Chapter 1487: Reincarnation!
Time passed. It was the beginning of spring, and on Planet Vast Expanse’s eighth continent, the lands were just beginning to recover from winter. In one particular town, a spring thunderstorm brought a bit of snow with the rain, and a child was born, a boy.
Ten years sped by in a flash, and child was now a young man. Because he was intelligent, and came from a good family, he ended up walking the path of a scholar. He took the Imperial examinations, and a few years later left home to work for the current dynasty of the mortal empire which ruled the eighth continent.
He rose through the ranks quickly, eventually earning a spot in the Imperial court. He soon became infatuated with palace intrigue, something at which he excelled. Eventually he earned a status as high as the sun at noon; the emperor even appointed him as the designated foster-father for his children.
His name was Fang Hao.
Nobody in the capital city of that mortal world was unaware of the name. Of course, cultivators would never pay attention to a single mortal. However, in the current dynasty, he was the ultimate power.
Fang Hao, the most powerful person in the empire next to the emperor himself, was somewhat of an eccentric. He never married, and never sired any offspring. At the age of eighty, he was no longer part of the court, but the people loyal to him, and thus his power, held sway over the entire government.
A word from him was just as powerful as an Imperial edict.
One winter, the snow started to fall, and screams rose up in the capital city. Soldiers were fighting in the streets, filling the city with icy bleakness that seemed colder than the winter itself.
In one corner of the city was a beautiful plum garden, currently blanketed in snow. There, an old man sat in a wheelchair, being pushed through the garden by a servant.
The old man wore a thick, warm coat, and his face was covered with wrinkles. He had an aura of death to him, and his eyes were nothing more than narrow slits. At the moment, he looked just like any other old person might look.
“Lai Fu, come here....” the old man said softly. Instantly, the middle-aged servant hurried around in front of the old man and bowed, a respectful expression on his face, eyes shining with reverence.
The old man’s voice was hoarse as he continued, “I remember mother saying that I was born during the last snowfall in winter.
“Now that I'm old, I keep thinking back to old times....
“I’ve been dreaming a lot lately, dreaming of a different world. I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to actually seeing that world. How interesting.” The old man looked around at the plum garden, then looked up into the sky at the falling snowflakes.
His servant did nothing but listen respectfully.
“Tell the third son that I demand his head on a platter. I’ve never liked him.
“It’s time to end this war of succession. The eighth son is a good kid, pick him.” From the calm way the old man spoke, it sounded as if he were speaking about some trivial matters, not a rebellious war of succession which affected the entire empire!
But that was just how this old man was. His eyes opened wide, and although they were somewhat clouded, there was a power shining therein that was beyond the ordinary.
Now, he was no longer just an old man. He was a supreme being who had the power to determine life or death in the empire!
This was Fang Hao, who was also... the second life of Meng Hao’s clone!
The servant voiced his consent, and a few days later, a head was delivered to the old man. The rebellion over succession was ended by a single word. Suddenly, the winter didn't seem as cold as it had been.
A few months later, the last snowstorm of winter hit. The old man sat there watching the snow fall, and slowly closed his eyes. When he breathed his last breath, his forehead opened up and a soul flew out. It had nine sealing marks, and an Immortal Root. Two of the branches of that Immortal Root shone with brilliant light, and the second sealing mark gradually lit up.
The second life for Meng Hao’s clone had ended. The entire country went into mourning.
His funeral hall was packed inside and out. All of the officials were present, and common people from near and far came as well. A proclamation was made that, throughout the entire empire, people were only permitted to wear black or white.
The old man had no idea any of that was happening.
His memories were buried and sealed. When he awoke, he was on the seventh continent, born into a family of hunters. It was winter.
When he came into the world, a hearty and excited voice rang out: “The son of Tiger Shi will definitely be the best hunter in the land!”
His third life had begun.
Meanwhile, Meng Hao’s true self was far, far away from Planet Vast Expanse, speeding through the starry sky. Vicious-looking black armor covered over half his body, even his left arm!
“I found the sixth mirror shard!” he thought. He looked exhausted, and a bit pale in the face. He had already been away from Planet Vast Expanse for more than a hundred years. During that time, he had faced many dangers, and had already visited hundreds of worlds that were inhabited by living beings.
He was shocked by how difficult it was to acquire the copper mirror shards. Each one was a precious treasure which was guarded carefully by whoever had come to possess it.
Because of the vast stretches of time involved, the mirror shards had passed through many hands, and had all ended up among peak 9-Essences beings. Of course, all such beings were the type who had existed in that stage for countless years.
Furthermore, the majority of those beings were not cultivators, but rather, other strange entities that existed within the Vast Expanse.
