Chapter 468: Thirty Thousand Worlds
Days later, in the eastern part of this landmass, was an area with a mountain crag that jutted out, forming a platform. The long, thin platform stretched out past the border of the landmass into the void beyond.
When you stood on this platform, you were surrounded on all sides by blackness.
A woman sat cross-legged at the far end of the platform. She was beautiful and had a look of indifference on her face. This was none other than Zhixiang, who had been sitting here meditating for more than a month.
After ceasing her pursuit of Meng Hao, she’d come here to wait in the peace and quiet.
After an entire month passed, she’d continued to wait, confident that Meng Hao would come. Although they hadn’t known each other for long, Meng Hao had left an incredibly deep impression on her.
Suddenly, Zhixiang opened her eyes and looked off into the distant sky. A slight smile appeared on her mouth when she saw a beam of colorful light shooting toward her.
Within the beam was Meng Hao. His green robe and long black hair danced about in the wind as he flew, making him look less like a Cultivator and more like a scholar. However, his grave, stern face and cold eyes also made Meng Hao seem as if he were like a sharp, unsheathed sword.
She saw him, and he saw her.
It must be said that Zhao Youlan had been beautiful, but not consummately beautiful. However, after being possessed for a while, Zhixiang’s Immortal Divinity began to meld more firmly with her. Slight changes could be seen within Zhao Youlan’s body. Most were changes in disposition. In any case, these changes made this mixture of Zhao Youlan and Zhixiang show signs that in the future, she might reach that level of consummate beauty that Zhao Youlan never had.
One could imagine that in the future, this combination of Zhixiang and Zhao Youlan would change, and become completely different.
Meng Hao looked at Zhixiang and thought about Zhao Youlan, and the ruthlessness that existed in the Cultivation world. Zhao Youlan had tried to get him to save her. However, their relationship was not such that Meng Hao would risk death to attempt to rescue her. It was out of the question.
In the Cultivation world, the law of the jungle prevails. Meng Hao would do nothing.
Looking around, his expression was the same as ever. He strode forward across the jutting platform, nearing the Zhixiang-possessed Zhao Youlan.
“I knew you would come,” said Zhixiang with a slight smile that contained a mysterious allure.
Meng Hao came to a stop next to her. His expression cool, he calmly said, “How could you be so sure?”
“Because you and me, we’re the same type of person,” she said, turning to look at him. Within her eyes could be seen a rare gleam of admiration. “When people try to kill us, we run. When facing death, we possess the will to live. In the midst of our struggles, we seize good fortune. In order to further our cultivation, we charge into the most dangerous of situations. We achieve our goals by fair means or foul!”
Meng Hao declined to comment.
Zhixiang spoke again, her voice soft and pleasant like a beautiful bird. “I know that you need vast quantities of Celestial soil. Unfortunately, the records maintained by you Planet South Heaven Cultivators only have information about a few of the Immortality Bridgestone worlds. The Bridge of Immortal Treading contains tens of thousands of worlds. Comparatively speaking, what you know of counts for little. Even the expression ‘a single hair out of nine ox hides,’ does not suffice to describe it.
“Throughout all the years that the Western Desert Cultivators from South Heaven have been exploring the Realm of the Bridge Ruins, they have only been to those few places. The Celestial soil that remains is negligible.
“The only way to get your hands on the amount that you need is to leave this landmass. Don’t confine yourself to this one area; go to places further away, places that the Planet South Heaven Cultivators have never been to.
“That is where you will find great quantities of Celestial soil. In fact, there is one landmass which is completely constructed entirely of Celestial soil.” When Zhixiang spoke, her expression was not one of flattery. Instead, her eyes were bright and glittering, like deep impenetrable pools of limpid autumn waters.
“It’s not that the Planet South Heaven Cultivators who have come to this place do not wish to explore more regions. Rather, those areas unknown to them are full of danger and peril. That, coupled with the fact that they are unaware of the paths leading to them, ensure that they never go there.” Zhixiang smiled faintly. She couldn’t actually see Meng Hao from where she was sitting, nor could she see that he was listening intently. The breeze caught her hair, causing it to dance about. She reached up and twirled a strand of hair around her fingers. Other strands of hair fell to partially cover her face, making her look even more charming than before.
Meng Hao glanced over at her, but said nothing.
“The correct paths cannot be traveled by riding randomly on the dust rocks that flit about the void. That is because the dust rocks which lead to those worlds do not appear in a set place or time. They can only be located by means of a special augury technique.
“That special technique requires constant adjustments, and is something that Planet South Heaven Cultivators have no ability to master. Luckily, I happen to know of one such path. Although it does not lead to the deepest areas of the Bridge of Immortality, it does go twenty thousand worlds deep.
“This is my second expression of good faith, and proves that I don’t care about you acquiring that particular Demon Spirit. Actually, I hope that you can help me to get a second one!
“In return, I’ll take you into the depths of the Realm of the Bridge Ruins to get more Celestial soil.” She turned and looked at Meng Hao, her expression one of sincerity. It seemed as if this partnership was, as she said, very different than the first.
Meng Hao smiled slightly. How could he possibly trust this Demoness Zhixiang at the drop of a hat? Trust was a difficult thing to exist between Cultivators. Most of the time, partnerships were forged out of necessity.
“What good is a Demon Spirit to you?” asked Meng Hao suddenly.
Zhixiang hesitated, then looked at him one more time. Finally, she seemed to reach a decision.
“This partnership will be a manifestation of our mutual good will. If it ends happily, then we can enter into a yet another partnership… and I can once again manifest my good will. Very well, I will tell you why I need the Demon Spirit.
