Chapter 353: The State of Affairs in the Hanging Mountain

“Young Master Force, please, calm down,” said one of his Demon Sage attendants. “We’ll have plenty of chances to take care of that brat. Now that he’s here in the Hanging Mountain, he’ll be rubbing shoulders with plenty of other disciples during training and evaluations. Besides, word came down from the heavens on high that they’re on the lookout for top geniuses. The winners will go directly to one of the heavens on high for more training, and of course, all of us will be participating in the competition. It will be a bloody affair in which we fight hordes of fiend-devils. Considering how dangerous it will be, it should be the perfect opportunity to kill that punk.”

Mammoth Force’s eyes lit up. “How come I didn’t think of that? The immortal world's training competition will be held in a dangerous hell, and the rankings will be decided by how many fiend-devils the competitors kill. It will be the perfect opportunity to make sure that brat disappears for good.”

“That’s right, Young Master Force,” said another of the Demon Sages. “All we need is the right plan. You have the blood of the ancient megamammoths, and people say that the megamammoths descended from the godmammoths. In the legends, godmammoths existed in planes far above the immortal worlds, and were created by the legion of gods to suppress hells. Because of that, Young Master Force, your blood is designed to be the bane of devil-gods. Once the training starts, and the passage to hell is opened, you’ll definitely have a huge advantage. You’ll surely rise to the top of the competition in no time.”

“You’re right. Whenever the immortal world open a passageway to hell for training, I always benefit greatly from all the fighting. And what better way to take advantage of my official standing in the Hanging Mountain than to get rid of a rival? From what I heard, this competition is going to be far grander than any in the past. In fact, it's supposedly going to be held in a true hell, as opposed to some offshoot or lesser plane.”

Mammoth Force swung his axe through the air, and the resulting vibrations caused his Demon Sage followers to tremble in terror. His eyes were so filled with brutality and malice that he seemed to be on the verge of eating someone.

Shivering, one of his attendants said, “In previous training competitions, they always opened passageways to planes that existed nearby a hell. Are you telling me they’re actually going to send the competitors into a real hell? Hells and immortal worlds are both considered high-level planes! Sending us to a real hell would be like sending us to an immortal world! The danger would be incomprehensible. Young Master Force, please, don't treat this situation too casually.”

“It’ll be fine. This will be a great chance for me to make another breakthrough within the Great Sage level. In fact, I can't wait to see what a true hell is like. I wonder which one they’ll pick. Will it be the Hell of Suras or the Hell of Euphoria? Or maybe the Hell of Scorching Flame? The Hell of Never-Ending? The Hell of Mud Pits? Ah, it doesn’t matter. I'm excited either way! Tremble, oh enemies of mine!”

Leaping up, he swept his axe about, carving what appeared to be written text into the void.

“Young Master Force, your Echo Heaven, Mirror Earth is really incredible!” said one of the Demon Sages. The others echoed similar words, laying their flattery on as thick as possible.

“Although, we can't forget that Yang Qi is the son of the Holy Mother, and is a terrifying figure. I can’t believe that, as a Legendary, he actually managed to evade death at your hands, Young Master Force. I wonder how strong he’ll be as a Great Sage.”

“We can't let him achieve that breakthrough!” Mammoth Force shouted. “Run an investigation! Find out where he is. And think of a way to interrupt his cultivation. I don't care what rules have to be broken, he must be defeated!”

“I already looked into the matter. Yan Wubing took him to see Father Leviathan. I imagine that's where he's working on his cultivation.”

“Father Leviathan? The same one who runs that entire plane? In his element, he’s even stronger than Yan Wubing. His soul has already become one with the Plateau of the Leviathan.”

“Only a Demi-Immortal could hope to take someone like him out.”

“Father Leviathan is one of the Holy Mother’s most capable subordinates. I never could figure out how he got dragged into working for the Holy Mother, and on top of that, being so loyal to her. He’s a Demonfolk incarnation of a leviathan, and the Holy Mother is human!”

“It doesn’t matter. Keep an eye on Father Leviathan for me. If you can track down exactly where Yang Qi is, tell me, and I’ll make sure he lives a life worse than death.”

Whispering among themselves, the Demon Sages departed.

**

“What? You’re telling me that the Holy Mother brought her son to the Hanging Mountain, right out in the open? And that he’s the same famous Yang Qi who killed the Crown Prince and unified the Rich-Lush Continent under his rulership?”

Far away in outer space, there was an ancient, golden tree that was fully thirty thousand meters tall. At the very top of the tree was an enormous bird’s nest, constructed from what appeared to be golden branches with golden leaves. Closer inspection revealed that it was actually a palace of some sort.

From a distance, the tree actually seemed like a mountain that could cover an entire heaven and earth.

On some of the golden leaves of the tree were more densely packed bird nests, which were the dwelling places of numerous golden-winged rocs.

This was the lair of another famous Great Sage of the Hanging Mountain, an ancient heaven-roc named Great Sage Ultra-Heaven.

In Great Sage Ultra-Heaven’s palace in the ancient golden tree, a beautiful young woman sat on a throne, drumming her fingers. Standing in front of her was none other than Young Master Shroud-Heaven, who was treating her in very ingratiating fashion, giving her detailed information about all sorts of things.

This young woman was Great Sage Ultra-Heaven’s daughter. When she blinked, it was just possible to see that her eyelids were golden; she was the type of person who could be threatening without being angry, almost like she was an empress.

