The pearl spun back into Shangguan Xiu’s mouth, whereupon he used his remaining arm to slap his bag of holding. Multiple flying swords, banners and other magical items appeared, all flying forward at the same time. Then, one by one they exploded into pieces. Shangguan Xiu lifted his hands, and the fragments of the various magical items rose up to create something like a sea.
From a distance, the multiple fragments glinted blindingly, making it seem as if there really was a sea floating in the sky. The sea began to spin, and then shot directly toward Meng Hao, whistling through the air.
This was the Milky Way Sea, a magical technique that had earned Patriarch Milky Way his name many years ago. Eventually, he divided the technique into multiple levels. The lowest level could be used only by someone of the ninth level of Qi Condensation.
Of course, any Cultivator of the Foundation Establishment stage could flick a sleeve and create a Milky Way Sea out of fragmented items. However, during the Qi Condensation stage, this was truly something powerful.
As such, it was not an easy technique to pull off. Only someone at the peak of the ninth level could do it, and they would have to have the support of a vast amount of spiritual power. In all of Milky Way City, Shangguan Xiu was the only Cultivator at the Qi Condensation stage who could do it.
At the moment, he wanted to end the fight as quickly as possible, not only to acquire Meng Hao’s treasures, but also to get back to Milky Way City to dispel the poison from his body. So, he attacked with his most powerful technique, sending the cloud of fragmented treasures speeding toward Meng Hao. As it approached, Meng Hao took a deep breath and then slapped his bag of holding.
Flying sword after flying sword emerged. Ten swords, fifty, one hundred, until a total of three hundred flying swords were spinning around him. Meng Hao lifted his hands, then pushed them out ahead of him.
As he did, the three hundred flying swords formed a massive sword rain, which then congealed into the shape of a Flying Rain-Dragon. He walked forward, and two golden strands of light appeared in his hands,: the two wooden swords. His body turned into a beam of light as he flew up into the Flying Rain-Dragon sword rain.
It was as if he had become the spirit of the flying-sword Flying Rain-Dragon. It raised its head to the Heavens and roared, then shot toward the Milky Way Sea.
An explosion reverberated out which shook heaven and earth. The Milky Way Sea of fragmented treasures lashed against Meng Hao’s flying swords. Popping sounds could be heard as sword after sword collapsed into pieces. But if the Sea smashed ten swords, then Meng Hao would produce ten more to replace them.
Right now, the most flying swords he could control simultaneously was three hundred. Within his bag of holding, he currently had about seven hundred, which he had slowly duplicated over the last year. After his fierce battle with Ding Xin, and during the process of breaking through to the ninth level of Qi Condensation, he had prepared himself completely.
Seeing this, Shangguan Xiu’s face changed. His left hand flickered in an incantation pattern, then produced more magical items which he added to the conglomeration.
Meng Hao’s flying swords screamed as they continuously battered the Milky Way Sea. The sound of it reverberated out in all directions, and yet the power of this Milky Way Sea was formidable. At the moment, he wasn’t able to move forward very easily. Suddenly, he spun his body, causing the flying swords around him to begin to rotate around him. They rotated faster and faster until they became a whirlwind, with Meng Hao at the center. He stopped moving, but the flying sword whirlwind continued to spin faster and faster.
From a distance, it looked as if a rapidly spinning tornado were slicing through the middle of the Milky Way Sea. The fragmented treasure items of the Milky Way Sea continue to smash against the flying swords, but after the space of a few breaths, the swords pushed forward, slicing clean through the sea.
Shangguan Xiu’s face twisted. Meng Hao’s Cultivation base was shocking, as was the number of magical items he had. The most shocking thing, though, was his battle experience. His ability to quickly change his magical battle techniques was something that left Shangguan Xiu in utter disbelief.
Amidst the reverberating roar, Meng Hao and his sword rain ploughed through the Milky Way Sea, sending pieces of it scattering about. Meng Hao suddenly leaped forward, the two golden strands that were the wooden swords emitting shrill whistles as they shot through the air with him. Shock covered Shangguan Xiu’s face.
“Meng Hao!” he cried, shooting backward as fast as possible, his face panic-stricken. In complete contrast, when Meng Hao attacked, he didn’t say even a word. His expression was the same as ever. He increased his speed even more, aiming the two wooden swords, one to stab directly toward his opponent’s heart, the other, his forehead.
Shangguan Xiu was vexed to the extreme. He had held the upper hand at first, but had then been poisoned. Things had only gone downhill from there. He couldn’t dispel the poison, which meant he couldn’t use the full power of his Cultivation base. He constantly needed to use some of his power to suppress the effects of the poison. Now, he was forced to retreat, one step at a time.
His hand flashing, Shangguan Xiu smacked his chest; he coughed up a mouthful of blood, amidst which was the pearl that had appeared a moment ago. A curving arc of light appeared, shooting forward to block the two wooden swords. The shield immediately began to tremor, and then shattered, shoving Shangguan Xiu backward even faster as he retreated.
Seeing the shield shattering, Shangguan Xiu quickly said, “Meng Hao, let’s stop here. The three great Sects are looking for you, and our fight today will surely have attracted their attention. They could arrive at any moment. I won’t harm the inhabitants of the three counties. Let’s abandon our enmity, what do you say?”
