The ten foot thick stone door suddenly began to open with a loud grinding noise. Dust accumulated for who knows how long was pushed aside as a dark inner sanctum is opened up. There is a gust of air that seems as old as time itself. When the door finally opens the whole way, light steps can be heard coming from deep within that darkness. They grow closer and closer until face can be seen.
If anyone had been present, that face would have made them faint from shock. It was the face of a beautiful fairy. It was like an angel descended, or perhaps a temptress devil emerging from the darkness. You wouldn’t fault one for being convinced that they’re dead and this woman was here to take their soul. Some men would be gladdened to have their soul reaped by such an immaculate beauty.
As she continued to emerge from the darkness, her glimmering body, covered in a delicate blue dress, was the perfect ideal. Her skin was fair and smooth. Her legs were long. Her walk was sultry yet strong. Everything about her exuded the innocence and beauty. Well, everything except her face, which was cold as the coldest glacier. She seemed to show no clear expression at all. Rather than looking thoughtless, her eyes held a deepness so profound that any man would be lost in them.
From this stone doorway to the inner sanctum, a place that had been closed since time immemorial came out the perfect beauty. She stopped for a moment, noticing the dust covering the floors, and made an annoyed tsk before continuing on. As she walked on, the dust dissipated. It wasn’t blown away, it simply ceased to be. Light began to turn on, the once darkened hall started to grow lighter, although the source of that light was difficult to tell.
As the woman walked, the entire castle sprang to life. Vases that had been covered in dust suddenly shined. The floor glowed like it had recently been waxed. The pictures righted themselves, chips of paint melting until the images looked like they had just been freshly painted. By the time she reached the end of the hall, a dead, decrepit, abandoned castle now looked like a majestic palace.
The woman reached the end of the hall and with a wave of her hands, the double doors opened up letting her into a majestic welcoming room, which had a long red carpet leading up to a giant throne. As the woman entered the room, she paused for a second as she noticed a man sitting on that throne. Unlike her, a girl who looked no older than twenty, the man was significantly aged. He had a beard that ran down to his belly. His face was covered in white, straggly hair. The clothing he had been wearing had decayed some time ago, and only the rags left over covered him at all.
As the woman walked up to him, his eyes opened with a fierce light. There was a mass of spiritual pressure and killing intent that exploded from him. Most normal people would have fainted or coughed up blood. That’s if they didn’t die the second it touched them. The woman didn’t react at all.
“Who dares disturb the meditation of the great God Kane!” The man called out angrily.
“God?” The woman raised an eyebrow. “There are no true Gods. I have spent a hundred lifetimes of failure proving that point.”
The man’s eyes narrowed and he let out a malicious chuckle. “You may have failed, but I have succeeded. I have reached the 15th stage of Ascension! I have already lived in this world for 3000 years, and I will live another 10,000! You will be but ash compared to my lifespan!”
“A fifteenth-stage Ascension?” The girl genuinely surprised. “Most ascenders believe there are only ten stages.”
“Bwahahaha!” The man laughed. “Fools! I married the Midnight Queen, and she showed me the truth to ascension! It is no wonder that immortality has remained out of reach for those foolish men. But… I am different. I’m the most powerful being in existence!”
“What of this… Midnight Queen?” The girl asks mysteriously.
The man chuckled. “Of course, I enjoyed her for one hundred strokes, and consumed her vital Yin, as is a husband’s right! She sits at only the 13th realm now. Of course, once she served her purpose, I threw her in my dungeon.”
“Might I ask this Midnight Queen’s name?”
“You do not know of the Midnight Queen? Before me, they said she was the strongest cultivator alive. She was a beauty beyond compare. Some claim she was older than time itself, but I know that to be false. She’s just a silly girl, easily swayed by the love of a man. As a matter of fact, you’re quite beautiful as well. More beautiful than the Midnight Queen even, might I ask how you possibly made it this far without me having heard about you.”
“Her name?” The woman asked again.
“The Midnight Queen’s true name is not known my many, but I am feeling generous, so you may here her name so you recognize the power I have over her. Her name is Tigra Neece!” His voice slowed and he frowned a bit, starting to notice the situation was odd.
It wasn’t just that this mysterious beauty had shown up at his doorstep and started asking questions. It wasn’t just that her face was cold and expressionless and she gave no indication of being awed or perturbed. The thing that bothered this man the most was that he was generously answering her questions. Normally, he’d be too proud to converse with any being lesser than himself, and since he was the most powerful being alive, that meant everyone was only there to serve him. He should be asking the questions, not her! He would have immediately knocked her out with the wave of his hand normally, and then raped her to steal her vital yin.
“Tigra Neece… so you’re alive after all…” The woman sighed, pulling out a jade slip and then crushing it.
As soon as it cracked in her small, delicate hand, a beacon of power was sent out in rhythmic waves. The man had no clue, but those waves would have reached every point in the universe. This jade slip was no simple beacon, but a call that couldn’t be denied.
