Chapter 152: Words Under the Moon With An Old Companion
Xu Qing looked at Xue Yuncui as she stabbed the sword all the way through her head. Then she stepped back, pale faced. Xue Yuncui slipped into death, and Xu Qing stood there silently.
Meng Hao looked at her and then walked up next to her. Together, they sat down. The vines dragged Xue Yuncui’s body down into the ground and began to devour it.
The moon hung high in the sky, and everything was quiet. No one had noticed the ripples of battle magic; after all, this Blessed Land was a very large place.
“First time?” asked Meng Hao. Their shadows overlapped in the moonlight.
She was quiet for a while before nodding.
“The first time I killed someone, my heart was troubled for quite a while,” he said softly. As he looked at her, images from the Reliance Sect floated into his mind.
A breeze passed by, cleaning away the stench of blood. Xu Qing’s hair curled up, brushing against Meng Hao’s face. It was hard to tell whether it wrapped around his face, or his heart.
“Was it after the Sect disbanded?” asked Xu Qing, turning her head to look at him. Her face was pale, but to Meng Hao, it was beautiful.
He remembered the night years ago when he had escorted her back to the East Mountain. As he’d watched her walking away from him, he’d thought to himself that he wouldn’t mind marrying her 1.
It was a memory from years ago, such a long time ago. It was hard to determine whether or not it was simply the idling of youth.
“Actually, it was inside the Sect,” said Meng Hao with a smile. He felt relaxed. This Blessed Land was a dangerous place, but for some reason he felt at ease, as if he were back in the Reliance Sect, on top of the East Mountain, standing beneath the moon.
“Oh?” said Xu Qing, looking shocked. She stared at Meng Hao, temporarily forgetting to cover her face with coldness.
To Meng Hao, her blank look was filled with beauty. It was very different from the Elder Sister Xu from his memories. Coldness was unapproachable; but her numb look now made her seem very dear.
Meng Hao laughed.
“I suddenly have the feeling I never understood the real you, Elder Sister,” he said with a smile, looking at her. He was no longer the scholar he once had been. He had experienced many things, and had grown through the years. In terms of both experience and wisdom, he had matured a lot. He was now able to tell that the coldness exhibited by Xu Qing was intentional.
He looked over her, catching sight of the milky white skin beneath the rips in her clothing. This was not the first time he’d seen a woman in such a position, but for some reason, when he’d looked at Chu Yuyan, he could remain calm. Seeing Xu Qing now, though, a different look filled his eyes.
Xu Qing’s gaze met Meng Hao’s for a moment, and then she looked away, her heart pounding. A flush appeared on her face, and she gripped her garment tightly in her fists. She was clearly nervous.
Meng Hao coughed lightly, and then slapped his bag of the Cosmos, producing a set of clothes which he began to place around her shoulders.
She said nothing, allowing him to cover her up. She lifted her beautiful face to look at the moon. As the moonlight shone onto her, Meng Hao looked at her hair and her lovely features. They were so delicate it seemed as if the wind might cause them to break.
“You killed someone in the Sect? Who?” Xu Qing tried to pretend she didn’t notice Meng Hao looking at her, but her flush had deepened.
“An Outer Sect disciple surnamed Zhao,” said Meng Hao, recalling Elder Brother Zhao’s horrific death by the copper mirror. “He wanted to take the Immortal’s Cave you gave me.”
“You’ve really got guts,” she said, turning her head and shifting her gaze from the moon to Meng Hao. “You actually killed someone inside the Sect.” Her words were spoken in earnest, and with the earnestness came her usual coldness. However, Meng Hao could see the uncomplicated simplicity beneath the coldness.
“Well… actually I didn’t just kill one person,” he said with a light cough.
“Oh?” Elder Sister Xu stared mutely again for a long moment. It was as if she were meeting him for the first time. She looked him over carefully, thinking for a while. “So you got used to it?” She hastily added: “What I mean is, after killing so much, did you stop feeling uneasy at heart?”
“Let’s talk about something else,” said Meng Hao. He could tell that she was very curious about the matter. But for a man and a woman to sit under the moon talking about killing people didn’t quite seem appropriate.
“Oh,” she said, nodding, looking at him. Her coldness concealed her true personality, but at the moment, she suddenly didn’t know what to say.
“I want to show you something.” Meng Hao tapped his bag of the Cosmos, and the Cosmetic Cultivation Pill appeared in his hand. With a smile, he handed it out to Elder Sister Xu.
When she saw the pill, she stared in shock. Her eyes were fixed on the pill as she slowly raised her hand and took it from him. Then she closed her eyes.
It was impossible to tell what she was thinking inside. After a moment, she opened her eyes and looked at Meng Hao for a long, long time.
This was the third time Meng Hao had given her a Cosmetic Cultivation Pill.
She put it away quietly, then softly said, “A few years ago I heard that the State of Zhao… disappeared.”
