Joy of Life - Chapter 730 - That Person Told a Story[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:50:59]
Chapter 730: That Person Told a Story
The gray land, blue ocean, and boundless dome of heaven were burning. Everything in the world enveloped by the high-temperature flames seemed to be desperately squeezing out every last sliver of flammable material, adding to the flourishing blaze.
The volcano erupted. Boiling hot and bright red lava sank into the waters of the ocean, sending up endless fog and steam. It lifted giant waves that each grew taller than the last as they slapped endlessly against the land that had long been fused into strange shapes. The world was filled with a light and heat that made one’s heart tremble with fear. There was the scent of destruction.
The animals on the land ran away wildly. Their fur and skin were all rotten. With wounds deep enough to see bone, it was as if the rays of light, ripples, and sparks were soul-devouring flames from the underworld never to be shaken off. Regardless of how far they escaped the burning forest or how deep they burrowed into the grass, they still couldn’t hide from the destruction that could wipe out all life.
The animals in the ocean swam restlessly, desperately hiding from the heat and poisonous gases surging out from deep abysses at the bottom of the ocean. Mammals used to swimming freely in icy cold water poked their heads out of the water with unusual hopelessness. What they breathed into their lungs was searing hot air and dust carrying fatal poisons.
The birds in the sky still flew courageously. They gave the dazzling light in the sky a wide berth and flew desperately toward the two ends of the earth. Their natural-born sensitivities allowed them to know only by escaping to a place with few people could they find the final utopia. This was a mass migration completely at odds with the season. Amidst this migration, most of the birds would still die during the journey and fall to the withered earth. Those that could truly hide from the blazing rays and black dust were a minority.
The rays of light in the world gradually dimmed. The air filled with dust and birds, blocking out the sun behind them with unusual heartlessness. An entire green grassland had long changed color. The animals lucky enough to survive the calamity gathered by the side of a small puddle of water, hopelessly fighting for the one clean source of water. Thirty-odd crocodiles lay in the deep parts of the puddle. Countless animals gathered around the edges to excavate small ditches of water. There were some daring and powerful carnivores that bravely fought for the crocodiles’ territory.
There were no more flying creatures to be seen in the sky. The fish at the bottom of the ocean had long been frightened into the coral reefs deep in the ocean, not daring to emerge again. Sharks that swam around opened their eyes wide in bewilderment, unsure what had happened to the world and their home. On the surface of the sea, a dozen giant sperm whales floated tiredly, occasionally moving their tails weakly. Further away, by the side of a small island, sea lions hopelessly and angrily roared toward the sky and used cruel measures such as biting each other to release the fear in the depths of their hearts.
The animals gathered around the puddle of water gradually died. Some died killing each other. Some died because they breathed in the black dust in the air. Some died because of hunger while others died of thirst. Most of the animals actually died because they drank the water in the puddle.
The air was dry. There were only countless tragic white bones left around the edges of the water puddle, both big and small. Some seemed curled up while others seemed like they had been lying down in fear. Their fur and skin, blood and flesh, had long returned to the earth. They only left behind these bones all around to accompany the most powerful reptiles that had experienced thousands of years without going extinct.
After a bit more time, the water puddle dried up. A crocodile, weighing hundreds of pounds, laid on the mud as if accepting its fate, allowing the no longer blazing sun to shine down on the red mud on its back. Gradually, it died, withered, rotted, and turned into white bones that shocked one’s gaze.
In reality, these powerful reptiles had actually been dried by the wind.
The sky was still deathly still, other than the thick, rolling clouds that pressed down toward the ground. There was no sign of any life, but the scene on the surface of the ocean was even crueler. Where the warm ocean current used to cross with the cold current from the north, countless large-scale aquatic mammals either drifted along in the ocean by the shores of the island or sank into the silent ocean. The whales and sea lions had long become rotting flesh that stained the entire patch of ocean, turning the entire bay into a killing field. The air was filled with a foul stench.
Animals that fed on rotting meat managed to extend their lives because of these massive existences. They acutely sensed that the closer the land was to the shore, the stronger the aura of death. Thus, they fed very carefully.
