ISSTH – Book 3 – Chapter 261

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Chapter 261: The Killing Heart is Still There!

Fleeing was far from the first of his thoughts!

Before fleeing, he must first make the enemy pay a price!

That was Meng Hao’s personality. Core Formation Cultivators were engaged in battle not far away and his decision was still… KILL!

As the black-robed men approached, Meng Hao’s eyes filled with coldness. He lifted his hands and waved them forward. As he did, no magic appeared. Instead, a cold wind sprang up.

The wind blasted over the dozens of black-robed men, causing a displacement force to spring up. Immediately, the corpses of the two men Meng Hao had just slain with the wooden swords began to expand.

It happened extremely quickly. In the blink of an eye they had expanded to the point of explosion.


Amidst the roar, chunks of blood and gore showered out in all directions, rapidly turning black. A rotten smell filled the air.

As the blood and gore flew out, miserable screams could be heard. The seven or eight black-robed men nearest to the corpses were clearly infected by the black blood.

The blood contained poison!

As a Furnace Lord who focused on studying the Dao of poison, he had long since coated the two wooden swords with poison that he himself had created. He had done this even when he was still in the Violet Fate Sect.

The black robed men looked on in shock for a moment. Before they could react, the ground exploded up as a mass of dark violet vines burst up. There were more than ten of them, which shot toward the crowd of people.

All of this happened in an instant. Blood curdling screams echoed out, and everything was thrown into a deadly chaos. The killing in Meng Hao’s eyes boiled, and his body flickered as he shot forward.

He cut a slice into his index finger with his thumb. Blood flowed down, and the Blood Finger appeared, something that hadn’t been seen in the Southern Domain for a long, long time. Meng Hao’s six Perfect Dao pillars glowed with a violet aura, and began to rotate. His seventh Dao Pillar was nearing completion, and was now around eighty percent formed.

Power invincible to the Foundation Establishment stage poured out from Meng Hao. A massive crushing pressure emanated out in all directions. These black-robed men were of the full circle of Foundation Establishment. However, their Dao Pillars immediately began to shake. Their faces filled with astonishment. Meng Hao’s fearsomeness exceeding anything they could have imagined.

How could they ever have predicted that this stranger who had charged into their trap looking like a weak scholar, was actually a divinity of death!

Meng Hao hadn’t fought for five years, and now that he did, he made only killing moves. The index finger of his right hand flashed like lightning, slamming down onto the mask of one of the black-robed men. It pierced through the mask, stabbing down into his forehead. Perfect Dao Pillar power burst out, transforming into a terrifying, all-encompassing explosive force. It immediately destroyed the man’s Dao Pillars and Core sea, crushing his will, exterminating his life.

Meng Hao’s face was cold as he took hold of the man’s corpse. He took a step forward, toward another black-robed man. He squeezed the corpse, which subsequently exploded. Blackened blood splashed out in all directions. A look of shock appeared on the other man’s face, and he wasn’t fast enough to avoid the blood. It drenched him, and immediately, terrifying screams filled the air. Meng Hao moved on toward another black-robed man.

His body flitted around like an evil spirit. Beneath his mask, the face of one of the black-robed men twisted. Without hesitation, he bit down on his tongue, spitting out a blood mist which spread out mysteriously to cover his body. He had to attempt to delay Meng Hao; there were still three other black-robed men nearby who were approaching with magical items in hand.

Meng Hao gave a cold snort, which echoed out like a clap of thunder. The sound pierced to the very hearts of the four remaining black-robed men. The three who were currently approaching suddenly stopped in their tracks. The man who had just employed the blood mist felt as if his mind was spinning out of control.

Meng Hao’s right knee flew into the air, slamming viciously into the blood mist. It immediately fell into pieces and scattered. His knee continued on, slamming into the black-robed man’s chest. Even as the cracking of bones rang out, Meng Hao’s right hand snaked out to latch onto the man’s neck.

He turned, and spit out the lightning mist, and a boom filled the air as it enveloped them all. Screams rang out, and after the space of a few breaths, Meng Hao emerged from within. The three men who had just been approaching were now dead, their eyes still wide with astonishment. Even up to the moment death took them, they couldn’t understand how an alchemist… could have such intense killing intent.

