ISSTH – Book 3 – Chapter 245

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Chapter 245: Back To the Black Sieve Sect

Meng Hao didn’t really want to go, but the command jade slip had been issued, and he had no good reason to refuse. Furthermore… he owed a lot of medicinal pills to the Sect. All of his debts were in the official records, and although he didn’t have to pay up immediately, sooner or later, he would.

If he didn’t, then his access to medicinal plants would be restricted. Therefore, this trip outside the Sect would serve more than one purpose. Not only would he be able to gain experience, but he would could reduce some of his debt to the Sect.

“For Fang Mu, a trip to the Black Sieve Sect… is a great opportunity!” Determination glittered in Meng Hao’s eyes. His decision to go to the Black Sieve Sect having been made, the image of Elder Sister Xu appeared in his mind.

He also thought of Han Bei, as well as Zhou Jie, and all of the events which had occurred that year connected to the Black Sieve Sect. 1

“This time, I will be traveling in the Southern Domain as a Furnace Lord of the Violet Fate Sect.” Chuckling, Meng Hao flicked his sleeve to gather together the various items he would take with him. Then, jade slip in hand, he left his Immortal’s Cave.

Several days later.

“Grandmaster Zhou, Grandmaster Fang, this is a Black Sieve Fruit, which we grow here in the Black Sieve Sect. The flavor is as delectable as fine wine, and they are usually only given to Sect Elders.”

Somewhere outside of the Violet Fate Sect, a massive black airship shot through the air at top speed. It was crewed by several hundred Black Sieve Sect disciples, all of whom had extraordinary Cultivation bases within the Foundation Establishment stage.

There was one disciple of the Core Formation stage, the Alchemy Protector dispatched by the Black Sieve Sect to guard over the Violet Fate Sect disciples. He sat with them in the center of the airship, smiling, concealing the thoughtfulness which exist in his mind. In front of him was a white-haired old man in a black and purple robe; he seemed to emanate the Dao, and pure transcendence. Next to the old man was a handsome, fair-skinned young man.

The old man’s expression was that of indifference mixed with austerity. His Cultivation base was at the late Foundation Establishment stage. This was none other than Furnace Lord Zhou, whom Meng Hao had debated in the valley one month before.

The young man next to him emanated the faint scent of medicinal plants. He looked less like a Cultivator than a scholar. Naturally, this was none other than Meng Hao.

In addition to the Core Formation Cultivator, the Black Sieve Sect had also dispatched a young man who appeared to be a bit over thirty years of age. He wore a long bluish-black robe and seemed to abound in profundity and knowledge. He sat wordlessly off to the side, looking somewhat taciturn. When Meng Hao had caught sight of him for the first time several days ago, he had felt shock in his heart.

This was Zhou Jie!

Dao Child of the Black Sieve Sect!

This was the same person Meng Hao had battled years ago, a battle of the peak of Foundation Establishment! In that battle, Zhou Jie had lost. His open and upright actions had earned Meng Hao’s respect, and he had spared his life. 2

Meng Hao hadn’t seen him for five years, and now, something about him seemed different. Meng Hao couldn’t quite tell what it was, but it left him with a very bizarre feeling.

Such thoughts swirled in his heart, but were not revealed on his face. After hearing the words of the Core Formation Cultivator, Meng Hao was still considering how to respond, when old man Zhou reached out to take one of the Black Sieve Fruits.

“What an extraordinary fruit,” he said coolly. “It would be best used as a medicinal ingredient. I won’t waste it by eating it.” He glanced at Meng Hao.

Meng Hao didn’t say anything. With a smile, he accepted the Black Sieve Fruit and then placed it in his bag of holding. Inwardly, he sighed. How could he possibly have imagined that the Violet Fate Sect would send him out with old man Zhou? Zhou was responsible for giving lectures regarding the Dao of alchemy, whereas he would be in charge of pill concocting.

For the entire time they had been on the airship, Zhou hadn’t given Meng Hao anything but dirty looks. Of course, the people from Black Sieve Sect had picked up on this.

