Zhao Shanhe was quite proud of himself. He held Xue Yuncui in one arm as he shot in pursuit of tender Xu Qing. A smile covered his face, filled with lechery.
He lifted his hand, sending a wind blowing past Xu Qing, lifting up her garments. He laughed loudly.
Seeing Xu Qing so stubborn and yet so weak filled him with excitement. He continued to send wind shooting over her, which caused more and more damage to her garments. She bit her lip as she fled. Soon, a feeling of desperation began to well up within her.
The fawning of Xue Yuncui coupled with the occasional vicious remarks uttered by Xu Qing caused Zhao Shanhe’s eyes to shine even more brightly.
Yet, he wasn’t in a hurry. It didn’t seem to him that Xu Qing would fall into any good fortune like last time. She couldn’t escape him, so he would enjoy the process of capturing her. That was what he liked the most. The weaker his prey, the more exciting it was. The more she struggled, the crueler he would be.
“Xu Qing, I’ve had my eye on you from the year you entered the Black Sieve Sect. I even spread the word about it. Why do you think no one has bothered you all these years? And yet, you continue to refuse my goodwill! You really don’t know how to appreciate favors. You can’t blame me for being ruthless.” He let out a hearty laugh. Were he in the Sect, he would have more qualms about breaking Sect rules, especially because there were so many people around. However, in this place, he didn’t have anything to be scared of.
Furthermore, he was a Conclave disciple of the Black Sieve Sect, which was a position even higher than the Inner Sect. He could really call the wind and summon rain among his fellow disciples.
In addition to all that, one of the Patriarchs of his Zhao Clan was an Elder of the Black Sieve Sect. Plus, several hundred years ago, a Zhao Clan member had reached the Nascent Soul stage and become a Sect Patriarch, then went into secluded meditation and still hadn’t emerged. Because of that Nascent Soul Patriarch, the Zhao Clan was deeply entrenched within the Black Sieve Sect.
Actually, despite being a Conclave disciple, Zhao Shanhe did not have extraordinary latent talent. No other person in the Sect with his latent talent would ever have been able to reach Foundation Establishment. However, with the support and direction of a Core Formation Patriarch, along with multiple Foundation Establishment Pills, he was finally able to do it.
After becoming a Foundation Establishment Cultivator, Zhao Shanhe was quite pleased with himself. He had grown up in the Sect, and other than a few people who could not be provoked, everyone must bend to his will. If he wanted wind, it was windy. If he wanted rain, it was rainy.
Within the Zhao Clan, there were two sons of the current generation. One was him, the other was from another branch of the Zhao Clan, his cousin, Zhao Binwu.
Like him, Zhao Binwu was a Conclave disciple. In terms of latent talent, his was above and beyond Zhao Shanhe, and he was viewed as an important member of the Clan to be nurtured. Zhao Shanhe was well aware of this, of course, and didn’t get involved with rivalries with him. Instead, he immersed himself in pleasure. Normally, if he fancied a female disciple in the Sect, she wouldn’t refuse him. After all, even if she wasn’t willing, refusing him was useless.
The Patriarchs didn’t pay attention to such matters. If anything, he could expand the clan. In any case, if a female disciple really did get pregnant, she would instantly be in a much higher position than before.
Due to a variety of lucky circumstances, Zhao Shanhe was like a spoiled rich kid within the Sect. He wasn’t very well known in the outside world, but within the Sect he was quite infamous.
“Look, the stars are out. It’s almost time. We can use the stars as our wedding candles, and this place will serve as nuptial chamber. What do you say?” He laughed again, lifting a finger to send another blast of wind at Xu Qing.
Her body trembled and blood seeped from her mouth. Actually, Zhao Shanhe had to carefully control the spiritual energy he used, otherwise it would kill her.
As her body quivered, the colorful cloud beneath her feet suddenly fell apart. Xu Qing fell down to the ground. Laughing melodically, Xue Yuncui shot forward and grabbed her, shoving her down into the dirt. Xu Qing couldn’t even struggle.
Her face was pale, and her features somewhat wan. However coldness filled her eyes as she watched Zhao Shanhe walking over, untying his robe as he came. A look of desperation filled her, and she tried to bit off her tongue, but Xue Yuncui restrained her jaw.
“Now now, Junior Sister Xu, you can’t do that. If you really want to kill yourself, you’ll have to wait until Elder Brother Zhao is done having fun.” Xue Yuncui laughed. Her words were spoken tenderly, but were filled with sinister viciousness.
“Excellent, excellent,” laughed Zhao Shanhe, looking appreciatively at Xue Yuncui. He stroked her face, which caused her eyes to shine. It seemed his approval was very stimulating to her.
Zhao Shanhe looked at Xu Qing, who was helplessly pinned against the ground by Xue Yuncui. His gaze roved over her lithe curves, and he laughed.
“If I gave you some medicinal pills,” he said, “then I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the struggle. So of course I won’t give you any.” His robe was now completely untied.
