Chapter 429: The Golden Crow and the Great Tree
Meng Hao looked around, muttering to himself. He then scanned the area with Spiritual sense. However, other than the golden tree and the Golden Crow, there was no trace of anything else.
“Could it have left this place entirely?” thought Meng Hao. As a Grandmaster of the Dao of alchemy, he had concocted sentient medicinal pills before, the kind that attempted to wrest away good fortune from Heaven and Earth, the type that the Heavens attempted to destroy with Tribulation.
Lost in thought, Meng Hao considered how most such ancient medicinal pills had withered up long ago, and were no doubt nothing more than dust. “Most likely it already shrivelled away into ashes.”
Meng Hao couldn’t imagine how a pill that could break out of the furnace in such a manner could possibly still exist after so many years had passed. He put the matter aside and turned his head to look at the great tree.
After a long moment, he reached out his hand and placed it softly on the surface of the tree.
The instant he touched it, it began to vibrate and slowly emit a golden light. At the same time, the Wood totem tattoo on Meng Hao’s forehead began to emit a green light.
There was no communication or interaction. Instead, there was a sliver of will that had existed for who knew how long in this great tree that, at this moment, was set free. It had encountered something similar to itself that it approved of, and had decided to say its final goodbyes.
Meng Hao looked at the tree and could see that it no longer had any life force left in it. The only thing that remained were the traces of the passage of time.
After a long moment passed, Meng Hao sighed.
“So, this is the place that Yan Song and the others are dying to get to…. No medicinal pill, only a corpse and the remains of a great tree. Even the pill formula in the jade slip is of ancient times. Nowadays, you wouldn’t even be able to find the right medicinal plants. The only thing here worth looking at is that Golden Crow.” Meng Hao looked up at the bird sitting on top of the tree overhead.
Finally, he shook his head and was about to pull back his hand, when suddenly a tremor ran through his body. The previously closed eyes of the Golden Crow snapped open. Powerful life force streamed out, entering into the great tree. Suddenly, power seemed to emanate out from the tree, as if it was… still alive.
Because Meng Hao’s hand was touching the tree, he was able to sense the power of the life force. In that instant, his eyes went wide with disbelief. He looked up again at the Golden Crow, his mind blank. It was an ancient sacred relic of the Crow Divinity Tribe, something that had existed for many years, and was powerful enough to give birth to an entire Tribe.
Nowadays, that once powerful Tribe was fading away and had already begun to split apart.
“This life force….” Meng Hao was struck dumbfounded for a long moment. Finally, he took a deep breath. As a Grandmaster of the Dao of alchemy, he was very familiar with medicinal pills. Just now, he could tell that the life force emanating from the Golden Crow actually contained… the aura of a medicinal pill!
It was not emanating life force, but rather, the power of a medicinal pill!
“Is it because it consumed the medicinal pill, or… is IT the medicinal pill?!” The possibility of the latter sent Meng Hao’s mind and heart reeling. Before coming to this place, he could never have imagined that the Golden Crow of this once powerful Tribe… originated from what had started out as a medicinal pill.
He was a Grandmaster of the Dao of alchemy, and as such, could accept that lakes and mountains could become Demons. However, perhaps his own deep knowledge of alchemy covered over his own eyes in a way that made it impossible for him to conceive of the same thing happening with medicinal pills.
He began to breathe heavily. He was now almost certain that of the two different possibilities he had just considered, it was virtually impossible for the first one to be correct. After consuming a medicinal pill, its aura could not exist for a very long time.
The only correct conclusion was that the medicinal pill had turned into a Demon, which then could exist forever!
Panting, Meng Hao looked up at the Golden Crow and the great tree. Suddenly, an image appeared in his mind. Within the image was an ancient Grandmaster of the Dao of alchemy, sitting beneath a Greenwood Tree, preparing to pass away in meditation. As death neared, he produced the most glorious pill he had ever concocted.
Unfortunately, by the time the pill emerged, the Grandmaster had already breathed his last breath.
Years later, when the sentience of the pill reached a certain point, it suddenly broke out of the pill furnace. It seemed as if this action might even have had something to do with the Greenwood Tree. From the moment it appeared in the world, its only friend and partner was none other than the Greenwood Tree.
