Chapter 61: A Shocking Event in the Southern Domain
An earth-shaking boom rumbled out from the heavens.
The source of the sound wasn’t close, but seemed to billow forth from quite some distance. It wasn’t directed toward the location of Meng Hao and the others, but rather seemed to cover the entire State of Zhao. At this moment, every Cultivator within the nation could hear the massive roar.
A red glow appeared, so large that it was impossible to tell how much area it covered. It seemed as if the entire sky was crimson. No one knew what was happening.
Far away from the State of Zhao and the eyes of its Cultivators, in the middle of the Southern Domain, an enormous rift had appeared in the sky.
It was a Heavenly Rift!
The booming grew more intense, rolling across not just the State of Zhao but the entire Southern Domain. Every place, every Sect, every Clan in the massive Southern Domain eventually heard it.
Meng Hao’s face changed. He was shocked to see the black aura roiling out from his body at an increased rate of speed. He moved forward even faster, his body turning into an iridescent streak of light.
Yan Ziguo and the others were awestruck. Their hearts began to race, and their Cultivation bases suddenly seemed unstable, as if they were about to fly out of their bodies.
At this moment within the mountains of the State of Zhao, a thick mist swirled around the Cold Wind Sect, one of the three great Sects. When the roaring boom sounded out, the mist began to seethe and the mountain peaks trembled. Within the Sect, hundreds of pale-faced disciples stared up into the heavens in shock.
On a mountain behind the Sect, its two strongest members, both Elders at the Core Formation stage, awoke and emerged from a secret chamber. They flew out and hovered in the air, looking up into the sky and gasping. Their Cultivation bases rotated rapidly. Even though they couldn’t see exactly what was happening so far away, they could feel an enormous, shattering pressure from the Heavens. And then, because of their extraordinary Cultivation bases, they were able to sense the Heavens splitting.
“What happened? The noise is coming from the center of the Southern Domain. Impossible! That’s such an incredible distance away, how can a sound travel so far?!”
Five of the Cold Wind Sect’s Foundation Establishment Elders flew up behind them in succession. Their faces were pale and their bodies trembled.
Within another of the State of Zhao’s three great Sects, the Upright Evening Sect, two Eccentrics of the Core Formation stage and four Elders of the Foundation Establishment stage floated in mid-air, gazing numbly toward the distant Heavens. The entire sky was crimson, as if it were on fire. Seeing this left them in shock.
“What… is this…?”
It wasn’t just the members of the Cold Wind Sect and the Upright Evening Sect. The disciples of the Winding Stream Sect also heard the sound and stared dumbly up into the heavens, looking awestruck. The Sect’s Core Formation Eccentric was trembling. His Cultivation base was profound, and yet he stared off into the distance, wondering what was happening. Even more shocking, amidst the burning screen which covered the entire sky, there suddenly appeared what looked like countless fissures.
“This is not a normal sound, otherwise it wouldn’t transmit so quickly across the State of Zhao. Its speed… this sound could exterminate everything!”
The situation in Sects in other surrounding countries was the same as that of the State of Zhao. Far away in the Southern Domain, the Patriarchs of the five great Sects and three great Clans, with their profound Cultivation bases, also felt the enormous pressure bearing down from the Heavens. Being in the center of the Southern Domain, they could see what all those other could not.
They saw the enormous rift in the sky. Disbelief covered their faces.
On this day, at this moment, the entire Southern Domain was in an uproar. Countless Cultivators flew into the air, and an innumerable amount of experts looked up in amazement. This strange sign which had appeared in the air shocked them all to the core.
Meng Hao flew along as quickly as he could; more black aura than usual was pouring out of him, as if it were answering a summons. This, combined with the strange sign in the sky, had him scared nearly witless. He shot forward at full speed until he arrived at the top of a tall mountain. He stood there, looking off into the Heavens.
Far away, it seemed as if the Heavens were slowly being split open. Then, a dark glow spread out, filling heaven and earth both with pitch-black darkness.
A moment passed, and then the entire Southern Domain began to quake, as if a powerful force were shaking its very center, sending tremors rippling outward. Mountains crumbled and the land was rocked.
The Southern Domain was very large, so it took time for the effects to spread. It started in the center and then spread out in every direction, all the way to the borders. Mountains continued to collapse, but because the State of Zhao was so far away, the reaction there was not as strong. It only experienced minor earthquakes about seven days later.
Even that left the Eccentrics of the State of Zhao shocked. Some of them had been to the central district in the Southern Domain and knew how incredibly far away it was. Even a massive earthquake there would not have been able to travel seven days away to the State of Zhao.
Within those seven days, a rumor spread like wildfire through the Southern Domain. Soon, everyone had heard the shocking tale.
A corpse had fallen from the sky!
And it had fallen roughly five hundred kilometers from one of the three Danger Zones of the Southern Domain, the Rebirth Cave!
The news caused a huge sensation in the Southern Domain and sent everyone into a commotion. It was even said that experts from the Western Desert were gathering in the Southern domain because of it.
“Which expert did that corpse belong to? It fell down from the Heavens. It’s said… you can only step foot into the Heavens after achieving Immortal Ascension! Could it be that the roar which echoed out was emitted by that corpse before it died?!”
“Achieve Immortal Ascension? It’s easy to use those words, but according to the ancient records, only seven or eight people in the Southern Domain have ever done it. But that corpse… it was just too astonishing. When it hit the ground, it caused seven days of earthquakes.
“Qi Condensation and Foundation Establishment, Core Formation and Nascent Soul, Spirit Severing and Dao Seeking, finally Immortal Ascension. A total of seven stages to ascend to Immortality. To achieve Immortal Ascension and conquer emptiness is difficult, difficult. Oh so difficult!”
