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“He used a cage… built from heavenly treasures that I couldn’t recognize to detain this prisoner. He seemed to have no form, yet I could sense a strong Buddhist will. It was quite strange… but the one being detained, this prisoner, was to be eternally suppressed at the bottom of the Clearcloud Realm. In addition, a distance of ten thousand miles was cut out. He told me that this demon couldn’t be set free no matter what, but that in the end, one day, it would soon escape its prison. In preparation, he placed two contingencies in this realm. But on the day of the prisoner’s escape, naturally a cultivator would descend here with the character of ‘arrival’, and he said this cultivator would have an enormous origin with himself. This person was to become the future master of the Clearcloud Realm.”
Enihilus finished speaking and looked at Xu Yangyi with a smoldering gaze. Xu Yangyi went through his memories and shook his head. “I’m not the person you’re looking for. And I don’t know what this so-called ‘arrival’ is about.”
A wisp of strong disappointment flashed through Enihilus’s eyes, and his throat painfully stirred. He then bitterly laughed, “Is that so… how fortuitous.”
The old monk continued to talk.
“After the cage was completed, an iron staff suddenly flew over from beyond the heavens, and was firmly inserted into the prison’s seal. That iron staff… is the most frightening divine weapon I have seen in my entire life. As the one who escorted the prisoner left, someone incidentally said that a guard should be left in this realm. Consequently, a person calling himself a Dao Master lightly tapped me when I was on the trees back then. From the top of his head to the bottom of his toes, he radiated golden light. Henceforth, my wisdom was completely opened.”
Enihilus raised his head and looked at the twin sal-trees. “Benefactor Rocjourney achieved enlightenment 300 years ago, bringing his wisdom to blossom. He and I are the same. If this realm does not die, he will not as well. It’s just that if he dies, this realm won’t.”
“He, is not a Realm Spirit.”
Xu Yangyi murmured to himself and nodded. No wonder, no surprise that Rocjourney had kept on shouting about how honored his status was before. To put things like so couldn’t be considered lying. As a fruit born of the twin sal-trees where Buddha rested, Rocjourney was indeed worthy of the word “honored”, even if it was unknown which generation of trees he descended from.
It was only a pity that this bodhi seed had to ultimately lower its head and apologize to him.
However, two critically important thoughts suddenly rose up in his mind!
“Fellow Daoist, did a woman come here several thousand years ago? Was she… dressed in azure clothes?”
He thought of the bodhi seed in his mind!
Based on what Xiaoqing had said, she obviously hadn’t left Earth. But in that case… did her bodhi seed come from here?
“I do not know,” Enihilus said. “Several thousand years ago, I didn’t even have a hazy will. How could I be aware?”
Xu Yangyi sighed and immediately asked his second question, “Then… have you ever heard the name ‘Bladevessel’? Maybe the cultivator back then left behind another person to keep guard?”
“No,” Enihilus said certainly.
Xu Yangyi breathed in deeply.
Not only did the riddle bothering him not disappear, but the amount of mysteries instead became greater and greater in number!
The Realm Spirit’s identity was blurred, yet now… who was Bladevessel?
Enihilus had previously said that he seemed to have the aura of another seal. Then was it Bladevessel or the being that had called itself the Realm Spirit? Or maybe… it was Moonless?!
There were too many riddles. Perhaps he’d have to truly keep going to find out. Still, Enihilus’s words pulled him out from his thoughts again.
“The Dao slays devils, and Buddha suppresses demons, but only the twin sal-trees can suppress the fiend here. In fact… now that I think about it, the escort back then should’ve been a Dao Master. I have also heard about a Dao Master’s might. If they don’t wish for you to see them, then you do not. But, the Core Formation of then are like the Foundation Establishment today. Although there weren’t many, there weren’t few, either. According to standard prisoner escort, this fiend shouldn't have been too strong.”
“But…” His voice carried a trace of fear, and he looked at Xu Yangyi gravely. “The Dao Masters… looked down on the entity below too much. I reached Foundation Establishment in 300 years. At that time, I could feel that the thing below was always restless!”
“It… is not a living creature, but a dream!”
