Reborn: Evolving From Nothing / Reborn: Evolving From Nothing Chapter 213 Return
Dorian’s first date with Helena was a glorious success.
“Where are we going?” Dorian had made Helena don a blindfold as he walked her away from the inn, guiding her.
“Just follow me, Smalls.” Dorian grinned shamelessly as he led her away from the inn to a fancy horse-drawn carriage, the type wealthy merchants or nobles used for transportation in-city. It was large, with plush cushions and seating on the inside, painted black on the oustide. This particular one was drawn by one Sky Class White Fur Horse.
He gave a silent nod to the driver he’d hired as he scooped Helena up and jumped inside in one smooth motion.
“Eep!” Helena couldn’t resist any longer as she tore the blindfold off, and quickly looked around.
“Hey! That was like 4 seconds!” Dorian’s protests went ignored as she giggled.
“Is this a… horse and carriage?” She stared at him, curious.
Dorian held a hand up to her lips, silencing her as he gave her a beady-eyed stare.
“It’s a surprise.”
“Neighhhh!” Outside, the sounds of a horse neighing as it began walking, drawing them forward, ruined part of the suspense.
“Not much of a surprise, huh?” Helena smirked.
Dorian ignored that as he picked the blindfold back up, ignoring her squeals as he blocked off her vision.
Then, as she was in the middle of complaining, he delicately grabbed her neck and kissed her.
Helena shivered and then practically melted into his arms as they traveled through the city, a romantic evening unfolding.
Eventually, they reached the edge of town and left the horse and buggy behind.
Dorian led her as the quiet evening fell to a gentle night, walking with purpose while keeping her blindfolded. Soon, they found themselves by a small lake, the Chaotic Space of the world above them shimmering faintly, quickly blocked by a layer of clouds.
Finally, Dorian let her take off the blindfold as he pulled out and set up a blanket and a small collection of delicacies that he prepared back in Cracktyl. The carpet was checkered with red and white squares, while the delicacies were pastries and snacks from some of the finest restaurants in Cracktyl.
When Helena saw this, she squealed in delight and jumped into Dorian’s arms, hugging him. He laughed out loud, hugging her back as he looked into her eyes.
The night continued to unfold as they talked about anything and everything. From her recovery to their least favorite colors, from their best combat techniques to their favorite animals. They had a silly, delightful conversation that ended up with Helena resting quietly in Dorian’s arms, cuddled up as the night moved onward.
The Vampires were very similar to many traditional or conservative people back on Earth, putting great importance in marriage, but that didn’t stop Helena from kissing Dorian like there was no tomorrow.
“Thank you for everything, Dorian.” Helena’s voice whispered in Dorian’s ears as they looked out over the water, the night lazily drifting by.
“Of course, Smalls. I got your back, remember?” He gave her a thumbs up as she rested on him, poking her lightly in the cheek.
She scrunched up her cheeks as she stuck out a tongue at him, prompting a snort from Dorian.
“I mean, like. For helping me when no one else would. For being there. It meant… it means a lot.” Her voice was small as she finished, a faint blush appearing on her face.
Dorian smiled gently,
“Good. I worked hard for you, dammit, it should mean a lot.”
“Ah!” Helena’s eyes opened wide at the unexpected response. She turned and glared at Dorian, punching him in the chest.
“I am trying to have a moment here! Dorian!”
“Hahahaha!” Dorian guffawed, unable to help himself. After a moment, he leaned forward and kissed her forehead, whispering,
“I know, I’m just teasing. I’ll always be here for you, Smalls. No matter what.”
Helena looked up into his eyes, faint tears appearing as she quickly buried herself in Dorian’s chest, hugging him tight. Dorian hugged her right back, feeling his heart lift.
That single, fateful night was one of the greatest nights of Dorian’s life, as far as he was concerned.
When they returned back to the city of Cracktyl, two hours later, Helena’s face had a faint hint of a flush around it while Dorian sauntered about like he was king of the world.
Dorian and Helena unofficially started dating.
They kept the news secret for a variety of reasons, not least of which was that Helena was an extremely important figure to the Vampires and there was little chance her ostensible father figure, Highlord Marcus, would approve of their relationship at this time.
As such, they figured there was no reason to bother the old man.
Also, dating an Anomaly would put her at risk from the many people that were hunting down Anomalies.
The next day, Dorian, alongside Helena and Family General Balbinus, finally left Cracktyl.
