Chapter 1442: He Won’t Last Five Days!
Jin Yunshan was definitely not the only person paying close attention to what was happening on the altar. The Sect Leader and Sha Jiudong were similarly focused.
The surrounding 8-Essences Paragons were also paying close attention, with occasional looks of envy flickering across their faces, as well as anticipation.
“The Ninth Paragon is definitely going to hold on for the longest. I just wonder how many days that will be....”
Time proceeded to flow onward. By the time the fourth day arrived, three of the group of seven were trembling, clearly on the verge of opening their eyes. Whether or not they were willing, the aura of awakening grew more and more intense upon them.
“The Seventh, Fifth, and Fourth Paragons have cultivation bases slightly weaker than the others. I'm afraid they won’t last for longer than four days.” Whispered conversations were taking place among the surrounding audience.
Meng Hao’s expression was calm, but in his mind, the enlightenment regarding the Seal the Heavens Hex had placed him into a very perilous situation. Thanks to the increased power of enlightenment, he now fully comprehended the Seal the Heavens Incantation. If anyone were able to see inside of him, they would see a shocking sealing mark gradually forming.
Surrounding that sealing mark were eight other magical symbols that looked very similar to it. Those were the other Demon Sealing Hexes. From the look of it, the Ninth Hex was now about seventy percent complete.
There were threads that snaked out from that ninth sealing mark, which spread out to fill Meng Hao’s body. As they did, they made contact with... strands of Immortal qi within him that had been severed during the process of being defiled and becoming the Demon.
Every thread that spread out from the sealing mark completed one of those threads of Immortal qi. The more Immortal qi that filled him, the stronger the sensation of Transcendence grew.
Apparently, the appearance of the Ninth Hex could help Meng Hao to proceed along the path of Immortality which had previously vanished!
The mark of the Ninth Hex gradually caused more and more Immortal qi to converge, causing him to radiate the air of an Immortal!
Time passed by, hour by hour. Soon, half of the fourth day was gone, and the three trembling 9-Essences Paragons slowly opened their eyes. After exchanging mutual glances, they sighed and removed themselves from the altar.
They had made various gains, but were the first among the 9-Essences Paragons to have to leave the altar. Although that lost them a bit of face, there was nothing they could do about it. Outside of the altar, they sat down cross-legged and continued to observe the other four who had remained behind.
Of those four, three were trembling, with Meng Hao being the only person who looked the same as before.
As the fourth day ended, and the fifth day approached, another of the 9-Essences Paragons opened his eyes. At first, a blank look could be seen, but soon he sighed and left the altar.
In almost that exact moment... the fifth day arrived.
As of this moment there were only three people left on the altar, including Meng Hao!
Among the nine Paragons, the Second and Third Paragons were second in power only to the Sect Leader. The fifth day had arrived, and they might be trembling, but having reached this point in their search for enlightenment, their auras of Transcendence were strong.
“The fifth day has arrived!! There are only three left. I wonder which one will last the longest!”
“The Sect Leader lasted for seven days, as did Fellow Daoists Jin and Sha. Seven days is the limit.”
“I’d be willing to bet that the Second and Third Paragons both awaken today. As for the Ninth Paragon... he might last for six days. In fact, seven days isn't necessarily an impossibility!” Even as everyone discussed the matter, Meng Hao suddenly trembled visibly.
Although the movement was slight, everyone was paying close attention, and instantly noticed.
“What? Could it be that the Ninth Paragon is going to awaken now?!?! B-but... it’s only been five days!”
“His fight with Fellow Daoist Jin proved that he qualifies to be one of the Potentates. How could he awaken after only five days?” Everyone seemed shocked, but Jin Yunshan’s lips were turned up in a cold smile. He was certain of his judgement in the matter. After reviewing his battle with Meng Hao over the course of the past few days, he was more convinced than ever that there was something very strange about Meng Hao’s cultivation base.
That strange aspect was that he didn't seem to truly have nine Essences. If he did, Jin Yunshan was confident that he would have been able to force him to use it.
“Perhaps he simply used some special technique to unleash the battle prowess of the 9-Essences level,” he thought, “but in reality, his cultivation base is only at the 8-Essences level! If that’s true, then he doesn’t qualify to be one of the Potentates!” Jin Yunshan’s eyes flickered, and his cold smile grew wider.
Sha Jiudong and the Sect Leader also had strange expressions on their faces as they studied Meng Hao. They were quite shocked that he was already showing signs of awakening even though it was only the fifth day.
Time passed. Soon, half of the fifth day had gone by. The Third Paragon coughed up a mouthful of blood, and then opened his eyes. After a moment passed, he shook his head, and yet his expression was one of excitement as he rose to his feet and left the altar.
Not long after that, the Second Paragon sagged listlessly. His body was extremely withered, and the aura of awakening upon him was strong, and yet unexpectedly... he calmly continued.
