At the same time, within the Inner Ring of the Milky Way Sea, the water was boiling. A gray fog suddenly rose up, which spread out in all directions, filled with an aura of death.
An ancient ship slowly pierced through the fog, and as it did it seemed to cause flickering images of countless worlds to appear within the fog.
It almost seemed like the ship had just come from ancient times, and was now making an appearance in this day and age.
At the prow of the ship was an old man wearing a dilapidated suit of armor. His long hair was the color of silver, and it was impossible to see his facial features. It was only possible to see a pair of blank eyes that seemed to be staring off into eternity, looking for the answer to some unanswerable question.
Suddenly, the old man raised his head up and looked in the direction of the ancient Daoist rite temple off in the Eastern Lands.
“Who… has shaken the world?”
All of the ripples which were spreading out throughout Planet South Heaven suddenly vanished.
Outside the Tower of Tang, Meng Hao’s parents listened to Shui Dongliu’s words, and were shaken.
“Impossible to predict. He has changed his destiny.
“You two must not interfere; too many Karmic connections would be detrimental to him…. He… is connected to South Heaven by destiny.”
“Senior….” said Meng Hao’s father, his voice anxious as he looked at Shui Dongliu.
“The tribulation…. is coming,” murmured Shui Dongliu. “I have seen countless corpses, and endless rivers of blood. I have seen the calamity which will leave only nine mountains in the starry sky. That calamity… is not very far off.
“The existences that were once subdued cannot cross over from ancient times, but the ones who escaped subdual will return full of vengeance….
“When was the enmity created? What was its root cause? Forgotten…. They’ve all forgotten everything…. Nobody remembers anymore….
“They… enslaved the Dao of Heaven. And they are on their way.” He shook his head slowly.
Meanwhile, in the depths of the mountains, in the Immortal Ancient Daoist Rite Temple, the ground was quaking outside of the temple. Everyone was astonished as they listened to the shrill sound of weeping mixed with laughter, and the incredible roaring coming from deep beneath the ground. Then they saw the temple itself shaking. Cracks spread out, and suddenly, an illusory Daoist rite temple appeared once again.
Inside the temple hall, Meng Hao’s face was pale. All he had wanted to do was to pick up the bronze lantern, so the intense rumbling, and the quaking of the land, caused his eyes to go wide.
Furthermore, he now could not separate his hand from the bronze lantern; intense pain stabbed into his hand, causing the skin to be slit open and blood to spray out, which was then absorbed by the bronze lantern.
After absorbing the blood, the lantern’s flame burned even more radiantly. It emanated a red glow which seemed capable of piercing the air and tearing open the barrier to ancient times. Meng Hao was suddenly able to sense that everything was in motion.
The images around him began to rotate, spinning faster and faster, until they were roaring violently in the form of a vortex.
It was hard to say how long it lasted, but at a certain point the vortex suddenly ceased moving. Shaking, Meng Hao looked around to see… the exact same ancient Daoist rite temple that he had seen before. He could hear the sound of a sermon being given about the Dao, and everyone sat cross-legged beneath a river of stars.
On the altar was an old man who waved his hand, causing everything in Heaven and Earth to suddenly reverse; an enormous “Immortal 仙” character appeared….
Shockingly, the “Immortal” superimposed over Meng Hao. It was as if the oil lamp in his hand had turned into the mountain, while he was the person! Together, they transformed into the character… “Immortal!” 1
Countless eyes fell upon him, and Meng Hao’s mind spun. Everything that was happening was far too incredible, and he could barely believe it.
Next, the lamp began to absorb more and more of his blood. His face went pale as the world around him spun. Rumbling filled the air as everything once again ceased moving. Shockingly, Meng Hao found himself looking at yet another world.
An enormous hand could be seen in the sky, which smashed directly into the ground. There were countless cultivators locked in deadly combat; they attacked by hauling stars out of the sky and transforming them into divine abilities.
To defend, enormous swaths of earth were ripped up and hurled into the sky.
There was an enormous, amorphous figure who had stars shining in its forehead. Next to it were innumerable furred creatures with long tentacles, as large as planets, wreaking death in all directions.
It was impossible for Meng Hao to tell who was friend or foe. There were multiple powers all fighting each other. Far off in the distance, he saw an enormous rift tearing open to reveal… nine suns!
They were nine suns that caused the starry sky to tremble, caused the void to shatter into fragments, and caused all life to be extinguished!
Unexpectedly, the nine suns were hauling an enormous stone statue through the rift. The statue depicted a man who had ordinary features and yet emanated an unforgettable aura!
An indescribably large shadow began to spread out, seemingly intent on covering up the entire starry sky. From the look of it, it was possible to see that it was something completely unique and bizarre.
People began to cry out in alarm, to shout about the Dao of Heaven….
Even more shocking, from a different direction, nine butterflies could be seen flying in approach. They were indescribably gargantuan, larger than anything else. In the moment they appeared, what seemed like portals that led to other worlds opened up on their bodies, from within which emerged clouds of figures. Even more shocking was that behind the butterflies, Meng Hao could see what seemed like a huge landmass which was threatening to fill the entire sky as it approached.
