Chapter 883: Snatching Food From the Tiger’s Mouth!
“13th in the Echelon?” said Meng Hao, gaping at the woman. He had no idea what she was talking about.
The woman didn’t respond at first. She simply looked at Meng Hao, her expression one of seeming reminiscence, as if she were thinking of something she had once experienced. After a long moment, her cold voice echoed out once again.
“In the great Nine Mountains and Seas, there are only room for nine. There are a thousand years until the plan can be carried out. The nine people who break into the Ancient Realm first, can set off on the journey.
“There are already seven people ahead of you who have succeeded.
“The Ninth Mountain and Sea has already fallen behind by quite a bit.” With that, she extended her right hand and pointed at Meng Hao. He was incapable of resisting as a sealing mark flew out and settled onto his forehead.
The sealing mark glittered with dim light, flashing thirteen times before it faded away.
The sealing mark caused Meng Hao to tremble, and suddenly, he felt as if an additional stream of qi had appeared inside of him. The qi circulated throughout his entire body, then concealed itself, fading away.
“This sealing mark can protect your soul from being destroyed, but only twice,” the woman said, her ice-cold voice echoing about.
“After that, if your soul is exterminated, then naturally your qualifications will vanish. However, if you eventually enter into the top nine rankings… then your future potential is limitless.
“Seize this opportunity.” Having finished speaking, the door of the Immortal’s cave began to close, and the Immortal cave itself began to fade, as if it were about to vanish.
“Senior,” he replied, “the opportunity you speak of, and this setting off on a journey. What’s the destination?”
The woman’s voice echoed out from within the Immortal’s cave: “Outside the great Nine Mountains and Seas, to the outside world. To find out the true reason that ancient war was fought.
“There are some who wish to awaken a certain person,” the woman murmured. “There are some who wish to bring a certain person back to life…. The fault does not lie with us!” She seemed to be on the verge of fading away.
“Senior, wait a moment,” said Meng Hao. He still had the feeling that the sealing mark wasn’t a good thing, and that the so-called good fortune was good fortune in word only. Currently, he was left with a sense of extreme danger. “I still don’t understand,” he continued. “If my soul is exterminated, and my qualifications vanish, then what about the person who kills me?”
“Whoever kills you will acquire the sealing mark. If they can come to me here, then they will be the successor of your qualifications.” The Immortal’s cave was now approximately seventy percent vanished, and the woman’s voice was faint.
Meng Hao’s eyes widened, and he anxiously said, “Senior, um… my father and mother are getting old, and I also have an older sister. I’m waiting for my beloved to return to me. Uh… can I decline to go? I don’t really want this sealing mark.”
“You were enlightened regarding Paragon magic, took first place in the arena matches of the Ninth Mountain and Sea, and have the qualifications of a Daoist Society. Therefore… you cannot decline to receive my sealing mark. If you do not wish to make the journey, then go out and find someone to exterminate your soul twice.” The Immortal’s cave was fading away rapidly, and now only ten percent remained.
“You….” Meng Hao was getting really anxious now. “Senior, I’m stuck here, and can’t get out. If I’m 13th in the Echelon, is there any way you can get me out of here?
“If I can’t get out, then I might perish, then you putting me in the Echelon would have been completely in vain. Furthermore, this place is simply too dangerous for someone like me.”
Meng Hao was pretty sure that most of the sects would have no idea what this woman was talking about when she mentioned the Echelon. However, the Three Great Daoist Societies definitely knew. And while they might not bear him any ill intentions, he didn’t like his own life or death to be determined by a mere thought on the part of someone other party.
The vanishing of the Immortal’s cave paused momentarily, and after a moment of silence that lasted for the space of a few breaths, a crystalline beam of light shot out from inside to land in Meng Hao’s hand in the form of a jade slip.
“That jade slip will teleport you out of here. You can only use it once, and it will take you anywhere that you can mentally recall.” After she finished speaking, the Immortal’s cave vanished completely.
Meng Hao held the jade slip in his hand, and his eyes widened. Then he frowned and touched his forehead. After a moment passed, his eyes began to glitter.
“Forget about this Echelon business for now. Just finally being able to get out of here is good thing!” Meng Hao knew that if he only relied on the power of his cultivation base to get out, it would be far too difficult.
After taking a deep breath, he hefted the jade slip and was about to use it to teleport out, when suddenly he gave a start.
“Now that I can leave any time I want… well, if I left now, it would be a bit of a waste.” After thinking about it for a moment, his eyes filled with determination, and he gritted his teeth.
“I’m gonna give it a shot!” he thought. That was Meng Hao’s personality. To go out and return empty-handed was a waste. Therefore, he turned and retraced his tracks back to the medicinal plant garden.
Rewards come only with risk!
After Meng Hao left, the Immortal’s cave that had just vanished suddenly reappeared. The white-robed woman also returned, and she watched Meng Hao walking off into the distance, a look of reminiscence on her face.
“The League of Demon Sealers….” she murmured. In that moment, a rare tenderness appeared on her face.
