Chapter 147: Looking at Each Other
“You can only use this thing one time,” said the face, yawning. As it spoke, a fierce cry suddenly rang out from behind the group of people.
Meng Hao looked back and saw that the strange statue that was being carried along suddenly was melting. It turned into three globes of black mist. Inside each mist sphere was an old person surrounded by an aura of death. These were none other than the three people who had been on the tall platform beneath the Black Sieve Sect!
The Elder shot toward the face within their black mists. Next, they merged into it, causing it to twist and distort. Slowly, the mouth opened wide.
An archaic voice sounded out: “Enter quickly, we can only hold on for the time it takes half an incense stick to burn!” The voice sounded as if it had sprung from the yellow springs of the underworld. It echoed out, shaking the hearts of everyone present.
Before anyone could make a move, a flickering figure emerged from within the depths of the mouth. It was a middle-aged man; it seemed as if his entire Cultivation base was burning. Half of his body was completely destroyed, and his Crimson Core was visible inside, burning.
His hair was wild, and his face twisted with insanity. As he rushed out, he screamed, “All dead! The Hundred Names Pillar was not completed. All dead. HAHAHA! All dead….”
“That’s Elder Zheng!”
“It is! He was in the advanced group that came here. How did he end up like that….”
A buzz of conversation immediately arose amongst the Black Sieve Sect disciples, who had instantly recognized the man. Xie Jie’s pupils constricted, and Han Bei’s expression flickered as she narrowed her eyes, within which flashed a strange light. The other Black Sieve Sect Chosen all had similar reactions.
The man rushed out in a frenzy, spewing lunacy, which echoed about within the fissure. Everyone was shocked at his words.
His shocking condition was even more astonishing. Considering his Crimson Core was visible, it was obvious that he was a Core Formation eccentric. For him to be in such a miserable state, and obviously insane, left everyone wondering what they might possibly be facing inside.
The man’s words continued to echo about, especially the word “dead,” which he’d uttered three times. It was like an invisible hammer, which struck down onto the hearts of those who heard him.
The Black Sieve Sect disciples were slightly less affected. After all, they knew a bit more about this place than Meng Hao and the other rogue Cultivators. Their numbers had increased as the group passed through one door after another, and now there were about two hundred of them. The faces of each and every one twisted.
An intangible shadow of death seemed to spread out from the crazed Core Formation eccentric, filling the area.
However, even as the man flew out of the black door ranting, Patriarch Violet Sieve’s eyes shone with a powerful glow. He strode forward toward Elder Zheng and raised his hand. Color suddenly seemed to fade from the world, and Elder Zheng rushed toward Patriarch Violet Sieve, seemingly out of control. As he lurched forward, Patriarch Violet Sieve lifted his right hand and slapped the man on the top of the head.
The slap rang out with a boom that shook everything. Crazed Elder Zheng’s body trembled, and his eyes suddenly grew clear. The burning of the Crimson Core within him began to fade.
He had recovered his wits, but before he could say anything, Patriarch Violet Sieve let out a cold harrumph and then flicked his sleeve. A black wind appeared, sweeping up Elder Zheng and tossing him away.
“Ramblings! You’re an Elder, so I’ve spared your life. Return to the Sect and go into secluded meditation for a hundred years as punishment!” Patriarch Violet Sieve acted quickly and efficiently. He lifted his hand, and immediately Meng Hao and the other rogue Foundation Establishment Cultivators felt an intense pressure that sent their hearts racing.
“Rogue Cultivators from outside the Sect,” he said coolly, “you have accepted our Sect’s medicinal pills and have signed our contract with your thumbprint. We have arrived at the ancient Blessed Land. Unfortunately, its interior is unstable and also incompatible with high level Cultivation bases.
“If you are able to acquire some of the designated items, then you can trade them for more Sieve Earth Pills. Take these jade slips.” Pressure filled the area. He flicked his sleeve, and immediately two hundred jade slips flew out to hover in front of the rogue Cultivators.
“There is no doubt that this is a dangerous place, but it is not a death trap. After all, many of our Sect’s own disciples will enter with you. Please, rest assured.” As he spoke, the beautiful middle-aged woman next to him coolly looked over the crowd. The two of them did not need to utter any threats. Considering the Cultivation bases, no one could possibly defy them.
Meng Hao silently placed the good luck charm into his bag of holding. Around him, the other rogue Cultivators maintained similar silence. It was impossible to tell what any of them were thinking.