That caused a buzz of conversation among the onlookers, especially when they realized that Meng Hao was trembling even more than the Second Paragon was, and the aura of awakening upon him seemed to surpass the air of Transcendence. Strange looks appeared on their faces.
“What's going on? The Ninth Paragon can't even hold on for five days?”
“Could it be... could it be because he sustained internal injuries?”
“There’s another possibility. What if the reason he never used his ninth Essence is because... he doesn’t actually have a ninth Essence?!” Everyone present was a Paragon, adept at analysis and skilled in scheming. It wasn’t long before everyone was contemplating the matter in such a way.
If Meng Hao really did awaken on the fifth day, then his newly-acquired qualification to be one of the Potentates would become a matter of skepticism. Although no one would say anything out loud, once he got back to the sect, he would be faced with many difficulties.
It was at this point that Meng Hao began to tremble even harder than before, and the aura of awakening grew stronger and clearer. Even his mind was battered with waves of shock.
“Why is this happening?!?!” he roared inwardly. “This is impossible!!” His divine sense was completely converged onto the sealing mark of the Ninth Hex. That mark had come to be ninety-nine percent complete on the previous day, and the threads spreading out from it had filled his body. The Ninth Hex was almost complete, and his cultivation base was poised on the brink of rising.
However, even in that moment of keen anticipation, the sealing mark of the Ninth Hex unexpectedly... began to break apart!!
Closer examination confirmed that it was true. The sealing mark really was breaking apart, without any warning or indication as to why. Over the course of a few hours, more than half of it collapsed, causing rumbling sounds to fill Meng Hao.
That was the reason why he was shaking; at the same time, a powerful force was apparently attempting to wrench him out of his state of enlightenment.
Meng Hao’s reserves of power ran deep. He had Shui Dongliu's legacy, and even more importantly, the bronze lamp. As that powerful force attempted to force him out of enlightenment and into awakening, the bronze lamp began to emit a soft glow, which negated that power. However, he continued to tremble, and blood oozed out of the corners of his mouth.
Everyone watched as this happened. Meng Hao shook violently, and in the end, blood began to drip down off of his chin.
It was in that moment that the Second Paragon suddenly coughed up a mouthful of blood and shivered. As the blood oozed down, he sat there for a moment, then struggled to his feet. However, instead of looking as though he had been defeated, he threw his head back and laughed uproariously. As he stepped off of the altar, astonishingly, he emanated... the aura of the peak of 9-Essences!
That aura instantly attracted the shocked attention of everyone in the area.
The Sect Leader, Sha Jiudong, and Jin Yunshan all looked over. The Second Paragon truly had acquired good fortune from the altar. Although he hadn’t reached Transcendence, his cultivation base had advanced by half a step, placing him at the peak of the 9-Essences level.
Instantly, expressions of congratulations began to ring out. The Sect Leader smiled and clasped hands meaningfully.
The excited Second Paragon took a deep breath, then suddenly looked back over at Meng Hao, and within his eyes flickered the desire to do battle. If Meng Hao could become one of the five Potentates, then he was confident that he could do the same.
That was especially true considering the fact that despite Meng Hao being the only person left on the altar, he was shaking visibly. That was the source of the Second Paragon’s confidence, and was also why everyone else was paying such close attention to what was happening.
Jin Yunshan suddenly chuckled.
“He won’t be able to last longer than five days,” he said. “We're only a few hours from being finished here.” As his voice echoed out, Sha Jiudong frowned, and a look of doubt appeared in the Sect Leader’s eyes.
Everyone looked on silently, unwilling to speak. All eyes were focused on Meng Hao. Time passed.
Meng Hao’s mind was in chaos. He glared at the motes of light which were the shattered bits of his Ninth Hex, as they slowly floated out into his body. After some thought, he began to calm his thoughts.
“There were no faults in either my plan or how I carried it out. Transforming the Seal the Heavens Incantation into my Ninth Hex was the right decision.
“Furthermore, during the process of enlightenment, my understanding of the Seal the Heavens Incantation went far past the previous level. I even managed to converge the Hex smoothly. So why did I fail in the end?
“I need to try again, and determine the reason. What caused the conversion of my Ninth Hex to fail!?” Having made his determination, he didn’t hesitate to start gathering together motes of light that were the Ninth Hex, simultaneously drawing upon the power of the altar to speed up the enlightenment process.
As the motes of light gathered, the sealing mark of the Ninth Hex gradually began to re-form. This time, Meng Hao went about the process with more caution. Every breath of time that passed, he was completely focused, and made sure to avoid any mistakes. After reaching various levels of enlightenment, he used the resulting knowledge in the creation of the Ninth Hex.
Time passed. Two hours. Four hours.... Rumbling could be heard inside of him, and once again he began to tremble. It was then that... the fifth day ended!
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