Shi Hao was stupefied and inwardly shaken. How terrifying of a place was this? It was boundless without end, and everything was full of mysteries. Not even the giants of the higher realms dared to step foot into this place.
Was that the place one would enter after taking that step?
There were many roads, and each led to a different place. There was a rumor since the ancient times that after taking that step, there would be great terror and strangeness that would take place. Was that the place they were talking about?
The higher realms were boundless without end. The millions and millions of creatures that lived there were who knew how many times more numerous than that of the lower realms, and this was only a small corner of the higher realms.
"Do you still remember the stalk of medicine near the Medicine Capital inside of Fire Nation's borders?" The little pagoda asked.
Shi Hao woke up from his stupor, and with a nod, he said, "Of course I remember."
There was a wondrous medicine planted inside of the valley that was rumored to be the first spiritual root of the higher realms. It was protected by endless formations. During the second great calamity, several giants from the higher realms descended to seize it.
In the end, this only resulted in a great slaughter.
"That spiritual root was originally a terrifying existence. Countless years ago, three giants that were about to reach the end of their lifespans ventured into the mysterious and boundless area. They were unfortunate enough to encounter this existence, and after two of them died, the last one managed to kill it with difficulty, and only then did it turn into this current medicine." The little pagoda said.
"What?!" Shi Hao was completely at a loss for words.
This information that was not known by many sounded quite strange and was hard to believe. Even though this wondrous medicine was known as the first spiritual root, its previous form… was a bit too abnormal!
"It is also just the first spiritual root in the eyes of the various sects. The mysterious area is extremely large, so who knows how many others there are." The little pagoda said.
The silver moonlight poured down like water, surrounding Stone Village like a thin layer of smoke. It scattered down onto the great wasteland. Right now, this place was quite peaceful, as if it was a place isolated from the world of mortals.
Great mountains towered in the distance. Primitive mountain ranges stretched out majestically. The sounds of various vicious birds and ferocious beasts sounded indistinctly from within them, but none of them dared to approach the village.
The willow tree at the front of the village was sparkling green and flowing with soft gentle light.
Shi Hao sat under the tree in a somewhat absent minded fashion. He had just begun to ask them questions, yet he was already completely engrossed. He wanted to completely explore the mysterious areas himself once his own strength was great enough.
However, this was just one example of a strange event. There were still many others.
"White Deer Academy, Natural Luck Academy, these aren't weaker than great sects, and they've also joined up to explore the unknown areas. The two academy heads' cultivations are glorious and world-shattering, and they brought a group of their most powerful students inside, yet in the end, their efforts only ended in carnage." The little pagoda gave another example.
Based on what one of the disciples said, not long after they headed inside, one of the academy heads saw a piece of a scorched black, lightning stricken tree that was about a zhang in length. Even though his magical force was world-shaking, he was still turned into a pool of blood.
Meanwhile, the other academy head died in an even more bizarre fashion. He found a drop of liquid that shone with ten brilliant colors, but as soon as it made contact with his hand, he was directly turned into bones. Both his flesh and primordial spirit were completely dissolved.
Shi Hao was stupefied when he heard this. He felt that everything was a bit too unimaginable. This was too strange!
"Are there no creatures inside the mysterious areas?" After quite a bit of time, he couldn't help but ask this question.
"There are, but they are all monstrous and powerful to an inconceivable level. The ones that were able to see them are pretty much all dead," said the little pagoda.
It wasn't too unreasonable for there to be creatures there, and among the creatures they were able to recognize, there was one person who discovered a stone egg inside of that area that swirled with chaotic energy. He was able to identify through some careful observation that it was a true dragon egg that would produce one in the future.
At that time, he used a secret method to ask his sect's experts to do everything they could to provide assistance, yet in the end, the sect ended up walking over a fist sized chunk of yellow earth and were mysteriously annihilated as a result.
Shi Hao found it hard to speak. As he thought about everything they said under the moonlight, there was unexpectedly an urge to explore this place.
