The old man’s voice rang out in all directions and yet no response could be heard, causing him to frown. He sent his divine sense out, and when it reached the Xu Clan ancestral mansion at the center of the continent, a tremor ran through him, and he gasped, an expression of intense disbelief filling his face.
“This….” He immediately shot off through the air. Behind him, the other members of the Meng Clan slowly began to reveal their own shock as the Ancient Realm cultivators sent their divine sense out and realized what had happened.
Dozens of them shot through the air toward the Xu Clan, where the old man in the leadership position was hovering in midair above the ancestral mansion, looking down at the enormous palm print, and the ruins that filled it. After a moment, he closed his eyes as he focused on sensing the area. Then his eyes snapped open.
“The aura of Dao Tribulation appeared here…. But I didn’t sense any tribulation earlier. That indicates… that the tribulation vanished before it even started. It also means that Xu Yushan was killed before his cultivation base broke through!
“Other than a Dao Realm expert, the only other person who could do something like that would be a Quasi-Dao cultivator!” The old man took a deep breath and scanned the ruins. Then he waved his hand, causing one of the living Xu Clan cultivators to fly up into the air. The old man didn’t ask any questions. He was the type of person who didn’t trust what people told him with regard to important matters like this. He only trusted his own Soulsearching. It took but a brief moment before he saw Meng Hao, and the enormous palm destroying the Xu Clan. Then… he heard Meng Hao call himself… Meng Chen!
“Meng… Chen!?!?” The old man’s eyes went wide, and he began to breathe heavily. Actually, the reason he had rushed over here in such domineering fashion was because of Meng Chen. Now that he understood the terrifying nature of the person he had come for, the old man began to shiver. Knowing that he had narrowly avoided certain calamity, the old man immediately turned to leave.
The other members of the Meng Clan were looking around in shock. Then they noticed the old man leaving, and they began to ask questions.
“Elder, where are we going now…?”
“Where else?” replied the flustered old man. “Home! We’re going home immediately!” The old man couldn’t help but look back at the palm-shaped crater once more. He shivered, already petrified of Meng Chen, even though he had never even seen him face-to-face.
Based on what he knew about Meng Chen, he was sure that this terrifying cultivation base could not belong to him. In his judgement, Meng Chen had most likely been possessed or replaced, or something of the like. In either case, he himself didn’t qualify to tangle with whoever Meng Chen really was.
A person with a cultivation base like that could kill him as easily as flipping over his hand. Someone such as that was a person he couldn’t afford to provoke, and thus, it was without any further hesitation that he sped off as fast as possible.
The other cultivators exchanged dismayed glances, then hurried to leave. The old man’s sudden flight was just now beginning to fill their hearts with fear. Feeling as if some hidden force were behind them about to attack, they started going faster and faster until they were fleeing at top speed.
The group had burst onto the scene with a towering murderous aura, and yet before they had even seen Meng Hao with their own eyes, they fled, crestfallen and terrified.
As they left, Meng Hao was sitting cross-legged in the bloodline mansion, watching them hurry off, a cold smile on his face. Their quick reaction had saved them; had they dared show any evil designs, he wouldn’t have hesitated to wipe out their entire bloodline.
Regarding the matter of wiping out bloodlines, Meng Hao had already consulted with his grandmother and granduncles. According to them, the third, fourth, and fifth bloodlines were important, but as for the other five, they could be done away with at will.
Seeing the complicated expressions in the old-timers’ eyes, Meng Hao had simply said, “I’ll handle things, but let’s wait until your cultivation bases are recovered before deciding exactly how.”
Time passed. Meng Hao gave sermons on the Dao, but spent most of his time using his own cultivation base to assist his grandmother and the others in their recovery. The more he understood about the framework created by the nine needles, the more he realized that they couldn’t be removed casually, not without risking the lives of the people who were affected.
He needed more time to fully understand them, and his grandmother and the others also needed more time to strengthen their bodies. Only then could further action be taken.
One afternoon a few days later, as Meng Hao was giving a sermon on the Dao, he suddenly stopped talking and looked up. A blood-colored light could be seen up in the air, which was the mastiff. On its back could be seen Meng Ru, as well as about ten other young women. Some of those women looked excited, others appeared to be torn, and some were confused.
Their return instantly caused a big commotion in the mansion. As for the young women, when they sensed the Immortal qi, they were astonished.
Meng Ru immediately found Meng Hao, clasped hands, and bowed. She looked a bit sad, and even hesitant, as if she weren’t sure of how to express herself. After a long moment, she gritted her teeth and began to speak.
