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  1. Chapter 1481: The Peak of the World
  2. 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.
  3.  
  4. It might take some time, but he would succeed in the end.
  5.  
  6. 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.
  7.  
  8. 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!
  9.  
  10. 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!!
  11.  
  12. 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.
  13.  
  14. Meng Hao stood there atop the Tenth Heaven in the First Sect. Smiling, he breathed in deeply.
  15.  
  16. 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.
  17.  
  18. 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.
  19.  
  20. That mountain... was something that stretched so high above them they would never be able to fly over it.
  21.  
  22. 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.
  23.  
  24. 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 she was still afraid.
  25.  
  26. It was a paradox that only seemed to increase in intensity, and was influencing her mission here in the Vast Expanse School.
  27.  
  28. 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.
  29.  
  30. 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.
  31.  
  32. After a moment of looking at Meng Hao and Yan’er, she sighed and looked away.
  33.  
  34. 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.
  35.  
  36. “Master!” she said loudly.
  37.  
  38. “Yes?” Meng Hao said, smiling.
  39.  
  40. “Master!!”
  41.  
  42. “Uh, yes?” Meng Hao gaped, looking over at her.
  43.  
  44. “Master!!” she cried again.
  45.  
  46. 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.
  47.  
  48. Then he looked back out at Heaven and Earth, and his eyes gleamed with anticipation.
  49.  
  50. “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!”
  51.  
  52. 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.
  53.  
  54. 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.
  55.  
  56. 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.
  57.  
  58. 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.
  59.  
  60. 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.
  61.  
  62. 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.
  63.  
  64. Besides, there were still a few matters to handle within the Vast Expanse School.
  65.  
  66. 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.
  67.  
  68. Her latent talent had been completely optimized by the Baptism, and her qi passageways, as well as any cultivation bottlenecks, had been cleared.
  69.  
  70. In the Vast Expanse School, good fortune like that was something only Yan’er could acquire.
  71.  
  72. You could even say that on her path of cultivation, she had already opened the way to a great Dao.
  73.  
  74. “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.
  75.  
  76. 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.
  77.  
  78. When the group appeared back in the Ninth Sect, those who had remained behind also started cheering loudly.
  79.  
  80. "They’re back! Everyone’s back!”
  81.  
  82. “Eldest Brother Fang Mu has returned!!”
  83.  
  84. “Eldest Brother, Eldest Brother....”
  85.  
  86. 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.
  87.  
  88. On that day, a grand celebration began in the Ninth Sect.
  89.  
  90. 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.
  91.  
  92. 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.
  93.  
  94. 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.
  95.  
  96. In order to make things easier for them, he simply put his name on their Vast Expanse Shrines....
  97.  
  98. Because of Meng Hao, the spirits of the entire Ninth Sect were instantly lifted.
  99.  
  100. 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!
  101.  
  102. Because of all of that, the Ninth Sect was completely different from the other sects.
  103.  
  104. 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.
  105.  
  106. 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.
  107.  
  108. 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.
  109.  
  110. Time passed. Before long, three years had gone by.
  111.  
  112. 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.
  113.  
  114. 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.
  115.  
  116. 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.
  117.  
  118. 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....
  119.  
  120. “Master is going to leave....” That scared her. No matter how many times she asked about it, Master would always just smile and refuse to respond. However, whenever his gaze fell upon her, it was warmer than before, and it almost seemed like he was recalling past times.
  121.  
  122. Another ten years passed....
  123.  
  124. Yan’er’s cultivation base continued to climb higher and higher. However, her heart only continued to grow more anxious. One day she saw her Master holding a jade slip that apparently contained information about the sect’s Transcendence Path. At that point, her heart began to pound.
  125.  
  126. 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.
  127.  
  128. 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.
  129.  
  130. 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.
  131.  
  132. 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.
  133.  
  134. And so she said nothing.
  135.  
  136. During the thirteen years which passed, Meng Hao extinguished a few more Soul Lamps. Now, he had only seven which continued to burn.
  137.  
  138. 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 that her Master was Meng Hao, they realized that it wasn't such an unreasonable thing.
  139.  
  140. After all, the good fortune of eight Vast Expanse Shrines was an incredible thing.
  141.  
  142. (gif)
  143.  
  144. https://media.giphy.com/media/3ohzdUH7LbElBlTSZG/giphy.gif
  145.  
  146.  
  147.  
  148.  
  149.  
  150.  
