Chapter 372: Did You Forget?
Half a month isn’t a very long time. However, as far as Wu Mu was concerned, the fact that he had encountered a certain Cultivator entranced with the idea of studying totems made it an unprecedented period of suffering. From his blood to his bones, from his totem tattoos to his techniques, his entire body was under the complete control of Meng Hao.
The more deeply Meng Hao studied the matter, the more confident he grew regarding the matter of concocting a Nascent Soul. Wu Mu seemed to have been destined to help Meng Hao understand how to fuse the Dao of alchemy with his Cultivation base. At the end of the month, it got to the point where he wasn’t learning anything new from the man, so instead of causing further trouble for him, Meng Hao released him.
Before he left, Wu Mu looked at Meng Hao, trembling. He vowed to himself that he would never run into this man again, then fled as fast as he possibly could.
“I need more totems to corroborate my line of thinking,” thought Meng Hao as he watched Wu Mu leave. Rumbling could be heard from outside the city walls. During the past half month, reinforcements from the Black Lands Palace and the Western Desert had continued to arrive. Every day, it seemed hundreds came whistling through the air to join the force outside.
Currently, there were around five thousand Cultivators amassed outside the city. Holy Snow City was thoroughly isolated. Beasts attacked from the sky, and glowing chariots charged on the ground.
The Thorn Rampart, during the one month in which it would survive, was impervious to any attack laid against it. Eventually, though, under the relentless attacks and explosions, it began to show signs of falling apart. Clearly, it wouldn’t last for very much longer.
A few days later, a contingent of nearly two thousand Black Lands Palace Cultivators appeared, whistling through the air. They were led by a Cultivator wearing a gold mask. It was none other than Black Lands Palace Dao Child Luo Chong! 1
His eyes were grim, and filled with a faintly discernable turbidness. His entire person exuded a strange aura. He had been a vile mood as of late. After being poisoned that year, he had returned to the Black Lands Palace and used every method he could think of to cure himself. Unfortunately, he was unable to dispel the poison. The situation filled his heart with dread; he had the feeling that his life or death all rested in the hands of the person who had poisoned him.
Not daring to publicly reveal that he had been poisoned, he had attempted every method possible to cure himself, all to no avail. After sensing the poison, his Master had even taken an interest in it.
He had invited an Eastern Lands alchemist to examine him. After doing so, a serious expression covered his face and he’d said, “This poison cannot be dispelled by Cultivators. It can only be diffused with medicinal plants.”
The mysterious Demon Lord who had poisoned him became something like a nightmare to him. Every time he thought of the man, intense coldness would fill his heart.
Of course, he had been careful to strictly comply with the man’s instructions, and did not step foot within three hundred kilometers of him.
In order to prevent any mishaps, he had holed up in the Black Lands Palace for quite some time. This was actually the first time he had left since being poisoned. In his estimation, though, there was no way he would possibly run into the fearsome Demon Lord in this backwater location.
He did the best he could to hide the depression in his heart, but some of it still managed to slip out.
“I heard this Frigid Snow Clan has a beauty named Hanxue Shan,” he thought, his eyes shining with debauchery.
Behind him was an old man wearing a silver mask, who emanated the shocking power of the Nascent Soul stage. His presence increased the number of Nascent Soul Cultivators in the battle force to five.
It was difficult to describe how much the addition of one more Nascent Soul Cultivator would change the circumstances of this conflict.
As Luo Chong and the others arrived, quite a few of the Black Lands Palace Cultivators flew up into the air to receive them.
Beneath his golden mask, Luo Chong’s face was filled with a proud look as he gazed at the Thorn Rampart and the heavily damaged Holy Snow City.
“Fellow Daoists of the Frigid Snow Clan. Ladies and Gentlemen of Holy Snow City. I am Luo Chong, Dao Child of the Black Lands Palace. I am not here today to join in the battle, but rather, to issue a challenge to all of the heroes under Heaven!” He strode forward until he was standing right in front of Holy Snow City.
“Anyone who is not of the Frigid Snow Clan that can hold their own against me, Dao Child Luo Chong, for the space of ten breaths, will be allowed to leave unharmed!” His words echoed about in the city.
He was surrounded by a group of Cultivators from the Black Lands Palace, as well as a few from the Western Desert, the most powerful ones present. The five Nascent Soul Cultivators were also there, a short distance away. Should the Nascent Soul Cultivators in Holy Snow City suddenly dare to attack, the five would be ready to deal with them.
“It is an historic moment!” continued Luo Chong, a lofty expression in his eyes. “Within half a month’s time, the Black Lands Palace will topple this city. The day that happens, anyone who remains inside will be buried along with the Frigid Snow Clan!”
Coming from him, a Dao Child, these words were powerful and impressive as they settled down over Holy Snow City.
“Therefore, tell me? Which of you dares to face off against me in honorable battle!?”
Some of the Cultivators at his side began to call out taunting provocations.
Inside the city, the faces of the several hundred Cultivators not of the Frigid Snow Clan were unsightly, although it was impossible for anyone to tell whether or not they were considering the offer.
The four Grand Elders and other Frigid Snow Clan members stood there thoughtfully. They obviously couldn’t hold anyone back from leaving; if they did, it would most likely lead to even greater repercussions. Furthermore, Luo Chong was a Dao Child of the Black Lands Palace, an incredibly high position. His Cultivation base was not at the Nascent Soul stage, but as a Dao Child, he directly represented the Black Lands Palace.
