Chapter 276: Stop Fooling Around
Meng Hao’s face was pale as he sat cross-legged in the Immortal’s Cave. A few days later, he finally opened his eyes. They shone with a brilliant light. However, his brow remained furrowed for quite some time before finally relaxing.
“I injured my soul….” he murmured. He could sense a sinister coldness within him, an iciness which filled him through and through. In the cultivation of Foundation Establishment, the Cultivation base is related to the Dao Pillars. Spiritual Sense is born, as well as the Sea of Perception and the Cultivation soul.
That soul would become the foundation for the future Nascent Soul.
Right now, though, Meng Hao could faintly sense that his soul had been pulled out of place, a price paid for the use of the flag of three streamers. Such an injury would be difficult to recover from. An injury of the flesh would naturally recover through rest and recuperation, or through the use of medicinal pills. However, an injury of the soul could not be healed in such a way.
Battling and slaying Core Formation had been an impressive feat, but as far as Meng Hao was concerned, the level of difficulty was far too high. Even with a tenth Dao Pillar, it had been extremely difficult.
There was simply too great a difference between Foundation Establishment Cultivators and Core Formation Cultivators, especially those who had cultivated Core Qi. In truth, he was not really qualified to challenge a Core Formation Cultivator.
Even with a Perfect Foundation and eight Dao Pillars, his fight with the azure-masked Cultivator had been too challenging. He had used every trick he could think of just to hold his opponent off. It seemed as if he hadn’t been defeated, but in truth, the power had existed to destroy him. If any more time had passed, then he would have been vanquished in spectacular fashion.
Thankfully, his ninth Dao Pillar had appeared, and then the situation changed for the better. Of course, that is what Meng Hao had been aiming for; the intense life or death struggle was what had caused the Qi in his body to multiply, enabling him to break through the bottleneck and increase his Cultivation base!
The need for battle was what had prompted Meng Hao to attack in the first place!
Without the tenth Dao Pillar, and completing the great circle of the Perfect Foundation, he would have been incapable of killing the Core Formation Cultivator. At best, he would have been able to fight a bit longer.
Once the tenth Dao Pillar appeared, however, the vast gap between Foundation Establishment and Core Formation, which was like that between Heaven and Earth, had been narrowed by perhaps half.
That jump caused the battle prowess of his Cultivation base to leap up, far exceeding that of Foundation Establishment, and approaching Core Formation.
The fact was, even with power reaching halfway to Core Formation, the most he could do would be to tangle with a Core Formation Cultivator. He would never be able to slay one. Similarly, although his opponent would occupy a superior position, they wouldn’t find it easy to slay him.
What had truly changed the tide had been the flag of three streamers, that precious treasure which resided inside the blood-colored mask.
The treasure had existed for an indeterminable period of time within the Blood Immortal Legacy zone. One of its streamers was sealed with the character Ji. Its power was clearly enough to shake Heaven and Earth, and the Blood Immortal of the Ancient Doom Clan had desired to use it to drink the blood of the Ji!
Meng Hao remembered the meat jelly’s shocked reaction upon first seeing the flag. Considering all of that, how could Meng Hao not realize how astounding it was?
In reality, he did not have the requisite Cultivation base to even touch the treasure, let alone employ its power. However, once his tenth Dao Pillar appeared, he had been able to sense the parched call of the flag of three streamers.
Now that he thought back, he realized that its thirst… was a thirst for destruction!
In fact, instead of saying that Meng Hao had employed the power of the flag of three streamers, it would be more accurate to say because of Meng Hao’s new qualifications, the flag was able to borrow his hands and his power to appear once again in the sky.
Furthermore, instead of saying that Meng Hao had slain a Core Formation Cultivator, it would be more accurate to say that the flag of three streamers was the one to exterminate the azure-masked Cultivator!
Even the appearance of just one of the flag’s three streamers caused Meng Hao’s Cultivation base to wither, and had injured his soul. That moment in which he had hovered in mid-air, facing down the Black Lands Cultivators and the crowds from the Southern Domain, everything about him had appeared normal. In reality, he had been extremely weak.
