The First Order
Chapter 1197: Past events, revelations

Summer had heard of Ren Xiaosu's strength before.

For example, the battle in Winston City had been confirmed by Chen Jingshu today to be the work of Ren Xiaosu.

And news of the battle where Ren Xiaosu returned to Winston City in pursuit of Wang Wenyan was also transmitted back to Ghent City through Zhang Haoyun.

But for such matters, it wouldn't leave much of a particular impression on anyone if they hadn't witnessed it with their own eyes.

However, what she saw on the surface of the water in the well left her so shocked she was speechless.

Summer looked at Mel while Mel shrugged. "I was pretty surprised too at first...."

Summer suddenly recalled what Ren Xiaosu had told her in the sewers this afternoon. "My arrival from the Central Plains is the best opportunity for y'all to overthrow the old aristocratic rule of the Magi."

At that time, Summer responded with a polite smile because she felt she should not view others with suspicion willy-nilly.

And now, Summer was very glad she did not dismiss those claims on the spot.

"Was it your companion who slaughtered the Knights of Tudor on Rose Avenue?" Summer wondered.

"Yes." Ren Xiaosu remarked offhandedly, "It's my good friend, Old Xu."

"How many of you from the Central Plains are here in the Kingdom of Sorcerers this time?" Summer asked.

"It was only me at the beginning." Ren Xiaosu said with a smile, "Mel had abducted and brought me here. At that time, he used the Earth Bind spell to restrain me."

In an instant, Summer started reevaluating Mel and thought to herself, 'You've actually been hiding your strength all this time?!'

Mel hurriedly explained, "I'm not that strong. He's been helping me behind the scenes."

Ren Xiaosu looked at Mel and Summer and said, "Wait a minute, I need to finish reading this letter first. Don't worry, I'll think of how to deal with it before more enemies arrive."

Summer wondered, "Why do I get the feeling you're deliberately waiting for the situation to get worse before taking action?"

"Of course." Ren Xiaosu nodded. "It's not really difficult to lure them away or get you two out of here now, but that's not in line with my current plan."

"Your plan?" Summer asked.

"That's right." Ren Xiaosu said with a smile, "To quickly bring an end to this matter of the Kingdom of Sorcerers, the most I can do is help y'all clear out the obstacles. As for whether y'all can handle the remaining issues, that'll have to depend on yourselves. Otherwise, you can wait til I have the freedom to come back to the Kingdom of Sorcerers again. After all, this will be the Prosperous Northwest's branch office, so I'll definitely support y'all til the end."

Summer asked again, "You didn't think that way previously, right? What made you suddenly change your mind and become so radical?"

"Part of the reason is that my companions will be here soon." Ren Xiaosu thought for a moment and said, "The other reason is that I have to go back to the Central Plains."

When he returned to Stronghold 144, Ren Xiaosu received news that the Wang Consortium had completed the unification of the Central Plains.

After the unification, the Wang Consortium entered a short reorganization period. Once they finished reorganizing, the Wang Consortium's main forces got activated again, and they were about to arrive at the borders at the Northwest and Southwest.

Therefore, Ren Xiaosu had to make a trip back to the Central Plains.

He unfolded the yellowed letter in the well's secret chamber. "Quiet."

This letter was written so long ago it felt like it came from the opposite bank of the river of time.

...

Xiaosu, many years might have passed by the time you read this letter. Dr. P. says that when you wake up, anything could be a possibility. Perhaps you will have turned into a world consciousness. Perhaps you will have lost all your memories. Or perhaps everything will remain the same as before.

I'm not sure where fate will lead us in the end. I only wrote this letter because I hope that when you see it one day, you will understand that your mother and I never really left you.

Time is a measure of everything in the world. The young will grow old, flowers will wither, the sea can turn into mulberry fields, and mountains can become plains.

I can't be sure what the world will look like by the time you read this letter. I don't think I'll have a chance to witness it. I have my responsibilities, and in the future, you'll have yours as well.

