“Smart guy,” Greed said, licking his lips, eyes shining mysteriously. “Seems like I shouldn’t just eat you. Maybe a bit of Soulsearching would help me to better understand the current state of the Immortal World.” Greed flashed toward Xuan Daozi, closing in on him no matter how he tried to evade. Yet again, he waved his finger, tapping Xuan Daozi’s chest, causing it to decay and wither rapidly.
Xuan Daozi let out a miserable cry as his life force once again flourished explosively. His face was ashen, nearly despairing. He could sense the aura of death radiating off of Greed's finger, and yet, as that aura entered him, the destruction and death which followed actually stimulated his latent powers, causing the life force in his flesh and blood to flourish.
The pain involved in such a technique was indescribable; Xuan Daozi’s eyes were crimson, and he immediately unleashed another divine ability, and yet, it was powerless against Greed.
“Tell me, what has occurred between you and Meng Hao? From the look of it, you don’t really want to kill him, you want to get something from him....”
Greed moved with incredible speed, tapping his finger once, twice three times. Xuan Daozi’s screams echoed out, incredibly shrill, as his body continued to wither. His chest, arms, head, every part of his body that Greed touched began to rot, and didn't ooze a single drop of blood.
As he rotted, his life force grew stronger, causing him to shiver. In the blink of an eye, Greed once again tapped him, this time on the back. Xuan Daozi’s entire body was brimming with life force. Pain spread through his body, and he felt as if he were about to go mad; knowing that he was about to die, he roared. Unexpectedly, he was choosing to self-detonate.
However, in the moment that the power of self-detonation appeared, Greed viciously tapped down with his finger. Rumbling could be heard as the power of self-detonation was suppressed. By now, Xuan Daozi’s body was almost completely decayed everywhere.
His clothes were gone, and he was radiating a rotten aura of death. He looked completely vicious as the rotting spread to his organs, and his bones, and his qi passageways. Everything was decomposing.
He was an illustrious Dao Lord, a powerful expert in his Realm, but even still, he cried out, “Kill me! Kill me! I beg of you, kill me!”
It wasn’t that he didn’t have a steadfast heart, or that his Dao was incomplete. Rather, this pain was something that a cultivator simply couldn't bear.
“Tell me,” Greed said, chuckling. “Tell me what you know. It’ll make you feel good. Just so you know, you aren’t the first cultivator from the Immortal World to experience pain like this. Back in the war, lots of people were able to enjoy it.” Greed’s eyes gleamed with the thirst for blood. He was by no means a virtuous person to begin with, and when he saw the suffering Xuan Daozi was going through, it made him feel wonderful.
“The Daosource!” Xuan Daozi shrieked. “It was all for the Daosource. When I fought Meng Hao, I saw him use a time-walking technique. It stirred my own Essence, so I was sure that if I could absorb his time-walking technique, then it might give birth to a bit of Daosource!”
As soon as the words left his mouth, Greed’s pupils constricted, and his expression became unprecedentedly serious.
“Daosource... that’s a supreme Realm comparable to Heaven Trampling and Boundless Dao!!” Greed was shaken. Gasping, his eyes began to gleam with the light of wild joy.
“I, Greed, have experienced countless good fortune in life. Whoever tries to kill me gets crushed by objects falling from the sky. Whatever places I go to turn out to be treasure houses. Anything that I want, I can get my hands on.
“This time, not only did I get a precious treasure of a fleshly body, I even got news about the Daosource!!
“Daosource, Daosource, the paramount Realm of the Immortal World. If I can get that... then I’ll be that much more likely to succeed in cultivating the path of Heaven Trampling!!” Greed was incredibly excited, so much so that he lost interest in torturing Xuan Daozi. No longer caring about Xuan Daozi’s terrifying rotting body, his hand shot out and latched onto the top of his head.
“Soulsearch!” Greed licked his lips as he unleashed the magical technique, too anxious to wait for Xuan Daozi to speak. He wanted to find the answers himself.
Xuan Daozi’s body began to shake, and he screamed miserably. All of the intense pain before had come from within his own body, but this pain came from his soul. Popping sounds rang out from inside of him, and his eyes bulged. The pain he was enduring now was indescribable.
Greed was panting as Xuan Daozi’s memories flitted by. He learned that the Immortal World had fallen, and the Mountain and Sea Realm had risen. He found out that Nine Seals was dead, and how the 33 Heavens existed. He learned many, many things that were different from when he had been alive.
Eventually he reached the battle between Xuan Daozi and Meng Hao, and as he stabbed into Xuan Daozi’s consciousness, it was as if he were re-experiencing Meng Hao’s walking technique.
When he saw it, Greed gaped in shock. For some reason, the technique looked very familiar to him, although he couldn’t remember exactly where he had seen it. Instead of spending time considering the matter, he sank further into the sensation of how Xuan Daozi’s Essence had stirred in that moment.
The feeling left Greed completely excited. He was suddenly hit with an intense premonition that this was the key to Heaven Trampling!
In his excitement, Greed wasn’t even looking at Xuan Daozi, who was currently hovering on the brink of death, screaming miserably. However, it was at this point that Xuan Daozi’s eyes suddenly glittered with an icy calmness that reached a terrifying level.
Although he seemed to be screaming, he had actually split and compartmentalized his mind. Apparently... everything from before had been an act, and he had kept his killing intent deeply hidden.
