In the infinitely vast universe, there were innumerable planes of existence. There could have been as many existential planes as there were stars in the sky. Many of those planes were inhabited by advanced intelligent life forms. Profound Continent and the Abyss Realm were just a couple of those countless planes.
An indeterminable time had passed since certain high-level creatures had learned to utilize the energy that was present between heaven and earth. By cultivating their bodies they gradually gained terrifying strength, powers that would allow them to transcend life and death, stand above the worldliness, and be called gods.
They represented a small fraction of the population who could manipulate the elemental energy all around them, or perhaps mastered some profound natural laws. Through constant cultivation and evolution, they placed themselves far above the ordinary, gaining the admiration and adoration of everyone.
One could become a god by mastering any kind of energy to the pinnacle, be it the energy of fear, hatred, desire, or any other. As long as one cultivated methods to put that energy to use to the extreme, they would gain miraculous powers, and become a so-called ‘God’.
In the boundless universe, there were two types of fundamental energies that were omnipresent. Those energies had the most intense presence, and gods who mastered them were the most powerful. The first type consisted of eight elemental energies - light, darkness, earth, fire, wind, water, lightning, and death. The second type consisted of four edictal forces - fate, spacetime, destruction, and life.
Elemental energies and edictal forces could be found at every corner of the universe. As these two types of energies were present in the majority of planes of existence, and were the most rudimentary components between heaven and earth, those who cultivated them had boundless potential, and were usually stronger than those who cultivated in other energies.
Division of classes existed between the gods based on the magnitude of their strength. There were demigods, basegods, lowgods, midgods, highgods, overgods, and Creator. To be a demigod, one had to form at least one of the following - Body of Element, Soul of Element, Edictal Body, or Edictal Soul. Those who united both their bodies and souls with elemental energy or edictal forces would possess strength greater than demigods, and be called basegods.
Crosius, Little Skeleton, the six-horned Soul Race tribal king, the Saintess of the Church of Light, they were all basegods. They were existences whose souls and bodies had completely merged with elemental energies.
Basegods had the foundations of a god, but although they were considered actual gods by the average, in the eyes of higher level gods, they had a long way to go. It was when they progressed one step further, possessing numerous followers, and were able to form the Domain of Divinity and possess divine powers, that they could be considered legitimate gods.
To be worshipped, able to form the Domain of Divinity, and possess divine energy - those were the three key prerequisites to being a true god.
Of the three, divine energy was the key. When a basegod cultivated and came to comprehend their domain of expertise to some kind of profound level, they would possess divine power. This was, of course, the most difficult step of all, as one would have no one else but themselves in figuring out how to form divine energy. One could only produce divine energy through their own realization and understanding of the manipulation of elemental energy and edictal forces.
When a practitioner finally managed to produce divine energy, they would be even more adept in manipulating the energy they cultivated in. At that point, they would be able establish a religion or some similar organization to recruit plenty of intelligent lifeforms to worship them. Upon acquiring believers to a certain quantity, the principles of the faith would transform into some kind of extraordinary energy that the worshipped existence could utilize. By fusing the power of faith and divine energy, the Domain of Divinity could be formed.
Self-cultivation was the most time-consuming method and produced the lowest yield.
Apart from that there was absorption, which refers to the killing of another god cultivating in the same energy and the proceeding absorption of homologous divine energy from their body. This method was not without major risks. If one was not careful, they could turn from the hunter to the hunted.
Another method was to absorb the energy of some of the wonderful creations of nature. Perpetual and boundless luck was the first condition for this method, which had a far lower probability of success than killing another god and assimilating their divine energy.
Accumulating faith to raise divine energy was plenty more troublesome, but it remained the favourite route for the majority of gods. As long as enough people believed in them, they could increase their divine energy through the millions of strands of the power of faith.
Moreover, as the power of faith increased, the Domain of Divinity too would become more powerful. In a battle between gods, it was typically the strength of their Domain of Divinity that determined which side had the upper hand. For all these reasons, the power of faith was very useful.
The Church of Light, the Calamity Church, the Druidic Order, the Shrine of Ice, even the dark elves and the forest trolls; each worshipped their own gods. These gods accrued divine energy from the faith of their believers. The reality was that different religions fought each other for believers for the purpose of substance gains.
Eight types of elemental energies, and four edictal forces. Of all the big and small gods that cultivated in either one these altogether twelve energies, a majority of them chose to gain divine energy through cultivation and taking in believers.
