The deep forest, the tightly knit trees obstruct him as he gave chase. His foot is like the wind, his movement is like lightning, criss crossing through the large forest.
The White Hart keep galloping and with each gallop it turns into a flash of silver light that pass through the forest unobstructed.
This massive realm of woodland, the blackness of the night render no help to Arial. The hearth is calling for the Day is old.
The only source of light, the Moon has been obstructed by the large trees. The light could not even streaks through the boughs. The fog of Darkness, that miasma of Evil has begun spreading again.
Yet, he did not stop his chase. The promise of an answer, the promise of closure pushes him forwards. Pushes his fears.
Only one thing give Light at this dark forest. The White Hart shines with silver light, illuminating the dark greens leaves into viriscent riots.
The White Hart jumps again and it leap another huge distance. Most forest have a Song. Leaves dancing to an unheard beat. Song of the crickets and hoppers. The howling of some beast.
But no such Song could be heard tonight. Only the sound of him giving chase and the White Hart running.
‘Follow’ the Goddess said.
And he is following as the White Hart keep jumping mightily almost like it was teasing Arial inability to catch it.
He doesn’t know what he will found after he finished following the White Hart but he expect some answers.
The chase took him an hour before he heard the sound. The noise increased steadily and as the White Hart leap and cross a large bush, Arial shot his palm strike.
A Dragon-like apparition made of thunder collided with the bush, incinerating it almost immediately and Arial was made to stop when he realizes what lies beyond the opening of the bush
He stomp his feet but instead of the land beneath his feet exploding, his energy was rippling and stuck him on the ground as he almost fall down.
In front of him was an edge of a cliff and not far from that a waterfall.
He did not realize and hear the sound because he was too focused on following the White Hart and seeing the beauty of the waterfall he even forgot to take a breath
The water fall down from the rocky outcrops in a laughing sort of way, peaceful and serene and magical.
Now, that Arial realize the waterfall he could hear the deafening roar of the water, like the sound of something mighty bellowing sound from its throat, the water current falling down was terrifying yet Arial could not help but to feel that the place he sees now held no malice for him.
Seeing it make his spirit soared, his mind rejuvenated, his body replenished.
There is something magical about the waterfall, something that brings peace in one heart and calmness in one mind.
Seeing the water rushing down, violently and relentlessly, Arial was entranced like seeing the force of nature in all of its glory, beautiful and brutal.
Tranquil from a distance but chaos up close.
The powerful torrents of the water conjured an equally powerful emotion in his mind and heart, and it took his breath away.
It was simply spectacular and breathtaking sight he as ever beheld.
For a moment he forgot the word of Amara. For a moment he forgot the White Hart. And for a moment he forgot his purpose.
It was almost like the waterfall could rob him of all of his will and determination and imprisoned him in this moment of beauty.
‘Get your mind together’ he said to himself and he shakes his head and he block the sound from his ears as he once edge closer to the edge of the cliff and then he look down.
‘By Light’ he gasped as he saw the White Hart standing on water, walking its hooves like it was walking on the ground.
Then it moves to land, waiting for him.
The Hart is certainly magical. The waterfall is not gentle. It is the kind of waterfall where torrents of water poured over rock, hard enough to smash a skull and destroy a body.
From the bottom it must surely look awe inspiring and breathtaking, but from the top it was brutal and terrifying.
Arial looking down could see that the White Hart is looking at him, waiting for him to come down and he smirked
‘Follow’ he remember Amara words.
‘Follow’ the words whispered into his ear.
‘You think this will stop me?’ Then he stomp his foot and energy exploded beneath his feet.
Smiling as he jumps down, thunder crackled through his body.
He soar down like a mighty eagle descending.
Arial after his breakthrough in the fourth stage in the Blood Heavenly technique could no longer be measured like the standard of a normal human anymore
He possess a Dragon Heart, possess a Divine Thunder energy and possess one of the Three Great Manuals which is the Blood Heavenly technique.
Even if he only possesses one of this attributes he would be an unmatched expert in the world but all three attributes belongs to him.
His Blood Heavenly technique was perfected and mastered in the months he was leading his army through the Plains.
He killed and he refines the blood of his enemies. His body regenerates almost instantly and he could be said to be invincible in battle.
It was his invincibility that gained him the title the God of War in his empire. It is the reason why people fear him and do not want to meet him in the battlefield.
It is the reason why after the Battle at the Heaven Peak no one would boasts of being the number one martial art experts in the Human Continent.
Arial was also the only person that managed to breakthrough to the fourth stage of the Blood Heavenly Technique.
It blessed him with great mental fortitude and internal energy.
If anyone stacked any other heroes before him, even they would not dare to be compared in the same breath.
