Chapter 1374: Returning to the 33 Hells!
“Of course... the 33 Hells contain falsehoods and danger....” After a moment of silence, Sea Dream went on to elucidate to Meng Hao the various dangers to which she referred.
Meng Hao’s eyes glittered, and after hearing her description, he nodded his head.
For the time being, the warfare ceased. The cultivators of the Mountain and Sea Realm, hearts filled with grief and reticence, carried out the orders of Paragon Sea Dream, making preparations in various areas... to meet the onslaught that was coming in ten months!
Everyone was preparing for that final battle, causing profound pressure to weigh upon the hearts of everyone in the Mountain and Sea Realm. It was as if... they would either die in silence, or explode with savagery!
Some people contemplated whether or not the Mountain and Sea Realm would even exist by the time the war ended. However, such lines of thinking were like a bottomless pit that left one feeling frozen, without even the strength to continue breathing.
Because of the destruction of the sun and moon, the Mountain and Sea Realm was left with only the blackness of empty space.
Within that darkness, the mortals sat trembling in fear, and even the cultivators felt pressure weighing down on them.
After carrying out the tasks assigned by Paragon Sea Dream, many of the cultivators chose to return to their family and friends. Such time spent with loved ones was something to be cherished at a time like this.
There were some male and female cultivators who had been close friends for years, and yet had developed more deep feelings that they never had the courage to reveal. Now, hearts were bared, and declarations of love were made.
There were some people with longstanding grudges and enmities who chose to finally let such hard feelings go....
It was as if people were preparing for their own deaths, and cherishing the time they had left.
Some people pondered why this war was happening. Half of the 33 Heavens had been destroyed, and half of the Mountain and Sea Realm was lost. The number of Outsiders and Mountain and Sea cultivators who had died was vast.
Why... were they fighting...?
What was the purpose of this war? What was the purpose of the dying? What was the meaning of it all?
However, such questions weren’t really important. What was important was that the war would continue, and the fragile balance between life and death... would reveal the true difference between darkness and light.
The Mountain and Sea Realm rested and recovered. As various parties made final preparations for war, Meng Hao met with the 33 Chosen whom he would lead into the Eighth Mountain and Sea.
The majority of those 33 Chosen were strangers to him. The rest, he was familiar with, for example, Ji Yin. None of the Chosen from the Three Great Daoist Societies were participants.
To Meng Hao’s delight, Chen Fan and Wang Youcai were among those present. Although Fatty wasn’t there, to have these two long-time comrades present helped Meng Hao to recall some of his former wonderful memories, despite the pressure that weighed down on his heart.
The rest of the cultivators from the other Mountains and Seas were people who Meng Hao didn’t recognize. However, they knew exactly who he was, and as soon as they laid eyes on him, their eyes burned with zeal.
None of these Chosen had cultivation bases in the Dao Realm. All were in somewhere in the Ancient Realm, some being in the early stage of that realm, some at the very peak.
As soon as they met, all of the Chosen clasped hands and bowed.
“Greetings, Crown Prince!”
“Greetings, Crown Prince of the Mountains and Seas!”
Chen Fan wore a smile as he looked at Meng Hao, and it seemed as if he were thinking back to events in the Reliance Sect.
Wang Youcai had long since lost the use of his eyes. However, his murderous aura made him almost look completely forbidding and unapproachable. Despite his lack of eyes, he seemed to be looking at Meng Hao. After a moment passed, he clasped hands and bowed.
Li Ling’er’s emotions were the most mixed of all. Recently, more than one person had asked about the marriage engagement between her and Meng Hao. The way she had fled that marriage years ago now seemed very childish. Later, she had watched as Meng Hao rose to prominence, and seen his dazzling display of might in the war of the Mountains and Seas.
She sometimes wondered what would have happened if she hadn’t fled that marriage....
Even though Meng Hao had also chosen to flee, in terms of the law and of morality, she was technically Meng Hao’s beloved partner.
Ji Yin had even more mixed feelings. Originally, she had viewed Meng Hao as being inferior to her. Eventually, she took him to be an equal. But that was a long time ago. Eventually, he had risen to the same level of her own clan Patriarch, someone to whom she had no choice but to bow her head.
She had once believed that such a level was the absolute limit. But then war had broken out, and she came to realize that Meng Hao... had long since exceeded the level of a Patriarch.
He was the type of person toward whom anyone and everyone would bow their heads.
Meng Hao looked around at the Chosen, and then slowly began to speak.
“I have been to the 33 Hells before,” he said. “It is a location that Paragon Nine Seals prepared for the cultivators of the Mountain and Sea Realm. There, he left incredible good fortune in the form of thirty-three powerful experts, sealed therein since of the war of the Paragon Immortal Realm.
