Chapter 408: Greenwood Tree Totem!
“Or it could be that long, long ago people did not understand the truth of the natural mechanisms of the Nine Mountains and Seas, of this entire starry realm. They thought that the Nine Mountains and Seas were the key to developing the body. After feeding upon the Mountains and Seas, they grew stronger, and stronger, and eventually broke through to the next level of life. Their lives fused with that of the Mountains and Seas, and they became Immortals!
“People who viewed matters in such a way eventually came to be the majority. However, there was always a small group who believed that the Nine Mountains and Seas were Heavenly Demons whom they could either seal or approve. Seal them as a path to power, or approve them and become their masters.
“That group of people were… the earliest Demon Sealers!
“These two groups of people had different philosophies, and strode different paths to power, but were not at odds.” Meng Hao took a deep breath as he gained this enlightenment.
After acquiring the Demon Sealing Jade and becoming the Ninth Generation Demon Sealer, Meng Hao’s path had always been one of confusion. This was especially true when it came to Demon Sealing. The puzzlement he had felt in the steady attempts to uncover the truth, finally led to understanding.
“I came to the Western Desert because of the Five-Colored Nascent Soul. I will fuse the five elements totems with my pill concocting technique. I will use my body as the pill furnace, and totems as the pill recipe. I will concoct my own Perfect Nascent Soul!
“This is my main purpose in coming to the Western Desert!
“My life has been one of treading the path of the multifarious Demons. The concept of myriad variations is the path of the Demon Sealer! The end of this path is that of sealing both the great Demons of Heaven, and Immortals!
“Similarly, it is a path of conferring Demonism upon the countless living things in creation as well as… Bestowing mortals so that they can achieve Immortal Ascension!”
Meng Hao’s mind buzzed. His Cultivation base seethed in accompaniment with this enlightenment. It rose up from the late Gold Core Stage into the great circle of the Gold Core.
He was now even closer to the Nascent Soul stage. If it weren’t for the fact that he pursued the Five-Colored Nascent Soul, he would already have begun his attempt to congeal a Nascent Soul. However, such a checkpoint was one that countless Cultivators had never stepped past.
Although Meng Hao had not experienced the difficulty of congealing a Nascent Soul, he had read about it in the ancient records of the Violet Fate Sect. He knew that only people who possessed immense luck and latent talent could be like the proverbial carp who leaped over the dragon’s gate, and step into that profound and refined stage.
Nascent Soul…. It was a stage vastly beyond that of Core Formation. Nascent Soul Cultivators possess magical techniques that far exceed the ordinary; their mastery of the principles of Heaven and Earth made them nearly divine abilities.
The most obvious example was their art of minor teleportation. This magical technique could even be referred to as almighty. Because of it, any Nascent Soul Cultivator who wished to retreat could easily do so. Unless they were restrained by a restrictive spell formation, it would be very difficult to surround or kill them.
Another key aspect was that after reaching the Nascent Soul stage, Cultivators could almost instinctively use a certain divine ability called… possession!
The Nascent Soul could emerge, because the body was only secondary. Cultivation was focused on the Nascent Soul itself; if the body perished, it could be abandoned, and a new body could be seized. Because of this, tangling with a Nascent Soul Cultivator was much more difficult than battling the Gold Core stage. In the Nascent Soul stage, confidence in being able to stay alive on the great path of the Dao was much more assured.
These were just some of the many advantages the divine abilities manifested in the Nascent Soul stage, the tip of the iceberg really. According to the popular understanding, only people who were actually in the Nascent Soul stage could possibly truly understand how powerful they were!
Meng Hao’s eyes filled with bright glow that swept about. His body suddenly flickered and he transformed into a beam of light that shot off toward his courtyard behind the mountain. As he whistled through the air, several streams of Divine Sense emerged. After sensing Meng Hao, they stopped, and merely observed him leaving.
“It seems that this particular bit of enlightenment from Ancestor Greenwood Tree, and the resulting changes, put me in a somewhat special position here….” Meng Hao was able to speculate quite a bit after noticing that the streams of Divine Sense did nothing more than watch him leave. Although he couldn’t be for sure, he was able to make quite a few correct guesses.
After arriving back in his courtyard, his neo-demon horde was fairly leaping with excitement. Big Hairy charged toward him and then ran around him in circles, howling happily. Meng Hao laughed and patted him on the head. After the neo-demon horde quieted down, he sat down cross-legged, his eyes glittering. After a moment of thoughtfulness, his eyes began to shine.
“When I woke up earlier, a vast collection of Wood-type branches were spreading out from my body….” Meng Hao closed his eyes and rotated his Cultivation base. After the space of a few breaths passed, his body began to shake. Veins bulged out of his skin and tiny, tentacle-like branches began to poke out. The branches twisted down to burrow into the ground, then spread out in all directions. As of this moment, Meng Hao was emanating a very dense Wood-type aura. He also shone with a bright green glow as if he himself were about to transform into the ancient Greenwood Tree.
All the neo-demons in the courtyard looked at Meng Hao in shock. Their eyes were also filled with confusion. However, all of a sudden, they had the feeling that this Master of theirs was now much more familiar than he had been before. They began to run in circles around this Greenwood Meng Hao, leaping and carousing playfully.
