In the same moment that Meng Hao left the second front in the Southern Domain, a man and a woman stood in a monolithic Tower of Tang in the Eastern Lands, just as they had been standing there the entire time.
Looking toward the Southern Domain.
“Soon…. He’s going to break through soon!” the man said softly. “Once he does, once he reaches Dao Seeking, we can go to him. We can tell him the truth about everything!
“Before he reaches Dao Seeking, we cannot interfere with his Karma. We have to be extremely careful even with things tangentially related to him.
“If any accidents happen, this lifetime will have been a failure…. I… I don’t want to see him go through any more suffering.” As he spoke, a love shone in his eyes that seemed capable of melting even the coldest ice.
The woman standing next to him had tears in her eyes as she stared off toward the Southern Domain. She could see Meng Hao, and his current skinless visage caused her heart to quiver.
“But… he’s just a child,” she said, and the tears began to flow down her cheeks.
Almost as soon as the words left her mouth, her expression suddenly changed. Shocking, murderous intent flickered in her eyes as she turned her head to look in a different direction. Toward… the Ji Clan!
At this very moment, the clouds there were seething as an enormous vortex appeared above the clan, a vortex that anyone under Dao Seeking would be incapable of seeing.
It was something only visible to Dao Seeking and higher.
Within the vortex, a gigantic altar appeared. It was none other than… the Immortality Bestowal Dais!
Behind the Immortality Bestowal Dais, up in the sky above the Eastern Lands, a huge face appeared. Its eyes were closed as if it were sleeping. However, as soon as it appeared, an indescribable pressure emanated out that weighed down on all living creatures in the Eastern Lands.
“The false Immortal puppet Hao’er used was infected with Ji Clan Karma,” said the woman. “He already had Ji Clan Karma on him to begin with, now… they’re going to make a move!” The killing intent in her eyes grew even more intense.
At this point, rumbling sounds could be heard from within the Immortality Bestowal Dais; clearly, it was just on the verge of performing a teleportation.
“Remove my seal,” the woman said urgently. “They’re going after Hao’er, and I’m going to stop them!” The man didn’t say anything. However, his hand released the column it had been gripping and clenched into a fist.
“There’s no need,” he said calmly. “I’ll handle it myself.” The woman looked over in shock. As far as she could remember, her husband always opposed her when she tried to interfere in matters. They had quarreled about such things many times.
But now, HE was going to do something!
“Hao’er is at a critical juncture, and can’t be disturbed. If WE can’t interfere, then… neither can the Ji Clan!” A cold gleam appeared in his eyes as he stretched his hand out and pointed up into the sky.
Instantly, the entire Eastern Lands started to tremble. The face in the sky distorted as a gargantuan finger appeared up above, which then poked viciously down toward the Immortality Bestowal Dais.
As the rumbling filled the air, roars of rage could be heard from within the Ji Clan. Three figures appeared, which shot up toward the Immortality Bestowal Dais, and the descending finger.
The song of a great Dao rose up from the Immortality Bestowal Dais, and from the ancestral lands of the Ji Clan. The sky trembled, and the eyes of the enormous face opened a sliver.
Instantly, the enormous finger began to shudder, seemingly incapable of withstanding the force.
Then, the man in the Tower of Tang snorted coldly.
The Eastern Lands consisted of 216 states. The Northern Reaches had 113. The Southern Domain, 219. The Western Desert had none, and was also the only region that had no Towers of Tang.
In the lands of South Heaven, there were a total of 548 Towers of Tang!
Currently, roughly a third of those Towers of Tang began to emit bright light. Brilliant beams shot up into the air, which sped toward the Tower of Tang in the Eastern Lands, where they formed into the shape of a sword.
It seemed to be a simple, ordinary iron sword. There was nothing resplendent about it whatsoever. However, as soon as it appeared, wild colors flashed throughout the sky, and Planet South Heaven… quaked.
Immediately, the sword slashed out with such speed that it was impossible to even see. It cut through the Immortality Bestowal Dais, rending a huge gash and causing the altar to fall down toward the ground.
“This dais wanted to seal my son. It shall remain fallen for 10,000 years!”
Then the sword slashed a second time, toward the three incoming figures from the Ji Clan. They could do absolutely nothing to block it, and disappeared in a haze of blood. The sword continued to slash downward into the Ji Clan ancestral mansion. A massive gorge was hewn out through multiple layers of the mansion as the sword headed toward the same location where the man’s wife had been stopped the last time she had gone to that place. Sitting at the top of a tall staircase was a young man. 1
The young man’s face flickered, and he immediately roared and counter-attacked with all the power he could muster. A boom rattled out, and blood sprayed from his mouth as both of his arms were severed! They flew up into the air and spontaneously combusted, gone for all eternity.
“Your clan wishes to infect my son’s Karma!? You’re nothing but a puny peak Immortal Realm so-called Dao Lord who hasn’t even opened the great door to the Ancient Realm, and yet you dared to chide my wife? I’m severing your arms! Furthermore, you’ll never reach the Ancient Realm in this lifetime!” 2
The sword slashed a third time, toward the face up in the sky. Massive amounts of sword qi billowed out, and a huge rift was opened up in the sky. The face vanished.
“If your honored clan chief were here, I would obviously be no match for him. But the trifling strand of divine will that has become the Heavens of South Heaven… is not enough to keep me under its thumb!
“You listen to me, Ji Clan. I, Fang, have a family with four people in it. We’ve only been in the lands of South Heaven for a few hundred years, and have done nothing to interfere with your operations here. But starting today… I will fully assume my status as the Prison Warden of the Ninth Mountain. Henceforth, the Ji Clan will keep itself in line! If you harbor even the slightest ill intentions… well, let me remind you that you’re nothing more than an offshoot of the Ji Clan. Besides, even if you were the main branch, I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve killed from there!”
