Chapter 47: Another Encounter with Shangguan Xiu
Li Dafu seemed to be frozen in place, trembling violently. He looked as if he, too, might drop to his knees. Before, he had assumed this person was extraordinary in some way, but had never imagined that he could be an immortal. Then he suddenly became even more excited as he remembered the man had said that his son was a friend from his Sect.
“Don’t tell me… Don’t tell me that useless kid is now an Immortal!?”
He was about to ask when Meng Hao lifted his head and looked out the window. The sound of a commotion drifted in from outside, then a series of cracks as the main gate was broken open.
“Li Dafu, get the hell out here! My younger brother is an Immortal, and he’s here to visit you. Come out here and bow to him!”
Li Dafu looked up. Meng Hao stood and walked toward the door. Li Dafu followed hurriedly, and they soon arrived in the outer courtyard of the mansion. Pieces of the door lay scattered about everywhere, along with a multitude of moaning family retainers. The cocky young Lord stood there, and behind him, a young man, one hand held behind his back, the other held up in front of him. Encircling his hand was a finger-sized Flame Serpent.
The young man looked proud and unyielding, and his Flame Serpent caused the surrounding onlookers to slowly move away from him, gasping with fear and astonishment.
“Kid brother, this is Li Dafu,” said the young Lord Zhao, ignoring Meng Hao, who stood behind him.
“So you are… huh?” Zhao Hai lifted his chin as he started to speak, then suddenly caught sight of Meng Hao. His body immediately began to shake, and his eyes filled with disbelief. The Flame Serpent instantly disappeared, and the blood drained from his horrified face. Unconsciously, as by instinct, an ingratiating look appeared on his face.
“Li Dafu,” shouted the swaggering young Lord Zhao, clearly unaware of Zhao Hai’s change in expression, “you dare to not kneel before my brother? Let me tell you, he’s an Immortal! Do you understand what that means? He could exterminate your whole family with a wave of his hand!
“You still haven’t brought the girl out? Prepare a good room immediately. If she takes care of me well, and I’m happy, then maybe if you beg, I can provide you with an heir. Otherwise, your name will die out!” The more he spoke, the more excited he became. Behind him, however, Zhao Hai’s face was deathly pale. He trembled as he looked at Meng Hao, his head spinning. And then his brother’s words hit his ears, and his heart filled with dread.
“If you don’t,” continued the young Lord, “then, heh heh, you’re dead, along with that scholar standing next to you… Hey, who’s he? Your adopted son? You dare to stare at me? Are you looking to die? My brother is an Immortal…” Before he even finished speaking, his words reached Zhao Hai’s ears like a thunderclap, causing him to leap into the air. Fury filling his eyes, he slapped his older brother across the face.
“Shut the hell up!!” he screamed, sounding as if he was about to weep. He knew Meng Hao too well. He remembered his status when he was in the Inner Sect, his victory over Wang Tengfei. Nobody in the Outer Sect was ignorant of Meng Hao, nor his sixth-level Cultivation base. Meng Hao was like a lofty mountain that could crush Zhao Hai to death with little effort.
Even as his brother cried out in pain, Zhao Hai dropped to his knees, body quivering. “Servant Zhao Hai extends greetings… greetings to Elder Brother Meng…”
His brother stood next to him, gaping in surprise. Covering his face with a hand, he blurted, “Brother, what did you call him? Elder Brother Meng? Hahaha! So he’s family! Ah, the girl must have caught his fancy too. Well, just give Meng…”
“Shut up!!” screamed Zhao Hai. He looked as if he were so scared he would drop dead. His body shook violently as his mind replayed all the things he’d heard about Meng Hao from the Outer Sect disciples. Utterly discomfited, he leaped to his feet and slapped his brother in the face again.
Li Dafu watched on in amazement. He sucked in a breath, then looked numbly at Meng Hao. He had guessed that Meng Hao was an Immortal, but he’d never imagined that upon seeing him, the powerful Immortal from the house of Zhao would be so terrified that he would break out trembling.
It wasn’t just him. The surrounding servants all watched on in a daze, their eyes filling with veneration as they looked at Meng Hao.
“Elder Brother Meng…” said Zhao Hai, kneeling again, his eyes filled with intense fear.
His face somber, Meng Hao looked at Zhao Hai coldly, wordlessly.
Zhao Hai’s heart thumped, and he clenched his jaw. He caught sight of his older brother standing next to him, and his eyes filled with rage. He didn’t dare to complain to Meng Hao, so he decided to vent his anger on his brother.
He waved his right hand, and once again the finger-sized Flame Serpent appeared. It slammed into the young Lord Zhao, who immediately began to scream shrilly. He fell to the ground, rolling back and forth. Within moments, he had turned into a twitching, charred corpse.
“I beg Elder Brother Meng to spare my life,” said Zhao Hai, ignoring his brother, kneeling before Meng Hao and kowtowing over and over again.
“It seems you are reluctant to leave the mortal world behind,” said Meng Hao coolly. “Therefore, from today on, you can set your mind at rest, and live as a mortal. He lifted a finger, and instantly, Zhao Hai’s face went pale and he spat out a mouthful of blood. His dantian shattered, and his second-level Cultivation base was destroyed. He was no longer a Cultivator, but a mortal.
