Chapter 159: Square Without, Round Within; a Trend of the Heavens
It happened so quickly that Xu Youdao’s face flickered. Next to him, the eyes of the gray-robed Cultivator narrowed and he slapped his bag of holding to produce a wooden slip.
It emitted a bluish light that seemed to indicate it could repel lightning. The bluish light circled around the gray-robed Cultivator and he took several steps away, as if he didn’t want to stand close to any of the others.
Xie Jie’s face also flickered. About the same time that the bluish light flickered up around the gray-robed Cultivator, a wooden statue appeared in Xie Jie’s hand. The statue had three heads and six arms. As it appeared, it transformed into a soft, glowing light that circulated around Xie Jie.
Han Bei reacted even faster, sooner in fact, than even Xie Jie or the gray-robed man. A three-colored lotus throne appeared in front of her; obviously this was also some sort of lightning-repelling treasure.
Only Xu Youdao and Meng Hao seemed to be without such objects. Xu Youdao let out a cold harumph as he unwrapped a blue treasure shaped like a medicinal pill. The pill emitted a bluish-green shield which surrounded his body.
Seeing all of this, Meng Hao laughed grimly. The other three had obviously colluded; otherwise, why would they possibly have all come equipped with lightning-repelling treasures? Only he and the Li woman had come unprepared.
“Nice move, Fellow Daoist Han,” said Meng Hao coolly, his eyes sweeping across the four of them.
“I never anticipated there would be so much lighting,” said Han Bei lightly, “so I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Fellow Daoist Meng, if you don’t have a lighting-repelling item, then you’re welcome to use this Anti-Lightning Leaf. It’s only moderately effective, but it’s better than nothing.” A translucent leaf appeared in her hand, and she looked at Meng Hao. Actually, she had been eyeing him this entire time, especially the moment when he’d entered the cauldron. When that happened, her eyes had flickered.
Xie Jie and the other two men were all looking at Meng Hao, although it was impossible to tell what they were thinking. Their eyes seemed to be filled with an unanswered question.
Lightning crackled about above them, and booms of thunder filled the air. It was powerful and astonishing. Each bolt of lightning seemed to be incredibly fierce, strong enough to strike down even the late Foundation Establishment stage.
Suddenly, a bolt of lightning slammed down in the midst of them. An explosion rattled out as the lightning dissipated into countless arcs of electricity.
“I have no lightning-repelling item, but I do have a lightning-attracting technique,” said Meng Hao calmly. The lightning mist appeared around him, which then congealed into the lightning flag.
Electricity swirled around it, which included strands that contained the Heavenly Tribulation Meng Hao had collected. It was clearly an extraordinary item. The nearby lightning seemed to twist, as if it were being pulled down.
If all the lightning in the area were really called forth, then it wouldn’t matter if the others had lightning-repelling magic. They would all be transformed into dust just as quickly as the Li woman.
Almost as soon as the lightning flag appeared and the lightning around them began to ripple, Meng Hao sucked the flag back into his mouth. The converging lightning dispersed. However, it was now obvious that if the flag remained in the area for any amount of time, then it would call the lightning down, and they would all die.
Xie Jie’s expression flickered, the gray-robed man’s eyes narrowed, and Xu Youdao gasped and took a few steps back. Fear of Meng Hao filled their eyes.
The sensation of danger filled their heads, and their hearts began to pound. Unsightly expressions instantly filled their faces.
Xie Jie’s voice was also grim as he said, “Fellow Daoist, you’re really being a bit too excessive.” His heart was filled with vigilance as he spoke, his attention focused solely on Meng Hao.
Xu Youdao had already been affected by Meng Hao’s ferocity twice. Now, he stared at him with a complicated look, saying nothing. Yet again, he sighed inwardly. In his eyes, Meng Hao was no weaker than some Core Formation eccentrics.
He didn’t need a lightning-repelling item. With a lightning-attracting item, he had suddenly turned the tables and put everyone else at a disadvantage.
“Fellow Daoist, what is the meaning of this?” said the gray-robed man, staring at Meng Hao.
“Oh nothing,” said Meng Hao. “I just want to remind you, Fellow Daoists, that Meng Hao can call down lightning at any time.” He spoke calmly and slowly as he stood there. He seemed ready to pull out his lightning treasure if even one bolt of lightning headed his way.
Han Bei said nothing for the space of a few breaths before a genial smile appeared on her face.
“I was joking with you just now, Fellow Daoist Meng. Of course I have a way for you repel the lightning.” She waved her hand, and a leaf fell off of the lotus throne. She was just about to hand it to him, when he laughed and approached her.
Her face fell; her heart was filled with fear of his methods, and when she saw him nearing her, she involuntarily took a step backward.
