The booming sound echoed out through the air as four figures shot out from the mouth of the seventh volcano. In the lead was a man wearing a long white robe. His hair whipped about him, and his eyes flickered as if with lightning. His expression was one of excitement. This was none other than Yan Song.
Behind Yan Song was Li Tian, whose eyes shone brightly with vigilance. He whistled through the air like a Black Dragon, his black robe flapping in the wind. He really did look like a dragon; the sight was incredibly imposing.
Behind him were Mo Li and Eccentric Wang.
When the four of them appeared, they were instantly filled with interest regarding this gray world. The next thing they saw was the great tree, plus Meng Hao and the corpse beneath it!
What caught their attention more than anything else, though, was the pill furnace!
“So, it is here!” said Yan Song, his eyes flickering with coldness. Next to him, Li Tian’s eyes were grim as he hovered in mid-air and stared at Meng Hao.
Mo and Wang also floated in mid-air, glancing around with flickering eyes. After seeing that Meng Hao was the only person present here, their eyes filled with a strange light.
“Fellow Daoist Meng, you’re so fast,” said Li Tian, laughing mirthlessly. “You’re not wearing your mask today, but we’re all old friends, right? There’s no need for any disguises. You beat us here, which is well and good, but according to our previous agreement, please produce whatever treasures you’ve acquired. It’s time to split our shares.” As he spoke, he moved forward toward Meng Hao. Yan Song, Mo and Wang also neared, surrounding Meng Hao.
Meng Hao frowned as he looked at the approaching Nascent Soul eccentrics. His face grew dark and he let out a cold harrumph, then suddenly kicked out with his right foot, sending the pill furnace flying into the air.
The instant his foot began to move, Li Tian’s right hand shot up and he pointed at Meng Hao.
“Fellow Daoist Meng, what are you doing?!” A black blur shot out from his finger. As it flew out into the air, it transformed into a rotating black flower with five petals. Each petal of the flower looked like a sinister face. They emitted mournful cries as they shot toward Meng Hao.
Meng Hao waved his right hand. A bloody light erupted up as the air in front of him turned the color of blood and a massive hand appeared. It instantly shot toward the black flower, slamming into it. A massive explosion ensued.
As the sound of the explosion rippled out, Meng Hao retreated backward. Yan Song and the others continued to approach. It was at this time that Meng Hao finally spoke.
“Fellow Daoist Li, I would like to ask YOU a question. What exactly are YOU doing? Why don’t the lot of you go look at that pill furnace!”
He flicked his sleeve, his expression grim. Having heard his words, Yan Song and the others suddenly stopped moving. Li Tian’s eyes narrowed and came to fall on the pill furnace. The others looked over as well, and instantly saw the hole in it.
The hole was obviously not recently made. Yan Song and the others were all wily old foxes, and it only took a glance for them to realize that the hole had been created long, long ago, not recently.
The four of them frowned and breathed with seeming difficulty.
Meng Hao’s expression was one of extreme displeasure, even rage. “I haven’t been here for long. After coming to this tree, I saw only this corpse and that damaged pill furnace!”
He had noticed earlier that the weakened Golden Crow had long since concealed itself atop the tree. Even if you looked closely, you wouldn’t be able to see it.
“If I said I didn’t find anything, you wouldn’t believe me. Well, I did find something!” Laughing coldly, he lifted his right hand up to reveal a jade slip. As everyone watched, he took out another jade slip, a white one, and then branded the information from the first one onto it. After that, he threw the first jade slip out in front of him.
Yan Song caught it, then looked at it with furrowed brow. He then handed it to Li Tian and the others, who also examined it and began to frown.
They should be able to tell at a glance whether the jade slip was real or a fake. But even Yan Song, an expert in the Dao of alchemy, was unfamiliar with most of the ancient medicinal plants listed therein.
Meng Hao’s face was dark, even filled with rage. His wording sharp, he said, “You want to cause a big fuss over a single jade slip? How disappointing! I’ll take my leave now. From now on, my path is not connected to any of you!”
His awe-inspiring display and sharp words left Yan Song and the others incapable of offering any sort of response.
Meng Hao gave a cold snort. Then, his body flickered as he turned into a beam of colorful light and shot off into the distance.
Before he could get very far, Li Tian suddenly disappeared. When he reappeared, he was directly in front of Meng Hao.
“Fellow Daoist Meng, why are you in such a hurry to leave? Exactly what else did you acquire? Don’t expect that a few trite words will convince us that you didn’t take the medicinal pill that burst out of that pill furnace.”
Meng Hao stopped. Now, his expression was no longer grim, but calm. His eyes were ice cold as he looked at Li Tian.
“Well, Fellow Daoist Li, what brilliant opinion do you have?”
“I won’t dare to use the word brilliant, Fellow Daoist Meng,” he replied slowly, staring Meng Hao in the eye. “But since you got here before us, it will be difficult for you to avoid suspicions. Just hand over your bag of holding and let us search it, that should be enough.”
Meng Hao looked back at him, then started to chuckle. His chuckle turned into uproarious laughter, that eventually began ripples that shook everything in the area. Li Tian’s face flickered; Yan Song and the others suddenly looked very serious.
