Chapter 862: Provocation!
Meng Hao took several more deep breaths, but he was unable to calm himself. Even he had to admit that deep down, his main weakness was… his love of money.
But that wasn’t his fault! He had been poor since he was little, and even though lots of people owed him money, those debts hadn’t been repaid. Things really weren’t easy for him!
When he was young, he had been so poor that he developed a fear of lacking money. After he grew up, he entered the world of cultivation, and still had never really been rich. There was that short period of time in the Milky Way Sea, and his unexpected windfall. However, when he thought about it, the only reason he had been able to save up the money he had now was because he hadn’t used the copper mirror in a long time. When he thought about how voraciously the copper mirror consumed wealth, it made Meng Hao feel completely impoverished.
1,000 Immortal jades made him excited. 10,000 sent his blood boiling. The value of the Immortality Illumination Vine made his eyes go bloodshot. Now, there was the drop of Paragon blood, which caused Meng Hao’s eyes to go green.
When Ling Yunzi saw that green glow, he stared in shock for a moment. He had never before seen a light like that shining in someone’s eyes. This was the first time.
However, it only took a moment for more heavy breathing to be heard. Many of the other participants were much like Meng Hao, and didn’t originally understand the value of a drop of Paragon’s blood. When they heard Ling Yunzi’s second sentence, their minds filled with roaring.
They weren’t the only ones. The Patriarchs in the starry sky temple were also panting; to them, a drop of Paragon’s blood was like a precious treasure.
They were well aware that an item like that was something that only the Three Great Daoist Societies could possess. They would most certainly not have very many either. It was a precious treasure, the likes of which was not common in this age. And yet, unthinkably, the Three Great Daoist Societies were offering it up as a prize in this trial by fire.
The Patriarchs from the Three Great Daoist Societies smiled slightly, but did not speak. Obviously, there was some profound meaning behind offering the Paragon’s blood as a prize. Actually, it didn’t really matter who it was specifically that acquired it. The point was to let everyone know that they had Paragon’s blood!
The crowds in the Ninth Mountain and Sea were seething with excitement. Even the Chosen out in the various sects who were preparing to participate in the fighting began to pant. The disciples from the Three Great Daoist Societies were much the same. Although they were members of the Daoist Societies, it would normally be impossible to acquire the things that were being offered as prizes unless they performed some incredible service to the sect.
But now… all they had to do was win first place, and it would be theirs!
Zhao Yifan rose to his feet, bursting with the desire to fight. “Paragon’s blood…. It’s impossible to say which Paragon, but if I fuse it into my Dao of swords, it will definitely make my Dao even more incisive!”
Fan Dong’er’s eyes went wide, and she began to pant.
“With that blood, perhaps I can finally free myself from this corpse!”
Li Ling’er, Taiyang Zi and Sun Hai, as well as the other Chosen, all had similar reactions. There were even some Chosen who had elected not to participate in the fighting, such as Song Luodan and some others, who immediately regretted their decision.
“The arena matches will take place inside the Ruins of Immortality,” continued Ling Yunzi. “However, the location will not be here on the three Ancient Roads, but rather, on an ancient Dao Tree located further within!
“All of you will be given three days of rest, after which, I will personally take you to the ancient Dao Tree!
“During those three days, if any of you wish to leave, you may do so freely.” With that, Ling Yunzi turned to leave.
“Patriarch, please wait a moment!” Meng Hao hurriedly cried out.
Ling Yunzi stopped in place, then turned back to look at Meng Hao. His eyes were filled with approval, and a smile could be seen on his face.
“What’s the matter?”
A bashful smile could be seen on Meng Hao’s face as he somewhat embarrassedly said, “Patriarch, er… earlier you mentioned that I could ask for anything I want, and you would give it to me. Well… I think that a drop of Paragon’s blood would do nicely.”
When Ling Yunzi heard this, his eyes went as wide as saucers. He was just about to rebuke Meng Hao, when he noticed Meng Hao’s expression. Then he thought about how stirring all of Meng Hao’s actions had been, and his anger cooled.
“That is not something I can personally decide,” he said, shaking his head. “How about this: once you get to the sect, we will continue this discussion.” With that, he left.
“I knew all along they wouldn’t keep their promise,” Meng Hao thought. “I should have plucked off the pointer needle on the Feng Shui compass too.”
Time passed. None of the thousand participants on the Ancient Road of Dao Seeking chose to leave. They all sat down in meditation, taking every moment of opportunity to practice cultivation, hoping to put themselves in top fighting condition.
Most of them felt quite drained from the previous ten stages of the trial by fire. They had expended much, were mentally exhausted, and their cultivation bases were running low. This was especially the case after the final two stages, and their near collapse into complete despair.
The torment they had experienced was severely draining mentally. However, the remaining 1,000 people were naturally outstanding individuals, so they took advantage of every moment to restore their energy.
Meng Hao had his Eternal stratum, so he was the only person who didn’t need to spend any time recovering.
“So, there are three more days until the arena matches,” he thought. “Why do I have the feeling that I’ve really lost out on a lot during my time here? I wasn’t able to take the floor slabs and decorative tiles from the Warrior Pavilion, not to mention the shelving. There wasn’t any time….
“The Three Great Daoist Societies took the Feng Shui compass as well.” He turned to look over at the trial by fire contestants on the other altars, then suddenly felt a flash of inspiration. He stood up and flew to the edge of the altar, and as he neared, sensed an intense pressure. A faint rumbling sound could also be heard.
The rumbling immediately attracted the attention of the other thousand participants. They looked over with wide eyes to see what Meng Hao was doing, and instantly, their faces began to flicker. Even the people in the outside world noticed and were shocked.
“What’s he doing?”
“He needs to calm down! Why is he trying to move off of the altar?”
