Chapter 27: The Wind Stirs Again
Fatty stared at Meng Hao, tears streaming down his face. He rushed forward, bawling.
“You’re not dead. Meng Hao, you’re not dead!” cried Fatty as he hugged Meng Hao. “I was so scared these past few days. Everyone said that you had died, and I was so sad. You’re my only friend. What would I do if you died?
“I thought of fleeing the Sect. I even lost interest in filing my teeth. But if I left, how could I get revenge for you? So I didn’t leave. I swear that I will find a way to help you get vengeance…”
Fatty looked with warm sincerity at Meng Hao, and after speaking for a bit, his tears began to dry up. The two of them sat next to the stream and Meng Hao told him about all the things that had happened in the black mountain, leaving out, of course, the matters regarding the Flying Rain-Dragon and Wang Tengfei. Fatty listened anxiously, and when he heard that Meng Hao had reached the sixth level of Qi Condensation, he gasped, stupefied.
“The sixth level of Qi Condensation…” Fatty looked extremely excited. “Holy crap, you’ve, you’ve… you’ve reached the sixth level of Qi Condensation! The year Elder Sister Xu brought us here, she was at the seventh level. Meng Hao, you really are an Immortal! Can you fly?”
“Fly…” Meng Hao closed his eyes, visualizing the descriptions of the Wind Walking technique from the Qi Condensation manual. It would naturally be easier to perform the technique at the sixth level than at the fifth, but after trying several times, the best he could do was float in the air for a moment before dropping down. Muttering, he continued to try for a while, then took a medicinal pill. Finally, he was able to suspend himself about five inches in the air. Fatty looked on with wide eyes.
Meng Hao suddenly opened his eyes, and they shone brightly. He stood up, then made several laps around the area, moving like the wind. Fatty watched on, breathing heavily.
After moving around like this a few times, Meng Hao began to grow more accustomed to the technique. He slapped his bag of holding and with a flash, a flying sword appeared. It moved down to his feet, and then he shot into the air. Fatty looked shocked, as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“You’re flying…” he murmured.
Meng Hao felt incredibly excited. The wind blew against his face as he used the Wind Walking technique to fly with the sword. After about thirty breaths, he began to feel unstable, then started to lose his balance. As his happened, Meng Hao’s mind suddenly shook, and a mnemonic appeared in his head.
The mnemonic didn’t consist of words, and was fantastically mysterious. It appeared in his mind like an instinct, and as it did, the spiritual energy in his body suddenly began to circulate. He waved his right hand unconsciously, almost like the flapping of a wing. Suddenly, a Wind Blade appeared in front of him!
When the Wind Blade appeared, the flying sword underneath his feet quivered. The Wind Blade shot forward into the jungle, and three lines of trees were instantly sliced in half. A rumbling sound reverberated throughout the vegetation, and Meng Hao tumbled onto the ground.
Fatty was thoroughly astonished, and it took him a while to recover his senses. His face flushed, he looked at Meng Hao with reverence in his eyes.
“You really did it! If I stick with you, who would dare to bully me? And who would dare to mess with our business!” Thinking about this, Fatty suddenly laughed out loud.
Meng Hao closed his eyes and thought excitedly about the Wind Blade. He was intelligent, and realised that it most likely had something to do with the strange dream and the Demonic Core. The mnemonic which had appeared in his head was also connected to the Demonic Core. Suddenly, the shadow of the Winged Rain-Dragon appeared in the Core lake. Meng Hao wanted to give voice to the feelings he felt regarding the Dragon and being a sovereign of the sky, but try as he might, he could not.
“Oh right,” said Fatty, suddenly recalling something. “Special promotion training is beginning in a few days. I heard that there’s a month-long period in which you can sign up. You should join! You’ll definitely be accepted. Then you could be the Reliance Sect’s third Inner Sect disciple! You’ll be super famous!”
“Special promotion training?” Meng Hao looked surprised. He had heard about it before, but back then, his Cultivation base had been too low, so he hadn’t even considered it. But things were different now. In the entire Reliance Sect, there were only three people at the sixth level of Qi Condensation, including himself. The others were Wang Tengfei and Han Zong. Han Zong had been stuck at the fifth level of Qi Condensation for a long time, but had recently broken through to the sixth.
“I heard that they’re only going to accept one disciple, and everyone is saying that the training was set up specifically for Wang Tengfei. But now you’re at the sixth level, you might be able to succeed.” Fatty really wanted Meng Hao to agree. If he became an Inner Sect disciple, he would easily be able to become a big shot in the Reliance Sect.
Meng Hao hesitated, unsure of what he really wanted to do. He was excited about the prospect, knowing that being an Inner Sect disciple would different than being in the Outer Sect. After becoming a member of the Inner Sect, no one would be quick to offend him, not even Sect elders. Furthermore, there would be more opportunities for Spirit Stones and medicinal pills. But this was an important matter, and Meng Hao’s Cultivation base had developed quite rapidly. He needed to consider what others might think, or conjecture. If he attracted too much attention, his losses might outweigh his gains.
