Chapter 1398: The Starry Sky of the Vast Expanse
The tunnel shook as the butterfly flew along, surrounded by Meng Hao and the other powerful experts. Countless vortexes appeared; explosive power was gathered which dramatically increased the speed of the butterfly. However, despite that sudden outburst of speed, when they looked back, they could still see Shui Dongliu standing outside of the tunnel like a mountain.
Meng Hao’s red pupils flickered with mixed emotions as he watched Shui Dongliu suddenly growing much larger. He was no longer old, but rather, a man in his prime.
His hands flashed in a double-handed incantation gesture, causing a shocking aura to rise up around him. There was also brilliant light, all of which was... the power of a 9-Essences cultivation base, which roared to life inside of him.
However, he seemed incapable of actually making a move. His cultivation base rocketed up, but all he could do was stand there, as if to use himself... to block the entrance to the tunnel. If anyone on the other side wanted to enter, they would have to destroy him first.
It was in that exact same moment when he began to grow larger, and his cultivation base grew more powerful, that in some mysterious fashion, he formed a connection to the Mountain and Sea Realm seed within Meng Hao’s body!
It was like a spiritual consecration, like the transmission of a Dao, causing Meng Hao to shake, and his mind to rumble. Boundless understanding of the Dao of Heaven, complete mastery regarding cultivation bases, and deep comprehension regarding various magical techniques, all passed into Meng Hao from Shui Dongliu.
If that were all there were to it, it might not be a big deal, but a boundless cultivation base power, as well as life force Essence, all poured into Meng Hao. Trembling, he let out a howl as shocking and monumental changes occurred inside of him.
Outside of the tunnel, the frustrated howls of the people from the Immortal God Continent could be heard.
“It's Immortal Dao Transference!”
“He's using himself as the seed, then self-immolating to help someone else ascend....”
“That’s a magical technique left behind from the Paragon Immortal Realm. But originally, it was completely malevolent. You could consume another person to help ascension. But this guy... he’s using that magic in the opposite way!”
Amidst the buzz of conversation, the 9-Essences female Paragon frowned for a moment, then snorted and took a step forward. The old man with the white eyebrows and robe sighed, and continued to advance. As for the other 8-Essences Paragons, they also approached.
It took only a moment for rumbling sounds to fill all ears as they closed in with deadly force on Shui Dongliu. Shui Dongliu chuckled, and his eyes shone brightly as he looked at the virtually all-powerful cultivators of the Immortal God Realm.
“We Mountain and Sea cultivators... live and die for the Mountains and Seas!” His hands flashed in a double-handed incantation gesture, summoning a divine ability. Drawing upon himself, he burned his own body and unleashed his cultivation base, partly to block his opponents, and partly to give to Meng Hao.
Blood sprayed out of his mouth as he sustained countless injuries. However, he didn't shrink back in the slightest. He stood there outside of the tunnel, laughing just as before.
“I am not Nine Seals, although my body contains a stream of Nine Seals’ discarnate soul.... I'm not sure whether he used me to gain another life, or if I used him to return to the world.... The question of who I actually am is something I've pondered for countless millennia. Perhaps I’ve known the answer all along. I was originally a Mourning-Death soul.... In the end, though, it doesn't matter. It's all the same.... [1. The Mourning-Death Clan and the Mourning-Death souls are from the novel Beseech the Devil. I don’t really know much about them, I just know that they existed in that novel and were relevant in the later parts of the story.]
“I called back the clone of the fallen God, and allowed the enemy to stay within the Mountains and Seas. I discussed the Dao with Extermination, and asked about the Heaven of all living things. [2. You might remember a while back I said that the man on the boat seemed like he might be Old Man Extermination from Beseech the Devil. This seems to confirm that]
“I spared no effort. I did everything I could.... Perhaps some people will hate me, and perhaps some will denounce me. But when it comes to the Mountain and Sea Realm... I will never, ever have any regrets. I have lived my life for the Mountain and Sea Realm, and now I will die for it. My wish is fulfilled, and I have absolutely no regrets!
“We Mountain and Sea cultivators live and die for the Mountains and Seas!” As Shui Dongliu laughed, a look of madness gleamed in his eyes for the first time ever. Just before he was about to be completely destroyed by the enemy, he made the same choice that so many other cultivators of the Mountain and Sea Realm had made when they were on the verge of dying.
By means of self-detonation, he would injure those who were giving chase. By means of self-detonation, he would pass on his legacy with burning speed to Meng Hao, to deliver to him... superlative good fortune!
Shui Dongliu was self-detonating!
As soon as that happened, the vortexes in the tunnel spun faster than ever, increasing the butterfly’s speed dramatically. It took only a moment for it to shoot far off in the distance. It was also in that moment that Meng Hao’s mind filled with the crash of infinite thunderclaps. He shook visibly as countless Daos filled his thoughts, provoking frenzied growth within him.
Blood sprayed out of his mouth, and his vision swam for a moment before he passed out. Paragon Sea Dream quickly caught him. Then she, along with everyone else atop the butterfly, looked back with mixed emotions at the blinding, scintillating lights flashing near the entrance of the tunnel.
