The white-robed woman remained silent for a moment, looking at the meat jelly with a complex expression, as if she were recalling the past. Meng Hao wasn’t sure why, but for some reason it almost looked like an expression of… bitter resentment.
All of a sudden, Meng Hao’s scalp began to go numb, and he subconsciously looked over at the meat jelly, then back at the white-robed Paragon. He had hoped that he had been mistaken, and that there was not really a look of bitter resentment on her face. And yet, when he looked back at her, he was even more certain than before, causing him to blink.
After a moment of silence, the white-robed Paragon slowly asked, “Is it that you don’t remember, or that you’re not willing to admit it?”
“Don’t remember,” the meat jelly replied, its voice hoarse, but lacking the slightest trace of its usual long-windedness.
“Years ago, there was a cultivator whose name was Lei Daozi 1. He was a lightning cultivator, and one of the nine Emperors. He was known as the Lightning Emperor. Did you know him?” The white-robed woman expression grew more and more complex as she looked at the meat jelly. Sometimes she remembered things clearly, other times things were a blur. However, recently, she had began to recall many things about the past.
“Never heard of him.” The meat jelly’s voice was as ancient as ever, and yet, now seemed to contain a hint of pain.
The white-robed woman looked deeply at the meat jelly for a moment, then sighed and softly said, “If it weren’t for the great catastrophe, he was the most likely to have become the fourth Paragon. Back then he and I… had an agreement.” 2
The meat jelly maintained its silence, saying not a single word.
The white-robed woman closed her eyes for a while, and when she opened them again, they were looking at the parrot. Her expression was one of revulsion, and in response, the parrot lowered its head even further and glanced around furtively. From Meng Hao’s perspective, the parrot looked very nervous, perhaps even scared.
Finally the woman turned from the parrot to look at Meng Hao. Her voice cool, she said, “Well, you’re doing well. Once you enter the Ancient Realm, you will definitely become part of my plans!” Finally, she turned to leave.
Meng Hao was not a newcomer to the world of cultivation. He was used to schemes and counter-schemes, and knew not to take everything people said at face value. Therefore, it was obvious to him that something was going on beneath the surface here. Clearly, she had only paid perfunctory attention to himself and the parrot. The true reason she had shown up was because of the meat jelly!
It almost seemed like, she had only shown up to ask it those few questions. He had long since known that the parrot and meat jelly had extraordinary backgrounds. However, he could never have imagined that they were wrapped up with the white-robed Paragon. As for the meat jelly, apparently, its past involved some inspiring and tragic tale.
Just when the white-robed woman was about to leave, she suddenly stopped in place, looked at Li Ling’er, and said, “Eee?”
As she peered over, and her eyes filled with a strange gleam.
“You look just like….” she murmured softly. She waved a finger, causing Li Ling’er to involuntarily fly through the air to hover in front of the white-robed woman.
“Are you willing to practice cultivation under me?” she asked, her tone serious.
Li Ling’er stared in shock. Based on how Meng Hao had treated and talked to the woman, she could tell that there was something unfathomably mysterious about her.
As she hesitated, she looked over and happened to see the shocked look on Meng Hao’s face. With a cold, inward harrumph, she ceased any hesitation and clasped hands toward the white-robed woman.
“Junior is willing!”
The white-robed woman nodded slightly, then turned. As she did, a cloud appeared beneath Li Ling’er’s feet, which carried her alongside the woman as she left.
Li Ling’er looked a bit apprehensive, but when she turned and saw Meng Hao’s astonished expression, she suddenly felt a great sense of contentment, and glared into his eyes.
Meng Hao truly was shocked, and had the feeling that he had been neglected. The fact that the meat jelly had a mysterious background was one thing. However, he had practiced cultivation to the level of becoming the Immortal Realm Paragon. When he absorbed the Nirvana Fruit, he could even reach the level of the Immortal Emperor. And yet, from what he could tell, Li Ling’er seemed to attract even more attention from the white-robed woman than he did.
