Outside of the Immortal’s cave, the parrot was currently soaring about in the sky, calling out with its shrill voice.
“Listen to me, all of you. Lord Fifth is a Celestial bird, an ancient Celestial bird. I know of the Heavens, and I know of the underworld, because there is nothing that Lord Fifth doesn’t know. If I’m in a good mood, then I’ll pass on to you a Celestial magic. Celestial magic! Do you know what that means? Now repeat after me, as loud as you can: Have faith in the Lord Fifth, gain eternal life! When the Lord Fifth appears, who dares to cause strife!” As it finished speaking, it landed onto Huang Daxian’s head, its expression lofty and proud, as if it were innately above all the masses.
“You’re nothing but a flashy bird!” said the meat jelly solemnly. It was currently perched atop the head of a Cultivator of the great circle of Foundation Establishment. “You call yourself Celestial, but you’re really just a bird. And what do you mean by the number five Lord? What is number five anyway? At the most you’re a First Lord!” The Cultivator beneath it gave a wry smile, his face pale.
“How many lives have I been trying to teach you this!?” said the parrot, glaring with contempt at the meat jelly. “You still can’t count past three? You’re not even qualified to talk to Lord Fifth!”
“Oh yeah? How high can you count?” asked the meat jelly, sounding both furious and humiliated.
“I can count to nine!” replied the parrot haughtily, glaring with wide eyes. Immediately, the meat jelly stared in shock as it tried to comprehend how vastly high of a number nine must be. It wanted to say something back to the parrot, but seeing its haughty appearance, the meat jelly realized that nine must be an incredibly high number. It suddenly started to feel a bit low in the self-esteem department.
All of the surrounding Cultivators had strange expressions on their faces, but none of them dared to hold back from repeating the words that so recently caused their blood to freeze upon hearing them. After all, they knew how fearsome the meat jelly and the parrot could be.
The meat jelly was completely indestructible. Two months before, yet another greedy nearby group had come, but the meat jelly had transformed into an enormous bubble and surrounded them. No matter what the dozen or so Cultivators inside had done they had been incapable of even leaving a mark.
Eventually, they had had no choice but to just look out helplessly. Eventually, the meat jelly had let them go, giving a provoking look to the parrot at the same time.
Later, another group of Cultivators arrived, and then, the local Cultivators caught a glimpse of what could be called true insanity, and true misery.
One of those Cultivators ended up cursing the parrot, whereupon the seemingly innocuous multicolored bird had… delved into any hole it saw, at top speed. In the blink of an eye, blood-curdling screams filled the air as the invading Cultivators had half their bodies filled with bloody holes as the parrot shot through them.
As for some of the unlucky ones, the parrot ended up shooting in and out of their eyes. Miserable screams rang out that people still couldn’t forget.
The man who had cursed the parrot, well, the parrot threatened the meat jelly, forcing it to transform the man into a luxuriantly furred ape.
Then… came a nightmare which continued to plague everyone who witnessed it.
With a howling roar, the parrot shot like lightning toward the hairy ape. Specifically, toward its rear end….
The shrill screams which came out of the mouth of that Cultivator, as well as the sinister and wicked excitement of the parrot, immediately caused everything else to be blanketed with thick silence….
After these two battles, the group’s power in the area was established, and no one dared to trifle with them.
The haughtiness of the parrot became well known, as was its love of cursing people, its pettiness, and its unwillingness to forget a grudge.
As for Huang Daxian, every time he saw the meat jelly or the parrot, he would flatter and fawn over them. Eventually, others learned from him. Soon, the entire region became the territory of the parrot and the meat jelly.
From then on, it was on a daily basis that the Cultivators would shout, “Have faith in the Lord Fifth, gain eternal life! When the Lord Fifth appears, who dares to cause strife!”
Their numbers grew, as did the range of their sphere of influence. As such, more and more of the Celestial soil was collected.
Meng Hao retracted his Spiritual Sense and examined his bag of holding. Actually, having so many people here was a bit of a headache. If any more people joined them, then even if Meng Hao had more medicinal pills, it still wouldn’t be enough.
