Chapter 866: I Am a God!
The crowds in the Ninth Mountain and Sea were watching on the vortex screens, and could see everything that Ling Yunzi and the others encountered.
That included the decomposing, half-headed man, as well as all the other things lurking in the mists.
Many gasps could be heard from the cultivators in the Ninth Mountain and Sea. For most of them, this was their first time ever seeing the Ruins of Immortality. In previous trials by fire, outsiders were not permitted to see these things, but this time was different. Not only were the prizes astonishing, but for the first time, everyone was able to catch a glimpse of the Ruins of Immortality.
Although it was only a tiny portion, it was still enough to capture the attention of innumerable cultivators.
When they saw the gigantic corpse, cries of shock echoed out in all directions. Then the ancient Dao Tree appeared, and even greater shouts of astonishment could be heard.
“It’s actually… growing on the top of the giant’s corpse!”
“That’s the ancient Dao Tree? What exactly is it? Why is it called a Dao Tree?!”
“That corpse… Heavens! I never imagined that things that huge existed! How is this possible?! If that thing wasn’t dead… who could possibly fight it? It’s… actually a real corpse!”
The faces of the Patriarchs up in the starry sky palace were calm; all of them were familiar with the Ruins of Immortality.
However, they were all wondering what motive the Three Great Daoist Societies had to allow all the crowds on the outside to see.
A huge corpse. An ancient tree.
“The tree leaves are the arenas,” said Ling Yunzi. “The leaves on the left side will be the Nascent Soul battleground. The leaves on the right are for Spirit Severing. As for the central main trunk… that is where the Dao Seeking fights will take place!” As his words echoed out, Meng Hao stood there on one of the leaves on the main trunk, at the bottom level.
All of the other Dao Seeking cultivators were also located on bottom-level leaves. When they looked up, they could see that the branches sticking out from it were arranged in layers, the highest of which was ten levels away.
The higher the level, the fewer the leaves. In fact, at the apex, there was only one golden leaf, which was completely eye catching.
As for the battlegrounds on the left and right, they were also arranged in levels, although instead of climbing straight up, they moved out to the side. Similarly, though, as they reached their ends, the leaves grew sparser, until at the very end of each, was a golden leaf!
Three golden leaves. Those were the limits of the ancient Dao Tree, and the locations where the final matches would be fought.
Even as Ling Yunzi provided his explanation, he and the other two old men performed incantation gestures and produced magical materials which they used to begin to set up teleportation portals on the giant’s corpse beneath the tree.
After the teleportation portals took shape, the three old men performed incantation gestures and pointed out, causing boundless light to shine up. Out in the sects of the Ninth Mountain and Sea, as soon as the light from the teleportation portals rose up, Zhao Yifan, Taiyang Zi, Fan Dong’er, and other Chosen all stepped forward onto the teleportation portals at their locations. Light flashed, and they vanished.
When they reappeared, they were standing atop the giant’s corpse in the Ruins of Immortality.
It only took the space of about ten breaths of time for roughly a hundred people from all the sects to arrive. Then, cracking sounds could be heard as the teleportation portals shattered and faded away.
As Fan Dong’er and the others spread out, they looked around with trembling minds. This was apparently their first time coming to this place as well.
From the leaf he stood upon, Meng Hao could see Fan Dong’er, Taiyang Zi, even Sun Hai and others. His eyes flickered and a smile appeared on his face.
Ling Yunzi waved his sleeve, causing the nearly one hundred Chosen to fly out toward tree leaves according to the level of their cultivation base.
Soon, Fan Dong’er and the others were standing on leaves on the lowest level of the tree. As for Fan Dong’er, she wore a white robe, and behind her swirled a globe of white mist. It was very thick, making it impossible to see exactly what was inside.
The leaf she stood upon wasn’t very far away from Meng Hao, and he couldn’t help but glance over at her. His eye was especially caught by the white mist behind her.
Fan Dong’er noticed him looking at her, and frowned. However, she knew the two of them would soon be fellow disciples of the same sect, so she suppressed her anger and merely glared at him.
Meng Hao quickly looked away, focusing his attention on Zhao Yifan, then Li Ling’er. When he looked at Li Ling’er, he subconsciously… checked out her rear end.
He could still remember how he had spanked her two times, leaving her buttocks uneven.
Li Ling’er glanced at him coolly, then ignored him completely. Feeling somewhat pleased, Meng Hao then looked around until he noticed one particular young man who happened to be looking at him.
When their gazes met, the young man trembled. He was… naturally, Sun Hai.
Sun Hai didn’t recognize Meng Hao, but for some reason, when Meng Hao looked at him, it caused him to gasp and be filled with a cold, unsettling feeling.
At first, Meng Hao didn’t recognize who the bald-headed youth was. But after a moment, his jaw almost dropped.
“What happened to all his hair?” he thought. “I seem to remember leaving quite a bit behind.” It wasn’t just Meng Hao who was sizing up these Chosen. Many of the other competitors in the trial by fire were examining them closely.
Not much more time passed before Ling Yunzi’s voice was heard once again.
“The arena matches of the Nascent Soul, Spirit Severing, and Dao Seeking, will be completely separate from each other, and shall progress separately. The ancient Dao Tree leaves upon which you stand contain a teleportation function. Not only will it teleport two people onto one leaf to fight, but it will also teleport the winner to the next level!
“The matches will proceed in this fashion all the way until the final battle.