In martial arts, if he claimed number two, no one would dare claim to be number one. In strength, he would not lose even to Levitia.
In achievement, who has ever achieved what he has that his reputation towered even those that lived during the Sky People reign of the world.
He unified the Kingdoms and open a new world of peace by reaching an understanding with the Demonkind.
As his body was swirling with the crackling of thunder, killing aura swept over the waterfall and everything that is living was almost rendered lifeless.
The birds that sings in the trees, the fishes that swims in the stream, the hoppers that sleeps peacefully in the bushes, the rabbits and the beast near this waterfall was almost rendered lifeless
Crimson aura exploded from him as a cold and dark energy was unleashed covering his entire body.
If Arial wishes it when his will penetrate the will of others, they would fell down to the oppressiveness of his aura.
He could render weak opponent to die with just a stare. This is the powerfulness of the Blood Heavenly Technique.
It was the bloodiest and cruelest technique from the Three Manuals.
He soars through the waterfall with the speed of lightning and yet it was almost like he glided through the winds, walking on the clouds like the paintings of Immortal Beings descending to the mortal world.
He was graceful and dignified, calm and collected, still as a calm lake, as he landed softly on the ground, almost like he was a weightless feather dropping onto the hard ground.
In front of him was the White hart. The White Hart did not run this time
It was waiting. Arial was perplexed but he smiles.
‘Finally, you stop running. You really are something’ He said as he approached the White Hart.
Then a sound of water bubbling could be heard from behind his back and he immediately turned his back as he could felt a very powerful energy coming into existence.
Looking back he could see the boulders that dotted the bottom of the waterfall and then he saw something that made him gasp in shock.
A golden fish glowing with silver light.
Arial was shocked and even more shocked when he considered the appearance of the fish. It was nothing like he ever saw before.
Its face is fierce, its eyes are green and on its head is a solitary shining silver horn jutting out from its skull.
What-‘ Arial was about to question the scene he is seeing now but then he saw the fish opened its mouth and light fill the waterfall.
The fish then spit as a sphere of frozen water was shot out from its mouth and landed on the cold hard ground and the light faded away
Arial was about to catch the fish when the fish closes its eyes and turns into water and washed away by the mighty torrents of the waterfall.
Arial then looked at the sphere of the frozen water and the moment he lay his eyes onto that orb he felt calm, the same feeling he felt when he saw the waterfall and unconsciously he knew what he is seeing.
Arial smiles bitterly and look at the dark sky of the night, looking at the glittering stars and said in apparent sarcasm.
‘Amara, are you bribing me?’
The moment he laid his eyes on that sphere he knew that the sphere is a divine essence. The Divine Essence of Water.
He could felt his body felt vigour, and at the same time relaxed, attracted but not excited.
Arial already has the Divine Thunder inside his body and he could felt it howling to be near. Divine Essence could sense each other.
But it did not make Arial felt happy. Instead he only makes sure that Arial become even more certain of his fate.
He remembered the tales of Levitia. How the great hero was prepared by the Lady of the Lake to free mankind from the chains of the Demon Lords.
With each quest given to him, Levitia grows stronger. Until the point where he was literally invincible. And it made him prideful. Made him stubborn.
In the end, he perished. Everything in this world has a price. Levitia realized it too little too late.
Everything has a price. Power. Strength. It demands a price.
‘The Final Battle.’ He muttered under his breath. Arial remember those words when he read about Asrana and his supposed battle.
By now, Arial could faintly guess who he is in the grand scheme of things, in the plans of Gods and goddesses, of the role he is supposed to play and his ending.
Arial might have view life as a burden but he did not think to leave it. While there are not many things he loves, he love his family.
He loves his father.
His daughter even when he does not show it.
He still loves…..cold as he is. Because by loving…he is human. T0o love….is human. And that one part of him he doesn’t want to lose.
Life may no longer have many thing to offer him, but that doesn’t mean he does not have hope that one day, he would once again find meaning in life.
If he truly lost hope, how could he still care for the people of his empire? If he did not care, why did he fight?
If he did not care, why does he is on this quest? He wants redemption.
Because redemption will allow him to be reborn. To be transformed. He wanted to shed his old skin.
He wanted to no longer to see and hear the screams of the people when he closes his eyes.
To no longer hear the cries, the pleading and the begging.
To be…..absolved. And he hopes that by doing this…..that redemption could be obtained.
So, he could live…again….this time with love and hope.
He sighed and then he look back on the ground, looking at the frozen sphere of water and laughed bitterly, like he was sneering at his own fate, lamenting his destiny.
He truly looks like a sorrowful man, disappointed by the Divine. His face was smiling yet there is sadness etched in each of his expression.
He wanted answers. He wanted a clue. But all he got was this. It was not what he wanted. It was not what he was promised.
