Yao Jun's gaze was somewhat distant as he sat on the bed, his consciousness still wrapped up in the epiphany that had just graced him. In truth, he had never really given much thought to the cycle of life, the recycling of energy that took place every day. But now that it was taking place inside him, he had become so keenly aware of it that it practically ingrained itself in his mind.
Part of his mind was always observing the miniature universe, he couldn't remove his senses from it even if he wanted to. And thanks to this, he could observe the lives of the insects even while most of his mind was ruminating on what he had just learned.
They continued to eat, hunt, and die, returning to the earth to create nourishment for future generations. But as Yao Jun continued to observe them, he noticed an odd point. It was barely noticeable, but the queer energy they released as they returned to the earth was slowly increasing.
If the energy the first few bugs released was considered 1, then the 20th cycle of bugs released energy that could be considered 1.1. Minuscule, but not negligible. And as the amount of energy they released increased, so too did the size of the insects. They grew a bit larger and a touch hardier, their exoskeletons evolving to better handle the jaws that tried to prey on them. And in turn, the predators were born with stronger and stronger jaws to counteract the sturdier exoskeleton.
It took Yao Jun a bit of thought, but he eventually reached the conclusion. Energy was never lost, it just changed shape and became something else. So the queer energy that the cycle of life, that samsara, released and merged into the surrounding space didn't vanish and was used to propagate new growth. But what about the energy that Yao Jun added to the universe? What about the Qi he drew in, the energy that the pills and Spirit Stones he had eaten released?
It too entered the universe and became part of it, and it too became nourishment for the newly born living beings. And in doing so, it became part of samsara, increasing the strength and efficiency of the cycle, which in turn strengthened the energy samsara created so that it could accommodate greater growth.
Yao Jun blinked a few times, clarity returning to his gaze as he extricated his mind from his ruminations. The cycle of life would continue to grow and expand as he added more nourishment to it, and possibly when he added more laws to it, spending too much time thinking over what it might end up as would be a waste of time at the moment.
He stretched out his hand slightly, his gaze focusing on his empty palm. He waited for a few more insects to die, part of his senses quickly focusing on the samsara energy that was about to merge into the small universe. It struggled slightly, but not even remotely as much as the samsara energy that had been released when the galaxy was about to rebuild itself.
He guided the energy to his palm and projected it into the air, a faint shimmer running through the air just above his palm. He could sense the power in the samsara energy, but it wasn't even able to maintain itself for a split second after it left his body. It flickered and slid apart, dissipating into untraceable particles that sank into his body again so that they could return to where they belonged.
Yao Jun continued to gaze at his empty palm, his brows furrowing slightly after observing the scene. The samsara energy felt a bit more familiar than it did originally, probably because it carried the aura of the six laws that Yao Jun had merged into it when the galaxy reformed. But after drawing it out of his body and actually trying to properly control it, the energy felt unstable.
It wasn't able to maintain its form and power, it didn't even slip out of his control, it simply fell apart and dissipated. And the way it fell apart also felt quite strange, it didn't just collapse, it separated at the seams. The six different auras that previously lingered harmoniously in the energy slid apart, unable to maintain their merged state.
He didn't know the reason, but the samsara energy didn't seem to be perfectly stable in its current state. And thinking about it, it seemed to make sense. After all, it only started spawning life in his universe after he started to merge some of his laws into it. So perhaps samsara wasn't entirely self-reliant, it formed the frame, but it needed someone to fill up its hollow insides, only then could it truly form perfect samsara.
Yao Jun drew out a bit more samsara energy, but just as he expected, it all slid apart and dissipated after leaving his body. He tried to merge his remaining laws into the energy, but it wouldn't accept them, it only made the energy slide apart as if it had left his body. From the looks of it, he would have to wait until he had gathered up enough energy to once again collapse and recreate the galaxy inside him, only then would he be able to touch upon the full extent of the samsara energy.
