Meng Hao glanced at the bag of holding, and then looked over at the similar bag of holding in his mother’s hands. All of a sudden, he realized that Sun Hai wasn’t as annoying as he had previously thought.
However, Fang Yu was still cussing him out, causing Meng Hao to tremble in fear. He suddenly shot forward to appear directly in front of Sun Hai.
“Sun Hai, how dare you call me Brother-in-law!” he roared, his eyes flashing. “My sister is as lovely as a flower, tender and refined, unique and incomparable. If you want to fall for her, fine, but without my approval, NOBODY can marry my sister!” His hand shot out like lightning, his index and middle fingers stabbing toward Sun Hai’s forehead. Considering the level of Sun Hai’s cultivation base, if that blow landed, he would be dead beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Meng Hao attacked with such speed that even his mother was shocked. However, she quickly realized that something else was going on. She understood how her son thought, and knew that Meng Hao wasn’t the type to randomly kill people. His finger attack surely had a deeper meaning.
Seeing Meng Hao lunging toward him caused Sun Hai’s face to go pale and his mind to spin. He immediately fell back, but considering the difference in level between their cultivation bases, he was like a firefly trying to compare with the shining moon. It was basically impossible for him to evade Meng Hao. At the same time, Fang Yu was closing in on Meng Hao, looking like an explosive dragon.
“Meng Hao, stay your hand!”
“Don’t worry, sister,” Meng Hao replied, “I’ll cut down this pervert for you. From now on, you’ll finally have some peace and quiet. This is merely the duty of a younger brother.”
Fang Yu suddenly started to get even more anxious. “Meng Hao, you scoundrel, I forbid you from harming him!”
Almost in the same moment that her words rang out, Meng Hao’s fingers touched Sun Hai’s forehead. Sun Hai immediately began to shake. However, it was at this point that he suddenly received a message transmitted by Meng Hao, along with a wink.
“Elder Brother Sun, this is your chance. Go!”
Sun Hai wasn’t a stupid person, so he instantly bit down on his tongue, causing blood to spray out of his mouth. Then he let out a miserable shriek. He suddenly flew backward, intentionally sending his cultivation base into chaos to add to the effect, which caused blood to spurt out from the pores on his skin.
“Sun Hai!” Fang Yu cried, shooting toward Sun Hai and catching him in her arms. Her expression was one of extreme anxiety and guilt.
“I… I can’t hold out much longer,” Sun Hai gasped, trembling. “Before I die… I only have one wish. I–” Fang Yu suddenly frowned, and then a dark expression covered her face.
“Bastard!” she growled through gritted teeth. Then she raised her hand to slap Sun Hai. Sun Hai immediately dodged to the side to avoid the blow; obviously he wasn’t injured at all. Fang Yu was now even angrier than before. She glared at Meng Hao for a moment and then began to chase after Sun Hai.
Seeing that Fang Yu’s anger was no longer fixed on him, Meng Hao sighed in relief. Even if his cultivation base was more powerful than it was, he would never dare to raise his hand to his parents or his sister. Furthermore, he could tell from the way his mother treated Sun Hai that she and his father must approve of their relationship.
Although you couldn’t see it from how she spoke to Sun Hai, Fang Yu clearly liked him, at least mostly. Apparently, all the pain and suffering he had gone through over the past years had finally touched her heart.
Meng Li appeared next to Meng Hao and watched as the enraged Fang Yu chased Sun Hai off into the distance. Meng Li’s eyes shone with warmth and kindness as she said, “Your father and I both approve of them. Sun Hai might not be incredibly exceptional, but he’s not bad. Most important is that he truly loves your sister. The past few years, she’s constantly bullied him, but he actually seems to like it. He’s got a good temperament, that kid.
“Your father and I talked about it, and unless something unexpected happens, they should become official beloved partners in a few years.
“Now that I think about it, Sun Hai is very respectful. He’s mentioned over and over again how thankful he is for the support you showed that year.” She looked over at Meng Hao and smiled.
