Chapter 1426: Bombardment of Killing Intent!
Meng Hao could sense the Sect Leader’s sincerity. As his words echoed out, the ripples of a Dao oath could be seen, indicating that he was swearing upon his own Dao that his statements were true.
With the exception of the Sixth and Eighth Paragons, the other Paragons had no enmity with him. Although none of them were friends either, they still clasped hands and bowed.
Meng Hao studied the bridge for a time, then nodded. By this point, his interest in the necropolis was no less than that of the Sect Leader’s.
“Many thanks!” the Sect Leader said in response. He took a deep breath and waved his hand, whereupon one of his 8-Essences subordinates stepped forward. After clasping hands to the group, he walked up to the edge of the bridge, and then looked over at Meng Hao.
After a bit of study, Meng Hao identified a place on the bridge that had weak fluctuations. “Nine meters in is a weak restrictive spell that can't be avoided.”
Further observation revealed numerous similar locations on the bridge. However, there were other areas with fluctuations so powerful he was left shaken.
The bridge was not an inanimate object; it was alive, and the fluctuations of the restrictive spells grew more intense the further one went along the bridge. Apparently the fluctuations were like flowing water that could provoke transformations amongst each other.
The source of all of the restrictive spells... were the arms that stretched out from the flesh and blood that made up the bridge, which were constantly performing incantation gestures and unleashing magical sealing marks!
The 8-Essences cultivator stepped forward and alighted onto the nine-meter position that Meng Hao had pointed to. A faint shattering sound echoed out, and the cultivator shivered. However, after a moment, he regained his composure.
At the same time, Meng Hao could sense that the footfalls of the 8-Essences cultivator caused the red eyes within the mist to lurch toward him. However, before they could get close, they were sent spinning away with unyielding howls.
“Ahead, twenty-seven meters!” Meng Hao said. The 8-Essences cultivator immediately advanced to the second location indicated by Meng Hao. At the same time, Meng Hao moved forward, becoming the second person to actually step onto the bridge. That was the best way for him to be able to see the situation most clearly.
In the instant he stepped onto the bridge, his third eye revealed that all of the countless arms suddenly paused, then resumed their incantation gestures with increased speed.
Other than that, there was no change. Meng Hao looked around, then began to speak.
“Up ahead, twenty-one meters. Then another thirty-three meters. Then twelve meters. Twenty-four meters. Ninety meters. Fifty-one meters....”
Behind him came another 8-Essences Paragon, and then more of the group. By the time that first 8-Essences cultivator reached the final location indicated by Meng Hao, there were already several people on the bridge.
In addition to Meng Hao, there were even two 9-Essences Paragons among the group.
Clearly, these people didn't place a lot of trust in Meng Hao, and thus chose to stagger the 8-Essences and 9-Essences Paragons. Doing so ensured that, even if Meng Hao did have some evil designs, he would only be able to take action once or twice before people caught on.
As far as the subordinates were concerned, the hope of Transcendence made it worth the risk!
To 7-Essences Paragons, Transcendence was something far removed from their current level. But for 8-Essences experts, it was far more meaningful. Although they couldn’t actually Transcend, gaining enlightenment of the method would help them advance by leaps and bounds, and maybe even break through to the 9-Essences level.
Time passed. Meng Hao’s third eye was gradually growing bloodshot, and the mental strain was increasing. The restrictive spells on the bridge were constantly changing, which in turn required constant adjustments on Meng Hao's part. At first, things went quickly, but the process eventually went slower and slower. By this point, the first cultivator to have stepped onto the bridge was about thirty percent across.
On several occasions, the surrounding mist would surge toward the cultivators, but before it could get close, was rebuffed. The roars from within the mist grew more intense, and Meng Hao’s third eye more bloodshot. The 8-Essences Paragon up ahead of him was proceeding with an ashen face. Suddenly, he stepped a bit out of line, whereupon he coughed up a mouthful of blood and began to wither up. The mist around him cackled with joy, and surged toward him. In the blink of an eye, he was on the verge of being consumed.
In that moment, Meng Hao reached out with his right hand and made a grasping motion, grabbing the 8-Essences cultivator and sending him back in the line. Another of the subordinate Paragons gritted his teeth and flew forward to take the vanguard position.
The 8-Essences Paragon who Meng Hao had just saved cast an appreciative glance in Meng Hao's direction. Meng Hao nodded and proceeded to make more observations. Then, the group continued on their way across the bridge.
Thirty percent. Forty percent. Fifty percent. Sixty percent.... Several days later, they were seventy percent across the bridge. The Vast Expanse School had never gotten past this point in their previous efforts.
By this point, one 8-Essences Paragon after another had been sent to the vanguard position. Eventually, it reached the point where that position was occupied by the clones of the Sect Leader and the other most powerful experts.
Those clones were even more powerful than the 8-Essences Paragons, enabling them to stay in the vanguard position for longer periods of time. Soon they crossed the eighty percent mark, and a few days after that, had reached the ninety percent mark!
The first land mass was no longer a distant sight; it now stretched out in front of them in all its grandeur.
