Meng Hao stopped in place and stared blankly at a vague illusion that suddenly appeared in front of him. He saw a middle-aged man wearing a long white robe, sitting cross-legged in front of the well.
The wall surrounding the well was suddenly intact, and a simple hut could be seen attached to it, the sides of which were covered in bottle-gourd vines.
The middle-aged man seemed to be gazing eternally at the well, as if he were locked in a single moment for all eternity.
It was a simple vision, almost ordinary, but Meng Hao felt himself trembling. The voice in his ear penetrated into his mind and echoed through his soul.
He thought of many things, many people, many objects.
He wasn’t sure when, but at some point, he had walked up, sat cross-legged in front of the well and started staring at it. His mind filled with perplexity and struggle, as if the ancient voice from just now was allowing the dilapidated Ancient ruin here to interfere with his willpower and make him lose himself.
Inside, he was fighting against the pressure, and based on the intensity of his willpower, he was able to maintain a scrap of consciousness that prevented him from losing himself.
After two hours passed, the perplexity in Meng Hao’s eyes slowly faded away, and was replaced with a bright light.
“What an incredible Dao Projection!” thought Meng Hao. Sweat pouring down his forehead, he took a deep breath and thought back to the daze he had just been in, and it frightened him. If there were any deadly forces in this area instead of just good fortune and chances for enlightenment, then Meng Hao would have been in great danger just now.
“Divine sense will allow me to find more of these Immortal ruins, and my willpower will enable me to fight back against the pressure. As for intuition, that is what I need to gain enlightenment. That… is what leads to creativity.”
After a moment of silence, Meng Hao continued to sit there cross-legged, recalling everything he had just seen.
“There must be an object which, when I see it, will make me think of someone,” he murmured. He opened his bag of holding and swept it with his divine sense. Suddenly, he paused, and his eyes flickered awkwardly.
“Uh….” He hesitated for a moment, then pulled out a stack of paper from his bag of holding.
“Every time I look at this particular promissory note, I think of the resplendent Taiyang Zi….
“And this paper makes me think of Ji Xiaoxiao.
“This one makes me think of Song Luodan.
“And this one… Li Ling’er. This one is Sun Hai. It’s too bad I don’t have a promissory note from Fan Dong’er. Ji Yin didn’t write one either.” After looking over the promissory notes, he smiled wryly and realized that the enlightenment he had experienced didn’t seem to be the same as that of the middle-aged man in front of the well.
The man obviously missed an old friend or acquaintance, or perhaps a significant other. Meng Hao’s experience was quite different than that.
Sighing, Meng Hao put the promissory notes back in his bag of holding and rose to his feet. After looking at the ruins one last time, he flickered off into the distance.
“I don’t think the enlightenment of that place suits me,” he thought, shaking his head. “If it did, how come I would think of promissory notes in a place that was clearly designed to make one think of old friends?” He turned into a beam of light that shot off into the distance.
Of course, his divine sense was backed by eighty percent of the power of a true Immortal, so when he sent it out to search for another ruin, he quickly found one, and then flew in that direction.
What he found was a dried-up old river.
The only thing left behind was an empty riverbed, and pressure once again radiated out as Meng Hao neared. This time, there was no voice, only pressure, and this pressure was stronger than that which he had experienced at the well.
He sat down cross-legged in the riverbed and wrestled against the pressure for about an hour. When he returned to his normal state, he was panting, and more sweat poured down his forehead.
“If there are 99 sets of ruins like this, plus an intact Immortal pavilion, then that means that the more enlightenment I gain, the better my results will be when I create my divine ability.
“However… I’m only at the second ruin and it’s already so difficult. I wonder how many ruins some of the others have reached enlightenment in.” Meng Hao frowned and looked at the riverbed. Fighting back against the pressure with his willpower, he began to experience a vision.
He saw water flowing up into the sky, and boundless waves. This river seemed capable of shaking Heaven and Earth. As it flowed upward, it cut a huge rift through the sky.
“I bet if I can understand this river,” he murmured to himself, “I’ll be able to create a divine ability that has to do with flowing water. When I unleash it, a celestial river would appear all around me that would sweep over everything.” After thinking about it, he decided that such a divine ability would definitely be powerful. Therefore, he continued to sit there cross-legged, silently trying to reach enlightenment.
However, after six hours flowed by, he opened his eyes in frustration. After all that time, he wasn’t even able to organize his thoughts.
“When I look at the river, I know that it can lead to enlightenment about a divine ability, but I can’t stop thinking about the river beneath Mount Daqing, the bottle gourd I threw into it, and the slip of paper that was inside.” Scratching his head in puzzlement, he remembered how he had written down his great aspiration onto that note, and how he still hadn’t achieved that goal. He couldn’t help but sigh. 1
“It seems this place doesn’t suit me either,” he thought.
Standing, he sent his divine sense out to look for more ruins.
Meanwhile, everyone out in the Ninth Mountain and Sea was watching the various scenes playing out on the Ancient Roads of the Nascent Soul, Spirit Severing, and Dao Seeking. Of course, everything was quite blurry; not even the Patriarchs from the various sects up in the starry sky palace could clearly see what was happening.
