"You took the same path as me?" Gravis asked.
Orpheus nodded. "Yes! Just like you, I decided to become free from constraints and decide my own destiny. I also joined as a research assistant. I went through the lower, middle, and high worlds and continued cultivating here." Orpheus sighed as he thought of his past. "But I found the love of my life in this world and finally created my own family. I went out less and less and just wanted to be with my family more. Over the years, my drive for strength weakened, and now, I am content with living happily with my family."
Gravis thought a lot about what he just heard. This could be him in the future. Maybe, he would also find a family and settle down at some point. Was it really necessary to struggle through so many dangers just to get stronger? Just enough strength that not everyone could kill you also seemed enough. But when Gravis thought about what Heaven did to him, his expression changed, and he gritted his teeth. While living under Heaven, he could never be completely safe. He also didn't want to depend on the security his father provided for the rest of his life.
Orpheus watched as Gravis' expression changed multiple times and waited. He wanted to know what Gravis' genuine desire was. After a while, Gravis looked up at Orpheus. "Why did you stop cultivating?" he asked.
"Because, in order to increase my strength further, I have to struggle for resources with my life on the line. Even if I manage to get all the resources I need and never get injured, I would never reach father's level. For me, it is absolutely impossible to reach his level. So, there is not much difference between my current realm and the highest realm, outside of father's. I also don't want to think about leaving my family behind, if I die," Orpheus narrated calmly. There was no flicker of emotion. His heart had settled and fully supported his decision.
Gravis lifted an eyebrow. "Why do you say that you can never reach father's level?"
Orpheus frowned for the first time since the conversation started. "Gravis, those are things I can't talk about." Orpheus looked at Gravis somberly. "If I told you, Heaven would not allow you to continue cultivating. You must know, Heaven is antagonistic to our family. Did you think that your run-in with the 'newbie crusher' was a coincidence?"
Gravis felt a little intimidated by the shift of tone. "What do you mean? Forneus said the enemies are random. It's basically just bad luck."
Orpheus nodded heavily. "Exactly! It's bad luck. Luck is in control of Heaven, and no one can influence their own luck. That is why it is called luck. Every living being has a certain amount of karmic luck that Heaven bestows upon them. Karmic luck can also change. Some people stumble upon extremely profound inheritances that suit them perfectly. That is a person favored by karmic luck."
Orpheus narrowed his eyes. "When someone has great karmic luck, they may get rescued when they fight an opponent they can't defeat. They may find an incredibly strong battle or cultivation technique in some run-down shop. They may also arrive in a clearing with an unimaginable treasure, while opponents fight each other to the death, and the person just has to take the reward. Opportunities bestowed by Heaven are called luck."
Orpheus sighed. "Yet, we are children of the Opposer. Do you think Heaven would bestow us with any luck? No, no one in our family has any karmic luck, and since we are the only living beings under Heaven with no karmic luck, we have the worst luck. The fact that the order of your challenges in the practical test was the worst is only natural."
Gravis shook his head. "But having no luck would only equate to having average luck. Having no luck does not mean that the worst case would always happen."
Orpheus laughed blandly. "That's wrong. The average is not having no luck, but having average luck. Even people with average luck still have some luck. That's why it's average. An average outcome requires an average amount of luck. You might think that the best luck is a 10, average luck is a 0, and worst luck is a –10, but that's wrong. Bad luck does not exist. Bad luck is the absence of luck. So, in actuality, Best luck is a 10. Average luck is a 5, and worst luck is a 0."
Gravis blanched. "But what about the tortoise? I survived its first hit by luck."
Orpheus just shook his head. "It might have looked like luck, but your weak will saved you. Your weakness saved you, not your luck. You may call it luck, but it was bound to happen. There was no luck involved."
"On the other hand, you 'randomly' got to fight the newbie crusher first, and immediately got an environmental challenge after that. The first opponent is the hardest to defeat. After every opponent, there are about 10 Minutes of rest, yet that does not hold true for environmental challenges."
Orpheus held up a finger. "Imagine this. You fought the most dangerous opponent first and immediately got thrown into an environmental challenge, where you have no time to rest. After that, you fight a mountain lion: an enemy that is fast enough to match you and strong enough to actually kill you. If it weren't for our family's innately high synchronicity with the elements, you would've died."
Gravis' eyes widened. "You know what happened to me in the water and wind challenge?" he asked.
Orpheus nodded. "Yes! Everyone in our family has a very high talent regarding communication with the elements. Our father is, of course, no exception. High synchronicity with the elements will be extremely important later down in your cultivation journey, but that's still far off. Not even I have reached that realm. Let me explain it in a little more detail."
"Synchronicity with elements means absorbing the positive aspects while controlling the destructive aspects of an element. Water has oxygen, yet normal humans can't filter it. With us, the water filters itself. We can control the flow of water and live in it as if it were air. In storms, we can communicate with the storm and use it to our advantage."
Gravis looked astonished. Didn't that mean that no one could hurt him while using elemental attacks?
Orpheus saw Gravis' expression and laughed blandly. "Don't get overexcited. This only counts when the element is not being controlled. Taking control of something that is not being controlled is different from trying to control something under someone else's control. If there is a free seat, you can just sit down, but if that seat is occupied, you first need to beat the occupant before you can sit down. You won't have any issue taking control of an enemy's elemental attack if they are weaker than you, but what's the point of that? If they are weaker, they are weaker. You don't need the elements to win in that case."
Gravis' mood deflated slightly. Of course, it wouldn't be so easy. 'But it should be useful in some situations,' Gravis thought.
Orpheus took another swig of his coffee. "So, to summarize, always expect to run into the worst-case scenario. Never depend on your luck, because that will immediately fail." Orpheus put his cup away and smiled again. "Anyway, what did you think about the beasts in the challenge?" Orpheus asked, back in his jovial mood.
Both brothers had an enjoyable conversation for a couple of hours until night came, and Gravis went home.