Meng Hao’s mind trembled. Seeing his master like this, and hearing the determination in his voice when he spoke of Immortal Ascension, caused his heart to twinge. He offered no words of advice, but rather sat down cross-legged, an enlightened expression on his face.
“If you wish to achieve Immortal Ascension,” said Pill Demon, “you must possess incredible willpower and ambition. Fuse them into a Dao Heart, which searches for Immortality.
“That Dao Heart represents a lifetime of obsession that will cause you to feel regret to your dying day if you cannot achieve true Immortality.”
Pill Demon smiled slightly, then closed his eyes. In only a few days, the true Immortal Tribulation would descend. During that time, he needed to preserve his calm mind, and keep himself at the absolute pinnacle of readiness. Then, he could be ready to meet the Immortal Tribulation that he had been waiting for two lifetimes to see!
Time passed. More and more Immortal qi began to circulate through Pill Demon’s body. The Violet Fate Sect’s grand protective spell formation was in full rotation, and all of the sect’s disciples sat cross-legged reciting scriptures. Their will poured out, forming together to create a bizarre power that bolstered the statue of Reverend Violet East. As a result, the statue appeared to grow more and more lifelike.
Chu Yuyan was in the crowd. She saw Meng Hao, and then closed her eyes. She could sense that the gap between the two of them was only continuing to grow more vast. Meng Hao was almost an Immortal, and she was still in the Nascent Soul stage.
It was as if a vast ravine existed between the two of them that cut off any future possibilities.
The atmosphere in the lands of the Southern Domain was gradually becoming oppressive. Patriarch Song came, along with the South Cleaving Sentinels of the Western Desert, as well as countless other cultivators. They did not approach the Violet Fate Sect, but rather took up positions around the perimeter to stand guard and act as Dharma Protectors.
Anyone who had been shown favor by Pill Demon throughout the years appeared to pay back his kindness by acting as Dharma Protectors. At the same time, in the vast Eastern Lands, as well as in other secret locations throughout South Heaven, people who had suppressed their cultivation bases and gone into secluded meditation, began to awaken. These were people who had been waiting their entire lives for true Immortal Ascension.
They stepped out into the various mountains in the wilderness that housed their places of secluded meditation, and used varied methods to approach the lands of South Heaven. They didn’t interfere with the Violet Fate Sect, but rather chose nearby locations to set up their own restrictive spell formations, within which they sat cross-legged, rotating their cultivation bases as they waited for the chance to fight for Immortality!
On this occasion, all the cultivators in the lands of the Southern Domain who wished to fight for Immortality, would appear.
This was the reason that the experts from the Northern Reaches had originally decided to wage war on the Southern Domain. They had wanted to occupy the key position in the fight for Immortal destiny.
The sky gradually grew murky; even at nighttime, it was still not completely black. The heavens were in a perpetual state of evening. Furthermore, a shocking pressure weighed down on all of Planet South Heaven.
The mortals all slipped into comas, and the vegetation seemed to fall dormant and become devoid of life. The animals all lay prone on the ground in hibernation.
The highest of mountains no longer seemed high, and the rivers ceased to flow. No waves could be seen on the Milky Way Sea; it was as flat and smooth as a mirror.
It was at this point that countless beams of light appeared outside of Planet South Heaven. Numerous teleportation portals popped up, sending ripples out in all directions. People hurried toward South Heaven from locations all over the Ninth Mountain and Sea. These were people who, by various methods, had left clan members behind on the planet who were now emerging to fight for Immortal Destiny. It was only natural for their relatives to return at this critical juncture.
However, as they neared the lands of South Heaven, a beam of sword qi rose up into the starry sky and encircled the entire planet. Fang Xiufeng’s voice then resonated out.
“Planet South Heaven is now sealed. Fellow Daoists, please take your leave.”
When the people rushing through the starry sky heard the echoing voice, their faces flickered. Many of them transmitted requests to step foot onto the planet, along with promises and pledges of various sorts, but Fang Xiufeng ignored them. He continued to sit with his eyes closed outside of the Violet Fate Sect, using divine sense to control the sword qi that had sealed all of Planet South Heaven.
He knew that such actions directly cut off the path of Immortality for many. He also knew that numerous other sects and clans would be displeased by the matter. Although it wouldn’t affect him very much, it wasn’t a good thing for Meng Hao.
Fang Xiufeng had previously explained these things to Meng Hao, who hadn’t said anything in response. The determination glowing in his eyes said all that needed to be said.
“That’s exactly how my son ought to be,” thought Fang Xiufeng. “Kindness should be repaid, and enmities should be avenged!”
Planet South Heaven was sealed, making it impossible for the crowds on the outside to enter. They could only look on nervously. Some of them gritted their teeth and transformed into beams of prismatic light that tried to force their way in. However, before they could even get near, the sword qi swept out, and they were sent flying back, blood spraying from their mouths.
“That was just a warning,” said Fang Xiufeng, his voice cold. “From now on, any trespassers will be executed immediately.” The people on the outside were both resentful and, at the same time, filled with fear.
Three days later!
The lands of South Heaven were filled with rumbling sounds that emanated not from the planet itself, but from the starry sky overhead. It was almost as if a giant were roaring from outer space.
Roaring out to cause a character to appear!
That character, was the character ‘Immortality!’”
As the sound echoed out, it seemed as if everyone in all the Ninth Mountain and Sea would hear it, and yet… it was only audible on Planet South Heaven!
At the same time, the starry sky outside South Heaven trembled, and countless shards appeared that began to form together into… an enormous door!