Finally, there was a day when rain fell on the dry, dark, and hell-like world. Rainwater struck the few remaining leaves by the edge of the grasslands and startled the little insects hiding in their holes into wakefulness. Round beads of water rolled and fell onto the mud. A beetle happily watched its face. Rainwater gradually pooled together and followed ancient waterways toward the depths of the grasslands. All along the way, it awoke countless lives that slept to hide from destruction.
A tiny trickle entered the puddle of water surrounded by white bones. Surprisingly, a lizard hiding deep in the crack of the rocks by the riverside was still alive. It extended its bloody red tongue, stepped clumsily across the shallow water, and began to lick at the giant white eye socket of a crocodile. Now and then, it stretched out its right front leg, violently announcing to its surroundings its right of ownership of this puddle of water. In any case, the more than 1,000 white skeletons around the water puddle had all sunk into silence. It was impossible for them to express any opposing objections to its announcement. If the lions and baboons were alive, the world would have been a different place.
No matter which world it was, rainwater always represented life. This time seemed to be no exception. The black dust that filled the air was washed away by the rainwater. The dust that could not even be dissipated by the wind finally yielded under the might of the water god. Fresh and clean scents once again appeared in the air. Life everywhere was born because of water and gathered because of water. They began happy lives after the calamity and began anew their mutual hunting. Even the bloody hunting carried a joyful scent of life.
However, these creatures did not know how terrifying the black dust caught within the rainwater that fell from the sky was. They did not know that the rainwater could wash away dust but could never wash away the traces that filled the earth. Its form could not be seen yet it was sufficient enough to kill off most life.
When it rained, the sea calmed a great deal. The waves slowly pushed the bodies of the dead animals to the rocks by the shore. The smell of decay lessened greatly as it was washed away by the rainwater.
However, the rain grew heavier and heavier. It was as if it would never stop. The animals that drank the rainwater began to feel life slowly leave their bodies. They didn’t understand why this was happening. That kind of innate terror made them particularly hopeless. In the downpour, they used the last of their strength and began to cruelly and fiercely carry out the meaningless killing, not even showing mercy to their own kind.
After countless floods of various sizes, life on land suffered another heavy blow. Other than leaving behind countless bodies submerged in filthy water, there were no other signs of life to be seen. The rotting bodies piled by the side of the ocean were churned into patches of disgusting foam by countless rainfalls, completely different from that fairy tale.
However, heavens punishment of this world seemed to not have ended yet. After the rain, there came a sudden frost. From north to south, the air everywhere suddenly dropped by a dozen degrees. A world that could not see the sun seemed to have also confused its seasons. An arctic winter suddenly appeared in front of lives that were in grave danger.
After the frost was snow—endless snow. At first, the snowflakes still held traces of black dust. In the end, they recovered their pure white color, appearing incomparably pure. Snow covered the sky, ground, and sea. The entire world was enveloped in wind and snow. A severe coldness descended. The layer of ice extended into the sea.
The white land was very clean. The snow fell seemingly without end. No further traces of life could be seen in the snow. This scene calmly and coldly continued, one year, two years, 10 years, 100 years…
Fan Xian was like a person waking from a dream. It took a long time for him to tear his gaze from the mirror. His eyes were bloodshot, and his lips were slightly white. Although everything shown to him was the same as the results of his analysis and deduction after he entered the Temple, it still made his heart ache. He knew that this was not some mystical realm. Unlike the other people in this world, he could not pretend this was a fairy tale and then record it in a wall painting and in legends. He knew that everything had truly happened. The lives that had died during the calamity had truly once existed.
His bloodshot eyes indicated exhaustion and a weariness of the heart. Fan Xian lowered his head and rubbed his eyes. He then raised his head again and observed the seemingly never changing snowy scene in the mirror. He knew that change had to happen. Otherwise, how could civilization have continued? What made his heart tremble the most was that having watched until now, he still didn’t see what terrifying tortures the people in that world, once his peers, had suffered.
The majestic, marvelous, exquisite, plain, ancient, and simple building was an existence completely different from the nests of grass and caves of rock in this world. It also had suffered the heaviest blow in that calamity. The people of that world grasped some of the secrets of creation. In the end, they threw these massive killing weapons to him. What an absolutely absurd truth.