I've been pursuing the meaning of life my entire life. I've tried freefalling from a great height. 'I've tried surfing the waves in the sea. I've scaled mountains of ice. And I've also soared above peaks.

Your mother and I traveled to almost every corner of the world, but it wasn't until you were born that we finally felt a sense of home.

When I picked up my pen to write this letter to you, there were so many things I wanted to share with you. But in the end, I suddenly realized how useless words are in the face of time.

Xiaosu, are you living your own life yet?

The majority of people spend most of their lives in observation. They observe the different paths others take and the lives they lead in an attempt to figure out what they should do for themselves.

But in fact, what they're observing is not life, paths, or choices. Rather, they're observing how others succeed, because they need to use other people's success to motivate themselves. But it will be too late if they wait until others have already succeeded.

Xiaosu, have you found someone you love?

What is love? It's the sudden feeling of weakness, but at the same time, a sense that you're protected by armor. It's when you can suddenly grasp the meaning behind love songs after you've fallen for her. It's when you suddenly feel like you don't have to conquer the world, that you don't have to make a name for yourself, that you don't have to be successful, that you don't have to be rich, and still feel a sense of bliss. You might even feel like you've lost a little of that ambition and still think it's not a bad thing. It's when you grow conscientious of everything yet are able to reach a compromise on all of them.

Xiaosu, do you still have dreams?

The path of pursuing one's dreams is like trekking through the wilderness, braving the brambles, the wind, and snow. Only you know how lonely it feels in that icy and snowy terrain, but the burning passion in you keeps you going.

This path is fraught with difficulty. You can be covered in wounds and feel like you're suffering from cold and hunger, but as long as you still have a wisp of breath left, you have to keep walking.

When you finally achieve your dream and the sun rises, how exciting does it feel to stand atop that cliff and look down at the magnificent scenery that was unknown to you before?

Actually, the purpose of having dreams does not lie in what happens after you've achieved them. Its significance is in the process of making it come true.

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Xiaosu, are you still courageous?

Most people only come to realize after their youth has passed that the most precious thing in life is the courage to see the world while they were young, and the unyielding passion that used to fill them.

Now that I think about it, how brave was the pioneer of aviation? The courage that made people look back on the history of humanity's first flight is just like watching a warrior slay a dragon. Those people were the true dragon slayers of our ordinary lives, and the metaphorical dragons represented their invisible shackles. They broke free of those chains and pushed forward bravely.

At this point in the letter, the handwriting suddenly changed:

Xiaosu, it's Mom. Your father is starting to lecture again. Don't listen to him. You have your own life and loves.

The two of us only hope you are happy and healthy when you read this.

Xiaosu, Mom might not get to see you again in the future.

I'm sorry, I didn't take good care of you.

...

At this point in the letter, the paper became crumpled, wet by water.

Tears started rolling down Ren Xiaosu's face as he read the letter. He wiped his tears away and started laughing.

So it turned out he also had parents, and that his parents were just like other parents as well. His father liked to lecture while his mother was gentle and kind.

Ren Xiaosu took a deep breath and said with a laugh, "What are you going on about? There aren't even planes in this era anymore."

This letter was like the call of the people closest to him in the world, standing on the other side of the river of time. It was warm and beautiful.

The letter did not mention anything about The Cataclysm, nor did it mention anything about his illness. It was just the gentle advice normal parents gave, and it was nothing too remarkable.

But Ren Xiaosu felt that this was enough.

This was enough for him.

He said in his mind, "Palace, extract the quest reward."

"Quest reward: Dusty Memory. Confirm extraction?"

"Yes, extract it."

The world dimmed before brightening again.

Ren Xiaosu sat at a campfire and watched as his father roasted the fish he had just caught from the lake in the mountains. Meanwhile, his mother sat at the side and muttered, "Our child is still so young. Why did you bring him here for free solo climbing?!"

His father laughed nonchalantly. "What's the big deal? I'll take responsibility if anything happens."

"Stop uttering nonsense. If anything happens to him, I'll divorce you!"

