At the same time, massive rumbling sounds echoed out from the Ninth Mountain. The whole mountain trembled as a will awakened, spreading out to fill the entire Ninth Mountain and Sea.
An enormous eye appeared above the Ninth Mountain, which seemed to burn with fires of rage. However, the flames soon died down, and within the pupil of the eye, the image of an old man became visible. He was sitting there cross-legged, a grim expression on his face. After a moment passed, though, he suddenly started laughing.
“I’m not sure whether I should thank you or hate you….” the old man murmured.
“The fact that I did not succeed comes as no surprise, and yet is also contrary to expectation…. Had I succeeded, I would have no longer been myself. That strand of my will which usurped my true self would have become unprecedentedly powerful. I could have instantly transformed from being the weakest of the Mountain and Sea Lords, to being in the position to challenge Ksitigarbha.
“However, although the failure has lost me that chance, now that the strand of will has been destroyed, I… have finally regained full control of my faculties.” There was an ancientness to the man that seemed to suggest that he had been asleep for a long time, but was now awakening.
“Meng Hao….” he murmured, looking thoughtfully off into the distance. After a long moment passed, he closed his eyes once again.
Meanwhile, back in the Eighth Mountain and Sea, Meng Hao opened his eyes as something like the rumble of thunder echoed out inside of him. At the moment, his injuries had recovered almost completely.
Ji Dongyang’s possession had failed, and in fact, he had ended up being consumed by the life force Essence of Greed. He actually ended up becoming a wellspring of power to fuel the recovery of Meng Hao’s wounds. In fact, Meng Hao liked to think that Ji Dongyang had delivered himself up as an aid to his recovery, instead of a real attempt at possession.
It wasn’t that Ji Dongyang hadn’t made his move at the correct time, or that it was not a critical point for Meng Hao. Rather, in a divine sense battle for possession, the slightest mistake could lead to death, and Ji Dongyang had made just such a mistake.
Meng Hao’s eyes shone with a brilliant light as he recalled what had occurred in the divine sense battle. Finally, his eyes glittered, and he flickered into motion and vanished.
He did not spend any more time pondering the matter of Ji Dongyang. Although he had come out on top in the battle of possession, Meng Hao had still been in danger. He had never liked the Ji Clan to begin with, but after what had just happened, he was certain that he would meet with Ji Tian again one day, and settle things once and for all.
“Time is of the essence right now. The Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea will definitely be returning. Before he does, I need to get stronger. That’s the only way to secure victory!” Meng Hao appeared in the starry sky, a thoughtful look on his face as he sent his divine sense rumbling out. In a short period of time, it spread out to cover the entire Eighth Mountain and Sea.
Everything that existed in the Eighth Mountain and Sea was now visible to him in his mind. He saw cultivators fighting in battles. He saw countless corpses and ruins. He also saw a certain something far off in a remote corner of the Eighth Mountain and Sea.
It was a huge land mass that almost looked like an island. There were mountains and rivers, cities and sects, mortals and cultivators all existing on that piece of land hanging in the starry sky. It seemed to be floating completely aimlessly among all of the mountains which existed there. On that huge land mass was a certain mountain that held an eternal place in Meng Hao’s mind. It was… Mount Daqing.
Beneath the land mass was an enormous turtle, who supported it on his back. He was currently yawning lazily as he floated along, a smile on his face. Then he began to hum a little tune which echoed out in all directions.
In the instant that Meng Hao’s divine sense swept over the turtle, the turtle shivered and stopped humming. His turtle eyes went wide, filling with a look of disbelief. He suddenly turned to look out into the starry sky and then… let out a miserable shriek.
“That divine sense… dammit! It’s you! You little bastard! Ahhhhhhhh. The Patriarch fled all the way here and y-y-you… you actually found me!!”
That turtle was none other than Patriarch Reliance.
His previously good mood suddenly turned wretched. He had just been feeling incredibly comfortable and at ease, but now he was shaking, overwhelmed with frustration, sadness, madness, and irritation.
In order to get away from Meng Hao, he had left Planet South Heaven and gone to Planet East Victory. Then he had fled to the Ruins of Immortality, and had finally pierced through the barrier between the Ninth Mountain and Sea to the Eighth. He had assumed that he would never see Meng Hao again in his life. How could he ever have imagined that he would actually… be found yet again?
“Dammit, DAMMIT!” roared the turtle, eyes bulging. “You intolerable bully!! The Patriarch can’t deal with this anymore!!” A very uneasy feeling had risen up in his heart; Meng Hao’s divine sense seemed so powerful it could cause him to explode. He threw his head back and let loose a long cry, causing rumbling sounds to echo out as his speed increased tenfold, and he shot off into the distance.
He felt truly wronged, and couldn’t think of any sin he had committed to earn him this fate….
“Dammit, dammit, DAMMIT! The League of Demon Sealers is full of bastards! All bastards, I tell you!
“All those years ago, that psycho didn’t think that beating me up by himself was enough, so he had to find a whole group of psychos to help beat me up. Bastards, bastards, BASTARDS!!
“Fine, if you want to beat me up, I don’t care. But you went so far as to seal me!? I refuse to give in! The Patriarch refuses to give in!!” Even as Patriarch Reliance sped along, he roared out his grievances.
