Chapter 20: Entering the Black Mountain
In a split second, everyone in the entire square suddenly began to stare at Fatty, making him feel as if a cold wind were creeping down his back. His body quivered, and he looked pitifully at Meng Hao, a weak smile on his face.
“Meng Hao, save me…” He wanted to throw the pill away, but for some reason it wouldn’t leave his hand. He was so frightened that as people began to surround them, his teeth chattered.
As the lights faded, he trembled violently. Then the lights were gone, and the restrictive spell released. Before Fatty could say anything, Meng Hao sent out a booming flash of his fourth level Cultivation base, then grabbed Fatty by his robe and charged away.
“Give me the pill,” Meng Hao said in a low voice. “You go back to the Immortal’s Cave and hide!” Without hesitation, Meng Hao tossed him the cave’s jade slip. Fatty threw him the Dry Spirit Pill as if it were a hot potato.
Meng Hao’s body flashed as he sped forward with Fatty in tow. Behind him, howling and roaring sounds arose as ten or more people raced in hot pursuit.
“Dammit, it’s Meng Hao. You can’t escape!”
“Hand over the Dry Spirit Pill. As a fellow disciple, I’ll show some mercy and not kill you. Otherwise, you’ll have a tough time escaping death!”
Meng Hao didn’t stop for even a second. After emerging from the edge of the Outer Sect, he tossed Fatty away from him. Fatty was a matter-of-fact kind of person, but he wasn’t stupid. As soon as he landed on his feet, he let out a miserable shriek.
“Pill thief!” he screamed, clutching the jade slip close to him as he ran off, trying not to look suspicious. He dashed toward the Immortal’s Cave at top speed.
Hearing this, the pursuers ignored him and continued after Meng Hao.
“Flee to the ends of the earth if you want, you won’t survive the next 24 hours!”
“You’re of the fourth level, and you still don’t give me the pill!?” Among the ten or more pursuers, most were of the fourth level of Qi Condensation, and only two were of the fifth level. The rest were of the third level, obviously hoping to be able to take advantage of the situation.
Cold sword auras whistled behind Meng Hao as over ten flying swords descended toward him like rain. But he was determined to keep the Dry Spirit Pill, and refused to toss it away.
“I just have to endure for twenty-four hours, then the pill will be mine,” he said, determination shining in his eyes. “Then, I will finally be able to break through to the fifth level of Qi Condensation.” He increased his speed. After spending so much time hunting for demonic beasts in the wild mountains, his top speed was not inferior. And he was much more familiar with the mountainous regions than most other fellow disciples. Thus, upon leaving the Outer Sect, he raced towards mountains.
Glancing behind at the approaching sword auras, Meng Hao slapped his bag of holding to produce a medicinal pill which he immediately swallowed. Then he sent his own flying swords shooting backwards.
Bang, bang, bang. Several trees were hit by the powerful flying swords and exploded into pieces, which flew about everywhere. Some smacked painfully into Meng Hao. Absorbing momentum from the explosion, he shot away several meters.
Before he could land on the ground, four Flame Serpents and three Water Globes shot toward him. Two of the Flame Serpents were almost eighteen meters long and as thick as a person, and emitted an intense heat which caused some of the nearby trees to catch fire. Those would be the work of the fifth level disciples, who were also the fastest of the bunch. Their feet didn’t even touch the ground as they flew toward him like the wind. Savage looks filled their faces. Actually, they didn’t hold the slightest bit of compassion even for each other. As far as they were concerned, the only competition involved were the two of them. Meng Hao didn’t count for anything.
Without hesitation, Meng Hao slapped his bag of holding again. Two flying swords appeared and rotated around him, then came to rest beneath his feet. Then they shot forward, carrying him nearly thirty meters before he lost his balance and fell off. The short movement enabled him to evade the Flame Serpents and gain some distance. Furious howls reverberated in the air behind him.
This was a technique Meng Hao had come up with himself. It wouldn’t work for long, only a few seconds, but at least it helped him to gain a bit of advantage on the two fifth-level Cultivators.
“If I were of the fifth level of Qi Condensation,” Meng Hao thought to himself, “I would have the Wind Walking technique. Then I could stay on the flying sword for a lot longer, and I could get away more easily. Sadly, this isn’t really flying…” Even more than ever, he desired to reach the fifth level of Qi Condensation. Not looking back, he sped along. Actually, the path he chose was not random. The instant the Dry Spirit Pill had landed in Fatty’s hands, his mind had been racing at top speed.
He had picked the wild mountains because his destination was none other than the black mountain inhabited by Demonic beasts. After thinking about it for some time, he had decided that his best advantage was the copper mirror. With the mirror, he would still have a good chance of surviving the area even though it was dangerous, and contained that ominous roaring beast. This was especially true if people followed him in.
“If these guys chase me into the black mountain, then I’ll be forced to kill them.” A harsh expression appeared on his face. He had been a part of the Reliance Sect for over a year now and was no longer the weak scholar he had once been. He didn’t appear to have changed much on the outside. He was a bit taller, and his skin was as swarthy as ever. But his heart was filled with decisiveness.
This was especially so after the matter with Wang Tengfei. He knew that he could only rely on himself. The only true path was to become stronger. In the world of Cultivation, the law of the jungle prevails. One must conduct oneself with caution and decisiveness.
