Meng Hao’s grand wedding!
It only took a few days for news to spread from the Blood Demon Sect throughout all the lands of the Southern Domain. Soon, every cultivator in the Southern Domain was talking about it. Within a period of ten days, the whole continent was in an uproar.
Meng Hao’s name was now irrefutably famous and illustrious, like a grandiose rainbow, stretching to the far reaches of the sky.
Blood Prince of the Blood Demon Sect!
Peak Dao Seeking clone!
Formerly known as Grandmaster Pill Cauldron!
Because of his various identities, Meng Hao’s grand wedding became the focus of attention of all Southern Domain cultivators. In the past, there had never been a wedding that caused so much of a commotion, and likely, there would never be another like it in the future.
The news was like a gale-force wind that swept across the Southern Domain, causing innumerable minds to tremble. Countless cultivators shook with the desire to be able to personally attend.
In fact… those who did qualify to attend were the subject of intense admiration and envy.
“Did you hear? The Blood Demon Sect’s Blood Prince, Meng Hao, is getting married on the fifteenth of next month!”
“Yeah, of course our sect heard about the grand wedding of his excellency Meng Hao. Our Patriarch even came out of secluded meditation to personally prepare a wedding gift!”
“I bet all the most powerful experts in the entire Southern Domain will be gathering at the Blood Demon Sect.”
“Your news is out of date! My master already found out that his excellency Meng Hao’s grand wedding isn’t going to be at the Blood Demon Sect. It’s going to be on the border of the Southern Domain, at some big lake!”
Meng Hao’s wedding was the news everyone was discussing. All the various sects and clans sprang into motion to prepare valuable and remarkable gifts for the wedding.
The wedding date was the fifteenth of the following month, and the location, a lake on the border of the Southern Domain, was unique enough that people quickly began to analyze its significance.
“That’s… where the State of Zhao used to be!”
“A few hundred years ago, the State of Zhao mysteriously disappeared. The only thing left behind was a huge hole in the ground. As time passed, it filled up with water and turned into a lake….”
“That’s right. The exalted Meng Hao and his beloved, Xu Qing, are both from the State of Zhao. How fitting for the bonding ceremony to be held there!”
Even as the discussion raged, the tens of thousands of Blood Demon Sect disciples excitedly left the Blood Demon Sect and happily headed toward the location of the bonding ceremony, that enormous lake.
After arriving, they would immediately get to work constructing the necessary buildings and decorate the entire region, turning it into something grand and palatial!
Meng Hao’s wedding was a major event for the Southern Domain, and even more important as far as the Blood Demon Sect was concerned. After the determination Meng Hao had shown by putting his life on the line in the war with the four allied powers, all the disciples of the Blood Demon Sect burned with fanatical devotion for him.
Therefore, the Blood Demon Sect disciples, down to the last one, were determined to ensure than not the slightest negligence be shown in the preparations.
Meng Hao was aware that it was impossible to keep his marriage to Xu Qing a secret. It was the most important event in their lives, and they would become bonded cultivators. It was necessary to inform the Southern Domain. As for the people who attended the ceremony that day, all of them would be distinguished guests.
Thus, Blood Demon Sect disciples sent out invitation cards to the various sects and clans. Any sect or clan who received one would be filled with excitement and incredible pride.
However, there were some locations that deserved exceptional treatment. Meng Hao took Xu Qing there personally to deliver invitations.
The first stop was the Violet Fate Sect. The Violet Fate Sect’s peak Dao Seeking Patriarch, Sun Tao, happily appeared to accept the invitation.
After a polite exchange, Meng Hao glanced in the direction of the main peak of the East Pill Division. He and Xu Qing both clasped hands and bowed deeply toward Grandmaster Pill Demon’s secluded meditation location.
Almost at the same moment that Meng Hao bowed, an ancient voice rang out in joyous laughter from the mountain.
“Hao’er, master will emerge on the day of your wedding. I will be the official witness!”
Meng Hao trembled and raised his head to look in the direction of the main mountain peak. Next to him, Xu Qing smiled shyly and bowed her head.
“Many thanks, master!” Meng Hao said softly.
When he and Xu Qing left, something happened that Meng Hao didn’t notice, although Xu Qing did. On one of the mountain peaks in the East Pill Division stood a woman. She looked sad as she stared silently at Meng Hao and Xu Qing.
It was Chu Yuyan.
Her body shivered slightly in the stiff mountain breeze that fluttered her garments. She looked like a goddess, but in that moment, her heart felt as if it were sinking into a pit of ice. She felt coldness engulfing her, and pain stabbed through her.
She stood there bitterly, and tears streamed down her face.
Meng Hao didn’t see those tears, but Xu Qing did.
Xu Qing held her tongue as she turned and left with Meng Hao.
On another mountain stood Hanxue Shan. She wasn’t happy either, and she kicked a rock that lay in front of her. The man who stood next to her, Ye Feimu, was even less happy than she was. He glanced over at Hanxue Shan, a complex expression in his eyes. He said nothing as he remained standing at her side.
Meng Hao and Xu Qing also paid a personal visit to the Song Clan. Because of the matter of the Song Clan Patriarch giving him the jade slip, Meng Hao knew that he owed the Song Clan a favor.
Patriarch Song would never say anything about it, of course, but the matter was extremely important to Meng Hao.
