Meng Hao gave a cold snort. His right hand slapped the bag of the Cosmos, and the two wooden swords appeared soundlessly. Next, a talisman dropped into his hand, and his body became invisible.
It was then that the figure of the sallow-faced man floated to the mountain top. All the vegetation he passed on his way withered up, as if the life had been sucked out of it. The limestone path turned into ash, and it seemed as if the entire mountain was encircled with a dense Death Qi.
However, no one outside of this particular mountain had any clue that this was happening.
The figure floated up to the outside of Meng Hao’s residence. Not pausing for a moment, it passed directly through the wall into the second floor.
He floated there underneath the moonlight, his listless eyes flickering. A strange demonic air emanated from him. Everything around was quiet as the sallow-face man looked around the second floor with his menacing eyes.
Meng Hao hadn’t moved even a centimeter. He sat cross-legged, invisible, looking at the figure in front of him. Naturally, he instantly recognized him. However, his appearance was very strange, as if something were wrong with him. Meng Hao thought back to the bloodcurdling scream from the mountain the previous night. That was where the sallow-faced man had been.
He already half-understood what was going on.
“This person is dead, and has been turned into an automaton. Or perhaps someone used some Spirit Puppet arts on him to control him….” Suddenly, his body flashed as he moved to the side about three meters.
There was a boom as the furniture near where he had been sitting all transformed into ash. The sallow-faced man, his eyes shining with a strange glow, charged toward Meng Hao, as if he could see him.
Meng Hao’s eyes flashed. Ripping up the invisibility talisman, he lifted his right hand and flashed an incantation gesture. The two wooden swords flew directly toward the figure in front of him. The figure didn’t even attempt to dodge. Both wooden swords flew directly through, leaving two holes, from which no blood flowed. It was as if the sallow-faced man was made of only skin, with nothing else inside.
If there were nothing more to it than that, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But then, the holes that had been punched in his body began to merge together. They transformed into a large mouth, which suddenly ripped off of the sallow-faced man’s body and shot toward Meng Hao, ready to consume him.
Meng Hao’s facial expression didn’t change. He retreated backward, his hand flashing an incantation gesture. Then he waved forward, and a Flame Dragon roared into being, rushing toward the figure. As it neared, the figure didn’t attempt to dodge, but instead charged forward and consumed the flame dragon.
It turned its head to look at Meng Hao, its lips twisted into a hideous grin. Then it threw itself toward him.
Meng Hao frowned, both hands flashing incantation gestures as they pushed forward into mid-air. A multitude of flying swords appeared. Instantly, they shattered into pieces, turning into a cloud of shrapnel which shot forward with incredible force. Like a tornado, it sped toward the sallow-faced man. At the same time, the two wooden swords circled back toward the figure, radiating sharpness. They stabbed directly toward it’s head.
They were followed by the black net, which Meng Hao had just tossed out.
Popping sounds rang out as the flying sword shrapnel ripped the figure almost completely in half and the wooden swords stabbed into its head. But the figure… despite being horrifically injured, still looked at Meng Hao with the half face it had left, and smiled. It tried to rush toward him again, but was enveloped by the black net. Its body writhed as it attempted to squeeze through the gaps in the net.
Its body appeared to be emitting some kind of gravitational force, which caused the second floor to shake as if it were about to be sucked into the figure.
“Can’t kill it… because it’s not really alive. No wonder it’s killed so many Foundation Establishment Cultivators.” With a frown, Meng Hao watched the figure trying to lurch toward him, its eyes filled with fierce coldness. Meng Hao lifted his right hand and flashed an incantation sign, then pointed down to the ground.
“Demon Sealing… Eighth Hex, Body Sealing!” He lifted his hand up from the ground and pointed at the broken figure in front of him.
The entire building, the entire mountain shook. Although, they weren’t actually shaking. It was only an illusion. Meng Hao’s body and his finger were what was really shaking. In Meng Hao’s eyes, the entire world seemed to congeal together. Then, multiple ghost images of the world appeared, one on top of another.
The building and the mountain were there in the illusion, and as for the figure, a ghost image appeared of it as well!
For the first time, a look of surprise and disbelief appeared on the figure’s face. It seemed as if its mouth were shaping to cry out, but before it could, the ghost images of the world fell upon it, binding it up. It couldn’t move at all.
At this moment, Meng Hao stepped forward and lifted his right hand. Using his thumb, he cut his middle finger. Blood flowed out, turning it into a Blood Finger.
This was one of the arts that had been branded onto his mind by the Blood Immortal Legacy, one of the three magical abilities that did not require the use of the mask.
However, these arts required a very powerful Cultivation base. After practicing a bit secretly, Meng Hao had been able to utilize the Blood Finger. However, as far as the Blood Palm and Blood Death World, he was still not able to use them.
In any case, this was the first time in tens of thousands of years that the Blood Finger had appeared in the Southern Domain. It was inherently powerful. When you consider that in the Blood Immortal Legacy spell matrix Meng Hao had already mastered the ability to focus the power of his Cultivation base, then this finger attack, combined with the three Perfect Dao Pillars of his Perfect Foundation, would shock even the Dao Children of various Sects.
