Chapter 455: Step on the Stone, Enter the Void
Meng Hao’s vision blurred. As soon as everything became clear again, he sent out his Spiritual Sense as he looked around vigilantly.
“Is this the Realm of the Bridge Ruins?” He hesitated for a moment as he looked down at the Immortality Bridgestone he held in his hand. It was this object that had brought him to his current location.
He was surrounded by destruction. A variety of colors could be seen in the sky which was sometimes red and occasionally pitch black. Lightning danced about up above, leaving behind what seemed like cracks.
The land was in complete ruins. There were corpses lying about which had been there for who knew how many years. Vestiges of the passage of time could be seen everywhere. Where he stood now was apparently once a city.
An aura of death filled the air; this world seemed to be like a cage, a place where, if you got stuck too long, you would end up being entombed there just like the death aura.
Meng Hao frowned slightly as he put away the Immortality Bridgestone. He looked around as he carefully reviewed the events which had led up to him arriving here. After a long moment, his eyes glittered as he recalled the scene outside when the eight Immortals left, only to suddenly return.
Muttering to himself for a moment, Meng Hao proceeded forward carefully. This place seemed to make his Spiritual Sense much weaker. It was difficult to see very far in any direction. In fact, his range now seemed to be limited to about fifteen hundred meters. Looking up at the lightning in the sky, Meng Hao dispelled any notions of flying up.
Time passed. Soon it was a month later. During that time, Meng Hao had been able to explore about half of the entire location. He encountered no other life forms, including any of the other Cultivators from the Western Desert.
This world was very small, and did not seem to have a regular shape. Its borders were formed by jagged edges, beyond which was nothingness. Meng Hao currently was standing on one such border.
In front of him was pitch blackness, gloomy and cold. It seemed capable of swallowing up anything and everything as it surrounded this region. Muttering, Meng Hao lifted up his hand and made a grasping motion. A nearby rock immediately flew up into the air and landed into his hand. He tossed it out toward the blackness. As soon as it touched the blackness, it bounced back to land in Meng Hao’s hand. He looked down at the rock and noticed that the part that had touched the blackness looked as if it had been sliced with a knife. It was completely flat and smooth.
Meng Hao’s frown deepened as he slowly backed up. This black void gave him a sense of incredible danger. He could only imagine what would happen to his body if he happened to run into the blackness.
“Something’s not right. If this is the Realm of the Bridge Ruins, then why am I the only person here? Besides… this place seems too small. Furthermore, there is none of the Celestial Soil that the Crow Soldier Tribe Greatfather mentioned!
“Other than the ruins of that city, I haven’t seen any of the remains of the Bridge of Immortal Treading!” Meng Hao turned to once again continue his careful explorations of this world.
By the time another half month went by, Meng Hao’s face was grim. He stood in the very center of the world, looking at a stone stele.
The stele was cracked, but not broken apart. It was in relatively good condition, and on its surface could vaguely be made out some rather large characters.
“Harmony City….” said Meng Hao softly. A ponderous look appeared in his eyes. He suddenly thought back to the eight Immortals he had seen on his way here, as well as the woman, Demoness Zhixiang.
“Immortal Demon Sect. Masquerading as a puppet. Demoness Zhixiang, trying to evade a deadly chase….” Sinking into thought, Meng Hao sat down, crossing his legs.
“That Demoness Zhixiang comes from a Sect called the Immortal Demon Sect. She conned the Young Master of those eight Immortals out of his treasure. Then she turned herself into a puppet to evade their pursuit.
“After she fled, why would the eight of them pursue us again, looking flustered and exasperated…?” Suddenly, a look of concentration filled his eyes.
“Actually, she didn’t flee! She used some other method to trick her eight pursuers and lead them away. They quickly realized something fishy was going on and returned as quickly as they could. Although, if you look at it from that perspective… well, perhaps she did something completely different that I couldn’t possibly imagine. Or perhaps she came to the Realm of the Bridge Ruins on her own power, to explore it. The final possibility… is that she is actually among us Cultivators who came from the Western Desert!” Meng Hao sat there silent and unmoving. This Demoness was someone who was being chased by eight Immortals, and clearly had a sublime Cultivation base.
A person like this was someone that Meng Hao had no desire to provoke. There was little need for further analysis. Meng Hao determined he would need to be vigilant and on the lookout. Although the Western Desert Cultivators seemed to have been scattered, he had the feeling that his third guess was the most likely one to be true.
“Who is she hiding with….” thought Meng Hao. Suddenly, he looked up into the sky to see a dark figure approaching at high speed. This dark figure was not a Cultivator, but rather, an enormous rock!
The rock was no less than two thousand meters wide. It whistled down from up above, causing lightning to spring up wherever it passed, and shattered the air. It seemed as if some incredible crushing force were descending.
It moved with incredible speed as it bore down. A huge pressure formed, causing the land to shake. Meng Hao’s pupils constricted, and he was just about to retreat when he suddenly sensed that this two thousand meter wide rock was actually not going to strike into the world he was in. Actually, it became an arc, changing directions and shooting off into another area of the sky.