The Core Formation Cultivator had a wide smile on his face, but inwardly had some doubts. “This Furnace Lord Zhou Dekun is famous and deeply qualified. He’s one of the top Furnace Lords, and his frequent visits to the Black Sieve Sect show how much the Violet Fate Sect respects us. However, this Fang Mu…. After asking around, I found that he finagled his way to Furnace Lord half a year ago. He’s really nothing more than a master alchemist.” Of course, the man would never allow any expression onto his face which would indicate he was looking down on Fang Mu. However, he did treat old man Zhou with a higher level of respect. 3

He laughed loudly. “If you’d like, Grandmaster Zhou,” he said, his voice kind, “I can entreat the Sect Leader to provide both of you with even more Black Sieve Fruits.”

Off to the side, Zhou Jie sat taciturnly. He hadn’t said a single word the entire time. In this respect, he was somewhat like Meng Hao, who wasn’t in the mood for conversation. Furthermore, it seemed to please old man Zhou that he was left to handle all the formalities.

The four people sat there, only two engaging in conversation, their expressions cheerful. Old man Zhou seemed very proud of himself. “This time,” he told himself, “I’ll show this pup how formidable I truly am.”

Time passed. The airship traveled quickly, and even made use of several teleportation portals. A few days later, the Hundred Thousand Mountains of the Black Sieve Sect appeared off in the distance.

Meng Hao had spent most of the time in secluded meditation. No one had dared to interrupt him; the Black Sieve Sect disciples all gave him looks filled with utmost respect.

As for Zhou, his actions were quite the opposite of Meng Hao’s. He engaged in bombastic discussions with the Core Formation Cultivator, flagrantly displaying his profound and awe-inspiring understanding of the Dao of alchemy.

Meng Hao didn’t mind, nor did he care about the way old man Zhou seemed to loathe him. Despite his loathing, he didn’t dare to ridicule Meng Hao like he had before. In fact, his debate with Meng Hao had left him fearful at heart.

This was Meng Hao’s first time to appear in front of outsiders as an alchemist. Observing the respect with which others treated him because of his position, he was even more reassured that he had made the right decision in joining the Violet Fate Sect.

Of course, if the people here found out that he was actually Meng Hao, then their killing intent would billow to the heavens. Whenever he heard the stories people told about Meng Hao, he would sigh inwardly.

“As of now, I’m truly a part of the Southern Domain. Five years ago, I was just an outsider.” He stood at the bow of the airship, lost in thought, staring off at the Black Sieve Sect, which was slowly growing closer and closer.

The Hundred Thousand Mountains stretched out seemingly without end. Black smoke from the gigantic incense burner rose up into the sky. The Black Sieve Sect seemed to be filled with a mysterious, incredible power.

The Black Sieve Sect disciple’s faces emanated a pride that seemed to stem from their bones, birthed by their endless mountains and the smoke which rose to the heavens.

Zhou and the Core Formation Cultivator strolled up, chatting. When Zhou saw Meng Hao, he snorted. They were fellow Sect members, and whatever ill feelings they had toward each other shouldn’t be overtly revealed to outsiders. Therefore, he only snorted, but didn’t say anything else, joining Meng Hao to look out at the Black Sieve Sect.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time Meng Hao had come to help the Black Sieve Sect. However, the circumstances this time were vastly different. As soon as the airship approached the Hundred Thousand Mountains, the sound of bells filled the air.

Six peals rang out, attracting the attention of hundreds of thousands of Black Sieve Sect disciples. Actually, none of them knew what was happening, but soon, inquiries were made and news began to spread.

The Black Sieve Sect had invited Furnace Lords from the Violet Fate Sect for a visit.

Soon, Meng Hao caught sight of dozens of beams of light flying out from the Black Sieve Sect, followed by hundreds of Conclave disciples.

Among the Conclave disciples was Han Bei. She had a strange expression on her face when she looked at Meng Hao. Meng Hao had made inquiries earlier about Elder Sister Xu, and had discovered that she had already become a Conclave disciple. However, she was not among the group that approached now.

Laughter rang out, followed by a clear, powerful voice from the group of Cultivators in the lead, who were all of the Core Formation stage. One was even of the Nascent Soul stage! “Greetings Grandmaster Zhou and Grandmaster Fang! Welcome to the Black Sieve Sect!”

The Nascent Soul Cultivator was no stranger to Meng Hao. He was none other than… Patriarch Violet Sieve! 4

He was also the person who has just spoken!

