Chapter 371: Samsara.
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"Thank you for your understanding, you have let me drop a heavy weight from my heart. I would like to ask you to join me to the World Tree clan so that you can meet up with Leylan again and maybe join a feast, but you really don't look like you want to do that. So just say it, anything you want, I'll help you with whatever."

He could sense it, Yao Jun wasn't directing much of it at him any longer, but the fury inside him had yet to subside. But that was only to be expected, he had yet to actually deal with the main culprit behind that rage. Arthurius wanted to help him in any way he could to air out the remnants of the bad atmosphere, and Yao Jun had no plans on refusing him.

"A map, the more of this universe it contains the better. And this ship, I'll also be taking it, you can use your back-up ship to return."

Arthurius felt his cheek cramp slightly, but it wasn't because Yao Jun's requests were excessive, he just wanted to know how Yao Jun was aware of the fact that he was carrying a second ship on him. But just how many young masters had Yao Jun killed over the years, how many future clan leaders had fallen to him? If there was one thing he had learned after going through the interspatial rings of all these people then it would be that they always carried a back-up with them, whether it be medicines or transportation.

"Alright, they're both easy enough. The ship can easily be controlled with just a thought after you've taken over the main control array. As for the map, I'll send a message to the clan and have them transmit it to the communication array engraved into the ship itself, you can then project the map into the air for navigation, just choosing a coordinate on the map will make the ship go there."

Arthurius didn't mention it, but this sail-less galleon was one of the finest ships his clan had, it was his personal ship and it had been forged by one of their past Godkings. If it hadn't been for that then there was no way it would have a built-in communication array that was even capable of projecting a map that could be used for effortless navigation.

Yao Jun nodded his head slightly, gesturing sideways with his hand. Arthurius understood and nodded his head without a word, ordering the servants and workers on the ship to disembark, swiping his interspatial ring and bringing out a smaller ship that was shaped like a simple triangle.

Yao Jun descended into the ship after the previous occupants left, his senses had already stretched out and discovered the main control array located inside the belly of the ship. The array was three-dimensional and covered nearly five square metres, shaped like interlocking chains that went from one wall to the other.

Arthurius had already removed his mark from the array so all Yao Jun had to do was sink his mind into the array and connect with it, allowing him to control it by just sending a quick thought to the array. Once he bound the first array, he followed his sensed and headed to the communication array. Sirius followed at his side in a dutiful manner, but Zhuan Yi hadn't bothered to enter the depths of the ship and had instead chosen to remain on deck.

Yao Jun quickly reached the other array, which was engraved into the floor rather than spread through the air in a three-dimensional manner. Yao Jun's gaze roamed over the array for a short moment before it drifted towards Sirius.

"Can I ask you to keep an eye on things here? You can just leave a mark in the control array and you'll be able to control the ship too. You know where I want to go, so I feel like this is a good chance to try out a thing or two, or a good chance to just cultivate."

Inserting multiple marks into the control array was basically the same as designating a leader and several vice-leaders. The hierarchy was based entirely on when the mark was left, and so long as someone ahead of you hadn't given it an order, the ship would listen to whatever order you gave it.

Sirius wasn't gonna reject a request from his lord, so he nodded his head and went to leave a mark in the control array. As he left, Yao Jun also turned and walked away, moving through the rather spacious and finely decorated wooden hallways of the ship until he found the closest room. He entered the room, which only contained a bed, a wardrobe, and some sparse furniture, it was so simply decorated that it probably belonged to one of the servants.

But it was more than good enough for what Yao Jun needed it for so he simply walked over to the bed and sat down on it with crossed legs. He closed his eyes and brought out the frozen corpse of Wyrmheart, sinking his vision into the gleaming galaxy in his chest.

He placed his hand on the quickly thawing corpse, sinking his energy into it and forcibly compressing the energy gathered in her flesh and the ocean of blood she had absorbed. He used the principle of the Blood Ocean's Hunger to compress the energy smaller and smaller, her body rapidly shrinking.

After a while, the only thing that remained of Wyrmheart was a single crystalline drop of blood, far more beautiful than any Yao Jun had ever created before using this technique. It also radiated energy unlike anything he had ever created before, space around it was shivering violently just from its presence.

