Chapter 35: I’m Not Willing!
Time slipped by, and at some point, Elder Brother Chen left. Even though Meng Hao had just entered the Inner Sect, he was still a junior Brother, and it was Chen Fan’s responsibility to explain matters to him, to help him understand what Cultivation truly is. To help him to know what it means to move forward lest one fall behind, and to comprehend the life-and-death path that was the Cultivation world.
Entering the Inner Sect was his first true step across the threshold into that world. The next step was Foundation Establishment.
Meng Hao sat alone on the boulder, staring into the sky at the moon and the vast multitude of stars. He was silent, his mind filled with countless thoughts. He felt somewhat confused.
Time continued to pass, and soon it was the middle of the night. Wang Tengfei sat in his Immortal’s Cave, looking down at his right hand with its missing index finger. He looked confused. In front of him was a jade slip, broken in half. When he had regained consciousness, that was the first thing he had done.
He hadn’t managed to enter the Inner Sect, and thus had not accomplished his second goal. He was on the verge of despair. As soon as he had regained consciousness, he had snapped the jade slip in two with a bitter smile.
He had been defeated, thoroughly defeated, and by none other than an insect. He had been defeated by Meng Hao’s sword and weak Cultivation base. Had He Luohua not intervened, he would be dead.
This defeat ended his path here at the Reliance Sect. He had not emerged from his Immortal’s Cave after awakening. He had simply sat there in a daze.
He was a Chosen. His Clan’s reputation in the Southern Domain was indomitable. He had been insufferably proud since childhood, as if the world lay at his feet. That was why he had refused to stay in his Clan, but rather came here to the State of Zhao and the Reliance Sect, to search for the Legacy and treasure. He had even postponed Foundation Establishment in order to pursue his two goals. As of now, though, everything had blown away like ash in the wind.
Wang Tengfei’s bitter laughter echoed throughout the Immortal’s Cave. He laughed and laughed, clenching his fists tightly. Although, his nails were not very sharp, so he couldn’t experience the pain Meng Hao had that day.
He just could not accept it. If he had been defeated at the hands of a Chosen, then he could bear the loss. But the person who had robbed his place in the Inner Sect, who had trampled him underfoot, was someone he didn’t even deign to look at, an insect whose name he hadn’t even been able to recall. He just couldn’t accept it.
At this moment, the main door of Wang Tengfei’s Immortal’s Cave suddenly disintegrated noiselessly. The entire door turned into ash, which floated down to the ground of the Immortal’s Cave.
A middle-aged man stood in the doorway, wearing a black robe, hands clasped behind his back. He seemed somewhat emaciated, but carried a haughty air. The moonlight fell onto him, and seemed to quiver and turn into ripples. It was as this man’s mere existence could cause the surrounding mountain chains to tremble.
Next to the middle-aged man was a young woman, perhaps eighteen or nineteen years of age. She was incredibly beautiful, tall and slender. She wore no makeup, and yet her face glowed like the dawn. Her hair was pinned up in the shape of a swallow’s tail, and her body seemed as if it were carved from jade. She wore a thin, light green garment. Standing there in the moonlight, she emanated a magical aura, cool and composed, refined and free from worldly vulgarity. She looked just like a female celestial, descended from heaven.
“The Wang Clan is one of the three great Cultivation Clans in the Southern Domain,” said the middle-aged man coolly. His voice contained an awe-inspiring coldness difficult to describe. “It has outmatched many Sects, and has existed for ten thousand years in the Southern Domain.
“You are a Chosen of the Wang Clan. From birth, you have been destined to do extraordinary things, to rise higher than the highest heavens. You were foreordained to engage in struggles with other Immortals.”
As Wang Tengfei listened to the middle-aged man’s words, he slowly lifted his head, ignoring his severed finger.
“What do some minor setbacks count for? This paltry State of Zhao wouldn’t count for anything in the Southern Domain. It’s filled with ants. If I sent a single Nascent Soul stage Clan member here, he could wipe this place clean.” The middle-aged man spoke with complete certainty, leaving no room for argument. Wang Tengfei clenched his fists, and fire appeared in his eyes.
“Your true enemies are the other Chosen members in the Clan, the successors of the two major Clans in the Southern Domain, and the disciples of the rest of the five Clans. Only they are worthy to be your enemy. If they saw your sorry state now, how could you dare to claim the name Wang?!
“Tell me, what is your family name?” said the middle-aged man with a flick of his sleeve.
“My name is Wang!” Wang Tengfei stood, his eyes gleaming.
The middle-aged man looked at Wang Tengfei for a long moment, then his eyes grew soft.
“You are a Roc of the Wang Clan. In a few years, you will reach Foundation Establishment. In the future, on the great path to Core Formation, you will have the assistance of the Violet Qi from the East technique of your fiancée’s Sect. You will successfully achieve Core Formation soon. After that, you will have your Nascent Soul. When that happens, you will find that the pitiable person who defeated you here in the State of Zhao, is still practicing Qi Condensation.
“Then you can truly look down on him like the insect he is.” He gave Wang Tengfei a meaningful look, then turned away.
“Tengfei,” said the beautiful girl. Her light voice was pleasant, and combined with her beauty, made her incredibly enticing. She was perfect, in the same way Wang Tengfei was perfect. Were they to be together, they would truly be a match made in heaven, the envy of anyone traversing the path of Immortality.
Wang Tengfei looked at the girl silently. This was his fiancée, Chu Yuyan [1. Chu Yuyan's name in Chinese is 楚玉嫣 (chǔ yù yān) Chu is a family name. Yu means “jade” or “beauty,” and Yan means “captivating”], daughter of the Sect Leader of the Violet Fate Sect. She was a Chosen of her Sect, and one of four most famous women in the Southern Domain.
“Let’s go back,” she said softly, gazing at Wang Tengfei tenderly.
Wang Tengfei nodded. He followed the girl out of the Immortal’s Cave. Along with the middle-aged man, they walked forward, and suddenly a rumbling sound shook the night sky. A massive lightning bolt shot down from the sky, transforming into a flying battleship, nearly three hundred meters long. The ship was black, and emanated the feeling of death, especially the massive flagpole from which flapped a red flag, embroidered with the character “Wang.”
On the ship stood numerous men with expressionless faces, standing at attention, radiating cold auras.
The massive noise which had just rung out, as well as the battleship, left the disciples of the Reliance Sect trembling in fear. They looked up at the sight, disbelief written across their face.
Meng Hao still sat on the peak of the East Mountain. Pulled out of his contemplation, he looked up at the shocking black battleship and red flag, and his heart quivered.
“I should never have agreed to let you come to this backwater place,” said the middle aged man as they stepped foot onto the ship. “Even if the Sublime Spirit Scripture was rumored to have been seen here, that was something that occurred hundreds of years ago.” Wang Tengfei stood there, looking out at the Reliance Sect. He slowly wiped away all the memories of the recent years.
No longer was his gaze warm and gentle, no longer was his smile kind and sincere. He had become cold, especially his eyes, which radiated hatred. He now seemed completely different from the old Elder Brother Wang.
He looked down at Meng Hao sitting there on the mountaintop. The two of them stared at each other for a moment, and then Wang Tengfei’s eyes once again filled with disregard. As far as he was concerned, Meng Hao was a bug. Pride filled him, because his family name was Wang!
At this moment, the middle-aged man caught sight of Meng Hao sitting there. He didn’t reveal his Cultivation base, but his gaze itself was enough to cause a thunderous roar which shook the entire East Mountain. Like a sharp sword, his it toward Meng Hao.
Meng Hao’s expression changed, and he coughed up a mouthful of blood. His entire body felt ice-cold, and he sensed an intense, deadly force fall upon him. His head spun, and he lost the power to even think. He was so weak that he felt as if he could collapse from a single blow.
He felt death upon him. His body would shrivel up, his soul would wink out. Blood dripped down from his forehead.
Aloneness. Helplessness. Death. They melded together into a giant hand which pushed down on him, slowly crushing him to pieces, smashing him into a place beyond recovery.
Suddenly, a cold snort rang out, filling the entire Reliance Sect, and a figure in blue appeared in front of Meng Hao.
“Your Cultivation base is in the Core Formation stage. Not a Mixed Core, either, but at least Purple or Crimson. And yet you bully a Qi Condensation pup like this? Are you really Wang Xifan [2. Wang Xifan's name in Chinese is 王锡范 （wáng xī fàn) Wang is a family name. Xi means "tin." Fan means "model" or "example"] of the Wang Clan of the Southern Domain, Third Generation Dao Protector?” It was Sect Leader He Luohua. Suddenly, a deafening, earth-shaking roar erupted.
The sound thundered out, seeming as if everything in sight would crumble from it. Then it turned into layer upon layer of ripples, emanating from He Luohua. He stood there as if he were the only person in the world, staring coldly toward the Wang Xifan as he stood there in the battleship.
“I’ve incurred Fellow Daoist He’s ridicule,” said Wang Xifan with a gentle laugh. “I’m here to take Tengfei away. Thank you for caring for him these years.” His eyes were filled with an indescribable arrogance. He flicked his sleeve. The battleship began to hum, then it transformed into a streak of colors and shot off into the starry sky, leaving behind only the twinkling starlight.
Meng Hao coughed up some more blood, but continued to stare off into the distance, his cold eyes glittering.
He Luohua looked back silently at Meng Hao, then sighed and left. Meng Hao gazed off into the distance toward the disappearing battleship.
“So that was a Core Formation Cultivator. He could crush me with a single look. And that’s just Core Formation. After that is the Nascent Soul stage and then the Spirit Severing stage, and even more… The Southern Domain, the Wang Clan!” Meng Hao ground his teeth angrily, fire burning in his eyes.
“If you’re not strong, you don’t qualify to exist. If you’re not strong, you don’t qualify to practice Cultivation. If you’re not strong, you don’t have the right to keep living, but can only be taken advantage of…. Are you willing to live a life like this?” Elder Brother Chen’s words echoed in his head, more and more strongly, burning indelibly into his mind, into his bones, into his soul.
“I’m not willing!” said Meng Hao slowly, clenching his fists. His voice was weak, but in his heart, the voice resounded like a thunderclap.
“I’m not willing to let anyone take advantage of me!
“I’m not willing to be weak!
“I’m not willing to be deprived of the right to fight back!
“I will be strong! I will become powerful!!” Meng Hao had always wanted to become rich and travel to the Great Tang in the Eastern Lands. He still had that desire, but in addition to that, he had a new belief. He would become powerful. On the path of cultivation, the path of defying the Heavens, if you are not powerful, you are dead.
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