Chapter 1450: Joining the Sect!
“Maybe mortals can’t save him,” said the old man through gritted teeth as he floated up into the air, “but cultivators can!” His cultivation base wasn’t very high, and he had been seriously injured years ago. His longevity was nearing its end, and therefore flight was only possible for him by burning some of his life force quintessence. Even that wasn’t something he could do for extended periods of time.
He had once thought that he would simply grow old and die in Peach Blossom Village. He had never imagined that he would encounter this young boy who he now held in his arms. In fact, it wasn’t really the scholar who had raised the boy, it was this old man who had guided him through his young life.
“It's just some illness, right?!” the old man growled. Soon, he had flown to the peak of a nearby mountain. There, he very gingerly pulled a jade slip out of his garment, an old jade slip that was worn and almost broken. After pulling it out, he looked down at it with a bit of hesitation. This was the most precious item he possessed, and even he wasn’t sure where it came from. However, he was certain that the divine ability it contained was unique and profound.
Sadly, his latent talent was only average, and he had never been able to cultivate it successfully. However, he distinctly remembered how, back in the days when he had come to acquire it, numerous cultivators had been fighting over it, all of whom had seemed very powerful to him.
Gritting his teeth, he cast aside all hesitation, and pushed his finger down onto the surface of the jade slip. Instantly, he seemed to age even more, and yet, a seal opened on the jade slip. A majestic beam of light shot up into the sky that was visible even from a vast distance away.
Obviously, the old man had unsealed the jade slip in order to attract the attention of nearby cultivators, and was planning to offer the slip itself as payment for them to save the young boy.
The old man didn’t bother to ponder whether or not this course of action could potentially be dangerous. In his mind, any danger was worth braving when compared to the hope it offered. After all, he clearly remembered seeing some disciples from the Vast Expanse School flying about recently, and after a bit of calculation, was certain it was recruitment season on the Vast Expanse School’s ninth continent.
In the past, the Vast Expanse School had very strict requirements for new disciples, but in recent years the Ninth Sect had been expanding. Cultivators from the Ninth Sect had been combing the continent looking for children with exceptional latent talent, and taking them back to the sect to begin practicing cultivation.
The light hadn’t been shining from the jade slip for very long before a few beams of light could be seen shooting through the air toward it. Three people became visible, all of them middle-aged men. They had extraordinary cultivation bases, and after they landed and saw the jade slip, their expressions flickered.
The slovenly old man immediately clasped hands and bowed deeply.
“May I ask if you are Fellow Daoists from the Vast Expanse School? I am Sun Dalei, a humble rogue cultivator. Today, I would like to offer this treasure in exchange for help from you Fellow Daoists. Please save this young boy’s life.”
The three cultivators looked at the boy, and then the leader of the small group made a grasping motion, causing the jade slip to fly over into his hand. After examining it for a moment, a smile broke out on his face.
“So, this jade slip contains a legacy.” Laughing heartily, he waved his sleeve, sending a stream of spiritual energy into the boy. Then, without another look, he turned and prepared to leave, as did his two companions, who looked just as delighted as him.
The slovenly old man was getting very nervous. The boy was still in a withered state, and didn't really look much better than before. The old man suddenly blurted, “Fellow Daoists, this boy... has uncharacteristically rare latent talent. He has an enlightened soul, spirit bones, and spirit-attuned blood vessels!”
The three cultivators stopped in their tracks. The man with the jade slip frowned. Their mission was to find disciples with exceptional latent talent, and the bizarre transformations of Heaven and Earth which had struck the nearby village was why they had come to this location in the first place. That was also why they had shown up so quickly in response to the light from the jade slip.
After hearing the old man’s words, the cultivator who had taken the jade slip walked over to the boy’s side and placed his hand onto his forehead. After a thorough examination, the man began to tremble.
“Junior Brothers, you take a look too!” With that, the two other cultivators came over to inspect the boy. After they did, they seemed equally moved.
“That’s Superlative latent talent!”
“He really does have spirit bones, an enlightened soul, and naturally-occurring spirit-refined blood!”
“Of all the fledglings we’ve found recently, he’s the best by far!!”
The three cultivators’ eyes burned with fervor. Because of the recent expansion of the Ninth Sect, more disciples were being recruited than ever. As for these three cultivators, if they found children in the mortal world who had exceptional latent talent, and then brought them back to the sect, they would receive handsome rewards in the form of cultivation resources.
The three immediately looked over at the slovenly old man and began to ask questions.
“What’s this kid’s name?” said one of them.
“Fang Mu!” replied the old man.
“Are you a relative of his? He’s sick, and we need to take him back to the sect to be treated. Afterward we wish for him to become a disciple of the Vast Expanse School.”
The old man immediately nodded in assent. As far as he was concerned, Haowie’s only chance at survival was to go to the Vast Expanse School, which was one of the sects that he believed to be trustworthy.
The three cultivators didn't say anything more. They picked the boy up, then transformed into beams of light that shot off into the distance. Soon, they reached a wide plain, in the middle of which was a teleportation portal. As was the norm, the teleportation portal was protected by a shield that would prevent anyone except cultivators of the Vast Expanse School from entering it.
The three stepped onto the teleportation portal, and moments later, glittering light rose up as they and the boy were teleported away.
Off in the distance, the slovenly old man could just barely see the light of teleportation, and he sighed. Although he didn't wish to part with the boy, an expression of anticipation could still be seen in his eyes.
