Chapter 146:

Beyond The Sky

Mad God


It was early morning when Ren, Ariana and Kyu had finally arrived at Thunder Valley. The once small town now grew into a giant city. The main roads were paved with cobblestone and there were even four or five story houses, built out of brick or stone. Not to mention the hundreds of wooden, smaller houses, scattered everywhere along the many alleyways. The previous wall that was built for defenses, now separated the inner city from the outer city as around 200 000 souls called this their home. Humans and demons alike. Surprising the trio, there stood a welcoming committee in the middle of the city, at the main plaza, ready to meet them. They were namely Niji, Kang, Pongo and Uhure, while hundreds of demons were watching curiously who was coming to visit.


“Let me guess, you foresee us coming.” Ren smiled after landing, looking at Pongo.


“A few days ago, yes.” The orangutan nodded.


“We heard what happened…” Niji sighed but Kang was faster. He just stepped forward, grabbing Ren, hugging her strongly, scaring Kyu. She immediately turned into her demonic form, looking at Kang menacingly.


“Don’t hurt my Mom!” She roared but Kang just blinked his eyes, surprised, before looking down at Ren who couldn’t help but smile. Since yesterday, Kyu only referred to her as her mother.


“Oh my…” Pongo chuckled. “Relax you little furball! Nobody would hurt her here.”


“She’s right.” Ariana whispered to Kyu, to calm her down.


“You are…?” Niji watched her with an unshakable trepidation inside his mind. He couldn’t explain why but as he looked at Ariana, he felt weird.


“My name is Ariana, Master’s disciple.” She cupped her hands.


“She is going to have some trouble here.” Pongo commented, looking at Ren with one eye.. “But nothing that we can’t handle. I’ll notify the tribleaders living here to not cause any trouble!”


“Interesting power… The one she had been blessed with.” Uhure commented, the only demon amongst the four who was in her human form. “Maybe the pups are going to finally act according to the rules! If not, we could tell them that the dreadful girl is going to take them away while sleeping.”


“Hey…” Ariana blinked her eyes with surprise, unable to respond at all.


“Not a bad idea!” Niji smiled, crossing his arms. “I had enough with the mischiefs of the racoons! They are a pain in my ass!” He sighed, shaking his head.


“I see that the city has grown pretty big. I need to catch up with a lot of things! Of course, I’m not here to butt in as to how you manage it. I just need a place and that is all. Treat me like any other citizen.” Ren said, getting out of Kang’s embrace.


“Your home is already prepared.” Pongo smiled as Ren looked into her eyes.


“I remember you said, I’d be living here once… did you… foresee this? What would happen?” She asked with a heavy voice, as Ariana stepped forward, holding her Master’s hand. She was quickly utilizing her own affinity, absorbing the surfacing, wild emotions of Ren.


“No.” Pongo answered, not looking away, keeping up eye contact with her. “What my vision shows me are only snippets, fragments of the possibilities that can happen. I saw you living here. Nothing more, nothing less.”


“I see.” Ren nodded, closing her eyes, calming herself down. She was smiling at Ariana, letting her hand go. “Thank you for receiving us.” She bowed towards them and soon they were escorted away, under the curious onlookers' gazes.


The house that was reserved for her looked more like a tower, as it was four level high with a spiral staircase leading upwards in the middle of it. The ground level was clearly a workshop, ready to make artifacts and with a space to store multiple kinds of materials. On the second level a spacious living room took its place with a small kitchen, empty bookshelves and couches, facing the panoramic window. From there, the sun’s rays shone through brightly, bathing it in an orange hue. On the third floor, they found their bathroom and bedroom, and when Ren looked at the wide, double-sided bed she couldn’t help but sigh softly. She felt a familiar hand touching her shoulder but when she looked back, only Pongo stood there, introducing them to their new home.


“What is at the fourth level? And how… Can we get up there?” Ariana asked curiously, clearly loving the new place that she would call home from now on. The strange thing was, there was no staircase leading upwards anymore.


“A meditation chamber.” Pongo smiled. “It is a special room.” She walked to the wall, placing her palm on the only red brick in it. Pressing on it, a hole opened up above them, leading into complete darkness. She just signaled at them and Ren jumped up effortlessly, followed by Ariana.


The room itself was completely dark. No windows or doors were there, except the hole on the ground that slowly closed up after Pongo also came up. When it finally shut close, the cold floor under them lit up with a blue, complex formation. Above them a star filled sky appeared, as if they were standing in outer space.


“Woah…” Ariana whispered, looking around, amazed by the beautiful images of nebulas, stars and countless wonders she never saw before.


“This is…” Ren gulped with a trembling voice as what she was seeing was something she once also saw, with her own eyes. When she still called herself Athos or as others addressed her; the Mad God. She immediately found herself lost, unable to say anything as her soul trembled, traveling back in time.


….

…..