What kind of place was the higher realms exactly? Even the great undying inheritances could only occupy a corner of this world. The endless races of millions and millions of creatures didn't even take up a tenth of the higher realms; this was just too shocking.
The even more vast underworld was surrounded in haze and full of unknown things.
"During the archaic era, I had selected a path to break through the barrier between life and death. This took me deep into that area, and then… I encountered something extremely bizarre. A path was pierced open and I was able to return." The Willow Deity spoke.
Its words were calm without any fluctuations. However, not only was Shi Hao shocked, even the little pagoda was shaken. There was a great commotion stirring within his mind.
The Willow Deity stopped there and didn't continue speaking.
This must be why the Willow Deity suspected that he would be entering the innermost depths of the mysterious area after entering the primordial gate.
"Those ancient academies and institutions were able to surmise many things after years and years of meticulous research that are strange and terrifying." The little pagoda said.
"Higher than the heavens." Willow Deity sighed.
They spoke on and off with rather scattered words. After talking for a long time, they soon reached the latter half of the night.
"Little pagoda, you are so powerful, and you've even said before that you were going to reopen a world. Could it be that you still can't explore the mysterious area freely?" Shi Hao asked.
"The reopening of a realm I spoke about wasn't the higher realms. Even though this place has a sun, moon, and stars and the land here is seemingly endless, many of the stellar rivers are projections from the higher realms. This realm is just a cage, so I am free to do as I please." The little pagoda revealed a rare humility.
From its words, the higher realms was extremely stable.
Shi Hao was speechless. He sank into another period of of deep thought.
He heard many secrets today and needed time to absorb and digest it all.
"The eight regions will have a final battle," said Willow Deity.
The giants from the higher realms could come down one more time. The lower realms prison had some things that drew their interests, for example, the True Primordial Record's Transcendence piece.
The creatures of the lower realms weren't powerful, and even though the territory was vast, it wasn't comparable to the higher realms. They should have already found these natural opportunities, but they hadn't succeeded yet.
During the ancient times, there were still a few people who found some things. Comparatively speaking, there should be a few things that were even more important that they never even found traces of.
"It is the final opportunity, and it will be a God Sealing Battle." The little pagoda also said.
"What is a God Sealing Battle?" Shi Hao didn't understand and asked.
"There are some that hold resentment against the higher realms and wish for the lower realms to be free of deities." The little pagoda said.
"En? What is the meaning of that?" Shi Hao frowned and asked a step further.
"The powerful creatures in the lower realms have pretty much all been captured during the last two encounters. The deities that survived are mostly inside of undying inheritances. There are some that are unhappy with this fact and want to eliminate them all." The little pagoda explained.
When Shi Hao heard this, he gasped. This was definitely shocking information. If news of this got out, all eight regions would be thrown into great chaos.
"Who is it?"
"You are acquainted with that individual," said the little pagoda. Chaotic energy swirled around it; it seemed like it was going to take action as well.
"The undying existence that was suppressed under Five Phase Mountain?" Shi Hao was astonished. He knew that this individual wouldn't leave the matter behind, but he never expected his plan to be so ferocious.
"After this God Sealing Battle, he will ascend upwards. Heh, I have a feeling that some great sects are going to have a huge headache. There will definitely be a huge storm." The little pagoda rejoiced in the misfortune of others.
After this battle, the connection between the higher and lower realms would no longer be joined. If one wanted to come down again, it would be impossible until countless years later.
This time was a bit different. In the past, during this time, the eight regions would be bustling with activity. Deities and holy existences would emerge and carry out large scale searches over the lower realms.
However, this time, there would be more vicious battles between giants and no longer as many deities making an appearance.
"I believe that once heaven and earth is severed, this realm would begin to truly prosper. Many experts would rise like spring bamboo after rain, and deities would continuously emerge."
Only, when that time came, it would no longer be the higher realms' business.
However, with the emergence of all these deities, or all these 'great medicines' accumulated, they would all be collected during the next golden harvest. It was truly hard to say whether this period of peace would be a good or bad thing, whether it was something to be sorrowful or happy about.
