Chapter 1124: For the True Dao!
Around the same time that Meng Hao entered the Third Nation, the middle-aged man in the Imperial robes who sat cross-legged on the Third Nation’s National Aura Mountain was looking into a crystal ball that floated in front of him.
Light swirled about inside the crystal ball, and apparently, an entire world existed isolated therein. If you looked closely, you would be able to tell that within that isolated world were three people. They were screaming, and apparently wished to be able to break out of the world, but could not.
If Meng Hao were there to see them, he would be incredibly shocked, perhaps even feel his scalp go numb. That was because… he knew two of them!
One was the dead boy Hong Bin, and the other… was the tenth Echelon cultivator Hai Dongqing!
As for the third person, it was easy to imagine who it might be. As expected, it was the Echelon cultivator from the Second Nation, who had died by Dao-Heaven’s hands.
Although those three people were already dead, their souls appeared to be sealed inside of that crystal ball. What a bizarre situation!
Suddenly, the man in the Imperial robes opened his eyes, and a mysterious light could be seen glowing within them. He slowly turned to look in the direction of the border between the Third and Fourth Nations. In the same moment, Meng Hao entered the Third Nation.
This man’s cultivation base was not incredibly high, and he was not even in the Immortal Realm. However, he had a bizarre aura floating around him that made him seem completely mysterious and enigmatic.
At the same time that he opened his eyes, numerous figures appeared around him, either standing on the mountain peak or floating above it. All of them wore black robes, with cowls that covered their heads, making it impossible to see their faces. However, all of those figures emanated the ripples of the Ancient Realm.
Of course, cultivators of the Windswept Realm were incapable of breaking through to even the Immortal Realm, let alone the Ancient Realm. And yet here were multiple powerful experts of the Ancient Realm. Furthermore, among the black-robed experts were two or three whose cultivation base ripples were stronger than the others, indicating that they were comparable to Elders from various sects and clans in the Mountain and Sea Realm, with ten or more extinguished Soul Lamps.
All of them hovered there silently, awaiting the orders of the man in the Imperial robes.
As for that very man, his expression was the same as ever as he waved his right hand, causing numerous flickering images to appear in front of him. One of those images depicted Meng Hao entering the Third Nation.
He watched thoughtfully as Meng Hao coughed up blood, his body withering. The man’s eyes flickered.
“Is the girl taken care of?” he asked suddenly.
“We sent people to kill her,” said one of the black-robed cultivators, his voice hoarse, like that of an old man. “Unfortunately, she’s very crafty, and has managed to evade them thus far. She’s still alive.”
“She’s a dangerous variable,” the man in the Imperial robes said. “Go take care of her yourself, just to be safe. Time is wasting away, so make it happen quickly!”
“For the true Dao!” the black-robed man said earnestly, clasping hands and bowing.
“For the true Dao!” responded the man in the imperial robes.
“For the true Dao!” the rest of the black-robed men chanted fervently in unison, lowering their heads.
“Regarding Meng Hao… he counts for nothing, much the same as Dao-Heaven. They are ants in a maze, nothing more. Ignore them. If he dares to come to the National Aura Mountain, then just as Dao-Heaven, he will flee in fright and never dare to set foot back into the Third Nation again. We should tangle with the Echelon only if necessary, so leave them alone. They will become useful to us later. Soon, when we leave this mountain, then… we will achieve our grand design!” The man smiled, gazed into the crystal ball for a long moment, and then closed his eyes.
The black-robed men maintained silence. After clasping hands and bowing, they slowly dispersed, each one heading in a different direction.
In his Immortal’s cave in the Third Nation, Meng Hao’s heart trembled as he looked down at the blood-colored mask. Then he glanced at the ground. Eyes flickering, he sent out some divine sense into the earth. After a moment passed, he frowned. His divine sense wasn’t able to locate anything unusual.
However, from the way the mastiff was struggling to awaken, he could tell that its intense thirst was increasing. Meng Hao had never sensed anything like this from the mastiff before.
It was as if, in order to sate that thirst, the mastiff would not only awaken, but do so in a transmogrified state. It would be different than before, having undergone a drastic transformation.
“What exactly is hidden down there…?” he thought. Instead of doing anything rash, he put the blood-colored mask away, closed his eyes, and continued meditating to heal his injuries.
With medicinal pills and his Eternal stratum, he recovered rapidly. After only three days, his eyes opened, and they shone with a brilliant light.
“I’m sixty percent recovered….” he murmured. “From here on out my recovery will naturally slow down.” During the three days he had spent recuperating, the mastiff’s thirst had only gotten stronger.
He slapped his bag of holding, and the parrot and meat jelly flew out. They looked around nervously for a moment but, seeing no danger, heaved sighs of relief.
“Don’t worry, Dao-Heaven isn’t chasing us,” Meng Hao said with a cold snort. Sometimes the parrot and meat jelly acted fearless in the face of death. At other times, they seemed like unbelievable cowards. The whole thing was a huge headache for Meng Hao. He just couldn’t believe that they were unaware of the battle that had occurred with Dao-Heaven. He had even considered directly summoning them.
