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POTENTIAL STAGE

It wasn’t a space that Mao Lu could describe, there was a nothingness surrounding him. There was no light yet he had the strange sensation that he could see, there was no darkness yet something blocked the light. There was nothing surrounding him yet on his fingers he felt the sensation or rather energy buzzing around him. He was surrounded by Essence.

There were only three types of Essences here, the Creation Essence, The Destruction Essence, and the Time Essence.

They were like babies, small creatures that took up all the space around him. They nipped at the skin on his fingertips, he felt emotions of curiosity and confusion coming from them. In this space, he felt connected to the Essence in a way he’d never felt before, as if they were a hive mind and he was the queen bee. He could hear all their thoughts, they all felt like extensions of his limbs, their sight was his sight, their power was his power, their thoughts were his thoughts.

Mao Lu no longer felt like Mao Lu, he was the countless essences in this room. He felt his sense of self-dissipating as he drowned in the collective consciousness of the Essences. From their minds, he could feel how they were slowly developing.

From the perspective of the Essences, Mao Lu realised that for a long time they had been isolated and alone in this emptiness, simply existing with no purpose and no sense of being and now that Mao Lu had appeared, they felt energised, they felt reason, and laws applying to them, they looked at Mao Lu dotingly, waiting for his instructions.

No longer was Mao Lu thinking about creating this world for himself, actually the objective had left his thoughts. All he wanted to do now was feed his Essences. He wanted them to grow, he wanted to give them purpose, he wanted to give them roles, he wanted to satisfy the latent power they had by giving it direction.

In this nothingness, Mao Lu opened his eyes and they glowed brightly with power like neon lights in the dark. He didn’t use words, he didn’t need to. They understood his intentions, his wishes.

The first thing Mao Lu wanted was light, as he thought about it the small-baby-like eel Time Essences began swirling around the green flower-like Creation essences. They spun around each other faster and faster. The red dust Destruction Essence began to spin anticlockwise around the Time and Creation essences. Mao Lu felt a growing tension as the energy around him buzzed. This tension was a knot in Mao Lu’s throat, the feeling was similar to a wave when the waters receded at the shore, pulling back to create a large wave. Mao Lu felt a similar apprehension. A wave was coming.

As this sensation built and built, Mao Lu felt this sudden sense of gravity, he was pulled towards the Essences, they all clumped together at the centre, and for a single second, there was perfect stillness. Then in the very next breath, that stillness was broken and Mao Lu found himself flying outwards.

His body was flung like a ball as the Essences imploded and then exploded outwardly. He flew further and further for what felt like miles before he willed himself to stop. His skin glowed red from the explosion but surprisingly he wasn’t hurt. The energy from the explosion simply buzzed and became kinetic energy that quickly tempered out. Mao Lu’s hands buzzed for a while but overall he was fine.

When he finally regained his bearings and glanced around himself, he was shocked. He had witnessed a birth. Now there were more than just Time, Creation, and Destruction Essences. Now there were light essences, celestial essences, heat essences, gravity essences, and so much more.

The gravity essences held the heat essences and celestial essences together. The heat and celestial essences revolved around each other creating nuclear fusion processes, proton to proton fusion processes, chemical elements had been made for helium fusion, and there was carbon. Now there were several stars drifting in this abyss. The stars emitted flame and light essences that illuminated the abyss. These light essences were like small yellow-coloured robin birds. They tweeted and sang as they flew around.

Time, Creation and Destruction is the basis. Mao Lu understood. Time propels the reaction, creation starts to create these other essences and destruction destroys the creation essences to create the other essences. Birth from destruction, it all goes full circle. All the elements back in his own world, all the materials, all essences were mainly made from this process. Mao Lu had been told this, but it was one thing hearing about it and another thing seeing it for himself. He now understood how fundamental Time essence was.

With such a powerful tool at his disposal, he wondered how he was going to use it. As he thought about them the Time Essences swam up to him, they were still small, the size of his pinky finger. They nibbled at his fingertips and swam around him excitedly.

“How do you want me to use you?” he thought, the Time Essences simply swam around him, not giving him an answer.

