ISSTH – Book 5 – Chapter 692

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Chapter 692: A Promise to Keep

Far away in the Great Tang of the Eastern Lands, in a random village, a somewhat sloppily-dressed painter was looking askance at a rich man who fawned over him with endless words.

“Immortal, sir, I beg of you to paint me. I’m willing to pay any price.”

“My paintings are very expensive,” was the response.

The rich man nodded enthusiastically, then waved to his retainers to carry over several large chests.

The old painter glanced at them out of the corner of his eye, then cleared his throat. “Well, it seems that the two of us are connected by destiny. Because of that, I’ll paint something for you.”

He was just about to begin painting when a frown appeared on his face.

“Something just came up,” he said. “I need to take a mental journey. Please wait for a moment.” With that, he sat down cross-legged and closed his eyes.

The rich man didn’t dare to disturb him, and simply stood there off to the side, waiting.

Back in the Southern Domain, in the Rebirth Cave, Da Nu looked off into the nothingness, lost in her memories.

She was a lily that had bloomed with seven colors. On the day of vicissitudes, she had reached Immortal Ascension. However, she mistakenly fell in love with her host. When she reached Immortal Ascension, she severed her goodness and buried it at the bottom of the Milky Way Sea.

On that day, her tears had merged into the Milky Way Sea, and she became… the Dawn Immortal.

As for her goodness, it remained at the bottom of the Milky Way Sea, the same Da Nu as before.

Many years later, she emerged from the coffin and entered into the body of the fish. When she splashed out from the water, she became a roc that flew toward the Rebirth Cave, emanating an intense aura of death. 1

That aura of death came from her dead heart.

In the Rebirth Cave, she had hoped to experience a baptism, a rebirth, to become new. But no matter how she searched, there was no rebirth to be found in the Rebirth Cave. It was then that she understood. The Rebirth Cave was nothing more than a fantasy.

She could not achieve rebirth, so she remained there, submerged in her memories. No one in the world could understand her pain. But then she saw Xu Qing, and when she did, she realized that Xu Qing was just like herself all those years ago.

She sighed. The memories flashing in her mind’s eye seemed to grow more beautiful. In contrast, her body was already more than half withered up, like a dying flower.

The hand that touched Meng Hao’s forehead was visibly draining as her boundless life force poured into his body. He was now completely recovered, and didn’t look old at all.

Inside of him, glowing motes of light appeared. They packed together densely, interlocking to form into the shape of an arched bridge.

However… the bridge was incomplete. In the very middle, there was a broken section, making it impossible for the bridge to be whole.

Those motes of light were the life force that Da Nu was sending into Meng Hao, and that bridge was none other than the Bridge of Life!

“I don’t blame you….” murmured Da Nu softly. Her eyes were blank, her mind submerged into memories that no one could see.

Her entire arm was now dried up. The withering spread to her neck. It looked almost like tendrils, climbing up to her forehead, and eventually covering her entire head. When the tendrils reached her eyes, she was thinking about the first time she had met her host.

In that moment, he had looked at her, and she him. It was a moment that seemed as if it would last an eternity.

“I have never blamed you….” When the withering took Da Nu’s eyes, two teardrops fell. They rolled down her withered face and then landed on the ground with a soft patter.

Her eyes grew listless, and she closed them. Then she lifted up the hand that was pushing down onto Meng Hao’s forehead. After a moment, she softly struck his head.

The blow seemed light, but the force hit him like lightning. He trembled violently, and roaring filled his mind.

The countless nodes of light inside of him that formed the Bridge of Life suddenly vibrated and then expanded. In that moment, the two sides of the bridge linked together, and it was whole.

When the Bridge of Life was complete, Meng Hao’s body spasmed in unprecedented fashion. He suddenly breathed again. His previously still heart began to emit a thumping sound.

When his heart started beating, the powder Da Nu had created from the Ninth Mountain and Sea lodestone swept toward his chest and fused into his heart.

Ba-dump. Ba-dump!

His heart continued to beat, and the sound of it echoed throughout the Rebirth Cave. Suddenly, an incredible gravitation force exploded out inside of his heart.

At the same time, his soul, which had been wrapped up by the Eyeless Larva silk, was caught up by the gravitational force. It merged into his heart, and then was superimposed over his body.