He had known almost from the beginning that the boy named Fang Mu had incredible latent talent, talent that could shake Heaven and Earth. His original plan had been to wait for a few more years, then take the boy out into the world. He would call upon some of his old acquaintances in the cultivation world to get the boy a spot in a sect, and thus start him on his path of cultivation.
Even though the events of the day were somewhat coincidental, as far as the old man was concerned, Fang Mu being able to join the Vast Expanse School was a stroke of luck.
Eventually, the old man sighed and headed back to the village. As the moon shone down from above, the old man looked even older than before, and a bit more lonely.
The truth was that even if the old man hadn’t brought the boy to the top of that mountain, the three cultivators from the Vast Expanse School would still have come. The transformations to Heaven and Earth that had occurred in the village had attracted them, and either way, they would have seen how special the boy was and taken him to their sect.
All of that had long since been arranged by Meng Hao.
It was the most convenient way to arrange for his clone to seek enlightenment of the Ninth Hex.
Meanwhile, a teleportation portal began to shine somewhere in the Ninth Sect. The three middle-aged cultivators appeared, carrying Meng Hao's clone. After stepping off of the teleportation portal, they headed toward the main temple of the sect.
Before long, rumbling sounds echoed out in the sect as several beams of light shot toward the temple. That attracted the attention of a lot of nearby disciples, who looked over in curiosity to see what was happening.
Inside the temple, several old men had just sat down cross-legged around Meng Hao’s clone. All of them were pouring cultivation base power into his body, which was gradually recovering from its withered state.
“He really does have Superlative latent talent. In all my years, I've never seen anyone who actually has real, Superlative latent talent!”
“He even has spirit bones, an enlightened soul, and spirit-attuned blood vessels! He’s not a child, he’s a precious bodily treasure! I’ve never seen or even heard of anything like it!!”
“If this kid practices cultivation, he’ll definitely make rapid progress!!’
The entire group was abuzz with conversation. Any other type of latent talent would not have provoked such a reaction. But he had Superlative latent talent, along with spirit bones, an enlightened soul, and spirit-attuned blood vessels. This clone of Meng Hao’s was like a rare gem!
Soon, Meng Hao’s clone was no longer withered, which the old men believed to be due to their treatment. However, he looked even thinner and weaker than he had before, and was apparently now in a very deep sleep.
“Take him to one of the side chambers and have someone look after him. When he wakes up, arrange for him to formally join the sect.” The old men were all exhausted from their efforts. After making the necessary arrangements, they looked at Meng Hao’s clone, excitement glittering in their eyes. Finally, they returned to their own residences to start the breathing exercises necessary to restore their cultivation bases.
A few days later, Meng Hao’s clone opened his eyes. At first he looked confused, but then his vision focused, and his eyes began to radiate bright, cold light.
It was very strange to see a look like that in the eyes of a young boy.
Soon, the coldness faded away, and his eyes returned to normal.
“I’m awake,” he murmured. He felt as if he had just woken up from a dream. He could even sense his true self, deep beneath the surface of the main planet, on that half-planet, sitting there cross-legged in the Ninth Paragon’s secluded meditation facilities.
As of this moment, Meng Hao’s true self finally breathed a sigh of relief. At long last he could focus fully on seeking enlightenment of his eight Essences.
“This clone will live my fourth life. His only mission is to successfully form the Ninth Hex!
“As for his cultivation.... Well, I created the clone’s body after carefully observing my own body, which was re-moulded by the bronze lamp. In all of Planet Vast Expanse, and in fact, in all of the Vast Expanse itself, it would be easier to find a phoenix feather or a qilin horn than it would be to find someone whose latent talent exceeds this clone’s!
“Since that’s the case, he can elevate his cultivation base much more quickly than normal. Rise to prominence in the Ninth Sect. Reach the pinnacle, step by step. It shouldn’t be difficult.
“With no Demonic power, his body is pure in every sense of the word.” A satisfied gleam appeared in Meng Hao’s eyes.
Several days later, Meng Hao became a disciple of the Vast Expanse School. His latent talent shook the entire Ninth Sect, and when the Dao Realm Patriarch heard of the matter and investigated it personally, he dispatched people to Peach Blossom Village to make further inquiries and make sure nothing was amiss. Meng Hao was then sent to one of the Ninth Sect’s numerous subdivisions, where he became an Inner Sect disciple.
This year was tenth in which Meng Hao’s true self was the Ninth Paragon.
This year, a disciple by the name of Han Bei became one of the sect’s Holy Daughter-designates.
This year, Meng Hao’s clone Fang Mu became the Inner Sect disciple one of the subdivisions of the Ninth Sect!
Neither the slovenly old man, nor the three cultivators who had brought the clone back to the sect, nor the old men who had treated his condition, nor anyone in all of Planet Vast Expanse, could ever have imagined what a dazzling flower this Fang Mu would bloom into. Only Meng Hao’s true self knew.
He might shrivel away into nothing... or perhaps, he would blossom a bloody scarlet color….
Note from Deathblade: In this and subsequent chapters, Er Gen often refers to the clone as simply Meng Hao. In some situations I’ve changed it to either “Fang Mu” or “Meng Hao’s clone” to avoid confusion, but for the most part I’m keeping things as is. It really serves to emphasize that they are essentially the same person in two different bodies.
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