In the endless space, there are all kinds of gods and celestial beings. While the universe is infinite the worlds of mortal cultivators are finite.
Governed by different beings as they raise totally different characters. Each and every one of them pursuing their own goals.
And one of the countless worlds was governed by a group of brothers and sisters. They held powers that could easily destroy stars, greater than anything this planet ever saw.
But instead, they taught people how to cultivate their inner strength. Power unimaginable to mortals was passed down. Teaching them how to defend themselves from demon beasts. Educating them in the ways of culture and teaching them every kind of knowledge.
Soon the golden age of humankind started.
But not many of them knew the truth behind the generosity of the siblings.
Every ten years they would arrange a competition between themselves. Soon, time for another contest came. Four brothers and two sisters gathered in a large hall, each taking a seat around a large table. Servants served them food and drinks leaving one seat empty.
The spacious dining hall was lavishly decorated with gold ornaments and painted in red color. And to correspond with the rich embellishments family of six was dressed in luxurious robes as well.
The hall was filled with sounds of eating and talking as they discussed the coming competition. As they boasted who would win and cheered for each other they soon came to a conclusion.
When suddenly the door to the hall was opened and a man entered. He held a wine gourd in his hand and was dressed in lousy and dirty clothes. Looking around at everyone he took a sip from his gourd.
Relatives started murmuring trying to guess why he was here. They all had different expressions as the looked at the man. After a brief discussion between each other, they decided to ask what happened.
"Fifth Brother, it's always a pleasure to see you, what kind of business do you have with us brothers and sisters?" the one among them who seemed sorrowful and kind, asked. But even his seemingly kind face couldn't hide the disgust he had in his eyes.
"It's about our little wager second brother." the man who was called the fifth brother said, swirling the contents of his gourd. While leaning on one of the pillars supporting the roof of this grandiose dining hall, his eyes, red from the contents of his gourd, were focused. They constantly shifted from one person to another trying to gouge what was deep in their souls.
"Dear fifth brother, I thought you were not interested in this bet?" said the man who looked the oldest. His robes lacked the expensive embroidery or decorations yet they looked the heaviest among his siblings. He had a thin beard as well as a stern expression on his face.
"I didn’t, but I do now first brother." he took another sip from his gourd.
"Hah, and what made our esteemed fifth brother change his mind?" one of the women smirked, clearly looking hostile.
"It's just that I've already found my candidate."
Finishing whatever was in his gourd, he now was looking at the bottom, trying to see if there was anything left. At the same time, since he was standing there looking like a drunkard, his relatives were flabbergasted.
The other woman asked lightly "But fifth brother, you don’t have anything you could've used as a gift."
"You will only lose pathetically, and embarrass yourself like you always did." the woman who spoke first added.
"Second sister you shouldn’t say such things to your brother!" although the first brother scolded his sister it didn’t actually look like scolding. His face betrayed his inner feelings.
"If the first brother says so." the second sister smiled sweetly towards her elder brother. Completely changing her behavior.
"Actually, I have a gift." tearing his eyes from the gourd fifth brother said.
"Don’t try to save your face fifth brother" said one of the brothers. He looked like he was enjoying the whole situation. "We all know you lost everything."
"Yeah, yeah, I don’t need your reminder fourth brother, I indeed don’t have a gift." he threw the gourd far away. "But I still have what she left for me," he said with a sad smile.
"You won’t dare!"
"Curse you, fifth brother!"
Everyone erupted hearing this news. But the fifth brother didn’t even flinch at their cries.
"I hope you will be ready because I intend to tear this cycle." saying this in a hard voice he left them.
The great country of Zeya held lots of mystical treasure troves. Tombs of a perished kings and emperors, bursting with relics and money of kingdoms that everyone has already forgotten. Last abodes of cultivators of old times, who long ago left this world in their unsuccessful attempts to break through to the next stage of cultivation. Nests of devil beasts that often contained remains of unlucky adventurers, veins of magical ores and gemstone mines, grave fields, and many more.
