The instant the savage figures appeared, Meng Hao’s mastiff let out a howl. It leapt forward, turning into a ferocious blur as it raced in circles around Meng Hao.
Blood flew out so violently it created a foam, and the bodies of barbarians tumbled down the mountain.
Their deaths did not frighten the barbarians behind them; instead, it incited further savagery as they charged forward. The mastiff’s ferocity billowed to the heavens as it protected the area around Meng Hao. Any approaching enemy met its attack; it clearly would not allow anyone to harm Meng Hao.
Meng Hao’s body shook, but he forced his eyes to remain open. He could hear the mastiff’s attacks, and could see the seemingly endless sea of people, but he could do nothing.
Time passed by, and blood flowed down the mountain. The mastiff’s frenzy had created a no man’s land which surrounded Meng Hao thirty meters in each direction. Countless barbarians had died, forming a bloody mountain at its edge.
One day, two days…. the mastiff had no rest whatsoever. The barbarians seemed to never end. They charged relentlessly. On the second day, Core Formation Cultivators appeared in their midst, wearing barbarian suits of armor.
The bloody battle continued within the fifth matrix, with canine howls and miserable human shrieks filling the air. Late in the night of the second day, the mastiff killed the three Core Formation barbarians, although it was wounded in the process. After that, there was quiet. The barbarians retreated. Everything was still.
In a daze, Meng Hao looked at the mastiff. One of its legs was broken, and it looked exhausted. It hadn’t rested in two days, and had no medicinal pills to consume. Each fight had been a fight to the death, and it had prevented any of the people from harming Meng Hao. In fact, thanks to its frenzy, no one had even stepped within thirty meters of him.
As of now, it was overcome with fatigue. It lay down next to Meng Hao, panting. It licked his hand as if it wanted him to pet its head.
Everything was still; on the mountain peak, only a dog and a man could be seen. One couldn’t move, the other lay prone, ready to stand guard for an eternity.
Meng Hao looked at the mastiff, and a warmth rose up from the bottom of his heart that he had never felt before. It filled his entire body. This creature was just a puppy, a Blood Divinity with little spiritual understanding. And yet… it would not forsake him. Even under these circumstances, it wouldn’t leave, but instead fought to defend him.
Considering the accumulated injuries and exhaustion, if it continued to fight in this way, it would die eventually.
But it stayed by Meng Hao’s side to protect him. Soon dawn broke, and a clamor from the bottom of the mountain broke the stillness. The air seemed to fill with the Qi of Core Formation, and was followed by the furious shouting of barbarians charging up the mountain.
The mastiff… looked at Meng Hao, then licked his hand. It turned, and with a ferocious howl, charged into battle.
Meng Hao couldn’t move. He could only watch the mastiff charge into action. He couldn’t even turn his head. The only thing he could see was the half of the world which lay directly in front of him. Even what was down below on the mountain was not visible to him.
Barking and blood-curdling screams filled his ears for the entire day. He didn’t know exactly how fierce the fighting was, but he could sense that throughout the entire day, no one could step foot within a thirty meter radius of him.
When night fell, everything grew quiet again. Enough time passed for an incense stick to burn before the mastiff finally returned to Meng Hao and lay down next to him. Its back was broken, and it had trouble walking. Another leg was broken, and one of its long, sharp teeth had been snapped off.
Its Qi was weak, and its fur coat in disarray. Blood dripped off of its body as it lay there licking Meng Hao’s hand. It let off a faint whine, seemingly calling to Meng Hao, seemingly recounting to him the days’ events.
It seemed as if all of the fighting and exhaustion of the day was for this moment, when it could return to Meng Hao’s side to have its head pet. In its heart Meng Hao… was family. They had fought together, they had grown up together. Meng Hao had provided medicinal pills, and whenever he looked over, his gaze was filled with encouragement and warmth.
All of this had caused trust in Meng Hao to grow in its heart. It could depend on Meng Hao, and it would defend him.
The fourth day arrived, and more shouting could be heard. Meng Hao’s body continued to tremble, and he heard the sad howl of the mastiff. He wanted to struggle to his feet, but couldn’t. The poison flare-up filled him with intense pain. Sweat poured off of him, and all he could do was sit there, looking at the magical symbols on the stone stele. That was the only thing he could do.
On the fourth day, nothing came within thirty meters of Meng Hao. But that night, when everything grew quiet, it took the mastiff about one hour to slowly crawl back to him.
Meng Hao couldn’t see it, but the path the mastiff had crawled was a long streak of blood. Its teeth were smashed, its back caved in. It lay next to him, its head twisted to the side as it licked his palm. With weak whines, it seemed to recount the days’ events to Meng Hao.
Meng Hao’s eyes were red. He couldn’t see the mastiff, but he could sense how weak its Qi was. At the moment, he had become just like a mortal, and he knew that without the mastiff there to protect him, he would have been dead on the first day.
But the price paid for his life was the mastiff’s increasingly weak condition. Soon a day would come when it wouldn’t be able to crawl back to him at all….
Meng Hao forced his eyes to remain wide open. He stared at the magical symbols on the stone stele, longing for enlightenment. But no matter how he looked at them, he was unable to gain any understanding. It was as if… they were nothing more than magical symbols that had nothing to do with him, an outsider.
And then, the fifth day arrived….
On this day, the miserable cries that reached Meng Hao’s ears were more intense than ever before. Now, there were people who approached closer than thirty meters. But before they could reach him, they were torn to pieces. Blood showered onto Meng Hao’s body, and he heard the increasingly mournful howls of the mastiff.
That night, it took four hours for the mastiff to return. It didn’t touch him; it just laid there. Blood oozed out of its mouth, and its life force flickered weakly. It seemed only its stubbornness was keeping it alive. Despite its current state, it would fight to watch over the area… and protect Meng Hao.
Meng Hao could barely open his mouth. His body trembled, wracked with pain, and could barely move. But somehow, he was able to force out speech. “Go! Get out… of here…. Do you hear me…? Go!”
He couldn’t see the mastiff. The only thing he could see was the inky black sky.
The mastiff lifted its head to look at Meng Hao. It glanced at the glowing door as if it understood his words. Then it let out a yipping sound.
“I’m telling you to leave!” said Meng Hao, panting, as if it took all the energy he possessed just to say the words.
The mastiff’s body trembled, and its eyes filled with sadness. It struggled to its feet, then walked over to Meng Hao’s side and licked his face. And then… it didn’t leave. It ignored Meng Hao’s orders and lay down next to his side.
Meng Hao’s heart ached. His eyes were filled with veins of blood as he stared at the stone stele. Suddenly, it grew blurry, and it seemed as if he had caught sight of something. And yet, he couldn’t grasp it. Dawn of the sixth morning broke, and the sound of movement could be heard at the foot of the mountain. A roar sounded out as the mastiff struggled up. It gave Meng Hao one last deep look, and then charged away.
As it left, Meng Hao’s hand slowly raised up, quivering. Within his eyes, the Resurrection Lilies flickered. He slowly formed a fist with his hand, and then stood up!
He raised his head to the sky and let loose a roar that had been suppressed for six days. Monstrous killing intent poured from his eyes as he flew into the air. As soon as he flew up, he caught sight of large man wielding an immense club. He had lifted it into the air and was about to smash it down viciously onto the mastiff, who was by now a shapeless wreck.
Meng Hao’s face filled with vicious rage. He lifted his hand, and a mist of lightning emerged, shooting toward the large man. When it reached him, it exploded out in a boom. The large man, who happened to have a Cultivation base at the Foundation Establishment stage, shot backward in retreat. In fact, multiple surrounding barbarians all retreated.
Meng Hao strode forward to stand in front of the mastiff. His eyes were bright red as he lifted his hand again. Hundreds of flying swords instantly screamed out, including the two wooden swords. They revolved around Meng Hao, transforming into sword rain, and then a massive whirlpool. Meng Hao cried out, and the flying swords exploded. The shrapnel swept across the surroundings, and blood-curdling screams could be heard as the barbarians in the area were shredded to pieces.
Suddenly, from the foot of the mountain, eight Core Formation Qi auras suddenly shot up. They flew straight up toward the peak of the mountain.
Meng Hao was silent, and in fact completely ignored the approaching figures. He looked down at the mastiff, who was gasping and on the verge of death. He knelt down and gently stoked its broken body. It looked up at him weakly, and tried to open its mouth to lick his hand, but wasn’t able to.
Meng Hao slowly looked up at the magical symbols on the stone stele, paying no heed whatsoever to the eight approaching figures. As he stared at the stele, he thought back over the six days. He thought about how the mastiff had risked its life in battle. He thought about back to the happy little puppy that had bounded along after him through the fourth matrix. He thought about the second matrix, when the fluffy, cute little thing had over and over again charged into battle with him. He thought about the very beginning of the Blood Immortal Legacy tournament, how it had appeared, shivering in his palm, and had licked him with its tiny tongue. He sighed.
“I should have realised earlier,” said Meng Hao softly. “These magical symbols are not too different from the Eighth Demon Sealing Hex.” His hand waved through the air, and then no magical symbols could be seen. Instead, they were now inscribed upon his heart, a magical text just like the one that had been inscribed on the stele.
As the text appeared, Meng Hao’s hand came to rest on the mastiff’s back.
As it did, a blood-colored glow suddenly formed within the mastiff. It was bone-piercingly cold as it it spread out in all directions.
As it spread out, the Core Formation barbarians were suddenly frozen in place, even as they flew through the air. It wasn’t just them. As the blood-colored glow spread out, the entire mountain of barbarians, everything as far as the eye could see, the whole world, was filled with an intense coldness, and turned into the color of blood. This place … was completely sealed frozen.
Nothing in the entire world moved. Meng Hao knelt there, looking in surprise at the mastiff.
The fifth matrix, the stone stele, and the enlightenment all hinged upon the actions of the Blood Divinity…. The Legacy competitor and the Blood Divinity must develop a certain level of closeness.
After a long time, Meng Hao stood up, holding the mastiff in his arms. He walked toward the peak of the mountain, and the exit of the fifth matrix. The entire world around him was sealed with blood.
Meng Hao wasn’t sure how others would pass this matrix. But he knew that for him, its purpose was to strengthen the bond between the Legacy competitor and the Blood Divinity. He also wasn’t sure about the Blood Divinities of the others, but he knew that the mastiff had always returned to him. No matter how exhausted it was, it always came back to lick his hand. To Meng Hao this dog… was an inextricable part of his life.
“As of now, the Legacy isn’t important to me. I don’t care about it a bit. But I’m going to take you out of here with me. This is Meng Hao’s promise to you!”
This chapter sponsored by Christopher Weisser and William Mishak