After all, these Immortal ruins were filled with incredible power. It wouldn’t be until the various participants created their final divine ability that everyone outside would be able to see what was happening.
However, the audience was able to see the three Ancient Roads, and knew that all of the participants were trying to gain enlightenment from the ruins.
Up in the starry sky palace, the various Patriarchs were discussing the scenes on the screen.
“It seems most of the competitors are still immersed in studying their first Immortal ruin. I wonder what type of enlightenment will be gained by the person who studies the most!?”
“Well whoever that is, they will definitely be able to create an incredibly powerful divine ability, that much is certain.”
“That’s right, Sir Fan from the Nine Seas God World gained enlightenment from 91 of the Immortal ruins. That was how he managed to create the stunning and peerless Mortal Sea Becomes Immortal! In the end, he got 19 stone steles!”
“Creating divine abilities has a lot to do with one’s disposition. Grand and magnificent people create divine abilities that match their personality, whereas people with narrow thinking tend to make extreme divine abilities. Different personalities, different divine abilities.”
It was at this point that the Patriarch from the Burning Incense Stick Society suddenly looked over at Meng Hao’s screen. “Huh? Fang Mu has already gained enlightenment from two Immortal ruins!”
Shockingly, two bright dots could be seen on Meng Hao’s screen.
Meanwhile, on the Ancient Road of the Nascent Soul, Fatty was sitting next to a woodpile, seemingly in a daze. The woodpile seemed ancient, as if it had existed for countless years, and was over three hundred meters tall, towering above the lands.
At the very top of the woodpile was a magic fungus!
It was an enormous magic fungus shaped like a millstone, completely violet in color, and emanating a fragrant aroma. Fatty swallowed, and then his eyes began to shine brightly.
“That thing is a treasure…. Just smell it and you can tell it’s some Heavenly material or Earthly treasure.” He immediately produced a flying sword from his bag of holding and sent it flying toward the magic fungus. The sword trembled as it neared, then was hit with a jolt that sent it flying back. The mushroom did not move one iota.
Fatty’s eyes shone with determination, and he produced some more magical items, then pushed out hard with his cultivation base. After an hour passed, he had not even succeeded in breaking the magic fungus’ skin.
“I don’t believe it!” he said, leaping to his feet. Gritting his teeth, he flew up to the magic fungus and then opened his mouth ferociously and bit it.
When he bit down, he couldn’t help but scream out in pain as he tumbled backward. Stars swam in his eyes, and his teeth felt as if they might shatter. Tears flowed down his cheeks, and his expression was much the same as that year back in the Violet Fate Sect when Meng Hao had concocted a special medicinal pill for him to eat.
“I won’t back down!” he roared, flying forward again and using all the power he could summon from his cultivation base and focusing it on his treasure-like teeth. Once again, he bit down viciously onto the magic fungus.
Pain washed over him, but Fatty endured it and surged with even more energy.
“There’s nothing that Grandpa Fatty can’t bite through!” he cried, his eyes shot with blood as he bit down even more viciously. It was fortunate that no one was here to witness what was happening, otherwise they would have been dumbstruck.
If someone were to paint this scene, it would depict Fatty, looking much like a wolfhound as he tore at the magic fungus with his teeth….
After biting it over and over again for an hour, Fatty let out a roar of rage and finally, was able to bite a tiny chunk out of the magic fungus.
His eyes were bright red as he chewed the magic fungus viciously and then swallowed it. He was just about to continue with his efforts when suddenly, a tremor ran through him, and he flopped over onto his back, unconscious.
After lying there unmoving for two hours, he finally opened his eyes, and they looked blank.
“What a dream!” he thought. “I saw myself creating a divine ability….” After a moment, his eyes began to shine with a bright light, and he resumed ripping at the magic fungus until he tore off another chunk, after which he passed out again.
The cycle repeated itself over and over again, so many times that even Fatty was unaware of how long it had been going on. Eventually, he had managed to eat about half of the magic fungus.
Also on the Ancient Road of the Nascent Soul was Chen Fan, who stood silently next to an enormous boulder. A brush could be seen in his hand, and his expression was blank, as if he were submerged in a reverie. Finally, he extended his hand and began to draw the image of a woman.
It was none other than his wife, Shan Ling.
“My spirit has darkened,” he murmured, “but I won’t forget love, not for the rest of my life.”
In another location was Wang Youcai, in front of whom was an enormous bronze mirror that looked completely and utterly ancient. He sat there cross-legged, staring at the image of himself in the mirror.
A vicious expression could be seen on his face, which was sometimes replaced by blankness, and then other times, an expression of enlightenment. He had already been sitting there for a long time.
His voice was hoarse as he said: “When I look at the world, when I look out at Heaven and Earth, I see the future, and I see the past…. However, I know that these eyes of mine can see more than that!” He almost appeared to be on the verge of going mad.
When Meng Hao, Dong Hu, and Wang Youcai had joined the Reliance Sect that year, Meng Hao could be described as quick-witted, Dong Hu as somber, and Wang Youcai as stubborn!
In chapter 1, Meng Hao put a piece of paper in a gourd, and then threw it into the river. It was never explained what specifically was written on the piece of paper, but now we have a clue…. ↩