To Matthew's dismal the previous decrease of the strength was only temporary. For some unknown reason, the pressure came back stronger than before.
The terror in Matthew mind only kept increasing as the pressure escalated. Such strain made him believe that his new form was going to burst at any moment, he felt like a balloon being squeezed by a giant hand.
“aaagggghhhh!!!!” A wave of pain worst than any physical form of pain came to him.
Sadly it was only the start of his plight. Through his original sense, that he kept using even in the face of such agony, he found something approaching. It looked like black water with red particles that congregate in small clusters. These particles moved in such a way that resembled the spirals of galaxies. It gave the feeling that a universe rested in those waters. It would have been a beautiful thing to watch if it weren't for the powerful and violent aura it emitted that left Matthew appalled.
The moment this liquid touch him, Matthew felt a fierce burning sensation. He had once burned his hand when playing with fireworks when he was younger. It was a third-degree burn and only thanks to the advanced medical technology did he recover completely. But that was nowhere close to the heat and pain he was currently experiencing. He suspected that the only reason he was still conscious was that his mind and bearing was more resilient in his current form. Otherwise, he would have already fainted.
Strangely enough, as an unknown amount of time passed, the pain started to abate. The burning sensation transformed into an almost mild and warm touch. As the pain stopped he spotted at the edge of his observation field another sphere of light. It was another soul, and it was being pushed towards his direction.
This other sphere was sleeping just like most of the others he had seen. It gave no other feeling but that of peace and tranquility. Even when covered by the same pressure as him it did not react, which was something Matthew found quite disturbing.
This sphere started to speed up towards him until they were side by side. At that moment Matthew found the attention of the mighty being focus again on his location. He has already learned through pure instinct that grabbing the attention of this entity meant being hurt just by its mere interest.
Then, both he and the other sphere started to be wrapped in the strange black liquid. At the same time, the creature started to squeeze them together.
And more pain came knocking the moment they touched each other. There was also a sensation of repulsion, so strong that he doubted the previous closeness he felt with these other souls. This whole process felt completely wrong.
“am I going to die? Can one die after death?”
Just when Matthew thought that he couldn't take it anymore, a golden thread of light came out from inside him. Not the sphere but from the part of him that even he himself couldn't see clearly. From inside that blurry part, that he couldn't comprehend, more and more of that golden thread started to come out. And it started to push away the other sphere while it transformed into a cocoon that covered him.
With a powerful burst of power, it took him away at an unmeasurable speed. The last thing he felt was the complete shock and surprise of that cold and indifferent being.
More than a hundred light-years away was a creature whose size was enormous. It had a human shape, blue skin and it's white hair looked and behaved like a fire on this beings head. It's two eyes were completely yellow with no sclera nor irises. While his torso was the canvas for a set of complex and beautiful runes that glowed with a golden light. The rest of his immense body was covered by a thick white mist. He was known by many as daraak e`ktel. He was currently looking in the direction where Matthew had disappeared.
'That golden thread. I'm sure it was the power of destiny, but it was altered in a way I had never seen before. I had picked that soul only because it was able to use soul force in spite of being the soul of a simple mortal. It certainly wasn't the first mortal soul in doing it and since eventually it was going to forget everything, it wasn't that special either.'
'So what happened then? What was it that gave way to such a reaction? It went beyond any of my predictions. I'm doing millions of experiments like that right now but none of those have anything even remotely similar to that golden thread of destiny. It was probably something in that soul, though I cannot be completely sure.'
'It was a normal mortal soul, as soon as that strand of consciousness of mine started concentrating on it, it started suffering. Only when I delegated the actions to my unconscious mind could it stand my presence. That kind of weakness only belongs to weak mortal souls. After all, it wasn't even a millionth of my total awareness.'
'If I want to give chase, I would have to raise the usage of my consciousness in this body. I can stop all my experiments, but to go to that speed, I need at least a 5 percent of my complete consciousness but with my other body fighting that insufferable old bastard...'
'I don't have the luxury to do it, even a minor mistake could cost me a lot.' Even though he could teleport, he needed first to know where the soul was going to be. The cocoon made erratic and fast movements. If he wanted to teleport in front of it, he would need more than 5 percent of his consciousness. 'If it wasn't for the interference that golden light is making I could predict its next position with less effort.'
'Moreover, I'm not confident in destroying that strange cocoon of concentrated and mutated destiny. At least not without compromising the coordination of my other body.' A lapse of concentration or a minor mistake in combat at his and his enemy's level would spell disaster.
'That soul will have to wait for now. Even at my stage, there are many matters about the soul that I can't answer. That's why I'm here experimenting after all, and that thread of destiny had given me some new insights…'
These thoughts went through daraak e`kteld's mind in less than a second and only in the tiny fraction of his consciousness that was overseeing that particular experiment. And as soon as they passed he put that part of his consciousness back to work. He sat in this void filled with light produced by the amorphous shapes coming from all directions. These shapes, of huge size, had an even bigger void separating them. Only from afar could one appreciate how they move together like a flowing river.
On Matthew's side, time kept passing as he traveled inside the light cocoon. At a speed that would put to shame the interstellar 3, the pinnacle of human technology, the cocoon crossed the void. But despite the speed, inside the cocoon everything was quiet and peaceful
In an instant, Matthew felt the cocoon brake some kind of barrier. As he came back to himself he felt that everything was different from the place where he was before breaking that barrier. Before he had the impression of being in a dream, all seemed unreal but now everything felt right.
Shortly after, turbulence struck the cocoon and then everything got confusing again.
He felt emotions that were not his. The most prominent was the rapid dread it took over to whoever or whatever those feelings belonged, everything went black for only a second.
Matthew woke up to more pain but this pain was different from before. It was agonizing and it kept him from doing anything else. How hard must his previous experience had been, that this pain was still nothing in comparison to the ordeal he went through before.
“What happened? Where am I?” Asked Matthew to no one in particular. “Ahhh fuck, it hurts!!”
"Wait! I'm speaking! I hear sounds !!" he opened his eyes wide and all that he saw was white.
But he knew this feeling. It was physical pain, not the weird all-conquering pain he felt before in his other form. And he could hear his own voice.
‘It hurts every single cell of it. And I can barely see right now. But with this familiar feeling, I can tell that I'm back on a body!!’ In an outburst of joy, he couldn't help to laugh and yell in his loudest voice.
“HAHAHHA!!! Im back... Im back !!…….. FUCK YEESS!! IM BAAACK!!!!! AHAHAHAHA!!!!”
His voice sounded hoarse, high pitched and a little childish but he paid no attention to it. His hearing was yet a little messy.
Yes, in his previous form he had that original sense that was better to the five senses. But the thought of having scaped his previous ordeal was enough to dismiss the longing he had for that form that had felt so natural and comfortable.
Seconds after his yell of joy his vision finally accommodated. He found that he was surrounded by people who were murmuring something he didn't understand. they were all looking at him with concern and shock especially for the man who was touching his head.