Chapter 322: Star, Gaia’s Curse (4)

 

Neither time nor space existed; earth and sky remained formless. There was nothing but emptiness amid the chaos.

One day, he appeared and said, “Let there be light.”

And then there was light, creating a universe.

Light was the basis of every substance that formed a universe. Wherever that light passed, laws were created, and existence gradually began to take form. Afterward, civilization and religion came into being, followed by philosophy and the arts. In the end, light was the foundation of the universe itself, and ‘he’ who had summoned light was <Supreme Light>.

Ahura Mazda[1], Mitra, Primordial Light, Origin Fire, Holy Spirit, Uncreated God, Absolute Being who Had Not Existed, First Cause God, Light King, Heavenly Demon…

He was referred to by many names, but they all referred to an absolute and noble being who had created the universe filled with an infinite number of Worldlines. That was why he had ‘supreme’ in his Divine Name. No matter who he was compared to, even Emperors who surpassed all the restrictions of the Worldlines, no one could be more outstanding than <Supreme Light>, who was the origin of everything.

Wherever light flowed, wisdom trailed in its wake. Thus, civilizations flourished and laws began to function properly. Over time, the once-chaotic universe was brought into order.

Nevertheless, part of the universe remained unblessed by light; it was filled with darkness and nothingness. Some people from that place began to envy those who had received the blessing.

At that moment, Chang-Sun’s eyes sparkled. ‘The space where light flows, and where it doesn’t.’

He realized that was how Celestials distinguished the inner and outer universe. The inner universe was influenced by the will of <Supreme Light>, becoming the ordered part of the universe. On the other hand, the outer universe was where <Supreme Light> could not reach, and chaos continued to run rampant. And those people who resided in the outer universe were…

‘Otherworld Celestials.’

Those people became jealous of the realm where light flowed, so they began to console themselves by calling themselves special and free. Then they called the darkness, which existed before light flowed forth, their father and began to worship it.

The being the Otherworld Celestials worshiped was <Dull Darkness>, the darkness that existed even before the appearance of <Supreme Light>; <Dull Darkness> predated the creation of the universe itself.

Those who were surrounded by chaos called themselves Nyx. Meanwhile, those who came from the world of order established Eros together to prepare for the darkness that could fall upon them at any moment.

‘Order and chaos… Eros, which follows <Supreme Light>. and Nyx, which follows <Dull Darkness>,’ Chang-Sun thought, muttering the foreign words repeatedly.

All of these concepts were unfamiliar to Chang-Sun. In fact, he would have remained uninterested in the inner and outer universe, and the Otherworld Celestials, if he had not met Mephistopheles. However, it seemed as if many conflicts had originated from a place Chang-Sun had not known at all. He felt that his worldview was being expanded immensely.

‘A sky outside the sky… In the end, it’s not just about the <Heaven> I’m in.’

[You have acquired new gnosis!]

[You have acquired new gnosis!]

Chang-Sun continued to focus on the book afterward, and subsequently discovered many facts. After the creation of this vast universe, the two giant pillars named Eros and Nyx, order and chaos, had alternated between conflict and cooperation, becoming a rolling ‘wheel’ in the form of a cross. During their history, they had appointed a mediator named <Deus Ex Machina> to make sure that the ‘wheel’ would not go off course.

[You have acquired new gnosis!]

[You have acquired new gnosis!]

‘Angra Mainyu[2] and Spenta Mainyu are the twin spirits who symbolize eternal conflict and coexistence… Is this where their concepts were derived from?’ Chang-Sun wondered.

In the old doctrines of Zoroastrianism, there was a section about Ahura Mazda creating twin spirits that represented good and evil respectively in order for the universe to function. Good took the form of Spenta Mainyu, the Merciful Spirit, who was entrusted with protecting the order of the universe. Meanwhile, evil took the form of Angra Mainyu, the Belligerent Spirit, bringing death, pain, concern, fear, plague, ignorance, and calamity to disrupt order.

Angra Mainyu, who was equivalent to <Dull Darkness>, had less presence in the doctrines compared to Ahura Mazda, but Angra Mainyu was Spenta Mainyu’s twin brother, the same way <Dull Darkness> was the twin brother of <Deus Ex Machina>.

‘It’s similar to the two sides of a coin. They’re different from one another, but not completely,’ Chang-Sun thought. He had a strong impression that he was getting the answers to his questions which had remained unsolved.

[You have acquired new gnosis!]

The beings of Nyx observed the orderly part of the universe again and again…

There was still a lot of knowledge Chang-Sun had to learn.

[You have acquired new gnosis!]

* * *

Tap!

After a very long time, Chang-Sun closed his eyes and closed the book named ‘Beings of Nyx’. His eyes remained shut for a while, as he had to sort out his jumbled knowledge—no, gnosis.

‘That basically means Outer Celestials are the highest-ranking beings in the faction called Nyx.’ Chang-Sun concluded.

Otherworld Celestials, Ancient Rulers, Great Ancients… Those beings were actually divided into many ranks depending on the level of their Divine Classes, and the beings at the zenith were collectively called Outer Celestials. The book also mentioned those who were basically the representatives of the Outer Celestials, and Mephistopheles was one of them.

Mephistopheles: He was originally an insignificant demonologist, but he devoured the first devil he successfully summoned and took that devil’s name. He is a devout follower and subordinate of <Darkness>.

‘Teacher doesn’t seem to be a human, but rather, was actually created too…’

When Chang-Sun first discovered that, he was very shocked. In Worldline #0, which was now called the Original Worldline, Mephistopheles had unprecedentedly devoured his Guardian and become an Outer Celestial himself. He resembled Chang-Sun, who had become a fiend as a human, in some way.

