Even as the old man spoke, a screen materialized in front of him, which began to replay the battle between Meng Hao and Patriarch Blacksoul.
At one point, the old man waved his finger, causing the moving images to pause and clearly display Meng Hao’s face. However, the old man didn't take time to study Meng Hao. Instead, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
Then he waved his right hand, causing the image to vanish, leaving behind nothing more than a strand of white qi.
Voice cool, the old man said, “Appearances can change, blood can be altered, and auras can be transformed. However, the fragrance of a soul is something that can never be changed....”
A large number of cultivators had already begun to gather around him, but none of them spoke; they simply looked at him respectfully.
The old man reached out and grabbed the white strand of qi, then clenched his hand down viciously. When he opened it, a white crystal could be seen. He waved his hand, causing the white crystal to split into two parts, which then became four, then eight. In a very brief period of time, 100,000 crystals could be seen!
All but a few hundred of the 100,000 white crystals made a droning sound as they spread out in all directions, quickly vanishing into the void as they headed toward the various sects of the Heavengod Alliance.
“If you get close to the foreigner, the crystal will react.... Patriarch Blacksoul has asked it to be made known that if anyone can slay this person, he is willing... to become their slave for a thousand years!” With that, the old man turned and headed off into the distance.
The cultivators behind him clasped hands respectfully. Afterward, they grabbed the white crystals, and their eyes shone with a strange light. Finally, they dispersed as they began to search for Meng Hao.
The entire Heavengod Alliance was set in motion. Soon, news began spreading about the foreign cultivator who had single-handedly exterminated the entire Blacksoul Society, even collapsing their planet. Most important was the news about Patriarch Blacksoul being seriously injured himself, which spread through the Heavengod Alliance like wildfire.
Countless hearts were completely shaken. After all, the bounty offered by the Heavengod Alliance was a thousand years of servitude by Patriarch Blacksoul, who was a 3-Essences Dao Lord. That was something that both individual cultivators and even entire Sects could not possibly be unmoved by.
It was far better than some physical treasure or access to a special technique.
Furthermore, no one needed to worry about being cheated. If Patriarch Blacksoul was the type of person who wouldn’t honor the agreement, the Heavengod Alliance wouldn't have agreed to issue the bounty to begin with.
Most importantly... if the person who wiped out the Blacksoul Society had done so without being injured, then many people would have chosen to just sit back and watch what happened. However, according to the information provided by the Heavengod Alliance, he was actually severely injured, and could not unleash cultivation base power that exceeded the mid Ancient Realm!
Even Patriarch Blacksoul had attested to that.
As such, all of the cultivators of the Heavengod Alliance were thrown into a state of madness....
Numerous individuals sprang into action and began to hunt through the Heavengod Alliance’s territory. Virtually all teleportation portals in the Heavengod Alliance were sealed, and those which could not be sealed were heavily guarded. Anyone who wanted to leave would be thoroughly inspected.
As time passed, the news about the extermination of the Blacksoul Society spread outside of the Heavengod Alliance, to be heard by the Han Clan, and the Meng Clan, and all the other sects in the Eighth Mountain and Sea. Everyone was completely shocked.
Furthermore, everyone was speculating about who this person was that the Heavengod Alliance was hunting. After a bit of investigation was done, news spread that he was not a cultivator from the Eighth Mountain and Sea, but rather, from another of the Mountains and Seas. Also... he was an Echelon cultivator with Paragon magic!
With so much news spreading about, it wasn’t long... before Meng Hao’s name came to be known by the powerful sects and clans.
Matters had already reached the point where no further verification was required. Meng Hao... was the person who had exterminated the Blacksoul Society!
There was one thing that Meng Hao had no way of knowing, which was that after the battle of the Windswept Realm, when all the Echelon cultivators returned to their respective Mountains and Seas... numerous powerful sects had begun keeping records and files about Meng Hao.
Currently, Patriarch Blacksoul was on one of the planets in the Heavengod Alliance, having reformed a new body. Although his face was ashen, when he saw the image of Meng Hao being shown to him on the screen, he began to shake, and his eyes glowed with madness and killing intent.
