This azure-masked Cultivator was the same Core Formation expert who had attempted to kill him that day not long ago.
“I’ve already run out of people to fight here,” thought Meng Hao. “This guy… is definitely my next opponent!” The glittering in his eyes soon subsided. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, meditating and rotating his Cultivation base, ensuring that he was at the peak of his ability.
Now that he had decided to fight, he was extremely calm.
Regardless of whether he won or lost, he must attack! This battle would be the final step in his enlightenment!
The instant he closed his eyes, the people from the Black Lands arrived, attracting the attention of almost all the surrounding Cultivators.
Zhou Jie and the others who had reached Core Formation were not present. However, Wang Lihai and Han Shandao, as well as all the other Dao Children and Chosen of the other Sects, were all there.
Among the tens of thousands of Cultivators near the Dao Geyser, there were many who recognized the two in the gold masks.
“Those two in the gold-colored masks… they’re Dao Children who have risen to prominence in the last year in the Black Lands!
“Black Lands Dao Children Luo Chong and Xu Fei!” 1
“That must be them. Only they would be wearing gold-colored masks!”
The discussions spread, and soon all eyes came to rest on the two Black Lands Dao Children. In the past year, stories about them had spread into the Southern Domain, making them quite well known. They were half way to Core Formation, and according to rumor, might increase their Cultivation bases at any time.
“The three in the azure masks behind them must be the Black Lands Three Azures. All three have Cultivation bases at the Core Formation stage. Even more shocking is their Core Qi…. They say that a lot of alchemists were captured by them.”
“Core Formation Cultivators who have Core Qi are not to be trifled with….”
Wang Lihai frowned as he looked at the group of people from the Black Lands. Not far off, Han Shandao of the Solitary Sword Sect didn’t look very pleased. This was especially so as he looked at the Black Lands Dao Children.
Song Yunshu stood wordlessly in the crowd, his face grim.
The two gold-masked Dao Children from the Black Lands peered down at the crowds. One of them spoke. His voice was soft at first, but then rapidly escalated into a roar like thunder. “I, Luo Chong from the Black Lands, wish to challenge the Southern Domain’s heroic Dao Children to a duel!”
Immediately, the black-robed, white-masked Cultivators moved backward.
The three azure-masked Cultivators’ faces didn’t change in the slightest. They hovered cross-legged in mid-air, paying no attention to what was happening.
The other gold-masked Black Lands Dao Child, Xu Fei, also spoke, in a voice much much softer than Luo Chong’s, but which became icy cold as it entered the ears of the surrounding Cultivators. “I, Xu Fei from the Black Lands, also wish to challenge the Southern Domain’s heroic Dao Children to a duel!”
Not a single of the tens of thousands of Cultivators surrounding the Dao Geyser said a word. They simply looked up at Luo Chong and Xu Fei, a variety of different thoughts running through their heads.
Luo Chong gave a cold harrumph. “Don’t tell me that among the throngs of Southern Domain Cultivators, not one dares to fight with us?” His words rang out, filled with an intangible domineering aura that made his challenge seem even more intense.
Suddenly, a cold snort filled the air. A beam of light shot up; this was not someone from one of the five Sects or three Clans. It was a Cultivator from some other Sect, with a Cultivation base of the great circle of Foundation Establishment. He shot directly toward Luo Chong.
Beneath his mask, the Black Lands Dao Child smiled. His body flickered as he advanced to meet the attack. As the man approached, he stretched out both arms; multiple ghost images sprang up, and suddenly, the illusory image of a huge cauldron appeared and shot forward.
A massive boom rang out. The Southern Domain Cultivator staggered backward, coughing up blood, his face pale. Luo Chong waved his sleeve and advanced further. More booms filled the air, for the space of a few breaths. Finally, a blood-curdling scream could be heard. Blood fountained out from the neck of the Southern Domain Cultivator. Only a thin strip of flesh connected it to the body as it tumbled to the ground.
Luo Chong slowly lifted his gore-covered right hand and wiped some blood onto his gold mask. The sight was terrifying.
“Fellow Daoist Wang Lihai. As Dao Child of the Wang Clan, do you dare to fight with me!?” Luo Chong cried. His eyes shone brightly beneath his mask as he looked toward the Wang Clan Cultivators, and Wang Lihai.
Wang Lihai lifted his head, and began to stride toward Luo Chong, his eyes glowing.
The instant he began to move, Han Shandao from the Solitary Sword Sect also rose to his feet, then flew into the air toward Black Lands Dao Child Xu Fei.
The appearance of the two of them caused quite a stir among the Southern Domain Cultivators. All eyes were fixed on them; this battle was a fight between four Dao children. Unless something unexpected happened, their names would rock the world, regardless of who gained victory.
The eyes of the Black Lands Dao Children, Luo Chong and Xu Fei, glistened with concentration. They watched as Han Shandao and Wang Lihai approached. It seemed none of the four wanted to make the first move.
As far as Luo Chong and Xu Fei were concerned, this battle represented the pinnacle of the might of the Southern Domain. No one under Core Formation could possibly unleash greater power in battle than the great circle of Foundation Establishment.
