Chapter 1251: The Wind Picks Up....
“One cultivation base in the great circle of the Ancient Realm. One mid Ancient Realm. Two early Ancient Realm. Five at the peak of the Immortal Realm.... A group like this would be taken seriously wherever they went. They could be overlords. In fact, in the Ninth Mountain and Sea, they could occupy an entire asteroid bazaar.
“They might even be able to start a sect. It wouldn’t be impossible.” Meng Hao looked them over a bit more closely.
“The most important thing to find out is whether or not they’re rogue cultivators. That’s the first thing. Second, are they from the Meng Clan? Third... are they concealing their faces because they’re worried about people using magic to see what happened here? Or do they simply not plan to kill anyone? Do they... not dare to kill anyone?!” Meng Hao’s expression was calm and thoughtful. He was definitely not the young scholar he had been years ago, who knew nothing of the world beyond the Imperial examinations.
The path of cultivation was a brutal one. Back in the Ninth Mountain and Sea, he had the Fang Clan backing him up. But in the Eighth Mountain and Sea, he was on his own. Add in the fact that his grandfather’s bloodline needed his care, and his help to rise to prominence, it resulted in his heart growing colder and more vicious than ever.
The parrot was perched on his shoulder, apparently savoring some wonderful memory. Occasionally it would look at Meng Hao out of the corner of its eye. It could sense the changes in him, faint as they were, and knew that the pressures of the world were altering him.
The meat jelly was flopped in front of him, stretching lazily. The mastiff, who was back to being tiny again, would occasionally bat the meat jelly around with its paws. Overall, the two of them were having a great time playing around.
After a long moment passed, the nine black-robed men gave each other knowing looks and then began to perform incantation gestures. Instantly, a shield spread out, cutting off the entire area from communication with the outside world. Killing intent then flickered in their eyes as they transformed into nine beams of light that shot toward the Meng Clan ship. Meng Hao closed his eyes.
A few breaths of time passed, after which Meng De’s Dao Protector, who was sitting there cross-legged, suddenly opened his eyes. Looking very nervous, he suddenly burst out of his cabin and looked off into the distance.
“Ambush!! Protect the Young Lord!” Although he was shouting, he kept his voice constrained so that it didn’t travel beyond the ship. Immediately, all of the members of the Meng Clan on board burst into activity.
A moment later, a protective shield glittered into place, covering the ship. Meng De rushed out, trembling and ashen-faced, followed by more than a dozen other clan members. They all stood there nervously, not a single one of them bothering to notice whether Meng Hao was present or not. Everyone was looking at the nine beams of light which were streaking in their direction.
The cultivator in the lead position had a cultivation base at the great circle of the Ancient Realm, which was the same as Meng De’s Dao Protector. As for the cultivators following him, those with Immortal Realm cultivation bases were less impressive, but the two early Ancient Realm experts caused the Meng Clan cultivators’ faces to fall.
Other than Meng De’s Dao Protector, who was in the great circle of the Ancient Realm, everyone else was in the Immortal Realm, except for two who happened to be in the early Ancient Realm. That put the number of ancient realm cultivators on their side at one less than the enemy. [1. I’m pretty sure the number of Ancient Realm cultivators doesn’t match up with the original description of the ship, although that could be explained as people joining while Meng Hao was in the 33 Hells, or during the subsequent trading activity]
The one they were missing... was someone to counter the mid Ancient Realm enemy!!
One person could sometimes have a huge effect on a battle like this, and even determine the final outcome.
“Are they just passing by?” Meng De asked in a low voice, trembling in obvious fear. “They must be. How could they possibly have the gall to attack the Meng Clan?”
“Young Lord, these people are not just passing by,” the old Dao Protector said, frowning. He looked at Meng De and sighed inwardly.
“That’s impossible!” Meng De screeched. “How dare they! How dare they show such disrespect to the Meng Clan. When I get back I’m definitely going to report this to the Grand Elder, and he’ll exterminate their entire clan!!”
“Oh, shut up!” the old Dao Protector said, clearly annoyed. He had already attempted to make contact with the Meng Clan several times, unsuccessfully. He knew that communications had been interfered with, and was inwardly feeling quite bitter. Waving his sleeve, he caused the ship to send shining lights up into the air, forming an enormous ‘meng’ character 孟!
“Greetings, friends,” the old Dao Protector called out, sounding quite tough. “This ship belongs to the Meng Clan. Please clear the way!” He knew the consequences that could result from showing weakness, so he bolstered his words with his cultivation base, causing them to echo out with the power of the great circle of the Ancient Realm.
The nine incoming figures didn’t even pause. Their eyes flickered with killing intent as they closed in on the ship. As they did, they performed incantations, then waved their fingers, causing the void around them to distort as a huge battle-axe materialized.
The battle-axe radiated a bloody, murderous aura that filled the entire area. It suddenly slashed down toward the Meng Clan ship, causing a boom to ring out when it slammed into the shield.
Cracking sounds could be heard from the shield as fissures spread out, cracking sounds which echoed like death knells into the ears of the members of the Meng Clan.
