Humanity had always wondered and pondered about what would come next. So when humanity experienced death, the thought that formed in many people’s heads was one and one only… What next? What came after death? Is it the extermination of the soul? Reincarnation? Or is there a completely different world altogether?
Well, people say that men create their own gods, and just like that, those thoughts became a place where rivers of souls and consciousness flowed. Countless souls of countless creatures, some would disappear, some would enter a new world while some would drink the old lady Meng’s tea and forget everything about their past lives, allowing themselves another chance in the same world.
It was such a place. There was no ceiling and yet no sky could be seen. The ground was completely black, nothing would ever be able to grow in the black dirt as it had been in the presence of Death for far too long to bear Life.
Long rivers flowed. What flowed was not water though, after all Water is also, in a way, the source of life, no water would be able to flow in a world of death. Countless bright ethereal bodies were what took the place of the water and formed those long rivers on the black dirt: souls.
Countless souls passed every single moment on those yellow rivers of death… Those rivers… Were the Yellow Springs!
In that hellish place though He was different. He simply stood there, alone, in the dark, looking upwards towards where the sky should have been. He was special. Souls had no bodies, thus they also didn’t have eyes to see. But He could see, meaning that He was not a soul… He was something else!
He had no memories… No memories of Himself nor of any others. He just laid on His back and looked upwards, as the time flowed on, and on, and on.
When He had arrived in that place, information had appeared in his head, instantly wiping away everything else: this information told Him that He simply… was not.
Although something might have made Him suspicious as He was clearly not nothing, the same presence that had wiped away His memories had also took away his Logic and Intuition, leaving nothing left except for the one fact: he was nothing. He wasn’t.
It remained that way for a long, long time… All was black and the darkness in his mind showed no sign of going away. He noticed the passage of time, but He didn’t give it a thought. He couldn’t. All was the same for a full thousand years…
Until the Light finally reached His eyes. In the black dirt of this world of death, a crack appeared. From the crack, a pellet came out: completely golden in color, it couldn’t be described as anything else but a Spark of Light for it was just so bright!
It appeared suddenly, the dazzling Light… A Light that would then proceed to dispel all the Shadows!
With a flash, hazy memories that shouldn’t have existed, wiped away and erased, reappeared as clear as the day. After a full thousand years, He knew, He knew where He was.
He was in the world that came after Life, a World of Death, so to speak. He was at the entrance of the Yellow Springs, cursed to never reincarnate nor pass on, cursed to watch the starless sky until the end of time.
He had died but His death had been sealed… Much more of a curse rather than a blessing, but now… He would use that same curse against that same person that had imprisoned Him within His own mind!
Since His death was sealed He could have gone back in the world of the living any time He wanted… Unfortunately, that darkness in His head didn’t allow that. It had taken away His consciousness, the knowledge that He was.
It only gave Him the knowledge that He didn’t exist, that He had no body and wasn’t really there… Truly something that contradicted itself, but His muddled mind could only accept it as He had no way of knowing.
The Light flashed again and more shadows got dispelled. He finally knew, after a full thousand years, He knew who He was.
He was Xu Ling, He was the Evil Saint. He was the one who challenged the Heavens, the one whom brought chaos to the Nine Heavens of Tian…
Once again golden flashes reached Him and more shadows also disappeared.
A thousand years wasted, a thousand years stolen away, a thousand years He will pay back! Because, right then, at that time, He knew. He knew what He had to do.
He smiled with a mouth that his mind had insisted wasn’t there, He laughed even though he should have known that His vocal chords shouldn’t exist. He stood up on His legs when He shouldn’t have had any, and took the golden light in His hands.
He had no hands right? Yet He could hold it, no mouth yet He swallowed it. He didn’t exist yet He also did. All didn’t exist and that was why He couldn’t see, yet all still was there so He Could see.
If He was nothing He would not do anything. If He did anything He wasn’t nothing. If He wasn’t nothing He did. If He did He wasn’t nothing.
He did, therefore He was… That was an undeniable fact. To be is to do, because something can’t be thought to exist unless it had a need or did something. But he did. Therefore he was!
Understanding that, the deepest shadow in his mind also faded away and the invisible shackles that bound him to this place broke down. It was then. That this fake image of Death couldn’t hold Him anymore.
After a full one thousand years of blankly staring at the starless sky, the stars reappeared and then He knew. He knew that they had been there all along, it was just Him that didn’t have the power to do that final step and see them.
The black dirt beneath Him turned back into the cold ground and the once still air now brushed in waves against His skin. The sky… The earth… The wind… He lifted a small hand. At first He was taken aback as the hand was really small, but then He smiled.
The golden light pill that He had swallowed let out a feeling of warmth from His stomach. The warmth comforted him as He enjoyed the feeling of laying on the cold ground instead of the black dirt.
He breathed in the cold air of the night. It was cold and when it reached His lungs it burned a bit… Although He felt pain, He still laughed. A small pair of golden eyes blinked as a small mouth opened.
The long black hair fluttered in the night wind and the eyes focused on the beautiful starry sky above him.
“I have returned!”
Author’s Note: an original Xuanhuan / Xianxia / Whatever you call eastern novels by yours truly! Name’s Cookie, nice to meet ya!