Chu Yuyan trembled and took a deep breath. Then she turned slowly to look at Meng Hao and, summoning all the energy she could muster, said: “Let. Go. Of. Me!”
“What, can’t keep your hands off me?” she asked derisively. “Just like that year in the volcano?”
“You’re very weak right now,” he replied calmly, releasing her arm. “Don’t be so anxious to leave.”
“Thank you for saving me,” she said, her voice even weaker than before. “As for getting kidnapped, you don’t need to feel guilty about that. It’s not like you did it personally.” She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and then slowly edged forward, keeping her hand planted firmly on the wall to support herself.
Meng Hao did nothing to stop her.
Just when she was almost at the exit, her weakness overwhelmed her. Her vision swam, and she lapsed into unconsciousness.
Meng Hao sighed, stepping forward and grabbing her before she could fall. He then laid her down on the ground and sat cross-legged off to the side, his expression complex.
The Immortal’s cave was very quiet, which allowed Meng Hao to do a lot of thinking. One by one, various scenes of events on Planet South Heaven played through his mind.
Time passed. Two days later, Chu Yuyan opened her eyes again. By now, she had recovered a lot of her energy, but was still weak. She struggled to her feet once again, but this time, didn’t mention anything about leaving. She sat down cross-legged, gazing blankly at nothing.
“Do you remember Han Bei?” Meng Hao suddenly asked.
Chu Yuyan didn’t respond for a long time. Finally she turned and looked at Meng Hao with a slight frown.
“Who’s Han Bei?”
Meng Hao’s eyes widened. After a moment of thought, he said, “Han Bei, from Planet South Heaven. She was a disciple of the Black Sieve Sect, in the Southern Domain.”
“Doesn’t ring a bell,” she said, looking at him, “I didn’t have much contact with the Black Sieve Sect. Why?”
“Oh, nothing. I was just thinking of something that happened a while back.” His face darkened as he realized that Chu Yuyan’s answer didn’t really help him much at all. After all… Chu Yuyan never really knew much about the Black Sieve Sect to begin with!
Therefore, it made sense that she might not know much about Han Bei. The fact that she didn’t remember her now was a bit of a clue, but not true proof, nor much of an explanation about anything. After all, Chu Yuyan’s position within the Violet Fate Sect had been far different than Han Bei’s in the Black Sieve Sect.
It was even possible that she had never even heard of Han Bei, or if she had, never cared enough to take note of her.
Seeing that Meng Hao didn’t want to discuss the matter further, Chu Yuyan didn’t ask any questions. She closed her eyes to meditate. Right now, she knew that she didn’t have the energy to leave; therefore, the best thing to do was to recover as quickly as possible. Then she could leave and return to her sect. She… didn’t want to look at Meng Hao, which made it difficult to know how to interact with him. Every time she saw him, she felt unsettled.
In the days following her departure from Planet South Heaven, she had often asked herself what it was about Meng Hao that she actually liked. It couldn’t just be that one incident in the volcano. Nor could it be all the things that had happened afterward. In the end, she couldn’t find a good reason. She knew that she should hate him, but no matter how much she tried, it was as if… his image was burned into her heart. Sometimes it was Fang Mu from the Violet Fate Sect, and sometimes it was Meng Hao. Sometimes it was both.
She couldn’t get rid of those images. It was almost like some type of curse.
Chu Yuyan sighed, closed her eyes, and continued to meditate.
The Immortal’s cave was once again silent. After a while, Meng Hao’s eyes glimmered as various possibilities flickered through his mind.
“Maybe I’m just reading too much into it, but… the whole situation is very peculiar.” After more thought, his eyes began to shine. Although the matter seemed relatively simple, the more he thought about it, the more complicated it got. He was finally convinced that there was definitely something extraordinary going on.
“The easiest way to discover the truth would be to just go back to Planet South Heaven. However… the Black Sieve Sect is long gone, and it would be hard to track down any survivors.
“Well, Qing’er was there. Once we’re reunited, I can ask her and I’ll know for sure. If Qing’er doesn’t remember Han Bei either, then that means… there’s definitely something very mysterious going on!”
Due to the imminent opening of the Windswept Realm, Meng Hao took the time to make various preparations. He used spirit-immortal stones on all of his black beetles, and even increased the number he fed them in order to speed up the process. In the days that passed, he sealed them away one by one into his bag of holding.
In addition to that, he was also maintaining the peak performance of his Immortal Emperor state. He was far, far stronger than before, and also had his newly empowered divine sense. Furthermore, because of all the trials and tribulations that he had experienced, his cultivation base had experienced explosive growth.
However, those were not his trump cards. His trump card was his Ancient Realm fleshly body, and the two ignited Soul Lamps in his eyes. Because of that, his battle prowess was vastly increased.
Another thing he did was organize his bag of holding. He wanted to make sure that he was thoroughly and completely prepared for the Windswept Realm. He also took out the half-burned incense stick that he had acquired along with the spirit-immortal stones. After examining it thoughtfully for a while, he carefully put it back into his bag of holding.
