Chapter 359: Zhou Dekun and Meng Hao
Seeing Meng Hao’s expression, Hanxue Shan was about to open her mouth and say something, but then had a sudden thought. A look of pity appeared in her eyes.
Sighing to herself, she thought, “His smile seems normal, but he’s obviously covering up his jealousy of Grandmaster Pill Cauldron. It’s so obvious!” Then she thought about how he had saved her twice, and how he wasn’t really very disagreeable in general. And of course there was the scene from the battlefield which kept playing out in her head.
Her heart suddenly softened.
She thought of Meng Hao’s words and bearing from moments ago, and then realized she had actually embarrassed him a bit, which was why he had reacted in the way he did. “There’s no need to feel frustrated,” she said comfortingly. “Grandmaster Pill Cauldron is a rare talent in the world. Ai, don’t let yourself feel discouraged.”
Meng Hao wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. There was no way he could tell this girl that the person sitting in front of her was the very one she adored to the extreme and wanted to marry, Grandmaster Pill Demon’s true Legacy Apprentice, possessor of the Everburning Flame, wielder of the Alchemy Dao Transmutation Incantation, and superstar of the Southern Domain, Grandmaster Pill Cauldron.
Hanxue Shan quickly changed the subject. She had suddenly thought of a problem. Frowning, she said, “What are you going to do? If you lose to Grandmaster Zhou, then there’s no way you’ll be able to get a Frigid Snow Larva. Even granny won’t be able to do anything about it. Besides, there are only two young larvae that can be raised, and it will take a year. Otherwise, I would help you to get one. Except, I don’t know how to raise them….” She was about to continue when she saw the look on Meng Hao’s face, as if something was unacceptable and he wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.
The look immediately annoyed her. Looking flustered, she stamped her foot. “Fine, forget it,” she said. “If you aren’t anxious then what’s the point of me being anxious for you?”
Her attitude was something Meng Hao had never encountered before. Neither Xu Qing nor Chu Yuyan had been so impulsive. He couldn’t help but size her up again.
“What are you looking at?” she said, glaring at him again, her young heart beginning to race. Without realizing it, she stood up a bit straighter and put on a menacing expression.
“I’m looking at you, beautiful,” replied Meng Hao with a laugh, winking.
“You….” Her face suddenly flushed red, and her heart seized with panic. She backed up a few steps, holding her tongue for a long moment before bursting out, “You were just coming on to me!”
Meng Hao scratched his head, his smile growing wider. He suddenly realized that messing with this girl was quite amusing. He cleared his throat and was about to say something else when, suddenly, Hanxue Shan once again spoke, her tone earnest: “Granny told me that according to Clan rules, anyone who comes on to a member of the Frigid Snow Clan will be turned into an ice statue! The only other option is to commit yourself to me!”
Meng Hao gaped in astonishment. This was the first time he had ever heard of such a ridiculous rule.
“You remember that!” said Hanxue Shan obsequiously. “You owe me a commitment!” Her eyes flickered with craftiness as she stared at Meng Hao. Covering her smile with her hand, she spun around and walked off. Her slender legs, lithe waist, and perky rear end only served to accentuate her youthfulness, and gave her a profound charm as she stalked off.
Meng Hao watched her leave, laughing to himself. He then looked back down at the invitation card in his hand, and Zhou Dekun’s name written on the top in flowing calligraphy. As he did, his smile grew even more brilliant.
“Very well. Three days from now I’ll go see this Grandmaster Zhou. We’ll see whether or not his Dao of alchemy has made any progress during his years in the Black Lands.” Smiling, he put away the invitation card, closed his eyes and sat cross-legged amidst the lotuses. He meditated on the shape of the lotus flowers and sought enlightenment regarding their essence.
The Wild Giant snored gently as it slept. Off to the side, poor Gu La was butchering some meat to feed it when it woke up.
A forlorn expression covered his face. He missed his life in the Western Desert, and yet, after hearing the conversation between Hanxue Shan and Meng Hao, he was suddenly filled with the desire to see this mysterious Grandmaster Pill Cauldron.
“If I have to be a slave,” he thought to himself, “it should be to a Chosen of the Dao of alchemy from the Southern Domain. That would be fitting for the likes of me, Gu La. Oh well. Such a pity….”
Time passed, and soon it was three days later. Hanxue Shan came twice to visit during the three days, but every time she caught sight of Meng Hao’s nonchalant attitude, she got mad. Her last visit came on the third day, the appointed day of the competition. Her face was dark as she stalked over, delivered a jade slip, and then left without another word.
The jade slip contained a pill formula, a simple one. Meng Hao could sense Zhou Dekun’s Dao of alchemy within the pill formula. Meng Hao wasn’t sure how Hanxue Shan had managed to get her hands on it, but obviously she wanted to give him a chance to study it so that he wouldn’t lose too badly.
