Almost in the same moment that the sea beasts and Sea Demons opened their eyes, some of the sea beasts closest to Meng Hao began to charge toward him through the mists of the Ninth Sea at top speed.
As they sped along, they caused the mists to seethe, and faint rumbling sounds to echo out. Meng Hao sat on his black beetle, bursting with lofty aspirations. Suddenly, his eyes narrowed, and he looked up ahead into the mists.
Without any warning, a roar exploded out, and the mists surged away from him as a huge seal burst onto the scene.
The seal was fully nine meters long, with razor-sharp teeth. It almost looked like a dog 1, except that it had no fur, only scales. It sped out of the mists toward Meng Hao, bursting with energy comparable to the Immortal Realm. In the blink of an eye, it was upon him.
Its eyes were filled with incredible killing intent, as if it simply couldn’t live under the same sky as Meng Hao.
Meng Hao gaped, flabbergasted. This was his first time ever visiting the Ninth Sea, and as far as he could remember, he had never offended anyone from here, unless you counted Fan Dong’er.
The sudden appearance of this seal was completely unexpected, causing him to frown. A fishy aroma blasted into his face as he glared back coldly at the seal. When it was less than a meter away, seemingly on the verge of latching its jaws onto him, his right hand snaked out and clamped onto the seal’s throat.
The seal let out a whimper as it screeched to a halt. It struggled violently, but no matter how it howled, Meng Hao’s vice-like grip did not budge in the least. By now, his fleshly body strength was at the very peak of the Immortal Realm, meaning that only a handful of people were qualified to force him to use magical techniques. Most enemies in the Immortal Realm would be easily crushed by the power of his fleshly body alone.
Meng Hao’s eyes flickered with coldness as he squeezed down with his hand. Cracking sounds rang out, and the seal spasmed a few times before its meters-long body went limp, its neck having been crushed by Meng Hao, and its soul completely exterminated.
As it died, it glared at him with a look of vicious madness.
He frowned and loosened his hand, allowing the seal’s corpse to drop down into the sea below. It was at this moment that, all of a sudden, more roars could be heard as more sea creatures began to charge toward him from all directions. In the blink of an eye, he was completely surrounded by dozens of sea beasts.
There were all sorts of creatures, each one completely vicious-looking. As soon as they appeared, they shot through the air toward Meng Hao, staring at him with madness and hatred.
There were even the ripples of magical techniques emanating out from them, causing Heaven and Earth to rumble, and the Ninth Sea to seethe.
Meng Hao’s frown deepened. Something definitely felt off. With a cold harrumph, he lifted his right hand, causing his five hundred black beetles to emerge. They instantly spread out toward the sea beasts, causing buzzing sounds to fill the air.
In the blink of an eye, roaring filled the air as the sea beasts and the black beetles began to fight. However, no matter what the sea beasts did, their divine abilities were useless against the black beetles.
When they bit viciously at the black beetles with their sharp teeth, not even a scratch was left behind. In contrast, the beetles chomped at them voraciously; in the space of only about ten breaths of time, the entire area was stained red with blood, and nothing remained of the sea beasts except for corpses. What was left behind of their bodies was quickly devoured by the black beetles.
It was a bloody scene, but when it came to scenes of carnage, Meng Hao had seen much worse. Something like this wouldn’t cause him to feel ill at ease. However, the frown never left his face.
He proceeded along, sending the black beetles ahead of him. In the short span of a few hours, numerous sea beasts from the Ninth Sea attacked him with reckless abandon, almost as if they were insane.
First it was a few at a time, then a few dozen at once, then hundreds attacked him simultaneously. There was even a Sea Dragon that rose up with them from the sea floor, roaring, filled with madness and hatred as it tried to consume Meng Hao.
“This isn’t because of Fan Dong’er,” he thought, killing intent flickering. The black beetles slashed at the sea beasts in a frenzy, causing miserable shrieks to ring out. As for the Sea Dragon, which was over thirty meters long, Meng Hao simply stepped forward and punched its head. It instantly began to fall apart into pieces, after which its body shattered.
Soon, Meng Hao’s mind was trembling. He was now surrounded by seething fog, and as he sent out his divine sense to scan the area, he could tell that almost a thousand sea beasts were charging toward him.
Some of those sea beasts were pitch-black and humanoid. Based on their aura, it was obvious that they were not ordinary sea beasts, but rather, something exceptionally vicious.
When they looked at Meng Hao, it was with towering hatred.
If that were all there were to it, it might not matter. But gradually, Meng Hao began to sense that it wasn’t just the sea beasts who hated him. It was almost as if, for some inexplicable reason, the Ninth Sea itself was trying to expel him.
Off in the distance, Meng Hao saw even more sea beasts charging toward him from all directions. Nobody truly knew how many of them existed in the boundless Ninth Sea. However, he could tell that if things didn’t end soon, he would become embroiled in a huge battle, and would continue to attract the attention of even more terrifying sea beasts, which caused his scalp to go numb.