Meng Hao had tracked down the fifth mirror shard in a world that had been formed into the shape of a mirror. In that world, he found what turned out to be an undying enemy. They fought back and forth for decades upon decades, and Meng Hao killed that enemy so many times it was impossible to count. Eventually, he found the weakness of the world, and only by threatening to destroy it could he convince the enemy to hand over the mirror shard.
The sixth mirror shard was even more difficult. The difficulty there lay not in a powerful opponent, but rather... the fact that the mirror shard lay in a sludge, a sludge so large that every particle which made it up was a separate dimension.
As for where exactly the mirror shard was in all that, the only way Meng Hao could find out... was to search through the dimensions one by one.
That search took him nearly a hundred years.
In addition to the actual mirror shards, there were other benefits to his adventures. Meng Hao's experiences left him with a much deeper understanding of the starry sky of the Vast Expanse. As the decades passed, his cultivation base climbed higher and higher, especially after the battles with the powerful enemies he was facing. Furthermore, he was gaining enlightenment of all of his eight Essences.
He wasn’t even sure exactly where his battle prowess was at this point.
However, he did know that with his current cultivation base, he wouldn't even need to use the copper mirror shards to fight the Sect Leader and the others. He would be able to fight them on his own power, even if the Sect Leader, Sha Jiudong, and Bai Wuchen joined forces.
In the starry sky of the Vast Expanse, the only people who could fight Meng Hao would be those eccentric 9-Essences experts who had lived for countless years, and who were just under the level of Transcendence.
Every time he defeated a powerful expert, he would extend an offer to join him. He was always refused, and would never press the matter, but would simply leave, a slight smile on his face.
However, he always took note of the locations occupied by those experts. Once he finished forming his Ninth Hex, he would return, whether he had Transcended or not. Then, whether they wanted to or not, he would enlist them to help take back his home!
As Meng Hao sped along, he could sense that his clone was entering his third life. Because the clone’s memories were all sealed, it made his connection to Meng Hao grow weaker. However, the basic resonance was still there. Although he couldn't control his clone’s body after it had been reincarnated, he could see what was happening. He had the feeling that if he attempted to forcibly interfere, a disharmony would occur, which would cause even more problems in finishing the Ninth Hex.
“The second life is over, and the second sealing mark is finished. It seems it will take quite a few years... for my clone to complete the work with the Ninth Hex.
“When he finishes, I’ll be able to... return to the Mountain and Sea Realm!” His expression was one of intense anticipation. He took a deep breath and began to speed in the direction of the seventh copper mirror shard.
It was around that same time that, back on Planet Vast Expanse, the Sect Leader and the others were once again organizing an expedition into the necropolis.
Furthermore, another Chosen had appeared within the Vast Expanse School, someone whose fame rivaled even Fang Mu.
It was... Yan’er!
Bells rang as one Heaven after another was summoned. When she summoned the Ninth Heaven, the entire Vast Expanse School was shaken. And she didn't stop at one Vast Expanse Shrine. She followed the same path as her master, challenging the Vast Expanse Shrines of all of the nine sects, leaving her name there in the rankings.
She took second place in all of them, and rocked Planet Vast Expanse with the Ninth Heaven.
Countless people were shocked, and couldn’t help but draw comparisons between her and Fang Mu. The commotion her actions caused shook the Vast Expanse School without cease.
Currently, she stood there upon the Ninth Heaven in the Ninth Sect, looking up into the Heavens. Within her eyes could be seen reminiscence, contemplation, and determination.
Just as she had sworn nearly a hundred years before, she would walk the Transcendence Path!
After seeing that her Master’s soul fire had been extinguished, she had sworn an oath which became the focus of her entire life.
Throughout the years, a few people had come back from the Transcendence Path with stories about how Fang Mu had passed away into meditation. Supposedly, his corpse still rested on the path. Strangely, though, it was impossible to actually touch the corpse.
Such stories were told by more than one person, so they had to be true.
However, Yan’er couldn’t believe that her master would simply perish on the Transcendence Path. So she would follow the same road as him. She would go see for herself what exactly had occurred.
A few days later, Yan’er, the second most astonishing Chosen to appear in the Vast Expanse School, extinguished the last of her Soul Lamps, and stepped into the Dao Realm. She experienced a shocking Dao Realm Tribulation that was witnessed by many. When it was all over, she went to the Ninth Sect’s Paragon, just like her Master had, and said the same words.
“I wish to tread the Transcendence Path. Paragon, please open the portal!” As her words echoed out through the air of the Ninth Sect, countless disciples looked on wordlessly. Mixed emotions could be seen on their faces. During the past hundred years or so after Fang Mu had passed away, she had gone from being battered and broken, to being powerful.
She was no longer the little girl she had once been. To these people, she had long since become... their Eldest Sister.
In response to her request, an ancient voice echoed out: “Why are you doing this too....?”
She clasped hands and bowed, voice ringing with determination as she said, “It doesn’t matter, Paragon, I've made up my mind!”
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