When the Elders in the temple who tended to support Fang Wei’s bloodline heard Meng Hao’s words, they looked over at him expressionlessly. As for the direct bloodline, anxious expressions could be seen on their faces. However, since this was Meng Hao’s decision, they did nothing to persuade him to change his mind.
After all, the Grand Elder had clearly explained that there would be great danger in the ancestral land. Considering that Meng Hao had chosen to enter even under such circumstances caused 19th Uncle and the direct bloodline Elders to be able to sense his level of determination.
All they could do was sigh inwardly.
The Grand Elder looked deeply at Meng Hao for a moment, his expression revealing nothing about what he was thinking. However, the way he was looking at Meng Hao did seem… somewhat strange.
Most excited of all was Fang Xiushan. He took a deep breath and stared at Meng Hao without revealing any of the boiling killing intent in his heart. Fang Wei’s grandfather frowned thoughtfully at the way the Grand Elder was looking at Meng Hao. For some reason, he had a very uneasy feeling inside.
The Grand Elder was silent for a moment, then coolly said, “Since that is your decision, then go now.”
He waved his hand, and a gentle breeze rose up, wrapped around Meng Hao, and sent him toward the vortex.
“In two months, the ancestral land will automatically open again, and you may come out. During those two months… please take care of yourself.” Even as the words rang out, Meng Hao flew through the air in the wind. In the blink of an eye, he was right outside of the vortex. When he looked inside, his heart pounded madly, and a feeling of reminiscence floated in his heart.
Upon contact, he sank into the vortex as if it were water. Then he vanished. The vortex stopped moving, and then faded away from the temple hall.
In that same moment, there were nine areas in different parts of Planet East Victory which suddenly shone with mysterious black light. That light was cast up by teleportation portals, within which sat nine cold and expressionless cultivators wearing black robes.
These nine cultivators seethed with murderous auras, as if innumerable foes had been slain by their hands.
If Meng Hao were able to see any of them, he would recognize them immediately. The black robes worn by these nine men seemed to be exactly the same as the ones worn by the people who had ambushed him and 19th Uncle en route to Planet East Victory!
As they sat there cross-legged in the teleportation portals, light suddenly rose up around them, and they vanished. This was in the exact moment in which Meng Hao vanished into the ancestral land.
Another thing happened at exactly the same time. Deep underground beneath the Fang Clan ancestral mansion, seven withered figures sat cross-legged in meditation. One of them was the crimson-robed old man who had opened his eyes during the rising of the East Ascension Sun, aroused by Meng Hao’s Essence of Divine Flame. At this moment, his eyes opened, and they shone with boundless ancientness.
“This kid’s bloodline is strong…. He’s a descendant of Eldest Brother. He must be THE Chosen of this generation of the clan.” The old man’s eyes flickered as he sensed the black-robed men vanishing, and then a cold light gleamed therein.
“Interesting. Someone actually dares to violate clan rules and fight inside the clan…. Not only that, but they chose to fight within the ancestral land!” The coldness in his eyes grew more intense.
“Is it Sixth Brother’s bloodline….?” The old man’s brow furrowed in thought for a while. He turned his head to look at the sixth figure sitting there meditating in the inky blackness of the stony cavern.
There were a total of seven people inside this underground lair. Originally, the old man in the crimson robe should have been asleep, and should not have awakened in this age. According to the clan rules, it was the Sixth Patriarch who was supposed to regain consciousness in this millennium.
However, Meng Hao’s Essence of Divine Flame had stimulated his aura during the rise of the Eastern Ascension Sun, reviving him. Afterward, he had planned to return to meditation, but had then changed his mind.
“Sixth Brother is in an astral projection. His soul is no longer in his body.” He thought for another moment.
“Sixth Brother has already cultivated the Reincarnation Incantation Daoist magic to the pinnacle. But… was it worth it?” The old man closed his eyes. This closing of the eyes was not a return to a state of inactivity. Instead, he quietly sent out some divine sense, which transformed into a stream of divine will that made its way through the earth… toward the ancestral land!
Heaven and Earth trembled as lightning and thunder danced about in the clouds, as if seeking a way to lash the earth. The ground itself was a brownish color that made it look like it was soaked with blood, and stretched out as far as the eye could see.
What parts of the land were not covered with deep cracks were choked with weeds.
A seemingly eternal air of desolation and bleakness spread out in all directions. Off in the distance, ruins could be seen, and even further off, a volcano which belched thick black smoke.
Occasionally, frightening roars could be heard echoing about, which raged across the lands like storm winds, causing everything to shake.
The mystery of this place came from the fact that it used to be part of the Ruins of Immortality. Its solemn dignity came because it was now an ancestral land of the Fang Clan.
The first generation Patriarch was buried here. Other Dao Realm Patriarchs of the clan, his descendants, were also laid to rest here after passing away in meditation.
The entire ancestral land was laid out in the shape of a straight line. The further one went in, the more danger there was. As for the brown-earthed region near the entrance, two chains of mountains were visible.
These two mountain ranges were like two stone dragons, lofty, imposing, and jagged.
