Chapter 1481: The Peak of the World
And that he was. His true self was already the most powerful of Paragons. As for his clone, Meng Hao was sure that if he desired to walk the Path of the Paragon, he would definitely reach the 9-Essences level.
It might take some time, but he would succeed in the end.
However, that was not what he chose to do. Having a 9-Essences Paragon clone wouldn’t help him to Transcend, and therefore, his original plan had never changed.
He would Transcend with his true self, and then, with everything he had gained in recent years, with the Ninth Sect and all its power, with the ghosts of the necropolis... he would unleash deadly violence upon the Immortal God Continent and the Devil Realm Continent. And most especially... the 33 Heavens!
He would return to his home, to the Mountain and Sea Butterfly, to his family and friends. He would return to the Mountains and Seas... to get revenge!!
That was his focus, his obsession, something which could never be erased from his mind. He would reforge the Mountain and Sea Realm, he would resurrect the meat jelly, and he would call back the copper mirror. Even if that was a defiance of the Vast Expanse, he would do it.
Meng Hao stood there atop the Tenth Heaven in the First Sect. Smiling, he breathed in deeply.
Down below, the countless disciples of the First Sect looked up with mixed emotions. Their faces were devoid of blood as they stared bitterly at Meng Hao.
The Chosen of the First Sect looked on blankly. They were truly eagles, but as of this moment, they had no other choice but to admit that the generation into which they had been born contained a towering mountain.
That mountain... was something that stretched so high above them they would never be able to fly over it.
Silence prevailed. Also in the First Sect was a woman, the current Holy Daughter of the generation. She was Han Bei, and as she looked up at Meng Hao and Yan’er atop the Tenth Heaven, she felt profoundly uneasy.
Although Meng Hao hadn’t caused any trouble for her throughout the years, she still feared him. The more he cared about Chu Yuyan, the safer she felt, and yet the more she felt safe, the more that sense of safety scared her.
It was a paradox that only seemed to increase in intensity, and was influencing her mission here in the Vast Expanse School.
On more than one occasion, she had considered investigating why Meng Hao had created this clone. However, she didn’t dare to even get close to him, and could only manipulate things from afar. Even then, she didn't dare to push things too far, and thus was left only with speculations.
Over the years, she had come up with numerous theories, but could not confirm any of them. Sometimes, she even felt as though all of her theories were completely incorrect.
After a moment of looking at Meng Hao and Yan’er, she sighed and looked away.
The wind blew atop the Tenth Heaven. As people looked on, Yan’er’s gaze fell upon her master, and her eyes shone radiantly. It was as if this Master of hers had become the most important person in her entire life.
“Master!” she said loudly.
“Yes?” Meng Hao said, smiling.
“Uh, yes?” Meng Hao gaped, looking over at her.
“Master!!” she cried again.
Pretending to look very serious, Meng Hao reached out and bopped her head. She rubbed her head, looking very resentful. However, he merely smiled at her, well aware that she was completely ecstatic at the moment.
Then he looked back out at Heaven and Earth, and his eyes gleamed with anticipation.
“The Vast Expanse Shrine offers no further good fortune for me. If I want to extinguish my last ten Soul Lamps, then... the only option I have is to walk the Transcendence Path!”
In the Vast Expanse School, the two most famous trials by fire were the Vast Expanse Shrines and the Transcendence Path. Only cultivators in the Dao Realm would tread the Transcendence Path. Of course, just walking that path didn’t guarantee Transcendence. However, there was still that hope.
That path was the traditional and proper way to try to Transcend, but to date, not even the Sect Leader or others of his level had been able to reach its end.
It was a very difficult path to travel, and it seemed endless. However, the Dao Realm experts of the Vast Expanse School were entranced with it, mostly because of the multitudinous good fortune therein, good fortune that could cause one’s cultivation base to advance by leaps and bounds.
Meng Hao took a deep breath. He had a strong premonition that... his clone would be able to complete the first sealing mark of the Ninth Hex on the Transcendence Path.
He had further speculations regarding how to complete the full Ninth Hex, and was sure that those speculations would also be verified on the Transcendence Path.
However, now was not the time. He had the feeling... that once he headed down that path, it would be a very, very long time before he came back. In fact, it was even possible that he never would.
Besides, there were still a few matters to handle within the Vast Expanse School.
He looked over at Yan’er, and could see that because of the good fortune of the Vast Expanse Shrine, her cultivation base was thoroughly stabilized, and had even made significant progress. She was now in the mid Immortal Realm. Although she had just made that breakthrough thanks to the Baptism of the tolling bells, Meng Hao could see that in the coming years, her cultivation base would continue to advance rapidly.
Her latent talent had been completely optimized by the Baptism, and her qi passageways, as well as any cultivation bottlenecks, had been cleared.
In the Vast Expanse School, good fortune like that was something only Yan’er could acquire.
You could even say that on her path of cultivation, she had already opened the way to a great Dao.
