The instant that resonance formed with the Demonic qi, Meng Hao’s eyes began to shine with a deep, profound light. He had already surmised that of the five pillars, there was one for the Ghost, God, Immortal, Devil, and finally…
He increased his speed, and eventually arrived at the final staggeringly large pillar which stretched up into the starry sky. After a moment of thought, he reached out and touched the pillar. Then he frowned.
Eventually, he pulled his hand away, and his eyes flashed.
“The other pillars don’t seem to have much to do with me. But this pillar… represents the Demon. There is a resonance with me, and yet, when I touch it, no strange transformations occur….” He wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but he could tell that the resonance was growing stronger. Gradually, a sensation of deadly crisis began to build up within him.
Eyes flickering, he spun. Instead of spending any more time in contact with the final pillar, he decided to leave.
He was soon 30 meters away, then 300. The pillar still stood in place, and the farther away he went, the weaker the resonance became.
He didn’t seem to be reacting much to that, but inwardly, he was focused on examining himself. When he reached the 3,000-meter mark, he hesitated a bit. It wasn’t that he wasn’t curious about the column. Rather, he had to forcibly resist the urge to rush back and touch it.
He definitely needed to come to a deeper understanding of what dangers lurked in this area.
After the 3,000-meter mark, his eyes flickered, and he pushed himself faster. When he was several thousand meters away, he increased his speed yet again.
Even when he was 30,000 meters away, nothing had happened. Finally, he stopped in thought for a moment, then gritted his teeth and headed back toward the pillar. Moments later, he arrived, then reached out to touch it.
Rumbling filled his mind, and as his Demonic qi blended with the aura of the pillar, the resonance exploded in intensity, and he suddenly realized that there was an illusory world within the pillar.
It was like the mist of the Vast Expanse, boundless and majestic. At first, there didn’t seem to be anything other than mist, but soon, Meng Hao realized that within the very center of the world was a bright red thread.
It was a thread that looked like a blood vessel, except it was huge. Soon, he realized that the thread twisted and turned around on itself, forming a shape. The shape of a person!
There were four limbs visible, as well as a head. Apparently, that thread really was a blood vessel, and it really was forming into the shape of a person.
There was no flesh or blood, and no bones. Just a system of blood vessels.
Shockingly, there appeared to be fruits growing from the blood vessels!
In total, there were ninety-eight of them.
Some were large and some were small, and they were located throughout the shape which the blood vessels formed. All of them were withered, as though their life and quintessence had been absorbed, and they were what had enabled the shape of the person to take form.
Upon closer examination, it was clear that the various fruits had faces on them, all of whom had their eyes closed, and were completely motionless.
As Meng Hao examined all of this, his heart began to pound. Eventually, his eyes fell upon the ninety-eighth fruit, and the ninety-eighth face. Shockingly, that face… was the same face which had attempted to interfere with Meng Hao summoning the copper mirror, the Emissary of Allheaven.
It was Song Daozi!
“These faces….” Meng Hao gasped as an idea suddenly struck him, a vast, monumental idea that left his mind completely spinning.
“These faces are all of the people who were turned from Immortal to Demon… From ancient times until now, there have been many people like Song Daozi, all of whom were turned into… the Demon! No, that’s not right. The true Demon hasn’t appeared yet, otherwise, this pillar would look very different!
“These people all… became food for this person-shaped outline, in the moment that they were about to transform into the true Demon!” Meng Hao’s mind reeled at the sight of all the faces on the fruit, and the human-shaped network of blood vessels. Suddenly, he was struck with the realization that the shape… wasn’t complete. It lacked a final fruit.
That empty location was where the heart should be. With a fruit there, the outline of this person would be complete and perfect.
Almost as soon as his eyes fell upon the empty location of the heart, all of the ninety-eight faces’ eyes suddenly opened, and they looked at Meng Hao.
His mind was left reeling, his scalp tingling. The ninety-eight faces staring at him caused him to recall how there had been ninety-eight Sons of Allheaven.
Even as he began to pull back his divine sense, the ninety-eight faces all smiled.
They were sinister smiles, mysterious to the extreme, and the instant they appeared, the faces spoke.
“You’re the missing piece… don’t go… don’t go…”
The bizarre voices filled the world, and Meng Hao’s mind spun. His Demonic qi suddenly seemed to be on the verge of erupting.
