Chapter 851: Loyal Personality
There was one other familiar person on the Ancient Road of the Nascent Soul, Li Shiqi.
She wore a long white robe, and walked slowly across the black soil, sending out divine sense until she found an Immortal ruin off in the distance.
She would not make her selection casually, nor rashly begin to test herself against the ruin. That was her personality.
After walking along for some time, she finally came across a blood-colored lake. At one time, the lake had been vast and deep, but now there wasn’t much left to it.
At the very bottom, a bloody flower was visible.
It was an orchid that was as red as blood.
A Blood Orchid.
Li Shiqi looked at the orchid silently for a while, after which a gleam of determination appeared in her eyes, and she walked toward it. This was the first ruin she had selected. Now that she had made her decision, she would see it through to the end. That was her personality.
“There is much good fortune in this world,” she murmured softly, “and I can’t have all of it. I just want to find something that is suitable for me, that will be good enough.” As she walked toward the Blood Orchid, she felt increasing pressure. Eventually, she sat down cross-legged, her expression blank as she submerged herself in contemplation.
Virtually all of the people on the three Ancient Roads were similarly deep in contemplation. Some were like Li Shiqi, who made her selection carefully. Others tried out one Immortal ruin after another.
Different personalities. Different paths.
Time passed. Everyone was fighting for their own future, attempting to gain enlightenment regarding their own personal divine ability. The crowds outside in the Ninth Mountain and Sea were all watching closely and patiently. This was the creation of a divine ability, not some simple copy of some other magic. The more time one spent developing the divine ability, the more likely it would lead to something breathtaking.
“After these three stages, there will definitely be people who become famous overnight and draw the attention of all of the sects. There might even be some people, whether they are on the name lists or not, who be immediately recruited!”
“There will also be people who suffer disastrous failures and completely lose any advantage they previously had.”
“We definitely have to watch closely in case someone creates a ten-stele divine ability. In the future, that person will surely be deemed Chosen.”
Conversations like this played out in many of the various areas in the Ninth Mountain and Sea where people had gathered to watch the trial by fire. Some of those people were Chosen like Taiyang Zi, who had been to Planet South Heaven, but most of them were people who had never seen Meng Hao, only heard of his name.
As of this moment, all of these Chosen were watching the trial by fire with their own thoughts and feelings.
They knew that there very well might be people participating who in future days would be their competition within their own sect.
Time passed by. Soon, three days had passed. Meng Hao had already passed through 19 Immortal ruins, and after spending some time at each one had left disappointed and wondering if something was defective about him.
“It’s so depressing….” he said with a sigh. “How come the enlightenment I achieve at each of these ruins always has to do with spirit stones….” Currently, he was walking up to an enormous copper mirror, which, as soon as he laid eyes on it, filled him with the impulse to pull out a spirit stone and put it on the surface of the mirror.
After a moment, Meng Hao left the mirror, his face filled with determination.
“Apparently each one of these ruins makes me involuntarily think about spirit stones. That inevitably leads to thinking about those promissory notes… Well then, I’ll just make a divine ability that’s completely unique!” Taking a deep breath, he made his decision, and his eyes began to shine with a strange light. The more he thought about it, the more sense his choice made.
His body flashed as he shot off toward another Immortal ruin.
More time went by. Fatty had passed out and regained consciousness numerous times during the past few days. Every time he awoke, he would grab hold of the mushroom and viciously chomp a few bites out of it. He was currently chewing the final mouthful of the magical fungus. Feeling a bit anxious about leaving anything behind, he bit a chunk out of the wooden stump that the mushroom had been growing out of, swallowed it down, and then passed out again with a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction, and a look of anticipation.
Chen Fan still stood in front of the boulder, painting his beloved wife. His brush moved with increasing quickness, and Shan Ling’s image was becoming clearer and more and more lifelike with each brushstroke.
Wang Youcai continued to sit in front of the bronze mirror, his eyes bloodshot to the point where tears of blood were dripping down his face and onto his clothes. His entire body was trembling, and blue veins bulged out on his face and neck. His expression was savage and hideous.
“I can see more than this!!”
As Li Shiqi quietly stared at the Blood Orchid, her previously white clothes were beginning to turn red, the exact same red as the flower itself.
Three more days passed. Meng Hao had now passed through 39 Immortal ruins. It was at this point that rumbling echoed out from the Ancient Road of the Nascent Soul, and all the cultivators in the Ninth Mountain and Sea who were watching the Ancient Roads turned their attention to the Nascent Soul vortex screen with eagerness.
“The sound’s coming from the Ancient Road of the Nascent Soul! I wonder how many stone steles will appear!”
The Patriarchs in the palace floating in the sky all began to look over.
On the Ancient Road of the Nascent Soul, an old man had lifted his head back and was laughing uproariously. He waved his hand, and all of the black-colored mud and soil around him suddenly lifted up into the air, then began to form together into a statue. It had three heads and six arms, and as soon as it fully coalesced, emanated a shocking might.
“I have gained the enlightenment of this barrow!” declared the man. “This soil contains spirits, spirits that I will transmogrify into the divine wills of the people who are buried here! This will become my divine ability, which I shall henceforth name… Descent of the Spirits!”
As the old man’s voice rang out, two stone steles rumbled out from the void to land in front of him. A powerful glow could be seen that filled the entire world, revealing everything clearly to the onlookers.