Originally there had been twenty seven black robed men. In just a few moments, their numbers were reduced to eleven. Their minds were shaken, and they backed up nervously. The person in front of them didn’t seem to be a single Cultivator, but an entire army.

Meng Hao’s hair swirled around his head. The dozen or so tentacles writhed in the air around him bizarrely as he stood there. He emanated the smell of medicinal pills, and the stench of blood. His cold face, his grim eyes, all of it, caused the black-robed men’s heart to shake.

“Who are you?!” asked one of the black-robed men, his voice quivering. It was a question that Meng Hao should have been the one to ask.

Meng Hao didn’t respond. His clothes fluttered in the wind. It was a north wind, blowing stiffly, as if it wished to wash away the reeking smell of blood. As the north wind blew, Meng Hao lifted his hand. There in his palm appeared a bit of red powder.

The powder lifted up into the wind, blowing about. The faces of the black-robed men twisted as they thought back to the hyper toxic poison from moments ago.

Without the slightest hesitation, the eleven men retreated. However, even as they did, Meng Hao made an incantation gesture and then pointed out with his finger. A mass of tiny Flame Globes appeared. As they floated in mid-air, they began to change into a green color.

The ignited, and suddenly a massive, green Flame Sea appeared. It was shocking, its heat impossible to describe as it expanded along with the wind, seeming to mix with the powder that was floating in mid-air.

The raging three thousand meter wide Flame Sea expanded out, and as it did, it seemed as if the surrounding valley couldn’t withstand the heat. It began to crack and melt.

The eleven black-robed men were moving backward quickly, but they simply weren’t fast enough to escape the ghostly, greenish Flame Sea, and were consumed.

It was at this same moment that a boom could be heard off in the distance. With a single blow, the azure-masked Cultivator lopped off the head of the Golden Frost Sect Cultivator. Then he turned, a grim look appeared in his eyes as he looked at Meng Hao, just barely visible behind the Flame Sea

Separated by the Flame Sea, Meng Hao looked back at the azure-masked Cultivator. Their gazes locked as the screams of the dying black-robed Cultivators drifted up from within the flames.

Glancing at Meng Hao’s clothing, the azure-masked Cultivator said, “Such a young East Pill Division Furnace Lord. There’s only one person like that…. You must be Fang Mu!” His voice was hoarse and muffled, yet filled with coldness.

“Cultivators with killing intent like this can only be found in one place in the Southern Domain,” replied Meng Hao coolly. “The Black Lands.” Actually, from the moment he had first laid eyes on the black-robed Cultivators, something about them had seemed familiar. It was the same feeling he’d gotten from that Cultivator in the Black Sieve Sect’s Blessed Land, the one who had told him about the usefulness of the Thunderclap Leaf to Black Lands Cultivators.

Meng Hao couldn’t tell what the azure-masked Cultivator was thinking. What he saw was the man take a seemingly leisurely step forward. In actuality, he was moving very quickly and was apparently planning to cross the Flame Sea. A wind sprang up, and it appeared as if he planned to carve a path through the flames.

The instant the azure-masked Cultivator shot forward, Meng Hao’s Furnace Lord garment began to flicker. Even as the man passed through the sea to arrive in front of Meng Hao, Meng Hao’s body began to fade away.

At some point, the azure-masked had called forth flying swords, which passed harmlessly through the disappearing image of Meng Hao.

“Fang Mu, prominent in the East Pill Division of the Violet Fate Sect, victor of the Dao alchemy debate in the Black Sieve Sect between the East Pill Division and the World Pill Division.” The azure-masked Cultivator’s voice was cool. He didn’t seem to be in a rush to pursue. As he spoke, his right hand slowly lifted and began to make an incantation.

“You are the ninth alchemist on our list. How fortunate to run into you. You won’t escape.” The man’s eyes flickered, and even as he finished speaking, his fingers finished with the incantation.

“Ahh, that direction.” The azure-masked Cultivator’s body flickered, and he shot off like lightning. His speed was far, far greater than that of the Foundation Establishment stage. They weren’t even remotely on the same level. Even more shocking was his Core Qi. Core Qi could only be employed by Core Formation Cultivators. Because the varying techniques and power levels of each Cultivator, the Core Qi they employ will be different colors.

