Chapter 265: Out of Seclusion!
A long time passed, and slowly, the ferocious aura emanating from Meng Hao’s body faded. Finally, he opened his eyes. His pupils looked normal, but deep in their recesses was a shocking profundity. They were like deep pools of water, or an endlessly starry night sky.
Meng Hao took a long, deep breath. Within his body, his eight Dao Pillars glowed with a violet aura. They rotated, emitting spiritual power throughout his body which far, far outmatched his previous power.
“It’s still not enough,” he thought. “But it’s the best I can do for now. Eight Dao Pillars. I don’t have quite enough to pass the critical juncture for the final Dao Pillar.” It wasn’t that he didn’t have enough medicinal pills. For some reason, he had the strange feeling that there was something about the ninth Dao Pillar that didn’t have anything to do with medicinal pills.
He felt as if he were in a bottleneck, and that at some point he would reach a turning point. Once that turning point arrived, he wouldn’t need any medicinal pills whatsoever. Instead, he would be able to rely on his eight Dao Pillars to create the ninth. Then he would have completed the great circle of Foundation Establishment.
He took a deep breath, and sat there thoughtfully for a long moment. Finally, he lifted his head and looked outside of the Immortal’s Cave. It was still raining. The murmur of the rainfall filled the land. Everything looked dim and hazy.
His secluded meditation had lasted for a long time, and he had no idea of the events which had transpired during that better part of a year. He also had no idea whether or not Zhou Dekun had escaped with his life.
For the moment, Meng Hao chose not to go out. His eyes shining, he looked down at his bag of holding and then produced a Spring and Autumn tree.
Having been in secluded meditation for more than half a year already, he didn’t really care much about how much time had passed. Once he did go out, he wanted to be prepared to make up for his previous defeat at the hands of the azure-masked Cultivator. With death!
Meng Hao took a deep breath. He lifted up the Spring and Autumn tree in his right hand. A blinding violet glow appeared in his palm. He employed the full, massive power of his eight Dao Pillars to begin the catalyzing process.
The violet light grew more and more intense, and the Spring and Autumn tree sucked it in. Soon, a second sprout appeared on its surface. At the same time, Meng Hao’s left hand performed the incantation to brand the Spring and Autumn tree with the Time locking magic.
“Including the test I performed in the Black Sieve Sect, twenty years of Time are now locked within this Spring and Autumn tree.” He pulled out a jade box, within which was the Primordial Heavenly Replenishing Pill. He examined it closely, comparing it to the Spring and Autumn tree.
“Time is like a poison, a poison which can be used to refine treasures. It melts away life force….” Within Meng Hao’s mind appeared the images of what had happened to Chen Jiaxi. After some time passed, he took a deep breath, and then once again picked up the Spring and Autumn tree and began to catalyze the Time within.
Time passed, ten days, in the blink of an eye. On this particular day, a look of concentration covered Meng Hao’s face. The Spring and Autumn tree in his hand was now half gray. However, locked within was nearly fifty years of Time. The further along he went, the more of his Cultivation base he had to use to perform the catalyzation, and the slower it went.
As of now, he was completing the last ten years of a sixty year cycle. When this catalyzation was completed, the Spring and Autumn tree would look completely different than it had before.
It was dusk, and the rain outside was still falling down in sheets. Meng Hao was completely focused on the Spring and Autumn tree. He continued catalyzing without pause. Suddenly, his expression flickered; the Spring and Autumn tree had begun to wither.
It seemed as if the tree couldn’t handle the fifty years of Time. Regardless of what mystical properties the Spring and Autumn tree had, at this moment it was decaying. Soon, it turned into gray ash, which collapsed through Meng Hao’s fingers.
An unsightly expression appeared on his face. He looked down at the ash, and then back at his right hand. His hand appeared to have aged as well. It wasn’t fifty years, but obviously the failure just now had resulted in a recoil.
Ignoring his hand, Meng Hao began to think.
“No wonder treasures like this are so rare; forging the Time treasure is extremely complex. One failure can negate all the previous successes. It’s possible to expend great cost, but then make a slight mistake in the very end. If that happens, all is for naught. Furthermore, every failure comes at the price of a Time recoil….” Meng Hao could clearly sense that the recoil just now had caused some of his life force to disappear.
“However, if there’s anyone who can actually forge this treasure… then that person is me.” His eyes began to glow brightly, and, muttering to himself, he slapped his right hand down onto his bag of holding to retrieve another Spring and Autumn tree. Once again, he began to catalyze it.
Time passed. By that night, the Spring and Autumn contained ten years of Time. Ten days later, Meng Hao had once again reached the point where fifty years of Time was locked within the Spring and Autumn tree.
He took a deep breath, and consumed some medicinal pills to restore his energy. Two hours later, he opened his eyes. He didn’t begin to immediately catalyze the final ten years of Time. Instead, he produced the copper mirror from within his bag of holding. He duplicated some medicinal pills, then used some of his remaining Spirit Stones to duplicate the Spring and Autumn tree with the fifty years of Time locked inside.
It seemed that a full sixty year cycle of Time was a watershed mark. Before reaching it, the duplication cost wouldn’t be very high. However, after reaching the sixty year cycle, Meng Hao had the strong feeling that the duplication cost would increase tremendously.
A few moments later, a bang sounded out. An irritated look appeared on Meng Hao’s face as his entire right arm aged, and the Spring and Autumn tree once again crumbled into dust. He didn’t have many Spirit Stones left, but he pushed down the sense of pain and used almost the entire remaining amount to produce another copy, which he then began to catalyze.