The Ji Clan instantly fell silent.
It was at this point that the woman’s proud voice could be heard from within the Tower of Tang.
“Listen up, you people. When my Hao’er returns, you little twerps who owe him spirit stones had better pay them back or else!”
Her way of handling things was somewhat reminiscent of Meng Hao….
Everyone in the Ji Clan was trembling. The Chosen, the Array disciples, even Ji Xiaoxiao, all felt their scalps go numb. At first, they weren’t sure who these voices were talking about, but once they heard mention of the debts of spirit stones, all of the Chosen who had been to the Demon Immortal Sect shivered and recalled the same person, that oft-remembered bastard who had conned them out of who knew how much, and had left them gnashing their teeth.
Deep in the Ji Clan, the young man who had lost his arms sat silently on an altar. A complex expression filled his face, and after a long moment, he sighed.
“He sealed himself here for 100,000 years, and is unable to leave South Heaven. He even became the Ninth Mountain Prison Warden. All to give his son a slim chance at life…. And it turns out that little kid down there is his son!”
The iron sword vanished, and the Towers of Tang in the lands of South Heaven went dark. Everything that had just happened was something that mortals wouldn’t be able to see. Even most cultivators would not have been able to see anything.
As everything faded away, the woman turned to stare at her husband, and a strange light gleamed in her eyes.
The man’s face was calm, his voice cool as he said, “Surprised? You interfered a few times already, which was quite dangerous. I lectured you before, but actually, I interfered once too. I prevented some punk child from trying to mess with Xu Qing’s soul.”
The woman suddenly smiled. “Afraid Meng Hao would resent you if you didn’t?”
“When Xu Qing left the lands of South Heaven and entered the River of Forgetfulness, I was then truly free to act,” he continued. “She is his beloved, which makes her our daughter-in-law. That strand of divine sense will protect her in her reincarnation, all the way until we meet her in person.
“As for Hao’er…. I have faith that he is a dragon among men. He’s not some spoiled brat that needs to cower under the protection of his father and mother.
“We must stay here on Planet South Heaven for 100,000 years. That was the agreement. An oath. We can’t leave, yet neither can we force him to stay with us here for those 100,000 years. His path lies much further off in the distance. In this lifetime, he relied only on himself to get as far as he has, and we can be proud of how far he’s risen. Therefore, we must have faith that in the future… he will continue to make us proud!” He spoke softly, and it was hard to tell whether he was speaking to his wife, or to himself.
Back in the lands of South Heaven, Meng Hao’s skin was now thirty percent recovered. He didn’t look as terrifying as before, although his expression was as cold as ice. He flew through the air in a beam of blood-colored light as he headed toward the next battlefront.
Of the six fronts in the Southern Domain, the third and fourth had merged together. The other four were already being pushed toward the Blood Demon Sect. Considering the incredible speed Meng Hao was capable of, it didn’t take long for him to appear in the air above the first front.
There were a few Violet Fate Sect disciples here, as well as many rogue cultivators. All of them were united to defend against more than 20,000 Northern Reaches cultivators. A bloody battle was being fought.
Desperate fighting was under way, and corpses littered the ground as far as the eye could see. It was completely shocking.
When Meng Hao appeared, he swept down like a red wind.
Among the Northern Reaches cultivators was an unusually domineering Spirit Severing expert. He was soaked with blood, although little of it was his own. His expression was merciless, and his eyes radiated killing intent as he occasionally laughed cruelly. Two human heads were hanging at his waist. One of them was a person Meng Hao recognized; it was one of the Blood Demon Sect’s two Ironblood Patriarchs.
“Southern Domain cultivators!” roared the huge man. “You act like your way of cultivation is the only way, but now you’re less than dog crap! I’ve even killed two of your Spirit Severing Patriarchs. All of you can go die!” He laughed loudly as he brandished his huge war club. Wherever he went, he left a trail of destruction.
Behind him were two giants as tall as mountains. They roared as they slammed into the virtually defenseless Southern Domain cultivators.
It was at this point that Meng Hao arrived, swathed in red. A red mist rose up around him that, from a distance, almost looked like a cloak… a cloak that covered the entire sky.
Meng Hao exuded the air of a Paragon.
The burly Spirit Severing cultivator saw him, and his expression flickered. Roaring filled his mind as an indescribable pressure bore down on him. He suddenly felt as if he couldn’t breathe. Cold sweat broke out all over. He felt like a tiny little animal facing up against a lion.
“Stop him!” cried the man, shivering. He fell back as the two giants lunged toward Meng Hao.
Meng Hao’s expression was indifferent as he closed in. He simply passed by the giants, refraining from attacking. The red mist spread out to cover them up, and then, bloodcurdling roars rang out. The giants withered up in the blink of an eye and then toppled over onto the ground.
The Spirit Severing cultivator gasped, and his eyes filled with astonishment. “You’re… you’re at the peak of Dao Seeking. Definitely the peak of Dao Seeking! Dammit, aren’t the Southern Domain’s peak Dao Seeking experts all at the central battle? How could one of them be here?!”
He had no time to think about the question. In the blink of an eye, the red mist enveloped him, like the ravenous mouth of a Devil. He was swallowed up, along with the rest of the Northern Reaches cultivators.
For a few moments afterwards, miserable screams abruptly rose up into the air.
This chapter was sponsored by Richard Nilsen Karlsen
1. Meng Hao’s mother trashed the Ji Clan in chapter 426 ↩
2. For those of you who don’t remember the four great realms of cultivation as explained by Ke Yunhai in chapter 587, they are Spirit, Immortal, Ancient, and Dao. ↩