He took in the entire galaxy now that he had stopped focusing on his experiments, checking its state. It had undoubtedly grown smaller compared to the previous galaxy, probably due to the fact that it took a great deal of samsara energy to create a new life. But even so, he didn't feel his total amount of energy decrease, on the contrary, it had increased slightly.
It hadn't increased to the extent of pushing him into the Heavenly Deity realm, but it was a step in the right direction. The more he experimented with this miniature universe that had formed in him, or perhaps that he had become, the more intrigued he became. But what a shame that he didn't have anyone he could get more information from, he was practically fumbling blindly through the dark. But that in itself wasn't entirely bad, it actually felt a bit exciting since he didn't know what he would discover next.
He lowered his hand again and let out a somewhat drawn out breath, stretching his back for a second before he stood up from his seated position. He had focused completely on his experiments and cultivation so he wasn't quite sure how much time had passed, he also didn't know how long it would take for their ship to reach his home planet so now was a good time to meet up with Sirius.
He left the simple room and started to roam through the halls of the ship, the gentle fragrance of wood tickling his nose. It truly was an exquisite ship for those capable of appreciating it, it was definitely forged more for luxury than it was for war. He took a bit of a roundabout path this time, spending a few minutes checking out the ship before he reached the room with the control array.
Sirius was sitting in front of the array with crossed legs and closed eyes, calmly breathing and drawing in the surrounding Qi. He noticed Yao Jun straight away, opening his eyes and standing up. But Yao Jun was looking at him with his head slightly tilted. He could sense something from Sirius, he hadn't sensed it before, only now that he actually stood in front of him did he notice it.
He could feel something within Sirius' chest, something that resonated with the galaxy inside of him. It was as if both of them were pulsating, they had different frequencies, but occasionally they would match and resonate, calling out to each other. But Sirius didn't seem to feel the same sensation, only looking somewhat curious due to Yao Jun's tilted head.
"Sorry, I just want to try something for a second."
Yao Jun walked closer as he spoke, Sirius simply nodding his head and allowing Yao Jun to do as he pleased. Yao Jun placed his hand on Sirius' chest, merging part of his consciousness into the pulses that rolled out from his galaxy. The pulses entered Sirius and matched with the pulses that came from something in his chest, the resonating growing more constant now that Yao Jun had merged his mind into the pulses.
The thing in Sirius' chest started to tremble slightly under the repeated resonance, it was almost as if it was trying to move so that it could reach the source of the pulses that matched with it. But it was trapped in Sirius' body, so there was no way for it to leave.
But with it trembling and resonating so frequently, it seemed like Sirius also noticed it, his brows furrowing. His mind moved for a bit, his thoughts shifting about to make sense of the situation. And since he could feel the thing in his chest with much greater clarity than Yao Jun, he quickly reached a conclusion, a soft look of elation appearing on his face.
"So that's how it is... Go, it is time for you to return to your rightful home."
Yao Jun was initially a bit caught off guard by the word that Sirius spoke, but he was even more caught off guard when the thing his galaxy was resonating with started to move. The source of the other pulses slowly moved towards the front of Sirius' chest, eventually slipping free of his control and out of his body.
And the thing that appeared in front of Yao Jun, right by the hand he had just pulled back from Sirius' chest, was a small metallic tower that had a single granite wall attached to it. Yao Jun was quite familiar with this item, he had torn it out of Luosho Li's chest in the past after he killed her. These were the two fragments of her Supreme Law of Defence, minor fragments belonging to the God Gate of Defence.
The resonating coming from his galaxy and the two fragments only grew greater after they left Sirius' body, it was as if his galaxy couldn't wait to absorb them. But Yao Jun didn't immediately grab the two fragments, his brows furrowing further.
He hadn't sensed this resonating sensation earlier so he assumed that it was likely tied to the samsara energy. But why his galaxy desired the fragments was something he didn't know, did it want to absorb them because they were parts of an Origin Heart? Or did it want to absorb them because the newborn universe inside him was formed using a bit of the Demon God's Gate and the Sword God's Gate, which both shared the same origin as these two fragments?