“Big bro Meng Chen, I wasn’t able to bring everyone back. There were, um… three sisters who chose to stay with their masters. There were also two whose masters refused to free them. I… I was worried about making a mistake, so I didn’t dare to ask big bro mastiff to attack….” Apparently, Meng Ru felt a lot of respect toward the mastiff, and actually viewed it as a cultivator and not an animal.
“Three of them refused to return?” Meng Hao asked calmly. He wasn’t too surprised about this. There weren’t many people left in his grandfather’s bloodline, so it was only natural that there would be some people who didn’t wish to remain, and would try to strike out on their own.
It was at this point that the door suddenly opened, and Grandma Meng walked out without a single person supporting her. “Since they chose not to return, then they shall remain cut off for all eternity.”
All of the bloodline clan members present immediately bowed their heads respectfully. Meng Hao quickly rose to his feet and clasped hands.
“Chen’er,” Grandma Meng said calmly, “go bring back the final two who were prevented from returning.” After her recent days of recuperation, she was in much better spirits than before, and her eyes glittered with determination. She had long since become the pillar of the bloodline, and it had only been when her body had begun to weaken that she had begun to lose control. Now that she had recovered, she once again radiated the air of a family leader.
Furthermore, she was aware of the situation between Meng Hao and the Heavengod Alliance, and was also wary of getting the clan involved. Therefore, she declined to address him as Hao’er, and instead used Meng Chen’s name.
Meng Hao’s eyes glittered. Seeing his grandmother like this left him feeling quite relieved. At the very least, with her back in control of the bloodline, the task of helping it rise to prominence didn’t fall on his shoulders alone.
“What if I meet opposition?” Meng Hao asked.
“Kill them!” Grandma Meng replied immediately. Although her words were not spoken loudly, they resounded like thunder in the ears of all present. At the same time, a murderous aura began to radiate from her, something which had remained buried inside of her for too long.
“We’ve been away for too long,” said another voice. “It’s time to remind the Meng Clan who exactly we are!” Meng Hao’s two granduncles emerged from the room. They were no longer confined to their chairs, and although they looked very weak, they were clearly in much better condition than before.
All of the surrounding bloodline clan members were now looking excitedly at Grandma Meng.
“Your command shall be carried out,” Meng Hao said, clasping hands and bowing. Then he turned, leaving the mastiff to protect the bloodline clan members, but taking Meng Ru with him.
A moment later, the two of them had vanished. Grandma Meng and Meng Hao’s two granduncles watched them leave, and their eyes burned with faith and anticipation for the future.
Even as Meng Hao was working hard to help his grandfather’s bloodline rise to prominence, someone appeared in the starry sky of the Eighth Mountain and Sea. It was a handsome young man who strolled along wearing a violet robe. He was currently looking off into the distance at… the Meng Clan.
“I can sense that you’re there….” the young man said, smiling. He was none other than Ji Dongyang!
Meanwhile, a huge turtle was floating in another part of the starry sky of the Eighth Mountain and Sea, snoring as he napped. On his back was a huge continent, filled with all forms of life.
Suddenly, the turtle’s eyes snapped open as he awoke from slumber. His eyes shone like bright lanterns as he looked out into the darkness of the starry sky.
“Dammit, I just had a nightmare,” the turtle muttered. “I dreamed about that little bastard Meng Hao tracking me down in the Eighth Mountain and Sea. Hahaha. What a hilarious dream! It’s totally impossible!
“There’s no way that little punk could find me here. Dammit! Why would I have a dream like that? It’s a bad sign, an ill omen. I can’t believe I dreamed about being his mount!” That huge turtle was none other than Patriarch Reliance, who truly was frightened of Meng Hao. He let out a roar, then glanced around shiftily for a moment. Then he closed his eyes and went back to sleep.
Strangely, there appeared to be mysterious figures nearby Patriarch Reliance, figures he didn’t notice, who were apparently keeping track of his current location.
Something else was happening at around this same time in the Seventh Mountain and Sea…. All of the sects there, as well as all the clans, were mobilizing. Gradually, an enormous military force was being organized, virtually without number. In the lead position of that enormous army floated a sizeable mountain peak, the very tip of which emanated powerful ripples. Just barely visible on that mountain peak was a person sitting cross-legged, looking toward the Eighth Mountain, eyes gleaming.
The figure then began to speak softly in an ancient voice: “I don’t really want this war, but… there’s no choice in the matter. It is my mission…. Perhaps I’m not the only one either…. It’s not a betrayal; after all, there is nothing to betray. And yet… why do I feel so much pain in my heart….”
The terrifying army was filled with millions upon millions of cultivators, organized in formation so that they resembled an ancient, enormous dragon. They radiated intense murderous auras as they began to march closer and closer to the Eighth Mountain and Sea.