“Or perhaps it will turn into the tree that emerged from within the Ninth Sea all those years ago and crossed the stars to Planet South Heaven… the supreme Greenwood Tree!” Meng Hao’s eyes glittered as the Qi continued to rush into him. Outside, the other six volcanoes were rumbling as white mist continued to shoot out toward Meng Hao.
The more Qi he absorbed, the brighter his eyes grew.
He looked up at the enormous Greenwood Tree floating in mid-air above him, which emanated a boundless green glow. It dyed the sky, covered the land, filling everything with the aura of the Greenwood Tree. Throughout the Crow Divinity Holy Land, all of the plants and vegetation were writhing.
The members of the Crow Scout Tribe panted as they stared at the scene. Meanwhile, outside of the Holy Land, back in the region of the Crow Scout Tribe, the enormous Treant looked over at the green glow rising up to the Heavens.
“Wood….” it said softly.
Even the members of the other four Tribes who were waiting outside of the golden doors were filled with shock. Although they couldn’t see clearly everything that was happening inside, they were filled with a sense of baffling wonderment. Each and every one had faces filled with shock.
At the same time, the various totemic Sacred Ancients atop the mountains of the other four Tribes appeared. They stared toward the Crow Divinity Holy Land, and one by one all uttered the same word.
Even as this word filled the air, the plants and vegetation in the surrounding mountain ranges were whipping about wildly, despite the fact that there was no wind. They flickered, emitting rustling sounds that seemed to form voices of submission. It was as if they were offering obeisance to the sovereign of all Wood-type entities!
The four bizarre life forms from the other four Tribes slowly bowed as if in salute to the miracle which was occurring.
As they were saluting, the members of the Crow Scout Tribe back in the Crow Divinity Holy Land actually stopped breathing momentarily. They watched as the gigantic Greenwood Tree rapidly began to shrink in size. The smaller it got, the more intense was the green light it emitted.
By the time it shrank to three hundred meters in height, it was like a green sun, filling everything around it with intense green light. Meng Hao breathed deeply as he watched the Greenwood Tree shrinking. Three hundred meters, one hundred fifty, one hundred… until it was thirty meters!
Fifteen, ten, three… half a meter, one third… three inches, two inches….
It seemed to be shrinking in correlation to the reduction of water in the pool. Massive amounts of mist were absorbed by Meng Hao; in the blink of an eye, the Greenwood Tree was only one inch tall!
The light it emitted was so bright that it penetrated out of the Crow Divinity Holy Land. The plants and vegetation outside which were grovelling in reverence, the five saluting life forms, and all of the Cultivators who had Wood-type totems, felt a profound impulse to prostrate themselves in worship.
Back within the Crow Divinity Holy Land, the one inch tall, brightly glowing Greenwood Tree in front of Meng Hao shot toward him, branding onto his forehead. A massive roaring noise filled the air, and green light shot out in all directions. As soon as everyone was able to see again, they looked at Meng Hao’s forehead and saw… a type of totem that no one had ever seen before!
This totem tattoo was of a single ancient character!
There was no green tree, no picture, no resplendent glow. It was smooth and ordinary. A single ancient character. Wood!
However, this character Wood represented everything Wood-type under Heaven. Because of this, it didn’t need some picture representation of a plant or tree, because it… was the essence of Wood!
All Wood-types in Heaven and Earth!
Everything shook as all plants and vegetation bowed in worship. All such living things paid respect.
“Wood….” Meng Hao floated up out from within the Pool of Destiny, the Wood character on his forehead glittering with green light. He suddenly had the sensation that he could communicate with all plant forms in the world. He had the intense feeling that by merely exercising his will, he could magically manifest any type of wood.
He also felt a type of calling from the Pool of Destiny beneath him. The pool had always born the semblance of a pool, but when Meng Hao looked down at it, what he saw was a path.
The call originated from the end of the path, where Meng Hao had the strange sensation that there existed… a Heavenly Wood character.
His eyes flickered thoughtfully, and then his body flashed. The Crow Scout Tribe watched panting as he suddenly shot back down toward the Pool of Destiny, toward the path. Then, he completely disappeared.
It wasn’t until Meng Hao disappeared that the Crow Scout Tribe members finally reacted. In fact, it was the man-form Outlander Beast who did so first. Eyes wide, he looked at the scant amount of water left in the Pool of Destiny, and then let out a roar and charged toward the water.
The Greatfather’s face flickered. He waved his hand, indicating for the others to follow as he headed toward the Pool of Destiny. There was already very little water left, but even absorbing a bit would be very beneficial.
Almost at the same time that the Crow Scout Tribe members were charging toward the Pool of Destiny, the faces of the members of the four Tribes on the outside flickered. This was especially so when they noticed that the golden doors were growing dim. The four Greatfathers and the Priests looked shocked.
“How could it be happening so quickly?! Dammit! The Pool of Destiny is going to disappear!”
“The golden light is fading! That means the waters in the Pool of Destiny are already running out!” As of now, the Greatfathers and Priests of the four Tribes did not feel it necessary to abide by the previous agreement. They immediately began to lead their various Tribe members toward the golden light. In an instant, more than one hundred colorful beams of light shot through the doors.