Thanks to the transformation powers of the meat jelly, he had been able to force out the sensation of a powerful aura. No one had been able to sense even the slightest clue as to his true state. Considering that and their other misgivings, no one had dared to make a move against him.
In addition, the flag of three streamers hadn’t even fully appeared. It had only been a phantom image that appeared to be a divine ability. Therefore, most people had assumed that it was not a magical treasure, but some technique. Furthermore, no one had made a connection between him drying up the Dao Geyser, and the appearance of the flag.
Upon waking up just now, he had spit up a glob of impure Qi, and his eyes had begun to shine. His Cultivation base was now recovered by eighty to ninety percent. Based on how fast it was going, it wouldn’t be long before it was completely recovered. The injury to his soul, however, was impossible to deal with. He could only exercise caution and not cause any further injury.
“Injuring the soul is like sowing Karma. If the day comes in which I can break into the Nascent Soul stage, then the Karma will be reaped.” Meng Hao sat there thoughtfully for a moment, then took a deep breath and slowly stood up. He walked out of the Immortal’s Cave to find that it was raining again. The murmuring rain carried with it the cold of autumn. Meng Hao stared off into the distance, his long azure robe fluttering in the rainy wind.
“Core Formation….” His eyes glittered. There was really no need to think of the difficulty of reaching the Nascent Soul Stage. Suddenly, he thought of Wang Tengfei’s Dao Protector, the Core Formation Cultivator Wang Xifan.
All those years ago, a mere glance from him had nearly killed Meng Hao. As of now, Meng Hao was confident that if he faced him again, the man would be stunned.
Lost in thought, Meng Hao recalled Grand Elder Ouyang and He Luohua from the Reliance Sect. He also thought of the other Core Formation Cultivators from the State of Zhao. Gradually, his eyes began to gleam.
“I have ten Dao Pillars and a perfect Foundation. I can even battle the Core Formation stage…. I may be cut off from the spiritual power of Heaven and Earth, but in return, I am the most powerful person in this stage! I must continue down this path! I have a Perfect Foundation, next is… a Perfect Gold Core!” The thought of it left him panting. “As for the injury to my soul, that will just have to wait until later.” He was no longer the youngster he had been when he began practicing cultivation, and now had much deeper comprehension of all that was involved with it. For example, he now knew that in the cultivation world of the Southern Domain, the Core Formation stage was divided into three levels. Violet as placed on top, beneath which were Orange, Crimson and Green; at the very bottom as Mixed.
Based on various methods, and the variety of latent talent, different Cores could be formed. For instance, the Violet Fate Sect’s Violet Qi from the East was able to produce a Violet Core. As for other Sects and Clans, they naturally had their own secret magics that gave their Chosen Disciples a chance to produce a Violet Core.
Different Cores would produce different Core Qi. Of course, the higher the level of the Core, the more likely it would be to produce Core Qi, and sooner. Obviously, the Core Qi would be much more powerful as well.
Generally speaking, among Cultivators with a Violet Core, ninety percent would be able to cultivate Core Qi in the early Core Formation stage. For Orange, Crimson and Green Cores, they were monochromatic Cores, and would generally produce Core Qi during the mid Core Formation stage. As for the three azure-masked Black Lands Cultivators, they were obviously Chosen, and had somehow been able to force the superior power of a Violet Core out of their Orange Cores.
Regarding Mixed Cores, they contained a variety of colors and were the lowest of the entire stage.
Of course, Meng Hao knew that when it came to the Perfect Core, it was Gold!
Just as there had been a Perfect Foundation Pill, there was also a Perfect Gold Core Pill. After forming a Violet Core, and then consuming the Perfect Gold Core Pill, he would have a high likelihood of rising to a Gold Core.
When that happened, he would have to face Tribulation Lightning.
Before, such things had been far away for Meng Hao, but now that he had ten Perfect Dao Pillars and had completed the great circle of the Perfect Foundation, Core Formation was just around the corner.
