It had been two years since that day out with Stella, yet today was completely different. Gravis stood in front of Stella's bed, holding her hand tightly. She was lying there, pale and weakly. Her family surrounded them, somber expressions on their faces.
Stella smiled lightly. "Please, I don't want you all to feel sad for me. I knew this would happen eventually. I just felt it. I lived every day to my fullest and am content with my life."
Gravis' heart already broke, but he still felt a sting when he heard her words. He didn't want to believe that his best friend was going to die soon. She was the same age as him. Furthermore, she had one of the highest cultivation realms possible. How could someone so young and strong possibly die due to an illness? It was impossible.
"Don't worry. Just go to sleep, and tomorrow you'll feel much better." Gravis forced a smile. He didn't know if he tried to convince her or if he tried to convince himself. The pit in his stomach grew bigger when he said those words. "We can go eat ice cream again tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. Don't worry."
Her family was also heartbroken. Her father had a grim expression on his face, and her mother was already crying on her father's shoulder. Her older siblings looked everywhere but into their sister's eyes. They looked lifeless and heartbroken. A thick layer of darkness shrouded the room.
Stella also slowly got teary-eyed. "Please, I don't want you all to feel unhappy because of me. Here, look!" Stella weakly lifted her hands. A bright and hot ball was forming on her hand. "Just like the star in my hand was born," she lowered the star, and it vanished, "I, too, had a bright life. I am content with what I had. Just be happy for me. I don't want you all to grieve."
That display pushed her siblings over the edge, and they also started crying. Her father tried his best to keep himself under control, but everyone could see his trembling shoulders and clenched fists. A deep and heavy silence overcame the room.
Gravis' hands trembled. "Don't say that. Everything will be fine. Don't worry!"
Stella smiled with tear-filled eyes. "The only thing I regret is not being able to be together with you anymore, Gravis. I wanted to be with you, always." Her smile vanished, and the tears in her eyes fell down her face. "I am so sorry, Gravis. I wanted you to be happy, but now you are crying because of me. I didn't want to hurt you."
Gravis' heart broke again. He quickly rubbed his eyes. "I am not crying. Everything will be fine. Don't worry about me. Just rest." Gravis now held her hand with both his hands.
Stella smiled and nodded. "Yes, I will. Thank you, Gravis... and sorry." She closed her eyes, and her hands lost their strength.
Gravis finally broke down completely and buried his head into his arms. Tears were pouring out, and his voice broke. "Please don't leave. Please." He begged her, but she didn't react.
"It was inevitable." said a heavy voice coming from his side. Gravis didn't know when or how his father appeared. Stella's family didn't look with fear at the Opposer, but with hope. If someone could save Stella, then it was him.
Gravis quickly turned to his father, begging on his knees. "Please, father. Please save her. I'll do anything! I won't ask to cultivate anymore. I'll never complain again. Please, I'm begging you."
His father looked emotionlessly at his son. "I can't save her."
Gravis vigorously shook his head. "You did it before. I heard you even resurrected dead people without a problem. Please, save her."
His father sighed. "It's not that I don't want to save her. I really can't."
The hope vanished from Stella's family's eyes, returning the atmosphere in the room back to grieving silence.
"Why?" Gravis' spoke with panic in his voice, a murky mixture of emotions sparkling from his eyes. Grief, sadness, anger, but mostly, powerlessness.
"She is something called a shooting star. A person 'blessed' by Heaven. They cultivate extremely quickly, not by absorbing the energy surrounding them, but by absorbing the energy from Heaven directly. But just like a shooting star, their light is blinding, but short." His father looked at Stella. "Heaven does not directly interfere with an individual's fate. Yet, that doesn't include shooting stars. They were specifically created for a purpose, with a locked fate in mind. Destroying that fate means destroying the shooting star."
Gravis was confused and hurt. "But... why? Why would Heaven create such a cruel fate for her?"
The Opposer continued to speak, "I have noticed her since the day she was born. Heaven didn't try to conceal the fact that she was a shooting star. At that time, I didn't know what Heaven was planning, so I didn't mind. Only when you two met and grew increasingly closer, did I notice what Heaven planned. Heaven created someone that resonated perfectly with you. It wanted to create friendship and love between the two of you," Gravis' father lifted his hand, and clenched it into a fist, "and then take it away."
Gravis looked shocked and couldn't believe what he was hearing. "But why? I don't even cultivate. Why would Heaven do this?"
His father somberly shook his head. "Heaven does not care about you. This was not targeted at you." He looked out the window, his eyebrows showing his inner rage. "It targeted me."
There was silence in the room. After a while, the Opposer continued. "Heaven can't kill me. Heaven can't suppress me, and Heaven hates me for that. There is nothing else Heaven hates more than me. But since Heaven can't do anything to me, it went after you. You are young. You are vulnerable. Heaven wants to hurt me by hurting you."
The Opposer hmphed. "Worst of all, Heaven did not break its own rules. It just created someone with a short lifespan. It's playing dirty."
Suddenly, an unfathomably strong killing intent radiated from the Opposer. The whole room fell into an icy coldness. It seemed like death itself had manifested in the room. The air vanished, and it felt like a volcano was about to erupt.
"But I don't care about Heaven's rules," the Opposer said severely, and with a loud boom, he burst through the ceiling.