Chapter 726: Trial by Fire!
“In accordance with the ancient treaty, you may take part in the life-or-death trial by fire here. If you succeed… then according to the ancient charter, you may acquire treasures from this place.
“If you fail, then this place shall be your grave!
“There are three levels, and by passing the second level, you earn the right to leave if you wish.
“If you make it past the third level, you can enter the land that has been guarded by my clan from generation to generation. There… you can acquire the ultimate good fortune.
“That good fortune is the Divine Flame Essence, the most supreme flame that exists in Heaven and Earth. Even the tiniest spark of that flame can burn an Immortal to death!
“In this age, you are the second group to enter this place. As for the first group, it consisted of nineteen people in total. Of that group, two made it through the second level. One left, and the other died in the third level.”
As the voice echoed out, Meng Hao’s mind trembled, and he stopped in his tracks. The young man from the Solitary Sword Sect, as well as Lu Bai, both had strange gleams in their eyes. As for the five Patriarchs from the Golden Frost Sect, their eyes were glittering brightly.
“You of this second group are quite powerful, more powerful than the first group….”
One of the old men from the Golden Frost Sect hesitated for a moment before tentatively asking, “Can we decline to participate in the life-or-death trial by fire?”
As soon as the words left the man’s mouth, the deep-gold overseer’s eyes flickered and it looked over at the old man. “What was that?!?!”
The old man immediately began to quiver, as if his cultivation base had suddenly become unstable.
A look of scorn appeared in the eyes of the deep-gold overseer. “Once you come to this place,” it said coolly, “you must participate! If you choose to quit… you die! Those were the terms of the ancient treaty. Our clan gave its approval, so the agreement will not be changed!
“Once you pass the second level, then you may choose to depart!
“The first level, is none other than our current location!
“You will battle with my fellow clan members. If you can enter the flame portal, then it signifies that you have passed the first level!” The deep-gold overseer’s voice echoed out in all directions.
Lu Bai’s eyes glittered and he cautiously said, “Senior, you’re at the peak of Dao Seeking! How can we compare to you?”
“I will not participate,” was the calm reply. “Furthermore, only one of my gold-colored fellow clan members will join the battle.”
The golden-armored man from the Golden Frost Sect immediately asked, “Do we fight one at a time, or can we go together?”
“One at a time. One person, one level. You will have three chances to get past a level. If you lose on your third chance, you die!”
Next to speak was the young man from the Solitary Sword Sect. “What if we kill too many of your people, and then you regret letting us fight?”
“Kill too many?” The deep-gold overseer laughed heartily. “Our clan descended from the Undying Divinity Clan. Do you really think you can kill us?” As his voice echoed out, black flames sprang up from the bodies of the beasts down below. As soon as the fire appeared, the level of their auras shot upward!
The explosive growth was terrifying; many of the violet-colored beasts, which were at the great circle of the Nascent Soul stage, actually completely exceeded the limits of the Nascent Soul stage and stepped directly into Spirit Severing.
As for the silver-colored beasts, their energy also shot up.
“Fine. I, Gu Tianxiang, will be the first to go,” said the young man from the Solitary Sword Sect. He lifted his right hand, causing the two-meter longsword to appear, as well as the nine one-meter shortswords that circulated around it. The energy that surged out was that of the early Dao Seeking stage. The young man’s eyes flickered as he shot forward.
The instant he charged forward, the violet-colored beasts began to fly toward him one after another. Booms rang out without cease as Gu Tianxiang of the Solitary Sword Sect shot forward with incredible speed, slaughtering the entire way. However, his expression soon began to flicker; the violet-colored beasts were extremely valiant. When they were injured, the flames that covered them would heal their wounds in a flash.
However, Gu Tianxiang was also incredibly valiant. As he fought his way on, silver-colored beasts appeared. He fought his way onward until he was about 1,000 meters from the flame portal. It was at that point that that he fell, surrounded by a group of twenty silver-colored beasts. With a miserable shriek, he retreated back to his original position.
“1,000 meters. Your first attempt has failed,” stated the deep-gold overseer in a cool voice. “Although, the fact that you were able to retreat in one piece is quite an accomplishment. You have the potential to make it past the first level.”
The expressions of Meng Hao and the others sank when they saw the incredible power of the beasts’ fleshly bodies. They didn’t seem to possess any divine abilities or magical techniques, but their physical might really was too powerful, to the point that they seemed virtually unkillable. Furthermore, after being injured, their flames would immediately heal them.
Lu Bai’s eyes flickered, and he suddenly strode forward. He was a powerful expert from the Northern Reaches who wielded the power of Time and Space, and possessed no scant amount of life-saving treasures. In the Spirit Severing stage, he had already slaughtered experts of the early Dao Seeking stage.
He immediately transformed into a streak of light that charged forward, surrounded by distortions of space-time. As he proceeded along, it almost seemed as if the beasts were incapable of even touching him. Every blow landed on thin air.
Gu Tianxiang’s pupils constricted, and unsightly expressions could be seen on the faces of the five men from the Golden Frost Sect. As for Meng Hao, his eyes began to shine brightly.
“Eee?!” said the deep-gold overseer, its expression one of surprise as it watched Lu Bai. “A master of the secret arts of Time, with your own Dao. Excellent. You are qualified to match up to the two members of that first group of foreigners who entered here.”
