Chaus woke up with a splitting headache. It was nighttime, and he was in the middle of a forest. The clouds covered the stars while a full moon shone brilliantly. A fire was created beside Chaus. Beside the fire, sitting directly opposite of Chaus, was a man-like beast creature. It could easily reach two meters tall if it stood up. Scales ran across its entire body, and two horns protruded out of the beast's head. Its head was shaped like the head of a wolf, but it was fiercer and more defined. Sharp, jagged teeth could be seen in the creature's mouth. Its upper body was laced with muscle, and a large piece of cloth covered its lower body. The most astounding thing about the creature was its eyes. Those circular eyes with yellow pupils were almost like the eyes of a dragon. It was as if nothing could be hidden in front of them.
Chaus looked at the creature with fear he thought he could never feel.
The creature then spoke in a deep, but soothing voice. "Relax. There's nothing to be afriad of."
[Relax?! Nothing to be afriad of?! This was a creature from nightmares and I'm supposed to just relax? #*$#$%$#*!@#]
Chaus was trembling from fear. He couldn't move. All he could do was watch the creature with fearful eyes for what seemed like hours.
Then, when Chaus felt pain emerging from his throat, the creature spoke again.
The creature tiled its head. "On your right."
Chaus looked to his right and saw a hollow bamboo bottle filled with water. Chaus took the bottle and greedily drank from it. After he finished drinking it, Chaus gained enough confidence to ask questions in a trembling voice laced with fear. "Who are you?"
The creature smiled with a smile that never reached his eyes. "My name is Dru. I mean you no harm. If I wanted you dead, you would be dead."
At that, it seemed like all the fear flushed out of Chaus's body.
[He's right. I'd die in an instant if he wanted me dead.]
The creature spoke again. "Do you know what happened?"
Chaus was stunned that the creature asked him a question, but he quickly recovered. He thought back to the events of last night. He heard screams and bodies falling. The bodies of his parents. There was also a creature that was walking towards him.
"W...was that you?" Chuas stuttered out.
"No. That was a ziki."
Dru response lifted Chaus's confusion. "The Ziki are creatures of Darkness. They're born from darkness and they live in darkness. They're masters of assassination and slaughter. One Ziki could slaughter hundreds of soldiers, let alone an entire village."
A ziki masacarred Chaus's village.
Chaus turned angry. "Why?"
"I can't answer that yet."
A disbelieving expression appeared on Chaus's face. There was no way Dru couldn't answer something, but rather he didn't want to.
"I'll give you two choices."
Chaus's disbelief turned into interest. Dru held all the power, so why was Chaus given a choice?
"I can erase your memories and find a new village for you to live in."
[Erase my memory?! Is that possible?]
Dru continued on. "Or I could give you the power to kill the ziki."
Chaus turned stiff. He could take revenge on the ziki if he chose the second choice.
"Nothing is free in this world. If you choose the second choice, you will face unimaginable hardship and pain. You will face enemies that are far scarier than you can ever imagine. However, if you choose the first choice, you can go back to your happy and carefree lifestyle." Dru paused to let what he just said sink in for Chaus. "What will you choose?"
Chaus was only a nine year old boy. He wanted to have fun and live a carefree and enjoyable life. He wanted to follow his father's footsteps and become a farmer. He wanted to have a family, but all of that was taken away from him.
Chaus started thinking. He had lost everything in the span of a single night. His parents, his friends, and his entire village. He had nothing to live for anymore except revenge. Even if his memory was erased, it wasn't the same. He would never get his parents back. With a resolute look on his face, Chaus spoke. "I choose the second choice."
Dru smiled again, but this time the smile reached his eyes. "Good. Then prepare yourself. We'll start..." Dru stopped speaking for a moment. "Now."
Dru waved his hand, and Chaus was suddenly teleported into a new room. A room filled with fire. Every inch of the room was covered with blue flames. Chaus started screaming. Pain filled every inch of Chaus's body. His hair started smoking and his flesh proceeded to turn black. His bones started melting and his internal organs started turning into pools of liquid. He started crying, but his tears evaporated the moment they came out.
Dru's voice filled the room. "This is the Room of Fire. In ancient times, newborn dragons would train in here to build their tolerance to fire. For you, however, I modified this room to train your will power. Will power is the foundation of strength. The stronger your willpower, the stronger your soul. The stronger your soul is, the larger your potential. The strength of the soul can be increased by other things, such as elixir and items, but none of those things can create a stable soul foundation like willpower can."
The soul is the basis of power in this world. It can fuel magic spells and it can also increase physical capabilities. Each person's soul is unique and has different characteristics.
