As the sound echoed out, the Black Lands trembled. In another location in the Crow Divinity Tribe was an enormous altar which was permanently guarded by a massive military force. Other than their Holy Mountain, it was the most sacred place in the Crow Divinity Tribe.
Few people knew the special reason why that altar had been erected. Tribal law in the Crow Divinity Tribe dictated that the successive generations of tribe members were required to offer worship at both the Holy Mountain and that altar.
Next to the altar was a courtyard residence that seemed very ordinary, and not the least bit luxurious. However, in the hearts and minds of the Crow Divinity Tribe, that residence was just as special as the altar and the Holy Mountain.
An old man lived in that courtyard dwelling, a man who was infinitely wise, and was in fact the pillar and strength of the entire Crow Divinity Tribe. With him, the Crow Divinity Tribe occupied the utmost position of authority, and none of the other powers in the Black Lands would ever dare to offend them.
He was the former Tribe Lord of the the Crow Divinity Tribe, and although it had been some time since he had occupied that position, whenever the current Tribe Lord encountered a difficult situation, he would beg an audience with this old man.
In fact, his authority exceeded any Tribe Lord. You could say that he was actually the true power of the Crow Divinity Tribe.
When the sound of the collective voices of the Crow Divinity Tribe echoed out, shaking the Black Lands, that ancient old man was sitting in his room in the courtyard residence, meditating. Suddenly, a tremor ran through him, and he opened his eyes. His eyes were cloudy for a moment, but quickly sharpened, and he took a deep breath. He walked out of his room and into the courtyard, where he looked up towards the figure which was floating in midair above the Holy Mountain.
Simultaneously, the huge altar next to the courtyard began shaking violently, as if something inside was waking up and preparing to emerge.
Up in the air, Meng Hao looked coldly at the black-robed young man, whose face flickered as he tried once again to escape. Meng Hao waved his sleeve, causing colors to flash in the sky and a wind to kick up. A power swept over the black-robed young man, a power that he could not fight back against. The power crushed down onto him, and he let out a bloodcurdling scream. Finally, a popping sound could be heard as his body exploded, revealing a struggling black bat.
“You can’t get away,” Meng Hao said coolly, making a grasping motion with his right hand. His fingers seemed to become like five mountains that rumbled through the air toward the bat.
As the bat screeched in terror, red and black light flickered around it, apparently some sort of teleportation power. It shot off rapidly, but no matter how it tried to flee, it always found five enormous pillars closing in on it. Finally, the bat laughed miserably; it had no further means to fight back as the pillars crushed down onto it.
The pillars vanished and turned into Meng Hao’s hand, which was now holding the bat tightly. Meng Hao’s expression was calm as he looked down at the crowds below.
An ancient voice echoed up from the courtyard residence next to the altar, an ancient voice filled with excitement. “Meng Hao, your excellency, is it… is it really you, sir…?”
At the same time, a boom could be heard as the entire altar exploded, revealing a white wolf, which flew into the air. It threw its head back and howled, and when it saw Meng Hao, tears began to stream out of its eyes. It immediately flew toward him, letting out yips of delight.
“Big Hairy….” Meng Hao murmured, looking at the enormous white wolf. Then he looked down at the old man in the courtyard, who was none other than Wu Chen.
“Wu Chen….” he said. An image appeared in his mind of the young man who had followed him through the great migration in the Western Desert. Now he was an old man. As he thought about all the things that had happened back in those times, his expression softened, and he floated down toward the Crow Divinity Tribe.
“Wu Chen offers greetings, Sacred Ancient!” he said, excitedly dropping to his knees to kowtow. All of the other members of the Crow Divinity Tribe stared blankly at Meng Hao. To them, Meng Hao was no stranger. After all, for their whole lives they had offered worship to his statue.
“Offer greetings to the Sacred Ancient immediately!” Wu Chen roared. Instantly, the rest of the tribe dropped to their knees to kowtow.
The Crow Divinity Tribe was completely shaken, and soon word spread of Meng Hao’s return, and all of the Black Lands were aboil. Numerous elders and Tribe Lords from countless tribes mobilized, traveling to the Crow Divinity Tribe to pay respects.
The Crow Divinity Tribe hosted a huge banquet that lasted for three days. When it came time for Meng Hao to leave, he gave a vast quantity of medicinal pills and magical items to Wu Chen. He wanted to take Big Hairy with him, but after some hesitation, decided against it.
The Crow Divinity Tribe had been worshiping Big Hairy for far too long now, and deep feelings had long since taken root. Big Hairy’s wish was to stay here to guard over them. What Meng Hao did do was help Big Hairy to increase his cultivation base to a higher level, which gave him much more longevity.
Then Meng Hao left the Black Lands to go to the Southern Domain.
Of all the places on Planet South Heaven, the Southern Domain was the place that held the most unforgettable memories for Meng Hao. It was where he had grown up, where he had fought and killed, and the place where he and Xu Qing had become a couple. It was really where… everything had happened.