Even as Young Master Shroud-Heaven prepared to continue with his fawning, a blur entered the palace, which was someone moving as fast as lightning, accompanied by the rushing sound of wind.

A moment later, a young man appeared, clad in golden garments.

“Brother, what are you doing back?” the young woman said, rising to her feet.

“I just got some news, Saddharma,” said the young man in gold, his voice booming and sonorous. Considering the sagely might which emanated off of him, he seemed no less powerful than Mammoth Force. He was actually the heir of Great Sage Ultra-Heaven, his son, Roc Glory.  [1] 

“Oh? What news?” Saddharma asked.

“Yan Wubing took the Holy Mother’s son to the Plateau of the Leviathan. He had a fight with Mammoth Force, and killed two of Mammoth Force’s Great Sages.”

Saddharma shook her head. “I can’t believe Yan Wubing is still that impulsive. He killed two of Mammoth Force’s attendants? Isn’t he worried about retaliation from the August Patriarch? It’s really strange that he would do something like that.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Roc Glory said. “Yan Wubing didn’t kill them. Yang Qi did. Yang Qi and Mammoth Force fought back and forth for a few rounds, and two of Mammoth Force’s attendants got killed in the process. The matter has caused a huge stir. What's most shocking of all is that Yang Qi is still a Legendary. I really want to lay eyes on him myself now.”

Saddharma’s face flickered with astonishment. “What? But Mammoth Force is a high-level Great Sage!”

At this point, Young Master Shroud-Heaven cut in and said, “Princess Saddharma, that Yang Qi really is an extremely rare type of genius. In the Rich-Lush Continent, the Crown Prince was often called a god from heaven descended into the mortal world. He was also a Great Sage, and yet, Yang Qi killed him. And that was even after the Crown Prince acquired the fabled command medallion of King Immortal-Slayer.”

Princess Saddharma frowned. “In the ancient mythologies, King Immortal-Slayer struck fear into the heart of the host of immortals. After he died, his command medallion was split into parts, and spread throughout creation. Even one part of that medallion would provide incredible good fortune. For the Crown Prince to have acquired one shows that he was truly extraordinary. In any case, if Yang Qi killed him, that means that Yang Qi must have acquired King Immortal-Slayer’s command medallion, right?”

Nodding respectfully, Young Master Shroud-Heaven said, “I'd say there’s an eighty to ninety percent chance he did. That’s got to be the reason he defeated Mammoth Force.”

Sitting back down on the throne, Princess Saddharma said, “Very well, I understand everything now, Young Master Shroud-Heaven. You’re dismissed. Before long, the immortal world will hold their competition to look for the top geniuses, and the passageway to hell will be opened. You need to get to the Great Sage level quickly to participate. If you perform well, the immortal world will surely reward you well.”

“You're absolutely right, Princess Saddharma. I’ll do my best.” Eyes flashing, Young Master Shroud-Heaven turned and left.

After he was gone, Roc Glory chuckled coldly and said, “That piece of trash is still after you, sister? This is definitely a case of the ugly toad lusting after the beautiful swan.” 

“Enough of that talk, brother,” Princess Saddharma said. “When the time comes, let’s go see this Yang Qi. He's the son of the Holy Mother, after all, and she’s the leader of us female Demonfolk. Besides, she’s given me some advice that has been very beneficial to father.”

“You know,” Roc Glory said, “I’ve heard that August Patriarch Mammoth Heaven is behind some sort of scheme to harm the Holy Mother. In fact, I bet he’s in contact with the heavens above to have her deposed.”

“It will depend on who’s stronger between them. Ever since the Holy Mother mastered the Red-Dust Spectral-Dream Heart-Sutra, she became enlightened regarding the worldly affairs of the mortal realm, and the state of all creation. She understands the ways of the world much better than August Patriarch Mammoth Heaven. Right now she’s in seclusion, most likely to reach an even higher level of enlightenment. When she comes out, she’ll likely crush the August Patriarch into complete subservience. Besides, who cares about the immortal world above? They never send anyone down here to interfere with us.”

Princess Saddharma seemed to have complete trust and faith in the Holy Mother.

Roc Glory laughed. “You really admire the Holy Mother, don’t you, sister?”

“A true woman should strive to imitate the Holy Mother,” Princess Saddharma replied, her eyes flashing with unfeigned adoration.

**

Meanwhile, Yang Qi was listening to the blue-haired Father Leviathan explaining about the current state of affairs in the Hanging Mountain, and its relationship with the immortal worlds.

“The Hanging Mountain takes orders from the immortal worlds above. Titan Emperor Heaven, Clear Void Heaven, Birth Transformation Heaven…. 

“In the Hanging Mountain, there is no particular discrimination based on background. Humans, demons, ghosts, devils, spirits… they can all gather disciples and form organizations. But they all have to take orders from the will of heaven. They all have to exercise faith in some paramount entity from an immortal world.” Father Leviathan chuckled coldly. “What a pity that we cultivators value independence, which makes controlling us nigh impossible. Well, in any case, we can’t openly defy the heavens above, and therefore, we do things according to their will.”


1. Saddharma’s name is a reference to the Lotus Sutra, one of the most popular and influential Mahayana sutras. More information here. Discerning readers might remember that she was originally mentioned in chapter 227, by Young Master Shroud-Heaven himself.

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