Chapter 1478: The Third Mirror Shard
The disciples of the Ninth Sect had originally wanted to join forces and kill the people from the other sects, but Ninth Sect’s leadership, including its Paragon, had prevented that from happening.
In the final analysis, the Ninth Sect was part of the group of nine sects that made up the Vast Expanse School, not an independent entity. It was true that the Ninth Sect’s expansion and growth in the outside was a terrifying thing to the other sects, and the sheer number of cultivators who made up their forces there was fear-inspiring.
But in the end, the Ninth Sect... had not split off from the Vast Expanse School to be independent.
Also, the Ninth Sect was actually benefiting from the matter with the Vast Expanse Shrine. Not only did the Ninth Sect have more disciples in the rankings than any other individual sect, but the way the disciples fought even harder because of the humiliation also led to spectacular results.
Most importantly, the disciples of the Ninth Sect had become completely united. The fighting and scheming which had once gone on between them was now mostly a thing of the past, and they were completely unified against the outside forces.
It wasn’t that the other sects didn't realize this. They were also benefiting from the current situation, and were content to let things play out.
Of course, the main reason... was that the Vast Expanse School’s 9-Essences Paragons still hadn't returned after ten years. Except for Meng Hao, who was out searching for the copper mirror shards, the rest were still inside the necropolis.
Because of all of these varied reasons, as long as the cultivators from the other sects didn't violate any of the Ninth Sect’s rules, they were allowed to set up camp in the Ninth Sect.
Of course, that stipulation didn’t apply to everyone, only to the people who held a spot on the Ninth Sect’s Vast Expanse Shrine. It was essentially an unwritten rule, and it ensured that if the Ninth Sect’s disciples wanted to drive away the intruders, they simply had to occupy all the spots on their own sect’s Vast Expanse Shrine.
Currently, Yan’er had just emerged from the mountain where Meng Hao was secluded in meditation. When she saw the numerous cultivators from other sects looking at her coldly, her expression was calm. Then she looked at her fellow disciples of the Ninth Sect, smiled, and proceeded to placate them, reminding them that her master was at a critical juncture in his secluded meditation.
The disciples who had come to beg Meng Hao to emerge were just as zealously devoted to him as they had been ten years ago. Regardless of the rumors flying about, they felt exactly the same way. That, coupled with Yan’er’s placating words, ensured that they quickly calmed down. However, it was at this point that a cultivator from one of the other sects walked out from the crowd, a cold smile on his face.
“Well, you certainly have a way with words, girl. You have a measly Dao Seeking cultivation base, and yet you managed to placate all these people. Well let me tell you, to the rest of us, all you’re doing is intimidating people in the name of your master, like the fox who exploited the tiger’s might to cow the jungle.
“Since your master doesn’t dare to leave his mountain, do you dare to challenge the Vast Expanse Shrine?
“Or how about this, what if we hurt you? Then will your master dare to stick his head out of the turtle shell he’s hiding in?” The cultivators from the other sects started laughing sarcastically. The disciples of the Ninth Sect bristled with rage, and it seemed like a fight might break out at any moment.
Ten years ago, Yan’er might have gotten mad, but she was different now. She had grown up, and therefore, her response to the provocation was to laugh. At the same time, her gaze turned icy cold. These cultivators from the others sects weren’t in the Immortal Realm, but rather, the Ancient Realm, and yet when she spoke to them, she seemed completely indifferent to that.
“When I was younger,” she said calmly, “there were many things about life I didn't understand. Once, I took a trip to a local bazaar, and was kidnapped by a cultivator from the Eighth Sect, who wanted to use me as a cultivation vessel.” When Yan’er began to speak, the cultivators from the other sects were wondering what her point was, and they frowned slightly, but continued to stare at her coldly.
“In the Eighth Sect, the cultivator who had kidnapped me slapped me across the face, which hurt quite a bit. My master then requested that the Ninth Paragon interfere. He ended up slaughtering quite a few members of Patriarch Chi Feng’s clan, as well as other powerful experts who had stood by mocking me. Back then, I didn't really understand everything that was happening, but later on I realized that among the people killed were cultivators of the Ancient Realm and the Dao Realm. There were even Dao Lords. Oh. There was a Dao Sovereign too.” She smiled slightly. At this point, complete silence prevailed.
“Because of what happened, my Master felt a bit useless, like he couldn’t even protect his own apprentice. That was why he chose to challenge the Vast Expanse Shrine, to make a name for himself, and to ensure that no one would ever dare to bully me, his apprentice.
“The result was that he took first place in the Vast Expanse Shrine, and summoned the Tenth Heaven.” Although she was smiling as she spoke, her words caused the eyes of the surrounding cultivators to go wide. Before this moment, none of them had known that the reason Fang Mu challenged the Vast Expanse Shrine was because his apprentice had been bullied.
The disciples from the other sect looked on with flickering expressions. Although they had been willing to open their mouths earlier, the truth was that they really were scared of Meng Hao.
“Oh right. There was one time when a Paragon from some other sect, I forget which one, brought a girl from his clan here to visit. She said something to offend me, and regardless of the fact that a Paragon was present, my Master slapped her twice across the face, and even crushed her Dao heart.