However, it didn't take long before a huge boom echoed out from that very area. A moment later, vast numbers of Immortal God cultivators poured in. At the same time, their huge continent also reached the tunnel itself. Moments later, the tunnel itself began to crumble into pieces.
In that very instant, the butterfly was rapidly sucked out to the end of the tunnel.
Time seemed to slow until it was impossible to tell how much had passed. When things returned to normal, they were in the starry sky of the Vast Expanse, shooting out from a vortex which had just appeared.
When the Mountain and Sea cultivators looked out, they saw an endless starry sky. The Vast Expanse. There were no planets or Heavenly bodies, only layers of pulsing mist.
Behind them was where the Mountain and Sea Realm had formerly been located. Looking back, they could see a blurry vortex, within which were countless dots of light.
This was the first time most of these cultivators had seen the outside world, and it looked very unfamiliar.
Meng Hao was still unconscious, but a shocking power seemed to be brewing within him, stirring and rumbling.
The butterfly quickly shot out into the Vast Expanse. However, it didn’t take long before rumbling sounds echoed out from the very location it had just emerged from. The vortex which had been ripped open suddenly grew larger, then exploded as a gigantic land mass emerged.
Then, that vortex, which was connected to the former location of the Mountain and Sea Realm shattered, vanished for all eternity.
What had just emerged was none other than the Immortal God Continent, which immediately cast countless enraged and murderous auras out in all directions.
“The boundless starry sky of the Vast Expanse! They won’t be able to escape!”
“When the Immortal God Continent chases someone, they can’t escape!”
“Meng Hao! The name of the successor is Meng Hao!”
After a moment, they determined the direction Meng Hao and the others had taken, and went all out in pursuit.
Even as the Immortal God Continent gave chase, a lone ship appeared within the Vast Expanse. It hovered there, an old man on the prow, who suddenly opened his eyes and looked off into the distance.
After a moment passed, he shook his head and sighed.
“If they knew the truth about it all, would they do this?” he murmured. Perhaps the only person who knew which “they” he referred to... was him.
Another moment passed, and then the ship began to fade away. The old man continued his never-ending journey. Apparently, his stop in the Mountain and Sea Realm had just been a brief respite from a lifelong journey. Now, he made his way off into the distance once again.
“Perhaps we will never meet again. And yet, that Demon... seemed quite interesting.” He sighed, and his eyes glittered thoughtfully.
Even as the ship disappeared, an emaciated cultivator appeared off in another direction. Hovering at his side was an enormous mosquito. Both of them looked off into the distance.
The cultivator had a wretched appearance, but at the moment, he was frowning in apparent hesitation.
“Is this war really necessary? Lunatics. They’re all lunatics.... It was all to prevent the Immortal from appearing, all to transform him into the Demon....” If Wang Mu were here, he would instantly recognize this gaunt old man. He was none other than his Master, who had taught him the ways of cultivation in the bamboo forest of the Wang Clan.
After a moment passed, the gaunt cultivator sighed.
“The jinx has been gone for many, many years, gone to parts unknown. And yet, the same type of thing is happening again. Ah well, forget it. I'm not getting involved.” The emaciated cultivator shook his head, then began to make his way off into the distance. Perhaps from his perspective, what the Immortal God Continent was doing was a bit excessive, maybe even vile. Yet in the end... it wasn’t anything fatally wrong.
Even Slaughter appeared, looking off into the distance. Apparently, even he felt that what was happening was relatively meaningless....
It was possible that, at this point in time, there was no one who could foresee... what type of explosive tempest would arise because of the events playing out.
The Immortal had become the Demon, and the Demon... could change the entire Vast Expanse!
The pursuit was underway. The final events of the war which had just played out caused mixed feelings to rise up in the hearts of the cultivators of the Mountain and Sea Realm regarding Shui Dongliu.
Shui Dongliu had given the Mountain and Sea Realm hope. When they were mired in the depths of hopelessness, he had provided a slight chance for survival. That tiny chance had grown larger and larger, until survival now was a distinct possibility.
Although it seemed possible that the butterfly might still meet destruction, the truth was that the instant it had emerged from that vortex into the Vast Expanse, the Mountain and Sea Realm... had already escaped the fate of certain destruction.
As of this moment, the Mountain and Sea Realm was in control of its own fate!
There were no fetters and no seals. There were no 33 Heavens, and no Dao Fang. There was no Aeon Seal. There were no two powers crushing down on them from above.
It could even be said that the cultivators of the Mountain and Sea Realm had finally acquired true freedom. Tens upon tens of thousands of years had passed since the Paragon Immortal Realm, and during that time, they had never possessed... freedom.
They were being chased, but as far as the cultivators of the Mountain and Sea Realm were concerned, they still had their freedom.
The downside was that the cost of that freedom had been immeasurable. As for the handful of cultivators who actually remained behind, when they thought about that seemingly impossible chance which Shui Dongliu had procured, they were filled with mixed feelings, including both hatred and respect.
Ninety-nine percent of the cultivators had died. In exchange for that, every flap of the wings of the butterfly caused more of the dead souls of the Mountain and Sea Realm cultivators to fade away.
In fact, it might be better to say that the wings were not being propelled by Fang Xiufeng and Meng Li, but rather, by the lives of the Mountain and Sea cultivators.
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