“In the arena matches, life and death are determined by fate. Defeat will result in elimination from the competition. If you utter the words ‘I concede,’ then you will also be removed from the competition.
“Bear in mind that we are in the Ruins of Immortality, and danger lurks everywhere! Even if some strange things appear on the outside, things which attempt to distract you, or lure you out, you must under no circumstances leave the tree leaves.
“On the tree leaves, you are safe. If you leave them, though… it is impossible to say whether you will make it back alive.
“And now, let the arena matches begin!”
Almost in the same instant that the words left Ling Yunzi’s mouth, Meng Hao suddenly cried out loudly.
“Patriarch, wait a moment!”
His voice echoed out, attracting quite a bit of attention from those around him. Ling Yunzi frowned and looked over at Meng Hao. At first he was tempted to ignore him, but after thinking about the expression on Meng Hao’s face when he held the Feng Shui compass aloft, his heart softened.
“Yes, what is it?”
“Patriarch, I wanted to know, the enormous corpse down there, is it a cultivator?” Actually, Meng Hao wasn’t the only person who wanted to know the answer to that question. All of the competitors were wondering the same thing. As for the newly arrived Chosen, they remained silent; they had already asked about the subject when they were in the outside world.
Ling Yunzi remained silent for a moment. He didn’t actually have the sole authority to answer such a question. He looked over at the other two men, and all of them exchanged glances. Then, they produced jade slips which they used to communicate with their sect headquarters, inquiring as to whether they were permitted to respond.
After a moment, Ling Yunzi put his jade slip away and looked back up at Meng Hao.
“This is a God of the Pāramitā!”
After uttering those words, Ling Yunzi didn’t wait for anyone’s reaction. He immediately called out again, “Let the arena matches begin!”
Meng Hao’s mind trembled, and he couldn’t keep himself from taking in a deep breath in response to the answer he had just received. A God….
Actually, all of the trial by fire participants were mentally shaken. However, even as this happened, the world in front of them distorted, and they began to grow blurry. In the blink of an eye, everyone grew clear again, and they were on the next level of leaves.
However instead of being alone on the leaves, each person was now facing an opponent.
Meng Hao found himself looking at a young man who had originally been bursting with power. However, as soon as things grew clear and he saw that he was facing Meng Hao, his face fell.
He was not one of the Chosen from the outside sects, but rather one of the competitors from the trial by fire. Furthermore… he had been on the same altar as the middle-aged man upon whom Meng Hao had vented his anger earlier. He had personally witnessed the entire incident.
Although he felt torn inwardly, his eyes quickly filled with a fierce light. He let out a powerful roar and employed the full power of his cultivation base as he turned into a prismatic beam of light that shot toward Meng Hao.
Meng Hao’s face was calm as the young man closed in. He raised his right hand and punched out into the air, then spun and began to walk toward the edge of the arena.
Almost in the same moment that he turned, a huge boom could be heard, and blood sprayed from the young man’s mouth. Although he had been approaching like a shooting star, in that instant, his light went dim, and he was forced back more than thirty meters, where he coughed up another mouthful of blood. His expression was now dismal, and his face ashen.
He was well aware that Meng Hao had been holding back. The blow just now had been directed at the air in front of him, and had it actually landed on his body, he would not have gotten off as easily as being forced back a bit and only slightly injured.
He took a deep breath, then looked sadly at Meng Hao, clasped hands, and bowed deeply.
“I concede,” he said, sounding a bit bitter.
As soon as the words left his mouth, he faded away, returning to the first level of leaves, which indicated that he had been eliminated. As for Meng Hao, he sat down cross-legged at the edge of the arena and looked around at the other matches that were taking place.
He was feeling quite pleased with himself, but as for the cultivators from the Ninth Mountain and Sea watching the arena matches, they were completely shaken by Meng Hao’s power.
“One punch… into the air! And he actually injured a peak Dao Seeking cultivator!”
“This Fang Mu hasn’t even used any magical techniques! He’s just relying on the strength of his fleshly body!”
“No wonder he could stand up to the pressure outside those altars! Such fleshly body strength is extremely rare!”
The first round of the arena matches was a simple thing for Zhao Yifan, as well as the other Chosen. None of them needed more than ten breaths of time to secure victory.
Meng Hao looked around at the other arena locations and identified about ten other people besides the Chosen who were worth paying attention to. Among those, one was the masked young man Li Yan. Another was the cultivator with the mosquitos, and a third was a young boy who was also one of the trial by fire competitors. Although he never spoke, he had made it into the group of one thousand Dao Seeking competitors, and had his own unique capabilities.
In the first round, he attacked viciously, the result being that his opponent was instantly reduced to a bloody pulp.
The fourth person was a garrulous old man who constantly shivered and muttered to himself. His first opponent was a Chosen from the Seven Seas Sect. Strangely, as soon as he appeared in front of the mumbling old man, the Chosen suddenly seemed to go crazy and tried to charge outside of the leaf arena. Were it not for Ling Yunzi immediately intervening to save him, he would have been in great danger.
Of those four people, the one who caused Meng Hao the greatest consternation was not the garrulous old man or Li Yan, but rather, that unprepossessing young boy!
“He has at least thirty percent of the power of a true Immortal!” thought Meng Hao, looking at him closely. Almost in the exact instant that Meng Hao looked at him, the boy turned his head to return the gaze. Their eyes locked over all the various arenas between them, and the boy’s mouth twisted into a vicious smile.