“Those experts’ fleshly bodies were destroyed, but their souls remained behind. They are like wellsprings of power, and if you can absorb them, your cultivation base will advance by leaps and bounds!
“However, the process is not as simple and easy as it sounds. There is great danger.
“If you fail in your effort, you will perish.... Furthermore, even if you succeed, and your cultivation base experiences incredible growth, the price you will pay... is that in the future, you will find it very difficult to make any further advancement with your cultivation base!
“You will essentially be terminating any future possibilities. However, in exchange... your cultivation base will be no less powerful than that of a Dao Sovereign. In addition, if you are willing to sacrifice some of your longevity, to part with some of your own life force Essence, then... you can acquire a cultivation base power that exceeds that of a Dao Sovereign. However... that will only last for a single sixty-year-cycle, after which you will die forever.”
Upon hearing this, the thirty-three Chosen gaped in shock. This explanation was somewhat different from their previous understanding. However, after seeing the serious look on Meng Hao’s face, they could sense... that he was telling the truth.
The thirty-three Chosen remained silent, but none of them backed out.
Meng Hao looked out at the group, then said, “Upon entering, I will escort all of you. We will go together to acquire the good fortune that exists within the 33 Hells. Another matter to consider is that within the 33 Hells are thirty-three Outsider beasts, which will be released when the 33 Hells dissipate.” Much of the explanation that Meng Hao was giving was information that had been given to him by Paragon Sea Dream.
“There is still time to back out now. However, if none of you wish to do so... then let us proceed into the 33 Hells!”
Meng Hao could see the determination and decisiveness within those thirty-three pairs of eyes. They didn't need to speak a single word for him to understand what was going on in their minds.
If the Mountain and Sea Realm ceased to exist, then there was no need to talk about any type of future whatsoever. Taking this good fortune was a gamble, as well as a huge self-sacrifice, and yet it gave the Mountain and Sea Realm a chance to survive.
Without another word, Meng Hao flicked his sleeve, transforming into a beam of light that carried the entire group toward the 33 Hells of the Eighth Mountain and Sea. As they neared that region of complete darkness, Meng Hao relied upon the power of his current cultivation base to forcibly open the entrance.
Upon entering, the thirty-three Chosen found themselves within a boundless mist, beneath which broken and shattered lands were just barely visible, a place where intense magical battles had been fought.
Gradually, a huge figure became visible within the mists, which seethed as a mighty roar echoed out. Suddenly, a long iron chain flew out in the direction of Meng Hao and the others.
At the same time, a voice rang out which shook the minds of all present: “Hungry... hungry... so hungry....”
For everyone behind Meng Hao, this was their first time coming to this place, and the incredibly shocking figure left their minds on the verge of lapsing into unconsciousness.
Meng Hao snorted coldly, waving his finger in the direction of the iron chain.
“Screw the hell off,” he said.
The snort echoed like thunder, leaving the crowd behind him shaken. His words seemed to carry the weight of natural law, and as the iron chain closed in, it began to tremble, and then simply exploded.
Meng Hao's voice was like an arrow that pierced the mists, transforming into countless invisible magical symbols that shot toward the enormous figure. Then he waved his finger back and forth, causing the entire world to rumble around them, and the mist to churn. Gradually, all of the mists began to move off to either side.
Soon it was revealed... exactly what had been lurking there in wait!
It was a giant, covered in iron chains, roaring. Based on the look in its eyes, it was sentient, and it trembled beneath the force of Meng Hao’s gaze.
“This is the first Outsider beast within the 33 Hells,” Meng Hao said coolly. Then, he proceeded forward, followed by all the Chosen.
They passed by the giant, who roared the entire time, and yet whose eyes were filled with dread. Clearly, what it feared was not the thirty-three chosen, but rather, Meng Hao.
It feared Meng Hao, and the intensely murderous aura upon him!!
It was an aura that no one else could detect without a sufficient cultivation base. However, those who could sense it would be able to tell... that he had cut down Paragons!
Meng Hao led the group toward the central stone stele of the first area, and when they reached the edge of the rift leading inside, the giant behind him suddenly spoke in a somewhat garbled voice, “You... have killed... Paragons?”
“Yup. I killed one, enslaved another, and forced a third to self-detonate. You are far from being a Paragon, so don't worry, I won’t kill you.” With that, Meng Hao stepped into the rift. The crowd behind him exchanged speechless glances, and then hurried to follow.
Li Ling’er wore a strange expression, and Chen Fan chuckled hoarsely. Wang Youcai’s lips quivered. Although none of them said anything, Meng Hao's words seemed exceedingly audacious to them....
As for the chain-wrapped giant, he gasped in fear, shock filling his face. His simple brain was not one that was inclined to mind games. He could sense the aura on Meng Hao, and could understand his words, and was left shivering. Finally, he bowed his head.
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