The starry sky was now completely silent. As for the Spirit Realm cultivators who had been on the bridge participating in trials by fire and who were now scattered about in space, Meng Hao assisted them, and encouraged the other cultivators who had followed him to do the same. These cultivators who had borne witness to the vanishing of the Bridge of Immortal Treading and the subsequent rise of the Paragon Bridge agreed with the request and began to send the Spirit Realm cultivators back to their respective sects.
Everything was brought to a perfect conclusion, and Meng Hao repaid his debt of gratitude. Not only were Han Shan and his wife saved, but Meng Hao’s Paragon Bridge underwent shocking transformations.
Now, Meng Hao stood there, smiling warmly at Han Shan, thinking about everything that had happened so many years ago.
At first, Han Shan looked confused, but gradually, his eyes grew clear. His wife shivered as she woke up, and also looked around blankly. Then she saw her husband, and the blankness vanished, to be replaced with a gentle gaze.
It was as if… no matter where she was, or what hardships would come along, as long as Han Shan was there… she would be fine.
Han Shan slowly rose to his feet, looking around for a moment before his gaze came to fall on Meng Hao. An expression of appreciation appeared in his eyes, and he laughed. “Have any alcohol…?”
Meng Hao smiled and waved his hand. The alcohol flagon that Han Shan had given him years ago flew out. Han Shan grabbed it, threw his head back, and took a long swig.
Han Shan lowered the alcohol flagon and looked seriously at Meng Hao. “Young friend, I will remember this great kindness which you have shown us for all eternity!”
He didn’t mention anything about Meng Hao freeing him. Giving voice to thanks wasn’t important. What was important… was that he had not been mistaken to place his trust in Meng Hao.
What was important was that he and his wife had both been saved, and he now owed Meng Hao two lives. That was something that Han Shan would never forget!
Meng Hao shook his head. “I had no choice in the matter, big bro Han Shan. I had to do it! Didn’t I say I would?”
He looked at Han Shan and his wife, and could see how happy they were.
Han Shan said nothing more. He simply stepped forward and embraced Meng Hao.
“No need to draw things out, bro,” he said. “Suffice to say… if you need us, my wife and I will be there for you. Together!”
He and Meng Hao laughed heartily. Han Shan’s wife stood off to the side, watching them silently, her eyes filled with appreciation.
Soon, it was time to part, and Meng Hao suggested that Han Shan and his wife go settle down on Planet South Heaven, and even gave them the appropriate identity medallions to go there. Han Shan was not of a mind to refuse. Now that he had his wife back, it didn’t matter where they went.
Since Planet South Heaven was Meng Hao’s home, Han Shan was more than willing to go there.
Meng Hao watched Han Shan and his wife leave. Soon, the flash of a teleportation portal could be seen, and they vanished. At that point, Meng Hao turned and looked one last time at the place previously occupied by the Bridge of Immortal Treading. Then he turned and headed toward another teleportation portal.
This time, he was not going to collect money from anyone. Instead, he was going to the Paleo-Immortal Mausoleum!
The Paleo-Immortal Mausoleum was also one of the Five Great Holy Lands, and was where… his childhood friend Fatty lived.
Although, by this point, it would probably be less appropriate to call Li Fugui simply Fatty. He now deserved to be called… Big Fatty!
He was now so fat that it would take four people to wrap their arms around him. However, he was still quite lively, and his teeth were sharper than ever. The Paleo-Immortal Mausoleum had treated him well, and he was already an Immortal.
When it came to his beloved partners, he actually had quite a few more than before. No longer did he only have one hundred. Now, he had five hundred!!
When Meng Hao got to the Paleo-Immortal Mausoleum and announced his intentions, Fatty came rolling out like a ball. When Meng Hao laid eyes on him, his jaw dropped.
“Biggest bro, you… you finally came to see me!!” Fatty roared, racing over to hug Meng Hao. Unfortunately, his belly was too big and his arms weren’t long enough, making an embrace impossible….
When the huge belly bumped into Meng Hao, he stumbled backward, laughing awkwardly. He looked over the spheroid that was Fatty, and started to get a bit worried. However, after scanning him with divine sense and seeing the level of his cultivation base, he felt a bit better.
“You should eat less….” Meng Hao said with a wry smile as Fatty led him into the Paleo-Immortal Mausoleum. Of course, the sect itself could by no means ignore the arrival of Meng Hao, and went all out to receive him. Even one of the Dao Realm Patriarchs emerged.
Meng Hao decided to stay there for several days, during which time he and Fatty would reminisce, talking about old times and wonderful memories.
On one occasion after they had been drinking and talking for a while, Fatty started crying. He told Meng Hao that he missed his father and mother, and had even gone back to Planet South Heaven on several occasions. However, the State of Zhao was gone, and he had never been able to track them down.
He knew that even if he did manage to find them, his parents had probably long since passed on, and the rest of the members of his household would have gone their separate ways….
However, he still missed them, and in fact, as time passed, that feeling had grown even stronger. In fact, sometimes he felt like it didn’t matter that he could live for such a long time, and had such a thriving harem. He… still wished that his parents could be around.
Seeing Fatty weeping in this way caused Meng Hao to sigh. However, all he could do was sit there listening and drinking.
Apparently, Fatty hadn’t had a chance to vent in quite a while. After crying for a bit, he started chuckling again, and soon they were talking about the Reliance Sect.