Time passed. On dawn of the second day, Meng Hao opened his eyes. It seemed as if he was awakening from some sort of trance. The instant he opened his eyes, the green glow surrounding him flickered and glowed with boundless radiance.
“According to the information given me by Wu Chen regarding Wood-type totem branding, it seems that I… have already passed the first critical juncture. I am now merged fully with Wood. There’s no separation….” Meng Hao looked at his Greenwood body; this was obviously the luck with which he had been gifted by the Treant, the personification of the ancient Greenwood Tree.
Perhaps this also had something to do with that Fifth Generation Demon Sealing Patriarch. In any case, Meng Hao was now fully focused on this matter, and this matter alone.
The main reason he had come to the Crow Scout Tribe was to acquire a Wood-type totem. Now, he had managed to acquire, not an ordinary Wood-type totem, but the ancient Greenwood Tree. To Meng Hao, this was an excellent first step on his path to the Five-Colored Nascent Soul.
He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. According to the steps and techniques in the information given to him by Wu Chen, he rotated his Cultivation base slowly and began to complete the last step with the Wood-type totem… the actual tattoo branding.
Time passed. An hour later, the green glow emanating out from Meng Hao began to flicker. As it did, his hands rose up to perform an incantation. He suddenly pushed his hands out, and his eyes snapped open, filled with a brilliant glow.
The moment he pushed his hands out, a rumbling sound filled him. Green light rose up to slowly congeal overhead; at the same time, the branches attached to him began to twitch and grow even longer. It was at this time that the ghost image of a tree appeared around Meng Hao. At the moment, what Meng Hao needed to do was to separate this illusory tree from himself.
First melt it, then separate it, finally, brand it. Different Tribes will use different methods, but the basic concept is the same throughout the Western Desert. Totem branding is always accomplished in this fashion.
As the green light slowly began to separate from Meng Hao’s body, the branches also began to disappear. As they did, the image of the tree began to coalesce within the green glow. It began to grow more and more tangible, as if an enormous green tree were actually coming into being.
Despite the fact that it was illusory, the tree emanated a thick Wood-type aura. It spread out in all directions, churning, causing all of the neo-demons in the area surrounding Meng Hao’s courtyard to grow silent. Simultaneously, the grass in the ground and the trees in the surrounding forest suddenly began to wriggle and grow. A thick, indescribable life force began to billow out from the illusory tree in front of Meng Hao.
This aura was enough to shake Heaven and Earth. Quite a few nearby Cultivators noticed and began to look around with serious expressions.
Meng Hao took a deep breath. Actually, even if everything around him started to shake even more violently, he wouldn’t pay it any heed. He was completely focused on the first step of his Five-Colored Nascent Soul, the Wood-type totem branding.
“Congeal!” His eyes glittered as both hands flashed incantation gestures. He then pointed toward the green tree in front of him; immediately, it began to shrink.
The shrinking process was very slow; it happened one inch at a time. At the same time, the shocking changes to the surrounding land grew even more intense. Soon the effect spread out even wider, until all the members of the Crow Scout Tribe noticed and were shocked.
They could clearly see the green glow rising up into the sky. At the same time, a huge, green tree had magically appeared, filled with dense life force that caused the surrounding vegetation to grow wildly.
It was at this moment that four beams of light shot down from the mountain. In the lead was none other than the Greatfather of the Crow Scout Tribe, the white-haired old man. His expression was serious as he rushed toward Meng Hao’s courtyard and then hovered in mid-air up above.
“Fellow Daoist Meng, please don’t get the wrong impression! I am the Crow Scout Greatfather, I will stay here to stand guard over you!”
Even as his words rang out, two of the incoming beams of light transformed into none other than the Earth Priest and the Sky Priest. They, too, hovered cross-legged in mid-air to stand guard over Meng Hao.
The final person was the Grand Elder. Although he was rather reluctant, he also hovered cross-legged, facing a fourth direction to stand guard while Meng Hao was completing his totem branding.
Actually, from the moment Meng Hao had acquired the Greenwood Tree totem, they had been preparing for the moment when he awoke and began the totem branding, whereupon they would stand guard.
The Greenwood Tree totem was no ordinary tree. A totem branding like this would surely cause a variety of shocking changes in Heaven and Earth. In fact, it would likely even cause various neo-demons to come investigate. As such, it was necessary to have people stand guard to ensure nothing would go wrong.
Meng Hao looked up at the four Crow Scout Tribe Nascent Soul Cultivators facing out in the four different directions. He was silent for a moment before letting out a soft sigh. Regardless of whether or not the Crow Scout Tribe had any hidden agendas, everything they had done in the past days showed an incredible amount of good faith. Meng Hao could clearly see this.
He took a deep breath. Ignoring everything up above, he focused completely on completing the branding of the Greenwood Tree totem tattoo. As his Cultivation base flickered, he continued to perform incantations. The enormous illusory tree in front of him continued to shrink, and as it did, the aura grew stronger. Soon, the Greenwood Tree was only about twenty or twenty-five meters tall. The life force it emanated was intense enough to shake everything around. By now, it had attracted the attention of the other Tribes in this mountain range.