Zhixiang suddenly looked very serious. “Grandmaster Meng, this Bridge of Immortal Treading was built by the Immortal Demon Sect many years ago. The place we are in now is the lowest of the three worlds that compose the Bridge of Immortality, the residence palace of the 99 Immortal Demons. This most majestic of the palace buildings is a local spell locus, and most likely one of the hubs of the Bridge of Immortality.
“There are 3,600 such hubs here. There are precious treasures sealed inside, used in past years to provide a constant supply of the power of the Essence of the Ninth Mountain and Sea.
“The restrictive spells here are the most powerful. Even if I were here with my physical body, opening this building would be quite difficult. However… with your assistance, Grandmaster Meng, it should be much simpler.
“Grandmaster Meng, would you please tell me which parts of the outer wall would be the easiest to remove?” This was the first time she had acted so politely toward Meng Hao.
Meng Hao had noticed Zhao Youlan’s obscure gesture with her pinky finger, but his expression didn’t change at all. He looked at Zhixiang, thinking for a moment about why she was calling him Grandmaster Meng. It only took a moment for him to realize that it must be because the ease with which he had dismantled the buildings earlier left her shaken.
He cleared his throat and then once more looked regretfully back at the other section of buildings. Then, he returned his attention to the main hall, studying it for a moment. Finally he pointed toward a certain section.
“Right side, row seventy-three, ninth piece from the top!” Meng Hao’s eyes glittered with sharpness as he looked at the particular piece he had just referred to. Based on his previous experience, that was definitely the best place to start.
Hearing this, Zhixiang looked over silently for a moment before her eyes filled with determination. She quickly began to perform an incantation. Zhao Youlan took a deep breath and also began to incant. The two of them pushed their arms out at the same time, causing two beams of light, one white and one red, to shoot through the air toward that particular piece.
In the blink of an eye, they landed, causing the entire wall to glow brightly.
“Left side, row thirty-three, seventh piece from the bottom!” said Meng Hao. Once again, Zhao Youlan and Zhixiang released attacks.
“Right side, row one hundred fifteen, second piece from the top!” This, of course, was all based on Meng Hao’s previous experiences. The wall glowed and began to shake.
Suddenly a booming sound rang out. Finally, a section of the wall exploded, causing the wall’s spell formation to crack, flicker, and then disappear.
Zhixiang took a deep breath and looked somewhat tired out. However, her face quickly filled with enthusiasm. Zhao Youlan hurried over, with Meng Hao following close behind. Without the slightest hint of anxiety, Meng Hao began to collect up the pieces. Zhao Youlan and Zhixiang waited just outside the main hall, watching as the perimeter wall surrounding the palace building disappeared rapidly. After collecting up the final piece, Meng Hao contentedly walked over and began to examine the floor tiles, completely ignoring Zhixiang and Zhao Youlan.
The two women watched on, not daring to interfere. After a moment, Meng Hao stood above one particular floor tile, then squatted down to examine it closer. He took a few steps back toward where there was a small crack on the border of the tiled area. He looked up.
“I’m not sure how to break the spell formations in this place, but as far as the floor tiles go, I have to say that this is the place to target with your divine abilities. Hitting it there will send a crack out that will loosen all the tiles in the area.” Having said this, Meng Hao took a few steps back.
Zhixiang’s eyes glittered. She flickered an incantation, causing a beam of light to fly out toward the cracked tile. A boom filled the air. At first, it didn’t seem like anything had happened. Zhixiang frowned, and a sharp look appeared in her eyes. Both hands flickered in an incantation, and she spit out a mouthful of Qi.
Zhao Youlan instantly reacted to this. Trembling, she spit out a mouthful of blood, which fused with the Qi to transform into the image of a finger.
The finger obviously was filled with shocking power. The instant it appeared, Meng Hao’s pupils constricted, and the Dancing Sword Qi within him began to circulate. Meng Hao’s reaction seemed casual, but in fact he was constantly considering ways in which to cause his opponents to drain their Cultivation bases. Throughout this situation, he had constantly been on guard; even though they were working together, it was all because of mutual profit, not because of some impregnable alliance.
The finger seemed to be filled with power that could harm even the Heavens; as soon as it appeared, the sky dimmed and an incredible pressure weighed down on the area. It shot toward the crack, slamming into it, and causing everything to tremble. Cracking sounds echoed out as the floor tile filled with cracks. One of the cracks spread out in just the way Meng Hao had described. More intense roaring sounds filled the air.
The shaking was so intense that the other floor tiles of this palace building filled with three more gigantic cracks.
A moment later, the shaking stopped. As of this moment, all of the restrictive spells outside of the palace building were gone. Zhixiang’s face was pale, and she was breathing heavily.
“You need to go faster,” she urged Meng Hao. “My technique to suppress the shield won’t last for much longer. We need to get into the main hall as quickly as possible.”
Meng Hao’s eyes glittered. Feeling somewhat anxious, he quickly produced a flying sword and began prying up the floor tiles. Without the restrictive spells in place, there was nothing protecting the floor tiles. With Meng Hao’s professional technique, the floor tiles quickly began to disappear into his bag of holding. However, it was at this moment that his eyes suddenly narrowed.
