Chapter 13: Manly Cao Yang
Elder Sister Xu was like a tiger pelt, which, when worn while strolling about the Outer Sect, would immediately attract attention. When the Outer Sect disciples saw Elder Sister Xu walking with Meng Hao, strange expressions filled their faces. This was especially true for those who had bought medicines from Meng Hao earlier that day. Hatred blossomed, and then was held back.
As for those with higher level Cultivation bases, they didn’t know what had happened on the plateau, but they still recognized Meng Hao, and conjectured that he was not someone to be trifled with.
Actually, Meng Hao didn’t know it, but he had become a rather famous person in the Outer Sect in the past two months.
As far as he was concerned, the most important thing was getting through each day. Right now it was night, and not many disciples were about. Not even half of them saw the scene play out.
Realizing that his opportunity was not easy to come by, and shouldn’t be lost, Meng Hao prattled on with some of his best humble scholar’s words. He led taciturn Elder Sister Xu to the Pill Cultivation Workshop, where the middle-aged man, both nervous and anxious, sold him all of the various healing pills at a very low price. It would take months to restock the amount of pills he took.
They even went to the Treasure Pavilion. When Elder Sister Xu stared ferociously at the shrewd-looking man, his face grew pale. He surreptitiously slipped a Spirit Stone to Meng Hao and indicated that he could exchange the copper mirror at any time. Meng Hao gave a cold harrumph, looking detested, and told the man that he’d lost the mirror ages ago.
The Treasure Pavilion Brother laughed bitterly and apologized. He told him not to worry, that the mirror had been lost in the past and was always found again within two or three years. At the foot of the East Mountain, Meng Hao watched Elder Sister Xu walk off into the distance, surrounded by moonlight. That was the first time he realized that she was actually incredibly beautiful, like some sort of Immortal goddess.
“Too bad she’s so cold, otherwise I would think about marrying her.” He fantasized idly for a bit, then gave a few dry coughs and headed back to the Immortal’s Cave.
The night passed by uneventfully, and early the next day, as the first rays of dawn appeared, Meng Hao energetically made his way to the plateau.
“I’m just a sliver away from the peak of the third level of Qi Condensation. It’s too bad I don’t have the right medicinal pills. Demonic Cores aren’t easy to get, and I would have to go to that black mountain, which is just too dangerous.” As he walked, an idea began to form.
“My goal now is to collect Spirit Stones. Then, the next time I can get a Demonic Core, I will be able to make a massive leap of progress. If I can get to the fifth level of Qi Condensation…” His heart began to thump, and his eyes shined with anticipation.
“Being of the fifth level in the Outer Sect makes you a kind of lord. And most importantly, you can use the Wind Walking technique.” Meng Hao thought back to Elder Brother Wang Tengfei and how he was able to hover seven inches above the ground, and his heart beat even faster.
Soon, the plateau appeared in front of him, and he hurried forward. Looking every bit the humble scholar, he sat down cross-legged on the boulder.
Soon, more and more Cultivators appeared, including some who hadn’t been present the day before. The sounds of battle filled the air, along with blood-curdling screams. Meng Hao scanned the scene, trying to pick out his first potential customer of the day. He didn’t notice that in another part of the Public Zone, a man was carefully making his way through the crowd.
The Cultivator walked slowly, looking all around. Suddenly, his gaze fell onto Meng Hao, and his body trembled. He stopped walking.
This was Meng Hao’s first customer from the day before. He had personally witnessed Meng Hao knock down his opponent, then act bashful afterwards. He hadn’t expected him to return today, yet there he was.
“How come he’s still here? That swindler! His wares are simply too expensive!” The Cultivator felt both hatred and fear. Heaving a sigh, he was about to leave, when suddenly his eyes caught sight of a manly disciple entering the Public Zone.
“It’s Cao Yang… He’s at the peak of the second level, just a step away from the third. His cousin Lu Hong is the number one disciple in the Low-Level Public Zone. Thanks to him, Cao Yang can bully people and use despicable tactics to hurt people when fighting. People get angry, but won’t say anything. If it were anyone else, people would have ganged up on him long ago. He didn’t show up yesterday, so things went relatively smoothly. Today’s going to be good.” The Cultivator moved a bit closer, convinced that Cao Yang would end up provoking the guy from the Pill Cultivation Workshop Outlet. Considering he hated both of them, he looked forward eagerly to their misery.
Some of the nearby combatants caught sight of Cao Yang, and their expressions changed. They stepped aside quickly, afraid of incurring the wrath of the manly disciple.
Cao Yang snorted coldly. He was tall, tough and stocky. His cold, hard stare was intimidating, as if the Low Level Public Zone was his own back yard. Other than two or three people who he didn’t want to mess with, he looked down on everyone. Frowning, he wondered why he hadn’t seen his good friend Zhao Wugang lately. This made his mood sour, so he stalked about looking for a newbie to steal medicinal pills from.
Then, his gaze fell upon Meng Hao, and the big banner sticking up next to him.
At first, he had barely noticed him. But then he saw the gloating Cultivator watching on in the distance, and his interest was piqued.