He had been a member of the Reliance Sect for almost two years now, and had developed a deep understanding of the phrase “the law of the jungle.” He also knew not to advertise his wealth. And yet, he hadn’t decided not to participate either. Maybe he would go. Although, after everything that had happened in the black mountain, his treasures and medicinal pills were almost completely used up. He would need to restock.
He could not help but think wistfully about the two thousand Spirit Stones.
Twenty days flashed by, and the registration period for the special promotion training was almost over. Not many had signed up. According to Sect Rules, upon registering, one could not leave the main square, but was required to sit in meditation beneath the dragon-carved pillars. No one was allowed to disturb the registrants, either.
Actually, the so-called training was in fact a contest of battle magic. It was said that years ago, the participants went out into the wilds to search for treasures, but with the Reliance Sect in decline, the only way to select who to promote to the Inner Sect was to see who would be victorious with their battle magic.
During that twenty day period, Meng Hao took a trip to the High-Level Public zone, but it was completely empty. Considering the Reliance Sect’s decline, Meng Hao could understand why. Once again, he opened up shop outside the Low-Level Public zone.
His return caused quite a big stir, and no one dared to interfere with the business. In fact, during the twenty days, business boomed and he earned quite a few Spirit Stones. Almost every day he was able to duplicated magical items and medicinal pills, which he slowly built up into a new stockpile.
Even though all the magical items and flying swords in his bag of holding were ordinary in nature, he already had nearly a hundred. Thinking back to his fight with Lu Hong, and the events in the black mountain, he now clearly understood the best methods to engage in magical combat. After pondering about this for a while, his eyes glittered. He had just come up with an idea to increase the effectiveness of all his flying swords.
Other than managing the business, most of the remainder of Meng Hao’s time was spent researching this method of increasing the power of his flying swords. He performed various tests and eventually came up with a few new techniques, ways to control more swords at the same time. One of the things he did was change the appearance of various swords to disguise them. Some he purposely scratched and marked up, some he broke the tips off of, and some he painted various colors.
The rest of his time was spent attempting to connect his thoughts to those of a sovereign of the sky, the Flying Rain-Dragon. Even though he never succeeded, he found that his Wind Walking technique improved significantly, bringing him gradually closer to the sky.
Time whizzed by and now only two days remained of the registration period for the special promotion training. Meng Hao currently sat at his stall by the Low-Level Public Zone, watching Fatty inside, hawking wares with deep fervor. Suddenly, he turned his head and looked off into the distance. Far down the mountain, he caught sight of someone walked toward him. Every step carried him forward several meters, so he arrived at the plateau very quickly. He appeared to be twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old and looked proud and lofty. In front of him, a long strip of yellow paper floated in the air, upon which was written various magical figures. Wisps of black smoke emanated from its surface, curling up and around the young man.
“A talisman…” Meng Hao’s eyes flickered as he examined it. He had read about this type of yellow paper in the Qi Condensation manual. It was a powerful magical item which could be used a limited number of times.
The approaching young man was none other than the second most powerful person in the Outer Sect, Han Zong, who was at the sixth level of Qi Condensation. As soon as he appeared, it caused quite a commotion on the plateau as everyone greeting him with cupped fists.
“Meng Hao,” he said coldly, ignoring everyone else and staring at Meng Hao. “Master Uncle Shangguan has a matter he wishes to discuss with you. Please come with me to see him.”
Meng Hao frowned. Master Uncle Shangguan was no stranger. Whether it was his presence during Individual Pill Distribution or his participation with Wang Tengfei in fighting the Demonic Python, it was clear that he was no ordinary individual.
“What could he want with me?” thought Meng Hao, slowly standing up. “Did he sense something about me?” He knew that the man was one of the Sect’s elder generation. Since he was of the Outer Sect, he could not refuse to comply. If he did, then it would look suspicious.
Muttering, Meng Hao looked at cold-faced Han Zong. He had assumed that if the truth about events that day were revealed, Wang Tengfei would be the first one to come looking for him. Could this summons have something to do with that affair?
Meng Hao’s face was calm, but his head spun and he laughed coldly to himself. With a seemingly casual glance at Fatty, he walked forward.
Moving along with Han Zong, they soon reached the West Mountain. At its peak, the spiritual energy was especially thick. Meng Hao caught sight of an exquisite residence, inside of which a group of young boys were planting Spirit Grass.
Soon they came to a stop in front of a three-story building. Han Zong looked at Meng Hao, and then the voice of Shanguan Xiu boomed out from inside.
“Come in, Meng Hao. Han Zong, you head to the South Mountain.” A jade slip suddenly flew out into Han Zong’s hand. He looked at Meng Hao with a cold laugh, then turned and left.
Meng Hao’s heart began to thump. This didn’t seem right. Shangguan Xiu gave Han Zong a jade slip and sent him to the South Mountain…
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