Everything had been plunged into boundless darkness. Tang Wulin felt as if he had fallen into a gargantuan black hole that was devouring everything.
The edge of the darkness was punctuated by a crimson lining that seemed to be filled with menace and destruction, but also resembled the light of a new dawn.
"My child..., wake up, my child..."
A voice came calling out from the distant, and Tang Wulin wanted to latch onto the voice, but found himself unable to do so.
He wanted to hold onto everything, but could only look on helplessly as it all drifted away.
"Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub." A powerful heartbeat rang out, and it seemed that something was about to emerge.
An extremely frosty aura surged forth to repress the strong heartbeat. Time slowly passed by, and everything seemed to be caught somewhere between reality and illusion.
It was as if everything were both distancing itself from him and gradually approaching him at once.
"Wulin, in this world, the only one you can completely trust and rely on is yourself. You have to be brave and resilient at all times, and only when you become more powerful will everything that you possess truly belong to you. Nothing is as reliable as yourself."
"Have some more, Wulin; if it's not enough, Mother will cook some more for you."
"Wulin, I support you."
"Wulin, can you not go forging anymore? I can't bear to see you so exhausted every day..."
A faint golden light began to revolve through the surrounding area, and when Tang Wulin gradually opened his eyes again, his mental state also underwent some changes.
Everything before his eyes seemed to be fading away, and the golden light around him seemed to both be realistic, yet also illusionary.
A gentle voice was calling out to him.
Tang Wulin looked up with difficulty, and he felt as if something were about to explode deep within his heart.
A beam of golden light suddenly became brighter before him, and a figure slowly emerged from within the golden light. The golden figure resembled a dreamy illusion, but it was extremely familiar.
"Old Tang?" Tang Wulin's voice was a little hoarse. As his gaze settled on the golden figure, he quickly discovered that Old Tang seemed different from his past self.
On this occasion, he seemed to be younger, and he wore a suit of golden armor. His long blue hair trailed down his back with only a few strands resting in front of his chest, and there was a golden trident helmet on his head, at the center of which was a dazzling gemstone. Within his right hand was a golden trident that seemed to represent boundless might and authority, and the dark starry sky in the surrounding area was different from the large golden hall of the past.
There was a calm yet gentle expression on his face, and his eyes were as clear and blue as the ocean, yet also as deep and unfathomable as a boundless starry sky.
"Old Tang?" Tang Wulin stared at Old Tang in a slightly slack-jawed manner. If it weren't for the fact that the massive change in Old Tang's appearance had affected his mood, he would most likely have been consumed by his own grief already.
"You should call me Father," Old Tang said as he appraised Tang Wulin with a gentle look in his eyes.
"Father?" Tang Wulin was completely rooted to the spot.
"That's right, [Luke, I mean, uh...] Wulin, I am your father. Just as Tang Ziran said, you have your own birth parents, and just as they were unwilling to part with you, we had also been very reluctant to leave you. It was only the most unfortunate and dire of circumstances that led to our decision to leave you."
Tang Wulin was already on the verge of a mental breakdown, and this sudden revelation threw his thoughts into complete disarray. Father? Old Tang had just asked him to call him Father?
Old Tang heaved a faint sigh before continuing, "I promise you that they won't truly die. We'll have to expend a massive price to do this, and it would even deprive us of the ability to contact you for some time, but your mother and I can't just stand by and watch as you suffer through such crushing grief. I'll take them away, and they'll be able to live on in another world. You have to listen to everything I say, as in exchange for taking them away, the price that I have to pay is that I won't be able to continue to remain by your side and protect you. From here onward, we can only wait for you to come and find us."
Tang Wulin took a moment to compose himself. When Old Tang had told him that they wouldn't die, his heart had been filled with an indescribable sense of elation.
"Ever since your mother and I had you and your sister, I've always been proud of my past efforts as my past accomplishments can allow you and your sister to refer to me as your father with pride in your hearts." Tears suddenly began to well up in Old Tang's eyes as he spoke. He was the only one who knew just how much pain and hardships his own words contained.
"My name is not Old Tang; Old Tang is only a fragment of my will that I instilled within you to help you and protect you as you developed. You've grown up now, and I can finally contact you through the Vast Sea Cosmic Shroud. My call was reciprocated by that fragment of my will, and I was finally able to sense your existence. On that day, your mother and I were happy beyond belief. Now, it's time for me to tell you who your birth father is. My name is Tang San; I am the founder of the Tang Sect, one of the five godly monarchs of the Divine Realm, the Sea God, and the Asura God. Above all else, I am your father!"
Tang San's words struck Tang Wulin's heart like a series of heavy hammer blows, and he stared at the golden-armored figure standing before him in a flabbergasted manner. This god-like figure, no, this godly figure, was his Tang San?
He was the founder of the Tang Sect, and had been verified by countless historians to have become a god. It was him who had led the Heaven Dou Empire and Star Luo Empire to overthrow the Spirit Hall. He was also the leader of the first generation of Shrek Seven's Monsters and created the glorious legacy of Shrek Academy.
It was none other than this legendary figure who was standing before Tang Wulin and telling him that he was his father.
"As incredible as this sounds, it's all true. Your name was given to you by me. Your mother's name is Xiao Wu, and your name, Tang Wulin, means Tang San and Xiao Wu's little Qilin. You also have a big sister called Tang Wutong, which means Tang San and Xiao Wu's little Phoenix.  The four of us should've lived as a happy family in the Divine Realm, but a massive disaster forced us apart. The Divine Realm was swept to a faraway place by space-time turbulence, and we had to sacrifice almost everything, including two godly monarchs, to ensure that the Divine Realm wasn't completely destroyed.
"During the process, the Golden Dragon King that had been sealed deep within the Divine Realm managed to escape before attempting to destroy the entire Divine Realm. It took us all of our power to restrain it, but prior to its death, it injected all of its destructive essence into you, and you were only a newborn at the time. It did so to try and kill you, but I sealed its energy into 18 parts within your body to prevent it from being able to kill you right away. However, there's immortal spirit energy in the Divine Realm, and as long as you're in the Divine Realm, you'll automatically continue to absorb this energy.
"That would speed up the rate at which the seals are broken, which would've undoubtedly resulted in your demise; even I wouldn't have been able to save you. Hence, we had no choice but to leave you on the Douluo Continent; only when you're outside of the Divine Realm would the seals come undone at a slower rate. As long as we can make it back in time and you become powerful enough when that time comes, there's always a chance for us to nullify the Golden Dragon King's violent energy together."
 [In Chinese mythology, phoenixes reside on mythical trees known as Tong Trees, so, the "tong" character became directly correlated with the phoenix.]Previous Chapter Next Chapter