“It’s… a dream?” Xu Yangyi asked and raised a brow.
So it wasn’t that he was in a dream? Based on what Enihilus was saying, this thing in itself was a dream?
“Yes… dream, a true nightmare! An unparalleled nightmare! It in itself is a dream! I only sensed these things after wrangling for a few centuries with it.”
Xu Yangyi sighed ruefully. So that’s how it was… It wasn’t surprising then that he could hear breathing all over the Clearcloud Realm. This wasn’t something else, but that demon’s breathing!
The breathing of a dream!
“It exists between the permanent and impermanent. Were it not for the twin sal-trees, I would’ve already been dragged into the bottomless nightmare. But even so, I’ve long since felt that while my spirit is willing, my flesh is weak. I can do no more than bitterly hold on.” Enihilus spoke of the painful past, but his voice was extremely calm. “Only the twin sal-trees can suppress this terrible monster. No… it cannot even be called a monster, but it can’t be called a living creature either. Where it walks, everything is a nightmare. The entire Clearcloud Realm will be engulfed by it. And I… will die as a result.”
He took a deep breath. “I’ve long suspected that although this demon’s realm is indeed Foundation Establishment, it oddly approaches Core Formation. Perhaps not even the Dao Master who escorted it back then solved its oddness. It wasn’t until… another cultivator of a Greater Thousand Realm managed to come here, by incredible chance.”
Xu Yangyi’s fist clenched tightly.
Another Greater Thousand Realm… If Bladevessel’s words were the truth, then if Earth’s master-plane coordinates were pinned down by other prosperous Greater Thousand Realms… a ceaseless war of realm extermination would perhaps follow!
What room was there for an egg to hide under a nest?
“Naturally I didn’t tell him.” Enihilus’s expression carried a trace of rare seriousness. “This benefactor was quite exceptional… he had already surpassed my realm. Nonetheless, he didn’t know that as long as I stay in the Garden of the Twin Sal-Trees, I am an unkillable existence. Otherwise, he had to be capable of destroying the Clearcloud Realm. Despite how his methods reached the heavens, though, he could only contain his hatred and leave in the end.”
“But… he discovered the entity that the Clearcloud Realm was sealing. He, told me the name of the thing below.”
The monk’s voice began to shake. “I… knew then that its terrible name was long since known in the other Greater Thousand Realms. It would be no tall tale if a Dao Master were to fall to its clutches. Once such a being is discovered in any Greater Thousand Realm, it must be eliminated by the roots! For it is a demon of the utmost danger!”
Xu Yangyi also grew serious and asked lowly, “What’s its name?”
Enihilus closed his eyes, enunciating each of his words, “Dream Walker.”
“It… is not an ordinary demon. On the contrary, it is a heart devil. After a cultivator beyond the high level leaves seclusion, only then might a heart devil arise in the face of the world’s changes and collapse. Things remain the same, but the people do not, a realization of azure seas turning to mulberry fields. And these heart devils must be utterly eradicated. If they escape, they will become Dream Walkers… They flee to the dreamland and create nightmares out of nothingness, and these dreamlands are extremely real. To the extent… that with the long, long passage of time, they can form Lesser Thousand Realms!”
Xu Yangyi nodded. All of a sudden, a chill bubbled up at the bottom of his heart. He looked straight at Enihilus. “The Clearcloud Realm…”
“Yes.” Enihilus bitterly closed his eyes. “The entire Clearcloud Realm… is a dream.”
“On its surface… there are no living people, because all of it is a dream!”
“Regardless of grass, tree, human, animal… even a drop of water, a leaf, everything is the Dream Walker’s dream!”
He opened his eyes and laughed wryly, “Even I, the Realm Spirit, rely on this great dream. I am an entity that was created.”
“Sensuality is nothingness, and nothingness is sensuality… the permanent and impermanent… undistinguished between true and false…”
Even Xu Yangyi, who had experienced Danxia Temple, couldn’t help but shake his head and sigh ruefully.
Among demons, a species beyond humans, there was actually such a thing!
In the past, he’d encountered lakewater that could become a demon, but now he surprisingly discovered the Dream Walker, a beast that couldn’t be weighed with reason!