He had even fought a war for its sake!
The moment Meng Hao left the Black Lands and entered the Southern Domain, memories bubbled up. He saw mountains and rivers that he remembered from the past, and everything even smelled familiar.
It was the smell of home.
“The Southern Domain….” he murmured softly. Then, he traveled about just like any other cultivator. He went to the Rebirth Cave, the Ancient Temple of Doom, and to many other places where he had once been, including various sects and even the Song Clan.
He went to those places, but only looked around quickly, and did not stay.
Eventually, he went to the former location of the State of Zhao. The huge lake there was now surrounded by countless buildings and structures. This place had become a Holy Land, and was constantly guarded by numerous cultivators. There were even sealing spells in place to prevent people from entering.
Of course, those seals couldn’t do anything to prevent Meng Hao from entering. He appeared on the little island in the middle of the lake, where he looked around at the grass and rippling blue lakewater. Images of Xu Qing floated up in his mind as he thought back to the time they had begun their marriage ceremony on this very island.
Pill Demon had presided over it, and even Chu Yuyan had been in attendance. All of the sects and clans came to offer congratulations, and there were even many rogue cultivators who packed the area. It had been an incredibly noisy and exciting occasion.
Back then, the island had been decorated beautifully with lanterns and banners. The joy and happiness had been palpable….
Meng Hao thought about these things as he strolled around. Memories upon memories flitted up, almost as if… he had traveled through his dreams back to that jubilant day.
“Qing’er….” he murmured, his heart stabbing with pain. His vision swam for a moment, and he suddenly saw a young woman clad in bright red clothing. She stood there in front of him, looking a bit shy, but with eyes that shone like sparkling autumn rainwater. She was looking into his eyes, her gaze soft.
Meng Hao smiled back at her, and then continued to stroll around the island. Every place he went on the island was familiar, and reminded him of the home he and Xu Qing had originally planned to make here.
Time passed, and soon it was evening. The setting sun reflected on the lakewater, creating a scene of dazzling beauty that turned the island golden. Meng Hao stood on the shore, looking at the water, his expression somewhat melancholy.
All of a sudden, he heard a voice from behind him.
“Excuse me! What sect are you from? What are you doing here?” The voice sounded surprised, and also suspicious. Meng Hao turned to find himself looking at three cultivators approaching him.
Two were men and one was a woman, and Meng Hao had seen them earlier as they went about their work of maintaining and tidying the island. Considering the pious expressions on their faces, he had chosen not to disturb them, and had made his way about the island alone.
“This is a Holy Land!” the young woman said, doing nothing to mask the harshness of her tone. “You’re not allowed to be here without permission! If you’re trespassing, you’ll be severely punished. Take out your identity medallion immediately!” As she spoke, the two men fanned out to surround Meng Hao, their eyes glinting sharply.
Suddenly, the setting sun illuminated his face, and one of the men suddenly stared in surprise. He had the feeling that he had seen Meng Hao somewhere before, but wasn’t sure where. The other two had similar reactions. However, it was at this point that Meng Hao shook his head and said, “I don’t have an identity medallion.”
The three cultivator’s faces instantly darkened.
“What gall!” the woman said. “This is the Sacred Ancient’s former residence! Every cultivator in the entire Southern Domain knows that it’s forbidden to step even half a pace onto this island. You think this is just some random place? Sneaking in here is sacrilege!!” Incensed, the woman performed an incantation gesture with her right hand to unleash a magical technique. Simultaneously, she crushed a jade slip to notify her fellow sect members on the shore of the lake.
“I never took this to be just some random place,” Meng Hao replied softly. “This… is my home.”
“Your home?” said one of the men, laughing coldly, his hand flashing an incantation gesture. “Is that supposed to be a joke? This is the Sacred Ancient’s former residence, it’s….”
Meng Hao wasn’t interested in giving explanations. Shaking his head, eyes still flickering with memories, he sighed and then took a step forward, vanishing into thin air.
Almost in the same moment, three magical techniques shot forward, but hit nothing more than air. The three cultivators looked wide-eyed at the spot in which Meng Hao had vanished, then exchanged shocked glances.
“Did he look familiar to you guys?” the young woman asked.
Almost at the same time, the man standing next to her said, “Did he say this place is his home? But this is the Sacred Ancient’s former residence! Who does he think he is, the Sacred Ancient himself?” As soon as the words left his mouth, his eyes went wide.
The other man’s face fell, and he gasped with disbelief. Voice hoarse, he said, “Sacred Ancient!! He… he looked exactly the same as the Sacred Ancient!!”
Even as they stood there in shock, dozens of beams of light suddenly shot in their direction. An intimidating old man led them, and as he neared, his eyes flashed with anger.
“Who had the outrageous gall to break into the Sacred Ancient’s former residence!!?”