Meng De was shaking, and his face was the picture of terror. The other clan members behind them had looks of despair on their faces, and even his Dao Protector was shaken by how terrifying this combined attack was.
A huge boom rang out as the ship’s shield exploded into fragments that swept over everything.
Several Meng Clan cultivators screamed out in agony as the shrapnel from the shield shredded them to bits.
At the same time, the black-robed men gazed down with killing intent as their leader charged toward the old Dao Protector. In the blink of an eye, the two were engaged in deadly combat, causing booms to ring out, along with the ripples of magical combat.
The two early Ancient Realm cultivators immediately attacked their counterparts among the Meng Clan, who had no choice but to fight back. Soon, all four were locked in deadly fighting, blasting out with magical techniques, causing booms to ring out.
The five enemy cultivators at the peak of the Immortal Realm immediately attacked the rest of the Meng Clan cultivators. Instantly, a slaughter was underway, and miserable shrieks rang out all over the ship.
As for the final black-robed man, the one in the mid Ancient Realm, he hovered above the ship, looking coldly at the shivering, terrified Meng De.
“What are you doing!?” Meng De shrieked. “I’ll give you anything you want! You can’t kill me, I'm a Young Lord of the Meng Clan. If anything bad happens here, it won’t matter where you run to in the Eighth Mountain and Sea, you’ll be dead!
“The Meng Clan might be in decline, but we still have our prestige. If it's money you’re after, you can have it!” Meng De quickly produced a bag of holding, which he tossed out. The decisiveness with which he did so caused Meng Hao’s expression to flicker, and he suddenly started paying a bit closer attention to Meng De.
“So, he’s not completely useless after all,” he murmured. Looking back at the black-robed men, his eyes flickered. By this point, he could tell that the nine of them... were no rogue cultivators!
Rogue cultivators couldn’t attack with such fluid unity, or have this kind of combination divine ability. Furthermore, the magical techniques and items they were using all seemed similar.
“If they’re not rogue cultivators, that means the Meng Clan is still powerful enough to be threatening. However, if there are sects willing to try to rob the Meng Clan, it shows that however threatening they are, it's beginning to be insufficient.” Meng Hao frowned. The more he learned about the Meng Clan, the more he realized how difficult of a task faced him.
It was at this point that the bloodcurdling screams ringing out on the ship began to fade away. Other than Meng De, everyone else was dead.
Out in the starry sky, the Meng Clan’s two early Ancient Realm cultivators exchanged ashen glances, then began to flee.
Before they could get very far, though, the mid Ancient Realm cultivator in the black robes let out a cold snort, then stepped out in pursuit. Moments later, two screams rang out into the void. Shortly thereafter, the black-robed man returned, a head held in each hand, which he then tossed down onto the ship.
The battle between the two cultivators in the great circle of the Ancient Realm was reaching a head. Meng De’s Dao protector suddenly roared, “Haven’t you people done enough killing!? Look, the treasure is right there, just take it! Why are you actually killing us?!?!”
Almost as soon as the words left his mouth, the black-robed man up above performed an incantation gesture, once again summoning the battle-axe.
The Dao Protector's face fell and, despite his injuries, he began to retreat. Blood sprayed out of his mouth, and he transformed into a beam of light as he attempted to escape. His mission was to protect Meng De, but when it came down to his own survival, he would always place himself first.
However, before he could even move, someone flickered into being behind him, someone that not even Meng Hao had noticed until the moment before he made his entrance.
The Dao Protector, on the other hand, hadn’t noticed at all. As soon as the person appeared, his finger slashed out, stabbing into the back of the Dao Protector's head. A pop could be heard, and a tremor ran through the old man. Then his head exploded, and his Nascent Divinity was shattered. Black flames engulfed his body, rapidly burning him up. Within the space of a few breaths of time, he was completely transformed into ash.
The other black-robed men immediately stopped what they were doing and clasped hands in respect.
This new figure was fully three meters tall, clad in a voluminous black robe. A white mask covered his face, a mask that was decorated with countless eyes and was terrifying in appearance.
He looked coldly at the other nine black-robed men, and then stepped forward onto the ship without saying another word.
Meng Hao still sat in his cabin, watching everything that was happening. Now, his face looked very serious. He got a strange feeling from these people, especially the cloaking techniques they used, which were something he had never encountered before. However, he was still confident that he could crush them in a fight.
“From the look of it, they aren’t here to plunder....” he thought. Looking at the black-robed men, his eyes suddenly began to shine.
As for Meng De, he was trembling visibly, backing up and panting at the same time. It was at this point that the black-robed man in the great circle of the Ancient Realm slowly lowered his cowl to reveal his face. Shockingly... his face looked exactly like the dead Dao Protector’s!
One by one, the other black-robed men began to reveal their faces, which looked exactly like the various dead members of the Meng Clan!
“You....” Meng De’s face was ashen. Even if he were more of an idiot than he already was, he would be able to tell what was going on. He continued to back up, shaken, terrified as he continued to try to make contact with the Meng Clan. However, his efforts were in vain.
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