In the starry sky of the Vast Expanse, there were certain extremely mysterious locations. One, for example, was the Green Coffin Vortex. In such locations, the magical laws of the Vast Expanse were different, making it difficult for cultivators to enter them, even 9-Essences experts.
Although Meng Hao hadn't known it originally, he came to be aware that such places were said to be created by Transcendent cultivators.
Only someone who had Transcended could create a location that could cause problems for 9-Essences Paragons. Furthermore, such locations were few and far between in the Vast Expanse; there were only a few in existence.
Supposedly, some of those locations were related to the Vast Expanse Society. Others were connected to the Immortal God Continent. The rest had to do with the Devil Realm. Apparently... all the forces which had produced a Transcendent cultivator were connected to such places.
Some such places were well known, while others were kept secret by various powerful factions, and held their respective organizations’ greatest secrets. They were secrets that wouldn’t necessarily endanger those groups if they came to be known, but were kept hidden anyway.
Patriarch Vast Expanse’s necropolis was just such a place.
The exact location of the necropolis was unknown, and the only way to enter it was via the nine altars on the half-planet of the Vast Expanse School.
In the past, people had speculated that the necropolis was not even located within the starry sky of the Vast Expanse. Some said that it was a location in some other world... where there was no Heavenly Dao.
Supposedly, the reason there was no Heavenly Dao was because magical techniques were thrown into chaos in such places. Sometimes, certain magics couldn’t even be used. For example, some locations were places incompatible with the aura of the Vast Expanse, which some people cultivated.
When Meng Hao and the others appeared, he looked around and saw a starry sky stretching out.
It was a real and true starry sky, with none of the mist that was pervasive in the Vast Expanse.
There were nine land masses floating out in front of them. Upon closer examination, it was possible to see that they were connected by bridges, although the bridges were not stable; they were constantly swaying and swinging back and forth.
Surrounding the nine land masses was a seemingly infinite field of drifting asteroids. Occasionally, they would emit strange fluctuations which provoked sensations of intense danger.
There were no paths visible.
“Now that we’re here, we don’t have much time,” said the Sect Leader. “Only one month. Follow me, and be careful not to lose your way. Don’t interact with anything you see, whether it's a painting or a person or anything else. If you do... even those of you with nine Essences will perish.” With a final look at everyone, he flickered into motion as he flew out into the starry sky.
Everyone else followed along as if they had done so before. Meng Hao was the only one who seemed more cautious than ever as he followed along.
His two subordinate Paragons followed him, looking around vigilantly.
The group was soon speeding along through the asteroids. The Sect Leader seemed to have mastered some method of travel that ensured they didn't encounter any restrictive spells. Nor did any of the floating asteroids enter their path of travel. However, the result was that the Sect Leader’s face was a bit pale. His eyes shone with the glow of augury; clearly, leading the group in this way was not an easy task.
Time passed. Four hours later, Meng Hao noticed one of the 8-Essences Paragons up ahead suddenly stop in place and turn to the side with an expression of shock and disbelief.
This man could shake the Vast Expanse with a single stomp of a foot, and would count as the pinnacle of existence in virtually any world or Realm. And yet, before anyone could warn or remind him of the dangers of the place, his body deflated like a popped balloon. In the blink of an eye, he withered up into a pile of dessicated flesh.
His bones, flesh, and everything about him melted, and then vanished without a trace. Not even his soul had a chance to flee. He died without even making a cry of alarm....
The only thing left behind was his skin, which slowly floated away into the starry sky.
Meng Hao was completely shaken, and everyone else felt their scalps tingling in shock. No one spoke. As they watched the pile of skin float away, laughter could suddenly be heard, at which point they noticed that, unexpectedly, the pile of skin was smiling.
“If you want to stay alive, don't randomly look around,” the Sect Leader said. “Keep your eyes on the person in front of you. We will follow this path for three days, and if all goes well, we will pass through this perimeter region into the first land of the Patriarch’s necropolis.” With that, he proceeded onward without another word.
Meng Hao said nothing, but his eyes flickered. Then, he proceeded along, keeping his eyes on the cultivator in front of him.
Time passed. A day later, and after a bit of calculation, Meng Hao came to the conclusion that they had already traveled seventy percent of the distance, and that they would soon be nearing the first land mass.
