Chapter 1459: You’re Fang Mu!
Dong, dong, dong, dong.... Dong, dong, dong, dong.... Dong, dong, dong, dong.... The sonorous tolling bell represented something holy, something that would attract widespread envy, and yet at the moment the sound was ringing out as though a mortal were simply pounding on a drum... and doing it as many times as he felt like.
To hear the bell tolling in this fashion was something that had never occurred in the history of the Ninth Sect. Throughout all the years, never had it sounded out so many times in such a short period of time....
“What... what... what is happening? What’s going on?! How many people are there causing the bell to toll so many times?”
“But... but how come it seems like it’s actually being caused by one person? Otherwise, it would be far too coincidental.... But if it’s a single person, that would simply be a violation of common sense. It would make more sense for it to be a coincidence than for it to be caused by one person.”
The Ninth Sect was completely and utterly stirred up by what was happening. Virtually all of its cultivators were in flight toward the mountain, whether they were in the Immortal Realm or even the Ancient Realm.
People crowded around, millions of them, even tens of millions. They came from all directions to gather around the Vast Expanse Shrine. Some of them didn’t fly over, but sent divine sense out to lock down onto the mountain.
Up in midair, Yan’er looked on with wide eyes. She heard the bell tolling, and saw countless cultivators flying up into the air, and was a bit taken aback. She almost couldn’t believe that this was being caused by her Master.
Even more shocked than everyone else were the cultivators beneath 10,000 steps in the trial by fire. They were completely and utterly astonished as they stared up the mountain peak, the sound of the bell ringing in their ears. Their minds were total blanks, and the very same types of questions were buzzing in all of their heads.
“Who is this guy?!”
“He seemed familiar, but I can’t seem to place exactly who he is!”
Most people were completely shocked, but there were certain individuals within the Ninth Sect who didn’t have much of a reaction at all. Of course, the Elders and the Dao Realm experts weren’t surprised, but there was an additional group who were similarly ambivalent. They were the blazing suns of the Ninth Sect, the weakest of whom had placed in the top 10,000 names on the Vast Expanse Shrine.
They didn’t care much at all about the commotion. Unless they felt a threat from Fang Mu, to them, it was all just a big ruckus.
“Whether it's a single person, or a group, it doesn’t matter until they pass 50,000 steps. Before then, it’s mostly meaningless.”
“Anyone who passes 50,000 steps can be listed in the top 10,000. Likewise, 80,000 steps puts you in the top 3,000.”
“Mount Vast Expanse itself doesn’t count for much. It’s only when you reach the Vast Expanse Shrine itself that you truly count as Chosen, and can be listed in the top 100!” All of those people had incredible natural talent, and back when they challenged the Vast Expanse Shrine, had caused huge commotions. As such, they took the matter in stride, and in fact, didn't even care.
However, there were a few of them who were slightly curious, so they flew over and began to climb up the mountain. There were actually a few thousand people who did so, their goal being, not to challenge the Vast Expanse Shrine, but to see who exactly it was that was causing the tolling of the bell. Was it a group, or was it... an individual!?
If a group was involved, then it wouldn’t matter much. However, if it was an individual, that would be a different story....
Many of the people who had stepped onto the path just now had previously reached a location somewhere beneath 50,000 steps. In their minds, catching up with either a group or an individual would be a simple task.
Meng Hao was now standing on the 10,000th step, his eyes closed. As the bell tolled out, he experienced a Baptism. To most people, that was a process that would take quite some time, but for him, it only took about ten breaths of time.
After all, he was already equipped with incredible latent talent, so the Baptism was almost like a decoration on something that was already perfect. Although it did benefit him, it wasn’t fundamentally shocking.
“Not bad,” Meng Hao thought. “It seems I underestimated this Vast Expanse Shrine.” His eyes flickered with anticipation regarding the upcoming bell tolls.
“Well, I should probably move a bit faster then.” Smiling, he flickered into motion, this time, each stride took him... 100 steps!!
Ten paces, 1,000 steps. Soon, he reached 11,000 steps. 13,000 steps. 15,000 steps. 18,000 steps. And then... 20,000 steps!
To Meng Hao, 10,000 steps was only 100 paces. However, to the cultivators who were actually participating in that part of the trial by fire, it was like a blast of wind had just swept past them....
When Meng Hao stepped onto the 20,000th step, two bell tolls could be heard. However, they were different than before, deeper, more ancient, more shocking!
As soon as the sound echoed out, people outside the mountain were astounded.
Of the people charging up the mountain to try to catch up and glimpse the person causing the bell to toll, the fastest was still 10,000 steps away from Meng Hao. All of those people were shaken, and their eyes were wide with disbelief.
