"How can you still be sluggish even in death!"
"Ooh! You were a King before you died?! You ruled over millions of citizens and controlled a hundred thousand-man army? Your status in life means nothing here" … a deep hoarse voice spoke.
Daniel opened his eyes and saw a tall, bulky demon soldier with a mean and vicious face, lashing out with a flaming whip. The whip flashed like lightning, striking the souls of the dead man.
He was angrily striking a soul who had been arrogantly proclaiming that he was a king before his death, and he only reluctantly stopped when the man's soul was teetering on the verge of dissipation.
"I think it's going to be a really bad idea if I said anything to this guy, he really looks unsatisfied with the lashing he gave that arrogant man" … Daniel appeared out of nowhere and couldn't help but stare in curiosity at this unfamiliar environment.
"Faster!" the minotaur looking demon soldier brayed at Daniel as he followed the rest of regiments towards an unknown location.
Countless souls formed a line, like a long, sinuous dragon, as they slowly moved forward. Some of these souls will weep, some sigh in regret, some would curse and brag, and finally there were some like Daniel looking around in curiosity and astonishment.
"Stop hitting me! Ah!"… Most of the souls that just entered this Netherworld Kingdom didn't know they were dead, as such they were roaring in rage as they were being beaten. But they came to a quick understanding after the unsatisfied demon soldier gave them about ten lashes each.
They were dead and this was the Netherworld, no matter how your life was when you were alive, nothing matters in the land of the dead.
Time flew by, Daniel walked for a long time on this endless journey. He didn't even dare to mumble anything in the fear of being whipped by the demon soldier. He knew that even with his extremely high mental strength, he wouldn't be able to take more than three strokes of that flaming whip.
This continued for a long time, but luckily souls neither get thirsty nor hungry. After a long period of dazed walking…
"Daniel!" A deep voice boomed through this world and countless souls rose up their heads to look at a figure floating, there in the sky with slacked jaws. Daniel stared at the figure as well and could make out a giant minotaur god, who was glowing in black light and standing atop black clouds.
"Daniel?" Atop the massive black clouds, the minotaur god stared downwards and after confirming it was indeed the soul he was looking for, he waved his hands as black light shot out and wrapped around Daniel who stood there like an idiot, gazing at everything in a lost but fanatical manner.
Instantly, Daniel vanished along with the minotaur god under the stunned gazes of the other souls.
The demon soldiers were all silent with bowed heads and all the souls didn't recover until the loud whipping sound resumed.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Within the black clouds the minotaur god opened his palm, and there, on his palm was Daniel's soul…
"I have come on the orders of the First Supreme Judge to come and receive you." The minotaur god told Daniel and with a wave of his hands the black clouds soared into an empty void, where one could make out an enormous golden palace.
Palace of the First Supreme Judge…. Netherworld Kingdom.
Within a quiet study, there were bookshelves all around, and a table at the center of the study. A cyan robed, middle aged man sat at the table flipping through a book.
"Why does the First Supreme Judge wish to see me?" Daniel was already processing several logical explanations for being summoned. He was just an ordinary person here and had never been in any kind of acquaintance with the man before.
"He is the silent type uh? He summoned me but doesn't speak to me..." Daniel sneaked a peek at the man seated behind the table as he thought to himself.
This study was very simple and plain. The bookshelves had an ancient scent to them and the table at the center of the study was a wooden one which had a dragon, a tortoise, a tiger and a bird carved at its four corners.
"That's…" Daniel looked at these creatures carefully. The tortoise was black in color. The dragon jade-green, the bird was flaming-red, while the tiger was white.
"Are those...the four symbols of Feng Shui?!" … In the blink of an eye Daniel became lost in the study of this carvings.
"Hmm!" The cyan robed man raised his brows as he gazed at Daniel who was glancing at the table with an astonished gaze. "I never expected him to possess such powerful spiritual sense."
"Wake up!" The cyan robed man spoke in a mysterious but soft tone which jolted Daniel out of his lost state of mind.
His train of thoughts was instantly cut off as he totally regained his senses. Only then did he remember that he was in the study of the First Supreme Judge of the Netherworld Kingdom.
"I'm referred to as "First Yama King" or the "First Supreme Judge" but you can just call me King Yama" The cyan robed man softly said to Daniel who was now clear headed.
King Yama closed the book he was reading which had a green and grey cover and smiled towards Daniel who had a shocked expression on his face. This was because, from his current position the words written on the cover of that book was "Book of Life and Death."
"I was just reading about your past lives" King Yama chuckled in response to his shock.
Daniel was truly terrified indeed, "His past lives?!".
"Your first life had been full of enacting justice and saving countless lives from different conspiracies of the greedy. For one to be willing to sacrifice himself for the good of others is an extremely rare sight nowadays"… King Yama sighed in praise.
"King Yama praises me too much, if I had another life, I might not have been willing to do that. After all, I came and passed through it without leaving behind any legacy or descendant"… Daniel honestly replied.
