Chapter 1375: I’ve Been Waiting!
As he entered the rift, Meng Hao explained, “The souls which have been sealed in the 33 Hells are all devious rogues. As for the Outsider beasts, they have varying degrees of intelligence, but we’ll just overawe them with words and threaten them with my cultivation base, they’ll back down.
“This will make it much easier for us to deal with them.”
Most of the group responded with thoughtful expressions, except for those few who knew Meng Hao. Strange looks could be seen on their faces, and they coughed dryly, but refrained from saying anything.
“Simply put, you have to terrify them!” After emphasizing that point, he led the group into the necropolis. Based on what he remembered from the last time he was here, he quickly led them toward the main temple. As he proceeded along, he could see out of the corner of his eye that everything was as he had left it: bare and almost completely cleaned out. He took that in stride, of course.
However, everyone else looked around with wide eyes. Every single necropolis chamber they passed, they saw broken down walls devoid of frescos, and floors which had been completely cleared of tiles. Many areas were so lacking in decoration that they almost seemed to have been gnawed clean by dogs....
Gasps could be heard coming from the mouths of the Chosen.
“Not good! Someone’s actually been in here before!!”
“W-what brutality! Whoever came here before cleaned everything out! Everything’s gone....”
“I can’t believe that they didn’t even spare the floor tiles....”
“Dammit, don’t tell me it was the Outsiders!!”
The Chosen were all shaken by what they were seeing, even Li Ling’er and the others who knew Meng Hao. Only Chen Fan hesitated for a moment, then glanced over at Meng Hao.
Meng Hao was in the lead position, and when he heard the things everyone was saying, he couldn’t help but feel a bit embarrassed. Instead of launching into an explanation, he merely increased his pace, leading the gasping, astonished group all the way to the central necropolis temple, where Greed was sealed.
When they arrived, the Chosen burst into a commotion at the sight. This was the largest necropolis chamber of all, and also the one which had been most thoroughly looted. With the exception of the very central-most area, everything had been completely and utterly cleared out.
“This is preposterous!!”
“There’s not even a spot of mold left behind! Dammit, this was definitely the Outsiders!!” The Chosen were all completely incensed. However, it was at this point that a face suddenly appeared within the ball of soul fire in the central area. That face appeared to be completely enraged.
“Dammit, it's you again.... What are you planning to do this time!?!?
“You scammed away a bunch of my life force Essence and looted all of the funerary objects in my necropolis. You even dug up the floor tiles and stole the frescoes! Dammit, you bastard, you left nothing behind. What do you want now!?!?
“Meng Hao!!” A begrieved howl echoed out through the entire necropolis. The group behind Meng Hao gasped and shifted their gazes to look at him. It was almost as if they were truly seeing him for the first time, and strange expressions appeared.
They had been incensed at whoever it was who had gone so far as to even scrape up the floor tiles of all the areas they had passed. How could they ever have come to the conclusion that the culprit was actually... Meng Hao?
“Ahem... the exalted Crown Prince truly is formidable....”
Everyone began to chuckle wryly, and when they glanced at Meng Hao, odd looks could be seen in their eyes. Gradually, the image of Meng Hao which they had built up in their minds was being subverted.
Suddenly feeling a bit down, Meng Hao frowned and gave a cold harrumph as he strode over toward the ball of soul fire. In response, a scream echoed out from within the fire.
“Stay away, dammit! Get back, you shameless bastard. You’re even more shameless than the jinx from way back when!!”
Meng Hao looked back at the Chosen and explained: “I already absorbed some of this soul fire a few years ago. What’s left is just a fragment. It won’t help you people now.” With that, he extended his right hand. Ignoring the screams from the face, he made a grasping motion, causing the soul fire to be dragged over into his hand. That in itself caused the sealing columns which surrounded it to collapse.
Then Meng Hao clenched his hand tightly into a fist, causing the soul fire to disappear into his palm. After absorbing it, he stepped into the previously sealed area. Clearing his throat, he hesitated for a moment. After a moment of thought, he ignored the people behind him, produced a flying sword, and proceeded to pry up all of the floor tiles, even as everyone watched.
The Chosen stared with slack jaws at the incredible proficiency with which Meng Hao quickly cleared out the entire area, even going so far as to collect up the collapsed columns. Then, after brushing off his sleeves, he suddenly stamped his foot down onto the ground, causing a rift to appear.
“Alright, let's go to the 2nd Hell.” As Meng Hao stepped into the rift, the Chosen exchanged dazed glances. Meng Hao's behavior just now had completely toppled any previous notions they had about what he was like. After a short moment of hesitation, they followed him into the rift.
In the 2nd Hell, they once again bore witness to Meng Hao’s domineering personality....
“Can you sense my murderous aura? Well let me tell you. I killed a Paragon, enslaved another, and then forced a third one to self-detonate!” In the 2nd Hell was an Outsider beast formed completely from flames. Currently, it was trembling in the face of Meng Hao’s aggressiveness. Considering the pressure and aura that radiated off of him, the beast was completely terrified.