Within the Crow Divinity Holy Land, the members of the four Tribes scattered, heading in the direction of the various volcanoes.
Everything was quite chaotic. However, amidst the chaos, there were four people who happened to have a special means of communication. Suddenly, they all began to whistle through the air toward the seventh volcano.
These four people were none other than Yan Song and the other Nascent Soul Eccentrics. They moved with great speed, but cautiously, so as not to make themselves stand out. They entered the volcano and looked around, killing intent flickering in their eyes as they immediately attacked the other Tribe members who had entered the volcano at the same time.
Considering the level of their Cultivation bases, and the fact that the Tribe members were caught unawares, it only took the space of a few breaths before they wiped them out. There wasn’t even time for miserable cries to ring out.
Now that they didn’t have to conceal their identities anymore, the four of them revealed their true appearances.
The reek of blood filled the air, but Li Tian waved his hand, causing it to disappear instantly. At the same time, Mo Li and old devil Wang performed double-handed incantations. In the blink of an eye, a magical shield covered over everything, making it impossible for anyone else to enter the volcano.
“I have the feeling that Grandmaster Meng is none other than our Fellow Daoist Meng,” said Yan Song coolly, looking at the others.
“He was the first to enter this place,” said Li Tian, frowning. “He must definitely have picked up on some clues already. We need to move faster.”
“According to my understanding,” said Yan Song, “this seventh volcano has the weakest restrictive spells. May I prevail upon you Fellow Daoists to break the spells? Then we will be able to enter the location of the ancient Dao of alchemy.”
The four exchanged glances, then rushed down to the bottom of the volcano. According to the previous arrangement, Mo and Wang began to use their magical techniques to break down the restrictive spells.
As the party of four got to work, the rest of the five Tribes were struggling over the Pools of Destiny. Even as the man-form version of the Outlander Beast, parrot and meat jelly was absorbing the waters, Meng Hao magically appeared in a world that seemed to supercede anything that even remotely resembled it.
The instant he appeared, he looked around, stunned. His eyes began to shine.
Shockingly, he was… in exactly the same place he had been before. He was in the same volcano he had just left. The water beneath his feet was none other than that of the Pool of Destiny. However, the waters were murky, and impossible to absorb. Everything around him seemed tinged with gray, as if that were the only color that existed in this world.
Meng Hao’s eyes flickered as he loped around for a moment and then flew up toward the mouth of the volcano. Outside, everything looked the same; there were still seven volcanoes. The land and the forests, everything looked just exactly the same as the Crow Divinity Holy Land. Except… located in the middle of the seven volcanoes was a gigantic tree.
This enormous, ancient tree towered up so high that it seemed as if it were supporting the very Heaven. And it was golden!
If you looked closely, the tree was not made from wood, but rather, metal. At the very top of the tree was a gigantic Golden Crow, standing there, staring at Meng Hao. 2
At the bottom of the tree was a corpse, leaning up against the tree and facing a decrepit pill furnace.
There was no one and nothing else in the area, only the great tree and the Golden Crow. No lives were present, nor any life force… nor any presence of death.
Everything was quiet, so quiet that many people would find it terrifying.
Meng Hao focused on the great tree and the Golden Crow. Then he looked at the corpse and the pill furnace. Were it not for the corpse and the pill furnace, Meng Hao would have come to the conclusion that everything Yan Song said was incorrect.
Thoughtfully, Meng Hao flew forward toward the great golden tree.
As he neared, the Golden Crow atop the tree suddenly moved its head. A golden gleam could be seen in its eyes.
Meng Hao stopped and stood stock still. He could sense that it was the golden tree upon which the Golden Crow stood that was calling him.
The Golden Crow glanced at Meng Hao, then closed its eyes. Meng Hao clasped hands in a bow, and then neared it.
He didn’t examine the great tree first. Instead, he looked down at the corpse. There in the corpse’s hand was a jade slip.
Meng Hao picked it up and scanned it with Spiritual Sense. Three characters suddenly appeared in his head.
“Spirit Severing Pill!”
His eyes glittered as he looked down at the pill furnace. As soon as he did, a strange expression could be seen on his face. There on the back of the furnace was a large hole.
Within the pill furnace, no medicinal pill could be seen. However, even though countless years had passed, as a Grandmaster of the Dao of alchemy, Meng Hao could tell from the residue left behind that before being destroyed, there had indeed been a medicinal pill inside.
Looking at the hole, he suddenly had the sense that whatever pill had been concocted inside in ancient times, had burst out of its own accord. “It definitely is of the ancient Dao of alchemy, something from primordial times. But… where did the pill go?
1.As you might be aware, Chinese characters go back for thousands of years. According to my research, the type of “ancient character” mentioned to by Er Gen here refer to the most ancient of Chinese characters. The ancient character for wood looks like this:
It’s quite a bit different from the modern version, which looks like this: 木 ↩
2.The Golden Crow is a Chinese mythological creature related to the sun. You can see some various artistic depictions here ↩