Now that I have light, what should I make now? Mao Lu glanced at the stars and thought about solar systems, these stars need planets.

The moment he thought of planets; the destruction, creation, and time essences went to work again. This time they were not just spinning around each other, they were now rotating around several of the freshly made stars. Mao Lu again felt that all too familiar feeling of tension, he knew what was about to happen. He braced himself, and sure enough there was that perfect moment of stillness again, and then the explosion.

Since he was prepared this time, Mao Lu was able to keep himself rooted to the spot, the energy of this explosion wasn’t as intense as the last one but it still caused his entire body to reverberate. When he opened his eyes this time he was in the middle of a dust cloud. The dust was so thick that he found himself coughing on it. Around him, there were all these new essences made from the explosion, all these new small children. And all these new essences were making reactions, chemicals and new elements. The blank slate he’d started with was now filled with colour.

Creation, he’d always thought that someone who created had such immense power, but the creator wasn’t the one with the power. The Creator was simply the one with control, and it was the creator’s tools which had the power. Mao Lu was simply a conductor at an orchestra guiding his musicians into making music.

He only had to picture what he wanted to create and the essences would use their functions to make what he needed. One had made the 400 realms with the same template: stars, solar systems, nebulae, planets, and life forms etc. But Mao Lu was the Creator here. Did he have to keep to all these old templates? Wasn’t it boring?

From the exploded star and dust clouds and gravity, planets were slowly clumping together. The process was awfully slow, but the moment Mao Lu wanted it to speed up the time essences whirred around him and these planets were forming in seconds.

Mao Lu remembered a documentary he’d seen in the past, it had been about the Creation of the universe. This entire process took apparently billions of years, yet in religious texts, they recorded creation as taking merely seven days or simply just moments. What if they were both right? The science was right, that it did take these immense amounts of time, but from the perspective of a God, it was simply a moment. In the minutes that Mao Lu watched stars be born, stars explode, nebulae to shape, and planets to appear, retrospectively he was also watching billions of years pass him by with no effect.

This….this was power. No wonder Gatekeepers were so powerful, once one truly understood the concept of Essences and creation, destruction and time than there really was no limit. The only thing holding back a gatekeeper was the limits of their imagination, their will and their ability to truly understand the essences.

When this thought occurred to Mao Lu he paused, this test was supposed to test his potential, his imagination, his will and his understanding. Any Gatekeeper with basic understanding could do what he had just done, any of them could create stars and form planets. Mao Lu was using One’s template, he was just making his own creation resemble his own universe. This wasn’t imagination or creation, it was imitation, sloppy imitation. If he wanted to make this world if he wanted to truly create his own space he needed to “STOP NOW”.

His thoughts paused…his mind rumbled. The entire universe around him had paused, a stillness enveloped everything.

“I need to start again,” he concluded. As he stated this the Time essences began to buzz and started spinning anti-clockwise. The Destruction essences followed suit and began to float around the time essences, the Creation essences idly stood by them. Mao Lu witnessed as the forming planets exploded, dust dispersed, the stars that had exploded reformed and then disappeared. As all the reactions and processes reversed and stopped, yet again there was only Mao Lu standing in an empty abyss.
His eyes glowed again as he opened them, like neon lights in the dark. “This time this world will be made to my design.”

_______________________

REALM 145

Chàng Bo’s reckless driving had caught the attention of the police. As he accelerated out of control and only narrowly avoided ploughing into a row of vehicles, sirens blared in the distance as three police vehicles followed him in hot pursuit.

“How the hell did this happen!! Mao Lu had made it look so easy!!!” He yelled as he turned the handle for dear life, swerving through the busy Beijing traffic. Somehow he had travelled all the way to the Sanyuan Bridge, a massive overpass on the northeastern stretch of Beijing’s third ring road.

Chàng Bo turned the car into the wrong lane and looked up in horror to see a truck heading straight for him, the truck driver also had an equally horrified expression as he saw Chàng Bo. The truck driver honked in alarm and in panic Chàng Bo quickly turned the car away from the truck…except he turned it in the wrong direction.

