Chapter 72: A True Man
Little Tiger looked closely at Meng Hao. He had been naive as a child, but after joining the Reliance Sect, had experienced many unimaginable misfortunes. In his heart, he had become as hard as iron. No one knew how many Cultivators he had secretly slain.
He stared at Meng Hao and gradually came to the realization that he really did not know about what had happened recently.
“Elder Brother Meng, in recent days, the entire Cultivation world of the State of Zhao has been searching for you. The three great Sects issued a joint order for your arrest. Multitudes of Cultivators have spread out in all directions to hunt you down.” He hesitated a moment before continuing.
Meng Hao’s expression did not change even in the least bit. He floated in the air, looking down wordlessly at Little Tiger.
“The three great Sects ordered that you were not to be killed,” he said slowly. “You could be injured or crippled, but not slain.” The entire time, he continued to look at Meng Hao, unable to tell what he was thinking.
“If what you’re saying is false,” said Meng Hao coolly, his expression the same as ever, “then don’t blame me for forgetting our past ties.”
Hearing this, Little Tiger inadvertently took two steps backward, his face flickering.
“Elder Brother Meng must surely remember Master Uncle Shangguan from the Inner Sect. Two months ago, he surrounded the three counties near Mount Daqing with a horrific, enormous spell.” His voice rang out as he spoke. He clenched his fists. “He plans to use the blood of the mortals there to concoct Blood Pills to reach Foundation Establishment. It’s been going on for two months already. With my Cultivation base, I’m no match for him, but I came to try to save my father and mother!”
Meng Hao stared at him in shock, his head spinning. Fury erupted within him, and a violent aura of killing intent began to emanate from him. He knew that Shangguan Xiu’s true goal was not to concoct Blood Pills, but rather to lure him out.
His face grew incredibly grim.
“Shangguan Xiu has involved the mortals of three counties, and the Cultivation world of the State of Zhao does nothing to stop him?” Meng Hao’s voice was as cold as ice as he spoke. “Does anyone actually believe his goal is establishing a Foundation?”
“Everyone says that Shangguan Xiu longs for Foundation Establishment,” said Little Tiger, “and that he intentionally picked the three counties around Mount Daqing because of the auspicious sign that appeared here years ago. With Blood Spirit Pills, he can easily break through to Foundation Establishment. In the past, the three great Sects would never allow him to do something like that, but right now they seek out Patriarch Reliance’s meditation zone. That’s why they sent everyone looking for you, and have ignored what is happening here. They don’t want to have to deal with extra trouble. Furthermore, Shangguan Xiu is no ordinary person. I looked into it and found out he’s from Milky Way City. Apparently, the three great Sects did attempt to interfere at first, but then backed off for some reason.”
Meng Hao listened quietly, then began to smile, a cold, dark smile. The killing intent which existed in his heart far outmatched the killing intent he had felt in the past toward Wang Tengfei or even Ding Xin. The intensity of this desire to kill sent this Core sea churning. It was fiercer than anything he had felt in his twenty-one years of life.
“Shangguan Xiu….” Meng Hao spun and looked off toward Mount Daqing. He flicked his wide sleeve and Little Tiger flew up onto the treasured fan, a shocked look on his face.
“Elder Brother Meng, what’s going on?” blurted Little Tiger, his breath quickening.
“We’re going to Mount Daqing. If what you’ve said is true, very well. But if you’ve lied to me, then you will never again have to worry about people chasing after you to get your treasure.” The treasured fan flickered, and they shot off.
Little Tiger was quiet, having nothing more to say. He stood on the treasured fan next to Meng Hao, a conflicted look in his eye. Soon the look disappeared, replaced by determination.
It didn’t take long before Mount Daqing loomed up in front of them. Meng Hao did not charge in directly. The treasured fan flashed, and they landed on the ground. Up ahead, everything was enveloped by a glowing red aura. It seemed that outside of the aura, every five hundred kilometers, a black robed Cultivator sat cross-legged, meditating.
There were a dozen or so of them, and they appeared to be the supporting the base of the spell which surrounded the three counties.
Far away on top of the mountain, someone sat cross-legged in meditation.
In the counties below the mountain, everything was quiet. Wispy strands of Blood Qi rose up from them.
Meng Hao’s killing intent grew stronger. Taking a deep breath, he released the bonds he had placed on Little Tiger.
“When I call your name, you must come,” said Meng Hao slowly. Then he walked forward, his body whistling in the wind and emanating an ice-cold air.
“Wang Youcai isn’t dead,” blurted Little Tiger. Meng Hao ignored him as he raced forward.
