1 Prelude

The calm night sky was lit by the two full moons high in the sky.

Flying far above the clouds was a massive beast with a long, sleek tail and wings with mirrored scales that reflected the moonlight and the stars. His white body glowed, seeming to be all-powerful and everlasting.

Though he was unmatched in strength, the worry showed on his face as he thought about how he would break the news to his lifelong friend upon arrival.

It didn't take him long to reach his destination with his incredible speed and he descended from the clouds to reach a tall mountain peak. There laid a giant ape in the middle of a nap, undisturbed by nature.

The dragon broke the silence and said, "I can see you're very busy Azar, should I come back another time?"

"Huh? Can't you see I'm catching up on my beauty sleep? Try me again in another year or so," said Azar as he rolled over.

"I haven't seen you in centuries and this is how you treat your old friend? I even brought some wine to share as we talk," the void gem embedded in the dragon's golden bracer lit up as a vast pitcher of wine and two goblets appeared from within it.

"Now you're speaking my language!" Azar sat up and served himself without hesitation. "So, what's so important that you've come to talk to an old friend like me?"

Dominus got a good look at Azar, reminding him of the many struggles they shared for countless years.

He had always admired Azar and his abilities but had always been baffled by his sudden laziness upon reaching the highest cultivation level in the divine class. He would even dodge any questions about him cultivating and training further towards the final breakthrough, leaving Dominus as the only cultivator to step into the realm of creation, the realm of strength beyond the divine class.

"Azar, why won't you push for a breakthrough? The purpose of cultivating is becoming the strongest through training yourself and continually absorbing more energy into your body. Clearly, you have the ability to break through, but you don't. I've asked you millions of times and you've never once satisfied me with an answer. Why is that?" Dominus cut to the chase.

"I'm not sure myself," the still drinking Azar replied, "I guess I just haven't felt very motivated lately."

Dominus snapped at Azar's casualness, "You, not motivated to get stronger? Who are you again? You're Azar, the Primordial-tyrant Ape. If it wasn't for you, I never would've reached the creation class or been able to get where I am now. I fought tooth and nail to breakthrough from the mortal class into the divine class and become a perennial level expert. With time I finally became a king level cultivator and became the ruler of my own region. It was there that I met you, who survived my full power attack while still as a perennial. From that moment on we began to work together, protecting one another as we carved our own path and eventually both became god-level beings at the peak of the divine class. You were the first to become a god, yet I was the one who broke through to creation first thanks to your much-needed protection during the process. And here I am, still waiting after thousands of years and you still haven't even attempted the breakthrough. Why not join me?"

Azar put down his goblet after hearing Dominus' invitation and thought carefully about his response. It took a few moments before Azar poured Dominus some wine and passed it to him.

The dragon accepted it, using his powers as a creator to lift the goblet with his mind and drink the entire thing in one gulp. When he placed the goblet back down, Azar gave his response.

"I can't join you… not yet at least. Give me some more time and I will push through to the creation realm. You know I'm more than capable, especially with your help."

Dominus' eye lit up with life momentarily and then became somewhat lackluster as he replied, "That's great news, Azar… but I'm afraid I won't be here to see it happen."

"What do you mean by that?" Azar was caught off guard.

"I've already made plans to leave this plane and it's impossible for me to change my date of departure. I would bring you along with me, but only those at the creation class are able to travel between the planes," a look of disappointment shone on Dominus' face. "At least I know that you will soon be entering the creation class yourself and will be able to reunite with me then. It's something I look forward too."

Azar's serious expression became depression masked with a smile. "So, you've already made plans, huh? When are you leaving? Knowing you and your sense of timing it should be tomorrow, right?"

"Yeah, you guessed it."

"In that case, I won't bother you any longer, I'm sure there are plenty of people you need to visit and lots of goodbyes to be had. And don't you dare say this is goodbye, because I'll be there with you soon enough. Give me another ten thousand years, then I'll be ready to leave this world and search for you in the other planes."

"Ha. You always hated saying goodbyes, didn't you? Fine, I'll leave you to your cultivation then. Keep the wine as my parting gift, but make sure to return the goblets and pitcher when you see me next, okay?" Dominus finally let himself smile.

"Yeah, yeah. I guess that's simple enough to do. Don't go and get yourself killed before I can get there to protect you like the old days," Azar teased.

"Then I'll make sure not to do anything too crazy until you find me. Nothing better than having an indestructible meat shield like yourself to protect me," Dominus returned the tease as he spread his wings and took to the sky in a flash.

Azar kept staring up at the moons behind the clouds. He clenched his fists in determination and sat down on the smooth mountain floor.

Controlling his breathing, Azar stilled his entire body and let his mind sink into a state of openness as he released his inner aura to feel the abundance of earth essence that surrounded this sacred mountain peak.

With each inhale, more earth essence would swarm his body and seep into his pores. The essence would then flow through his body until reaching the center of his chest, where it entered his divine core made of accumulated divine energy from nearly one hundred thousand years of cultivation.

Suddenly, Azar began to cough up blood and covered his mouth.

He stared at the blood covering his hand as he thought, "this is going to be hard. I probably should've told him about this, but he would never be able to live with himself if he knew the truth. At least this way he'll be able to move on without me if I don't survive the breakthrough. I guess only time will tell."

He stood up to stretch his arms and legs. After making sure his body was awake and ready to go, Azar leaped off the mountaintop and vanished into the valleys far below.

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