An entire year had passed since Meng Hao had arrived in the Blood Demon Sect. During that time, he didn’t even step half a pace outside of his valley, nor did anyone disturb him. In the utopia of his valley, he and Xu Qing watched the sun rise and set. Everything was calm and peaceful, and they spent their time enjoying the warmth and sweetness of each other’s company.
During that year, Xu Qing did not practice cultivation. She lived like a mortal woman, accompanying Meng Hao. Occasionally, her laughter would drift out from within the valley, and the Blood Demon Sect disciples standing guard on the outside would smile and look back toward the valley.
This was their Blood Prince and their Blood Prince’s beloved.
During that year, Meng Hao’s reputation inside the Blood Demon Sect did not lessen. Furthermore, stories of what had occurred in the Black Sieve Sect began to spread out from the Blood Demon Sect into the rest of the Southern Domain. Soon, Meng Hao’s name became even more illustrious.
He was a Spirit Severing expert, Grandmaster Pill Cauldron, Blood Prince of the Blood Demon Sect, and had waged war against the Black Sieve Sect. The stories spread, and soon the name ‘Meng Hao’ was on the minds of everyone in the Southern Domain.
As for Meng Hao, he learned of the tragic fate of the Wang Clan, and heard about the broken-souled lunatic who raved of Immortal Ascension and wandered around, having lost everything…
During that year, Meng Hao did not give up on cultivating the Blood Demon Grand Magic. However, on repeated occasions he sensed that he was incapable of reaching the third level. He was missing something.
He had reached a bottleneck, that much was obvious. Patriarch Blood Demon did not provide him with any tips or reminders. Actually, during the entire year, he didn’t even speak to Meng Hao at all. It seemed he had delivered the entire Blood Demon Sect into Meng Hao’s hands. Meng Hao now had authority over the life and death of everyone in the sect.
Although he experienced no breakthrough in the Blood Demon Grand Magic, he did gain enlightenment regarding the cultivation of the Nine Heavens Treasured Body Seal.
The art was crude and simple, but it could temper the fleshly body to an incredible degree. Unfortunately, it required a vast number of magical items to fuse into the flesh. Essentially… it was a divine ability that could refine one’s body into a treasured magical item.
Most people, even if they could gain enlightenment, would find it difficult to cultivate. After all, it required incredible amounts of magical items. Just to cultivate the first level required 10,000 Spirit Severing level magical items.
Thankfully, the requirement wasn’t Spirit Severing life-essence treasures; were that the case, Meng Hao would have given up immediately. He simply could not cultivate something like that.
However, if he could successfully cultivate the first level, then his fleshly body would exceed Spirit Severing, and would reach the Dao Seeking stage. When the fleshly body reached Dao Seeking, the qi and blood contained a natural law of Heaven and Earth.
Such a body was like a precious treasure.
If the second level was cultivated successfully, the fleshly body could break through Dao Seeking and then experience Fleshly Body Immortal Tribulation. If transcended… the qi and blood could reach Immortal Ascension.
“There are a total of four levels to this art. If I can cultivate the highest level…” His eyes gleamed with a brilliant light for a moment. It quickly faded. The items required to cultivate the fourth level were things the like of which he had never even heard of.
“And then there’s the Withering Flame Demon Magic True Self Dao!” he thought, his eyes shining with a strange light. During the year, his greatest achievement was not related to the Nine Heavens Treasured Body Seal, but rather, the Withering Flame Demon Magic True Self Dao!
After much pondering, Meng Hao had finally gained a bit of understanding. It was actually an art that could be used to create a clone. Granted, clone magic was not common in the Southern Domain, but neither was it rare, and most Spirit Severing Cultivators had found a way to create clones.
After all, if a clone died, the true self could continue on living. Likewise, if the true self died, the clone could also continue on living. Creating an additional clone was like creating an additional life.