The act of breaking such a powerful artifact finally caught the man’s eyes, if for no other reason than he couldn’t see through the intent of the spell. He wasn’t worried though. He controlled nearly 10% of the castles defensive and offensive formations. Even if she summoned a million level 10 ascendants, they would all be crushed under his might. This was truly a man who had nothing to fear.
He finally opened his eyes, looking at the beauty in front of him. He was still coming out of meditation before, but now that he got a good look at her, she truly was a beauty. She was so immaculate that even had she been a mortal woman with no vital yin to gain, he might have lowered himself to tasting her cherry. Yes… this was even better! Why did it take him so long to notice that she was a cultivator herself? She might even be an ascendant!
“You are a virgin…” The man’s eyes widened even more, a cruel look flickering in his eye. “Your profound power is massive. For a virgin to reach so high in cultivation, it’s virtually unheard of. Even my wife couldn’t reach this rank with her virginity intact. To think, an ascendant with her natural vital yin intact. You are a gift on my doorstep.”
“I’m not interested in dual cultivating with you.” The woman responded with a hint of distaste in her face.
“Most women aren’t!” The man chuckled darkly. “If I break you open and take my hundred strokes, I’ll be able to reach another stage of ascension! Be gracious, girl, because you will be another stepping stone on my rise to godhood!”
With that the man stood up, glaring at the woman with evil intent. He immediately lunged forward, moving at a speed that was unimaginable. For any mortal, it’d be like teleportation. For the woman, it was like a turtle moving through molasses. She took a step to the side. He passed by and immediately spun, but before he could take another step, he stopped dead.
“Wh-what?” His voice came out in a groan. “How?”
The woman pulled her arm back, which was out like a sword. Not even a single drop of blood was on it.
“You speak of the 15th stage of Ascension like you’ve accomplished something.” The girl snorted.
“Wh-who are you?” He grimaced, his body still frozen.
“Me? Over the last few million years, I’ve gone by many names. The Great One, Hero of Danai, The Bitch of Bane, Mistress of Death… but your generation knows me as the Midnight Queen. I’m of the 99th stage of Ascension… and this castle is mine.”
“N-not possible… she… she…”
His eyes opened as he realized that Tigra Neece had never once called herself the Midnight Queen. He had known the woman for 500 years, and in 500 years, she had only ever smiled pleasantly when people called her that. In fact, he realized she also always had a peculiar way of talking, as if suggesting this castle he had taken from her wasn’t hers to begin with. Had their truly been a Midnight Queen, the distant rumors about her fit this woman far better than his wife.
“You might as well let your profound power go, it’s the only thing keeping you together right now.” The woman spoke casually. “Here, I’ll help you.”
She let out a small fraction of her aura. Instantly, the man’s profound power was crushed. As soon as it failed, blood leaked from a million different cuts. In seconds, the man who called himself the most powerful man in the universe fell into million different smoothly cut pieces. A moment later, she called a fire that burned the pile to ashes in seconds. Not a single drop of blood remained of the once mighty Kane. The Midnight Queen snorted, walking up and sitting on the throne once occupied by the man.
“I’m here… here!” A voice shouted through the castle. “Coming Mistress! I’m coming!”
Racing at a speed faster than sound, yet emitting no sonic boom, a woman suddenly appeared in front of the Midnight Queen. Where the Midnight Queen was pure, with white smooth skin and delicate features, the woman who just appeared was beautiful in a different way. She was much more voluptuous, with black hair and brown eyes, and a deep tan. Like the Midnight Queen, she was absolutely knockout beautiful, but in a more exotic kind of way.
“Tigra!” The woman said with a displeased look.
Tigra immediately kowtowed three times, banging her head on the ground with enough force to shake the walls.
“Mistress is alive! I’m so happy! Have you reached godhood yet? Oh… of course not… if you were a god then we wouldn’t even be here having his conversation! Unless you stopped by as a god to dote on your poor disciple. You wouldn’t by chance-“
“Tigra, you left my sanctum a mess…” The Midnight Queen stopped her from talking.
“Eh? But I left my boyfriend here to keep the place clean? Has he not been doing his job? It’s only been 200 years! Where is that bum?”
The Midnight Queen pointed at the pile of ash on the floor.
“Ah! My boyfriend!” Tigra cried out. “What did he do? The bastard!”
“Tried to rape me. He called you his wife?”
“Ehhh? He actually took that ceremony seriously? Man… that was like 500 years ago. I found if you mixed essence of a Celestial Scorpion with the root of an Eternity flower it makes you soooo fucking high. I spent that entire century on a bender. I married him as a joke! I mean, we fucked a few times, but he was NOT marriage material.”
“…” The Midnight Queen sighed and put her hand to rub her forehead. “Perhaps if you stopped indulging in the flesh so much, you would have progressed more than two levels of ascension in the last thousand years.”
