Dark Miasma covered his eyes as Rigel woke up with a severe headache and a stupor. He blinked his eyes as he gazed at a shadowy world filled with puddles of black water.
Rigel shook his head in confusion. The last thing he remembered was losing his consciousness due to extreme pain.
With a hazy mind, he couldn’t help but think, “Am I in hell?”
However, reason told him that he wasn’t. Even though he couldn’t explicitly say how, but he somehow felt that he was still alive. But, he still didn’t understand how he had come to such a place.
Rigel rose to his feet and turned around. No matter where he looked and no matter how far he looked, everything looked the same. It didn’t matter in which direction or how far he looked, he could only see the prominent gray miasma and black puddles.
Rigel walked around in confusion. Minutes passed and then hours passed. Finally, Rigel felt as if days have passed. The again, he couldn’t differentiate time in that weird place.
He went around and tried to examine the black puddles but the closer he got, the hotter they became. By the time he neared them, he was able to feel the intense heat. Unable to do anything he gave up on examining them.
Rigel saw the gray clouds, the gray fog, the black puddles until he felt that maybe he was dreaming his existence while he may have already died. Then he considered that maybe he was in an illusion trapped in his own mind.
That feeling brought fear to his peaceful self. He began to dread his future. He began to dread of what would happen to him.
Rigel ran and ran, all to no avail. He ran until he couldn’t run anymore.
Rigel saw everything that was there to see in that weird world. He saw the fog; he saw the clouds, and he saw the puddles.
No matter what he saw, he didn’t see a way out. All he saw was himself in the reflection of the distant puddles. He saw himself, weak and scared like he always was.
Finally, he sat down, tired of searching, tired of hoping and tired of hoping more. He sat down and then slept. When he woke up, he slept again. When he slept, he dreamed of sleeping more.
Minutes and days turned into months and years. Rigel couldn’t even think how long he was there. He couldn’t understand why he was even in that place.
The place had nothing. It literally had nothing. All he could do in that mysterious world was to think. He first thought of his defeat. Then he began to think of how he was defeated?
He began to think of what incident led to his defeat? He then thought of why he even suffered the loss?
Rigel calm mind began to tremble as he remembered everything his daily life made him forget. How he lost his beloved, and how he failed to kill the one man he wanted to kill at any cost.
Then he remembered Frank, his lessons, how he took care of him and his death. The Mysterious man and how insignificant he was in front of him. Finally, he thought of the red-robed man who killed him with a poison fog.
All this led to only one emotion, anger. Anger towards them, towards himself, his fate, and towards the God. His calm mind became turbulent under those emotions.
His calm eyes turned red, and his slow breathing became heavy. Rigel couldn’t see it, no he wasn’t observing, but the world around him was changing with him.
The gray fog dissipated and the gray clouds turned clear. The black puddles became dark pools and then transformed into black lakes.
Rigel sat there with red eyes and hate filled heart. Thus, he didn’t notice that his emotions had birthed a black sea. The black sea became a black ocean and then came upon him.
The area he sat became the sole island in that black ocean. Rigel, who finally opened his eyes, saw the black ocean beneath his feet and then shook his head. He finally understood what the black puddles were.
They were the poison which killed him.
He was unable to do anything, and the poison was slowly consuming him. Rigel shook his head in bitterness.
However, at that instant, a bright blinding black light flashed by, and the black sea encroaching towards him froze in its tracks.
The sea then changed back into a small black puddle which then evaporated into mist.
Rigel stared dumbly at the phenomenon which happened before his eye in a flash. He didn’t understand just what happened in that instant. All he understood was that his life was spared.
As Rigel felt relief, a powerful voice resounded in his consciousness, “Such a pity.”
Rigel stood there like a statue as he heard the voice. He then turned his head to scan every direction, but he found no one.
The voice sighed again and continued, “A dantian, I shall give you one, but the price shall be heavy.”
