Chapter 43: The Sole Heir
Patriarch Reliance sat in his secret chamber in the Reliance Sect catacombs, his hair disheveled, his eyes red. He looked as if he had gone mad. His plans were about to go awry; in moments, everyone would leave, and if that happened, they wouldn’t come back. He watched in sorrow as the Golden Frost Sect Cultivator began to make a move towards his only remaining Inner Sect disciple. Fury rose in him, and without holding anything back from his Cultivation base, he sent his voice thundering out.
It shook the Heavens and stirred up a gale-forced wind which swept back and forth. In the wild mountains surrounding the Reliance Sect, trees were uprooted as the tempest battered the land. Many other trees were simply splintered into pieces until the tempest became a dark green color, filled with flashing lightning. The experts from the State of Zhao floated in mid-air looking on, dumb with amazement.
Even Zhou Yanyun from the Solitary Sword Sect looked confused. Carrying Chen Fan’s unconscious form in his arm, he retreated. The massive sword began to hum, and then he was surrounded by multitudinous sword auras.
The beautiful woman from the Black Sieve Sect also looked surprised. She retreated, reaching down to slap the surface of the Feng Shui compass. It suddenly expanded to twice its original size.
As for Zhao Shanling from the Golden Frost Sect, he took a deep breath and retreated backward, his fingers moving in incantation patterns. The golden sword flew out from behind him, and his entire body glowed with a golden light, making him look like some sort of celestial general.
The three of them stared around at the Reliance Sect, as if they were facing a deadly opponent.
Meng Hao, who still stood on the East Mountain, looked at this change of events, at the dark green tempest which filled the sky with its deafening roar, filled with unparalleled might. He found it difficult to breathe. His eyes wide, he moved backwards, his clothing whipping in the frenzied wind. He grabbed onto a boulder and held on, lest he be sucked up by the wind. And yet, his eyes shined. Patriarch Reliance’s words just now had reminded him of what he had read on the first page of the manual all those years ago when he had first arrived at the Reliance Sect.
He Luohua and Grand Elder Ouyang also looked surprised. This turn of events was too sudden, shocking them to the extent that it almost seemed as if their Cultivation bases would crumble under the might of the tempest.
“Let it be known, the Patriarch is still here!” roared Patriarch Reliance, deep in the catacombs. “No one is permitted to touch the kid surnamed Meng! He is my only Inner Sect disciple left. If he dies, I will have no hope!!” Gritting his teeth, he slapped the top of his head, and his body shook. He spat out a mass of blood, then continued to hit himself over and over again, spitting out more and more blood. His body began to spin.
A look of hatred appeared in his eyes. After hitting himself seven or eight times, a massive amount of blood had been spat out. It congealed together, then shot toward the stone wall with a resounding boom. It banged against the wall, and nearly half of it was gone by the time it was able to punch through.
Having accomplished this, Patriarch Reliance’s head tilted to the side and he slipped into unconsciousness. He almost seemed dead, as if only the refined blood contained his awareness.
The refined blood burst out from the secret chamber and through the catacombs. Outside, in plain view of the awestruck bystanders, it spread out to cover the entire Reliance Sect into a roiling red fog. Within the mists of the fog boomed the sound of lightning as it continued to expand. In an instant, it had covered the surrounding mountainous region for countless kilometers in every direciton. From the outside, it appeared as if the entire area had turned into a red sea of fog!
The fog churned and the roaring sound lifted into the skies. All of the Cultivators present were stunned, and their shock was visible on their faces, even Zhou Yanyun and the others.
Within the red fog, the Reliance Outer Sect disciples all lapsed into unconsciousness, uninjured. On the other hand, Sect Leader He Luohua and Grand Elder Ouyang were pushed away, out of the fog. Their faces went pale as they watched on in astonishment.
The fog roiled ceaselessly, and the thunderous roar continued on until it seemed there was nothing in the world except its resonant booming. The land was like an ocean of fog, the sky colorless. Then, the fog began to move, forming together into a gigantic face.
The size of the face left everyone filled with fear.
The face was that of an old man, calm, powerful and domineering. His eyes were closed, but as soon as He Luohua and Grand Elder Ouyang saw him, their heads began to spin. They recognized this as none other than… Patriarch Reliance
“Patriarch…” said Grand Elder Ouyang, his eyes wide, filled with excitement.
“He… He’s not dead after all!!” The experts from the State of Zhao cried out in alarm, their faces draining of blood. One after another, they fled, their hearts trembling.
Suddenly, Patriarch Reliance’s colossal red-fog face opened its eyes a crack. They opened just a sliver, and yet they emitted a trembling power which seemed as if it could crack open the earth.
He glanced up at the Heavens, and they seemed to be bloodshot. As his gaze swept around, the dark green tempest smashed into the red fog, seemingly transforming into Patriarch Reliance’s long, dark hair.
As he watched this, Zhou Yanyun’s face went pale and he spat out a mouthful of blood. As he retreated backwards his massive sword suddenly split in two, leaving behind only a stump of a blade. His eyes filled with dread, and his heart pounded. His Cultivation base was at the Nascent Soul stage, but caught underneath this gaze, his Nascent Soul began to wither. He retreated even faster, pulling out a blue-colored talisman, which he activated. It covered his body, as well as unconscious Chen Fan, as he sped off into the distance. A powerful voice seemed to echo in his heart, telling him that his opponent was not at the Nascent Soul stage, but rather, the almighty Spirit Severing stage.
As the beautiful woman from the Black Sieve Sect saw all of this happening, the Feng Shui compass beneath her suddenly began to emit popping sounds, and was riddled with cracks. Then it exploded into pieces. This woman had never been so afraid. Spitting out blood, she retreated with an unconscious Xu Qing. The only thing that filled her mind was: flee!
