Meng Hao maintained his silence as they proceeded along toward the Great Tang. Soon, the four beams of light were just outside the Forbidden Palace. In the main hall up ahead, not a single person could be seen other than Emperor Tang on the Dragon Throne.
Everything was quiet, with pressure weighing down from all directions. The lanterns in the area were dim, casting Emperor Tang in flickering shadows that made it difficult to make him out clearly. Only his two brightly shining eyes were visible.
Fang Shoudao and Fang Yanxu walked forward and, despite the level of their cultivation bases, clasped hands and bowed deeply to Emperor Tang.
Fang Xiufeng did the same.
Meng Hao’s eyes glittered like lightning, and his face was extremely solemn as he also bowed. He knew that although the Patriarchs and his father were bowing to Emperor Tang, what they were showing respect to… was the sacrifice of the Allheaven Li Clan for the entire Mountain and Sea Realm.
A clan like that deserved respect from everyone, even other Allheaven Clans. They showed their bravery in the early days of the Immortal World calamity, when the war had just begun, and also afterwards, when things were unstable. In the end, their clan-wide sacrifice… was an even greater display of bravery.
Everything was quiet, and no one spoke. After a long moment, a sigh could be heard from within the main hall, a long sigh filled with ancientness. As it echoed about, the entire hall lit up, and Emperor Tang rose to his feet from the Dragon Throne, then slowly walked out of the hall.
He was a middle-aged man wearing a Dragon robe, powerful and impressive as he stood there, as if all of Planet South Heaven would be wreathed in shadow because of his presence. It was as if he was the Lord of South Heaven!
Actually, as one of the successive descendants of the Allheaven Li Clan who stood watch here, he… really could be called the Lord of South Heaven.
Although his cultivation base wasn’t at the absolute pinnacle, he was the only person on Planet South Heaven who could call upon the power of his bloodline, the will of his ancestors, to control the spell formation that had been formed by the collective sacrifice of the Allheaven Li Clan.
With that spell formation, he could cut down Dao Realm cultivators as easily as turning over his hand!
“Brother Xiufeng,” he said slowly, “I’m aware of the purpose of your visit….
“It is an important matter, something which has never occurred before. I’m actually uncertain… as to whether or not it will work.
“Hopefully, it will. However, if it fails, then even if you do step into the Dao Realm, you will be instantly slaughtered by the spell formation. Even I will be incapable of preventing that from happening. This will make your experience of stepping into the Dao even more difficult, by several times. Are you… really sure you want to try it?” His voice echoed out, filled with boundless pressure that caused the clouds up above to roil, and the lands to tremble.
The words he had spoken were true; he could control the spell formation, but only in the sense that he could use it to attack. He could not prevent it from carrying out its primary function. If anything, he might be able to hold it back for a short time to allow Fang Xiufeng to flee off of Planet South Heaven after he stepped into the Dao.
However, Fang Xiufeng… couldn’t leave Planet South Heaven. Things would be much easier for him if he ended up in the Quasi-Dao Realm. However, if he truly stepped into the Dao Realm, he would essentially be facing certain death.
When Meng Hao heard this, his heart trembled. He looked over at Fang Xiufeng, Fang Shoudao and Fang Yanxu, who were waiting to hear his father’s response. Whatever it was, they would support him.
In truth, it didn’t matter that Fang Xiufeng wasn’t in the Dao Realm. He would still be considered the Clan Chief of the Fang Clan. However… although that wouldn’t be a problem in the short term, it would make it inappropriate from the clan’s standpoint once Meng Hao left the Ninth Mountain and Sea, and it would be inevitable that some clan members would eventually raise objections.
Therefore, Fang Shoudao and Fang Yanxu had both agreed that they would not hold anything back. They would do everything they could to help Fang Xiufeng step into the Dao…. In that case, he would be the true Clan Chief, unshakable and unmovable.
As for the particulars of how Fang Xiufeng went about doing that, it was his decision. No one, not even Meng Hao, could influence him.
Fang Xiufeng was silent for only a moment. He didn’t need a long time to think. He gave a carefree laugh and then said, “Since I’m here, what’s the point in backing out? Brother Li, thank you for going out of your way to help.”
Fang Xiufeng’s expression was calm; his eyes flashed with determination, and his heart was completely focused. He was the type of person who couldn’t settle for being ordinary, and had always had lofty aspirations. The only reason he had suppressed them and agreed to stand guard over Planet South Heaven was for Meng Hao’s sake.
Now that Meng Hao was finally freed from his curse, Fang Xiufeng’s heroic ambitions once again soared!
“Dad….” Meng Hao murmured anxiously.
“Hao’er, father is a cultivator as well!” Fang Xiufeng said, looking back at him. His gaze was soft, and his words were spoken quietly. However, his simple sentence revealed the deep ambitions he harbored. It spoke to his pride, and revealed how focused he was on his cultivation.
As Fang Xiufeng’s words echoed out into the air, Fang Shoudao and Fang Yanxu looked on with sparkling eyes, and nodded slightly.
