Chapter 1931 1931. Curse
A wave of memories flowed inside Noah's mind. He saw flashes of Robert's life before the first change of his law when Heaven and Earth had yet to force him to join their system. His power still had something to do with corrosive abilities, but those images were too vague for Noah to gain a clear understanding.
The second wave of memories was even worse in terms of clarity. Most of them were simple while light and vague thoughts. Robert wasn't even himself during the period under Heaven and Earth's rule. Those mighty existences had forced him to modify his very core, transforming him into something that he barely recognized.
Then, darkness cleared that blinding light and gave birth to a clear wave of memories. Noah saw everything from the events on the other side of the Immortal Lands to the last battle against the solid stage cultivator.
Intense emotions filled that part of Robert's memories. The anger toward the rulers was predominant, but Noah also found happiness. His companion could finally cultivate freely after his rebirth, and that was the best feeling in the world for someone who had to join Heaven and Earth's system unwillingly.
A tinge of awareness still existed inside those memories. Noah could feel Robert's consciousness as he searched for his core, and calm gratitude seeped out of them.
Robert had done his best and failed. That was how the cultivation journey worked, and he felt no regret about it. He had lived an incredibly long life, switched sides of the world multiple times, and his gratitude still existed now that his existence was becoming part of his leader.
Noah didn't have to look for too long to find Robert's core. His mind opened on its own to reveal what remained of his law after the deadly injury.
A cracked dark-purple core eventually came out of Robert's consciousness and entered Noah's mind. The power of the mutations gained after the rebirth still raged strong, but Heaven and Earth had become immune to them by then. Anger accompanied that feature as the main aspect of his existence, and the same went for a vague curiosity that allowed his toxic energy to evolve.
Noah couldn't turn that law into an ability. He could consider it a different version of his destruction, which would make it superfluous in his arsenal. Still, Robert was born from dark matter and ambition, so Noah could see himself inside that core.
The core melted once Noah finished studying it. His mental waves wanted to devour that power to expand his mind, but he stopped them. He couldn't treat Robert as mere energy. The expert had to become part of him and fuse his aspects with what made the ambition so powerful.
The corrosive aspect of Robert's law fused with Noah's destruction. The latter could sense his understanding deepening even if his mind was one step above his companion. The absorption had brought a new perspective that broadened that idea and granted Noah access to new uses.
The faint curiosity split to fuse with his destruction and creation. That aspect also deepened the analytical properties that often accompanied his attacks, but their addition didn't create massive changes. Noah's law already enveloped that perspective, so the absorption only made his ability stronger.
The anger ended up creating greater changes in Noah's mindset. He had always clashed with Heaven and Earth, but that mostly happened due to their constant suppression. He wanted to pierce the sky, but only because it stood in his way. Noah had come close to feeling hate for the rulers when the Crystal City had kidnapped his companions. Still, that feeling had waned after learning more about their existence.
Noah could understand Heaven and Earth. He would have taken a different approach in front of the same failure, and he probably would have handled the control of the world more personally, but he could relate to their drive to reach the tenth rank.
Noah couldn't hate them for being willing to use the entire world to push their level forward. Part of him actually respected the rulers for remaining past the peak of the cultivation journey even after acknowledging their failure. Most experts couldn't survive a simple change in the aspects of their laws, but Heaven and Earth never stopped transforming their existence, and they still stood at the top.
Things changed when Noah felt Robert's deep anger toward the rulers. The feelings that had originated from the injustice suffered after his first defeat were impossible to ignore.
Robert's anger flowed in his greed, hunger, sharpness, and overall ambition, adding different features to those aspects. Noah was a superior existence, so that feeling transformed when it became part of his defying law.
Everything began to feel too bright, even if Noah's eyes were shut. The innate pressure radiated by the sky transformed into an annoying reminder of how easily the rulers could mess with his life. Even the air that Noah filtered through his power after Heaven and Earth made it toxic for his existence reminded him of his true nature.
Heaven and Earth cursed those who opposed their system, but that also gave them a unique status. The empty monster outside the sky was the most striking example of that effect. Noah suddenly discovered the power in his curse, and new abilities appeared as his existence finished absorbing Robert's law.
'Shatter the sky,' Robert's voice resounded for the last time inside Noah's mind before his existence vanished from the world.
Noah opened his eyes as the icy-blue color of his reptilian eyes grew darker. Robert's body turned into dust among the cloud of dark matter after losing its law. That material still contained a bit of his power, but Noah didn't want it. Still, he couldn't let it disperse in Heaven and Earth's world, so he eventually accepted that burden.
The dark matter devoured what remained of the expert. A mighty companion who had spent millennia with Noah had disappeared from the world. His force had lost one of its pillars, and his mind could only think about exacting a price from the rulers.
"Gather the others," Noah ordered while waving his hand and retracting the dark world.
Currents of dark matter entered Steven and Divine Demon. The higher energy made up for the missing organs and brought some relief to their centers of power. Noah couldn't heal them, but it could help their innate recovery and stop the worsening of their injuries.
"Is that it?" Steven asked in a disappointed tone. "Robert dies, and we-."
"You might want to be careful about your next words," Divine Demon interrupted in a chilling voice.
The arrival of the dark matter had awakened Divine Demon and had allowed him to heard Steven's doubts about Noah's leadership. That was unacceptable when their opponent contained an unclear number of experts at the same level as the sword cultivator.
"It's fine," Noah said while floating toward a seemingly random spot in the dead zone. "He is just angry. I'll make sure to convey that emotion."
Both Steven and Divine Demon felt confused, but they didn't question Noah. They couldn't imagine that he had started to feel the beings connected to Heaven and Earth more clearly, and he could see one of them standing in areas where his consciousness couldn't reach.
Noah's figure pierced the sky and reappeared near the edges of the storms. A skeletal cultivator was on the ground, wandering as he searched for the expert who had stolen laws from Heaven and Earth. His cultivation level had fallen at the bottom of the liquid stage, but he appeared more stable than before.
"Where is he?" A hoarse voice came from the skeleton when he sensed Noah.
"We will use your death to build a new home among the storms," Noah explained as roots pierced his palm and took the shape of a sword.
"The storms will never accept you," The skeleton laughed. "The foundations of these lands belong to Heaven and Earth."
"We'll find a way," Noah declared coldly while pointing the sword toward the skeleton. "We are demons. We build on corpses."
A black drop fell from the tip of the roots after the announcement. The ground melted when the liquid touched it, and the corrosion released a dark-purple gas that dispersed in the whiteness of the sky.