When enemies meet, eyes will usually turn red, and killing intent will explode out. Instead, Patriarch Violet Sieve’s face was filled with a smile. He expressed no arrogance because of his Nascent Soul Cultivation base, but rather utmost respect for the two alchemists.

Meng Hao’s expression was solemn. He quickly stepped forward, a respectful look on his face. Almost at the same time, old man Zhou also walked forward. Together, they clasped hands and greeted Patriarch Violet Sieve.

For the Black Sieve Sect to dispatch a Nascent Soul Cultivator to receive them was an extreme honor. As representatives of the Violet Fate Sect, Meng Hao and old man Zhou could certainly not commit a breach of etiquette.

“Grandmaster Zhou,” said Patriarch Violet Sieve, “you are one of the highest ranked Furnace Lords. Your rise to Violet Furnace Lord is surely just around the corner. Your esteemed presence in the Black Sieve Sect has added glitter to our humble abode.” He laughed heartily, smiling at Zhou, and then turned his attention to Meng Hao. “Grandmaster Fang, you are the youngest of the Furnace Lords of the Violet Fate Sect. Your fame is spreading throughout the Southern Domain, and I’ve long since heard your name. Seeing you today, I am now assured that you are a hero amongst commoners.”

Patriarch Violet Sieve’s words were spoken well. Although he inwardly cared more about old man Zhou, he did not show any disregard for Meng Hao. The Core Formation Cultivators who surrounded him clasped hands and saluted Meng Hao and old man Zhou. None of them showed even the slightest trace of arrogance, only utmost courtesy.

After some pleasantries were exchanged, one of the Core Formation Cultivators called over the Conclave disciples and introduced them to Meng Hao and old man Zhou. A slight smile appeared on Meng Hao’s face as he nodded to the various disciples one after another.

“My respects, Grandmaster Zhou, Grandmaster Fang!”

“Greetings, Grandmaster Zhou, Grandmaster Fang.” Normally, these Conclave disciples would have lofty and proud demeanors in front of outside Cultivators. But today, their expressions were filled with respect. The fame of Furnace Lords was enough to awe anyone.

The title of Grandmaster by which they were called was simply honorary, of course, as neither of them were true Grandmasters.

Old man Zhou smiled toward the Black Sieve Sect’s Conclave disciples. Considering his age, all that was required of him was a slight nod. However, when he noticed that Meng Hao was doing the same, an irritated feeling arose in his heart.

When Han Bei was introduced, Meng Hao looked at her with a smile. He hadn’t seen her for five years. If anything, she was more beautiful. Her figure was curvaceous 5, her face alluring, and as she stood there, it seemed as if rainbows would lose their color if they neared her. She was uniquely gorgeous.

“Han Bei extends greetings to Grandmaster Zhou and Grandmaster Fang,” she said, her voice soft and velvety. Such a voice seemed capable of making the heart itch.

Meng Hao smiled and nodded, and was just about to glance over to the next person, when suddenly, a voice rang out in his mind. It had been a long time since the Demon Sealing Jade had spoken to him.

“Discarnate souls possess the body, desiring to return from the afterlife, a technique of quickening. Demons under the vault of the Heavens shall be incinerated; ashes shall fly. Seal them, and the sun of the seventh month shall be concealed; help them, and the blood of the Demon Sealer can fuse with its will!”

—–

This chapter was sponsored by Caleb Gleason

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  1. Han Bei is the beautiful, conniving Conclave disciple who last appeared in Chapter 192. Zhou Jie is the Dao Child whose life Meng Hao spared in the final chapter of book 2, Chapter 204
  2. The battle between Meng Hao and Zhou Jie started in chapter 202
  3. Zhou Dekun’s name in Chinese is 周德坤 zhōu dé kūn – Zhou is a common surname. De means “morals” or “virtue.” Kun is one of the Eight Trigrams which represents Earth and has a variety of other meanings
  4. Patriarch Violet Sieve was in charge of the mission to get Ultimate Vexation. He last appeared in chapter 166
  5. The word I’m translating as curvaceous is kind of cool in Chinese. The characters are very visual: 凹凸

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56 thoughts on “ISSTH – Book 3 – Chapter 245” - NO SPOILERS

    1. The demon sealing ‘notifications’ always feel like side quests. It’s weird, I’m always imagining a random ‘!’ popping in the vicinity haha

  1. Thanks for the chapter!!!

    wooo. Hopefully there’s some mental battle coming soon. Those are the best!!

