Stasis Born, it was a name that Liang Chen had only heard once in the past, back when he first learned about the three Ascended Laws. But this was the first time he learned how they were created, he had initially thought that they were like the Voidborn and were just naturally born from the Sphere of Existence.
"And Jieshu? He now had even more ground to cover, needed even more hands. He created more and more Voidborn to fill in the gaps, to fulfil his duty. And in the end, the duty he was trying to fulfil, fulfilled him. He had torn away too much, birthed too many Voidborn, shrunken himself too much. Some of them had gained sentience and did not wish to be torn apart to help birth new Voidborn whenever it was needed. So they tore apart Jieshu, the brought an end to The End. Balance had faded so Wending couldn't stop them, and thus the Voidborn became the sole rulers of the Void, twisting their duty into something they felt fit them, continuing on all the way to this very day."
And thus, the Voidborn of today were born. They were created to bring an end to all things, and almost like a sick joke, they had fulfiled that duty by bringing an end to the one that birthed them.
"The first and second humans to wield Existence are no more, I took care of both of them after I became the third, it was only a matter of time until they became bored and tried to create a fourth or fifth Sphere. And at that point, it would become too much, the unchecked growth would smother everything else."
Tian Shen spoke of it very casually, but the things he said practically confirmed his identity to Liang Chen. The Nine Star Demon God had once told him about the sole person who could make a new Sphere of Existence, the Existential Lord that ruled over the original Sphere of Existence. He was the only one who had grasped the law of Existence. And with his identity confirmed, Liang Chen could guess why his blood and Qi had resonated. The Law of Existence was the rival of his Law of the Void, like life and death. It had reacted to its enemy, warned him of its presence. Tian Shen did not seem to care about revealing his own identity and law, simply continuing his story.
"But the damage has already been done. Void and Balance have faded, only Qiyuan remains of the original three, and even she has abandoned most of her powers so that she does not become tempted to birth more, only creating a single Sphere Born for each Sphere, each one so weak that they can just barely maintain a fragile balance with the Voidborn. Nowadays she just wanders around the worlds, bringing along her little sketchbook and painting the true forms of those interesting beings her blind eyes see."
In a world where Balance and Void have already faded, how lonely must it not be to be the Existence that remains behind? She had watched what could be considered her siblings tear themselves apart for their duty, and now all that remained was her and the hollow shells of what used to be her siblings. Tian Shen evidently felt something rather similar.
"It's sad, isn't it? The embodiments of the Ascended Laws, possibly the greatest beings to ever exist, and they didn't even get a proper ending. They simply fell apart while trying to fulfil their duties, while trying to do what they were born to do. All because man could not share one mountain, one throne."
Two tigers could not share one mountain, it was a saying that most living beings followed unconsciously, and it was what brought about the downfall of the beginning. Tian Shen shook his head lightly, his eyes regaining their clarity as he locked eyes with Liang Chen.
"I... I won't let things get worse, everything will end if things are left unchecked. I hold Existence, and while the holder of Balance will never agree to help me, there might still be hope if I have you, the first Void that is unrelated to those that tore down Jieshu."
There had been three at the beginning, but that didn't mean that there always needed to be three. As long as Existence and Void kept each other in check and were conscious about what they did then it would be possible to maintain balance, to create a new Harmony. That was what Tian Shen believed, so he stretched out his hand.
"Help me, Liang Chen. The three Spheres need to be unified, they need to be controlled. We cannot allow the birth of more Existence Holders, cannot allow the Void to go unchecked. Help me protect all the Spheres, all the innocent lives. Help me restore Balance."
He had taken care of the two previous Existence wielders, but there was no telling when a new one would appear, one he couldn't nip in the bud. More Void wielders could also appear without him knowing, the fragile balance that was currently maintained would crumble without resistance.
Liang Chen looked down at the hand after hearing the ancient history, his gaze not revealing any of his emotions. He turned his head sideways without taking the hand, his gaze landing on the screens that showed the cities, gesturing towards them with his thumb.
"That, is that how you intend to unify all the Spheres? Is that how you will restore Balance?"
