Chapter 1293: Storm Clouds Approach
Describing Meng Hao's thoughts at this moment would be a very difficult thing to do. He stood there silently at the foot of the Eighth Mountain for a long moment before taking a step forward and beginning to climb.
Considering the level of his cultivation base, there was really nothing to cause him any hesitation. However, he couldn’t stop thinking about how important this was, and how much he wanted his Grandpa Meng to be at the top of the mountain.
Although he had his suspicions, he still wondered why his grandfather had come to be the Mountain and Sea Lord. Although, in the end, that part wasn’t really important. What was important... was that his grandfather was still alive.
Deep in the memories of his childhood, he could recall the images of both of his grandfathers, how they had cradled him in their arms, how they had smiled happily, and how they had even devolved into angry arguments over whose turn it was to hold him.
Even more unforgettable was how his Grandpa Meng and Grandpa Fang had left together to search for a way to save him. After leaving... they never returned. Because of that, both of their bloodlines, which had once stood at the pinnacles of their respective clans, entered a state of decline.
Meng Hao was deeply moved, but also felt very guilty. Therefore, even if he had to pay a heavier price than he already had, he would willingly do so to protect his Grandma Meng and her people, and with no regrets at that. He had led the Fang Clan to prominence, but as for the Meng Clan, all he could do was protect them as best he could.
“It might be you, it might not,” he murmured. “I’ll find out when I get there....” After more time passed, he slowly began to walk up the Eighth Mountain. As he did, many memories swirled through his mind.
This was one of the great Nine Mountains, and it was actually the first time he had stepped onto one of them.
It was huge, so huge that a mortal could spend a lifetime climbing it and never reach the top. In fact, even among cultivators, there were few people who could ever reach the true peak of the mountain. However, this proved to be no obstacle for Meng Hao. As he walked along, time passed, although he wasn’t sure how much. Soon he was halfway up the mountain, where he saw the Immortal Ancient Daoist Rite.
It looked just like the Immortal Ancient Daoist Rite on the Ninth Mountain, except that it was completely sealed, not by outside forces, but from the inside.
Meng Hao looked at it and could sense that there were cultivators inside, including several extremely powerful auras. In the same moment that he was studying them, they were doing the same of him.
A long moment passed, after which Meng Hao clasped hands and bowed. Then he proceeded along, slowly approaching the peak of the mountain.
Eventually he found himself standing in front of an enormous stone stele, upon which were written the words...
As he looked at the words, he could sense the archaic feeling of many years upon the stone stele, as if it had experienced a baptism of time. He passed the stele, whereupon he caught sight of a narrow path. A path that led... to the peak of the mountain!
It was a peaceful little path with no people on it. Not a sound could be heard anywhere. He followed the path until he saw a body of water that was like a celestial pond.
Within that water was a statue of a Xuanwu turtle. Actually, despite the fact that it looked like a statue, Meng Hao could tell that within that Xuanwu turtle was... a spark of life, as well as... the aura of the Mountain and Sea Realm.
In that moment, the Demon Sealing Hexing magic inside of him trembled. Meng Hao felt almost as if something were calling to him. All of a sudden, the Xuanwu turtle opened its eyes and looked at him.
One man. One turtle. As they looked at each other, Meng Hao’s mind reeled. It was as if he was looking directly at the Mountain and Sea Realm itself. A long moment passed, after which Meng Hao finally settled his thoughts. Then, the Xuanwu turtle slowly bowed its head, indicating... that it was offering him its allegiance. It was offering formal greetings... from the Mountain and Sea Realm to its one and only Lord.
Past the celestial pond was a palace. It was not luxurious, but rather, built into the mountain itself. The front gate was closed, and everything was quiet and peaceful.
Meng Hao's gaze lingered on the Xuanwu turtle for a moment before he walked past it toward the palace. He stood quietly outside the gate for a moment, then raised his hand and pushed it open.
No sound could be heard as the gate slowly swung open to reveal a modest hall, lined with rows of statues on either side, which were clad in black armor. Further up ahead on a huge throne, a person sat cross-legged.
He wore armor, and his face was covered. A majestic, boundless power flowed inside of him, something that exerted stifling pressure even on Meng Hao.
The pressure was like a boundless force, an endless sea, quiet and yet profound. It was the type of power that, when it erupted out, could destroy the Heavens and extinguish the Earth. In addition to all that, Meng Hao was also able to sense... the fluctuations of the Mountain and Sea Realm itself.
They were fluctuations that could topple mountains and drain seas, and were apparently capable of focusing the power of the Mountains and Seas into a pressure that could destroy anything and everything.
Meng Hao stood outside the hall. He didn't set foot inside, but instead examined the armored figure who sat there cross-legged on the throne. Meng Hao’s vision could pierce through the armor to see what was inside; the face of a very, very old man.
The fluctuations Meng Hao felt were familiar, and so was that face. Furthermore, the command medallion in his bag of holding began to show strong signs that it was homing in on the man. All of Meng Hao’s suspicions were now confirmed. Trembling with excitement, he was now sure... that the person in front of him was none other than his Grandpa Meng!
“Grandpa....” he said. Although he had been prepared for this outcome, it was hard to suppress his excitement. He had been hoping to find his two grandfathers for many years now, and at long last, he had found one of them.
