Chapter 712: Gathering at the Dao Lakes!
The three Danger Zones of the Southern Domain!
The Rebirth Cave, the Ancient Dao Lakes, and the Ancient Temple of Doom.
The most mysterious of them all was the Rebirth Cave. The most ferocious was the Ancient Temple of Doom. However, to cultivators, the site that offered the most benefits in terms of cultivation… were the Ancient Dao Lakes!
However, it was still considered a Danger Zone. After entering, it would be difficult to predict whether you could come out alive or not. Only when the Dao Lakes region was in a state of eruption would the danger be slightly reduced, and the opportunities for good fortune increased.
Within the Dao Lakes region, invisible rifts often appeared that could cut through anything except perhaps certain precious treasures. In addition, there were many restrictive spells which had existed for countless years. If you stumbled into one there was a ninety percent chance that you would end up dead.
In addition, there were many teleportation traps. They would appear without any warning whatsoever, and would randomly teleport you to certain areas in the region of the Dao Lakes. If you got lucky, then you might walk away completely unharmed. If you were unlucky, however, you might get teleported into one of the rifts or even into one of the Dao Lakes. Even Dao seeking experts would either be killed or wounded in such a situation; no one could escape unscathed.
There was an even more terrifying possibility… it was possible to enter into a cycle of teleportation in which you entered a teleportation trap that constantly teleported you in and out to various locations, without letting you leave.
It was an endless cycle, and cultivators who entered one would be tormented by continuous teleportation until they died in body and spirit.
Such a tragic outcome was something not unheard of in the Ancient Dao Lakes. In fact, sometimes it was even possible to see corpses passing in and out of various teleportation traps.
Few people were aware of exactly how the Ancient Dao Lakes were formed. In the very center of the entire region was the largest Dao Lake, which was surrounded by numerous smaller lakes. These lakes had mirror-like surfaces, which to onlookers seemed to reflect the entirety of the Heavens.
Further out were the Dao Geysers. Normally they were dry and empty, but when they erupted it was possible to see Dao Projections.
In addition to the Dao Projections that would become visible in the Dao Geysers and Lakes, they would sometimes spit out precious treasures, ancient records, or even bizarre and terrifying beasts. Occasionally, precious materials would appear, or jade slips with special techniques. Some were worthless, whereas others were priceless. In summary, it was possible for just about any type of item to erupt out.
Over time, some people came to suspect that beneath the Ancient Dao Lakes were the ruins of some ancient structure or city that had fallen ages ago.
Many people wished to make their way into those ruins, but even peak Dao Seeking cultivators were incapable of doing so. Even the cultivators of the Ji Clan of South Heaven were incapable, much to their chagrin.
Currently, hundreds of thousands of cultivators were gathered outside of the Ancient Dao Lakes. The vast majority were rogue cultivators who didn’t dare to enter into the inner region of the Dao Lakes. They couldn’t do anything more than squabble with each other over control of the Dao Geysers.
Those who had enough strength could occupy a Dao Geyser, which would allow them to establish a foundation for their future. However, there were less than three thousand Dao Geysers, which led to bitter fighting on virtually a daily basis.
Of course, even with all the violence, one cultivator after another would gain enlightenment and rise to prominence in the area. That in turn led to even further excitement among the crowds of cultivators, who would go mad at the chance to acquire good fortune.
As time passed, more and more cultivators arrived. Of course, some attempted to venture into the inner region where there weren’t just Dao Geysers, but 30-meter Dao Lakes!
As far as the Dao Geysers were concerned, ninety-nine percent of the time, they spit out Dao Projections. Only occasionally would they erupt with other items.
When it came to Dao Lakes, it was an entirely different matter, which tended to depend on the size of the lake. For example, the 30-meter Dao Lakes had a ten percent chance of spitting out items other than Dao Projections. The 300-meter Dao Lakes further in had a thirty-percent chance.
Then there were the 3,000-meter Dao Lakes that had a sixty-percent chance.
Finally, there was the 30,000-meter Dao Lake, which had a ninety-percent chance of erupting with precious treasures!
As for the Dao Geysers, once they erupted, a Dao Projection would appear. Afterwards, that particular Dao Geyser would be locked with that one single Dao Projection, which would appear in every subsequent eruption. The Dao Lakes were different. Even if a Dao Projection did appear, it would eventually vanish. Then, you could wait at the edge of a lake for a certain period of time for another eruption.
