Chapter 488: Entering the Central Region
Having experienced the battle with their archenemy, it could be said that the Crow Divinity Tribe had won a great victory. They had exterminated the Five Poisons Tribe. Unfortunately, that victory had come at a heavy price.
Of their force of ten thousand Cultivators, they now only had a bit more than three thousand left. However, those who remained had undergone a sort of baptism. Whether in terms of Cultivation base or in just the impression they left on others, they were now as sharp as swords… deadly, unsheathed swords!
All the battles they had fought made it so that even death meant little to them. Amidst the blood and the killing, even what it meant to be a Cultivator changed in their hearts.
The Crow Divinity Tribe had experience tumultuous change. These more three thousand survivors could all be considered to be a match for the most powerful members of the five Crow Divinity Tribes years ago.
War can wipe out a Tribe. At the same time, it can also cause a Tribe to rise to prominence! It can kill people. At the same time, it can give birth to new life!
In the blink of an eye, the Crow Divinity Tribe had been reborn. As of now, it was possible to predict that if they carried on this way, by the time they reached the Black Lands, they would be a great Tribe, risen to prominence within the Western Desert Apocalypse. Based on their battle prowess and decisiveness, they would become a Tribe that even other great Tribes would come to fear.
At the same time, Meng Hao’s personal strength continued to grow. Every time he fought through a desperate crisis, it caused wild faith to grow in the hearts of the members of the Crow Divinity Tribes. It turned into a piety, a faith power that constantly circulated around Meng Hao and fused into his body.
Although he could not actually absorb it, its continued existence inside of him cause his life force to flourish and the power of his divine abilities and magical techniques to increase dramatically.
Meng Hao could tell that the faith of the Crow Divinity Tribe members had the potential to increase his power. At the same time, his own might caused the Crow Divinity Tribe members’ Cultivation bases to rise.
“The amalgamation of the five elements will give rise to a mighty leap up for the Crow Divinity Tribes!” thought Meng Hao. Currently, he sat on the head of the flying viper. The wind beat against his face as he looked out at the lands below.
After the battle, Meng Hao had absorbed the remainder of the Five Poisons Tribe’s neo-demons. Although many of them had died, his horde now contained a total of around 50,000.
In addition, they had acquired quite a bit of resources from the Five Poison Tribes. Most importantly… was this precious treasure, a flying machine that could hold thousands of people!
This gigantic viper whistled through the air, carrying all of the Crow Divinity Tribe members as they continued on their journey.
The incredible speed with which it moved filled the Crow Divinity Tribe members with hope, and allowed them to put aside about the horrific brutality of the battle they had just fought.
It had taken them two years to walk out from within the depths of the Western Desert North region. They had experienced many battles, and in the end, had fought it out with the Five Poisons Tribe. Now, it was as if a door had opened for them.
After passing through this door, the glory of the Crow Divinity Tribe would once again be known in the Western Lands.
The giant viper shot through the air for many days. They passed over quite a few Tribes who had no flying machines, and soon had gone farther than they could have traveled in ten years on foot.
The further south they flew, the fewer lakes they saw, and the more rivers. The reason for this was because the further south one got, the higher the elevation. Contrariwise, many areas in the lands in the north were already becoming seas.
Several days later, a mountain range became visible up ahead. It was black, and stretched out seemingly endlessly.
Sitting next to Meng Hao was the Crow Divinity Tribe Greatfather. His face was pale, and his body aged. As he looked off into the distance, he coughed, and then slowly said, “This is the true demarcation between the Western Desert North region and the Central region, the Ink Qilin Mountain Range….”
During the battle, the Greatfather had chosen to burn his own life force in order to delay the enemy High Priest. Despite months of treatment by consuming medicinal pills concocted by Meng Hao, as well as healing power from his Wood-type totem, he had harmed his foundation. He knew that the time of his death drew close. He only had about half of a sixty-year cycle left.
He felt no regrets. Half of a sixty-year cycle was enough that he might be able to watch with his own eyes as the Crow Divinity Tribe entered the Black Lands. He might even be able to spend some time living with the Tribe after they got there.
To him, that was enough. During the few months of travel, he had not practiced Cultivation, but rather, lived like an ordinary person. He would sleep, and sometimes dream, something he hadn’t experienced in many years. Within his dreams he saw images of himself and the other Greatfathers with whom he had fought and schemed against for so many years. In his dreams, they were smiling and beckoning to him, inviting him to leave with them.
They had fought for a lifetime, but now, he was the only one left. He would wake up from his dreams feeling lonely and alone.
“After we pass these mountains,” he continued, his voice low, “we will be in the Western Desert Central region. Right now, that is probably where the largest groups of Cultivators are gathered.” After that, he coughed a few more times.
“Our stockpile of Spirit Stones is sufficient,” he went on. “Unfortunately, this Five Poisons Tribe flying treasure probably won’t be able to keep going for a very long time. Because it was overloaded earlier, it was damaged. I’m afraid it won’t be able to sustain flight for more than half a year. After that, it will stop working.” The Greatfather frowned anxiously.