But that was certainly not the rule for all gods. There lived some who raised their divine energy by other means.
For example, gods who cultivated in the element of death could obtain divine energy through the deaths of living beings. Gods who cultivated in the edict of destruction could gain divine energy by destroying life. Gods who cultivated in the edict of life could gain divine energy from material planes full of vitality…
However, these methods would, more often than not, be in conflict with the interests of other gods. For example, the gods of death and destruction could gain divine energy from death and perish. On the flip side, however, the gods of life couldn’t obtain energy from the life forces of the millions of living things in existence.
It was precisely due to such collision of interests that conflict was an inevitable constant between the gods.
Just as Wolf of the Calamity Church had said before, the Cemetery of Death did not in fact originate from the Profound Continent. The most important feature of the Cemetery of Death was the large-scale transportation array at its center, which had the capability of navigating across different planes. A mighty overgod cultivated in the energy of death allied with an overgod who cultivated in the energy of destruction. They worked together to spread death and destruction to every material plane, and therefrom gained even greater strength. Meanwhile, an overgod of life joined forces with other gods to stop them in all those planes. Thereupon, wars erupted on every major plane of existence, with Profound Continent being one of the affected planes.
The Cemetery of Death was a gateway for the two mighty overgods to travel between various material planes. Its availability was not limited to the Profound Continent - it could also be found on some other material planes. Those Cemeteries of Death made it easier for their subordinates, lesser gods under their control, to bring death and destruction to other planes.
When they first set foot on a new plane, they would establish a religious organization and coax organisms on the plane into worshipping them. All those beings who worshipped them were granted protection as they harvested an unending stream of the power of faith from them. However, if living beings on that plane were already worshiping other gods, they would rain death and destruction upon them, and gain energy from their deaths.
The Profound Continent was just a small plane of existence. Five thousand years prior, a great war ravaged Profound Continent and it involved practically every mighty existence on it. The two overgods of destruction and death had only sent out a few lesser gods to participate for them. Although their forces were defeated in the end, they left behind a seed of evil on Profound Continent - the Calamity Church. Those gods of death and destruction withdrew from the Profound Continent but left a Cemetery of Death behind, so that they could return someday in the future.
The skeletal staff had been left behind by a midgod of death. That being was one of the main leaders of the great war. He left behind some pieces of information in the skeletal staff and the Cemetery of Death, with the hope that it would assist experts cultivating in necromancy. In addition, the skeletal staff was the key to accessing the Cemetery of Death. He was convinced that, with it, believers on Profound Continent could grow stronger, which would allow them to obtain even more power of faith.
However, the original master of the skeletal staff also left behind the God’s Brand in the Cemetery of Death and the skeletal staff. Therefore, once the new master got hold of the powers of the skeletal staff or the Cemetery of Death, the spell would be activated, causing its new master to eternally serve them.
No wonder! That explains why my soul was affected by some sort of energy in the Cemetery of Death, Han Shuo thought inwardly. A colossal figure once appeared in his mind, pressuring Han Shuo to surrender his soul and be eternally faithful to it. However, it was stopped by Han Shuo’s tremendous willpower and his mighty demonic arts, and therefore he did not get stamped by the brand and lose himself.
After Han Shuo broke away from the barriers inside the three-eyed skull, he was so enlightened. Han Shuo’s eyes were wide open. A world beyond his imagination was presented before him. It was only at this moment that Han Shuo realized just how magnificent and vast the universe truly was, and how many inconceivable and wonderful things were waiting for him to discover.
For the first time, Han Shuo recognized the never-ending struggles between the gods and beings with strength beyond his own understanding.
Han Shuo turned his sight to the other two skulls. He wondered if the information contained in them would be the secrets to setting up a magical transportation array same as the one in the Cemetery of Death.
With such wishes on his mind, Han Shuo quieted down his heart again and tried to attack the boundaries in the two skulls with the same method. However, Han Shuo felt that his mental strength hadn’t attained the level needed yet. He felt rather powerless towards the secrets within the skulls.
Suddenly, a pure, melodious calling entered Han Shuo’s ears through the magical formation he deployed earlier, “Mister Han Shuo, is Mister Han Shuo in there?” Han Shuo could make out the voice to be Lord Crosius’ daughter. After weighing for a while, considering the fact that he couldn’t unravel more secrets from the skeletal staff for the moment, Han Shuo stood up and headed outside.