Chapter Forty-six: World God
This world had power. That much was clear to Brandr. There was a clear, systematic scale and path of power via its ranks. There were also creatures like Thorn and himself, proving that the path of blood was viable in Tignar. Thanks to talks with his sprites, Brandr knew that there were Gods around. So that was another path checked. However, cultivation, as he knew it, was nonexistent. The ethos, principles and corroboration with the heavenly daos that had been developed by himself and his ilk had not touched this sphere.
For Brandr, the ground might as well have been pulled out from under him. The knowledge that he was far from everything he knew and that the principles that he had built his life around were gone was as heavy a blow as the loss of his powers. More than being a daolord, Brandr’s status as a cultivator defined him. Now, it meant nothing. This world looked at him and considered him a dungeon variant at best and an outsider at worst. His powers were defined the only way it knew how, like those of a god. The powers that had once been solely his own had been converted into some sort of crowdfund that he could only manage or access instead of control.
As humiliating as it was, going along with it was probably his only recourse if he wished to obey this world principles. That meant somehow starting a religion, gathering faith and using that power to legitimise authority in domains —daos– that he had already mastered, as a dungeon. He, a living hole in the ground that everyone wanted to pillage or destroy, was going to convert people to a new religion. The sheer incredulity of the claim left him flabbergasted. Any alternative would sound better, even the choice of accepting his place and bloodline and simply be a dungeon.
Indeed, that sounded better. Stay put and expanding his domain. All he had to do was fend off invaders and grow his horde. Assuming he did not die, in a few millennia, he would become a truly sizeable realm, providing millions of creatures a home and feeding the world with much need resources and mana. For some, this might be a good life but not him. To Brandr, a being who had once stood close to the pinnacle of cultivation, this meant becoming the equivalent of a dairy cow. He was effectively being told to eat, grow, and vomit mana until he died. If that was all he wanted from life, he would never have become a cultivator in the first place.
He had but one choice: Become a World God!
That was they were called, those cultivators whose goal was to reach a level where they replaced the cosmos. They abandoned the standard path and chose instead to cultivate their dantians into independent worlds. They would slowly expand these microcosms whiles furnishing them with life, resources, and their own daos. The end goal being the creation of a world that was conceptually equal to that of the cosmos. Brandr had met world gods that held several realms and billions of beings within themselves. To these beings, their world god was the will of the heavens and director of the cosmos. Their wills and daos were the heavenly daos. Their desires the will of the cosmos. Externally, they were cultivators like any other but internally and conceptually, they were living worlds.
The sum total of a multitude of creatures. The combined wills, desires and insights of an entire world. A realm separate from the main cosmos. It was easy to see the parallels between this path of power and the life of a dungeon. While he had never walked down that path personally, Brandr was confident that his knowledge of it, its principles and several high-tier mantras related to it would be more than enough to cultivate to a tier where he could leave this world behind and hopefully, return home. It was a reasonable progression of his dungeon bloodline and even if it was incompatible with this world’s laws, the path involved becoming a world of your own. His internal world would be separate from this world and untouchable by its restrictions. So what was stopping him?
Fear. Brandr was afraid.
He was…had been a Lord of Dao Mastery and a Lord of Dao Embodiment with a bloodline only a few tiers below that. Even now, with his body destroyed and its bloodline all but gone, he still counted as a daolord, gravely injured as he may be. Nonetheless, if he went through with this, that would no longer be the case. This was not like cultivating an avatar. His crystalline shell was all he had left. There would be no going back. If he abandoned his current boat, the one he had built and cared for all these millennia for a new one he was not as well versed in, he could lose everything.
Brandr came out of his meditation. He had everything ready, his soul was healed enough for the procedure and his divine essence was ready for the conversion. However, the question remained. Was he truly going ahead with this? Conjuring a mirror, he stared at his body; a fifty-centimeter tall ruby, streaked with gold and shaped in the guise of a man. His external body was a cavern that doubled as pocket realm and a trap for unwitting creatures. Clearly, nothing of Brandr the Daolord remained so was it that big a jump? Slowly, he traced the gold streaks on his arms and chest, fragments of his divine core, and allowed his mind to journey through the years recall all the strife and tribulations he suffered through.
