There was this cube. This specific cube that almost ended the universe. Well, if it could destroy the whole mighty universe, it was no ordinary cube. Believe me, not ordinary. You may ask, who was the owner? Here’s the thing, it didn’t have any. Maybe it did, but the owner did not know it. It was just an ordinary Rubix cube to normal people. See, I said normal people, so, there were, of course, not-normal humans. One really specific one was Johnny, Johnny the “King.” He was feared by not only humans but half the universe, the half that was still not conquered by him. He had learned dark magic. The ability to breathe a type of gas was one of the powers. Another was to hate. He hated all human beings, infecting all living things, even though he himself was a human. He was already the master of half the universe, but he wasn’t satisfied, not nearly satisfied. Not nearly. 

Learning that the cube was the key to his success, the King charged into the owner’s house and snatched the cube. Holding up a cube for a moment, nothing happened. Nothing. Just as Johnny started to believe he had gone after the wrong cube, the cube shook. It shook. Believe me, it really shook. Now, if the “King” of the universe couldn’t hold it, nobody could. The cube rose rapidly towards the sun. Nearing the horizon, it glowed. Without warning, it opened up what looked like eyes and spit out a laser ray. With a horrible-looking hole in the middle of the Earth, Johnny laughed. He laughed like a savage man. He was laughing at his own home. Floating towards the cube, it landed comfortably in his strong hands. Johnny had dark power. Really, really dark power. After he ran away from Earth, he was the faithful student of a powerful wizard — an alien. When I say faithful, he was really faithful. He stayed until his Sensei’s death. Actually, he caused the death, however without an ounce of remorse in his heart. Just because of a trivial matter, he killed his teacher. This was Johnny, the King, and the mad, savage man. With a single tap on the cube, the Earth exploded, exploding into nothing. However, before he could react, a sudden streak of light blinded him. Floating in the middle of the debris of the destroyed planet was a man, a tall bulky man with milky white blazing eyes. Hands on fire, feet frozen, mouth spitting venom, eyes shooting lightning. This was the human brother of the cube. Although similar, the brother was weaker, much weaker than the cube. The only advantage he had now was that he had a heart, a real one. 

This man, the only survivor, wanted, yearned for revenge. He yearned for it. Johnny had destroyed all, all of his loved ones, his friends, even his children. His home, the home he loved the most, was also reduced to nothing but dust. He could not accept seeing Johnny taking another half of the universe. With the determination of love, he set off with a fatal mission of taking down Johnny the King, the King…

Standing, still staring right at Johnny, both men were still, but their hearts thumped furiously, however, for different reasons. If you thought they were going to fight right there and then, well, you are wrong. Now, the man who lived, named Cooper, was smart. Not like normal smart, but overpowering smart. The genius cells speeding around in his huge brain, he decided to hide first, then fight. Johnny was already starting towards him. One step at a time, the radiation of the cube became stronger and stronger. With a silent snap, Cooper disappeared into thin air, leaving Johnny looking wild, twitching his head, eyes swirling around, searching for the man who lived. Well, of course, it was to no avail. The cube had already fallen deadly silent, not moving, not making a noise. Neither did it glow nor send out heat waves. It was just like an ordinary cube, waiting for someone smart enough to turn it vigorously to its original 6 brilliant colours. 

Letting out a loud groan, Johnny flew away with a heavy heart. Without speaking to that mysterious man, he knew. He had a weird feeling that he was an enemy — not a normal enemy like the rest of the universe but an enemy that he needed to put up a fight to conquer. He sat on his jewel throne, face ashen, hand still gripping the Rubix cube like it was his life string. Well, as you can see, it was kind of like his life string. 

Meanwhile, at the very corner of the universe, Cooper landed soundlessly onto a planet, not a centimeter touched by Johnny. Don’t ask me how I know, ask Cooper. He had all the power you could want. He would know how I know that it wasn’t touched yet. Yet. Snapping his finger once more, Cooper was nothing. Nothing as in “invisible.” Not only invisible but also “untouchable.” He was just air, floating around the place. 