He staggered up, saluting Meng Hao with clasped hands. Then he turned and left in anguish, supported by his men. He gradually disappeared into the distance.
“I didn’t discipline him well enough,” said Meng Hao, not watching as Zhao Hai left. “He was my servant who ran away from the Sect. He caused trouble for you, Uncle Li.” He bowed to Li Dafu with cupped fists.
“No harm was done, all is well,” said Li Dafu, shaking his head. “My thanks to you, Immortal.” He bent at the waist in a bow. His head was still spinning as he thought about the Immortal of the house of Zhao being Meng Hao’s servant.
“No need for that, Uncle Li,” smiled Meng Hao. “Fatty… Li Fugui is my closest friend in the Sect. I came here in his place to visit, so of course I would not turn a blind eye to a situation such as this.” He took a step back, cupping his fists again in salute. “I shall take my leave.” He departed in a flash. Within a few steps, he was gone, leaving Li Dafu looking a bit melancholy. He was thinking of his son. Then, he broke out in another smile, his eyes filling with pride and anticipation.
“My son has done well. He’s an Immortal! I will go burn some incense in the ancestral hall. This matter has brought glory to our family and ancestors.”
Meng Hao left Yunkai County. It was afternoon now, and his robe rippled in the autumn wind. The mountain wind grew stronger and stronger as he approached Mount Daqing.
He stood on the same place on the mountaintop where he had stood in a daze three years before. Emotion filled his face. Three years had passed so quickly. His face was no longer young and naive. He had matured, but Mount Daqing was the same as always. It would never change, nor would the great river which flowed ceaselessly beneath it.
Looking down at the river, Meng Hao thought of the gourd bottle he had thrown into it that year. He thought about how he had encountered Elder Sister Xu, Fatty, Wang Youcai and Little Tiger.
Silently, he leaped into the air and onto a flying sword. He flew down the mountain to the fissure in the cliff. He entered.
It was exactly the same as it had been before. Meng Hao stood inside, looking around. That year, Elder Sister Xu had been at the seventh level of Qi Condensation. And now, he was a Cultivator of the seventh level. It was as if the three years had been a giant circle, with this as the starting point, and the ending point.
“But if the three years really were a circle, then perhaps returning here means that I’ve reached a new starting point…. It’s like the sages said, if you don’t take a first step, you will never know which direction the road leads.” He closed his eyes for a while, then opened them.
“I’ve already taken my first new steps. That year, I lacked money, and now I lack Spirit Stones. It doesn’t seem much has changed.” Meng Hao shook his head, thinking about the scant amount of Spirit Stones in his bag of holding. He couldn’t help but feel a bit of pain as he turned and left the cave. Atop his flying sword, he shot down in the direction of the river.
Suddenly, his eyes narrowed, and he lifted up his head. Up on Mount Daqing, in the same position he had just been standing in, was a man wearing a golden-colored robe. He gazed down coldly at Meng Hao.
“So, you did come back here,” he said in a sinister voice which seemed to make the setting sun grow even darker, leaving behind only his eyes, filled with murder and greed.
It was Shangguan Xiu!
The day the Sect had been dissolved, he was the first person to flee. After a few days had passed, he reappeared. After some asking around, he learned about the dissolution of the Sect, as well as how Patriarch Reliance had cast terror into the hearts of the entire Cultivation world of the State of Zhao. So, covering his tracks, he left, deciding that it was time to go harvest some medicinal plants that he had planted in secret some time ago.
On the way, however, he had passed Mount Daqing, which caused him to think about the time he had investigated Meng Hao. He knew that this was where Xu Qing had found him, so he decided to stick around for a few days in the hopes of encountering him.
Killing intent shone in Meng Hao’s eyes. He was currently at the seventh level of Qi Condensation, so he was able to detect the levels of other Cultivators. Shangguan Xiu was at the ninth level. Although his Cultivation base was not complete, it was close. With luck, he would soon be able to successfully reach Foundation Establishment, which would make him one of the most powerful experts in the State of Zhao.
Meng Hao knew that he was no match for him, even if he had a lot of magical items on hand. Right now, though, his bag of holding had not been replenished, and he had almost no Spirit Stones. It was not a good time to fight.
Without a word, he shot off into the distance, his body turning into a blur. As he sped off, Shangguan Xiu gave off a cold laugh. Within the Sect, he had feared Grand Elder Ouyang, and hadn’t dared to make a move against an Inner Sect disciple. But that was in the past. His desire to kill Meng Hao and take his treasures burned brightly. His body flashed, and a talisman appeared in front of him. It picked him up, and he shot in pursuit of Meng Hao.
“This time, there’s no special promotion training! How can you escape my hands?!” A sinister smile covered Shangguan Xiu’s face. He was determined to succeed!
This is a series of 5 special chapters sponsored by Jon Alle, Jingping Lai, Erik Gordon, Christian Dela Cruz, Sai Pakalapat, Marco Pacheco Dera, Chris Sherman, Sheela Mugan, Tjandra Johannes, Deep Bhattacharya, Allen Porter, Daniel Delaney, Steven Melendez, Abdul azim Nasyirah Diyana, and Austin Minett
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