Chapter 366: The Path of Five Colors
Gradually the land stopped shaking. The voice which had emanated from down below faded away, and silence fell upon Holy Snow City.
The crowds of people were gazing up into the sky at the spot where Zhou Dekun had disappeared. Everyone was taciturn, their moods low.
Grandmaster Zhou, the number one alchemist in the Black Lands, had been taken away as simply as that.
He would never return to the Holy Snow City that he loved so much. Perhaps he would end up in a new location, and would continue to build on his reputation as a Grandmaster….
This sudden event was something that no one present could ever have predicted.
Meng Hao looked thoughtfully up into the sky, contemplating what would have happened if he had prevailed in the alchemy duel with Zhou Dekun, or if Zhou Dekun had not acted so superior just now. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been Zhou Dekun who was taken away but…
Meng Hao himself.
He stood there thoughtfully.
Around him, the hundreds of other Cultivators were similarly thoughtful. Too much had occurred here today, and everyone seemed incapable of absorbing it all.
Surrounded by quietness, Meng Hao slowly shook his head and glanced at Hanxue Shan, who had a blank expression on her face, and then the old woman, Third Elder. He clasped hands and bowed to her, then turned and slowly made to leave this world of silence.
As he was about to walk off, the surrounding Cultivators seemed to come to their senses. One by one, they turned to look at him.
The four Grand Elders also turned to look at him. Second Elder held his tongue, but Fourth Elder took a hesitant step forward. The old woman said nothing.
First Elder, the midget, put a smile onto his face and strode forward. In a loud voice, he addressed Meng Hao: “Grandmaster, where are you going?”
Meng Hao stopped and looked back. “I’m surnamed Meng,” he said. “Earlier, someone said that I wasn’t welcome in Holy Snow City. Naturally, that means I need to leave.” He sighed, shook his head, and turned to leave.
The words immediately caused the surrounding hundreds of Cultivators to feel shock in their hearts. How could they not reacts to such words? Before, when Zhou Dekun was present, they all looked down on Meng Hao. But Zhou Dekun was nothing but history now. Suddenly, Meng Hao’s position was infinitely higher than before.
Without Zhou Dekun, there was no Grandmaster here. To Holy Snow City, such a loss was too vast!
First Elder glared angrily at Second Elder, then strode forward laughing to block Meng Hao’s way.
Immediately, the surrounding Cultivators began to cry out to Meng Hao.
“Grandmaster Meng, what happened earlier was a misunderstanding. The Frigid Snow Clan was inconsiderate in its treatments of you as a guest. There’s no need to bring it up again. Grandmaster, please in no way allow the misunderstanding to remain upon your heart.”
“Yeah! Grandmaster Meng, you are at the pinnacle of the Dao of alchemy. There’s no need for you to lower yourself to our level. This place is your home, Grandmaster Meng!”
“Grandmaster Meng, why not just stay? If you leave, your talent will never be noticed in the outside world. If you stay here, you can become even more famous!”
“Grandmaster Meng, we beg of you to stay!”
The voices of hundreds of Cultivators rose into the air, filled with sincerity and cordiality. Meng Hao immediately appeared moved. He stopped walking, looked around at the surrounding Cultivators, and then clasped hands and bowed deeply.
“I am indebted to your kindness, Fellow Daoists. Generally, I, Meng, could never refuse. However… there are people here who don’t like little old me. I’m afraid I have no choice but to leave.” His words caused Second Elder’s face to immediately fall; he looked around to find quite a few people staring at him. Gritting his teeth, he strode forward a few paces and then clasped hands and bowed deeply to Meng Hao.
“Grandmaster Meng, please forgive me. I was wrong earlier, and I beg for you to not take offense. In my heart, you are truly at the pinnacle of the Dao of alchemy, Grandmaster. When the Frigid Snow Clan was in dire straits, you thought nothing of the hardships and ignored the danger, immediately coming to our aid. I will never forget your kindness, even when my teeth fall out from old age!
“First Elder,” he continued solemnly. “I suggest that we give Grandmaster Meng a Frigid Snow Larva. That is the only way to properly express the depth of the gratitude of the Frigid Snow Clan.”
“One is not enough!” said Fourth Elder. He was a grim-faced man, but he wore a smile now as he took a few steps forward and bowed deeply to Meng Hao with clasped hands. “One is definitely not enough. We currently have two on the verge of completion. We should give both of them to Grandmaster Meng, that would be the best. First Elder, I hope that you can agree. This is the only way to express the gratitude of the Clan. As for the larvae, as long as the Clan exists, and time is sufficient, we can always raise more.”
First Elder felt a bit anxious as he looked at Meng Hao. With Zhou Dekun gone, the only person they had left was this Grandmaster Meng. He gritted his teeth and said, “You are absolutely correct! Grandmaster Meng, please, fear not. The Frigid Snow Larva will be delivered into your hands within a year’s time!”
Meng Hao was inwardly rejoicing, but on the outside he appeared to hesitate. This was something he had just learned to do from Zhou Dekun.
His hesitation caused the surrounding Cultivators to all call out, urging him to stay. Meng Hao continued to hesitate, and then started to shake his head. A second round of crying out then began, and finally he appeared to be vacillating.
“It’s not that I don’t want to stay,” he said with a sigh. “But this place is very dangerous. My Cultivation base is low, and I’m afraid I won’t be powerful enough to protect myself…. Furthermore, I can only stay here for about half a year. There’s simply no way I can stay an entire year.”