For the most part, the journey was frightening but not dangerous. However, another 8-Essences Paragon died. He wasn’t transformed into a pile of flesh. Instead, he began to suddenly rot.
At first, he didn’t notice. Then the person behind him cried out in alarm. The 8-Essences Paragon spun around, and when he looked down at his body, his eyes fell out of their sockets. Everyone watched as he dissolved into a mass of blood that dropped down into the depths below.
Meng Hao's vigilance grew. The surrounding asteroids would occasionally pulse with a faint light, and yet everything was absolutely silent. As silent as death.
The Sect Leader moved slower and slower, until finally it reached the point where he needed to make long calculations before each movement. After a bit of observation, Meng Hao came to the conclusion that the Sect Leader’s methods of augury and calculation had to do with the movement patterns of the asteroids.
Even as he contemplated the matter, a cry of alarm could be heard behind him from Su Yi. Meng Hao spun and saw the beautiful Xin Yue, head turned to the side, expression blank as she apparently spoke to some unseen person. Her expression flickered, and then she nodded, and a rapturous look of joy appeared on her face.
Even as she nodded, her body began to wither up. Meng Hao frowned, reached out, and tapped her forehead.
A tremor ran through her, and the withering slowed but didn't cease.
Su Yi’s expression flickered with anxiety, and she was about to unleash some sort of magic to provide aid, when suddenly her expression also turned blank. She turned to the side in disbelief, then reached out into the void as if to grab something. Then she also started to wither up.
Meng Hao's frown deepened, and he quickly opened his Dao eye. His aura spread out, turning into a vortex that swept out in all directions.
At the same time, the Sect Leader and the other Paragons turned to look at what was happening. The Sect Leader’s face fell, and after a moment of hesitation, he gritted his teeth and made his way toward Meng Hao. The other Paragons’ faces flickered with hesitation, but seeing that the Sect Leader was approaching, they did the same.
However, before anyone could get close, Meng Hao suddenly raised his hand and said, “Stay back. I should be able to handle this.”
His expression was somber, and even as he spoke, a murderous aura began to rise up from him, which rapidly turned into a raging tempest.
The Sect Leader and the other Paragons were people who were no strangers to slaughter. However, after seeing Meng Hao’s murderous aura, their pupils constricted. That was especially true of the Sixth Paragon, who gasped.
It was a murderous aura so intense that ordinary people couldn’t compare to it. Not even this group of Paragons contained someone who came close.
“How many people has he killed...?”
“I've never met someone who has slaughtered so many!!”
“Is this Ninth Paragon some sort of jinx, or what...?” Both the 9-Essences Paragons and their 8-Essences subordinates were all completely shaken.
“So,” thought the Sect Leader, “he really is... Meng Hao!” It was as if that murderous aura which surrounded Meng Hao contained innumerable screaming souls.
Meng Hao’s face was very serious as he looked around with his third eye, and saw a completely different world!
Within the void of the starry sky was an enormous city. The asteroids around them were actually buildings in that city, and the entire place looked incredibly ancient, as if it couldn't even exist in modern times.
What left Meng Hao even more shaken was that, unexpectedly... they were surrounded by countless figures. There were men and women, old and young, and all of them were cultivators. They were everywhere, and although most of them were simply walking to and fro, some would occasionally turn to look curiously at Meng Hao and the others.
The figures were blurry, their faces pale, their bodies devoid of life force. In fact, what filled the entire area was a boundless aura of death.
Several women were standing next to Xin Yue, smiling as they tugged at her garments. It was as if they were trying to get her to become one of them. The same thing was happening to Su Yi.
Shockingly, there were even some figures next to Meng Hao who were reaching out to grab him!
He took a deep breath as he realized that this place... was actually a Ghost City!!
Considering the level of his cultivation base, he was able to tell that all of these figures were ghosts, and there were so many of them that it would be impossible to count their number.
A brief moment after Meng Hao’s third eye opened and he looked around, all of the ghosts in the entire city stopped what they were doing and turned to look at him. Countless gazes came to be fixed on Meng Hao, whereupon strange glows rose up in their eyes. Only a brief moment passed before they began to scream noiselessly, and then rush madly toward Meng Hao.
To be surrounded by so many ghosts left even Meng Hao feeling like he had fallen victim to a curse; his life force was fading, and an aura of death was threatening to engulf him.
That was the moment in which his murderous aura suddenly erupted out fully, creating a vortex which swept out in all directions.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter