Chapter 1053: Demonic Provocation!
At the same time that Meng Hao appeared, the disciples in the area were thrown into an uproar. Even the disciples who hated Meng Hao couldn't help but acknowledge that he was incredibly powerful. The position of his name on the ranking list on the ninth golden gate stone stele left a deep impression on their hearts.
From ancient times until now, the top 4 spots on that name list had never changed. On this day, however, Meng Hao had risen from the very bottom of the list all the way to the 2nd position!
Many people speculated that there must be a vast gap separating the 1st and 2nd positions on that list. However, only Meng Hao knew how vast that gap was. Perhaps after he completely refined the Paragon's blood, and then used it to fully fuse with a Nirvana Fruit, then...
He would be qualified to once again challenge the ninth golden gate stone stele, and feel... the power of the fist that came after the Life-Extermination Fist and the Self-Immolation Fist... the third fist strike!
That third fist would surely be spectacular to the extreme, capable of destroying Heaven and Earth. It was likely the pinnacle of body cultivation!
Refining more Paragon's blood required more Immortal jade and spirit stones. Now that he had reached 2nd place on the ninth golden gate stone stele, he would receive a hefty reward!
Meng Hao looked over at the stone stele, and the description of the rewards. After making some calculations, his eyes shone with anticipation.
A moment later, as the golden light slowly faded away, Meng Hao turned, flashing through the crowd like lighting toward the pale-faced Fan Dong’er.
“Cheater!” she said, glaring at him. Gritting her teeth, she pulled a bag of holding out and threw it over to Meng Hao.
She might have lost, but she was no sore loser!
At the same time, though, her revulsion toward Meng Hao grew even stronger. Expression extremely grim, she turned to leave. She was worried that if she didn't leave quickly, she would lose control and attack Meng Hao, leading to a big battle. Considering how terrifyingly powerful he was now, she knew that she had no chance of winning.
Meng Hao caught the bag of holding. After scanning it with divine sense, he smiled. In his opinion, although Fan Dong’er had many weaknesses, she also had her strengths, and was something that he greatly admired. That was... she didn’t refuse to accept losing.
Meng Hao cleared his throat. He was not the type to secretly spare people. If he had an enemy and their differences could not be resolved easily, then in his opinion there was no need to even try. And in fact... he might as well pile on a bit more discomfort.
Meng Hao had always been that way. Therefore, he smiled and said, “Junior Sister Dong’er, there are still eight more stone steles. I feel bad for winning so easily. Why don’t we make another bet? What do you say?”
Fan Dong’er gritted her teeth. Not bothering to even turn around and look at him, she transformed into a colorful beam of light that sped off into the distance.
Meng Hao felt a bit bad. His words were actually just idle banter. He wasn’t very confident about the other golden gate stone stele trials by fire. If Fan Dong’er had agreed to continue betting, he would have been forced to delay the matter.
Looking around at all the surrounding disciples of the Nine Seas God World, he sighed.
“Without a believable accomplice, it’s hard to get things done. If I had someone to help, I might have been able to charge people to watch. Yet another lost opportunity for profit.” Meng Hao’s heart hurt at the thought of the spirit stones, which, although they didn't actually belong to him, represented a missed opportunity all the same.
“What a headache. Everyone else worries about cultivation, but I’m always worried about having to make money.” Feeling quite bitter, he shook his head and flew quickly over toward one of the other golden gate stone steles.
If he was going to challenge them, then he would need to study them individually. That would give him the best chance to maximize their profitability.
When Meng Hao left, most of the other disciples followed along with him. Soon, the entire group arrived at the eighth golden gate stone stele.
Shockingly, almost in the same moment that they arrived, nine beams of colorful light appeared up above, screaming through the air toward the same location. Shocking rumbling like that of thunder clouds could be heard, accompanied by the ripples of the Ancient Realm.
In the blink of an eye, the beams of light closed in on the stone stele to reveal nine Demonic cultivators!
Of those nine, seven were men and two were women. All were exceedingly attractive, and looked almost exactly like cultivators, with the exception of the fish scale mark they all had on their foreheads. Another shocking thing about them was that each and every one appeared to have three or four extinguished Soul Lamps.
These were obviously not ordinary early Ancient Realm cultivators. These were Chosen who were close to the mid Ancient Realm.
“It’s them! The nine Sea Realm Demons!! They're actually making a public appearance! How rare!"
“Of the twenty most famous disciples in the Nine Seas God World, the weakest is the Divine Daughter, Fan Dong’er, although she has one of the highest ranks. In addition to her, there are the nine Divine Offspring. They have profound cultivation bases, and although they were once Chosen, they’ve now entered the early Ancient Realm! The Demonic Cultivator Horde is similar. They have a Sea Daughter, who is analogous to the Divine Daughter. In addition, they have the nine Sea Realm Demons, who are similar to the Divine Offspring!”
Immediately, all of the Demonic cultivators in the area started getting very excited.
Meng Hao’s eyes flickered when he caught sight of the nine Demonic cultivators. They looked back at him, their eyes flickering with sinister light. Each and every one of them could exert threatening pressure on Meng Hao; after all, they were all in the Ancient Realm!
There were two who Meng Hao found the most threatening. Both were men, one of whom had a triangular scale on his forehead, and whose pupils were also triangular, making him look very bizarre.
The other appeared to be the youngest among the group of nine. He was incredibly attractive, and wore beautiful clothing. His forehead had no scale on it, but rather, a mark in the shape of a Sea Dragon. He emanated the air of a ruler or king, that spread out in all directions.
He was... the number one Demon among the nine Sea Realm Demons!
Meng Hao looked away from them and proceeded to head toward the eighth golden gate stone stele. A moment after he stepped inside, the nine Sea Realm Demons did the same.
