Rumbling echoed out and everyone looked over to watch Meng Hao and Di Ye fight over the black-colored claw.
The eyes of the teenager from the Solitary Sword Sect flashed as he gripped the rotating two-meter longsword. In his mind, nobody here could possibly pose a threat to him except perhaps for the handsome Lu Bai, with his mastery of Time power.
The Golden Frost Sect puppet also looked over at Meng Hao, and its eyes glittered.
Reverend Withered-Dao said nothing, as if he didn’t care to watch anything that was happening.
The 19th Li Clan Patriarch was severely wounded and in full retreat. As for the members of the Song Clan, after acquiring the item they sought, they seemed to be ready to leave.
Dao Child Zhou Chen from the Coffin Altar Sect seemed to be itching to fight. When he looked over at Meng Hao, he suddenly frowned.
“He’s only at the peak of Spirit Severing,” he thought. “He can’t compare to Lu Bai.”
As for the Imperial Sect's Lu Bai, he was also observing the fight between Meng Hao and Di Ye. After seeing them attack, his expression remained tranquil. From a young age his talent had been prodigious and no one from the Northern Reaches was a match for him. Even the Ji Clan from the Eastern Land's Great Tang had wanted to take him in as an honorary disciple. Afterwards, though, he had been favored by the Dawn Immortal, who guided him on his path of cultivation. Thus, he no longer cultivated normally, but rather, pursued the Dao of the Resurrection Lily.
What was more, the Dawn Immortal did not permit the Resurrection Lily to absorb him. Rather, she had planted a seed within him that had no consciousness, allowing him to consume it and acquire the power of the Resurrection Lily. It was as if she was trying to sow good karma with him.
Instead of saying he was a cultivator, it would be more accurate to say that he… was a Resurrection Lily!
Because of that, even the Fang Clan took him quite seriously, and expressed interest in bringing him into the clan as a son-in-law. Because of all these things, he had a unique status. There were even rumors that he was in fact some almighty expert who had descended to Planet South Heaven to be reincarnated and rebuild his cultivation base from the ground up.
Considering his mastery of Time power, he would be able to take care of Di Ye in only three moves.
“Too weak,” he thought after a single glance, shaking his head at Meng Hao.
However, it was in that exact moment that Meng Hao spoke the words “Northern Reaches.” The sound of it echoed out, evoking tempestuous thoughts in all the South Heaven cultivators. Even the teenager from the Solitary Sword Sect turned to look at Di Ye.
Relations between the Southern Domain and the Northern Reaches was a sensitive subject. Although it had been many, many years since full-scale war raged between them, it wasn’t a rare thing in the history of the lands of South Heaven.
Every time there was a war, one side among the two would flow with rivers of blood.
“No wonder the cultivation bases of those three seem so unfamiliar. It turns out they’re from the Northern Reaches!”
“The Northern Reaches are connected to the Eastern Lands, both of which are on the other side of the Milky Way Sea! It takes a long time to cross the Milky Way Sea. Did they really come here just for the Dao Lakes?”
Even as the crowds from the Southern Domain were reeling in shock, Meng Hao spoke the name Liu Zichuan.
Although the name was unfamiliar to the Southern Domain cultivators, as soon as Dao Child Zhou Chen from the Coffin Altar Sect heard it, his eyes flickered and he looked at Meng Hao.
Lu Bai was slightly taken aback. He was from the Imperial Bloodline Clan, Zhou Chen came from the Coffin Altar Sect, and Di Ye was from the Desolate Clan. As for the Liu Zichuan Meng Hao had just mentioned, he was also from the Imperial Bloodline Clan!
The Imperial Bloodline Clan was the number one clan in the Northern Reaches!
And Liu Zichuan was the Imperial Son of the Imperial Bloodline Clan!
His cultivation base was only at the First Severing level, but as far as his position went, he could be considered one of the top figures in the entire Northern Reaches.
“You know Liu Zichuan?” asked Di Ye, his pupils constricting. His Desolate Clan was an auxiliary branch of the Imperial Bloodline Clan, so although he had a high cultivation base, whenever he heard the name Liu Zichuan, he had no choice but to lower his head and voice greetings to the young Lord.
“He owes me 9,000,000 spirit stones!” said Meng Hao with a cold snort. “How could I not know him?!” He casually opened his bag of holding and pulled out a fistful of jade slips, which detailed the amount of spirit stones owed to him by the cultivators from the ancient Demon Immortal Sect.