Yet, he took it. Because…..he had to believe that at the end of this journey, he get his answer.
Because if he did not believe that, then Arial know he could not take another step.
He had to believe…..to move. Then as the sound of the waterfall keep roaring behind him, he crouched down to the ground.
In front of him was the White Hart, staying there without any sign of fleeing, majestic and divine.
The sphere was in front of the White Hart and Arial took it. He did not realize it but from afar it was like Arial was kneeling in front of the White Hart.
It is said in legends, that when a person kneels in front of a White Hart, the White Hart will bless that person lucky soul.
Arial get up and as he took the Divine Water Essence onto his hand, the frozen water melted and become droplets of water that seeps into Arial hands, into his bloodstream.
The White Hart quickly jump out of the way, disappearing in a flash of light appearing a large distance away from Arial.
Unlike the other time he was trying to tame the Divine Essence, this essence did not deny Arial.
It accepts and it welcomes. Power surged in Arial every nerve, every part of his body. It was like he was being washed by something pure.
Blue aura suddenly surged from Arial body reaching the clouds. The sound of the roaring waterfall was silenced by the blue aura.
His reddish black aura layered with the yellow aura of lightning superimposed with the bleu aura.
Unleashing the might of Old Gods
His malevolent and evil aura of blood is being cleansed, crackling snakes of lightning coils around Arial body, creating a ring of lightning around him.
He was standing near the White Hart and a tempest of aura form around him. Blue, red, yellow and black.
This variety of color of aura was superimposed with this color, making Arial look both holy and insidious.
Yet, the tempest does not destroy. It nourishes life, an essence of creation, a symbol of purity.
His Imaginary Scape is reconstructed yet again as a new foreign power is entering Arial body.
This time the transformation is even more shocking as his divine power is powerful enough to affect the real world.
His energy increased exponentially with the land under his feet produces mini quakes and the air turns dense.
His blue aura surged through the clouds. This is outside human comprehension. There is powerful martial arts expert that could leap and jump through tall buildings.
There is martial art experts that could fight hundreds and thousands of people alone and still could retreat in safety.
But no one would boast that only by using their internal energy they could pierce the clouds in the sky.
This is beyond the realm of humans.
Clouds formed in the sky as suddenly raindrops started falling from the sky.
Weather is overturned, the glittery stars is covered with dark clouds heralding the coming of a thunder storm.
Hails and lighting combined together to create a terrifying symphony of nature in the sky.
The denizens of the night could feel the energy, the awakening of the power of Old Gods and they tremble in fear.
They hide in their nest.
They hide in their caves.
They hide in their holes and burrows underground for those deep earth beasts, while the beast that possesses wings soar to other part of the forest, far from the waterfall area.
Heavy rain poured down accompanied with the hammering sound of thunder, like the Heaven is being overturned and become crazy with anger and defiance.
The sound of thunder cracked the sky open, like something was piercing through the sky with a spear, rocking the firmaments.
The beast hiding trembles and shivered, the instinct of flight was invoked, knowing that danger is near them yet they could not move.
Chaotic energy filled the waterfall area as dark mist that come to envelop the area as its chaotic and destructive nature is being held back by the rain and thunder.
Each drops of water dissipates a portion of the destructive mist, each striking lightning dispel Evil.
Purity. Evil Vanquishing. The water purifies evil. The Thunder punishes Evil. This is the Divine Essence useful for someone who is destined to fight with Darkness.
Amara was preparing for this day since the fall of Levitia.
All around Arial, high concentration of energy was condensed around his body, wind swirling around his body, and that wind is gaining momentum.
Arial was like the eye of a tornado.
No, he was the source of the tornado. However Arial body was not pressured by the essence of water like he experienced with the essence of thunder.
Thunder, its source is destruction…but water nourishes creation. The energy was encouraging and smooth and comfortable.
In a cave somewhere near the New World, a large big dragon who disguises himself as a young human is lying down on the cold hard ground of his cave, clutching his chest as he spurted out golden blood from his mouth.
His forehead was sweating with golden liquid, his fingers are trembling and his back is soaked with cold sweats.
‘Curse You, Blood of Light!’ the young man cursed in Dragontongue and his word changed the weather on top of the island as the peaceful night was visited by howling wind and screaming lightning.
A woman chained into the Godstree was smiling as she said in a whisper
Meanwhile, on Novus Gaia, Arial is beginning to assimilate with the Divine Water Essence.
His dantian now gains another color. Before it was red and golden. Now it turns a bit bluish.
He enters his Sea of Consciousness and look at the huge sea in front of him. The last time he saw the sea it was a vast ocean that even he could not see the end of it.
The sea used to be vast and still, calm and serene.
But now it was like the ocean was blessed with spirit causing the whole ocean to look like Celestial Ocean.