Thus it became one of the most prominent countries, attracting many rogue cultivators.
And one of them just entered an inconspicuous cave.
A young man staggered into the entrance. Dressed in the leather armor dyed in blue, underneath, he wore a gray robe. As he looked inside the cave, he snapped his fingers, and a little ball of light lit above his head.
It looked like he was in his thirties, tall, with a broad chest, his face, however, was painted white as he clenched his teeth in pain. His stomach had a terrible wound. A wide and long cut that almost split him in half.
While he was slowly treading in the dimly lit cave he used one hand to tear of vines and cobwebs while holding his stomach with the other one. With each step he took, blood splashed and trickled down from his wound.
As he was going deeper into the cave the air became stale. The rough rocky ground soon changed to a somewhat flat, worn-out steps.
After an unknown amount of time spent walking in this tunnel he now stood before a large door. He tried to open the door but it didn’t budge. Punching it proved to be useless, the only thing that happened was dust falling from the roof of the tunnel.
Wheezing as he breathed in, he started fumbling around but he didn’t find any mechanism or arrays that would open the door.
Finally, the light he produced grew dimmer and he leaned onto the door.
"Sigh, who knew there would be a dead-end here." he clenched his wound a bit tighter "Maybe I should try to crash the ceiling of this tunnel?"
Whilst the young man was talking to himself he didn’t notice how the blood that trickled from his stomach slowly gathered in one place. Following little grooves, eventually, it filled a little hole on the floor.
When he finally decided to act he heard a clicking noise. Looking around to discern from where the noises were coming he almost fell. The door has opened, showing him what it hid.
Sliding to one side, a little room that could barely hold 10 people inside was opened. At the end of the room was a pedestal with a partially destroyed statue made from an unknown material. It didn’t have a head but strangely enough, there wasn’t any rubble.
Considering his other options he ultimately chose to enter this chamber. Coming closer to the statue to take a better look, the door behind him suddenly closed.
Just like when he tried to pry the door from outside he couldn’t open it now.
"Well, I guess it solves my problem, cough." He coughed some blood and wheezed.
Turning around he faced the statue. Pointing his finger to where the head should've been the shrinking ball of light flew on top of the statue. It was a carving of some ancient king or general. Dressed in extravagant armor and jewelry. Holding a sword in an overly decorated scabbard he however didn’t have a head. It looked like someone smashed the top of the statue and took all the rubble out.
The more the young man looked at this sculpture the more he was confused. Why it stood here? Who took the head, and most importantly who was the man placed in such a secluded place?
Reaching out to touch it young man started coughing once again, spraying blood all over the statue.
"Cough, cough, I'm sorry unnamed senior. I unwillingly defiled your monument, let me wipe it." he cupped his hands.
He wanted to tear a piece of cloth from his garment but it was already soaked in his blood. Looking at the statue he said with an apologetic look. "It turns out I can't clean it, so you have to bear with my antics."
He looked at the room once again to see if anything changed while he was talking with himself yet the room was the same. He sat down near the statue.
"I don’t think that I have much time left." the young man said while sitting down in a more comfortable position. "As a way to apologize, I can tell you a story of my life, so that you will know, that it wasn’t my choice to come here and disturb your rest."
Sitting cross-legged, leaning on the wall he released his wound letting blood flow freely.
"You may wonder why am I sitting here, with such a wound instead of searching for healing?"
The only answer to his question was of course silence.
"It's quite simple. I don’t need to live anymore, why you ask? Well, it's because I have nothing and no one to live for." he had a fleeting smile.
"It's better to start from the beginning. As you've noticed I'm a cultivator." he blinked and shook his head lightly trying to ward off the sleepiness.
"But when I was born I wasn’t one. I am actually a mortal, born in the smallest corner of this world as a peasant. And I would probably live like one until everything changed on that fated day."