Chapter 1414: Refining a Paragon Corpse!
That terrifying divine sense was similar to the one from the archaic old man from the Devil Realm Continent. It was in the 9-Essences level, but was at its very peak!
That peak level qualified one to attempt a breakthrough to the Daosource Realm. Of course, powerful souls like that were very rare. For countless years, very few people had ever been able to reach the peak of 9-Essences. In fact, even in an enormous sect like the Vast Expanse School had only ever produced four.
However, those four had all reached a position only one step away from the Daosource!
Unfortunately, from ancient times until the current day, people who could take that final step were as rare as phoenix feathers or qilin horns. In all of the Vast Expanse, there had only ever been two or three... who had completed that step!
All of the others died.
Those who chose not to take that final step, and remained at the peak of 9-Essences, had virtually limitless longevity. Although it wasn’t correct to say that they would exist for as long as all Heaven and Earth, they were close to such a level. They had shockingly profound levels of knowledge, and the longer they practiced cultivation, the more powerful they became. However, the Vast Expanse Tribulation came for them once every ten thousand years, and each time it came, it was more terrifying than the last time, until it managed to destroy them.
Because this was so, when it came to comparing those at the peak of 9-Essences, unless someone had a rare, unique Essence, then strength would be determined by who had practiced cultivation in that level for the longest time.
The powerful divine sense enveloped Meng Hao, boring inside of him, inspecting every inch of his being. The other seven Paragons remained off to the side, somber expressions on their faces.
After enough time passed for half an incense stick to burn, it slowly retracted, and then an ancient voice echoed out.
“This person received the legacy of a Daoist magic in a previous life, which artificially propelled him to the 9-Essences level. However, the result was significant damage that would be difficult to notice upon cursory examination. Even though he is still alive, it would be so difficult for him to make further progress that to do so would require something akin to defying Heaven.
“This person experienced profound sorrow and grief in life, and apparently went through a huge catastrophe. Most likely, he witnessed the destruction of his homeworld. Everyone else died, with him being the sole survivor. Even his narrow escape left him with only a discarnate soul.
“The level of rancor within him is profound, and his previous obsessions still linger. His mind was strong, and his fleshly body even stronger. He even commands some sort of Essence magic that exceeds my comprehension. Very interesting.
“All of those things are secondary, though. Most interesting of all is his aura. It is neither Immortal nor Devil, and it differs from the Vast Expanse. It contains fluctuations the likes of which... I have never seen before.
“Considering everything I have revealed, it is likely that the seven of you have already guessed who he is!” As the ancient voice echoed about, the seven Paragons, including the old man in the violet-gold robe, had thoughtful looks on their faces.
A moment later, one of their number, a middle-aged cultivator, suddenly spoke, his eyes glittering as he said, “One thousand years ago. The Mountain and Sea Realm. Meng Hao!”
In response to his words, the eyes of the other Paragons flickered. The old man in the violet-gold robe looked over at Meng Hao’s corpse. Then they began to discuss the matter.
“It’s most likely him. A thousand years ago, the Immortal God Continent and the Devil Realm Continent attacked the Mountain and Sea Realm, which was the evolved version of the Paragon Immortal Realm. It is said that the only thing which survived was a World-Butterfly, which entered the Green Coffin Vortex. A Dao was passed on to Meng Hao, pushing him into the 9-Essences level. But then he was seriously wounded, and even as he hovered on the brink of death, he was teleported away.”
“So, it’s him. Even to this day, the Immortal God Continent and the Devil Realm have people searching the Vast Expanse for him. If we....”
“It doesn’t matter. We just want his body, we're not trying to help him awaken!”
The powerful divine sense once again spread out, and the ancient voice spoke, as cold as ice. “Leave him here. Just now, I felt some sort of reaction from the ancestral relic. Keeping it under control makes it difficult for me to divide my attention. Once it has stabilized, I’ll come back to wipe the discarnate soul out of the corpse. Then, we can refine the body using the resources of the Vast Expanse School. After all of its injuries have been healed, and the body is stabilized, then... the fleshly body vessel will be prepared, and we can summon the Ninth Paragon.
“As for the Immortal God Continent and the Devil Realm Continent, they will never be able to find the corpse in here. Besides, even if they knew about it, would they really be willing to start a war with our Vast Expanse School?” The ancient voice was filled with a domineering air, and even as it began to fade away, the other seven Paragons exchanged glances and then began to laugh. Then, they clasped hands and bowed before returning to their various locations of secluded meditation.
Since the Sect Leader himself said he would handle Meng Hao’s corpse, they weren’t worried at all about anything unexpected happening.
After they all left, Meng Hao’s corpse remained there hanging there in midair, still and unmoving.
His soul was hidden within the wick of the bronze lamp that rested inside of him. The little bit he had allowed to emanate to the outside just now had been to attract the attention of the Paragons of the Vast Expanse School. He was making a gamble now, gambling that he wouldn’t be discovered, that he could use this place to remain concealed from the forces which sought him, and simultaneously, restore his cultivation base.
He also needed to continue to practice cultivation, and seize an opportunity to step into the Daosource Realm as early as possible.
All of those goals were things he hoped to accomplish in the Vast Expanse School.
