This was their first time learning about Meng Hao’s personal affairs. They all looked at Chu Yuyan and were shaken. Just as Meng Hao had said, if something similar happened to them….
It took only a moment for numerous Nine Seas God World disciples to look coldly at the members of the Demonic Cultivator Horde.
There were even quite a few Demonic cultivators whose faces flickered; clearly this was their first time learning of the matter as well.
Although things like this happened in the cultivation world, it was something that virtually all cultivators detested. Everyone had family and close friends, as well as enemies. If something like this was overlooked once, then it could very well occur again in the future… to them.
“Demonic Cultivator Horde, you owe ME an accounting! Long Tianhai SHALL die. The Echelon will NOT be taken away from me. And even if I lose the bet, you will still have to give me half of the original stakes in Immortal jade!
“That is MY accounting!” With that, Meng Hao stepped backward a few paces, placing him behind Granny Nine. Enough time had passed that his Eternal stratum had now restored his cultivation base almost to its peak.
The red-haired Patriarch had an extremely unsightly expression on his face. He had actually approved of the tactic of using Chu Yuyan. However, according to the original plan, Meng Hao would have died, and then Chu Yuyan’s usefulness would have ended, and the entire matter would have been easily resolved.
Who could ever have imagined that despite the deadly trap they had laid for Meng Hao, he would be able to reverse the situation?
Everything was dead silent. The cultivators of the Nine Seas God World looked around suspiciously at the Demonic Cultivator Horde, having made their own judgment of the situation based on Meng Hao’s words.
Most of the Demonic Cultivator Horde maintained silence, although there were some of them who derisively refused to admit fault.
It was at this point that Godmaster’s cool voice rang out in all directions: “Let us focus on the most important matters. There is still half a month left to go before the opening of the Windswept Realm.
“Avarice regarding the Echelon was the sowing of Karma. The reaping was everything that happened just now. Fellow Daoists Chi Long and Wu Ling, you may send one additional person into the Windswept Realm upon its opening.
“The matter shall now be dropped. Meng Hao will be allowed to go through with the bet in exactly the way he mentioned. What do the two of you think?” Godmaster looked over at the red-haired old man, and the other Demonic Patriarch.
After a moment of silence, the red-haired old man stared hard at Meng Hao. Meng Hao had already left a deep impression on him, but now, he stared at him as if to affix him permanently in his memory. Finally, he snorted coldly and slowly said, “We’ll do things as you say, Godmaster. However… since the Echelon won’t be part of the stakes, then if the boy gets into the top ten of all nine golden gate stone steles, then the Demonic Cultivator Horde will give him 300,000,000 Immortal jades. But if he fails, then he won’t get a single one!”
He understood that with Granny Nine, Godmaster and Ling Yunzi present, the Demonic Cultivator Horde couldn’t afford to cause any major problems. In this skirmish, the Demonic Cultivator Horde had been clearly and utterly defeated.
Furthermore, the defeat had caused the Dao Realm experts from the other two factions, the man and the woman, to have a change in their thinking.
The red-haired old man could now only sigh inwardly. As for the Demonic Patriarch surnamed Wu, he slowly nodded his head.
Godmaster looked over at Meng Hao. Meng Hao’s eyes glittered, but he was aware that for the matter to have escalated to this level, meant that things couldn’t be pushed any further. To do so would be counterproductive. Although the rage he felt in his heart would not be so easily dispelled, he still nodded in agreement. However, while everyone was still watching, he pulled Long Tianhai out of his bag of holding.
He gripped him by the neck and squeezed down viciously. Then, his left hand shot out and stabbed into Long Tianhai’s chest. Long Tianhai struggled, and as everyone watched, Meng Hao ripped his Sea Dragon heart out of his body.
The heart was still beating as Meng Hao crushed it, producing a white drop of fluid. The onlookers, both ordinary cultivators and Demonic cultivators alike, stared with trembling hearts.
All of a sudden, they were deeply struck by Meng Hao’s level of ferocity and brutality.
All of them were musing that, unless absolutely no other options remained, they should never provoke Meng Hao. The cultivators felt that way, and so did the Demonic cultivators, who hated Meng Hao more than ever and yet maintained their silence.
As the red-haired old man watched, his face twitched, and a murderous aura swirled around him. However, there was no way for him to vent his fury. He flicked his sleeve, turned, and left. He knew that he if he remained behind, he would eventually lose control of himself.
Meng Hao’s face was extremely calm as he retrieved the other nine drops of Sea Dragon heart-blood from of his bag of holding. He fused them all together into one larger drop, which he placed into Chu Yuyan’s mouth.
Then, he returned her to his bag of holding. Having completed these tasks, he turned and headed toward the golden gate stone steles, eyes flickering coldly.
Although he had killed some Demonic cultivators, that was not sufficient to give vent to the rage he felt in his heart. Perhaps his actions had been sufficient to cow the ordinary Demonic cultivators, but when it came to the Dao Realm experts, if they didn’t taste a bit of pain as well then they might cause him trouble down the line.
As of this moment, his wager with the Demonic Cultivator Horde was like a knife that he could twist into their side. Their Dao Realm experts would definitely feel the pain of losing their wealth!
300,000,000 Immortal jades was a vast sum that would cause anyone to pant with eagerness, even Dao Realm experts. If the Demonic Cultivator Horde lost such a quantity of Immortal jade, it would definitely be a bloody blow to them.
The mere thought of 300,000,000 Immortal jades caused Meng Hao’s heart to pound. Panting, his eyes shone with a bright light.
