The old man slapped his hand down onto the surface of the water and then began to fly upward. His hand flashed in an incantation gesture, and then a rift tore open in the starry sky, which he prepared to enter.
However, it was at this point that a black fish suddenly splashed out of the water. It had sharp teeth and looked incredibly ferocious. As soon as it appeared, black rays of light began to shine out from it, making it look like a black sun. It only took a moment for it to appear in front of the old man.
An indescribable pressure exploded off of it.
“You’re… an underworld fish!” said the old man, his face paling. “There’s an Underworld Judge of the Fourth Mountain who is an underworld fish. You’re his clone!” Just when the old man prepared to fight back, the underworld fish flickered and then stabbed into the old man’s forehead. The old man shook, and then his body began to dissipate.
Even as he began to fade away, the old man’s eyes suddenly flickered with a glow of determination.
“I might be dying, but you Underworld people must be dreaming if you think I’ll go down without a fight! My Dao manifested the music of a great Dao. Dead souls of the river, if you have any reluctance at all to part with the living world, then awaken! Listen to the call beckoning you to stay in the world of men! Break free, return, and exist as undead!” With that, he lifted his head back and laughed loudly. His body collapsed, but the sound of his voice rolled out through the River of Forgetfulness, which stretched out further than the eye could see.
The old man died, but the music of his great Dao echoed out over the discarnate souls within the River of Forgetfulness. They trembled, and were then unable to control themselves as they flew up into the air. They transformed into a tempest of souls which shot madly toward the rift out in the void.
“Let’s go home!”
“Flee this place and return home!!”
Rumbling could be heard as the countless souls whistled through the air. On the surface of the river water lay a woman surrounded by a blood-colored light. She also flew up into the air to join the other souls in the tempest.
The underworld fish next to the rift looked coldly at the souls.
“You people are already dead!” the underworld fish said coolly. “If you want your souls dispersed as well, then as an Underworld Judge, I can accommodate!
“All souls in the River of Forgetfulness… will have no trial! Your sentence is to be refused entry into the cycle of reincarnation! Your souls will be exterminated immediately and melted into the River of Forgetfulness, where they shall remain for all eternity!” A black glow emanated out from the fish, transforming into a Dharmic decree that spread out in all directions.
In the blink of an eye, the entire area was covered with a black glow. Any soul who touched it screamed and then faded away, having been instantly eradicated!
“I don’t want to die!!”
“Ahhhh, soul dispersion! I refuse to submit!!”
“My life was ended, and now I get no second life?! I can’t accept this!!”
It took only a moment for all the souls above the river to fade away, with the exception of the woman’s soul. The black light was blocked by the red glow that surrounded her.
The black underworld fish looked over with glinting eyes that suddenly went wide.
The woman was none other than Xu Qing’s soul!
“So you already have a Dharmic decree attached to you, directing you into reincarnation?” The fish hesitated for a moment. Generally speaking, souls with Dharmic decrees had incredible backstories. The fish couldn’t help but look more closely at Xu Qing.
After further examination, a look of surprise gleamed in the fish’s eyes.
“This woman has a Dao root? And it just sprouted? I’ve never heard of something like this before! I’ve been looking for a new slave girl. This one will do just fine!” Suddenly, black light appeared in front of the fish which then transformed into a huge hand covered with fish scales. It reached out toward Xu Qing to grab her.
However, as soon as it made contact with the red glow, shocking ripples flowed out. The hand trembled, then shattered into pieces, leaving the underworld fish astonished. It only took a moment for a bright glow to appear in its eyes.
“Interesting. This woman with the Dharmic decree must be some shocking, almighty figure. Now that she’s died, she’s weak and exhausted. If I can suppress her here in the River of Forgetfulness, then there won’t be any chance of her coming back to look for me later!”
The underworld fish’s body flickered, and the River of Forgetfulness began to crash with enormous waves. The waves surged, merging together, hundreds of thousands of them. The red glow fought back against the waves, but was eventually incapable of resisting the mysterious power of the River of Forgetfulness. After some time passed, the glow began to fade.
When it completely dissipated, the underworld fish laughed loudly and then summoned the black hand to once more reach out and grab at Xu Qing.
“I’ll bless you with some good fortune! Wipe your memories and sever your path to mortality. You won’t be going into the cycle of reincarnation, from now on, you’re going to be the slave girl of an Underworld Judge!”
Just when the black hand was about to grab onto Xu Qing, a strand of divine sense suddenly flew up into the air and began to emanate an astonishing power. The strand slashed down, slicing the black hand in two!
A miserable scream could be heard from the underworld fish. With an expression of complete astonishment and terror, it shot backward in retreat.
At the same time, a cold voice echoed out through the River of Forgetfulness.
“How dare you touch the daughter-in-law of the one surnamed Fang!” The voice seemed enraged, and the entire River of Forgetfulness shook. The underworld fish couldn’t look more shocked.
“You…. Fang…. You’re….” It began to tremble with such fear that its soul nearly dissipated. Before it could finish speaking, the strand slashed out into the starry sky, severing all natural law. The strand continued to slash down toward the underworld fish. It screamed as its body was sliced into two halves. The strand then appeared to be preparing to finish the job and completely destroy it.