There could be other reasons, but these two were the ones he felt were most likely based on what little information he actually had. He observed the floating fragments for a bit, his brows eventually smoothening out as he shook his head. He used part of his consciousness to subdue the pulses from his galaxy, pushing his hand forward and sending the two fragments back into Sirius' chest. Sirius looked like he wanted to say something, but Yao Jun shook his head before he got the chance to complain.
"Don't even bother. I will not take the things belonging to my companions, not even if you try to offer them like that. Those two fragments are yours, I gave them to you to thank you for staying by my side and believing in me, I won't stoop so low as to take them back. Take care of them and use them to grow stronger, and if you feel that I'm being unfair, then you can just use the power they give you to help me."
Yao Jun had dug out his own ambition and was seriously aiming for the peak for the first time, but that didn't mean that he would do everything possible to reach that peak. He still had his bottom line, and taking the power of his companions crossed that bottom line by a great margin. Sirius looked a bit gratified and determined in response to the answer, but he also looked a bit dissatisfied and unconvinced, so Yao Jun shrugged his shoulders.
"Don't look at me like that. Think about it differently instead, if my little universe could resonate with your fragments like that, what's to stop it from resonating with the other fragments scattered about this universe? I can just snatch up those instead, I'm actually quite interested in seeing what will happen when I do so."
Sirius still didn't look entirely convinced, it would after all be better to have a headstart by absorbing these two fragments. But he knew what sort of person Yao Jun was, it was borderline impossible to convince him once he actually made up his mind. So he could only accept it, albeit looking more than just a bit bitter about it. Yao Jun knew that he couldn't do anything about Sirius looking so bitter, so he just changed the subject instead.
"Was I cultivating for long? Have we already gotten the map and headed out?"
Yao Jun hadn't spread his senses out very far at the moment, he was going to get an answer from Sirius anyway so there was no point in using another portion of his consciousness just to take in the surroundings. After all, he was already splitting his consciousness in half, one part constantly forced to observe the galaxy inside him while the other half served as his eyes around him. He had expected at least a little bit of time to pass, but the answer he got was a bit out of his expectations, something he felt was becoming a bit frequent nowadays.
"We arrived by your home planet about a month ago, I've kept the ship in the outer atmosphere of the planet because I did not wish to disturb your cultivation. Zhuan Yi went ahead since she was curious about what sort of place could birth someone like you, but I gave her one of the communication treasures stored within the ship so we can contact and meet up with her at any time."
Sirius didn't say anything about how long it had taken to get here, but Yao Jun guessed that it was at least a few days or so. Arthurius had been able to instantly reach their location using this ship, but such a spatial shift definitely required a lot of energy. And since Yao Jun was planning on cultivating, it was unlikely that Sirius had decided to waste the energy to rush to their target, cultivation usually took some time after all.
It had only felt like a few short moments to him, it certainly didn't feel like a bit over a month. But perhaps that was only to be expected, he had been so focused on his cultivation that he had cut out everything else after all. If you couldn't feel the passage of time it became much easier to spend multiple months or even years in your cultivation, perhaps it was a way for the mind to protect itself from the monotony that you might feel.
"Already arrived, huh, can't say I expected that. But I won't complain, sorry that you had to wait for me. You can message Zhuan Yi and tell her that I intend to head out now, she can just do what she wants."
He spoke in his usual casual tone, but Sirius could sense his voice subtly turning cold. It was time to meet Wan Yi and figure out why she had smeared Guo Luo's and Yun Yantian's name. Sirius nodded his head, placing a hand on the control array and connecting his mind with the communication treasure he had given Zhuan Yi.
Yao Jun turned and walked away, Sirius following him the moment he finished sending the message. The two quickly reached the deck of the ship, Yao Jun's gaze landing on the planet that quietly spun around beneath them.
It had been several years, but the scenery beneath him still felt so familiar, so dear. A single large continent on one side, and three smaller continents forming a triangle on the other side, with water covering everything else. This was where his journey had begun, where he had made many good memories, and some bad ones.