Chapter 165: Sieve Net Thunder Tree!
“STOP!!!” shrieked Lu Tao, terror-stricken. His face completely drained of blood, and he felt as if the shadow of death were looming over him.
He clearly remembered the scene when he had entered this Blessed Land, how so many Cultivators had exploded, their Dao Pillars sucked away. He was from the Black Lands, and knew a secret method that he had been able to utilize to stay safe. But with Meng Hao here, he felt an incredible pressure weighing down upon him that he had never felt before.
Furthermore, it seemed that no matter what he said, Meng Hao wouldn’t believe him. Meng Hao completely had the upper hand. Faced with such life-or-death danger, Lu Tao’s schemes disappeared like ash into the wind.
“I’m telling the truth,” said Lu Tao pleadingly. “Thunderclap Leaves can be absorbed into magical treasures to imbue them with the power of lightning. Why don’t you believe me!?” His voice was hoarse, and from the look on his face, he had been pushed to the limit and had nothing more he could say. His eyes suddenly seemed to flash with understanding. He gave a hoarse laugh, and his eyes filled with boldness born of desperation. “I get it. It’s not that you don’t believe me, it’s that you want to kill me!
“Fine! Just shatter my spell, then. I, Lu, have already explained the Thunderclap Leaf’s usage. If you’re going to kill me, then just kill me. But you can forget about getting the information from my jade slip!” Gritting his teeth, Lu Tao pushed down hard on the jade slip. If Meng Hao was really going to destroy the spell, then he would crush it to make sure the fish died and the net was torn; everyone would lose.
Meng Hao looked calmly at Lu Tao. Some time passed, and then he sighed. He lifted his hand and pushed down again. A boom sounded out. What was destroyed, however, was not the spell, but rather the jade slip in Lu Tao’s hand.
Meng Hao destroyed it, transforming it into pieces of ash.
This caused Lu Tao’s face to fall and his heart to grow cold. Obviously, this action on the part of Meng Hao indicated that… he didn’t believe him!
“Tell me, or don’t tell me. I’m out of patience,” he said coolly. It’s not that he didn’t believe what Lu Tao said about the Thunderclap Leaves being able to imbue magical treasures with the power of lightning. But Lu Tao spoke his words too easily. They might be true, but Meng Hao couldn’t imagine that the Thunderclap Leaves collected by Patriarch Reliance would be so simple.
A bitter smile appeared on Lu Tao’s face, as if he had nothing left to say. Meng Hao nodded slightly, then began to press down onto the spell. This time, he would completely destroy it.
“I’LL TELL!!” Lu Tao’s body was trembling, and his heart nearly collapsed into pieces. The shaking of his Dao Pillar turned into a look of resolve in his eyes, and a bitter smile on his lips.
“I’ll tell you,” he said, quivering. “But you have to swear that after I tell you, you won’t do anything to damage my spell.” He smiled a painful smile. Everything he had said before was filled with half-truths, and yet, none of it even touched on the real truth, the most important part. Facing up against death the way he was now, however, he had no choice but to be honest.
“Speak,” said Meng Hao, his expression the same as ever, but his eyes shining mysteriously.
Lu Tao took a deep breath, and was silent for just a moment. Then, with a pained look, he slowly began to speak. “Thunderclap Leaves come from the Thunderclap Tree. But the Thunderclap Tree’s real name is Sieve Net Thunder, or Mulberry Thunder Tree.”
Meng Hao’s expression was placid, and it was impossible to tell what he was thinking. He looked coolly at Lu Tao. This in turn caused indescribable terror to fill Lu Tao’s heart. His anguished expression grew stronger, and the coldness within him completely encompassed his heart and filled his body. He began to tremble with fear.
“There’s a legend about the Mulberry Thunder Tree. According to this legend, in ancient times there was an almighty being who achieved enlightenment while sitting underneath a Sieve Net Thunder Tree. Heavenly Tribulation descended, desiring to wipe out this new Dao. The will of the lightning infected the tree. As for the almighty being, it split apart the Tribulation Lightning and then stepped into the stars.
“Though the almighty being departed, the Sieve Net Thunder Tree absorbed some of its Dao in addition to the power of the Tribulation Lightning. It was destroyed, and yet, a thousand years later, a sprout appeared within the dead trunk!
“Thus was born a tree that was mulberry, but not mulberry. Thunder, but not thunder. A Sieve Net Mulberry Thunder Tree!”
Meng Hao’s eyes glittered as he listened to Lu Tao, but he said nothing.
“In regards to the almighty being which achieved enlightenment underneath the Sieve Net Mulberry Thunder Tree, what he said that day beneath the tree was that if he could not achieve ultimate supremacy, he would rather his body be shattered, and stay underneath the tree for all eternity!” Lu Tao lowered his head as he spoke, hiding the stubbornness which shone in his eyes.
A strange expression appeared on Meng Hao’s face as he listened to the story. It seemed to him unlikely that Lu Tao was making this story up as he went.
“Countless ages have passed since the Sieve Net Mulberry Thunder Tree appeared. Eventually, it became part of the heart of the earth, which then caused more trees to sprout. Yet, they contained the experiences from events in ancient times. Because the will of the Heavens evolved, this tree was eventually able to cast off that which withered it. Today, it is as precious as phoenix feathers and qilin horns.”
Lu Tao was silent for a moment before continuing. “Most Cultivators will use the tree to meld it with magical items, or even absorb it into their Dao Pillars, acquiring the invincible thunder which exists within the Sieve Net Mulberry Thunder Leaf.