Rigel looked around one more time and yet found none. He then gulped down and asked in a respectful voice, “Who are you, Sir?”
The voice didn’t respond nor did it continue. Rigel waited and waited, but nothing happened. Minutes passed and yet the voice didn’t answer.
Then he felt a breeze on his neck and suddenly turned around. Red eyes stared into his eyes. Black hair, fair skin and six feet tall, the one before him was the replica of Rigel except he had red eyes instead of his black eyes.
“How long do you intend to sleep?” The man asked in a cold voice.
Rigel recovered from his stupor and narrowed his eyes. He backed away and asked in a cold voice, “Who are you?”
“Me, I don’t know.” The man answered back in a calm voice and continued, “I don’t have a form, nor gender. I only possess consciousnesses, and since I had to take a form, I took yours.
I have no name either. However, I gave myself one. Call me Tal.”
Rigel’s face was same as ever, but he was feeling very confused and fearful inside. He didn’t understand a bit of what was happening in his mind. He didn’t figure out what did that voice mean nor who Tal was?
“Where am I, Mr. Tal?” Rigel asked in a respectful voice.
Tal turned his head in a weird manner and answered in a cold voice, “I don’t know either.”
Rigel narrowed his eyes and said, “I know you are Mr. Tal, but who are you actually? What is this place? Is there anyone besides you and me in this place? And where are we?”
Tal smiled lightly and asked in a small voice, “Before I answer any of your questions. Tell me, Did you hear a voice other than mine in this place?”
Rigel’s face twitched slightly as he heard Tal, but he still maintained the same expression as he said, “No, I didn’t. Is someone here as well?”
Tal shook his head and said, “No. I am the only one here, and it will be the last time we see each other. Now, GET OUT OF MY LOCKER.
Rigel mind spun as he disappeared from the weird world. The next second he woke up with the same bad headache. Only this was much worse.
However, he was sleeping in a real bed, and this was so much better. Rigel slowly sat up on the bed and opened his eyes widely.
He felt as if he lost years out of his life but he felt glad that it was all a dream. His soft facial hair was still the same, and he was still in his clothes. Thus, he concluded that not much time has passed since he had lost consciousness.
However, just as Rigel was getting ready to get off the bed. He stopped as he felt a foreign sensation from within his body. His heavy body which had always been the same felt a little lighter. His vision which had always been the same felt a little clearer.
All his senses became a bit sharper. His hearing, his vision and even his instincts. Rigel blinked his eyes in confusion. He didn’t understand what was happening, but he felt good about it.
Just as he was about to shake off the feeling. He suddenly remembered the words he heard in that weird world.
“A dantian, I shall give you one, but the price shall be heavy.”
Rigel suddenly had the most bizarre thought. He suddenly closed his eyes and redirected his energy towards his dantian. His broken dantian would have obstructed this flow, but Rigel’s face became still with shock as he felt a weird warm current on the other side of his body.
His broken dantian was transmitting the energy naturally and easily without even the slightest delay or obstruction.
Rigel’s face was filled with happiness as he opened his eyes. He didn’t care about the cost or the consequence of obtaining a dantian. All he cared about was having an intact dantian. A dantian enabled him to cultivate. Without one, he would forever be a cripple.
Sudden footsteps rang out in the hallway pulling him out of his dreams. Rigel frowned as he quickly put his thoughts aside and moved his eyes to scan the room.
Seeing that everything was it should be, Rigel finally sighed in relief. No matter what, he was still within the territory of the sect which almost killed him, so Rigel had to be alert.
As he was getting ready to lie down, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a small streak of red color liquid on the floor.
With a frown, he leaned forward and gazed at the ground. There at the center of the floor was the corpse of the red-robed man impaled on his own dual swords.
Rigel’s face became blank with shock. He heard the footsteps getting louder and louder. With a corpse in his room and with no way to escape, Rigel heart began to pound loudly as he thought out aloud, “Fuck!”
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