Chapter 2361. Staircase
Immense knowledge accumulated for many eras, an unfathomable amount of energy, and countless meanings that never had the chance to be reborn flowed through Noah's world.
Everything felt too much for a rank 9 mind, but the ethereal blackness' potential helped and allowed Noah to go through that seemingly unlimited stream of information.
Noah could see countless opportunities unfolding before his closed eyes. The ethereal crystal was Heaven and Earth's core. If he wanted, he could complete their path and become a personal version of the rulers.
The crystal offered far more than that. The countless meanings that Heaven and Earth would have wielded after their rebirth were for Noah to seize. He could pick anything he wanted freely and alter his path according to his decisions.
That abundance of resources and meanings tempted Noah's greedy and hungry mind, but his pride put an end to any dangerous and possibly deadly thought. Noah had defeated Heaven and Earth. He knew that his path had surpassed what the rulers had tried to achieve.
Everything shattered. Noah's mind worked at full speed as it split and analyzed any meaning that tried to taint his world. He could use aspects of those unborn laws to deepen his existence, but the rest was useless in its current form.
The useless parts crumbled into pure energy that fused with Noah's centers of power and enhanced their structure. His world overviewed the entire process, and it soon realized that Noah's current form carried unbreakable limits. He had to change to achieve a complete breakthrough.
Noah was no stranger to deep modifications, especially when it came to his centers of power. His body, mind, dantian, and black hole exploded into a gory domain that didn't let any fabric escape, and only the ethereal blackness remained at the center of that structure.
The process didn't end there. Night, Snore, and every other companion contained in Noah's world exploded without losing their consciousness or life. Everything remained alive among the gory and dark domain as Noah delved deep into himself to choose what he would become.
Making his mind about a form wasn't an issue. Noah had always known what he was. The dream in the academy had come true. He only needed to perform one last step to complete that vision.
Potential beyond the ninth rank left the ethereal blackness and filled every corner of the gory domain. That superior fuel fused with the materials and mental waves in the area before pulling everything back to its center.
The domain condensed into a pitch-black uneven form that shook and transformed while its insides solidified. Soon a sharp tip became clear, and the rest of its structure followed.
Two sharp edges and a scaled body materialized above the tip. The void already started to bend due to the pressure generated by that new presence, but the transformation continued.
The blade eventually completely condensed, and its edge started to take form. A fiendish face materialized and turned into a guard that radiated a threatening pressure. The sole sight of that item seemed able to kill and destroy worlds, but the transformation wasn't over yet.
A partially ethereal handle grew from the guard and wavered left and right as it merged and came out of the void. That item barely seemed real, but the power it radiated solved any doubt about its existence.
The whole sword still shook and underwent some changes as its entire structure stabilized. Yet, when the process ended, a familiar ambition expanded from its fabric and enveloped the void in its empowering properties.
The army couldn't avoid the expansion of the ambition, but no expert dared to move in that situation. Moreover, when that energy touched them, their injuries completely healed, and their worlds regained their peak power.
A black substance soon emerged from the sword and enveloped it in its dense waves. The blackness recreated Noah's figure, and time itself seemed to stop when he opened his reptilian eyes.
Noah had his eyes pointed at the army, but his attention was elsewhere. He could see his many friends, but something far deeper claimed most of his interest.
The immense darkness of the universe lost its seemingly empty form and took life. Noah became able to see strands of greater and deeper meanings flowing through the blackness and converging toward distant areas.
The space-time fabric of the void also began to make sense. Noah only needed to focus on a spot to bend the laws that ruled that area and change them according to his will.
Noah felt almighty. He could sense that he had reached the very peak of a journey, but his superiority also made him aware of something deeper and more powerful hidden everywhere around him.
The void had something that Noah couldn't inspect or recognize. The waves of meanings also reached depths his mind couldn't fully comprehend. The universe carried secrets he wasn't equipped to study, and the pull of unfathomably powerful beings even landed on his senses.
Those secrets could make many experts experience a sense of loss, but Noah only smiled in excitement. He could finally sense how immense the path above the cultivation journey was, and he rejoiced at that sight.
