In the years to come, the Cultivators outside the basin of the Rebirth Cave would be unable to forget the events they had witnessed.
In their memories, they would always be able to see that shooting star flying out from the fog within the basin. It seemed to be ablaze with heaven-shattering fire, emitting a bright glow that they would never be able to forget.
Within that flame and glow was, of course, Meng Hao.
Legacy Apprentice of the Violet Fate Sect; fourth Grandmaster of the Southern Domain, Pill Cauldron; owner of the Sublime Spirit Scripture; inheritor of the Blood Immortal legacy. Any one of these would be enough to make a Cultivator famous.
But for all of them to be embodied in a single person… would cause that person to become a legend in the Southern Domain.
By now, Meng Hao was absolutely a legend. His Cultivation base was not very high, and he had not been in the Southern Domain for a very long time. That didn’t matter, though. He could not prevent himself from shining brightly; from that day forward, he was like the sun in the noon sky!
No one would be able to forget that shooting star, nor the massive image of the roc which appeared in the air. The roc was massive, and Meng Hao seemed to make up its nucleus. It shot out from the basin, flying over the staring Cultivators.
They watched him soar out from the basin, charge through the blockade of Nascent Soul Cultivators from the Ji and Li Clans, and shatter through the swirling sealing spells. The seals collapsed behind him as the shooting star and the roc soared through Heaven and Earth!
Thousands of kilometers off in the distance, they disappeared from the region of the Rebirth Cave, fading off over the horizon.
Soon after, a vortex appeared, into which he flew. Then he was truly gone.
The Cultivators from the Violet Fate Sect, including the two Spirit Severing Patriarchs, looked off into the distance as Meng Hao disappeared. They saw with their own eyes that he had made it to safety, and, deep in their hearts, heaved sighs of relief.
Wu Dingqiu stood there, a complicated look on his face. In his heart, he sighed with emotion, thinking back to Meng Hao in the State of Zhao. He thought about the first time he’d seen him, and the events regarding the iron spear.
It seemed like a dream. As he thought back to it all, Wu Dingqiu almost couldn’t believe it was real.
Eccentric Song looked up into the sky, and his expression was as emotional as Wu Dingqiu’s.
Next to him was Song Jia, who had appeared some time earlier. She was silent as she looked off toward the horizon. As she watched the man who was ostensibly her husband, and yet with whom she had never exchanged even a single word, her furrowed brow revealed the bitterness that she had been unable to dispel throughout the years.
Patriarch Violet Sieve also looked on silently. He shook his head with a bitter smile. The Black Sieve Sect was quite familiar with Meng Hao. Because of the events in the ancient Blessed Land, and the matter of Ultimate Vexation bonding him as master, the Black Sieve Sect was truly in a hopeless deadlock with Meng Hao.
However, regardless of any of that, Meng Hao, wearing the face of Fang Mu, had dared to swagger back into the Black Sieve Sect and engage in an alchemic battle. Then he even concocted pills for them.
As Patriarch Violet Sieve thought of all of these things, he felt admiration deep in his heart.
The members of the Solitary Sword Sect, the Golden Frost Sect and the Wang Clan all had various expressions on their faces. Fortunately, Wang Tengfei was not present; if he was, his complicated emotions would overwhelm him like floodwaters.
Throughout the years, all of the five great Clans and three great Sects had unknowingly become familiar with either Meng Hao or Fang Mu.
Han Bei sighed. Images of Meng Hao and Fang Mu spun in her mind, gradually overlapping with each other, to create an image of a man in a red robe, wearing a mask, lifting his head and laughing toward the Heavens. It created a truly profound impression on her.
Wang Youcai was also silent as he thought back to Mount Daqing, and Yunjie County.
Chu Yuyan bit her lip, unable to determine what exactly she was feeling. It seemed that inside of her was pain, melancholy, and disappointment. It was like something had slipped through her fingers. She felt as if… she had suddenly lost something.
Ye Feimu lowered his head, refusing to look up into the sky. However, within his eyes was the glow of stubbornness. He had faith that Meng Hao would rise to prominence in some other location. That meant that he could not slack off. There would be a day in the future when the two of them would meet again; when that day came, he would gain victory over Meng Hao in the Dao of alchemy.
Chen Fan let out a light sigh. He now knew that he and his little Junior Brother from the Reliance Sect had long since begun to tread vastly different paths.
In his heart, he held deep admiration for Meng Hao. He didn’t envy his identity, but rather admired his life. It seemed that Meng Hao’s life was… vastly more wonderful than his own.
“Perhaps, he is a true Cultivator….” murmured Chen Fan.
A look of astonishment blossomed in Li Shiqi’s eyes. She thought back to what the mysterious Patriarch had told her the day she left the Sect to come here.
“Will we meet again?” she thought with a slight laugh.
Some distance away, Xu Qing was gazing off at the horizon. “We’ll definitely meet again,” she murmured inwardly. Her personality was simple, and her features cold. She wasn’t very intelligent, but her stubbornness ran much deeper than the average person.
Her stubbornness was such that it transformed into a promise.
“I’m waiting for you….” she said in her heart. Then she sighed.
The Milky Way Sea divides the lands of South Heaven into two parts: east and north, west and south.
The Great Tang in the Eastern Lands, the Qiang Di flute of the Northern Desert, the outstanding heroes of the Southern Domain, the totems of the Western Desert.
