The mountains were endless, and the sea of clouds had no bounds. It was like a scene straight out of paradise.
A man in white robes stood on top of a mountain that towered over even the clouds. His hands were clasped behind his back, and his long hair swayed freely with the wind. He looked both handsome and refined. The sky stood even with him, and the ground and all other living beings existed beneath his feet.
He was just standing there, and yet clouds automatically gathered beneath his feet. The surrounding elements and energies were also carefully yet ardently gathering around him, unwilling to leave.
A gust of wind blew behind him, and the excited cries of a young man followed right after, “Senior Ni Xuan! Phew... I finally found you.”
The white-robed man smiled and turned around to face him. At that moment, the wind stilled, the clouds froze, and the light dimmed. He looked like the embodiment of the most handsome man possible, and the ultimate fantasy of any woman. His skin was perfectly smooth and healthy-looking, his eyebrows looked sharp and straight, his eyes were glittering with stars, and his face was exquisite.
An all-too-perfect appearance like this would normally repel a person, but it was softened by just the right amount of carefreeness, roguishness, and warmth. His eyes especially naturally drew one to explore their edges or depths.
He was Ni Xuan, the Creation God of Elements. Acknowledged by both the gods and the devils, he was also the most handsome man in the entire universe. He was the male counterpart of the most beautiful woman in Primal Chaos, Li Suo.
He asked with a smile that resembled an immortal wind passing through the peaks of clouds, “Judging from how excited you are, could it be...”
The young man nodded repeatedly. His face was hidden from this point of view, but anyone could tell just how excited the young man was from his body language. “Father agreed! Father agreed that you can become my master, and that I can cultivate beside you for the next thousand years to come!”
He then dropped to his knees and declared solemnly, “Disciple Mo Su greets his ma—”
Ni Xuan didn’t move, but an invisible energy sealed the young man’s mouth and pulled him to his feet. “Your Father may have agreed, but I haven’t.”
The young man froze for a full second before he asked worriedly, “Did this disciple... er, I mean, this junior do something to displease senior? If so, please tell me. I promise to correct my mistakes and improve myself.”
Ni Xuan shook his head smilingly and helplessly. “Look at you, a stickler for rules who fears nothing more than failure. Sigh.”
“But before we get to that, I must say that I am surprised that that stubborn coot would agree to let you study under me,” Ni Xuan continued, “Was your recent progress... so bad that he couldn’t even bear to see your face anymore?”
Ni Xuan’s guess was as direct as it was painful. The young man bowed his head shamefully and mumbled, “Yes... I have been stuck on the seventy third sword of the Ninety Nine Heaven Breaking Swords for three hundred and twenty years, and he said that I would never be able to master the Heaven Punishing Sword Art at this rate.”
Ni Xuan guffawed. “That sounds like something that stubborn old coot would say all right! Everyone in the universe knows exactly how talented you are. One might even say that there is no one among the gods and the myriad races who can compare to you.”
“It’s obvious that the old coot is just a bad teacher, but he will never admit to it. His teaching style is such that even the greatest genius would transform into a rigid block of wood who doesn’t dare to experiment with anything.”
“The fact that you managed to master the first seventy two swords despite being bound in the arms, legs, heart and soul is a testament to how talented you are.”
The young man looked up with sparkling eyes. “Father has never praised me like that. He always said that—”
“You’re extraordinarily untalented? Lazy? Distracted? Overcautious?” Ni Xuan quipped carelessly.
The young man looked surprised and impressed. “You really are the man who knows my father the best, senior Ni Xuan. Those are all terms he has used before.”
“That’s because the stubborn old coot can’t come up with anything new,” Ni Xuan snorted in disdain, “I swear, his fart smells the same even after millions of years.”
Uncouth words spilled out of Ni Xuan’s mouth despite his impossibly handsome face. Even the young man was glowing with admiration and reverence toward Ni Xuan even though he was insulting his father to his face. It was because Ni Xuan was the one and only person in the world who dared to criticize his father so.
Every time he got close to Ni Xuan, he felt like he was existing in a completely different world, a world where he didn’t need to suppress himself, fuss over the slightest mistakes, and doubt himself; a world where he didn’t need to worry if his his footsteps were steady, his expression was proper, or his breathing was calm.
