ISSTH – Book 4 – Chapter 324

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Chapter 324: The Cutting Edge of the Black Lands

Meng Hao sat cross-legged in his Immortal’s cave, the fingers of his right hand pushed against the ground, eyes closed. His Spiritual Sense was currently merged with the mountain’s Demonic Qi. Not only was the range of his Spiritual Sense now greater, but the sensation that he could form an Incarnation was even stronger than ever.

Luo Chong of the Black Lands and the woman from the Western Desert were directly in front of Meng Hao’s field of vision. The world in front of him was a rippling blur, both the air, the land, as if it were some other location.

Luo Chong and the four others were also rippling, blurry figures. As for the beautiful woman, however, as soon as her butterfly fluttered into action, she immediately became crystal clear.

Meng Hao looked at her, and in that same instant, she looked back at him.

To the woman, however, Meng Hao did not appear as the image of a person, but rather, a blurry mountain!

The mountain was not very high, but emanated a majestic and vigorous will; it rose up above the earth, exerting a pressure that made the woman’s face flicker.

“Demon….” Her eyes flashed and her pupils constricted. “Sir, I am Duo Lan from the Western Desert. I have no intention of offending you, Demon Lord….” Her voice was soft and filled with fear.

Meng Hao didn’t respond. He looked at her closely for a moment, especially the totem on her forehead.

After a moment the image of the mountain faded away from the woman’s vision, disappearing without a trace.

Her entire body shook, and her eyes shined with a bright glow. She began to breathe heavily, which made her chest rise and fall. This in turn caught the attention of Luo Chong.

“Goddess Duo Lan,” he said, sounding surprised, “what happened?” He could see that her face was somewhat pale. It wasn’t just him that noticed; the four people behind them had also seen it.

“Nothing,” she replied with a smile, quickly recovering her composure. However, a look of fear still lingered in her eyes.

At the same time, back in the Immortal’s cave in the short mountain, Meng Hao opened his eyes. They glittered brightly as he lifted up his hand to look at his two fingers.

“This is the first time I’ve entered this state and then seen… the power of totems. It seems as if they have something to do with Demons!” A thoughtful look appeared in his eyes. In the past, he had done a bit of research regarding totem variations, but had never been able to determine anything definitive. However, the woman just now had been using totemic power, and had been able to sense him. Furthermore, he sensed Demonic Qi coming from her totem tattoo.

“Interesting,” he thought, closing his eyes again.

Not much time passed before Luo Chong, Duo Lan and the four others neared Meng Hao’s group of Cultivators.

Their approach caused the Cultivators in the area to look up toward them. As soon as they saw the golden mask worn by Luo Chong, and the two green-robed Cultivators behind him, as well as the Western Desert Cultivators, their faces immediately filled with awe and veneration.

In the Black Lands there were two great powers, sort of like empires. One was the Black Lands Palace, the other was the United Nine.

The United Nine was a group of allied cities controlled by different Cultivator Clans. Of the two, however, the Black Lands Palace was the most frightening. Its Cultivators wore masks, the colors of which indicated the level of their Cultivation base.

Azure masks represented Core Formation. Silver masks represented Nascent Soul. Gold masks represented Dao Children.

The Black Lands Palace ruled by force in the Black Lands. It was referred to as the number one power, and was known to have the support of the Western Desert. Because of that, even the Sects of the Southern Domain feared the Black Lands Palace.

A Dao Child from the Black Lands Palace was like a Chosen of the Heavens. One word from him could determine life or death for these Cultivators. He was the Heavens, they were nothing but bugs.

The parrot tilted its head up, looking with contempt at the group flying through the sky. Next to it, the meat jelly had a solemn look on its face. “These people are immoral,” it muttered. “They are just too wicked….”

Up in mid-air, Luo Chong’s gaze swept over the group, and he suddenly let out a cold snort.

The sound of it fell upon the group of Cultivators. It felt like the fury of an emperor, causing all of them to silently lower their heads and kowtow.

Seeing this caused a pleased expression to fill Luo Chong’s eyes. He looked over at the incredibly beautiful Duo Lan.

“Goddess Duo Lan, what exactly are you looking for?” he said with a smile. “We have a bunch of backwater Cultivators here. I can make them go looking for whatever it is you need.” Based on his words, he obviously really did view the Cultivators down below as nothing more than insects.

Duo Lan’s pretty brow furrowed slightly, and she hesitated. She thought about the place she wished to locate, and it was true: having people familiar with the area would be of help. Just when she was about to nod in agreement, her eyes suddenly narrowed. She had just seen that in the middle of the location occupied by the Cultivators, was a small mountain.

At first glance, the mountain seemed strange to her. At second glance, she felt a peculiar sensation that made her think back to the Demon she had just seen….

Luo Chong happened to see her looking over at the mountain. He glanced at it passingly before his gaze came to fall on the medicinal cistern. As soon as he saw it, his eyes narrowed, and he shot forward through the groups of people to land directly next to it.