There are six stages of the soul that humans can achieve. The first stage is the initial stage. This is when you can feel your soul and extract tiny bits of power from your soul. The second stage is the vitality stage. This stage is reached when your soul expands and fills your entire body. The third stage is the revolution stage. This stage is when your soul can combine itself with your physical body and increase your bodies capabilities. The fourth stage is the transformation stage. By achieving the transformation stage, your soul is able to manifest into a physical form and create objects like weapons and armor. The fifth stage is the domain stage. Upon reaching this stage, you will be able to create a soul domain around you. In this domain, you have control over everything. The sixth stage is the clonic stage. When this stage is reached, the soul can create a doppelganger. The doppelganger has the power of the original and it can also use soul domain.
Upon reaching the clonic stage, a human has the power to go head to head with a magus, beings born from the blood of dragons. Dru, for example, was a magus. There are more stages, such as the Realm and World stage, but those go beyond the current limits of humans.
Chaus managed to say a single sentence with his melted vocal cords. "What stage do I need to reach to kill Zikis?"
Dru's voice filled the room once again. "At least the revolution stage."
While listening to Dru, Chaus's body was melting from the heat. The once whole nine year old boy now looked like a pile of black sludge.
"Everytime you die in this room, you will be revived. This room is a conceptual world that refines your willpower. The only thing you will feel is pain and the endless passing of time. Everytime you die, you will be given the option to leave this hellish torture. You can choose to leave any time you die, but the longer you stay here, the stronger your foundation will be and the greater your potential.
Conceptual worlds were worlds that are created in the mind. In conceptual worlds, time can be slowed down, and in this case, time is slowed down by a 500 to 1 ratio. One day in the real world would equate to 500 days in the room of fire, but Chaus didn't know that.
The pain Chaus was feeling was unimaginable. This was something no one should ever have to experience in their lives. Chaus wanted to give up and leave this hell, but if he did, he could never face his dead family or his village. Chaus clenched what was supposed to be his teeth and endured this living hell.
The first time Chaus revived, Chaus wanted to leave this room of fire. However, he bit his tongue and suppressed the urge to leave. The only thing he had left in his life was revenge. If he didn't get past this, he would never be able to extract revenge on the Ziki. With his body trembling in protest, Chaus forced himself to stay in the burning purgatory.
Minutes passed, hours passed, and days passed. The pain was slowly becoming more bearable. However, just as Chaus was getting used to the pain, the heat went up to another level. The pain intensified. Before, it took five minutes for Chaus to get burnt to ashes. Now it took four minutes.
Time continued to pass, and the heat went up to another level again. This never ending cycle would continue as long as Chaus stayed in this room.
Soon, an entire year passed. Then two. Then five. Then ten. At the end of the tenth year, the fire would brutally burn Chaus to ashes in seconds. At the beginning of the 11th year, the fire started to die down. Chaus then heard a voice he hadn't heard in 11 years.
Dru's powerful voice reverberated within the room. "Start forming your soul and absorb the dying fires into your soul."
After years of excruciating pain and loneliness, Chaus reached another level mentally. Chaus asked in a cold voice that shouldn't of belonged to a nine year old, "How do I do that?"
"Imagine an object and use that for the foundation of your soul. Your willpower is strong enough that imagining an object is more than enough to start the formation of your soul. While your soul is forming, feel the fire around you and your soul will naturally absorb the fire."
Chaus tried imagining an object, but he couldn't think of one. Instead, Chaus started recalling the death of his parents and the massacre of his village. He imagined the torn bodies and the horror stricken faces. He imagined the fear and resentment the villagers felt. He imagined the pain his parents felt. He started imagining death itself. Chaus's soul started to form. Chaus's soul was black and it gave anyone who felt it the feeling of death. It started out smaller than a grain of sand, but it gradually grew larger and larger. First to the size of a fingernail, and then to the size of a watermelon.
Dru's voice boomed. "Absorb the fire now!"
Chaus started feeling the area around him. He felt the tingling sensation of heat on his skin. His soul greedily started sucking the dying fires. As the fires got absorbed by his soul, traces of black fire started forming.
Dru spoke in a voice that held a tinge of shock. "Hellfire"
Hellfire was a mixture between dragon fire and death. The people who have formed hellfire could be counted on one hand. Hellfire can burn anything to ashes and can't be put out by normal means. Only energies of the same rank or higher can put hellfire out.
There are 7 stages of soul energy with divine energy being the most powerful, though it was only rumored to exist in legends. The second most powerful energy was transcendental energy which was followed by fifth stage energy, fourth stage energy, third stage energy, second stage energy, and finally, first stage energy.
In addition to forming hellfire, Chaus managed to create a soul with its foundations as death. Life and death souls stand at the pinnacle of all souls, and the amount of soul energy a life or death soul can hold exceeds all other souls. Second only to a soul of life or death were the souls that used the four natural elements as their foundation: Fire, water, air, and Earth.
Chaus's soul began to expand. It spread from his solar plexus into other parts of his body. It spread to his legs, arms, and eventually his head. After spreading to every part of Claus's body, his soul reached the pinnacle of the vitality stage. Only a single push was needed to allow Chaus to break through to the revolution stage. Chaus could feel his body brimming with energy. He felt like he had the world in his grasp.