Meng Hao sighed. Then, he proceeded to explain to her about Patriarch Reliance. She sat there underneath the moon, listening intently. When he told her that Patriarch Reliance was actually a gargantuan, vicious turtle, her mouth dropped open and a look of disbelief covered her face. To Meng Hao, she was truly beautiful. He suddenly stopped talking.
This in turn caused Xu Qing to look into his eyes. When their eyes met, she suddenly turned and stared off into the distance, her heart racing. She was experiencing a strange feeling, and a strange nervousness. She felt an emotion she wasn’t familiar with. In all honesty, she didn’t mind; actually she liked it a bit.
“I’ve seen Elder Brother Chen a few times…” she suddenly said, not sure what to talk about. “This place is an ancient Blessed Land…. Oh, right, how can your Cultivation base possibly be at the Foundation Establishment stage…?”
Meng Hao looked at her, a warm smile growing on his face.
“What was the situation with Zhao Shanhe?” he asked lightly.
“He was a Conclave disciple of the Black Sieve Sect,” she replied, a look of disgust appearing in her eyes. “His Clan has deep roots in the Sect. He was shameless and disgusting. Over the past few years, he used Foundation Establishment Pills as bait to force himself on numerous female disciples….”
“Foundation Establishment Pills….” He looked at her for a moment. He could tell that she had completed the circle of nine Qi Condensation levels. With a Foundation Establishment Pill, she could definitely go into secluded meditation and reach Foundation Establishment.
“That type of pill is very valuable,” she said, a dismal look on her face. “It’s even hard for Inner Sect disciples to get one. You can only acquire one with the support of someone of the senior generation, or if you perform some special service for the Sect. Or possibly if you have amazing latent talent.
“After Patriarch Zhen brought me to the Black Sieve Sect, she completely ignored me. However, my personality was similar to a Core Formation Cultivator of the senior generation, so she took me in as a disciple. She promised to give me a Foundation Establishment Pill, but she left for the sect a few years ago and has never returned. According to the rumors, she’s dead….”
Meng Hao slapped his bag of the Cosmos. Instantly, three Foundation Establishment Pills appeared in his hand. He held them out to her.
“I have some Foundation Establishment Pills,” he said.
Xu Qing stared wordlessly at the three pills. She was shocked, never having imagined that Meng Hao would have a Foundation Establishment Pill, let alone three. These three pills would cause a riot if they appeared within the Black Sieve Sect.
“Those…” Xu Qing breathed even harder when she saw the symbol etched into the side of the pills. Her eyes widened. “Those were concocted by Grandmaster Pill Demon.”
“I only have three. But if it’s not enough, then I can get some more for you when we get out of here.” He smiled, placing the pills into Xu Qing’s hand. To anyone else, these pills would be incredibly valuable.
“It’s enough, really. One… maybe two is probably enough.” She was about to say more when Meng Hao closed her hand over the pills.
“I don’t need them. You take them. If you need, I can stand guard for you when you use them.”
“Unless you’ve been at the ninth level of Qi Condensation for dozens of years, are completely prepared, and have refined your body to the extreme, then you would need several months at the least. This place isn’t appropriate. I’ll wait till I get back to the Sect and find an appropriate place to break through.” She gave him a deep look. “You can’t stay here for too long, Meng Hao. You need to be careful. The Black Sieve Sect has known about the existence of this place for a long time, but hasn’t been able to enter. Recently, though, they came across an ancient map.
“With the map, they were able to open the entrance. Originally, this was an ancient Blessed Land, but over the years it has changed, and is now a land of death.”
Meng Hao’s eyes glistened as he listened to her explanation.
“Supposedly, it has something to do with an ancient, violent Spirit. I’m not really sure what it is, and there are lots of rumours in the Sect about it. Although, I can tell you that the reason they’ve gathered so many rogue Foundation Establishment Cultivators is not to acquire treasures, but to create a Hundred Spirits Tower!
“It’s not a big secret to the Inner Sect disciples, and even some in the Outer Sect know about it, but they don’t care about rogue Cultivators. Actually, there are even a few amongst the rogue Cultivators who know about it.
“The Hundred Spirits Tower is actually quite simple to describe. Basically, by using a variety of magical Cultivation techniques, one hundred Dao Pillars are refined together to create the Hundred Spirits Tower.
“The purpose of creating the tower is top secret. I don’t think even the Inner Sect disciples know about it. Amongst the Conclave disciples, only two or three even know a little bit.” This was everything Xu Qing knew regarding the activities in the Blessed Land.
Suddenly, a massive roaring could be heard from somewhere off in the distance.
The instant the sound echoed out, the ground in the Blessed Land suddenly began to quake violently. At the same time, a mysterious gravitational force came into being. Meng Hao’s eyes flickered. He felt the Dao Pillars within him trembling, as if something were trying to pull them out of him.