Over many generations, clan members who came to this place would prostrate themselves in front of this coffin and statue with the utmost respect. None of them had ever even thought of having designs on the offerings.
Meng Hao was the first.
His expression was somber as, after bowing deeply, he swished his sleeve in a way that made it seem like he was truly and wholeheartedly performing a service for the Patriarch. He walked up to the offerings without the slightest hesitation.
He couldn’t help but let out a long sigh when he looked at the fist-sized chunk of Immortal jade.
“Patriarch, those other clan members who came to visit in the past were truly disloyal descendants. I can’t believe they let so much dust pile up on this Immortal jade! To leave it sitting here for so many years is really shocking!
“SHOCKING!” Meng Hao truly seemed angry as he stooped over and picked up the Immortal jade. In that same instant, a powerful aura suddenly shot out from the three magical items enshrined there.
Meng Hao didn’t seem to be fazed in the least. He actually ignored the magical items completely. He was the type of person who dared to snatch items directly from that Immortal pavilion in the Ruins of Immortality, so how could he possibly be scared of these three magical items?
He quickly put the large Immortal jade away, and then produced a fingernail-sized piece of Immortal jade to replace it. He carefully placed it onto the tribute dais.
“Patriarch, look, this piece of Immortal jade is sparkling and crystal-clear. It’s beautiful and lacks even the slightest speck of dust. Only a piece of Immortal jade like this is befitting of a Patriarch like you.” Meng Hao cleared his throat, then looked toward the other offerings and spirit stones with shining eyes.
It was at this point that the auras of the three magical items exploded out, causing incredible pressure to weigh down on the area.
“Beat it!” roared Meng Hao, glaring at the magical items. “I’m from the Fang Clan, and I have Fang Clan blood in me! If I want to tidy up the Patriarch’s grave by replacing some of the tribute items, then do you magical item spirits dare to stop me?!” The auras emanating from the magical items suddenly stopped in place.
In that instant, Meng Hao employed the fastest speed he could muster to quickly place the items and spirit stones into his bag of holding.
“How shocking! These spirit stones are all covered in dust! As a Junior member of the clan, I simply can’t tolerate such a thing!” He immediately produced some fingernail-sized, low-grade spirit stones which he somberly placed onto the tribute dais.
“Outrageous! They only placed some bamboo lamps in front of this Fang Clan Patriarch’s grave? That won’t do. As a member of the Junior generation, it is my duty to exchange these for iron lamps!” He looked at the two bamboo lamps, which glowed with mysterious light, and licked his lips.
He was just about to grab them when the auras of the three magical items exploded out again, filled with intense killing intent, seemingly incensed. It was as if they felt Meng Hao had committed an offense against morality itself.
Apparently, if Meng Hao dared to touch the bamboo lamps, the three magical items would slay him where he stood.
Meng Hao stopped, then cleared his throat in embarrassment and slowly pulled his hand back.
“What are you getting so excited for?” he said quietly. “It’s not that big a deal! I’m acting in good faith.” He eyed the three magical items covetously, then thought for a moment. Eventually, he gave up on the idea of using Karma to force a destiny connection with them. After all, this wasn’t that Immortal pavilion, in which the items had no connection to a particular master. These three magical items were clearly objects that had belonged to the fallen Patriarch, and the spirits inside of them were charged with protecting this place.
Meng Hao might be greedy, but he had principles.
“Fine then. You’re clearly very loyal to the Patriarch. I have to admire that.” Sighing deeply, Meng Hao took a few steps back. Face solemn, he clasped hands and bowed low.
Up above in midair, the Seventh Patriarch was now in a rage. Seeing Meng Hao switching out the offerings, and then hearing his words, left the Seventh Patriarch stamping with fury.
“How could the Fang Clan bloodline possibly produce such a shameless scoundrel!” he said through gritted teeth. Then he saw Meng Hao clasp hands and bow, and couldn’t help but gape again. Sensing Meng Hao’s sincerity, he looked on silently for a moment, and finally, his gaze softened. From the look of things, Meng Hao wasn’t completely beyond redemption.
“Let’s see what this little hoodlum is actually like deep down, and what sort of waves he can make in this place!” After a moment, he looked off into the distance with a wistful expression.
“The ancestral land is divided into six main areas,” he murmured. “The Dao Guardsman, the Field of Magic Enlightenment, the Quasi-Dao Patriarch Tombs, the Nine Nethermountains, the Ancient Burial Ground, and the Misty Heaven Vault!
“Those six areas are essentially arranged in a straight line. The further one goes along, the more danger they will face. However, the good fortune… also increases!
“This particular tomb lies on the border between the Field of Magic Enlightenment and the Quasi-Dao Patriarch Tombs.
“From ancient times until now, the Nine Nethermountains have been the farthest that most clan members can make it into the ancestral land. It would be easier to find a phoenix feather or a qilin horn than to find someone who could reach the Ancient Burial Ground. As far as the necropolis in the Misty Heaven Vault, not even Eldest Brother, an almighty Dao Realm expert, was destined to enter it.
“The reason, of course, is that at the end of the Ancient Burial Ground, there is no path.
“The necropolis of the first generation Patriarch is located somewhere inside the Misty Heaven Vault, along with his most powerful magical technique… the One Thought Stellar Transformation!” Finally he closed his eyes.
He had never actually seen the first generation Patriarch. The only person who actually had was the old man in the stony cavern that the Seventh Patriarch referred to as Eldest Brother.
The other six people in that cavern had been born in different generations. However, after extinguishing ten Soul Lamps, matters of seniority weren’t important, and because of the bloodlines that connected them all, they called each other Brother.
