Chapter 247: Kill Me!
Early the next morning, the dawn sun peeked out and sunlight fell upon Black Welcoming Peak. The mountain was verdant and green, and while there were no singing birds or fragrant flowers, Meng Hao’s spirits were lifted as he gazed out of the second story balcony at the lush vegetation of the surrounding mountain range.
The undulating mountains, covered with emerald green vegetation, were illuminated by brilliant sunlight. The glow fell upon Meng Hao’s black robe, causing its violet aura to grow stronger. Anyone who looked at it would have a hard time deciding if it were black or violet.
The mountain breeze lifted up his long hair, making it seem as if Meng Hao himself wished to float away with the wind. As he stared off into the distance, a violet light gleamed within his eye.
This was the manifestation of Violet Qi from the East, which had also turned his six Dao Pillars a violet hue.
After a long moment passed, Meng Hao took in a deep breath, then left the residence. As he began to walk down the mountain path which threaded through the Black Welcoming Mountains, he encountered Black Sieve Sect disciples who immediately saluted with clasped hands, their faces filled with politeness, yet maintaining some of the pride they felt as members of the Black Sieve Sect. Obviously, word had been spread throughout the Sect regarding how to treat the visitors.
Meng Hao smiled, returning the salute, and continuing on his way.
He soon emerged from the Black Welcoming Mountains and found himself in the middle of the Hundred Mountains. This was an area restricted to Conclave disciples.
Looking around at all the Black Sieve Sect disciples and buildings, and the enormous incense burner up above, Meng Hao sighed inwardly. Before joining the Violet Fate Sect, he could never have imagined that one day he would be able to stroll about the Black Sieve Sect in such a leisurely fashion.
“It’s a good thing the meat jelly shed its skin a long time ago. If that happened now, my identity would be revealed immediately.” He walked among the buildings, eventually coming to a halt at the edge of a public square. There, he could see dozens Black Sieve Sect disciples sitting cross-legged, Han Bei included.
An old man was in the midst of giving a sermon, explaining various scriptures regarding Black Sieve Sect magical techniques. Meng Hao had seen this man before; he was one of the Core Formation Cultivators who had received him yesterday along with Patriarch Violet Sieve.
The old man’s voice rang out coolly: “The magic of the Black Sieve Sect can be divided into the will of the Black Underworld, and the teaching of the Sieve of Heavens. The Underworld represents the spirits of the nine earths. The Sieve represents the will of the nine heavens. Therefore, in the Black Sieve Sect, Underworld magic is used to kill, and the will of the Heavens is divine. You must bear these sacred teachings in mind as you practice your cultivation. In the future, your path will lead to the Heavens.” It was at this point that he caught sight of Meng Hao.
He nodded slightly, obviously aware of who Meng Hao was. He didn’t say anything, but instead looked over his audience. Eventually his gaze came to rest on Han Bei. He gave her a meaningful look, and she sighed inwardly, then rose and walked over to Meng Hao.
The old man’s expression remained the same as he continued to discuss the Sect scriptures. He would never have allowed any other outsider to hear such discussions of Sect matters, but considering Meng Hao’s status, it wouldn’t be appropriate to drive him away. Therefore, he asked Han Bei to lead him away.
Han Bei actually did not want to accept this assignment, but she really had no way to refuse. Without any trace of her feelings showing, she arrived at Meng Hao’s side. A beautiful smile blossomed onto her face.
“Grandmaster Fang, you’re such an early riser! Why don’t you accompany me? I’ll show you some of the sights around the Sect.” She was as beautiful as a flower, her voice soft and entrancing.
Meng Hao was well aware that it wasn’t very appropriate for him to stay and listen to the Sect sermons. He nodded pleasantly at Han Bei and then said, “To be accompanied by such a stunning flower would be my honor.”
The two of them strolled off.
When they were some distance away from the square, Han Bei smiled and said, “Grandmaster Fang, you are truly refined and poetic. I don’t deserve to be referred to as a flower.” Her eyes sparkled, and her flowing, blue silk garment wrapped around her in a way that truly made her look like a flower.
Han Bei was inherently beautiful, her smile dazzling. She might be a flower, but to Meng Hao, she was a rose, covered with poisoned thorns. He would never forget the softness with which she had uttered the words “Xie, dear” in the Black Sieve Sect’s Blessed Land. 1
In response to her words, Meng Hao laughed a bit, but didn’t respond. Instead, he just looked her up and down.
“Grandmaster Fang, don’t tell me you’re still thinking about whatever place it was that you wished you had seen me before?” She laughed lightly, but deep within her eyes, Meng Hao could see that she harbored a measure of anxiety. She didn’t think Meng Hao could tell, but considering how well he knew her, he noticed it with a single glance.
Meng Hao’s mind instantly spun into action. He knew that Han Bei was not the type of woman to get nervous easily. He thought back to all the times he had seen her before.
“I’ve embarrassed myself in front of you, Fellow Daoist Han,” he said. “It’s just that, I really am interested in you.” He looked at her, allowing a glow of interest to shine in his eyes.
When Han Bei saw this, her heart instantly seized. From the moment Meng Hao had entered the Sect, an uneasy feeling had overtaken her. Now, her anxiety was growing stronger. However, her skill in scheming ran deep, and she did her best to hide her feelings. She kept her brow smooth, and covered her face with a smile.