Meng Hao proceeded cautiously through the Ruins of Immortality. In almost any location in this place, it was possible that there were terrifying things lurking about that could destroy him in body and spirit. There were many places that he couldn’t avoid no matter how cautious he was. It was fortunate, therefore, that Meng Hao had already traveled this path before and thus didn’t attempt to explore any of those locations. Instead, he proceeded slowly and carefully for about half a month until he once again found himself outside the medicinal plant garden, where he stood there and salivated at what he saw.
From a distance, the medicinal plant garden seemed like a vast stretch of land overrun with countless weeds. However, amidst the weeds were random medicinal plants, many of which were virtually extinct in the outside world, and which would be called Celestial medicinal plants. There were even some locations that had legendary Holy medicinal plants.
The problem lay in the innumerable, frightening black beetles with razor-sharp mandibles that had occupied the entire garden and posed a threat to everything nearby.
“That’s… Reincarnation Leaf!
“And there’s a Sun Blossom!
“That’s Arhat Grass!” Meng Hao was trembling with anticipation. Even from a distance, he was able to recognize these three Holy medicinal plants. Any one of them was enough to cause people in the outside world to go crazy.
Further in, there were a greater quantities of even better Holy medicinal plants, but Meng Hao knew how to restrain himself. It would clearly be impossible to get that far in. Not to mention, even though everything in the area of the much-closer Reincarnation Leaf seemed harmless at the moment, Meng Hao remembered that when he had come here earlier, a step too close had given rise to clouds of black beetles.
Reincarnation Leaf came from a small violet-colored tree. Nine leaves grew on the tree, and they bore the shape of crescent moons; a unique magical symbol glittered brightly on each of them. Just looking at the tree gave a person the sensation that they were looking at the cycle of Reincarnation itself.
As for the Sun Blossoms, they creeped along the ground, tiny orange flowers that looked exactly like suns, glowing with brilliant light.
Then there was the Arhat Grass, which was an ordinary-looking plant that resembled a dandelion.
Meng Hao took a deep breath and then narrowed his eyes. Holding the jade slip in his left hand, he gritted his teeth and then slowly caused his aura to weaken.
“When I came here before,” he thought, “tens of thousands of beetles appeared when I got within three thousand meters of the medicinal plant garden…. It seems the beetles are sensitive to auras….” His aura continued to grow weaker and weaker, until he had suppressed himself to the point that he bore the appearance of a Core Formation cultivator.
“A bit more!” he thought, still not quite convinced that it was enough. After pushing his aura down even further, it was at the Foundation Establishment stage. This was the limit of what he could accomplish at the moment.
Next, his body flickered as the shapeshifting meat jelly was tossed out. It was just about to begin jabbering when it suddenly looked around and started shaking.
“Dammit! Dammit! I was only asleep for a bit and y-y-you… you brought me to a place like this? Heavens! Heavens! This… this place is way too dangerous!!”
“Quiet!” snapped Meng Hao. He quickly retrieved the black feather, gave it to the meat jelly, and then provided a few instructions. After hearing his plan, the meat jelly was shocked, and shook its head vigorously. However, after Meng Hao uttered enough threats, the meat jelly put on a long face and agreed to the plan.
Meng Hao crept slowly toward the medicinal plant garden. He’d already made the decision that if he couldn’t acquire the Holy medicinal plants, then he would swallow his regret and teleport out. However, by this point, he had reached the 3,000-meter position that had caught the attention of the countless beetles before.
His heart pounded madly as his foot stepped past that point. He stared up ahead, vigilantly preparing for the beetles to appear, yet none did.
“This method works!” Licking his lips, he continued forward until he was at the 1,500 meter mark. Suddenly, dozens of black beetles flew up from within the weeds. Meng Hao’s face fell, and he gripped the jade slip tightly. However, he held his ground, gritting his teeth and remaining stock still.
The dozens of black beetles all emanated ferocious auras as they flew about. However, after finding nothing, they slowly flew back down to the ground.
Beads of sweat rolled down Meng Hao’s face. He knew that at this distance, if the black beetles suddenly attacked, he would be in great danger.
After a long moment passed, he gritted his teeth and crept forward again. He was now at the 1,000-meter mark, and a thousand beetles flew up buzzing into the air. Meng Hao was even more nervous than before.
“The only way I can get close is be suppressing my aura to the point where they think I’m too weak to be a threat.” A moment later, the black beetles all flew back down to the ground, and Meng Hao crept forward once again.
600 meters. 300 meters. 150 meters!
As soon as he passed the 150-meter mark, his eyes widened, and his throat tightened as everything turned black.
Tens of thousands of beetles instantly shot up into the air.
In that moment, Meng Hao urgently sent out divine will. Further out, the meat jelly was trembling and cursing inwardly. Gritting its teeth, it used the black feather to suddenly cast out a shocking aura.
Immediately, the beetles up ahead of Meng Hao were sent astir. A black sheet of light rose up that was composed of tens of thousands of black beetles, all of whom shot directly up into the sky.
The auras cast out by the beetles brushed against Meng Hao, and blood sprayed from his mouth. However, his expression was one of complete determination and utter excitement. His body flickered as he shot down toward the Reincarnation Leaf. Without the slightest hesitation, he didn’t collect the leaves, but actually tried to wrench the entire tree out of the ground, along with the Immortality Illumination Vine that was at its root!