"Your second life was extremely short-lived as well... Ah! Greed does indeed drive humans to great lengths, even an 18 hours old baby wasn't spared from their selfish conspiracies". King Yama exhaled slowly, as he spoke in disdain.
King Yama then picked up the Book of Life and Death and grasped the air. Instantly, a golden scepter abruptly appeared in his hands. Immediately, a blinding golden light burst out of his body and enveloped him.
King Yama who was now bathed in golden light then opened a new page and spoke;
"Daniel! In your first life, you have saved billions of people from countless conspiracies and evil deeds of tyrannical terrorists. Your merits are exceptional. For your third life, you shall be bestowed exceptional luck".
"For your second life in which you became a collateral to the conspiracies of the human greedy heart, you will not suffer injustice. Therefore, in your third life, you shall be bestowed a Universal Soul Constitution.
All of a sudden, words started appearing on the empty page as shock spread on Daniel's face. As a man of high intelligence, he could instantly tell, that the destiny of his third life is being upgraded at the moment.
The moment King Yama finished his declaration, Daniel asked; "I believe there are others who accumulated the same merits as me and even more, why did you summon only me?"
"Because… you and I are from the same realm" King Yama smilingly said.
"From the same realm?!" Daniel asked looking adorably lost.
"Oh right! According to the modern world… I also came from Earth, but that was over seven eras ago" King Yama explained.
"I heard some of those souls say that they were "kings", "princes" and "lords." Aren't they also from earth?!" Daniel curiously asked.
"Not everyone in the Netherworld Kingdom comes from Earth. In the infinite universe, there are three major realms; the Heaven, the Netherworld and the Mortal realms." King Yama answered.
"The Heaven refers to the Celestial or Divine realms of which there are seven, the Netherworld refers to the underworld of which there are nine hells and lastly the Mortal realm where there are hundreds of millions of Major Worlds and countless Minor Worlds." King Yama explained further.
"Earth is only one of the minor worlds, the nine planets including their respective moons and the Sun make up a Major World. Earth has only a couple billion people. Every moment, people die in those millions of major world and countless minor worlds and their souls descends into the Netherworld! Can you imagine how many souls are present in this Kingdom?" King Yama asked has he looked at Daniel whose pupils was dilated with shock.
"For you to have gathered so much merits from earth is very rare, which was why I wanted to meet you, my fellow Earthling..." King Yama continued. "Since you're going to reincarnate now, let me tell you about the six paths of reincarnation".
"The six paths of reincarnation refer to: Divine Gods (Devas and Asuras), Humans, Animals, Plants, Vengeful Ghosts and Hell beings."
"The Devas and Asuras are considered as beings of the heaven realm, since they were born in heaven themselves".
"The Humans, Animals and Plants are considered as beings of the mortal realm, since they are born in the million major worlds and countless minor worlds."
"The Vengeful Ghosts and Hell beings are considered as beings of the netherworld as they exist in the underworld or hells." King Yama explained.
"You're going to be born in the mortal realm, but into one of the major worlds where there are cultivators, demon beasts and ancient existence.
Since you've been blessed with a perfect soul constitution and enormous luck, coupled with your strong mental strength, you should be able to train into the heaven realm and perhaps join the ranks of the protectors of the universe." King Yama spoke.
"The personal gift from me as a fellow earthling is that, I will allow you to bypass Grandma Meng's elixir of forgetfulness, so you can keep your memories and the gifts you've been given."
"But be warned, the world of cultivation is a place where the strong eat the weak, a place where power reigns supreme. This means that, it would do you a great deal of favor, if you cultivate in silence until you have enough strength to protect yourself."
"Luck would only make you come in contact with divine items and beings. If the stronger experts in such world came to know that you possess such items, it might bring death to you and all you care about" King Yama warned sternly.
"Go!" the Yama King waved his hands as a golden glow flew into Daniel's soul, before he vanished from sight.
-- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"By the order of the order of the First Yama King, I have come to escort you through the path of the yellow springs, so you may enter the mortal realm tunnel." An alluring, purple robed lady spoke to Daniel as they flew forward.
Daniel looked around him and was shocked to find himself mid-air alongside the purple robed lady. Just a while ago, he had been in the Yama King's study. How did he suddenly appear on the road to the yellow springs?
Daniel and the young lady flew through the yellow springs, bypassing many souls along the way before they arrived before Grandma Meng, an old lady who was all bones and no fat. Behind her were three tunnels in which several souls were already filing into.
"Grandma Meng looked at Daniel before a golden glow flew out of his soul which was caught by the old woman. Shock flashed across the old woman's face before she stared at the awkward looking Daniel with a peculiar gaze.
She then waved her hands as an invincible force grabbed Daniel and ushered him into the tunnel to the mortal realm.
"Hua!" Daniel felt a bone-piercing cold and at the same time breath of fresh air entered his mouth and flowed through his lungs.
This was the first "breath" Daniel had taken since he died.
"Wow… it seems I've been reborn… again!" Daniel took a deep breath as he came to a quick understanding.