Hanxue Shan stared, her phoenix-like eyes wide with intense astonishment. Feeling awe for the powerful was one of the laws of the land. After all of the things that had happened, Meng Hao’s visage was now even more intensely imprinted onto her heart.
That was even more the case considering that in her mind, what Meng Hao had done just now had been for her sake.
Suddenly, her face flushed, and the look in her eyes as she gazed at him was completely different than before.
The four Grand Elders of Holy Snow City all gasped when they saw the inestimably noble Black Lands Palace Dao Child Luo Chong virtually prostrating himself before Meng Hao. They suddenly realized that Meng Hao was even more enigmatic than they had imagined.
This mysterious aura gave the Grand Elders a completely different feeling than they’d had for Zhou Dekun. Meng Hao seemed… far more frightening!
Meng Hao’s Dao of alchemy, which they had personally witnessed, his catalyzing and awakening of the Thorn Rampart, and the fear he inspired in the Black Lands Palace Dao Child, all caused their esteem of Meng Hao to increase to an unprecedented level.
“Since you didn’t know I was here, I’ll forget the matter,” said Meng Hao coolly, looking at Luo Chong. “But only this one time. Don’t take this to be a precedent.” When he heard the words, Luo Chong felt as if he had been given a new lease on life. His body relaxed. Trembling and excited, he bowed deeply to Meng Hao.
He had felt wronged, but now that he saw Meng Hao’s understanding, that feeling transformed into gratefulness. Of course, he had been poisoned by Meng Hao, so he really should hate him. Complex feelings filled him, and he swore to himself that in this life… he would never again come into this man’s presence.
Of course, if he knew that Meng Hao was also Fang Mu, then he would no doubt swear with redoubled intensity.
“I like the look of that Western Desert Cultivator over there,” said Meng Hao casually. “Could you lend him to me to study for a few days? I’ll give him back afterward.” Actually, this was his main purpose in stepping forward. His eyes glittered as he glanced at the Western Desert Cultivator’s totem tattoos.
The young Western Desert Cultivator’s face fell when he heard Meng Hao’s words. Before he could retreat, Luo Chong glanced back at him. As far as Luo Chong was concerned, Meng Hao’s words were orders to be followed without hesitation.
“Grab him!” he cried. The surrounding Cultivators didn’t hesitate. Their hands shot out as they grabbed the Western Desert Cultivator. He struggled a bit, but it only took the space of a few breaths for them to succeed in capturing him.
The young man trembled, and fear filled his eyes.
“The great Demon Lord has taken a liking to you,” said Luo Chong, his eyes brimming with viciousness. “That’s good fortune for you! Don’t struggle!” He didn’t care that his actions might cause grudges or ill feelings with the Western Desert Cultivators. As far as he was concerned, Meng Hao’s instructions were the most important.
“Great Demon Lord, you speak of lending, but please, allow me to give this person to you as a gift. I truly hope that you will accept, great Demon Lord.” He indicated for the hesitant Cultivators behind him to deliver over the young Western Desert Cultivator. They immediately flew over toward the Thorn Rampart, threw the furious young man over, and then returned.
Having done these thing, Luo Chong glanced at Meng Hao, who was looking quite satisfied as he hoisted the young man over his shoulder and turned to head back into the city. At this point, Luo Chong finally heaved a sigh of relief. He clasped hands and bowed, then turned and shot off at high speed. The two thousand Cultivators who had come with him, including the old man with the silver mask, all left with him. Their masks hid their embarrassed expressions as they did.
As the group was making to leave, one of the two Nascent Soul Cultivators from the Western Desert said, “The Black Lands Palace had better give the Western Desert a good explanation for this.” His voice was cool, and did not contain fury, yet was filled with power.
Even as the old man’s words sounded out, and Luo Chong and the others were about to leave, suddenly, a cold snort rang out, filling the air. The snort shook Heaven and Earth, transforming into a rumble that made everything vibrate. Cracks appeared on the surface of the ground, and it seemed as if the very air would be ripped into pieces.
It appeared as if the land couldn’t sustain the power of the snort, and was about to fall to pieces.
The snort caused the Nascent Soul Cultivator from the Western Desert to stumble backward a few paces. At the same time, Luo Chong and the others felt their hearts shaking, and stopped moving. Luo Chong’s eyes narrowed, and he started to pant.
Down on the ground, the multitude of beasts dropped onto their stomachs, quivering and wailing. The flying beasts also began to shake, and stopped moving.
The thousands of Cultivators on the ground felt their minds buzzing, filled with the sound of the snort, making them incapable of even thinking.
The sky above changed color and the ground heaved.
The countless thorns which surrounded Holy Snow City began to break apart. Shrill cries rang out as the entire city shook and filled with an enormous roaring sound. The massive city walls of ice and snow began to fall, and the star-shaped devices above the city collapsed.
All of the city’s protective spell formations had previously been penetrated, but since repaired. Under the power of this snort, though, they began to shatter and transform into flying dust.
