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Chapter 1: Shrine Mountain

On a cliff that stood above the world, a young man with skin as pale and pure as ice looked out and into the horizon.

The beautiful yellows, reds and oranges of the morning sky shone without hindrance, dancing over the pristine white clouds below his feet.

This place was known as Shrine Mountain, the highest peak of not just this Plane, but all of existence. It stood so tall that the sun called it friend and even the clouds could only hug its feet.

Throughout the lower planes, millions of geniuses were born everyday, each with the dream of standing at the pinnacle of the world… Each with the dream of sitting in this young man's very place.

However, this young man remained indifferent. His silver, sometimes pale blue, eyes seemed to pierce through all things. To call his brows sword-like was to sell them short, to describe his demeanor as being that of an Emperor was to insult him, to define him as handsome was to call him ugly.

The cool morning wind blew his long white hair gently, yet not a speck of dust could be found within it. Or, maybe nothing dared to blemish him in any way.

'One thousand years.' The young man thought to himself, devoid of emotion.

Today was his thousandth birthday, a happy occasion for lack of a better descriptor. Kings, Emperors, Queens and Empresses would all converge today, all to pay respects to him.

It wasn't very much of a surprise considering who his parents and grandparents were. However, such a truth wasn't enough to require such fanfare. Simply put, the importance of this young man himself warranted respect regardless of his lineage.

"Elena." The young man spoke this name abruptly. His voice was soothing and calm but held a hint of biting cold that made them contradictorily sharp. Yet, it was very clear by how his eyes softened that he cared for the woman holding this name.

"You always know…" A sound that seemed bestowed to the world by a Fairy Goddess filled the young man with a sense of comfort.

The beauty floated to his side, descending onto his lap. Her violet dress wafted a heavenly fragrance toward him with its every flutter, matching his black robes to perfection.

Holding onto her slim waist, the young man's nonchalant attitude toward the view rescinded as a light smile played his perfect features.

His hand reached upward, caressing the beautiful strands of diamond pink hair that cascaded from Elena's head.

She couldn't help but rest her ear to his chest in response, breathing in his scent.

"Ryu, what kind of gift would you like?"

A slight chuckle escaped from the lips of the young man. It was a laugh filled with warmth, but one he rarely showed anyone. Other than his parents and grandparents, Elena was the only other to have heard this laugh.

"This isn't proper etiquette, no?"

Elena pouted adorably, a sight that would have shocked the billions of subjects she ruled over. The heiress of the Holy Wing Clan, behaving like nothing more than a little girl.

"I have everything in the world, do I not?" Ryu sighed. "The Shrine Plane dances at the palm of my hand, my woman is an unrivalled beauty and genius, my parents love and dote upon me… What else could I ask for?"

Despite his words, the undertone of sadness would never be missed by Elena. She knew her fiancé too well, well enough to know that these words were nothing more than self-mockery.

In the martial world, there were three mortal planes and three immortal planes. Those below constantly fought to reach a higher level of existence, to have their names written into the fabric of history for trillions of years to come and for their bloodline to flourish into eternity.

Yet, Ryu had no such aspirations. It wasn't that he was lazy or without drive. In fact, if a fool spouted such nonsense about Ryu Tatsuya, even commoners would swarm you with whatever weapons they could find, all to protect his name.

The truth was that Ryu didn't have such aspirations because he already had it. The Shrine Plane wasn't just among the three immortal planes, it was the highest immortal plane. The Tatsuya Clan wasn't just powerful, it was the most powerful.

Ryu's life was comically easy. Still, he fought for it to have meaning.

He delved into the world of archeology, prying out secrets long since lost from ruins many clans had given up on. He studied botany with a passion few could match, even breathing life into long extinct species. He even mastered arts of feng shui, applying them to create some of the most beautiful works of art and architecture to ever appear in the martial world.

This was Ryu's life. He found meaning where there was none. When others would have resigned themselves to an existence of meaningless comfort, he sought for something more.

At this point, one might think Ryu ungrateful. To be saddened when everything in the world was given to you on not a silver, but gold plater.

However, there was a reason that despite having been betrothed to Elena for more than 600 years, they had never married.

Ryu, a man who had everything in the world, a man who could command the waves with one hand and the sunset with the other, couldn't cultivate.

His fiancée would live for billions, even trillions of years given her talent. But he, even with so many priceless treasures sustaining his life, would be lucky to live a thousand more.

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