his soul… they began to draw closer to one another…