But even if it was stronger and more beautiful than anything Yao Jun had ever created in the past using this technique, its fate was still to be absorbed by him. He pushed the droplet towards his chest, the crystalline blood passing through his skin and instantly appearing within the galaxy, where it then melted and merged with the surrounding space.

The entire galaxy started to tremble as the blood drop merged with the space around it, countless planets crumbling while the suns either exploded into supernovas or collapsed into black holes. But even these black holes couldn't escape the collapse of the galaxy, it had gathered the required energy so it was time for it to propagate.

Every celestial body collapsed and crumbled before long, even the black holes flaking apart into minuscule particles of dust. Yao Jun's attention was immediately placed on every inch of the space within him, his focus honing so sharply that he disregarded everything else.

A core of liquid stone and metal slowly started to appear in the space, and following it was the unfamiliar sensation and queer energy that Yao Jun had sensed every time the celestial bodies collapsed and reformed. He knew that this sensation and energy wouldn't last for very long so he immediately sprung into action, focusing his attention squarely on the energy.

Everything in this space listened to his desires so he willed the energy to remain in place. But contrary to anything up to this point, the energy resisted him, the entire space trembling violently as the queer energy struggled against his will. The entire space trembled, and Yao Jun felt an intense pain jolt his soul and body as a result, it was as if he was being constantly stabbed by several thousand burning blades.

But he didn't relent, the more the energy struggled, the more pain it made him feel, the more he wanted to learn what it was. He could feel power from it, power to make an entire infant universe tremble like a scared child. He wanted that power, he would make it his own.

But just his will wasn't enough, he could already feel the energy slip out of his grasp and vanish. But his will wasn't all he had, at least not any longer. He quickly swiped his interspatial ring and brought out several pills that could be used to rapidly restore energy, stuffing them into his mouth and forcing them down his throat. He then also brought out several Spirit Stones and placed them in his mouth, crunching down on them and absorbing the pure energy they contained.

Once he secured a constant stream of energy to refill his lost Qi, he guided every single drop of Qi he had towards the energy that he was still locking down. The Qi served as another layer of locks, the struggle of the queer energy only turning all the more rampant as a result. But the speed at which it slipped out of his grasp was much slower, so he bought himself a bit more time to study it.

And thanks to this studying, he could properly see how the bits of the energy sank into the core of liquid stone and metal, allowing it to rapidly grow and multiply. He may be using Qi and other types of energy to feed this newborn universe, but it seemed like it was actually this queer energy that controlled, or rather allowed the growth and propagation of the universe.

The bits and pieces of the energy that sank into the liquid cores quickly helped them grow into planets and other celestial bodies, small solar systems quickly starting to form. But the struggle of the queer energy also became all the more violent as more and more celestial bodies were formed, Yao Jun could already feel his control slipping again.

He once again tapped into the power of faith to give himself a temporary boost in power, practically grinding the speed at which the energy escaped to a halt. And whether or not it was because of the power boost or due to the fact that the energy was barely able to move now, but Yao Jun could now observe it so closely that he could sense it with much greater clarity.

And the first thing he noticed was that the energy didn't seem to have an attribute. Just about all energy had an attribute, whether it be fire, wind, lightning, or the like, it was all based on the laws that just so happened to be prevalent in the area or the item that generated the energy. But this queer energy didn't seem to have any attribute, at least not one that Yao Jun could discover.

A thought flit past his mind, not even Yao Jun quite sure why he would have that idea at this moment. But he decided to trust himself and acted on that thought, filling a bit of his Qi with the law of lightning. He removed every trace of the other laws from that particular strand of Qi, forming an exceedingly pure bolt of lightning. And then, he introduced that bolt of lightning to the queer energy.

And to his surprise, the queer energy swallowed the lightning without any problem, acquiring a very faint aura of lightning as a result. He created another strand of Qi, filling this one with the law of poison, and then introduced it to the queer energy. And just like earlier, the energy swallowed up the strand of Qi and the law within it, acquiring the faint aura of poison.

