In the moment that the instability of Meng Hao’s divine ability caused the enormous foot to grind to a momentary halt, Lin Cong’s head finally got its opportunity to flee. The golden vortex covered his head, then began to spin rapidly. Finally, Lin Cong’s head vanished.
The vortex then transformed into countless motes of golden dust, which then vanished as well.
Meng Hao’s face darkened as he looked at the spot where Lin Cong had vanished. His mind was still being battered by waves of astonishment. Xu Qing’s place in his heart was something that he didn’t allow anyone to touch; it was his weak spot.
Xu Qing was his wife, to whom he had sworn his vows in front of Heaven and Earth. He had watched her beauty fade as he held her in his arms, looked on as her soul entered the Underworld River. They had agreed…
To meet again after she was reincarnated.
Meng Hao could never have predicted that he would hear Xu Qing’s name come out of Lin Cong’s mouth in this place. It was something that caused his eyes to glow with infinite coldness.
This was his first time encountering Lin Cong, and he knew that it was also the first time Lin Cong had ever seen him. Therefore… for him to say Xu Qing’s name indicated that Lin Cong… had seen her in her reincarnated form!
Then he thought about where Lin Cong came from, and a tremor ran through him. “That means there’s an eighty percent likelihood that Xu Qing is on the Fourth Mountain!
“But how could Lin Cong possibly know about the relationship between me and Xu Qing?” Then he thought about Lin Cong’s Paragon magic, and the familiar aura he had sensed, and he understood everything. What Lin Cong had seen was not something that he could use to defend against the God-Slaying Fist. Instead, he saw the connection between Meng Hao and Xu Qing!
A moment later, Meng Hao’s eyes began to flicker with killing intent as he recalled Lin Cong’s words.
If I die, Xu Qing dies too!
“Lin Cong, you’re courting death!” he said, looking up. Then he took a step forward. He did not return to the Ninth Nation, but instead, didn’t hesitate for a moment as he headed toward the Fourth Nation.
As of this moment, World Seals weren’t important, and Mount Whiteseal wasn’t important. The only important thing… were clues about Xu Qing, and… what Lin Cong had just said!
Without clarifying these matters, how could he possibly return to the Ninth Nation? Even if he did, his heart would be in chaos, and he wouldn’t be able to remain calm.
Rumbling filled the air as Meng Hao slashed through the air in a beam of light, flying like a bolt of lightning. Dust kicked up as he sped faster and faster, his killing intent rising.
Soon, he was nearing the border of the Eighth Nation. He would not enter the Seventh Nation; but rather, head through the region of the central temple. After all, that was the fastest way to reach the Fourth Nation.
He had no way to know whether or not Lin Cong took this route, but there was no time to pause and consider the matter. He sped along, soon leaving the Eighth Nation and entering the region of the central temple.
When he looked down, he saw the fierce, bloody fighting, and the countless soldiers engaged in battle. The entire land was stained red with blood.
He merely glanced at it as he sped by, piercing through the air with shocking momentum. The other cultivators from the Mountain and Sea Realm saw him, and were instantly shocked.
“That’s Meng Hao!”
“That’s the Echelon cultivator from the Ninth Nation, Meng Hao!”
“Why is he here?”
Although none of these people had witnessed his battle with Lin Cong like the Echelon cultivators had, they knew that he had broken two of the previous three records. It was something that filled most of them with incredible awe and fear.
There were some fools among them whose greed and avarice was awakened as soon as they laid eyes on Meng Hao. From what they understood, if you could kill someone in the Echelon, then you could get their Echelon mark.
Not too long after Meng Hao entered the central temple region, a stream of sword light suddenly sped through the air toward him. The sword qi was shocking, filled with a murderous air, and was apparently imbued with natural law as it stabbed toward Meng Hao’s neck.
“You just showed up, why are you running away?!” someone said coldly. The attack was made by a middle-aged cultivator, but he wasn’t the only aggressor. Two other cultivators shot toward Meng Hao from off to the side.
In other circumstances, Meng Hao might be filled with a desire to hunt them down and kill them, or might just ignore them. But in his anxiety-filled state, there was only one fate in store for anyone who got in his way.
His eyes were bright red as he extended his hand, grabbing the incoming flying sword, then sending it speeding back in the direction it had come from.
The speed with which it moved now vastly exceeded its previous speed. Intense, incomparable energy propelled the sword forward. The sword itself could not withstand the force propelling it, and began to collapse, starting from the tip. Before it could even collapse by half, though, it stabbed so hard into the forehead of the cultivator who had thrown it that even the hilt blasted through him.
