Chapter 343: Rent by Lightning!
Big-head stared at Meng Hao, his heart filled with a feeling of powerlessness. The days on the run, the constant pursuit, the despair he felt after repeatedly begging for help, all of it had left him completely drained and exhausted. He was dog-tired, and the constant use of his forbidden technique had pushed his injuries to the point where they could no longer be fully healed. At the moment, he could only use about twenty to thirty percent of the power of his Cultivation base.
To use such limited power to fight against Meng Hao, who led a group of hundreds of Cultivators, and who had already killed so many of the people Big-head had recruited to help him… well it was simply impossible. He had no way to resist or fight back, not even in the slightest.
Big-head knew all of this, as soon as Meng Hao spoke, he let out a roar. This was not an attack, nor was it a self-detonation. It was a roar to release all of the pressure that had been pushing down on him. The sound of it echoed out.
“Even if I, Ouyang, die, I won’t bow my head to a villain like you! Even if I die today, I’ll be a Cultivator again in the future! Destroying my soul won’t keep me from the cycle of reincarnation. Maybe I can’t decide how I’ll be born, but I can decide how I die, you lightning-damned, evil….” Even as his words rang out, even as he gave vent to all his rancor, and seemed about to really lay it on thick, suddenly….
Without any warning, a lightning bolt appeared in the blue, cloudless sky. It shot down toward Meng Hao at incredible speed, seemingly giving no chance at all for a reaction. The lightning bolt slammed onto Meng Hao’s hat with a boom.
Sparks showered off of the hat, some of them landing on Meng Hao, which caused his hair to stand on end. A greenish smoke rose up off of the hat.
It almost looked like the Heavens viewed Meng Hao’s pursuit to be immoral. After all, the lightning had struck down right in the middle of Big-head’s speech….
Big-head gaped in astonishment at Meng Hao. This was the second time recently that he had seen lightning suddenly fall from the sky for no reason. The lightning appeared ordinary, but it actually had the power to eliminate an early Core Formation Cultivator.
“Retribution!” roared Big-head. “This is the retribution villains like you receive! To be rent in two by lightning!” Trembling, he began to laugh uproariously. As for Meng Hao, his face was a bit unsightly. He knew that Patriarch Big-head had already lost all of his will to fight, so his attention was now more focused up above.
“This is the second time,” he thought. The bad premonition in his heart only continued to grow more intense. Not even half a month had passed, and two bolts of lightning had already randomly come after him. Their speed was incredible, and they didn’t seem to be associated with any particular time or location. Furthermore, each of these bolts of lightning had emanated the aura of Heavenly Tribulation.
Others would have a hard time recognizing such an aura, but Meng Hao was familiar with Heavenly Tribulation. He was absolutely certain that this was none other than Tribulation Lightning.
“Why is it doing this?” he thought. “It happened twice already. Does that mean it will happen a third time? Perhaps more…?” Suddenly, he thought back to what the meat jelly hat had said shortly after the parrot went to sleep, and before it began to rest. It had said that it and the parrot had helped someone transcend Tribulation once, only for that person to end up trying to kill them.
“Don’t tell me… this is the aftermath of delaying the Tribulation? Lightning is going to constantly be falling down onto me?” Meng Hao’s face twisted as he looked back at Big-head and coolly asked, “Do you want to choose how you’ll die?”
The soil below churned as vicious vines exploded upward. They swayed about, not approaching; however, the mouths at the end of the vines were filled with razor sharp teeth that dripped with viscous fluid.
Their reddish color, their bizarre undulation, their fearsomeness, as well as the rotten smell that emanated out from them would cause anyone who saw them to feel shocked.
“I….” Big-head laughed coldly and gave Meng Hao a scornful look. His expression was one of pride as he lifted his hand up toward his forehead.
He had no intention of begging for his life. Considering the bloody path left behind by his pursuer, Big-head knew that he had little chance of escaping this calamity. Therefore, if he was going to die, he would die in robust fashion.
However, the instant his hand was about to press down onto his forehead, another bolt of lightning suddenly appeared out of the blue. It shot down toward Meng Hao with such speed that in the blink of an eye it was less than ten meters away from his head.
However, because of the previous two lightning bolts, Meng Hao had already begun to keep some of his attention focused on the sky. In almost the same instant that the lightning bolt began to fall, he slapped his bag of holding and pulled out a semi-transparent soul embodiment.
This soul embodiment was none other than the Li Clan Patriarch. A thin thread connected him to the blood-colored mask, making it so that even though he was now floating outside, he would be unable to flee. His life or death could be determined by a single thought from Meng Hao.
Suddenly being pulled out in this fashion caused the Li Clan Patriarch to look around in confusion. This was the first time in many years that he had ever seen the sky in the outside world. However, before he could heave any emotional sighs, he was flung up into the air by Meng Hao.
A boom rattled out as the lightning bolt slammed into the Li Clan Patriarch’s soul embodiment. A miserable shriek echoed out as the Li Clan Patriarch quivered. A roar of pain and rage bellowed out from him. His soul embodiment had nearly been shattered, giving him quite a scare. He rapidly did everything he could to solidify it.
If the soul embodiment dissipated, then he truly would turn into dust on the wind.
His confusion quickly vanished, forced away by the unfortunately circumstances. He roared, gnashing his teeth as he floated there in mid-air, looking down at Meng Hao. If hatred itself could kill, then he would rip Meng Hao to pieces mouthful by mouthful.
