Chapter 113: An Altar in a Lake
"We've rested enough," said Meng Hao coolly. "Get up. You walk in front."
Chu Yuyan said nothing. Grinding her teeth, she struggled to her feet. As she did, her clothes shifted, revealing more of her body. Her face just now had been pale white, but was now crimson. As of now, the hatred in her heart toward Meng Hao was even greater than that felt by Wang Tengfei.
But she had lost access to her Cultivation base, and was now just a tender woman. She couldn't compare at all to Meng Hao. Although he had started out as a scholar, the strength and toughness of his body were far beyond that of an ordinary Cultivator.
He might not be as strong as those Cultivators who focus on body training, but in terms of recovery and strength, he was far from ordinary. Otherwise, he would not have recovered consciousness so much more quickly than Chu Yuyan.
She could only endure and comply with his demand that she take the lead, the fury in her heart growing deeper and deeper. Meng Hao naturally was aware of this. He walked behind her, looking at her graceful figure. The rips in her garment revealed large portions of the skin on her back.
The reason he had Chu Yuyan walk in front, however, was because he still felt at danger in this place. Chu Yuyan would act as a wind vane; she would be able to provide advance notice of any potential threat.
They moved forward in single file. If he wanted to, Meng Hao would change their course by pointing and giving new instructions. Chu Yuyan had no choice other than to clench her jaw and comply. Hatred for Meng Hao had seeped into her bones. Yet she could only obey him. A very long time passed by, and it seemed as if soon they would have explored everywhere they could. Everything was cliff face, with no exits.
Strange rocks littered the landscape, as did the skeletons of various birds and beasts. Was this place some sort of death trap?
Meng Hao grew more silent. Chu Yuyan's mood slowly fell, until despair showed in her eyes.
They followed the cliff face, eventually coming to the realization that they were walking in a large circle. Sometimes, they would rest up against the cliff face for a while before continuing. One day they reached an area that seemed to contain an unusually large amount of bones. Suddenly, they caught sight of a lake.
The shores of the lake were piled with countless bones, many of which were human. It was impossible to tell how many years they had been there. The aura of the place was gruesome, and also seemed to be filled with the stink of blood.
In fact this lake, was a lake of blood.
As Chu Yuyan approached the lake, the formerly calm surface began to ripple. As soon as the tiny waves began to spread out, Meng Hao stopped.
Chu Yuyan's face drained of blood, and her body began to quiver. An intense sense of danger filled her, as if something horrifying existed within the lake, and was looking at her.
"Walk back slowly," said Meng Hao softly. He stood a bit further away from the lake. "Don't panic. One step at a time. "
Biting her lip, Chu Yuyan slowly moved backwards several meters. The lake began to roil, and a piercing shrieking sound could be heard coming from within it. Chu Yuyan moved backward as quickly as possible
Amidst the ringing shrieks which filled the air, a dark green altar suddenly rose up from within the lake. Waves swelled across the surface of the lake of blood. Figures appeared from within the blood. It was difficult to tell which were male and which were female, because they had no skin, only bloody flesh. They carried the dark stone altar on their shoulders as it rose out of the lake.
The altar was over one hundred fifty meters in diameter, and as it rose out of the surface of the lake, it emitted a sickly reddish-green glow. On top of the altar was a throne made of stone, seemingly the same dark green stone the altar was formed from.
Sitting on the throne was a corpse. A death aura wafted around it, and its face was covered with a mask. The mask was white and featureless.
Meng Hao's pupils constricted and he stood motionless. Chu Yuyan stood there pale-faced, equally unwilling to move. Enough time passed to take about ten breaths, and then the stone altar slowly began to sink back down. Once again, the bloody surface of the lake grew still, and everything returned to quietness.
Meng Hao let out a long breath and walked backward slowly. Chu Yuyan did the same thing. When the two of them had retreated about three hundred meters, the sense of imminent danger in their hearts slowly faded.
"What was that..." said Chu Yuyan, the first words she had spoken voluntarily in days. Her voice was weak and hoarse.
Meng Hao didn't reply. Instead, he turned and walked off. Chu Yuyan hesitated a moment, then followed silently. They returned to the cliff face, to a place where earlier they had discovered a natural cave. Inside, Meng Hao sat down cross-legged. Chu Yuyan leaned back against the cave wall, her arms hugging her legs. She stared blankly outside.
She was a proud woman, but what had happened now, coupled with the suppression of her Cultivation base, the presence of the detestable Meng Hao, all of this, gradually filled her heart with pernicious despair. Her only hope was that the Violet Fate Sect would somehow be able to track her down here.
But this place was very strange, and apparently could suppress Cultivation bases. Most likely, it also suppressed the brand of the Violet Fate Sect in her body, which would make it impossible for them to know where she was.