“20,000... 20,000 steps!!”
“That was faster than it takes an incense stick to burn! That was... a few dozen breaths of time. How could the bell already be tolling for the 20,000th step!?!?!?”
Numerous such cries rose up from the crowd outside the mountain, creating a sound wave that surged out in all directions.
As for Meng Hao, he was shaking a bit because of the Baptism from the bell toll. His eyes were shining as he sensed that his cultivation base was on the verge of a breakthrough.
He smiled, striding forward once again. 23,000 steps. 27,000 steps. Eventually... 30,000 steps!!
The bell tolled, leading to widespread astonishment and shock.
“What... what is going on today? There are so many people making breakthroughs! Hahaha. Ha ha.... How strange....”
The discussion and outcry soon died down, until silence prevailed among the countless cultivators watching the mountain.
They would have to be much more stupid than they were to not understand by this point that it was not a group doing this, but rather... a single individual!!
And yet, no one dared to ponder the matter. If the bell really was tolling for a single person, then... that would be a mind-blowing turn of events.
From the beginning until this moment, only enough time had passed for a few incense sticks to burn. If it was a single person, he had used that much time to go from the first step all the way to... step number 30,000! If anyone spoke the words aloud, it would be almost impossible to believe. In the history of the Ninth Sect, it was something that had never happened.
“Maybe it’s a mistake. Maybe... something's wrong with the mountain?”
“Perhaps it’s just a big coincidence, and not a single person....”
The onlookers didn’t have to wait for long before the fourth tolling could be heard. Everyone was astonished, and the tolling of the bell caused them to literally shake. Strange gleams could be seen in their eyes, and their minds spun. Yan’er finally arrived at the mountain, her eyes wide and her heart racing.
The tolling for the 40,000th stair echoed out in all directions. The people who had begun to climb the steps in the hope of catching up were now completely dumbfounded, and gave up. By now, their question had been answered.
However, there was one person among that group who didn't give up! Gritting his teeth, he pressed forward.
His speed was actually a bit greater than Meng Hao’s. By the time Meng Hao reached 45,000 steps, he was at step number 40,000. He was huffing and puffing, for although his limit was somewhere between 45,000 and 48,000 stairs, to speed up 40,000 steps in one shot was not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.
As of this point, he could just barely make out the image of... a single person about 5,000 steps beyond him. That was absolute confirmation that it wasn’t a group who was causing this scene!
When he saw that it was indeed a single person, he gasped, and his mind reeled. Although he, like many of the others racing up the mountain, had asked some of the fellow disciples along the way, and had already been told the truth, he was still left shaken.
To verify the matter with his own eyes left his heart battered with waves of shock. Even as he proceeded onward to try to get a closer look, Meng Hao passed step number 47,000. Then, ten more paces brought him to 48,000 steps. Another ten paces, and he was at 49,000.
“This... this....” gasped the cultivator behind him, completely shocked. Considering how fast Meng Hao was going, and how relaxed he seemed, this man had the strong premonition that... the Ninth Sect would soon have a heretofore-unheard of Chosen!
“Who are you?!?!” he yelled at the top of his lungs.
Meng Hao stopped in place and looked back, a quizzical expression on his face. Although he didn't say anything, the cultivator got a clear view of his face.
When that happened, a tremor ran through the man. Although other people didn't have a very strong impression of Fang Mu, this particular man had been watching when he passed his Tribulation, and as such, he definitely recognized him.
“Fang Mu... you’re Fang Mu!!” The shock was so great that his heart trembled and his cultivation base grew unstable. He couldn’t keep moving, and rumbling sounds echoed out as he was teleported off of the mountain.
As soon as he appeared outside, he shouted out as loud as he could, in a voice that all of the countless cultivators outside of the mountain could hear.
“I saw him. It’s one person, not a group. It's... Fang Mu! He’s the one who only took ten years to go from mortal to Immortal.... Fang Mu! He just went from the first step all the way to step number 50,000, in almost no time at all!”
The man’s voice rang out for everyone to hear.
Everyone was nearly struck dumb with shock, even Yan’er. Everyone was now thinking of the name Fang Mu.
Countless gasps could be heard, and after a moment, a huge commotion broke out. It was then that... the fifth tolling of the bell could be heard!!
Dong, Dong, Dong, Dong, Dong....
Ancient, sonorous, without compare. The bell was shocking to the extreme, and as it echoed out into the sect, and into the hearts of all, it merged with the name they were thinking about, transforming into something beyond incredible!
Previous Chapter Next Chapter