Chapter 1090: The Echelon’s Declarations of War!
At this point, it was hard to say who was actually the superior in this situation.
On the Ninth Nation’s altar, Meng Hao stood off to the side, looking up into the sky. He had already re-sealed Su Yan and tossed her back into his bag of holding. Now he stood there in the desert wind, which sent bits of dust blowing into his hair and onto his robes.
Behind him, the others stood by quietly, looking at his back, feeling fear and other complicated emotions. Even Fan Dong’er was no exception.
Meng Hao’s fierce fighting had placed him above the others in terms of power, securing his position of utmost seniority within the Ninth Nation.
Down below, Jian Daozi and the others were also looking at Meng Hao, and their eyes were filled with reverence for Immortals. Finally, they lowered their heads and dropped to their knees in obeisance.
They knew that, as of this moment, they didn’t need to worry about any order given by any of the other Immortals. Until Meng Hao left the Ninth Nation, or was supplanted by someone else, his words… were the only orders to be followed.
Meanwhile, the altar in the Eighth Nation was littered with bones. An aura of death towered up into the sky, and eight cultivators could be seen, trembling as they prostrated themselves toward a black-robed young man up in front, who sat on a pile of bleached bones. He was none other than the Echelon cultivator from the Eighth Mountain and Sea.
“You people didn’t bring many guests with you. Why didn’t you bring more? I… feel like doing some more killing.” His eyes gleamed with a brutal light as he looked at the trembling cultivators around him. Suddenly, a murderous aura exploded up from him. He was completely surrounded by corpses, none of which remained intact.
Blood stained the altar red.
In the Seventh Nation, a young man stood there with a long spear, surrounded by eight trembling cultivators. Shockingly, seven heads were impaled kebab-like on the spear.
“I don’t want to kill all of you, but who said that you could try to steal my Echelon status from me, huh? In the Seventh Mountain and Sea, I don’t dare to act too excessively, but here… you people are nothing!” The young man smiled, seemingly brimming with complete confidence in himself.
In the Sixth Nation, a boy sat cross-legged on the altar. He appeared to be only seven or eight years old, and he looked around through squinted eyes at the people who surrounded him, eight burly fellows, all of whom had cold faces.
The Sixth Nation was special. Because no one had brought any extra visitors, no thunder had appeared.
The strangest of all was the Fifth Nation. The altar there was soaked in blood, and only one person remained alive, standing on the edge of the altar. He was a bit overweight, and wore a perpetual smile on his face. However, hidden within that smile was icy coldness.
All of the other people who had arrived with him were now dead; he was the only survivor.
“Wanted to snatch my position in the Echelon?” the young man murmured. “You people simply didn’t qualify.”
Silence reigned in the Fourth Nation. Lin Cong stood there, wearing a long white robe, looking around proudly. Directly behind him were four cultivators, all of whom had vicious expressions on their faces. They were surrounded by numerous corpses.
From beginning to end, Lin Cong never made a single move. However, his four followers had directly slaughtered the other four cultivators who had come with them, as well as any stowaways they had brought along.
“I hope things get a bit more interesting here,” Lin Cong said with a slight smile.
Rivers of blood ran in the Third Nation. However, there was something different there; among the nine people present, not a single one was a member of the Echelon! Among those nine people was a middle-aged man who wore Imperial robes. He stood there with a slight smile that contained contentment and anticipation.
“I’ve been waiting for far, far too long…. At long last, the day has come. The words spoken by the Imperial Lord turned out to be true!” Even as he spoke, he looked off into the distance, toward a figure speeding through the air.
It was a woman, the tenth person to appear on the altar!
None of the ten thousand cultivators beneath the altar had their heads bowed. Instead, they were looking at the man in the Imperial robes, their eyes burning with fanaticism.
On the Second Nation’s altar, everything was quiet. In fact, it was so quiet, the mood was terrifying. There was no reek of blood, but rather, icy coldness spread out, turning the entire altar into a chunk of ice.
In the middle of that ice was a man in a blue robe.
His eyes were closed, and eight unmoving corpses lay on the ground around him.
The First Nation’s altar was the strangest scene of all. None of the figures beneath the altar were bowing their heads. No, they had been ordered to raise their heads up. They stood there, trembling with fear as they looked at a white-robed man floating above the surface of the altar.
His expression was calm, as if he were contemplating enlightenment. He was staring at his right hand, within which could be seen, shockingly… a bolt of lightning. The lightning looked extraordinary, and if Meng Hao were here, he would instantly recognize… the Heavenly lightning of a type of Lightning Cauldron!
The white-robed man appeared to be contemplating it, as if he were determining a way to control it.
With his cultivation base and his level of power, this man could be only one person: the Echelon cultivator from the First Mountain, widely acknowledged to be one of its three most powerful members!
Behind him were eight other cultivators who had arrived from the First Mountain and Sea. All of them were his personal followers; not a single one was a disciple of any other organization in the First Mountain and Sea.
These were people he had forced to capitulate during the many battles he had fought. Afterwards, they had become his followers, and even fought for him. Most surprising of all was that of these eight people who had chosen to become his followers, one of them was another member of the Echelon!
To join the Echelon, and yet choose to follow that white-robed young man, showed how incredibly powerful he was.