In this moment, the Bridge of Life was thoroughly linked and whole. Blinding light shone out to fill the Rebirth Cave, dispelling all of the darkness. The resplendent light was dazzling to the extreme.

Meng Hao’s blood began to flow. His life force was vigorous! His soul was back in place! He had returned to life!

His eyes snapped open.

The first thing he saw was Da Nu. He saw her withered body, and felt his own surging life force. He could immediately sense the connection between it and the woman.

His mind trembled. If by this point he couldn’t understand what had happened, then his over two hundred years of life would have been lived in vain. It was obvious that this woman had given him her own life force.

“Senior….”

Da Nu looked at him, and her eyes suddenly flickered open. “I gave you life, not for you, but for her.”

An image suddenly appeared in his mind.

He saw himself fall down outside the Rebirth Cave, and he saw Xu Qing arrive. She picked him up and struggled to carry him forward. She had once been beautiful, but now, her hair was white and she was ancient. Purplish-black blood oozed out of the corners of her mouth.

And yet, no regret could be seen in her eyes. She looked at Meng Hao with gentleness and determination.

He watched as Xu Qing used her own life force to sustain him. Every time she delivered her life force to him, it would keep him alive for a bit longer, and make her weaker.

However, her smile never faded.

When he saw these things, Meng Hao trembled. He watched Xu Qing carry him into the Rebirth Cave and sit down cross-legged. He watched her stroke his face.

Xu Qing was ancient, her hair white, and yet she continued to give him her life force, one bit at a time, no matter the consequences to herself.

“You live, I live. You die, I die!”

Tears streamed down Meng Hao’s face. Next, he saw Da Nu appear. She sent Xu Qing away…. And then Fatty came to deliver the medicinal pill.

All of these things struck into his heart and mind like lightning. He trembled violently, and an intense dread suddenly filled him.

“Why… why didn’t Xu Qing bring it herself?” Meng Hao didn’t dare to think about it. He jerked his head up to look at Da Nu.

At the same time, he rose to his feet. Inside, he knew… something bad had happened to Xu Qing!

He had to go find her! He had to find Xu Qing!

However, in the moment that he stood, his face suddenly fell, and he stood there, terror-stricken and motionless. His hands clenched tightly into fists as he realized that he was constrained to the absolute limit.

He shivered ceaselessly as he remembered that he had no cultivation base. He was completely empty….

“There is no such thing as rebirth….” murmured Da Nu to herself. Her body was almost completely withered. She looked at Meng Hao and was just about to deliver the last of her life force to him, and then slip into death, when…

Suddenly, everything began to shake and rumble!

A black mist sprang out from within the depths of the Rebirth Cave. It quickly filled every corner of the cave, as well as the area hundreds of thousands of meters surrounding the cave, turning it all into a world of black mist.

The black mist rose up into the sky, shockingly transforming into an enormous head. The head had black hair, and its facial features were blurry, but it was clearly immeasurably ancient.

“Who said there is no such thing as rebirth!?” growled the voice.

Da Nu looked up, and her eyes filled with a strange light. She had lived inside the Rebirth Cave for many years, and had visited all the areas within, but she had never sensed anything like this black mist.

Even more shocked was Choumen Tai. He could hear the voice from his position deep in the cave, and it filled his mind with roaring. He shot to his feet, his face covered with astonishment. He had also been concealed in the cave for many years, and was very familiar with every inch of the place. However, he was completely unaware that anything like this existed inside!

“Who is this?” he thought with a gasp. He suddenly realized that the Rebirth Cave… was not at all how he had believed it to be.

There were mysteries here… that even he couldn’t detect.

“The Dao of rebirth exists outside of the laws of Heaven and Earth. You can’t feel it, that’s all….

“On this day, you chose death to help this person. That… is true rebirth!

“Rebirth is a death and a life, a cycle. Henceforth, he will represent you on the path of cultivation. You die for him in the cycle of reincarnation. That… is true rebirth!

“If you understand, then you can free yourself from your worldly concerns. If you don’t understand, then… your next life will be one of darkness.”

Da Nu’s body quivered in shock and her breathing grew ragged. She listened to the voice’s words and her eyes gradually flashed with signs of comprehension.