After a moment’s thought, First Elder sighed. In a hoarse voice, he said, “Fear not. To each his own. Our city is under threat, and anyone who does not have the will to stand and fight, should not stay. Any Fellow Daoist who wishes to leave will not be stopped. You have already shown great favor to the Frigid Snow Clan.”
Meng Hao stood in the crowd. He looked through the Thorn Rampart at Luo Chong floating there in mid-air, and a slight smile spread across his face. The poison in Luo Chong had not been dispelled. Meng hao had personally concocted it, and he was confident that few people in the world other than himself would be able to do so.
Silence filled Holy Snow City. Suddenly, someone shot forward. It was a middle-aged man, someone Meng Hao recognized. He had come before to request pill concocting services, and had a Cultivation base in the mid Core Formation stage. Among the Holy Snow City forces, he could be considered quite powerful. In the outside world, his Cultivation base would put him the position to be quite domineering.
Right now, his face was somewhat wan. The pressure he had come to feel in recent days had pushed him to the breaking point. He shot out through the Thorn Rampart, then let out a sigh.
“I’ve done everything I can,” he thought. “I’ve definitely paid back the Frigid Snow Clan for their magnanimity that year.” He shot forward, clasping hands toward Luo Chong and then said, “In accord with your will, Dao Child, I will battle you to save my life!”
The instant the man’s words left his mouth, a vicious light gleamed in Luo Chong’s eyes. At the same time, three Cultivators standing next to Luo Chong shot into the air at high speed. The approaching middle-aged Cultivator’s face twisted.
He immediately flashed an incantation gesture, and the gleam of a magical technique rose up. A rumbling filled the air as a black sword aura glittered into being. After the space of five breaths passed, the three men returned to Luo Chong’s side. Shockingly, one of them held the head of the middle-aged Cultivator in his hand, which he then presented to Luo Chong.
“What a pity. He didn’t last for ten breaths.” Luo Chong laughed, holding the head up high into the air and then crushing it.
“Is there anyone else who wants to give it a try? If not, then I’ll give you another option. Bring me the Frigid Snow Clan’s number one beauty Hanxue Shan. Whoever does so will not only be exempt from the death penalty, but will also receive a great reward!” He laughed again as he looked toward Holy Snow City. Inside, there was complete silence. All of the Cultivators had grim looks on their faces.
This was especially true of the Frigid Snow Clan members, and Hanxue Shan. Her phoenix-like eyes flashed with killing intent. She was a pretty girl, and the look on her face was instantly noticed by Luo Chong. His eyes flashed and he laughed. “The most beautiful woman in the land is here. It turns out my trip here wasn’t a waste!”
The Cultivators in Holy Snow City couldn’t hold back from crying out in ridicule.
“You’re a Dao Child from the Black Lands Palace! How could you be so despicable!?”
“You said you would fight a duel, but it was nothing more than a low-down trick. You people from the Black Lands Palace are all the same!”
As the voices drifted out from the city, Luo Chong continued to laugh, his eyes filled with arrogance. He didn’t give a whit about whether these people lived or died. He had just been toying with them. He knew that Holy Snow City wouldn’t mount any sort of offensive while the Thorn Rampart still existed, so he figured he would take advantage of the situation to have some fun.
“Alright, alright,” he laughed. “I won’t cause you any more trouble. How about this. Fellow Daoist Hanxue, why don’t you warm my bed this night. If you do, then I’ll take these two thousand Cultivators I came with and leave. That should take a bit of pressure off of Holy Snow City. What do you think?” His eyes gleamed as he looked over Hanxue Shan’s beautiful figure, and his heart burned.
Hanxue Shan was so angry she was trembling. She glared murderously at Luo Chong, but her heart was filled with sorrow. Some of her surrounding Clan Members were looking at her. None of them said anything, but she could see in their eyes what they were thinking, and it filled her heart with pain.
She smiled bitterly, and then, without even thinking about it, she looked at Meng Hao. It was as if she was wondering what he would do about the situation.
Meng Hao’s eyes narrowed as he looked at the three Cultivators who had just charged forward to fight. One was a Western Desert Cultivator. He was the one who had slain the middle-aged Cultivator, and the totem tattoo he had used was that of a sword!
It was a sword totem that created a magical manifestation of a sword, and emanated extraordinary power.
“I wonder if that’s a Metal-type totem?” he thought. Suddenly, he took a step forward and then shot up into the air, his gaze coming to rest on Luo Chong.
His appearance attracted quite a bit of attention. Cultivators quickly clustered around Luo Chong to impart to him information regarding Meng Hao. Luo Chong’s eyes shone, and a vicious smile appeared on his face beneath his mask.
“I’d heard about this Grandmaster Meng who has risen to fame in recent days,” thought Luo Chong, his eyes shining with killing intent. “Eliminating him will ensure that the city falls in a matter of days!” The gazes of the five Nascent Soul Cultivators came to rest on Meng Hao. Once he emerged from within the Thorn Rampart, they would instantly attack.
However, before Meng Hao passed outside of the city walls, he stopped. He hovered in mid-air, an enigmatic smile on his face as he looked at Luo Chong.
“Luo Chong,” he said. “I seem to remember I told you to stay at least three hundred kilometers away from me. Did you forget?”