Chapter 1474: A Long, Long Path....
They were correct. Meng Hao had his way of doing things, and after glancing at the Sect Leader and Sha Jiudong, he nodded slightly, waved his sleeve, and collected the two bags of holding. Then he looked over at Bai Wuchen.
Her lips were still smeared with blood, and her face was ashen. She stood there trembling, a bitter expression on her face as she looked, not at Meng Hao, but off into the distance. Her mood couldn't be lower.
She had been completely and utterly defeated. All of her plans, all of her preparations, were like nothing when it came to Meng Hao’s spectacular power.
Although she didn't want to admit it, she knew deep in her heart that what Meng Hao had said was no lie. The mirror shard really did belong to him. If it didn’t, then the shard, which she had studied so deeply for so many years, would never have undergone the fantastic transformations it just had.
She also understood even more deeply that her defeat had resulted in her losing not only the mirror shard, but her path home.
“I can’t go back now…” she murmured bitterly. “Not unless I Transcend.... But Transcendence is so difficult. I won’t even be able to succeed with all nine of the altars here in the necropolis. Even using Patriarch Vast Expanse’s Dao altar might not work.” The entire reason she had been able to coerce the Sect Leader into helping her was by offering him a clue about Patriarch Vast Expanse’s Dao altar.
She knew that because of the techniques she cultivated, Transcendence would be especially difficult for her, far more difficult than it was for the average person. Most importantly, she had been waiting far longer than anyone else. She was one of the first people to descend to Planet Vast Expanse from the Vast Expanse Society.
She had been inside the starry sky of the Vast Expanse for far too long. She wanted to go back, to return home, to leave this place. The power of the mirror shard, and the Transcendent will it contained, led her to the conclusion that it could cut open the Vast Expanse. Furthermore, the more mirror shards she could collect, the more likely it was that, even without a Transcendent cultivation base, she could still leave the starry sky of the Vast Expanse.
“I just want to go home....” she murmured bitterly. “I just want to leave here, to go back to my home outside the Vast Expanse....” The Sect Leader stood there quietly, and Sha Jiudong sighed inwardly. Mixed emotions could be seen on Jin Yunshan’s face.
“Outside the Vast Expanse?” Meng Hao asked suddenly, looking over at her.
“What is outside of the Vast Expanse? A world like the starry sky inside?” It was a question Meng Hao had pondered ever since his experience under the surface of the first land mass of the necropolis. In the visions he had experienced, he had gone outside of the Vast Expanse, and had seen nothing but desolate emptiness. It was empty, devoid of life. There was nothing there except the five enormous pillars. [1. It really only hit me at the last minute that this conflicts with the original description in chapter 1429, which also has ramifications on the information in 1428. Although it’s theoretically possible to rationalize the discrepancy, I suspect it’s a mistake on Er Gen’s part. I don’t have time to confirm that at the moment, so I’m going to put this on the list of things to analyze properly and/or fix at a later date]
There definitely hadn’t been any Vast Expanse Society!
Back then, Meng Hao had begun to wonder if the supposed origin of the Vast Expanse School, the so-called Vast Expanse Society, might be... nothing more than a sham. In that case, perhaps the world outside of the Vast Expanse, the place where Transcendent cultivators could go to... was also a sham.
“Outside the Vast Expanse is my home,” Bai Wuchen said quietly. “It's a flourishing place that the Vast Expanse can’t even compare to. Outside, there is no mist, only a dazzling starry sky, and one planet after another after another, filled with life.
“Immortal spirit aura is thick and abundant there. What we have here can’t even compare. Here, we are like poor beggars!” Although her words were simple, as she spoke, her eyes shone brightly. In Meng Hao’s mind, he could almost imagine the celestial utopia she described, and although it was completely different from what he had seen outside the Vast Expanse, his eyes glittered nonetheless. As he looked around, he realized that the Sect Leader, Sha Jiudong, and even Jin Yunshan all seemed to be lost in their memories, just like Bai Wuchen was.
Meng Hao’s scalp began to tingle. Inside of him was the remnant of the true Ninth Paragon’s soul, which he had long since Soulsearched. At that time, he hadn’t found any memories regarding what was outside the Vast Expanse. It was as if those memories were sealed, and could not be accessed.
“What exactly is outside the Vast Expanse?” he thought. “Is it like Bai Wuchen described, or is it like what I saw?” His eyes flickered as he once again looked over at Immortal Bai Wuchen. Despite the fact that she had tried to kill him, she still cut a very lamentable figure.
She wanted to return to her home, just like Meng Hao wanted to return to his....
He sighed and looked away, transforming into a beam of light that shot off into the distance, accompanied by the ghosts.
Meng Hao had accomplished his goal in coming to the necropolis; he had acquired the copper mirror shard. In fact, he had actually acquired two of them. There was now no reason for him to stay behind. He would leave the necropolis and return to Planet Vast Expanse. Then he would follow the tug of the mirror shards he possessed to find the other six!
“Once I find them, I can call out to the copper mirror, and summon it back from wherever it is!” The glow in his eyes shone brighter and brighter as he passed from the third land mass into the second, and then finally reached the first. He crossed the bridge of flesh and blood, went through the perimeter region, and finally, stepped into the teleportation portal that was the exit. There, he stopped and looked back.
