Chapter 1507: Can’t Tell Clearly
The person who had come to visit him was none other than Chen Fan!
The confusion in Meng Hao’s eyes grew. There wasn’t the least bit of unfamiliarity to this Chen Fan. Quite the opposite. Meng Hao was sure that he knew him. Not only did he exist in Meng Hao’s memories, he also had a place deep within his intuition.
As Chen Fan walked in and sat down cross-legged in front of him, Meng Hao felt stabbing pain in his head. Within his mind, Chen Fan was like a drop of water falling into a pot of boiling oil.
The resulting explosion caused random, scattered memories to flit through Meng Hao’s mind. They were like a cyclone that roared through his thoughts, none of them connected, and yet all of them featuring Chen Fan.
They were like memories from another life, and they left Meng Hao trembling, his eyes bloodshot. Demonic qi roared, and finally, he clenched his hands into fists and roared, unleashing the power of his cultivation base. That power was definitely not the power of the Ancient Realm, it was the peak of the 9-Essences level.
Although the room was being destroyed around them, Chen Fan wasn’t affected at all. He leaned forward, grabbed Meng Hao by the shoulders, and shouted, “Little Junior Brother!!”
Meng Hao began to pant, staring at Chen Fan, chaos raging within him. Not only was he bewildered by what was going on, he felt as if there were a voice inside of him yelling something at him, something he couldn’t quite make out.
As Meng Hao’s cultivation base erupted out, the entire sect was shaken, and countless individuals flew over anxiously.
“Little Junior Brother, wake up!!” Chen Fan roared.
“None of that is real! Everything you experienced in the Vast Expanse Realm was an illusion!!
“You are back in the real world now. The Vast Expanse Realm is just an Arcane Pocket Realm, the ruins of a place which died ages and ages ago!”
Chen Fan’s shouting grew louder, and it eventually pierced its way into Meng Hao’s mind. Meng Hao was panting even harder than before, and his eyes were crimson. More and more memories were flying about in his mind.
In one moment, he was experiencing familiar sensations in an unfamiliar world. The next moment, he was experiencing unfamiliar sensations in a familiar world. It made it impossible for him tell clearly what was real.
“Not real?” he asked hoarsely. He didn’t recognize his own voice, as if it weren’t even him speaking. It sounded hoarse and grating, like metal rubbing against rock.
“Not real!” Chen Fan replied. “It was all a fantasy we experienced in the Vast Expanse Arcane Pocket Realm. You’re not the only one to go through this. I had the same feelings. In fact, everyone who escaped from the Arcane Pocket Realm had the same experience.”
He clasped Meng Hao by the shoulders and anxiously continued: “A big group from the Hundred Sects went into the Arcane Pocket Realm together. Who would have ever guessed that as soon as we entered, we were sucked into a fantasy? Of course, there were upsides. For example, both you and I were able to find our own path of cultivation within the confusing fantasy.”
The bewilderment in Meng Hao’s eyes grew more intense. He believed Chen Fan, but deep inside, there was something shouting at him, and he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off.
“I remember a woman,” Meng Hao blurted subconsciously. “She–”
“Was her name Xu Qing?” Chen Fan interrupted. Meng Hao’s jaw dropped. As soon as the name Xu Qing entered his mind, a tremor ran through him. The expression of struggle on his face grew more intense; it felt as if he were stuck in a nightmare.
“Think carefully,” Chen Fan said, “and you’ll realize that the Xu Qing you are thinking about is exactly the same as Xu Qing from the Dao of Water Sect, right? Junior Brother, you were in a relationship with Xu Qing from the Dao of Water Sect, but in the end, she chose the path of Immortality, not you.” As Chen Fan spoke, memories rose up within Meng Hao’s mind. He suddenly remembered that Xu Qing had been a fellow disciple of the Blue Sea Sect. However, because of various circumstances, she ended up defecting to another sect, and severing any connections she had to him.
“No,” Meng Hao murmured. “There’s also Fatty and Wang Youcai. What about my dad and mom, and my sister? What about Sun Hai and my Master, Pill Demon…?” However, as more memories appeared in his mind, he had to admit that he saw images of everyone he had just mentioned.
Virtually all of them were cultivators from the Hundred Sects, the same ones who had gone into the Vast Expanse Arcane Pocket Realm.
“Was it really all just an illusion…?” Meng Hao murmured bitterly.
Chen Fan nodded, mixed emotions flickering within his eyes.
“Little Junior Brother,” he said softly, gripping Meng Hao’s shoulders, “you were stuck within the Arcane Pocket Realm of the Vast Expanse Realm for far longer than me. That’s why you’re so much more confused, and also why it will take you longer to fully awaken.
“I had the same suspicions as you when I first awoke. I had many confusing impulses, and felt as if I didn’t want to awaken. I even tried to get back into the Vast Expanse Arcane Pocket Realm.
“Other people might not understand what you’re feeling right now, but your Elder Brother does!” Chen Fan seemed very earnest as he looked at Meng Hao, and his expression was one of deep care.
