In the moment that Meng Hao gained enlightenment of 1,800 Daos, numerous National Aura Mountains collapsed. By now, the Ninth, Eighth, Seventh, Sixth, Fifth and Fourth Nations were all rubble. Suddenly, six pillars of light shot out of that rubble and up into the air, each one 3,000 meters wide.
The lands of the Windswept Realm were quaking, and the clouds up above churned madly. In the spots where the pillars of light climbed up into the sky, massive vortexes formed.
The six vortexes exuded a power of reversal. Were it possible to view the Windswept Realm from out in the pitch-black void, you would clearly be able to see that, despite having escaped the clutches of the Mountain and Sea Realm, the speed with which it was rising instantly dropped by more than half.
Despite being locked in combat, Paragon Sea Dream and the Windswept Imperial Lord both seemed to be shocked by this.
However, that would only be visible from outside the Windswept Realm itself. Inside the Windswept Realm, the only thing that everyone could sense was that the lands were trembling. Then, the sudden reduction in speed apparently broke something in the lands themselves. All of a sudden, everyone felt as if they were lurching up into the air. With the exception of the remaining National Aura Mountains, all of the other mountains were torn from their bases and flew up.
The same thing happened to the rivers, the cities, and all life forms. Everyone suddenly lurched up into the air.
Everything that was happening caused the people in the Windswept Realm to be filled with shock.
On the Third Nation’s National Aura Mountain, the emperor threw his head back and roared.
“Stop him! Dammit! We haven’t reached the appointed place to stop! Don’t let the Echelon cultivators gain enlightenment of the Windswept Dao!” The man’s face was twisted with both ferocity and anxiety. He quickly performed an incantation gesture with his right hand, causing more black-robed figures to appear off to the side. The figures clasped hands and bowed with lowered heads, then vanished, transforming into beams of light that sped toward the central temple region.
That was where Meng Hao hovered in midair, his body emitting rumbling sounds as his energy rose higher and higher. Brilliant light emanated off of him and filled the entire Windswept Realm. As of this moment, he very much resembled the mastiff when it possessed the renegade spirit. Currently, it was as if he… was possessing the Windswept Realm!
Of course, to describe it in such a way is only an illustration, and yet, it wouldn’t be impossible for it to become reality!
Meng Hao’s hair whipped around in the air, and his energy continued to climb. When he gained enlightenment of the 2,100th Essence, the National Aura Mountain in the Third Nation began to collapse. The emperor threw his head back and let out a fierce shriek, and did everything in his power to prevent the collapse, to change what was happening. However, his face quickly fell. He was forced to dodge to the side as a pillar of light rose up from the rubble of the National Aura Mountain.
There were now seven vortexes!
The speed of the Windswept Realm’s rise was once again reduced.
“Meng Hao!” the emperor shrieked. Then he flashed through the air toward the central temple region.
Meng Hao continued to gain enlightenment.
The mastiff was at his side, roaring, its body shining with brilliant, blood-colored light. It held nothing back as it defended him against the black-robed attackers. Not a single one of them was able to pass it and get close to Meng Hao.
The mastiff roared, and Meng Hao was shielded by blood-red light.
The black-robed men were going mad, unleashing all sorts of divine abilities and Daoist magics. The violet light of the true Dao descended, smashing into the mastiff and riddling it with wounds. However, it continued to protect the area surrounding Meng Hao. This was the exact way it had protected him back in the Blood Immortal Legacy Tournament. It would defend him until it died.
“Damn this Blood Beast! Kill it!” No matter how the black-robed cultivators attacked, they failed, leaving them utterly flustered. Finally, they attacked the mastiff directly. The mastiff roared and slammed its paw down onto the ground. The lands shook, and blood qi swept about in all directions. One by one, the black-robed attackers were forced to fall back.
However, there were three who managed to break through, and quickly bore down on Meng Hao, eyes bursting with killing intent, performing incantation gestures all the while. However, the mastiff then let out a mighty roar and shot through the air toward them. The swipe of a paw blocked the men, and yet, their deadly combined divine ability ended up slamming into it as a result.
Blood oozed out of the mastiff’s mouth, and its body trembled violently. Then it opened its mouth wide and lunged toward them as if to gobble them up. The three men tried to fall back, but the mastiff’s roar dazed them. Before they could do anything, the mastiff’s jaws closed around them.
“For the true Dao! Detonate!”
Eyes filled with vicious madness, the three men chose to self-detonate in the same moment that the mastiff bit down onto them. A huge boom echoed out that shook Heaven and Earth. As they exploded, the mastiff let out a plaintive cry. Its body trembled on the verge of explosion before it shrank down from its previous 300-meter size to only 30 meters.
It glared at the black-robed men surrounding it. It didn’t fly out in attack, and yet, the blood-colored light emanating out from it grew more intense, transforming into a shield that surrounded itself and Meng Hao. It was like an inverted bowl that rested on top of them, sending blood-colored light high up into the air.
