The entire world, including the sky and the land, was the color of blood. Plants, trees, mountains; everything was crimson as far as the eye could see.
Off in the distance was a blood-colored desert, and the very end of which was an oasis which was also the color of blood, that led to an ocean.
In the middle of that ocean was a mountain, the peak of which pierced the clouds.
That mountain was where the will of the world was located, and whichever cultivator climbed it first would win the approval and blessing of the world. That person would then be able to leave, with the approval of the Blood Ancestor, and qualified to enter the second stage.
There were countless worlds inside of the Blood Ancestor, but Xuemei and Song Junwan had both brought twenty Dharma protectors. Of the total of forty Dharma protectors, in the end, only twenty would be qualified to proceed.
Obviously, the number of Dharma protectors who Xuemei and Song Junwan ended up with would determine who had the advantage in the second stage.
Xuemei’s Dharma protectors had entered the crevice first, and the one who had selected this particular world was a gaunt, middle-aged man with cold eyes. His cultivation base fluctuations were those of late Foundation Establishment, and overall, he looked like a viper ready to strike at any moment. Clearly, whoever ended up in his sights would likely end up dead.
This man was Jia Lie, and in terms of battle prowess, he could be considered among the top three in Xuemei’s group of Dharma protectors. He was completely and utterly confident of being able to dominate any of Song Junwan’s Dharma protectors, with the exception of one or two.
Although he appeared to be middle-aged, he was actually over a hundred years old. However, because of the unique techniques he cultivated, his fleshly body was at the ultimate peak. Furthermore, he'd been able to add a full sixty-year-cycle to his longevity during his Foundation Establishment trial by fire. He had reached five Tideflows, had an incredibly powerful cultivation base, and was an adept killer.
“This world is like a Blessed Land for me!” he thought, looking off into the distance. He was currently gripping a blood-colored sea snake by the head. No matter how it struggled, it couldn’t free himself, and if Jia Lie wanted to, he could crush it to death in an instant.
Jia Lie completely ignored the snake as he looked at the towering mountain not too far off in the distance. He already felt somewhat amused by this first stage of the trial by fire for blood master. He’d only just arrived in the huge world, and yet, he was already relatively close to the location of the world’s will.
The reflection of the vast ocean and the towering mountain could be seen in his eyes, as well as the pulsing fluctuations which spread out from the mountain.
“Even if Song Junwan’s Dharma protector gets lucky, there’s no way he could get as close as I am. I might as well just take control of the will of this world right now. I won’t even need to kill the other Dharma protector. I wonder who it is. Nightcrypt maybe...?” He chuckled coldly. Originally, he had planned to kill Song Junwan’s Dharma protector and then earn the approval of the will of the world. But now it seemed that might not be necessary.
Blurring into motion, he sped out over the blood-colored ocean, quickly closing in on the cloud-wreathed mountain. He proceeded along with caution, and as such, wasn’t taken by surprise when an intense roaring sound shook everything in the area. A moment later, a huge blood-colored dragon sped out from the other side of the mountain, fixed its eyes on Jia Lie, and then sped toward him rapidly.
It was more than 30 meters long, and bristled with a murderous aura.
A sense of intense crisis gripped Jia Lie, and beads of sweat popped out on his forehead. Eyes widening, he exclaimed, “Impossible! How could a bloodbeast like that be in this place? Foundation Establishment cultivators can’t fight something like that!!”
Even as he gasped in shock, more roars could be heard, and the auras of more bloodbeasts exploded from the vicinity of the mountain. Something like a powerful wind blasted out, causing the blood ocean to churn and seethe. Moments later, countless murderous eyes appeared beneath the surface of the water. There were so many that anyone who saw them would be shocked.
Before Jia Lie could proceed any further, the bloodbeasts beneath the surface of the water joined the bloodbeasts from the mountain to attack him.
The sheer number of bloodbeasts Jia Lie saw caused his scalp to tingle in shock and fear. Not daring to proceed, he actually fell back. After he retreated by about 3,000 meters, the enormous dragon slowly turned around, the auras of the other bloodbeasts slowly faded, and even the creatures beneath the surface of the water disappeared.
Jia Lie’s face was covered with sweat, and his breath came in ragged pants. Despite the supreme confidence he had in his cultivation base, to be stared at by so many bloodbeasts left him scared out of his mind. After a bit of time passed, he frowned anxiously.
“With so many bloodbeasts here, it won’t be easy to go any further. I guess I’ll just need to wait for the right opportunity to present itself before I move onward....” Gritting his teeth, he backed up a bit more, and then found a place to conceal himself and let time pass.
During the seven days which followed, he saw quite a few bloodbeasts coming and going. Finally, the killing intent in his eyes flared.
“Forget it. Things aren’t going to change here any time soon. Instead of waiting around, I might as well go find Song Junwan’s Dharma protector and kill him. Then I’ll have plenty of time to wait around. Maybe if I'm lucky, my opponent will be Nightcrypt, and I can save a bit of effort by getting rid of him now!” Looking at the ocean of blood which stretched out behind him, he chuckled coldly.