High temperatures melted water, mud, iron, and tendon. Surges and ripples shattered all that remained. Shapeless and nameless rays killed all the people. After the drought came the flood. After the frost came the wind and snow. After countless years under the cover of the white snow, the once present brilliance had been submerged. No one would ever again know that there had once been a race that had shone brilliantly in the world before.
The wind and snow continued for countless years. Finally, people once again appeared in the scene. The destruction of civilization, life’s instinctual bid for survival, and violent killings once again appeared. Amidst the dirt, the life that managed to survive could only successfully display a side of animal nature that was difficult for human nature to accept in order to survive.
Fan Xian didn’t want to see these things, so the scene spun and moved quickly. It was as if he was sitting in a time machine watching the fall of civilization, the remnants of civilization, and the fires of the remnants of civilization as it disappeared into the wilderness.
He watched as the wind and snow ate away at what remained of the towers beneath the snow collapsed. The wild grass that came after the ice and snow took over their bodies. With the magic of wind, water, and nature, it turned into pieces of rock and rust, hiding away the last of its original appearance.
He watched as people wearing animal skins moved back into the caves, rebuilt grass huts, and raised bone bows again. But, they had forgotten words and language.
Buildings rose, buildings fell, and buildings rose again. In the past, Fan Xian had always thought civilization was the most life-filled existence. Even after suffering such a great blow, it could always re-ignite from the smallest ember. Looking at the scenes that flashed quickly across the mirror, only now did he know that civilization was one of the weakest things in the world. When one lost the objects that civilization depended on, psychological things could be easily forgotten.
The image only took a moment to flash by, but tens of thousands of years had already passed in the world. The previous brilliance did not, in the end, leave any marks on the world and disappeared completely.
Fan Xian watched as all this happened. His eyes were lost and slightly red. He sat cross-legged on the ground with his fists tightly clenched. He saw thousands of years in an instant. The limestone beside him had not decayed, but tens of thousands of years had passed.
He had truly seen the sea turn into mulberry fields, the movement of the stars, and the changes on the land.
He saw what was once the bay of a sea turn into fertile land, but he didn’t know if the nutrients left by the bodies of countless creatures provided any help in this change. He watched as the silent grasslands rose slightly after the activity of a volcano calmed, leaving behind the threat of flooding. A group of primitive people came from the northeast and began to chase out the wild beasts and farm through slash and burn methods.
After an indeterminable amount of time, a blind man with a black blindfold stepped across the ice and snow of the north, coming to the tribes of the ancient people. He was referred to by later descendants as an emissary.
The emissary came from the north and gave them the skill to weave a net. The subjects of the tribes bowed to the north and expressed their admiration.
Another emissary came from the north and gave them the method of keeping records by tying knots. The subjects of the tribes once again praised god’s grace.
More emissaries came from the north and gave them the knowledge of words. The subjects of the tribes built an altar and drew pictures on the walls of the mountains, singing the graces of the Temple.
Fan Xian buried his head deep between his knees, his quick breaths made his back rise and fall. He was silent for a long time. He finally understood most of what happened. Ever since he confirmed that this was Earth, there were some things he could not understand. Why was it that all the words in this world just happened to be ones that he already knew in his previous life? Why did it seem that the words in this world did not go through any complicated process of change, as if it had always been like this?
“I have a question. Why is everything gone, yet you… or, rather, the Temple could be preserved?” Fan Xian’s voice was very raspy. He was almost sure that the calamity happened after he died but not too long after. Although the construction and craftsmanship of the Temple were somewhat foreign, there was nothing that he was too confused by in terms of technology and civilization.
The smooth surface of the mirror continued to display scenes of the people’s sorrow and joy, parting and union, and hot-blooded sacrifice when they expanded into the wilderness. The people who experienced 100,000 years of brutal winter and loneliness had long forgotten the existence of their ancestors in the distant past. However, they were, after all, a species of human that had already evolved once. When the environment in this world allowed them relative freedom of movement, the unconscious wisdom buried deep in the collective finally erupted, particularly the emissary with the blindfold from the north. Every once in a while, he would descend upon the tribe and bring with him the grace of the Temple, further accelerating the progress of human society and civilization.
It was like a hacked game. The images in the mirror progressed at a remarkable speed. It seemed that humankind did not take another tens of thousands of years to reach the present state of development. However, since many years before, the blind-folded emissary never again appeared in the world. Instead, the burden of this mission was given to the other emissaries that walked through this world and the Tianmai Beings they taught.