The Great Tang in the Eastern Lands is known for its power, the Northern Desert for its intrepid barbarians, the Southern Domain for its many outstanding heroes. As for the Western Desert, well, it is known as the Barbarian West with its Western Devils. In fact, its name actually represents madness.
Chaos is the normal state of affairs in the Western Desert. There are no Sects there, only countless Tribes. Some Tribes formed alliances, and then larger coalitions of power.
Because of the infertility of the land, and the scarcity of resources, as well as the deplorable condition of the environment, the Western Desert Cultivators lived a life of merciless killing. They cultivated the power of their totems, longing for the day when they would take over the Southern Domain.
The two great wars between the west and the south had resulted in great sealing spells that separated the two powers. The regions left unsealed became the Black Lands. They belonged to the Southern Domain as well as the Western Desert. As such, there was more freedom there, as well as more ruthlessness.
Some areas there were infertile, but some were the opposite, creating a polarizing effect. Killing occurred at the slightest pretext, causing the land to constantly be filled with the reek of blood.
At this very moment, at a spot roughly a day’s journey from the Black Lands in the Southern Domain, was a vast plain overgrown with weeds. It was midday, and a bleak wind blew across the leaves, causing them to rustle slightly.
Suddenly, a vortex appeared, with a gaping mouth like that of a black hole. As it appeared in mid-air, it emitted no sound.
The sudden appearance of a vortex like this would naturally arouse quite a bit of attention. However, few Southern Domain Cultivators ever came to this area.
Moments later, someone emerged from the vortex of the black hole. He staggered forward, then looked back at the vortex, causing his white hair to whip around his head.
On his forehead could be seen a mark that looked both like a scale and a feather.
This was none other than Meng Hao.
Using the powerful momentum of the roc, he had activated his good luck charm to teleport away from the region of the Rebirth Cave, to reappear here.
He floated in mid-air, watching the vortex disappear, a look of confusion covering his face. Everything around him was quiet, except for the sound of the wind.
After some time passed, he produced a jade slip, and looked down at it with a serious expression. Having confirmed his current location, he let out a sigh. He turned toward the direction of the Violet Fate Sect and gave a deep bow.
He held the bow for the space of several breaths. When he looked back up, the confusion in his eyes was gone, replaced instead with determination.
“I spent roughly ten comfortable years in the Violet Fate Sect,” he murmured quietly. “I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to live life as a lone Rogue Cultivator.” He waved his right hand, causing a violet-colored seed to fly out and burrow into the ground. Suddenly, the dirt heaved, and a mass of thick vines flew up to circle around Meng Hao.
He sat down cross-legged in their midst. Eyes glittering, he passed his will into the vines, and they surged forward, carrying him toward the Black Lands.
He closed his eyes as he traveled as quickly as possible away from the Southern Domain. He would not allow any delays. However, his Cultivation base was unstable at the moment, and he had been seriously injured. His life force and longevity had been restored somewhat by the scale-feather. However, what remained was still less than a sixty year cycle.
Unless it were absolutely necessary, Meng Hao had no desire to waste or consume it.
“I’ll be in the Black Lands soon; once I’m there, I can find a suitable place to treat my injuries…. It’s impossible to say for sure how long it will be before people from the Ji Clan come looking for me to kill me.” His expression was calm as he traveled along, sitting cross-legged atop the vines. He permitted them to move forward at the fastest speed possible, which allowed him to spend some time tending to his wounds.
He slapped his bag of holding to produce the copper mirror. He glanced at it for a moment, then put it back.
“As soon as I reached Core Formation,” he thought, “I got the feeling that all I had to do was calm myself and cast my sense into the mirror. With that, I would be able to awaken the spirit within…. Unfortunately, the circumstances were far too dire at the time.” He wasn’t sure what would happen when the spirit within the item emerged. Now, his mind was not at peace, so it wasn’t the best time to attempt to communicate with it; he would wait until after he was fully healed.
Next, he produced Ji Hongdong’s bag of holding. The first thing he noticed was a magical sealing mark on its surface. It wouldn’t be easy to open. After a moment’s consideration, he put it back. With the flick of a hand, he next produced a small bell.
This bell was the magical item Ji Hongdong had used. Meng Hao examined it for a moment, then closed his eyes and focused on dealing with his injuries.
As of dusk of the following day, he had encountered nothing startling or dangerous. Meng Hao’s vines carried him into the Black Lands, which was an easily identifiable area. The ground here was black, as were most of the plants that grew in the area.
This was the reason it was called the Black Lands.
However, the instant Meng Hao entered the Black Lands, the ancient voice of the Demon Sealing Jade suddenly appeared in his mind.
“An Immortal of the Ninth Mountain; the pinnacle of brushwork; magical symbols of all creatures; collapse of the Heavens…. The power is fused within this land, transformed into destruction, and filled with Demonic life force. This land… can be used to cultivate… the art of Righteous Bestowal!”
Meng Hao’s mind shook, and his eyes immediately snapped open.
He snatched out the Demon Sealing Jade; as soon as he touched it, an icy coldness poured into his fingers, filling his mind. It transformed into a mnemonic, a unique divine ability of the League of Demon Sealers!
Righteous Bestowal, impart Demonic power upon any living creature!