Patriarch Song laughed heartily as he accepted the invitation. Then, he looked at Meng Hao and Xu Qing with a long sigh. After Meng Hao and Xu Qing flew off into the distance, a certain woman inside the Song Clan cut a lonely figure as she stood there, by herself. She sighed, but in her heart, she truly wished for Meng Hao and Xu Qing to find happiness.
That woman was Song Jia.
The next stop was the Solitary Sword Sect. As soon as they entered, the Solitary Sword Sect disciples bowed with extreme respect. They clustered around Meng Hao almost as if he were a Patriarch as they escorted him into the sect.
Chen Fan was still sitting cross-legged next to the boulder, meditating. When he opened his eyes and saw Meng Hao and Xu Qing, he smiled happily.
“Congratulations, Junior Brother. Finally you’ll get to hold a beautiful woman in your arms. You know, I could tell way back in the Reliance Sect that you had some feelings for Junior Sister Xu.
“At long last, you two are getting married. Well, I think you’re a match made in heaven!
“It’s too bad we can’t find Grand Elder Ouyang and Sect Leader He. Although, if they’re still in the Southern Domain, they’ll surely hear about the wedding.”
Chen Fan was very happy to see Meng Hao and Xu Qing, and he laughed more that day than he had in decades.
They visited with Chen Fan for a whole day. Before leaving, Meng Hao and Xu Qing clasped hands and bowed to the boulder which contained Shan Ling, the wife of their brother Chen Fan. In response, the boulder glowed faintly, as if it were wishing blessings upon them.
Finally, Meng Hao and Xu Qing went to the Golden Frost Sect. Fatty was ecstatic. Not only did he wink salaciously at Meng Hao, he had all of his more than one hundred beloved companions come out in quite a flaunting display.
The more than one hundred women extended greetings in tittering, melodic whispers. Meng Hao had a strange expression on his face, and although Xu Qing appeared to be smiling, she looked at Fatty with a gaze that showed that she was not amused.
Fatty didn’t notice, and proceeded to regally instruct Meng Hao to be more like himself and collect a few more beloved concubines….
“Li Fugui,” Xu Qing interrupted coolly, “don’t forget that it was me who brought you to the Reliance Sect that year.”
Fatty was taken aback. Then he saw Meng Hao’s awkward smile, suddenly shivered in realization, and then quickly changed the topic of conversation.
They stayed at the Golden Frost Sect for a night, and then left.
They didn’t return to the Blood Demon Sect or the lake. Meng Hao took Xu Qing to travel through the Southern Domain like mortals. They didn’t fly, they walked, through mountains and past rivers. During the days they strolled along together, and at night they slept in each other’s arms. They walked through deep mountain ranges and across vast plains, gracing them with the traces of their passage.
Occasionally they would encounter people, all of whom would immediately clasp hands in greeting. Soon, word began to spread through the Southern Domain of the Beatific Sweethearts.
During that month, they traveled to many places. Xu Qing laughed happily as she accompanied Meng Hao. Meng Hao stopped worrying about cultivation and the future. He focused on relaxing and enjoying Xu Qing’s company.
When the month was up, and their traveling finished, they proceeded toward the enormous lake that occupied the spot where the State of Zhao used to be.
The land there had undergone a complete transformation, and now looked like a celestial paradise. In the center of the lake, upon the rippling water, sat an island with jade buildings which had been ringed with ornamental statues and carvings. It was not excessively opulent, but held a great deal of charm.
That was where they settled down to wait for the half month until… the day of the wedding!
The sound of laughter rang out as tens of thousands of Blood Demon Sect disciples bustled about in the area surrounding the lake, using magical techniques to completely change the entire area. Occasionally, the disciples would look over their shoulders toward an island in the middle of the lake, and their faces would fill with fanaticism and benediction.
Soon, Southern Domain cultivators began to show up and gather in the area as they awaited the big day.
Meanwhile, in the central region of the Southern Domain, in a very ordinary town, was a street food stall that sold noodles. Two old men would set up the shop in this particular location around this time every year. Their noodles were quite famous in the area.
One of the old men had a stooped back, white hair, and a kindly expression. The other looked to be a bit younger, but still had quite a few gray hairs on his head. When he was younger, he had obviously been quite handsome.
The two men would often lounge together and watch the sunset while smoking from long-stemmed pipes. They usually sat together in silence and didn’t chat much.
Day after day, year after year, that was how they spent their time. When they moved to this place, they were middle-aged, but as time went by, they had become old.
On one particular evening, when the evening was being replaced by night and the twinkle of lamplight began to spread throughout the town, the stooped old man suddenly put his pipe down.
“Should we go?” he asked, his voice hoarse.
The other old man next to him also put down his pipe.
“You were the one who took a liking to him all those years ago. You paid quite a heavy price for the kid without a word of complaint. Now he’s famous. Probably couldn’t be any more famous, actually. When the wedding day comes… maybe I could decide not to attend, but you… could you really stay away?”
The stooped old man laughed and then stood up. “Alright, it’s settled. We’re going. I could tell as soon as I looked at that pup that he had potential!”
“Well, fine,” said the other man. “Neither of us have much longevity left. Let’s go see all the kids, then we will have accomplished everything and can die content.”
The two old men exchanged a glance, then disappeared laughing off into the night.
These two were none other than Grand Elder Ouyang and He Luohua from the Reliance Sect. All those years ago, Grand Elder Ouyang had already been running low on longevity; the fact that he was still alive now indicated that he had run into some sort of good fortune since then.
Similar scenes played out in the Black Lands.
Meng Hao’s grand wedding had sent all the lands astir.