Chapter 300: An Ancient Starry Sky
“The Western Desert….” Meng Hao frowned. On this side of the Milky Way Sea was the Western Desert and the Southern Domain; in the middle of the two were the Black Lands, which weren’t very large.
The Black Lands were the only passageway between the Southern Domain and the Western Desert. Other places had long since been sealed by Patriarch Cultivators from either of the two major powers, creating two continents or territories.
Throughout history, there had been two great, world-shaking wars between the two continents. During those two great wars, all of the Sects of both the Western Desert and the Southern Domain had participated. Such wars were not the type between two Sects or Clans. They were major wars between both of the enormous powers.
The aggressor in both wars was the Western Desert!
The Western Desert’s cultivation resources were extremely limited; furthermore, the climate was abominable and the spiritual energy scarce. Despite all that, it produced many outstanding individuals. Thus, in the midst of all the hardships, the Western Desert’s power grew greater and greater.
In the Western Desert, cultivation was not the focal point; the most important thing was survival. There, the law of the jungle was even more brutal, many times more so than in the Southern Domain. Under such circumstances, Cultivators with talent, who stood out like awls sticking out through a bag, were generally much more powerful than their Southern Domain counterparts of the same level.
They envied the Southern Domain’s riches and fertility. Thus, they went to war!
The two wars were what had given shape to the enormous sealed demarkation between the West and the South.
Meng Hao lifted his hand; a Flame Sea surged out, completely burning the Western Desert Cultivator’s body into ash. Eyes flashing, Meng Hao transformed into a beam of light and proceeded onward, even more vigilantly than before.
Time slowly passed by. Within this maze were not just Cultivators from the Western Desert, but also locals from the Southern Domain. When they ran into each other, sometimes they would help each other, other times fighting would erupt. Everything was quite chaotic.
In the outside world, the Patriarchs from the various Sects had returned to their pillars of light.
By now, anxiety could be seen on their faces. A month had already passed, and not one person had returned.
A phenomenon such as this had never occurred in the past. Previously, upon touching the corpse, people would be teleported away, but at the most, they would be gone for half a month, and then would be teleported back. Either that or… they died!
Another change from before was that a month ago, a shield had sprung up around the corpse that prevented anyone from nearing it. No one could get past the shield, not even Spirit Severing Patriarchs.
However, they could sense that the shield was some type of aura which was emanating from the corpse. It was easy to speculate that this aura was… life force!
This supposed Immortal was not dead! He still had one breath left!
The Southern Domain was shaken to the core. Even more Patriarchs arrived, but none of them were able to do a single thing. The only other option for the short term was to use some precious treasures to burst open the shield. However… it was obvious to them that even without the use of precious treasures, the shield would naturally dissipate within another month.
Also, the Sects could not help but notice that the majority of the life slips of their various disciples were still intact, and had not been shattered. Obviously, most of the disciples were alive, although in danger. For the moment, the best thing to do was to wait.
After all, even though no one spoke it out loud, how could the Patriarchs not see that the shield was less of an obstruction, and more of a protection? The mass disappearance of all the disciples was dangerous, but could also be viewed as a stroke of good fortune.
This was obviously… a legacy!
Within the maze, the Chosen and Dao Children were using a variety of methods to attempt to find exits. None had succeeded so far. However… more than a few had acquired various bits of good fortune.
For example, at the moment, Chu Yuyan was breathing heavily. She had just reached the end of a fork in the road. Up ahead was a huge wall covered with pill formulas. Each and every one sent her mind reeling.
Li Shiqi reached an area filled with buildings. She stared out at them for a while before realizing that she was surrounded by phantom figures that were walking to and fro.
It was as if she had discovered some strange world in which she was simply an observer.
The young man from the Ji Clan, the Quasi-Array Cultivator, stood proudly with hands clasped behind his back as he looked out over a huge battlefield. The endless wreckage surrounding him didn’t cause his expression to change in the slightest. He strolled aimlessly for a while until a coffin appeared in front of him.
As for the young woman from the Fang Clan of the Eastern Lands, her expression was cool as she walked through a Celestial land. White cranes flew overhead and the surroundings were incredibly beautiful.
Li Daoyi, Wang Youcai, Han Shandao, Chen Fan as well as Xu Qing and Han Bei, were all in various regions of the maze. As it turned out, the scenes they were witnessing were the very same scenes that had been seen by others who had entered the maze previously!
After traveling for many days, Meng Hao’s path finally reached an end, as he emerged into a new world.
More accurately, it was a vast field of stars!
Endless, uncountable stars, emitting glorious starlight. Everything was quiet; not the slightest sound could be heard. Meng Hao walked amongst the stars, looking around. As he did, he sensed the power of Time; he could feel the vestiges of archaic ancientness in this place.
The ancientness felt like the decay of more than a hundred thousand years. It was filled with an incomparable exhaustion, as if it were struggling to find a single breath within which pulsed the will to live.
