Other Tales 3: The Parrot and the Meat Jelly
The Universe was both pitch black, and also filled with scintillating light.
It was a bit of a contradiction. The dazzling light came from the innumerable worlds that existed, scattered about like seeds. They were like countless glowing pearls, sending their light shining out in all directions.
The darkness came from the fact that the Universe was immensely large. In fact, the distance that existed between even two of those seed-worlds was almost impossible to describe. Within that space, there was no bright light, only deathly stillness and pitch black.
The passage of time wasn’t very obvious in the Universe. Perhaps that was because the power of the Universe was something difficult for even those in the Ancestor Realm to comprehend.
Time passed. One day, a bright beam of light appeared, moving along through the Universe at shocking speed.
Closer examination would reveal that the beam of light contained a person. He was a middle-aged man whose soul appeared to be very weak.
He wore a green robe, and his face was ashen. Apparently, he was being chased. Although his expression was grim, there was something crafty flickering deep within his eyes.
As the man sped along, a second beam of light appeared within the darkness. A woman could be seen, her face also a bit ashen as she flew along at top speed. Apparently, both of them were being chased by something.
These two people knew each other, although they obviously didn’t have a very good relationship, and were even enemies. As they fled, they occasionally attacked each other in an attempt to slow the other down. The man frequently managed to get the upper hand, and yet could never do anything to permanently reduce the woman’s speed.
As they pierced through the silence of the Universe, a third beam of light appeared behind them, a radiant and majestic light, within which was...
Its feathers were glistening and colorful, and it sped along like a shooting star, majestic and beautiful. It seemed like some sort of consummate Battle Weapon as it pursued the man and the woman.
Suddenly, the parrot unleashed a burst of speed that rapidly closed the distance between itself and the man and woman. In the blink of an eye, he slammed into them, causing blood to spray out of the woman’s mouth. At the same time, blood oozed down the man’s chin.
“Daoist Fifth, don’t push things too far! That emperor of yours won’t necessarily be able to defeat my true form. I'm the Immortal! The Immortal of the Universe!” Although the man seemed to be raving hysterically, a clever flicker existed deep within his eyes, almost completely imperceptible.
The woman’s face was now thoroughly ashen. Gritting her teeth, she shot off at top speed.
The pursuit continued until one of the seed-worlds appeared up ahead. It was like many of the countless worlds that existed in the Universe, except that this one had not yet become fully ripe. The will of its starry sky was still growing, and the living beings there had not yet become civilized.
As the group closed in, the parrot’s voice rang out, cold and detached. “My master is definitely going to slaughter your true self! And I was given a mission by my lord to kill you, clone! You are your true self’s attempt to give himself a chance to rise again! And I am definitely going to succeed, just like my master! And then there’s you, Ancient-Immortal spirit! The two of you will never escape me!”
The parrot’s expression was icy, and the words it spoke were even colder. As they echoed out into the Universe, they seemed to cause everything to freeze over.
Suddenly, a spell formation appeared around the parrot, spreading out in all directions, covering over even the man and the woman. Before either of them could react, colorful light sprang up, transforming into countless magical symbols. Mysterious chanting sounds could be heard as the spell formation began to spin. A murderous aura rose up as the magical symbols began to explode, transforming into destructive attack power that bore down on the man and the woman.
In that critical moment of crisis, the man roared, unleashing a divine ability that caused his body to expand rapidly. In the blink of an eye, he was a giant, with an enormous battle-axe in his hand. Without a moment’s pause, he swung the battle-axe at the magical symbols, unleashing all of the power he could muster, power that could topple mountains and drain seas.
Massive booms rang out, and the enormous giant coughed up a mouthful of blood. His body was already on the verge of collapsing. A vicious expression on his face, he howled, “Daoist Fifth! You’re pushing things too far!!”
Even as the words left his mouth, ten drops of golden blood emerged from his battered body. The blood drops immediately merged together, becoming a gigantic, blood-colored hand.