Almost simultaneously, the faces began to transform one by one into beams of light which shot toward him.
There was no time for Meng Hao to do anything other than sever his divine sense. Outside of the pillar, he quickly pulled his hand away and backed up.
In almost that same instant, the pillar began to shake, and ninety-eight faces suddenly shot out from it into the starry sky outside the Vast Expanse. Without pausing for a moment, they began to speed in Meng Hao’s direction.
As they neared, Meng Hao’s hands flashed in a double-handed incantation gesture, and he unleashed a divine ability. Numerous mountains descended to block the path of the faces. And yet the bizarre faces simply passed directly through the mountains as they closed in on Meng Hao.
Meng Hao’s face fell, and he punched out with his right hand. The Devil-Butchering Fist created a massive tempest, and yet the faces completely disregarded it, and were soon almost right in front of him. Apparently, no matter what techniques he unleashed upon them, it could do nothing to stop them.
His eyes flashed with killing intent, and he let out a cold harrumph. Suddenly, the copper mirror armor appeared, and he slashed out with the Battle Weapon. It split open the void, creating a vast rift which separated him from the faces.
This time, it seemed much harder for the faces to keep going, and over ten of them were actually split in half from the effort. And yet, they didn’t dissipate, but kept speeding toward him.
Meng Hao was continuously falling back, his face grim. No matter what ideas he came up with to deal with the situation, none of them worked. He sent out his Demonic qi, only to watch as the faces devoured it. Apparently, it was like fuel for them.
Meng Hao’s face flickered as he pressed on, followed by the swarm of faces. They quickly caught up to him, and began to surround him, blocking his path. Then, they smiled oddly and lunged toward him with gaping jaws.
They bit into his flesh, apparently intent on chewing into his body and consuming him.
“Screw off!” Meng Hao said, eyes flashing coldly. His cultivation base erupted, and the Battle Weapon flashed as he swung it. A blast of wind swept out in all directions, and yet it didn’t seem to affect the faces at all.
Blue veins popped out on Meng Hao’s face, and he gritted his teeth violently. It was at this point that the bronze lamp sent blazing light out in all directions, and the faces began to tremble. Screaming, they fell back.
Meng Hao finally took a deep breath, and used the opportunity to flee.
However, almost as soon as he broke free from the faces, they pounced on him again. The light of the bronze lamp still caused them to scream, and yet they didn’t give up. They endured the pain and tried again to chew into Meng Hao’s flesh.
The intense light from the bronze lamp caused them to tremble on the verge of melting, and yet Meng Hao’s aura was something they desired, something that was like food for them… Demonic qi.
Meng Hao’s own Demonic qi was absorbed by the faces, nourishing them, giving them strength to fight the light of the bronze lamp.
Pain wracked Meng Hao, inside and out, and his eyes were completely bloodshot. Having been sent outside the Vast Expanse by Han Bei, he managed to unveil many secrets, and dispel many doubts. And yet, he had been placed in incredible, deadly danger.
Whether it was the illusion of which Chen Fan had been a part of, or the personal arrival of the will of Allheaven, or these faces, they were all situations in which the slightest mistake would lead to eternal doom!
He could well imagine what had occurred to the ninety-eight cultivators like Song Daozi whom these faces represented. They were people who had reached a point very similar to this, and none of them had been able to escape. All had perished in the end, becoming components of the person-shaped outline that he had just seen.
As for Meng Hao, he had dispelled the illusion and cast out the will of Allheaven. And yet, he was not quite strong enough to deal with the faces, no matter how much he wanted to.
His eyes were crimson, and he simply couldn’t give in to the idea of being defeated. His clone was almost finished with his work, meaning that the Ninth Hex was close to completion. He was unprecedentedly close to Transcendence.
Just when everything was almost complete, this sudden turn of events occurred. Suddenly, deep hatred for Han Bei rose up within his heart.
Rumbling could be heard as the faces continued to chew into his body, to devour his life force, his Demonic qi, his soul, his everything.
It took only a moment for him to become extremely withered. It was as if his fate were unavoidable. And yet, he refused to believe that. He lifted his right hand and prepared to call upon his final trump card, a divine ability that he wouldn’t use unless there were absolutely, positively no other options left. The price to be paid to use it would be unimaginably high.
But then, suddenly, a piercing cry rang out from within his armor. All of a sudden, the parrot flew out!
How quickly the tide had turned!