They traveled away without much fanfare, slipping out of the city quietly.
Dorian’s final goodbyes to the Moria Liberation Force had been heartfelt. He went and visited with every single member, most of them still bedridden as they recovered from injuries. He made sure to give each of them a small, encouraging speech, playing the part of the grateful Lord Inigo, and showing his own, very real gratefulness.
“Thank you for everything, Lord Inigo. For showing this old fool that there really can be heroes in this world.” Captain Fabian’s last comment to Dorian before Dorian left had stuck with him. The martial artist had been resting in his bed in the inn, wrapped up in bandages.
The Captain had intended the words as a whisper, but ended up shouting them with such volume that it made Dorian wince.
“If you’re an old fool, what does that make me?” Dorian had been at the doorway, about to leave after talking with the man for a good fifteen minutes. He gave the Captain a cheeky smile, leaning against the door.
Fabian merely shook his head, smiling back.
“Till next time, Captain Fabian.”
“Till next time, Lord Inigo.”
Their parting was full of mutual respect.
After jogging out of sight of the city limits, Family General Balbinus pulled out a flying ship Artifact. He powered the Artifact as they all boarded it, setting it to fly high in the sky. It was a small, and graceful, black vessel, with a sleek, sharp design that could comfortably fit around 20 people.
They then shot off at breakneck speed, soaring by incredibly quickly, far faster than Dorian could fly in his Sun Eagle form.
Under the powerful Family General’s control, they crossed World Bridge after World Bridge, soaring through planet after planet in a blur. Balbinus’ control of the flying vessel was extraordinary and his energy seemingly limitless. While normal flying ships require a large, manned crew, Balbinus was able to shoulder every task himself, forcibly flying the ship at top speed.
Balbinus also had the advantage of no longer needing to hide his presence from enemies thanks to the temporary ceasefire they had enacted.
It was because of his efforts and this that they made it all the way to Evonon, the Exotic World of Eternal Evening, in roughly 2 days.
What happened next moved so quickly it felt like a blur in Dorian’s mind.
Highlord Marcus was ecstatic to see Helena, welcoming her and Dorian with a grand feast. Dorian ostensibly maintained his cover as Lord Inigo, but was pretty certain the Vampire Highlord easily saw through his disguise. The Highlord had been well aware that Helena was friends with an Anomaly and seemed to have pieced everything together, though he did nothing about it other than give Dorian a knowing gaze.
Marcus awarded Dorian with multiple powerful treasures for his help, sparing no expense. Out of respect for the Highlord, Dorian opted not to sell them.
Instead, he absorbed them all for a huge amount of Growth Energy.
According to Ausra, when he eventually catalyzed and began forming a King Class Bloodline, he would need a huge amount of Growth Energy. Thus, Dorian opted to begin building that up early, to be prepared as possible for the future.
The peace negotiations he had brought along with him set the entire Castle of Darkness aflutter as Highlord Marcus and his Family Generals and advisers held multiple meetings. The mood of the castle was hard to judge, though there was a certain hint of optimism now that the ongoing war was on pause.
Dorian and Helena had set this all into motion, but in the end, didn’t play any major role in the talks. The leaders of the Aurelius Vampires controlled the meetings and discussions, keeping everything a secret.
Dorian did manage to learn that the Aurelius Vampires had contacted the Shade King, using the excuse of Lord Inigo and Helena’s friendship as cover.
Ostensibly, in the eyes of the Vampire public, the Shade Lord Inigo had seen beyond the bounds of Race and had saved the Aurelius Reaver Helena from being killed by Demons, or so the story went. Various rumors about them being married had spread among the Vampires, but without any public announcements, everyone was left in the dark.
Dorian’s antics had left a bit of a mess, but it wasn’t anything that would cause too many problems.
‘Besides, if worst comes to worst, I can just marry her. Heh.’ The thought was ever-present in the back of his mind, one that faintly filled him with delight and a hint of guilt.
A couple of weeks passed. In that time, Dorian spent time with Helena, relaxing and enjoying her company.
He taught her more about how to dance, taking great joy in the close moments they held. They went on walks, went fishing, had picnics, played games together. Their burgeoning relationship finally began to flourish now that the constant threat of annihilation had been put on hold.
These few weeks were some of the happiest of his life.
In that time, he didn’t focus purely on enjoying himself, however.
He also put his focus into continuing his understanding of the various Laws of the Universe, using the huge pool of treasures he’d obtained to enhance his progress. He gifted Helena her own mini, but substantial, supply as well, hoping to help her solidify and grow her own understanding of her Law of Might.