The hand radiated a terrifying aura, something that caused the parrot’s eyes to widen. It immediately recognized that aura. Those ten drops of golden blood were the very reason why the parrot's lord was attempting to slaughter Allheaven’s true self! It was... Universe Blood!
Suddenly, Allheaven’s eyes glittered with bright light, and he began to laugh uproariously.
“Ancient-Immortal spirit, it’s time to execute our plan. After that, you’ll be free!”
The woman only hesitated for a moment before gritting her teeth decisively. Instantly, countless scales spread out over her skin. Her legs merged together, and a moment later, she had the body of a snake. She spun in place, and instead of fleeing, shoved her hands out violently. Her body withered rapidly as she drew upon her life force to unleash some sort of Daoist magic.
As soon as the magic was unleashed, a powerful aura exploded out.
It was a strange aura, ancient and filled with the sensation of countless years. That power instantly shot toward the parrot and the spell formation.
In the blink of an eye, the spell formation began to wither up, and the parrot lurched to a halt, a cold light gleaming in its eyes.
Then its energy began to rise up as it prepared to break through by force. The middle-aged man's hands flashed in a double-handed incantation gesture, causing the hand formed from the ten drops of blood to grow larger and larger. Soon, it was a huge sea of blood that rocketed toward the parrot.
The woman was now severely weakened from using her Time aura, and began to back up.
“Daoist Fifth, did you really think that the Immortal would be unprepared? How naive are you? You chasing me here was all part of my true self’s plan! Wiping you out would be like cutting the arm off of that emperor of yours!” Allheaven threw his head back and laughed uproariously. Apparently, all of his weakness from before had been a sham, a trick to get the parrot to follow him to a remote part of the Universe, and then join forces with the woman to kill it.
As the sea of blood reached its pinnacle, and was bursting with power, it transformed into a sealing mark that spread out over the parrot. Not a bit of panic could be seen in the parrot's eyes, however, only icy calm.
“You tricked me into coming here, but you don’t know the price I'm willing to pay to help my master slaughter your true self! Have I fallen into your scheme, or have you fallen into mine?!” The parrot sighed, as if it didn’t wish to part with the world. But then, its eyes flashed with determination. As the sea of blood closed in, the parrot suddenly began to emanate terrifying fluctuations. They were the fluctuations... of self-detonation!
Shockingly, it was choosing to self-detonate in order to kill its opponents.
Perhaps an ordinary self-detonation wouldn’t do anything to the terrifying aura it was facing, but the parrot had clearly prepared ahead of time. It was using some domineering technique to augment the power of its self-detonation to surpass the force it could ordinarily unleash.
Allheaven’s eyes widened, but then he let out a cold laugh.
“So, you’re willing to go that far. Unfortunately for you, my true self has made even more preparations.” As he spoke, his hands flashed in a double-handed incantation gesture, causing the fleeing woman to suddenly stop in place. Suddenly, something sealed inside of her was released, and her blood began to boil. Moments later, the fluctuations of self-detonation began to rise up within her.
Shockingly, Allheaven was forcing her to self-detonate in order to give himself a chance to escape.
The woman looked over at him furiously. This was not part of their agreement, and the fact that he was willing to sacrifice her at this critical moment left her eyes bloodshot. However, a cold smile then twisted her lips.
Even as the two powers of self-detonation rose up, the parrot's voice rang out as cold as ever.
“What are you waiting for, Ancient-Immortal spirit? I told you this was going to happen! Do something! Don’t hold back! If you want freedom, you have to fight for it!”
The parrots words caused Allheaven’s face to flicker.
Smiling coldly, the woman took a deep breath. Back when Allheaven made his original deal with her, the parrot had secretly contacted her and had told her that things would end up this way. Now, it was without hesitation that she began to laugh.
“You were right. You can only have freedom if you fight for it. I can give up my position as Ancient-Immortal to gain eternal freedom!”
Allheaven’s face fell, and he was about to say something, but didn’t have the time. Even as the words left the woman’s mouth, she suddenly fell apart.
It was not a self-detonation, it was a complete and utter collapse. Flesh and blood poured out from her withered frame, spreading out, staining the starry sky bright red.