However, even the weakest Core Qi is sufficient to crush the great circle of late Foundation Establishment. Even a group of late Foundation Establishment Cultivators wouldn’t have the hope of raising a hand to a Core Formation Cultivator using Core Qi.

Core Qi can make Core Formation magic reach the pinnacle. Afterwards, when the Cultivator reaches the Nascent Soul Stage, their magic will be half way to the point of divine ability.

This azure-masked Cultivator’s Core Qi was a light yellowish color, which indicated that he had an Orange Core. As the Core Qi emanated out, the indistinct shape of a roc seemed to exist inside of it.

Core Qi had ever-changing forms which can alter according to the will of the Cultivator. For example, the roc which appeared in the mind of this Cultivator added explosive speed to the Core Qi.

It was because of this characteristic that allowed Core Formation magic to employ its greatest power!

It was also why it only took about ten breaths of time before Meng Hao, who was fleeing at top speed, suddenly sensed an incredibly powerful aura approaching from behind him.

This was not the first time he had faced Core Formation Cultivators. He didn’t have much reverence for them. Even back in the State of Zhao, he had led Core Formation Cultivators to their deaths.

Just as the Core Formation Cultivator was almost upon him, the Furnace Lord garment flickered again, and he was immediately transported about forty kilometers away.

Without hesitation, he began to flee. In his palm was the good luck charm, which he hadn’t used in five years. It was flickering, but he could tell that it would be some time before he could activate it.

“My seventh Dao Pillar is almost complete. However, I’m still no match for a Core Formation Cultivator. However, I have enough Spirit Stones, enough medicinal plants, and enough medicinal pills…. I have to push forward without stopping until I reach the great circle of Foundation Establishment!” Resolve appeared in his eyes. Soon he would be able to employ the full accumulated knowledge of five years of studying the Dao of alchemy!


This chapter was sponsored by Samaksh Gollen and Caleb Gleason

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62 thoughts on “ISSTH – Book 3 – Chapter 261” - NO SPOILERS

  1. Lol that next chapter’s PV. Also, wow it’s pretty much all but guaranteed that his friend didn’t escape. He won’t get an increase in status in the sect and it seems likely that he’ll be accused of having done something to his new friend.

    Darn. Pigs will fly before I read that Zhou escaped.

    One other thing… can Meng Hao win this battle… I mean… he sort of has to win… but I doubt it… either he’ll get super lucky or someone else will intervene somehow…

      1. Lol! That he is. That he is.

        TBH I hope this doesn’t make him turn away from alchemy all of a sudden and make people think he has died. I want him to win this battle, level up in cultivation, and then GTF back to the sect.

        Actually, when I think about it carefully, it seems likely that he won’t run away from the sect yet. He still probably needs some of the sect’s ingredients to eventually reach violet core and then perfect core formation. Meng Hao is seriously such a boss though. :p

        He is Fang Mu when he Understands, Meng Hao when he kills, and … well nothing else yet, but I’m sure that there will be more aliases. 😀

        Though… he is always shameless shy regardless of his persona.

    1. He doesn’t need to win or have someone else save him.

      His greatest talent (particularly in book 1) was in fleeing/escaping from people much stronger than himself through clever tricks and the aid of magical treasures. This Core Formation guy won’t pose much of a problem. 😛

      1. Yup. What I was thinking while reading this chapter:
        1. Is meng Hao stronger than a core formation?
        2. Nope. Run Meng Hao, run!
        3. That guys is actually trying to chase him? The core formation guy is so dead.

    2. Well, then I sure hope pigs fly (in ISSTH)… cuz I really liked Zhou’s character. I think he’s the first enemy-turned friend Meng got. And pretty sure Meng will fight him with 9 perfect Dao pillars b/c it will allow readers to grasp Meng’s power level, or how powerful are 9 perfect Dao pillars. I mean it’s hard to see that if Meng keeps destroying Foundation Establishments left and right with no sweat.