It was at that point that a bright light could be seen flickering on top of his head, where a young woman was seated. Laughing softly, she patted Patriarch Reliance’s head and said, “Calm down, Patriarch. Isn’t it a good thing to reunite with old friends?”
“Good thing, my ass! The League of Demon Sealers is full of bastards. That little bastard is a bastard among bastards!” Utterly discomfited, Patriarch Reliance took a deep breath, causing the starry sky to tremble. Boundless energy of Heaven and Earth poured toward him and was sucked in, whereupon he exploded with even greater speed, turning into a bright beam of light that shot off into the distance.
In another distant location, Meng Hao’s eyes glittered.
“Gotcha,” he said, snorting coldly. He was so familiar with old turtle Reliance that he couldn’t be any more familiar. They had even fought each other more than once in the past.
“Let’s see how you try to escape this time!” Meng Hao took a step forward, then vanished. When he reappeared from the teleportation, he was far off in the distance and immediately saw the panic-stricken Patriarch Reliance fleeing.
“Don’t even dream of running, you old turtle!” he roared in a frightening tone.
“There’s no need to see me off, you little bastard!” shouted Patriarch Reliance, trembling. He even went so far as to spit out some of the quintessence of his soul to unleash even greater speed, piercing through the void.
Meng Hao’s expression was very serious, but a hint of laughter could be seen in his eyes. Every time he recalled what had occurred between him and this old turtle, it all seemed as if it had happened only yesterday.
His time in the Reliance Sect was something very precious to Meng Hao, and those years had somehow turned into his most idyllic memories.
Now that the turtle was fleeing with even greater speed, Meng Hao gave a cold harrumph, then extended his right hand and made a grasping motion as he unleashed the Star Plucking Magic. Instantly, the turtle’s little tail was grabbed.
Rumbling sounds echoed out, and Patriarch Reliance’s scalp felt like it was about to explode. The sensation of having his tail grabbed filled him with rage. A brutal gleam appeared in his eyes, and he turned his massive body around with stunning agility. Then, a vicious expression could be seen as he opened his mouth to gobble Meng Hao up.
“I’ll give you some good fortune, you little bastard!”
“Mm-hmm,” Meng Hao didn’t even try to dodge to the side. He simply hovered in place. Patriarch Reliance’s gaping maw lurched to a stop, and a grieving, maddened look appeared in his eyes.
“Meng Hao, you little bastard, we’re going to fight to the death, right here, right now!” he roared. His energy spiked, and it looked like he really was going to go all-out in a battle to the death.
Meng Hao’s expression was very serious, but then suddenly, his jaw dropped as he realized that although Patriarch Reliance seemed to be infuriated, and just on the verge of fighting to the death, the truth of the matter was that he was actually backing up. This felt very familiar to Meng Hao, and he suddenly recalled that bizarre body cultivator back in the Ninth Sea, who had done the exact same thing. Patriarch Reliance and that body cultivator were actually very similar in this regard. 1
Patriarch Reliance was instantly on the run again, and had already put quite a distance between them. He was going all out… to flee! Furthermore, a complacent gleam had already appeared in his eyes.
“So, the little bastard doesn’t quite measure up to the Patriarch in terms of intelligence. Haha! He thought I was going to fight him to the death, but it turns out my real plan was to run away!” Even as Patriarch Reliance was rejoicing in the midst of his escape, and was beginning to feel quite pleased with himself, a boom rang out, and the void up ahead of him shattered. A huge rift opened up, and a tempest burst out, blocking Patriarch Reliance’s path.
Patriarch Reliance’s beady eyes went wide, and he quickly changed directions. However, it only took a moment before the same thing happened, whereupon he changed directions again.
Meng Hao, of course, was right on his tail, leisurely following him around and waving his finger, causing the starry sky to distort and shatter. Patriarch Reliance’s heart was beginning to pound in shock, and he suddenly howled, “How come you’re so powerful, you little bastard? Psycho! The League of Demon Sealers is full of psychos!!”
All of Patriarch Reliance’s paths were blocked. Finally, he waved his tail, and suddenly everything around him began to tremble. Apparently, he had been building up his power, and was now about to burst out in one final attempt to free himself.
However, even as he powered up, he unexpectedly didn’t flee, but instead charged Meng Hao. Inwardly, he was so arrogant that he actually believed himself powerful enough to personally handle Meng Hao.
Roaring, Patriarch Reliance closed in on Meng Hao. “Hmmmphhh! The Patriarch is the smartest yet again! When you think I’m going to fight to the death, I flee. Then, when you think I’m going to flee, I decide to stake my life!”
Seeing this new development caused a strange expression to appear on Meng Hao’s face. It was definitely true that he was having a hard time keeping up with Patriarch Reliance’s train of thought. Just when he seemed to be on the verge of escaping, he would attack. Meng Hao smiled bitterly and then extended his hand. Rumbling sounds could be heard as a huge illusory hand appeared, which grabbed viciously toward Patriarch Reliance.
A boom echoed out as the hand grabbed onto Patriarch Reliance and began to squeeze. However, Patriarch Reliance let out a roar, causing golden light to glitter out from his body, shattering Meng Hao’s illusory hand.
“Hah! The Patriarch is invincible!!” he roared. “Are you scared yet, Meng Hao, you little bastard?!” He glared at Meng Hao, the whiskers on his face floating about in bizarre fashion, making him look very intimidating.