“The world of Immortals is the source of all chaos! Immortals are the pinnacle of evil!” It was impossible to tell who this voice that rang out in Meng Hao’s vision belonged to. The only thing that he could see were the nine suns, the nine butterflies, and below them, nine shocking mountains.
Massive rumbling filled everything, and then the vision faded away. Meng Hao’s mind was reeling, and everything around him was shattered to pieces. Once again, a vortex formed, with Meng Hao in the middle of it. He reappeared from ancient times, and stepped out into the temple hall.
Almost all of his blood had been sucked out of his body into the bronze lantern. As for the lantern…. It had of its own volition floated up into the air above Meng Hao’s head, where it was now flickering dimly.
It was at this point that the sky outside… grew bright!
In the moment in which dawn broke, the bronze lamp above Meng Hao’s head flickered and transformed into an ember. It was not extinguished, but rather, turned into a weak, green smoke that bored into Meng Hao’s mouth, nose, ears, and eyes. All of a sudden, he experienced an unprecedented clarity.
Meng Hao’s mind trembled, and his eyes glittered brightly. He knew that now was not the time to hesitate. Followed by the shadow that was his second true self, Meng Hao emerged from the temple hall, flicking his sleeve to collect up Taiyang Zi and Song Luodan, who he then tossed into his bag of holding. He glanced at the well, which was still sealed by the Ninth Mountain, and then unhesitatingly left the courtyard.
When he emerged from the main gate, he saw that everyone outside had blank expressions on their faces. Apparently, they were still caught up in the vision of ancient times. Even the sons of Ji were trembling.
Meng Hao immediately started flying. However, a beam of sword light screamed through the air toward him before he could get very far. It was none other than Zhao Yifan!
As it turned out, he was the first to awaken!
More people began to wake up, and when they saw Meng Hao, they instantly unleashed magical techniques as they chased after him.
“Hey, the Daoist rite temple is all yours!” he called. The war chariot appeared, and instantly shot forward at incredible speed. The incoming magic from his pursuers very nearly overwhelmed him.
Thankfully, he hadn’t paused for even the slightest moment; furthermore, his mind was incredibly clear because of the bronze lantern. Everyone else, even Zhao Yifan, had just come to their senses, and as such, found it difficult to employ the full power of their cultivation bases.
Rumbling filled the air, and Meng Hao coughed up a mouthful of blood. However, he was being doggedly pursued, so he shot forward at top speed toward that narrow path surrounded on either sides by high cliffs.
Unfortunately, the airspace was restricted, and it quickly became apparent that the war chariot was having difficulty staying aloft. It began to slow down rapidly as soon as he entered the narrow path, until Meng Hao was finally forced to put it away. As soon as he touched down onto the ground, he shot away like an arrow from a bow. A whizzing sound could be heard as he shot off into the distance.
There were hundreds of people pursuing him, although none of them were Chosen. Instead, they were the Dao Protectors from the various sects and clans. Only Mount Sun and the Song Clan sent all of their forces after him.
The other Chosen, after awakening, looked at the empty temple and then charged in.
As soon as they entered the place, the mountain above the well collapsed into pieces, and the desolate wail of a woman could be heard.
“Meng Hao! Things are NOT finished between us!” Fan Dong’er flowed up from within the well, her face pale and her hair disheveled. All of the other Chosen who were so smitten with her were just about to rush forward to her when suddenly, they gasped. They looked at Fan Dong’er with astonishment, and slowly began to back up.
Fan Dong’er gaped, and her face fell. It was then that she raised her right hand; a bright light flashed, and a mirror appeared. When she looked into the mirror she could see that her face, although somewhat pale, was still as beautiful as ever.
She breathed a sigh of relief. Except then….
“Dong’er, b-behind you….”
“There’s someone behind you!!”
“Why… why did you carry a corpse up here on your back…?”
It was at this point that Fan Dong’er caught sight of something else in the mirror’s reflection. Behind her… floated the corpse of a woman, the exact same corpse which had tormented her inside the well.
Fan Dong’er felt like her head was going to explode. She immediately flew up into the air, only to find that the corpse did exactly the same thing. It was almost as if their souls were connected; apparently, it would follow her no matter where she went.
Fan Dong’er could only imagine what it would be like if, no matter where she went, she was followed by a corpse that had been fermenting in water for millions of years…. Such a matter would completely shock the entire Ninth Mountain and Sea once word got out.
Fan Dong’er screamed….
“Meng Hao, I’m going to kill you. KILL you!!”
By this point, the other Chosen had already entered the temple hall. They looked around in shock for a moment, then immediately fled out of the temple complex. Cracks spread out rapidly, and the ground shattered into a chasm, into which the entire temple immediately fell!
Thankfully, everyone moved with enough speed that no one was caught up in the destruction. However, they all looked back in shock as the remains of the temple were sucked down into the ground. After that, the ground returned to its normal state, as if nothing had ever been there….
“Dammit! That bronze lamp that Meng Hao took was obviously a precious treasure from the Immortal Ancient Daoist Rite Temple!”
“He definitely has the Immortal Ancient Dao Medallion!”
“Get him! The airspace here is restricted, so he can’t have gotten far. Seal the entire mountain range! Lock down the air! Dig up the earth until we find him!”
You may remember that Er Gen once broke down the character “Immortal 仙” as being made up of a person 人 and a mountain 山 ↩