But he had already arrived at her side. “There’s no need to go to the trouble, Fellow Daoist Han,” he said coolly. Lightning crackled above them. “Let’s just use your lotus throne together. Wouldn’t that be easier? Or are you unwilling to do so?”
A twisted look appeared on her face, but before she could say anything, the gray-robed Cultivator nodded.
“That would be the best,” he said.
“I agree,” said Xu Youdao, breathing a sigh of relief inwardly.
Xie Jie’s eyes sparkled, and he did nothing to indicate he disagreed.
Han Bei hesitated a moment, then gave Meng Hao a bitter smile.
“If that’s your requirement, Fellow Daoist Meng, then how could I disagree?” She gritted her teeth as she opened the lotus throne shield and allowed Meng Hao to enter.
Now that Meng Hao stood next to Han Bei within the shield, the other three men felt somewhat more at ease. Meng Hao’s threat moments ago had been beyond anything they could have anticipated. Even thinking back to it caused the hair on their necks to stand on end. Meng Hao was truly vicious.
Han Bei looked deeply at Meng Hao for a moment with a forced smile. Then she gave him a slight bow and began to move forward. Meng Hao went along, his face calm. Xie Jie and the others followed.
Five people gradually proceeded through the torrents of lightning. Roaring filled the air. Lightning fell, crashing into the ground and sending sparks rippling out in all directions.
Clearly, the lightning-repelling items were extraordinary; the party appeared to be completely safe. Meng Hao’s eyes swept over them, and inside he laughed coldly. These magical items were clearly not things that Foundation Establishment Cultivators should have in their possession. Each of these Cultivators must have the backing someone extremely powerful, who provided the impetus for them to enter this place.
“Xie Jie only has the Black Sieve Sect,” he thought. “As for the gray-robed man and Xu Youdao, they’re obviously not ordinary rogue Cultivators. They must have some powerful connections.” As the group proceeded on, the lightning grew more intense and frightening. The roaring never seemed to end. Meng Hao had seen Tribulation Lightning before, but the lightning here seemed even more formidable.
“This is not a place for Foundation Establishment Cultivators. Just one bolt could completely eradicate any of us. Yet, none of these people seem even slightly concerned. Obviously they knew ahead of time what they would be facing.
“I was targeted by Tribulation Lightning because of my Perfect Dao Pillar, which is not permitted to exist. As for this cauldron… the spirit of the Heavens must be furious, filled with intense desire to obliterate it, even more so than me.” Meng Hao looked up ahead. This amount of lightning was unpleasant to the eyes, and made it impossible to examine the surroundings. The only option was to continue forward.
No one spoke as they traveled onward. About an hour passed, and they were much further in. Even though they were still surrounded by lightning, the intensity had lessened, and now they were able to see a bit more clearly. What they saw ahead of them caused them all to begin to breathe heavily.
Xu Youdao gasped. “That’s…” His face was covered with shock.
Xie Jie’s eyes glittered, and he panted. Next to him, the gray-robed Cultivator’s eyes shone as he stared dead ahead.
Han Bei’s eyes also grew brighter.
Far up ahead, in the center of the giant cauldron, were nine enormous statues. Each statue depicted a middle-aged man. The clothing they wore was not like like the clothing of modern times; it was much simpler. And yet, they were clearly long robes.
Amongst the nine people depicted, three had crowns on their heads. Two had long hair, which draped over their shoulders. One was even completely bald. They exuded an imposing power that was difficult to describe. It seemed as if each statue represented some powerful Dao that demonstrated a path of heaven and earth.
Anyone who caught sight of these statues would be stunned, and filled with a sensation of ancient glory. The statues were not standing upright; rather all of them were were kneeling down on one knee, with both arms stretched upward, heads bowed.
Objects could be seen within their upstretched hands!
There was some sort of wheel-shaped treasure, something that was clearly an extraordinary sword, as well as a glowing jade bottle. Each statue had a different treasure. The flickering glow created by the treasures created multiple glowing afterimages. Meng Hao and the others couldn’t help but gasp.
In the hands up one of the statues could be seen two ancient scrolls! The features of this statue strongly resembled Han Bei!
On the back of the statue was a gigantic crack, which had obviously been rent by lightning from Heaven. It was impossible to say how many years has passed since that had happened.
If this was all there was to it, it wouldn’t be a bit deal. But there was more. Meng Hao was shocked, and everyone else was panting. In the center of the nine incredible statues was the object to which they were all bowing… a bronze, circular cauldron!
A voice sounded out in Meng Hao’s mind: “Square without, circular within; a trend of the Heavens!”
As a quick reference, here are the two types of Chinese “ding cauldrons” that are being talked about. Square cauldron. Round cauldron. The character for cauldron “ding” is pretty cool. Looks just like a cauldron! 鼎