After thinking about the situation for a while, Meng Hao stood and left the Immortal’s cave. As soon as he appeared, the meat jelly flew over. The parrot seemed a bit unwilling, but also approached and began to circle around Meng Hao. The vines popped up from the ground and swayed back and forth, seemingly happy to see him. Some of the Cultivators who had previously witnessed Meng Hao’s power also bowed to him in greeting.
The entire area was soon in relative chaos. Most of the people here had never seen Meng Hao, but had heard of him, and now craned their necks to catch a glimpse.
Meng Hao looked at the crowd with a frown and then walked over to the cistern located near the Immortal’s cave. Suddenly, he had an inspiration; he slapped his bag of holding, sending three medicinal pills flying out.
Before anyone could see clearly what exactly the pills were, Meng Hao had sent them directly into the cistern. Next, he performed a quick incantation gesture with his right hand, and then pointed at the cistern. The water began to seethe as if it were boiling, and an intense heat could be felt, as if an invisible fire were burning.
After a moment, a thick spiritual energy wafted out from the cistern, enveloping the entire area. The faces of all the Cultivators immediately changed, filling with shock and excitement.
Based on the thickness of the spiritual energy, it seemed like drinking a mouthful of the cistern water would be like drinking medicinal elixir.
“Everyone may drink once from this medicinal cistern!” said Meng Hao, giving a look toward Huang Daxian and the Cultivator of the great circle of Foundation Establishment. When his gaze passed over them, their hearts trembled; the Dao Pillars of the Foundation Establishment Cultivator trembled, as if they could sense the intensity and fearsomeness of Meng Hao.
Everyone slowly lowered their heads, and then Meng Hao turned, taking the Celestial soil that had been collected recently, and returning to the Immortal’s cave to study it and gain further enlightenment.
Another month passed. By this time, Meng Hao was able to study the soil for a sustained time equal to the burning of half an incense stick. During that time, he could observe the tiny figures formed from golden magical symbols, and their paintings.
Based on Meng Hao’s judgement, he had actually only collected one part out of hundreds. In order to gain enlightenment, he would need to collect a lot more of the Celestial soil.
Recently, Meng Hao had also suppressed the growth of his Core. The reason was that once his Core Qi appeared, it would signify that his Core was completely solidified; the only following step would be to achieve the Perfect Gold Core.
As far as the essence of his Core Qi, according to Meng Hao’s understanding, it would be better to develop it after he acquired the Perfect Gold Core. He was confident that at that time, his battle prowess would experience instantaneous and incredible advancement.
On this particular day, after Meng Hao concluded his research, he rested for a moment, then once again tried out the art of Righteous Bestowal. His recent days had been spent on cultivating these two divine abilities. Of course, whenever he used the art of Righteous Bestowal, he would not go anywhere near the field of rubble.
The more he used it, the deeper his understanding became. He already had a basic mastery, and could fuse his will with Demonic Qi to create an Incarnation.
He placed his hand onto the ground, and ghost images sprang up everywhere. It took only a moment to merge his Spiritual Sense into the local Demonic Qi, and then send it out in all directions. At the moment, it could cover everything within a full three hundred kilometer radius. That was equivalent to the Spiritual Sense of the late Core Formation stage.
To reach past five hundred kilometers was possible only for Nascent Soul eccentrics.
As the amalgamation of Meng Hao’s Spiritual Sense and the Demonic Qi spread out, it was as if he had an invisible body outside the Immortal’s cave. This invisible body could go anywhere within the three hundred kilometer radius, directed by his will.
He saw the Cultivators outside the Immortal’s cave. They were already seventy or eighty in number, all of various levels of cultivation. There was only one assignment they were tasked with; every day they had to leave the camp and then return with some of the violet-green Celestial soil. They could use any means necessary to do so. The greater amount one returned with, the more they would be allowed to drink from the medicinal cistern.
Meng Hao took a glance at it all, then ignored it, submerging himself in this strange state, traversing the local area, experiencing what it felt like to utilize the Demonic Qi.