Meng Hao strode forward and pressed the middle finger of his right hand between the eyebrows of the strange figure, then scraped it downward. A shrill scream sounded out as the figure’s body began to tremble. A massive bloody cut appeared starting between its eyebrows and stretching down about thirty centimeters. Vast quantities of gray-colored Qi poured out. Suddenly, its body could move again, and it retreated at top speed, shooting out of the second floor.
Without hesitating, Meng Hao followed in pursuit, his eyes flashing. Everything was quiet, which was odd, so Meng Hao stopped. After thinking for a moment, he returned to his residence and then slapped his bag of holding. He took out the good luck charm and cast some Spiritual Sense into it, then breathed a sigh of relief when he found what he was looking for. It was still operational. He chose not to teleport away, but instead looked coldly out of the building. There was no wind or rustle of leaves, no sign of trouble or disturbance. If there were, he could leave in an instant.
Time passed, and suddenly a bloodcurdling scream rose up from from one of the surrounding mountains. Then a second, and a third. In the end, there were a total of five!
Three of them were actually Black Sieve Sect disciples who were in the region but hadn’t hidden themselves. They screamed as their bodies withered up, their flesh and blood sucked away until their lifeless skin flopped onto the ground.
This night would not pass peacefully. Many of the Foundation Establishment Cultivators were on guard, and even many of the Black Sieve Sect disciples were dispatched out. It wasn’t until dawn broke that things seemed to calm down.
Many people saw that it was a broken-down figure who cruelly slaughtered the Black Sieve Sect disciples, and the two Foundation Establishment Cultivators. Eventually, the figure was put down by a Black Sieve Sect Elder. To most of the Cultivators, this counted as the explanation they had been waiting for.
In the following few days, there were no more mysterious deaths among the Foundation Establishment Cultivators. Gradually, people stopped talking about the event.
Time flashed by, and soon six days had passed since Meng Hao had arrived at the Black Sieve Sect. As the days passed, Meng Hao maintained his vigilance. However, no one bothered him during that time. On the dawn of the seventh day, the clear sound of bells rang out, filling the region of the Ten Thousand Mountains and reaching the ears of all the Foundation Establishment Cultivators.
“Fellow Daoists of the Southern Domain,” a voice echoed out. “You have already received your Sieve Earth Pills. The time has come to perform your services. If you can help the Black Sieve Sect to acquire the object we seek, then you will be rewarded with more Sieve Earth Pills!” Beam after beam of multicolored light shot up from the various mountains as the Foundation Establishment Cultivators flew into the sky. Meng Hao followed suit, flying up and floating in mid-air, looking around coldly.
From the Black Sieve Sect Thousand Mountains, dozens of beams of prismatic light whistled up into the air. In addition, there were multiple black-colored Feng Shui compasses, each one around thirty meters in diameter.
Upon each Feng Shui compass stood only one person. Three or four wore Daoist robes of the Black Sieve Sect and were at the Qi Condensation stage. The others were all of the Foundation Establishment stage.
The Qi Condensation disciples all had embarrassed, nervous expressions on their faces, as if they didn’t want to be here. However, they could not defy the orders of the Sect. These were all Outer Sect disciples who had ordinary latent talent. Disciples with better latent talent would not have been dispatched out.
Shortly afterward, ten violet colored Feng Shui compasses, three hundred meters in diameter, flew out from the Hundred Mountains region of the Black Sieve Sect. Upon each of these compasses sat a cross-legged Cultivator. One of them was the girl named Han Bei. As far as the nine other violet-robed Cultivators who sat cross-legged on the compasses, there were both men and women. All of them seemed in high spirits. These were obviously Chosen from the Sect.
They flew forth and then hovered in the air. Further off in the distance, three golden-colored, three-thousand meter wide Feng Shui compasses appeared. They flew forward.
On each of these compasses sat a person. Two were men and one was a woman. One was Elder Chen, and the other two appeared to be middle-aged, with cold expressions. The power of Core Formation rippled out from them, attracting everyone’s attention.
After the golden Feng Shui compasses, another, smaller one appeared. It was only about three hundred meters in diameter, and violet colored. Sitting cross-legged on this Feng Shui compass was an old man in a violet robe.
He had a black birthmark on his face which somewhat spoiled his transcendent demeanor. He looked fierce, and the instant he appeared, it seemed as if everything suddenly grew dark.
However, what caught Meng Hao’s attention wasn’t the old man. Behind him was a massive Feng Shui compass with hundreds of Cultivators. Amidst them was a lonely looking woman.
The instant he caught sight of her, Meng Hao thought of that day years ago, under the moonlight. In his mind, he could see her looking back at him, and could even hear the words she had spoken.
“I went to the Pill Cultivation Workshop. The Cosmetic Cultivation Pill you gave me before wasn’t purchased by you.” 1
Elder Sister Xu
If you want to re-read the part with the quote from Elder Sister Xu, it’s at the very end of Chapter 37: Water and Ink in the Evening ↩