It was like a futuristic world with all the cool technology. It was a small world, very small indeed — it was the size of the moon. (Well, don’t ask me how I know how big Earth 01 was. I told you Cooper was the brother of the magic cube.) Walking around, minding their own business, were human-like beings, maybe real humans. Looking just like everyone else, nobody noticed him. Of course, nobody could — he was invisible and “untouchable.”

 Eyes zooming around the place, Cooper noticed something, something worth talking about. It was an alien world after all; everything was strange, even fascinating. The buildings were tiny but big. Let me explain. The building seemed only two times taller than Cooper himself. Once he stepped in, it turned out to be the biggest shopping mall he had ever seen. With each store as big as a land property’s total area, there were at least thousands of shops. Looking straight, Cooper could not see the end. Better still, that small world seemed to be money-free. The natives took things and left, without even going to the cashier. There wasn’t even a cashier. Basically, it was just like a buffet without the expensive prices. Well, maybe then there would be no thieves. Sure enough, there were plenty of buffets, and of course with no price. Piling in a long neat row were billions and billions of different foods, all looking better than the ones on Earth. Well, even a superhuman could not resist this. Mouth watering like a fountain, he teleported from place to place, snatching up things, gulping down delicious food, even sometimes stopping to visit the casino.

After all these surprises and shocks, the death of the world started to slip out of his mind. Bit by bit, piece by piece, they started to disappear, disappear into thin air. With another gulp of food, one bit was gone. With another new piece of clothing on, one piece was gone. Soon enough, only a tiny, mini section of the scene and memory was left. Fatigue started growing into his bones. Exhaustion loomed over him. Eyelids starting to droop, Cooper finally, finally decided to teleport out of the massive shopping mall. The moment his feet touched the cold damp ground, a weird, dreadful, painful feeling smashed into him, giving him a vigorous shiver. Eyes looking around blankly, the little segment of memory burned in his brain. 

“Cooper Grandsir! There you are enjoying yourself while the universe’s fate is at risk! It’s fate is in your hands! In your hands! You better start training, yes?! You need to kill Johnny. Kill him. Kill him! Kill him! Kill him! Your children died, you can still save them. Your friends died, you still can bring them back. Your wife died, do you not want to serve justice?!” A shrill voice screamed, really screamed the life out of Cooper. With that, he fell to the ground, of course soundless, falling into a deep coma.

Magical things happened. Still laying there, unconscious, the little piece of memory started to grow. It glowed golden light, filling up his whole head. It was a memory, right, so it should replay the past. Like a film, every moment Cooper spent with his three dearest sons was shown before his eyes. Before Cooper even knew he had the power, he was a free man. Playing with his sons every day, laughing and cackling. Next came his wife. Every night he spent his free time watching movies with her. Every morning, he woke up extra early to finish all the household chores before rushing to work just to save his beloved wife’s energy. 

Next came his two best friends, always driving to work together, always buying lunch for each other, always, always lending out a helping hand to each other in times of need. His life was packed full of love, fun, excitement, until — there was always this until, always — until he acknowledged his powers. His luck was not bad. He learned his powers at the exact moment the Earth exploded, just enough to get him out of the debris safe and sound. 

Now, you are probably shouting at this paper, screaming why I am still talking about Cooper. Where’s Johnny? Now, I am going to hop right into the opposite end of the universe now. Come on, stop grabbing your hand, fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. 

Ability to teleport is one thing; riding on a pegasus, flying seven times faster than light is another thing. Now, even if you couldn’t really see the horse in motion, let me tell you, it was extraordinarily beautiful, more beautiful than you can imagine. You can guess that ugly King was riding on that glorious pony, trying his best to look more handsome. It was quite a ride, quite a ride. Now, he didn’t have seat belts, not like you guys, so he was thrown off plenty of times. Screaming at the top of his lungs, arms flailing like jelly sticks, he was like a huge block of dirt striking across the cosmos; whenever you thought it was going to crash, boom, something would catch him, throw him straight back onto the whining pegasus’s back. Wait, how are you supposed to see all this? He was faster than light. No, no, no, you know what, you all just picture this scene in your mind. Now that was Johnny’s one little activity to spend his time. Fun? 