      1. There was Zhou Jie (Dao Child of Black Sieve) who said he won’t kill Meng Hao if he win a rematch before Zhou Dekun (fellow Alchemist) comes along. They’re both Zhou though, don’t know if its the same surname or not XD

        1. hahaha, I meant Zhou Dekun of course. As for Zhou Jie, he and Meng may not be enemies anymore, but they don’t seem like friends either, unlike Meng and Zhou Dekun

  2. Thanks for the chapter XD

    That said… I wonder why Meng Hao didn’t attack magical items into his Dao Pillars… wouldn’t they improve the pillar? Or he shoulda researched that…

    That said, is he finally getting the Gold Core and become the absolute strongest in his age group?

    And what is “Orange core”… or is that a form of “Mixed” core?

    And it’d be awesome once everyone knows how awesome Fang Mu is Meng Hao but the sect people don’t hate him… and marries him off to Chu Yuyan 😛

  3. I know this is late but I only logged in now so-
    Congratulations to the proud parents of an amazingly cute cultivator \(^u^)/
    All the best in this exciting new journey a head.

  4. Thanks for the chapter!!!

    Awesome, love how Meng uses his alchemy to help him fight!! and that tech of mass of flame globes turning into greenish flame sea is so much cooler than just a simple flame dragon.

    and lol

    >>”It was the same feeling he’d gotten from that Cultivator in the Black Sieve Sect’s Blessed Land, the one who had told him about the usefulness of the Thunderclap Leaf to Black Lands Cultivators.”

    Did the author forget the cultivator’s name?? was it.. uhhh ….. Lu Tao? Although I think the sentence is from Meng’s thoughts, so maybe author’s trying to say Meng forgot the guy’s name… which would be strange since Meng has awesome memory

  5. Glad we’re finally learning more about the Core Formation stage. Probably a sign that Meng Hao will soon reach it himself.

    I wonder how this guy’s Orange Core stacks up against the other types? I personally think it’s technically a Mixed Core (the lowest level), beneath the Crimson and Violet Cores.

    My theory is that you need to follow a special Scripture or ancient technique to form a Crimson or Violet Core, and the people who cultivate without such help end up with a Mixed Core (with different colors depending on the traits of the individual, like how the guy in this chapter has Orange).

    1. hmm the “Orange Core” was weird. Then again… we know, there are 4 types of cores: mixed, crimson, violet, and perfect gold. And red/crimson + yellow/gold = orange, a 2-colored mixed core. This kinda makes sense.

      1. I’d say it is a crimson core. Violet is at the other end of the colour spectrum, to reds, crimson and orange, and gold being after Azure is a Xianxia trope.

        The colour orange is actually a fairly recent addition to the English language. It also used to be referred to as a shade of red. Which is why Robin’s are said to have red breasts despite the European and American variants of the bird clearly having orange breasts.

  6. Thx for the chapter, Deathblade, Madam Deathblade, John Rogers, Lingson, MeeBoo, Yascob, Samaksh Gollen and Caleb Gleason!

    P.S. Baby Deathblade is so adorable!!!

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

  8. Looks like we’ll also learn more about the Black Lands soon. We already know a little bit from past chapters, but the info was pretty sparse and easy to forget. Here’s some of it that I took note of:

    The ISSTH setting so far has focused on the Nanshan Continent, which is composed of two subcontinents separated by the Milky Way Sea. One subcontinent has the (1) Eastern Lands and the (2) Northern Desert, the second subcontinent has the (1) Southern Domain and the (2) Barbarian Western Lands.

    The Southern Domain is comprised of Nine (major) States, along with an unspecified number of minor states (examples include State of Zhao and State of Revelation). There are 5 Great Sects and 3 Great Clans of the Southern Domain, and each of them controls one of the major states, like how the Violet Fate Sect controls the State of Eastern Emergence.

    But the 9th major state (the Black Lands) isn’t controlled by one of the (5+3) great clans/sects. Because of its proximity to the Western Desert (part of the Barbarian Western Lands, has unique materials/resources), the Black Lands “became a flourishing trading hub”.

    Maybe because of all the wealth/trade caravans passing through and the lack of a domineering Great Sect/Clan to keep order there, the Black Lands seem to be a violent place, where “life-and-death battles are commonplace”. There have been a couple mentions of the cultivators there being “savage”.