There were many magics that could be used to cultivate clones, and they all had their various unique aspects. As for the Withering Flame Demon Magic True Self Dao, it was one of the highest ranked Daoist magics in the ancient Demon Immortal Sect. Furthermore, it was the life-essence Daoist magic of the Withering Flame Demon, one of the three Archdemons ranked directly beneath Lord Li.
In terms of how powerful it was, it would be hard to find something more illustrious in all the Ninth Mountain and Sea.
“Other clone magics require extracting a strand from one’s own soul, then inserting it into a flesh and blood body, or perhaps a spirit body. Another option is to use some sort of magical item to create a body, then link it to the true self.
“Those are the safest methods, and avoid any problems that can arise from the clone revolting.
“However, the Withering Flame Demon Magic True Self Dao can create a homologous clone body. The clone body also requires a strand of soul, except not from one’s own soul, but rather, the soul of an outsider.
“The stronger the soul, the stronger the clone! In fact, more than one soul can be fused into it, which would make the clone even more powerful!
“It is not a matter of controlling the body with the soul, but rather, controlling the soul with the body. The soul withers, transforming into a flame that nourishes the clone. This is not a Daoist art, but rather, Demon magic. Once the clone is created, the physical body’s will transforms it into a true self, suppressing the clone’s soul and becoming the True Self Dao.
“The body is like a sheath and the soul is like a blade. They key to it all is controlling that razor-sharp blade!
“This art is incredibly overbearing!
“Withering Flame Demon Magic True Self Dao!
“What this magic cultivates is not actually a clone, but a second true self! An incredibly powerful true self!”
Many things happened in the outside world during the year that passed. One of the most shocking events was not the reappearance of Meng Hao, but rather, the fact that one of the three Danger Zones of the Southern Domain, the Ancient Dao Lakes, had begun erupting.
Furthermore, the eruptions were occurring with increasing frequency. At first, they were limited to Dao Geysers on the periphery of the Dao Lakes, but eventually, even the Dao Lakes themselves began to erupt. [1. You may remember the events which transpired around one particular Dao Geyser, which began in chapter 266. Meng Hao/Fang Mu was disguised as the Faceless Azure Hero. He eventually gained enlightenment and defeated Black Lands Dao Child Luo Chong]
“The Ancient Dao Lakes are erupting again!”
“I heard that last month, one of the smaller Dao Lakes erupted, and a Spirit Severing magical item appeared!”
“You don’t even need to mention the Dao Lakes. The Dao Geysers are also erupting. Cultivators are gathering, and I heard that many people are gaining enlightenment.”
Such cries could be heard frequently in the Blood Demon Sect in recent days. More than a few disciples left the Sect and traveled to the Dao Lakes to seek good luck and fortune.
As time passed, more and more of the disciples became interested in the Dao Lakes. Of course, at first, it was only Core Formation up to mid Nascent Soul cultivators who were most interested.
However, a month later, a great circle Nascent Soul cultivator from the Solitary Sword Sect received enlightenment and entered the Spirit Severing stage. This shook the entire Southern Domain, and caused virtually all the great circle Nascent Soul stage cultivators who were stuck beneath the Spirit Severing stage to immediately rush to the Ancient Dao Lakes to seek good fortune.
Soon, witnesses began to spread reports of an eruption which had occurred within the Ancient Dao Lakes. Apparently, it gave rise to incredible ripples that could allow Spirit Severing cultivators to experience enlightenment regarding a great Dao.
The news gave rise to a virtual storm that swept across the Southern Domain. Spirit Severing Patriarchs from all sects and clans went wild with eagerness.
The Blood Demon Sect was no exception.
After obtaining permission from Meng Hao, the two Ironblood Patriarchs, Patriarch Darkheaven, and the three Demonfire Patriarchs entered the valley and approached Meng Hao, who sat cross-legged outside of his log cabin, a flagon of alcohol placed in front of him.
“Blood Prince, the Dao Lakes are erupting. The Patriarch is in secluded meditation and has not inquired about any sect affairs. Will the Blood Demon Sect be allowed to participate in this opportunity for good fortune?”