Between the two mountain chains was a path, so far down from the peaks of the mountains that the sky was almost like a sliver up above. It was like a great door leading into the ancestral land, although there was no actual door present, only… an enormous statue larger than the mountains themselves!
This statue looked as if it were inseparably connected to the mountains. It was pitch black, and wore a heavy suit of armor. Its two hands rested on the pommel of a greatsword, and the statue itself seemed incomparably ancient.
The sword was dozens of meters wide, and was thrust down into the earth. Ancient magical symbols were engraved onto its surface, which seemed simple and almost crude, and yet contained profound meaning that was impossible to decipher.
The statue’s eyes lacked any expression whatsoever, making the statue itself seem completely lifeless. It almost seemed to be a mere decoration standing guard over the ancestral land.
However, from a distance, it was possible to see that the statue was looking up into the sky, staring off into the distance as if… it was waiting for something.
Any Fang Clan member who had been to the ancestral land knew about this statue. According to the legends, the origins of the statue were a complete mystery. Supposedly, it had flown here from somewhere out in the starry sky, the same year that the Ji Clan changed the Heavens and took over the Ninth Mountain and Sea.
From then on, the statue had remained in this spot, apparently guarding the ancestral land.
Over the years, rumors began to spread that the statue was not just there to guard the ancestral land, but actually, all of the Fang Clan’s bloodlines.
Years and years passed, and eventually, the rumors and stories died out. In every generation of the Fang Clan, there would be many people who came and laid eyes on the statue. However, they never called to mind the absurd stories of the past. After all… they were simply legends.
As for the reason why the statue held its head up as if it were waiting for something, people had long since stopped wondering about it.
No one had any idea why this statue had come here to the Fang Clan on its own… nor what it was waiting for.
It emanated the aura of a powerful expert, an intense aura that was strong enough to shake Heaven and Earth. When Meng Hao looked at it, the feeling he got was so intense that not even the Grand Elder could compare.
This statue was so strong… that in the past, Meng Hao wouldn’t have been able to even identify how powerful it was. Now, though, when he looked at the statue, he understood…. This statue’s aura was almost like that of a Paragon!
Meng Hao stood in the vast land between the two mountain chains. This was the location that he had appeared in upon entering the ancestral land. Currently, he was standing there stock-still, looking thoughtfully at the statue.
He was well aware that this trip to the ancestral land was an ambush. He also knew that the best choice had been to not come here, but instead take advantage of the opportunity given him by the Grand Elder.
In fact, originally he had no plans whatsoever to enter this place. However, after looking into the vortex and seeing this enormous statue, his heart had filled with roaring.
The roaring had soon inundated him completely, tugging at him, pulling him into distant memories.
He trembled, and his eyes flashed with reminiscence. He couldn’t even control himself as he walked forward to stand in front of the statue. He came to a stop in front of its foot, after which he reached his hand out and patted it gently.
His hand shook, and after it touched the statue, his whole body started trembling. He slowly looked up at the enormously tall statue, and then started to float up into the air.
He moved slowly, as if he wanted to take a clear look at the entire statue. Eventually, he reached its head, and looked into its eyes. It was at this point… that tears appeared in his own eyes.
“Terracotta soldier….” he murmured softly. Finally, the tears began to roll down his cheeks and fall to the ground. He remembered this terracotta soldier being about three meters tall. Even though it was now much bigger than before, he would never forget this terracotta soldier with whom he had such a connection.
The only reason he had chosen to enter this ancestral land despite all the danger… was because of this statue.
Back in the temple, when he had looked into the vortex and seen the statue, he almost couldn’t believe it.
How could he have forgotten about this statue…? How was it even possible??
This was… one of the two terracotta soldiers that had been created for him in illusory world of the Second Plane of the ancient Demon Immortal Sect, by his foster father Ke Yunhai!
He would never, ever be able to forget the life he had lived as Ke Jiusi back in the ancient Demon Immortal Sect.
“Father….” said Meng Hao, tears streaming down his face. His entire body shook, and as he looked at the statue, he wept. All of the memories of the ancient Demon Immortal Sect flooded into his mind. All of a sudden, Ke Yunhai’s stern and yet loving face appeared in his mind.
The ninety-nine bell tolls from that year seemed to echo in his ears once again. 1
He had long since assumed that he would never see the two terracotta soldiers again. He had searched for them in the Third Plane of the ancient Demon Immortal Sect, in the real world, but hadn’t found them.
There was no possible way that Meng Hao would ever have thought that he might see one of the statues here… in the Fang Clan’s ancestral land.
Ke Yunhai, knowing that his longevity was reaching its end, had created this terracotta soldier to protect Meng Hao. It was only because of it that Meng Hao had unhesitatingly entered the ancestral land, despite knowing of the dangers.
It wouldn’t have mattered if the danger had been was exponentially greater than it was, Meng Hao would never have hesitated to come here.
And the entire reason… was because of Ke Yunhai!
Note from Deathblade: I originally translated the statue as stone soldier, and even called it a wooden soldier, once. I’m officially changing it to “terracotta soldier,” and have already gone back to change previous references.
Ke Yunhai died on the ninety-ninth bell toll in chapter 597 ↩