“Xu Shouyan owes me 8,000,000 spirit stones!
“Tian Leifang owes me 7,800,000 spirit stones!
“Zhou Jie owes me 9,500,000 spirit stones! [1. Fun fact: The name Zhou Jie is exactly the same as the Dao Child from the Black Sieve Sect back in the day!]
“Di Luo owes me 11,000,000 spirit stones!
“And then there’s someone named Han Peng, who owes me the most. 15,000,000 spirit stones! [2. Other fun fact: I know someone named Han Peng here in China, same Chinese characters as this!]
“All of these people are from your Northern Reaches, right?”
Every single sentence spoken by Meng Hao caused the faces of the three Northern Reaches cultivators to flicker. That was especially true when the names Zhou Jie, Di Luo, and Han Peng were uttered. Even Lu Bai gaped in shock.
Zhou Jie and Zhou Chen were from the same clan, and Di Luo was Di Ye’s younger brother. As for Han Peng, he was a Chosen from the Imperial Bloodline Clan, with a position second only to Lu Bai.
“How… how could they owe you so many spirit stones?!” bellowed Di Ye, his eyes wide. Unfortunately, the jade slips in Meng Hao’s hands were imprinted with life essence aura. Due to the fluctuations of these auras that emanated from them, the three Northern Reaches cultivators could not doubt their authenticity, nor the identities of who they belonged to.
The surrounding members of the various sects and clans of the Southern Domain were even more shocked than the three Northern Reaches cultivators. They looked at Meng Hao with expressions of disbelief and astonishment.
This was especially true of the cultivators of the Blood Demon Sect and the Violet Fate Sect. They stared with gaping mouths.
“What did the Blood Prince do in the past?”
“He…. How did he get so many people to owe him so much?”
“Th-th-this…. I noticed that when he pulled out those jade slips just now, he only took out a few, the ones that belonged to the Northern Reaches cultivators. Could it be that the rest of the jade slips include people from the rest of the lands of South Heaven?!”
“The Blood Prince must have done a lot of business in the past!!”
Di Ye’s eyes were bloodshot, and he was filled with feeling of humiliation. Throwing his head back and roaring, he hefted his wolf-tooth club and charged toward Meng Hao.
“NONSENSE! I’m gonna smash you to death, fool!”
Meng Hao’s eyes glittered brightly. As the hulking man bore down on him, he raised his hand up and pointed forward.
“Blood Demon Grand Magic!”
Immediately, a blood-red vortex began to spin around the man. As the vortex rotated, an enormous blood-colored hand appeared that grabbed onto Di Ye. He struggled, but was absolutely incapable of doing anything to free himself. He could do nothing but cry out in rage and look around with confusion.
It only took a moment for him to realize that his fleshly body was rapidly withering, his qi and blood pulsing out of him and speeding toward Meng Hao. As for Meng Hao, his fleshly body was rapidly becoming stronger.
Up to now, Meng Hao had not met anyone under Dao Seeking who could free themselves from the Blood Demon Grand Magic.
The scene didn’t faze the Southern Domain cultivators at all. However, Zhou Chen of the Coffin Altar Sect from the Northern Reaches was completely shocked. His face flickered and his eyes went wide as he stared at Meng Hao.
Shocked, he began to pant, and any scorn which he had felt toward Meng Hao was now long since vanished. As far as he could tell, a magical technique like this was on the same level as Lu Bai’s Time magic.
“Inhuman! Just as inhuman as Lu Bai!”
Lu Bai of the Imperial Bloodline Clan was also staring with a strange light in his eyes, and a slight smile on his face. Inwardly, the desire to do battle was growing stronger. “If that’s how it is, he might be worthy of going up against me!”
Inside the Blood Demon Grand Magic, Di Ye’s fleshly body was withering rapidly. Horror and astonishment filled his heart, and he was completely terrified of Meng Hao.
“Dammit! You’re just as inhuman as Lu Bai!” he roared. He clenched his teeth and then slapped his bag of holding to produce a crystalline magical talisman.
The magical talisman glittered brightly; this was a life-saving treasure given to him by his clan before leaving for the Southern Domain. He never imagined that he would have to use it after making his first appearance. However, facing this deadly crisis, he ignored any consternation and instantly smashed it between his fingers.