“I’ve been in a dream from the start?” he murmured to himself, and his mind suddenly brightened. “No, based on what you’ve said, 600 millions years has already gone by for the Clearcloud realm! Civilization developed in 2,000! And the Dream Walker was escorted here centuries ago! How do you explain the time gap in the middle of this?”
A bitter smile overtook Enihilus’s face. “Time gap?”
“In a dream, what of a time gap? It… merely made the dreamland speed up.”
“This continent is its dream. Its present moment—perhaps after it dreams billions of years… such a seemingly endless time is nothing more than a flash of lightning to a dream. As a result, because the continent is in a dream, its lifespan is soon to end, the beginning of collapse. This is the doomsday that you all saw before you entered.”
“As for those escorted until now… hehe, have I ever once said that there is only one Dream Walker in this place?”
Xu Yangyi’s heart sunk, and he said somewhat incredulously, “Don’t tell me… there are two?”
“Exactly… there were once two.” Enihilus smiled bitterly. “Countless years ago, a high-level Dream Walker appeared on the continent! It gave rise to living things, and the seed of the twin sal-trees drifted over, just happening to fall and take root here. This Dream Walker was of extreme heights, and the time was also extremely long. It had left this place earlier, but everything became real. This even left the twin sal-trees indistinguishable. Furthermore, humanity likewise appeared.”
“Day and night, I have been in touch with the Dream Walker for hundreds of years. Only then did I sense the Clearcloud Realm’s nature. I never imagined that because of a special opportunity, that the Dream Walker escorted here, the latter one, took control of the high-level Dream Walker’s territory. It began to engulf the entire Clearcloud Realm little by little. Centuries later, the humans and creatures aforementioned had already turned into a dreamland again. It is ridiculous that no one knows. Even this poor monk, the Realm Spirit, relies on that Dream Walker to live.”
Xu Yangyi listened without missing a word and suddenly asked, “Opportunity?”
“Correct. This is where I have pondered countless times, yet am unable to find an answer.” Enihilus took a deep breath and steadied his mind. “Any Dream Walker must take over a high-level territory. This necessitates an opportunity to open the seal by a crack. In my haziness, I once remembered that a group of cultivators came here a thousand years ago. They… were the first group of cultivators to enter the Clearcloud Realm. Earth cultivators.”
He glanced at Xu Yangyi. “I can only get a hazy feeling. If you ask for the specifics, I will not be able to answer. After all, my wisdom hadn’t bloomed yet.”
The Yuenü Tribe!
Everything appeared to be linked. After unification of the Yan and Huang Tribes, the Yuenü Tribe came here… No! Xu Yangyi’s eyes brightened. The time was off!
The thousand years ago that Enihilus spoke of… was the era of the Tang! The era of Yanhuang was even earlier!
In that case… A strange thought flashed in his mind. Was the first high-level Dream Walker brought by the Yuenü Tribe?
If it was, there was no choice but to call the situation an enormous irony. Evidently, this high-level Dream Walker was a kind of divine protector-beast for the tribe. They could control its actions, but unexpectedly they fell even lower with the drifting of time. Earth then found the passage that they had used to reach the Clearcloud Realm in the past, and as fate would have it, a Dream Walker was brought in again. This… really was astonishing.
No… there was another problem… And that was based on what Enihilus had said. A Dream Walker had to take over a territory in order to have a slight chance at opening the seal. In that case…
Who had made this opportunity?
Who had opened the door the second time, granting the Dream Walker’s spiritual sense a chance to spy on the outside world?
In the darkness, Xu Yangyi had a premonition. This was the Clearcloud Realm’s greatest secret!
1. “Arrival” - 临, to face, overlook, arrive.
2. “Sensuality is nothingness, and nothingness is sensuality.” This little bit here is part of a longer Buddhist sutra from what I found.
3. The Yan Tribe and Huang Tribe referenced here are the respectively the tribes of the Flame (Yan) Emperor and the Yellow (Huang) Emperor. The time period is around 2600~ BCE.
4. Tang dynasty - 618-907 CE.
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