“In fact, your father knows very well that he is a shitty teacher, but he just can’t bring himself to beg me in person. That is why he pretended to be furious and disappointed with you when you requested to study under me. He probably shouted, ‘Get lost! I can use some peace of mind after this!’ when he kicked you out of your house, didn’t he?”
The young man’s eyes and mouth widened like saucers. “The tone and words you used... are exactly the same as my father's...”
Ni Xuan replied matter-of-factly, “In this world, there is no one easier to figure out than your stubborn old coot of a father.”
“Mo Su,” he addressed the young man by name, “if you study under me, I guarantee that you’ll master the Heaven Breaking Swords in just a thousand years.”
The young man looked up in disbelief. “A... A thousand years?”
Ni Xuan wiggled his eyebrows. “What? Did your father not tell you that it only took me four hundred years to master the Heaven Breaking Swords?”
The young man shook his head. “Father has never mentioned it, but the Brahma Heaven Sword Attendants did talk to me about it. When I brought it up with my father, he grunted without saying a word, and I never dared to ask him about it again. To think that it was true!”
Ni Xuan said, “When your father first created the Ninety Nine Heaven Breaking Swords, he claimed that it was the greatest sword art in the world under the Heaven Punishing Sword Art, and that even I would need a thousand years of training before I could grasp the basics. So, I made him a bet and said that I would be able to master all ninety nine swords in just a thousand years.”
“As you already know, I mastered it in just four hundred years. It’s a shame you weren’t born yet at the time, or you could’ve witnessed his tar black face with your own eyes. It was truly a miraculous sight.”
“You’re... incredible, senior.” The young man’s admiration toward Ni Xuan deepened even further. “So, what was the bet?”
“It was simple. Whoever lost owed the winner a favor.” Ni Xuan chuckled. “As you know, a favor can be as insignificant as a speck of dust, or bigger than the heavens themselves. Unfortunately for your father, he was so confident in his new invention that he agreed to the bet without a second thought.”
“So, did you use your favor yet, senior?” the young man asked curiously. After all, there was almost no one in the universe who could unsettle his father, and Ni Xuan was one of the few.
“No, I haven’t used up that favor just yet.” Ni Xuan’s smile grew just a hint devilish. “I can’t really think of anything I must have him do, so I figure I might as well let it hang over his head like a guillotine’s blade. Your father values promises like his own life, so since then he can never face me with his back fully straight. It is most satisfying to say the least.”
There was no victory in criticizing his father or the man he admired the most, so the young man simply dropped to his knees again and said, “It is my greatest wish and honor to be able to study under you, senior. I promise that I will never slack off during this period, and that I will do everything in my power to meet your and father’s expectations.”
“Heavens, do you have a fetish for kneeling or something?” Ni Xuan shook his head and brought Mo Su back to his feet with the snap of a finger. “I’ll allow you to accompany me for the next thousand years on one condition: you must free yourself from the cage of rules and norms your father has enforced upon you.”
“But of course!” The young man nodded strongly. “Since I’m studying under you, it is only natural that I obey your guidance.”
“Very good.” Ni Xuan nodded at him. “In that case, my first instruction for you is to stop treating me like your teacher or your senior. Just address me as ‘big brother’.”
“Wha... huh? A-A-A-Absolutely not!” The young man was beyond shocked. “How can I possibly—”
“Possibly, what? This is just your first instruction, and you’re going to disobey me already?” Ni Xuan narrowed his eyes.
“N-No, of course not!” The young man shook his head in a panic while stuttering, “B-But the old come before the young, and status exists for a reason, not to mention that you are the senior I respect the most. How can I possibly address you in such a rude manner?”
“Status my ass. Anyway if you can’t even let go of the shackles of seniority, then how can you possibly improve under my tutelage?” Ni Xuan turned his back on Mo Su and said in a disappointed tone, “You may take your leave.”
Terror gripped the young man in an instant. He hurriedly said, “Wait, senior! I... I’ll listen to you. I...I...”
All he needed to do was to say the words “big brother”, and yet the young man felt that it would be easier to lift an entire world on his back. It was because he had been indoctrinated with the importance of upbringing, etiquette, rules, laws, customs and more his whole life. To say those seemingly innocuous words was to snap the very way he had been leading his life until now in half.