Within the city, countless residences caved in. The Cultivators on the city walls coughed up blood and their faces twisted. There were even about a hundred Foundation Establishment Cultivators whose bodies directly exploded.
If it weren’t for the four Grand Elders’ immediate actions to protect their Clan Members, the Clan would have sustained severe casualties. However, the price they paid for this caused them to cough up mouthfuls of blood. The old woman, Third Elder, who had already been injured, felt her Cultivation base suddenly drop. Her body grew weak, and she seemed to be even older than before.
Meng Hao’s face flickered as he shot backward, coughing up four or five mouthfuls of blood. He looked up into the sky, where he saw what appeared to be a sun approaching!
This sun was black, and existed in the sky along with the normal blazing sun. If you looked closely, however, this black sun was actually a Cultivator wearing a black robe!
He appeared to be about forty years of age; however, he radiated an air of ancientness that far belied his young appearance. He was surrounded by a black glow that seemed to suck in all of the light around it. It was this that caused him to look like a black sun.
Along with him came an indescribable pressure which descended down from the sky.
Behind the black-robed Cultivator was a young man whose face was filled with reverence, even fanaticism. This young man was none other than… Hanxue Zong!
“Spirit Severing!!” Meng Hao’s eyes narrowed and he began to breathe heavily.
It wasn’t just him. The hearts and minds of everyone present began to tremble.
“Greetings, Spirit Severing Patriarch!” said Luo Chong excitedly. He immediately began to bow in mid-air. All the Cultivators surrounding him also began to prostrate themselves in shock.
Down on the ground, the thousands of Black Lands Palace Cultivators also dropped to their knees.
“Greetings, Spirit Severing Patriarch!”
The expressions of the Western Desert Cultivators changed. However, they did not kowtow, but merely bowed their heads. The two Western Desert Nascent Soul Cultivators gasped and lowered their heads in greeting.
Meng Hao’s heart sank. The arrival of the black-robed man indicated that this was definitely no longer an opening battle. A Spirit Severing Cultivator had been dispatched to bring things to an end.
Meng Hao frowned. “There are still two more months left before the Frigid Snow Larva is completed….” He sighed as he pulled the good luck charm out of his bag of holding. “Forget it. It seems there’s no way I’ll be able to get a Frigid Snow Larva. I’ll just have to figure out some other way of transcending the Tribulation.” He sighed emotionally. With a Spirit Severing Cultivator here, the situation really was doomed to end in only one way.
“If the mastiff were awake, or if my Cultivation base was at the Nascent Soul stage….” Meng Hao looked up at the black-robed Cultivator, sighing inwardly. Actually, he knew that even if he were of the Nascent Soul stage, in front of a Spirit Severing Cultivator, he would be nothing more than an insect.
“Spirit Severing…. Gain enlightenment of the Dao, Sever the self three times….” The Spirit Severing stage was a legendary realm that could only be reached through fortune, and not through seeking. Throughout the world, there were many Core Formation Cultivators, and not a few of the Nascent Soul stage. However, Spirit Severing Cultivators were rare, even in the expansive Southern Domain. Often, they would exist only as the Dao Reserve of a great Sect.
When Meng Hao thought of Spirit Severing, he couldn’t help but think of Patriarch Reliance.
As the black-robed Cultivator floated down from up in the sky, Holy Snow City was blanketed with deathly silence. Despair filled every heart and mind, both the Frigid Snow Clan members and the other Cultivators. Each and every one abandoned all hope of fighting back.
A pleased expression filled the face of Hanxue Zong as he followed the black-robed Cultivator. His gaze swept over the Frigid Snow Clan members, and a callous look appeared in his eyes.
However, as the black-robed Cultivator was still about three thousand meters above the city, he suddenly stopped moving. A profound look appeared in his eyes, as if he were in a position of ultimate authority, as if the great Dao of the Heavens gave him the right to look down on all living things.
As he floated there, it seemed like the Heavens and the Earth were fused together, inseparable. And yet, at the same time, it was as if they were separated, congealed into his own Dao, making the will of Heaven impossible to expunge.
It was as if everything in the world existed because of his will. This was because he had long since reached the Spirit Severing stage, and his first Severing. As for what had been severed, only people of the same stage might be able to pick up on some of the clues.
“Fellow Daoist Hanxue, we haven’t seen each other for several hundred years. Still on your deathbed? Why don’t you let me see you on your way?” As his eyes swept across the land, it was as if none of the Cultivators there deserved to be within his line of sight. What he was looking at was located deep in a subterranean chamber. There, sitting cross-legged atop a star-shaped altar, was an old man. He was completely withered and looked like a corpse.
“Still sleeping?” continued the black-robed Cultivator in a grating voice. “It seems my attempts to determine whether you are still alive were nothing but a waste. Let’s end this farce.” He shook his hand and then waved his arm.
The land in all directions began to quake. A Heavenly Pit suddenly appeared in the ground, right in the middle of the city!
It was at this very moment that the same ancient voice he had heard before once again spoke into Meng Hao’s ear.
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