"You already chose," the kid made a brief remark, his eyes sparkling with a mysterious glow. He had caught sight of something in Helial's eyes, something that only Helial himself and his brother could grasp.
"Light, huh? It's gonna be fun."
"How d-" he interrupted mid-sentence. "My memories…" Helial grinned his teeth.
"I know everything, even if you don't tell me," the Devil smiled slyly.
"Then you also know why I chose it."
"Yeah. It's an interesting choice, very appropriate for one of my disciples," he approached him with an evil smile on his face.
He patted his index finger on Helial's forehead. Suddenly, a shiningly black sphere got into Helial's head. Its darkness was unfathomable and looked as bleak as a timeless glacier.
All of a sudden, Helial's mind was flooded with an endless flow of information, which slowly converged into a Skill.
You learned a new Skill!
Death of the Desolate Universe
The Devil raised his hand, his index finger half raised, and said: "This is my Breathing Technique. You're the first person…"
"... I've ever showed it to. Congrats!"
"... to ever access it. Congrats," the Devil laughed icily as he shook his head. Then, he curiously lowered his arm, that was in midair. "If you really want to cultivate both Life and Destruction, you'll have to tell one's powers from the other's altogether. Now, sit cross-legged. I'm going to teach you a principle I once found in some ruins I came across along a space-time boundary. I couldn't cultivate it myself because I represent Destruction, or one of its forms, so I'll never be able to represent Life as well."
Helial sat down after staring blankly for a moment. That terrifying Breathing Technique was enough to scary him to death, yet the Devil just gave it away to him so easily. Helial smiled. Maybe he wasn't that evil, after all.
One moment after though, the smile vanished from his face. That same Devil could have possibly saved Vidio, and decided not to. Why?
Once he sat, the Devil began to explain calmly: "Now put each hand on the corresponding leg, palms upwards. Next, try to generate two Mana spheres. Doesn't matter if this isn't your actual body. The training will work anyways."
Helial stretched his hands, palms upwards, and evoked two Mana spheres.
"Okay. Now feel the force of Destruction that fills my Breathing Technique, without activating it yet, and try to lead your knowledge towards the sphere on your right."
Helial closed his eyes and followed the instructions, trying to probe that mysterious Skill.
He sensed some hints of the Breathing Technique hidden powers and his shock intensified. He felt a violent rage and an excruciating pain spread through his body. They seemed to be trying to rip his gut to pieces.
And yet he wasn't suffering. That pain seemed to belong to someone else.
It was no ordinary pain. It was the apotheosis of all pains. If let free, then it would have probably razed the whole universe to the ground thanks to its unrivalled fury. That feeling filled his body with bleakness, as if his heart and bones were about to freeze.
"Destruction is death, annihilation, but no absence," the Devil explained, as his profound words started resonating with Helial's heart. "Life is birth, renewal, but no plenitude."
Helial pondered the meaning of these words as he repeated them: "Destruction is death, annihilation, but no absence. Life is birth, renewal, but no plenitude."
He began to make the deep feeling sprung from Destruction flow into the Mana sphere in his right hand. The sphere suddenly turned from translucent into light-bluish, before getting darker and darker. After a while it looked murky, like a greyish mud.
"Now feel the principle behind Flame of the Qilin, make it your own, and then move it towards your left hand, without stopping sensing Destruction in your right hand. And keep in mind: Life is birth, renewal, but no plenitude. Destruction is death, annihilation, but no absence."
The boy started feeling the heat of the flame seething inside his chest.
He felt a sudden urge to soar through the sky and face death, as his flesh got infused with a sweet warmth.
A the same time, his bones were still engulfed by that raging bleakness, which seemed to be about to put out the heat given off by the flame.
Such conflicting forces made him feel like he was split apart; a world made of ice on one side, a world made of lava on the other.
He furrowed his eyebrows as he whispered: "Life is birth, renewal, but no plenitude. Destruction is death, annihilation, but no absence."
He pondered over these words once again and tried to summon the energy of Life on the palm of his left hand.