In doing so, Brandr strengthened his resolution and reaffirmed his personal dao. He wanted to see the limits of the cosmos, of what was possible. He wanted to reach it and see what lay beyond. He desired power, as surely now as he did when he was a child, power enough to travel the world and see what it had in store. He had seen many things in his time, gone on incredible adventures and overcome numerous challenges. What was this but another? Ultimately, Brandr was an epicurean. He lived a life that would be called self-indulgent delighting in his personal accomplishment, wealth, power and rich experiences. He would continue to do so until he died.
Raising his hands, he connected himself to what was left of his cultivation base. Issuing a priority command to all his inhabitants that they should take care, he drew in as much essence as possible and begun his transformation. First, he treated his domain as his dantian and his core as well, his core. Then, calling to mind the [World Ode of the Primordial] he began refining his domain. Being a dungeon made this easy. He already had a furnished pocket realm, replete with inhabitants, a life-death cycle and total authority over his internal space. The world itself and its will– his– took little effort to create. All he needed now was to covert his cultivation and his dao mastery to the cosmic path of power. If he was lucky, he would have his cultivation tier carry over. If not, he would fall to the Aperture World tier.
The crux lay with the integration of his daos. Technically, he had reserves on par with an aurous core cultivator but might and soul force in the upper Nascent Soul. By refining his soul and having it become the core of this world, he put himself in the Aperture World tier. Following that was the enshrining of a central dao. For this, he chose the one he was most familiar with; fire. The integration went well. Fire became the primary dao of his Aperture World. Slowly and carefully, he drew on his mastery of this dao, letting his insights flow into his new cultivation base. This allowed his primary dao to grow, baptising his inhabitants and his domain. Riding this wave, he broke through becoming a Planar God. Correspondingly, his dungeon transformed from a simple pocket space into an elemental plane.
Brandr pushed on, knowing he had only this chance to lay a good foundation. He drew out all his insights into the dao, using his core as a control rod and his domain as the channel to establish the five phases. Fire as the actuating force. Metal as the stabiliser. Wind to represent momentum. Water as the transformative force and finally, Space as the realm of possibility. It was the same method Brandr used in setting up the Five Phases for his dao mastery only executed better thanks to his experience with the process and the insights he had built up over the millennia, The ordeal was a major success and his daos integrated smoothly into his elemental plane.
His dungeon shuddered, stopped in its newly initiated transformation into a world of fire. The five phases intersected, promoting and destroying each other in a strange mess of contradictions that lead to the generation of primal chaos force. It was the basic building block of the universe. Pure primordial energy and the creative force that could birth all things. Brandr grinned, he had done it. He had elevated his aperture world into a chaos world. Synced himself thoroughly as its chaos heart, he became both the heavenly dao and the will of his heavens.
His daos would become the daos that defined his world and its inhabitants. That meant if he wished. he could have them cultivate. He could send down tribulations and corroborate their own daos to enrich his own.
Establishing a Chaosworld was still a tier below his Dao equivalent which was a World Sovereign. But it was better than he had dared hope. Unfortunately, the true power of a World God was not his mastery of the dao but rather the power he could generate from his world and its inhabitants. With his chaosworld being so tiny and its inhabitants being so few and powerless, he barely qualified for the tier. Fortunately, it was these same low power requirements that made the endeavour possible in the first place.
In the future, when his world and its inhabitants developed, he would have more power at his disposal. Right now, the best he could do was slowly incorporate more daos into his chaos world to further its growth and variety. Hopefully, he would one day have a dungeon that was the equivalent of a major realm filled with numerous cultivators just as powerful as he had once been.
[New Feat: You have integrated your dungeon with your divine domains, converting it into a divine space.]
[Congratulations on becoming the first Dungeon God]
Brandr stared unblinkingly at the new panels. It appeared that before he went further, there were a few things he needed to straighten out.