The lightning didn’t stop at three bolts, however. After a few breaths’ time, a fourth lightning bolt descended. Before it could fall, Meng Hao, his face expressionless, tossed up the Li Clan Patriarch.
The lightning slammed into him, causing the Li Clan Patriarch to let out a miserable cry. Thankfully, his soul embodiment was vigorous. After being subjected to the torment of the meat jelly, it was actually quite resilient, despite its weak appearance.
After the boom echoed out, the Li Clan Patriarch grew almost completely illusory. And yet, before he could even catch his breath, a fifth lightning bolt fell, and another miserable shriek echoed out. Big-head watched all of this with gaping eyes.
For the first time while standing in front of Meng Hao, he couldn’t hide the fear in his eyes. He sympathized with this soul embodiment. As far as he was concerned, Meng Hao was absolutely the most savage Cultivator in existence. It seemed he would shrink from no evil, and did not shirk from outraging men and gods alike.
“This soul embodiment is already in a wretched state, and yet he does this to it,” thought Big-head. “I wonder what great enmity exists between them…. That soul embodiment seems on the verge of dispersing completely.” He sighed inwardly, his mind spinning because of Meng Hao’s viciousness. His impression was now thoroughly settled.
“That guy must have just been too attached to life, and wasn’t decisive enough. His soul got snatched up by this vicious Cultivator. I, however, have steady resolve. I won’t end up like that. If he stole my soul, I would end up like this, tormented into dissolution.” Having psyched himself up to this point, Big-head lifted his hand to strike his forehead, when suddenly his body began to shake, and his resolve shattered.
His eyes opened wide, filled with disbelief and intense dread. This was because just as the soul embodiment seemed about to be shattered by the lightning, a violet glow flickered in Meng Hao’s eyes. He spit out a mouthful of golden Qi, which was filled with his own life force. There wasn’t much, but after it merged with the Li Clan Patriarch’s soul embodiment, all of his wounds began to recover.
Just when he was almost completely recovered, a sixth lightning bolt fell. A thunderclap rang out, accompanied by a miserable cry. Grief filled the eyes of the Li Clan Patriarch, along with despair. It was a hopelessness in which the desire for death exceeded the desire to live.
The sight caused Big-head’s scalp to go numb and his face to turn pale white. He began to quiver. He had been preparing to say some grand words just now, but now he could only swallow with a gulp. The hand that had been moving toward his forehead fell to his side. The pride in his eyes had been replaced by hopelessness.
He suddenly realized that even if he managed to deliver a deadly blow to himself, he was a Cultivator. In the moments after his death, there were a variety of methods that could be used to extract his soul.
He could attempt to self detonate, but seeing how adept Meng Hao was with inflicting torment, Big-head could see that dying was not necessarily a way of escaping.
He didn’t fear death, but what he did fear, was living a life worse than death.
Meng Hao was currently ignoring Big-head, and was instead focusing completely on the lightning, as well as the Li Clan Patriarch’s soul.
What he noticed was that even as the soul embodiment was on the verge of collapsing, sparking remnants of the lightning were fusing into the soul. Thanks to the healing provided by Meng Hao’s life force, the recovery of the Li Clan Patriarch’s soul embodiment resulted in much more lightning residing within him.
“Refine a Soul of Lightning, huh…? It seems it requires a bit of a sacrifice to refine such a thing!” Meng Hao’s eyes glittered as he looked around for more lightning. After enough time passed for half an incense stick to burn, a final bolt of lightning appeared. After the Li Clan Patriarch absorbed it, Meng Hao put him back into the blood-colored mask. He cursed Meng Hao vigorously the entire time. [1. The Soul of Lightning was originally explained in chapter 326]
Finally, Meng Hao looked thoughtfully back at Big-head. He lifted his hand up and was about to kill him and then let the vines consume him and pull out his special techniques.
After all, Big-head’s attitude just now had been one of firm resolution, even willingness to die. No matter how much Meng Hao tormented him, there would be no way to know of if he was telling the truth about this techniques.
However, even as Meng Hao lifted his hand up, Big-head began to quiver and his face filled with intense dread.
“Fellow Daoist…. Fellow Daoist, listen to me,” he gushed. “I happen to know the location of the secret Treasure Pavilions of all the three great Sects. There’s lots of stuff hidden there! I’ll give all the treasures of my Talisman Sect to you as a gift. I’ll do anything you ask, I’ll even face mountains of swords and seas of flames. I, Big-head, won’t even frown!” Meng Hao’s methods just now had left him trembling; he had no desire to have his soul tormented after he died.
Meng Hao gaped at Patriarch Big-head for a moment. This caused the man to begin to pant and get more nervous. He could hear the sound of his own heart pounding. However, a look of resolve appeared in his eyes. He swore a poison oath, and, gritting his teeth, even extracted some soul blood from his forehead which he offered to Meng Hao. With that, Meng Hao would be able to kill him at any time.
Big-head believed that it was only with such a resolution that he could truly evade calamity.
Meng Hao thought about it for a moment; it didn’t take him long to figure out what Big-head was thinking. He looked at the man for a moment and then a faint smile touching his face. Finally he reached out and accepted the soul blood.
“Now,” said Meng Hao coolly, “explain to me that bizarre legacy of yours.”
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