As for tall, hulking Zhao Shanling, his body seemed as if it were being attacked by a falling mountain. He retreated backwards, coughing up blood. The golden sword in front of him shattered into fragments. His face pale, he turned and dashed away, fleeing toward the immaterial crack.
The experts from the State of Zhao all spit up blood. The Foundation Establishment stage Cultivators felt the spiritual energy in their body snapping, and they knew their longevity had been damaged. Their faces grew wan.
On top of the East Mountain, the red fog curled around Meng Hao, circling around his waist. Face pale, he continued to grip the boulder. To the onlookers, however, Meng Hao’s position was exactly in the middle of Patriarch Reliance’s forehead.
“You forced my Reliance Sect to disband, and you’ve attempted to slaughter my only heir! You truly have gall!” His world-shaking voice boomed out in all directions, and as it did, three red beams of light shot out, shooting straight toward Zhou Yanyun, the beautiful woman and the hulking man from the Golden Frost Sect.
“I, Zhou, am an Elder of the Solitary Sword Sect, a Protector of the Dao. If Patriarch Reliance kills me, the Solitary Sword Sect will destroy you!”
“Patriarch Reliance, please cease your anger. Junior is a disciple of the Black Sieve Sect, my grandfather is Ping Sandao, your good friend!”
“Junior was mistaken, Patriarch, please calm your anger.”
Words poured out of the three people as the red light pursued them; Patriarch Reliance let out a cold snort.
“Beat it, you three!” The three red beams disappeared. “Go back and ask your Sect Elders if they’ve forgotten about the Blood Pact we made all those years ago. The State of Zhao is my realm. Anyone who dares step foot here cannot blame me for annihilating them. As for those three other disciples, take them away, I don’t need them.” Their faces pale, the three Southern Domain disciples disappeared.
Seeing this, the State of Zhao Cultivators froze in place, trembling. Seeing Nascent Soul stage Cultivators act like that left them petrified. The most powerful among them was only at the Foundation Establishment stage.
The thousand-year-old legends about Patriarch Reliance had now come to being in front of their very eyes.
As the powerful, domineering voice boomed out, the fog began to roil and spin, with Meng Hao as its center. The fog congealed in front of him to form a long spear.
It was not red, but instead covered with talismanic inscribing of white, silver and gold. It appeared to be incredibly extraordinary.
“The Reliance Sect has been dissolved. So be it. But this kid is my only Inner Sect heir. If anyone dares to touch him…” His attention turned to Meng Hao. “In that case, Meng Hao, use this spear to exterminate that person! All of you, beat it!” His voice echoed out across the land. The State of Zhao experts immediately fled. What they didn’t seem to notice was that Patriarch Reliance’s voice had grown noticeably weaker. It was barely noticeable, but if one paid careful attention, it was definitely weaker.
The unconscious Outer Sect disciples suddenly lifted up into the air and flew away in all directions. Then, a turbulent, blood-red glow enveloped the entire Reliance Sect. No onlooker would have been able to see it, but Meng Hao could.
He Luohua and Grand Elder Ouyang watched on in a daze. Finally, shame appeared on He Luohua’s face. He lowered his head and saluted respectfully toward the blood-red shield. Then, he let out a light sigh, turned, and disappeared into the distance.
Grand Elder Ouyang was silent. One by one, he took the Outer Sect disciples out into the wild mountains. Then he looked at the Reliance Sect from a distance. With a sigh, he departed.
He and He Luohua both knew that with the Patriarch’s acknowledgment of the dissolution of the Sect, there was no longer such thing as the Reliance Sect.
Meng Hao stood within the blood-red glow, looking excited. He looked at the spear, which emitted a white, silver and golden glow. Suddenly and inexplicably, the spear, completely of its own volition, shot forward, combining with the fog to transform into the image of an old man in a red robe. It was Patriarch Reliance.
Clasping his hands in salute, Meng Hao said, “Disciple Meng Hao pays respects to the Patriarch.” Without even thinking about it, he began a flood of eloquence: “You cast awe into the hearts of the people of the State of Zhao, and your name is even known in the Southern Domain. I have revered you ever since I joined the Sect. Every day I pay homage to your words from the beginning of the manual. I have constantly reaped rewards…”
“Very well, very well. You haven’t done well in your studies. Let me tell you, kid, when I was your age, my flattery sounded much more natural than yours. Don’t try to pull that stuff off on me.” Patriarch Reliant glared at him, yet inwardly was a bit moved.
Meng Hao looked at him with a sheepish smile.
“Even though it’s useless to flatter me, well I… never mind. Listen up. I was only able to use a sliver of my consciousness, so it wasn’t easy to scare off those damned Nascent Soul stage Cultivators. I don’t have much time at the moment before this form disappears.” As he spoke, he began to grow more and more indistinct. “I need to rest for a year. When that year is up, you must use any means possible to attract every expert of the Foundation Establishment stage or higher from the State of Zhao to come to my meditation zone. If you can accomplish this, then I will give you an incredible reward!” He raised his hand and pointed a finger at Meng Hao.
Instantly, information entered Meng Hao’s mind, and he now knew how to open the entrance to the meditation zone.
“Kid, you are the only heir to my Reliance Sect. Don’t get yourself killed. If you get killed, I will have to find a concubine to bury with you… I… I find it annoying to have to…” The sound of his voice continued to echo about, but his body had dissipated. Not a shadow remained.
Meng Hao stared blankly for some time before recovering. It was at this point that he realized that everything which had happened had been Patriarch Reliance’s attempt to scare away the outsiders.
“So he didn’t kill those three people… But, what happened to the spear he was going to give me?”