When William opened his eyes, he found himself lying on top of a small golden cloud that was flying in the sky.
At first, he thought that he was still dreaming, but the memories of how Belle collapsed in front of him came flooding in. Along with the flood of memories, a realization dawned upon him.
"That's right. I'm already dead," William muttered. He unconsciously placed his hand over his chest to feel his heartbeat, but he felt and heard nothing.
After heaving a sigh, the boy sat cross-legged on top of the cloud as if it was the most natural thing to do in the world. After doing so, memories of his life flashed before his eyes.
William saw happy memories, sad memories, and memories that he didn't want to see ever again. At the end of his reminiscing, the image of a beautiful girl, with long black hair, made him bite his lip in frustration.
Truth be told, he was very worried about her.
Did the operation succeed? Did the doctors make it in time? Will the Hospital Director keep his promise?
Many questions popped inside his head. However, he knew that there was nothing more that he could do to affect the outcome of the events that had transpired. The reason? He was already dead. There was no use worrying about things that were beyond his control.
"I hope you're safe, Belle," William said as he raised his head.
A golden portal was shining in front of him and he knew that his journey had come to an end. He had never believed in God before, for God never did anything for him when he was alive. He also didn't believe in Heaven and Hell.
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The only thing he believed in was Reincarnation.
Perhaps, he was influenced by the countless novels that he had read while staying at the hospital. His only hobby was to read stories about cultivation, kingdom building, slice of life, transmigration, historical romance, and many other themes.
"If there really is a God then he'd better prepare himself to get hit by my fist." William narrowed his eyes as he gazed at the golden portal that was getting larger every second. "If I find out that He also took Belle, I will beat Him up until even His Mama doesn't recognize Him anymore."
Those were the last words William said before the cloud entered the golden portal.
What he saw on the other side of the portal blew him away. It reminded him of the time his class went to the planetarium for their Science Field Trip.
"Just what in the world?" William asked absentmindedly as he stared at the vastness of space. Countless stars, planets, and galaxies could be seen in the distance.
Before the teenage boy could even process everything that he was seeing, the cloud sped up and headed towards a giant planet that looked very similar to Earth.
Surprisingly, several other golden clouds appeared beside William as the cloud made its way towards the planet.
A procession of golden clouds numbering in the millions formed in less than a minute.
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Each of them was also carrying a person--each varying in age. Some were old, some were young, and some were incredibly young. Children not older than three years old looked back at William with a curious gaze, while sucking on their thumbs.
William felt an ache in his chest as he looked at the young children with a sad expression. They reminded him of his little brothers and sisters back at the orphanage.
As they drew nearer the planet, a surprising change happened to the procession of golden clouds.
The clouds carrying the old people broke free from the formation and headed towards the Eastern Side of the planet. The clouds carrying the children who were below the age of five flew towards the South.
It didn't take long for William to realize that they were being "segregated" by some unknown power who seemed to be manipulating the order of the clouds.
The cloud that William was riding on didn't change direction and continued to go straight towards the center of the planet. A few other people were in the same group as him, but they numbered less than a hundred.
As the clouds they were riding on descended from the sky. A magnificent temple appeared before their eyes. An old man, with long white hair, and beard, stood in front of the entrance and looked at them with a smile on his face.
"Greetings to each and every one of you," the old man said with a kind and soothing voice. "I know that all of you have a lot of questions. Although I don't have the answers to all of them, I will be more than happy to answer those that I know. Is there any of you who would like to ask a question?"
"Me!" a skinny young man who seemed to be in his early twenties raised his hand.
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"Go on," The old man replied.
"Are you God?" the skinny man asked.
"No," the old man answered. "I am just one of Their many helpers."
"Their helpers? You mean there is more than one God?" a pretty lady asked.
"Oh yes." the old man smiled. "Some of them are old and some are new. By the way, the name of this temple is the Temple of Ten Thousand Gods. Although I say Ten Thousand Gods, the exact number of Gods that reside within is unknown."
The old man paused before continuing his explanation. "It has been Eons since this temple was named, and many Gods have been born during the passing of time. Of course, it is also true that many Gods had perished as well."
William and the others fell silent as they digested the old man's words. Even so, being as young as they were, their curiosity got the better of them.
"Why so many?" a handsome boy with blonde hair and blue eyes asked. "Isn't there only one True God?"
"Good question." The old man nodded his head in appreciation. "You came from Earth correct?"
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"Yes," the handsome boy replied.
"Let's say that on Earth, there is one True God." the old man smiled. "Then, what about other worlds? If each world had one True God then wouldn't that mean that there are countless True Gods in the various worlds within this universe?"
The handsome boy widened his eyes in realization. He understood what the old man was talking about and no longer asked any questions.
The old man made a gesture towards the Temple Of Ten Thousand Gods and continued his explanation.
"You see, a God is born out of people's beliefs. With this logic, it also means that a new God is born every now and then. The stronger the belief, the stronger the God will be."
"After the passing of time, Many Gods were born and many Gods were lost. The moment a God is forgotten, is the moment these Gods will cease to exist."
"In short, instead of going directly into the Cycle of Reincarnation, all of you will be given a chance to choose a patron God before you journey towards your next life," the old man added.
"Wait! I know this!" The nerdy boy adjusted his glasses as he prepared to voice out his guess. "If we go according to what I have read in light novels, these Gods will give us cheat powers, powerful artifacts, divine weapons, and other blessings that will give us an edge on our next life, correct?"
"Something like that," the old man replied as he played with his long beard. "Each God has their own specialty and most of them give their followers the same items or ability."
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"I knew it!" The nerdy boy pumped up his fist with excitement. His eyes were sparkling as he looked at the gate behind the old man with anticipation.
"Since we don't have much time left, I will just cut to the chase," the old man announced. "All of you are here because the Gods looked upon all of you favorably. Perhaps you did something in your life that deserved their recognition."
The old man paused for a brief moment to allow the meaning of his words sink in.
"Well, if there are no more questions, let's go in." The old man waved his hand and the gate of the temple opened. "Let me welcome you once again to the Temple of Ten Thousand Gods!"