Meng Hao calmly walked into the rugged interior of the Rebirth Cave. He saw bones lying about, which grew fewer the further he went into the cave. He stood in the spot where he had died, and as he looked down, his heart twinged in pain.
He thought of Xu Qing.
She had used her own life force to keep him going, and then, in order to resurrect him, had ended up being imprisoned in a restricted area in her own sect. Everything that had happened after that flitted through Meng Hao’s mind. After a long moment, he sighed.
He then walked further into the depths of the Rebirth Cave, but saw nothing there.
There was no Immortal’s corpse like the one that had fallen from the sky all those years ago, nor were there any other bizarre beings. There was a strange power that he could sense, but other than that, there was nothing.
“Rebirth Cave…. Rebirth Cave…. Yes, it was here that I actually… experienced a rebirth.” Meng Hao shook his head and was about to leave, when all off a sudden he stopped in place and turned his head to look toward the very end of the Rebirth Cave. The cave wall there appeared to be normal, but moments ago, he had sensed a strange aura emanating out from that very spot.
He walked over and examined the area carefully, after which his eyes suddenly went wide, and an expression of astonishment and disbelief filled his face. He had just seen a door in the cave wall.
A closed door!
He took a deep breath and looked closer, but saw nothing. However, he was very certain that moments ago he had not been mistaken in what he saw.
“Now this is the kind of mystery that makes the Rebirth Cave worthy of its name,” he thought. He stood there looking at the cave wall for a long time, before finally turning and leaving. He was very curious, but after his experiences in the Ruins of Immortality, he well knew that there were many great secrets in the world, secrets that the level of his cultivation base did not allow him to understand.
When he walked out of the Rebirth Cave, the two old men were still sitting there cross-legged. When they saw Meng Hao, they began to pant, and immediately got to their knees to kowtow.
“Greetings, Blood Prince Meng.”
“Greetings, your excellency Meng Hao!”
Meng Hao stopped, nodded to the two men, and then prepared to leave.
One of the old men, whose life force was very dim, hesitated for a moment and then asked, “Your excellency Meng Hao… uh… what exactly is inside the Rebirth Cave?”
Meng Hao didn’t respond at first. After a moment passed, he said, “Hope.”
Then he left.
The two old men’s spirits lifted. Sighing, they settled back down cross-legged, hope surging in their hearts.
“According to the legends, the exalted Meng Hao actually experienced rebirth inside of the Rebirth Cave!”
“He said hope exists in there, so maybe we do have hope!!” The glanced at each other, and their eyes shone brightly.
After leaving the region of the Rebirth Cave, Meng Hao flew up into the air and looked around emotionally. Finally, his gaze came to rest on the Ancient Temple of Doom.
After a moment of silence, he shot in that direction. It only took a moment for him to appear in midair above the Ancient Temple of Doom. He looked at the grand temple, and thought about Chu Yuyan, and the gorge they had spent time in, and the Blood Immortal Legacy tournament.
“Now that I think about it, this temple… protected me from the Heavenly Tribulation that year.” He floated down from midair to stand directly in front of the archaic and dilapidated Ancient Temple of Doom.
Stone steps led up to the temple itself, and numerous deity statues could be seen within, statues that bore the appearance of Immortal Divinities, solemn and grand.
There were quite a few cultivators congregated outside of the temple. This was one of the three most mysterious locations in all of the Southern Domain, and was the least dangerous of all, which attracted cultivators who wanted to try to acquire some of the good fortune inside.
Meng Hao’s arrival was noticed by a few of the cultivators, but no one paid very close attention to him.
Meng Hao looked at the temple for a moment, then walked forward. Not too far behind him was a cultivator who was observing the temple, but didn’t dare to get very close. When he saw Meng Hao walking closer the temple, he called out in a sincere voice.
“Fellow Daoist, you can’t get too close to the Ancient Temple of Doom! It’s very dangerous!”
It wasn’t just this man who noticed Meng Hao now. Many of the surrounding Southern Domain cultivators saw him approaching the temple. Quite a few looked on with cold sneers, or even open ridicule as they waited for something exciting to unfold.
“This temple is something that the average person can’t get close to. Our location here outside of the perimeter is the closest one can get. With the exception of some of the Patriarchs, anyone who gets any closer is dead for sure!”
“That guy doesn’t look very familiar, what sect is he from?”
As the crowd discussed what was happening, Meng Hao reached the staircase and then began to climb up one step at a time. The other cultivators looked on with wide eyes, panting. Expressions of disbelief and astonishment could be seen.
“He’s… he’s actually going up the stairs!”
“What cultivation base does he have? This is impossible!”
“How come… he looks somewhat familiar…?”
As the cultivators looked on in shock, Meng Hao finished climbing the stairs and now stood directly in front of the towering temple. The doors had long since been broken completely open, and as Meng Hao stood there, he could clearly see all of the deity statues inside.
Each and every one depicted a powerful expert from the Ancient Doom Clan.
“They fought with Ji Tian…” murmured Meng Hao, “and were defeated. Before their clan was exterminated, they built this temple, the Will of which shall eternally resist the Heavens of Ji….” As he stood there, he felt as if he were looking at a former mighty clan, displaying all the brilliance of their long history.