Virtuous Laws (4/7) – ???
Demonic Laws (7/7) – Law of Original Sin – 6%
Through two weeks of effort, Dorian managed to raise his comprehension of the Law of Original Sin from 1% to 6%, laying the basic foundation of the Law. This required him to not only raise the progress of all of the Demonic Laws to at least 6%, but to also integrate them and understand their interconnected pathways. He focused purely on his Demonic Laws, temporarily ignoring the Virtuous Laws.
Gaining 5% understanding in 2 weeks might seem slow to some. Indeed, considering that Laws were much easier to study and gain comprehension in at lower levels, especially for Dorian who had leapfrogged through multiple Laws in a short period, the rate was rather slow.
However, the Law of Original Sin was an Origin Law. It was an incredibly complex and abstruse Law that literally no one else in existence currently understood. Every step Dorian took was one he forged himself, using his own powerful soul to propel himself forward.
If it wasn’t for his Balance Demon form’s Soul of Balance helping stabilize himself while he meditated, allowing him to easily control multiple converging Laws, Dorian likely wouldn’t have even reached 2% understanding yet.
Still, even his ‘slow’ rate of understanding a Law was already fantastically fast by the standard of a normal being. It often took years and years for most people to make even a small amount of progress, let alone a couple of weeks.
‘A King Class form… it’s possible gaining one might increase my comprehension speed.’ The thought had run through Dorian’s mind at one point, one that he felt increasingly certain was true. If he could gain a King Class Bloodline, he would likely have an easier time integrating his understanding of the Laws of the Universe.
Even if his body remained at a lower level, it was possible his Soul Spell Matrix would increase alongside the power of his body, reaching King Class even without Law comprehension that reached King Class. He wouldn’t know for sure until he tested it out, the growth methods of Anomalies being quite… anomalous.
From the list of possible Evolutions, there was one in particular that caught Dorian’s eye. One that he had realized was achievable if he put some effort in.
He didn’t have the Soul Spell Matrix or remains of any King Class Dragon, nor was obtaining anything like that feasible despite his best efforts. Powerful King Class Dragons didn’t exactly grow on trees, and finding their intact remains was incredibly difficult. Most things of that nature would be stolen or bought, used up soon after word got out that it existed.
As for finding an Angelic/Divine/Heavenly-Aspected remains, he had literally no idea where to start. He thought he might find it easier to find Demonic-Aspected remains, given that Moria had been a hive of Demonic activity, but his lucky soul seemed to have failed him.
All of the remains on Moria had dissipated, as far as he could tell. He had absorbed a countless number of powerful Demonic remnants, but none of them had been intact King Class beings, and even if they had been, he couldn’t access those remains now.
That left the final pick.
Bones, essence, or a remnant Soul Spell Matrix of a King Class Undead/Vampyrian-Aspected being.
Obtaining a King Class Vampyrian-Aspected being’s remains was unrealistic. The only possible place he might find that would be the Internal Family Graveyard, a place of sacred holiness within the Aurelius Family’s Castle of Darkness. There were a few other possibilities, like hunting down one of the few rogue King Class Vampires that were unaffiliated and leaned evil, but those Vampires were well hidden and even finding them would be extremely difficult.
Even if he did break in and manage to desecrate the graves of one of the respected ancestors of the Aurelius Family, there was no telling if the remains would hold enough energy to work. Further, he would be offending the Aurelius Family beyond repair, souring any and all future relations.
The Vampires took their pride and honor seriously. There were few worse things he could do than desecrate the graves of their ancestors.
That left him with a single option. Finding the remains of a King Class Undead-Aspected being.
The moment Dorian thought about this requirement, a lightbulb had lit up in his head.
‘Undead-Aspected, but holding a large amount of power?’ According to Ausra, something was Undead-Aspected if they had previously been a living creature but now lived in a state of perpetual undeath.
The type of Desiccated beings Dorian was familiar with would qualify.
A powerful King Class Undead being…
A memory of what felt like forever ago popped up in his head.
A memory of him fleeing from enemies while carrying the dormant soul of Will with him. A memory of a world of freezing cold, where the dead walked. A memory of a certain Lightsworn Fox’s betrayal almost ending with his death.
Memories of the Exotic World of Blizzaria, where an enormous, one-armed King Class Giant had fought against a mighty, King Class Grakon. Creatures that were both Desiccated.