Little Tiger watched him disappear, then sighed and sat down silently to meditate. He had looked into Meng Hao in addition to Shangguan Xiu. He knew that Meng Hao had no immediate family in Yunjie County and that Shangguan Xiu was most likely using this blood magic specifically to draw him out.
“Elder Brother Meng, I just want to save my father and mother. If you live through this, then I will owe you a great debt.” He looked up, complex emotions flickering in his eyes.
Meng Hao shot forward, straight toward the blood-red aura. Little Tiger, though young, was clever and had been correct in his suppositions. As for Meng Hao, he had always been intelligent. Despite failing as a scholar, he had undergone a baptism of sorts in the Reliance Sect. After everything he had experienced there and after, how could he not see through to his opponent’s true purpose?
Shangguan Xiu had set a trap for him. But how could he not go? Even though he had no immediate family in Yunjie County, it was his home. His childhood memories were there, and they were beautiful.
Shangguan Xiu was utterly devoid of conscience, and his actions offended Meng Hao to the bone. His desire to kill billowed to untold heights.
Even though he was risking death, even though he was playing into Shangguan Xiu’s hand, Meng Hao knew that in life, there are some things a man must do…. even if it was dangerous, he would go anyway.
Fear and doubt were not for true men.
His murderous intent had never been so strong, his desire to kill never so intense. It could not be dispelled by the death of one person, but rather every person involved in maintaining the blood spell.
“In my years of Cultivation, there are people who I haven’t killed. It’s not because I couldn’t, but because I didn’t want to.” His speed increased, his eyes flashing with death, but his heart calm. By now he had reached the area of the blood spell. He shot toward a Cultivator of the sixth level of Qi Condensation who sat there meditating.
He wore black robes and looked to be about twenty-six or twenty-seven years old. As Meng Hao rushed toward him, he opened his eyes. Shocked, he lifted his hand, but in that instant, Meng Hao, his face expression cold and filled with death, shot past him.
There was a sword in Meng Hao’s hand. Behind him, a head flew up into the air, its face filled with confusion. The body fell over onto the ground.
The reek of blood filled the air. The corpse twitched a few times and then was still.
There was no shout of pain, no struggle. To Meng Hao, it was as simple as slaughtering a chicken. As he had said, it was not that he couldn’t kill, he just didn’t like to.
“When you try to cut off a chicken’s head,” said Meng Hao to himself, “it will usually put up a bit of a struggle. People usually struggle even harder. But without a head, you don’t even match up to a chicken.” Not even glancing back at the corpse behind him, he moved on, eyes filled with killing intent.
He moved quickly, and before long, another cross-legged figure appeared in front of him. This person had clearly not sensed the death of his compatriot; he sat there meditating, maintaining the spell.
He didn’t even have a chance to open his eyes before his head flew off his body.
“Shangguan Xiu, you force me into killing. Very well… today I will kill everything in front of me.” He flicked the wooden sword in his hand, sending droplets of blood flying about everywhere, then vanished.
Because of the death of the two Cultivators, ripples had appeared in the red-colored spell. This in turn shocked the rest of people who were maintaining it; one after another, they opened their eyes and stood up, glancing around cautiously.
Meanwhile, atop the mountain, Shangguan Xiu’s eyes flickered open. They glittered as he looked down at what was going on below.
The Blood Qi seemed to grow thicker, but he couldn’t see clearly what was happening. He frowned and harrumphed. He lifted his right hand, and a Globe of blood appeared, about the size of a human head. Blood Qi swirled around inside. With the flick of a sleeve, he sent the Blood Globe shooting down Mount Daqing, where it slammed through the blood-colored spell with a reverberating boom.
The blood-colored spell was growing weak. Suddenly, a shrill scream could be heard, echoing out from within the spell. Difficult to describe, it seemed to be filled with pain.
Moments later, another scream rang out. This scream clearly came from someone else, but it was equally blood-curdling. Shangguan Xiu frowned. Looking down at the blood-colored spell, it appeared to have shrunk by almost half and was somewhat murky.
A third person screamed, then a fourth, almost at the same time. More screams echoed out, over and over, until finally the blood-colored spell was completely translucent. Shangguan Xiu looked down to see… a dozen headless corpses.
His eyes narrowed, and his body spun. There, on a small mountain path, wearing a blue scholar’s robe, was Meng Hao. He was spattered with blood and gore, and despite looking somewhat frail and weak, walked slowly up the mountain, his face expressionless.
In his hands, he carried a dozen severed heads. Shangguan Xiu looked at him as he approached. Meng Hao tossed the heads forward, and they plopped to the ground in front of Shangguan Xiu, who then flicked his sleeve, sending them scattering about.
“Your turn,” said Meng Hao, his voice hoarse. He usually didn’t want to kill, but today. He did.