In the palace in the starry sky, the Patriarchs of the various clans looked on with shock. Ling Yunzi suddenly appeared as well, and he looked on in astonishment.
Meng Hao had once again succeeded in drawing all attention onto himself. As he moved out into the gap between his altar and the one behind it, the pressure grew even more intense. Finally, massive rumbling filled the air, and great beads of sweat broke out on Meng Hao’s forehead. He began to tremble, and yet, his eyes shone with a brilliant light.
When the spectators in the Ninth Mountain and Sea saw this, they immediately picked up on what they thought were the hidden details, and began to heave sighs of praise.
“He’s practicing cultivation!”
“He definitely deserves to have taken first place in the trial by fire! Even during the three days of rest before the arena matches, he actually refuses to waste time, and is working hard at cultivation!”
Soon, everyone came to the conclusion that the only possible explanation for Meng Hao’s actions was that he was practicing cultivation.
The Patriarchs in the starry sky palace began to nod in approval.
“Excellent. Using the pressure weighing down on the Ancient Roads to practice cultivation. Considering the level of pressure, cultivating there for three days is like spending thirty days in the outside world. If you spent longer, you would get even more used to the pressure, and once you were released, would be able to unleash explosive might. Such a thing would give you much greater momentum going into the arena battles.”
“No wonder he was able to take first place in the trial by fire. His awareness of cultivation is deeper than most people could comprehend.”
As the Patriarchs nodded and discussed the matter, the three elders from the Three Great Daoist Societies were all smiling.
Meanwhile, the Chosen from the various sects on the outside were practicing cultivation in preparation for the arena matches. They cared little about most of the people they would be facing up against. However, there were some that had left them with deep impressions. Meng Hao, of course, was the one from whom they felt the most pressure.
When the Chosen saw Meng Hao practicing cultivation out in the pressure of the Ancient Roads, their expressions became serious.
“In a situation like that, to be able to think up such a method to practice cultivation…This Fang Mu really is extraordinary,” said Zhao Yifan.
“This Fang Mu will be a formidable adversary.” Fan Dong’er frowned.
Li Ling’er, Taiyang Zi, and Sun Hai all had solemn expressions on their faces.
Back on the Ancient Road of Dao Seeking, Ling Yunzi hovered in the void, slowly nodding his head, the look of praise on his face growing even deeper.
Slowly, the participants on the other altars began to react. Quite a few began to imitate Meng Hao, and stepped off the altars and into the pressure. However, none of them could last for very long before being forced to return to their altars.
That only served to increase their awe of Meng Hao.
Four hours passed by, after which Meng Hao finally managed to close in on the nearest altar. On that altar, Li Yan’s pupil’s constricted. Although he had long put himself on guard inwardly, his expression didn’t change, and he looked over at Meng Hao coldly.
He had also attempted to move out into the pressure outside the altar, but had only been able to last for an hour before being forced to return. As for Meng Hao, he had persisted for four hours; that was something that left Li Yan completely shocked.
At first, he assumed Meng Hao would only rest for a bit and then go back, but in complete contrast to his expectations, Meng hao actually approached him.
“Fellow Daoist Fang, come no closer!” he said, his eyes glittering coldly. His hair was already standing on end, and he couldn’t be any more vigilant. He waved his hand, causing a shield to immediately appear, bursting with energy.
The scene instantly attracted quite a bit of attention. The people in the crowds in the outside world all began to look over.
“Fellow Daoist,” Meng Hao responded with a smile, “don’t get the wrong idea. I have no ill intentions. I’m just here to sell some medicinal pills. Look, right here, I happen to have a wonderful Spirit Reviving Pill.” With that, he adroitly produced a medicinal pill from his bag of holding.
“One pill will completely enliven you, and will increase your energy by a hundredfold. How about this: for 100,000 spirit stones, I’m willing to part with this medical pill and give it to you!” He looked over at Li Yan.
Li Yan was staring with wide eyes, as were all of the other competitors in the trial by fire. Up in midair, Ling Yunzi was in complete shock.
The crowds in the outside world looked on agape, and all of the Chosen were staring fixedly. Even the Patriarchs in the starry sky palace were gaping.
“He… he expended all that effort, fought back against that enormous pressure, just to… just to sell some medicinal pills?!?!”
“And he wants 100,000 spirit stones for a Spirit Reviving Pill? That’s… that’s way too expensive!”
Ling Yunzi wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. At first he wanted to get angry, but then he thought about how sensitive Meng Hao was regarding spirit stones, as well as the stirring matter of the Feng Shui compass, and he sighed.
“This kid is definitely a rogue cultivator. He’s no doubt experienced many hardships in his practice of cultivation. Therefore, he has a strong attachment to spirit stones.”
Li Yan looked hesitantly at Meng Hao. He actually did want to buy the medicinal pill. The problem wasn’t about the amount of spirit stones, but that he didn’t dare to actually buy it. At this moment, he wasn’t sure if he could trust that what Fang Mu was saying was true or not.
After a long moment, Li Yan carefully replied, “Fellow… Fellow Daoist Fang, I actually have my own medicinal pills.”
“Oh, I see,” said Meng Hao, looking disappointed. He then turned to look at the participants on the other altars.
Most of them looked back silently. However, there happened to be a middle-aged man who stood six altars away from where Meng Hao currently was. He looked on with an arrogant expression.
“I can’t believe someone who cares so much about money could take first place,” he called out. “I’ve really been blind. If you can personally deliver those medicinal pills to me, then however many you want to sell, I, Zhao, will buy.
“However, I’ll only wait for half a day. If you can’t make it here in that amount of time, then you’ll just have to scram.”
Meng Hao looked up at the middle-aged man. Then, a bashful smile appeared.