And then there was the ‘peasant-become-king’ attitude she exuded as she stared at him hatefully. It was as if she was trying to convey that when they met again in the future, their relative positions would be very different.
Rolling his eyes inwardly, he clasped hands and bowed deeply to Li Ling’er, a solemn expression on his face, as if he couldn’t hold back from expressing his condolences to her.
“Ling’er, I apologize. It doesn’t matter if you have a new position, I still can’t take you as a wife. I’m already married, and you and I just don’t suit each other. I wish you all the best, and hope that you can someday find your own happiness.” Meng Hao sighed, and his eyes shone with an expression of condolence.
As soon as Li Ling’er heard his words, she trembled. “Shut the hell UP, Meng Hao!!”
Glaring at him, she gritted her teeth and stamped her foot. With that, she ignored Meng Hao and followed the white-robed woman off into the distance.
After they disappeared, sighs of relief could be heard coming from the mouths of both the parrot and the meat jelly.
“Now THAT was scary!” Lord Fifth exclaimed. “So, the old Demongranny has gotten some of her memories back!!” It patted its chest with its wing, as if it had just survived some harrowing experience.
“Thankfully, it seems that she only got some of her memories back, not a lot,” the parrot murmured. “Otherwise, she wouldn’t have just looked annoyed when she saw me. She would have plucked me and roasted me for dinner.” It seemed truly surprised to still be alive.
The meat jelly let out a long sigh, after which its face lit up with excitement and it said, “How was my acting!? Hahaha! Meng Hao, and you, you old pigeon, tell the truth. Was Lord Third’s acting good or not, huh? Good or not!?
“Hahaha! Hey, I almost forgot that we had a bet! Lord Third wins! Lord Third’s acting ability is incredible! However, it seems a bit wrong and immoral. Pidgeon Fifth, don’t you agree?” Now that the meat jelly was speaking, it blabbered on, apparently having held its tongue for far too long earlier and was now looking to make up for it.
“Your acting is worth a fart!” said the Parrot, smacking the meat jelly. “You almost gave it all away! You said way too much! Next time, remember that when you talk to the Demongranny, you should only say one word!”
Meng Hao stared at the meat jelly in shock. The meat jelly had now reverted to behaving like it always had in the past, and from their dialogue just now, it seemed that it and the parrot had been betting with each other about something.
Meng Hao felt a headache coming on, and wasn’t sure what to say to the two ninnies.
However, he couldn’t forget the ‘Lightning Emperor’ that the white-robed woman had mentioned. He looked thoughtfully over at the meat jelly, but didn’t ask any further questions. On many occasions in the past, he had tried to pry out information about their past, but to no avail. He had gotten used to that. Finally, he sent out his divine will, causing the black beetles to speed forward.
Several hours later, Meng Hao, along with the five hundred or so black beetles, and the incessantly bickering parrot and meat jelly, all emerged from the Ruins of Immortality. They hovered in the starry sky, and out in front of them was the Ninth Sea.
Thinking about everything that had happened recently, Meng Hao turned back to look through the Ruins of Immortality in the direction of Planet East Victory. His eyes then gleamed with determination as he turned and headed toward the Ninth Sea atop his black beetle.
“The Nine Seas God World will most likely finally give me all the rewards I earned during the Three Great Daoist Societies’ trial by fire.” A thoughtful expression appeared in his eyes as he mused about it. The Three Great Daoist Societies had all agreed to accept him as a disciple because of his being in the Echelon, and had also expressed the intention of giving him some good fortune.
He also knew that he wouldn’t be spending a lot of time in the Nine Seas God World. After picking up his prizes, he would practice cultivation for a bit, and then head to the other two Great Daoist Societies.
“The good fortune they will provide me is most likely something to help me get to the Ancient Realm as quickly as possible!” His eyes glittered. According to what the white-robed Paragon had said, it wouldn’t be until he stepped into the Ancient Realm as a member of the Echelon that he would figure into her plans.
As for the Ancient Realm, he had his own path to tread.