Suddenly, two figures appeared on Helial's mind.
Lumia and him. His brother.
"...it's no plenitude... it's no absence…"
The Mana of Life began to flow through his Meridians. First into through body and then through his arm until it finally reached his palm and the sphere. The sphere slowly turned from translucent into bright white and started giving off a vague milky light.
Helial felt his left palm enveloped by a gentle warmth. The right one felt like pin and needles instead, due to an indistinct, itchy cold.
Helial opened his eyes. Before his gaze were two Mana spheres; one vaguely murky, looking like filthy water, the other one creamy and whitish.
The Devil stared at the shape of the two spheres and, his expression unchanged, said: "Is that it?"
He stretched his hand out and created a pitch-black Mana sphere. It was so dark it seemed about to swallow the moonlight up any second now, just like a black void.
"While you cultivate Life and Destruction, your knowledge needs to resonate with your Mana. The more Epiphanies you'll experience, the more powerful those forces will get. If you succeed in developing the two of them in parallel, you might as well become the first man to master them both in the whole universe. Now, look at his," the Devil slightly furrowed his eyebrows, as the pitch-black sphere glowed even darker. It was ready to devour any life form existing. While he stared at all the Destruction condensed in that sphere, Helial looked mesmerized.
"Enough for today. If I go on, you risk slipping into a coma," the kid said as he dispersed the sphere. "You just got a glimpse of real Destruction. Nothing like the gentle itch you felt in your bones. It feels like embracing death, and grasping its deepest meaning."
Helial closed his eyes and a moment later the sphere in his right hand tuned murkier and deeper.
The kid held his astonishment back. Usually people don't even get to sense Life nor Destruction on their first try. This boy already touched them both and managed to fortify Destruction within a few minutes. How is it possible for Lif-
The Devil approached Helial with a weird light flashing in his eyes.
He brushed his finger against the guy's forehead, a bitter smile on his face. He made another shining sphere get in Helial's mind. This time it felt warm.
Helial suddenly wound up immersed in a blinding flash of light. Light was all around, as though he were surrounded by a thousand suns. His skin peeled and his eyes dried out. Suddenly, in that world full of light he caught sight of the stunning silhouette of a woman in the distance. One second later, everything had faded away.
The sphere in Helial's right hand turned shinier and whiter.
"Okay, then. Keep meditating on these two forces and one day you'll be able to benefit from their principles."
Helial opened his eyes and stood up, after dispelling the spheres instantly.
"What's happening out there, meanwhile? Will these Meridians help me save Lumia?"
"What you'll see once you wake up will surprise you. Shithead."
This formula he'll meditate on runs way deeper than he thinks. This guy can reach much higher than whoever has developed a particular Dao of Mana. If a super being who masters either Life or Destruction laid hands on this formula, he or she would only benefit from one single force. The force that prevails, be it Life or Destruction, would swallow the other up. The Devil gazed around, gave a sigh and went back to the table, still wearing his odd apron. How weird. He's not merely willing to learn both principles, he's also as determined as very few are. Even though his past… could it really be his past that made him become like this?
Helial furrowed his eyebrows in suspicion. The Devil had gone back to placing the cutlery a few millimeters away from where he had placed them before. What was the point in repeating the same actions over and over again? Was that some kind of ritual?
Helial's eyes widened.
Without even him turning, an evil smile showed on the Devil's face: "How long did you think you meditated for?"
You entered in contact with the basics of principles that many of the greatest creatures alive still ignore, Shithead. You're already lucky enough you haven't been meditating for weeks or months, before getting your Epiphany.
"Time for you to go. Someone's waiting for you, out there. And remember," the Devil said as he disappeared in midair and reappeared a few centimeters away from Helial, his lips brushing against the guy's ear, "power is going to demand a lot, and will require you to face the person you'll love the most in your entire life."
The kid pushed him, and Helial fell off into the darkest abyss.
The Devil stared at Helial as he stood up, his spiritual body looking quite bad.