Then Ren Xiaosu set off with his father in the wee hours of the morning. When dawn broke, he saw with his own eyes the words his father had carved onto the rock face at the top of the mountain: Forever young.

...

Ren Xiaosu stood on the edge of the platform at the top of the Alps and watched as his father did some final adjustments to his wingsuit. "Remember, Xiaosu, the most important thing about flying in a wingsuit is not the flight pattern or your sense of balance, but courage.

"This is your final challenge. The moment you land safely on the ground, you might hear a cracking sound in your body. Don't panic. That's not a fracture but the sound of your genetic code being unlocked."

The young Ren Xiaosu said, trembling, "Dad, what if something happens to me?"

Ren He comforted him with a smile, "Don't worry, Dad is still young. I can still make a younger brother for you."

Ren Xiaosu was speechless.

Ren He had led Ren Xiaosu through eight extreme challenges, and every one of them was a close shave with death. There was skydiving, BASE jumping, extreme surfing, free soloing...

Every time, Ren He would fool Ren Xiaosu into thinking he could unlock the genetic code and become a superhuman after completing each challenge.

And then, Ren Xiaosu really heard a crack as his genetic code unlocked.

...

Ren Xiaosu lay quietly in the ward and watched as his parents and the doctor spoke anxiously outside.

Actually, he already realized at that moment he would probably have to bid farewell to the world.

How pathetic! He actually got cancer after unlocking his genetic code? Who could he go reason with?

His mother came into the ward to comfort him and told him not to worry. She assured him there must still be a way to salvage the situation.

Although Ren Xiaosu responded to her positively, he knew his life force was already starting to diminish.

One day, his father brought him to another place to meet someone called Dr. P.

The other party said to Ren Xiaosu in seriousness, "The Pyro Company has always been dedicated to cancer research. The other patients did not make it because they were not strong enough, but you're different. You've unlocked the genetic code."

It turned out the unlocking of his genetic code had given him a renewed chance at everything.

...

TRX-001 genetic serum.

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TRX-007 genetic serum.

ESK-001 genetic serum.

WKP-003 genetic serum.

Ren Xiaosu could no longer remember how many genetic serums he had been injected with. It wasn't until one day that he felt his mind, which was gradually getting muddled, suddenly become clear again.

The cells in his body started breaking down one by one before restructuring.

If he had not previously unlocked his genetic code, Ren Xiaosu could not have survived that period.

He started to feel the changes happening in the world and could even perceive the value of time in scale.

After that, his consciousness started dissipating. Even his body began turning into dust slowly. It was a very gradual but irreversible process.

Ren Xiaosu's thoughts were moving faster and faster, but he realized in despair he could not stop his body from dying.

In the end, he did not even feel any sense of despair.

His ward was clean and white. The two pets in a glass tank on the window sill did not pique his interest either. Ren Xiaosu started pondering about what was at the core of the world.

It was as though he could see to a place beyond the ceiling.

His consciousness seemed to be able to change the physical form of objects.

His thoughts could be transmitted to the minds of others, and he could also hear what they were thinking.

As such, at some point, he heard a little boy in the ward next door "calling" him "Bro" softly.

...

One day, Ren Xiaosu's father went to the Pyro Company's research laboratory alone and stuffed a black stone into his hand before leaving in a hurry.

At that time, no one knew what the black stone was or where it came from.

It was from that day onwards that his consciousness stopped drifting off, and even what had dissipated was slowly coming back to him.

It was also from that day onwards that he could not keep himself from descending into a chaotic darkness every night.

Dr. P had said this was an adaptive mechanism of his body. That large source of willpower with nowhere to go had to find an outlet, but his current body could no longer act as its vessel as of now. Therefore, Ren Xiaosu's subconsciousness would help him find a way to deal with it.

Ren Xiaosu asked when he could stop suffering headaches and the darkness.

Dr. P assured him it would be fine once he found a way to deal with it.

This way was probably the only solution for him to continue existing in his human form.

