Chapter 328: Establishing Strength!
The instant the door shattered into pieces, a whooshing sound could be heard, and the parrot disappeared without a trace. Meng Hao wasn’t sure where it had gone to hide, but obviously it had seen the look on his face and knew the trouble it had stirred up. However, instead of cleaning up its own mess, it left it to Meng Hao. Meng Hao’s mood sank even deeper.
His eyes flickered with coldness. He knew that the law of the jungle was a strict one and was revered as a way of life in the Black Lands. Weakness and retreat gave an opponent even more power and reason to crush you.
In the Black Lands, there was no reasoning, there was only strength.
The strong could plunder cities and enslave Clans. In the Black Lands, you could do anything you wanted and no one would do anything against you unless it was to their benefit. If you didn’t encroach on someone’s territory, they wouldn’t pay attention to you at all even if you slaughtered countless other Cultivators.
For example, the nine Clans that made up the United Nine had changed countless times throughout the years. One would rise, another would fall, down to this very day.
After the door was destroyed, two people charged into the room, accompanied by a cold, glittering light. As they descended upon him, Meng Hao let out a cold snort. It didn’t matter that he was actually in the wrong. He sat there cross-legged, his killing intent flashing. He lifted his right hand up as fast as lightning, and a single finger attack shot out.
A miserable scream immediately filled the air, and a corpse toppled backward out the door. At the same time, his four remaining fingers curled into a claw which latched onto the neck of a black-robed Cultivator.
No matter how he struggled, the man couldn’t move an inch. Meng Hao immediately sent spiritual power into the man’s Cultivation base, sealing it down tightly.
When attacking, one cannot hesitate, nor show weakness. That is a fundamental rule in the Black Lands.
Meng Hao’s expression was calm as he looked over at the door. Standing outside were eight Cultivators wearing black robes. Their expressions were serious, but they didn’t dare to enter the room. Instead, they stood there looking vigilantly at Meng Hao.
“Dongluo Ling,” said Meng Hao coolly, “is this the way the Dongluo Clan receives its guests? You’d better provide an explanation, or I’ll turn your skull into a cooking pot.”
The people outside remained silent as a woman stepped out from behind them. She wore a long, emerald green robe, and was quite beautiful. Her skin was so delicate it seemed a breeze could break it. This was none other than Dongluo Ling. Her brow was furrowed as she glared into Meng Hao’s room.
“Since you know who I am, then you’d better let my man go immediately. Then we can discuss some matters.” Her voice was pleasant, but filled with iciness. Her Cultivation base was beyond ordinary; it appeared to be at the early Core Formation stage.
Meng Hao grinned. He might have the appearance of a scholar, but looking at him now, he possessed a certain fierceness. He suddenly clenched his right hand. Loud cracking sounds could be heard; the man’s body twitched as his neck was crushed into pieces. After he was thoroughly dead, Meng Hao stood up and turned into a blur as he rushed toward the door.
Dongluo Ling laughed mockingly. She stood her ground, not moving at all. As she glanced down at the body of the dead man, the eight men around her suddenly moved forward to obstruct Meng Hao’s way. Two of them were white-haired old men. Their gazes were like lightning, their stature tall; shockingly, they even had totem tattoos on their arms. However, they didn’t look like Western Desert Cultivators. They had extraordinary Cultivation bases at the mid Core Formation stage. Their bodies flashed as they moved forward to defend Dongluo Ling.
They were fast, but Meng Hao was even faster. In the blink of an eye, he was out the door. He flicked his sleeve, and a gale force wind suddenly exploded out. It screamed out in all directions, causing the bodies of the eight Cultivators to shake as they spit up blood. They all retreated, looks of astonishment on their faces.
This caused Dongluo Ling’s face to change and her pupils to constrict before she could even think about it. The faces of two old men in front of her fell.
Meng Hao was as calm as ever as he neared Dongluo Ling. The eyes of the two old men flickered as they also advanced, hands flickering in incantation gestures. Their Cultivation bases roared with power as their magical techniques appeared.
“No Core Qi,” said Meng Hao, his expression intentionally lofty. “Insects.” Even as he spoke, his right hand lifted up and then descended downward in a fist.
An expression of shock filled the face of one of the men. The magical technique he had been incanting immediately collapsed to pieces. He felt an incredible power slam into him, and blood sprayed from his mouth as he staggered backward several paces.
As for the other old man, his eyes narrowed and he let out a howl as he attacked. Meng Hao’s left hand snaked out, and he tapped the man’s forehead lightly. Suddenly, Demonic Qi rose up, visible only to Meng Hao. It poured into the man, causing his veins to bulge and his eyes to fill with confusion.
All of this happened in a single instant, and then, Meng Hao was standing directly in front of the shocked Dongluo Ling.
Dongluo Ling knew that she had acted rashly, and that her opponent was far more powerful than her. The only thing she could do now was angrily say, “Do you really dare to offend me in my own Clan’s city? You’re dead for sure!”
Meng Hao looked her over coldly. Then he lifted up his right hand and was about to grab her, when suddenly he frowned and paused in mid-motion. Then, he pointed his hand down toward the ground. The entire inn began to shake as invisible Qi rushed up from all directions to circle around Meng Hao. It formed into a barrier to protect against a black spear which was currently shooting toward him from off in the distance.