“That’s definitely him!”
Two middle-aged cultivators stood near Patriarch Blacksoul. They wore unique clothing, long white robes marked with lightning symbols. Within each of those lightning symbols was a person who was clearly in the midst of transcending tribulation!
Daoist robes like these... were only worn by members of the Heavengod Society!
The Heavengod Society formed the nucleus of the Heavengod Alliance. They occupied the peak of the Eighth Mountain and Sea, and in fact, the Lord of the Eighth Mountain and Sea resided in the Heavengod Palace.
There were many rumors floating around the Eight Mountain and Sea regarding their Lord, who was Heavengod. According to the rumors, he was linked to the Meng Clan in numerous ways. However, it was also possible that those were distorted rumors caused because of the general decline of the Meng Clan in recent years.
Other rumors stated that the Lord of the Eighth Mountain and Sea also had Han Clan blood in his veins. Some people even claimed that the Lord of the Eighth Mountain and Sea... was a rogue cultivator who had reached the Dao Realm.
Currently, the two middle-aged men wearing those unique Daoist robes exchanged a glance, then put the screen away. They had been ordered to come here and show the image on the screen to Patriarch Blacksoul for verification purposes. Now that they had the answer to their question, they turned to leave.
Patriarch Blacksoul gritted his teeth and clasped hands respectfully to the two cultivators. “Many thanks, Fellow Daoists from the Heavengod Society. This man must die; he is far too vicious and sinister. He is an outrage to gods and men alike!”
His heart was filled with bitterness; because of the level of his cultivation base and his status, he should not have to be doing things like this. At the moment, though, he was like a stray dog. His soul was halfway dispersed and his cultivation base was unstable, leaving him with no other choice than to bow his head in deference.
The entire Heavengod Alliance was now searching for Meng Hao.... And yet, as time passed, not one scrap of information about him turned up. People were starting to get impatient because of the sealed teleportation portals; it would soon reach the point where it would become a big inconvenience to the Heavengod Alliance as a whole. Furthermore, Patriarch Blacksoul could only influence the policy-making of the Alliance up to a point.
The fact that Patriarch Blacksoul had been firm about offering himself up to be a slave for a thousand years changed matters significantly. The search would have been carried out either way, and there still would have been some form of bounty. If Meng Hao showed his face publicly, he still would have been killed. However, if wasn’t for Patriarch Blacksoul’s offer, the alliance-wide lockdown would have long since been lifted.
Every day that those teleportation portals remained sealed caused the Heavengod Alliance to sustain significant financial losses.
Before departing, one of the two middle-aged men turned to Patriarch Blacksoul and said, “At the most, the portals will remain sealed for ten days. If he hasn’t been found by then, they will be opened again. Don’t worry, though; as long as he remains in the Eighth Mountain and Sea, he’ll be found eventually.”
In the territory of the Heavengod Alliance, on one of the four planets that orbited the Eighth Mountain, a planet called Planet Luo River, there was a capital city of an empire of mortals. Countless mortals lived there, going about their daily lives. As evening fell, a donkey could be seen on the public highway, braying and snorting complacently as it walked along.
The donkey had virtually no fur, with only a few patches to be seen here and there. It actually looked very down and out, and yet for some reason, seemed to view itself as a very high and mighty figure.
A young scholar sat on the donkey, wearing a scholar’s traveling case on his back, which was filled with various reading materials. In fact, the young man was engrossed in reading as he rode along on the donkey. [1. Whenever I think about traveling scholars, the first image that pops into my mind is the main character of A Chinese Ghost Story, who wears a traveling case just like this one. Here’s another picture. P.S. If you haven’t seen A Chinese Ghost Story before, you should put it on your list of movies to check out. It’s described as a supernatural/horror movie, but has a lot of wuxia and xianxia elements]
The scholar had skin as fair as jade, and was handsome. He appeared to be a teenager, and wore a faded white garment. He and the donkey proceeded along under the evening sun.