Dr. P said to Ren Xiaosu, "You can also try out different ways yourself. There's talented people in the world who can build a palace in their mind to store their memories. You can also try building the same thing to store your willpower. When you want to make use of it, you can retrieve it from the palace."

But it was precisely because his mind continued plunging into darkness and chaos every day that Ren Xiaosu was kept in Laboratory 39 for treatment.

...

Dr. P suddenly made a request of Ren Xiaosu one day. "The little boy in the next ward is dying. The genetic serum is completely ineffective on him. If he is to survive, we'll need your help."

Curious, Ren Xiaosu asked, "What help do you need?"

Dr. P replied, "He needs a bone marrow transplant from you."

Actually, their <anno data-annotation-id="82f8f6ea-dbaa-98be-3e8f-0a2cee9b341f">HLAs</anno> were not compatible matches. In other words, the leukocyte antigens of Ren Xiaosu and the little boy did not make them suitable transplant candidates for each other. However, Dr. P had no choice but to hope for a divine miracle.

Ren Xiaosu asked, "A divine miracle? Doctor, do you also believe in the divine?"

Dr. P shook his head. "The gods I'm referring to are not those entrenched in secular faiths and beliefs. It's you I'm talking about."

Later, Ren Xiaosu found out the little boy was actually Dr. P's son. The original intention of establishing Laboratory 39 was actually to save his own son's life.

If their HLAs did not match, it meant an organ rejection would be enough to make the treatment fail. But Dr. P had no choice but to take a gamble.

Ren Xiaosu agreed and was wheeled into the operating room together with the little boy.

A few hours later, he woke up in darkness and saw Dr. P looking extremely excited with tears brimming in his eyes. "It worked! It worked!"

As the first true god in the world, it was very difficult to explain Ren Xiaosu's existence with the current science.

The god's bone marrow was transplanted into the boy's body. It then replaced his original bone marrow and restarted hemopoiesis.

The little boy in the next ward did not even have to go through the pain of his cells restructuring that Ren Xiaosu had experienced. The cells in his body would be thoroughly replaced by the metabolic process of hemopoiesis.

There might be some people in the world who had obtained the blood of a god through the Pyro Company's research, but this was the only person who had obtained the bone marrow of a god.

Ren Xiaosu asked with a smile, "What's his name?"

"He took his mother's surname. You can call him Yan Liuyuan."

After the operation, Dr. P drew 200 milliliters of Ren Xiaosu's blood and sent it back to the research base in the north of the Central Plains via armed escort.

However, no one noticed Ren Xiaosu had tried to feed his blood to his two pets on the windowsill after the operation.

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Afterwards, the world collapsed when The Cataclysm struck. Laboratory 39 also became buried deep underground in the disaster.

Meanwhile, the armed escort responsible for transporting the blood sample encountered earthquakes and landslides along the way. In the end, the survivors only managed to bring three drops of the blood sample back to the research base.

These three drops of blood then became known as the Blood of God.

...

Ren Xiaosu reopened his eyes in the small, secret chamber at the bottom of the well.

So it turned out he knew Yan Liuyuan in the past. Yan Liuyuan must have gradually regained his memory when he unlocked his path towards becoming a god.

That was why Yan Liuyuan asked Ren Xiaosu, "Bro, have you recalled anything?"

In fact, the two of them were connected by a blood relationship more than 200 years ago.

And it turned out his mind palace was created by him himself.

The purpose of its existence was to carry the burden of that large source of willpower that had nowhere to escape to.

This palace shouldered a huge responsibility. It was to gradually strengthen Ren Xiaosu's body until it could finally bear that vast willpower.

At the same time, it had to make some final preparations. If it were irrevocable that Ren Xiaosu had to become the world consciousness someday, it would have to ensure he became a good person first. This was to prevent human civilization from being pulled directly into the abyss by the world consciousness.

The palace did not have its own will. This was what Ren Xiaosu subconsciously wanted, because his father, Ren He, had once told him his only expectation for him was to be an honest person.

