Chapter 1048: A Wager!
As soon as Meng Hao heard the singing, he gaped. Looking over at the pool of water, he took a deep breath. His expression was one of shock as he saw 33 Demonic cultivators, haggard and gaunt, singing at the top of their lungs.
Their expressions were unexpectedly... that of extreme passion that even bordered on worship. As they stared up at the multicolored parrot, they almost looked like cultists. As for the parrot, it was belting out the song at the top of its lungs.
Most intolerable of all was that the meat jelly had transformed into a set of barrel-shaped drums, which were constantly being beaten to go along with the singing.
Meng Hao simply couldn’t imagine what the Demonic cultivators had experienced to cause them to have such devoted gleams in their eyes. As for the singing, other than the little tune that Patriarch Reliance usually hummed, Meng Hao had never heard a more jarring melody.
He was also shocked to find that when he walked out of the residence and headed toward the pool of water, the Demonic cultivators, including the huge shell that hated him down to its guts, all completely ignored him, and focused wholeheartedly on their song.
Meng Hao felt as if the entire world were in chaos. He took a deep breath and looked at the hollering parrot, and suddenly realized that he had underestimated it.
Rolling his eyes, he cleared his throat and then produced Su Yan from within his bag of holding. As soon as she opened her eyes, she chuckled coldly, and was just about to deride Meng Hao when, all of a sudden, the singing caught her attention, and she gaped in shock.
“Parrot!” said Meng Hao decisively. “I’m handing this wench over to you for training. Get her to be as obedient as all these seafood dishes! Oh right, she’s worth... one hundred furred or feathered beasts!!” Almost as soon as the words left his mouth, the parrot began to tremble in midair. It even stopped singing, and all of the few colorful feathers it had left stood on end. Its eyes shone with brilliant light.
“A hundred? Did you say one hundred?!?!” It apparently wanted to make very sure that it had heard correctly.
Meng Hao nodded somberly. “One hundred! Each and every one with luxuriant coats of fur or feathers!”
In order to get his hands on that Daoist magic, he was willing to throw caution to the wind.
Su Yan gaped in astonishment. She wasn't quite sure exactly what Meng Hao and the colorful bird were talking about. However, she quickly began to chuckle coldly, and her expression was one of extreme derision.
The parrot, however, was very excited, and instantly threw its head back and roared.
“Don't worry, Lord Fifth will get this wench in line!” It looked excitedly toward Su Yan, eyes shining. Off to the side, the meat jelly didn't seem to be very pleased at having been left out.
“Can you sing? Well? Can you?” it asked angrily. “Can you count?!”
“Morons!” Su Yan said with a laugh, closing her eyes and ignoring them.
Meng Hao gave Su Yan a pitying look, then cleared his throat. Not bothering to consider how the parrot would be training Su Yan, he turned and flew up into the air.
In the blink of an eye, he shot through the shield and the pool of water, appearing suddenly in midair. Almost as soon as he emerged, he saw two beams of light flying through the air in his general direction. Within those beams of light, two cold gazes could be seen.
Meng Hao’s expression was the same as ever as he watched two Demonic cultivators flying by.
They snorted coldly, doing nothing to disguise their contempt for him as they flew past and then headed off into the distance.
Meng Hao didn't mind. The main reason he was emerging from his Immortal’s cave was for Immortal jade and spirit stones. Without further hesitation, he flew into the air toward the golden gate stone steles.
He did not intend to blindly challenge the steles. Instead, he would go learn something about them, then decide later which one to challenge first.
“I need to find the one most suited to me. That way, I’ll be able to get the rewards I need in the shortest time possible!” As for his work with the Paragon's blood, he was determined to succeed.
On the way to the golden gate stone steles, he passed various disciples. The regular cultivators looked at him curiously. Some even smiled and clasped hands. After all, Meng Hao was famous even outside the sect, and earlier, he had talked down a Dao Realm expert. That news had caused quite a sensation in the Nine Seas God World.
However, the Demonic cultivators he encountered all bristled with killing intent. The hatred in their eyes was clear, and when they saw Meng Hao, it only continued to grow deeper.
Eventually, he came to stand in front of a towering golden gate stone stele. It shone with boundless golden light, and was carved with so many names that they seemed impossible to count. Quite a few cultivators and Demonic cultivators were gathered in the area. Any time someone touched the gate, they would disappear.
People would disappear and people would reappear. It was quite a lively scene.
A middle-aged man sat cross-legged at the base of the stone gate. His eyes were closed, as if he didn't care about what was happening in the world outside at all. However, if anyone attempted to start a fight in the area, or if people attempting the trial by fire tried to cheat in any way, he would instantly know, and punishment would be meted out without hesitation.
Meng Hao stood off to the side, watching the scene for a while. He was just about to leave when, all of a sudden, a glittering bright red light began to spread out from one of the stone steles. The light rapidly transformed to the image of an illusory world up in midair. Within that world, a young woman could be seen, who was the source of the light!
She was beautiful, but shockingly, a white-robed female corpse could be seen floating behind her, making her even more astonishing.
Cries of envy and shock could instantly be heard from all directions.
“The name list changed!”
“Elder Sister Fan Dong’er got into the top 30!!”
“The top 100 are all Ancient Realm cultivators, although you can only make it into the rankings if you have five or less extinguished soul lamps. But Elder Sister Fan Dong’er got into the top 30 while only in the Immortal Realm! She’s definitely a true Chosen!”
Cries of shock rang out among the cultivators in the area, including the Demonic cultivators. Many people looked envious, whereas others had dark looks, or even seemed unwilling to accept what had happened.