“I’m gonna go all out! I’ll definitely get into the top 10 of all the golden gate stone steles!” He took a deep breath and pushed faster. Whistling through the air, he quickly neared the location of the closest golden gate stone stele.
It was the fifth stele, and when Meng Hao looked over at the golden light which shone up from it, he could just barely make out a battlefield of epic proportions, filled with endless, eternal slaughter.
“Fifth golden gate stone stele. Trial by fire of slaughter. Also known as the trial by fire of the Dao heart!” Meng Hao’s eyes glittered.
He stepped forward, and in the blink of an eye, vanished into the stone stele. In that same moment, vast numbers of Nine Seas God World cultivators converged in the area. Although it wouldn’t be accurate to say that literally every person in the Nine Seas God World knew about the wager, it wouldn’t be too far from the truth. Besides, Meng Hao’s massacre, and the way he had stood up to the Demonic Cultivator Horde’s Dao Realm Patriarch, had shocked everyone.
When you threw in the astronomical wager, it ensured that it didn’t take long before the fifth golden gate stone stele was surrounded by a crowd of people. Even Granny Nine and her group, as well as the Demonic Patriarch surnamed Wu, were all hovering in midair, watching.
“To get in the top 10 in all of the golden gate stone steles… that would be incredibly difficult!”
“Meng Hao might have gotten to 2nd place in the ninth golden gate stone stele, but the other stone steles are all different. That’s especially true of the first golden gate, which emphasizes pressure!”
Everyone was already discussing the matter. Granny Nine and Ling Yunzi looked at each other, and their eyes glittered for a moment before they focused solely on the fifth stone stele.
The Patriarch from the Demonic Cultivator Horde looked on with a strange gleam in his eyes. “The fifth golden gate stone stele… is unique. A very unusual trial by fire.”
Meanwhile…. Meng Hao appeared within the world of the fifth golden gate stone stele. When he looked around, he saw a bright, beautiful world filled with birdsong and the fragrance of flowers. Spiritual energy swirled about, as if the place were a world for Immortals.
Meng Hao stared for a moment, then looked down at himself. He was wearing an unfamiliar Daoist robe. Furthermore, he was standing amongst a group of people atop a mountain, in a huge public square.
He was surrounded by tens of thousands of cultivators, packed together both on the ground and hovering in midair. A stern and somber air slowly filled the area, causing clouds to obscure the sun.
Up ahead, three figures floated in the air. They were surrounded by radiant golden light, making their features difficult to make out.
An ancient voice echoed out across the square: “Outside clans are invading who wish to destroy our world! Their evil knows no bounds, and they burst with Devilish will! They are fiendish Devils from out among the stars, and in the coming war, you disciples must slay them! The killing will never stop, and yet, there is nowhere for you to retreat to!
“Today, they shall arrive! At the same time… we have discovered that the fiendish Devils have already infiltrated our sect in disguise!” As the voice faded away, the three glowing figures up ahead waved their hands simultaneously.
Immediately, roughly a third of the group of tens of thousands of cultivators suddenly found themselves bathed in bright light. They looked shocked, astonished, as the other cultivators around them began to back up slowly.
Meng Hao noticed that there were two cultivators standing near him who were now bathed in light.
“Patriarch, this…. I’m not a fiendish Devil! I….”
“What’s going on!? Patriarch, I’m a disciple of the sect!”
They were so scared they were trembling, but at the same time, they were angry, as if they were being unjustly accused.
There was only a single response to their pleas.
Many among the crowd stood there silently. Although Meng Hao didn’t know any of these people, he did feel a sense of familiarity toward them. Other cultivators in the area were hesitating, and only a few of them chose to actually attack.
“I’m not a fiendish Devil! I’m a sect disciple!!” Miserable shrieks rang out, as many of the disciples fled, and even more began to weep.
“Elder Brother Zhang, I’m not a fiendish Devil!!”
“Elder Sister, I’m Fan Sheng! I’m your Junior Brother….”
As the slaughter began to unfold, Meng Hao frowned. He still wasn’t sure to make of this trial by fire.
All of a sudden, one of the disciples who was bathed in light, a middle-aged man, threw his head back and laughed loudly.
“I, Chen, am no fiendish Devil! I’m a sect disciple! I don’t mind dying this day to prove that! However, I don’t need anyone to spill my blood for me. If I’m going to die! I’ll die with honor!” With that, he smashed his hand down onto the top of his head. A popping sound could be heard, blood sprayed out, and he was dead.
Everyone looked on silently. Soon more anguished laughter rang out as shockingly, more than half of the accused disciples began to end their own lives.
“If I have to die, I won’t die at the hands of my fellow disciples!”
“I might die today, but before I die, I just have to say… that I am no Devil!” Booms rang out constantly, and corpses toppled to the ground. Soon, things began to grow quiet as all of the disciples who had been accused of being fiendish Devils… were dead.
All of the remaining disciples, regardless of whether or not they had attacked moments ago, looked on with complicated expressions. Then, they turned toward the three figures up front, and couldn’t prevent the suspicion from showing on their faces.
Meng Hao felt shaken. For some reason, this trial by fire seemed very strange.
“This isn’t a trial by fire about slaughter. Nor is it about Dao heart. There… is some other purpose to it!” Meng Hao took a deep breath as he realized that the realism of the things he was seeing had caused him to almost forget who he was, and to completely immerse himself in the feeling of being a disciple of this sect.
He realized this because he was also starting to feel suspicious regarding the three figures up in the front.