Chàng Bo watched with even more horror as the car turned towards the traffic barrier railings. The only thought flashing through his head was that if Mao Lu found out he had destroyed his car, he’d be very upset.

Just before the car crashed into the railing Chàng Bo used the celestial essence in the air around him, he pulled it into the car and propelled the car upwards. This was Essence Manipulation, it was a technique commonly used by practitioners, especially practitioners with flying swords, it was a type of telekinesis that allowed him to control an object using his mind through essence. The car lifted up and shot high into the sky, flying away.

 

As the car flew in the sky Chàng Bo sighed in relief, why hadn’t he done that in the first place. The car was so much easier to control using Essence Manipulation.

……

[ON THE NEWS ]

[BEIJING CAPITAL ONE TV STATION]

 

“Now what do we have in other news Chan.” Said a pretty female Presenter named Juli.

Chan, the young handsome male presenter next to her put on a serious face, “In other news, we have a large car chase, we have live reports and helicopters following the car in hot pursuit.”

Juli put on an equally concerned face, “Do we know who it is Chan?”

“At the moment the authorities are unsure, but they believe it is a criminal. The driver in question was hailed down to stop after breaking various traffic laws. The Offender was driving in the wrong lane, ignoring traffic signals, and going over the speed limit. After ignoring various signals to stop recklessly driving the driver has continued. The police are worried the Offender is under the influence of drugs and alcohol and may end up causing a large accident, and so are still pursuing the driver.”

“How dangerous,” said Juli, “Everyone, be safe on the streets today and beware of reckless drivers to avoid accidents.”

“Now, let’s switch to live footage, there is a helicopter currently following the reckless driver,” announced Chan.

The footage on the screen changed to the image of Chàng Bo’s car crazily zooming through the streets of Beijing. A few million Beijingers who had tuned into the live news report watched as Chàng Bo’s car turned onto the Sanyuan Bridge.

“Oh no, there’s going to be an accident.” Said Juli as they watched the car swerve onto the wrong lane and into the path of an oncoming truck.

Juli gasped again as the car turned towards the bridge railings, the audience predicted the inevitable and likely deadly crash…but then…..

 

“What the fuck!!!!” Chan swore on the live broadcast.

Millions of Beijingers gasped in their homes, those watching on their phone walked into objects or screamed out loud in their quiet offices as they watched secretly on their desktops.

 

The car was flying!!!!

 

“This….this isn’t a joke people, this is live footage right now this is really happening!!” Juli exclaimed.

People on the Sanyuan Bridge had stopped, vehicles had braked causing major traffic. People began taking pictures on their phone. Many recorded the car as starlight seemed to emit off of it and it flew into the distance. Immediately on Twitter the number one trending hashtag was #flyingcarSanyuan. The news became viral in seconds.

The helicopter that had initially followed it, tried to pursue, but after a few minutes it gave up, only recording the car going off somewhere in the distance. “Damn that thing is fast” muttered the pilot.

 

Many theories popped up online, many saying this was a PR stunt for a movie, others saying it was real and maybe it was a surprise launch for the first ever series of flying cars. Many others said magic and many more said, aliens. Many peoples beliefs had changed. A child watching the news reports with his family grabbed his brother and said, “See I told you wizards existed, it’s like Harry Potter. When I grow up I’m going to be a news reporter and find all the other wizards.”

 

From that one incident, many fates were beginning to change.

 

Chàng Bo was unaware of the stir he’d just caused, he comfortably cruised in the sky, and was wondering if he should begin to use clairvoyance to find Mao Lu’s friends when a notification popped up from the Sovereign system.

‘You have gained new Fate Points’

“What the hell? But I haven’t done anything?” Chàng Bo gasped as he opened the system and watched his fate points rise.

609,108/10,000  The number was rising more and more. Chàng Bo’s eyes were round, he hadn’t gotten this many points since he’d massacred that Evil Sect who’d been pretending to be a Righteous sect.

 

“What did I do though?”

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Alexia Barrett

Journalism student at Cardiff University. Aspiring Broadcast Journalist, Foreign Correspondent, and Novelist.

November 2019
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