Occasionally, some swiftly galloping horses would pass him on the public highway, leaving clouds of dust in their wake. The scholar would cover his nose with his sleeve and then wave the dust away. As for the mule, it would look very irritated, and then suddenly burst out in a fit of speed as if to catch up. However, after running for only a little bit, it would lazily slow down.
Time passed, and the rays of the evening sun were beginning to fade away. However, it was at this point that a town appeared up ahead. Apparently the scholar didn’t even notice, however, and continued to take advantage of the fading light to read the bamboo scroll he held in his hands.
Occasionally, beams of colorful light would shoot through the sky up ahead. In fact, the power of divine sense was currently sweeping across the lands, and even touched the scholar. However, it passed right over him; apparently, the mortals of Planet Luo River weren’t afraid of cultivators. Throughout the entire day, similar beams of light had appeared on dozens of occasions. Although the mortals had looked up in envy and admiration, they didn't seem frightened at all.
Currently, one such beam of light had just disappeared off into this distance. Finally, the scholar put down the bamboo scroll, stretched, and then noticed the town, which was getting closer and closer. He smiled, although deep within that smile could be seen a sharp coldness.
This scholar was the very person that the cultivators of the Heavengod Alliance were searching for high and low. Meng Hao!
After his initial flight, he knew that it would be difficult to completely evade the Heavengod Alliance, so he acted on one of the backup plans that he had thought up in advance, hiding himself on the closest of the four planets, which was Planet Luo River. With the help of the meat jelly and the parrot, and the feather they had acquired years ago, he had concealed the fluctuations of his soul and aura, transforming himself into a scholar.
There was no other identity that gave him such a sense of familiarity.
“I never imagined that I would once again become a scholar traveling to take the Imperial examinations....” he murmured. The donkey was apparently not very happy, and to make that clear, it suddenly twisted its neck in a complete circle, then continued to twist it several times until its eyes started to bulge out. Meng Hao slapped it on the rump.
“Have you ever seen any donkeys that can twist their necks around several times over?” Meng Hao growled. “Come on, let’s be a bit more realistic here. People are trying to track us down and kill us, you know. If they find us, it’ll be bad luck for the two of you as well.”
The donkey... was none other than the transformed meat jelly.
“Come on, let’s head into this town.... I refuse to believe that the Heavengod Alliance will keep everything locked down forever.” Eyes flashing coldly, Meng Hao rubbed his chest in a place where the flesh hadn’t quite grown back yet.
His cultivation base had been seriously injured because of the deadly battle. However, it wasn’t so bad that he was limited to the mid Ancient Realm, as the Heavengod Alliance presumed. He could still reach his peak power, but unfortunately that could not be sustained for very long.
“I’m going to take advantage of this chance to let my wounds heal a bit more,” he murmured. As the sun slowly dropped over the horizon, he sighed, and his face turned a bit grimmer.
The first thing he had done after arriving on Planet Luo River was to open the incense burner. However, what he had found inside was not what he had hoped for.... Chu Yuyan’s soul.
A flying shuttle was speeding along through the starry sky of the Heavengod Alliance. Countless magical symbols covered its surface, which formed together into the character Meng 孟.
This was none other than a Meng Clan merchant ship!
A young man could be seen in that merchant ship. He was handsome, with a fair face, and was currently standing there with head bowed and fists clenched tightly as the middle-aged man before whom he stood rebuked him coldly.
“Meng Chen, don’t forget that you never should even have had this chance. It's only because of the kindness shown to me by your grandfather years ago that I managed to get you this spot. Don't forget your place! You’ll just be a bodyguard here, but you need to cherish that identity. If you can just keep Young Master De happy, then your bloodline will have things much easier!
“So what if he arranged to have you spend some time with Young Lord Feng of the Han Clan? You feel wronged or something? Young Master De already agreed. You’re going to do it whether you want to or not!”
Chapter 1221: A Scholar Taking the Imperial ExaminationsPrevious Chapter Next Chapter