Beings that were Undead-Aspected.
The moment he realized this, Dorian’s plans solidified. He knew what he had to do.
He had to return to Blizzaria.
Not only did he plan on picking up the Giant Bloodline, if possible, he would also pick up the catalyst he needed to Evolve his first King Class form, an Empyrean Vampire. Everything seemed to fall in place perfectly, his needs and desires met in equal parts.
.. .. .. .. .. ..
After making up his mind on what he needed to do, Dorian didn’t delay.
He immediately told his plans to Helena. When she heard what he had decided on doing, at first, she insisted on traveling with him. Eventually, however, Dorian managed to convince her to stay.
When he landed on Blizzaria, he fully intended on stealthily hunting down as many of the Undead-Aspected beings as possible, not only absorbing Growth Energy but also gaining experience and practice using his various Laws.
Helena had officially become a King Class being and her soul had largely recovered, but Dorian wanted to travel on his own. He needed the practice and also didn’t want to put her in any possible danger.
Blizzaria was a dangerous Exotic World that had killed plenty of King Class experts. Dorian was confident in his capabilities when it came to escaping on his own, but considering that he would likely draw the ire of every powerful creature on the planet, he was unwilling to let Helena risk herself.
It took him nearly a day to convince her of the facts, her stubborn refusal cute. Eventually, Helena had settled for intensive practice with Family General Balbinus, agreeing that she needed more time to familiarize herself with her King Class capabilities. She hadn’t become a genius when it came to hand-to-hand combat simply by luck, but through intensive, constant practice.
Like that, the final day of Dorian’s stay arrived.
And it was here that he had returned to the meeting room with the black and white marble table. It was in this very room that he’d met with the Highlord Marcus after rescuing Helena, receiving the many treasures the Vampire had bestowed upon him.
It was also in this room that the higher-ups of the Aurelius Vampires had held their talks and potential peace negotiations. While Dorian wasn’t sure what the end result would be yet, the war was still in a ceasefire, so it seemed the talks were at least not going poorly.
“We did it.” He repeated the first few words he’d said when he got here, smiling. They’d managed to get truce talks started, successfully giving the Shades and Vampires a chance to find peace. After a moment, Dorian turned around and left without a second thought, his eyes full of steely determination.
There was no time to waste in the past. He had to keep moving forward.
Recently, a feeling of urgency had settled in his heart, one he couldn’t exactly explain. It was a feeling that nevertheless surged true to him, a feeling that he knew he needed to follow.
It was this feeling that helped spur his movements as he decided to travel to Blizzaria, agonizingly stepping away from the delightful times with Helena to focus on improving his power.
Dorian left the chambers, maneuvering through a warmly lit hallway. The Castle of Darkness seemed like a rather cheerful place to Dorian, belying its grim name. The hallways were brightly lit and with all the Vampire activity in the face of ongoing peace talks, it was packed with people. Helena told him it wasn’t usually like this, but he wasn’t complaining.
He travelled down the hallway and through a few others, moving down a set of stairs till he found himself outside one particular room, his own.
As he was reaching for the handle, he noted that the door was already cracked open. He blinked when he saw this, pushing the door all the way open.
A warm smile appeared on his face as he walked in and saw a petite Vampire waiting for him, resting on a couch. His room was a suite, complete with a large couch, a bedroom, and a study, finely decorated with tapestries and paintings.
“Heyo, Helena!” Dorian waltzed in confidently, his voice sounding off as he waved at the woman.
Helena spun around, eyeing him mischievously as she smiled back, her brilliant blonde hair twirling.
The Vampire had dyed her hair blonde for some reason. She had told him it vaguely had to do with a ceremony she’d participated in after achieving King Class and something else to do with the merits she’d brought.
Dorian thought it made her look even cuter, her short blonde hair flying snugly around her shoulders. Her brilliant purple eyes gleamed with red light, another transformation that Dorian didn’t quite understand. He didn’t even know Vampires could change their eye color.
“Ready to get rid of me already, eh?” He continued, walking up right behind the couch. He kissed her lightly on the forehead.
“Promise me you’ll come back, Dorian.” Helena looked at Dorian, her eyes gleaming with emotion as she spoke aloud, sounding the words off slowly.
Dorian planned on shutting off all communication while he was on Blizzaria, spending the trip training in true isolation. He would allow no distractions, focused purely on his training. Only by doing so could he truly work on his Law Comprehension and gaining a new Evolution.