Within the region of the Ancient Dao Lakes, there were roughly a thousand 30-meter lakes, each one of which was occupied by small-scale sects, making it difficult for any outsider to get near. There were a few hundred of the 300-meter lakes, the majority of which were occupied by mid-scale sects or clans.
As for the 3,000-meter Dao Lakes, there were ten in total, which great sects or clans like the Solitary Sword Sect were qualified to occupy.
By this point, the number of Southern Domain cultivators that had gathered did not exceed 1,000,000, but rather, was more in the range of 700,000 to 800,000. As more arrived, there was more fighting and killing.
A group of cultivators suddenly appeared up in the sky. Each and every one shone with a golden light, the reason being that they were all wearing golden suits of armor. Altogether, they looked completely wild and rough.
As they shot through the air, the sky and land grew dim, and ripples spread out in all directions. They didn’t look down, but instead, fixed their gazes on the inner region of the Ancient Dao Lakes. When they entered, they didn’t fly, but rather, proceeded carefully under the leadership of sect experts.
“The Golden Frost Sect has arrived!”
“Those are cultivators from the Golden Frost Sect! The one in the front is Golden Frost Sect Patriarch Ling Dong! Don’t tell me that the guy behind him is Grandmaster Eternal Mountain!?!?” 1
“See that fat guy off to the side? That’s the guy who swore to take a hundred beloved, the shameless Li Fugui, right?”
Cries of alarm began to ring out from the interior region of the Dao Lakes as the small-scale and even mid-scale sects began to grow anxious. That was especially true of the female disciples, whose countenances flushed with trepidation at the mention of the name Li Fugui.
Soon, more voices rose up from the region outside.
“The Li Clan is here!!”
“That’s… the 19th Li Clan Patriarch! They say he’s a Second Severing expert! Look at the people behind him! They seem to have an equal status, don’t tell me they’re also Spirit Severing Patriarchs?!”
“The Song Clan’s here too! I can see the Song Clan’s Inkstone Puppets!!”
“The Black Sieve Sect! The Black Sieve Sect people are here!”
“Just about all the sects and clans in the whole Southern Domain have arrived!”
Voices echoed about in all directions throughout the Ancient Dao Lakes. The person in the lead position of the Black Sieve Sect was none other than the Third Severing Patriarch who had survived Meng Hao’s attack. Clearly, his cultivation base had recovered quite a bit, but his face was grim as he glanced around and led his people into the Dao Lakes.
Within the group from the Song Clan was Song Jia. Her expression was placid, and she was followed closely by a middle-aged man. Somehow, he looked threatening despite the lack of any sort of anger on his face. Also in the group was Eccentric Song, whose cultivation base was slightly higher than before. He was now in the great circle of the Nascent Soul stage, just half a step from Spirit Severing. 2
Behind them were over ten thousand junior members of the Song Clan, as well as more than ten thousand puppets. The puppets were black, emanated an intense coldness, and were completely shocking in appearance.
Almost in the same instant in which the Song Clan entered the inner region of the Ancient Dao Lakes, a violet-colored auspicious cloud appeared in the sky off in the distance. As it neared, a sallow-faced old man became visible within. He was surrounded by several other old men who all bore similar auras. Their faces were grim and they did not speak. Behind them within the cloud were tens of thousands of disciples, as well as an enormous pill furnace, around which circulated a sword.
Their energy was bright and colorful, and as they neared, the cultivators outside the Dao Lakes immediately realized who they were.
“The Violet Fate Sect!”
“That’s Reverend Withered-Dao of the Violet Fate Sect! He’s a Spirit Severing Expert!”
“Look behind him! It’s the two beauties of the Violet Fate Sect… Chu Yuyan and Hanxue Shan!”
Within the crowd of Violet Fate Sect disciples, Chu Yuyan’s gaze swept over the scene down below. Her delicate brow was furrowed, as if she was looking for someone in particular, only to find that person not present. Next to her was a charming young woman with skin like snow, incredibly attractive. She was none other than the Holy Daughter of Holy Snow City in the Black Lands, Hanxue Shan.