Excitement could be seen on the Sect Leader’s face, and it was the same with everyone else. They yearned to cross the entire bridge... and enter the necropolis of Patriarch Vast Expanse, there on the first land mass.
More time passed. The howling within the mist grew more intense, and it often surged toward the cultivators. But because they had Meng Hao leading the way, and were both bypassing the most powerful of the restrictive spells and suppressing the weak ones, the mist never had an opportunity to touch them.
After passing the ninety-nine percent point, the person in the lead position was less than 30,000 meters from the end of the bridge. To a mortal, it would be a vast distance, but to cultivators like this, it was a distance that could be spanned in a single step, if not for the restrictive spells in the way.
“We’re almost there!”
“The necropolis of the first land mass is right up ahead!!”
“We’ve been waiting years for this day, and now it's upon us!” Everyone was very excited. As for Meng Hao, his third eye was in significant pain. Using it for such an extended period of time was apparently a serious drain on his cultivation base, and he had even been taking opportunities to rest along the way.
Now that there were only about 30,000 meters left, Meng Hao began to close his third eye for some rest and recovery, when all of a sudden, an intense sensation of imminent danger exploded up within him. The source of that danger was a shadowy figure within the depths of the abyss below.
It was none other than the three-headed giant!
Throughout the entire trip, Meng Hao had not been able to catch a single glimpse of the giant he had seen at the outset. He had looked for it, but found no trace. But now, here it was again.
No one else could see it, but they could sense an unprecedentedly cold air rising up. Meng Hao’s third eye snapped back open, and the exhaustion which had been visible therein was now gone.
Meng Hao was profoundly observant and insightful, and had long since come to the conclusion that the three-headed giant was simply waiting for the right moment to make a move. During the journey so far, the occasions on which Meng Hao rested because of exhaustion had actually all been an act. During the entire time, he had kept himself at peak battle readiness.
The three-headed giant roared, and the cold wind grew even more icy than before, transforming into a wild tempest that knocked Meng Hao off the bridge.
He ground to a halt out in the void, then snorted coldly, performing an incantation gesture with his right hand and then waving his finger toward the three-headed giant. A powerful force slammed into the giant, sending it flying back down into the abyss.
Meng Hao didn't pursue it. Instead, he turned back toward the bridge. However, it was in that moment that something very unexpected happened!
The Sixth and Eighth Paragons suddenly joined forces to unleash an Essence divine ability that rocketed directly toward Meng Hao.
This sudden turn of events caused the Sect Leader’s face to fall. He was about to step forward and intervene when a shadowy figure appeared next to him and reached a hand out to block his path. It was none other than the man in the sandstorm who had visited Meng Hao when he was in secluded meditation.
“Sha Jiudong, what are you doing?!” Even as a grim expression overtook the Sect Leader’s face, the other Paragons’ faces flickered. Meng Hao had offered incredible assistance to them on their journey, and that was especially so for the 8-Essences Paragons. Meng Hao had saved all of their lives, and as such, the current development left them enraged. However, there was little time for them to put thought into the matter. [1. Sha Jiudong’s name in Chinese is shā jiǔ dōng 沙九东. Sha is a surname which also means “sand.” Jiu means “nine,” and dong means “east.”]
Just when they were about to take action, a figure materialized behind the Sixth and Eighth Paragons, a young man in a golden robe, who radiated golden light.
He was another of the four peak 9-Essences experts from Planet Vast Expanse!
Killing intent swirled in his eyes as he glared at Meng Hao and extended his right hand. Golden light surged around him, and rumbling sounds could be heard as an invisible power erupted out. That was the power of the peak 9-Essences level, and when it combined with the divine ability unleashed by the Sixth and Eighth Paragons, it created a force that could crush anything in its path.
Even as killing intent flickered in Meng Hao’s eyes, the roar of the three-headed giant once again echoed out from below as it shot upward, reaching out to grab Meng Hao.
Descending from above was the combined attack of three Paragons. Below was a seemingly invincible three-headed giant. Surrounding him was the mist, which thanks to his third eye, he could now see was surging toward him.
By this point, the entities in the mist hated Meng Hao with a vengeance. If he weren't around, they would have been able to consume any number of cultivators from the bridge, and would have eaten to their hearts’ content. But now, they hadn't succeeded even once. Roaring, they shot through the starry sky toward Meng Hao.
Meng Hao’s face darkened. Although he had been prepared, the plot against him was excellently laid. Even still, he didn't panic. The truth was that from the moment the Sixth Paragon had begun to provoke him, he had guessed that there was some other powerful figure backing him.
Snorting coldly, eyes swirling with killing intent, he performed a double-handed incantation gesture and unleashed Demon Sealing Hexing magic. He was confident that doing so could reverse the setback. Although he might not be able to fight his opponents directly, he could at least get back onto the bridge and into a position where he could be aided by the Sect Leader and the others.
However, it was at this very moment that intense fluctuations began to emanate out from the bronze lamp. At the same time, Meng Hao could sense something calling to him from deep within the abyss, something that wanted to him to come down!
“Allheaven fears the Immortal.... Come... come... come....”
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