The instant the magical talisman was smashed, a stream of Dao Seeking power descended. The intensity of the power caused a tempest to spring up and slam toward the blood-colored vortex.
Rumbling filled the air as the Dao Seeking power descended. The blood-colored vortex trembled, and Di Ye, taking advantage of the surge of power, burst out. However, in that exact moment, Meng Hao gave a cold snort and waved his finger.
Instantly, the Withering Flame Demon Magic True Self Dao that Meng Hao had just come to understand, sprang into action.
The single character transformed into a natural law of Heaven and Earth, replacing what currently existed. A will of Heaven and Earth descended. In the blink of an eye… the air transformed, and distortions appeared.
Di Ye let out a miserable shriek as his body once again began to wither. This time, the withering was not limited to his fleshly body. His cultivation base withered, his life force withered, everything withered.
Sensing his death approaching, Di Ye looked toward Lu Bai, who hovered off in the distance, his eyes glittering. “Lu Bai, save me!!”
Lu Bai lifted a hand and pointed out. “Reverse!”
As soon as he uttered the single character, the air distorted, and transformations of Time appeared around Di Ye. It almost seemed as if time were being forced to run in reverse, initiating an abstract struggle against the power of Meng Hao’s ‘withering’ character.
One moment, Di Ye’s body was almost completely withered; in the next, it had been completely restored. The sort of pain caused by going back and forth between these states made Di Ye intermittently issue bloodcurdling screams.
The entire process lasted for the space of three breaths.
However, to Di Ye, those three breaths were like three lifetimes.
In the end, there was a boom, and Meng Hao backed up four measures. The ‘withering’ character and the Blood Demon Grand Magic collapsed. Lu Bai fell back three measures, his face flickering. His secret art of Time magic also vanished.
Between them was Di Ye, his body half-withered. He was now bony and thin, but not dead. He had managed to scrape by with his life. Aghast, he shot toward Lu Bai, his terror regarding Meng Hao having reached a pinnacle.
As far as the struggle between Meng Hao and Lu Bai, it was hard to say who won and who lost. However, it seemed clear that Lu Bai was a bit more powerful.
And yet, even as Meng Hao backed up, he reached up with his left hand and slapped the 300-meter long black-colored claw. Immediately, the treasure was sucked into his bag of holding. The six Blood Demon Sect Patriarchs appeared behind him, having finished gathering up a large assortment of various items.
As for the surrounding crowds from the Southern Domain, they were all panting.
“He’s gotten stronger again!”
“Meng Hao only had a little flash of enlightenment, but his magical techniques actually advanced again. Dammit… He could already display Dao Seeking power, but now... if a Dao Seeking expert doesn’t appear, who could possibly suppress him?!”
Dao Child Zhou Chen from the Northern Reaches’ Coffin Altar Sect looked at Meng Hao with astonishment. He was well familiar with Lu Bai’s reputation. He wasn’t just famous in the Northern Reaches; he was also well-known in the Eastern Lands.
If he weren’t, how could he receive the honor of being deemed one of the four great Young Starlords of South Heaven?!
Starlord was an honorific title in the lands of South Heaven to refer to the four strongest people in the Spirit Severing stage.
“He was able to fight Lu Bai and even make him retreat three paces! This Meng Hao is too powerful!”
Lu Bai gazed at Meng Hao, and within his eyes the desire to do battle grew even stronger. He raised his right hand, and the air in the area distorted. A pulse of Dao Seeking power began to descend.
“I’m not in Dao Seeking,” he announced, “I’m only at the Second Severing level. However, I can enter the Third Severing at any time. It’s just that my Dao still requires refinement, so I haven’t performed it yet.
“Today, you will be the whetstone to sharpen my blade!” By this time, his desire to fight was raging to the heavens. He took a step forward.
However, even as his foot descended, the lake beneath him suddenly began to rumble. The water began to shrink down, as if… another eruption were about to occur!
“A second eruption!!”
“Heavens! The 30,000-meter main lake is going to erupt a second time! What… what exactly does this mean?!?!”
“It’s actually going to erupt a second time!!”
This chapter was sponsored by Nathaniel Charles, Monty St John, Remco Schimmel, Emmanuel Martinez, Abu, Michael Q, Joel F, Isaac, Christopher Choi, Quang Tran, Nazmul, Daniel Antoniuk, and Michael TashkoffPrevious Chapter Next Chapter