These were people who had reached Foundation Establishment but were not members of any Sect. There might be some among such rogue Cultivators who are stupid and foolish, but most of them could scheme and calculate. They had chosen to come to this place for their own benefit, and were also aware that there would be danger.
Seven or eight figures flashed ahead, heading directly toward the black door. As soon as they entered the mouth, they disappeared.
With them having taken the lead, the others followed in quick succession, flying forward wordlessly into the face on the large black door.
Murmuring to himself, Meng Hao looked at Patriarch Violet Sieve and the beautiful middle-aged woman. In the very rear were the Core Formation eccentrics, who were watching over the proceedings with cold faces.
“Elder Sister Xu seems to be in some sort of trouble. Now that I’m here, I can’t just ignore it.” His eyes filled with determination. His body flew up along with a few dozen nearby Cultivators, who all turned into beams of light that shot toward the face in the black door. About halfway there, he turned his head and looked back.
He saw Xie Jie with his faint, hypocritical smile. There was pretty Han Bei, as well as the other Black Sieve Sect Chosen. And off in the distance, amidst the crowd, was pale-faced Xu Qing.
When Meng Hao’s gaze fell upon her, Xu Qing suddenly trembled, staring in shock. A look of disbelief filled her face as… she looked back at him.
Many years had passed, and Meng Hao had experienced great change. But, she recognized him immediately. She had brought him to the Reliance Sect, and he had become her Junior Brother. He was the one who had given her the Cosmetic Cultivation Pill underneath the moon.
Scenes from the past filled Xu Qing’s mind. The memories of that time, the frustrations, all merged within her heart to ripple out like a dream.
Their gazes locked. There were a thousand people in between them, but despite the distance and the time, they were not far apart. Rather, they were very, very close to each other.
Meng Hao gave her a warm smile. The entire reason he had come to the Black Sieve Sect to begin with was to see her, an old friend. Now, he had seen her, and she him.
He turned and disappeared into the mouth of the face in the black door. The moment he vanished, Xu Qing’s heart suddenly seemed to grow empty. Without realizing it, she took a step forward.
But it was too late. Meng Hao was gone. Feelings welled up inside of her that she didn’t understand. On the outside, she was as cold as ever.
Usually, no one could touch her heart; she protected it fiercely. However, for some reason a feeling of joy had arisen inside her.
Then Meng Hao had disappeared, and she felt as if she had lost something. She rarely experienced such feelings, and when she did, she would suppress them. Today, however, the feeling could not be suppressed.
“Hey, I’m talking to you, slut!” It was the coquettish girl who was standing next to her. “If you want to pretend you can’t hear me, fine,” she said venomously. “But do you really think you can avoid me? Humph!” She laughed coldly. “You got injured last time. If Elder Brother Zhao hadn’t asked Junior Sister Han to save you, then you would have died inside. But, instead of being thankful, you got more standoffish! It’s just a little cherry, why do you care so much about that? What an idiot!” The coquettish woman looked at Xu Qing’s cold, beautiful face and gave a grim smile. The more jealous she got, the more she wanted Xu Qing to end up like her.
Xu Qing turned around to face the woman who had treated her so poorly all these years. One word at a time, she said, “That day in the Blessed Land, it was your own Elder Brother Zhao who broke the rules and almost got me killed. And Elder Sister Han didn’t save me because Elder Brother Zhao asked her to, but because she took my bag of holding and just happened to grab me along with it.”
Her demeanor was cold, and her expression very serious. This was the personality that she usually kept hidden from her fellow disciples. The coquettish woman could never have anticipated that the Xu Qing who she constantly taunted would ever talk back to her. She stared for a moment and then laughed coldly.
“So, the slut dares to speak,” she said derisively. “Elder Brother Zhao has already arranged everything. You won’t be able to get away this time. I’m going to stand there and watch while your cherry gets taken. Eventually, you’ll thank me.” The Cultivators around her began to fly up into the air toward the black door.
Xu Qing’s body flashed as she stepped onto her colorful mist and shot forward.
The coquettish woman was behind her, laughing coldly. But, then she noticed a man up ahead, wearing a violet robe. He looked back, and a charming smile instantly covered her face.
The handsome man in the violet robe was young and had a Cultivation base of the early Foundation Establishment stage. He nodded at her slightly. Then his gaze fell upon Xu Qing, and his eyes filled with a burning desire.
This was none other than the man the coquettish woman constantly spoke about. Elder Brother Zhao.