Many years earlier, the sun shone over the small Ironwood Village in the vast continent of Esethia located on a small brownish planet.
It was the first day of the year 1679 of the Esethian Calendar. The villagers lived their lives in harmony, every day they would wake up pretty early and start working from morning to sunset.
"Kali, did you wake up late today?" A middle aged man brought a huge ax about two times his own size to the Ironwood Forest at the back of the Village. Grabbing the wood shaft with both hands, a light blue Vital Source was generated at the center of his heart and followed his blood in his veins towards the hands.
Pa! With enough Vital Source gathered in his hands, the man slashed at the tree and a loud impact was heard moments before the tree that is as hard as Iron fell in a single hit.
"Of course! Arsin and the other kids had just received permission from the Village Chief to start condensing their Life Cores. Soon, our children will be able to help us in this work." Kali, a 32 year old woman carried both of these dark axes in each hand as she would make several trees fall in a few moments.
"Stop showing off Kali. Not everybody has a talent as great as yours, surely your daughter would be of the same quality."
A couple youths with ages ranging from 9 to 13 ran around the plains to the forest around the Village only to spot a small cottage above the hill.
Seeing it from close, all the younger boys and girls felt a chill down their spine, some of the most courageous inclined forward the ask the older kids. "Is that the place? I mean where he lives?"
The leader of the group heard the murmuring in the crowd and snorted before speaking full of pride and arrogance. "Of course, that place is where the Village's cursed child is living exiled from the village since he returned a few months ago. He's the same age as my older brother, and both of them were sent to the Sacred Soul Sect at the age of fourteen, but because of that trash, not only both his parents vanished leaving only he behind as the entire Village lost the support of one of the SSS. Not even his dad and mom wanted him, so I believe just providing with food is already a waste."
"Yeah! If it wasn't for him, our village would be in a much better state." One of the kid nodded with his head and other kids agreed with him. The only reason they had the capability to cultivate was because of the technique given to the Village Chief by the Sect, so it was all his fault that he ran to run back to us when he left everything here for the sect.
Inside the cottage a single youth was watching all of this with a cold look on his face. Inside the Cottage, he carried a chicken and a bag of rice he got from the few Villagers that still treated a well after what happened.
He lit the fire and was preparing the chicken when a stone flew through the window and him in the forehead.
"Ouch!" He grabbed his head in pain as he saw his vision was blurry for a few moments when heard a few screams from outside.
"Oh shit I hit him!"
"Forget that, we should run!"
Hearing the cry of pain from inside the cottage, they knew the stone had hit him and some of the children decided to run away, but only Arsin, the village chief's younger son had a nonchalant look on his face.
"Who cares if it hit him, he won't dare do anything." Arsin declared proudly as if he had total confidence in his words when he looked forward and saw a figure standing on the grass, wiping the blood stains off his forehead.
"So it was you kids who did that, huh?" Hearing the way this dark-haired youth was speaking to him only made this proud kid even angrier, without speaking anything, he raised his hand covered in Vital Qi and slapped him on the face, shooting the dark-haired backwards and crashing on his own cottage.
Hearing the other kids cheering only made Arsin more full of himself as he walked closer to the cottage. The youth was lying on a pile of broken walls when he saw Arsin approaching.
He was the "Cursed Child" they mentioned a while ago, Kallen Umbra. In the Esethia language spoken in the world, Kallen had the meaning of Fallen and Graceless while Umbra meant Shadow or night.
"You trash! You are just an ordinary human without any Vital Qi! I'm still clueless about why dad didn't dispose of you yet." Arsin raised his feet and stepped on him. "Your parents are gone, your friends left you, there is no reason to keep you in the village and I'm sure dad won't care anything happens to you."
Saying that, he stared at one of the kids and spoke. "Bring the Hunting Knife dad gave me."
The boy then walked forward and handed over a small knife with a leather scabbard. Seeing the arrogant young master of the Village walking closer with the knife, Kallen felt a familiar feeling when a piercing pain invaded his brain.
Arsin was right, different from those kids he couldn't cultivate and the only reason he was sent to the sect was due to how easy he could memorize and perform martial arts. The Sacred Soul Selects leaders believed he could be a great asset if he learned cultivation, but they were all disappointed when his inability for cultivation was revealed.
However, the only thing no one knew was the headaches he had that would occasionally bring some changes to him.