“Come on,” Meng Hao said with a smile, “Let’s go back to the Ninth Sect.” They, along with the cheering disciples of the Ninth Sect, stepped back into the teleportation portal. As the First Sect disciples looked on with bitter expressions, they vanished.
The rumbling of the spell formation shook all sects from the First to the Eighth as they returned to the Ninth Sect. The cheering shouts of the Ninth Sect's disciples shook the Vast Expanse School. A legend had been established which no one would ever be able to top.
When the group appeared back in the Ninth Sect, those who had remained behind also started cheering loudly.
"They’re back! Everyone’s back!”
“Eldest Brother Fang Mu has returned!!”
“Eldest Brother, Eldest Brother....”
The Ninth Sect seethed with excitement. The disciples who had been too slow to join the others in stepping through the teleportation portal earlier now began to crowd around and cheer for their Eldest Brother.
On that day, a grand celebration began in the Ninth Sect.
The news of what had happened filled the other sects. For a long time to come, the disciples of the Ninth Sect would be filled with unmatched joy.
As for the disciples from the other sects who had set up camp in the Ninth Sect, they made a swift departure. None of them dared to remain behind. As for the ten years of provocation and challenges, they were now officially a thing of the past.
Only a few people were aware that what Meng Hao had done was because of a few words uttered by Yan’er. Most of the disciples thought that he had done it as a way to tell the Chosen of the other sects that if they wanted to challenge him, they could remain in their own sects to do so. There was no need for them to come to the Ninth Sect.
In order to make things easier for them, he simply put his name on their Vast Expanse Shrines....
Because of Meng Hao, the spirits of the entire Ninth Sect were instantly lifted.
Their leader was the overbearing, domineering Ninth Paragon, who was also their protector. Among their number was the ultimate Chosen, the disciple who had completely dominated the Vast Expanse School, Fang Mu!
Because of all of that, the Ninth Sect was completely different from the other sects.
The celebrations lasted for more than a month. Eventually things settled down, but deep down, the disciples of the Ninth Sect were still extremely excited. The glory and honor they felt, as well as the sense of belonging, would never be erased.
During that month, Meng Hao had no choice other than to receive the various visitors who came to offer their respects. However, after the month passed, the number of visitors didn’t decrease. In fact, they increased. Finally, he was forced to close the mountain.
From then on, he never left the mountain, and politely refused to see all visitors. However, instead of going into secluded meditation, he spent time teaching cultivation techniques to Yan’er.
Time passed. Before long, three years had gone by.
During that time, Meng Hao paid little heed to his own cultivation base. He helped Yan’er to refine her Immortal meridians, benefiting her with all of his experience regarding cultivation. He helped her gain more Dao enlightenment, holding nothing back. He spared no effort in passing on to her everything he knew.
Because of such conscientious teaching on his part, Yan’er’s cultivation base rose with shocking speed, and was far more stable than anyone else in her generation.
During those years, a certain feeling slowly rose up within Yan’er. Eventually, she began to laugh less, and when she looked at Meng Hao, it was with concern, as if she couldn’t bear the thought of parting with him.
After all her years of being dependent on him, she had come to be very sensitive to his personality. Based on everything that had happened during the past three years, she came to feel strongly that....
“Master is going to leave....” That scared her. No matter how many times she asked about it, Meng Hao would always just smile and decline to comment. However, whenever his gaze fell upon her, it was warmer than before, and it almost seemed like he was recalling past times.
Another ten years passed....
Yan’er’s cultivation base continued to climb higher and higher. However, her heart only continued to grow more anxious. One day she saw a jade slip belonging to her Master that apparently contained information about the sect’s Transcendence Path. At that point, her heart began to pound.
She knew that the Transcendence Path was something only Dao Realm cultivators were qualified to tread. Supposedly, it contained incredible good fortune, and yet few people actually dared to walk upon it.
After all, it also contained profound danger. It was not the Vast Expanse Shrine, which was located in the sect itself. It was in the outside world, located within a rift in the starry sky of the Vast Expanse.
After entering, one would be completely cut off, and would not return for dozens or even hundreds of years. It was a path that a cultivator could only step onto twice in a lifetime.
Years ago, Yan’er would have pressed her Master about the matter, and wouldn’t have given up until she figured out a way to prevent him from going to such a dangerous place. But she had grown up, and understood that it was a decision for him to make. She knew that within her Master’s heart was an obsession that even she couldn't comprehend.
And so she said nothing.
During the thirteen years which passed, Meng Hao extinguished a few more Soul Lamps. Now, he had only seven which continued to burn.
Another year passed, and Yan’er was now at the peak of the Immortal Realm. The speed of her progress was far beyond normal, causing widespread shock among the disciples of the Ninth Sect. But when they considered who her Master was, they realized that it wasn't such an unreasonable thing.
After all, the good fortune of eight Vast Expanse Shrines was beyond incredible.
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