“You want to search my bag of holding? Li Tian, have you suddenly reached the Spirit Severing stage?!” Killing intent blazed within Meng Hao’s eyes. He began to lift his right hand, but even as he did, Li Tian flashed an incantation gesture with both hands and then shoved them forward.
As he shoved his hands forward, a black mist surged up, which then transformed into a long black spear. Rumbling filled the air as the spear shot toward Meng Hao. It moved with incredible speed, but even as it neared Meng Hao, the Wood totem tattoo on his forehead glittered. Suddenly, an enormous Wood character appeared in front of him.
Simultaneously, boundless Wood-type aura erupted out. Instantly, the approaching spear began to shake.
Rumbling filled the air as Meng Hao’s body shot backward at high speed. His left hand slapped his bag of holding, and Wooden Time Swords flew out to form the Lotus Sword Formation. The formation rotated in mid-air, its appearance like that of an enormous lotus!
This formation embodied both the shape and the will of a lotus. In addition, it contained the natural properties of intelligence embodied by a lotus, something that Meng Hao had come to gain enlightenment regarding throughout his years of observing lotuses.
Propelled by the power of the Wooden Time Swords, the glowing, ten-meter wide lotus shot through the air toward Li Tian, rumbling the entire way.
“Time!” said Meng Hao softly, his expression cold.
Immediately, the shocking power of Time emanated out toward Li Tian. Li Tian’s face fell as he suddenly sensed his body growing older. Everything within the region of the lotus experienced the passing of time. Everything seemed to be moving faster than the world around it; in the blink of an eye, an entire sixty-year cycle was gone.
Li Tian had never encountered any magical technique like this before. His face flickered, and he flashed an incantation gesture with his right hand. As he waved his hand, black light poured out from his body to resist the Wooden Time Swords. He performed a minor teleportation, reappearing several hundred meters away.
Even as he tried to flee, Meng Hao’s eyes flashed with killing intent. He took a step forward and then utilized the Bloodburst Flash. Moving such a short distance made it seem almost like he had used minor teleportation, and he was suddenly directly in front of Li Tian. His right hand clenched into a fist and he punched out.
A boom echoed out. Li Tian’s face fell and he spit out a mouthful of Nascent Soul aura. The brightly colorful aura transformed in mid-air into the image of a small person that looked exactly like Li Tian. The figure let out a sharp cry as it shot toward Meng Hao.
Meng Hao’s body trembled as he retreated seven or eight paces, his face ashen. As for Li Tian, he retreated about four paces, his face flickering. His expression was one of ferocity, but fear glimmered within his eyes.
“Fellow Daoists Yan, Mo and Wang,” he said. “What are you standing there watching for!? If you’re really willing to let this guy leave, then I’ll hold back.”
Before Yan Song and the others could even react to Li Tian’s words, Meng Hao laughed coldly and once again shot forward.
“It’s too late to hold back now!” Five figures appeared around Meng Hao that looked identical to him. These were none other than Meng Hao’s Blood Clones, each of which could wield an untold amount of Meng Hao’s.
Simultaneously, a golden glow sprang into being around Meng Hao. The full power of the great circle of the Gold Core exploded out. Up above Meng Hao’s head appeared an ancient starry sky. Within this starfield magically appeared a shocking great Greenwood Tree.
Meng Hao’s Cultivation base was at the great circle of the Gold Core stage. However, even with only the Wood-type power he possessed, he could fight back against the early Nascent Soul stage. Now that he had acquired Metal-type power as well, there was very little difference at all between him and the early Nascent Soul stage, although there were some divine abilities he could not employ.
Moving forward rapidly, Meng Hao pointed out with his right index finger. The Blood Finger, Blood Palm and Blood Death World, along with his starfield Core Qi and Wood-type totem, all fuelled the Lotus Sword Formation. In the blink of an eye, its power was increased exponentially.
It droned as it rotated through the air. At the same time, Meng Hao cried out, “Time!”
“This magic again!?” Li Tian’s face flickered. Although his Cultivation base was higher than Meng Hao’s, and he had more divine abilities at his disposal, there was little he could do when facing up against the magic of Time. He didn’t even dare to near it. His longevity was already nearing its end as it was. To him, this art was like Death itself. Feeling his aura being ruined, he had no choice but to retreat.
Seeing the rotating Lotus Sword Formation about to fall, Yan Song and the others finally took action. They shot forward to appear near Li Tian. The mighty pressure of the Cultivation bases of four Nascent Soul Cultivators emanated out like a flash flood.
“Fellow Daoist Li, Fellow Daoist Meng, please let me say a word!” said Yan Song, looking directly at Meng Hao.
Meng Hao’s expression was as calm as ever, but inwardly he heaved a sigh of relief. Even if he put on the blood-colored mask, he was no match for four Nascent Soul Cultivators all at the same time. However, based on the current situation, he had no choice but to fill the others with misgivings by putting on the air of someone who others did not dare to provoke.
“There’s no harm in speaking your mind, Fellow Daoist Yan,” he said, his voice cold.