As he gazed out at the distant ninth land mass, he could just barely make out that enormous throne, and the blurry figure sitting upon it, who seemed to be looking at him.
With that, he turned and stepped into the teleportation portal.
After Meng Hao left, the Sect Leader and the others stood there silently for a moment, completely shaken. Having been defeated, Bai Wuchen’s only hope of returning to her home now rested with Transcendence. After revealing the information she had promised to the Sect Leader and Sha Jiudong, they proceeded to seek enlightenment on the Transcendence Daises of the second and third land masses. When the time came, they would seek to survive the apocalypse on the third land mass using the turtle shell.
The paths being tread were different, and thus the choices were also different. To Meng Hao, the Transcendence Daises in the necropolis were useless at the moment. Only after he successfully formed the Ninth Hex could he return, then try to make it to the ninth altar. Then, he could dispel the mists, and use the power of the altar to combine the nine Hexes.
As for the Sect Leader and the others, their cultivation bases were already at the pinnacle, which left them with only a single direction to follow: Transcendence. It might be difficult, but as long as the slightest possibility of success remained, they would not give up.
Back on the half-planet, Meng Hao stepped out of the teleportation portal, his hair floating around him. A thoughtful expression could be seen on his face as his third eye closed, reverting into nothing more than a violet mark on his forehead.
Then, he flickered into motion, returning to his secluded meditation facilities in Ninth Paragon City. There, he extended his right hand, causing the two mirror shards to float up in front of him.
Next, he sent some divine sense into the shards, and was immediately able to sense seven different locations in the starry sky of the Vast Expanse. One of them was the copper mirror, the position of which he couldn't lock down definitively. However, the other six locations were quite the opposite; he could determine exactly where they were.
He tried summoning the copper mirror. While it was true that two mirror shards were more powerful than one, they still weren’t powerful enough to succeed in that. He would definitely need more shards.
“My clone is already on the right track,” he thought. “The moment he enters the Dao Realm, he’ll be able to fully form the first of the nine sealing marks.” His clone's experience in the Vast Expanse Shrine had actually changed Meng Hao’s plans. However, he still wasn’t completely certain about the matter, and needed to wait until the first sealing mark was complete before making a final decision.
“Since that’s the case, there’s no reason for me to stay here in the Vast Expanse School.” Eyes flickering with bright light, he decided to leave. He would journey into the starry sky and follow the pull of the copper mirror shards, to collect the remaining six.
“A long, long path....” he thought. He could sense that the six mirror shards were scattered in a variety of locations throughout the starry sky of the Vast Expanse, and that it wouldn't be easy to gather them together. It wasn’t something that could be accomplished in a short amount of time either.
After a moment of thought, a profound look could be seen in his eyes. He sent out some divine will, which was immediately detected by his subordinates, the 7-Essences and 8-Essences Paragons.
Meng Hao wasn’t sure how long he would be gone, and there were many responsibilities to be handled while he was gone, including matters regarding the expansion of the Ninth Sect, as well as things pertaining to his clone. After making the relevant explanations and arrangements, he left.
A beam of light shot up, leaving the lands below, leaving Planet Vast Expanse, and entering the starry sky. There, he looked out at the Vast Expanse, his eyes flickering. Based on the tug he felt, he headed in the direction of the nearest mirror shard.
Before, it would have been very, very difficult for Meng Hao to attempt to track down all of the mirror shards. However, his cultivation base was now strong enough to fight with the peak of 9-Essences, and he also had two mirror shards that could transform into armor. With all that, he was confident that... other than a Transcendent cultivator, it would be easier to find a phoenix feather or a qilin horn than to find someone who could cause problems for him in a fight.
As his true self was leaving, his clone was sitting cross-legged in the Ninth Sect. After taking 1st place in the Vast Expanse Shrine, he had been named the Legacy disciple of the Ninth Sect, and was given a mountain peak which was superior in all terms, including the view and the amount of spiritual energy.
The entire mountain belonged to Meng Hao, and was protected by numerous restrictive spell formations. No one could possibly enter without his permission. Other than Meng Hao and Yan’er, the only people on the mountain were various servant cultivators who had been assigned to work for him.
Meng Hao’s performance in the Ninth Sect’s Vast Expanse Shrine, and the matter with the Tenth Heaven, had already become somewhat of a legend. Furthermore, all of the disciples of the Ninth Sect had come to view him with complete awe and reverence.
Even all of the Chosen felt that way.
In the few days which followed the event, a constant stream of visitors came to pay respects. At first he met them individually, but soon there were simply too many, and he finally announced that he would be going into secluded meditation to restore his cultivation base. After that, he entrusted outside affairs to Yan’er.
Yan’er had no option other than to accept the arrangement. In the following days, all her time was taken up with receiving visitors from the sect. At first she was excited about the matter. After all, Fang Mu’s rise to prominence meant that she instantly had a completely different status in the sect. Now she understood what it was like to be extremely popular.
She also was able to accept countless gifts, so many that they couldn’t fit into a single bag of holding.
However, her mood gradually soured as she realized that the majority of people coming to visit her Master were female cultivators. Furthermore, it seemed like each one was prettier than the last, and all of them were making discreet inquiries about her Master.
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