Her clothes were in tatters, and couldn't even cover her sufficiently. More than half of her body was exposed, especially when she sat in this posture. Almost all of her legs were visible.
Time passed. Every time it seemed a day had come and gone, Meng Hao placed a rock into a small pile next to him. There were already eight. According to his calculations, eight days had passed.
Their Cultivation bases were locked down, preventing any spiritual energy from dispersing. Luckily, they didn't need food. But this place had no spiritual energy, and if things kept going on like this, they would begin to grow more and more hungry. Considering they were stuck in a remote abyss, they really needed the energy of heaven and earth... except there wasn't any.
During the eight days, Meng Hao would spend about half the time circulating his Cultivation base, trying to break through whatever was suppressing it. At the very least, he was hoping to be able to open his bag of holding. And yet, he experienced no success.
The rest of the time he spent taking Chu Yuyan out to search for a way out. But, having searched the area so many times, they didn't find any exit. The only thing they found out was that there seemed to be a lot of vipers lurking about.
"I think this place is an inactive volcano," said Chu Yuyan, "not just a hole in the ground." She sat there in the small cave, looking out. She wasn't reconciled to cooperating with Meng Hao, but couldn't think of any way to get out of this place.
Meng Hao sat quietly at the mouth of the cave, looking out with a frown.
Chu Yuyan looked at him sitting there cross-legged, and then suddenly blurted, "I need a change of clothes!" The look in her eyes was solemn and earnest, more so than it had been this entire time.
Despite her haggard state, this look would cause desire to blossom in the heart of any man who gazed upon her beauty.
Meng Hao closed his eyes. ”I don't have any," he said coolly.
"You have some in your bag of holding." Her clothes were ragged and soiled, revealing over half of her body. Even more of her undergarments were now visible. Her flesh appeared soft and supple. Half covered, half exposed, the sight of her was incredibly enticing.
Meng Hao's eyes snapped open, and he looked at Chu Yuyan coldly. His gaze swept over her, over her body, her curves, her beautiful features. Most men who saw something like this would immediately be consumed with a fiery heat.
Eight days before, it would have been impossible for Meng Hao to catch a glimpse of Chu Yuyan's body, even if he wanted to. And if he had, she would never have given up until he was dead.
But now... as Meng Hao looked at her, the only thing she did was unconsciously cover her chest. She had no way to prevent him from looking at her.
"You're right," he said slowly. "I do have some clothes in my bag of holding. But for some reason, I'm unable to open it because of the lack of spiritual energy here."
"There's a way," she said quietly. "There's a way to open your bag of holding and take some clothes out.
He looked at her coolly, his face as calm as ever, with no change in expression whatsoever.
Chu Yuyan had originally assumed that as soon as he heard her words, he would ask her for more details. But after waiting for a very long moment, she could see that he wasn't planning to speak. With a cold harrumph, she continued speaking.
"My Cultivation method is the Violet Fate Sect's 'Violet Qi from the East.' [1. The name of the technique 'Violet Qi from the East' is also a Chinese idiom which means a sign of good luck.] Actually, two people can practice this type of Cultivation together. Even though the spiritual energy in this area is suppressed, if I teach you the method, and we work together, we might have a chance at success. Then, your bag of holding can be opened."
He pondered for a while, then shook his head. "I don't believe you. Please explain further."
"Believe if you want," Chu Yuyan said coldly, frowning. "If you don't believe, then forget it." She sat down in a far corner of the cliff cave. When Meng Hao glanced back at her, she unconsciously tried to cover herself up. She glared at him, covering her legs with her arms.
"I don't have a lot of clothes," he said calmly, "but there's enough to allow you to cover yourself. If you don't want them, then fine, just forget about it." He closed his eyes.
An hour passed, during which time Chu Yuyan ground her beautiful teeth. She really just could not tolerate being exposed in this way. Before long, she wouldn't be able to cover herself up at all.
Clenching her jaw, she said, "I lost my bag of holding in the wind, so I have no way to test it out. But the method I just mentioned should work. Violet Qi from the East is not an ordinary technique. It was passed down from the Eastern Lands. If two people practice the technique together, its power can open the vault of the heavens.
"If you have doubts, I can teach you the first mnemonic of the Violet Qi from the East. If you can master it, then I'll tell you the second, and then the third. You can try to open the bag. All I need is some clothes.”
Meng Hao opened his eyes and looked at her. His face was expressionless, but in his heart was a cold sneer. He had experienced many hardships in the State of Zhao, and was no longer the ignorant youth he once was. He was much more calculating; how could he not tell that she was trying to set up a trap for him?
"Speak," he said coldly.
This chapter was sponsored by Tan Ke Yuan, Benedict Jua and Hein HaugebergPrevious Chapter Next Chapter