“How dare you!” The clouds above the Eighth Nation churned. The war chariot ripped through the air, pulled by 1,000,000 souls, causing the darkness of night to spread out rapidly. Standing in the chariot was Lin Cong from the Fourth Mountain. He looked like an emperor of death, wielding the power of the Yellow Springs, his voice echoing out like claps of thunder.
Meng Hao’s face was calm, but inwardly, he was musing about how his previous assumption that he was at the absolute peak of the Immortal Realm had been proved wrong during his battle with Han Qinglei. Each and every person who joined the Echelon possessed different destinies and types of good fortune. They were all people who other cultivators simply couldn’t compare to. You could say that each Echelon cultivator had their own unique path, and therefore… each member was different.
The paths were different, and thus, the Echelon cultivators were all different!
Han Qinglei’s path had been somewhat discordant. He had his white bones and his azure lightning, but none of those things truly belonged to him alone. Therefore, despite the fact that he walked onto the path of the Echelon, when facing off with Meng Hao, it would be difficult to do anything except lose. Lose over and over again.
That was because Meng Hao had his own path to Immortality. That was the ancient way, the legendary and most powerful path, that of the Allheaven.
Now, he could see that this Echelon cultivator from the Fourth Mountain obviously had his own path too.
He wasn’t sure exactly what path that was, and actually, he didn’t even feel the need to know!
The path of the Allheaven Immortal was something that had already been legendary in the time of the primordial Paragon Immortal Realm. However, because many years had passed, it would have been virtually impossible for other paths to Immortality not to spring up in the other Mountains and Seas, paths which people would tread in the hopes of gaining greater power.
“Perhaps it has something to do with Paragon magic,” he thought. “After all, you have to gain enlightenment of Paragon magic in order to get into the Echelon. Perhaps… there is some additional reason for the existence of the Echelon besides accomplishing Paragon Sea Dream’s plan. Maybe it’s also to see which path… leads to becoming the most powerful Paragon in the Heavens!” Meng Hao wasn’t absolutely sure about this assessment. However, he was still about sixty to seventy percent sure that this was what was going on.
“Although, whatever other paths the Echelon cultivators tread, they will find that they are all dead ends when compared to mine. Even if they persist in walking further along those paths, they will find that the Allheaven Immortal… is the most powerful type of Immortal!
“I’m going to defeat all of them one by one, and then they’ll understand the truth!” His eyes began to glitter with a brilliant light of confidence.
That confidence… was self-confidence. He was sure that he would travel the farthest, and that being an Allheaven Immortal… was the most powerful path of Immortality!
After these thoughts flashed through his mind, he decided to spend no more time thinking. He turned his gaze away from the Fourth Mountain’s Echelon cultivator and his 1,000,000 souls, and instead retrieved the fire that represented the World Seal.
In the instant that he acquired the flame, an enraged roar could be heard echoing down from the sky. At the same time… a beam of light shot up from the area of the central temple.
The intense light caused everything to shake. It was far more intense than the light which had appeared when Meng Hao or when Han Qinglei had broken the previous records to successfully understand 100 Essences.
It was fully 3,000 meters wide as it shot through the Heavens. From a distance, it looked like a massive column connecting Heaven and Earth. Everyone in the entire Windswept Realm was able to see it, regardless of where they were!
The lands quaked, and the Heavens rumbled. The intense energy rippling out was unprecedented, vastly more powerful than on the previous two occasions. It was even possible to say that it was completely beyond compare.
The two before were like slivers of bamboo, whereas this one was as thick as an arm. Shocking peals of thunder rang out, causing all cultivators in the Windswept Realm to be thoroughly shaken.
The intense sound and shaking caused everyone near the central temple to look on with astonished expressions. The could do nothing but stare as the huge pillar of light shot up into the heavens and then transformed into a massive vortex.
Meng Hao stood next to the statue, holding the Eighth Nation’s World Seal in his hand, and looked up at the vortex, a slight, cold smile touching his face.
“So, it’s just as I suspected,” he thought. “The first person to snatch a World Seal will break the previous record and provoke a blessing!”
That was one reason why Meng Hao was so confident, and also why he had been so calm. He didn’t care who Han Qinglei got to come here, nor what other schemes he had in place. He was sure that if the first person to be enlightened regarding the National Aura received a blessing, and the first person to be enlightened regarding 100 Essences also got a blessing, then surely, the first person to win a World Seal would also receive a blessing, and a more powerful one at that.
Although it might seem like all these things happened over a long period of time, in fact, they happened almost instantly. Echelon cultivator Lin Cong from the Fourth Mountain flew through the air, causing everyone in the nation to involuntarily look up in shock.
In the sky above the central temple, the vortex rapidly grew larger. In the space of a few breaths of time, it covered the whole sky like a sheet, allowing everyone suddenly gain a glimpse of another world.
It was the same world which had appeared before, a world of mountains and statues. If you looked closely at those statues and mountains, you would see that they were split almost evenly.
Furthermore, within that world were four statues and five mountains that stuck out among all the others. Those statues were the largest statues in the world, as if all the other statues were children in comparison.