If a creature appeared that was similar to the latter stages of the Ancient Realm, he might very well die.
“Dammit, what’s going on here!?” he thought, sending the black beetle flying upward, away from the surface of the sea itself. Behind him, more than a thousand sea beasts flew out in pursuit, roaring. It was at this point that he retrieved a command medallion from within his bag of holding.
Raising it high above his head, he cried out at the top of his lungs, “Disciple Meng Hao has returned to the Nine Seas God World and requests an escort from the sect!”
As his voice echoed out, he crushed the jade medallion. Ripples immediately spread out, carrying his voice echoing out into the depths of the sea.
By now, the swarm of attacking sea beasts was very close to him. Meng Hao was no pushover. Naturally, he couldn’t simply ignore so many sea beasts. Snorting coldly, he caused his Immortal meridians to explode with power, then lifted his left hand, summoning tens of thousands of mountains and sending them crushing down toward the sea beasts.
However, it was at this point that a cold voice suddenly echoed out from the bottom of the sea.
“You’re Meng Hao?” Even as the voice rang out, rumbling could be heard, and the surface of the sea parted as a figure appeared. He stepped out to hover on the mist above the sea.
It was a man, but he had a very strange appearance. His skin was pitch-black, and although it was not covered by scales, he did have a golden fish scale on his forehead.
He was clothed in the garb of a disciple of the Nine Seas God World, just as Fan Dong’er had been the first time Meng Hao had seen her.
As soon as he appeared, he glanced around at all the sea beasts, resulting in them instantly stopping in place. Then they backed off and then vanished into the waters.
Meng Hao scanned the area with divine sense and could tell that although they had calmed down, they hadn’t actually left. Furthermore, their eyes were filled with just as much hatred as before.
“Many thanks for getting me out of trouble, Fellow Daoist,” Meng Hao said, sighing with relief. He clasped hands and bowed toward the man. “Sir, I am Meng Hao, ordered by the Three Great Daoist Societies to come to report for duty at the Nine Seas God World!”
From the look of it, this man was not a cultivator, but rather some being that was somewhere between a sea beast and a human. It had cultivated some unique magical technique that allowed it to take human form.
It seemed like a Demon, and yet was different from Demons.
The man stared grimly at Meng Hao, hatred flickering in his eyes, as well as revulsion, all of which he seemed to be fighting to control.
“Come with me,” he said coldly. An instinctual killing intent seemed to rise up within him that he intentionally suppressed as he turned and flickered toward the bottom of the sea.
Meng Hao’s face darkened. He didn’t care much about sea beasts, but as for this being that was neither a human nor a Demon, he didn’t understand why it hated him and wanted to kill him. After all, he had never done anything to offend the Ninth Sea.
Remaining completely on guard, he watched as the man headed down into the sea, then collected his black beetles, and followed along with a cold harrumph.
The two of them proceeded along in single file, not talking, moving at top speed. Meng Hao could sense even more types of sea beasts as they neared the sea floor, and all of them seemed to view him as an enemy.
“Why exactly are they acting like this?” he thought. Gradually, they went deeper and deeper, until Meng Hao’s face finally flickered with shock. The pressure weighing down on him as he went deeper only continued to grow more intense. However, his cultivation base automatically rotated to push back against it.
The pressure was not because of some sort of sealing magic, but rather pressure that simply pushed down from the Ninth Sea itself. Because of that, his cultivation base was restricted, much the same as if he had been carrying something very heavy. At the same time, magical techniques that would be easy to unleash on the surface, would be much harder to use here.
The deeper they went, the greater the pressure. Meng Hao was shaken as he realized that his cultivation base had already been reduced to about seventy percent of its normal level.
Finally, his eyes started to glow with excitement as he suddenly realized why the Nine Seas God World was so terrifying. If you spent long periods of time practicing cultivation there, then when you went out into the outside world, your cultivation base would explode up, and be even more powerful than before.
“The Three Great Daoist Societies really are incredible. There have to be special reasons why they have survived for so many years. Even just the special benefits provided from practicing cultivation here are enough to make the cultivators of the Nine Seas God World much stronger than those of most other sects.” At this point, he stopped fighting back against the Ninth Sea, and instead focused all of his efforts instead on enduring it.
After enough time passed for an incense stick to burn, the man led them to… a place that Meng Hao found completely shocking.
Here, at the bottom of the sea, was a land mass!
It was not the seafloor, but rather, floated in the middle of the waters. It stretched far out into the blackness, making it impossible to see where it ended!
It looked enormous, like the fabled undersea palace of the Dragon King. Ornamental rocks could be seen everywhere, placed next to sprawling buildings. Bizarre and exotic flowers could be seen, as well as mountain ranges, and even rivers and cities.
There were innumerable cultivators, flying around in beams of light. Sea Dragons could be seen swimming about, causing the entire world to overflow with the sensation of life.
Nine golden gates marked the entrance to the sect, and erected above the top of the foremost gate was a sign with four words.
Nine Seas God World!
In Chinese the word for “seal” is literally “sea dog” ↩