After a long moment passed, Meng Hao took a deep breath, and his eyes glittered brightly. He could tell that there was something off about his grandfather. Although his cultivation base seemed to be alive and bursting with power, that was only the exterior. Inside, his true cultivation base wasn’t even moving.
Apparently... there was something about his grandfather which was missing, something that would normally be able to stir his cultivation base into motion. Apparently, this body's soul... was sleeping.
After another long moment passed, Meng Hao closed his eyes and sent some divine sense out into the hall, as well as the surrounding area. Soon, it had covered the entirety of the Eighth Mountain. Time passed. Finally, Meng Hao opened his eyes, and they shone with a strange light.
“His soul is gone....” he murmured. It was a somewhat familiar situation. Soon, his eyes widened.
“I experienced something like this in the Desolation of Delusion.... Grandpa Meng’s soul isn't in his body, it’s somewhere outside.... However, it still exists. From the look of it, there's only one explanation.... Grandpa Meng's soul has merged into the Eighth Mountain and Sea. His soul... is everywhere!
“It’s as if he took a mental journey through Heaven and Earth, but then... forgot to return.” No other person would be able to reach such a conclusion so quickly. However, Meng Hao was the type of person who could fight with Mountain and Sea Lords. Because of his familiarity with the power of the Mountains and Seas, he was quickly able to detect the various clues.
He thought back to the nails which had been stuck in his Grandma Meng and the others, and everything he had experienced in the process of removing them.
“Use the bloodline as the curse, and the relatives as the spell,” Meng Hao murmured. “Seal the soul, thus ensuring that it cannot find the path to return. The soul can only drift about in the Eighth Mountain and Sea as it gradually loses its consciousness, acting on instinct alone....” A bitter expression appeared on his face, but after a moment, his eyes began to shine. He clasped hands and bowed deeply to his grandfather, then closed the temple gate and left the Eighth Mountain!
“I’ve already broken the bloodline curse,” he murmured, floating through the starry sky, eyes shining brightly. “I’ve also ended the part of the curse cast by means of his relatives. Grandpa Meng now has what he needs to awaken. He just lacks... a strong catalyst!
“If he has that, his soul will instinctively... return to his body.” He now had a new direction: the rift connecting the Seventh Mountain and Sea to the Eighth.
“There could be no stronger catalyst than the intense ripples which would result from a battle with another Mountain and Sea Lord.
“If I really want to end the invasion of the Seventh Mountain and Sea, then the simplest way to do so... is to kill the Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea!
“As the saying goes, if you want to catch bandits, first catch their ringleader. If the Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea dies, then the war will be over.” With every sentence that Meng Hao uttered, the look in his eyes grew sharper.
“The Lord of the Seventh Mountain and Sea....” he said, his eyes gleaming with decisiveness. With that, he took another step forward, and then vanished. When he reappeared, he was outside of the Heavengod Alliance, near the border between the Eighth and Seventh Mountains and Seas. That was where... the rift was.
The Seventh Mountain and Sea had already heavily fortified the area with hundreds of thousands of cultivators and countless spell formations.
In fact, there were actually four Dao Realm experts stationed in the area. One of them was just as famous as Marquis Lu had been in the Seventh Mountain and Sea. He was also a Dao Sovereign, Patriarch Chi Yan.
Of the other three, one was a Dao Lord, and the other two were 1-Essence Dao Realm experts!
With those four in place, along with hundreds of thousands of other cultivators and countless restrictive spells and other spell formations, it had become a place that no cultivator of the Eighth Mountain and Sea would be able to breach easily. Furthermore, if someone tried to break through the defenses, but didn’t succeed quickly, then the rest of the main army that was currently invading the Heavengod Alliance, as well as numerous other almighty experts, would surely hasten back to flank them.
However... Meng Hao was not just any cultivator!
As soon as he appeared in the area, he did nothing to disguise the fluctuations of his cultivation base. He circulated his Ancient mana to explosive effect, and even sent the aura of the Paragon Bridge emanating out. The power of the Mountains and Seas swirled around him, causing a Heaven-shaking, Earth-shattering tempest to spring up. As the tempest spread out, the starry sky distorted, and a boundless sea of stars appeared. It was an explosive power that could topple mountains and drain seas, causing the sky to grow dim, and massive rumbling to rise up.
Instantly, the cultivators from the Seventh Mountain and Sea awoke from their meditative trances, and their expressions flickered. At the same time, a powerful roar echoed out from the region of the rift.
“Who goes there?!” The sound echoed out like thunder as a red-haired old man appeared. When his eyes opened, they looked completely bizarre; each eye had two pupils!
Behind him was a pitch-black ox, fully 3,000 meters tall. Almost instantly, its eyes blazed with the fire of the underworld as it stared at Meng Hao.
Strangely, the fire that burned within the eyes of that pitch-black ox seemed to also burn within the dual pupils of the red-haired old man.
The result was that anyone who looked at either the old man’s eyes, or the ox’s, would suddenly feel their vision swimming.
Three other old men sat off to the side, and when their eyes opened, the Essence aura of the Dao Realm erupted from them.
As Meng Hao approached, he looked around at the hundreds of thousands of cultivators, then looked at the red-haired old man and calmly said, “I'm not interested in slaughtering more wrongdoers. Send these other cultivators away.”
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