Chapter 67: The Death of Ding Xin
Meng Hao sped along through the North Sea, moving faster and faster. The Core sea within him seethed and roiled, and before long he caught sight of the surface of the lake. He burst out of the water, sending waves surging in all directions.
At the same time as he shot out of the lake, his two wooden swords appeared, whistling through the air from different directions as they flew toward him. They circulated around him, one of them coming to rest beneath his feet, the other flying next to him.
Just then, Ding Xin burst out from the lake, and as he flew out, his eyes came to rest on Meng Hao. His face was immediately covered with a look of disbelief. How could it possibly be that Meng Hao… was alive!?
“Impossible! He’s not at the Foundation Establishment stage. Nobody can withstand my Sect’s consummate Violet Qi from the East, backed with the sacrifice of my own Cultivation base and longevity!!” He glared at Meng Hao, retreating backward a bit, still not quite believing what he was seeing.
Perhaps he wasn’t willing to believe because, at the moment, he was no longer at the ninth level of Qi Condensation. Even his eighth level of Qi Condensation was a bit unstable. The wound in his chest was not healed, and spiritual energy continued to leak out. He feared that he might soon slip from the eighth level of Qi Condensation down to the seventh.
His face immediately grew pale. However, he wasn’t like Qiu Shuihen and those others. Despite being shocked at seeing Meng Hao alive, he recovered in the blink of an eye. Without hesitation, he shot away, the giant leaf appearing beneath his feet and carrying him off into the distance. He was not fighting, he was fleeing.
He had no choice but to flee. He could tell that Meng Hao was completely recovered, and had in fact improved his Cultivation base, whereas he himself had suffered severe internal injuries. He had no other option than retreat.
Meng Hao watched coldly as Ding Xin fled. He didn’t pursue at first, but instead looked down at the lake, making yet another respectful salute.
“I will remember this great kindness for the rest of my life!” said Meng Hao in a voice that could sever nails and slice iron. Then he lifted his head and flicked his sleeve. The sword beneath his feet hummed, and he transformed into a radiant beam of light as he shot in pursuit of Ding Xin.
“Starting now, the hunter becomes the hunted,” he said, his eyes filled with the intent to kill. After leaving the Reliance Sect, Meng Hao had never felt the desire to kill anyone as much as he did Ding Xin, except perhaps Shangguan Xiu. His desire to kill spread into his eyes until they shined. During his entire life of Cultivation, he had never been so seriously injured before. In fact, it actually did not count as being injured. He had already… been killed!
A dazzling gleam filled his eyes as he raced in pursuit. In an instant, he left behind the North Sea. In the time it takes an incense stick to burn, he had caught up with Ding Xin, who was consuming medicinal pills even as his Cultivation base continued to drop.
Meng Hao didn’t say anything. Instead, he simply lifted his finger, and the wooden sword flying next to him sped forward toward Ding Xin. Pale-faced Ding Xin looked back, well aware of the strange powers of the sword. He smacked his bag of holding, and immediately, the long black bow appeared in his hand. Ignoring his continual loss of spiritual energy, he pulled back on the bow and shot an arrow.
The arrow thundered toward the wooden sword. When they met, an explosion rang out and the arrow collapsed. The wooden sword shuddered.
Meng Hao was expressionless. He lifted his finger again, and the wooden sword sped forward again. Ding Xin, his face pale, had no choice but to shoot another arrow.
A boom rang out. The wooden sword continued on.
Veins of blood filled Ding Xin’s eyes. Could he not see that Meng Hao was exacting his revenge, intending to drain his Cultivation base and push him to complete exhaustion?
After dropping from the ninth level of Qi Condensation, his injuries had worsened. He was weak, but he feared the wooden sword, so he could do nothing else but use his arrows to defend himself. Unfortunately, because of his weakened state, his arrows were also weak, and did not carry the power that they did before. When he shot out his sixth arrow, his body suddenly quivered as his Cultivation base suddenly began to drop from the eighth level of Qi Condensation to the seventh.
The wooden sword was upon him in an instant, stabbing into his chest. It wasn’t a critical wound, but blood surged out nonetheless. Ding Yen let out a miserable cry and tried to flee faster.
