Ke Yunhai took up the lead. As of now, he seemed to have returned to the way he was in the prime of his life. His Cultivation base was at its peak, although Meng Hao had no way to comprehend what realm it was in.
“Jiusi, in the great Nine Mountains and Seas, the path of cultivation is comprised of Spirit, Immortal, Ancient, and Dao!” He waved his hand, and the world collapsed. The 89th level, which had been so difficult for Meng Hao, was destroyed in an instant.
As the 90th level neared, another battlefield spread out in front of Meng Hao. It was boundless, such that in the sky above, nine suns could be seen. The land was ancient and archaic. Meng Hao could see countless giants on the battlefield, and even giant Demons!
It seemed as if this battlefield were even more ancient than the Demon Immortal Sect.
“This place is a reflection of the Archean world. It is neither real nor false. It exists within a thought…. According to legend, the Archean world is the origin of the Nine Mountains and Seas.” Ke Yunhai moved forward, waving his hand. Countless incoming roaring figures instantly turned into ash.
Meng Hao stood behind Ke Yunhai, his expression one of excitement.
“It is said that the Nine Lords of the great Nine Mountains and Seas actually come from the Archean world. They are not spirits of the Nine Mountains and Seas. That includes our Lord Li of the Ninth Mountain and Sea!
“Of course legends are just legends. They might be true, they might be false. Either way, you should know the story.” Ke Yunhai stamped his foot down, and a roaring sound filled the air. Ripples expanded out in all directions. Everything that existed for tens of thousands of meters in all directions began to shake, and then directly exploded into pieces.
“Your father is at the peak of the Ancient Realm, half a step into the Dao Realm. Originally speaking, I should have limitless longevity and be able to… enjoy a life as long as that of the Nine Mountains and Seas.” He proceeded forward, and the land beneath his feet began to shrink. He pulled Meng Hao along by his arm, striding forward with seemingly boundless steps.
Patriarch Reliance watched them from far off in the distance, and his heart suddenly trembled. He plastered himself down onto the ground, praying that Meng Hao had already forgotten about him.
Meng Hao moved along with Ke Yunhai, having completely forgotten about Patriarch Reliance. In a single moment, they were now in a completely different location on the boundless battlefield.
“However, Lord Li returned the life of Heaven to the masses,” he said softly. “He believes that for Cultivators to cultivate eternal life is an injustice to Heaven and Earth. He buried the path to the next life, sealed the Dao Realm so that it cannot be tread. In the end, we must forfeit our lives. That is how… the limit on longevity began.”
He stood there, his long hair draped around him, looking very much like a Paragon.
Or, you might say that… he truly was a Paragon. He pushed his hand down toward the ground. Instantly, it began to rumble, shattering into multiple layers, which then collapsed into each other.
“This level… is now passed,” he said. He lifted his hand, and the entire world was shattered into fragments. All the lives on the battlefield were destroyed, and a huge crater spread out on down below. There, in the deepest part of the crater, a coffin could be seen.
When Meng Hao saw the coffin, his entire person filled with rumbling. The surface of the coffin was carved with nine butterflies.
“According to legend,” Ke Yunhai said coolly, “a coffin existed in the Archean world. Although it existed for countless years, no one ever knew who rested inside of the coffin, nor did anyone know where it came from.” The entire world around them vanished. At the same time, a seal appeared, flying out to float in front of Ke Yunhai.
Ke Yunhai looked at it, and smiled. He turned, waving his sleeve to cause the seal to shoot toward Meng Hao.
“Assimilate this seal. Father will stand guard over you.”
As soon as the seal touched his forehead, it vanished. Meng Hao’s body trembled, and, shockingly, five huge characters appeared in his mind.
Nine Heavens Treasured Body Seal!
This was exactly what Meng Hao had wanted to acquire, one of the top 10 Daoist magics specifically focused on body tempering!
The seal spun in a circle in Meng Hao’s mind, surging up with a power of expulsion. It almost seemed as if this Daoist magic was not destined to be with Meng Hao, as if it was not something he could gain enlightenment of to turn into a great Dao seed.
Seeing the Daoist magic suddenly beginning to grow faint, Meng Hao’s mind shook. It was in this moment, however, that a warm hand clasped down onto his shoulder.
“Don’t worry, father will help you subjugate the magic!” As soon as the gentle voice entered Meng Hao’s mind, he grew calm. At the same time, an indescribable pressure exploded out from Ke Yunhai. As it bore down on Meng Hao, he did nothing to interfere with it. However, the seal in his mind began to tremble and struggle in frustration.
In response to the struggling, Ke Yunhai let out a cold snort. All struggling was destroyed, completely shattered. The seal lost any will of its own. It remained in Meng Hao’s mind, slowly fusing in, transforming into the seed of a great Dao.
“I erased its will,” said Ke Yunhai with a smile. “Although the Dao will is gone, it still does not conform to your spirit. You won’t be able to cultivate it right away. Since it insisted on disobeying you, I had no choice but to destroy it.
“Okay, let’s go. On to the next level!” With that, he turned and headed forward. Meng Hao took a deep breath and followed in his tracks.
The two of them passed the 91st level, the 92nd level, and the 93rd level….
Meng Hao didn’t need to do anything the entire time. Everything was handled by Ke Yunhai. He was cool and unhuried, waving his hand to destroy worlds. The sight of it left Meng Hao completely shaken.