“The clan has experienced three catastrophes….” said the Seventh Patriarch, sighing. Because of those three catastrophes, the small group in the stony cavern were the only cultivators in the entire clan who had extinguished more than ten Soul Lamps.
In the moment that the Seventh Patriarch sighed, Meng Hao finished bowing to the stone statue, and then sped away on the terracotta soldier.
Meanwhile, something was happening that even the Seventh Patriarch didn’t notice. As Meng Hao made his way through the Quasi-Dao Patriarch Tombs, taking anything he saw that appeared to be valuable, an aura was slowly building up in the ancestral land, an aura that had never appeared there before.
The aura had actually first appeared when the terracotta soldier had caused the mountains to crumble, and then flew up into the air. When the statue then picked up all of the boulders that contained enlightenment of Daoist magics and divine abilities, the aura had grown even stronger.
Gradually, a very thin mist was building up over the lands.
Time passed. Meng Hao sat atop the terracotta soldier as it proceeded forward. As he traveled, he continued to encounter enormous tombs. Strangely, these tombs had no tombstones or writing on them whatsoever.
Meng Hao could only speculate based on what the Grand Elder had told him that this was the location where the Dao Realm Patriarchs were buried.
However, he didn’t know their names, so he found the nameless tombs to be somewhat odd. It was as if they had intentionally come here before perishing, and didn’t want anyone to know who they were.
“Weird….” thought Meng Hao. However, this didn’t stop him from carrying out his duty to tend to the tombs, and help the Patriarchs exchange their various offerings.
As Meng Hao swept the tombs of the Quasi-Dao Patriarchs clean, the Seventh Patriarch up above was finding it much harder to contain his wrath.
The only reason he could maintain his temper was that Meng Hao always respectfully bowed to the grave upon arriving and departing, and didn’t touch the tombs themselves.
A few days later, Meng Hao descended from above once again. This time, the sight of the coffin and statue caused his eyes to widen. He stopped in place and looked at the statue and the tombstone in front of it.
Up to this point, he had encountered seven tombs. None of those seven tombs had any writing to explain who was buried there, but the tomb he was in front of now did have a name!
The name was written in calligraphy that was as bold and flamboyant as dancing dragons and phoenixes, and emanated a boundless aura. Beneath the name was the Patriarch’s life story.
Meng Hao read over the life story of the Patriarch named Fang Pinqi, and it caused rumbling sounds to fill his mind.
The story described Fang Pinqi’s life from the moment he started practicing cultivation. When he stepped into the Immortal Realm, he was the foremost true Immortal of his generation. His path was always that of a Chosen, and was viewed as a blazing sun by the clan. When he entered the Ancient Realm, he summoned fifteen Soul Lamps.
He performed countless meritorious deeds for the sect, and even forged new paths in the Ruins of Immortality. He became the most outstanding member of his generation, and successfully accomplished the deadly task of extinguishing fourteen Soul Lamps, eventually becoming the Patriarch of his generation. In the end, despite having extinguished the final Soul Lamp, he failed to break into the Dao Realm, and became a Quasi-Dao Paragon.
However, he did not go mad like most others did, becoming evil and committing heinous acts. Instead, he maintained a tranquil heart, and lived out his final fifty years of life in peace.
During those fifty years, he still worked hard for the clan before finally closing his eyes and passing away into meditation.
That was why this tomb was inscribed with his name and story. It also contained a vivid introduction of the Quasi-Dao Realm, as well a clear description of how terrifying it was.
By the time Meng Hao finished reading the story, he was panting. Now, he understood the meaning of the term ‘Quasi-Dao Paragon’.
He thought back to the ancient Demon Immortal Sect, and how Ke Yunhai had passed away in meditation. He also thought about Ke Yunhai’s description of what it meant to be at the peak of the Ancient Realm.
“So, it turns out that between the peak of the Ancient Realm and the true Dao Realm, there is another realm called the Quasi-Dao Realm. In that Realm, one’s longevity collapses, leading to certain death. As such, people go mad, and are called Paragons by others as a form of respect. It’s almost as if people think using such a title will prevent those people from going fully mad.” He looked at the stone tablet for a moment, and then refrained from even touching any of the offerings. Instead he clasped hands and bowed deeply.
After a moment, he left. It took a few more days to finish passing through the tombs of the Quasi-Dao Patriarchs. There were eleven of them in total, only three of which bore inscriptions.
They all had different experiences, but similar endings. The inscriptions were almost like a book of comfort written for the clan, instructing them about that Realm between the Ancient Realm and the Dao Realm. The people in that realm, the Quasi-Dao Paragons, either went mad and performed horrific deeds, or were worshiped in veneration for generations to come.
“The Dao Realm….” After passing the last tomb, Meng Hao stood there and looked back thoughtfully. “The path of cultivation is one of grave danger. Life or death crises present themselves at every step. Very few people… can make it to the very end.” Meng Hao sighed, then clasped hands and bowed to the tombs of all the Quasi-Dao Patriarchs.
Just as he straightened up to leave, he felt something vibrating in his bag of holding. It was the ancient Demon Sealing Jade, which had remained silent for such a long time. The intensity of the vibration even exceeded the time when he had encountered the Sixth Generation Demon Sealer!
At the same time, Meng Hao suddenly felt an intense sensation that he was being summoned, coming from deep within the ancestral land.
“How could the League of Demon Sealers be buried in the Mountains and Seas? They tread the path of Dao Tribulation of the Nine Mountains and Seas. If they succeed… then the Mountain and Sea Realm… will return to the League of Demon Sealers!”
After hearing this, Meng Hao instantly began to tremble.
Chapter 951: Demon Sealers Appear Again!Previous Chapter Next Chapter