'I can become far stronger,' Noah thought. 'The tenth rank is only the beginning.' ᴛʜɪs ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀ ɪs ᴜᴘᴅᴀᴛᴇ ʙʏ ꜰʀᴇᴇᴡᴇʙ ɴᴏᴠᴇʟ. ᴄᴏᴍ.
The powerful beings that Noah's senses uncovered felt right behind him, even if they were incredibly distant. He only had to turn to study them, but he held himself back.
Noah knew that he would never look back once he set his gaze on the universe, but he still had a few matters to settle. His organization was right below him, staring in awe at the birth of a rank 10 existence and waiting for his next move.
A few words couldn't explain what Noah felt, and spending valuable time with his companions was simply impossible in that situation. He was barely holding himself back from flying toward the depths of the universe. That resolve couldn't last long, but he had something to do before his inevitable departure.
The scenery before Noah's eyes contained his dearest memories and much more, but it lacked many of the experts who had helped him throughout his journey.
Noah knew that his power had led the world to its current state, but he couldn't have accomplished so much on his own. He was alone at the peak, but he had gotten there with his entire organization.
Memories about Lily, William, Ivor, and much more flowed through Noah's mind until he eventually felt able to hear the time dragon's last words. He had seized the ultimate reward, but each member of his army deserved something.
Noah stabbed a hand inside his mind before pulling out a pitch-black strand of ethereal energy. He inspected the item for a few seconds, but he eventually shattered it and let its dust fall on part of the army.
"To the magical beasts," Noah announced, "I grant the spark of my ambition. May you never see your species as a limit."
The dust fused with every magical beast in the army. Those creatures could refuse it, but even the stubborn Eternal Snake decided to accept it. Those beings' eyes immediately shone after the process, and changes happened to their very species.
Noah stabbed his mind again to take out another strand of ethereal energy, and a few lines followed when he shattered it. "To the cultivators, I grant my greed. May you never settle for lower forms of power."
The cultivators grew restless when they absorbed the dust, but Noah's presence kept them in line. Yet, broad smiles appeared on their faces, especially when they looked at the universe. The countless opportunities hidden among that blackness almost became too tempting for them.
"To the hybrids," Noah continued after shattering another strand of ethereal energy, "I grant my pride. May you never feel inferior to anyone."
The hybrids couldn't help but voice loud cries when the dust fused with their existence. The gesture tried to apply heavy pressure on the area, but Noah's presence prevented all of that.
The speech seemed to end there. Noah even lowered his arm, but his close friends could see that he wasn't done yet. He soon showed his left hand, but his eyes remained still.
"And to my lover," Noah shouted, "I offer my hand for her to hold during an endless journey."
A loud snort resounded among the army, but many gazes already happened to be on its source. June appeared beyond pissed, but her expression melted into a challenging smirk while she kept looking at Noah.
June transformed into a lightning bolt that made her reach Noah in an instant. When she materialized, she stared at the lifted hand for a few seconds before heaving a sigh and finally taking it.
"This is just the beginning," June warned.
"I'm betting on that," Noah smirked before giving one last look at his companions. He wanted to say so much, but the tempting forces became too strong for him to hold back.
Noah finally turned, and stars shone in his reptilian eyes. He could see the traces left by incredible beings among the blackness of the universe. He couldn't even fathom how strong those existences had to be to give birth to something so bright and lasting, but he had every intention to find out.
June didn't even need to look at Noah, but their legs moved at the same time as they stepped upward and walked across the blackness. It seemed that they were climbing a staircase leading toward the depths of the universe, and their figures soon disappeared under the happy gazes of their companions.
Author's notes: I plan to make 2-3 after-story chapters and publish them in the side story. They should come out in the following days, but I don't know exactly when.
Anyway, I really can't express how I feel right now and how grateful I am for the support you gave me during these past years. I hope you enjoyed the story and the conclusion that has been in my notes since the distant 2020. I can only end with another thank you. You made all of this possible, and I'll forever love you for that.