This catalyzation lasted a full two days before the Spring and Autumn tree turned gray. After sealing it with the Time-sealing magic, the tree began to emit an archaic sense of Time.
He had finally succeeded in embodying the Spring and Autumn tree with a full sixty year cycle!
Meng Hao began to pant as he looked at the Spring and Autumn tree. His eyes began to shine. He could sense that the Spring and Autumn tree contained a feeling of Time similar to the Primordial Heavenly Replenishing Pill! It was much, much weaker, but it was definitely there.
“Sadly, I don’t have enough Spirit Stones. In the future, this treasure will definitely require a lot of them. A Time treasure with a sixty year cycle of Time is considerably powerful, though. It’s good enough for now!” His eyes flickering, he looked thoughtfully at the Spring and Autumn tree for a moment, then used his left hand to begin to whittle it.
A few moments later, Meng Hao was holding a simple wooden sword. Its appearance was crude, but this crude wooden sword was a magical treasure that Meng Hao had created himself.
He looked at the Wooden Time Sword for a moment, then put it into his bag of holding. Next, he produced some jade bottles. Each of these bottles contained blood; they were none other than the three generations of ancestral blood that he had collected from the Black Sieve Sect when concocting the Soul Refining Pills.
“I concocted pills for thirteen generations of the Black Sieve Sect, and of them, was able to collect five sets of ancestral blood from three generations…. From this blood, I should be able to create five rudimentary Blood Clones.” Within his mind he could see the description of Blood Clones which was contained in the Blood Immortal legacy.
“Blood Clones are like shadows. Meld the self into the shadow, and it becomes like a doppelgänger, its life and death tied to my thoughts. A Blood Clone contains twenty to thirty percent of the power of the Cultivation base of my true self. If I can upgrade it to a Blood Spirit, it can employ one hundred percent of my true self’s Cultivation base. The final version, which is created with nine generations of ancestral blood, is a Blood Divinity, which is a defiance of the Heavens!” The legacy of the Blood Immortal was truly sinister! Early on, he had had his doubts. However after all his years in the Cultivation World, and after studying the Dao of alchemy and the Dao of poison, he now had a much better understanding.
“Much like poison, there are thousands of types of magic. The great Dao is limitless, filled with paths which may be trodden according to one’s will and one’s own decisions.” He lifted his right hand and, according to the method described in the Blood Immortal legacy, began to create his Blood Clones.
This technique used one’s own blood as the spirit, and the three generations of ancestral blood to bolster it. Furthermore, a sacrificial object was also necessary. According to the Blood Immortal legacy, this sacrificial object was of utmost importance. Of course, there are myriad objects in Heaven and Earth. Plants and trees, rocks and earth, anything could be used. In fact, the ancient Blood Immortal even used the skin of his enemies as the sacrificial object.
As long as the sacrificial object was not destroyed, the Blood Clone could not be destroyed. The greater the fusion between the two, the more power could be manifested by the Blood Clone’s Cultivation base.
After thinking for a moment, Meng Hao decided that the sacrificial item he would use would be the meat jelly’s shed skin!
When the meat jelly had shed, it had left behind plenty of residual skin which Meng Hao had collected. Meng Hao retrieved five pieces the size of a fingernail, and then began to use them to refine the Blood Clones.
Time passed by slowly. Soon, three months had gone by….
The Dao Geyser in the western region of the Southern Domain eventually increased its rate of eruption from once per month to every three days. Soon, the interval grew shorter; every two days, and then every day. Eventually, it was erupting multiple times per day, with no end in sight!
According to the ancient records of the Sects of the Southern Domain, continuous eruptions would go on for seven days, and then the geyser would disappear.
Time was running out. The Chosen of the great Sects and Clans spent all their time and focus on trying to gain enlightenment, vying for a chance to receive good fortune at the critical moment.
One day, Blood Demon Sect Dao Child Li Shiqi gained enlightenment and made a breakthrough, reaching Core Formation. Spiritual energy poured out of the geyser, absorbable only by her. No one else dared to steal away even a scrap.
After her was Dao Child of the Li Clan, Li Daoyi, the very same one who had been defeated but not killed by Xu Qing. His name immediately spread throughout the Southern Domain as the third Cultivator to break through to Core Formation. Again, the spiritual energy which poured out of the Dao Geyser could only be absorbed by him, the one who had gained enlightenment.
The Southern Domain was in full commotion.
It was during this period of time that Meng Hao finally left his secluded meditation, after nearly a year. He stepped out, his hair long, his right hand somewhat withered. He no longer wore the clothing of a Violet Fate Sect Furnace Lord, but instead an azure robe.
It was a rainy morning when he emerged. He immediately transformed into a beam of prismatic light that shot off into the distance.
His expression was placid, but his eyes seemed to contain the profundity of the stars.
His Cultivation base was still in the Foundation Establishment stage, but his battle prowess was no longer on the same level as Foundation Establishment Cultivators. As for exactly how much more powerful….
Meng Hao wanted to find out for himself!
Therefore, he would go to battle!
By battle, he would gain enlightenment of Heaven and Earth. By battle, he would gain enlightenment regarding his ninth Dao Pillar. By battle… he would shock the world!
He would seek out that turning point which would lead to a breakthrough in his Cultivation base!
This chapter was sponsored by Janis Benert, Hong Ly, and Safeca Safeca