Chapter 182: There’s Always a Bird Out There That’s Better Than You
Dawn…. Meng Hao opened his eyes, then immediately closed them again.
“What a good friend! In the past several lives, I’ve only had myself to talk to. I never realized how boring it is to talk to myself… And I could never figure out why everyone hates me so much. They even call me Ultimate Vexation….”
“Yeah! I haven’t had a discussion like this the entire time I’ve been in the Solitary Sword Sect.”
“Come come, now that we’ve finished talking about the noon sunshine, let’s talk a bit about the afternoon….”
Late morning…. Sunlight filtered into the house. Meng Hao opened his eyes and stared blankly at Chen Fan and the meat jelly. He sighed and continued to meditate.
“Let me tell you, I’m sick of afternoons. I remember the afternoon of one year when I….”
“You’re right! I’m the same way. But the only thing I can do during that time is to grind my teeth….”
More hours passed, and soon it was afternoon. Meng Hao opened his eyes a few times, but all he could do was laugh bitterly and close them again.
Chen Fan and the meat jelly had talked through the entire night, all the way through the morning. One man, one bird, seemingly inexhaustible and, in fact, in high spirits.
Meng Hao couldn’t help but admire Elder Brother Chen. It seemed he really was a perfect match for the meat jelly.
Meng Hao sat quietly. He wanted to stand up, but was worried that Chen Fan and the meat jelly would drag him into their conversation. He took a breath and then closed his eyes, pretending that he couldn’t hear anything that they were saying.
Eventually, the sun began to set….
“I like sunset the best. Every time I gaze at the setting sun, I think of that time one year when I was just a tiny meat jelly, I….”
“Sunset is immeasurably wonderful. You know, you really don’t know how difficult it is to practice Cultivation. Oh, that reminds me, throughout the years, I’ve actually collected a thousand different stories about the sunset. I really want to tell you all of them. Come come. I’ll start with the first one….”
The sun had set, and evening passed. Soon it was night again. One man, one bird, chattering away endlessly for a day and a night. They talked on, seemingly not the least bit tired. When midnight came, it finally seemed that Chen Fan wasn’t able to keep going.
“Umm, why don’t we rest a bit?”
“No way! I don’t get many chances to have such a lovely discussion. We still haven’t talked about the meaning of life yet. Ah, the meaning of life. What a beautiful whatchamacallit flower 1. Oh, right. I forgot. Before we talk about the meaning of life, we need to talk about moonlight….”
“Uh… Alright. Actually, I have over three thousand stories about the moonlight….”
“Eee? I have some stories too! Actually, I have ten thousand. You go first, and then me.”
Meng Hao was almost on the verge of collapse. His eyes were bloodshot, and he panted as he forced himself to calm down and return to meditation.
The night passed slowly. Outside, everything was quiet. But within the room, one man and one bird had reached the pinnacle of their conversation. Early morning light once again made its way into the house. Chen Fan’s face was a bit wan, and his eyes were bloodshot.
“Let’s rest a bit… I… I have some plans today….”
“No way! I’m not finished yet. We still haven’t talked about the meaning of life. Now that I’m finished with my ten thousand stories about the moonlight, we can continue our discussion.”
Morning passed, and soon it was noontime, then another sunset. Chen Fan’s expression was dull as he stared at the parrot and its unceasing torrent of words. A look of admiration slowly grew in his eyes.
“Now that we have built up the conversation properly, we can finally discuss the meaning of life. Eee…? It’s dark outside. I just realized that when we talked about sunset, there were thirty thousand stories I forgot to mention. That won’t do! I don’t get chances like this very often. I need to tell you those stories….” The meat jelly cleared its throat a few times, and then began speaking again.
A few hours passed, until finally Chen Fan’s patience and long-windedness were run out. “I… I really do have some plans….” said Chen Fan, standing up suddenly.
His body swayed back and forth a bit, and then he took a few steps back, his face drained of blood. Meng Hao opened his eyes and looked admiringly at Chen Fan. He had just chatted nonstop for two days and two nights….
“Little Junior Brother, I actually have some plans, so I’m going to take off. Um… I’ll come back for you in a few days….” His face was pale and he looked dizzy. As of now, he didn’t look at the meat jelly with admiration, but rather, fear.
He’d always thought of himself as someone who could talk, but now he realized how wrong he was. There existed a bird that could surpass even him! Without waiting for Meng Hao to respond, Chen Fan opened the door and fled.
“Elder Brother,” Meng Hao called after him, “I think you have an affinity with this talking Spirit parrot, why don’t you take it with you….”
Chen Fan suddenly staggered, and his face twisted. Without an instant of hesitation, his body transformed into a beam of light that disappeared into the distance.
“What a good fellow,” said the meat jelly parrot, sighing with emotion. “I really like this Elder Brother Chen of yours. I haven’t met someone in years who could carry on such a long conversation with me. Eee? We never discussed the meaning of life!”
Meng Hao’s scalp suddenly began to grow numb. To be able to provoke such a reaction from Elder Brother Chen showed how truly powerful this meat jelly was. Such power was rarely seen in the world.