    LOL, Meng Hao walking into enemy territory and is being treated like a boss!!

    Also, I always assumed that Han Bei didn’t know about the discarnate spirits. But now, either she’s possessed or she has some control over them… man it’s going to be good! And Xu Qing is now a Conclave disciple, does Han Bei really have that much influence??… I sure hope she isn’t possessed.

    1. Yeah, I think only the Sect elders know about the discarnate souls, and they secretly bind them to talented junior disciples for some (nefarious?) reason.

      Zhou Jie seemed pretty confused about what was happening when Meng Hao sealed those souls attached to him (and subsequently caused that forbidden technique to fail) during their fight. I got the impression he didn’t even know about the existence of those souls.
      ——-

      “a technique of quickening” is the key

      quickening:
      to give or restore vigor or activity to;
      to revive; restore life to
      (also a pregnancy term for the first discernible fetal movements in the womb, aka “flutters”)

      I’m pretty sure these disciples are unknowingly nurturing these discarnate souls, very slowly having their life force sapped to “carry them to term”, so to speak. 😛 The Black Sieve Sect is really sinister.

    2. Yea, it’s really intriguing. So far, we’ve seen that at least the Song Clan, Violet Fate, and Wang Clan had an immortal ancestor cultivator as the foundation of their strength. They genuinely seems to build strength by giving benefits to real-life cultivators. But, it seems Black Sieve Sect has entirely different foundation – discarnate spirits who claim to be “immortals.” Makes you wonder if the Elders are really themselves or are already 100% stably possessed. Or if they are trying to build strength through real cultivators or through reviving spirits. Or reviving spirits is the whole purpose of the sect, and raising real-life cultivators is just a means to the end.

      1. Well the Violet Fate Sect aren’t all flowers and rainbows either.

        If you remember all of their Chosen are taught a technique to steal another cultivator’s roots and turn them into a puppet cultivator controlled by the Sect. Those puppet cultivators are actually members of their Sect too, and as we saw at the Pill Auction, the Sect actually uses them to test poisons and drugs for simple marketing.

        I’m sure the other sects have their own dirty secrets too. Black Sieve and the Blood Sect (whose exact name I’m forgetting atm) are probably the two worst though.

  2. Wait… the demon sealing jade’s notification feels very… contradictory this time…

    Sealing = hidden seventh sun (i think that would be like no sun for the 7th day or 7th month, something like that?). Sounds negative.
    Helping = fusion of will. Sounds positive.

    So… as a demon sealer, doesnt that seem contradictory?

    Anyways, thanks for the chap!

    1. remember in the past it was stated as the Demon Sealer he could choose to help or seal the demons. If he helped them then he would free them if he sealed them then he would bind them. Either way he would gain power from it permanently. Though it seems helping one, usually a benign or good “demon” would gain a much larger benefit than a malicious one. Primarily because helping a malicious one would result in harm to you because well you just gave power to an entity and it knows you could take it away.

      1. I really like the Demon Sealing Jade. It’s fun trying to parse what it’s saying and what that actually means. 😛

        And yeah, it seems like “Demons” in ISSTH aren’t inherently evil. There’s even been a hint that Pill Demon himself became a demon through his Dao, though I’m not 100% certain that it’s true (chapter 218):
        This was… Pill Demon! Demons can take countless forms, just like the variations of medicinal pills. The day this old man achieved his Dao, he took the name Pill Demon.

        The Demon Sealing Jade typically recommends sealing spirits/demons, probably because they’re usually (but not always) evil/vengeful. But like you said, besides the example in today’s chapter, there was one other occasion where Meng Hao was given a choice to help instead.

        Here are the past examples (all of them? not sure):

        When Meng Hao encountered that zombie when he first came to the Black Sieve Sect, no choice…
        “Some spirits in the cycle of reincarnation avoid burial. Their Qi seems Demonic, and yet not. They are above living creatures, but infected with the tens of thousands of variations of the mortal world. The Qi is serene. Consumed by bones and spirit, they can lead the way to the path. If you encounter such Qi, you must seal it!”