Being an adept killer, he was naturally a skilled hunter as well. He had keen senses, and although the world he was in was large, he was confident that with his cultivation base, it would be no difficult task for him to track down the other Dharma protector.
Blurring into motion, he flew off to begin the search.
Before he got very far, though, the sea down below seethed, and a huge bloodbeast burst out from the depths. It had the torso of a human and the tail of a fish, and as soon as it appeared, it attacked Jia Lie with bloodthirsty violence.
After a short battle, Jia Lie killed the bloodbeast and proceeded along. However, before he could get very far, two more bloodbeasts burst out from the water to attack him....
Meanwhile, Bai Xiaochun was flying through the air, marveling at how strange and quiet the world was. Despite having been flying along for a few days, he hadn’t seen a single bloodbeast. Everything around him seemed to be completely empty.
He didn't even need to use his cultivation base. The wind simply pushed him along. Of course, the strangeness of the situation put him more on guard than ever.
“Something really weird is going on with this place,” he thought. “And where is Xuemei’s Dharma protector? I wonder if he set up an ambush for me since he got here first.” He continued to look around vigilantly as he proceeded. Eventually, he reached the desert.
By that time, Jia Lie was fleeing in terror across the blood ocean, chased by several thousand maddened bloodbeasts. His face was pale white, and his expression was that of terror.
“Dammit! Why are there so many bloodbeasts? I didn’t provoke them, and yet they’re showing up one after another! They’re like a flood!!”
Before long, the tenth day passed. The more time that passed, the more Bai Xiaochun felt as if something really strange were going on. He still hadn't even seen the slightest trace of a bloodbeast, but distinctly recalled Song Junwan saying such bloodthirsty creatures existed here. At this point, he was starting to wonder what exactly was going on.
Eventually, he caught sight of the end of the desert, with the blood-colored oasis and the blood-colored ocean. His astonishment grew, as did his caution.
By now, Jia Lie’s hair was disheveled, his skin sallow, and his eyes bloodshot. At long last, he burst out of the ocean region and into the oasis. After numerous dangerous encounters, he had finally made it out alive.
When he thought back to everything that had occurred in the ocean, he was filled with a sense of awe and dread regarding the world around him.
“It’s a good thing I had all those life-saving magics and items, otherwise I probably would have died. However, if things were that difficult for me, then it’s probably the same with Song Junwan’s Dharma protector. In fact, maybe he already got eaten by the bloodbeasts.” He looked back out at the ocean, heart still thumping with fear. Just when he was about to sit down and rest, his heart trembled, and he looked off into the distance, where a beam of light could be seen flying lazily through the air.
“Hmm?” A cold light flashed through Jia Lie’s eyes, and he quickly reigned in the power of his cultivation base. At the same time, he produced a pearl, which let out a soft, warm light that completely concealed his aura.
Unless he suddenly unleashed the power of his cultivation base, that pearl would make it almost impossible to detect him. It was one of the life-saving items that had enabled him to make it out of the ocean of blood alive. After activating it, he stood there unmoving, looking up into the sky.
“Nightcrypt? Hahaha! It’s really him!” Eyes flashing with killing intent, he began to chuckle. Although Nightcrypt was very famous, Jia Lie felt nothing but disdain for him. “So what if you can concoct some medicine and please the patriarchs? You really think you’re a Chosen? Even with your Inverse Blood Ancestral Awakening, you’re only in mid Mortal-Dao Foundation Establishment. I can kill you as easily as flipping over my hand. By cutting you down, I can accomplish the mission assigned to me by the blood master of Lesser Marsh Peak!”
Completely calm and confident, he pulled in his murderous aura and decided to wait for the right moment to attack.
Bai Xiaochun proceeded along cautiously. He didn't move very fast, and kept his divine sense spread out in all directions. As he got close to the blood-colored oasis, he was about to fly over it, when he looked down. Although he hadn’t opened his third eye, his intuition told him that the place harbored danger. Without the slightest hesitation, he backed up.
“Hmm?” Jia Lie was surprised that Nightcrypt would have such acute senses. He gave a cold laugh. Considering how powerful his own cultivation base was, he decided that there was no need to hide any longer. He leaped up into the air, shooting directly toward Nightcrypt, his murderous aura exploding around him.
“Nightcrypt, I'm Jia Lie, and you’re dead!” Laughing loudly, he shot forth accompanied by rumbles like that of thunder. His right hand flashed with an incantation gesture, and he waved his finger, causing a huge blood-colored hand to appear, which sped directly toward Bai Xiaochun.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Usually you only hear about the Dao in the novels we read, and in discussions about Chinese culture and/or ancient China. So needless to say, I was surprised when someone sent me a link to the Dao being discussed in neither of those contexts. A music metaphor and a sports analogy lead up an explanation of what the Dao is. Not the fictional Dao that we read about in xianxia, but the philosophical Dao. Kind of cool, check it out if you'd like.