Meng Hao stared in shock before taking a deep breath as he watched the enormous rock slam into the blackness that lay at the border of this world.
As it did, the void of the blackness seemed to shatter, and a huge gap became visible. The rock sailed through it and then disappeared.
All of this happened in the short amount of time it takes for an incense stick to burn. Meng Hao had little time to think about the matter. When the rock disappeared into the black void, his pupils constricted and his mind felt as if lightning were crashing around inside of it. He suddenly thought back to when he had been approaching the Bridge of Immortal Treading, and had seen the gaps between the various bridge stones, and the dust therein.
“That three thousand meter rock was one of the countless pieces of dust that I saw earlier. They are constantly flying about in the gaps between the stones which make up the Bridge of Immortal Treading!
“In that case, I am definitely on the Bridge of Immortal Treading. The year it collapsed, it broke apart into countless fragments. If I want to leave here, then the only way… will be with the aid of that dust!” His mind reeled as he came to this new understanding. He took a deep breath as he sat down cross-legged to wait quietly.
Time went by. According to Meng Hao’s understanding, time passed differently in this place than in the outside world. If months or years actually passed on the outside, that would be something that the Cultivators who entered this place could not hide. Furthermore, the Crow Soldier Greatfather wouldn’t have left that part out.
Three months passed, during which time, Meng Hao saw six huge rocks come and go. He did not act rashly, but rather, carefully observed what happened to the rocks after they slammed into the black void. Finally one day, a rock suddenly neared that was roughly two thousand meters wide.
When this particular rock appeared, Meng Hao took a deep breath. His body suddenly vanished. When it reappeared, he was in mid-air, stepping down onto the rock that was shooting through the air.
The instant he set foot onto it, Meng Hao suddenly felt as if there were some terrifying force getting ready to pull his body apart. He rotated his Cultivation base and the glow of three totems emerged. In this manner, he was able to force himself into a state of stability. He immediately sat down cross-legged and stared out straight ahead.
The rock moved with incredible speed. In the blink of an eye, it passed over the land. In the space of about ten breaths, it reached the black void. Meng Hao’s heart beat nervously. This endeavor was a gamble; however, having observed what happened with all the other rocks, he was confident.
In the blink of an eye, the rock was upon the black void. It slammed into it, causing a rip in the blackness, a gap which it then passed through. As it shot through, Meng Hao settled his Qi and concentrated. Sitting there cross-legged atop the rock seemed frightening, but was actually not dangerous. He was now out in the black void.
The moment he entered the void, Meng Hao suddenly felt coldness. The intensity of this coldness was such that it could freeze the soul. Meng Hao quickly rotated his Cultivation base to fight back against the cold.
His eyes were wide as he looked around. The blackness seemed endless. However, he was able to see beams of colorful light flying about here and there.
Each of these beams was an enormous rock!
“This method should work great. This Realm of the Bridge Ruins contains the remains of the Bridge of Immortal Treading. The people who come here move about between the remnants of the Bridge of Immortal Treading by means of these rocks!” His body began to quiver because of the cold. He rotated his Cultivation base, but that alone did not suffice. His body was starting to grow stiff. Eyes glittering, he circulated the power of his fire totem, forcing his body to not be stiff with cold. Despite this, a layer of frost appeared on his skin. It looked almost like he was turning into a statue of ice.
“With this method, I should be able to hold out for quite a bit longer. Thankfully I have the Everburning Flame. Otherwise, without preparing cold-repelling items ahead of time, it would be difficult to survive here.” The cold continued to grow more intense around him. Meng Hao sat there motionless, ensuring that none of the heat left his body, and his life force continued to remain.
Time passed by. Meng Hao wasn’t sure how long the rock had carried him through this world of blackness. Suddenly, a rock nearly one thousand meters large appeared off in the distance. From the way it whistled toward him, it seemed it would brush past Meng Hao and his rock.
As the two rocks got closer and closer, a light “eee!?” noise suddenly could be heard.
“So I’ve run into someone who didn’t come with a cold-repelling treasure! What good fortune! Hahaha!” This voice belonged to a man, and as the other rock neared, Meng Hao could sense that a middle-aged man sat cross-legged in meditation upon it.
His Cultivation base was at the early Nascent Soul stage, and his body glittered with totem tattoos. On his forehead was a golden totem tattoo that looked like a lion. He was surrounded by five white stones which emitted a shield, enveloping the man and fighting back against the cold.
As the man’s words rang out, he licked his lips. His eyes filled with a sharp glow, and as his rock neared Meng Hao’s, the man suddenly stood up. He vanished, and when he reappeared, he was standing on Meng Hao’s rock. He lifted his hand, and a golden lion magically appeared. It roared as it pounced toward Meng Hao.
“I’ll kill you to put you out of your misery, and then I, Xue, will have one less person to compete with, and a greater chance at success!”