That had been one of the happiest times of Fatty’s life. Eventually they started reminiscing about the vendor booth they had set up, and Meng Hao couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Fatty joined him, and soon their laughter was echoing out.
However, it was impossible to talk about the Reliance Sect and not bring up the subject of Xu Qing….
Fatty sighed. “You know, of the four of us who Elder Sister Xu took to the Reliance Sect, Wang Youcai has turned out to be the fiercest. He really shook things up over at Moonset Lake. They call him the Devil-Eyed Killer. He’s really famous….
“As for me, I’m pretty useless, although I manage to get by. But biggest bro, you… well, I don’t even need to talk about that, do I? And there’s Dong Hu. I’m not sure what happened to him, he seems to have vanished without a trace.
“Now that I think about it, Elder Sister Xu… had some excellent powers of foresight….
“Oh, right. Meng Hao, remember that cave back on Mount Daqing, and how you threw that vine down? Hahaha! I guess you got lucky, didn’t you? Otherwise you would never have been taken to the Reliance Sect….”
Meng Hao cleared his throat. The things Fatty was talking about caused him to recall everything that had happened back then. After failing the Imperial exams another time, he had gone for a walk on Mount Daqing, sighing to himself about his life. Back then, how could he ever have imagined that heading up the mountain that day… would completely change his life!?
The world had lost a scholar that day, and gained a cultivator. And the Mountain and Sea Realm… had gained its future Lord!
When Xu Qing’s name came up, Meng Hao thought about the Red Wedding, and his mood sank. He finally told Fatty that he was going to the Fourth Mountain to get her back.
Fatty could see that Meng Hao’s mood was sinking, so he quickly waved his sleeve, calling to a young woman who stood off in the distance. She approached, clasped hands, and bowed to Meng Hao.
“Biggest bro, come come, let me introduce you to one of my beloved partners. This is my true love, Little Emerald….”
Meng Hao looked at the woman, smiled, and nodded. Considering that Fatty had called her his true love, Meng Hao took out a magical item and handed it over.
Seeing this, Fatty’s eyes suddenly gleamed. Before Meng Hao knew what was happening….
“Biggest bro, this is the love of my life, Little Scarlet….
“Biggest bro, this is my heart and soul, Little Sweetie….
“Biggest bro, this is my….” One by one, Fatty brought out all five hundred of his beloved partners to introduce to Meng Hao, even managing to recall the different pet names for all of them. Meng Hao looked at all the women, and Fatty’s crafty smile and the exultant gleam in his eyes, and could do nothing but smile wryly as he gifted one magical item after another.
When the last beloved partner had been introduced, Meng Hao assumed the entire affair was over. But next, Fatty called a young man over.
“Why haven’t you kowtowed to your Uncle Meng Hao yet!?” Fatty said, eyes wide with anger. Then he turned and smiled at Meng Hao.
“This is my son….”
Meng Hao’s eyes went wide. He looked at the young man, and then back at Fatty. Chuckling wryly, he handed a magical item over as a gift. After that… Fatty introduced over three hundred sons and daughters….
And after that….
“Biggest bro, this is my grandson….”
Meng Hao felt numb. He had to admire how Fatty could remember the nicknames of all five hundred of his beloved partners and not make a single mistake. Neither did he forget the names of any of his sons or daughters.
Nor the more than one hundred grandchildren. Most terrifying to Meng Hao was that he soon found out that Fatty actually had great-grandchildren too…. Although the great-grandchildren were all toddlers or younger, Meng Hao couldn’t hold back from giving them gifts too.
After all, having given so many gifts already, he couldn’t stop short now.
He had originally planned to stay for several days, but by the second day, he quickly took his leave. He was worried that if he stayed any longer, the loot he had built up so carefully in his bag of holding would eventually all be divided up by Fatty’s family.
“Since I can’t take over the Paleo-Immortal Mausoleum, my goal is to have my descendants do it for me!” Fatty said as he saw Meng Hao off. His eyes glittered with a strange light as he gave voice to his grand aspirations.
Meng Hao couldn’t help but admire such notions. He had the feeling that Fatty would definitely be able to pull something like that off. Eyes glittering encouragingly, he patted Fatty on the shoulder.
“Work hard, bro,” he said. “I think five hundred beloved partners is actually only a good starting point. You should really have at least five thousand. That way, you would have a great big clan!
“Think about it, you would have thousands of sons and daughters, and then when they had children, the final number would be astounding….” It might be somewhat irresponsible, but Meng Hao egged Fatty on anyway.
In response, Fatty’s eyes lit up, and he started laughing heartily.
“No wonder you’re the biggest bro. That’s a great idea! I was thinking the same thing, I’m going to start a clan!” Seeing the wild ambition flickering in Fatty’s eyes caused Meng Hao to cough dryly and then turn to leave.
There was no bitterness to this parting, only smiles. Meng Hao didn’t mention anything about when he would return again, nor did Fatty ask. Both avoided the topic.
When it came time to actually part ways, Fatty’s smile faded away, and he clasped Meng Hao by the shoulders.
“Meng Hao… we’re brothers, forever and ever!”
“Forever!” Meng Hao replied with a decisive nod. They looked at each other for another moment, then started laughing again. Finally, they turned and parted; one headed back to his sect, the other off into the distance….