“Rebirth…. Senior, please instruct me.” She slowly closed her eyes, and in that moment, completely withered up, transforming into a Resurrection Lily, right there in the Rebirth Cave.

“Goodness personified, and in the end you still perform good deeds, imbuing your very breath into his body. You are the embodiment of truth and law…. Because of this, I will help you this one time!” Even as the voice echoed about, the black mist contracted. It began to congeal inside of the Rebirth Cave, next to the Resurrection Lily, where it turned into a brush. The brush moved about, seemingly using the air as its canvas to paint an extremely realistic Resurrection Lily.

The brush swished, and the illusory Resurrection Lily settled onto Da Nu’s withered body.

“Sleep for 10,000 years. After that, if you can awaken, then you will be reborn.” As the voice echoed out, the black mist seemed to turn its attention onto Choumen Tai, who was deep in the recesses of the Rebirth Cave.

Choumen Tai’s mind trembled.

“You are a soul who has experienced many years of life, and many reincarnations. You have relied on your persistence to reach this day…. Continue on. I can sense something very familiar about you.”

Choumen Tai began to pant. “Are you….”

Before he could finish speaking, the mist seethed, and Choumen Tai was suddenly swept up. He had no control over his body as he was ejected out of Planet South Heaven and sent out into the starry sky.

“Regardless of whether or not the person you are waiting for is here,” said the voice, “if all you know how to do is use others, then if the time ever comes in which you can bring back to life that person who exists in your heart, well… you will feel only regret. Leave. When the time comes that you understand, you can return here.”

Back in the Rebirth Cave, everything was quiet. The mist spun around and around, and a figure seemed to become visible, looking at Meng Hao.

Trembling, Meng Hao rose to his feet and walked to the mouth of the Rebirth Cave. Although he was merely alive as a mortal now, he still… had a promise to keep.

You live, I live. You die, I die!

In the moment in which Meng Hao was about to step foot out of the Rebirth Cave, the blurry figure behind him coolly said, “Why do you care about the Perfect stratum so much anyway?”

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  1. A fish turning into a bird-like creature is a common part of Chinese mythology. I’ve seen a few comments that I should translate “roc” as “peng.” Sorry to say, that would only be partly correct. Er Gen consistently uses the full term “鲲鹏,” which combines the fish character “kun” and the bird character “peng.” If I were going transliterate it, the most accurate term would be “kunpeng,” not simply “peng.” Also, in ISSTH, unlike the “kunpung” mythology, it is never described as a “kun” which transforms into a “peng.” It’s described as a fish “yu” that transforms into a “kunpeng.”

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80 thoughts on “ISSTH – Book 5 – Chapter 692” - NO SPOILERS

    1. “then his over two hundred years of life would have been lived in vain.”
      *cof cof*
      Meng Hao. xD You aren’t that young anymore.
      Waaaaaay over 200 years of life. xD

      1. Yeah. He seems to be an existence that is best spoken alongside the old man on the underworld ship.

        On another note, I really hope this does not turn into shui dongliu convincing him to cultivate normally. That would be so boring.

        1. I feel like this question is another test of sorts, or perhaps something that will lead to Meng Hao reaching beyond perfection? I can’t think of another way to become the “ultimate” other than beyond perfection, since otherwise it’s possible, given enough time, that someone could match him.

        2. there’s no way meng hao will cultivate normally. I think he will sever perfection (i wonder if this will be his 1st or 2nd severing since he has lost his foundation) and get something even more op

  1. I’m not quite sure what to think about these recent chapters. ISSTH has never been very clear-cut and simple in terms of the world, cultivation, dao, stuff like that… but I feel like there’s been a bit too much “supernatural bullshit”, like bizzare cosmic stuff way above Meng Hao’s understanding. Maybe it’s just a western view? But all this reincarnation, karma, concepts of life and death, sailing the universe on a death boat thing is really deep into mythology that feels really complex that I don’t quite understand.

    1. I’m not well versed in chinese mythology myself, so it would be nice if some senior enlightens (us).
      Even through that would lead (us) towards becoming false Immortals 😛
      (And sorry for hijacking our comment, I’m REALLY curious xD)

    2. Really? It seems simple and easy to understand to me.
      Then again, I have also understood the Dao completely.
      I cannot teach anyone the path to achieving immortality, for that is your job to gain your own enlightenment.
      Plus, I have taken a different path to cultivation. Neither immortal, nor demon.