This field of stars felt unfamiliar to Meng Hao. The starry sky that he normally saw when he looked up at night… was completely different!
There didn’t seem to be even a single star that was the same. These heavenly bodies emanated ancientness; after gazing upon them, it was clear that this was not the night sky of the Southern Domain. Meng Hao felt a tiny sensation, as if he were somehow melding together with these stars. When the feeling rose up, a profound sense of confidence and hope suddenly floated in his heart.
It was a strange feeling.
Meng Hao knew that every person who was teleported from the corpse into this place, and then returned, all saw something different. However, all of the places that people had seen before, were now being revisited by the people currently inside. Except for this starry sky….
From beginning to end no one, neither those who had lived, nor those who had died, had laid eyes on this scene.
Meng Hao was the only one!
As he contemplated matters, Meng Hao suddenly looked down toward his feet. He could sense that far beneath him was a particular heavenly body that was emitting some sort of beckoning power. He felt himself being rapidly pulled toward it.
The speed was hard to describe. He saw the heavenly body growing larger and larger, until it filled his entire field of view. He saw clouds, and then a sea, and then land.
The land stretched out limitlessly. Meng Hao could see mountain peaks and rivers, and then, suddenly a particular mountain appeared in front of him. It was nighttime, and overhead, the stars were visible. Without thinking about it, Meng Hao compared the sky to that of the Southern Domain. His heart trembled.
It was true! This starry sky was absolutely different!
The stars were clearer, as if there were nothing obscuring their glory; their ancientness, their archaicness, was clearly visible. It was impossible to tell how long they had hung there in the sky.
All of the stars were strange. Not a single one was a star that existed in the sky of the Southern Domain.
“These are the ancient stars which exist in my memory,” said a calm voice from behind Meng Hao. Meng Hao slowly turned. He wasn’t sure when, but at some point a middle-aged man had appeared there, sitting on top of a boulder.
The man wore a simple but elegant robe. His long, black hair flowed over his body. He was handsome, with a bit of a heretical aura in his face. He looked different than the corpse Meng Hao had seen back from the Tower of Tang; however, if you looked closely, you could see that it was the same person.
Surprisingly, a small campfire burned in front of the man. Above the flames, he was roasting… a snake-like creature.
“Sit,” said the man coolly.
Meng Hao stood there thoughtfully for a moment, then approached and sat down. He looked at the bizarre snake roasting over the fire. It had claws, and despite being charred, it wasn’t completely dead yet; it was still struggling.
Even more shocking to Meng Hao was that the snake had horns like that of a deer. He stared at it even closer; its body was almost as black as a piece of coal, but even still, he could pick up some clues. He suddenly gasped.
“A White Dragon, that’s all,” said the man casually. “It has a limitless Cultivation base that brings it close to the first level of the Immortal Realm. I ran into it on the Eighth Mountain. It was hungry and wanted to eat me. However, I was also hungry.” Meng Hao wasn’t sure how powerful the first level of the Immortal Realm was, nor exactly what the Eighth Mountain was. However, he was able to sense that this White Dragon was shockingly powerful.
“Want to have a bite?” asked the man, looking at Meng Hao. He lifted up the White Dragon, which was about the length of an arm, and then quickly chopped it into two pieces. “Do you like the head more, or the tail?” he asked.
Meng Hao hesitated, causing the man to laugh scoffingly.
“Uh… I’ll have the head,” Meng Hao said finally.
“You sure know how to eat, kid,” replied the man, handing over the front half of the White Dragon.
Meng Hao took it, feeling somewhat trepidatious. He looked over as the man took a large bite from the tail part of the White Dragon. After the first bite, he took another, then another, crunching the creature into pieces as he did. Meng Hao took a deep breath, eyeing the front half of the White Dragon. Telling himself that this was just an illusion, he placed it into his mouth.
Crunch, crunch, he began to eat it. The head was very crispy, and the flavor was actually quite delicious. His eyes lit up and he quickly consumed the entire thing. Soon, the whole front half of the White Dragon was in his belly.
“Good?” asked the man with a laugh, looking at Meng Hao. “I used to eat one every year.”
“It doesn’t taste bad at all,” said Meng Hao, looking a bit embarrassed.
“Actually, you know what tastes even better than White Dragons? Flying Rain-Dragons, just like the one you have inside of you. Boil them into a soup, and the flavor is amazing. Unfortunately, Flying Rain-Dragons are quite rare. Once they grow up, tangling with them is very difficult. If I’m lucky, I might pursue one for thirty thousand years before being able to have some of that soup.” The man licked his lips and looked down toward Meng Hao’s dantian.
The look in the man’s eyes caused Meng Hao to take a deep breath. This was because he had suddenly noticed that his first Dao Pillar, the one with the Flying Rain-Dragon Core inside of it, was suddenly trembling in intense fear.