The motes of light turned into a long river. In the darkness of the sky, the river of light was resplendent and glittering as it swept higher and higher.
A vast vortex suddenly appeared up above, rotating silently. It was as if the sky itself was being split open to reveal the starry sky above it. There, out in the stars, another river was visible, vast, mighty, and incomparably boundless. The water of the river seemed withered and yellow, and was filled with innumerable… discarnate souls!
The cultivators down below were shocked.
“The River of Forgetfulness!!” 1
“Heavens! That’s the legendary River of Forgetfulness!”
What the people down below could see was only one small portion of the river that flowed through the starry sky, visible through the vortex.
Xu Qing, now a collection of light motes, was just about to flow through vortex and merge into the River of Forgetfulness, then be swept away to the underworld of the Fourth Mountain.
Meng Hao hovered in midair staring blankly at the scene. Tears streamed down his face, and his heart was wracked with stabbing pain. Up above, the motes of light seemed to form the outline of a face as they entered into the vortex. It was Xu Qing’s face.
It looked just like the face that Meng Hao saw underneath the moonlight in the Reliance Sect. His heart quivered.
Xu Qing’s face seemed to be smiling at him. She looked at him for a moment, then turned and once again turned into a flowing river that flowed up toward the vortex.
Among the seven peak Dao Seeking experts from the Northern Reaches, the young boy in the red robe had an evil glint in his eye. His body flickered as he shot directly toward the motes of light.
His voice was high-pitched as he cried out, “Want to enter the cycle of reincarnation…? You’re dreaming! If you’re gonna die, your soul is going to disperse into nothing!”
When Meng Hao saw the boy closing in on the motes of light that were Xu Qing, he began to tremble. A Devilishness, along with a desire to kill, exploded out in his heart, both of which were impossible to suppress.
In the same moment, just when the red-robed boy was about to reach the motes of light, he let out a miserable shriek. A mysterious power enveloped him, and he was sent tumbling backward, blood spraying from his mouth. He looked up at the vortex with shock in his eyes.
He had already been seriously injured in battle earlier when the 3rd Li Clan Patriarch self-detonated. Without an incredibly powerful cultivation base to support him, he would have long since died.
Right now, the power that swept out from within the vortex was filled with a shocking aura, something that left him frightened out of his mind. Furthermore, it seemed to only be a warning.
The vortex continued to spin as Xu Qing disappeared inside and merged into the great river. She was now one of many souls floating along in the waters.
However, there was something different about Xu Qing’s soul. She had a red glow surrounding her, protecting her, making it so that none of the other discarnate souls could even get near her. All was quiet around her… as she drifted in the river water, far off into the distance.
The vortex vanished, and the sky returned to its normal state.
Meng Hao was silent. The temple vanished, and the candles were extinguished. The lantern and banners transformed into ash, and the happy atmosphere disappeared. The only thing that remained was a battlefield.
Meng Hao slowly descended to the ground. He looked down at his hands, and for a moment it almost felt as if he were still holding Xu Qing. Except… she was no more.
“Gone….” he murmured, his voice hoarse. “We made an agreement to spend a hundred years together…. But now you’re gone….” His face twisted, and his white hair began to rise up as an intense murderous aura rose up.
The murderous aura grew more intense. In the blink of an eye, it was an inferno, a black mist that roiled around him. Everything around him froze, and an aura of death spread out. The black mist rose up to turn into an enormous face up in midair.
The face was none other than Meng Hao’s face!
His eyes were no longer red, but black, with no pupils. It was as if he could see nothing but infinite blackness.
As he stood there, he lifted his head up and began to laugh bitterly. When the laughter entered the ears of the Northern Reaches cultivators, their hearts began to tremble, and their souls shivered.
Suddenly, cracking sounds filled Meng Hao’s body, although only he could hear them. It was the sound of shackles breaking. Within him… a Devil was being unleashed, something that had existed within him since the events in the Milky Way Sea.
As of this moment, he no longer had any desire to control it. He did not wish to suppress it. He only had one desire….
To kill each and every cultivator from the Northern Reaches who had invaded the Southern Domain! To kill each and every peak Dao Seeking expert. Kill them! Kill them ALL!!
He would pay any price to be able to do that!
If he couldn’t become an Immortal, then what was the harm in becoming a Devil!?
As he laughed bitterly, his body rumbled, and black mist poured out of him. His hair was now completely white, but his features were no longer withered. His youth was restored, and his face was shockingly icy.
He looked like a blood-thirsty Devil that could only see blood and killing.
Cracking sounds rose up from the ground as blood-colored ice spread out in all directions. Intense coldness spread around him, as if the seasons were suddenly changing. Black snowflakes began to flutter through the air.
Meng Hao had thoroughly unleashed the Devil within him, and he had removed any suppression of his desire to slaughter. He was now completely grim and cold, not just to his enemies, but even to himself.
His wedding day had been turned into a tragedy, and the only thing he could do now was become a Devil!
In the instant that his inner Devil was unleashed, the Blood Demon Grand Magic finally began to move away from the fourth level toward the fifth.
Meng Hao’s gaze looked out into the sky toward… the red-robed boy.
“You,” he said. “You shall die!”
Instantly, his second true self looked over with flickering eyes.
At the same time, Meng Hao vanished, then shockingly, reappeared up in midair. His body was wreathed in seething black mist and Devil flames. Along with his second true self, he shot toward the red-robed boy.