        When Meng Hao saw that famous female Solitary Sword Sect disciple, there was a choice (although he didn’t end up doing anything)…
        “A stone of the Ninth Mountain descended and became a new mountain (山.) The mountain (山) has a spirit (灵,) and the spirit (灵) is demonic. Its will is not of this world. If you encounter it… allow it to transform magically if it is good. Seal and exterminate it if it is violent. Make your choice after careful consideration.”

        When Meng Hao noticed the discarnate souls attached to Zhou Jie during their fight, no choice…
        “A hosts of evil spirits which call themselves Immortals (仙). But why fear a man (人) and a mountain (山)? If you encounter them, seal them immediately!”

      2. >>This was… Pill Demon! Demons can take countless forms, just like the variations of medicinal pills. The day this old man achieved his Dao, he took the name Pill Demon

        Hmm.. that’s an interesting thought about this passage. I took it more as a metaphorical meaning that he chose the “Pill Demon” to represent his Dao, not that he became a Demon, and is or was a demon. Kind of like the Cauldron representing MH’s Heaven-defying “Dao” or Eternal Mountain representing his Dao of alchemy to concoct indestructible pills (note EM’s name doesn’t even have the word “pill”). But this could be an interesting twist play-on-word so we’ll have to w8 until MH meets PD.

        1. Typically in Xianxia, the terms Demons and Devils have different connotations to the entities referred to by that name by typical Western literature which typically has the two terms being synonymous with each other, although I’m pretty sure there was a clear distinction between the origin of the two in ancient Jewish and Muslim texts.

          Devils are human(ish) cultivators who engage in evil practices such as sucking out peoples souls, possessing other peoples bodies or otherwise engage in stealing cultivation from other people as a primary method of gaining power.

          Demons typically refers to Animal or Plant spirits that have cultivated to a point that they develop magical powers. Whether or not they engage in “evil” cultivation techniques depends on each individual animal/plant spirit often in tune with the nature of the original animal although not always (snake spirits for instance were often seen as doctors or alchemists in Taoist stories due to their beliefs about poison being a type of medicine whereas in Western literature you would be expecting snakes to all be evil due to certain religions creation myths).

    1. Funny, like most of the time the demon seal spoke is usually involve Black Sieve sect, wonder if those dudes practiced some form of forbidden demonic art and also their intense interest in Immortal Corpse as well.
      Oh, well that not so important, what important are:
      1. Does Han Bei recognize him? Kinda imply “Fang Mu” appearance interest her.
      2. Where Xu Qing?
      3. How to scam more cash and stuff from these suckers!

  3. Ah. Noted issue. When they are meeting Patriarch BLack Sieve it has a point at the beginning of a paragraph where it says
    Patriarch Violate Fate
    which should obviously be
    Patriarch Black Sieve
    Thanks for the chapter.

      1. but he would could reduce some of his debt to the Sect
        remove “would” ?

        concealing the thoughtfulness which exist in his mind
        “existed” ?

        The Black Sieve Sect disciple’s faces emanated a pride
        disiples’ faces

  4. Most pronouncements made by that demon sealing jade is too vague and cryptic for me. Also I am not yet ready for fang mu to become meng hao. I wanted him to become a violet furnace lord then be the third Grandmaster, Darn it.

  5. The young man next to him emanated the faint scent of medicinal plants. He looked less like a Cultivator than a scholar.
    Seem there is something off about it…I would suggest to add ‘more’ or something
    The young man next to him emanated the faint scent of medicinal plants. He looked less like a Cultivator more than a scholar. ?

    1. ‘more like a scholar’ maybe with comma…
      The young man next to him emanated the faint scent of medicinal plants. He looked less like a Cultivator, more like a scholar. Naturally, this was none other than Meng Hao.

  6. Thanks for the chapter Deathblade, Madam Deathblade, John Rogers, Lingson, MeeBoo, Yascob, Caleb Gleason, and Er Gen! Dear WuxiaWorld, many thanks to the Author, Translator(s), (Editors), (Donors) for the awesome chapter! With lots of love, Jack ❤

    Do you wanna build a snowman?

  7. Don’t you love those times when you steal something from a sect, then get chased fervently by said sect and they try to seriously kill you, whereafter you nonchalantly and blatantly walk in while disguising yourself with said item(or at least its ability) into their sect to concoct pills and stir up some trouble while they will respect you, smile and do as you order, without knowing one of their most hated enemies is in fact the very person in front of them.

    Shameless 🙂

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