Meng Hao actually felt a bit embarrassed. He had been trying to pull a fast one on Sun Hai, and had never imagined that he was actually conning himself at the time. However, now that he thought about it, if Sun Hai and Fang Yu did end up getting married, and it was because of him, then that could be seen as a truly beautiful thing.
“I’m not worried about your sister,” Meng Li said, her voice soft. “But you….”
After a moment of silence, Meng Hao took a deep breath and said, “Mom, I’m planning to leave the Ninth Mountain and Sea. I’m going to go find Xu Qing… and bring her back.”
Meng Li didn’t say anything at first. However, after a moment, she nodded.
Burying her worry and anxiety, she said, “Go, as soon as your father’s ceremony is over. It’s your choice to make, and if you’re sure that’s what you want to do, then… you need to bring my daughter-in-law back here to meet us.”
A sudden breeze blew through the building, causing the leaves to rustle and lifting Meng Li’s hair. Meng Hao looked over at his mother and noticed some new wrinkles on her forehead. She was by no means old, but she definitely looked different than he remembered her looking in the past.
Not even cultivators could completely escape the effects of the passing of time.
Meng Hao suddenly reached out and hugged his mother.
“Aw, honey,” she said, smiling warmly, suddenly recalling what Meng Hao used to look like as a child. The two of them chatted until evening fell, whereupon Meng Hao finally took his leave.
“Mom, there’s still some time before dad’s ceremony. I’m going to visit a few places. I’ve been away a long time.”
The evening wind was picking up, and dark clouds were gathering in the sky. As Meng Hao left the courtyard of the Fang Clan, the rumble of thunder could be heard, and great bean-sized raindrops began to pour down.
Meng Hao used no magic to block the rain. Soon, he was soaked through and through, and as he walked down the street, he looked around at the people scurrying about to avoid the rain. He shook his head and smiled. The rain made him think about the State of Zhao, Mount Daqing, and everything that had happened back in those days.
Sighing, he continued along. As he walked, he could sense the boundless Immortal power filling the lands of Planet South Heaven. That came because of all the visiting Fang Clan cultivators, who radiated an intangible energy.
Among all that energy were two auras that shone as prominently bright as lanterns on a dark night. Those two auras belonged to Fang Shoudao and Fang Yanxu. Planet South Heaven was a unique place that Dao Realm experts could not enter, so they had restricted their cultivation bases to the great circle of the Ancient Realm.
As he sensed all of these things, Meng Hao’s heart gradually grew tranquil. There was a lingering question that his mother had not asked him, and that he himself had not brought up. That was, if he left… when would he return?
He didn’t know. He had absolutely no idea how long it would be from the time he left the Ninth Mountain and Sea until he would be able to bring Xu Qing back to Planet South Heaven to meet his parents.
“Maybe it will happen quickly. Or maybe… it will take a very, very long time.” Meng Hao had a strange premonition that caused him to brood silently as he walked through the rain. He had lost track of time, and eventually he stopped and looked up, whereupon he noticed a distant wall. A huge gate could be seen in that wall, hanging outside of which was a lantern.
The lantern swung back and forth in the heavy wind, and the heavy, driving rain plopped onto the canvas canopy which covered the lantern, flowing together into a solid stream that then splashed onto the ground.
However, the wick inside was of unconventional design and, although the flame flickered wildly, it didn’t fade. It continued to burn, illuminating the character which was written on the canopy. It said… Ji 季.
This was the location of the Ji Clan on Planet South Heaven.
This was the exact place where he had once broken down a gate to collect debts…. 1
He had never imagined that his strolling would subconsciously lead him here.
“I guess it’s just destiny,” he thought. “I wonder if my old friends from all those years ago are still here.” He walked up to the door and looked at the iron rings, thinking about how he had ripped the rings off of the doors back then. He chuckled, then reached up and knocked. The sound of the knock echoed out into the courtyard of the Ji Clan.
He only knocked once, then stood there waiting patiently.
