Chapter 469: The Depths of the Bridge Ruins
In the blackness of the void, there exists an indescribable coldness. This was a coldness that could, in the briefest of moments, freeze the body of a Nascent Soul Cultivator until it cracked into pieces.
Anyone who possessed a physical body but no cold-resisting treasures would be destroyed.
Only someone who cultivated a divine ability related to fire, and also had a fitting magical item, would be able to survive for long here.
At the moment, Zhixiang was sitting cross-legged on the large rock. She looked over at Meng Hao with her phoenix-like eyes. This was their tenth day traveling through the void. During that entire time, they hadn’t spoken to each other at all. Each sat on one end of the rock, some distance away from each other.
A glittering shield surrounded Meng Hao, preventing the cold on the outside from entering. At first, it had been quite stable, but as the rock continued further into the depths of the void, the shield formed by the five small white stones was gradually beginning to flicker. The further they went, the more it seemed as if it might collapse.
On previous occasions in which Meng Hao had ventured into the void, he had always spent more than ten days in the darkness. This time, however, was different than those previous times.
The cold here was many times stronger than before. Furthermore, the deeper they traveled into the void, the more shocking the cold became. It was so fearsome that even with the protective treasures, it was getting to the point that it was becoming unbearable.
Meng Hao had long since noticed that the rock he was sitting on had actually turned white. The frost which covered everything was growing thicker and had turned into thick ice.
Zhixiang didn’t seem to be having any problems dealing with the cold. She was sitting there cross-legged, surrounded by the freezing cold, looking the same as ever. She had nothing to protect her; she simply rotated her Cultivation base, seemingly sucking in and absorbing any of the coldness that neared her.
This caused Meng Hao to feel even more vigilance than before regarding her.
He could sense that she had looked at him just now. His eyes opened and their gazes met. Cracking sounds could suddenly be heard from Meng Hao’s protective shield. Fissures appeared on its surface, spreading out and growing in quantity. Soon, they covered the entire thing. The shield did not collapse, but it obviously would in a short period of time.
Once it shattered, the coldness would instantly rush in toward Meng Hao.
A contemplative look appeared in Zhixiang’s eyes as she thought to herself, “Perhaps I thought too much of him. I overlooked the problem of the cold; if he can’t get across the void on his own power, then I guess we’ll need to change the terms of our partnership. After all… power is the foundation of any cooperation, and also the basis of respect.” Despite this, she smiled.
Zhixiang’s eyes glittered as she looked at Meng Hao and his shield, which was clearly about to shatter. It really had never occurred to her that he might not be equipped to cross the void in this way. “Fellow Daoist Meng, the coldness here is not something that ordinary Nascent Soul Cultivators can resist. You may have a strange Cultivation base, but I’m afraid you won’t be able to survive either. Why don’t you come over here by me? Anything within ten meters of me will be kept safe.”
Even as the words came out of her mouth, cracks spread out like a spiderweb over his shield. It didn’t seem as if it would last much longer. It was at this point that Meng Hao spoke coldly: “There’s no need.”
His voice was calm and yet powerfully shocking. It seemed to carry an unspeakable confidence as well as grim feeling. When Zhixiang heard his response, her eyes filled with a look of concentration.
She watched as Meng Hao slowly reached his hand out and pushed against the shield. A boom could be heard as the shield trembled and then collapsed. As it did, the five white rocks around Meng Hao all exploded.
The shield disappeared, causing Zhixiang’s eyes to go wide. Meng Hao’s actions completely exceeded her powers of anticipation. How could she have guessed that Meng Hao would dare to personally destroy his own protective shield in such a way?
The instant that the shield collapsed, the surrounding cold from the void rushed in toward Meng Hao. In the blink of an eye, it completely covered him.
However, he continued to sit there cross-legged just as before, his expression placid. He lowered his right hand and closed his eyes to meditate quietly. It was as if he didn’t feel the surrounding cold whatsoever.
Zhixiang looked at him for a long time, having been completely shaken by Meng Hao. She was an Immortal, so she could ignore the cold. But Meng Hao had decisively destroyed his own useless shield, and then relied on only himself to fight back against the cold.
She looked over at him, once again filled with the same admiration as before, if not more. “Ordinary Cultivators, faced with a disintegrating shield, would all take the chance and hope that the shield held. However, this guy did no such thing. He is thoroughly decisive!”
She took him even more seriously now that she could see how he resisted the cold. It seemed that at the moment, he was not out of sorts in any way.
As she sat there thoughtfully, Meng Hao closed his eyes. They didn’t speak any more, but rather sat in silence as the rock continued to fly onward. Half a month passed, and the fearsomeness of the cold continued to grow.