“So it turns out that gaining enlightenment of the Essence of lightning is much easier here than in the Mountain and Sea Realm.” After a long moment, the white-robed young man clenched his hand into a fist. Crackling sounds could be heard, and the lightning vanished, disappearing into his body. His eyes suddenly began to glow brightly.
“The Windswept Realm has been opened many times, but this is my first time here. What do you all say? Do you think I’ll be able to collect some people and items that might satisfy me? Will I be able to truly take away the World Essence?
“Although, what I’m actually looking forward to most… is searching for another member of the Echelon, most preferably a male!” The white-robed young man chuckled. He turned to a woman who was standing behind him, and ran his finger down her jaw. The woman lowered her head and smiled. As for his other followers, two were women and five were men. All of them smiled in response to the young man’s words.
The sky in the Windswept Realm gradually cleared. After the space of ten breaths of time, a cold voice suddenly rang out from the Heavens into the First Nation and all the other nations in the Windswept Realm. Apparently, the inhabitants of the Windswept Realm itself could not hear this voice, only the newcomers.
“Let the trial by fire… begin!
“The central temple is where the final decision will be made. Immortal cultivators may not enter there now. Use the Nine Nations as the game board, and the soldiers and cultivators of the Windswept Realm as the game pieces. Let the Grand War of Nine Nations begin!
“Each nation has a Seal of the Windswept Realm. Whoever acquires the most National Seals will be able to enter the central temple!
“And now… the barriers between the Nine Nations shall be removed!” The voice that spoke was ancient, and yet seemed somewhat numb, almost emotionless, as if it were a puppet. Even as the voice boomed out, the windstorm barriers separating the Nine Nations of the Windswept Realm all vanished!
Now there was nothing sealing or protecting any of the nations; they were all connected….
Furthermore, the ground began to quake as all of the natural laws and Essences of the Windswept Realm was unleashed. Spiritual energy surged, and the natural laws went into flux. Essence was revealed in a way that made gaining enlightenment seemingly simple.
Heaven and Earth lost color, and a mighty wind sprang up which screamed out in all directions.
On the First Nation’s altar, the white-robed young man laughed heartily. As the windstorm barriers fell, he could instantly sense the other Echelon auras in the Windswept Realm.
To his senses, those auras were like bright lamps in the darkness of night, clearly visible.
As he laughed, the white-robed young man’s energy surged, merging into Heaven and Earth. His cultivation base erupted, sending an incredibly powerful aura sweeping out.
He was making a declaration of war… against all of the other eight nations in the Windswept Realm!
At the same time, amidst the iciness of the Second Nation, the blue-robed man’s eyes snapped open. He looked at the corpses around him for a moment, and their eyes opened to reveal a gray glow. Cracking and popping sounds could be heard as layers of ice shattered. Energy also surged out of the blue-robed young man, another declaration of war!
In the Third Nation, the middle-aged man in the Imperial robes laughed eerily. Although he clearly had no sealing mark on him, he still emanated the energy of a sealing mark, which rose up into the sky.
In the Fourth Nation, Lin Cong looked around proudly, and his energy spiked. As of this moment, no one was willing to reveal any bit of weakness. They were all members of the Echelon, Chosen of the Mountain and Sea Realm. In the Windswept Realm, where they were completely free and unconstrained, any show of weakness would be sensed by others… and would no doubt lead to their respective nation being the first to be eradicated, and to the loss of their National Seal.
In the Fifth Nation, the smiling young man smiled even wider, and his energy flew up.
In the Sixth Nation, the boy laughed piercingly as he rose to his feet. Shockingly, his energy rose up rapidly, causing the wind to surge and the Heavens to shake.
In the Seventh Nation and Eighth Nation, the Echelon also declared war!
Meng Hao trembled and looked up into the sky. The other cultivators from the Mountain and Sea Realm could hear the words spoken by the ancient voice. However, they had no way to detect the surging energy and domineering auras of the Echelon cultivators in the other eight nations.
It was as if all of them were sending notices to the other Echelon members that they were on their way.
“A declaration of war, huh….” thought Meng Hao, his eyes glittering. He had long since left the other members of his generation of the Ninth Mountain and Sea behind. He was like an enormous mountain in their path. All of the important Chosen owed him money, and were bound to him by Karma with promissory notes.
He had long since come to the conclusion that it would be a difficult thing to find any more Chosen to get promissory notes from. But now that he could sense the energy of the other Echelon members… Meng Hao’s eyes began to shine brightly.
“These guys ought to be even richer than the people from the Ninth Mountain and Sea!” he thought, taking a deep breath and getting even more excited. Finally, he caused his own energy to surge, causing it to blaze like a signal fire. At the same time, he looked slightly embarrassed as he added A Writ of Karma into his surging energy, creating an opportunity for an initial contact of Karma, laying down the first Karma Thread connection.
You declare war? I declare a season of promissory notes!
I will make all members of the Echelon owe me money and give me promissory notes!
Meng Hao was determined to stick to his path of promissory notes, and not waver!
As of this moment, the energy of all of the members of the Echelon surged in their respective areas, then spread out until they clashed with the others.
Colors flashed in the sky, and the wind seethed. Rumbling filled the air as the energy of the Echelon members clashed.