“However, in the Black Lands, there is a type of larva called Frigid Snow, which exists in the snowstorms of mid-winter. Of all the remarkable bugs in the world, it is ranked number ninety-seven. It’s a remarkable larva; it doesn’t produce silk, but rather, intense coldness. It is quite prized by Cultivators, and if it can be acquired, is viewed as a precious treasure. It can be refined into a Frigid Spirit, embodied into a Frigid treasure.
“This larva is not common, but not exceedingly rare, and occasionally appears.” At this point, Lu Tao paused for a moment and looked at Meng Hao.
Meng Hao looked back at him, and their gazes locked for a moment. Lu Tao sighed inwardly, and then continued.
“What only a few people know, however, is that there is an unusual relationship between the larva and the Sieve Net Thunder Mulberry Tree. If the larva consumes the leaves of the tree, it is possible for it to become the number four ranked remarkable bug… the Eyeless Larva!
“The Eyeless Larva turns into a chrysalis, and will produce a thread of silk. That thread cannot be broken, nor can the body be destroyed. The body cannot be destroyed, and the thread cannot be broken. It creates an unstoppable cycle. The thread becomes an invincible precious treasure.
“The Eyeless Larva has only appeared twice throughout history, and each time, the thread it produced caused a sensation in the Cultivation world. There was even conflict in the Eastern Lands. To this very day, no one knows what caused the death of the Eyeless Larvae that appeared twice before.” Lu Tao sighed inwardly. Having finished speaking, he looked deeply at Meng Hao, then closed his eyes.
Meng Hao muttered to himself as he looked at closed-eyed Lu Tao. Finally, he laughed. Turning, his body transformed into a prismatic beam which shot off into the distance.
After Meng Hao left, Lu Tao opened his eyes. He looked blankly up at the sky, then let out a long sigh. Soon, his eyes filled with a cold glow.
“Everything I said now was ninety percent true and ten percent false. That guy might by smart, but he’ll have a hard time telling which is which. He’ll definitely go looking for the Frigid Snow Larva. If he really does feed it the Sieve Net Thunder Mulberry Leaf, then he’s dead!
“All I have to do now is endure this pain a bit longer until the Black Sieve Sect finishes. Then I’ll be able to find some clues in this place to find what I’m looking for.” A grim look on his face, he took a deep breath, and then closed his eyes to begin repairing his spell.
Meng Hao was lost in thought as he flew through the air. Of course he wouldn’t believe everything that Lu Tao told him. However, he was fairly certain that at least some of what he’d said was true. It would have been too difficult to simply make up such a story on the spot. Perhaps half was true and half were lies.
“With desire, comes incompleteness. If I have no desire, then the storms will not touch me.” Meng Hao smiled as he continued onward. Everything he passed was completely barren; he didn’t see even one rogue Foundation Establishment Cultivator. Up ahead, the Hundred Spirits Tower emitted a bright glow which surrounded everything.
From such a distance, Meng Hao was unable to spot Xu Qing amongst the crowd. He silently took out the good luck charm and poured some spiritual energy into it. Immediately, he felt the teleportation power.
However, he couldn’t teleport immediately. It would require some time before the power could be activated. Meng Hao took a deep breath and then shot toward the peak of a nearby mountain. He sat down cross-legged. Ignoring what was happening around him, he continued to pour spiritual energy into the good luck charm, feeling the teleportation power growing in intensity.
“I need to wait for the time it takes half an incense stick to burn…” This was his first time using the good luck charm, so it was also his first time encountering its downside.
His current location wasn’t exactly safe, but there were no people around, only the glow emanating from the Hundred Spirits Tower. However, his Perfect Foundation was still capable of resisting it. If too much time passed, though, it would become more difficult to fight back. Therefore, he concentrated fully on the good luck charm.
“I wonder where I’ll be teleported to….” His eyes flickered as he felt the teleportation power surging. He placed his right hand on the ground. The dirt began to churn, and tentacles burst up out of the soil. They transformed into a violet-golden fruit the size of a palm. Meng Hao closed his fingers over it and then placed it into his bag of the Cosmos.
It was at this moment that suddenly, something flickered in the air near the Hundred Spirits Tower. It wasn’t large, but Meng Hao immediately recognized it. It was none other than what he and Han Bei had encountered before teleporting out of the square cauldron… the meat jelly!
It floated in mid-air, its archaic features gazing curiously at the Hundred Spirits Tower.
Suddenly, it emitted a piercing howl which filled heaven and earth. The wind and clouds surged, and the ground shook. Even the Hundred Spirits Tower trembled as if it might collapse. The hundreds of phantoms which circled around all began to shriek. Lightning began to build up on their bodies.
Surrounding the tower at its base were nearly one thousand Black Sieve Sect disciples, all sitting cross legged. In the forefront were eight Core Formation Cultivators. As soon as the meat jelly appeared and the clouds whipped into a frenzy, their eyes opened, and they looked up into the sky.
“That thing is Ultimate Vexation?”
Their eyes filled with excitement, and their hearts pounded as their hands flickered incantations. Immediately, the ground in front of them began to glow, and suddenly Patriarch Violet Sieve and the beautiful middle-aged woman appeared. Nascent Soul Cultivators!
“So, it was fished out!!”
“I shall acquire this item today!” cried Patriarch Violet Sieve. His eyes were fixed on the meat jelly and they shined with intense expectation.