His body shook as he felt even more spiritual power flowing out of him. His tottering Cultivation base fell rapidly, from the eighth level of Qi Condensation to the seventh!
Of course, his Cultivation base wasn’t actually regressing. But he was losing spiritual energy at a rapid rate, and without any recovery. The spiritual energy loss was so great that his level of power was essentially at the seventh level of Qi Condensation.
He was consuming medicinal pills, but unfortunately had two sword wounds, both of which were leaking spiritual energy. There was no way for him to recover at the moment.
“I’m a Violet Fate Inner Sect disciple!” cried Ding Xin with a fierce howl. “If you dare to kill me, the Violet Fate Sect will track you down even if it takes a hundred years! They won’t stop until you’re dead!” His situation was desperate. He let out another blood-curdling scream as Meng Hao’s wooden sword passed by. It didn’t stab him, but cut him, whereupon his spiritual energy drained even faster.
“I’ve already died once,” said Meng Hao coolly. His eyes were cold as he waved his finger once more.
Time passed. An hour went by in the blink of an eye, during which time Ding Xin’s miserable cries continued to ring out. His body was numb, and appeared to be covered with hundreds of sword wounds. He was soaked in blood. None of his wounds were critical, but he dripped with so much blood that he looked like a dead person.
Ding Xin was a Cultivator, and as things grew dim, what frightened him the most was not his wounds, but rather, the fact that his body had seemed to become like a sieve. Spiritual energy poured out of him at a shocking rate.
The sixth level of Qi condensation, the fifth, the fourth…
A bang rang out, and Ding Xin fell onto the ground, spitting up blood. He scrambled forward, fleeing as fast as he could move. He was no longer capable of any sort of flight. His Cultivation base had dropped so low that it was the same as if he were at the third level of Qi Condensation.
“Meng Hao, if you kill me, you will be slaughtered without a proper burial! I’m a Violet Fate Inner Sect disciple. If I die, it will cause problems for the entire State of Zhao. You don’t dare to kill me!” His body trembled. He fought back the dread in his heart and coughed up more blood.
Meng Hao snatched up Ding Xin’s giant flying leaf. Without a word, he moved his finger again, and the wooden sword shot toward Ding Xin.
Enough time passed for an incense stick to burn. There in the middle of the woods, Ding Xin no longer resembled a disciple of a great Sect. He stared at Meng Hao, his eyes filled with venom. And yet within that venom was also regret. He regretted his desire to watch his opponent consume Demonic Cores. Instead, he should have held nothing back and killed him immediately.
“I should have butchered you!” he said, gnashing his teeth, chest heaving. It seemed he was more interested in venting his anger than breathing.
“You know, you taught me something,” said Meng Hao. He was done with his revenge. His hand lifted, and the sword fell. Ding Xin’s head flew into the air, showering blood everywhere. It landed off in the distance, rolling across the ground to rest underneath a large tree.
His eyes were still filled with disbelief. He couldn’t believe it, because he was a disciple of the Violet Fate Sect, at the ninth level of Qi Condensation. He was a Chosen, he was to reach Foundation Establishment, whereupon he would be a true Chosen, and his name would rock the Southern Domain.
But here he was, dead in the backwater State of Zhao, killed by Meng Hao, an insect he had held in the palm of his hand.
Meng Hao closed his eyes for a long time. This was not the first time he had killed someone, and this time, he was not filled with emotions. He had already died.
“That day when I ran into Yan Ziguo, I should have killed him, as well as all the people with him.” Determination filled his eyes. He had now experienced the result of his indecisiveness back then, when he had the chance to kill Yan Ziguo.
“I don’t want to die a second time.” He lifted his right hand and made a beckoning gesture. Ding Xin’s bag of holding flew over. Then he flicked his sleeve and a Flame Python appeared. It consumed Ding Xin’s body and head, turning them into ash.
Meng Hao turned and walked away.
It was evening, and as he walked off into the distance, snow began to fall from the sky. It covered him, his footprints, and the reek of blood. The snow accompanied him as he walked further and further away.
“I am the snow during winter. If I get too close to summer, then… summer will melt me. That is not the world of snow, nor is it my world.” Meng Hao disappeared into the distance. He looked like a scholar, but deep down, he was as cold as snow.
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