Meng Hao searched the area outside the Vast Expanse for a very, very long time. In the end, he could only chuckle bitterly, well aware that the reason Allheaven hadn’t appeared was because he wanted to see the limitations of time be inflicted on everyone Meng Hao was close to.
Meng Hao returned to the starry sky of the Mountains and Seas, and the Ninth Mountain. There, he went mad trying to create new natural laws that could break the curse. When Xu Qing saw him like this, her heart filled with pain, but there was nothing she could do to help. She could only accompany him silently.
“Time is limited....” he murmured. “Because of that, there is no reincarnation. One life is the end....” He had already come to realize that anyone who ever had anything to do with him would not be reincarnated after dying.
Time flowed by. Another five hundred years passed. It had already been a thousand years since Meng Hao had become the Lord of the Mountain and Sea Realm. During those thousand years, concerted effort resulted in fewer and fewer people knowing about him.
It was in the thousandth year that Paragon Sea Dream passed away again. Her death was a huge blow to Meng Hao’s heart. He stood quietly, looking at her corpse, and the flickering soul fire in his palm which was all that remained of her.
He quickly took that soul fire and sealed it, turning into a fist-sized block of ice. It was a soul seed... Paragon Sea Dream’s soul, which he had extracted in the last moment before she had died.
Over the course of the past thousand years, this was the only method he had been able to devise. He transformed the dead into soul seeds, which he hoped to send back into the cycle of reincarnation after breaking the curse.
Li Ling’er was heartbroken by the departure of Sea Dream. After the thousand years which had passed, she was now older than ever.
The sight of Paragon Sea Dream’s corpse caused Meng Hao to sigh bitterly. Years ago, he had brought everyone back to life, but now, there was nothing he could do other than watch the effects of the curse spread.
After Paragon Sea Dream died, Meng Hao returned to the Ninth Mountain. There, he had erected a special mountain of ice in which to store the soul seeds. At the moment, it was possible to see tens of thousands of them, and it was easy to imagine how many more would come to fill it in the future. Eventually, more and more people would die, and he would be the only one remaining alive.
The mere thought left his heart quivering in fear. He held Xu Qing quietly in his arms, looking off into the distance. It didn't matter that he was in the Ancestor Realm, he was still powerless to do anything.
More years passed, and Meng Hao went outside the Vast Expanse for a second time. He searched relentlessly, examining everything in detail, in ways that surpassed his previous efforts exponentially. In the end, though, he never found Allheaven.
Eventually, he came to hover in the starry sky outside the Vast Expanse. It was almost as if he could hear Allheaven laughing, a cold laughter filled with venom and hatred.
He remained there for some time before returning to the starry sky of the Mountains and Seas. However, he didn’t go to the Ninth Mountain. He had sensed something within his will, someone calling out to him from Planet Vast Expanse.
He vanished, and when he reappeared, he was there above Planet Vast Expanse. Down below was a sprawling desert, within which was an oasis, where a woman was looking up at him. She seemed dazzled, but quickly dropped to her knees to kowtow.
“Greetings, Demon Sovereign.”
Meng Hao floated down and landed in front of her. She was old now, and even the fact that she was a 9-Essences Paragon couldn’t hide the aura of decay which existed upon her. She was Immortal Bai Wuchen.
Back then, she had requested of Meng Hao that he take her outside the Vast Expanse, to her home.
Now, she was calling upon him, bowing to him, once again making her plea....
“Outside the Vast Expanse, there is nothing but ruins,” Meng Hao said quietly. It wasn’t that he didn't want to accommodate her. Unfortunately, what existed within Bai Wuchen’s memories was an illusion.
Immortal Bai Wuchen was quiet for a moment, then gritted her teeth and looked up. “Ruins or not, I want to go!”
Meng Hao closed his eyes for a moment, then sighed. Opening his eyes, he waved his hand, and a vortex appeared next to Bai Wuchen. Immediately, she disappeared into it, on her way to the area outside the Vast Expanse.
“See for yourself,” he said. “If you want to come back, just call upon my name.” He stood there in the oasis for a moment, looking at the spot where Immortal Bai Wuchen had disappeared. Then he looked over at the ninth continent, and the Ninth Sect. As of this very moment, there was a young woman there who was the center of all attention, standing at the very peak of the tallest tower. Bells were tolling throughout the sect.
That young woman was Perfect.
When Meng Hao looked at her, it was with warmth and love. Perfect knew about her past. Meng Hao had visited her a thousand years ago to explain everything.
He had given her a choice: remain in the Ninth Sect, or return with him to the Mountain and Sea Realm.
She had chosen to remain where she was.
Although he had never personally returned to Planet Vast Expanse during the thousand years which had passed, he had often sent his will to watch over Perfect.
Every time he saw her, he would think about a woman sleeping in a coffin in the Violet Fate Sect on Planet South Heaven.
As he looked over at his daughter standing there at the peak of the world, he looked especially bleak. Then he saw her smiling, and he also smiled. It was a lonely smile that lasted for a long moment. Eventually, he turned and left.
Time passed. Another thousand years.
By now, over two thousand years had passed since Meng Hao had founded the starry sky of the Mountains and Seas. After all the time which had passed few people remembered who he was. A situation arose which was very similar to the situation when Meng Hao had made his rise in the world of cultivation. Few people knew that the will of the starry sky actually had a name. Meng Hao.
During those thousand years, the power of the curse grew especially potent. One by one, all of the cultivators he had resurrected from the past began to die.... Although it appeared on the surface that it was simply a matter of their longevity coming to an end, leading them to a natural death, Meng Hao knew that they should have been able to live longer. And although they should not have been able to live forever, they should at least have been able to enter the cycle of reincarnation.
But now, they only had one life to live.
Meng Hao often wondered what would have happened if he hadn’t resurrected all of them. But in the end, he realized that even if he hadn’t resurrected them, they still wouldn’t have been able to enter reincarnation.
The power of this curse enabled Meng Hao to finally comprehend how strong Allheaven had been in his prime.
Thankfully, he did resurrect them. Thankfully, he was able to spend some time with them before they died. Thankfully, he was able to take their soul seeds and place them in the ice mountain. Every time he looked at the growing collection of soul seeds, he felt a wave of bitterness wash through him....
One year, Li Ling’er closed her eyes and never opened them.
One year, Zhixiang, her hair as white as frost, ran out of longevity....
When Li Ling’er closed her eyes, Meng Hao and Xu Qing were there with her. She was the only surviving member of the Li Clan. The rest had all left with Choumen Tai. Even back during the war, she had always chosen to remain with the Mountain and Sea Realm. It was her home.
She had never taken a Daoist partner. She died alone.
Xu Qing cried. Her hair was now graying, and her skin was wrinkled. She held Li Ling’er’s hand, and her tears fell, splashing like rose petals onto their skin.