"Oh shit, I can't snap with right now." Knowing what would happed if he truly snapped, the dark-haired youth tried to contain the pain in his head when his right arm moved by itself, blocking the knife aiming at his leg.
Whoooosh! His hand didn't fully block the knife because he was trying to contain his instincts, but it still changed the course of the attack, making it hit a wooden plank.
In Kallen's eyes, a huge pile of corpses appeared in front of him, a pile as tall as the mount Ghenat on the center of the continent, these bodies were all in what seemed a underground system of caves.
Arsin tried to pull out the knife from the wood, but it a single fist hit in the face and threw him meters away.
"Ahhhhh! I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" After punching the Village Chief's youngest son, Kallen knelt down on the ground and started yelling in pain.
At that moment, he could hear the cries of the dead deep in his soul. Deep in the thousands and thousands of dead bodies extending endlessly, a single figure stood out from the rest. A female with a long light-brown hair scattered on the dirty ground, her body was full of lacerations, but her gaze was empty staring at the ceiling as if she had her soul forcefully pulled out of her.
Kallen was kneeling right in front of her, sobbing as he held her body. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."
These were the only words he could speak as his face was covered in tears, images of that day when he and another thousand children were accepted into the prestigious Sacred Soul Sect, but what they were truly after were strong and virtuous souls to power their weapons.
As the wooden cottage collapsed, the fire that was burning inside it spread to the wood, making a huge mass of fire that could be seen from miles away.
"Hahahha" Arsin and the other kids were staring at the blazing fire with fear when a laugh echoed in the forest.
A single male walked out of the flames, his body was completely intact other than the blood on his head from Arsin's punches.
"Did you really think your brother is really fine in that place? You know, when I had your age, I used to think cultivation was amazing and always wanted to be able to awake my Vital Qi, but the scenes I saw opened my eyes... There I saw the truth, and only then did I realize that, CULTIVATION MUST BE EXTERMINATED!"
In the Ironwood Village, the villagers were working as in any ordinary day when they heard noises of horses from the distance. A group of seven approached the village, all of them mounted on horses.
All their bodies were overflowing of an intense and powerful Vital Qi that just staring at it made most of the villagers feel their minds blurry. Noticing the commotion at the entrance to the village, the Village Chief, an old man and his three wives headed to the center of the Village when the seven people, all dressed in the same fine robes, a white robe with a coiling snake pattern in each wrist while golden stars could be seen on the back of the robes. Their leader had three golden stars on his back while the other had from six to twelve white stars.
The Village Chief only had to give them a single look and he could recognize this was the clothes of Sacred Soul Sect. The SSS was founded by the Qi Emperor, the only one to unify the whole continent for a period of a thousand years, it was also he who first created the Esethian Calendar used until the present days.
The leader of the ground of seven saw the Village Chief bowing down and offering his respects.
"Oh great envoy, do you need anything?" Seeing the chief of the village nearly touching his forehead on the ground on a try to curry favor by flattery. The other youths behind the handsome man with the golden-star robe had a cold look on the faces as they all considered like any other ant they could step on with any trouble.
The man in the golden star robe nodded with his head and helped him get up. "I'm Instructor Chilon and these are my students. We're sent here to inquire if the youth by the name of Kallen has returned to the village."
"Kallen, that boy?" For the first time the Village Chief was confused. "Wasn't Kallen kicked out of the sect? Why did you all returned to him, is he going to be accepted back into the sect?"
Hearing that an orange-haired youth interrupted with a snort. "No, it's not that. No way the Sect would accept him after what he did..."
"Luk!" Chilon reprimanded the youth with orange hair, and the latter only lowered his head when noticing his mistake.
"I'm sorry, I think my disciple spoke a bit too much. It's just that the boy we are looking for is the responsible for the death of several of his martial brothers and sisters." Their instructor may have said that, but only the students behind him knew that it was all a lie spread by the Sect.
Kallen's soul was exceptionally powerful for his age, but due to his inability to cultivate, the elders decided it would be better to put him with the others to refine his soul into medicine. Just who would have guessed that when he was sent into the artifact with the countless ordinary people, not only his soul wasn't extracted as he woke up within the piles of bodies of the people whose souls were refined.
But because his soul was still in his body, he managed to wake up and escape the sect with his life. It was only a few months later they discovered he was alive, but they couldn't let anyone who has seen the true face of their sect out alive.