Chapter 652: Underworld Ship
As the voice echoed out, all of the hair on Meng Hao’s body stood on end. An indescribable feeling washed through him, and it felt as if some ancient, icy hand were gently caressing his neck.
An aura of putrefaction filled the area. As for the ship he was on… everything suddenly seemed to slow down. In one fleeting moment, it seemed as if thousands of years had passed.
Everyone on the ship went pale white and began to shiver. Unprecedented expressions of fear could be seen on their faces. Even those who didn’t know of the yellow springs Underworld Ship could tell from the current situation that they were in a situation of critical danger!
Terror filled the hearts of the three old men. They employed all of the power of their Cultivation base, and even consumed medicinal pills, to push the boat forward with all the speed possible.
Meng Hao took a deep breath and rotated his Cultivation base to dispel the intense coldness. One of the three old men who sat nearby yelled out in a hoarse voice: “Don’t look back! All of you, listen to me. Under no circumstances look back!
“One must not gaze upon the path to the yellow springs! If you turn your head, you’re done for!”
There were a few people on the ship who had been contemplating turning to look back. However, after hearing the old man’s words, they sat there trembling, not daring to turn their heads even a little bit.
Meng Hao’s eyes flashed. Behind him, he could hear sobbing sounds rising and falling. It sounded like the weeping of a crowd of countless people. Gradually, everything around grew even colder. In the dim light, it was possible to make out strands of white fog that looked like hair, swirling about in the air.
“The end of my Dao… is nigh….” said the voice, filled with an aura of decay. It seemed to be getting closer.
A cold gleam gradually appeared in Meng Hao’s eyes as he stood there on the prow. Although he didn’t turn his head back, the energy in his body gradually grew more and more focused.
The ship picked up speed, but everything around it was motionless. Even if it moved much faster, it would still be incapable of escaping the white strands that filled the area and were continuing to grow more numerous.
It almost seemed as if the ship itself were mired within a painting, a painting in which everything was motionless. It didn’t matter if the three old men went all out with power, they still weren’t moving fast enough.
The aura of rot grew closer, as if the Underworld Ship that the old men had talked about was getting closer and closer.
Even though their own ship wasn’t moving, the passage of time on board seemed to be speeding up. Everyone trembled, as they sensed signs that their life force was beginning to drain away.
Despair welled up in the hearts of the three old men.
Meng Hao silently lifted up his right foot and then stamped it down softly onto the deck. Instantly, his Cultivation base rumbled, and power poured into the ship. Much of the deck directly shattered, but at the same time, the ship surged forward with incredible speed.
The speed was such that it seemed they would break free from the world of motionless within which they were stuck. The three old men gasped, and hope appeared in their faces as they assisted with all the power they could muster. It finally seemed that the ship would break free from the painting. Movement in their surroundings even became visible.
Eventually, they reached a speed that was capable of combating against whatever law it was in the area that caused everything to remain motionless. The air began to move, and the stillness seemed to be on the verge of shattering. It was at this point, when everything seemed to be just about to begin moving again, when Meng Hao heard a sigh in his ear.
Then he heard the voice of a man, a voice filled with boundless love. “Hao’er… have you been safe and sound all these years…? Back then, your mother didn’t agree, but as your father, I… I insisted that it must be this way. Don’t blame your mother….”
Meng Hao trembled. He recognized the voice. Bits and pieces of it actually remained in his memories. Even after so many years had passed, he recognized that this was the voice of his father!
He stood there silently. He didn’t look back as the ship sped forward. The motionlessness in the area was rapidly giving way to movement. The white strands that floated in the air were slowly moving backward, freeing the ship.
Just then, though, Meng Hao heard another voice.
“Hao’er… do you… still remember me? I’m your mother…. Look back, let me see your face. It’s been so many years…. We’ve missed you.”
Meng Hao’s entire body trembled, and his head moved slightly. A complex expression appeared in his eyes as he stood there breathing. He didn’t look back; instead, he focused all his energy on controlling the boat. A rumbling sound could be heard as the front of the boat finally pierced out of the painting of stillness.
Meng Hao could see the border of the still region just up ahead; they were almost out of the painting.
“Deep in your heart, is obsession.” This voice was not the voice of his parents that existed in his memory. It was the ancient, decaying voice.
The voice seemed confused, as if it it, too, were filled with infinite obsession.
“You are a living being that I have encountered on the path to the yellow springs. I can… help you to fulfill your obsession. Look back, and you will be able to see what your parents look like.”
Meng Hao’s Cultivation base suddenly stopped moving. He poured no more power into the ship, but instead stood there on the prow. Directly in front of him was the edge of the painting of motionlessness; after passing beyond that border, they would be free.
