For a few seconds, he did not know what was happening.
But the sight in front of his eyes was spectacular and horrifying at the same time.
He found himself standing on a vast, disturbingly dark ocean. The dark sea was surging, with each of its waves pounding the world. The lead-gray sky was so dark and low that there was only a circle of dim light on the horizon. Instead of making the world brighter, the light made the surroundings became even more depressing. In the world where black water, clouds, storms, and twilight were intertwined, there was a mountain standing in the distance in the middle of the ocean.
Hao Ren was surprised: he was seeing something tangible, familiar to human understanding in the mind of the First Born.
The mind of the First Born was unique in that their thoughts and memories appeared like an indescribably vague shadow to human beings. The incomprehensible information was surging in the ma.s.sive thinking organ, it was formless and illogical. When Hao Ren was connected with Zorm previously, he only saw a group of irregular lights and a sizeable chaotic s.p.a.ce in the surroundings. These visions were possible just because Hao Ren was a demiG.o.d, his mind was partially in sync with the First Born.
But here, Hao Ren was confused by the rough black ocean. Was the First Born capable of creating a tangible sea in his mind? He thought to himself.
His confusion did not last long as the loud voice was shouting again. "You son of a b*tch! Coward! Come out and fight with me for three hundred rounds! If you can't kill me today, you are not from me! It is either you die, or I live!"
Hao Ren was shocked and almost fell into the mind-sea below. Of course, it was only an illusion. In his spiritual body, he was not bound by gravity. As long as he was still awake, he was not going to fall. Anyway, the noise was a little excessive. Who would have thought that Yggdrasil the World Tree was so gruff? It was entirely atypical of Norse G.o.ds.
Hao Ren focused his mind. He looked at the black mountain that stuck out like a thorn in the distant sea.
If it was not mistaken, the shout must have come from that direction.
In the spiritual world where no physical sensation could be felt, maneuvering skills were required. Except for the unusual life forms that were born to be spiritual, ordinary creatures took some time to adapt, especially when they were in the First Born's mental world. Even Hao Ren took quite a while before he could get used to the "environmental constraints" of the black ocean. He turned to move towards the th.o.r.n.y mountain, gradually picking up speed as he went.
The shout from the th.o.r.n.y mountain barely stopped. Cursing and provoking the unknown enemy between heaven and the earth, Yggdrasil alternated between almost vulgar to poetic languages. Hao Ren had never seen anything like this, shouting match could be done in a myriad of styles, sometimes almost artistic. It seemed as if Yggdrasil had done nothing but perfected his argument skills for the past two thousand years.
The storms on the black ocean seemed to be responding to the cursing as it rumbled loudly. But no matter how loud the sea rumbled, it could never outdo the shout from the th.o.r.n.y mountain. This further reinforced Hao Ren's belief that Yggdrasil and the ocean were arguing.
Hao Ren arrived at the foothill of the th.o.r.n.y mountain. He was surprised because it was not a mountain but a group of twisted thorns.
It seemed a little like the twisted tentacles of the First Born, rising like a flame.
Many black or red tentacles rose up from the black ocean, entangling and forming a magnificent mountain of several kilometers in the middle of the sea. There was no soil and rock; the whole mountain only consisted of tentacles. A dim light was flas.h.i.+ng inside, red and pulsating like the rhythm of breathing. Hao Ren knew this was how Yggdrasil looked in the spiritual world.
He slowly approached the th.o.r.n.y mountain. The black ocean near the spiky peak was calmer as powerful waves and storms could not get within one kilometer it. There was a tentacle at the foothill. This was one of the largest. It led directly to the core. Standing on the platform formed by the tentacles, Hao Ren called out, "Yggdrasil!"
The curse that reverberated in the world had calmed down instantly, so did the rumble of the th.o.r.n.y mountain. "Who's there?"
Hao Ren was surprised; it was that easy to get the First Born talk. He still recalled how difficult it was for Mimir to communicate with Yggdrasil earlier, where he could hardly understand what Yggdrasil was saying. Now it seemed that his unique mind-connection talent was really working.
There was another good news. Feedback from the MDT in the real world indicated that the branches of the World Tree running through the Nine Worlds did not show unusual behavior during the direct mind connection. Hao Ren's prediction was right. The instability of the First Born was due to the battle between the diseased brain and the healthy brain. As long as the nerves around the two minds were under control, Yggdrasil's condition would not deteriorate further.
"I am here to help," Hao Ren said, trying to keep his mind focused and calm. He knew how powerful the First Born was in mind and soul and that his mental state during the direct mind connection was the key to ensuring successful communication. "We are standing near to your thinking organ, and I am talking to you through direct mind connection. We have seen the mutation of your thinking organ: a corrupted brain is fighting with your healthy one for dominance. We are trying to—"
Before Hao Ren could finish, the top of the th.o.r.n.y mountain suddenly shook. A glow appeared on the top of the hill, ever-changing in its appearance. Then the voice of Yggdrasil was heard. "Run! You are just a step away from falling into the abyss! Adventurers, aren't you afraid of dying?"
"Wait a minute." Hao Ren tried to calm Yggdrasil down. "Don't worry. We'll be fine. We are masters in dealing with this kind of situation."
"Master?" Yggdrasil's loud voice was almost deafening. "Do you know who I am? Do you know who my creator is? I'm aware that I have a problem and waiting for the final day. You are utter—"
A thought struck Hao Ren when Yggdrasil mentioned the 'creator.' The First Born before him must still remember about the Plane of Dreams.
He quickly cut in. "I know you. Your creator is the mother of all beings, the G.o.ddess of Creation. You are Vine of Origin hatched from the Seed of Origin, the First Born of the G.o.ddess, Am I right?"
Suddenly the dark sea seemed to have frozen for a moment. Then the storm and ma.s.sive waves were back to normal, but Yggdrasil's att.i.tude had changed entirely. "You know my mother? Who are you?"
"Like you, I am also a demiG.o.d." Hao Ren was using the most effective way to strike up a conversation with the guardian, a trick he learned during a discussion with Zorm and Muru earlier. "My team and I are trying to find out the truth about the war of ten thousand years ago. We have many vital pieces of evidence and witnesses, and you are one of the most important witnesses we are looking for."
"DemiG.o.d? No wonder you can stand here. I can feel the enormous energy in your soul, and some purely external forces." Yggdrasil was filled with curiosity. "You have made it through the barrier between the two worlds?"
Though it was expected, Hao Ren was still a little surprised. "You know about the Wall of Reality?"
"The Wall of Reality? You call it that? Well, whatever. It was Mother who ordered me to cross this 'wall'!"