As soon as the voice rang out across the square, all of the cultivators felt their hearts trembling. That was especially true of the Fang Clan cultivators, who looked up enthusiastically. Even Fang Shoudao and Fang Yanxu had similar reactions.
Fang Xiufeng rose to his feet, looking very excited as he turned to see a young man in a blue robe walking toward them.
It was none other than… Meng Hao!
His face was a bit pale, as if he had just recovered from a serious illness. He looked much weaker than normal, and very scholarly as he approached Fang Xiufeng and clasped hands in greeting.
“I can’t believe you’re awake!” Fang Xiufeng said, voice filled with love. “What are you doing here? You should be resting!”
“I slept long enough,” Meng Hao said, smiling. “I’m done resting. It’s time for a bit of exercise.” His injuries this time had been serious enough to keep him in a coma for more than a month. As soon as he woke up, he sent his divine sense out and saw what was happening, which was why he had come.
As soon as the Immortal Realm cultivator saw Meng Hao, his face fell and he backed up a few paces. “Meng Hao…. You’re Meng Hao! I challenged your father, not you. You don’t have the right to do anything!”
Hearing this, Meng Hao spun around, eyes flashing coldly as he looked at the cultivator.
“You know who I am and yet dare to speak to me like that?” he said coolly. “You might be looking to die, but if I feel like keeping you alive, I have plenty of ways to do so.
“You think I don’t have the right to fight you? This is the Fang Clan, so if I say I have the right, then I have the right!” His voice echoed out, filled with a domineering air.
As he finished speaking, he stepped forward, and was suddenly directly in front of the other cultivator. The man’s face fell, and he was about to try to flee when Meng Hao let out a cold snort. It crashed like thunder, slamming into the cultivator’s mind, prompting a bloodcurdling scream. Then, the man exploded in a burst of gore.
It was a quick and efficient kill. Meng Hao didn’t mind that blood and guts were raining down everywhere. Clearly, he did things differently than his father. His father was the Clan Chief, and had many things to consider. Meng Hao was not the Clan Chief, and his goal was to intimidate.
“Well, who’s next?” he asked coolly, waving his arm to flick some blood off of his sleeve.
His question was met by utter silence. All eyes were fixed on him. Many people present had only seen illusory images of Meng Hao, making this their first time seeing him in person. Now that they could lay eyes on him personally, his visage was indelibly burned into their memories.
From the way he spoke, and how he acted, it was easy to see how domineering he was. Many eyes widened as they realized that this was a person… who dared to defy laws and principles, even of the Heavens!
Fang Xiufeng smiled slightly, but said nothing. Off to the side, Fang Shoudao’s eyes also flickered with a smile, then exchanged glances with Fang Yanxu. Both nodded inwardly.
Meng Hao clearly knew that there were many ways for them to resolve the current situation. However, it didn’t matter how they went about it, none of those methods were truly appropriate. Considering their position in the clan and considering the circumstances, the things that were normally handled in secrecy just couldn’t be done.
Meng Hao had shown up in domineering fashion and had instantly killed someone. Furthermore, the people who had had dealings with Meng Hao in the past could tell how sharp and biting his words were. After all, he hadn’t met too many people who could get the upper hand on him in a debate.
Meng Hao waited for a moment, but nobody stepped forward. Voice calm, he said, “Nobody?”
“You’re looking to die, child!” Suddenly, a gale-force wind sprang up, within which was a middle-aged man who was charging Meng Hao. He was not in the Immortal Realm, but rather, the Ancient Realm.
“I’m not looking to die. I’m looking for death. Your death!” Meng Hao’s voice was ice-cold as he stood there and allowed the Ancient Realm cultivator’s divine ability to slam into him. It did nothing, almost as if it was a light breeze blowing past him. The middle-aged man stared in shock. At the same time, Meng Hao’s hand shot out as fast as lightning to latch onto the top of his head.
“Soulsearch!” Meng Hao sent divine sense out through his splayed fingers, causing the man to shake and let out a miserable shriek. He only lasted for a few breaths of time before collapsing into pieces.
Meng Hao hovered there thoughtfully for a moment, and then suddenly vanished, only to reappear among the crowd, directly in front of one of the tables, facing an old man who sat there. The man’s face flickered, and he was just about to rise to his feet when Meng Hao launched a God-Slaying Fist. The old man, and even the table, were instantly transformed into ash.
Meng Hao vanished again, reappearing in a different direction, in front of a woman. She had a jade slip in her hand which she was about to crush. Meng Hao reached out and grabbed her arm.
“Let me help you with that!” he said, tightening his grip. The jade slip, and her entire arm with it, were instantly crushed. Then he waved his arm, causing blood to spray out of the woman’s mouth. Her eyes went wide with disbelief just before she was torn to bits.
In the blink of an eye, Meng Hao flashed to seventeen different locations within the crowd. Each time, he appeared in front of a different cultivator, whom he immediately killed.
After a few breaths of time passed, Meng Hao returned to his original position in the main square. The crowd was in an uproar, and there were even some cultivators who were angrily berating him.
The commotion continued to intensify; from the look of it, Meng Hao’s actions were going to lead to some sort of retributive calamity.
