The chaotic sounds of battle drifted into the Blood Demon Sect. All the remaining Blood Demon Sect disciples were outside, alongside the other Southern Domain cultivators, defending against the advancing Northern Reaches army.
The Southern Domain cultivators had no choice but to fall back to the Blood Demon Sect. As the Northern Reaches army advanced, this location had became something of a holy land for the Southern Domain.
The Blood Demon Sect was the most powerful sect in the Southern Domain!
The Blood Demon Sect had Meng Hao, who had saved the entire Southern Domain from the curse!
The Blood Demon Sect also had the legendary, incredibly powerful Patriarch Blood Demon.
Therefore, that was the location the forces from the third and fourth fronts retreated to. The Northern Reaches cultivators were happy to see this; they wanted to destroy the foundation of the Southern Domain. If they could take out the Blood Demon Sect, then they would be able to deliver the coup de grâce to the Southern Domain cultivators in one fell swoop.
The other fronts throughout the Southern Domain were also changing locations, getting closer to the Blood Demon Sect. From the look of things, they wanted to make the Blood Demon Sect the location of their final stand.
The Southern Domain… did not seem to have any hope of winning. By now, the Northern Reaches had mobilized the third wave of their army, which would arrive in only a few days from the Milky Way Sea.
That third wave army represented the ultimate power of the Northern Reaches.
Constant carnage could be witnessed in the area surrounding the Blood Demon Sect. Pill Demon, Patriarch Song, and in fact, all of the peak Dao Seeking experts in the Southern Domain, were there at what was essentially the primary battlefield of the war. They had been fighting and killing for so long that their eyes were completely bloodshot.
Patriarch Song had lost his right arm, as well as an eye. His aura was weak, and he had even been forced to start burning his life force.
Sun Tao from the Violet Fate Sect had lost his fleshly body, and was now nothing more than a Nascent Divinity. However, he was surrounded by swirling pill furnaces, and continued to fight nonetheless.
Patriarch Golden Frost was severely injured. As the battle had progressed, he had recovered some of his senses, and was no longer muddle-headed and ignorant. In the moment when he became lucid, he did not flee, but rather began to laugh bitterly.
“I have sinned!” he roared. “Sinned against the Southern Domain!!” With that, he began to fight even more frenziedly than before.
The 3rd Li Clan Patriarch did not recover his senses. He died fighting.
His death shook the entire battlefield. He was at the peak of Dao Seeking, and in the end, opted to self-detonate. Although he wasn’t able to kill any of the peak Dao Seeking experts from the Northern Domain, he did manage to severely injure three of them.
Pill Demon was completely exhausted, and also injured. At some point, a violet mark had come to appear on his forehead. Apparently, it was something that had previously been sealed, but now… he was experimentally unleashing it.
When the mark appeared, his cultivation base left the early Dao Seeking stage, passed through the middle stage and ended… by emanating the power of the late Dao Seeking Stage.
It was as if terrifying waves had been unleashed inside of him that rolled around constantly in an attempt to break out.
Even more Spirit Severing experts died.
The Northern Reaches suffered similarly large casualties. The war unfolded rapidly, and in a short period of time, rivers of blood flowed everywhere.
As the sound of battle and slaughter rumbled from the outside world into Blood Prince Gorge, Meng Hao sat there holding Xu Qing, watching her gradually grow older and older. More wrinkles covered her face, and her hair was now completely white. Finally, the pain in his heart seemed to form a resonance with the fighting and killing going on outside.
There was no way for him to keep Xu Qing’s life force from slipping away. There was nothing he could do but watch as her beauty slowly faded.
There was no sparkle or reflection in her cloudy eyes when she opened them; her whole world had become blurry.
“After I’m gone, will you miss me…?” she asked.
When Meng Hao heard this, more tears welled up in his eyes, and stabbing pain filled his heart. He held her tight, and his tears dropped down onto her face.
“Don’t cry….” she murmured, using what scant energy she had left to raise a withered hand and try to wipe his face dry. “I’m happy. Happy that I ran into you that day on Mount Daqing….
“I hope that after I’m reincarnated and then regain my memories, it will be on another Mount Daqing… with you….
“Meng Hao, I’ve been dreaming a lot recently. I always dream… that we are back on Mount Daqing, or in the Reliance Sect….” As she spoke, the flame of her life force began to slowly fade away.
By now, she was fully conscious. Clearly, this was the last bit of lucidity she would experience before death, the last burst of life force. Her eyes were not clouded now, but clear, filled with warmth as she recalled past times, and also brimming with an intense reluctance to leave.
She didn’t want to leave the lands of the Southern Domain. She didn’t want to leave Meng Hao. There were too many things keeping her here, too many memories. She didn’t want to part with any of them. She wanted to stay with Meng Hao for the rest of the hundred years. Unfortunately… that was now impossible.
She sighed, and deep in her heart she felt regret. Regret that the wedding ceremony… was only half completed.
“Meng Hao… take care of yourself…. You live, I live… you die, I die…. When the day arrives that I recover my memories after being reincarnated, you need to be there…. If you’re not, then I don’t ever want to wake up from the darkness of being unaware.” The light that flickered in her eyes was gradually fading. The hand she had lifted up moments ago grew so weak that it fell back down.
In the moment that it began to fall, Meng Hao reached out to take hold of it. Deep in his eyes, grief mixed with warmth as he looked at Xu Qing.
He placed his right hand onto her back and poured more of his own life force into her. In that moment, his hair turned completely white.
The simple act bolstered her fading life force just a little bit, allowing her to stay alive in the world just a little bit longer. She could breathe bit more of that air she didn’t wish to part with, and her eyes glowed with just a little bit more light as she looked at Meng Hao.