Athos was floating amidst the endless infinity, with his eyes wide open. He was unable to completely take in the scenery before him as it was too much to even comprehend. He was surrounded by the beautiful expanse of space, with all of its wonders laid out before him. This was the reward that he got when he was trying to figure out a way to prove the other Gods wrong; That their state of being is not the final stop and there are still many more things to explore and discover. He traveled far and wide in his realm, and found mysteries that baffled him. While the others just accepted it as something… natural, he did not. Something that should not be questioned was nonexistent in his dictionary. Like the endless ocean, now called the Calm Blue. No matter how far one traveled, it never came to an end. As a God, he took a journey that lasted for 500 years. He was doing nothing just flying forward, without stopping, without ever slowing down, yet there was nothing. Just the sky and the calm, lifeless ocean. Yet when he gave up and turned around it only took him a day to reach back where he started from. Dozens of similar mysteries were driving him almost crazy after his ascendance into Godhood. It was then when he stumbled upon a revelation. He realized something important after following the clues and researching them for centuries. They were living in a closed off, separated realm, a plane of existence that has been cut off from the outside world.


Even as a God, when this revelation hit him, he had a surreal experience as his soul transcended his previous limits. He found himself in a completely foreign place, never before imaginable. He was seeing what was behind the Sky. He was feeling the infinite energy that was making up the endless universe before him. It was overwhelming. His mind was unable to comprehend its vastness and the wonders hidden deep within. Looking back, over his shoulder, he saw a small, dim ball of light that he immediately knew was his home. Where he was born and where he reached Godhood. Looking around, there were millions upon millions of similar worlds, waiting to be explored and visited. Some even shone extremely brightly, bathing in the cosmic energies. The excitement was indescribable as he wanted to travel and visit every world he laid his eyes upon yet when he tried to move, he immediately recognized a major problem… The cosmos was rejecting him.


As it was only his soul out there, it was not so apparent that he was not welcomed, but as soon as he tried to move, the space around him turned violent and forceful. It was pushing him back immediately. A cosmic storm started to form with red, dangerous lightning in the distance, being drawn closer and closer towards him by his presence. The cosmos rejected him being here and he quickly realized why. He was not cultivating the cosmic energy found outside so he was unable to take it in. He was unable to interact with it in any form and as soon as he tried, it started to have an adverse effect. Nature was reacting violently to his attempt, trying to expel him back to his own realm.


“I get it now… If I want to see what is out here I need to start all over again… Good! I now finally know which road is the correct one!” He laughed loudly and heartily. “I’ll open up our Sky and train disciples to be ready to travel to this place! Just wait for me to come back! You hear?!” He shouted as he looked towards the endless space, watching the red lightning, closing in quickly, coming for his soul to cleanse the cosmos from his ‘impurity’.


Athos’s soul then slowly fell back to his own realm and he returned to his body, shaking with excitement as he looked up to the blue sky grinning like a madman. It was the point when he decided what he would do and started to work towards it. After 5000 years he finally managed to bring it to fruition…


….

…..


“Master?” Ariana asked, bringing back Ren’s thoughts, who shook as her disciple touched her, blinking her eyes quickly, looking around, still being a bit dazed.


“S-sorry… I… had some things… that came to mind.” She explained as she took a deep breath, collecting herself. “Where did you get this?” She asked Pongo, looking into her eyes, asking about the formation etched onto the floor.


“I saw it.” Pongo answered calmly, “I saw it when I was a child. I had an intense vision that came back every day. The same one, over and over again, it was… maddening. This formation always came up within it. Now I had the resources to build it and this was the result. I immediately knew what I was seeing was what is hidden beyond our Sky.”


“You are right…” Ren whispered. “You are something else Pongo…” She looked around and even as the scenery was not real, only a projection by the formation, the energies in the air still reacted to it. It was pure and concentrated in the room, gathering in the middle of it. Taking only a deep breath was already immensely revitalizing, without even starting to meditate.


“Thank you. I am glad you like it.” Pongo smiled.


“Ariana.”


“Yes, Master?”


“Stay here for a little and start meditating. This is going to benefit you greatly.” Ren said, patting her back.


“Yes.” She cupped her hands, as she was also feeling a strange drive to start cultivating immediately. When they left, she just sat down in the middle of the room, falling into a trance-like state almost the moment she closed her eyes.


As they left, the bedroom was empty as Kyu clearly was not interested in it. Instead she took the chance when nobody was paying attention and she sneaked out to explore the new, interesting city by herself. Ren just walked to the window, looking out, sighing loudly.


“This is going to greatly help Ariana. Maybe even more so than the rooms back in the Sect.”


“I can draw it for you and you can send it back to that Sect of yours.” Pongo offered it up without hesitation.


“Are you sure?” Ren looked back at her with surprise.


"Yes. I never intended to monopolize it… Plus… I can't make another. Making this was exhausting already, I almost went mad! I haven't stayed sober for this… Well… Since decades ago! It took me five years building it, you know… I just finished it in the previous two days! Now that you are here, my first thing to do will be going home and taking a trip like there is no tomorrow! So don't even bother trying to reach me for a week, at least! I'll be unavailable." She laughed loudly before leaving, as Ren just smiled, watching her figure going down the staircase.


“She is a troubled genius.” Resonated a voice beside Ren. One that she always wished to hear yet only came to her when she was alone.


“Yeah. But this is going to help Ariana the most.” She answered Leinor's voice that came from her left side. Yet she did not dare to look, afraid he would be gone as soon she laid her eyes on him.


“I am a bit sad that I won’t be able to explore the cosmos with you.” He said.


“You will be. I’ll make sure of it.”


“Ren… you can’t raise the dead. Nobody can.”