However, during the heat of the battle, both of them had been busy playing dead.
“Hey, you can’t blame Lord Fifth for this,” said the parrot with a guilty chuckle. “Considering Lord Fifth’s level of skill, a single glance and a few breaths of time would be all it took to wipe Dao-Heaven out thousands of times over. The problem was I really happened to be napping at the time. Hahaha.”
“Lord Third disagrees,” the meat jelly said solemnly. “Lord Third thinks that you need practice! In order to become truly strong, you need more and more experience! Lord Third will never help you unless it’s absolutely, positively necessary!”
To hear the meat jelly say something like this caused Meng Hao to stare in shock. Historically speaking, the meat jelly would always just copy the parrot. It wasn’t just Meng Hao who was taken aback; the parrot was also stunned.
“Did you two get into an argument?” Meng Hao asked curiously.
The parrot cleared its throat, then glared threateningly at the meat jelly.
“Old Third is actually right,” it said, putting on an air of superiority. “It seems there’s no need for Lord Fifth to hide the truth from you. It’s true. Unless there is an extremely deadly crisis, we won’t do anything to help you.”
“That’s right!” yelled the meat jelly. “Lord Third and this evil bird did get into an argument. Damned pigeon. Henceforth, our differences are irreconcilable!”
“What did you just say! I DARE you to say it again!” squawked the parrot, its feathers standing on end.
“I’ll say it again,” roared the meat jelly, glaring at the parrot. “I’ll even say it three times!”
Meng Hao instantly felt a headache coming on. Seeing that the two of them were about to start arguing, he snapped, “Enough! If you want to argue, you can do it back inside the bag of holding. Parrot, look around and see if you can see anything strange about this place. Meat jelly, you check it out too. There’s something off here, there’s uh… some bullies!”
At first the meat jelly looked disdainful, but as soon as it heard bullies mentioned, its eyes shone brightly. It looked closely at the ground, and then suddenly gasped.
“There really are bullies! Lots of bullies!!”
The parrot looked over, and its expression flickered with disbelief.
“Desolate Blooddriven Heavenly Departure formation!!
“That’s an ancient evil spell formation, and yet people nowadays are still able to use it!? It operates on sacrifices, but to offer sacrifices here… this is impossible!!”
Meng Hao’s eyes glittered, and he sent out his divine sense to merge with the parrot and meat jelly. In that instant, his mind trembled, and he suddenly saw numerous images. Deep down in the earth, far, far below, was a sprawling necropolis!
The necropolis was huge, and featured ninety-nine gigantic pits of boiling blood. The boiling blood let off a blood-colored mist that swirled up into the air.
Sitting cross-legged next to each of the ninety-nine blood pits were countless cultivators. Their cultivation bases were not very advanced, and so skinny that they looked like bags of bones. They stood next to the pits, fanatical expressions on their faces as they slashed their arms with knives and poured the blood out into the pits.
Gradually, the sound of chanting could be heard, filling the necropolis.
Deeper into the necropolis were dozens of black-robed figures, sitting cross-legged in meditation. They appeared to be standing guard. Because they were protected by what seemed to be a spell formation, Meng Hao couldn’t make out the level of their cultivation bases.
Most shocking of all was that at the bottom of each of the ninety-nine blood pits was a cultivator, sitting there cross-legged. There were ninety-nine of them, one for each pit, and considering that they were submerged in blood, if it weren’t for the fact that Meng Hao was using a special vision technique, he wouldn’t be able to see them.
Meng Hao recognized one of those cultivators. It was none other than… the old man from the Ninth Nation, Jian Daozi!
Meng Hao began to pant. With the help of the parrot and meat jelly, his vision pierced down into the blood pits. What he saw was that the pits were actually shaped like funnels, and if you looked closely, there were eyelets at the bottom.
Beneath those eyelets, and beneath the ninety-nine blood pits, was a tunnel that led to another part of the necropolis.
It was much smaller than the main necropolis, almost like a secret chamber connected to the larger structure up above. Both structures together almost looked like an inverted bottle gourd!
Within that secret chamber were several statues that resembled spirit creatures, including a turtle, a crane, and even a bat.
The statues were connected by a ray of light than linked them together, forming a circle. In the middle of that large circle, in the very center of the secret chamber, was a blood-colored block of ice!
That blood-colored block of ice contained something sealed inside of it… a blood-colored bat!
That bat looked the same in every respect as the the bat statue among the surrounding group of statues!
Currently, the block of ice was melting, and as it did, a blood qi rose up into the tunnel above, to be absorbed by the ninety-nine eyelets!
“What is all this?!” thought Meng Hao, his face flickering. When he looked at the blood-colored block of ice, he immediately felt an aura of boundless evil buffet against him. Although he was only looking at it with divine sense, and was separated from it by the parrot and meat jelly, he could still sense it. It was an evil filled with madness and terrifying power.
It was definitely… something that cultivators couldn’t control. It was like something that exceeded the natural laws of Heaven and Earth, and even that of Essence.
“That’s… a renegade spirit….” the parrot murmured.