Chapter 162: Crafty Schemes
Her words were essentially meaningless. Xu Youdao increased his speed.
Three people, three different directions. They sped forward, their lightning-repelling items glittering. They flew forward in the twinkling of an eye. Meng Hao also took action; however, he didn’t rush in pursuit of the jades. Instead, he headed toward Han Bei, who seemingly had lost control over her own ancient jade.
At the same time Xu Youdao reached the jade he had been pursuing. He flicked his sleeve, collecting it into his bag of holding. Throughout the process, he avoided any dangers whatsoever.
“Hahaha! Fellow Daoist Han, I’ve retrieved the item for you. I’ll keep it with me for now and give you a copy later.” At the same time as his laughter rang out, Xie Jie’s eyes suddenly glittered brightly. Anyone looking at him would see the same suspicions that existed moments before on his face. However, Han Bei was not faking; the anxiety and enmity on her face after all the coughing up of blood were real. And yet, Xu Youdao had succeeded; Xie Jie seemed to no longer suspect anything. He increased his speed.
As he shot forward, a lightning bolt descended toward him. He spat a third Green Cloaking Pill out of his mouth. A boom sounded out as the pill activated, completely concealing Xie Jie from any lightning. He bit his tongue, spitting out some blood that turned into a blood mist. As he passed through it, his speed increased dramatically. In an instant, he was upon the piece of jade. With the flick of a sleeve, he collected it into his bag of holding.
Xie Jie’s eyes burned as he glanced toward the gray-robed Cultivator. He was rocketing forward, seemingly focused on pursuing the jade piece, but doing so with caution. Having seen Xu Youdao and Xie Jie’s successes, he increased his speed, and within a moment was almost in the position to acquire the last piece of jade.
All eyes were focused on him. Meng Hao watched him flick his sleeve to gather up the piece of jade. Suddenly, for some inexplicable reason, the lightning in the area began to accumulate. In the blink of an eye, ten bolts of lightning shot down.
The gray-robed Cultivator’s lightning-repelling treasure was simply incapable of resisting, and shattered. His face fell, and he was just about to do everything in his power to evade, when a shocking thunderclap sounded out. Everyone watched as the man’s body was transformed into bits of floating ash. Even his bag of holding was destroyed.
Only the ancient jade remained, floating beneath the lightning, undamaged. Bits of ash and bone, the remnants of the gray-robed Cultivator, slowly drifted down to the ground.
Han Bei coughed up some more blood. Her face was pale, but she gritted her teeth and raised her trembling hands toward the drifting piece of jade.
It shook, then changed directions, shooting back toward Han Bei and Meng Hao. Based on its trajectory, it seemed it was actually heading toward Meng Hao.
“Fellow Daoist Meng, be careful!” shouted Han Bei shrilly.
Everything was happening too quickly. Seeing the death of the gray-robed Cultivator caused Xie Jie’s expression to change. A horrified look appeared on Xu Youdao’s face. However, at the moment, both of them were looking at the piece of jade the was descending toward Meng Hao and Han Bei. The death of the gray-robed Cultivator seemed to have been an accident that had nothing to do with the ancient jade.
The two of them flew forward simultaneously. From the look of it, if Meng Hao attempted to interfere, they would join forces to destroy him. However, their speed was a bit slower than his. Even moving as fast as possible, it seemed that they would arrive a moment too late.
Meng Hao, eyes glittering, shot forward, a barely perceptible mocking smile forming on the corner of his mouth. The three of them closed in on the piece of jade.
It was at this moment that the closed eyes of the meat jelly floating in the mid-air suddenly opened. It caught sight of the three people flying toward the jade, and suddenly it shot forward with indescribable speed. In a flash, it landed on Xu Youdao’s head.
Xu Youdao’s body shook, and a look of astonishment appeared on his head. “Fellow Daoist Xie, help me…”
Before Xie Jie could even react to his words, the meat jelly opened its mouth. Suddenly, massive amounts of lightning bore down. It seemed as if they were entering the mouth of the meat jelly. But by the time they disappeared, Xu Youdao’s body was nothing more than ash in the wind.
He didn’t even have time to scream.
Xie Jie gasped, and his face flickered. He suddenly stopped moving, his heart pounding. He stared in astonishment at the floating meat jelly; his scalp began to go numb.
Without Xu Youdao and Xie Jie pursuing the ancient piece of jade, it quickly arrived at Meng Hao. He chuckled, shooting forward, and then actually moving out of the path of the piece of jade. Now, it was heading directly toward Han Bei. She gaped in shock, as did Xie Jie, who was still reeling from the actions of the meat jelly moments ago.
Meng Hao laughed, looking back and forth between Han Bei and Xie Jie. “Your act could fool gray-robes, but did you really think you could fool me?” A look of ridicule appeared in his eyes. He spit out the lightning flag. The surrounding lightning was instantly thrown into chaos.
