Chapter 200 – Knowledge
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The empty silhouette, void of any detail or personification, rose from the body that it previously inhabited. 

It didn't have anything like eyes or a face, and because of that, it was impossible to tell its state of mind. However, Dream, who was the soul and silhouette, was definitely having a hard time recovering from the change. His mind had been turned upside down, and the reality he knew was shattered. The way he saw everything was different, and this was all caused by simply understanding a few lines of script. 

But before long, the silhouette straightened itself. Within Dream's mind, the collapsed mind space was quickly reforming. It was growing to be far larger and sturdier than it had been before. 

Soon, it healed completely, and Dream became fully lucid again. The disorientation faded, and when his thoughts started spinning, he realized what was going on.

"My... body. Why is it on the floor?"

The silhouette turned and looked at the lifeless body on the ground. Then, it looked at itself. 

"...Have I died?"

{You have transcended your earthly body. While you aren't anywhere close to becoming immortal, you've taken the biggest step toward escaping the shackles that you were born in.}

The Keeper spoke, his face returning to its normal apathetic stare. Dream started panicking a bit though.

"So I've become a ghost? I... I want my body back. It was so awesome! I worked really hard on it! Plus, it had the five senses! I don't wanna give those up..."

{Your body? That lump of matter is nothing to be proud of.}

"But it had super strong carbon muscles! Plus its enchantments were top notch! Iris was right, becoming a ghost is not fun."

{...}

Hearing Dream's complaining, the Keeper felt a headache coming on. His face didn't show anything though as he just pointed to the short monolith.

{You have understood the trial. Since you have recovered, begin the creation process. The other monoliths are free for you to look at. They are an archive of the knowledge and techniques of the Archons and many of their greatest Prophets and Emperors, and they will help you with your trial. However, you must not look to any of the monoliths with silver or black script. Those are too far beyond your comprehension, and attempting to forcefully understand them will destroy your mind and drive you to unbearable and nightmarish insanity.}

With those words, the short monolith disappeared, and Keeper went silent. Dream's silhouette tilted its head as it looked off into the distance. 

Sure enough, there were some monoliths with silver and black script. Their power wasn't noticeable to Dream, but that's because they were so far above him that he couldn't realize their power. 

While they were fewer than the monoliths with gold script, Dream was sure that they were incredibly valuable. However, he heeded the Keeper's warning and didn't try to extract the information. If the gold script was enough to shatter his worldview, he really might be driven to insanity from trying to see something far beyond his level. He now understood how something like that really was possible.

"...Sigh, alright then. So the gold script is fine to look at. But... how am I going to form my body? I can learn all the techniques I want, but if there's no material that I can use, nothings gonna get built. Unless you have a hidden stash of various elements somewhere."

Dream looked to the keeper as he said that. Was he supposed to summon materials out of thin air? 

The Keeper just narrowed his eyes at Dream though. 

{Do you still not understand what was shown to you? You've shed your earthly body, yet you want to simply build another one?}

"...So I'm gonna take that as a no on the hidden stash. And I do understand what was shown to me, otherwise I'd be a blubbering mess on the floor. I'm just asking where the ingredients are. I don't sense mana, or flux, destruction mana, or anything else here. I also don't have my vessel that can produce that gray mist for me. I've only got myself and my limited energy pool. How am I supposed to make a body out of that?"

{...Look below you.}

"..."

Confused, Dream looked downward at the floor. He could still see the swirling gray gasses inside of it that flowed like a thick liquid. It was blocked by an invisible barrier though. He had just thought that it was a really fancy floor. But the Keeper's words made him question that.

Bending down, Dream put his hand to the floor. The silhouette's palm rested on the invisible barrier, but couldn't move any farther than that.

{The ground below you holds all the energy you would ever need. It is impossible for you to run out, no matter how wasteful you are.}

"...I can't access it though. Plus, that stuff doesn't look like mana or whatnot."

{It isn't, but it can be. Think about the reason you were allowed here. The energy within you looks similar to that in the ground, correct?}

"...I don't know how I was allowed to come here. Although... I only got this legacy option after I merged the girls' energies. So it was because I created the gray mist?"

{Correct. Only those who can wield your so called 'gray mist' are even allowed the possibility to come here. It is a requirement set by the Archons.}

"Why?"

{You will find that answer after looking through the monoliths. You will also find the answer to your ingredient dilemma among them as well.}

"...So the monoliths hold all the answers."

{That is correct.}

"Then I guess I better get to looking around."

Saying that, Dream turned and looked around at all the identical 100-foot tall monoliths. 