“She really is a warmhearted girl,” he thought with a laugh. He studied the jade slip for a moment before transforming it into ash. Then he rose to his feet and flew up to stand on the head of the Wild Giant. “Alright, let’s go. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up giving some pointers to Zhou Dekun. It depends on how much his skill in the Dao of alchemy has regressed.” He shook his head as the Wild Giant suddenly opened its eyes. Looking a bit disconcerted, it rose to its feet. Its ninety-meter height made it look like a small mountain. It gave out a loud roar as it reached down, grabbed a big chunk of meat, and threw it into its mouth.
“Meat…. Meat….” it grumbled indistinctly. Then it strode forward, out of the courtyard.
Bells were sounding out within this region of Holy Snow City. As they heard the sound, nearby Cultivators suddenly remembered that today was the appointed day for Zhou Dekun to concoct medicinal pills. Immediately, excitement began to grow.
In recent days, Holy Snow City had produced large amounts of magical items and techniques, a variety of cultivation necessities, all for the purpose in bolstering the resistance against the Black Lands Palace invasion.
Such items were available based on achievements in battle. Because of their former status as one of the great Clans of the United Nine, the Frigid Snow Clan possessed deep reserves of such items.
Everyone knew that Zhou Dekun was going to concoct pills for ten people, based on their battle achievements. The news had caused quite a stir. Now that the bells were ringing out, large groups of Cultivators flocked toward Holy Snow Square, in the east of the city.
When Meng Hao appeared on the stomping Wild Giant, he was quite conspicuous. Even people some distance away could see the giant’s huge frame.
Murmuring filled the air as the Wild Giant strode forward at top speed. It didn’t need to fly, a single leap would propel it hundreds of meters forward.
Meng Hao sat cross-legged on top of the giant’s head, the wind whistling past his ears. Snowflakes danced about in the cold air. He paid no attention to all the onlookers; he simply transmitted some silent instructions to the Wild Giant, his eyes closed.
Within the space of about ten breaths, he opened his eyes to find the Wild Giant leaping over a frozen river that ran through the city. Then, they arrived at Holy Snow Square.
The square had long since filled with hundreds of Cultivators, packed densely in rings. The sight of the Wild Giant caused them to immediately clear a path. Anyone who saw a ninety meter tall giant running toward them like a charging mountain would fall back without even thinking about it.
The center of the square was empty. Considering his status in Holy Snow City, Zhou Dekun would obviously not sit around waiting for anyone.
As soon as the Wild Giant entered the square, Meng Hao’s body flashed as he flew forward. The surrounding hundreds of Cultivators’ eyes were fixed on him as he soared over them, his expression placid. It was amidst complete silence that he stepped foot into the middle of the square.
It was almost noon; however, snow drifted down from the sky like it always did, landing onto the bodies of the spectators and resting on their hair. Meng Hao looked out at them calmly as he waited.
“So that’s the poison expert who will exchange poison concocting services for a Frigid Snow Larva from the Frigid Snow Clan.”
“If that guy was in some other city, he might be able to make a big impression. Unfortunately for him, this is Holy Snow City, and we have Grandmaster Zhou Dekun.”
“On the day of the battle, Grandmaster Zhou had reached a critical point in his pill concocting, and couldn’t participate. That’s why he didn’t have a chance to show off the power of his poison like that other guy.”
The onlookers discussed matters for a short time before four prismatic beams of light appeared. Four people appeared in the square, followed by dozens of Frigid Snow Clan members.
One was Hanxue Shan, who looked over concernedly at Meng Hao.
As for the four people, they were none other than the four Grand Elders of the Frigid Snow Clan. First Elder stood there, as short as a midget, but emanating power from his Cultivation base that seemed to suppress the surrounding Cultivators. They instantly stared at him with intense looks of veneration.
Second and Fourth Elders, as well as the old woman, Third Elder, were all Nascent Soul experts. Their appearance instantly caused everyone to cease speaking.
Meng Hao’s expression was the same as ever. After the Elders arrived, about five breaths of time passed before Zhou Dekun appeared. He strode into the square, flanked by the beautiful young women, looking incredibly lofty.
All of the Cultivators in the audience looked at him with respectful expressions, smiled, and clasped hands in salute.
“Greetings, Grandmaster Zhou!”
“Many thanks for the medicinal elixir you provided, Grandmaster Zhou. I had somewhat of a breakthrough in my Cultivation base. Anything you need, I will provide as repayment!”
“Haha, it’s been a few days since we last met, Grandmaster Zhou. You are even more elegant and graceful than before.”
Words like these filled the air, causing Zhou Dekun to smile proudly. After entering the square, he greeted the four Grand Elders, and then looked superciliously over toward Meng Hao.
“What’s your name?” he said coolly, looking every bit a senior member of the Dao of alchemy.
“Fang Mu,” replied Meng Hao with a slight cough. Meng Hao looked at Zhou Dekun, and couldn’t help but sigh inwardly. He had been worried about the man for such a long time, but from the looks of it, he was definitely doing quite well.
Hearing the name Fang Mu caused Zhou Dekun to stare in shock.
This chapter was sponsored by Rudolph Arreola, Caleb Gleason, and Andrew Tangen