“As an Echelon cultivator… you shall be given… two… lives!”
Outside the Door of the Ancient Realm, after the enormous finger withdrew, the mangled gore and spattered blood that had been spreading out suddenly began to reform with indescribable speed.
It coalesced together into… Meng Hao!
His soul had just been destroyed, and yet it suddenly flared to life again. Meng Hao’s eyes opened, and deep inside could be seen traces of the passage of time.
That was because the place where his body had exploded was right outside the Door of the Ancient Realm, where time flowed differently. Naturally, because of that, the newly reformed and resurrected Meng Hao had a body which contained the essence of the passage of time!
It was not Essence, but rather something more like a seed… a seed of the Essence of Time!
From ancient times until now, the Essence of Space and the Essence of Time were similar to the Essence of Life and Death in that they were very difficult to acquire. The only chance to do so was through incredibly rare good fortune.
As of this moment, it was by means of complete and utter coincidence that Meng Hao now had… a seed of the Essence of Time inside of him.
The moment he opened his eyes, he knew the truth. The two Echelon lives given to him by Paragon Sea Dream did not make his soul indestructible, but rather… branded him with a sealing mark, which split his soul into three parts. Each of those three parts grew in parallel as he progressed in his cultivation. Because of that, he could actually die two times before being truly exterminated!
That applied not only to his soul, but also to his flesh and blood. It was a unique natural law, a magic of the type that Meng Hao couldn’t even begin to comprehend. It was… the power of a Paragon!
In almost the exact instant that Meng Hao’s eyes opened, the Door of the Ancient Realm, which had been fading away, suddenly flickered with light and formed back together. The disappearing clouds seethed, and the retreating figures let out howls of disbelief.
Countless faceless men charged madly forth, and the huge finger once again stretched out toward Meng Hao, accompanied by an enraged howl.
However, Meng Hao had already died once; how could he possibly die a second time? Having been re-formed and resurrected, his face was icy. The feeling of death he had just experienced was something he never wished to feel again. Even as the faceless men and the enormous finger closed in on him, a cold smile twisted his lips.
He had not merely recovered his soul and his fleshly body, but also… his cultivation base!
His right hand lifted up, and then he smacked it down hard onto the Door of the Ancient Realm. That blow was backed by the explosive cultivation base of an Allheaven Dao Immortal, his powerful fleshly body, his Paragon Bridge, and the combined power of all of his divine abilities. That power converged into his palm as he delivered a third blow onto the surface of the Door of the Ancient Realm.
When his hand made contact, the door rumbled, and that sliver which had appeared suddenly trembled as the door… began to open!
As the door opened, dazzling light spilled out, as well as whispering voices that seemed to come from ancient times, voices which filled Meng Hao’s ears and also echoed out into the surrounding area.
The faceless men let out miserable screams as the light enveloped them, rendering them incapable of getting any closer. They stared at the Door of the Ancient Realm as it continued to open, and they continued to melt!
In that same moment, the finger, with its power of extermination and boundless howl, continued onward toward Meng Hao, melting and being shredded by the light as it went. However, just before it touched him, Meng Hao let out a cold snort, and stepped across the threshold of the door.
It was only one, single step!
However, it was like the difference between Heaven and Earth. As soon as he was inside the Door of the Ancient Realm, the finger stopped moving. It hovered there directly in front of Meng Hao, not an inch away from his face.
However, that inch was like the vast gap between the sky and the land, something completely and utterly impossible to pass.
“I’ll make sure you pay the price for trying to exterminate me,” Meng Hao said lightly. “I might not be a match for you right now, but one day I will be. I’ll drag you out of those clouds and then make sure you die a painful death!” Despite the calmness of his voice, the cold resolve therein was impossible to miss.
“Door of the Ancient Realm, open!” he said, flicking his sleeve. Boundless light began to radiate out from the Door of the Ancient Realm. The beams were like sharp swords that swirled around, dispersing the clouds. The faceless men that were able to escape into the clouds would disappear along with them as they faded away, but any who were caught outside by the swords of light would be stabbed through, provoking miserable screams as if they were dying in body and spirit. It only took moments for them to transform into nothing more than ashes.
The gigantic finger trembled, and a defiant roar echoed out from the clouds. The finger retreated, vanishing within the clouds. In that same moment, Meng Hao’s eyes gleamed coldly as he… stepped back out of the door.
If there were people present to watch what was happening, they would be completely shocked, and find his action outrageous. Anyone else in his position would surely be walking further into the Door and completing their entrance into the Ancient Realm.
But Meng Hao almost seemed to disregard the widely-open door. Not even the owner of that enormous finger could ever have predicted that he would meet someone like this during the transcending of tribulation.
Meng Hao was the type of person who repaid every slight he received. He wouldn’t go out of his way to provoke people, but when people provoked him, he wouldn’t simply let them off. That was especially true considering that this person had taken one of his lives. As far as Meng Hao was concerned, an enmity had been created that made it impossible for the both of them to exist under the same Heavens.
As soon as he stepped out of the door, the copper mirror appeared, transforming into the Battle Weapon with shocking speed. This was Meng Hao’s most powerful weapon among all of his magical items. His Allheaven Dao Immortal cultivation base went into overdrive, bursting with power. Every bit of muscle and blood in his fleshly body radiated an intense and terrifying strength.
Inside of him, the Paragon Bridge connected him to Heaven and Earth, and outside, the image of the bridge itself appeared, causing the entire starry sky to dim and tremble, and fill with roiling flames. Meng Hao’s legs then began to move in an odd cadence as he walked through Time, heading toward the retreating finger, and then slashing out with his blade!
Meng Hao looked like a celestial warrior with surging energy that caused the starry sky to tremble. Because the clouds were disappearing, Meng Hao’s current appearance was suddenly revealed on the projection screen down below, making him visible to all the cultivators of the Meng Clan. Their minds spun as they saw both Meng Hao, and the resplendent Door of the Ancient Realm behind him!
As for all of the invading cultivators from the other sects who were outside of the shield, they could also see, and their eyes went wide.
From their perspective, Meng Hao’s silhouette was wreathed with the light shining out from the door, which was almost like a cloak. His Battle Weapon was raised, visible to everyone as it viciously slashed toward the enormous finger!
A massive cascade of light sliced through the starry sky, causing everything to shake violently as an indescribably powerful force exploded out. Next, the finger… despite being in a state of retreat, was still slashed by that cascade of light!
“Sever!” Meng Hao roared. A massive rumbling sound could be heard as the very tip of the finger was completely severed away!!
The piece cut away was only about three meters long. Compared to the rest of the enormous finger, it was insignificant. However, it was still part of the entire structure, and as it was cut off, blue blood flowed out. A miserable shriek could also be heard from within the disappearing clouds, a shriek filled with unprecedented madness and intense pain. To that entity within the clouds, who had existed for countless years, this was the first time… he had been injured!!
For far too long he had existed in the clouds and unleashed deadly tribulation upon Allheaven Dao Immortals who attempted to enter the Ancient Realm. Today, he had finally been injured!
“You’re DEAD!” howled an ancient voice. “I hereby curse you…. You shall die, for when the time comes to extinguish your Ancient Realm Lamps, I will return!!” Then the finger and the clouds vanished completely.
Only the Door of the Ancient Realm remained in the starry sky, casting resplendent, dazzling light out in all directions. Suddenly, the fighting down below stopped as everyone looked up in shock at Meng Hao.
His face was pale as he put the Battle Weapon away. His actions just now had been risky, but that was just how Meng Hao was. Not taking advantage of a situation was the same as incurring a loss. If he didn’t take the chance to strike back, then he wouldn’t be Meng Hao.
Meng Hao then looked at the three-meter slice of severed finger, and his eyes glittered. All of a sudden, a variety of curse-type Daoist magics flitted through his mind. He made a snatching motion, and the slice of finger flew into his bag of holding.
With that, he turned to face the Door of the Ancient Realm, and began to stride forward. When he entered the door completely, it shook violently, and massive amounts of radiant light shone out. Ancient voices echoed out into the starry sky as Meng Hao sank into the brightness. His listless cultivation base was restored and then, rumbling sounds could be heard as it… began to ascend.
This was the ascension from the Immortal Realm into the Ancient Realm!
He closed his eyes as he detected a sensation of ancientness spreading out from within him, an aura that emanated the unique fluctuations of the Ancient Realm.
Everything was quiet, both in the Meng Clan and among the invading sects. Even the crowds waiting on the gigantic willow leaves were watching Meng Hao.
They had borne witness to a terrifying Ancient Tribulation, and all of them knew deep inside that they couldn’t possibly have been able to successfully transcend it. And yet, the man standing right there in front of them had!
The young boy stood there silently. He was a 5-Essences Dao Sovereign, and yet even he wasn’t confident that he could succeed in such a tribulation.
“Allheaven Dao Immortal….” the boy murmured, a torn look appearing in his eyes. “Next, he will actually begin to enter the Ancient Realm. He will absorb the light of the Door of the Ancient Realm, and form… his Soul Lamps!
“I wonder how many Soul Lamps he will end up with…. Throughout all of history, the most ever converged was 29, by none other than Ksitigarbha from the Fourth Mountain and Sea! The more Soul Lamps there are, the more powerful one will eventually become, and yet, the more deadly the danger is.
“However, if cultivators feared death, then what would be the point of practicing cultivation to begin with? Considering this person’s personality, he will definitely open an extreme number of Soul Lamps….” The boy’s eyes flickered as he then lifted his hand and pointed toward the Meng Clan.
“Pass down orders. Exterminate the entire Meng Clan. Disturb this individual’s thoughts. If his mind is clouded when he ignites his Soul Lamps, then he will never reach the pinnacle. That is the way to cut off his path to the future. Reduce the number of lamps, and thus make him even weaker if he steps in the Dao!”