They pursued him relentlessly. Sword auras glittered. Before long, the two fifth-level Cultivators had almost caught up with him, their eyes filled with murder. Just now, Meng Hao had evaded their attack using a single special move. Other than Wang Tengfei and Han Zong, they were were like high lords in the Outer Sect, so they found this particularly humiliating.
They had attacked at the same time, and yet Meng Hao had still managed to evade, which they both found hard to accept. Now, they wanted even more than ever to slay him. As far as his sword-riding technique, they didn’t give it a second thought. Any Cultivator of the fourth level could do that. But considering their Cultivation base, doing so would be would be a waste of spiritual energy, even if it gave some extra speed. Seeing Meng Hao use the technique, they sneered. Using such tactics would sap his spiritual energy sooner rather than later.
“Let’s see you escape this time!” they shouted, glancing at each other. One of them suddenly shot forward like a huge bird. In mid-air, he waved his hand, and two massive, roaring Flame Serpents shot down toward Meng Hao.
The other man continued to pursue Meng Hao. The two of them created a pincer attack, one in the air and one on the ground, ready to seal Meng Hao’s fate in death.
“You still won’t accept death!” grinned one of them hideously, his murderous intent filling the air.
Meng Hao’s expression didn’t change. He gave a cold snort. He’d dared to snatch the Dry Spirit Pill, so of course he had some special techniques prepared. He slapped his bag of hold, and flicked his sleeve. Six flying swords appeared. Their sword auras interlocked and then whizzed outward, away from Meng Hao.
Meng Hao let out a small shout of pain which reverberated into the mountains. When the two pursuing Cultivators heard the explosion, they gasped with astonishment, unsure of what had happened to produce such a sound.
Amidst the thunderous roar, Meng Hao spat out a mouthful of blood. And yet, his body shot away into the distance. Behind him, the effects of the attack dissipated, and the Flame Serpents collapsed with blood-curdling shrieks. The fifth-level Cultivators had no choice but to retreat a few paces, covered in dirt, their faces filled with disbelief.
“Dammit. What ruthlessness! He detonated six flying swords at once!”
“No wonder he opened up a shop! How many flying swords does he actually have?”
The two of them each sucked in a breath, but didn’t hesitate. Using the full speed of their Wind Walking technique, they raced in pursuit again, unwilling to let Meng Hao intimidate them. According to their estimations, Meng Hao could not have that many flying swords left. Even if he had opened a shop in the Low Level Public Zone, he couldn’t possibly have so many magical items.
“This time, you will die for sure!” The two pursuers increased their speed, entering the wild mountains. At this point, the pursuing fourth-level disciples caught up. One of them was Wang Tengfei’s friend Shangguan Song. His Cultivation base was at the peak of the fourth level of Qi Condensation. His face was grim. He secretly feared Meng Hao’s speed. And yet, he continued to pursue.
Time gradually passed by, and soon an hour had passed. Meng Hao continued forward, maintaining the distance from his pursuers. A few times he came into danger, but each time he produced a flying sword, detonated it, and escaped.
This left the pursuing fifth-level Cultivator’s dumbstruck. They moaned to themselves, never having imagined that Meng Hao would have so many flying swords. At this point, he had detonated nearly twelve of them.
Combined with his sword-riding technique, his speed of evasion was quite high.
“Dammit! Even if he has more flying swords, I can’t believe that he’ll produce many more. In any case, at the speed he’s been maintaining, plus detonating all those flying sword, he has used a huge amount of spiritual energy!”
“Correct! His Cultivation base is at the fourth level of Qi Condensation, not nearly as deep as mine. Using spiritual energy to ride flying swords wastes so much, it can kill you!” The two pursuing fifth-level Cultivators were now getting pumped up. And yet just as they finished talking, they caught sight of Meng Hao up ahead, and they saw something that left them feeling anything but reassured.
Even as he ran, Meng Hao pulled out a second bag of holding, from which he produced a handful of medicinal pills which he swallowed. This he did with casual ease, leaving the onlookers with the feeling that he had countless medicinal pills at his disposal.
Actually, that was true. In the following four hours, the two pursuers discovered that he had an enormous amount of flying swords and medicinal pills. They were already deeply shaken.
“Opening a store is this profitable?” they thought. They were Cultivators of the fifth level of Qi Condensation, and could not possibly be without medicinal pills. Furthermore, after having spent so much effort in their pursuit, they couldn’t bear to give up. Reluctantly, they produced some pills and consumed them, then continued their pursuit, their hearts filled with the desire to slay Meng Hao.
By the time the sixth hour had arrived, the dark, black mountain had appeared in front of Meng Hao. Lying concealed among the other wild mountains, it gave off a ghastly, cold air. It seemed as if it were filled with sinister gloom.
When he caught sight of the mountain, his eyes gleamed. He had expended a lot of energy along the way, and felt a bit of painful regret. To him, every flying sword and every medicinal pill cost Spirit Stones. But he couldn’t worry too much about that right now. Without hesitation, he shot into the black mountain.
The two pursuing Cultivators followed him in.
Some more time passed and more pursuers appeared, one by one. Upon seeing the black mountain, they gaped in astonishment, then entered.