She also seemed to search through the crowds, after which her expression grew somewhat gloomy. Next to her was a taciturn, middle-aged man with handsome features. Occasionally, he would look over at Hanxue Shan with a tender look in his eye that he kept well-hidden. 3
He was none other than Ye Feimu, the same person who vied with Meng Hao that year for the title of Violet Furnace Lord…. He was a Chosen of the Dao of alchemy, and after the hundreds of years that had passed he was now in the late Nascent Soul stage. 4
There was another person within the group who seemed somewhat nondescript, and yet had an early Nascent Soul cultivation base. He also looked down below as if he were searching for a figure that existed somewhere in his memories.
“He didn’t come…?” the old man sighed. “Oh well, I bet he wouldn’t even remember who I am….” Within the old man’s mind flickered countless memories of past times in the Violet Fate Sect.
“Elder Brother Fang Mu, do you still remember Bai Yunlai…?” 5
Surprisingly, among the forces of the Violet Fate Sect could also be seen An Zaihai and Lin Hailong, the two Violet Furnace Lords. Their gazes swept about, and complex expressions could be seen on their faces. 6
The auspicious cloud carried the group from the Violet Fate Sect into the region of the Ancient Dao Lakes, and then vanished. Finally, the region outside the lakes returned to its previous state.
Three days later, far off on the horizon, a blood-colored light shone out. The bloody glow spread out in all directions as something that bore the semblance of a blood-colored Demonic beast appeared. It shot forward at incredible speed, whereupon a gigantic face could be seen.
The vicious, blood-red sported a spiraling horn, which emanated an astonishing energy!
If you looked closely, you would be able to tell that, shockingly, the face was actually made up of tens of thousands of cultivators. As for the horn, at its tip was a young man wearing a blood-colored robe. His long hair whipped about his dispassionate face. Within his eyes could be seen a streak of ruthlessness.
He was handsome, but there was nothing scholarly about him. Instead, he seemed cruel and cold. This was… Meng Hao, who after experiencing death, had the ruthlessness of a Devil.
Behind him were six Spirit Severing Patriarchs of the Blood Demon Sect, as well as 40,000 disciples.
“The Blood Demon Sect!”
“That young man… could he be Meng Hao? He used to be called Fang Mu, Grandmaster Pill Cauldron. Now… he’s the Blood Prince of the Blood Demon Sect!!”
“To save his beloved, Xu Qing, he single-handedly battled the entire Black Sieve Sect! It’s Meng Hao!” Instantly, the region outside the Dao Lakes was thrown into a huge commotion. By now, more than a year had passed since the incident at the Black Sieve Sect, and the news had long since spread out through the masses.
Within the crowds, more than a few female cultivators gazed at Meng Hao with shining eyes and thought, “I want a beloved just like Meng Hao!”
As the buzz of conversation rose up from all the Cultivators, Meng Hao and the group from the Blood Demon Sect entered the region of the Ancient Dao Lakes.
In that moment, the entire region suddenly began to tremble. Along with the quaking, one Dao Geyser after another, along with a succession of Dao Lakes, all began to erupt. Innumerable Dao Projections appeared, and a riot of colors flashed in Heaven and Earth.
The Blood Demon Sect had arrived just in time for a Dao Lake eruption!
- Grandmaster Eternal Mountain is a former apprentice of Grandmaster Pill Demon. In chapter 236 he came to the Violet Fate Sect on the pretense of paying respects to his Master, but in fact was trying to determine the identity of Grandmaster Pill Cauldron, which he did, as explained in chapter 241. It was disciples from his ‘World Pill Division’ who engaged in the alchemy debate with Meng Hao that started in chapter 246 ↩
- Song Jia was the fiance who Meng Hao “won,” but then abandoned. She last appeared in the ancient Demon Immortal Sect in chapter 594. Eccentric Song was introduced in chapter 48, and was the one involved in the incident with the iron spear. Meng Hao ended up stealing most of the treasures from his “treasure mountain.” He was present later in the Song Clan search for a son-in-law, in which he bet that Meng Hao would win the competition in chapter 194 ↩
- Chu Yuyan and Hanxue Shan last appeared together in chapter 388 ↩
- The last time Ye Feimu actually appeared in the story was in chapter 309, when Meng Hao saved his life and the lives of Chu Yuyan and other Violet Fate Sect cultivators, and then chapter 314, when he vowed to supersede Meng Hao in the Dao of alchemy ↩
- Bai Yunlai was Meng Hao/Fang Mu’s assistant/partner in the Violet Fate Sect ↩
- An Zaihai and Lin Hailong were recurring characters who appeared multiple times throughout the alchemy arc. Both were on good terms with Fang Mu/Meng Hao ↩