When Fan Xian asked his question, the image in the mirror just happened to stop on a lone peak where countless commoners were wildly and energetically excavating stone steps on the body of the mountain and moving the rock and wood materials to the summit of the mountain. They wanted to build a temple.
By this lone sea and precipice, half of the mountain was like clear jade, smooth as a mirror. It faced the East Sea and the rising sun. It was Dong Mountain that Fan Xian was very familiar with and had even personally climbed.
The voice of the Temple rang in all directions again. Its tone was still gentle, but there was still not true feeling in its words. “The marvelous appearance of the Temple could be preserved wholly because of luck. In the words of the people, this is the will of heaven.”
Other than the will of heaven and luck, how could one explain the quiet existence of what should have been the ruins of a civilization 100,000 years old in the snowy mountains, calmly and gently observing each step of the people left behind in the world?
Probably only the eternal snow could oppose the might of time. The unintentional destruction of nature did not make the Temple disappear without a trace into the long river of time like other majestic buildings. The Temple used solar power, which was perhaps one of the reasons. But, the battles of the past were clearly not able to bring about such changes in the world. Had there been some major problem with the Earth itself?
Fan Xian could have followed this question deep into thought. However, the ripples of emotions in his mind were unusually intense, particularly upon seeing the blind-folded blind man emissary in the images and the wall paintings that appeared at the end on Dong Mountain. They made his mouth go dry and rendered him unable to speak.
If everything in these images were true, then what did that make Uncle Wu Zhu? Was he a prophet of the entire present human society? Teacher? Thinking of how he grew up with Uncle Wu Zhu, he had truly been living by the side of a legend. Fan Xian couldn’t help but tremble.
“But, I don’t believe there is just this one place left in the world.” Fan Xian’s raspy voice trembled. It sounded strange. “That doesn’t make sense.”
“Time can prove everything. I have spent hundreds of thousands of years in this world and have not discovered a similar existence.” The voice of the Temple rang out calmly by Fan Xian’s ears. “For me to be able to survive until now and continue completing my mission to help humankind, one part has been luck while another part is because the emissaries have endlessly carried out repairs to the Temple during these hundreds of thousands of years. However, it is unfortunate that the emissaries have gradually been used up by time.”
Although the Temple’s voice said it was unfortunate, there was no such emotion in its voice. Fan Xian closed his eyes and thought deeply for a long time. He then pointed at Dong Mountain in the mirror, as well as the temple that was gradually being completed, and said, “I’ve been there. Why did you send out a godly order through the emissaries to build a temple there?”
Each time he passed Dong Mountain by sea and saw the smooth and neat precipice that seemed that have been sliced open by a godly strike, Fan Xian’s emotions would surge at the impossible sight. He had always felt that this smooth precipice did not seem natural. If it was made by man, what kind of power would have been needed?
What confused Fan Xian the most was why Uncle Wu Zhu went to Dong Mountain to recover after he was injured and why the Emperor chose the final battle to be on Dong Mountain?
“For the sake of memory,” the voice of the Temple said after a moment of silence. “That is where battle erupted. In that violent eruption, humankind’s mutual killing weapons resulted in consequences humankind could not have estimated. As for the final mark, it is the neat and tidy precipice. The city is long gone. Half of the mountain was melted away, finally making it how it looks today.”
Fan Xian closed his eyes tightly. His lashes trembled slightly. It was not until now that he learned of this secret. Dong Mountain had been the eruption point of battle. A mountain range had been melted to a lone peak half suspended over the ocean. The rock had been melted into a smooth wall by the high temperatures. It was an exaggerated terror.
“Thus, the radiation left at Dong Mountain is the most powerful, which means the yuanqi there is the most concentrated…” Fan Xian’s raspy voice rang out, giving voice to his deductions. “If my deductions are correct, then I don’t understand. Why would the radiation of killing become yuanqi in the air? If the people in the world right now are truly what is left of the previous generation of people, why are there such things as meridians in their bodies?”
“Because humans are the stupidest creatures in the world and also the smartest. Most importantly, they are the most adaptable creatures,” the voice of the Temple replied. “I have absolute confidence in this.”