Before he even realized it, an hour had passed. According to Meng Hao’s experience, the Incarnation he had formed using the art of Righteous Bestowal would only last for a little more than an hour. He was just about to disperse the effects of the art, when his Incarnation suddenly turned its head and looked off into the distance, eyes narrowed. He experienced no alarm, only calmness.
There, off in the distance, was the field of rubble. Shockingly, he could see a fog of black Qi emanating out, coalescing into the image of an enormous old man.
The old man was huge, as large as a giant, and he was looking at Meng Hao.
His lower half was formed from black mist, above which, he was dressed in a black robe. His white hair fluttered around him, and his eyes were like lightning. His expression was filled with ancient profundity, and a rift split the middle of his forehead. From within the rift emerged a host of tiny black snakes which wriggled and squirmed and emitted hissing noises.
“Greetings, senior,” said Meng Hao, clasping his hands and bowing.
The old man looked at Meng Hao for a moment. “I’ve been watching you,” he said. Then he continued, his voice containing no politeness: “Why do you have a Ji Clan Karma thread attached to you? Answer me!”
“That has nothing to do with you, sir,” replied Meng Hao with a cool frown.
“Oh?” said the old man with a piercing gaze. His aura suddenly flared out, and his entire body seemed to surge with Heavenly might. The black mist seethed, and the host of black snakes protruding from his forehead glared at Meng Hao. Their forked tongues flicked in and out as they emitted savage screams.
At the same time, over a hundred enormous black pythons appeared in front of the old man, seemingly reflections of the small snakes on his forehead. After they appeared, they spread out in all directions. The sight of it was incredibly shocking.
Of course, no one but Meng Hao could see this, and his expression was as calm as ever.
“You came here once before,” said the old man, continuing to look at Meng Hao. “You saw the seal which suppresses me. That’s why you’re so confident, isn’t it?” His voice echoed out like thunder, causing even the sky to seem to grow dark.
“Correct,” replied Meng Hao casually.
The man stared at him for a while, then suddenly let out a hearty laugh. “Nice response. You have a Ji Clan Karma thread attached to you, which means you will have trouble evading their Karma in this life. Cultivators who have achieved enlightenment regarding the Essence of the Ninth Mountain and Sea become prey for the Ji Clan.
“You’re young, so for you to be able to sense the Essence of the Ninth Mountain and Sea means you must be on the path of some great legacy. However, such a path… will lead you into conflict with the Ji Clan. It seems to me you won’t get very far on your journey.” With another laugh, he turned and the black fog began to disappear.
Hearing the old man’s words caused Meng Hao to feel a bit confused. Seeing the man was about to disappear, he suddenly blurted, “What is the Essence of the Ninth Mountain and Sea? What does the Ji Clan want with it?”
“There are nine Mountains in the vastness. Each Mountain has four planets, as well as a sun and a moon which revolve around the Mountains and Seas. One Mountain, one Sea, one Essence. Acquire the Essence of a Mountain and Sea, become the Lord of the Mountain and Sea… The Lord of the Ninth Mountain and Sea was surnamed Li (李), but he perished in a great calamity. The Mountain then had no Lord; therefore, all of the Immortals vied for the position!
“Lord Li had two subordinate Celestial warriors. The most powerful of the two changed his surname. He used the Heavens (天) to cover over Li (李), and called himself Ji (季). From then on, Ancestor Ji occupied the Heavenly Palace. He hunted and killed ancient names, changed the positions of the Heavenly bodies, and sealed the hosts of Immortals….
“Tribulation for Mountain and Sea! A great war among the Stars. Immortals perished. There was boundless weeping. All living things raised their heads, but instead of glimpsing the stars, they saw the Heavens of Ji!” The old man’s powerful voice seemed to be filled with both laughter and insanity as he slowly disappeared.
Meng Hao floated in mid-air staring blankly. His mind spun, echoing with the old man’s words, and his bitter laughter, which seemed part song and part lunacy.
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Here is a slightly closer look at the characters mentioned above: