Meng Hao sat down cross-legged outside the enormous rift, waiting for the Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea to arrive. For Meng Hao, this coming battle would be a true test of his battle prowess.
The person he wished to fight was one of the Lords of the Nine Mountains and Seas, someone that countless cultivators viewed with awe. He was the Mountain and Sea Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea, and although he might not be the absolute most powerful among the Mountain and Sea Lords, he was still incredibly strong.
To Meng Hao, this would be a very important fight, considering that it was critical to helping his Grandpa Meng awaken from slumber. It was also key to ending the Mountain and Sea War. If he could defeat the Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea in battle, then the war with the Eighth Mountain and Sea would be over.
Meng Hao wasn’t completely confident in being able to win. His current battle prowess was equivalent to the 5-Essences level, and his divine sense was even beyond that. However… he would be facing a Mountain and Sea Lord!
Although his opponent would also be at the 5-Essences level, in terms of experience and cultivation, anyone with the status of Mountain and Sea Lord was years beyond Meng Hao. Within his Realm… he was essentially invincible when fighting anyone other than other Mountain and Sea Lords!
Furthermore, his five Essences would surely be extraordinary, the type that could send the entire world into darkness upon their unleashing.
Even though Meng Hao had already extinguished his first Soul Lamp, he still wasn’t completely confident that he could win. After all… the nine Mountain and Sea Lords were the most esteemed entities within the entire Mountain and Sea Realm.
To become a Mountain and Sea Lord, one had to experience endless slaughter and conquer countless enemies. It was a long path of fighting and struggle to secure the position of being the Lord of one of the great Mountains and Seas.
“But I still want to meet this powerful expert… and fight him!” Meng Hao’s eyes burned with the desire to do battle. Taking a deep breath, he slowly brought his urge to fight under control, then closed his eyes and calmed his heart.
The time had come to focus his energy!
That focusing of energy ensured that not a single ripple of power emanated out from him.
Days began to pass. On the first day, a muffled rumbling sound began to echo out from within the rift, causing the entire starry sky to distort briefly.
Meng Hao didn’t open his eyes, but his heart thumped a bit faster for a moment before finally calming down.
On the second day, the muffled rumbling turned into five distinct booms. On the third day, those booming sounds rang out more than ten times. Meng Hao grew calmer, until even the sound of his heartbeat faded away from his consciousness. It was as if strength built upon strength, and the booming sounds were like a gentle breeze brushing against a towering mountain. 1
On the seventh day, the booming rang out ceaselessly. The starry sky outside of the rift was completely twisted and distorted, except for the portion where Meng Hao sat, which didn’t seem to be affected.
The red-haired old man and his fellows, who were still there in the area surrounding the rift, did not leave. They remained several thousand meters away, sitting cross-legged, watching the scene play out. As the seven days went by, the anticipation in their hearts rose, and they began to breathe heavily. After witnessing Meng Hao’s terrifying level of power, they had the deep desire to watch this coming battle.
It didn’t matter whether Meng Hao won or lost in the end. In the cultivation world, the law of the jungle prevailed, so any cultivator who dared to challenge a Mountain and Sea Lord to battle was a person deserving of deep respect.
Even the fact that they were enemies could not suppress the respect and awe that came from meeting someone truly powerful.
Further off in the distance were the hundreds of thousands of cultivators from the Seventh Mountain and Sea. They had set up camp there, nervous, but also unwilling to leave.
They were all waiting. Waiting… for the Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea to emerge from the rift!
Meng Hao’s expression was completely calm, and he almost didn’t seem to be breathing. His energy was completely focused inward, without the slightest bit leaking out. It was almost as if he had become one with the starry sky; he was so calm that it was almost impossible to detect his existence.
The thunder-like booms that shook the Heavens didn’t seem to affect him at all. He was so calm that he was like a still, waveless sea in a painting. He was simply waiting… waiting for the wind and storms to arrive, like a volcano preparing to erupt.
A massive pressure gradually filled the area around the rift, growing more intense. The pulsing frequency increased, and eventually it became clear that the two opponents were a counterpoint and foil to each other.
One embodied action, the other embodied calm!
Such action could shatter the highest Heavens, such calm was the stillness of a world in ruins!
Another day passed, and the sounds emanating from the rift grew even more intense. At the same time, Meng Hao became so still and calm that not a single trace of his aura was detectable….
It was at this point that, amidst the intense rumbling sounds, a tall and imposing figure appeared… within the rift.
It was a middle-aged man wearing a long white robe. His hair floated around him, and he looked threatening without being angry. His clothing seemed simple, and yet anyone who looked at him would be able to tell that he commanded supreme and ultimate respect.
He walked as if strolling, and yet every step he took caused countless booming sounds to echo out. It was as if his cultivation base was so powerful that, as he walked, he destroyed all obstacles in his path. His simple footfalls were the source of all the incredible booming sounds during the past days.
Almost as soon as he appeared within that enormous rift, intense pressure radiated out, sweeping across everything. The rift trembled, and opened wider. Ripples tore through the starry sky, ripping it up layer by layer. Several thousand meters away, the red-haired old man and his fellows all backed up, faces flickering as they clasped hands and bowed.
“We offer respectful greetings upon your arrival, Lord White!”
Further off in the distance, the hundreds of thousands of cultivators were getting very excited, and they too clasped their hands and bowed in the direction of the rift.