The rest of the day was filled with this kind of activity, this kind… Did he give food to his people? Nope. Did he follow the rules? No. Did he try to rule the planets that were his? No. Did he go around doing crazy stuff and try to get himself killed? Yes. Only on some days, some days as in once a month, he would do something useful — not useful to others, but really essential to him. Battle. 

No, he didn’t charge into battle like a mental person, no; he sat, eating McDonald’s on a chair, shouting at his army through a huge speaker. A huge one. Not only was it huge, but the voice that came out of it was even more gigantic. That itself would kill half the enemy. Now, you are going to ask, how did his army not die? Easy, they all were robots — no eyes, no brain, no heart. Only a pair of ears and the ability to fight was installed into the human-like robots. Now their ears wouldn’t break, at least not that easily. I must say, Johnny’s method was pretty impressive, able to conjure, destroy ten planets at the same moment.  

But there was something that always bothered Johnny. Every time before battle, a deep wild voice would warn him in his ears.

“Johnny, be careful, stop and think. Do you really think killing so many aliens is fun? Stop your war and return back to your Sensei. Come on, Johnny.” The voice sounded dangerously like the Sensei that Johnny had murdered. Most importantly, after asking all his generals, Johnny confirmed that only he could hear that annoying instructing voice. Even before he set his heart on the magic cube, the voice alerted him to think twice. But, of course, he didn’t listen to a thing the scary voice said. Shaking his head vigorously, Johnny screamed in his head to ask the voice to leave. Every time was similar. However, every time, it just got more serious and harder to get rid of. This was the sole thing that kept Johnny from perfectly killing all the aliens.

Now, where was the cube? Of course in his clumsy hands, glowing, showing off, duh. One special occasion, when he got a bit tired of spectating aliens’ heads, getting brutally chopped off, or getting run through by a shotgun, he just gave the glorious cube a little shake. As silent as nothing, another hundred planets were gone. Let me stop for a moment because you guys probably have questions again. Right? Why did Johnny destroy the planets? I thought he wanted to take over the world and be king? Is that your question? Now, I forgot to tell you that his cube, the cube again, already sucked all the jewels to his gloomy castle. So now that he was rich, why would he want the useless planets? He only left behind the beautiful ones. That’s it. That was Johnny. Basically a planet killer. 

Riding his winged horse, Johnny shuddered. At that precise moment, he became an absolute genius. The brain cells swam around the head faster than he was flying, having 0.00001-second meetings here and there, discussing an idea, an absolute genius idea: to take over the world in less than 1 hour. Good thinking, right? Good idea, right? It would totally work, right? To him, an absolute yes. To you, I hope it’s a yes. If now you are thinking no, and your name is Johnny, switch your brain right now, this very instance. Go! Now the rest of you, please, please keep your pure brain with you.  

After rewarding himself with another ten hours of speed flying, he was tired, alright. Throwing himself onto his sofa, he called for his generals. All of them came in unison, speaking in unison, taking action in unison. 

“Master, how can we help?” Imagine ten similar voices speaking in an enclosed toilet, that’s how Johnny liked it. Weird? Do I still need to answer that question?! 

“Destroy any planet at will. Destroy everything in one hour. Go. If you fail me, well, we have plenty of hungry Johnnys here, they will love to eat you.” With that, the echoes of steps rang in the room, but of course still at the same frequency, at the same time. None of the generals dare to defy the King, not even showing the slightest displeasure. 

Still in his room, Johnny switched on the television. Itching with eagerness, Johnny was twitching and spinning on the cushions, waiting to watch his favorite movie: chopping off aliens’ heads. Fist clenching and unclenching, he tried to suppress his thirst. Finally, with a deafening bang, the great battle began. Robots charged into the cities, catching the aliens by surprise. Chopping off every head that came into vision, even ten at a time, the army advanced. One by one, the planets fell. One by one, the planets disappeared. One by one, the universe was becoming Johnny’s. Laughing his stomach out was Johnny on his sofa, tearing up (of joy, not any other reason) at the scene of innocent aliens screaming halfway.

That was a huge break from Cooper. Let’s go back to Cooper, shall we?