The speed was so indescribable that, despite the extraordinary cultivation base of the middle-aged cultivator, he didn’t even qualify to try to dodge it. He was dead instantly.
This scene caused the other two cultivators to gasp and fall back. Other restless cultivators off in the distance looked on with shock, and didn’t dare to attempt to get in Meng Hao’s way.
Since no one dared to block him, Meng Hao shot through the central temple region, quickly reaching the area where it bordered the Fourth Nation.
Many of the cultivators behind him looked on with shocked faces.
“He actually went through the entire central temple region?”
“How is that possible? The pressure there is incredible! Misfortune will befall anyone who enters there. Not even other Echelon cultivators would dare to go in there, and yet… he did!?”
“Could it be… because of the twenty percent of the qi flow of the Windswept Realm?” Everyone was shocked as Meng Hao sped off.
Meanwhile, Lin Cong’s head appeared on the National Aura Mountain of the Fourth Nation. The head promptly withered, causing Lin Cong to let out a howl. Blue veins popped out, and then veins and arteries began to snake down out of his neck. They grew longer and longer, quickly forming the outline of a body. His face was now pale white, but he bit his tongue again and then roared. Next, bones began to form inside of that body.
A recovery like this was one of indescribable pain, and an incredible price had to be paid…one that he could barely manage. Furthermore, he would experience a cultivation base loss that would be impossible to recover from easily.
However, all of that was better than dying.
“Meng Hao, I’m not going to let you get away with this!” he growled, his expression vicious. As his body reformed, he threw his head back and howled. Venomous rage appeared in his eyes. Just as Meng Hao had suspected, his Holy Requiem Skull had given him a glimpse, not of a way to survive the fist strike, but rather, another vision.
He had seen the Fourth Mountain, and Meng Hao, surrounded by a sea of blood and mountains of corpses. It was as if Meng Hao had traveled there amidst endless slaughter.
In the vision, he saw Xu Qing. She and Meng Hao were looking at each other, their gazes soft.
The vision not only caused him to feel jealous, it gave him the opportunity he needed.
“Faster, must go faster!
“I don’t know exactly what type of relationship Xu Qing and Meng Hao have, but seeing how nervous he got, she’s obviously his weak spot. As soon as I said her name, he just about went crazy. He’s definitely on his way here to kill me!
“I have to recover so that I can flee!” He gritted his teeth hard as his body restored itself. Time passed. More than an hour went by, during which time he continued to pay a heavy price for the recovery process.
When his body finally reappeared, he coughed up a massive mouthful of blood. This body was incredibly weak; he now possessed only about sixty percent of his original cultivation base.
This was actually the weakest he had ever been since joining the Echelon. His face was ashen as he reached up and grabbed the World Seal from the statue. He then flew off of the National Aura Mountain, eyes glittering as he was surrounded by four figures, those followers of his whom he had brought with him to the Windswept Realm.
After a moment of hesitation, a look of determination could be seen in his eyes, and he said, “Activate the Stellar Alteration Grand Magic!”
His four followers didn’t respond. However, their appearances gradually began to change until they all looked like Lin Cong. Even their auras seemed the same. Then, they sped off in four different directions.
As for Lin Cong, he picked a different direction to flee in.
Almost in the same instant that Lin Cong’s four followers sped off, incredible pressure suddenly weighed down on the Fourth Nation. The lands quaked and the air distorted; Lin Cong and his four followers all trembled.
“He’s here! How could he be so fast!? This is impossible!!” Lin Cong said, his face falling. He instantly unleashed a secret magic, dispersing his aura and fleeing at top speed.
Meng Hao’s killing intent raged as he entered the Fourth Nation. He immediately sent his divine sense out and, in the blink of an eye, sensed the five auras. He frowned, then sped toward the nearest one.
Booms echoed out through the Fourth Nation. It only took the space of ten breaths for him to reach the source of one of Lin Cong’s auras, and what he found was a cultivator who looked exactly like Lin Cong.
As soon as the cultivator saw him, his face fell, and he backed up. Meng Hao waved a finger to employ the Eighth Demon Sealing Hex, causing the man to lurch to a stop.
Next, his entire world was overturned by Meng Hao’s palm, which latched onto the top of his head.
“Soulsearch!” Meng Hao’s voice was as cold as the wind in the middle of winter. When it blew past the cultivator’s ears, the man’s head filled with indescribable pain. He began to tremble, and then screamed.