At the same time, Fan Dong’er's name appeared as the thirtieth name on the list.
The red light shone for a bit longer, then faded away. As it disappeared, Fan Dong’er strode out from the stone stele. Her face was a bit pale, but she looked excited. As soon as she appeared, the surrounding disciples began to clasp hands and call out in congratulations.
Fan Dong’er smiled and clasped hands in return. She was just about to leave, when suddenly, her phoenix-like eyes flashed as she caught sight of Meng Hao.
Meng Hao smiled and nodded, then turned to leave. He now knew that this stone stele trial by fire was about divine sense. Although Meng Hao was confident regarding his own divine sense, it wasn’t his strongest area. Furthermore, in previous encounters with Fan Dong’er, he could tell that the reason why her divine abilities and Daoist magics were so powerful was not because of her cultivation base, but rather, her divine sense.
“Perhaps it has something to do with the techniques of the Nine Seas God World. I really should take some time to go to the their Scripture Pavilion.” After another moment of thought, he prepared to make his way off when all of a sudden, he heard the sound of air being shattered behind him. He turned to find Fan Dong’er chasing him down.
As for Fan Dong’er, she was muttering inwardly to herself that if it wasn’t for the fact that her master had instructed her to help Meng Hao familiarize himself with the golden gate stone steles, she wouldn’t have even approached him. Thinking about her battle with him after he reached Immortal Ascension caused her heart to fill with hatred. Back when he had first arrived and gotten into conflict with the Demonic cultivators, she had felt quite pleased, and had looked forward to the scene of the Demonic cultivators tearing him to pieces.
“Congratulations on reaching the top 30, Junior Sister,” Meng Hao said with a laugh.
“That’s Elder Sister to you!” she replied. Every time she looked at Meng Hao, she felt uncontrollable fury rising up within her. It was almost as if the mere sight of his face would put her emotions completely out of control.
“There’s only one Elder Sister in my life,” Meng Hao responded coolly.
When Fan Dong’er heard this, she gaped in surprise. Instead of pressing the issue, she took a deep breath, calmed herself, and then began to speak again, her face expressionless.
“The golden gate stone steles of the Nine Seas God World number nine in total. The first is the most important, which is a test regarding the pressure of the Ninth Sea. It is one of the most important trials by fire in the Nine Seas God World.
“The other eight gates test different aspects of cultivation. For example, the ninth stone stele is a fleshly body trial by fire. This, the seventh, has to do with divine sense.
“Then there’s the fifth stone stele, which is a trial by fire of slaughter. By experiencing a true battlefield, one can achieve the Dao of slaughtering.
“The third stone stele probably won't suit you. It is regarding the Dao of transformation.
“Each person who enters into the top 100 on a golden gate stone stele receives a reward based on what rank they achieve. Greater rewards come as you go from the top 100, to the top 50, and the top 30!” Fan Dong’er rushed through the information, as if she was planning to leave right afterwards. She was worried that if she talked to Meng Hao for too long, she wouldn’t be able to control herself and would begin another all-out battle with him.
“What about the top 10?” he asked.
“Top 10? I suggest you don’t think that far ahead,” she replied, doing nothing to hide the derision in her tone.
“Don’t even dream of getting that high. Up to now in the Nine Seas God World, no one with an Immortal Realm cultivation base has ever gotten into the top 10.
“At the very least, you need to be in the Ancient Realm with two extinguished Soul Lamps to even compete over the top 10!
“As for you, you would be lucky to get into the top 20. You might be the Immortal Realm Paragon, but there are a lot of cultivators in the Nine Seas God World that you couldn’t lift a finger to.”
As Meng Hao looked at Fan Dong’er, his expression turned somewhat bashful, as if he felt a bit embarrassed about what he was going to say.
“You hit the nail on the head,” he said. “My goal is the top 10. Do you dare to make a bet with me about it?!”
Almost as soon as Fan Dong’er saw the bashful expression on his face, she felt like her scalp was about to explode. She instantly backed up, rotating her cultivation base and going on full guard, eyeing Meng Hao with extreme vigilance.
That expression was one which caused her heart to prickle, and it wasn’t the first time she had seen it. She knew that whenever such an expression appeared, Meng Hao would be at his most wicked. Not for the first time, Fan Dong’er dearly wished she could bash his face in so hard that she never had to see it again.
“Well, do you dare?” he repeated, looking at her and blinking.
“There’s no reason to try to convince me,” she replied with a cold harrumph. “It doesn’t matter what tricks you use, I simply can’t believe that you could get into the top 10 of any of the golden gate stone steles!
“Furthermore, if you think there’s any way I’ll be making a wager with you, you can keep on dreaming!” Giving him one final derisive and scornful look, she turned to leave.
“If you win, I’ll take Inky back,” he said casually.
Those words caused Fan Dong’er to instantly stop in place. She shuddered, then turned back, her face a mass of murderous rage. She glared at Meng Hao, panting, chest heaving. She was fundamentally beautiful, but when she had a look like this in her eyes, she was even more attractive.
That corpse was something Fan Dong’er had gotten used to. She had viewed it as a way to temper her Dao heart. However, deep down, she would do anything in the hopes of getting rid of it. Not even her master could dispel the corpse, and so, her tempering had been because she had no other choice.
Therefore, how could she possibly keep her calm when Meng Hao said something like he just had? Furthermore, how could she be sure he could even do what he said?
Well-aware of what Fan Dong’er must be thinking, Meng Hao smiled and said, “I can, because I was the one who stuck you with her.”
“YOU!!” Fan Dong’er gritted her teeth. “Fine, let’s gamble!”
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