Maybe the old carver was right - that Desolate Saint chose the wrong path. One thing was for certain - he meant well when he left this heart behind, not for personal gains or to be used as a backup plan.
This wasn’t the case for the palace up in the stars. Desolate Saint indeed left behind several hidden plans there.
As for this extremely powerful dao source, he didn’t leave anything behind to siphon this accumulated power for himself.
“Are men fundamentally good? Maybe, maybe not, but he was indeed good once.” Li Qiye said: “Everyone might have tried to be a good person once but eventually chose the other path. This is what he left behind before embarking on this path.”
Of course, it was difficult using conventional morality to judge someone like Desolate Saint. At the very least, he tried his best to be as good as can be before giving up.
Finally, Li Qiye turned his focus on the strand of darkness. Those who have seen it before would recognize this power right away.
It was the affinity that escaped from Repentance Institution, once suppressed by the statue and sword of Desolate Saint. Li Qiye freed it the moment he took out the sword.
This power was filled with dark affinity among many other things. Only the strong could spot this.
He fixated and grabbed the strand. It had no chance of escaping from his grip despite being so mighty and stopped rotating. His eyes narrowed as he carefully gazed at the things contained within.
He found that this wasn’t a power of darkness. To be exact, it consisted of negative sentiments and records of darkness, plenty of sadness and separations too…
These negative memories eventually turned into the current dark form.
This could serve as an argument for men being fundamentally good, at least during the start.
This person tried to protect their loved ones and friends along with his world. However, fear of the unknown, dread of death, trepidation regarding destruction…
These various fears in combination with greed started eating away at his heart.
At the start, he wanted to grow stronger in order to protect the things he cared for. He strived and struggled, ultimately growing stronger. Alas, with power came more desires - reputation, authority, and more power…
At the apex, he found that everything else seemed insignificant. Others were nothing more than ants. He realized that the work he had put in was meaningless. Everything would turn to ashes anyway due to the inevitable calamity.
All of his hard work seemed useless now. He needed something stronger to cope with reality. Thus, his dao heart began to change. His previous noble obsession became twisted.
Facing the inevitable calamity and the unknowns changed his goal from protecting to growing stronger.
He wanted to survive. This was the only way to defeat the calamity and the unknowns. After reaching this step, he found that nothing else mattered but eternal life.
By then, greed successfully pulled him into the darkness. The only thing on his mind was to survive the calamity and gain immortality.
The once noble protector began destroying his own world because he needed more power to fulfill his desires. He initiated steps to rob his beloved world of the various affinities.
This was the origin of his darkness. It didn’t stem from an external source, just from the greed deep in his heart.
It contained his undesirable past - faces of those who became disappointed in him, those who hated him, and the desperate grimace of his victims. He once wanted to protect them but the real destroyer was him.
It was impossible to forget these deep-rooted memories carved into every fiber of his being. The only thing he could do was bury them deep in his heart.
Thus, this darkness wasn’t banished and destroyed by the light for it was a symbol of his guilt and conscience.
“If you have chosen to abandon it, then let it disappear.” Li Qiye shook his head, knowing why he didn’t want to destroy it. He didn’t want to remember these faces but couldn’t bear to forget them either.
“Buzz…” He began burning this darkness with his dao flame.
“Pop!” The burning process went on for a while before a very familiar face appeared in the flame - Desolate Saint.
“You wish to erase my legacy?” His voice echoed.
“No, you still have another one - the light.” Li Qiye smiled: “You tried to erase it as well but you couldn’t. Forgetting these faces would mean a true death to your heroic self in the past.”
Desolate Saint didn’t reply.
“You made your choice the moment you left them at Repentance Institution. However, you didn’t do it thoroughly enough, let me help you erase them completely.” Li Qiye said.
“Fine, they’re ephemeral anyway since nothing can escape.” The saint sighed.
“As long as my heart stays the same, I am eternal.” Li Qiye smiled.
“I had such thoughts once but unfortunately, you will find one day that this is just not true. Only immortality is eternal.” The saint chuckled.
“And that’s precisely why you’re you. Your highest level will only be this Desolate Saint while I will be me, Li Qiye.” Li Qiye answered.
“I hope so.” The saint sighed once more.
“Buzz.” The flame finally finished burning this dark power and Desolate Saint’s ethereal face turned into smoke.
Li Qiye turned towards the heart of light and said: “Success because of the light but also failure. Light and darkness, both are the same, interchangeable from a single thought with a wavering dao heart.”
He then left the dao source. This was the end of his journey here after seeing the heart of light and the memories of darkness. Nothing else at the academy warranted his attention.
He climbed up the abyss and returned to the plain. He saw the tiny peak in the distance.
“Click, click, click.” The old man continued the arduous chiseling process, inch by inch.
This would go on even after the seas run dry and the stones go soft. It was the eternal melody of this world.
This particular action was quite pure regardless of Desolate Saint’s actual intent. No other schemes and plans were present. The heart seemed to be left behind as an inheritance for the system.