“Go, go, quickly,” said the Cultivator under his breath. He suddenly realized that watching the fighting was a lot more interesting than participating in it.
Perhaps his mumblings had some effect, because Cao Yang rolled his eyes and then strode over to Meng Hao. People hurried to get out of his way.
Meng Hao sat on the boulder, looking as resolute as ever, preparing to hawk his medicines. But as he saw Cao Yang approaching, he realized he could not accomplish his goal. He raised his head, feeling a bit of pity.
This man was no stranger to him. He was the violent man he had seen a few days ago. Meng Hao sat there, a weak scholar. Looking bashful and a bit ardent, he said:
“Brother, it’s our second day in business. All pills are in stock, and each one is essential for battle. Would you like to buy some?”
Cao Yang looked him over but was unable to estimate his Cultivation base. If a person’s Qi Condensation level is below the seventh, then unless they intentionally emit spiritual energy, their Cultivation base will be motionless, and it is impossible to see how powerful they are. Only at the seventh level of Qi Condensation does it become visible to others.
Therefore, he had no way to know Meng Hao’s level.
“When I buy things, I don’t need to spend money. Hand over all your medicinal pills and Spirit Stones. If you dally, I’ll snap your neck.” His eyes flashed, and his tone was utterly forceful and domineering. After all, this was the Low-Level Public Zone, and everyone here revered him. His cousin was Lu Hong. As far as he was concerned, Meng Hao was nobody.
Off in the distance, Meng Hao’s first customer watched the proceedings eagerly.
“Beat him to death, beat him to death!” he said quietly. Even he didn’t know which party he was referring to.
“Brother, the sages said, it is not good to steal,” said Meng Hao delicately. “Look, let’s discuss things a bit. I’m running a business here, but I haven’t even opened shop yet. How could I have Spirit Stones already?”
“Sages? On this plateau, I am the sage,” Cao Yang said, feeling even more confident after hearing Meng Hao speak. “If I want to beat you, who will stop me? If I want to cut you to pieces, who would even utter a peep?” Assuming Meng Hao was scared, he laughed heartily and took a step forward. He was very close now, and his eyes radiated insolence.
“Brother, I didn’t do anything to provoke you. Furthermore, I’m not in the Public Zone. Look, I’m outside the borders.” Pulling a long face, Meng Hao stood up on the boulder, trying to speak reasonably.
“You really can talk crap,” said manly Cao Yang impatiently. “If I say you’re inside, then you’re inside.” He stepped past the banner, then swiped his hand at Meng Hao.
“What a bully!” When he saw manly Cao Yang’s hand moving, Meng Hao’s countenance flickered, and he seemed to change into a different person. As Cao Yang moved forward, so did he, and his right palm shot out.
A bang sounded out, then a horrific scream came out of manly Cao Yang’s mouth, followed by a fountain of blood. His body flew back some distance, his face filled with astonishment.
His Cultivation level was higher than that of the Cultivator Meng Hao had struck yesterday, so he didn’t lose consciousness. But pain wracked his body. Even as he attempted to struggle to his feet, Meng Hao appeared next to him and kicked him viciously into the ground.
“The sages said, if you take things without paying, you’re courting death.
“I told you, I’m running a business, and I haven’t opened shop yet. I don’t have any Spirit Stones.” As he spoke, he continued to ruthlessly trample Cao Yang. The manly man’s shrill, miserable shrieks sounded out over the plateau, punctuating Meng Hao’s each and every word. He protected his head with his hands, rolling about. Soon, footprints covered his green robe.
“I told you I was outside the Public Area, not inside,” said Meng Hao furiously. The manly man’s horrible cries began to grow weak, and it seemed that soon he wouldn’t even have the energy to cry out at all. The onlooking Cultivators all seemed to suck in their breath, looking at Meng Hao raging in all his fury. A few of them had been present the day before, and they started to think that they had struck it lucky.
The one who understood things the most was yesterday’s first customer. Looking at manly Cao Yang screaming, and watching Meng Hao’s fierce expression as he jumped up and down, he suddenly began to sweat and quiver. The longer he watched, the more he felt that Meng Hao was truly frightening and dangerous.
It appeared that Cao Yang was about to lose consciousness. The shadow of death seemed to float over him. His vision began to grow dim. Then, he rose up his left hand, trembling. In it was a Spirit Stone.
“I… I’ll buy some medicine!” he cried. He mustered all his strength to cry out as loud as possible, apparently afraid that Meng Hao wouldn’t hear him.
Meng Hao stopped, his foot in mid-air. His fierce expression flickered away, replaced with the innocent scholar’s. With a genial smile, he took the Spirit Stone.
“Why didn’t you say so earlier?” He helped Cao Yang to his feet, brushing the dusty footprints off his robe.
His manly body trembled, and he stared fearfully at Meng Hao. Looking at him, Cao Yang wanted to leave immediately, to get as far away as possible from the demon in human clothing.
As of now, he was just like the Cultivator from yesterday.
“Brother, looking at your current state, I think one medicinal pill will only help you temporarily.” He gripped Cao Yang by the shoulders. He seemed to stop in consideration for a moment. “You have a lot of enemies. Why don’t you buy some more?”