    3. i guess most of these stem from taoism. maybe some read about taoism will bring forth some enlightenment fellow daoist. most of the myth are part of taoist text i believe.

      about supernatural bs, i kind of enjoying it

    4. Uhmm ever heard of Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastranism? Each of them has their own version of karmic cycle, nirvana, reincarnation, enlightenment, etc.

      They’re not supernatural BS. It’s based from cultural religion. Are you from a European or Soviet country? Asians should at least be familiar with this things. These are part of the curriculum in elementary and high school.

      I’m starting to have a headache by just remembering all those Eight Noble Paths and 12 Cyclic Existence (etc etc). And you have to enumerate all of them in the final exam. God why oh why. I’m not even a buddhist.

      1. Taoism is an act of understanding the will of heavens. Taoist people would search for the meaning of their life by reflecting on everything they’ve done to their lives. They search for truth, and believes that by doing so, they can ascend heavens.

        Not sure tho, but if feel Daoism is much more identical to Taoism

      2. The “Supernatural BS” refers, I think, to things like this very scene.
        Sh*t just came out of nowhere, started saying a few cool lines and solved everything by being a walking deus-ex-machina.

        While I am able to enjoy this (Heck, I liked the whole Xu Qing moment), I can totally agree with the notion that the last few chapters do feel underwhelming. Stuff just happen, no idea why or how or what even. And in the end, it all works out. Yay.
        I think this is fundamentally the issue here: Stuff is just happening with no one on the wheel because the MC is in a coma.

        1. i understand that it is quite underwhelming but it is only to build up better dramatic effect in the future chapters. I think er gen is a very good author that make a world and character building very interesting so much that in the future chapters we will be surprised of how can he thought of such a plot ahead of the time.

        2. “The “Supernatural BS” refers, I think, to things like this very scene.
          Sh*t just came out of nowhere, started saying a few cool lines and solved everything by being a walking deus-ex-machina.”

          Exactly. This is what I was talking about. I’m not insulting Asian cultures or whatever, but I feel like the author has pulled several mysterious things out in a row that are above what we’ve previously seen, with no explanation or… anything, really. And it’s all to fix Meng Hao in the end. It gives us a clearer glimpse of the true nature and width of this corner of the cosmos, but it still feels like… deus ex machina.

    5. I think that not understanding everything makes it not simple and leaves room for imagination, which makes the novel a lot more enjoyable.
      Why do you feel bad about not understanding it? To me, when weird and mysterious things happen, I feel I like it even more.

      I don’t think they are designed to be understood, and about the culture, I don’t feel that you need to understand this world culture to understand ISSTH’s world culture.

      1. Some authors intentionally exploit people like you, who fancy ambiguity, in order to get away from being lazy writers. They juts toss their MC into a completely insensible, random, and unclear situation, in order to mask the fact they have absolutely no idea what to write about…But: woo! Mystery! (Like ‘Gate of Revelation’)

        In this instance, I don’t think the issue that “I don’t understand what is happening”, but the fact that things are happening outside of the MC’s control, and it doesn’t seem like anyone is controlling to where the plot goes. Chaos ensues, and it seems like stuff just happens without perspective.

        1. A fantasy world where only the MC can “do things” seems to me to be the “lazy writer’s way”. Er Gen has created a fantasy world where more than one character exists, and these other characters are able to act independently of the MC. The world of ISSTH is not some 2-d “cookie-cutter” world, and to me it is a richer, more “alive” world than the creations of many other authors.

          1. While I do agree with your sentiments, it has absolutely nothing to do with what I was saying.
            Having random stuff happen while focusing on someone in a coma, only seems like chaos and complete randomness. We have no proper way to digest any of the information that is being transmitted to us. This is why I said that the issue, most likely being the fact that the “MC is not in control”, the MC is merely the character that the narrative follows. It can be any other character, but this time — the Narrative kept hovering around Meng Hao, even though he does nothing but be in a passive state, allowing people to clamor around him without directing the narrative to anywhere we can comprehend what the heck is going on.
            It is completely possible to have more than 1 character in a story, but the narrative actually needs to switch to their perspective to do so, or at least allow us to be familiar with it.