After counting them all, he found that the monoliths with gold script numbered 42. The monoliths with silver script numbered 14, and the ones with black script numbered 7. Curiously, they were all multiples of seven. 

"Seven Archons. The emperors are below them, so 2 each. Then 3 prophets per emperor. Are these monoliths from everyone under the Archons?"

{Not everyone. Only the most exceptional. The monoliths with gold script were engraved with the understanding and power of the most experienced and skillful prophets from all areas of expertise. The silver script was the same, and the Emperors who engraved them were the ones with the highest authority and power under the Archons. As for the black script, each Archon engraved one of those monoliths. While it doesn't contain their full understanding and power, comprehending them will make you their successor.}

"Interesting... So if I go through all the gold script, then I'll have the power of all the prophets?"

{That depends on how much you can comprehend. Their knowledge is varied, and while you may understand one technique or set of information, you may not understand another, especially if they are opposite in nature.}

"Right. I'll definitely go through them all though. It'd be a waste otherwise."

{Do as you are capable.}

With those words, the Keeper went silent, and Dream walked up to the first monolith with gold script.

"Let's see. This one... is a technique? It has to do with flux. Is it a manipulation technique? I wonder how those even work..."

Dream started extracting the lines of script, each one of which would appear in his mind space. He would then go through each line one by one and study all the information that was written. 

These monoliths were much taller than the one Dream received the trial from though, so it took much more time to go through them. Thankfully, he had all the time he wanted. Plus, these monoliths didn't put nearly as much pressure on his mind like the trial one did. They were only written by prophets who supposedly weren't much more powerful than him as he was going to become one at class 4.

But while it wasn't as much pressure, they still carried a certain weight with them. It wasn't earth-shattering or paradigm-shifting weight that would destroy his mind, but each line carried with it the weight of knowledge. 

Dream understood that knowledge could come with weight. It would put pressure on the one who understood and bring with it responsibility. It would rip away the blankets of ignorance that made you comfortable and shock your system. You would stand alone with your own worldview that was unique to everyone else's, and you would forever be alone with your thoughts. It was as enlightening as it was isolating. 

And while he understood this concept, as he absorbed the information of the gold script, he could truly feel it. He could feel the revelations from acquiring knowledge about the workings of the universe, and he could feel the gears of his mind evolving. He would no longer be content with being smaller than what he could be. He knew that from now on, his subconscious would push him toward greater discovery. He wouldn't be allowed to return to the lesser mind that he used to be. He thrust himself into the darkness, and now he would forever have to blindly discover what was in it. 

For many, such a thing was scary. It was scary to know that you were just a small being carried away through the dark voids of infinity. It was scary to know that you were nothing more than a small mind incapable of comprehending the vastness of the universe. It was scary to know that you were subject to the same laws as everyone else, whether it be the laws of the universe, the rivers of causality, or the law of the jungle. That you would be trapped in a cage of blindness for all eternity could either drive people insane, or throw them into a world of merciful ignorance and innocence. 

But Dream loved it. He didn't love the cage. He loved that he had broken through the first set of bars and expanded it. He loved the fact that he could understand the workings of the universe, or at least begin to. He loved that there was darkness, because that meant there was something more to discover. He had come to love this darkness, this abyss, from his time on Earth. It was the only thing that was ever present, and it was the only thing that allowed you to see the light, to understand the light, to appreciate the light and its rarity.

To collect knowledge, to force himself to think and understand, to question the realities he knew. These things filled him with euphoria. Perhaps he was a little insane or masochistic in that sense. To have everything you knew ripped away, to destroy your sense of self and build it back up was incredibly uncomfortable. Physical pain was child's play compared to it. You could cope with physical pain. You could heal from physical pain. But you couldn't avoid the pain that came from reshaping your psyche. You had to come to terms with it and live with it for the rest of your days. 

Dream just took it as it came though. His mind collapsed, was reshaped, and then solidified, but it was only a short time before he was back on his feet and asking for more. He took in the pressure from all the gold script and absorbed everything he could as if it were candy. 

While the Keeper had been distracted by this fact since Dream had started babbling nonsense, as he observed him, he was surprised. He was surprised because there didn't seem to be anything different about him. His very being was thrown into chaos, but recovered and moved on so easily. It seemed like this was simple for him. 

For a minute, he wondered if his mind really had gone through the change that he observed. Did his mind actually collapse? Normally people would change drastically. Their personality and character would go through an upheaval. Sometimes they would become apathetic, acting as if nothing mattered. Sometimes they would become a bit psychotic or sociopathic. Some would become incredibly arrogant, as if nobody was above them because of their greater intellect. 