Meng Hao nodded, but did not respond. As the flying viper treasure shot over the Ink Qilin Mountains, a vast tableau opened up in front of Meng Hao’s eyes. It was an enormous plain that was completely different from the lands in the north.
Although the violet rain fell here, there was still greenery visible, areas where the violet rain had not exterminated all the vegetation.
As they proceeded further south, the previously extinguished spiritual energy suddenly began to sparkle to life. This caused the Crow Divinity Tribe members to instantly be enlivened.
Meng Hao frowned. Because the spiritual energy had not been completely cut off in the Western Desert Central region, and because not all life had been exterminated, it meant that there would be more Tribes here.
“Now that we’re here, we need to be more cautious,” he said. With that, he sent the flying viper forward to search for a place in the plains where the Tribe could rest and reorganize.
At the same time, he waved his hand, causing a large group of black crows to appear and fly toward the west, south and east. They shot off into the air and quickly disappeared.
Time passed by. Half a month later, they still had not run into any local Cultivators. Nonetheless, the Crow Divinity Tribe remained vigilant, constantly keeping watch in all directions.
One afternoon, Meng Hao sat there cross-legged as a black beam of light appeared up in the sky. It shot toward their flying magical treasure, and then appeared in front of Meng Hao in the form of a black crow. It hovered in the air in front of him, emitting a soundless call.
Meng Hao looked at the crow, and then his eyes began to glow. A moment later, he lifted up his hand. The crow landed on his palm and then disappeared.
Another half month went by. Similar events occurred over and over again as the black crows that Meng Hao had sent out returned at high speed with reports from the surrounding areas.
Meng Hao was also able to see the surrounding lands through the eyes of the crows. Using their bodies, he was essentially able to increase the range of his Spiritual Sense.
Several days later, when all the crows had returned, Meng Hao was now as familiar with the area as he was the back of his own hand.
He waved his hand, causing a screen to appear in front of him upon which was sketched a map. “There are seven Tribes in the area, all mid-sized Tribes. The smallest of them number in the thousands, the largest is 20,000 strong….”
The Greatfather and the other Nascent Soul Cultivators of the Crow Divinity Tribe were seated around Meng Hao. They looked with interest at the map.
“Right now, these two Tribes are the closest to us,” Meng Hao continued. “They no doubt are already aware that we have a Demon Spirit. However, Tribes who have managed to migrate this far into the Central region will have experienced many hardships. They won’t make a move lightly, and will certainly attempt to scout us out.
“In recent days,” he said calmly, “I have sensed at least two waves of Divine Sense sweep over us, which are assuredly from the totemic Sacred Ancients of those two Tribes.” None of the surrounding Cultivators said anything.
“What interests me most in this area is this place,” said Meng Hao, pointing to a spot on the map. It was a relatively large location about two weeks away via flight, which Meng Hao had circled on the map.
“This place seems very strange, and is occupied by seven or eight Tribes. Based on the observations of my neo-demons, it seems they have constructed something of a trade outpost.” He frowned.
“They must have formed an alliance!” said one of the Nascent Soul Cultivators. He was a middle aged man, not one of the original members of the Crow Divinity Tribe, but a more recent addition.
“Because of the Apocalypse,” he continued, “and the increasing heaviness of the violet rainfall, there will definitely be some Tribes who choose to form alliances instead of fighting with each other. The members of such alliances will be stronger as a whole, and will have a better chance of surviving.
“The group the exalted Sacred Ancient referred to is surely just such an alliance. As for the trade outpost… that seems simple enough to explain. I’ve passed through this part of the Central region before in the past. The Tribes in this area tend to form mobile trade outposts. In fact, some Tribes are nothing more than such trade outposts.”
“Elder Sun is correct,” said the Crow Gloom Tribe Grand Elder. “I’ve also heard of this matter. After these particular Tribes formed their alliance, they constructed a trade outpost to engage in resource trade. They all have their various needs and desires, but together, they are more confident of making it to the Black Lands.” The Crow Gloom Tribe Grand Elder had already switched totem tattoos. He now had Meng Hao’s Wood-type totem. This had caused his Cultivation base to climb back up into the early Nascent Soul stage.
“Logically speaking,” said Elder Sun, “a trade outpost created by an alliance like that won’t stay in place for too long. They’ll continue moving forward, growing stronger and more powerful, continuously engaging in business with people they encounter.
“That is exactly the type of place we need to go to. We might even be able to purchase a long range flying magical treasure. There may be some other items we can acquire that will be useful for our migration.
“I’ve even heard that in the trading outposts of some of the great Tribes, you can purchase Sacred Ancients from Tribes that have been wiped out….
“The main question is, do we engage in trade with this alliance? Or… do we rob them!?” His words caused everyone’s eyes to begin to shine brightly and then look toward Meng Hao to await his decision.
Meng Hao was quiet for a while before coolly saying, “If the alliance chooses to trade with us, then we trade. If they want to go to war with us, then we will bring them war!”