Chapter 1126: Hold the Tunnel!
At the same time, the other blood pits began to boil, as if they were being sealed. Clouds of bloody mist rose up into the air, which transformed into blood-colored swords that then hovered up above, radiating murderous auras.
The only pit with no blood sword was the pit Meng Hao had just vanished into, the one all the black-robed men were speeding toward.
Meng Hao moved with incredible speed. When he emerged from the blood pit, he found himself in a long, narrow tunnel that sloped downward into the secret chamber below. When he emerged into the chamber, blood-colored light stabbed dazzlingly into his eyes.
Inwardly, he was shocked at the indescribably evil aura that blasted against his face. It was as if countless miserable screams were echoing in his ears. Somehow, the voices seemed familiar, as if each and every one belonged to people he knew.
The effect wasn’t limited to just voices. Myriad visual hallucinations appeared, and at the same time, his body felt like it was about to collapse, as if he were in the deepest depths of the Yellow Springs.
His heart began to pound, and his blood flowed in reverse. His face fell, and his cultivation base was almost thrown into chaos, to the point where he almost lost control of it. He quickly bit the tip of his tongue, using the surge of pain to gain clarity. Face pale, he immediately fell back toward the tunnel, and only when he reached it did he manage to stave off the sensations.
Furthermore, he had the strong premonition that even remaining at the entrance of the tunnel for too long would allow the evil aura to infect him completely, and he might even lose his cultivation base!
The feeling of intuition made his eyes widen. He quickly looked around, and saw the statues surrounding him. A Xuanwu turtle, a crane, and even a deer….
“Are they all… renegade spirits?!” he thought, eyes widening. Then his eyes came to rest on the blood-colored block of ice, and he saw what was sealed inside of it, the blood-colored bat.
All of the evil aura was emanating from that blood-colored ice block, and from the blood-colored bat therein. It… was the wellspring of evil in this place!
The parrot and meat jelly looked around, their faces flickering.
It was at this point that a howl echoed out from inside Meng Hao’s bag of holding. The blood-colored mask flew out to hover in mid-air, rumbling and emanating blood-colored light. That blood-colored light indicated… that the mastiff had finally awakened.
It suddenly flew out into the open, turning to look at Meng Hao with a gaze of deep fondness. It was the same look it used to give him when it was small. In its world, Meng Hao was its master, its family, and the entire purpose of its life.
After looking at him, its eyes filled with determination, and it howled. Then it turned, transforming into a blood-colored beam that shot into the block of ice, where it began to attempt to possess the renegade spirit, to… take its place!!
If it failed, it would die!
But if it succeeded… from then on, it would be a renegade spirit!
If not for the fact that this renegade spirit was extremely weak, and perhaps had already died long ago, it would normally be impossible for the mastiff to succeed. And even in this state, no one could tell whether it had a chance.
Thankfully, it was a spirit born of blood, and therefore had the same origin as the Blood Bat, which gave it a bit better of a chance.
Rumbling echoed out, and the blood-colored ice block trembled. Strange howls could be heard echoing out, along with the sounds of a fierce battle that quickly filled the secret chamber. Blood sprayed out of Meng Hao’s mouth, and he backed up swiftly. He was incapable of helping the mastiff possess the renegade spirit, so the only thing he could do was protect it in this critical moment.
Whether or not it would have the good fortune to succeed depended completely on the mastiff, not Meng Hao.
Furthermore, he couldn’t stay where he was; he had to leave. If he stayed any longer, he would be infected by the evil aura, and his cultivation base would begin to waste away.
Besides, he could hear the sound of the black-robed cultivators whistling through the tunnel behind him.
He took a deep breath and looked over at the parrot and meat jelly. The parrot instantly understood the look in his eyes.
It hesitated for a moment, then let out a squawk.
“Time to go for broke! Fudge! Lord Fifth is gonna go for it! Meng Hao, you owe me a favor, big time! Old Third, get over here and help me!” The parrot flapped its wings, causing numerous beams of multicolored light to fly out and cover over the blood-colored ice block.
The meat jelly didn’t look happy about the situation, but it flew over and let the parrot grab it. They merged together, and then unleashed a bizarre Daoist magic that enabled them to assist the mastiff and increase its chances of success.
“Even with the help of Lord Fifth, its final success will be determined by its own good fortune!” the parrot roared.
“Many thanks,” Meng Hao said. “You’ve done all that you can. The rest will be up to it…. As for me, I can’t help much. But what I can do is stop the intruders, and prevent them from interfering!” He gave a final look at the block of ice into which the mastiff had disappeared, then turned and flew out of the secret chamber and into the tunnel.
Although the evil aura still had a significant influence on him, he could still forcibly resist it for a time. Of course, if Meng Hao could do that, so could the black-robed cultivators.
He wasn’t willing to risk allowing them into the secret chamber itself. After all, he had no idea what actions they might take that could affect the mastiff, and even lead it to fail.
He cared too much about the mastiff, and therefore wouldn’t make any decisions lightly. The only surefire option was holding the tunnel against the enemy!