Gliding through the universe as a group of mist, he visited every planet that was still active, still alive, not destroyed by… him. You know who “him” is. Every planet was different, very different. Some were small, others were big. Some were inhabited by robots, others inhabited by aliens. Some were glorious, developed, others rundown, rural. So on and so forth. However, there was one similarity, just one single factor: all were quiet, all were dead-like. Anxiety hung in the air. Guns, lasers, bombs, rockets were lined up every few kilometers. All planets, no matter good or bad, small or big, poor or rich, were preparing for battle. 

After at least half an hour of gliding, inspecting all the depressing planets, Cooper reached his home. His long-lost home. His favourite home. His only home. Looking at the unknown debris, floating around pointlessly. Just as he wanted to reach out and feel the leftovers of his home, with a dangerous flash, a knife swung towards Cooper’s neck to cut cleanly through it. Head sliding off his shoulders, Cooper froze for a split second, then as quickly as the knife came, he dissipated into nothing. 

With a sharp, uncertain breath, Cooper lifted his head slowly, eyes still fixed on the orb. Letting out a second shaky breath, he was in deep thought, cells spinning faster than Johnny was flying.  

“It seems this will be a really tough century. This student is a bit of trouble.” Exclaiming to himself, Cooper paced around the room, eyes focused on the ceiling, hands behind his back. Even the greatest wizard was having trouble handling this boy called Johnny. 

Twelve years have passed. 

His shabby clothes flagging behind him, Cooper journeyed towards Johnny’s comfortable sofa. Entering “Mr. King’s” house rudely, he passed right through the still blaring television, always screaming painful dreadful shouts of terror. 

“Sensei? I thought you were dead. I killed you. You should be in hell!” With eyes three times larger than usual, Johnny exclaimed, still lying on his leather sofa. 

“Allow me to trespass upon your hospitality for a while more. I came here for just one thing. Please listen to me. It is crucial to you, and only you. Listen up Johnny.” Without stopping to wait for a response, Cooper continued rambling in his deep, dangerous tone. “Do you remember the curse you placed on everybody? Anyone who spills blood will die a pitiful death. I am sorry, and grateful at the same time, that you have accidentally placed it on yourself too. And I daresay you have not only spilt one person’s blood but millions. Now Johnny, I will give you one more chance to stop all you are doing and come back with me. You will be a great leader, respected by all, if you allow me to purify your heart. The curse still can be lifted. This is your final chance. Do you realise every time you wanted to start a war, a voice would ring in your head? The voice was mine. I was a teacher, and now a guide, in the future even a partner. I always wanted to guide you back to the right path. But it seems that I have failed to do so. Even I cannot do so. This is your terminal, ultimate chance to clean your heart. Please, Johnny. I promise you you would be more respected, more loved and more happy, more powerful than this present state. I will give you one ending minute.”  

Sneering at his long-ago teacher, Johnny kicked the stool nearby, shooting straight up, coming to the same height as his Sensei. 

“You really think I would listen to all your rubbish. I hate the human world. They never treated me well. So why should I be good to them? You are no longer my teacher, just like you said. I am the king of the universe. Nobody gives me advice. Vacancy is sweet, indeed. All my hate is helping me. I will conjure the world before you even leave here — that is, if you even ever set foot out in the open again.” These words trailed out from Johnny’s mouth like a snake, smooth but surely venomous. Drawing out a blazing silver sword, he got ready to strike. 

“Let me say one last word before you leave; the world you have been destroying was a fake one that I created just for you. I hoped and expected you to change, to return to the good side. You would be a great help to humankind, to all living things in the real universe. Now you have missed your last chance, you will disappear. I am sincerely sorry for not being able to help you more. Johnny, always remember this. Your hatred has overwhelmed you. Never let the hatred control, always control it. That was our very first lesson together. I hope you will remember…” Tears started pouring from his shriveled eyes as Johnny started to fade, so did the rest of the universe. With a bellow, Johnny disappeared, swallowed by his own curse, wasting his whole life, his powerful magic on destroying the fake universe, totally conjured by the hatred to mankind.

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