He looked thoughtfully out into the windy rain. Finally, he flicked his sleeve to gather together the poison mist from within the Immortal’s Cave. It collected into the palm of his hand, after which he placed it into his bag of holding. Then, his body flickered as he moved off into the distance.
Several days later, Meng Hao hovered in mid-air, frowning. On his head, the meat jelly, transformed into a hat, was jabbering on and on. “Bullies. Three bullies. Meng Hao, you’re picking on me! You’ve taken advantage of my feelings. You’re taking advantage of my assistance….”
It had come out two days ago, relentlessly requesting bullies. However, out here in the western region of the Southern Domain, there were no Cultivators. They’d all left after the disappearance of the Dao Geyser. Meng Hao hadn’t been able to find any new bullies.
Therefore… the meat jelly was furious.
“How can you be so immoral, so wrong? It’s unconscionable…. My bullies! My three bullies!” The more it talked the more wronged it sounded.
Meng Hao coughed lightly. His face was unsightly, but after all those years, especially after his time in the Violet Fate Sect, he had gotten used to the meat jelly’s frequent harassment. Therefore, he simply allowed it to chatter on endlessly.
After three more days of garrulous talking, the meat jelly finally paused for a moment. Meng Hao cleared his throat and began to speak: “Didn’t you say once that the parrot can emerge from the copper mirror after I reach Core Formation?” He had been waiting for three days to be able to ask this question.
“Correct!” the meat jelly screeched. “After reaching Core Formation, that damned, evil, shameless, low-down, despicable bastard will appear. I’ve been waiting for that day for a long time! In this life, I will definitely convert it!” In a frenzy, the meat jelly began to chatter away ceaselessly. Now, instead of blabbering about bullies, it was talking about the mystical parrot.
Meng Hao relaxed a bit. At long last he had figured out a way to handle the meat jelly. All you had to do was keep giving it conversation topics. Usually, one or two topics later, it would forget about what it had been concerned about previously. Leading it back and forth in this way was the easiest method to deal with it.
Meng Hao flew along as the meat jelly hat prattled. The buzzing went on for seven days before it finally paused to rest for a moment.
Before it could, Meng Hao said, “Who do you think is more incredible, you or that parrot?”
It seemed Meng Hao’s words had offended it, and it once again went crazy. Trembling, its fury rose to the heavens. “Me, of course! Obviously it’s grand, handsome, extraordinary, intelligent me! That shameless bastard of a bird is nothing but a bird. I’m gonna to convert it, I’m gonna knock him down!”
“How is the Li Clan Patriarch doing lately?” Meng Hao quickly asked. “Has he been obedient?”
The meat jelly gaped for a moment. “The Li Clan Patriarch? Damnation! Damnation! He hasn’t been obedient at all recently. His immorality, his evil, is without limit! I have to go lecture him for a bit!” It seemed to have suddenly realized how to give vent to all its anger. A bang sounded out as it disappeared in a puff of smoke into Meng Hao’s bag of holding and the mask, filled with ardor and sincerity.
Meng Hao was finally able to breathe a long sigh of relief.
“At long last, some peace and quiet….”
He looked around. He didn’t intend to immediately head back to the Violet Fate Sect. Instead, he would visit some Cultivator cities and find some Pill Auctions where he could earn some Spirit Stones.
However, even as he was sizing up the surroundings and figuring out which direction he would travel in, his expression suddenly flickered. He looked down at his bag of holding for a moment, and then pulled out his Furnace Lord medallion. It was emitting a flickering, violet glow. He pressed down on the medallion, and suddenly an archaic voice filled his head.
“Hey kid, have you had enough fun? It’s time to stop fooling around. I want you back in four days. Trial by fire for Violet Furnace Lord promotion begins then in the Celestial Land. The frequency of these trials by fire is completely up to my mood. It starts four days from now, and everyone who joins has a chance to become a Violet Furnace Lord. If you don’t get back ASAP, then you’ll lose your chance to participate.”