Ni Xuan didn’t give him the opportunity to hesitate. His figure turned into a dot in an instant.
“Ah! Wait!” The young man stumbled a little before he caught himself. While chasing after Ni Xuan with all his might, he mustered almost all of his willpower and forced out the words, “Big... brother!”
Ni Xuan immediately stopped in his tracks and looked back with a smile. “Now we’re talking. Do it again.”
The young man couldn’t respond immediately. He just stood there feeling like the world had been turned upside down. When he mouthed the two words that rebelled against orthodoxy and practically betrayed the way he lived until this point, he felt as if something had burst out of his skull and into the big wide world around him. He felt as if he had leaped out of some sort of tiny, invisible world.
The world hadn’t changed, of course, and yet Mo Su felt like he was seeing colors he had never seen before.
His expression and tone were just as stiff as before, but it was so much easier than when he had said it the first time.
“Hahahaha!” Ni Xuan laughed boisterously and wrapped an arm around the young man’s shoulders. “Now we’re talking! Starting today, you and I will be exploring the world together, and we will treat each other like brothers who have no secrets with each other! It’s so much better than if we are senior and junior, master and disciple, don’t you agree?”
Still in a daze, the young man nodded dumbly. “You are right, senior.”
“... What did you just call me?”
“Big brother! Big brother Ni Xuan!” The young man corrected himself at light speed, and it sounded far smoother than before.
“Good. remember to address me as big brother only, especially when we’re exploring the lower realms,” Ni Xuan instructed seriously. “The humans of the lower realms have a very short lifespan, and most of them can’t live past a hundred years. My charm is going to drop drastically if the cuties hear you addressing me as a senior.”
“Er... why would you be interested in the lowly beings of the lower realms... big brother?”
Ni Xuan shook his head smilingly but didn’t give him an explanation this time. He slapped his shoulder once and said, “Status exists in your actions and your heart.”
“The main reason you were progressing slower than expected is because you were chained by the thick shackles around your heart. It is these shackles that affected your ability to wield your sword.”
“In the past, you never noticed that these shackles existed. In fact, you thought they were something that was absolutely indispensable to your life and kept reinforcing them.”
When Ni Xuan noticed Mo Su’s confused expression, he stopped and said, “It’s fine if you don’t understand it right now. You’re still young, and you still have so much time ahead of you. Since the stubborn old coot is willing to entrust you into my hands, there is no way I would allow you to transform into a smaller version of him. Let’s go!”
Ni Xuan abruptly grabbed the young man’s arm and jumped down the clouds.
“Where are we going, big brother?”
This time, there was only a bit of shyness in his voice.
“The lower realms.”
“The lower realms? But why?”
“Hahaha! Just follow my lead... Huh? Are you still a virgin?”
“Father told me that a man should preserve their vital y—”
“Stop right there! I don’t need to hear that stubborn old coot’s words from your mouth. Do you have a lover?”
“Lo... ver? I don’t understand what that word is.”
“... What do you think about the love between a man and a woman?”
“Father said that the love between a man and a woman should be like him and mother. They should support each other and respect each other. They should understand the value of reproduction and avoid indulging in—”
“That is the biggest load of Creation God shit I have ever heard in my life. He only wished he could shove his head and his ass in the Divine Palace of Life back then!”
“... Er, my father said the exact same thing about you.”
“Hmm, is that so? I suppose this trip can wait until after I’ve kicked your father’s ass.”
“Big brother? Are you actually planning to... wait! I apologize, big brother Ni Xuan! I swear I won’t say things carelessly anymore, so—big brother!”
Ni Xuan didn’t actually seek out Mo E, of course. Gliding on a gust of wind, he took the young man toward a completely different world.
“Big brother, I have a question I’ve wanted to ask for a long time. We’ve explored many worlds at this point, and you especially loved to show off to me all the beauties the universe has to offer. But why... did you never get intimate with any of them? Not truly?”
“It’s because my heart belongs to another, of course. If one day you find a person who can touch your heart and soul and enter your dreams, you will understand that no one’s beauty can even come close to the moment she turns around to look you in the eyes.”
