Chapter 873: She’s a Paragon!
The battle-ax emitted a droning sound as it approached the white-robed woman, and began to circulate around her. She looked at it, and slowly, an expression of reminiscence and sorrow appeared on her face.
Everyone on the ancient Dao Tree felt their hearts thumping as they stared blankly at the woman.
Ling Yunzi and the other two old men were also trembling, and their faces were pale white. They said absolutely nothing.
Meng Hao’s eyes widened as well. However, what was most concerning to him was not the woman and her appearance on the scene, but the fact that the half-headed man who had been following him, and was now hovering near the arenas, did not flee or bow like the other beings. He quivered a bit, but by force of will remained hovering there just as before.
When Meng Hao saw this, his heart began to pound.
It was at this point that the Patriarchs from the Three Great Daoist Societies urgently stepped forward toward the vortex. Their expressions were that of shock, and they seemed to be thinking a variety of thoughts. Moments later, though, they began to tremble with wild joy.
All of the other Patriarchs were staring at the woman, dumbstruck.
“It’s actually… HER!!”
“She looks exactly like the image recorded in the sect’s records!”
“When the Three Great Daoist Societies told us about their plan, I thought it was crazy…. That woman… how could she be alive after all this time!?!?”
The Patriarchs from all the sects were now on their feet, staring at the white-robed woman in the vortex screen in disbelief.
“She’s the Paragon from the legends….” murmured the old man from the Kunlun Society.
Similar words echoed about in the minds of all of the other Patriarchs in the starry sky palace, and waves of audible gasps arose from the crowd there.
Meanwhile, at the very peak of the Ninth Mountain, was a statue of a cross-legged man, sitting atop a boulder. The statue seemed devoid of any life force whatsoever, and yet, in this instant, cracks spread out across the surface of the statue. At the same time, the stars in the sky above the Ninth Mountain went dim, with the exception of one, which shone brilliantly, almost as if it were a solitary eye.
It seemed expressionless and ancient, as if it could lord it over all the entire starry sky and everything in it. It looked at the nearby vortex screen and saw the woman floating there, and the eye… trembled.
“Paragon….” murmured an ancient voice.
Back by the arenas, the white-robed woman hovered there in midair, looking at the Dao Tree. All of the cultivators on the tree got the feeling that she was examining them personally.
Ling Yunzi was panting, as were the two old men next to him. After a long moment passed, he clenched his teeth violently and then, face ashen, said, “Cultivators of the Nascent Soul, Spirit Severing, and Dao Seeking stages in the arena matches, let the qualifying round for the semifinals begin!
“Unleash your most powerful divine abilities. Let loose your most powerful Daos. All of you… are fighting in arena matches. However, this is also… a chance for perhaps the greatest good fortune of your entire lives!
“Whether or not you can seize this opportunity is up to your own destiny!” Ling Yunzi wasn’t able to reveal any further information. What he had already said pushed the limits of the boundaries.
His words caused the hearts of all the cultivators in the arenas to tremble. Meng Hao was especially interested in the white-robed woman.
He got a very strange sensation when he looked at her. He could see her with his physical eyes, but when he tried to look at her with divine sense, it was as if she wasn’t even there.
It was at this point that glittering light surrounded all of the cultivators, and they appeared on the green layer of leaves. In the blink of an eye, everyone was facing an opponent.
Meng Hao’s opponent was none other than… Li Ling’er!
Zhao Yifan was facing the hulking man from the Kunlun Society. As for the other matches, the garrulous old man was up against the smiling youth from the Burning Incense Stick Society.
The last match was between Fan Dong’er and the young man from the Paleo-Immortal Mausoleum.
The match to decide the top 4 and the bottom 4 was now beginning!
As Li Ling’er and Meng Hao faced off against each other, the willow leaf mark on Li Ling’er’s forehead suddenly began to shine brightly, and an incredible aura exploded out from her.
A strange expression could be seen on Meng Hao’s face, and he cleared his throat. Without even thinking about it, he glanced toward her rear end.
“How shameless!” she said with a cold frown. She raised her right hand, instantly causing an ancient, archaic tree to appear behind her. Shockingly, as soon as it materialized, it seemed to form a resonance with the ancient Dao Tree, and brilliant light rose up to surround Li Ling’er, causing her energy to surge.
She waved her hand, causing the ancient tree’s branches to whip through the air, weaving together almost like vines as they snaked toward Meng Hao at incredible speed.
This was not the first time Meng Hao had gone up against Li Ling’er. Back in the Southern Domain, he had defeated her and taken her captive. However, his victory had come as the result of a bit of trickery; he had used the teleportation power of the Lightning Cauldron to quickly defeat her.
It was not possible to use the Lightning Cauldron in the arena matches, lest he reveal his identity.
However, Meng Hao was also different than he had been during their initial encounter. Now he had an Immortal meridian that was eighty percent solidified, and his true Immortal powers made him vastly, vastly more powerful than before.
Meng Hao’s eyes glittered as he observed the incoming vines. Then, he kicked out, his energy surging with the power of true Immortality. Behind him, his Dharma Idol appeared, disguised with the transformative powers of the black feather. The gigantic Dharma Idol brandished its fists and then punched out, causing boundless light to appear that transformed into a Dharma Sea, which then shot toward the incoming vines.