If Ke Yunhai could do this here, there was no need to even mention what he could accomplish in the outside world.
The Demon Immortal Sect disciples outside watched Ke Yunhai push his hand against the surface of the pagoda and then close his eyes in meditation. As soon as he closed his eyes, shockingly, a second dot of light appeared on the 89th level.
In addition to Meng Hao, there were now two glowing dots. This dot, however, was incredibly shocking. It might even be better to call it a sun than a dot of light.
“That’s… that’s Paragon Yunhai? It’s… it’s really him! This is too… too…”
“That’s definitely Paragon Yunhai….”
Everyone could do a little more than stare in complete stupefaction. Never could they ever have imagined that cheating… could possibly be carried out to this shocking extent.
Almost as soon as the sun appeared on the 89th level, the level collapsed. Meng Hao and the sun then proceeded on to the 90th level. Within a few breaths of time, a brilliant glow filled the sky as the 90th level was passed!
At the same time, countless beautiful flowers descended down in the area around the Demon Immortal Pagoda. They merged together to form one gigantic lotus.
Many people instantly recognized what this was. This was one of the top 10 Daoist magics. It didn’t count as a secret technique; this was the one and only body tempering Daoist magic known as the Nine Heavens Treasured Body Seal.
Even as an unprecedented surge of jealousy filled the hearts of the onlookers, suddenly, the beautiful flower began to show signs of instability. Immediately, the hearts of all the onlookers quivered.
“Incompatible! It’s incompatible! Hahaha! Ke Jiusi has no way to gain enlightenment of this particular Daoist magic!”
“The will of Heaven! This is definitely the will of Heaven!!”
Yet, even as their hearts raced, suddenly, pressure from Ke Yunhai spread out. Everyone watched dumbfounded as the pressure exerted by a Paragon caused the will of the previously unstable flower to be erased, and it was forced into submission.
The scene instantly caused the Demon Immortal disciples to stare with wide eyes. The ones who had just spoken instantly revealed expressions of incredible frustration.
Odd looks filled their eyes, and the exact same question spun through all of their minds.
“Dammit! Why couldn’t I have such an awesome dad!?!?!?”
A second question then filled the minds of some of the onlookers.
“How come my dad isn’t a Paragon…?”
By this point, they had no energy left to cry out about things being unfair. Ke Yunhai’s actions had obliterated any such arguments to the point of being dust and ash. It didn’t matter what anybody cried out, this father and son team would battle together….
It didn’t matter if you were talking about the Fang Clan or the Ji Clan, the Eastern Lands, the Northern Reaches, the Southern Domain, or the Black Lands. Everyone watched in a daze at the Demon Immortal Pagoda floating there in the sky.
They watched as Ke Yunhai, Paragon, escorted Ke Jiusi through the levels.
Fang Yu blinked, her heart feeling a bit unsettled.
“I can’t let dad find out about this….” she thought.
Zhixiang’s eyes were wide and she was panting. At the moment, even she was filled with intense jealousy toward Meng Hao.
Everyone was filled with complicated feelings as they watched the bright, sun-like dot of light on the outside of the Demon Immortal Pagoda. It charged through the levels. 94th. 95th. 96th….
Finally, it reached the 99th!
All of the observing Demon Immortal Sect disciples who were watching began to pant. It was as if they had forgotten about everything else except for this highest level of the pagoda.
The 99th level exceeded anything Meng Hao could have imagined. There was no danger here, no battlefield. There was only a valley. Within the valley was a lake, next to which was a house. Sitting cross-legged outside of the house was an old man.
The old man was fishing, and as Ke Yunhai and Meng Hao approached, he paid them no attention.
Meng Hao stood silently behind Ke Yunhai. Ke Yunhai came to a stop by the old man, and likewise said nothing.
After a long moment passed, the old man finally spoke.
“This does not conform with the rules.”
“I don’t have much life left in me,” replied Ke Yunhai coolly. Hearing this caused Meng Hao’s heart to tremble.
“It still doesn’t conform with the rules,” said the old man. He sighed.
“I’ve made many sacrifices for the Demon Immortal Sect. I’ve carried out Lord Li’s commands without hesitation. That’s not enough?” He turned his head to look off into the distance.
The old man said nothing at first. After a long moment, he sighed, then made a grasping motion with his right hand. Instantly, a seal appeared in the palm of his hand. It seemed to be formed of countless magical symbols, and contained a sense of shattered beauty.
“Fleshly Sanctification,” said the old man. “It is a secret art, not really a Daoist magic.” He looked at Meng Hao for a moment, and Meng Hao’s mind shook. That single glance was enough to pierce completely through him.
“Interesting,” said the old man, a serious look filling his eyes. He waved his hand, causing the seal to shoot toward Meng Hao and enter into his forehead.
“Night would have difficulty creating a copy of this art. However, since I approve, then after you leave this place, as long as I still exist, you can fully activate it. If I’ve already perished….” The old man shook his head, but said no more.
As for Ke Yunhai, he didn’t ask any questions about what had just been said. He turned to leave with Meng Hao.
As they made their way off, the old man suddenly looked up at Meng Hao once more. His eyes seemed to be filled with both understanding, and sorrow.
“Yunhai,” he thought, “considering you know the truth of it all, why are you doing this…?”
This chapter was sponsored by Anon, John Spurgeon, Eduardo Frias, Lee Nelson, and Dong Soo Shin