“We offer respectful greetings upon your arrival, Lord White!”
The Ninth Mountain had Lord Ji. The Eighth Mountain had Heavengod. The Seventh Mountain had Lord White, Sima Dao!
The voices of all the cultivators joined together, creating a powerful sound wave that shook Heaven and Earth. That, combined with the pressure radiating off of the white-robed man, caused the entire Eighth Mountain and Sea to shake.
Meng Hao, of course, was the main focus, but as the pressure crushed down onto him, his eyes remained closed and unmoving.
If you likened that boundless energy to pounding waves on a raging sea, then Meng Hao was a reef within that sea, remaining completely motionless regardless of how the sea howled.
If you likened the pressure coming from the Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea to a wild tempest, then Meng Hao was a quiet, unmoving mountain in the midst of the wind!
At the same time, in the temple atop the Eighth Mountain, the masked Lord of the Eighth Mountain and Sea suddenly trembled, as if a catalyzing force had suddenly prodded him. It was as if his consciousness was now beginning to converge in the area, and he was attempting… to awaken.
The entire Eighth Mountain and Sea was shaken, except for Meng Hao. His aura, his soul, everything about him, was completely focused inwardly. He was as calm as placid waters, and was still like a motionless sea in a painting.
The Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea was still inside the rift, and the two of them had not officially met, and yet they had already used the clashing of their dispositions as their first skirmish.
A cold snort echoed out from the rift as Lord White suddenly lifted his right foot and then stepped out of the rift.
The intense pressure weighing down on the Eighth Mountain and Sea caused everything to shake. The starry sky twisted, and numerous planets trembled. Back on the Eighth Mountain, the Lord of the Eighth Mountain and Sea trembled, this time more intensely than before.
A calm voice then echoed out from within the rift to spread out through the entire Eighth Mountain and Sea, “You are the first person to ever dare to stand in my way…”
It was in that moment that his foot stepped completely out from the rift, placing Lord White half way into the Eighth Mountain and Sea.
Despite only being half way through the rift, the starry sky was trembling so violently it seemed it might collapse because of the power of the Mountains and Seas that was erupting off of Lord White.
As the starry sky shook, the cultivators of the Eighth Mountain and Sea on all of the Heavengod Alliance’s battlefields felt blood oozing out of the corners of their mouths. Their faces flickered, and regardless of their specific locations, they could sense the explosive pressure coming from above. It was like a mountain, crushing down, making it difficult for them to even rotate their cultivation bases.
It was exactly the opposite with the cultivators of the Seventh Mountain and Sea. Their faces lit up, and they could sense, not pressure, but power coming down from the starry sky above and melding into their bodies. Instantly, their battle prowess began to increase.
“Lord White has come!! We offer respectful greetings upon your arrival, Lord White!”
“We offer respectful greetings, Lord White!!”
“The Seventh Mountain and Sea is definitely going to win the war. Lord White is here!!” The cultivators of the Seventh Mountain and Sea were shouting in excitement, causing their voices to echo out across the battlefields in the Heavengod Alliance.
In comparison, the cultivators of the Eighth Mountain and Sea felt their energy waning rapidly. Now that they were facing cultivators from the Seventh Mountain and Sea whose energy was rocketing up, their faces went pale, and they subconsciously began to back up. Almost instantly, the Eighth Mountain and Sea cultivators were in a position to be completely routed on numerous fronts.
“… And you will be the last,” continued the Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea, his voice grim as he… completely stepped out from within the rift!
“Lord White!” Several thousand meters away, the red-haired old man and the other Dao realm experts all clasped hands and bowed, their eyes shining with excitement.
“Lord White!” roared the hundreds of thousands of cultivators off in the distance.
“Lord White!” shouted all of the cultivators from the Seventh Mountain and Sea.
Although the cultivators of the Eighth Mountain and Sea could not actually see the arrival of the Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea, their hearts were trembling.
On the Eighth Mountain, the Lord of the Eighth Mountain and Sea in the palace was now shaking continuously, and it seemed as if the eyes beneath his mask might open at any moment.
Meng Hao’s eyes suddenly snapped open, and suddenly, what had been the placid image of a sea in a painting transformed into a violently erupting volcano. That will to fight which had lurked deep inside of him exploded out, causing colors to flash in the sky, and the starry sky to fill with rumbling sounds. Numerous layers of ripples instantly shot out to fill the entire Eighth Mountain and Sea!
Meng Hao’s willpower, his energy, his everything, all merged into an indescribable pressure that crushed down toward the Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea!
“So you’re the Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea? I’ve been waiting for you for quite a long time!”
The Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea’s eyes widened. The volcanic pressure which erupted from the formerly completely calm Meng Hao caused Lord White’s energy to falter a bit, as if he had suddenly met his match. Massive rumbling rose up between the two, and the starry sky seemed to be on the verge of being torn apart.
All of a sudden, the cultivators of the Eighth Mountain and Sea who had been backing up just now felt much more relaxed, and their excitement began to build.
The last line in this paragraph is a huge nod to Jin Yong, the father of wuxia novels. It’s actually a mnemonic from the Ning Yang Manual, a powerful martial arts manual in the Jin Yong universe. If you haven’t read the Condor Trilogy, you should put it on your reading list. It should be considered part of the Old Testament for wuxia fans ↩