Xu Qing’s body quivered, and tears seeped out of her eyes. She couldn’t struggle. Xue Yuncui’s Cultivation base was higher than hers. Plus, she was exhausted from fleeing, and was being held down tightly. There was no way to flee.
The coldness on her face dissipated, replaced with bitterness and desperation. Her eyes emptied. Suddenly, it seemed she could see the Reliance Sect, and Meng Hao, standing on the East Mountain. She thought of Mount Daqing, and the young scholar stooping down and tossing a rattan vine over a cliff.
She remembered the first time she saw Meng Hao 1. She had been standing behind him as he searched for rattan vines. She watched him throw the vine down the cliff, and had heard him talking about Immortals to the people below.
At that time, she’d thought that this mortal scholar was very interesting. Thus, she’d taken him with her.
She thought about the stares of the crowd 2 when Meng Hao had offered her the medicinal pill…. And she thought about how he had gazed back at her right before he entered the black door.
“It’s all over….” The streaming tears made her face seem very bleak. She couldn’t stop herself from shaking. She was scared. From the day she had left the Reliance Sect until now, she had not experienced any happiness. And now, it seemed everything was coming to an end.
When she was a little girl, she had realized that she wasn’t very intelligent, and in fact, sometimes very foolish. Therefore, she had mastered the ability to cover it up with a cold smile. She used coldness and silence to conceal her lack of intelligence, and to make the world a bit simpler.
She didn’t like complicated things, because she often didn’t understand them. She liked peace and quiet. She liked to practice Cultivation by herself. As she did so, she watched the years pass, observed the ebb and flow of life, and recalled beautiful memories from the past.
This was her. Xu Qing. A cold exterior, and a simple heart.
She tried hard not to cry. Her body shook, and she closed her eyes. She didn’t want to look at Zhao Shanhe and his overwhelming strength. She was simply a Qi Condensation Cultivator in a Sect where happiness was unachievable. She had no strength to resist… nor even the ability to die.
As she closed her eyes, Xue Yuncui laughed and then spoke into her ear, her voice cool and complex. “Hey, you can’t fight back, so just close your eyes. That’s what I did all those years back. If you want to blame something, blame your aloofness, and blame your Cultivation base. You’re just too weak….”
Zhao Shanhe’s laughter echoed out. He waved his right hand, and a pink glow spread out. It enveloped the entire area within a thirty meter radius, creating a glimmering, pink shield that concealed everything within. The three of them were completely hidden. From the outside, the area didn’t look unusual at all.
At the same time that the cloaking shield went up, a fiery beam of light shot across the sky nearby. It screamed through the air, a cold-faced Meng Hao in its middle.
He arrived in the blink of an eye, his gaze sweeping the land. He frowned. There didn’t seem to be anything unusual at all in the area. He was about to leave, when his eyes flashed. He took out the jade slip and examined it. It was then that he noticed that the white dot representing Xu Qing, as well as the two others, had vanished.
He wasn’t sure why, but a feeling of deep unrest rose up in his heart. He looked down at the ground, and then waved his hand. As he did, a thirty meter long Flame Dragon roared out, shooting downward. A boom sounded out, and dust rose up from the ground.
However, there was one area, about thirty meters in diameter, from which no dust rose up whatsoever. It was clearly different from its surroundings.
Zhao Shanhe was concealed inside the shield, looking pleased. He licked his lips and his eyes shone as he prepared to throw himself upon Xu Qing. Suddenly, a boom could be heard from outside. He frowned, looking up, his pupils constricting.
Xue Yuncui also looked up in astonishment. She reacted to the situation quickly. Almost reflexively, she pulled out a sharp sword and placed it against Xu Qing’s neck.
This was because she had seen a young man outside wearing a black scholar’s robe. His eyes glowed with killing intent, and as he lifted his hand, she could see that one of his fingers was coated with blood. He touched the surface of the shield, and an explosion shook everything. He opened his mouth, and a mist of lightning roiled out, slamming into the pink shield.
Another explosion rocked the earth and sky, echoing out. The shield couldn’t withstand the power, and collapsed in a boom. In the midst of her despair, Xu Qing opened her eyes. She stared blankly as the shield disintegrated. Beyond where the shield was breaking apart, she saw a person. Killing intent and murder boiled off of him. Behind his body writhed a mass of dark red vines!
He looked like a Death Immortal who had just emerged from the yellow springs of the underworld, filled with rage and insanity. As he approached, a massive wind kicked up that shook everything.
“Are you two … looking to die?!?!” It didn’t seem possible for Meng Hao’s voice to contain more fury than it did. It came out as a roar that filled their ears, as if it had been transmitted from hell itself!
“Meng Hao….” said Xu Qing, smiling. Her smile was beautiful, and didn’t contain any of her usual coldness. It was a simple smile.
Simple and happy.
This chapter sponsored by Dante Madut, Rodrigo Ribeiro, Djaja Sukandar and Jacob Keaton
The first time Xu Qing met Meng Hao was in Chapter 1: Scholar Meng Hao ↩
The “stares of the crowd” was from Chapter 5: This Kid isn’t Bad ↩