“Are you talking about... senior Li Suo?”
“Hahahaha! Why are you asking the obvious?”
“It’s been so many years, and your love for her still hasn’t changed one bit. But er, I really don’t think senior Li Suo is the type to, you know...”
“There is always hope if you don’t give up, and she is worth my obsession, isn’t she? Sure, my effort hasn’t borne fruit even to this day, but... you’ll understand when you finally meet the woman of your dreams. You won’t regret it even if it ultimately ends in nothing.”
“... Is the love between a man and a woman really that incredible?”
“It’s not something that can be described with words. You’ll learn when you finally meet that person. As for me, you don’t need to feel bad for me at all. Back then, your father fought me tooth and nail to win her affection, but in the end he chose to marry your mother for the sake of his inheritance. This means that I am the only one left in this world who is a fit for Li Suo, am I right?”
“You are right! You are the only one left in the world who deserves senior Li Suo! Keep doing your best, big brother! The next time we visit the Divine Palace of Life, please don’t hesitate to ask for my help!”
“Hahaha! I shall happily oblige! The world knows that my love for Li Suo is hot and unshakeable! I refuse to believe that it will fail to melt Li Suo’s frozen heart one day!”
The scene changed to a world of mountains and clouds once more, but this time, the clouds were black in color.
Ni Xuan was standing at the top of a mountain, and he was accompanied by a woman wearing a black robe. She was actually one-sixth of a meter taller than him.n(-OvelbIn
The woman was extremely beautiful, but it was nothing compared to the valor and austerity that covered every inch of her features.
Anyone who looked at her would know that she was the one and only supreme queen of the entire universe.
Everyone she stared at would immediately be dragged into a devilish abyss of terror.
Ni Xuan’s eyes and smile were warm and gentle. Unlike before, he was completely missing his supernatural grace of a Creation God. One could almost mistake him for a young master who first set foot in the mortal coil.
“I want you to repeat the three things you promised me, Ni Xuan,” the woman ordered stiffly while staring forward.
Ni Xuan smiled wider and did as she requested. “First, I will announce to the universe that Jie Yuan is my wife in thirty thousand years.”
“Second, I will meet up with you at least once every year no matter how tied up I am.”
“And three, I will never meet Li Suo again.”
“Hmph!” The woman turned away slightly. “You didn’t miss a single word, so I guess you pass. The first two conditions... can be loosened within reason since the world is ever changing, and there are tides of fate that even you and I are hard pressed to change. But you must comply with the third condition no matter what! Otherwise—”
“I will transform into a dirty old man,” Ni Xuan held her head and whispered warmly.
The woman pretended to struggle for a bit before huffing, “Good. Don’t worry, I won’t abandon you even if you do transform into a dirty old man. I might even make you dirtier and uglier so you will never have the face to meet your beloved Li Suo again.”
“Sure,” Ni Xuan promised. Right here and now, his eyes saw Jie Yuan and Jie Yuan only. “Anything is acceptable so long as you are by my side.”
“...” Jie Yuan’s lips trembled for a moment. It took her a while before she finally said, “The last part of the Devil God Forbidden Tome is soon to complete. When the time comes, your dark core will fully awaken. You’ll lose your last chance to back down then.”
“You and I... are walking a path of heresy and blasphemy. Are you sure you don’t regret this?”
“Of course not.”
Ni Xuan stared into the distance and declared with infinite gentleness and determination, “We’re not wrong. What is wrong is the refusal to change, prejudice, and inherently fallacious perception.”
“If becoming one with you is considered heresy, then so be it. No matter what the final outcome might be, I will never regret this decision.”
When he raised his arm, a long, black sword beam jutted out of his finger.
“The final part of the Devil God Forbidden Tome will be named ‘Heresy’, and while the final sword isn’t complete yet, I shall name it... the ‘Heresy of No Regrets’! It shall be the proof of my determination!”
The scene ended there.
Ni Xuan claimed he would never regret his decision, but the final emotion he felt after the scene ended... was of sharp, painful regret.
What made you change your mind, Ni Xuan...?
1. Can’t really think of a good name, post some suggestions in the comments and maybe I’ll pick one.