“It’s too bad I couldn’t finish,” said the meat jelly discontentedly. “I was just starting to get excited. Now it’s all over?” Chattering away, it flew up onto Meng Hao’s shoulder. “Why don’t you chat a bit with me, I’m feeling a bit lonely….”
Meng Hao’s face went pale, and he took a deep breath. He forced a wry smile onto his face, and his mind spun, trying to come up with an idea.
“I think perhaps you forgot someone,” he said.
“Who? Who? Who? Who did I forget? How could I forget somebody?” Given a chance to have a conversation, the meat jelly would definitely seize it immediately.
“You forgot about the old man in the mask!” said Meng Hao hurriedly. “You still haven’t turned him back from the path of wickedness.”
“Eee? Right! That old man isn’t too bad, actually. But you’re right. I need to go have a talk with him.” Face shining with anticipation, the meat jelly parrot flashed, instantly disappearing into Meng Hao’s bag of the Cosmos.
Meng Hao could just barely hear the sound of the Li Clan Patriarch’s sad, shrill cry when the meat jelly entered the mask. He had never heard such a cry come from the man before.
Meng Hao let out a long sigh and sat down on the ground, laughing bitterly. He looked at the moonlight outside and sighed again, wondering about what his life would be like in the coming days. Having the meat jelly with him constantly was a frightening thought.
“There must be a way to control it. That damned meat jelly….” Meng Hao gritted his teeth, and his eyes glittered brightly. “Its old enemy… the copper mirror… the parrot….” His eyes glittered even more brightly when he thought about reaching Core Formation. His anticipation soared to new heights.
Three days flashed by, during which time Chen Fan never returned. Obviously, he was so frightened of Meng Hao’s meat jelly that he didn’t dare to come back. If he did, the meat jelly parrot might draw him into another conversation.
It was on the fourth day that he cautiously made his way back. He opened the door to the room, then immediately retreated several steps. When he saw that there was no parrot on Meng Hao’s shoulder, he glanced around the room and then let out a sigh.
Meng Hao could only give him a wry smile. What else could he say?
Chen Fan stood nervously outside the room. “That…. Little Junior Brother, it… it’s gone?” He looked very nervous.
“Pretty much….” replied Meng Hao, standing up and walking out.
Chen Fan let out a long sigh and looked at Meng Hao with a forced smile.
“Little Junior Brother, that parrot of yours is… Wow, what a bird. I truly admire it. Well, no need to talk about it, really. There are only a few more days until the Song Clan’s banquet. I’ve already arranged everything. When it comes time, we can teleport directly there. Today, why don’t you let me show you around the Solitary Sword Sect? After all, when we come back from the Song Clan, this will be your Sect, so you should get to know it.” He grabbed Meng Hao’s sleeve and pulled him out to the courtyard.
Meng Hao’s expression was the same as ever, but in his mind appeared an image of the map of the Southern Domain. The Song Clan was located relatively close to the Violet Fate Sect. As for the Solitary Sword Sect, Meng Hao thought about it a lot during the past days and had finally reached a conclusion. He decided that he would not take advantage of Chen Fan’s offer to join the Solitary Sword Sect.
He still wanted to figure out some way to disguise himself and join the Violet Fate Sect. He would learn Violet Qi from the East as well as alchemy. And he would also figure out a way to get Grandmaster Pill Demon to dispel his poison.
As for the Solitary Sword Sect, Meng Hao didn’t believe that Chen Fan’s master would be able to help him get rid of the poison. He needed the help of someone, not of the Nascent Soul stage, but the Spirit Severing stage!
Meng Hao was certain of this. However, Chen Fan was so warm and welcoming, he didn’t feel it was appropriate to tell him directly. Regarding the Song Clan, Meng Hao very much wanted to go see it; however, because of his concerns regarding the Black Sieve Sect, he was still hesitating.
“I need to figure out a way to get in touch with Han Bei….” he thought. “She should be able to tell me what ended up happening with the Black Sieve Sect.” He rubbed his bag of holding, and a cold smile touched his lips. There inside was a piece of jade which he could use to keep Han Bei in her place.
He followed Chen Fan around the Solitary Sword Sect. Buildings lined the meandering paths, and streams flowed here and there. The whole place looked both imposing and tasteful.
The two of them chatted as they walked, and soon it was noontime. Eventually, they reached a large circular structure which was filled with hundreds of energetic Solitary Sword Sect disciples.
“This is the Battle Arena,” explained Chen Fan, “where Solitary Sword Sect disciples can fight each other. You can injure, but not kill. There are strict punishments for anyone who breaks the rules.”
Meng Hao looked at it and was about to walk away when suddenly, his brow furrowed. A sinister voice suddenly rang out.
“Guests can fight in the Battle Arena to exchange techniques with our Sect disciples. I, Li, shall enter the arena. I would like to invite this outsider guest… to duel with me if he dares!” It was none other the middle-aged man named Li. A hypocritical smile covered his face as he strolled out from the crowd, staring mockingly at Meng Hao.
“Will you hide behind your Elder Brother again? Can you even make a single attack, you good-for-nothing loser? If you don’t dare to fight, then you’d better hope you don’t have to face me again in the future.”
Everyone’s eyes came to rest on Meng Hao and Chen Fan.
- In this passage, he starts to erroneously quote a Chinese expression, but then kind of gives up in the middle ↩