“Nirvanic Rebirth Curse! Life leads to death, death leads to life. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Send the will into oblivion. Destroy the mind. Everything that exists... shall now begin again!
“Henceforth, there is no Ancient Immortal....” As the woman's voice rang out, the starry sky began to shake. Then, a huge explosion occurred.
Intense pressure erupted out that crushed the parrot into dust. At the same time, it also crushed the sea of blood and caused Allheaven to let out a miserable scream. He tried to escape, but was unable, and was instantly crushed by the pressure. The woman's body exploded, and yet, she did not die. Her soul did not disperse.
The final magic she had unleashed was something that could start a new epoch. Everything was crushed, but then, from within that destruction, everything was formed again.
The seed-world that had existed near their battle was affected by the waves of power. The will of its starry sky trembled, and then was mostly wiped away. At the same time, a gaping hole was opened leading into the world.
In the moment that the hole opened, the ash, qi, and blood of the man, the woman, and the parrot, were all sucked in. In the blink of an eye, they were absorbed into the seed-world.
Many years later within the starry sky of the seed-world, a new life form came to exist among the other lives that teemed therein. It was the soul of a parrot, who looked around at the boundless world, a blank look in its eyes.
Another soul appeared, which gradually came to supercede the will of the starry sky. It forgot about its past, and acted only on instinct. It was the will of Allheaven.
Among the countless other living beings in that world, a woman appeared in the cycle of reincarnation. She wasn’t aware of her previous life, and was actually reborn over and over again, experiencing countless lives and innumerable epochs.
Later, the parrot met someone who transformed it into a magical device, a copper mirror.
One day, the woman met a person in one of the countless tinier worlds which populated the larger world she existed in. It was called the Paragon Immortal Realm.
The person she met was one of the inhabitants of that smaller world, who had come to be called... the Lightning Emperor.
The Lightning Emperor fell in love with that woman, and she became the love of his life. His wife. Later, the Lower Realms of the Paragon Immortal Realm rebelled, egged on by the influence of Allheaven. The Lightning Emperor fought for his home, and fought for the woman he loved. In the end, he died in battle.
When he died, countless lightning bolts spread out from his body, shaking the entire area.
After he was no more, the woman sat with his corpse, wracked with grief, weeping. In that moment, the memories inside of her which had been sealed away were unlocked. She looked down at the Lightning Emperor, and her tears fell onto his armor. Eventually, the tears vanished, and apparently, they took with them her feelings for the Lightning Emperor. Her eyes were now cold and blank.
“We aren’t even from the same world,” she murmured. “This is just a temporary stop on my journey through life. Now, I have awakened, and the time has come for me to depart. I... am free.” With that, she left the world, returning to her travels through the Universe.
She had no desire to ever again meet the will of Allheaven, or the parrot.
After she was gone, the corpse of the Lightning Emperor continued to float in the starry sky of the Paragon Immortal Realm. Gradually, it withered up. The armor on the corpse melted, and eventually, the corpse became translucent. All of that happened because of the tears of that woman in the moment that she awoke, tears which contained the power to fuse past and present lives.
Because of the tears, the armor became fused with his soul, with the soul of the Lightning Emperor, who should have died.
Eventually, the corpse decomposed, fully fusing with the armor. Many years later, it awoke. At that time, it knew that it was essentially undying. It also knew that it should never become armor again, and should not risk its life to protect someone.
If it did so, it could lose that undying nature.
Other than that, its memories were a blank. It began to wander the Mountain and Sea Realm, and gradually came to realize that it loved to chatter, and that it loved to civilize bullies. Eventually, it also discovered that it couldn’t count....
One day it ran into a parrot which had just flown out of a copper mirror....
“Hey there, mister armored-looking fellow. Come, come, allow Lord Fifth to have a look at you. Why don’t you have any fur or feathers?”
“Screw the hell off, you bully! I’m gonna convert you!”
Note from Deathblade: And that’s a wrap. It’s been a wild ride, Fellow Daoists, it’s hard to believe it’s all over. I will be posting some closing thoughts shortly....