When Shi Hao heard this, he clenched his fist tightly. Those of the higher realms acted without any restraint and didn't treat the eight regions with any respect at all. This wasn't even a true 'medicinal field' and more like slaughter and plundering, doing whatever they wished.
"I wish to see the true dao and unflawed natural laws. I want to enter the perfect heaven and earth." Shi Hao said to himself. There was a deep divine radiance inside of his eyes.
"Heh, youngster, I'm rooting for you. The higher realms is boundless, and the races are endless. Heavenly talents are everywhere, and the young generation will rise quickly. Hopefully you won't be buried underneath once you go up there." The little pagoda said.
"No matter how great they are, they barely even occupied a tenth of the area." Shi Hao curled his lips. He hadn't even ascended to the higher realms, yet he was already speaking a bit rudely.
"You have to understand that even though it is just a tenth, it is still a space that is countless times larger than the eight regions. It is a place of many outstanding and heroic individuals. There are countless divine mountains and wondrous lands. There are too many holy lands and other places for you to explore." The little pagoda chuckled in a rather wily manner. It spat out a mouthful of chaotic energy and then said, "I'll give you a bit of advice. After going up, choose the undying Heavenly Immortal Academy. That place really isn't bad. All of them are beauties, you know?"
Shi Hao shot it a look of disdain and said, "You are just a structure, what are you drooling for? Right, last time, you went to chase after the witch to see that deity suppressing stone bead. Exactly what is going on with that? What old friend relationship is there? Could it be that magical artifacts have dao companions?"
The little pagoda was choked off. It surged with chaotic energy and nearly sent Shi Hao flying into the horizon, but he was brought back by one of Willow Deity's green and lush branches, steadying his body.
"Willow Deity, I really don't want you to leave!" Shi Hao directly revealed his true feelings. Even though he was cheerful and carefree normally, sometimes even a bit simple-minded and maybe even a bit savage, he still felt some melancholy at this moment. He was scared that he would never see the Willow Deity again.
It was because that primordial gate was too mysterious and terrifying. Since the ancient times, as long as one entered, only blood flowed outwards with no activity of that individual ever again. They would never reappear in this world.
Even though this was the case, it still attracted the most stunning and powerful existence. It wanted to enter through this gate and truly transcend.
"Higher than the heavens… all for transcendance…" The Willow Deity said softly.
At this moment, it turned into human form and stood at the front of Stone Village. White clothes covered its body, and under the moonlight, it truly formed a magnificent figure. It was as if it could see through the past and future with a single look.
In its surroundings, spheres of light continuously appeared. They were like heavenly suns as they chanted scriptures. There were three thousand worlds here!
Every single hazy sphere of light had a divine consciousness that worshipped it. Meanwhile, behind them were endless living things.
"What are those?" Shi Hao asked.
"Those are its experiences." The little pagoda said.
Among the three thousand worlds that were continuously flickering, there were undying divine countries, worlds, and places similar to the eight regions entrapment. They represented the places that the Willow Deity had travelled through.
It had been treated as a guardian spirit by others, called a god, and known as a forbidden existence before. All of them gathered here, forming three thousand worlds respectively.
What type of existence was the Willow Deity exactly? Shi Hao was greatly shocked.
Once he ascended above into the higher realms, would he be able to hear about its legends? Would he be able to understand more about its past?
"Will we be able to meet again?" Shi Hao asked again.
"Perhaps there may be a day, higher than the heavens where… we will meet again." The Willow Deity said.
Shi Hao trembled. This was his teacher, as well as his friend. The Willow Deity had given him too much. If there was a day where he could truly help it, he would definitely do everything he could.
He didn't forget what grandpa chief said before either. The Willow Deity had descended into Stone Village while being struck by tens of thousands of streaks of lightning. Its entire body was scorched black, and it seemed like it was on the verge of death. Only after more than ten years did a single branch grow again. Exactly what kind of experiences did it go through, and what type of choices did it make?