The overall structure of the blood burial site was composed of two parts, the larger necropolis above, and the smaller secret chamber below. They were connected by this tunnel, which was Meng Hao’s current location. Already, he could see the black-robed cultivators closing in on him.
Eyes flickering with killing intent, he didn’t hesitate for a moment before going on the offensive.
“Mastiff, you’ve defended me over and over again. Now… it’s my time to defend you!” he murmured. He rotated his cultivation base, and killing intent roiled out of him. He wasn’t sure if the mastiff would succeed in possessing the renegade spirit, nor how long it would take to do so. But he did know that, at the moment, there was nowhere to retreat to. Nor did he have any desire or need to retreat.
He took a deep breath, causing his cultivation base and his Immortal meridians to surge with power. He was like a razor-sharp blade that instantly slashed into the attacking black-robed cultivators.
The tunnel wasn’t very large, making it a challenge to unleash divine abilities and magical techniques. If Meng Hao were at his peak, then killing a few dozen people like this wouldn’t be problematic at all. However, his cultivation base was only at about sixty percent of its normal level, making it difficult to fight.
It was a tough task, but he was an Echelon cultivator, and was in the Immortal Emperor Realm. He was someone that ordinary Ancient Realm experts couldn’t easily tousle with. Rumbling sounds echoed out as he attacked. A Blood Demon head materialized, and Essence of Divine Flame raged in all directions.
“You’re not cultivators of the Windswept Realm!” he shouted, speeding like lightning into the midst of the black-robed cultivators. His right hand shot out and latched onto the head of one of them, and he unleashed the Blood Demon Grand Magic. However, the power of absorption did nothing to the man.
The black robe was shredded to pieces, revealing a young man with the top of his head mangled and bloody. His face was pale as he cried out: “Our Daos are different! Your Dao is fabricated, and ours is real! You can’t do anything to us! We live and die… for the true Dao!”
Laughing, he faded away into death.
Meng Hao’s heart trembled. Then, another black-robed cultivator appeared in front of him, and he unleashed the Life-Extermination Fist. Rumbling could be heard as his opponent trembled and coughed up blood.
His cowl was destroyed, revealing his face. He was a middle-aged man who, shockingly, had a scale on his forehead! He was a Demonic cultivator!
“For the true Dao!” he cried, and then began to laugh maniacally before exploding into bits.
There was no change in facial expression whatsoever on the part of the other black-robed cultivators, nor did they speak. However, they attacked with increased ferocity, unleashing a biting wind that swept across Meng Hao. Suddenly, nine Sea Dragons roared toward him with gaping maws.
The more Meng Hao fought, the more shocked he was. He was getting a very strange feeling from these black-robed enemies.
Frowning, he summoned the Paragon Bridge, which instantly emanated crushing pressure, forcing the black-robed cultivators away. Meng Hao made a grasping motion, and the bone-tip spear appeared in his hand, which he stabbed toward the forehead of one of the black-robed cultivators. The cowl of the robe was thrown back, revealing a woman. Despite the fact that she was about to die, she showed no fear.
“For the true Dao!” she said coolly before exploding.
Meng Hao’s hair was beginning to stand on end. If by this point he didn’t realize who these people were, then he didn’t deserve to be the shrewd and cunning Crown Prince of the Fang Clan. As soon as he saw their cultivation bases, he immediately thought back to the “warning” given by Jian Daozi when they had first arrived in the Ninth Nation.
Back by the waterfall, after seeing the Demon Mantra: Mesmeric Rebuke in use, he had employed his Celestial Vision technique to observe the figure hidden behind the water.
He had begun to make speculations even at that time. Later, he saw all of the other cultivators sinking into their desires, and he suddenly became aware that it was possible to become lost within the Windswept Realm. Then he realized that… it was probably possible to stay there, to choose to not leave, to remain behind in the Windswept Realm, eternally lost therein.
Back then, he had considered that as a possibility. Now, facing these black-robed cultivators, Meng Hao received confirmation of his suspicions.
“You people… are cultivators from the Mountain and Sea Realm!” he roared. “You are from previous generations who came to the Windswept Realm and then lost yourself in your desires! In the end, you chose not to leave!!”
The black-robed cultivators didn’t answer his accusation. Instead, they simply looked at him and said, “For the true Dao!”
Their voices were calm, and even seemed to contain some strange power that left Meng Hao in shock. Next, the black-robed cultivators shot forward in attack.
Booms rang out. Meng Hao’s eyes were bloodshot, and his clothes were spattered in the blood of his enemies. Meanwhile, up above in the necropolis, the air rippled as seventeen figures suddenly appeared. These were the people who had been dispatched by the man in the Imperial robes. Black cowls obscured their facial features, and from the ripples coming from the cultivation base of the man in the lead, he actually had ten extinguished Soul Lamps.
When the man spoke, his voice was incredibly ancient: “Hear the orders of the Emperor: kill Meng Hao; fiendish formation, return to your positions; resume the blood refinement!”
All of a sudden, all of the blood pits began to boil madly. The blood swords hovering over them flew over to the black-robed man, swirled around him, and then lined up into formation, after which they shot down into the tunnel toward Meng Hao.