The earth beneath the floor tiles was not smooth. Instead, complex magical symbols became visible as he collected up the tiles. The symbols bore the appearance of a sealing mark, a seal that looked like a butterfly.
Zhixiang looked down at the butterfly seal and then casually remarked: “That seal is the restrictive spell covering this area. However, I’ve disabled it; it doesn’t function anymore.”
Meng Hao nodded, then pried up the final floor tile. Suddenly, he looked up and then performed a Bloodburst Flash and then a minor teleportation. In the blink of an eye, he was far off in the distance.
Once he was away from the main hall, he blinked his left eye several times in succession, pouring the Qi of Immortal Shows the Way into his left eye. Immediately, his view of the world changed.
The majestic palace hall was now a mass of black mist, the source of which was the butterfly seal in the hall’s square. An enormous black butterfly was visible, struggling against the silver strands which were wrapped around its body. It looked like the strands were on the verge of collapsing.
It seemed that the floor tiles in this place had been suppressing the butterfly’s true form. Now that the tiles were gone and the restrictive spell broken, it was in the process of freeing itself.
At the same time, countless roaring black dragons were flying toward the butterfly, intent on consuming it. However, as they neared, the bizarre butterfly sucked them in, using them as power to assist in freeing itself.
Standing next to the butterfly was Zhao Youlan, who for some reason had a bitter smile on her face, and grief in her eyes. A despair existed therein that was no longer possible to cover up.
Shockingly, with his Celestial vision, Meng Hao could see that Zhixiang, perched on Zhao Youlan’s shoulder, had a red thread coming out of her to wrap around the butterfly, as if she were attempting to make some sort of connection with it.
Meng Hao immediately began to fly away. There were still a handful of floor tiles that he hadn’t collected up. As for Zhixiang, her face flickered, and when she looked up and saw Meng Hao, she laughed coldly.
Her face was grim, and she obviously knew that Meng Hao had some clues as to what was happening.
“This guy is profoundly astute!” she thought. “However, there’s something unique about him. He’s capable of taking away the Celestial soil that the Immortal Demon Sect cursed for all time. From ancient times until now, he must be the first person who came here unprotected and not only evaded death, but also took away the Celestial soil!”
Zhixiang frowned. It was for this very reason that she had opted to enlist Meng Hao’s help in disabling the restrictive spells. However, at the most critical moment she had been found out by him and he seemed to be leaving. Although he had taken most of the floor tiles, there were a few left that, while seemingly random, were actually cleverly positioned.
“Grandmaster Meng, what is the meaning of this?” asked Zhixiang lightly. Her voice seemed sweet, but also filled with allure.
“There’s no special meaning,” he called back. “It’s just that my bag of holding is full.” He quickly flew out of the palace building area.
He had acquired enough Celestial soil for now and did not wish to participate in any more of Demoness Zhixiang’s scheming. As for Zhao Youlan, he now understood what was going on. Earlier, outside the basin, he had had his doubts.
Granted, there was some rancor between him and Zhao Youlan. However, it hadn’t reached the point where he felt he needed to attack her to resolve the situation.
After all, the war between the Five Poisons Tribe and the Crow Divinity Tribes had started because of an invasion. He had tried to kill her that time, but only once, not twice.
Despite that, Zhao Youlan had immediately attacked him earlier. At first glance it might seem that she had plenty of reasons to do so, but upon careful analysis, her actual motives were unclear.
In fact, now that he thought about it, perhaps the gesture she had made earlier with her pinky finger had been an intentional distress signal.
In any case, Meng Hao had no intention of staying behind in this place in some attempt to rescue Zhao Youlan.
A sharp look appeared in Zhixiang’s eyes and she gritted her beautiful teeth.
“Well, considering the situation, it looks like I have no choice, right…?” she said with a sigh. “What a pity. Youlan, precious darling, it goes without saying that I’m going to have to possess you.” She suddenly flew off of Zhao Youlan’s shoulder. Zhao Youlan began to tremble. It only took a few breaths worth of time for her aura to completely change. She was no longer cool and elegant, but rather bewitching and charming.
Her body flickered as she reached out and pushed down five times onto the ground. Booms rang out as five floor tiles suddenly cracked into pieces. At the same time, the silver strands holding down the black butterfly suddenly dissipated. The butterfly flew into the air!
As it did, flames erupted on its body. It was now no longer invisible; thanks to the burning, it was now colorful in appearance and visible to anyone who looked its way. It had now transformed into a colorful, hand-sized butterfly, completely eye-catching in all aspects.
In the instant that the butterfly appeared, it flapped its wings, causing an enormous windstorm to sweep across the entire land mass. Simultaneously, an incredibly intense Demonic Qi rolled off of it.
It had Demonic Qi and possessed consciousness. Even as he retreated, Meng Hao saw the black butterfly transform into a colorful one, and it caused his mind and heart to shake. Suddenly, two words appeared in his mind.
This chapter was sponsored by Clinton Wernars, Andreas Pohl, Anon and Alex Acton