“Let me go, okay…?” she murmured weakly.
Meng Hao’s eyes glowed with determination. “Our wedding hasn’t been finished,” he said. “So you can’t go yet…. I’m going to give you a complete cultivator bonding ceremony!” With that, he held her tight and flew up into the air.
He dared not loosen his grip on her. It was his flow of life force that was preventing her from fading away.
They were still wearing their red wedding gowns, and both had snow white hair. They were old.
It was as if great rejoicing and great calamity were fused together as Meng Hao flew out of Blood Prince Gorge. Off in the distance, he could see the shocking battle which was underway.
Hundreds of thousands of cultivators fought like mad. The ripples cast off by magical techniques flowed out in all directions. Bright colors flashed in the sky, and the clouds churned chaotically. Booms and explosions accompanied death and destruction…. At any given moment, miserable screams could be heard drifting across the battlefield. They turned into waves of sound that resembled the Yellow Springs of the underworld.
The sky above and the land below seemed to have become the color of blood, filled with endless corpses….
It was evening, but the shattered air and swirling tempests caused the sky to look as dark as night.
When Meng Hao appeared, it instantly attracted quite a bit of attention. The powerful experts of both the Southern Domain and the Northern Reaches saw the old man carrying the white-haired old woman, both of whom were clad in red wedding attire.
They could also sense the profound mixture of calmness and grief that radiated out of the man.
When the Southern Domain cultivators saw him, they couldn’t help but feel bitter and pained.
“Meng Hao…. It’s the exalted Meng Hao!”
“Don’t tell me… is that Xu Qing in his arms…? That… that curse power is….”
“I was there at the wedding ceremony. I’ve never seen a more spectacular sight in my whole life….”
Patriarch Song looked at Meng Hao, and it seemed like he wanted to say something. In the end, he didn’t. He could sense the profound pain in Meng Hao, the kind that was like losing your own heart.
The awoken Patriarch Golden Frost also remained silent.
Sun Tao had nothing left but a Nascent Divinity. He looked at Meng Hao from some distance off, then turned and continued to fight.
Pill Demon’s expression was one of sorrow. He saw his apprentice and couldn’t help but think about how the wedding ceremony had turned into this current situation. Great rejoicing had turned into great sorrow. He wasn’t sure what he should say.
Virtually none of the Northern Reaches cultivators recognized Meng Hao at first. However, once they saw his clothes, and the white hair, as well as the agonized expressions of the Southern Domain cultivators, they thought of a name that had already become legendary among the Northern Reaches cultivators.
“Meng Hao! It’s definitely that damnable Meng Hao!”
“Yeah, that’s him! He infected the entire first wave of the army with the Hellwither Nineruins. Hundreds of thousands of cultivators… massacred! The Milky Way Sea turned red with blood!”
“Our Northern Reaches forces invaded the Southern Domain on the day of his wedding. What bad luck for him! His wedding day turned into a day of death and sorrow!”
“Well, he deserves it! Now that he’s shown his face again, he’ll die for sure. It’s actually a good thing for him! They can go to the underworld together! A happily married pair of dead souls!”
The Northern Reaches’ peak Dao Seeking experts were among the forces that were currently abuzz with surprise. All of them were hurt, especially the three who were seriously injured by the 3rd Li Clan Patriarch’s death. Among those three, one was the man dressed in animal skins, and another was the young boy, both of whom were from the first wave army. The third was an old woman from the second wave army.
“That’s the Meng Hao that the Southern Domain cultivators always talk about!” said the man in animal-skin garments, frowning. “He absorbed eighty percent of the curse power and still didn’t die!!”
“He could be considered the archenemy of the Northern Reaches,” said the boy through clenched teeth. His eyes burned with killing intent. “If he had died, it would have been lucky for him. Since he’s not dead, then I’m going to turn him into mincemeat today!
“Actually, it’s good that he’s still alive. Let him wallow in the feeling of withering up with his beloved on his wedding day! Let him be immersed in the sensation of growing old! Let his pain be a sacrifice to put to rest the souls of the hundreds of thousands of Northern Reaches heroes who died because of him!”
Next to the three wounded peak Dao Seeking experts were several Northern Reaches Patriarchs. They had long since heard the name of Meng Hao, and now that they laid eyes on him personally, their killing intent spread everywhere.
Countless eyes across the battlefield were fixed on Meng Hao; his expression was one of grief as he looked at the aged, white-haired Xu Qing. Finally, he looked up, and his gaze came to fall upon his master, Pill Demon.
“Master,” he said. “I want to finish the wedding ceremony here and now. Master, could you please continue to bear witness to the marriage!” Although his words were calm, that calmness contained something that caused the spirits of all the Southern Domain cultivators to be completely shaken.
Xu Qing’s eyes were fixed on Meng Hao. She fought with all her power to prevent them from closing, and as she did, scintillating teardrops welled up inside and then seeped out down her cheeks.
A tremor ran through Pill Demon.
At the same time, the eyes of the Southern Domain cultivators began to glow with red light.
“The Blood Prince’s grand wedding ceremony will continue!!”
“Blood Prince, I couldn’t prepare a wedding gift for you, so let me kill some Northern Reaches cultivators for you! Their heads can be my wedding gift, and their blood my means of congratulating you!”
“Exalted Meng Hao, let the wedding ceremony continue!!”
The sorrow in the hearts of the Southern Domain cultivators transformed into a massive roar that echoed out across the battlefield.
Immediately, Blood Demon Sect disciples flew out to create an area decorated with lanterns and banners. It only took a moment for the place to look like a joyous and happy wedding was taking place there.
The battlefield now seemed to be completely split in two!
On one side was blood and slaughter!
On the other side was Meng Hao’s wedding!