Meng Hao well knew that if he looked back, something untoward would likely happen. However, the words spoken to him just now had left him completely shaken.
No one else could hear the words spoken into his ear just now, not even the three old men. Everyone just sat there, trembling and in a daze. Meng Hao was the only lucid one among them all.
In his silence, Meng Hao suddenly smiled. It was an unrestrained smile, a smile filled with a will of purification.
He suddenly murmured, “What’s the harm in turning my head? In my life of cultivation, I cultivate my heart. My path is one of understanding and truth.
“If I don’t look back, how could I claim to cultivate my heart?” His eyes filled with a bright light as he casually turned to look behind him.
The first thing that caught his attention were the countless white strands that floated in the air, twisting and twining around the ship. The strands originated from an enormous battleship!
The ship was fully three thousand meters long, and radiated an archaic air, as if it had existed for countless ages. It was dilapidated in a way that suggested it had experienced the baptism of war.
At the prow of the battleship, a figure could be seen. It was an old man wearing a pitch-black suit of armor. It was impossible to see his features clearly, but his body looked like it had been rotting inside the armor for innumerable years. 1
As for the white strands, they were actually the man’s hair!
As soon as Meng Hao laid eyes on him, the old man seemed to take notice. His head lifted up, and he looked at Meng Hao.
As soon as their gazes met, Meng Hao’s mind filled with rumbling. Next, a vision appeared to him. He saw a coffin, its surface covered with carvings of nine butterflies.
The coffin rested on an ancient battlefield. The surroundings were devoid of any colors except for black and white.
The vision lasted for only a few breaths of time. Then it dissipated. Meng Hao panted as he regained consciousness.
“His… Dao seed….” said the armored figure softly, his voice hoarse as it echoed about. “In all the years, of all the living things I have encountered, I have seen countless Dao seeds…. You, however, are different than them.
“Go.” The old man sat there cross-legged in his armor. It looked like he would never, ever stand up. When he spoke, his voice seemed to be filled with reminiscence. Slowly, his hair pulled away from the ship Meng Hao was on. At the same time, the archaic, three thousand meter battleship slowly began to back away. At the same time, it started to fade, as if it were about to vanish into thin air.
The stillness in the area also began to slowly disappear.
As the ship began to vanish, Meng Hao suddenly opened his mouth to speak. “Senior, you still haven’t fulfilled your promise!” Immediately, the stillness returned. The old man on the battleship gave Meng Hao a profound gaze.
That gaze seemed to contain the transformations of the entire world. It contained the turnings of time as it poured into Meng Hao’s eyes. Instantly, a roaring sound filled his mind.
This time in his vision, he saw Mount Daqing!
Outside of Mount Daqing was a whistling violet wind. Fog roiled about, covering the entire mountain, and eventually, Yunjie County.
Within the city, the lamps inside the houses were instantly extinguished, except for one house…. Inside that house, the lights danced, illuminating a middle-aged man who stood next to the window. It was impossible to tell what he was thinking.
The sounds of weeping could be heard within the bedroom. Through the cracks in the door, the silhouette of a woman could be seen. She held a boy in her arms, and tears streamed down her face.
The boy had intelligent eyes, but right now, they were filled with confusion and puzzlement.
The violet wind blew the violet fog until it completely covered Yunjie County. Far up above in the black night sky, a violet sun suddenly became visible.
The violet sun caused an indescribable pressure to suddenly weigh down on Yunjie County.
It was in that moment that the man pushed open the front door and walked out into the violet fog. The woman wiped the tears from her eyes and looked back at the boy for a moment. Then she turned and walked away.
In that moment, Meng Hao was able to clearly see her face.
She was beautiful, gentle, and her tears seemed to be filled with infinite reluctance to part. However, she left the boy behind in the room, frightened, confused and helpless.
“Dad…. Mom….” cried the boy. He seemed to be growing more frightened. He ran out into the fog.
“Dad…. Mom…. Where are you? I’m scared….” The boy’s voice was young and tender, and quavered when he spoke. He seemed terrified. The wind around him was cold, and the fog was all-encompassing. However, it couldn’t do anything to suppress the boy’s cries, which echoed out into the fog.
His sobbing grew more and more shrill as he ran. He suddenly tripped and fell, scraping his knees and tearing his garment. His hair was in disarray, and tears streamed down his face to fall onto the ground. All he wanted was his dad and mom, but what he didn’t notice was that behind him, a black, spectral hand stretched out toward his head from within the fog.
This chapter was sponsored by Anonymous and Michael Harrison