“Absorb the Nirvana Fruits!” he thought with a frown. After leaving Planet East Victory, he had tried to absorb the Nirvana Fruits on multiple occasions. However, he couldn’t permanently fuse with any of them, not even his own Nirvana Fruits.
Actually, not even Fang Wei had been able to stay fused with his Nirvana Fruits for very long. That was something he had been able to sense during their battle.
Meng Hao maintained his silence as he got closer to the Ninth Sea. Occasionally he would pass traveling cultivators, but when they saw him and his five hundred black beetles, they would fearfully avoid him, not daring to get close.
He didn’t want anyone to recognize who he was, so he used the black feather to change his appearance. Therefore, nobody who saw him had any idea that he was actually the preeminently famous Meng Hao of the Ninth Mountain and Sea.
As he neared the Ninth Sea, he gradually heard crashing sounds like that of ocean waves. Up ahead, the sea of mist roiled unceasingly, and an indescribably boundless energy shook everything in the starry sky.
Meng Hao didn’t waste any time. Occasionally, he would attempt to absorb the Nirvana Fruits, and he occasionally brought Su Yan out of his bag of holding. He would try to have casual and friendly conversations with her in the hope of convincing her to give him some of her Daoist magics in exchange for her freedom.
However, Su Yan would only looked at him derisively and make piercing, uncompromising comments.
After several attempts, it was clear that no matter what line of reasoning he attempted, Su Yan would never agree. Finally, he had no more patience. Waving his hand, he covered her with restrictive spells, sealing her completely, whereupon he stuffed her into a bag of holding.
“I bet that if she goes through a bit of suffering, she won’t be so uncooperative!” Unless absolutely necessary, Meng Hao didn’t want to use Soulsearch. That was a very vile method, and there was no sort of unresolvable enmity between the two of them as of yet.
The best outcome, and his first choice, would be for her to cooperate and hand over some of her Daoist magics.
Several days later, Meng Hao, atop a black beetle, finally entered the border region of the Ninth Sea. That black beetle was the only one he kept outside of his bag of holding as he looked out at the mists of the Ninth Sea, a strange gleam in his eyes.
The Ninth Sea seemed boundless, almost completely without end. Mist stretched out as far as the eye could see. Everything seemed damp, leading Meng Hao to the conclusion that there really was a huge sea at the bottom of all the mist.
“Such a huge sea….” he breathed. Back in the Fang Clan, he had seen a map of the Nine Mountains and Seas, and was aware that if he passed all the way through the Ninth Sea, he would end up in the region of the Eighth Mountain.
“The Ninth Mountain and Sea is not the end of the road for me!” As he looked off into the distance, his heart filled with lofty aspirations. On his path of cultivation, he wanted to be free and unfettered. He wanted true freedom and independence.
Heaven could not block his path, and Earth could not obstruct his way!
He patted his black beetle, which let out a roar as it transformed into a black beam of light that shot into the mists of the Ninth Sea.
Almost in the exact moment that he entered the Ninth Sea, countless eyes suddenly snapped open, both in the mists that surrounded him, and the blackness of the depths of the sea.
Those eyes belonged to numerous sea beasts and Sea Demons that inhabited the Ninth Sea. Normally speaking, they did not have conflicts with cultivators, but as of this moment, for some reason they all opened their eyes and roared, and their expressions were that of murderous intent.
It was as if there was something about Meng Hao’s aura that roused all of the sea beasts and Sea Demons of the Ninth Sea into a rage.
Lei means “lightning.” Dao is “the Dao,” and Zi means “child” or “son.” As I mentioned before “Daozi” is also what is translated as “Dao Child” when used as a title ↩
The word used here “agreement” is a very broad term in Chinese that can mean a lot of things. However, the vague implication based on the context would be some sort of romantic “agreement” or perhaps “engagement.” One of the Chinese to English dictionaries I use even has “engagement” as a definition for this word. Of course, based on the context, you can’t tell exactly what she means, and it could potentially be just some other random “agreement” ↩