“I should be able to find an opportunity to absorb my second Nirvana Fruit in the Windswept Realm!” he thought, taking a deep breath.
Soon, seven days passed. At dawn, the toll of bells could be heard, filling the entire Nine Seas God World. Meng Hao’s eyes opened, and they shone brightly.
In the same moment that he opened his eyes, an ancient voice echoed in his ears. It was none other than Godmaster. “Meng Hao, the hour has arrived. Come to the mountain peak!”
Meng Hao took a deep breath and rose to his feet. At the same time, he waved his hands, causing numerous bands of black light to fly toward him. In the end, more than fifty black pods landed on his palm, which he then put into his bag of holding.
He looked over at Chu Yuyan, who opened her eyes and looked back at him.
“Take good care of yourself,” she said softly.
Meng Hao nodded and walked to the door of the Immortal’s cave. There, he stopped.
“The place I’m going to is the shattered remnant of another world. The natural laws there are incomplete, which makes investigation of them that much easier. The venom inside you will dissipate within seven days, and your cultivation base will be restored….
“At that time, you will be on the very edge of the Immortal Realm, on the verge of a breakthrough!
“Because of the chaos of natural law in the place I’m going, it’s actually a very suitable place for Immortal Ascension. However, there are also many dangers there. Do you… want to come along?”
Chu Yuyan sat there quietly, expressions of confusion and reminiscence flashing across her face. After a long moment, her expression turned to one of resolve. She had suddenly recalled something told to her once…. by Pill Demon.
Work hard at cultivation. That way… one day, if you find you’ve lost everything, you will still have a Great dao with you.
Chu Yuyan looked up at Meng Hao and said, “Thank you. I’ll go!”
He didn’t respond. He waved his right sleeve, causing an incredible gravitational force to appear. Chu Yuyan didn’t struggle; she allowed the power to pull her into Meng Hao’s bag of holding.
Finally, Meng Hao turned and exited the Immortal’s cave in a flash.
As soon as he appeared outside the door, he shot upward. As he did, he glanced down at the Demonic cultivators and Su Yan, then made a grasping motion, sealing them and pulling them into his bag of holding. “Parrot! Meat jelly! Let’s go!”
The parrot gaped in astonishment, and the meat jelly looked flabbergasted.
“The Windswept Realm!”
Meng Hao shot out of the water and flew up into the sky. The parrot and meat jelly transformed into beams of light that caught up and landed on Meng Hao’s shoulder. The meat jelly was still blabbering.
“Windswept Realm? Where’s that? What kind of place is it? I’ve never been there! How do we get there, huh? Hey, why aren’t you saying anything?”
“Shut up!” the parrot growled. Then it cleared its throat and was about to speak when Meng Hao interrupted: “There are bullies there. And also creatures with lots of fur and feathers.” Instantly, the meat jelly grew very serious, and the parrot, very excited. The two ninnies exchanged glances, then let out whoops of excitement.
Meng Hao flew over the lands of the sect at top speed. Soon, the same mountain peak where he had first met Granny Nine and Godmaster appeared up ahead.
The top of the mountain was covered with glittering white snow, just like before. However, there was also something new, a pillar of light rising up into the sky, shooting out of the sect, through the Ninth Sea, and up into the starry sky.
Next, six additional beams of light appeared from various locations in the Nine Seas God World, which also shot up into the sky. All of the Nine Seas God World’s spell formations were activated, unleashing incredible power in all directions.
As he looked over the scene, Meng Hao was shocked to find that a Dao Realm Patriarch could be seen sitting cross-legged within each of the pillars of light. Granny Nine was there, as were Godmaster and Ling Yunzi. Even the two Demonic Patriarchs were there.
In total, seven pillars of light were shooting up into the starry sky. There, distortions could be seen as a huge rift opened up.
Simultaneously, all of the cultivators in the Nine Seas God World, including those of the Immortal Realm and Ancient Realm, sat cross-legged in meditation, organized into a massive spell formation.
As they unleashed the power of their cultivation bases, the energy of Heaven and Earth descended, which in turn caused the energy of the Nine Seas God World to erupt explosively. The energy poured into the seven pillars of light, causing them to shine even more resplendently.
Soon, the full power of the cultivation bases of all the Nine Seas God World disciples was being unleashed, including that of the Demonic cultivators. The entire sect trembled, and the land quaked. Suddenly, the entire land mass began to rise. Every inch that it rose cause the seven pillars of light to grow even stronger. Massive rumbling could be heard, and the rift up in the starry sky opened wider.
That rift was apparently… the path to the Windswept Realm!
The entire land mass rose higher and higher, faster and faster. Soon, it was rising hundreds of meters with every movement. Sea water cascaded down off of it.
Meng Hao was shaken as he stood there watching all of this happen, his eyes shining with anticipation of reaching the Windswept Realm!
“Other than the fact that half of the world crumbled away, and many natural laws changed, everything else is a perfectly preserved replica of… one of the Lower Realms of yesteryear!
“The Windswept Realm!” he murmured.