The water glistening with vitality, energy of life condensed out from the sea.
The sky on his consciousness was swirling with lightning yet it was not hostile like the first time Arial consume the Divine Essence.
The ocean are calm, the Sky is still.
Perfect harmony, perfect balance.
Gigantic sea that looks like it could fill the starry sky, and thundering lightning prancing across the clouds.
There is no longer the stream of blood. And Arial understand what Amara is trying to do. She is trying to purify him.
This is his sea of consciousness now. Thunder. And Water. And he was enlightened yet again as he could felt like a huge burden coming off of him
This is his quest. His journey to redeem himself.
And he could not take another step if he could not cast of his guilt. At least for this moment.
At least for this quest.
Even if he died doing this quest, then he should not have complained. He should not be unwilling.
How many people have he killed?
How many more he has to kill?
To accomplish this quest, he knows more blood will be spilled. And Arial is sure that his ending would be in that final great battle.
He would confront his fate. He would fight. And he would die.
Then he would rest.
Knowing that his last moment of life would be to atone for all those souls he has reaped, hoping that it would be enough.
Not all souls are innocent but Arial has killed many. Innocents or otherwise. In the end, isn’t it the most perfect ending if he too receive his just judgment?
The essence of water enables him to accept his impending fate.
‘If you want to save the soul of humanity from darkness, then save the soul of yourself first. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and evil in yourself.’
This is his second enlightenment.
He could not change what he did in the past but he could change what he would do in the future
If he was a Demon before, then he had to break the horns and sprout the wings of angels. If he was Asura before, he needs to become an Immortal.
Arial must perform a self-transformation.
He needs to overcome his own darkness. To stop lamenting the past and start changing the present to affect the future.
As he gains this enlightenment the Dragon Heart that hold power over him lessened even more as holy essence filled his mind and body even without him knowing.
Tears fall down Arial eyes as he remembers the dead.
That anger in his heart slowly unravels.
With each drop of his tears, it sows the seed of forgiveness. He has to forgive himself and he has to atone.
He has to transform. And he realizes his quest for vengeance was not as important as the quest he is on now.
He cries. He forgives and he learns from that anger and wrath. And like wind blowing through the plains, he move on.
And his heart is open and he smiles.
He could now forgive. He could now…..love. And as he cries, the tears of repentance become a tears of happiness as he could now accept his fate and destiny.
He was laughing and smiling as he accepts what he has done and that will stay with him permanently.
There is no excuse nor there is a reason to justify his killing. He just had to accept what he has done…..and od his damndest to make things right.
This is the essence of water. Water does not resist. It flows. It caresses a wounded soul, nourishes life.
Like water, his anger flowed out. Anger and hate flow out from him and one could see that Arial does not seems as cold as he is before.
There is even a trace of that past Arial. The one that loves Helia. The one that was as passionate when he was with Velamina.
The one that felt his heart flutters looking at those green eyes of the Empress.
Feeling his heart comforted by the act of a certain someone who offer him shelter when he first came here.
Arial could feel that this is Amara doing.
Yet, he did not stop it. He did not hate it.
For a moment, he could forget all the hate and his ears could not hear the screaming ghost of the people he killed.
His internal energy becomes even purer, lustrous golden light filling his entire body.
The darkness that lurks inside him was chained by this golden light. His meridian strengthen and his internal energy goes up another level.
His body now possess the hardness of a steel. Each breath he exhales expels impurities from his body.
The clouds and weird weather phenomenon around the waterfall stopped and Arial open his eyes.
His eyes were full of wisdom and his tears have stopped. He look at the sky and he smiles, this time it was a smile full of sincerity.
His eyes is open, and his heart is open. And he look at the White Hart and he ask, knowing the White Hart won’t answer
‘Is this what I was meant to find?’ The White hart neighed as he galloped just a few feet from where it was standing into a leave of bushes.
Arial was perplexed and he follows the White Hart once again.
Pushing the leaves of bushes he saw another scene that makes him want to question Amara.
The White Hart has disappeared but the reason Arial was shocked is because the figure of the woman lying on the ground.
‘Is this a test?’ Arial ask looking at the stars. He noticed that his star is shining brightly in the starry sky like it was given light.
Then sighing he look back down again and rub his forehead. He doesn’t know what to do. Why is it so hard to let go?
Why does when he wants to let go, there is always something that conspire to thwart his effort?
Destiny and fate is playing around with him. He crouched down and wipe the dirt on the woman face and he could feel his heart beating.
He felt happy. He felt guilty. And he felt anger. There is no words to describe his feeling right now. The combination of this feeling made him confused.
Because……the woman lying unconscious on the ground was Ana. The older sister of the killer of his wife.
And he just stare at her face, not knowing what to do.