“Your excellency, please spare my life!” cried the underworld fish. It was completely terrified, and filled with a sense of deadly crisis. Unfortunately, it was incapable of fleeing, and had no other option than to beg for mercy.
It was at this point that another voice, ancient and archaic, echoed out from within the River of Forgetfulness.
“Elder Brother Fang, calm your anger. Considering my position as king, can’t you give me some face….”
In conjunction with the voice, an enormous face appeared within the River of Forgetfulness. It had a third eye on its forehead, and as soon as it appeared, all the stars in the sky trembled.
“No, I can’t,” was the cold response. A bloodcurdling scream rang out from the mouth of the underworld fish. Its body was destroyed, completely and thoroughly. Then, a will of extermination appeared that quickly found the true self that the clone originated from, and destroyed it as well.
Nothing could prevent this from happening!
The starry sky was now tranquil and quiet.
“Elder Brother Fang, we haven’t seen each other for years, but you still have the same temper…. You know, you might just be a stream of divine sense come from the lands of South Heaven, but that’s still a violation of the agreement.
“The 100,000 year period has just begun. You and your beloved are not permitted to leave South Heaven!”
“During the 100,000 years, I can send out one stream of divine sense,” replied the cold voice. “That was also written in the agreement.”
Down below, the eyes of the enormous face in the River of Forgetfulness flickered. “True, true. Although, you may only do that one time, ostensibly to provide a Dao Protector for your son. I never imagined you would use the divine sense on this girl.”
“The son of Fang is a dragon of Heaven and Earth! He doesn’t need me to act as Dao Protector!”
“Oh? You’re not afraid that someone might kill him?!” the face replied coldly.
“If someone kills my son, I will kill his everything!” responded the voice, cold and calm. “I will destroy his entire family, and their chance at reincarnation!” The words were spoken with a monstrous, domineering air. Intense, icy coldness spread out, and as for the face on the river, it trembled inwardly.
“Even after all these years, he definitely deserves to be called the number one Chosen of the Fang Clan,” thought the face. “For the sake of his crippled son, he was stationed on planet South Heaven for 100,000 years… unable to leave. South Heaven is old and dull, and his cultivation base cannot advance. It won’t take 100,000 years for plenty of other people to pass him up.”
At this point, the cold voice continued: “This is my daughter-in-law. My strand of divine sense will stay with her to protect her and ensure that she is peacefully reincarnated. During her time in the underworld, no one is allowed to interfere with her in any way.” With that, the strand of divine sense slowly floated down to circle around Xu Qing’s arm, then faded into her.
The face on the river water said nothing. After a moment passed, it slowly sank back down into the water. This stretch of the vast River of Forgetfulness now had no souls in it other than Xu Qing’s. Gradually, she drifted off into the distance.
Back in the Southern Domain, on the battlefield, the Southern Domain cultivators milled about, not attacking, but merely surrounding the Northern Reaches cultivators. They had long since grown accustomed to the reek of blood. They looked on coldly as the Northern Reaches cultivators let out their final screams.
Everything was sealed. The Northern Reaches cultivators couldn’t flee. By now, there were less than 30,000 left, each and every one of whom… was withering away into a corpse.
The corpse-littered battlefield was huge, but now it was possible to see that in the very center, there was a giant blood-colored cocoon, within which sat a cross-legged figure. It was impossible to see the figure clearly, only its outline, but when the Southern Domain cultivators looked at it, their eyes filled with reverence and fanaticism.
A magic had been used that merged the qi, blood and cultivation bases of more than a hundred thousand people, to mold a new body. Such magic was matchlessly sinister and vicious. And yet, the magical technique itself was neither evil nor good. The nature of good and evil is often decided by the masses, and the heart.
To the Northern Reaches cultivators, the blood mist was evil to the extreme and indescribably cruel. They hated it to their bones. However, to the Southern Domain cultivators, it was exactly the opposite.
The living sacrifice of the Northern Reaches cultivators allowed their esteemed Meng Hao to mold a new body. It was something that left them incredibly moved on an emotional level.
It was impossible to say who it was that spoke first, but soon, all of the more than 100,000 surviving Southern Domain cultivators spontaneously began to cry out. Their voices grew louder and louder, until everyone was shouting out one name.
They were calling out to Meng Hao, calling out for him to awaken!
The sound rumbled out over the remaining 20,000 or so Northern Reaches cultivators. They were enveloped by red mist, and their miserable screams were a sharp contrast to the calls of the Southern Domain cultivators. Two very different sounds could be heard on the battlefield.
The Northern Reaches cultivators only lasted for the space of a few breaths before they were completely withered up. 20,000 corpses toppled over, and the thick red mist surged back into the enormous, blood-colored cocoon. Then, the heartbeat coming from within the Blood Cocoon… grew louder!
Thump-thump! Thump-thump! Thump-thump!
Not only did the heartbeat grow more intense, the image of the person inside began to grow clearer!
100,000 Southern Domain cultivators were shouting at the top of their lungs, and the sound of it caused everything to shake, and even penetrated into the Blood Cocoon itself!
Within the Blood Cocoon, the figure’s eyes… suddenly opened!
“Who… calls me…?”
Chapter 780: Slaughtering an Underworld Judge
This chapter was sponsored by Armin Hüneburg, Joseph Ryan Honeymoon, Alessio Bastardi, Tony Krøger, Nico Zeese, and Ng Shan