‘Maybe he saw his younger self in me.’

Chang-Sun had a feeling that the reason why Mephistopheles had taken an interest in him was not just to find the dormant ego of <Dull Darkness>. In any case, he had found out a little about the mysterious Mephistopheles, and thus felt a little closer to him.

‘But the problem is this,’ Chang-Sun thought, frowning slightly.

The issue was that not all of his questions had been answered.

Hsan: The ■ of brutality and ■■ who was derived from ■■■. ■■■ about the fact that ■■ did ■■ ■■■ to ■■■ ■■ after being freed from samsara and the law of causality. Unidentifiable. Undiscussable.

Although Chang-Sun had wanted to find out about Hsan the most, most of the information was censored, so he opened his eyes and raised his head. The golden machine eyes were still looking down at Chang-Sun.

“There’s some information I can’t read, sir,” Chang-Sun said.

『That’s because your clearance isn’t high enough. Give up.』

“Mine is Grade 1 clearance… How can it still not be high enough?” Chang-Sun asked.

『Did you think you’d be able to read everything here?』

“But I was able to open up the book and had no problem reading the other parts,” Chang-Sun added.

『Then it’s probably because you have inadequate gnosis. The parts that could drive you mad will automatically be censored.』

“What should I do to be able to read it?” Chang-Sun asked, tilting his head in confusion.

『Work harder. Haaaarrrder… Seriously, youngsters nowadays want to be spoon-fed at every meal. I wasn’t like that when I was young. Okay? I wasn’t.』

It seemed that the longer Chang-Sun talked, the longer the lecture was going to be, so he did not reply any longer. However, he could be certain of one thing.

‘Most of the information about Hsan is classified.’

As Mephistopheles had also said that he knew little about Hsan, it seemed there were no other means Chang-Sun could use to research more about Hsan. If there was one, it would be…

‘...If I quickly become as strong as an Outer Celestial.’

Chang-Sun firmly believed that would happen soon.

[You have acquired new gnosis!]

After sorting out his thoughts, Chang-Sun slowly stood up, the navy blue flames in his eyes blazing more fiercely than ever. They indicated how much progress Chang-Sun had made.

When Mephistopheles noticed Chang-Sun’s eyes, he quietly looked away from the book he was reading, then looked up at Chang-Sun with a nonchalant gaze. He asked, “Are you ready?”

“Yes, I’m ready,” Chang-Sun replied.

“Good. Then let’s get started,” Mephistopheles said as he put down his glasses and closed his book.

The sounds were especially loud to Chang-Sun.

[You have acquired new gnosis!]

* * *

Once Mephistopheles’ lesson started, he said, “You had zero experience with <Darkness>, so the Secret Darkness Technique served as an introductory book for you to get used to <Darkness> without too many problems.”

Chang-Sun chuckled dumbfoundedly, thinking, ‘That’s an introductory book?’

Atrox Immortálitas, the ninth technique of the Secret Darkness Techniques, was a power that surpassed the level of the past ‘Divine Twilight’ on its own. However, Mephistopheles was telling him that it was just an introduction. Chang-Sun could not begin to fathom how Mephistopheles perceived the world.

“Then it’s like a self-improvement book this time,” Chang-Sun remarked.

“The lesson will be over if you’re going to continue speaking nonsense,” Mephistopheles said.

“…My apologies,” Chang-Sun said, being forced to stop his so-called jokes.

“This is about drawing power from a place deeper than Abysm, darker than <Darkness>, more void than <Nihil>; it is the place from which chaos first bloomed.”

Chang-Sun recalled what he had seen from R’lyeh, where something appeared to be the remains of a giant Celestial or a dragon with navy-blue scales, and that whole place was surrounded by <Darkness>. Although it was <Darkness>, it was darker than Chang-Sun’s own, and had the ability to devour and annihilate everything it came into contact with. If Chang-Sun had to put a name on it, it looked as if there was only one apt description.

“Abyss…” Chang-Sun muttered.

“Yes, you’ll learn how to draw power from the <Abyss> from now on,” Mephistopheles replied.

Badump!

After hearing Mephistopheles’ remark, Chang-Sun’s heart began to pound.

[You have acquired new gnosis!]

“The <Abyss> is basically an enormous current that carries the souls undergoing samsara, or the deepest depths of their subconscious. That’s because all souls are connected to Dull Father, the Archetype, in some way.”

[You have acquired new gnosis!]

“But one can be annihilated by accessing it in an improper way, so you need to go through certain stages and approach it with caution,” Mephistopheles warned Chang-Sun.

“Stages…” Chang-Sun repeated.

“Yes, accumulate more gnosis and increase your Divine Class so your soul won’t get swept away in the <Abyss>,” Mephistopheles explained.

[You have acquired new gnosis!]

“There are four stages in total—Turbas Efficere, Forámen Septéni, Jūs Postrémo, Orígo Speciéi.”

[You have acquired new gnosis!]

“The first is Turbas Efficere, which means ‘no eyes, ears, stomach, or heart’. One has eyes but can’t see. One has ears but can’t hear. Due to one’s insatiable hunger, one indiscriminately swallows everything in one’s path. On top of that, one is insensitive and merciless to anyone…”

[You have acquired new gnosis!]

[A Grand Achievement has been unlocked!]

“If you stare too long into the abyss, the abyss will stare back at you.”

Reward: ‘Abyss’ Attribute Acquisition. Intelligence +30. Willpower +25.

1. The creator god who oversees the sky in Zoroastrianism. 

2. Also known as Ahriman.

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