Lu Bai slaughtered his way on, passing the 1,500-meter mark, where he was immediately surrounded by twenty silver-colored beasts. When that happened, he began to sweat, but still managed to kill his way more than 500 meters further. By now, he was only about 500 meters away from the flame portal. Gu Tianxiang from the Solitary Sword Sect had a very unsightly expression on his face.
“Is this really my limit…?” Lu Bai’s eyes were shot with blood as he performed an incantation with his right hand and then pointed up into the sky.
“River of Time!” he cried. Immediately, countless sparkling lights appeared around him, which transformed into a river that stretched out far and wide. The twenty silver-colored beasts had no choice but to fall back. Lu Bai charged forward 250 meters. He was now only 250 meters away from the flame portal!
The deep-gold overseer up in mid-air watched on with a strange gleam in its eyes.
It was at this point that a gold-colored beast suddenly rose to its feet. It shot with incredible speed toward Lu Bai, and when the two met, a huge boom rose up into the sky. Blood sprayed from Lu Bai’s mouth, but his expression was one of savagery as he backed up and slapped his bag of holding. Immediately, a black dragon corpse appeared.
This black dragon corpse was none other than the one he had procured during the eruption of the Dao Lake.
“Time Reversal, Resurrection!” Blue veins popped out on Lu Bai’s forehead, and he suddenly seemed to age by ten years. The River of Time exploded into countless colorful lights which then inundated the black dragon.
It was now possible to see the dragon apparently returning to life from the dead. Its eyes suddenly snapped open, and a shocking aura roiled out which contained the power of an Immortal!
The power exploded out for only a moment. Then it vanished, and the dragon was once again dead.
But that one moment was shocking to the extreme!
Gu Tianxiang of the Solitary Sword Sect gasped, and a look of astonishment could be seen in his eyes. How could he have imagined that Lu Bai… would have such an amazing secret art?!
The five men from the Golden Frost Sect all looked shocked, and their minds were filled with roaring. A secret art like the one they had just seen was unbelievable!
Meng Hao’s eyes widened. Earlier, he had been able to sense that Lu Bai was powerful, but now he realized… Lu Bai was even more powerful than he had imagined!
“However, he was only barely able to use that secret art!” he thought. Suddenly, the same desire to do battle that he had seen in Lu Bai’s eyes now appeared in his own. “I wonder who between the two of us… is stronger!?”
Surrounded by the beast horde, Lu Bai’s secret art unleashed the explosive power of the dragon, which turned into an incredible attack that shot toward the gold-colored beast. The gold-colored beast’s face fell, and it wanted to flee, but before it could, the attack slammed into it with a boom, shredding its flesh into ribbons. It let out a miserable scream and fell back at high speed. Flames burst out, rapidly healing the wounds.
It didn’t die, but it was forced into retreat. That gave Lu Bai the opportunity he needed. Coughing up blood, he shot forward at top speed, crossing the final 250 meters and stepping up into the flame portal.
He coughed up some more blood, then waved his hand to collect up the black dragon corpse.
“What an incredible cultivator!” said the deep-gold overseer, an expression of admiration on its face. “To have passed the first level in one attempt… you may proceed to the second level. I look forward to seeing how you perform there. After passing the second level, you will acquire a precious treasure from our clan.
“When your secret Time art has reached its pinnacle, you can bring dead things back to life. Unfortunately, your cultivation base is too weak. If you can achieve true Immortal Ascension, and then utilize that art… you can resurrect that Nightmare Dragon to aid you for an entire battle!”
“There’s no need to wait to be a true Immortal!” said Lu Bai coolly, wiping the blood from his lips. “The day I reach the peak of Dao Seeking, I can resurrect it to use in battle!” He turned to look back toward Meng Hao who was standing 3,000 meters away.
His gaze passed through the hordes of beasts to lock with Meng Hao’s.
“Meng Hao, can you pass through?” he asked coolly. “Don’t disappoint me, now.” With that, he turned, paying Meng Hao no more heed as he stepped into the fire portal. In the blink of an eye, he was gone.
“Your turn,” said the deep-gold overseer, his gaze sweeping over Meng Hao and the others. “If you’re not confident, you can wait here until you are.
“Time means nothing to us. If you wish to practice cultivation here for a few thousand years before you try to charge through, you may.
“Normally speaking, it’s quite lonesome here. Now that I’ve been able to lay eyes on you foreigners, I feel… it would be a shame to see you die here.
“However, if you fail three times in a row, then I will personally slay you. And of course, there is always the possibility that you will be killed trying to break through.”
Meng Hao’s eyes glittered.
“Thousands of years…? I can’t wait at all. Elder Sister Xu won’t even stay alive for another ninety-nine years. I need to spend this life with her, not end up getting stuck in this place!” His eyes shone with coldness as he stepped forward, transforming into a beam of light that shot toward the beast hordes.
This time, it was the Solitary Sword Sect’s Gu Tianxiang whose eyes were fixed on Meng Hao as he shot forward.
“I always thought Meng Hao was the most inhuman cultivator I’d ever seen. I never imagined that Lu Bai would be even more shocking… Although, it took a bit of effort for Lu Bai to pass the level. This Meng Hao… won’t be able to make it across.”
The five Golden Frost Sect cultivators were looking on with unsightly expressions. If they joined forces, they might have a chance. But alone, none of the five had any confidence at all.
To them, this place was a dead end. After seeing Gu Tianxiang suffer defeat, and then seeing Lu Bai succeed, they were filled with many complex emotions. At the moment, they were watching Meng Hao.
Meng Hao shot forward with incredible speed, smashing into the beast horde with a bang.
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