The war between the Mountain and Sea Realm and the Vast Expanse School went on for a thousand years, and yet neither side could wipe the other out. In the end, they called a truce. The number of cultivators who died was beyond calculation.
The only reason the truce had been called was because of the innumerable casualties. The enmity between the two forces was like an ocean of blood, a Gordian knot that could never be unravelled.
Time passed. Another five thousand years went by, and Meng Hao never came out of seclusion. He almost seemed to be sleeping, but the truth was that he was sitting there cross-legged, constantly analyzing the problem of the curse. At the same time, he was solidifying his place within the Ancestor Realm.
He gave up on any attempts to look for Allheaven outside the Vast Expanse. Years ago, he had been very anxious to fight, but now he realized that only one who needed to be anxious was Allheaven, not himself.
“You want to hide? Hide then. I’ll give you plenty of time. Grief will continue to waste away at my heart, but at the same time, you will continue to weaken.” Meng Hao didn't even open his eyes. He remained there on the Ninth Mountain, allowing time to pass.
Another five thousand years went by. By now, thirty thousand years had passed since the battle between Meng Hao and Allheaven. After spending a thousand years recovering and rebuilding, the Mountain and Sea Realm and the Vast Expanse School began to fight their second full-scale war.
This war was even more intense than the first one. In the first war, the two forces had been relatively evenly matched, but now the situation had changed. The tide of battle had shifted in favor of the Vast Expanse School, the reason being that one of their Patriarchs had joined the fighting!
That Patriarch had lived for many, many years, for so long, in fact, that many people had completely forgotten about him. To most, he was a person of the past, a person who existed only in legend.
His name was Sha Jiudong!
He had not died during his thirty thousand years of meditation. He finally emerged, his cultivation base having reached a shocking level. He was now very, very old, so much so that he emanated an aura of rot and death. Despite that, he single-handedly slaughtered numerous 9-Essences Paragons from the Mountain and Sea Realm.
He alone changed the entire course of the war. His seeming invincibility struck despair into the hearts of his enemies.
His ancient body seemed to contain limitless power, but when he looked at the Mountain and Sea cultivators, it was always with mixed emotions. He seemed to be thinking about the past, as if some terrifying and horrific entity existed deep within his gaze.
When Sha Jiudong joined the fighting, the Mountain and Sea cultivators instantly suffered a huge defeat. They were beaten back over and over by the army of the Vast Expanse School, until they were just outside their home. Slaughter ensued outside of the Nine Mountains and Nine Seas.
It was at this point, when the Mountain and Sea Realm cultivators were in complete despair, that Sha Jiudong gritted his teeth and prepared to lead the charge into the realm. However, as soon as he actually entered the borders, the Nine Mountains and Nine Seas began to tremble, and power rose up that caused all cultivators to shake. That power came from the Nine Mountains and Nine Seas themselves.
It was something that could shake Heaven and Earth, and caused the entire starry sky to fill with rumbling sounds. The Mountain and Sea Realm cultivators were instantly enlivened.
“That’s... the power of our ancestor?”
“I heard a story once that the Mountain and Sea Realm is actually a precious treasure, created by some ancestor in ancient times!”
While the Mountain and Sea Realm cultivators reveled in their excitement, Sha Jiudong let out an anguished cry. The explosive power he felt from the Mountain and Sea Realm left him trembling. He immediately fell back at top speed.
“My mistake. My mistake! Please, spare me, for old times’ sake!” Sha Jiudong was overwhelmed by fear and terror, and immediately began to beg for his life. The same fear from thirty thousand years ago still existed within his heart.
However, almost as soon as the words left his mouth, he sensed that this power did not come from Meng Hao, but from the Mountain and Sea Realm itself. He suddenly began to laugh bitterly.
“So, it’s not even you that’s trying to kill me. You’re not even here anymore. What's trying to kill me is simply the power of the precious treasure you left behind. I, Sha Jiudong, have a cultivation base that borders on Transcendence. And yet I can’t even fight back against the precious treasure you left behind to--”
Before he could even retreat any further, all of the cultivators, both from the Mountains and Seas and the Vast Expanse School, watched as this seemingly invincible eccentric was enveloped by the pursuing power of the Nine Mountains and Nine Seas. That power transformed into the image of a mountain and a sea, which then crushed down onto Sha Jiudong.
A boom echoed out in all directions, shaking everyone. When the image of the mountain and the sea faded away, the only thing that remained of Sha Jiudong was a bloody paste.
He had been killed in body and soul!
Despite his incredible level of power, he had been cut down by a single attack.
His death caused the entire battlefield to go completely silent. The cultivators from the Vast Expanse School started trembling, and then shouting out in alarm. They knew they had been completely routed, and when they looked at the Nine Mountains and Nine Seas, it was with utter dread.
In direct contrast, the cultivators of the Mountain and Sea Realm were overjoyed. They almost couldn’t believe what they had just seen, and suddenly realized that there were things about their own home that they didn't fully comprehend.
That was even more so considering that many people had heard the words Sha Jiudong spoke in the moments before he died. They could tell that he was terrified, and yet, no one was sure who it was that he had been talking to.
Apparently it was someone from long ago, someone who had intentionally disappeared. Apparently, it was a supremely glorious figure who no one remembered.
And thus ended the war. As for Meng Hao, he remained in seclusion. He opened his eyes, and when he looked out at the starry sky, his gaze seemed profoundly ancient. After a moment passed, he closed his eyes and went back to meditating.
Sha Jiudong’s dying words seemed to open up a new world for the Mountain and Sea Realm cultivators. In the following several thousand years, many people began to research the history of their home, to search for how it all began. They gave up on expansion, and gave up on any attempts to wage war with the Vast Expanse School. Instead, they focused on tracing their history back to its roots.
Time passed. A fourth period of ten thousand years went by.
The Mountain and Sea Realm cultivators remained introspective, but the Vast Expanse School was the opposite. They swept through the starry sky, taking over more territory, although they always hesitated about whether to do something about the Mountain and Sea Realm.
That hesitation lasted for ten thousand years. But then, another of the Vast Expanse School’s Patriarchs underwent a shocking transformation.
The person who emerged from seclusion was ancient, and wore a golden robe. Everyone referred to him as Patriarch Goldrobes. It was none other than Jin Yunshan.
The starry sky was completely shaken. Countless living beings trembled, and all cultivators could feel the aura of Transcendence emanating out from the Vast Expanse School.
Tens of thousands of years had passed, and Jin Yunshan was one of the few people still alive who remembered the events of the past. He had experienced the baptism of the Transcendence Dais, and had followed Meng Hao into war. He had seen Meng Hao fighting, and had been profoundly influenced by him.
In the end, after tens of thousands of years had passed, just when his longevity was about to run out, his fleshly body reached Transcendence. He reached a state similar to Nine Seals all those years ago. He had taken his first step along the path of Transcendence. Soon after, he even managed to make a cultivation base breakthrough.
The only thing he lacked was a Transcendent soul. However, the soul was the most difficult step to take. Although his terrifying power hadn’t reached the absolute peak, with a Transcendent fleshly body and cultivation base, he was already more than half a step to completion. He could truly be listed among those who had Transcended.