“Demon Spirits are good for only one thing. They are keys which can be used to enter the Primordial Immortal Demon Plane. Anyone who possesses a true Demon Spirit is qualified to return two hundred years after the opening of the Realm of the Bridge Ruins. At that time, the truly blessed location can be entered, the Primordial Immortal Demon Plane!”
“The Primordial Immortal Demon Plane….” said Meng Hao thoughtfully. Her words seemed quite plausible, and would also explain why the Heavenly Court Alliance of the Black Lands wanted Demon Spirits.
“The Bridge of Immortal Treading was created many years ago by the ancient Immortal Demon Sect. The purpose was to lead the branches of the Sect which existed on the four great planets toward Immortal Ascension. However, in the war with the Ji Clan, the bridge was destroyed. Members of the ancient Immortal Demon Sect set up an all-powerful spell formation, sacrificing their own lives to ensure that the Bridge of Immortality would manifest once every thousand years. It also ensured that the Primordial Immortal Demon Plane would remain intact…. After the war, the surviving Cultivators, after experiencing the vicissitudes of time, founded a new Immortal Demon Sect.
“I… am disciple of that Sect.”
Meng Hao’s eyes glittered, and his expression flickered slightly.
“Because of the life sacrifices made for the Primordial Immortal Demon Plane, a curse was left behind. Any Cultivator who touches items from the Primordial Immortal Demon Plane would die a horrible death. However, you… dismantled a spell locus on the third level of the bridge. Unexpectedly, the curse did nothing to you. That is why I think we should work together.
“Even the Ji Clan fears the curse, and as such, permits the Realm of the Bridge Ruins to exist, and to manifest every thousand years.” Having said all this, Zhixiang looked over at Meng Hao.
Meng Hao kept silent for a moment, then indifferently said, “It opens once every thousand years. Countless years have passed. I wonder, how many times has it manifested so far?”
“The Primordial Immortal Demon Plane truly does only open every one thousand years,” Zhixiang explained slowly, “and can only be entered with a Demon Spirit. However, a Demon Spirit is born only once every thirty thousand years. So, for all intents and purposes… this is actually only the third time it has opened.
“As for Demon Spirits, they don’t exist only within the Realm of the Bridge Ruins; they can also be born on the outside. It is possible for them to appear in any place that contains vestiges of the ancient Immortal Demon Sect.
“Therefore… in two hundred years, there will no doubt be quite a few people who go to the Primordial Immortal Demon Plane. In fact, people will most likely come from all the four great planets. Even some of the secretive great Sects from the Ninth Mountain and Sea will probably appear.
“After all, long ago, the ancient Immortal Demon Sect… was the number one Sect of the Ninth Mountain and Sea! One of its members was the Lord of the Ninth Mountain. At that time, the Ji Clan was under its command. Later, the Lord of the Ninth Mountain and Sea went missing. That was when the Li Clan was covered over by the Heavens 1. The Ji Clan occupied the Mountain, seized its Essence and forged the Immortality Bestowal Dais. Within the Ninth Mountain and Sea, anyone who wishes to practice Cultivation must tread the path of the Ji and become an Immortal of the Ji Clan. Anyone who refuses to follow their path is a renegade Immortal.
“Such matters do not have much to do with you. That you are aware of them is enough. If you ever have the chance to reach Immortal Ascension, then you will be forced to make a choice at that time.
“However, based on my observations, sooner or later, you will be an Immortal among these stars!”
She concluded her speech very calmly. However, Meng Hao’s heart and mind were trembling. As he thoughtfully considered everything she said, he realized that it didn’t matter whether or not he believed her. He had put a lot of thought into the matter before making the decision to come here. He turned to look at Zhixiang.
“When do we set out?”
Zhixiang’s eyes filled with a bright light. She realized that for some reason, her admiration for Meng Hao only continued to grow. Such decisiveness and lack of hesitation was only possible for people who were extremely stupid and narcissistic, or… extremely confident in their path of cultivation.
“So,” she said to herself smiling, “he’s not afraid of schemes and intrigues. In any case, I’m an Immortal…. This arrangement is good. We’ll work together, and I won’t hide anything more from him. Our partnership should work well this time!”
“I’d planned to wait for you for three more days before leaving.”
“Three more days?” he said, looking at her. “Very well.” With that he walked off to the side and sat down cross-legged to meditate, declining to comment further.
Three days passed in a flash. It was at this point that far off in the sky, a meteor could be seen. It moved with incredible speed toward them.
“That’s the rock!” said Zhixiang as it neared. She suddenly sprang into action, shooting toward the giant rock. Almost at the same time, Meng Hao teleported.
The two of them appeared on the rock and exchanged a glance. Immediately, the rock tore a hole into the border of the world and shot out into the void.
Out in the boundless blackness, one man and one woman rode the huge rock off into the distance.
Meanwhile, far out ahead of Meng Hao and Zhixiang, an azure-robed Cultivator with a sword strapped to his back strode out through the void. He held an alcohol flagon in his hand from which he occasionally drank. He looked lonely and bleak.
“You ask when you will gaze upon me again…? I’ve been looking for you for three thousand years…. Where are you? Thirty thousand worlds, countless Bridge Slaves. I’ve already been to twenty thousand worlds, and I’ve encountered countless Bridge Slaves. But you… where are you?
“Xue’er, answer me! I will take you away from this place. It doesn’t matter who tries to stop me. It doesn’t matter if I die the cruelest death. It doesn’t matter if my body and spirit are annihilated. I will… take you away!!”