69 The 1001st Chosen Cup of Heaven
"The locked door is the only one open to you!" A deep rumbling voice descended from up on high like the commandment of a god. It's authority was absolute and for a second it felt like all the world paused in time to hear its command.
"Open the door, walk the path, escape Fate itself! The Akashic Scroll is written upon by Fate, but why not you, yourself!"
Suddenly every door in the room surrounding Lineir whirled into a seething hole of violet blackness. The chains composed of runes were sucked in as if a great wind was hungrily drawing them towards an unknown destination and Lineir had the feeling that if not for these chains everything in the room would be sucked in, stone, rock, air, even light! The only door which had not turned into a terrifying black hole was the one in front of him. The chains were rattling as if some terrible being inside wanted to break free. A horrible noise raised all the hairs on Lineir's body that weren't already standing straight up. It was a miserable scream which tore the fluttering air as a sword might slice the wings off a butterfly. A piercing howl accompanied it. Then another, and another! Soon a monstrous orchestra of screams which carried the laments of every possible kind of human emotion echoed across the room like some wind chamber.
"OPEN THE DOOR OR BECOME ONE OF THE LOST!" The voice commanded one last time and for a moment there was utter silence as time froze. Lineir stared ahead at the fluttering chains and heard the screams of what felt like all human kind ripple across his flesh.
"I have to open that?? SH*T!" But he lost no time to materialize Mei in his hand and swing with all his might. Streams of lightning and darkness Qi followed the slash and sliced across the chains. However, the door barely even trembled.
"Break damn you!"
Lineir slashed and cut as viciously as he had ever had, but to no avail. The terrifying noises only grew louder and his skin vibrated intensely as a feeling of crisis only grew. Impending doom was coming...and the only way to escape was through this door! The power of Madness swelled up within him more intensely than it had in a long time. In this desperate time, when man fought against something beyond his understanding, Madness is sure to arise!
Boom! Booom!! BOOOOOOM!!!
With each blow the sound of explosions increased as each blow came faster, more precise, and layered upon each other like a web! Lineir felt his reflexes stretch beyond anything he had ever felt before as his red tinted vision turned the already hellish landscape into a true vista worthy of the Nine Hells! Looking at the chains, they began to vibrate intensely, and slight nicks appeared where he slashed, though at best, they could only be called superficial flaws in the runic links. The voice appeared to talk faster and louder, almost as if it was showing some excitement.
"OPEN THE DOOR AND DEFY FATE!"
Now the chains were shaking beyond intensely. They shook around and flexed as if some mad beast was entangled within and was struggling to break free. Lineir's hands were rimmed with blood as no matter how tough they were, the blows he had been dealing were layered with Madness. Finally, he swung one last time with all his might and charges of darkness and lightning spanned the whole length of the door, every chain vibrating in sync.
As the vibrations reached the peak, a terrifying humming seemed to drown out the desolate screams behind and the chains shattered into runes which bled away in a brilliant flash! The door seemed to be sucked open from behind of its own accord and Lineir was pulled into a gaping stretch of deep darkness. Away....away...away... the lingering authority of a voice long gone trailed him into the void,
"Go forth and write your name on the Akashic Scroll one day....for you will be Fate's mistake..."
As Lineir tumbled through the void endlessly, his mind was washed clean of the desolate screams from the nine doors. The darkness of the void seemed to permeate his soul, and he felt fragments of the shattered chains slowly meld into his skin. The twin powers of lightning and darkness residing within him grew stronger, and even his fire Qi was strengthened to a lesser extent. Deep down inside his Third Heart however, he felt more than that...other powers fighting over these scraps of power from an older being. They might have slept before...but now...enticed by these strands of higher power, they awoke!
In a cave on a far away realm floating in space, a wizened man in ceremonial blue robes sat cross-legged in the lotus position. A short but stout cane of some dark wood protruded from his left hand, and on his right, was balanced an ornate ceramic tea cup emblazoned with twin rising dragons ascending towards a falling crimson red sun. Though he was deep in this mystical cave, the lighting was not bad, as a thousand candles merrily burned away as if warding off the night. It gave off the appearance of the last light before the night, a deep burning sunset which stretched through the darkening horizons forever.
Above these 1000 candles floated a 1000 smaller teacups also emblazoned with the same twin rising dragons looking to swallow the sun. The flames licked the bottoms of the cups, but no tea boiled, the water was ever so still as they floated steadily revolving in place. Suddenly, a candle at the back of the crowd, previously unlit, flared to life! A cup appeared from deep in the cave and floated above to match. The dragons on the cup were black and yellow unlike the others, and yet had crimson eyes which gleamed with an indecipherable intent. Instantly the old man shot up, his unparalleled peaceful demeanor changing to one of utmost imperialism. With the authority of one who at his back stands the Heavens, he shouted out and the still ponds of the 1000 teacup instantly rippled with terrifying force.
"Who DARES to add a new cup to the 1000 Chosen Cups of Heaven under my watch!" He rapped his cane on the ground and tapped his feet instantly disappearing and reappearing next to the new cup. Staring inside, he shouted again,
"Come on then! You will have to deal with this one who stands with Heaven, show yourself!" He raised his cane as if it was a sword and made as if to strike,
"Present yourself and beg for mercy or I will shatter this participant's karma without delay!" Still, there was no motion, and looking around, the old man's eye's darkened.
"You leave me no choice then!" He struck down at the cup!
As the cane was about to shear into the rim of the cup and shatter the frail looking porcelain, a horrifying wave of darkness expanded out from the cup like a raging tornado. Instantly, every single other teacup in the room started to boil! Including the cup in the old man's own right hand! He stared in horror as his own personal cup became scalding hot and he tightly clenched onto it but to no avail, with a horrifying crash and the smell of burnt skin, it slipped from his grasp and cracked on the ground. Suddenly every single candle in the cave besides the new candle and cup wreathed in darkness went out. The cave was plunged into unyielding night and only this single candle lit the night alone as the twin dragons on the cup seemed to reflect an inordinate amount of light from this one candle and the red eye's seemed to glow with a cruel and arrogant air.
The old man fell onto his backside and scrabbled with his legs weakly to retreat, his cane forgotten as he slapped furiously at the ground, burnt hand and all, in a desperate bid to get away from those eyes. Finally, after what seemed a lifetime though it was only seconds, the old man who had lived to see galaxies rise and fall heaved a sigh of relieve as the terrifying black and yellow dragon's red eye's dimmed. Whatever consciousness had been present had left. He immediately clambered to his knees and began to kowtow to the cup as the other 1000 candles flickered to life. For nine days and nine nights he continued to kowtow until he was sure the presence had stopped paying attention. All along he wailed a mantra as if praying for mercy though from what God it could not be said as he was a proud administrator of Heaven.
"Please! Your lordship! This one had eye's but could not see Mt. Tai. Mercy from your lordship this humble servant begs! Had this one known that this cup was one of yours, I would never have dared strike! This one will be entered into the 1000 Chosen Cups of Heaven immediately! Please...!"