Almost immediately, the sound of a commotion could be heard inside the Ji Clan ancestral mansion. Before long, the door slowly swung open, and Meng Hao could see several hundred members of the Ji Clan lined up inside. At their head was the local Ji Clan Patriarch.
He was no longer young like he had been before. He looked much older, and as he stood there looking at Meng Hao, a strange look could be seen in his eyes. After a long moment, he sighed, clasped hands, and bowed.
“We offer greetings to the Crown Prince of the Fang Clan.”
All of the other Ji Clan cultivators bowed in unison with him. Ji Xiaoxiao was there in the crowd, wearing the clothes of a married woman. She was no longer young and pretty like she had been before. She looked old now, and she also had a conflicted look in her eyes as she looked at Meng Hao. 2
It had been years since their last meeting, and yet, Meng Hao looked as dashing as he always had, or perhaps even more handsome than before. Every move he made caused an indescribable energy to spread out, creating a pressure that weighed down on everyone. It was as if he, standing there outside the door, were the center of the entire world.
And yet, there stood Ji Xiaoxiao, long since married. An inexpressible bitter feeling rose up in her heart, and she bowed her head.
Meng Hao looked around at the various members of the Ji Clan and saw only a few familiar faces. A couple of the people he remembered fighting with in years back, plus there was Ji Xiaoxiao and Ji Tianyi.
Ji Tianyi was now middle-aged, and his cultivation base was in the early Dao Seeking stage. He had since become an elder in the clan. He looked at Meng Hao with a complicated expression.
“Ji Xuelin?” Meng Hao asked.
“He failed in Spirit Severing seven years ago. He’s dead.” The person to answer Meng Hao was Ji Tianyi. 3
Meng Hao stood there silently for a long moment. In the end, he decided that since he had just happened across this place while strolling about, he wouldn’t enter. Looking at the familiar faces one more time, he clasped hands and bowed, then turned to leave.
“Wait a moment!” Ji Xiaoxiao said through clenched teeth. As Meng Hao looked back, she threw a bag of holding over to him, which he caught.
“Those are all the spirit stones I owe you. The debt is clear now.”
“Here’s mine.” Ji Tianyi also threw over a bag of holding.
Meng Hao scanned them, then looked back at Ji Xiaoxiao and Ji Tianyi, and nodded.
“Henceforth, the debt is clear,” he said softly. The Ji Clan paid special attention to Karma. Were his cultivation base lower than theirs, they would be able to take the initiative in manipulating it. But now Meng Hao’s cultivation base had long since reached the level that all they could do was look up at him from far below. They no longer had the initiative when it came to Karma. He did.
If Meng Hao wanted, he could refuse to clear the debt. As his cultivation base grew higher, the Karma would grow even stronger, and the pressure on them greater. However, with the debt clear, they were finally free.
Having settled the Karma, Meng Hao turned and walked off into the distance.
The rain began to fall harder.
Note from Deathblade: In this and some subsequent chapters, it clearly indicates that many years have passed since Meng Hao left Planet South Heaven. According to the descriptions, it would have to have been decades. Although no major time skip was described that I can recall, there have been several instances in which we don’t know exactly how much time passed. One example would be when Meng Hao wandered around alone in the Ruins of Immortality.
Meng Hao came to collect debts from the Ji Clan in chapter 803 ↩
Ji Xiaoxiao was the girl he met in the Ancient Demon Immortal Sect. Because of their mutual secrets, she helped him out a bit in the end. Later, he saw her in the Milky Way Sea, but didn’t reveal himself to her. When he came back to collect debts, she wasn’t present ↩
Ji Tianyi was one of the people who ended up owing money to Meng Hao in the Ancient Demon Immortal Sect. He was never named in that arc itself, but was mentioned by Meng Hao in chapter 803. Ji Xuelin was also mentioned in that same chapter, and you might remember that it was his brother Ji Xueming, who initially tried to stop Meng Hao from taking the door hoops ↩