Meng Hao didn’t respond. His spiritual energy soared, and the wooden swords glowed, pushing through the shield. Shangguan Xiu was now extremely alarmed. With a howl, he waved his arm, pointing down toward the bottom of the mountain.
“If you keep going, I will exterminate the people of the three counties!”
“Little Tiger!” shouted Meng Hao. This was the second time he had spoken during the battle.
As his shout echoed out, a twinkling, blood-red color could be seen at the bottom of the mountain. A head-sized Blood Globe appeared. It began to expand, as if it were about to explode. An emaciated figure appeared; it was none other than Little Tiger. His jaw was clenched, and he held a pearl outstretched in his hands.
The pearl shot out toward the Blood Globe, spinning around it rapidly to form a restrictive barrier that caused the blood to stop expanding.
“Meng Hao, I can only hold on for the time it takes an incense stick to burn!” Having said this, Little Tiger coughed up a mouthful of blood, then sat down cross-legged to meditate.
Seeing this happen caused Shangguan Xiu’s face to flicker with more emotions. But he didn’t have time to do anything more. With a boom, the shield collapsed and Shangguan Xiu’s pearl shattered. The wooden swords advanced again, Meng Hao behind them, his killing intent rising to the heavens.
Blood sprayed from Shangguan Xiu’s mouth, and he lost control of the poison in his body. It exploded out, threatening to send him into unconsciousness. He continued to retreat, a sad smile on his face.
“The Heavens will give me no aid….” he said with a bitter laugh. “Meng Hao, I will not lose this battle. And you… I vow that I will smash your Qi passageways!” His smile seemed to contain intense discontent along with complete helplessness. But it did not contain despair. However, the discontent and helplessness created an air darker than any despair.
His left hand smacked his bag of holding. Ignoring the incoming wooden swords, he held up a medicinal pill. As soon as it appeared, the nearby spiritual energy seemed to surge, and a strong medicinal aroma filled the air. With a bitter laugh, he swallowed the pill.
When he saw the pill, Meng Hao’s eyes narrowed. It was amber-colored, and was none other than a Foundation Establishment Pill. Inscribed on its surface was a seal; this pill was the exact same Foundation Establishment Pill he had sold at Milky Way City.
“I, Shangguan Xiu, reached the first level of Qi Condensation when I was seven years old,” he muttered to himself. “At thirty, I was at the sixth level. By thirty-nine, I was the ninth level. Today, I’m ninety-nine years old….” He didn’t even look at Meng Hao, but instead stared up into the sky. In an instant, the power within his body surged. He didn’t move, of course; he wouldn’t be able to until the Foundation Establishment Pill had been fully absorbed.
However, even though this was a weakness, the power in his body was immense, already much more than that of the ninth level of Qi Condensation. As he soared toward Foundation Establishment, the two wooden swords slowly came to a stop about seven inches from his body.
Meng Hao’s expression changed. He could sense his opponent’s aura growing stronger and stronger. He was establishing his Foundation right here on Mount Daqing. If Meng Hao’s expression changed, then Little Tiger’s changed even more.
“I could have established my Foundation fifty years ago,” said Shangguan Xiu, a dark expression on his face, his appearance wild. “But I didn’t want to. I didn’t want a Flawless Foundation. I’ve been planning for fifty years to establish a world-shaking Foundation that would surpass a Flawless Foundation! I wanted a Perfect Foundation. But today…. Sadly, today I’ve been wounded and poisoned. If I don’t reach Foundation Establishment, then I will surely die. Fifty years of preparations, and the last step… ruined by you! Meng Hao, do you know how much I hate you!?” Shangguan Xiu lowered his head and stared at Meng Hao. He did not grind his teeth or howl. His face was calm, and yet his eyes were filled with an intense hatred that was clearly carved into his bones and onto his heart.
Meng Hao’s heart began to race, and he felt the shadow of death upon him. But he didn’t retreat. His eyes flashing, he thought back to his own experience consuming the Foundation Establishment pill. He hadn’t been able to move for two months.
“I was at the eighth level of Qi Condensation, so it took me two months,” thought Meng Hao. “Shangguan Xiu has been at the peak of the ninth level for fifty years, he will be able to absorb the energy much faster. But, there has to be a way!” His eyes glittering, he produced a Plateau Charging Pill and popped it into his mouth. As the spiritual energy billowed outing his body, he waved his hands toward the two wooden swords.
With a rumbling sound, the two wooden swords trembled and then began to emit a powerful air. Slowly but surely they moved closer to Shangguan Xiu. They were about three inches away from him when they slowly grounded to a halt. This was Meng Hao’s limit. He didn’t have enough spiritual power, and just couldn’t make the swords move any further.
“You don’t know your own limitations,” said Shangguan Xiu with a cold laugh. “I could have established my Foundation fifty years ago. With the profundity of my Cultivation base, I will be able to absorb the Foundation Establishment Pill in less than an hour. You’d best do whatever you can now to flee. But even if you run to the edges of the earth, I can tell you now, you’re dead.” He stared at Meng Hao, his hatred conjuring up hundreds of ways to kill Meng Hao.