“Two stone steles…. Not bad! This guy’s pretty good!”
“He also used the least amount of time. Earlier, nobody really noticed him, but now people are going to start paying attention to him.” As the discussions continued among the spectators, the representatives from the various sects quickly began to add the old man’s name to their records.
However, even while the old man’s laughter was still ringing out, rumbling sounds could be heard from seven or eight other cultivators on the three various Ancient Roads, as they too completed their divine abilities.
Rumbling filled the air as one stone stele after another descended. In all cases, though, there were only two pillars, never three.
In the following days, more and more contestants completed their divine abilities, one after another. All of the three Ancient Roads were the same. At the very least, one stone stele appeared, and at the most, four, which of course attracted much attention.
Suddenly, on the seventh day, on the Ancient Road of Dao Seeking, a roar could be heard unlike anything before it.
The old man with the age-transformation powers now bore the appearance of a middle-aged man, an age that was truly the prime of life. He floated in midair, performing an incantation gesture, causing an extra layer of skin to appear on him, which then began to peel off as if he was molting. These were not scattered bits of flesh, but a fully connected body of skin!
The skin seemed to be smiling, although that smile was horrifying to look at!
“I have created this divine ability, Life Possession!” he said coolly as he floated there in midair. “This skin that I have shed can possess the body of even a false Immortal!” Everything rumbled as eight stone steles descended.
Those eight steles caused wild colors to flash about, and sent the crowds out in the Ninth Mountain and Sea completely abuzz.
There were even several Patriarchs in the starry sky palace whose eyes shone with gleams of surprise.
“Eight stone steles! What a shocking creation!”
“He performed well in the previous stages, and now that he’s created an eight-stele divine ability, it goes to show that he definitely has potential!”
“Hahaha! The Three Great Daoist Societies might not spare him a second glance, but the Seven Seas Sect must have disciples such as him.”
The outside world was in an uproar, too. Eight stone steles was currently the most that had appeared for anyone.
Almost in the same moment as the eight stone steles descended, rumbling could be heard coming from the images of more people on the Ancient Roads trial, as if some specific critical point had been reached. More divine abilities appeared, although none of them caused eight steles to descend; at most, six appeared.
But then… an incredible noise rose up on the Ancient Road of the Nascent Soul, and everything began to tremble. Wind screamed and massive energy surged that stifled even the old man with the eight stone steles. Soon, all of the powerful experts in the outside world were looking over.
The source of the noise… was Fatty!
He hadn’t made a very big impression in the previous stages, mostly because of his lack of control. Now, he opened his eyes, and while they seemed blank at first, it was possible to see that nearly half of the huge woodpile had been consumed; it appeared to be in a shambles.
Fatty rose numbly to his feet, then suddenly opened his mouth and took a deep breath. That breath caused the Heavens to tremble, and clouds to gather together. In the blink of an eye… an enormous mouth was visible up above.
The mouth was filled with numerous razor-sharp teeth, and as it bit down toward the ground, it grew larger and larger, until it was more than ten thousand meters wide. Everything trembled violently as the enormous mouth slashed through anything and everything to take an enormous bite.
Everyone on the outside looked on with wide eyes and slack jaws.
It was at this point that the Heavens rippled as thirteen stone steles descended, rumbling, from up above. They were floating in the air around Fatty as his eyes grew clear from his previous reverie.
“Thirteen stone steles! What… what divine ability did that fat guy create?!?!”
“Thirteen stone steles! That’s second only to Sir Fan from back in the day! This little fatty is extraordinary! I never imagined that he would have such powerful intuition!!”
In the palace in the starry sky, the sect Patriarchs were all watching with wide eyes. Even the Three Daoist Societies were shocked. It was at this point that the Patriarch from the Paleo-Immortal Mausoleum, one of the Five Holy Lands, suddenly rose to his feet. It was with incredible speed, and before anyone could react, that he shot forward and disappeared into the screen up ahead.
There were four other Patriarchs who stood up, but they weren’t fast enough, and the Patriarch from the Paleo-Immortal Mausoleum suddenly appeared in the world in front of Fatty. He had long gray hair that draped down over his shoulders, and wore a long robe.
“What is the name of this divine ability?!” he asked as soon as he materialized. He immediately waved his hand, causing the entire area to be locked down so that no one else could enter.
Fatty started shivering.
“I’m not sure,” he replied, unsure of how this old man had appeared in front of him. “I just ate some of that wood, and the magical fungus, then I had a dream about being really hungry, and my gums were itching and I constantly felt like I had to file my teeth and eat stuff.”
“Excellent, excellent. A loyal personality and an excellent divine ability. Henceforth, it shall be known as Gulping Down Heaven!
“Are you willing to join the Paleo-Immortal Mausoleum as one of our disciples?!” The old man’s eyes shone with a mysterious and approving light as he looked at Fatty.
“Uh, alright,” replied Fatty, blinking. Then he asked, “But… but what about all my beloved concubines back home? Can they come with me?”
“As I thought, you’re a man who values relationships. Don’t worry. Your concubines may also join the Paleo-Immortal Mausoleum!” With an emotional sigh, the old man waved his hand. Fatty was covered with a brilliant light, and then he vanished, and the world around him collapsed. Back in the palace in the starry sky, the various Patriarchs weren’t very happy, but there was nothing they could do.