At one point, Zhixiang opened her eyes and performed an incantation with her right hand. As she did, Meng Hao looked over and watched. In recent days, Meng Hao looked the same as he usually did, but actually, being in this cold was like training in a type of cultivation.
His Fire-type totem tattoo was fused with his Everburning Flame. The words Everburning represented life. In the icy cold of this void, an eternal fire burned inside of him, igniting his spirit, making his own will everburning.
Although the cold pressed down upon him, his spirit burned with eternal flame. All he had to do was exercise a thought, and his body would restore itself. This was what qualified him to cross this void.
He continued to watch Zhixiang’s fingers flash in an incantation. Her eyes shone with a glimmer that indicated she was performing augury. Suddenly, she stretched out her left hand and then pushed it down toward the rock. Before it could touch the surface, Meng Hao’s eyes glittered. Immediately, Alcohol Qi spread out through his body, and the shocking Dancing Sword Qi appeared. It seemed that if Zhixiang touched the rock, then the Dancing Sword Qi would explode out.
Seeing this caused Zhixiang to pause and turn her beautiful head to look at him.
“Fellow Daoist Meng, what is the meaning of this?”
“Why don’t you tell me, Fellow Daoist Zhixiang?”
After thinking for a moment, Zhixiang slowly replied, “Based on my augury, I can tell that we have arrived at an unfixed intersection node. I must cause this one thousand meter dust rock to stop temporarily. Then, we will wait in this position for seven days.”
“How exactly can you persuade me to trust you about this?” said Meng Hao coolly, his expression the same as ever.
Zhixiang frowned, then gave him a deep, thoughtful look. Finally she laughed.
“Fellow Daoist Meng, if you want to learn my augury technique, you can just say so, there’s no need to go about it this way.” Despite her words, she still sat there thoughtfully for a moment. She knew that Meng Hao was endlessly crafty and viciously decisive. He was not a person who could be easily fooled. After a bit of thought, Zhixiang decided that what was most important was that their partnership proceed smoothly. The fact that he was not affected by the curse was something that would prove very helpful to her later. She clenched her jaw and then made a grasping motion toward the void. Immediately, the coldness in the area rushed toward her palm, then coagulated into a crystalline jade slip.
She branded it with some information, then tossed it over toward Meng Hao. Meng Hao grabbed it and scanned it with Spiritual Sense. It contained information about how to use augury to find one’s position within the void. It also contained a large map which now floated in his mind.
His expression was the same as ever as he crushed the jade slip, then performed an augury incantation, which gave him the same information Zhixiang had just referred to. After this, he closed his eyes.
“He looks young,” thought Zhixiang, “but is astute and acts with foresight. He’s as wise as a Demon! A person like this who reaches Immortal Ascension will be completely inhuman!” Resigning herself to this fact, she snorted internally and then pressed her right hand down onto the big rock.
A rumbling sound could be heard. The ice on the rock shattered as layers of power surrounded the rock, causing its speed to suddenly reduce. After enough time passed for an incense stick to burn, it was completely motionless within the void.
Seven days later, a white beam of light approached from off within the distance. Another dust rock was now shooting toward them. When it neared, both Meng Hao and Zhixiang performed minor teleportations. After they appeared on the surface of the new dust rock, it changed directions and headed off into the distance.
It was in this manner that the following five months passed. The two of them switched rocks at least ten times, proceeding through void.
Unfortunately, at one point they failed to encounter a passing dust rock at an intersection, and as such were unable to proceed along in the way they had originally intended. After performing various auguries, Zhixiang and Meng Hao changed their path. Eventually, an enormous landmass appeared in front of them.
The borders of this landmass were red, like some bizarre shield. It was huge, containing mountains and ruins. The whole place was very peaceful; it seemed to have been a very long time since anyone had been here.
“The paths of the dust rocks of the Realm of the Bridge Ruins are not eternally fixed,” said Zhixiang calmly. “Even though we suffered a setback, with both of us performing augury, I’m eighty percent confident that we can find a dust rock in this place that will allow us to proceed. I’ve never been to this particular landmass before, but from the look of it, few people have been here in the past tens of thousands of years. After all, we are now approaching the twenty thousand worlds area.”
Meng Hao nodded. They stood on their rock, allowing it to shoot toward the red shield. In the instant it passed through, a rumbling filled the sky. The echoing sound caused Meng Hao’s expression to suddenly change.
It wasn’t just him. Upon entering this strange new world, Zhixiang’s eyes went wide with astonishment.
This chapter was sponsored by Jerry Bartlet, Ramprakash Madineni and CB