After a long moment passed, he clasped hands and bowed deeply to the temple.
The entire Ancient Temple of Doom trembled in response to his show of respect. Rumbling sounds echoed out, and all of the cultivators further out felt their minds trembling, and backed up in astonishment.
That astonishment came from the fact that they were witnessing Meng Hao bowing to the temple, and in response, more than half of the statues inside the temple bowed in return, as if they had come to life.
Furthermore, a brilliant light rose up from the temple, which spread out in all directions to cover everything.
“Heavens! What’s going on? How can this be happening!”
“The statues in the Ancient Temple of Doom, they’re… they’re actually alive!!”
“Who is that cultivator?! Can it really be that the temple cannot bear to accept his show of respect without returning the salute?” Even as the crowds were in an uproar, Meng Hao looked up and saw that roughly sixty percent of the statues were bowing to him. The other forty percent were looking at him with faint smiles.
At the very back of the temple stood three majestic statues who remained completely unmoving. However, they looked at Meng Hao without any ill will whatsoever.
“That’s… that’s his excellency Meng Hao!!”
“It’s Meng Hao!! That’s Blood Prince Meng Hao!” As more and more people recognized him, a buzz of conversation instantly rose up.
As Meng Hao looked into the temple, he gradually became aware of numerous ancient voices murmuring in his ears. The voices were obscure, but they seemed to contain anticipation, hope that one day they would be able to leave the temple and carry out a slaughter in the Heavens.
After a long moment, Meng Hao bowed again, then turned to leave. As he flew into the air, the light shining up from the Ancient Temple of Doom slowly faded, and the temple returned to its original condition.
After leaving the Ancient Temple of Doom, Meng Hao did not depart from the lands of the Southern Domain, but instead, headed toward the Ancient Dao Lakes.
“I wonder if Lu Bai and those others are still trapped under there,” he thought. He proceeded onward, passing the various locations where he had experienced such dangerous situations that year, and eventually came to a stop above the enormous Dao Lake in the middle of the region.
As he hovered there in midair, looking at the lake, a thoughtful look appeared in his eyes. Were he to pick one place in the Southern Domain that was the most dangerous place of all, the Ancient Dao Lakes would definitely be his choice.
That was especially true due to the third level of the trial by fire therein. When Meng Hao thought back to that incident, he was still unsure as to whether or not he could succeed if he went back. But then his eyes glittered, and he patted his bag of holding to produce a white crystal that emanated pulsing coldness.
The coldness seemed faint, but according to Meng Hao’s speculations, there was something about this object that was completely extraordinary. This item… was the crystal he had acquired from the Feng Shui compass in the Warrior Pavilion in the Ruins of Immortality.
“The Essence of Divine Flame….” A gleam of curiosity appeared in Meng Hao’s eyes. He still remembered the enormous flame seed inside the third level. The incredible intensity of that fire had been beyond his imagination.
Because of the level of his cultivation base that year, Meng Hao didn’t understand what the term ‘essence’ meant. Even now, he still didn’t fully understand; he only had a vague idea.
“Even with this white crystal, it will be difficult to pass the test in that level. I only want a little bit of that flame… but what can I take it away in?”
After a moment of silent thought, he slapped his bag of holding to produce a bronze oil lamp whose flame had long since been extinguished. As he gazed at the lamp, his eyes glittered.
“Once I leave Planet South Heaven, it’s impossible to say when I’ll return. I’ll definitely be facing all sorts of peril. If I can take some of that flame essence with me, it can serve as a trump card for me in dangerous situations. I’m not sure if I can succeed, but I have to try.” Meng Hao took a deep breath and then flew down to the surface of the Dao Lake, which he then sank down into.
In the blink of an eye, he was at the bottom of the lake. There was no entrance visible; everything looked completely ordinary. However, considering that he had eighty percent of the power of a true Immortal, when Meng Hao looked at the lake bottom, he saw a huge teleportation portal.
His body flickered as he moved to stand within the portal, and yet nothing happened.
As he stood there, he transmitted a message with divine will. “Oh senior member of the people who guard the world beneath the lake, I have returned to once again challenge the third level!”
In response to his divine will, the lake began to churn. After a moment, the teleportation portal rotated into operation, and brilliant light swallowed Meng Hao up.
A moment later, Meng Hao could see again, and he was underground. He was surrounded by numerous mountains formed from magical items, and countless beasts of different colors. There was an enormous door, before which lay a golden beast. All of a sudden, the beast turned to look at Meng Hao.
“You… wish to challenge the third level?” The echoing voice had been very intimidating the first time Meng Hao had come here, but now he simply looked out calmly over the first level. At the moment, he couldn’t see any of the other people he had come here with that year.
“There’s no need to look for those people,” the voice continued. “With the exception of Lu Bai, all of them… have long since perished.
“Are you certain that you wish to challenge the third level?” asked the golden beast, its voice rumbling out like thunder. All of the other beasts in the area looked at Meng Hao, their eyes radiating ferocity.
Meng Hao took a deep breath and nodded.
“Yes, I wish to make the challenge!”
Chapter 886: Another Challenge at the Dao Lakes!
The last time Meng Hao attempted the third level, and also the last time he saw Lu Bai, was in chapter 731
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