“So if you really want my master to come out and destroy you, then go ahead. I'm standing right here. I won’t even dodge your blow.” She smiled a beautiful smile, but when the cultivators from the other sects saw it, their hearts began to pound.
She stood there a moment amidst the silence, then spoke once again in a powerful voice, “If you don’t have the guts to do that, then please screw the hell off!”
With that, she turned and headed back to the mountain.
After Yan’er left, the disciples of the Ninth Sect laughed mockingly at the other cultivators, then slowly dispersed. The cultivators from the other sects had extremely unsightly expressions on their faces as they also left.
Many people bore witness to the event, even Meng Hao, who was watching from within his secluded meditation facilities. After the matter concluded, he closed his eyes and paid the matter no further heed, continuing on with the same thing he had been doing for the past ten years: extinguish his Immortal Soul Lamps, one by one.
By this point, he had extinguished about ninety percent of them. There were now only ten that remained lit. However, without the right circumstances, it wasn’t a simple task to accomplish.
As for his true self, acquiring the third mirror shard hadn’t gone very smoothly. Not only did the giant basilisk lizard have battle prowess comparable to Meng Hao’s true self, it was also exceedingly crafty. Eventually, it had swallowed Meng Hao, whereupon the battle between them was fought via their souls.
After ten years, the soul battle was still raging.
Back on Planet Vast Expanse, Meng Hao’s clone murmured, “Soon enough. My true self should be able to suppress that basilisk within a few more months, and acquire the third mirror shard.”
With that, he immersed himself in the task of extinguishing his Soul Lamps.
A few months later, out in the starry sky of the Vast Expanse, rumbling sounds could be heard in the second of the group of three vortexes. A massive howl of pain then echoed out, along with an explosive burst of energy. Within the vortex, the huge lizard’s body was twisting and turning as sounds like that of thunder echoed out from inside of it.
Before long, the basilisk roared, spitting out a burst of qi that became a windstorm. The vortex distorted, and a figure appeared.
It was none other than Meng Hao’s true self. Black armor covered his arm, and within his hand, a mirror shard was melting. It fused into the armor, which began to expand, growing even stronger than before.
The basilisk glared at Meng Hao, then roared again as it fell back in retreat. Even after ten years, it had failed to crush Meng Hao. In the end, had been injured and defeated, and robbed of its mirror shard.
As the basilisk watched Meng Hao’s energy rise, a glint of fear could be seen in its eyes.
“You got the treasure, why haven’t you left yet!?” the basilisk asked, its voice ancient, and its divine will so powerful that everything in the area shook.
Meng Hao’s true self glanced over at the basilisk, an arrogant gleam in his eyes. The basilisk was strong, stronger even than the Sect Leader and Bai Wuchen. Of all the peak 9-Essences experts Meng Hao’s true self had ever faced, this lizard was by far the strongest.
Were that not the case, it wouldn’t have taken him ten years to get the mirror shard.
After the mirror shard fused fully into the armor, Meng Hao faced the basilisk, his eyes glittering.
“If you wish,” he said, “you can leave this place and be my servant for a thousand years.”
The basilisk stared in shock, then began to laugh, killing intent swirling in its eyes. “Say that after you Transcend, and maybe I might just agree.”
Although it feared Meng Hao, he did not possess battle prowess equivalent to a Transcendent cultivator, so the idea of being his servant for a thousand years was laughable.
Meng Hao didn’t seem offended. He gave the basilisk a profound look, and smiled slightly.
“Fine, it’s settled. I’ll come back for you later.” With that, he turned and shot off into the distance. The lizard looked at him with disdain, turning a deaf ear to his words. After Meng Hao left, it closed its eyes and went back to sleep.
Meng Hao’s true self sped through the starry sky, using the three mirror shards to detect the fluctuations of the fourth, which he immediately headed toward.
Meanwhile, back on the ninth continent of Planet Vast Expanse, in the Ninth Sect, on the mountain which belonged to Meng Hao’s clone, Yan’er was preparing to face her Immortal Tribulation.
Her Tribulation was different from Meng Hao’s. It was not monumentally shocking, but was more like the Tribulations faced by everyone else. Meng Hao didn’t help her; he simply stood off to the side watching.
Lightning crashed constantly as Yan’er completely transformed from mortal to Immortal. As it happened, she became even more beautiful, and her aura became more otherworldly. Meng Hao was shocked as he realized that her appearance now reminded him even more of Chu Yuyan.
The Immortal Tribulation lasted for three days. In the end, the Tribulation Lightning faded away, and Yan’er emanated Immortal qi. Her Immortal meridians were fully opened, and as she hovered in midair, she looked like a celestial goddess. Finally, she turned to Meng Hao and smiled.
“Master, I've achieved Immortal Ascension. Aren’t you going to give me a gift?”
Meng Hao smiled and shook his head in amusement. Although he looked young physically, the air he exuded made him seem profoundly ancient. His gaze was soft as he pulled out the gift he had prepared, and yet Yan’er shook her head in refusal. A crafty glint in her eyes, she said, “I don't want any magical items or medicinal pills or techniques. I just want to see my Master... see you... once again on top of a mountain, smiling at me.”
Meng Hao was taken aback as he realized that he wasn’t sure if he was looking at Yan’er or... Chu Yuyan.
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