“Your clone is pretty tough,” said the boy with a snort, “but your true self? Screw off!” In unison with his words, the fighting on the battlefield broke out once again. Whether it was the peak Dao Seeking experts up above or the madness of the close-quarter combat of the Southern Domain and Northern Reaches down below, the battling was intense. This was far beyond the fighting which had taken place outside of the Blood Demon Sect in the initial war.
Meng Hao’s second true self shot toward the red-robed boy at high speed. As soon as they met, winds blasted out and lightning boomed. Explosion after explosion rang out as, within a short period of time, they exchanged thousands of moves.
As for Meng Hao, as soon as he flew out, the old man in animal-hide clothing moved to intercept him. Grinning viciously, he punched out violently toward Meng Hao.
“Your beloved is dead! What’s the point in continuing to live? Why don’t you go join her!”
As the fist descended toward him, Meng Hao looked at it coldly. He lifted his right hand, and the Lightning Cauldron appeared, causing the old man’s face to instantly flicker.
It was then that lightning poured out from within the cauldron to surround Meng Hao. Brilliant light was cast out onto the battlefield, and then he suddenly vanished. So did the old man!
Their positions had been reversed!
When Meng Hao appeared in the spot previously occupied by the old man in animal-hide clothing, he didn’t even turn to look back. Even as the old man roared in fury and shot in pursuit, Meng Hao proceeded forward. He had one target: the red-robed boy!
It was that boy’s Cinnabar Fruit that had cursed Xu Qing!
Furthermore, he had just attempted to interfere with Xu Qing entering the cycle of reincarnation!
Meng Hao was like a Devil in his determination to slay him!
The red-robed boy was currently fighting Meng Hao’s second true self. He had already been seriously injured, and as such, was not a match for the second true self. He continued to fall back in retreat, his eyes bloodshot as he attacked with reckless abandon. When he saw Meng Hao bearing down on him, he pointed out with a finger.
“Trying to get yourself killed on purpose?! Fine, I’ll kill your true self!” In the instant that the boy pointed out, Meng Hao used the Lightning Cauldron again. There was a flicker, and he switched places with his second true self.
A boom rang out as his second true self appeared in the spot he had just occupied. As for Meng Hao, he was now… closer to the boy than anyone else on the battlefield!
Meng Hao’s use of the lightning cauldron had reached the acme of perfection!
The red-robed boy’s mind trembled. His finger attack just now was incapable of doing anything to Meng Hao’s second true self. He jerked around and was about to make a deadly attack against Meng Hao, when suddenly, Meng Hao waved his hand. Shockingly, a magical symbol appeared in his hand!
It was a single character!
This was the Withering Character Incantation which had appeared after he absorbed eighty percent of the curse power! The incantation could be used as a divine ability that could be continuously maintained for a long period of time. As Meng Hao’s cultivation base grew higher, the withering power of the magic would grow more consummate, its might, more and more terrifying.
However, he could also focus its energies into a single instant attack. This would deplete the magical symbol and cause it to dim, requiring it to recharge and absorb more withering energy before it could be used again.
“I haven’t personally killed a peak Dao Seeking cultivator before,” said Meng Hao quietly. “You’re going to be the first. The pain that my wife felt before she died, is now something… that you will have the pleasure of experiencing!”
Meng Hao’s voice was calm, calm in a way that caused the red-robed boy’s heart to pound. A profound sense of deadly crisis appeared inside of him.
The ‘withering’ character caused the red-robed boy to begin to pant. His scalp went numb, and he instantly tried to flee.
At the same time, Meng Hao, his eyes cold, coolly said, “Withering Character Blast!”
As soon as the words left his mouth, blinding gray light shot out from the palm of his hand. It immediately filled the sky, causing the hundreds of thousands of cultivators down below to look up in astonishment. They could sense the withering curse power exploding out up above.
The old man in animal-hide clothing gasped, then immediately began to back up.
“NO!!” screamed the red-robed youth. Cultivation base power exploded out, and he produced massive quantities of magical items to try to fight back against the power of his own Hellwither Nineruins curse.
However, no matter what he did, when it came to the explosive withering power, he was like a praying mantis trying to block an army. In the blink of an eye, he was inundated by the grayness.
The only thing that remained behind was a bloodcurdling scream that echoed out across the land.
Chapter 774: Dao Seeking Felled!
1.Although the river Lethe from Greek mythology is also known as the River of Forgetfulness, this is a different river, one that comes from Chinese mythology. I couldn’t find much information about it in English, so I translated the summary from the baidupedia article about the River of Forgetfullness (this is information about the mythological river, not necessarily the river as portrayed in ISSTH): In Chinese mythology, after people die, they pass through the gates of Hell and travel the path of the Yellow Springs to the underworld. Between the Yellow Springs and the underworld itself is the River of Forgetfulness. The water of the river appears to be both yellow and blood-red. Within the river are countless wandering souls and wild ghosts that cannot be reincarnated, as well as endless bugs and vermin. The stench from the river buffets your face like a wind. Running over the river is the Bridge of Helplessness, beside which sits an old woman, who is old lady Meng. To cross the River of Forgetfulness, you must drink the tea of old lady Meng. If you don’t drink the tea, you can’t cross the Bridge of Helplessness, which means that you cannot be reincarnated ↩