However, Meng Hao’s expression was calm as he said, “Fang Clan cultivators, hear the orders of the Crown Prince. Take that man, and him, and him….” Meng Hao quickly pointed out over a hundred people. As he pointed at them, glowing marks appeared on their bodies.
All of them looked incredibly shocked.
“… and kill them all!” Without the slightest hesitation, members of the Fang Clan flew toward the people Meng Hao had just indicated.
In response, the more than one hundred cultivators roared and popped medicinal pills into their mouths, causing their cultivation bases to rise explosively. However, even in such a state, they weren’t a match for the Fang Clan. Soon, bloodcurdling screams rang out and the entire group was slaughtered.
Deathly silence followed. Everyone who had been crying out in anger was now speechless. The people from the great clans and sects had maintained their calm before, but now they were all staring at Meng Hao, clearly moved.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Fellow Daoists, today is my father’s grand ceremony,” Meng Hao went on. “If you wish to resolve debts and grudges in the customary way, go ahead. However, if you try to do so in a way that defies custom… well then, I’ll also defy custom.” Although his face was a bit pale, his words were cold and biting. Quite a few people now had a much deeper understanding of him.
“What a class act you are, Meng Hao,” a voice said. It belonged to an ancient old man who strode out, the shocking ripples of the great circle of the Ancient Realm emanating out from him. This was a man similar to Guru Heavencloud; he could step into the Dao Realm at any time!
“I have enmity with your father,” the old man said, glaring venomously at Fang Xiufeng. “But since you want to stand in for him, I’ll accommodate you!”
Fang Xiufeng looked back icily at the old man. He clearly recognized him, and yet hadn’t sensed his presence earlier. Apparently the man had used some sort of technique or magical item to render him invisible even to those in the Dao Realm.
Even as the words left the old man’s mouth, his body flashed through the air, and an illusory Eight Trigrams symbol appeared around him. It began to rotate, crackling with lightning as it shot toward Meng Hao. At the same time, the old man made a grasping gesture as he summoned a greatsword. He then performed a two-fingered incantation and roared, causing boundless, dazzling light to shine off of the sword. His cultivation base flared to life and his Soul Lamps appeared, which merged into the Eight Trigrams symbol, igniting it with Immortal Flame.
Meng Hao’s expression was the same as ever. As the man closed in on him, he stepped forward. Simultaneously, his energy flared, and he extended his own right hand in a plucking motion.
It was none other than the Star Plucking Magic!
Rumbling could be heard as an enormous, illusory hand appeared. It slammed into the Eight Trigrams symbol, crushing it into oblivion. The greatsword shattered, and the old man’s eyes went wide with disbelief. He tried to fall back, but was too slow. The enormous hand grabbed onto him, and he let out a miserable shriek. His heart was now filled with indescribable shock and terror.
“You–” he only had time to utter a single word before he was dragged in front of Meng Hao.
He had no time to utter a second word. Meng Hao’s expression was cold as he stretched his hand out and grabbed onto the top of the man’s head. It didn’t matter that this man was in the great circle of the Ancient Realm, similar to Guru Heavencloud. Meng Hao would still Soulsearch him.
The man howled, and his eyes were instantly shot with veins of blood. Without any hesitation, he unleashed his cultivation base, which began to emanate a Dao Realm aura. Shockingly, he was going to attempt to evade death at this critical juncture by stepping into the Dao!
Before Meng Hao had absorbed the Essence of Divine Flame, he would have been powerless to do anything at this point. But now, in some respects, he could already be considered to be in the Dao Realm. Most important was that he was now a full Allheaven Dao Immortal.
Azure light flickered on his right hand as he used his own power to disperse the Dao Realm aura, making this attempt to step into the Dao… an utter failure!
Divine sense poured into the old man’s mind as the Soulsearch began.
The man quivered, then screamed, “Your majesty, save me!!”
Meng Hao’s mouth curled in an almost imperceptible smile. As the old man’s voice rang out, ripples flashed in the air behind him, and abruptly, a withered hand stretched out. It looked like it had just climbed up out of the grave, and reeked with an aura of death. Most shocking of all… it emanated a Dao Realm aura!
That aura was incredibly powerful, so powerful than even ordinary Dao Realm cultivators would have a hard time standing up to it.
Heaven and Earth shook, and a mighty wind screamed. All of the surrounding cultivators were completely shocked. This was Planet South Heaven, a place where Dao Realm cultivators couldn’t come. And yet that hand… was clearly emanating a Dao Realm aura! There could only be one explanation.
That hand belonged… to a Quasi-Dao cultivator!!
A terrifying Quasi-Dao cultivator, lingering on the brink of death, and yet powerful enough to suppress ordinary Dao Realm experts.
The suddenness of this development was such that Fang Xiufeng, Fang Shoudao and Fang Yanxu all stepped forward, eyes narrowed. However, even so there was no trace of panic in them.
“Hao’er, get back!” Fang Shoudao said urgently. He stretched his hand out into the air to drag Meng Hao back to safety.
“I was just thinking that this guy didn’t seem like the mastermind,” Meng Hao said coolly. “As it turns out… he was backed by this Quasi-Dao cultivator!” He turned to face the hand and said, “South Heaven Death Formation, activate!”