But Dream didn't. He just... moved on. To collect more, to learn more. It was like he was waiting for this moment. He was just waiting to break out of his chains. 

'Yes. This was just the freedom he was looking for. He had already tried to escape those chains. He was born a human, but threw away his body and rebuilt himself. He's even gone so far as to tamper with his own soul. Not that it's never been done before, but people usually killed themselves. Although he had that skill... still. To so easily subject yourself to those changes and torments. He's either a genius or a madman.'

The Keeper had these thoughts in his head as he observed. While Dream didn't know this, the Keeper had intentionally blocked Sophia from manifesting within the legacy space. Not only was that to ensure that the person in question was capable of passing by his own power, but also because he didn't wish for any other intelligences to bear witness to this place. It was sacred, and the Keeper maintained that only the qualified and chosen were to be allowed in. Not even the almighty system could show itself here. 

And everything went even smoother than he thought it would. While he remained apathetic and would mercilessly judge the trial taker according to his guidelines, he still wished for the legacy to be passed on. The Archons were no more, and it was an immense shame that nothing remained of them in the outside universe. Thankfully, at least Dream was competent. The day that the last vestiges of the Archons returned to the universe may not be far off.

'Hopefully I won't be disappointed.'

The Keeper thought to himself before focusing back on the trial taker. 

...........

"Ooh! I knew it! Haha, yes!"

After going through some lines of script, Dream's silhouette suddenly started cheering. 

"Flux! I knew it had some connection to matter. So it's the higher dimensional equivalent to the forces of nature!"

Dream felt his mind shivering as he pieced together the puzzle. 

This was the very first monolith that he analyzed, and it was about flux. When he started reading, he hadn't really had any expectations. He had no idea what could be on it. But as he read, he found that the people who wrote these really were geniuses in their field. Although the information had been a little all over the place, that was no problem for him. Sometimes scientists got messy when and trailed off when talking about their craft. Despite that, things had stayed mostly on track, and the knowledge Dream gathered was eye-opening. 

What he found was that flux operated very similarly to the fundamental forces of nature. Forces like the strong force, weak force, and electromagnetic force. Flux was like a general embodiment of all these. 

And it made sense. Flux was the binding energy between mana and matter. More flux also allowed denser mana. At its core, it was a binding energy. It was simple, but after reading the monolith, he found that it was much more complex than he'd thought. 

"It's a binding energy, but it can also be used as a carrier for energy. Just like how gluons and photons carry their respective forces, flux carries its own force. Its application is also just as broad as the application with something like a photon... I've got much to do when I get back."

Dream smiled. When he returned, he would have many things to change. His powers were already going through an upheaval. 

Another amazing thing about the monoliths was that they didn't only talk about magic. From what Dream read, it talked about both the magical aspect and the material aspect. It emphasized both and how they worked together. It was much different than what Dream had seen back on the world he was transported to. They only talked about magic. Science was very lacking. 

He wasn't surprised though. Magic was extremely versatile and easy to use. It could drastically improve quality of life without huge changes to the technological level of the world or society. This was why people would grow dependent on it and become complacent. It would greatly stunt scientific growth. Who knew when the world would become technologically modern in such a situation?

But here? The prophets who inscribed these monoliths dabbled in both. It was a huge breath of fresh air for Dream who had been working on fusing the capabilities of both for a couple of years. 

"As expected though. I would be disappointed otherwise."

Dream nodded his head as he moved on to another monolith. The one he scanned now had dim script, meaning it had all been absorbed. It was all in Dream's mind now, free to access as he wished. There was no need to stay in one place forever, and his curiosity carried him to the next set of information.

 

200 chapters!

Half a million words, over 300k views, and nearly 10,000 favorites. Holy crap, my readers are awesome. Though, I must also give myself a pat on the back for writing a story that is now half the length of the entire harry potter series. I remember when I used to complain about writing an 800 word essay in highschool. Now I write 15k words a week. Oh boy how life changes. 

Anyway, I've got a nice update for you guys in celebration of my 200th chapter (not including backlogs). By the time you're reading this, I will have posted the first prologue chapter of my new story called Serum. I hope you all will go ahead and check that out. And yes, this means I am officially starting a new story. Not to the detriment of Origin Seeker, however. They will now just be posted side by side, so fret not, my loyal readers. OS will be seen through to its end, a promise I made myself and have committed toward for many chapters now.

With that, I bid you all adieu. Hope to see you over at my new story!

Sincerely yours,

-Author

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