The five mountains were similarly taller than all of the other mountains, as if no one had ever been able to subjugate them and turn them into statues. The four statues and five mountains were filled with indescribable ripples of force which, if they spread out into the world, would shake everything.
Numerous mountains and statues floated about, but the four statues and five mountains stuck out the most. They were like the nucleus of the entire world. As of this moment, the first statue began to emanate rumbling sounds, and then suddenly collapsed into pieces, which crumbled down and then reformed into a new statue.
That statue… depicted Meng Hao!
Instantly, Meng Hao’s appearance was revealed to everyone in the Windswept Realm. They could also see that this statue looked completely different than the first statue that had appeared when he had broken the record and reached the peak of the world!
He was the focus of all attention, causing everyone to tremble with shock!
An ancient voice suddenly rang out: “Meng Hao of the Ninth Nation has broken the previous record. He defeated Han Qinglei of the Eighth Nation, and wrested away the Eighth Nation’s World Seal. He is the first person to win a World Seal, and will be rewarded with twenty percent of the qi flow of the Windswept Realm!”
The voice echoed throughout the entire Windswept Realm, to be heard by everyone. People gasped, and looks of astonishment appeared. This reward was even more amazing than in the previous two. This time, it was twenty percent of the qi of the entire Windswept Realm!
It was difficult to even contemplate what it meant for a single person to acquire twenty percent of the qi flow of the entire world. It was as if Meng Hao were being favored by the entire Windswept Realm.
All of a sudden, Meng Hao was surrounded by an invisible tempest, a tempest that no one could see, and only he could sense.
His mind trembled as he heard what sounded like countless voices, voices which were apparently the prayers and entreaties of countless living beings from the Windswept Realm, over the course of innumerable years.
Furthermore, Meng Hao felt the Windswept Realm’s power of rejection vanish. No longer was it trying to expel him. Instead, it approved of him, as if he were now mysteriously connected to the Realm.
That connection caused Meng Hao to begin to pant. He could only imagine how much easier that connection would make it for him to understand the Essences. However, that was secondary. At the moment, he could now sense something like the will of the Windswept Realm.
What caused him to pant even more than anything else was that the will of the Windswept Realm now viewed him with kindness, and wished to protect him!!
Twenty percent of the qi flow… indicated that any opponent who faced him directly could be struck dead by lightning!
Furthermore, if that qi flow ever reached one hundred percent….
Then, even if Meng Hao were a mortal who could wield no magic whatsoever, he would still be like an Imperial Lord within the Windswept Realm.
He closed his eyes and focused fully on connecting with the will of the Windswept Realm within the tempest.
Meanwhile, in the First Nation, the most powerful Echelon cultivator sat there cross-legged. Suddenly, his eyes snapped open, and they were filled with unprecedented focus.
“Qi flow,” he murmured. “So, this reward is qi flow too. That’s completely different than in times past!!” The cultivators sitting around him all looked very serious.
A similar scene played out in the Second Nation!
However, on the Third Nation’s National Aura Mountain was a cultivator who was not from the Third Mountain, but had an Echelon mark on his forehead nonetheless. He was a middle-aged man, and currently, he was frowning.
“I WILL lead the Windswept Realm back to prominence!” he murmured coldly, his eyes flickering with killing intent. “As the former sole Imperial Lord of the Windswept Realm, what reason do you have to resist me!?”
The Third Nation was special, but as for the Fifth Nation, the Sixth Nation, and the Seventh Nation….
All members of the Echelon, and all other cultivators, were shaken by the reward being given to Meng Hao. At the same time, Meng Hao’s name was deeply imprinted onto their hearts.
In the Sixth Nation was a young woman, currently involved in a deadly chase. Her face was pale, and she was now being pursued by even more people than before.
“Three records broken, and two of them were him!” she thought.
As she sped through the air, she looked up at the statue of Meng Hao in the sky, and a gleam of anticipation appeared in her eyes.
“Soon…. I have the feeling that we’ll be meeting soon,” she murmured. “Meng Hao… could you be the person I’ve been waiting for? If you are… then I’ll help you become the most powerful cultivator in the Echelon. That’s my mission….
“If it’s not you, well then I’ll just have to go with the Echelon cultivator from the First Mountain.”
This woman was none other than Xue’er, the successor of Immortal Ancient.
As these world-shaking events occurred, in a city of mortals in the Eighth Nation, a young student sat in a house reading a bamboo scroll. Actually, he only appeared to be reading, and was in fact trembling slightly.
He could sense all of the things happening in the world outside. You could even say that those things were happening because of him!
After a long moment, he put the bamboo scroll down and looked out of the window up into the sky. His face darkened, and after a moment of hesitation, he sighed.
“Meng Hao…. So that’s why you were so calm. You were banking on the reward from the Windswept Realm!
“Perhaps everything that happened in the battle went according to your plans. Meng Hao… the Echelon cultivator from the Ninth Mountain. I’m going to remember you!” That seemingly mortal young student was… Han Qinglei!