Continuing to stroll along, she responded, “Grandmaster Fang, I’m truly honored by your words. However, I truly don’t understand. What exactly about me interests you?” She looked at him, blinking.
“The surname Han is a special one,” said Meng Hao slowly, looking at the rising sun off in the distance.
Hearing this, Han Bei’s expression didn’t change. She smiled and replied, “How is it special?”
“It’s special because it’s one of the Nine Great Families.” His expression was the same as usual, but his words caused Han Bei to frown and sigh. Meng Hao knew that these actions were simply a means to cover up her true reaction.
His heart trembled, and more than ever he got the feeling that something fishy was going on.
“You’re right,” said Han Bei, looking at him. “My ancestors were among the Nine Great Families.”
They came to a stop outside a stretch of emerald-green mountain forest. The wind blew softly, causing the leaves to rustle. Off in the distance, the sound of running water could be heard. The sounds of nature merged together into something similar to music.
Surrounded by the beauty, Meng Hao said nothing. He gazed at Han Bei, and she returned his look.
After a long moment, he laughed, turning his head to look at the green forest. He strolled over to where a mountain stream ambled on toward the east. He looked down into the stream, where fish flitted above the smooth stones of the stream bed. A thoughtful expression appeared in his eyes.
“Something is unusual about Han Bei,” he thought. “How come she’s so nervous around me? It can’t have anything to do with Fang Mu, and she doesn’t know that I’m Meng Hao. In that case… it must have to do with the East Pill Division!”
Han Bei stood next to him, her expression the same as ever. Enough time passed for an incense stick to burn, whereupon she suddenly slapped her bag of holding. A glowing jade slip appeared. After glancing at it for a moment, she gave Meng Hao a slight curtsey.
“This place is secluded and quiet, Grandmaster Fang. If you wish, you can stay here a while. Unfortunately, there are some matters I have to attend to, and I don’t wish to disturb your ruminations. This jade slip contains a map of the Black Sieve Sect, please feel free to use it to go enjoy some of the scenery. I’ll take my leave now.” She handed him the jade slip, then turned lithely and made to leave.
As she did, Meng Hao casually said, “One of your friends in the East Pill Division wished me to pass on greetings to you. As for that matter….” His words seemed to be filled with meaning, and yet were ambiguous and equivocal. Really, any meaning could be derived from them.
However, as soon as Han Bei heard them, her heart began to pound. Her back was turned to Meng Hao, so she allowed her eyes to narrow. However, her posture betrayed no clue regarding her thoughts. She slowly turned her head, and when she did, her face was covered with a look of surprise.
“Grandmaster Fang, I’m not really sure what you mean,” she said, blinking. Her expression filled with confusion, as if she were trying very hard to figure out which friend Meng Hao was referring to.
If she had not manifested such an expression, Meng Hao would have been left guessing. But such a reaction solidified his speculations.
There was definitely something going on with Han Bei.
Based on his understanding of her, he knew that were she not harboring some deep anxiety, she would take advantage of such a topic of conversation to gather more information from him. Instead, she instantly displayed an expression of surprise.
He laughed. “I see. I clearly mistook you for someone else.” He said nothing further. Currently, he wasn’t sure exactly what secret Han Bei was keeping. That would take further deliberation. However, he also knew that speaking too much could lead to slip-ups. Then, Han Bei might come to the conclusion that she was being played, and that could lead to unnecessary complications.
Hearing Meng Hao’s words, Han Bei gave him a vague smile. Saying no more, she gave another curtsey, then turned and left. It wasn’t until she was very far way, that her face grew pale and went tight with anxiety.
“East Pill Division…” she murmured as she sped off into the distance.
Meng Hao watched her disappear, and his eyes glowed with thoughtfulness.
Han Bei had been acting strangely from the moment he had entered the Black Sieve Sect. She didn’t want anyone to notice her nervousness, but Meng Hao could tell that he had just managed to charge directly into whatever secret she was harboring deep in her heart.
After much thought, though, he wasn’t able to deduce what relationship Han Bei could possibly have with the East Pill Division. He looked down at the jade slip she had given him. He scanned it with Spiritual Sense, and a map of the various mountains of the Black Sieve Sect appeared in his mind.
Some areas were marked with magical symbols indicating that they were prohibited. After a while, Meng Hao lifted his head and walked off.
He strolled alone through the Black Sieve Sect until about midday. Off in the distance, he could see Black Welcoming Peak, and was just about to return when suddenly his eyes narrowed. He turned and looked off into the distance.
In that exact instant, a shrill scream shattered the peace and quiet within the Black Sieve Sect. At the foot of a distant mountain, roaring could be heard. The ground trembled and a crazed Cultivator flew forward, his hair whipping around his head.
“Kill me! Kill me!” he bellowed, his voice shaking the surrounding land. As he flew forward, multiple beams of light flew up into the air and shot toward him.
Meng Hao stared with narrowed eyes, because he recognized this Cultivator. It was none other than Black Sieve Sect Dao Child Zhou Jie!
This chapter was sponsored by Staph, Ammar Al-Eid, Emil Olofsson, Rudolph Arreola, AdiNugraha Tawakal, Marten Hennoch, Ri Xin Wang