Therefore, their eyes filled with concentration, and within their hearts burned the fiery desire for battle.
Everything was quiet as the crowds looked at the four Dao Children and waited for this pinnacle of battles to begin.
However even as everyone was paying rapt attention to these four, suddenly, someone among the throngs of cross-legged Cultivators slowly stood up.
He wore an azure scholar’s robe, and as he rose, he flew up into the air. This was none other than Meng Hao.
His appearance caused looks of astonishment to appear on the faces of the tens of thousands of Cultivators who surrounded the Dao Geyser. It wasn’t just them. The four Dao Children in mid-air stared at him in surprise.
Wang Lihai’s eyes came to rest on Meng Hao’s clothes. Seeing their azure color, his eyes narrowed, and the image of a person appeared in his mind.
Not far off, Han Shandao looked equally thoughtful as he stared at Meng Hao’s clothes.
“Interesting,” said Luo Chong with a smile. “This Fellow Daoist seems to have made his move a bit late. But he seems to have his mind made up. Fellow Daoist Wang, Fellow Daoist Han, would you permit me to first slay him?” As he looked at Meng Hao, he didn’t seem to think much of him. He had seen pictures of all of the famous Chosen and Dao Children in the Southern Domain, and Meng Hao didn’t look familiar to him at all. As such, he came to the conclusion that he wasn’t even worth paying attention to.
A Cultivator like this could be killed without a second thought by Luo Chong.
Without waiting for a response from Wang or Han, Luo Chong flicked his sleeve, turned, and headed directly toward Meng Hao.
“When Luo Chong attacks,” he said with a laugh, “he leaves behind only fatal wounds, not injuries. You deserve praise for your courage, so I’ll leave your body intact.” Seeing all this happen, the surrounding tens of thousands of Cultivators frowned.
To them, Meng Hao’s actions seemed far too impulsive. If anything, it was simply delaying the amazing battle that was about to take place.
“Who is that? Does he really think he can join a battle of Dao Children?”
“He must think his Cultivation base is pretty amazing, so he wants to join the battle to earn some fame….”
As the discussions were beginning to spread, Luo Chong descended upon Meng Hao. As Meng Hao hovered there in mid-air, his cold voice suddenly rang out like rolling thunder, “You’re no match for me,” he said to Luo Chong. “The person I want to fight….” He suddenly pointed. “Is YOU!!”
This second ‘you’ was directed to none other than the skinny azure-masked Cultivator who was sitting cross-legged in mid-air off in the distance.
The instant the words came out, the skinny, azure-masked Cultivator’s eyes snapped open. They glowed brightly as he looked at Meng Hao. His pupils constricted as he recognized him.
Meng Hao’s words obviously caused an enormous buzz of conversation to rise up among the tens of thousands of Southern Domain Cultivators. Many immediately rose to their feet, looks of disbelief written across their faces.
“Is that guy insane? He wants to fight an azure-masked Cultivator from the Black Lands?!?!”
“They’re in the Core Formation Stage, and have cultivated Core Qi. Who is that Cultivator? He looks like a scholar! Does he really dare to issue a challenge to a Core Formation Cultivator!?”
“Late Foundation Establishment fighting Core Formation. Hahaha! This isn’t something you see very often. This guy wants to be famous so badly, he’s willing to die for it!”
As the buzz of conversation filled the air, Wang Lihai’s eyes narrowed. Moments ago, he was unsure of Meng Hao’s identity. But now, he had no doubts whatsoever. He took a deep breath. He knew that this person was none other than the Faceless Azure Hero.
Only that mysterious azure-robed man qualified to look down on Foundation Establishment, and do something that since ancient times was rarely seen in the Cultivation world. He was turning everything upside down, issuing a challenge to the Core Formation stage while in the Foundation Establishment stage!
Han Shandao also took a deep breath. The exact same thoughts were going through his head as were going through Wang Lihai’s.
Luo Chong laughed loudly. “Southern Domain Cultivators really are very interesting. Apparently you aren’t familiar with the height of the Heavens and the depth of the Earth, and really have an exaggerated opinion of yourself! You are a trifling late Foundation Establishment stage Cultivator, not even of the great circle, and yet still dare to challenge a Black Lands azure-masked Cultivator.” An expression of ultimate ridicule covered his face beneath the mask. Before he even finished speaking, he lifted his right hand and waved it toward Meng Hao.
“I’ll leave your corpse intact,” said Luo Chong with a cold laugh. “Before you die, I’ll help you to understand the height of the Heavens, and the depth of the Earth!” Actually, his heart did not contain the contempt which filled his expression. He actually was taking the matter very seriously; he simply couldn’t believe that this guy was actually challenging the Core Formation stage. In his opinion, he must be expecting to rely on some help. As he waved his sleeve, a bright beam shot out toward Meng Hao. Behind him, the massive, illusory cauldron reappeared and then also shot toward Meng Hao.
Luo Chong’s name in Chinese is 罗冲 luó chōng – Luo is a surname which also means “sieve” or “net.” Chong means “charge” or “clash.” Xu Fei’s name in Chinese is 徐菲 Xú fēi – Xu is a common surname which also means “gentle” or “slow.” Fei means “humble” ↩