The spear was as thick as the hand of a child, and was covered with complex, swirling patterns. It whistled through the air, slamming into the Demonic Qi vortex surrounding Meng Hao. A boom echoed out, and the spear shook, then collapsed into pieces. The pieces transformed into green-colored Core Qi, which then dissipated in all directions. The spearhead, however, did not disappear; it was still stabbing through the vortex. Just as it seemed it would pierce all the way through, Meng Hao reached up and tapped the top of the spearhead.
As soon as he touched it, the spearhead trembled and then exploded into fragments of Core Qi.
Dongluo Ling took advantage of this opportunity to back up about twenty meters. It seemed she was about to flee. Meng Hao coolly said, “Get back here.”
The words were simple, but the instant she heard them, Dongluo Ling’s face went pale white. She had suddenly discovered that her entire body was incapable of moving.
The old man who Meng Hao had just tapped on the forehead looked confused, as if his spirit had fled. Seemingly not even under his own control, he bound Dongluo Ling, grabbed her, and then flew back toward Meng Hao.
It was at this moment that Meng Hao lifted his head and looked off into the distance. It was currently dusk, and there were no Cultivators visible anywhere. Even the inn seemed to be empty. However, far off in the distance, a middle-aged man stood on a rooftop. His body was skinny and withered, almost like a skeleton. However, he emitted a dignified aura as he looked toward Meng Hao.
Their gazes met, and their Spiritual Sense shot out, emanating with massive pressure. Invisible ripples exploded out. Meng Hao didn’t move, but the face of the middle-aged man flickered, and he retreated several paces, coughing up blood.
“So,” said Meng Hao, his voice cool, “mid Core Formation Core Qi turns out to be slightly more powerful than insects.”
“Your excellency, who are you?” asked the stooped, middle-aged man. “Why do you wish to make the Dongluo Clan your enemy?” His expression was serious, and it seemed he couldn’t see Meng Hao’s Cultivation base.
“Sir, that is exactly the same question I wanted to ask you,” said Meng Hao calmly. “I have no grievance with the Dongluo Clan. So why did you send everyone in the area away, and then surround me and try to kill me!?”
Dongluo Ling ground her teeth and glared at Meng Hao, her eyes radiating hatred. “From the day the Scarlet Peacock was injured until today, thirteen people have entered the city. I’ve personally looked into the other twelve. You are the last one, and also the most suspicious!” When she thought about how the Scarlet Peacock couldn’t even fly now, and would always tremble and shake as it slept, her hatred toward Meng Hao seeped into her bones.
Meng Hao’s face sank. His voice cold, he said, “What ultimate absurdity! You’re just trying to stir up trouble!” He didn’t even make an attempt to explain anything; his simple response made him seem even more awe-inspiring.
The middle-aged man hesitated for a moment. Finally, he clasped hands and bowed toward Meng Hao, a bitter smile on his face. “This is all just a misunderstanding,” he said with a sigh. “My little sister went off on her own to investigate things. Fellow Daoist, I truly hope you can forgive us. That Scarlet Peacock is my little sister’s most beloved pet, and what happened has really aroused our ire. Therefore, we accidentally offended you. Sir, I am Dongluo Han. I implore you to give me a bit of face. What do you say?” 1
Meng Hao looked hesitant. He waved his right hand, and the old man who had bound up Dongluo Ling no longer looked confused; he regained his senses, then immediately began to tremble. He looked at Meng Hao as if he were a ghost.
Dongluo Ling’s body flashed, transforming into a beam of light as she flew over to stand next to the middle-aged man. She glared viciously at Meng Hao.
“Many thanks, Fellow Daoist,” said the man. “Allow me to give you a Dongluo City command medallion. With this medallion, your time in the city will be much more convenient.” Dongluo Han pulled out a black command medallion which he tossed toward Meng Hao. Meng Hao grabbed it and looked it over. In his time spent in the city recently, he’d learned that in Dongluo City there were five different types of command medallions. Scarlet was the highest, black was secondary, then yellow, blue and white. Each medallion came with various privileges within the city.
For example, in order to participate in the upcoming auction, one needed, at the least, a yellow command medallion.
After Meng Hao took the command medallion, Dongluo Han once again clasped hands and bowed, then grabbed the obstinate Dongluo Ling and left, along with the other Cultivators. As she left, Dongluo Ling’s features were filled with fury.
“Third Bro, why did you compromise with that guy?” she asked. “We surveilled him for several days. Of the thirteen suspects, he was definitely the most suspicious. Some people even saw him with a multicolored parrot.”
Before Dongluo Han could respond, a dignified voice suddenly could be heard from off to the side.
“I told him to.” Along with the voice, a man appeared. He looked to be middle-aged, but there was also some sort of ancientness to him. As soon as he appeared, Dongluo Han and Dongluo Ling lowered their heads and saluted.
“Greetings Clan Chief.”
“The Black Lands are falling into great chaos. The United Nine face imminent danger. At the moment, the last thing we need is to provoke powerful enemies. That guy appears to be in the mid Core Formation stage, but his attack just now was matchlessly ruthless. He dispatched another mid Core Formation Cultivator with no difficulty. He seems like a Rogue Cultivator, but at the same time, not. Under normal circumstances, it wouldn’t matter, but for now, we need to exercise caution.”
- Dongluo Han’s name in Chinese is 东洛韩 dōng luò hán – Dongluo is their Clan name. Han is a sound word ↩