He would make use of the resources of the Vast Expanse School to heal his injuries, and perhaps even incite the Vast Expanse School into a war with the Immortal God Realm and the Devil Realm. Even if he couldn’t pull off a war, he would still need a place with abundant resources to practice cultivation in the way he desired.
Actually, upon awakening, he had little concept of what the Vast Expanse School was. However, when he was on the flying shuttle, he had found that the closer he got, the more his bronze lamp would tremble and even emanate fluctuations that were complementary to Planet Vast Expanse. At that point, Meng Hao had made his decision.
The bronze lamp was mysterious and unfathomable. He wasn’t sure exactly where it came from, but he could tell that it definitely had something to do with Planet Vast Expanse.
With his soul hidden in the wick of the lamp, the old man in the violet-gold robe had been unable to detect his presence. However, the powerful divine sense of the Vast Expanse School’s Sect Leader left Meng Hao shaken with the threat it posed.
That divine sense was able to inspect every aspect of his body, and had even passed over the location of the bronze lamp several times. However, the lamp itself was something that even the terrifying Sect Leader couldn't detect, which dispelled the lingering feelings of fear Meng Hao had because of the man.
A few days later, that same terrifying divine sense exploded out and enveloped Meng Hao. This time, it studied him for an entire hour, examining him in every aspect. It also completely wiped away the soul fragment that Meng Hao had left outside of the bronze lamp.
In effect, he was murdering Meng Hao; were it not for the bronze lamp, then any chance he had of fully awakening would have been forever erased.
After the hour passed, the divine sense slowly retracted. Meng Hao’s corpse was then gripped by a powerful force which pulled it down toward a wide platform, atop which was an enormous cauldron!
It was a medicine cauldron, fully 3,000 meters tall, like a looming mountain. An everburning, seven-colored flame roared beneath it, and inside was a sea of medicine. The powerful force which gripped Meng Hao instantly threw him into the middle of the cauldron.
As that happened, the old man in the violet-gold robes flew over, along with the other six Paragons. They hovered to a stop above the cauldron, then waved their sleeves as they tossed numerous precious medicinal plants inside. In response, the medicinal brew inside began to bubble and boil.
“It has begun,” said the ancient voice. “The soul is completely wiped away, leaving the body an empty husk. Heal the wounds and restore the body to a state of perfection, and then we can use it.” The seven Paragons had very serious expressions on their faces as they sent out the power of their cultivation base, causing the pores all over Meng Hao’s skin to open and begin to absorb the medicinal ingredient extracts.
Rumbling sounds echoed out. Inside the bronze lamp, Meng Hao’s soul couldn't feel the burning sensation that existed outside of his body, but he could sense his wounds rapidly healing.
His spirits instantly lifted, and yet he maintained full vigilance.
Time passed. Nineteen days later, so much of the medicinal brew within the huge cauldron had drained away that the cauldron was almost empty. Meng Hao was like a black hole; despite the vast quantity of pure medicinal plants he had absorbed, his injuries were only healed by about thirty percent.
“Simply extraordinary! Not even all those medicinal plants could heal him?”
“It doesn’t matter. The resources of the Vast Expanse School are profound. Virtually limitless! However much he needs to absorb, that’s how much we’ll provide. It just goes to show the incredible potential in this corpse!” The Paragons laughed heartily. Not concerned at all about this development, they went to find more medicinal plants to throw into the cauldron.
Rumbling could be heard as the medicinal brew rose higher within the cauldron once again. Meng Hao was completely submerged. His fleshly body was growing stronger, and the dangerous instabilities caused by being prematurely awoken from the process of absorbing Shui Dongliu’s legacy were slowly being neutralized.
As he remained hidden within the bronze lamp, Meng Hao licked his lips. Although he wasn’t aware of it, a bashful expression had appeared on his face, and he seemed a bit embarrassed.
Another month passed....
“Still not recovered? Ah, it’s fine. Keep providing him materials to absorb!”
“I grew this Heavenrose Grass for 30,000 years. I’ll give it to him. All for the benefit of the Ninth Paragon!”
“Years ago I fought a desperate battle to gain this Cloud Dragon bone.... Ah, whatever. The arrival of the Ninth Paragon is critical for our Vast Expanse School!”
The seven Paragons didn't seem very happy, but they gritted their teeth and began to produce all sorts of various precious materials from their collections, which they threw into the cauldron to continue the refinement process.
Meng Hao’s body was now almost completely recovered. The dangerous instabilities had been mostly neutralized. However, the bronze lamp which no one could see was like a ravenous black hole when it came to absorbing resources!
In fact, it had absorbed more than half of the various precious materials so far. That caused its flame to grow brighter and brighter, and gradually, Meng Hao could sense that the bronze lamp itself was awakening!
More and more materials were absorbed, until finally, the entire cauldron was rumbling, and the energy of Heaven and Earth in the area was also sucked in.
“The process is almost complete. The energy of Heaven and Earth is being absorbed. Things will be over soon.”
“We paid a high price, but the result is an incredibly powerful Paragon corpse. It will all be worth it when the Ninth Paragon arrives.”
The seven Paragons were laughing heartily, and looked very much at ease. In recent days, they had been constantly pouring cultivation base power into the cauldron. To finally see an end in sight to all the wastage caused them to sigh in relief.
Time passed. One month. Two months. Three months....
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