Hearing Meng Hao’s words, Han Bei frowned and Xie Jie’s eyes flashed. They said nothing.
“The appearance of that meat jelly was not something you anticipated, and therefore Xu Youdao lost his life. That was an accident, not part of your scheming. In any case,” he continued coldly, “with Xu Youdao gone, your three person plan cannot be completed. I think now you should consider allowing me to take his place, assuming I wish to.” He smiled.
The lightning flag next to him sent out ripples, causing the surrounding lightning to roil even more violently. Not wanting to attract the attention of the meat jelly, he pulled the lightning flag close to him and suppressed the rippling.
An unsightly expression covered Xie Jie’s face. Meng Hao’s craftiness left him awestruck. During their entire journey, he had barely interacted at all with Han Bei and Xu Youdao. He’d assumed no one could possibly connect the three of them together. And yet Meng Hao had.
“It was Xu Youdao’s final words that made it clear to you,” said Han Bei with a little smile. “Fellow Daoist Meng, you are very perceptive. I can’t help but admire you in this.” There didn’t seemed to be any anxiety on her face whatsoever. “It’s true. There can only be three people in the end. I’ll be honest with you, Fellow Daoist. I’ve betrayed the Black Sieve Sect because of this place. Originally Xie Jie and I received authorization from the Sect to come here. Unfortunately, we never imagined that the object the Sect sought, Ultimate Vexation, would be here. And we never predicted that Xu Youdao would fall.” She straightened her hair and smiled. Despite her beauty, he had been careful of her machinations from the beginning. She was clever, but Xie Jie couldn’t compare at all.
As she spoke, Han Bei lifted her hand and made a grasping motion. A blue streak of light shot toward her from the position where Xu Youdao had been killed. Moments later, a gray streak appeared from where the gray-robed Cultivator had died. They circled around in the air. As they did, Han Bei opened her mouth and spit out a yellow strand. The three strands intertwined and began to emit a bright light.
The yellow strand was obviously from the Li woman, which Han Bei had somehow retrieved after her death.
“In this place of treasures of the Nine Great Families, only the Han Clan treasure can be retrieved. The rest of the statues have not been damaged, and are therefore still sealed. We originally needed strands from three bloodlines, and power from three people, to be able to open the true location of the Time refining treasure of the Han Clan. Now, we have no choice other than to use Xu Youdao’s strand. Brother Meng,” she said earnestly, “let’s not bring up everything from before. I hope we can agree on that. If you agree, then you can have your copy of the Time refining treasure. I’m willing to swear an oath on the name of my illustrious Ancestors!” She slapped her bag of holding to produce a Feng Shui compass. She quickly erased the branding inside of it.
“This object,” she said, “can serve as an expression of my apology. Actually, the exit I spoke of earlier is not really an exit. That place will only return you here. This Feng Shui compass is a Sect treasure. You can use it to get out of this place. However, it won’t take you out of the Blessed Land, It will merely take you out of the square cauldron.” The Feng Shui compass floated over to Meng Hao.
He eyed it expressionlessly, casting his Spiritual Sense into it for a moment. Then he exchanged a glance with Han Bei. Their eyes glittered simultaneously. Xie Jie looked at them, his face grim. He let out a cold snort.
Meng Hao took the Feng Shui compass, his expression the same as usual. He examined it further with Spiritual Sense. After confirming that it was a teleportation device, he nodded.
Han Bei’s smile grew even more beautiful. She gave Meng Hao a slight bow, then looked over at Xie Jie, who was glaring at Meng Hao. He made no attempt to hide his displeasure. He and Han Bei had been a couple for some time. Once their mission here was completed, they were to return to the Sect and be officially united as beloved.
Han Bei took a deep breath and then waved her beautiful hand. The three colored strands interlocked and flew out. They grew longer, creating a complex pattern which then shot toward the statue of the Han ancestor and into the crack on its back. At the same time, Han Bei bit her tongue and then spit out some blood. The three strands turned bright red, and continued to stream into the crack.
Next, the strands separated. Han Bei grabbed one, and the other two shot toward Meng Hao and Xie Jie respectively.
Meng Hao’s eyes glittered as he grabbed the strand. As soon as he touched it, he felt the copper mirror growing hot within the bag of the Cosmos.
“The objects held aloft by the nine statues are not real. They are mere illusions. The true treasures are inside the circular cauldron. No one can take them, not even someone of one of the nine Bloodlines. However, the body of the Han ancestor was struck with Tribulation Lightning, and was cracked. Therefore, the Time refining treasure within the cauldron is the only of the nine that can be acquired!
“The only way to get it, is to break open the circular cauldron. With our Cultivation bases, that would be impossible. Brother Meng! Xie, dear! Please bolster the power of my bloodline. We will use the power of the ancestor statue to retrieve the item!” Her eyes glowed mysteriously as she looked at Meng Hao and Xie Jie, a sweet smile on her face.