    The rare Frigid Snow Larvae are native to the Black Lands.
    (By themselves, they can produce Frigid Qi or be refined into a Frigid Spirit treasure. By eating a Thunderclap Leaf, they transform into “Woodless Larvae” which can then produce indestructible silk threads.)

    Lu Tao (the sneaky Black Lands cultivator who wanted a Thunderclap Leaf) paid a high price to a “Constellation Priest” of the “Black Lands Sect” and received advice/directions which led him to Meng Hao, who possesses the leaves.
    (Extraordinary skill in Divination?)

    Just a guess based on their name, but the Black Lands Sect might be the most powerful/important sect in the Black Lands, albeit below the level of a “Great Sect”.

  9. Yae! We learn slightly more about Core Formation expertise.

    Mixed/Mottled cores can be multiple colours; such as Orange (or maybe Orange is the new name for Mottled…we’ll see) .

    More importantly, cores produce colourful Core Qi, which can be used to power advanced superpowers/techniques; discernible by an avatar shape within the aura. The example is of a roc-shaped avatar inside the yellow-aura granting rapid flight – swift enough to catch up to a teleportation-escape treasure even though it is the weakest coloured qi.

    Conjecture: Based on past occurrences, when Meng Hao upgrades to Gold Core, his core qi will readily be mistaken for the weakest core qi: yellow, because nobody has witnessed a gold core’s qi for eons.

    Further conjecture Hmm… other series have such powers gained from absorbing or making pacts with spirit beasts, and the avatar is suggestive of something like that. We haven’t seen spirit beasts make much of an impact in this series for a while.

    1. In chapters 82-83 (when Patriarch Reliance slaughtered that group of Core Formation cultivators and used their Cores as fuel in his demonic lamps), four of the Cores were described as “three-colored mixed cores”, though the actual colors weren’t mentioned. It makes me think that this guy’s Orange Core isn’t anything special, maybe just a two-colored mixed core? Since red+yellow=orange.

  10. Me wonders if he could make pills that would turn men into furry critters then just shine the mirror and explode their butts, then again, the plot thickens. ?? thanks again for the chapter!!

  11. What surprised me isn’t Meng Hao badass, is rather that Core Cultivator knows who Fang Mu is and said that his name is in a list of targets by Black Lands?! This meant that Core Cultivator certainly won’t let Fang Mu escape!
    More question, who put up that list?
    Is there a traitor in Violet Sect as Fang Mu goes to Black Sieve Sect to lecture is leak out?
    Wonder if Meng Hao real name also in that list as that will be funny, same person is in a list twice!

    1. Well, a month and a half passed since that alchemy debate so info about Fang Mu would’ve spread (by non-possessed disciples who were there). And I think info about him being the youngest Furnace Lord who “finagled” into the position would’ve also spread (probably by those alchemists who were discontent with Meng’s “finagling”).

      Yea, that list is interesting for sure. lol somehow he’s 9th on the list (9th Demon Sealer). And I feel like the Black Lands cultivators might be part of a mercenary group, and the list was a request list. Not sure, but I like where the plot is going.

  12. “Meng Hao hadn’t fought for five years, and now that he did, he made only killing moves.” <3

    I hope Zhou comes out okay. It doesn't look like they'll kill him right away…

    Thank you for the chapter.

    1. Meng Hao is practicing the Violet Fate Sect’s Violet Qi of the East, which will guarantee him a Violet Core, and then he will consume the Perfect Gold Core Pill, giving him a Perfect Gold Core.

  13. Honestly? This is one of the things I love about this novel. We don’t know if Meng Hao will win even with an advantage or a cheat except if it’s a clearly defined weaker opponent like a cultivator with a cracked dao pillar and such then yeah but the chosen though we know he will win does have to put some effort. Not to mention Core cultivators and overwhelming odds or the occasional poor fighting condition. It’s always a pleasure to see how he gets out of situations. I love even more he has no hesitation is fleeing and shameless tricks and flat out through the teeth lying rather than taking on every opponent. Most MCs aren’t this interesting!

  14. When all of this was mentioned about getting to the great circle of foundation establishment… I wonder if something special will happen with his pillars too… I mean, he got to the 13th stage of qi condensation, what about foundation establishment? is there a hidden 10th level? even 11th? perhaps even up to 13? hehe, this will be fun to see.

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