“It’s true, Blood Prince. The other sects and clans are beginning to stir. As a matter of fact, a few days ago the Solitary Sword Sect sent a large group of cultivators to the Ancient Dao Lakes, led by a Spirit Severing Patriarch.”
“The Dao Geysers in the border region of the Ancient Dao Lakes don’t erupt according to any sort of pattern. However, the small lakes in the inner region erupt once every two thousand years. As for the Prime Lake, it erupts once every ten thousand years.
“According to the calculations, now is the time when virtually all of the Ancient Dao Lakes will be erupting!”
Xu Qing stood quietly off to the side. The Spirit Severing Patriarchs treated her very courteously. After all, the fact that Meng Hao had single-handedly fought the entire Black Sieve Sect because of her showed the place she held in his heart.
Meng Hao opened his eyes, and a profound light could be seen therein, as well as a ruthlessness that was difficult to conceal, so intense that it could not be dispelled. The instant his eyes opened, the six Spirit Severing Patriarchs’ hearts shuddered, and they respectfully bowed their heads.
“The Ancient Dao Lakes….” murmured Meng Hao. His cultivation base was now stuck at a bottleneck. Although he had some ideas, he was still not clear regarding his Third Severing. Furthermore, even further secluded meditation would not help him to progress with the Blood Demon Grand Magic.
He turned his head to look at Xu Qing.
“I’ll be fine,” she said with a smile. “I’ll be waiting here for you…. Wouldn’t the best thing be for you to acquire some good fortune?” Her gaze was filled with warmth as she looked at him. During the past year, she had been very happy. She didn’t worry about cultivation, or about the complications of life. She was with Meng Hao, and it almost felt like the simple life back in the Reliance Sect.
The Spirit Severing Patriarchs all looked expectantly at Meng Hao, waiting for his answer.
It was at this point that Yao Ming, the Second Severing expert of the three Demonfire Patriarchs, suddenly seemed to notice something. He looked down toward his bag of holding and then produced a glowing jade slip. He looked at it deeply for a moment, his expression flickering.
“Blood Prince, we can’t hesitate for too long. Now that the Solitary Sword Sect has taken action, the Golden Frost Sect, Violet Fate Sect, Black Sieve Sect, Song Clan, and Li Clan have followed suit. All have sent forces led by Spirit Severing experts to the Ancient Dao Lakes.” With that, he handed the jade slip over to Meng Hao.
When Meng Hao heard the words ‘Black Sieve Sect,’ he saw Xu Qing’s expression darken. Killing intent flickered in his eyes as he accepted the jade slip. After examining it, he looked up, and his eyes shone with determination.
“Let’s go!” he said, rising to his feet and striding forward. The six Blood Demon Sect Spirit Severing Patriarchs’ expressions brightened. Considering the level of Meng Hao’s cultivation base, with him as their leader, the Blood Demon Sect would definitely reap an abundant harvest.
Meng Hao walked out of the valley followed by the six. There were already tens of thousands of disciples gathered outside, looks of anticipation on their faces.
Meng Hao glanced over them.
“Each mountain peak shall select 10,000 disciples to come with me to the Ancient Dao Lakes!”
“Yes, Blood Prince!”
“Yes, Blood Prince!” The excited cries instantly rang out through the Blood Demon Sect. Under the direction of the six Spirit Severing Patriarchs, arrangements were made, and soon a crowd of tens of thousands of beams of light shot up into the air to follow Meng Hao.
Li Shiqi was among them, but as for Wang Youcai, he remained behind to maintain guard cross-legged outside of Meng Hao’s valley.
In the same moment that Meng Hao led the disciples flying away, Patriarch Blood Demon sat in the Blood Pond in Mount Blood Demon. Slowly, he opened his eyes.
“To Sever the Devil, one must first accept bedevilment. His Devilishness is not profound enough yet….”
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