A huge boom could be heard, and massive ripples spread out. Meng Hao didn’t back up even an inch, but instead headed directly toward Li Ling’er. Last time, he had relied on his aura of invincibility to capture her. Now, his true fighting style could be unleashed. As he closed in, he transformed into a vulture, which slashed its claws toward Li Ling’er with lightning speed.
Li Ling’er’s face flickered, and she performed a double-handed incantation gesture. A magical bottle appeared, which she then tossed out ahead of her.
“Shatter!” said Meng Hao. His vulture-form slashed viciously at the bottle, and at the same time, he secretly unleashed the claw magic that he had learned from the wall of the Immortal Ancient Daoist Rite Temple. [1. This "claw magic" is a reference to something he learned in chapter 809]
A boom rang out as the bottle exploded. In their last encounter, Meng Hao had been forced to use the Blood Demon Grand Magic to deal with the magical bottle, but this time, all it took was a single strike on his part. [2. Meng Hao fought with Li Ling’er in chapter 821]
It was just a simple magical technique, but Meng Hao could clearly sense how much more powerful it was now.
Li Ling’er’s face fell, and she began to pant. She anxiously fell into retreat, and yet, no matter how fast she moved, Meng Hao always kept up, bearing down on her as the vicious vulture. He slashed at her again, causing the air to vibrate, as a will of invincibility exploded out.
Li Ling’er was defeated in exchange after exchange. No matter how she attacked, no matter what divine abilities or magical techniques she employed, regardless of the various magical items she used, they were all useless. Meng Hao bashed her over and over again like a buffeting windstorm, as easily as he would step on a dried weed.
After only the space of a few breaths, the two had exchanged dozens of blows. Blood sprayed from Li Ling’er’s mouth, and a look of shock could be seen on her face. This match immediately caused her to recall Meng Hao from Planet South Heaven. He was equally swift and fierce, equally invincible, equally impossible to rattle.
Were it not for the fact that she got the feeling that this Fang Mu far exceeded Meng Hao, she would definitely have assumed that they were one and the same person!
“They can’t be the same,” she thought. “Meng Hao might have possessed a will of invincibility, but his energy was not incredible like this. Fang Mu… has intense energy, far more than that damned Meng Hao!” She fell back again, gritted her teeth, and performed another incantation gesture, causing her enormous tree to suddenly begin to vibrate.
“World Tree, detonate. Rebuke the Heavens with your spirit. Transform for me! Stifle all the earth!”
Li Ling’er’s voice echoed with an ancient cadence, and immediately caused the air between her and Meng Hao to echo with deep rumbling.
The sound caused everything to shake. The surface of the arena trembled, and Meng Hao’s face flickered. Li Ling’er had used this exact same divine ability the last time they had fought, and it was as astonishing as it had been before; the pressure exerted by the image of the World Tree was intense.
Last time, if he hadn’t possessed the sunstone, he would never have been able to win the battle. After all, Li Ling’er possessed fifty percent of the might of a true Immortal.
The successive rumbling sounds seemed to strike at Meng Hao’s heart. The air around him distorted, and wild colors flashed. Everything was shaking as the tree behind Li Ling’er suddenly collapsed. Its leaves fell, and its branches withered until all that was left of the tree was a single log!
It was… the World Tree!
As it fell towards the ground, it emitted a droning sound and passed through Li Ling’er to shoot toward Meng Hao. She performed a double handed incantation, causing her hair to whip around her head, and more power to pour into the attack.
At the same time, a pearl appeared above her head. It began to rotate rapidly, which would apparently sustain her cultivation base, preventing it from being drained by the tree.
“That’s nothing but an illusory World Tree!” said Meng Hao, his eyes glittering. His cultivation base far exceeded its previous level. He extended his right hand, and the World Tree spear appeared with its bone spearhead. Meng Hao hefted it and then flung it toward the incoming illusory World Tree.
From the perspective of the spectators in the Ninth Mountain and Sea, a green sun suddenly appeared between Meng Hao and Li Ling’er as the World Tree and the long spear slammed into each other.
In the blink of an eye, a monstrous roaring sound filled the air as the illusory World Tree trembled and, incapable of standing up to the long spear, collapsed into pieces and then violently exploded.
The spear sliced through the illusory tree like a sharp knife through a piece of bamboo, emerging from the shattered remnants to bear down on Li Ling’er with incredible speed.
In that critical moment, the pearl floating above Li Ling’er’s head shattered, causing a gentle force to flow out and then shove her off to the side. The long spear whistled through the air, kicking up a powerful wind that instantly sent Li Ling’er’s hair into complete and utter disarray. Meng Hao appeared off to Li Ling’er’s side, grasping the long spear and glancing down at her curvaceous rear end.
At the same time, Li Ling’er, who had just avoided the attack, looked over with eyes that flickered with killing intent. In the same moment that she passed Meng Hao, she raised her right hand, gathered the power of the exploded pearl treasure, and then stabbed her two fingers toward Meng Hao’s eyes.
In that instant, Meng Hao let out a cold snort and extended his left hand to violently spank Li Ling’er’s buttocks!
It was a cruel strike, similar to the strike which had landed on her not too long ago….
The slapping sound was accompanied by a miserable shriek from Li Ling’er. Once again, her rear end was now uneven, she even felt her pelvis creaking. She immediately staggered backward in retreat, her face pale and devoid of any blood.
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