The surrounding black-robed cultivators all attacked in unison, causing huge booms to echo out as the shield distorted.
It was at this point that Meng Hao’s energy once again rose as he gained enlightenment of 2,400 Essences!
Next, a 3,000-meter pillar of light rose from the rubble of the Second Nation’s National Aura Mountain. Rumbling filled the air, and the clouds seethed as an eighth vortex appeared.
They sky above the Windswept Realm now featured eight prominent vortexes, beyond which was the pitch black of the void.
Apparently, the Windswept Realm’s rise into the sky had now been stopped!
At the same time, more black-robed figures sped through the Third Nation, followed by the emperor.
When the Emperor saw Zong Wuya, he glared and said, “Zong Wuya, do you truly dare to hold back from attacking?!”
Zong Wuya stood there silently, opting not to respond.
The Emperor clenched his teeth and said “You–”
“Shut up,” Zong Wuya said coolly. “You, a trifling Spirit Realm cultivator, dare to raise your voice to me? I only listen to your orders for the sake of the true Dao. I’m not your slave.”
The emperor’s face flickered, and he stared at Zong Wuya, huffing and puffing. However, he didn’t say anything further.
More black-robed men were converging in the area around Meng Hao. They attacked in unison, causing violet lightning to fall. Soon, Meng Hao was surrounded by a sea of lightning, which constantly battered the blood-colored shield.
The shield twisted and distorted, clearly on the verge of collapsing. The mastiff was getting smaller and smaller. It shrank from thirty meters to only about three meters in size. However, it continued to hold on.
Meng Hao’s energy rose higher and higher, and the light emanating out of him grew more intense.
He was now only 100 Essences away from a total of 2,700. It was at this point that, all of a sudden, a voice echoed out like thunder from off in the distance.
Dao-Heaven appeared in a beam of light that streaked across the sky toward the central temple region. Although a heavy pressure weighed down on him as soon as he entered the central temple region, Dao-Heaven had also received the blessing of the Windswept Realm’s qi flow, and as such, he could easily ignore it.
He headed toward Meng Hao with incredible speed, and as he neared, he waved his hand and bellowed, “Screw off!”
Several black-robed men who were in his way exploded into pieces, allowing Dao-Heaven to directly approach the blood-colored shield and wave his finger toward it.
The Heaven-shaking, Earth shattering finger swipe caused the shield to tremble. It seemed as if it would collapse at any moment; cracking sounds could be heard, and the shield was now covered with fissures.
The mastiff trembled violently, shrinking down again until it was barely over a meter long. Its aura was incredibly weak, but it it still continued to defend Meng Hao.
“Give me the Echelon Heart!” Dao-Heaven roared. He waved his right index finger again. When it landed, the shield would definitely collapse, placing not only Meng Hao, but also the mastiff, in critical danger.
In the moment that the shield collapsed, blood sprayed out of the mastiff’s mouth, and it shrank down to the size of a hand. Even as it stood there on shaky legs, Meng Hao’s eyes snapped open.
“Screw off!” he said. Massive rumbling caused everything to shake. A huge windstorm sprang up as his voice echoed out, slamming into Dao-Heaven. Dao-Heaven’s face fell, and he fought back ferociously. Blood sprayed out of his mouth as he was shoved backward.
The black-robed men were also shocked by this turn of events. Blood sprayed from their mouths as they were shoved away violently. In a mere moment, all the land 3,000 meters around Meng Hao and the mastiff was emptied.
Meng Hao slowly rose to his feet. He was no longer in need of contemplation. He had already gained complete enlightenment of the 2,700 Essences from the areas outside the central temple!
As of this moment, his injuries were completely healed, and he was back at his peak. Completely ignoring Dao-Heaven and the black-robed men, he looked down gently at the mastiff.
Then he squatted down and picked it up in his hand. The mastiff looked like it had when it was young. It squinted up at Meng Hao and then licked his palm.
“You rest for a while,” Meng Hao said. “Leave the rest to me.” He delivered some life force to it, and then put it back into the blood-colored mask in his bag of holding. Then he looked up.
His gaze swept over the nervous black-robed men, who slowly backed up. To them, his gaze was like lightning, and a single look was enough to strike fear into their hearts. The only person staring back hatefully was Dao-Heaven.
“The Echelon Heart belongs to me!” Dao-Heaven cried.
At the same time, Meng Hao lifted up the second Nirvana Fruit and pushed it into his forehead.
With 2,700 Essences, he could not fully absorb the Nirvana Fruit, but he could fuse with it for much, much longer… long enough for a protracted battle!
The moment the Nirvana Fruit fused into him, Meng Hao threw his head back and roared. He did not increase in size like he had before, nor did he require time to complete the process. Azure light flickered, and his energy spiked, like that of a celestial warrior.