Chapter 688: Together
The Rebirth Cave was one of three Danger Zones in the Southern Domain. However, it ranked above the Dao Lakes and the Ancient Temple of Doom in terms of how mysterious it was!
That was because the Dao Lakes could be viewed as having been formed by ancient almighty figures who passed away in meditation. After they perished, their Daos dispersed, then experienced the vicissitudes of time, leaving behind countless shadows.
As for the Ancient Temple of Doom, its history was also a matter of record.
The Rebirth Cave was unique. To say that it was the number one Danger Zone in the Southern Domain was no exaggeration. In fact, if you looked at the entire Southern Domain as a whole, nothing was more shrouded in mystery than the Rebirth Cave. Throughout countless years, innumerable people had studied it in an attempt to pierce it secrets.
It was said that inside, one could be reborn to live another life!
For ages, many almighty experts came to the Rebirth Cave as they neared death. Not willing to follow the precepts of fate, they entered the cave to search for that opportunity. Unfortunately, those who actually succeeded were as rare as phoenix feathers and qilin horns.
One thing was certain: cultivators who entered the Rebirth Cave either succeeded, or remained inside forever as nothing more than skeletons.
The Rebirth Cave was surrounded by a forest of stones, which was a bit different than how Meng Hao remembered it from the first time he was there. The stones were scattered haphazardly in all directions, and seemed to be imbued with ancientness and mystery, as if they passed through time in some strange and unique way.
In the very center of the forest of stones was a squat mountain, seventy percent of which was made up by the entrance to the cave. It looked like a ghastly mouth, waiting to swallow up anyone who neared.
The entire area was gloomy and cold, and the ground was covered with bluish, frosty ice. Everything was quiet, a quiet that for countless years had almost never been disturbed by anyone.
With the exception of Choumen Tai….
There were cultivators scattered around the region of the Rebirth Cave. Most were alone, or perhaps in small groups. Such people were here to try to get close to the Rebirth Cave and use its bizarre power to cultivate certain unique techniques.
Most of them were rogue cultivators, and none dared to get too close to the cave. When Meng Hao and Xu Qing entered the area, there was a group of three such people sitting cross-legged not too far off, meditating. Their eyes opened and they looked at Meng Hao.
When they saw how weak he was, and the aura of death that surrounded him, their eyes glittered.
They could immediately discern exactly why he was there.
“His aura of death is thick, and he clearly has no cultivation base… Rebirth… how could it be that simple!?”
“Another person here attempting to be reborn. Although, why does that woman next to him seem so familiar?”
“That’s Goddess Xu Qing from the Black Sieve Sect!”
Meng Hao left the Southern Domain hundreds of years earlier, and during that time, Xu Qing’s name had long since spread near and far. Not only were many people familiar with her personally, she was also the focus of quite a bit of public attention because of her position within the Black Sieve Sect.
For her to appear at the Rebirth Cave was shocking to these three cultivators, and they immediately began to pay close attention. They also produced jade slips that they used to send messages and notify others of what was happening.
It took only moments for large numbers of rogue cultivators to hear the news, who then rushed over to that area of the Rebirth Cave to watch Meng Hao and Xu Qing.
The sounds of discussions echoed about, and soon, people began to speculate who the man next to Xu Qing was.
Xu Qing completely ignored all the people watching on. In her world, there was only Meng Hao.
It was difficult for Meng Hao to continue walking, but his eyes were filled with determination. His gaze was focused on the path ahead, and on Xu Qing, who held his arm to support him. Together, they proceeded onward.
Occasionally they would look at each other and smile. Meng Hao’s expression was gentle; Xu Qing’s eyes were filled with tenderness. If this path were the road of life, then the two of them walked it side by side.
It was not an easy path to follow. They were 30,000 meters away from the Rebirth Cave itself when Meng Hao began to shiver. The death aura now covered his entire body, and he looked almost exactly like a corpse.
His face was ancient, and his eyes deeply clouded. Next to him, Xu Qing was also showing signs of aging.
Her eyes were as resolute as ever, though, and every time Meng Hao looked over at her, his heart filled with pulses of tender affection.
30,000 meters. 25,000 meters. 20,000 meters…. When they were only 15,000 meters away, Meng Hao’s mind filled with intense exhaustion. He knew that by this point, the aura of death had entered into his soul.
Xu Qing was trembling, and her face was pale. Her life force had once been vigorous and strong, but now, it was rapidly fading, to the extent that random streaks of white could be seen in her long black hair.
She looked at least five years older than she had before, and the further along she proceeded, the more she seemed to wilt.
Meng Hao stopped walking and looked over at her. It was clear that he didn’t want her to proceed along any further.
“If you grow old, then I’ll grow old with you,” she said softly, gazing at him with a tender expression.
He closed his eyes for a moment. When they opened, they glowed with a brilliant light. His withered body suddenly seemed to be filled with energy, as if the last sparks of his life force had been unleashed. He lifted his right hand, and power surged within him.
This was the last bit of power that he could unleash from his Spirit Severing fleshly body. He waved his sleeve, and power wrapped around Xu Qing, sending her flying out from within the Rebirth Cave area.