This news spread through the Southern Domain. However, the State of Zhao was a somewhat remote place, so the rumors didn’t reach there. Only a few Elders from the great Sects learned of the information.
As for Meng Hao, he continued to move through the deep mountains, a frown on his face. During the seven-day period, the death aura in his body had been reduced significantly. But then it had started to seep out again like before. He estimated that it would take about twenty more days for it to dissipate.
“This death aura is very annoying. If it weren’t for it, I could be out accomplishing things.” Meng Hao’s mood was one of vexation. Because of the inexplicable event seven days ago, all the Cultivators in the State of Zhao had been aroused, forcing Meng Hao to hide himself constantly. He had even been found out a few times and put into dangerous situations.
Each time he had to think of some way to extricate himself. He didn’t like killing, but lately he had felt killing intent more and more often.
“This won’t do. If I’m forced to kill someone, it will cause even more problems. It’s much better to just hide.” He thought for a bit, then suddenly looked up. There ahead of him in the multitudinous mountains, everything was quiet. Meng Hao stopped and looked around, but didn’t see any clues as to why everything was so peaceful.
He had a bad feeling, though. He frowned, slapping his bag of holding to produce the treasured fan. He shot forward through the forest.
There was a banging sound, along with a wind that sent leaves rustling throughout the area. Then, everything was still again, without the slightest trace of anything strange. Meng Hao’s facial expression, however, changed. The event from seven days ago had been shocking, but, things had calmed down since then, and none of the wildlife in the area had died. The boom that had sounded out just now should have sent the animals fleeing, and yet, everything was calm.
Without hesitating, Meng Hao sent the treasured fan shooting forward, this time, in a different direction. Just then, a cold snort sounded out, and from the peaks of several surrounding mountains, black beams shot forth. The beams of blackness connected, enveloping the entire area, like a seal.
Meng Hao was within the sealing area, although he wasn’t at the center, but rather toward the edge. If he had not been cautious just now, and had instead continued on forward, he would have been smack dab in its middle.
Eight figures appeared, their bodies blurs. Soon, the group became visible. Meng Hao saw a strange, water-like shield which he had been unable to sense before, that had been hiding them just now.
Eight people: six men and two women. One of the women wore a long white dress, and her face was pale. In her hands she held an aqua-blue pearl. The pearl emitted waves of water-like ripples which had served to conceal her presence. Except, the pearl was covered with cracks; it appeared to be a single-use treasure.
She didn’t approach him, but rather stayed off in the distance. The others approached him at top speed, surrounding him. One of them was Yan Ziguo.
Meng Hao’s face grew dark as he looked around coldly at the group of Cultivators. A killing air swirled around Yan Ziguo, but his Cultivation base was not the highest among the group. The highest belonged to someone who wasn’t even standing on the ground. Floating in the air on a flying sword above Meng Hao, was a middle-aged man wearing a sky-blue Daoist robe. His eyes were calm, but he emitted an air of supreme condescension.
His cultivation base was at the ninth level of Qi Condensation!
Among the Sects of the State of Zhao, people at the ninth level of Qi Condensation were in a unique position. If within a sixty-year cycle they could successfully establish their Foundation, then they would become Sect Elders. If they could not establish a Foundation within a sixty-year cycle, then they would no longer be members of the Inner Sect, but rather an Honor Guard.
If Shangguan Xiu had been a member of the Reliance Sect when it was powerful, then he would have been an Honor Guard and not an Elder.
The middle-aged man had only been at the ninth level of Qi Condensation for about two years. You could say that his future was limitless. If he succeeded in establishing his Foundation, he would have a completely different identity.
“You’re clever,” said Yan Ziguo coldly. “If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have been able to swindle the Violet Fate Sect. But even though you’re not in the center, once you’re in the perimeter of this spell, you’re dead. After all, Elder Brother Liu is here, and we’re going to take the real treasure from you. When we do, maybe we’ll leave your corpse intact.” He looked greedily at Meng Hao’s treasured fan. In the past days, he found out a lot about Meng Hao, including the details of his trade with the Violet Sect disciples, which he had learned from Sun Hua. Now he coveted Meng Hao’s items even more.
Meng Hao, his face grim, didn’t even look at Yan Ziguo. Instead, he stared at the ninth level Qi Condensation Cultivator.
This was the Elder Brother Liu that Yan Ziguo had mentioned. He looked ordinary, and didn’t speak; instead, he just stood there on his flying sword, emanating a powerful aura. When Meng Hao sensed his strength, his pupils constricted.
“If you want Meng Hao’s treasures,” he said coldly, “then you will have to pay the price.” He slapped his bag of holding and a silver light shot out. A glittering silver spear appeared in Meng Hao’s hand. He planted it in the middle the treasured fan next to him, its point straight up.
As soon as the silver spear appeared, it caught the attention of the onlookers. Even Elder Brother Liu’s eyes flickered, coming to rest on the spear.
In the same moment as their eyes focused on the spear, Meng Hao, eyes glittering, flung open his scroll painting. Howling sounds poured out from within the painting, and three mist-beasts appeared. They charged forth toward the group of people.
Taking advantage of the sudden chaos, Meng Hao quickly flashed an incantation pattern, and a black beam shot out at indescribable speed. Yan Ziguo’s heart leapt, and he ripped himself out of the shimmering glow caused by the magical item behind him, shooting backwards at the same time. Before he could barely even move, the black light sunk into his head, right between his eyebrows.
This was the Hellfighting Spike!
And this was Meng Hao’s temperament. Not attacking was fine. But when attacking, one must be the first to strike! Yan Ziguo was looking to die, so Meng Hao would send him to the yellow springs of the underworld!
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