Meng Hao maintained his silence, and yet his eyes seemed more confused than ever. He didn’t want to believe what he was being told, and yet everything around him seemed so real. He could see the images of the people around him within his memories. That was especially true of his wife, who had always cared about him even when he was infatuated with Xu Qing.
And then there was his son, his own flesh and blood. Via divine sense, he could tell that the blood pumping through the boy’s veins was the same as his own.
Most real of all was Chen Fan.
“But,” he muttered, “the Mountain and S–” Before he could finish, Chen Fan interrupted him.
“Enough!” he said, his grip on Meng Hao’s shoulders tightening, tears welling up in his eyes. “Little Junior Brother, you need to wake up. All of that was an illusion. I know that you were just about to bring up the Mountain and Sea Realm. That’s because the first place we all ended up in after going into the Vast Expanse Arcane Pocket Realm was the ruins of the Mountain and Sea Realm.
“Both of us got sucked into the same place. I remember the Mountain and Sea Realm too, as well as the Reliance Sect. Back then, I was your Elder Brother, right?!”
Meng Hao took a deep breath and looked up at Chen Fan.
“It was an illusion, all of it,” Chen Fan said. “The Mountain and Sea Realm wasn’t destroyed in our time, that happened long, long ago. Many years in the past, the Vast Expanse Realm really did exist, and inside of it, there was also a Mountain and Sea Realm. But the people who lived there were not you and me!
“It was all a dream, a dream of Mountains and Seas. We were taken back into ancient times, and that had a big impact on all of us.” Every word spoken by Chen Fan was like a bolt of lightning striking Meng Hao’s mind. “Stop thinking about it. It was all an illusion. What you see around you is reality.”
“This is all real?” Meng Hao murmured. Bitterly, he closed his eyes. His head hurt, and every time he tried to think about the Vast Expanse, it felt like he was being stabbed to the bone.
“This is all real!” Chen Fan replied earnestly. If anyone else had tried to convince him, Meng Hao wouldn’t have believed them. But this was Chen Fan, and both in the clear memories, and the vague ones, he remembered that his Eldest Brother always took care of him.
Meng Hao smiled bitterly, and then took a long breath. “Elder Brother, I understand. I sank into a dream of the Vast Expanse Realm, and it was so realistic that now I’m having trouble telling the difference between what is real and what is not.”
Meng Hao’s eyes were bloodshot, and he seemed older than before, exhausted.
“Just give me some peace and quiet, and I’ll be fine,” he said quietly.
Chen Fan looked at him, patted his shoulder, then rose to his feet.
“Get some rest, and always remember that this place… is real. You are not Meng Hao from the Mountain and Sea Realm. You are the Scion disciple of the Blue Sea Sect, from outside the Vast Expanse. Meng Hao, you are a Chosen from the Hundred Sects of the Vast Expanse Cosmos.”
Meng Hao nodded bitterly. However, there was something that no one could possibly know, which was that the copper mirror inside of his bag holding was sending a hot current of energy into Meng Hao. It swirled around inside of him as he closed his eyes, slowly calming him. The surrounding members of his sect finally breathed sighs of relief, although they still continued to look at him with caring concern.
Chen Fan looked deeply at Meng Hao, then turned and left, looking completely exhausted. After he was gone, Meng Hao’s wife and son returned, looking very anxious and worried. The boy lingered off to the side, looking a bit scared, as though his father was a stranger.
“It’s fine,” Meng Hao said, opening his eyes. “Don’t worry.” He forced a smile onto his face.
A few days passed. During that time, numerous fellow disciples came to offer greetings. Most of them seemed to care for him, but there were also some who secretly wished that he had died in the Vast Expanse Arcane Pocket Realm.
Within Meng Hao’s memories, he didn’t recall seeing those people act in such a way, but now, all it took was a look, and he could sense their true feelings.
His Master came, as did other Senior members of the sect. All of them asked a few questions here and there, and left him with some encouraging words.
Chen Fan came to visit several times. Each time he would sit cross-legged in front of Meng Hao and chat, helping him to remember things from the Blue Sea Sect and the Vast Expanse Cosmos.
Whenever they talked about the Vast Expanse Arcane Pocket Realm, they would sigh.
Meng Hao gradually came to accept his identity, although confusion continued to lurk deep within him.
A month later, when everyone believed Meng Hao to have fully recovered, he was sitting there cross-legged on one rainy night, looking at his wife, when he suddenly stood and walked out into the rain. Deep in his eyes, confusion blossomed.
Within the rain was a stiff wind which lifted his hair up as it whistled through the trees of the courtyard.
“Is this place actually… real?” he thought.
“How come I just can’t forget everything that happened in the Vast Expanse Arcane Pocket Realm? There are so many faces I can’t forget, and I can’t stop thinking about the Mountain and Sea Realm….” He reached his hand out, and as the freezing rain fell onto his palm, it felt like he was being stabbed to the bone.