Then, the Chosen watched as Meng Hao scraped the 2nd Hell’s necropolis completely clean.... It was as if a gale wind had passed, leaving behind not even a single blade of grass....
Habits like that, and such personality traits, could not simply be changed....
Meng Hao then realized that doing everything on his own was taking too long, so he quickly called the other Chosen over for assistance. “Come come, we don’t have much time,” he said. “Give me a hand here. Help me clear this place out.”
Chen Fan laughed loudly and quickly stepped forward to help. Li Ling’er covered her mouth, and Ji Yin’s face darkened. Wang Youcai’s lips continued to twitch. As for the other Chosen, they exchanged embarrassed glances, and yet couldn’t bring themselves to refuse, and quickly began to help.
This was something the likes of which they had never done before. All they could do was sigh inwardly, and tell themselves that maybe the reason Meng Hao was so powerful was because he did things like this.
After scraping everything clean, they eventually reached the central necropolis temple of the 2nd Hell. The soul fire there was much more powerful than Greed's, and as soon as the group entered the hall, an incredible pressure exploded out. However, Meng Hao merely snorted coldly. Unleashing his cultivation base, he stepped forward and suppressed it.
With Meng Hao’s current cultivation base, bolstered by the blessing of the power of the Mountains and Seas, coupled with the restrictive spells within the necropolis, it was a simple thing for him to suppress the souls here. Roars echoed out from the soul fire, and yet there was nothing it could do to fight back.
It was here that one of the thirty-three Chosen was left behind to absorb the good fortune that was the soul fire of a powerful expert from the past. If this Chosen failed, he would die, but if he succeeded, his cultivation base would advance by leaps and bounds. If he went so far as to sacrifice some of this longevity, then he would leap past the Dao Sovereign level to become an Imperial Lord for a full sixty-year-cycle!
After leaving one of the Chosen behind, Meng Hao led the group into the 3rd Hell. Then the 4th Hell and the 5th Hell.... As they went along, he cowed the Outsider beasts with his tale of killing and enslaving Paragons, of forcing them to self-detonate.
At first, the Chosen stared in shock, but eventually, they got used it, and finally grew indifferent. Furthermore, the nervousness they had felt upon entering the 33 Hells gradually faded away.
After watching Meng Hao suppress one soul fire after another, and leaving behind various Chosen to absorb them, they gradually grew very much at ease.
In the end, Meng Hao didn’t even need to say anything. As soon as his murderous aura spread out, the other Chosen would jump in to help proclaim his words.
“He killed a Paragon, enslaved another, and forced a third to self-detonate! Scared? Well screw the hell off!”
Eventually, Meng Hao didn’t even need to organize the efforts to clear out the necropolises. The strange feeling the Chosen had at first was long gone, and now they were very familiar with the process. In the end, they even exceeded his expectations, finding certain areas that he hadn’t noticed, and clearing them away. Meng Hao couldn't help but sigh in praise.
Eventually the weight of their burden, and the wariness they had felt when they had first entered this place, was completely gone. Now, their journey into the 33 Hells seemed more like a vacation....
7th Hell. 8th Hell. 9th Hell....
The number of Chosen who were following Meng Hao grew fewer and fewer. At each soul fire, he left behind a Chosen, who would laugh and say goodbye to Meng Hao and the group. However, behind their laughter was staunch determination and decisiveness.
“Crown Prince, I’ll be fine here. I hope you clear even more things out than we have so far! Fellow Daoists, I wish you luck in acquiring your good fortune....” It was in such fashion that farewells were made at every soul fire location.
Time passed. 15th Hell. 16th Hell. 17th Hell.... Eventually, they passed through the 31st Hell. Then the 32nd. And finally the 33rd!
It took roughly a month for Meng Hao to pass through all 33 Hells. By that time, there were no Chosen in his company. In a few of the soul fire locations, the soul fire was far too formidable for a single Chosen to absorb, and he had left behind more than one.
Therefore, by the time he reached the 33rd Hell, he was alone. The 33rd Hell was in the deepest region of the void, and upon entering, Meng Hao saw a young man sitting cross-legged atop a mountain peak.
He wore a green robe, and gave off an icy feeling. Apparently, whoever this was, it wasn’t his true form, but rather, a clone!
An alcohol flagon rested in front of him, from which he would occasionally sip. Down below, at the base of the mountain, there was a wide valley, which was completely empty.
As Meng Hao approached, he looked around with flickering eyes, until his gaze eventually came to rest upon the young man. For some reason, this place felt different than the other 32 Hells. There was no necropolis, no Outsider beast, no soul fire. There weren’t even any seals or restrictive spells. It was as if Paragon Nine Seals hadn’t left any restraining measures here at all.
The green-robed man on the mountain seemed very strange to Meng Hao. He was obviously a clone, and yet his cultivation base was unreadable. In one moment he seemed to seethe with unending rage, and in the next, he seemed calm and peaceful.
The young man looked up at Meng Hao, and his eyes flickered with ancientness. “So you’ve finally come... I've been waiting a long, long time for you....”
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