Suddenly, he spoke out in a completely calm voice: “I'm a Dao Lord. Getting killed in battle is fine, but I won’t die in such utter humiliation!”
As his voice echoed out, Greed suddenly felt an intense sensation of crisis rise up within him.
In that critical moment, Xuan Daozi spread his arms wide and wrapped them around Greed, a look of contempt gleaming in his eyes.
“Profound Dao of Heaven, One Profound Magic, Across Life and Death, Essence Arises, Essence Destroys!!” As Xuan Daozi’s archaic voice echoed out, he suddenly exploded, causing numerous chunks of rotting flesh and blood to spray out. His soul, his Nascent Divinity, his Essences, all collapsed.
However, because of that collapse, his soul, Nascent Divinity, and Essences were able to merge together and form a gigantic magical symbol.
That magical symbol bore the semblance of the character ‘profound’, and it shot toward Greed with incredible speed, then branded itself onto his chest.
Greed howled and shot backward, blood spraying out of his mouth, his face ashen. The ‘profound’ character sank into his chest and then vanished, merging into him, searching for Greed’s soul.
Greed was shaking, and his face was flushed. Once again he coughed up a mouthful of blood. Roaring, he tried to suppress the character by waving his hand behind him in the direction of the nine columns. Immediately, the shield and bell next to the withered corpse flew into the air and floated gently above him, emanating bright glows as they assisted Greed.
Greed’s Essence of life force also flowed into operation as he used ten percent of it to try to drive out Xuan Daozi’s dying attack. The result was that the ‘profound’ character was cleanly wiped away.
However, Greed’s life force Essence had dwindled down to less than twenty percent. Panting, he looked at Xuan Daozi’s mangled blood and flesh, and then gritted his teeth.
He had to admit that he had been careless, and had even been a bit arrogant. After taking over this fleshly body, he had virtually lost all sense of vigilance, and in that state of pride, he had overlooked the killing intent that could lurk in the heart of a hopelessly cornered Dao Lord.
Now that he thought about it, the screams emanating out earlier due to the fleshly body pain had actually seemed a bit fake. Their entire purpose had been to lure Greed closer; in fact, the reason why Xuan Daozi had even uttered the word Daosource was to attract his attention, and lure him into performing a Soulsearch.
Once Greed began the Soulsearch, then Xuan Daozi would have his chance to unleash that deadly magical technique.
“He was willing to die to try to strike me with a fatal blow....”
Greed took a deep breath, and vigilance once again burned to life within his eyes. He could sense that he only had twenty percent of his life force Essence remaining. Suddenly, he spun to look at the withered corpse within the nine pillars, and especially the blue sun. Finally, he smiled.
“Not very many people strike me with a deep impression, but this Xuan Daozi was definitely one of them. However... he was a bit too childish. That magic wasn't capable of exterminating me. In fact, if that damned Dao Fruit hadn’t sucked away more than half of my life force Essence, then I wouldn’t even have needed to use ten percent of it to wipe away the attack.
“Oh well, it’s all over now. I’ll undo the seal now and retrieve my Exalted Celestial sun and absorb the other half of my soul. Then, I will no longer be half of a soul, but a full, complete soul. I can fight my way through each of the other 32 Hells and pick them clean one by one. By the time I leave this place... I might already be in Heaven Trampling! Even if the process isn’t complete, I’ll be at least half a step there!” Licking his lips, Greed shot toward the nine columns. Stopping in front of one, his eyes shone with anticipation as he stretched his hand out to push down onto the column, completely confident that he would be able to undo the first seal.
“OPEN!” he said, his voice echoing out. His hand turned into a gray blur as it closed in on the column. However, before he could actually touch it, when he was only an inch away, his hand suddenly stopped in place and began to tremble.
Greed’s eyes went wide with disbelief as he realized that a tiny face had suddenly appeared on his forehead. That face looked exactly like Meng Hao’s, in fact it was... the real Meng Hao!
Meng Hao’s cool voice suddenly echoed out within Greed's mind and thoughts.
“Thank you for helping me re-mold my body, for refining my magical items, for increasing my cultivation base, for helping me fuse with my fourth Nirvana Fruit, and for giving me such a precious life force Essence. Oh, and thank you for taking care of all my enemies.”
“Impossible. This is impossible!” cried Greed. “I already consumed your soul, I cleared out every part of your body with fire. It's virtually a completely new body. There can’t be any remnant of your soul left. This is impossible....” Greed was shaking. Although his words seemed to be those of disbelief, his sinister soul exploded out in an attempt to wipe and drive away any remnants of Meng Hao.
“Nothing’s impossible about it,” Meng Hao replied. “I was hiding in the third Nirvana Fruit, and the Paragon's blood. Come and check if you want.” Almost in the same moment that Greed made his counterattack, and Meng Hao spoke, the fourth Nirvana Fruit suddenly erupted with an even more terrifying absorption force than it had ever shown before!
Greed’s soul trembled as his life force Essence poured forth like a waterfall.
“NO!!” he shrieked miserably. “Nine Seals! It's Nine Seals! Nine Seals has schemed against me!!” That was because all along he had never been able to sense the tiny bit of Paragon Nine Seals’ blood. Apparently, it was simply impossible for him to see.
Chapter 1244: Meng Hao Awakens!
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