She was powerless to even struggle. Meng Hao’s Spirit Severing strength sent her away in the blink of an eye. When she reappeared, she was outside of the region of the Rebirth Cave. She bit down on her lip.
She couldn’t help but think back to the last time she and Meng Hao were here by the Rebirth Cave. She had only been able to stand there alone off in the distance, struggling inwardly as she watched him depart.
“This time, I won’t sit by idly!” she thought, her eyes filling with determination.
Meanwhile, Meng Hao’s aura had exploded out, filling the rogue cultivators in the area with complete shock. They instantly felt an incredible, indescribable pressure weighing down on them.
Their minds trembled and their faces fell. One by one, they looked in the direction of the Rebirth Cave.
“Is this being caused by that old man?”
“Is it that guy who was walking with Goddess Xu Qing?”
“What cultivation base is that? Don’t tell me… it’s Spirit Severing!!”
At the same time, Meng Hao’s body transformed into a prismatic beam of light that shot toward the Rebirth Cave 15,000 meters away.
In the blink of an eye, he passed the 10,000 meter mark, and was at the border of the forest of stones. It was at this point that Meng Hao’s body trembled as the last bit of his cultivation base power scattered thanks to the power of the stones in the forest. He dropped to the ground and leaned up against one of the stones. His face was deathly pale, and his eyes blurry.
He felt an indescribable aura of death in the area. It was so strong that it turned into a white mist that covered the ground in all directions. Every inhalation and exhalation was filled with death and decay.
After a long moment, he struggled to lift up his head and then looked at the remaining 5,000 meters that lay between him and the Rebirth Cave. He gritted his teeth and slowly began to walk forward, one step at a time….
Never before in his life had 5,000 meters been such a difficult distance to cross. After walking only about 1,500 meters, he coughed up a mouthful of blood, which was purplish-black and exuded an aura of rot.
His eyes were even more cloudy than before, and his body was ice cold and stiff. His consciousness was fading, and the only thing he could think about was walking forward….
He proceeded on toward the Rebirth Cave, where he would struggle for his chance to be reborn.
He didn’t know how much time had passed. He walked on, trembling, his death aura growing stronger with every step. In the end, his consciousness grew even weaker. Behind him, the path he had walked was stained with the purplish-black blood that he had coughed up, although he couldn’t see that.
Everything was quiet, as quiet as a world of death….
Inside the Rebirth Cave, the ten streams of will stared at him coldly. From further within the depths of the cave, eight other streams of will emerged to sweep over him. They were filled with the feeling of ancientness and time, as if they were archaic divine beings.
As Meng Hao got closer and closer. He walked on further until he was only 500 meters away. It was at this point that a single stream of will silently appeared deep within the Rebirth Cave. When it did, all the other streams of will scattered, trembling.
The solitary stream of will focused on Meng Hao, 500 meters outside of the cave.
Eventually, Meng Hao reached his limit. A tremor ran through him; his head began to sag, and his knees were so stiff they couldn’t bend. He looked almost like a dried up corpse.
There was no life force left in him, only a tiny strand that was his stubborn determination to resist fate!
However, as his consciousness faded, even that strand turned dark. He fell to the ground, 250 meters away from the Rebirth Cave.
“Is it over…?” he murmured as his consciousness disappeared.
In the moment that he fell, a sigh could be heard echoing out from within the cave. All of the wills present slowly retracted, apparently no longer interested in what was happening. Only the solitary will from earlier remained, looking at something behind Meng Hao.
Then, the wills which had retreated just now slowly began to tremble. All of them appeared once again, to look at what was behind Meng Hao.
Within the white mist of death, a woman could be seen trudging along. Each step was taken with difficulty as she entered the forest of stones. Her life force seemed to be filled with determination, dredged up from some unknown place within her.
Her body was slowly withering, her cultivation base dim, and her previously lovely features now elderly as she walked slowly toward Meng Hao.
This was Xu Qing.
She was different than Meng Hao, who had lost his Dao foundation. Her once flourishing life force had been fused with the soul of Matriarch Phoenix. Therefore, she could proceed further in toward the Rebirth Cave than he could. To her, it was just a matter of struggling forward.
When she looked down at fallen Meng Hao, within whom no life force existed, tears began to stream down her face. She gently lifted him up so that he lay against her, then tenderly kissed him.
A strand of life force emerged from within her, passing through her lips into his mouth. Her face flushed with an unusual redness, within which would be seen weakness, but also life.
“This is a secret art from the Demon Immortal Sect… I give you my life….” As she watched Meng Hao once again filling with a bit of life, she smiled. Then she thought back to the time they had walked through the Reliance Sect in the moonlight, watched by everyone.
She looked up toward the Rebirth Cave 250 meters away, and then began to walk forward, carrying him in her arms.
Her face continued to grow more wrinkled, and her body trembled. Her life force was fading away, and yet with every step she took, she continued to pass some of it to Meng Hao.
Every time she did, she grew weaker and older. Yet no regret existed in her heart whatsoever.
Carrying Meng Hao, she walked the entire 250 meters, all the way to the entrance of the Rebirth Cave. Then, without any hesitation…
She walked in.
You live, I live. You die, I die!
If you grow old, then I’ll grow old with you….