The door emanated boundless antiquity. It appeared to be made of bronze, and was carved with countless totemic patterns. Although it was impossible to clearly make out all the details, the archaic air of the door made it seem as if it had existed since the beginning of Heaven and Earth.
The door was somewhat dilapidated, as if it had experienced horrifying wars. Black stains could be seen on its surface that appeared to be blood, and it radiated a powerful, terrifying aura that was virtually impossible to describe. As for the size of the door, it was matchlessly gargantuan, seemingly large enough to prop up the starry sky itself.
Even Fang Xiufeng was mentally shaking after sensing the door and its aura. Were this thing a magical item, it would surely be able to suppress all living things once its power was unleashed.
When it appeared in the starry sky, the crowds of cultivators outside, who were incapable of entering Planet South Heaven, looked on with shock and couldn’t help but cry out in surprise.
“The Door of Immortality has appeared! True Immortal destiny has arrived!”
“Dammit! Fang Xiufeng is blocking the way so that we can’t get in! Don’t tell me that we’re just going to have sit idly by and watch the good fortune get taken away!?”
“Does Fang Xiufeng really think that he alone can stop all of us! Let’s storm the place!” The eyes of all the onlookers were completely bloodshot.
At the same time, gusts of Immortal mist began to emanate off of the Door of Immortality, which then flowed directly toward Planet South Heaven.
It covered all of Planet South Heaven in the blink of an eye, making it seem like a planet of mist. Next, the door began to move forward, passing through the crowds to enter those mists, then sink down toward the lands of South Heaven.
As of this point, the cultivators on the outside were going crazy, and they began to charge South Heaven. In response, Meng Hao’s father sent his icy divine will out. Sword Qi rumbled, sweeping across the crowds that wished to descend onto South Heaven.
Rumbling echoed out, and the starry sky trembled. Miserable screams could be heard, and blood showered down like rain. The sword qi swept about, making it impossible for even a single person to pierce through to the lands of South Heaven.
Down on South Heaven, the sky was a mass of roiling Immortal qi that replaced the previous perpetual evening. Rumbling filled the air, the result of the mists chafing against each other; this was Immortal thunder.
There were also lightning bolts that danced about within the mists. Every single lightning bolt that appeared filled the onlookers with shock, and they felt as if their souls were about to shatter.
“Immortality!” An archaic voice spoke from within the mists, and the word echoed throughout all the lands of South Heaven, to be heard in the minds of all Dao Seeking cultivators. That character became a key that opened the path of Immortality to any who were qualified.
“Immortality!” Pill Demon looked up and opened his eyes, which shone with intense determination. Slowly, he rose to his feet.
At the same time, there were all the other Dao Seeking experts who were now in the Southern Domain, be they from the Eastern Lands, be they experts who had suppressed their cultivation bases for an entire life, or be they cultivators like Pill Demon who had reestablished their cultivation.
All of them were waiting for this true Immortal Tribulation!
Simultaneously, all of them opened their mouths and began to speak the word ‘Immortality.’ Then, they began to fly up toward the source of that ancient voice in the mists.
Meng Hao’s mind trembled, and he rotated his cultivation base. His blood began to circulate faster; just now, the Immortal qi in his body had been stimulated, and even he had almost began to call out ‘Immortality.’
However, he was not born in the lands of South Heaven, and was not part of the group to whom this destiny belonged. Therefore, he endured. However, everything that was happening up in the sky left him with an indelible impression.
Next, the mists began to churn. More thunder rumbled out, and countless bolts of lightning danced as a gigantic door began to descend!
The ancientness of the door was impossible to describe, as if it had existed from the beginning of Heaven and Earth. It was incredibly old, perhaps even older than the Nine Mountains and Seas. Its emergence made it seem as if the lands below were nothing in comparison. The carvings on its surface were stained with blood, and the aura it emanated left everyone breathing raggedly. It was almost as if looking at this door was looking back into the lost pages of history!
“Where did it come from?” thought Meng Hao as he looked at it. “How come it can turn people into true Immortals?” Suddenly, the bronze lamp in his bag of holding began to vibrate, as if there were some resonance between it and the bronze door.
Pill Demon lifted his head up and laughed.
“The Door of Immortality descends! This… this is true Immortal Tribulation!
“There is no tribulation for false Immortals. They only need a Dharmic decree from a true Immortal, and then they can achieve false Immortal Ascension. However, if a true Immortal dies, then his false Immortals will also die!
“That’s not the path of a cultivator. That’s charity! What cultivators cultivate defies the laws of Heaven; it is a path of freedom. How could a cultivator become an Immortal enslaved to another?!
“Step onto the Dao Corroboration Mountain, break open the Door of Immortality during Immortal Tribulation. That is true Immortal Ascension!
“If the Door of Immortality doesn’t open, and the Immortal Tribulation does not dissipate, then what does it matter if you die?!”
Beneath Pill Demon’s feet, the mountain that was the statue of Reverend Violet East uprooted itself. Rumbling rose up as a soft and gentle power spread out, pushing Meng Hao away from the enormous statue.
At the same time, the same bizarre power caused the statue to rise up into the air and head toward the Door of Immortality.
Simultaneously, seven completely unique mountains suddenly appeared throughout the lands of South Heaven.
Of those seven mountains, the largest resembled a needle-like sword, and the smallest looked like a burial mound. Each one was different, but all seven of them belonged to ancient beings who would contend with Pill Demon over the Immortal destiny. These were the Dao Corroboration Mountains of powerful Dao Seeking experts!
In much the same fashion as Pill Demon, those powerful experts stood on their respective mountains as they rose up into the air toward the Door of Immortality.