            Having all sorts of OP mofos float about Meng Hao and immediately solve everything just feels hollow, especially when we keep switching from one character to the other, doing its own incomprehensible ‘thing’, and they all exist within the scene, simply because Meng Hao needs them to be there in order to solve everything.
            In that sense, it fits the cookie-cutter of having the protagonist’s cheat more than anything: The very seem you seem to applaud ISSTH not doing.

        2. Seriously? I understood the whole thing, even the heavenly Dao that originates from the karmatic rebirth. The heavenly Dao of rebirth is densely rooted to 3 dais, Life, Dead and Fate

    6. The only thing that is truly disgusting about these few latest chapters is the sickly sweet bullshit drama between meng hao and xu qing, they don’t suit each other and they never will, she should just disappear and stop clinging to the mc, because it will ruin the story if they become lovey-dovey, especially since the author started making shit up that doesn’t add up with his earlier writing. I find the rest to be acceptable.

  2. Oh damn the painter dude is super powerful.. I guess that’s what you get for getting your dao from the world tree ( or something like that )

    Thanks for the chapter!

    hmm.. is it possible that Choumen Tai is a reincarnation of the ghost ship dude? :S

    1. I don’t think so. I think Choumen Tai has just managed to keep his memories through reincarnations somehow. There’s too big of a difference between them. On top of that, if he was a reincarnation of that ghost guy then chances are that he’d be able to achieve his aim easily enough.

    2. Maybe, but I doubt it. First, they exist on the same time. Unless, it’s a clone, then no.

      Second, both of them are souls. Unless you can clone a soul, then it’s impossible. If anyway that’s the case, then it wouldn’t be called “reincarnation” at all.

      Third, the old ghost guy in armor is flying across the whole universe or god knows where, while Choumen Tai is currently inside the Rebirth Cave trying to achieve rebirth.

      Fourth, if a clone can reincarnate/rebirth and have its own soul and sentience, then yes. It’s possible. After all, Shui Donglui said he found something “familiar” with him. Maybe he’s friends with the old ghost guy.

  3. Thx for the chapter. Er Gen really is a good author. I look forward to when the whole picture comes together. Thx Deathblade, and all who made this chapter possible.

    1. A roc is a bird, a flying fish is a fish. Just google image the two and you’ll understand the obvious difference.

      Cmiiw, Da Nu changed from a fish to a roc, or to be more precise, she attached herself to a fish and later on transformed to a roc and flew across the lands to Rebirth Cave.

  4. God damn plotarmor… It would’ve been something interesting if the mc really died and never reincarnated, even if the fans would hate it. I would still love it!

  5. Thanks… But in the previous chapter… I ever read that Meng Hao had second sea of “something” from sublime spirit scilpture… Isn’t that can be used by him to make another foundation? Am i right?!

    1. No, the Second Sea was part of his Dao Foundation. Basically normally when one reaches Foundation Establishment then the entire Sea is used for the pillar, but with the Scripture that Meng Hao used you can form another Sea, making one a bit more powerful as well as having a more solid foundation meaning it’s easier to make it to the higher stages of cultivation, although I’m not too sure of any other benefits it would have.
      The main reason that Meng Hao couldn’t fight Foundation Establishment even with the 13th level of Qi Gathering is the Spiritual Sense after all. A second sea would result in a fairly large boost to one’s base power.

  6. I don’t know why he was given chance again by her. Also, what happened to the technique which constructs his body back to peak from just soul?

    Also, I really do hope in future that the Mc won’t be so greedy about money… All his wisdom would be just like being drained…

    Thanks for the chapter translation.

  7. “Why do you care about the Perfect strata so much anyway?”

    Okay Er Gen, you’re going to *REALLY* have to sell me this one, because about the only way I could see myself agreeing with it is something like:
    “Why do you care about the Perfect strata so much anyway? Why not have the Ultimate strata instead which is so much better and would take at most a few chapters to obtain?”

  8. Elder Meng, the immortal conman!
    ┳┻|
    ┻┳|   ( Thanks WW… )
    ┳┻|√\~√\ •°
    ┻┳|@ _ @ )
    ┳┻|⊂ノ 
    ┻┳|J
    {stolen from a nice person}

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