Death and ruin to those that refused to obey, cities burning without discrimination just because they wouldn't accept that outstretched hand. Tian Shen's expression was a bit downcast as he looked at the screens, but he simply shook his head.
"...I won't lie, it's a grim sight. But when you protect the innocent, do you do it without spilling any blood?"
You could not protect the innocent without spilling blood, you could not unify worlds without spilling blood, innocent or not. Liang Chen was clearly intent on protecting the innocent so he was definitely keenly aware of this fact. But contrary to Tian Shen's expectations, Liang Chen shook his head, not even sparing that outstretched hand a second glance.
"No, I spill a lot of blood to protect the innocent. But that blood is never the blood of the innocent, nor will it ever be."
He would become the prime evil, the greatest evil to have ever existed. But he would reach that realm without spilling the blood of innocents. That was the path he had chosen. If others decided that spilling the blood of innocents was a necessary price for their path, then he would step in the way of their path and cut them down.
"I implore you to reconsider. It may hurt your heart, but sometimes you must weather a great storm to reach the end goal that you seek. Once we pass through the storm, Existence will allow all the spilt blood to be restored, the lost can come back."
Existence was the evolved version of creation, even souls could be created and implanted with memories. Every person that had ever died could be created anew, so what did it matter if they died for a bit? But perhaps it was that knowledge that formed the rift between the thoughts of the two. One could accept it, the other could not.
"No. I'm not patient enough, nor do I have the heart to do so. The end does not justify the means, the moment you willingly spill innocent blood it has already become too late to save the innocent. To borrow the words of someone dear to me, I won't weather any storm, I am the storm. But I am not a storm of innocent blood."
Liang Chen stood up from his seat as he shook his head, quietly borrowing the words that Yan Ling had forced into Lan Yun's mind. Tian Shen let out a long and heavy sigh when Liang Chen made his stance clear, but he still looked a bit gratified as his gaze roamed Liang Chen's body.
"What a shame. But at the same time, not. I am glad that someone like you has inherited the Void, someone like you is well suited to hold The End, you won't cause pointless destruction to tilt the balance. But it is still a shame that we could not see eye to eye."
Tian Shen stood up after he finished talking, the table and teakettle vanishing along with the thousands of screens. Just like he had said earlier, this really wasn't a place he could stay now that he had been discovered by Liang Chen. He would have to take this avatar and go somewhere else, this wasn't an avatar he could really afford to lose.
"Thank you for joining me in this conversation. I must leave now, but please do remain here, at least until the end of the war. Once everything is over then we can talk again."
Liang Chen could hear a soft clicking sound as Tian Shen spoke, as if the doors around him all locked at once. Liang Chen didn't see eye to eye with him now, but time would wear down most things so it might be different once he got some time to collect his thoughts.
But just like Tian Shen had no intention of letting him leave, Liang Chen also had no plans of letting Tian Shen leave, not after he saw the war and carnage he caused outside. He had thought it over while he was sitting there, who could deal with Tian Shen? Who would be suitable to prevent his escape? And the answer he came to was the scene he saw back when he got the full Ocean God's Physique, that youth that had separated an area from the rest of the multiverse with a single slash.
"Sorry, but I have no intention of going along with that. But I'm pretty sure I know a few people who would like to have you remain behind, so why don't you have a conversation with them instead? Yin Long, Tian Shen is here."
Liang Chen wanted to say more, perhaps call out Ning Hao or Chang Yun at the same time to really make sure that things went well. But there was a reaction the moment the name left his mouth. The entire palace creaked once, a nearly unnoticeable sound reaching Liang Chen's ears. And then, the palace split in half down the middle, the gash going so deep into the ground that he couldn't see the bottom.
"Well now, this is interesting. Tell me, Tian Shen, what sort of weapon do you use?"
The voice that came from above, containing a slight bit of surprise and excitement, felt like a sword stabbing into Liang Chen's soul. He didn't need to raise his head to look, just the voice alone was enough to tell him the truth. The Heaven Splitting King had arrived.