Year after year passed. After the passage of an innumerable amount of time, when the pill had matured and risen to prominence, it founded the Crow Divinity Tribe. Many more years passed. Eventually, the Greenwood Tree’s life began to waste away, and it died.
The medicinal pill could not accept that the tree had perished. It used its powers to transform its color, and every so often, it would sacrifice some of its own life force to feed the tree.
However… the tree truly had perished. Regardless of what was done, the only thing that could be brought back was something empty, lifelike though it might seem.
Even still… although the medicinal pill understood this, it refused to give up.
Meng Hao considered all of this for a long moment, and then let out a soft sigh. His hand dropped to his side as he stepped back a few paces. He clasped his hands and bowed deeply to the great tree and the Golden Crow.
He could see that the Golden Crow was currently growing weaker and weaker. Soon, its life force would be exhausted, and it would transform into dust on the wind. When that happened, the great tree would have nothing to support its empty but lifelike existence, and it too would transform into dust.
Perhaps both of them were simply waiting for that moment when they both turned into dust together, and could drift up into the empty sky.
Meng Hao looked at the Golden Crow and the great tree. He wasn’t sure why, but for some reason the look in the eyes of the Golden Crow reminded him of certain aspects of Grandmaster Pill Demon. The crow stood atop the great tree; Pill Demon stood on his short mountain. The crow gazed upon the tree; Pill Demon gazed upon the statue of Violet East.
It was a strange feeling that caused Meng Hao to stand there thoughtfully for a moment before sighing.
“Since I’m here, I might as well employ some of my power….” He lifted his right hand into the air and performed an incantation. Then, he took a deep breath and pointed at the tree.
“By my command as the Ninth Generation Demon Sealer, I bequeath you with Righteous Bestowal!” Immediately, a tremor ran through Meng Hao’s body, and he spat out a mouthful of blood. When it landed on the tree, a strange light began to glow in the Golden Crow’s eyes, and it stared at Meng Hao.
“Righteous Bestowal causes your path to become that of a Demon!
“Righteous Bestowal causes your Dao to become unceasing!
“Righteous Bestowal causes your spirit to return from emptiness to become a Demon!
“My approval represents the approval of the League of Demon Sealers…. This is Righteous Bestowal, a true blessing.”
Such was the true usage of Righteous Bestowal. After being enlightened regarding it, Meng Hao had never truly used its full power on any Demon. At the most, he had used only some of its bestowing power.
Righteous Bestowal was a type of approval. Any Demon of Heaven and Earth that received the approval of a Demon Sealer would be able to temporarily absorb some of the essence of the Ninth Mountain and Sea. Even if that Demon were dead, its soul would not disperse.
This Golden Crow had not done any favors for Meng Hao. However, its emotions and thoughts had stirred Meng Hao. They touched him in a way that made him believe that providing assistance with Righteous Bestowal… was the right thing to do.
After the power of Righteous Bestowal was manifested, Meng Hao took a deep breath. He looked at the great tree and the Golden Crow and then turned to leave. It was at this point that the Golden Crow suddenly emitted a sound. This was the first sound it had made since Meng Hao entered this place, a shrill cry.
This cry sounded something like the grating of metal against metal. Meng Hao looked back to see the Golden Crow shaking. As it shook, ghost images sprung up, and a golden light surged out. The light slammed into Meng Hao’s torso, transforming into a gold-colored brand.
It was a totem tattoo that was somewhat similar to his previous totem tattoo of the Greenwood Tree, an image of a Golden Crow. This was a Metal-type totem, which, if Meng Hao was lucky and could accomplish an Ancestral Awakening, might eventually turn into the ancient character for metal!
After sending out the totem, the Golden Crow seemed to have been weakened by at least half. Its body shook on the verge of collapse for a moment before it collected itself and then looked at Meng Hao.
Meng Hao opened his mouth to say something, although he wasn’t sure what. However, it was at this exact moment that, within this world of grayness, a boom echoed out from the mouth of the seventh volcano. Four figures suddenly became visible.
“Hahaha! We’re here!”
This chapter was sponsored by Jonas Grundström