But the faint law of lightning aura that lingered around the queer energy wasn't replaced by the poison aura, the two instead co-existing harmoniously. Yao Jun repeated the process four more times, merging in his law of death, dissolving, fire, and water. And just like with the previous times, the queer energy acquired an aura tinged with those laws, the various auras existing in perfect harmony within the queer energy.

But another change took place after he merged in the sixth law. It became harder to keep it under control as he merged in more strands of Qi, resulting in a bit of the energy seeping out and returning to its duty of propagating the infant universe. But this time, the resulting growth was beyond what he could have expected.

The energy that seeped out, if it followed the standards of the previous amount of energy that seeped out, it should be enough to create a bit over 100 planets and other celestial bodies. But this newly seeped out energy only managed to create 10 planets, and they were markedly smaller than any of the other planets around.

But as the planets grew and got covered in various environments, Yao Jun sensed something completely new in this minor universe, life. The sensation immediately yanked away his attention, allowing the remaining queer energy he had gathered up to escape and merge into both space and the newly forming planets.

He temporarily ignored this loss of control and focused his attention on the ten newly formed planets, investigating the traces of life. And sure enough, hidden away within the earth of the planets were small insects that skittered around. Some of them burrowed up to the surface and started gnawing on the grass that was growing there, simply moving about without any purpose or care.

The planets that had grown so far had indeed contained plants, as well as Yama and Ba-Shei, but that was it, there had never been any other life forms. There hadn't been any signs of life even after the original lone planet had turned into an entire galaxy. But now, now there were insects running about on these ten planets.

And he quickly sensed the advent of more life, as new planets were formed using the energy that escaped after his concentration was yanked away. The queer energy tinged with his laws created far fewer planets than before, but each one was filled with life, although for now it was only insects.

But it was a change, an exceedingly great one even, and it definitely warranted observation. So Yao Jun placed his focus on the planets with life, observing the lives of the insects that scurried about. And that's when he noticed it, something so faint he wouldn't have noticed it if he wasn't paying extremely close attention.

One of the bugs that had burrowed to the surface of a planet and had gorged itself on the plants there had died, fallen prey to another insect that had snuck up on it. And as it died, Yao Jun sensed a minuscule amount of energy leave the insect and merge with the surrounding space. The energy was the same as the queer energy, still tinged with the six laws he had merged into it.

The insect that had eaten the first one continued on with its life, eventually falling prey to another insect. And once again, it unleashed a minuscule trace of energy that merged into the surrounding space. And finally, the insect that had feasted on the second insect lived for a bit longer before reaching the natural end of its lifespan, laying down to die. And as it perished, it too released a minuscule amount of energy.

The insect's corpse decomposed and became part of the earth, a new strand of grass growing on the spot where the ant-like insect had died. A different insect ate that strand of grass and was then later eaten by another insect, the cycle repeating itself across all the planets that had spawned life. And as he observed the rise and fall of these insects, Yao Jun understood the queer energy, it was as if he gained enlightenment.

"The cycle of life... Eternal samsara..."

His eyes opened slowly as he muttered to himself, his gaze distant as his mind was enveloped by the understanding. The earth nourished the plants, which were eaten and became nourishment for herbivores, who in turn were eaten and became nourishment for predators. Those predators were then eaten and became nourishment for something else, continuing on and on until it reached the very top of the food chain with the apex predator.

But even that apex predator would eventually fall, the weight of its age causing it to fall. And then, that apex predator would return to become one with the earth, returning all the nourishment it had acquired. The nourishment became plants, and the cycle repeated itself all over again. Such was the basis of life, the fundamental truth of any universe, the fuel that allowed them to grow and function.

Yao Jun had lost control of the energy at the end and had it slip from his grasp, but he wasn't discouraged by it. He would feel it again in the future, he would be able to merge in more of his own laws as time went on. He had already touched upon it and started to make it his own, now it was just a matter of harnessing the power contained within it.

Once he achieved that and became able to use it to freely control the growth of his little universe, he would have acquired his very own truth, his own apex and ascendancy. And its name would be Samsara, the eternal cycle of life that encapsulated everything from the smallest ant to the greatest god.

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