He scooped up some water and sampled it, after which his eyes shined brightly.

“This is a natural medicinal elixir cistern! The quality is amazing, the highest quality!” He laughed heartily, ignoring the incensed expressions of the surrounding Cultivators. He waved his right hand, within which appeared a jade bottle that he prepared to fill with the medicinal cistern.

“If I procure some of the medicinal stones from this area,” he thought, “I can take this cistern back with me and put in the Palace!” It seemed that escorting this beautiful woman was going to pay off for him after all.

In the blink of an eye, the bottle shot out into the air. The cistern water began to gurgle, and then shoot toward the bottle. The more than one hundred Cultivators in the area were growing more and more furious. It was hard to say who was first, but they all stood up in quick succession, their eyes shining with hatred. Black Lands Cultivators are inherently a cruel and savage lot, and to see someone so brazenly steal their cultivation resources caused their veneration to turn into frenzy.

However, in the exact instant in which all of the Cultivators stood up en masse, one of the mid Core Formation Cultivators floating up in mid-air gave off a cold snort. The sound transformed into something like rolling thunder which swept across the ground, causing the faces of the other Cultivators to instantly go pale. Some of them even coughed up blood.

“You people sure are brazen!” said Luo Chong with a cold laugh. “I’m a Dao Child, and I’ve taken a liking to this medicinal cistern. That’s good luck for the cistern, as well as you. If I didn’t need you to help Goddess Duo Lan, then based on your actions just now, I would have a mind to exterminate the lot of you!”

As soon as the words left his mouth, a calm voice echoed out from within the small mountain. “They may be brazen, but your temper takes the cake.”

The suddenness of the voice caused Luo Chong to immediately turn, a look of concentration in his eyes. The two Black Lands azure-masked Cultivators from up above shot down to appear on either side of him, their eyes flashing. They had already scanned the mountain with Spiritual Sense, but hadn’t detected anyone within. This unexpected voice immediately filled them with fear.

As Meng Hao’s voice echoed out, he reached down and touched the ground with one finger. The ground shook, and vast quantities of Demonic Qi tendrils rose up from the ground. They emanated out from the mountain and began to congeal at its peak.

No one could see this Qi, not even Luo Chong and his companions. The only thing they could sense was a crushing feeling of danger. The two Western Desert Cultivators, on the other hand, as well as Duo Lan, could clearly see it. Their faces flickered as the huge amount of Qi began to take the shape of a phantom figure.

The phantom figure seemed to be draped with a black robe. His features were indistinguishable, but as he stood there, he seemed to be fused with the mountain, as if he were the mountain, and the mountain was him.

Duo Lan was experiencing the exact same feeling she had from moments ago.

She looked around and realized that the more than one hundred local Cultivators all had looks of respect on their faces. They were not kowtowing to the short mountain, but, the sight in front of her reminded her of what you might see in a Tribe of the Western Desert.

Such Tribe members were constantly prostrating themselves to the most powerful totems in the tribe. That was how they acquired totemic power…. What she was seeing here was the early stages of such an arrangement.

Suddenly, the black phantom atop the short mountain flickered, gathering together the Demonic Qi in the area and shooting toward Luo Chong and the other two people with him. Though they couldn’t see it, they could feel the danger, and retreated in shock.

However, the speed of their retreat could not compare to the quickness of the black phantom. Just when they were about to collide, Duo Lan’s face twisted. She could not allow the Dao Child of the Black Lands Palace to die right in front of her. That would most certainly affect her prestige. She lifted her right hand and then waved a finger; the butterfly on her forehead flew out, speeding directly toward Luo Chong and the others.

At the same time, the two Western Desert Cultivators let out gruff roars. A giant bear totem coalesced, snarling as it charged forward. After that was a giant elephant, which also barrelled ahead.

In the blink of an eye, the phantom Meng Hao had created with the art of Righteous Bestowal was now racing to attack six individuals at the same time.

An explosion rippled out; Meng Hao’s Demonic Qi phantom shook and then dissolved. Blood sprayed from Luo Chong’s mouth. The faces of the two azure-masked Cultivators went pale. One of them grabbed Luo Chong and shot backward. The two Western Desert Cultivators howled as they retreated backward several paces. As for Duo Lan, her face flushed red briefly before returning to normal.

“Your Excellency, Demon Lord, we’re here today….” She actually felt a bit relieved, and was about offer words of mediation when suddenly a cold snort echoed out from within the short mountain.

“My Incarnation is a bit weak,” said Meng Hao lightly. The black Qi around him covered his body, which suddenly flashed, speeding out of the Immortal’s cave like a black smoke.

In the blink of an eye, he was in front of the bear totem Western Desert Cultivator. He raised his right hand, the one covered in the diaphanous glove, and formed a fist, which then descended down toward his opponent.

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