First Elder and the others exchanged glances. Finally, the old woman spoke up, looking at Meng Hao with a strange expression. “If the four of us work together, we can reduce the time by more than half. We can produce the Frigid Snow Larva in less than half a year.”
“After you have the Frigid Snow Larva, Grandmaster Meng, you can simply leave,” said First Elder. “We won’t do anything to stop you.”
Many of the Cultivators in the audience were continuing to call out to Meng Hao, urging him to stay. Considering that there were so many solemn requests, Meng Hao finally reluctantly agreed. This caused vast amounts of respectful words of thanks to ring out.
It was in this manner that Meng Hao ended up staying in Holy Snow City. It was also how he became famous there. Regardless of outside Cultivators or Frigid Snow Clan members, the name of Grandmaster Meng resounded in their ears like thunder.
Were it not for Zhou Dekun’s presence in the city earlier, it would not have been so easy for them to accept him, nor to view him with such importance.
Thankfully, Zhou Dekun had laid a strong foundation, and had caused everyone in the city to develop a healthy respect for the Dao of alchemy. The fanaticism with which the locals viewed alchemists made the Frigid Snow Clan members accept Meng Hao with complete courtesy.
It was only logical under such circumstances for Meng Hao to take the foundation Zhou Dekun had built up and make it completely his own.
If poor Zhou Dekun knew what was happening, he would surely cough up several mouthfuls of blood and be filled with endless regret. He would certainly sigh and think about how it’s impossible to constantly put on an act. Sadly, what he had worked so painstakingly to create, now belonged to Meng Hao.
However, Meng Hao also felt somewhat wronged. After all, he hadn’t set out to achieve this situation; it was the result of a series of lucky coincidences. Everything had landed directly in front of him, and there had been no way to avoid it. It had just smacked right into him.
In the following days, almost all the Cultivators in the city were talking about Grandmaster Zhou. Meng Hao’s residence was under special guard by Frigid Snow Clan members.
During this time, quite a few powerful Cultivators came to pay him a formal visit. They were all extremely polite. The way that Meng Hao dealt with them was very different than the mysterious vagueness that had been the hallmark of Zhou Dekun. Meng Hao would smile and give them actual pointers regarding the Dao of alchemy. With only a few words, he was able to cause the local Cultivators to instantly be lost in thought.
Half a month later, Meng Hao had thoroughly cemented his place within Holy Snow City. His name was even beginning to spread throughout the world outside the city walls.
As for the ninety meter tall Wild Giant, people already viewed it as Meng Hao’s personal mount. The Western Desert Dragoneer was viewed as Meng Hao’s footman.
Many of the Cultivators who planned to request pill concoction services from Meng Hao found out that he liked lotus flowers. As such, they spared no cost in searching a variety of locations to find lotuses for him. Soon, Meng Hao’s courtyard was thoroughly festooned with snow lotuses, the aroma of which covered everything.
Regarding the Black Lands Palace invasion, as Hanxue Zong had promised, they truly would not make any military incursions for three months. This gave the Frigid Snow Clan a bit of a buffer period. As the time slipped by, more protective spell formations were erected. All of the Cultivators in the city were mobilized by the Frigid Snow Clan as they strengthened the various districts of the city.
Only Meng Hao was relatively idle. Most of the time, he sat in meditation by the lotus plants. Occasionally he would take out some Celestial soil, and the magical symbols within, to study. Other times he would call Gu La over to examine his totem tattoos.
As far as the lightning which would occasionally fall down from the sky, Meng Hao was completely used to it. He now had a fearsome instinct when it came to sensing its approach. Of course, the Li Clan Patriarch was constantly shrieking and cursing. However, as time passed, his soul embodiment was gradually becoming more resistant to the lightning.
According to Meng Hao’s analysis, the Li Clan Patriarch was already transforming into a Soul of Lightning.
In terms of everything, Meng Hao’s greatest gain had to do with the Celestial soil symbols. He had been studying them from the moment he arrived in the Black Lands. It was finally at this point that he started to pick out some of the clues.
“These Celestial soil symbols are very similar to totems. I can determine with eighty percent certainty, that the so-called Celestial talisman… was actually a primordial totem!” Breathing heavily, he stared down at the Celestial talismanic paper in his hand, and his eyes began to glow.
“All of my research down to this moment points toward totems!” he thought, his eyes flickering. He closed his eyes for a long moment and then opened them. “The reason I’m so incredibly interested in totems is because after the Heavenly Tribulation, the main conundrum I will face is how to achieve the Perfect Nascent Soul!
“Nascent Souls are divided into the five elements and colors. Four equates to Flawless, five is Perfect… If I could acquire the Gold Core manual of the Sublime Spirit Scripture, then I would be able to see how to successfully step from a Four Color Nascent Soul into a Perfect Nascent Soul. Unfortunately, the Gold Core manual has long since been lost….” The glow in his eyes grew stronger.
“Other stages can’t even compare to the Nascent Soul stage. If you want to get Four Colors… it’s very difficult. Even I don’t know how to do so. However, the totems of the Western Desert, as well as the five elements pill concocting technique of Yan Song from the Eastern lands, have given me a new direction to explore.
“Whether or not I can succeed will be determined by further study and research. I need more Western Desert Cultivators so that I can study their totem tattoos. That’s the only way to reach a certain conclusion!” Meng Hao took a deep breath, and his eyes glittered with a cold aura.