“So you’re set on doing this, Brother Xiufeng,” said Emperor Tang. “I understand.” Emperor Tang looked deeply at Fang Xiufeng, then turned and waved his sleeve. Colors flashed and everything shook. All of the lands of South Heaven trembled, and the entire planet seemed to shake.
The shaking was even more intense in the Forbidden Palace. A moment later, the main hall vanished, to be replaced by a huge, spinning vortex that was the color of blood!
That color came from the blood of the Allheaven Li Clan, congealed during their sacrifice. As the vortex spun, it seemed as if all of Planet South Heaven had become frozen in time as an indescribably intense pressure weighed down, covering the entire planet. Emperor Tang stood next to Fang Xiufeng, looking at him.
“In there is the secret realm of the Li Clan, the wellspring of our bloodline. Brother Xiufeng, Senior Shoudao, Senior Yanxu, and… Hao’er, all of you may enter. I will remain outside to stand as Dharma Protector!”
Fang Xiufeng took a deep breath and looked at the blood-colored vortex, eyes shining. Then he clasped hands and bowed deeply to Emperor Tang before striding forward into the vortex. Fang Shoudao and Fang Yanxu shot forward in streaks of light as they followed Fang Xiufeng.
Last was Meng Hao. After bowing to Emperor Tang, he headed toward the vortex, and was just about to step in when the Emperor spoke, his voice soft.
“You have a good father. He’s sacrificed a lot for you.”
Meng Hao paused for a moment, then continued onward into the vortex, vanishing.
Inside the blood-colored vortex was a world the color of blood. Everything was blood-red. There were no plants, no mountains, no rivers. There was only flat, crimson ground stretching out in all directions.
However, up ahead of them could be seen a huge door, which flickered back and forth between illusory and corporeal. It was covered with a thick layer of blood that formed a howling face.
Every howl that came out of its mouth caused ripples to spread out and fill the entire blood-colored world. Every time the ripples faded, it was possible to see that, far up in the sky, there was a huge net-like spell formation!
That spell formation covered everything, and stretched out as far as the eye could see. Divine sense could not touch it, and the only reason it could be seen… was because of the flowing ripples.
This was the very door that had been formed by the sacrifice of the entire Li Clan, and the spell formation up above… was the extermination formation that covered all of Planet South Heaven!
Fang Shoudao looked around and then said, “This is the Ancestral Land of the Li Clan, and also the nucleus of Planet South Heaven!
“When stepping into the Dao in this place, there is a chance to be accepted by the spell formation, and thus avoid being slaughtered!”
Suddenly, a rumbling sound could be heard coming from the door.
The suddenness of the sound caused Meng Hao’s eyes to flicker. He looked over and saw that the blood-colored door was bulging, as if a hand were stretching out from it.
It appeared as if something was on the other side of that door, roaring, erupting with cultivation base power in an attempt to open the door!
However, blood-colored light flickered, and ten blood-red faces appeared. As they howled, the ripples grew more intense, and whatever it was that was inside the door trembled and retracted its hand.
Meng Hao sucked in a breath and asked, “What’s on the other side of that door…?”
The person to answer the question was not from the Fang Clan. Instead, the voice of Emperor Tang echoed out to fill the blood-colored world.
“Behind that door is a path, a path… that is not guarded by the 33 Heavens. It is guarded by the two major powers which waged war against the Immortal World long ago.
“That door must never be opened!”
Meng Hao nodded and took a deep breath. Finally, he looked away from the door toward Fang Xiufeng.
Fang Xiufeng smiled slightly and sat down cross-legged. Fang Shoudao and Fang Yanxu waved their hands. Almost instantly, the light of a spell formation flared up, swirling around Fang Xiufeng. After that, Fang Shoudao and Fang Yanxu also sat down cross-legged across from each other, flanking Fang Xiufeng. Their expressions were very serious.
“Hao’er, you sit over there,” Fang Shoudao said solemnly. “Together, we will form the Trifecta Dao Formation. All you need to do is use your Dao Immortal cultivation base power to support your father.
“The Trifecta Dao Formation is the first step in helping your father in transcending tribulation. We can’t be lax in any aspect!”
Meng Hao’s expression was one of determination as he walked over to the position indicated by Fang Shoudao and then sat down cross-legged. He immediately rotated his cultivation base, causing azure light to shine up. Shockingly, azure light also began to shine off of Fang Shoudao and Fang Yanxu.
However, their light was much dimmer than Meng Hao’s.
Even still, Emperor Tang, who was watching the scene via divine sense, was shocked.
“The Allheaven Fang Clan… has been awakened…?
“An Allheaven Dao Immortal has appeared in the world, and an Allheaven Clan is once again rising to glory….” A strange light began to gleam in his eyes.
“Trifecta Dao Formation, activate!” Fang Shoudao roared. “Xiufeng, what are you waiting for? Begin stepping into the Dao!!”
As the sound of his words echoed out, Fang Xiufeng’s eyes began to glow with a piercing light. He raised both hands and pushed up into the air.
At the same time, his cultivation base exploded, as he used the full power of the great circle of the Ancient Realm to open the Dao Stepping Path!