Ren Xiaosu remembered everything. He had once lived in a prosperous human civilization before The Cataclysm and witnessed the rise and fall of a city that contained buildings hundreds of meters tall.

He had also lived in an era where the Internet was fully developed, and he nearly witnessed the birth of a virtual world pioneered by the Qinghe Group.

Standing in the wastelands and looking back on everything that had happened in the past, that glorious human civilization was so nostalgic it made him want to cry.

Ren Xiaosu knew exactly what was sealed inside the palace.

He was not yet qualified to unlock that seal at this time. Or perhaps Ren Xiaosu always felt it was good enough for him to continue being human. If he really became a god one day, his feelings for Yang Xiaojin would also disappear from the world.

Just like how Xiaoyu had become Yan Liuyuan's "anchor," Yang Xiaojin was now Ren Xiaosu's "anchor."

The purpose of such emotions was so they could find their way back no matter where they were.

Therefore, even though he had regained his memory, Ren Xiaosu's strength had not changed much other than the fact he might speak with less restraint now.

Today, Ren Xiaosu finally knew where he had come from. The next thing he would have to start thinking about was where to go next.

Ren Xiaosu looked at Mel and Summer and said, "You two, remain in hiding here. Only come out when I call for you."

Mel said anxiously, "Where are you going?"

"To end things in the Kingdom of Sorcerers, of course." Ren Xiaosu said with a smile, "After tonight, this place will become a little different."

"And then?" Mel asked in a daze.

"And then?" Ren Xiaosu turned to Summer and said, "I'll remove all obstacles for the Sanctuary. In the process, you'll understand how powerful Fortress 178 is now. As for how you want to govern the Kingdom of Sorcerers in the future, that's up to you. Today, our Fortress 178 will form an eternal alliance with you. To express Fortress 178's sincerity, I've decided to give Mel's hand in marriage to you. We can kinda consider this a matrimonial alliance."

Summer was confused.

"Huh? Hey, hey, what do you mean by giving my hand away in marriage?" Mel's expression changed greatly. "And shouldn't you inform me beforehand if you're aiming to topple the regime of the Kingdom of Sorcerers?"

"Are you worthy?" Ren Xiaosu asked.

Mel thought for a couple seconds. "I'm not..."

Ren Xiaosu chuckled before scaling the walls of the well. Then he climbed onto the high dome of the Rose Monastery.

He looked out into the distance. During the time he was extracting his past memories, Old Xu had helped him to open up a path by slaughtering the enemies.

But Ren Xiaosu did not intend to leave just like that. He was waiting for more people to come and encircle them.

In Ghent City, the torch-bearing Knights of Tudor and the Norman family's Knights of Radiance who had gathered resembled a flowing stream that kept converging. In turn, the neatly laid out streets were like the riverbed of that flowing stream.

"So they've joined forces," Ren Xiaosu said with a smile.

After Winston City was attacked by Ji Zi'ang and the others, the Berkeley family's patriarch finally decided to put aside the civil war and join forces with the other clans to resist the foreign enemy from the Central Plains.

It was not that the Berkeley family's patriarch had a sense of unity, but that this ambitious person from the south knew very well that the Kingdom of Sorcerers would never, ever be united.

However, the Central Plains was too powerful now, so powerful the Magi had to be on guard!

As such, he sent two groups of envoys each to the Houses of Norman and Tudor to share all the information he knew.

Although the sorcerer clans had been leading a comfortable life for over a 100 years, it did not mean they had completely turned ignorant.

Summer, Chen Jingshu, and the others thought the people who had suddenly appeared tonight were probably here to encircle the Sanctuary members or to capture Russell's descendant.

But in fact, neither the Sanctuary nor Russell's descendant were the protagonists since the start of tonight.

The three sorcerer clans only had one purpose, and that was to capture Ren Xiaosu.

Especially after the appearance of White Mask, the House of Tudor had become extremely focused on appeasing their rage.

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The First Order Chapter 1197: Past events, revelations
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