“What’s the point in living forever if you can’t have tons of fun?” Tigra asked, laughing innocently. “Besides, it was that bastard’s fault. He had a technique that managed to steal some of my vital yin from me. He even figured out how to pass the tenth stage of ascension. He was quite smart. Mistress should also find a dao partner soon. This is why Mistress is always so cold. You need to find a man and- ah please don’t kill me! This disciple is not worthy!”
Even Tigra could feel the coldness coming off of the Midnight Queen once she started talking about men. Unlike Tigra, Mistress had lived a few million years without ever doing a thing to pollute her soul. It was all done in the hopes that a pure soul would obtain godhood. However, she had struck a bottleneck at the tenth level of ascension, just like every other ascended celestial. It was only through perseverance and luck that she had realized the truth. There weren’t ten levels, there were one hundred. Only at level 100 could one cross the threshold to godhood. Unfortunately, after a thousand years of closed door cultivation, it was clear the Midnight Queen was still at level 99, just short of true enlightenment.
The Midnight Queen removed her killing intent from her disciple for not the first time. “Hmph… your boyfriend also said he locked you in a dungeon.”
“That jokester thought he could lock me in my own… I mean your dungeon! Silly man! I escaped a day after he locked me in there. I’ve spent the last 300 years collecting exotic wines. The best so far is the Dragon’s Breath Transient Ale. It would completely incinerate the body of anyone less than a 10th level ascended.”
“And what about you using the name Midnight Queen?”
“Mistress! I would never! After a thousand years went by, all but the elders in seclusion still knew the terror and awe that was Mistress. They began to think I was the Midnight Queen… and after a few hundred years I just stopped arguing with them. No matter what I said, no one would believe the most powerful woman in existence was but the disciple to a master in seclusion… uh… actually, on that note, why is Mistress out of seclusion?”
“Do you… remember when I found you?”
“Mm…” Tigra nodded, “I was just a whore at Renny’s Brothel. Some poor cultivator had come across a valuable ingredient and traded it to me in exchange for a blowjob. I thought I was getting the raw end of the deal, but I incorporated it into a necklace that I wore around my neck. You detected it and came found me. You offered to train me in the profound way in exchange for the ingredient. I… never forgot Mistresses generosity. Had you not saved me, I’d likely had been dead in a few years in some gutter.”
“The reason I took you in was on a whim. My tribe believed that if I could maintain my purity, that purity would bring me enlightenment and eternal life. I had spent the majority of my life believing that. However, when all was said and done, I failed to achieve true godliness just like everyone else.” The Midnight Queen sighed. “The reason I took you was to see my polar opposite. You were a whore who lived a life of depravity. You drank, did drugs, had sex… had my tribe’s philosophy been true, there was no way you would have been able to reach the eleventh level of ascension.”
“You thought I’d fail!” Tigra cried.
“Mm… If you had failed, it would have meant something. But you didn’t. You became level 11, and I went into secluded meditation to look for the answer I sought. I spent the last thousand years scrying for the answer… the answer for my immortality.”
“Mistress… if your seclusion ended, you don’t mean…”
“Yes.” The Midnight Queen nodded. “I’ve found it, the missing key. I’ve found the answer…”
“Truly! Immortality? True Enlightenment? That’s every cultivator’s dream! What is it? You’ll tell your disciple, won’t you?” Tigra was nearly bouncing.
“Not what… who. The secret to making my final breakthrough rests on a single person’s shoulders. Rather, it rests on a certain different part of his anatomy. I’ve checked the scrying a dozen times. I must dual cultivate with a certain man. When he breaks open my vital yin, I can use it to push forward and finally ascend through Heaven’s gate.
“So… what Mistress is saying is that she needs to get laid?” Tigra asked innocently.
“Not exactly, but…”
“Great! Let’s go get him! I’ll tie him up, you get the lube, you’ll just go wham, bam… and then godhood!”
“Can you please not refer to my virginity as a wham bam…”
“What? Mistress, don’t be sheepish now! I have much experience in this area! I can guarantee you, just give it a few hours and he will be plowing your fruit salad with his banana. You’ll be churning the butter… plowing the fields, you know?”
“What? This is great news, right?”
“There is just one problem…” The Midnight Queen looked away shyly.
“What is it? We can work with anything.” Tigra said excitedly.
“The man in the scry is a mortal.”
“A mortal?” Tigra stuck out her tongue in disgust. “Well, true he’ll likely explode at the mere thought of piercing your vital yin… I suppose we can train him up, just like you did with me, right?”
“That’s not it. It’s more complicated than that…”
“What is? Tell me, Mistress!”
“He… he’s a baby! He was only just born yesterday… Perhaps that is why my scry only brought results now.”
“Mistress is a cradle robber…”
“Never mind, I’ve decided to kill you after all.”
“Mistress, please forgive your disciple!”