With Helena tucked up safely in the headquarters of the Aurelius Family, he had nothing to worry about. Well, almost nothing. Ever since Will disappeared with Sun Wukong, as he later learned, he had felt nervous about how his close ally was doing. He’d put in several inquiries, taking advantage of the vast intelligence network the Aurelius Family held, but come up with nothing.
‘Still, it’s not something I can fix now, so I shouldn’t worry about it.’ He decided he would deal with the issue when he was able to, instead of letting it dog and worry him constantly.
“We’ve talked about this, Smalls! I’ll be back here in a jiffy. Once I gain the Bloodline I’m looking for, I’ll start heading back ASAP. Meditating here is likely as good as meditating anywhere else, right?” He rubbed her hair fondly, kissing her again. He was starting to feel like he was addicted to her presence, their newfound relationship blossoming. It felt amazing, and was incredibly hard to tear himself away from.
“I know… I know…” Helena sighed as she leaned forward against him, hugging him tightly. Dorian paused for a moment before hugging her back,
“I just worry.” Her voice was small,
“I’ve only been with you for such a brief period… yet I already can’t stand the thought of losing you.” She looked up at him, her gorgeous eyes gleaming.
Dorian poked her on the nose.
“Stop worrying, silly!”
“Hey!” She yelped back.
“Ahahahaha!” Dorian ducked under a half-angry punch as he laughed out loud. He then coughed abruptly, his body blurring as he ducked half a dozen more punches, his eyes widening.
“Ho-hold o-on it was a jo- Helena! Ahhh!”
The rest of his struggles echoed silently on the unhearing walls, punches turning to kisses, and then back to punches at one point, as Dorian and Helena said their farewells.
In what felt like an instant, but in reality was more than an hour, Dorian found himself standing in the Bat Stable of the Castle of Darkness. It was here that the giant bats that the Aurelius Vampires used for long distance transportation could be found.
The stable was large, with two dozen very large stalls. Each stall opened up onto a cliff-face high above a storming ocean. The stable seemed to be carved into the stone itself, well lit like the rest of the castle with warm, magical torches.
In several of these stalls, enormous bats could be seen. Large creatures with wingspans at least 5 times Dorian’s height, each one was bigger than a trio of horses sitting side by side, with thin wings covered in a black membrane. They weren’t particularly strong creatures, only at the Grandmaster Class, but each one was sturdy and reliable.
Dorian had obtained permission to use one of the Aurelius flying bats to aid his travel, the speedy mount something that would vastly decrease the amount of time he’d have to waste in transportation. With this, reaching Blizzaria would take a few days of travel and he could spend that time in meditation or training.
Around Dorian, several other Vampires moved to and fro, some caring for the various bats while others were preparing to leave themselves.
One of the Vampire attendants was currently helping Dorian, a young Vampire named Salor.
“Over here, Lord Inigo!” Salor waved Dorian down, pointing at one particular stall where a particularly large bat stood, with a leather saddle tacked on to its back.
Species: Giant Black Bat
Class – Grandmaster Class (Peak)
Maximum Energy Level: 885
Dorian eyed it for a moment before nodding his head.
It was time to go.
‘When I return Helena… I will have the power I need.’ He clenched his fist, exhaling harshly as he psyched himself up. He nodded stiffly, his eyes flashing with determination as he stepped forward and did not look back.
.. .. .. .. .. ..
A couple of days after Dorian left…
Within the Highlord’s favored study in the Castle of Darkness, Marcus Aurelius stood in front of a table with a perturbed expression on his face. He was currently looking down at an intelligence report he had received, his eyes giving away nothing.
“How accurate is this?” His words left his mouth slowly as he turned, glancing to the side.
His beautiful red-headed Spymaster, and rumored lover, Julia responded immediately,
“100%, Highlord.” Her voice was grim.
Marcus frowned deeply, staring down at what was written on the page.
“Just when we entered peace negotiations too…” He moved aside a few papers, revealing a large map of the 30,000 Worlds. He traced a finger over towards the region controlled by the Draconic Tribes.
“Not too long ago, the Heavy Wing Tribe was reported as fallen. And now…” His hand traced over to point at one particular planet,
“The Lesser Planet of Hani has been completely destroyed and the Draconic Tribes have declared war on the Borrel Autarchy.” Marcus’ hand slowly fell away, his voice containing a hint of confusion,
“What in the heavens is going on?!”