Countless eyes were fixed on the developing situation. The Demonic cultivators hated Meng Hao, a fact that had already spread throughout the entire sect. For the nine Sea Realm Demons to show up here led everyone to the same conclusion; the Demonic Cultivator Horde was making a move on Meng Hao!
It was not a direct attack but, rather, an attack on the prestige that he was gaining, to use the trials by fire to keep his growing popularity in check.
They were going to use this as a chance to create a clear comparison!
“I wonder what ranking Meng Hao will achieve this time!?” The surrounding cultivators were buzzing with excitement, yet some of them were still skeptical of Meng Hao. Although Meng Hao had proved how powerful his fleshly body was in the ninth golden gate, it was entirely possible that he wouldn't perform well in the others.
The truth of the matter was that was exactly how it was. After enough time for an incense stick to pass, Meng Hao’s name appeared on the golden gate stone stele, flickering with shining light. His name showed up somewhere in the 100s before he appeared outside.
Almost in the same moment that Meng Hao appeared outside, shockingly, nine names that were already in the top 20 positions on the list, moved up. Highest among all the newly risen was the name Long Tianhai. Earlier, that name had been in the 7th position, but it was now in the 4th!
“Long Tianhai! He's the number one Demon among the nine Sea Realm Demons. I can’t believe he just got into the 4th position!”
“The Demonic Cultivator Horde is favored by the Ninth Sea. In terms of cultivation and enlightenment, they have it so easy!”
“Besides, they were actually born in the pressure of the Ninth Sea. Once they leave it, their cultivation bases will rocket up like mad!”
The spectators were in an uproar as nine figures emerged from the stone stele. It was none other than the nine Sea Realm Demons, who all looked over at Meng Hao with sneers that they made no attempt to cover up.
“So, the Crown Prince of the Fang Clan turns out to be pretty lame. You would think that with his cultivation base, he would at least make it into the top 100.”
“That’s the joint disciples of all of the Three Great Daoist Societies? He’s too weak to withstand a single blow from one of us! He can’t even make it into the top 100, and yet still has the face to stick around in the Nine Seas God World!?”
“You can’t say that. Maybe he just doesn’t care about the trials by fire. He just has an overinflated reputation that he can’t live up to. If you had to blame anything, you should probably blame his arrogance and conceit!” The nine Demonic cultivators didn't hold anything back as they uttered various derisive and mocking words.
The disciples of the Nine Seas God World were shocked, and many of them felt that Meng Hao must be extremely weak.
“Fan Dong’er accused him of cheating in the ninth golden gate stone stele. From the look of things, he really was! Otherwise, how could there be such a huge gap now!?”
The results were clear. The nine Demonic cultivators went into the stone stele at the same time as Meng Hao, and had all placed in the top 20. The best of their group had even taken 4th place. In contrast, Meng Hao was in the 100s.
Normally speaking, if you didn't compare him to others, placing the way he did on his first try would be exceptional. After all, he didn't go all out, he merely went in to observe a bit.
However, because of the contrast in performances, the surrounding disciples of the Nine Seas God World were all startled to find that Meng Hao actually seemed really weak in comparison!
Meng Hao looked coldly over at the nine Demonic cultivators, who stared back at him with expressions of blatant provocation and mockery. As for Long Tianhai, his expression was extremely calm. However, it was calm in an arrogant way, as if Meng Hao were an ant that he didn't even need to think about, and could crush underfoot with a mere thought.
He maintained his silence, and didn’t say anything in response. He turned and headed toward the seventh golden gate stone stele, followed by the nine Sea Realm Demons. They all arrived shortly thereafter at the seventh stone stele, after which Meng Hao entered. The nine Demonic cultivators followed suit, clearly hoping to humiliate Meng Hao.
After the time it takes an incense stick to burn, Meng Hao appeared. This time, he performed a bit better than before, ending up in the 90s. However, moments later, golding light shone up from the names of the nine Sea Realm Demons. Although they didn’t make incredible progress, there were some in the top 20. Long Tianhai didn't make it to 5th place, but rather 7th. Another of the nine Demonic cultivators made it into the 9th position.
It was another clear contrast!
Next was the sixth golden gate stone stele, followed by the fifth, the fourth, the third, and the second....
The nine Demonic cultivators stuck as close to Meng Hao as vengeful ghosts. Every trial by fire he entered, they entered too. The result was that they completely exceeded him... and it was obvious as a slap to the face.
After every single trial by fire, they would utter some derisive words, the acidity of which only continued to grow. Their words were clever, and they made no effort to conceal the fact that they were taunting him.
Meng Hao’s face grew icier. He didn’t try very hard in any of the trials by fire, and as such, didn't allow their words to rile him. He knew that, for the moment, his level of power wasn’t sufficient to exceed them.
All he wanted to do was observe the trials by fire and get used to them. It didn’t matter if he only got into the top 100 or so. At the moment, he wasn’t ready to truly challenge them.
Soon, he had passed through the rest of the stone steles. The final trial by fire tested one’s ability to stand up to crushing pressure. After looking the stele over, Meng Hao decided not to challenge it, and turned to leave.
At this point, the nine Demonic cultivators started laughing coldly. Some of the other disciples of the Nine Seas God World were able to tell what was going on, and yet, the buzz that had built up because of his amazing performance in the ninth golden gate stone stele was now dying out. In fact, there were even people who were now almost convinced that... he was a cheater!
Although Meng Hao looked like he wanted to leave, but it didn't seem that the nine Demonic cultivators were going to let him.
“Meng Hao, what do you say to a bet? Do you dare?” one of the nine Demonic cultivators taunted, the ridicule in his tone clear as his voice echoed about.
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