  151.  
  152. Chapter 1482: Looking Back at This Life!
  153.  
  154. That year, Yan’er faced her Ancient Tribulation.
  155.  
  156. That day was one of utmost importance to Meng Hao as well. He personally set up the relevant spell formations, and arranged for the energy of Heaven and Earth in the Ninth Sect to act as Dharma Protector. Several days later, when the Ancient Tribulation finally concluded, he breathed a sigh of relief.
  157.  
  158. He watched Yan’er pass her Ancient Tribulation, watched her ignite her Soul Lamps, and then watched her close her eyes in meditation to begin breathing exercises. The whole time, his gaze was soft and kind. To mortals, she wouldn’t be considered young, but to cultivators in the Ancient Realm, she was like a girl. The passage of time left no scars upon her. She only continued to grow more beautiful, and at the same time, mature. To other members of the sect, she was truly a Chosen, someone who knew how to conduct herself properly and with decorum, someone everyone enjoyed being around.
  159.  
  160. It was only around Meng Hao that she would pout and act like a coquettish little girl.
  161.  
  162. Meng Hao could tell that Chu Yuyan’s aura was growing stronger and stronger on her. Sometimes, he couldn’t even tell the difference between the two.
  163.  
  164. That was especially true as he watched her doing breathing exercises after passing her Ancient Tribulation. Many memories flitted through his mind.
  165.  
  166. In her last life, Chu Yuyan had never passed through the Immortal Realm. But in this life, with Meng Hao’s help, she was reaching the highest pinnacles.
  167.  
  168. Furthermore, regardless of whether her name was Chu Yuyan or Yan’er, she had earned a place in his heart for all eternity.
  169.  
  170. “It’s about time for me to let her go on her own....” he murmured.
  171.  
  172. A few days later, Yan’er opened her eyes and glanced over at Meng Hao. From the look in his eyes, she seemed to understand what was about to happen. She loathed the idea of parting with him, but it had been years since she came to understand the choice he would eventually make. Today, there was something deep within his eyes that explained everything.
  173.  
  174. “Master....” she said, her voice quavering.
  175.  
  176. “You’re in the Ancient Realm now,” he said softly. “You understand how to go about extinguishing your Soul Lamps, right?
  177.  
  178. “If there are any areas you don’t understand, now is the time to ask me.
  179.  
  180. “Before the Ancient Realm, cultivators can receive assistance from others. In fact, such assistance can make things much easier. However, starting with the Ancient Realm, you’ll have to rely completely upon yourself.
  181.  
  182. “Never forget what I told you before. We cultivators cultivate, not the body, but the heart.”
  183.  
  184. Tears welled up in Yan’er’s eyes, and then began to stream down her cheeks. She was trembling. “Master....”
  185.  
  186. “I’ve prepared nine jade slips for you. Each one of them contains some of the power of my divine sense.... If you encounter a dangerous situation, you can be protected.” By this point, Meng Hao’s clone was extremely close to the Dao Realm, and he could even draw upon some of the power of his true self.
  187.  
  188. As such, the nine jade slips held some of the divine sense power of his true self, and would be able to keep Yan’er safe wherever she went on Planet Vast Expanse.
  189.  
  190. “I’ve also prepared seven volumes of Dao treatises, which contain all of the magical techniques and divine abilities I’ve learned in my life.
  191.  
  192. “There are also 100,000 medicinal pills which I concocted especially for you. That should ensure your path of cultivation is a smooth one.
  193.  
  194. “As for magical items, I never did build up a huge collection, but what I did gain, I’m leaving to you.
  195.  
  196. “There are also Immortal jades and spirit stones. In the past, I used to be extremely attracted to them, but now that I think back, it just makes me sigh. I'm leaving everything to you.”
  197.  
  198. “Master, I don’t want any of that, I just want....” She trailed off, tears flowing down her face. She was afraid, terrified even. Although it had been ten years since she realized what her Master planned to do, she still wasn’t ready for it to actually happen.
  199.  
  200. “Because of the fame I have built up,” Meng Hao continued, “no one will dare to bully you while you’re in the Ninth Sect. Everyone here will take care of you. I’ve also paid a visit to the Paragon to ask him to watch out for you.
  201.  
  202. “I might not be here, but I’ve made various other preparations to keep you safe, for example the mastiff, who will continue to accompany you.”
  203.  
  204. Anxiety erupted within Yan’er. “No, I don’t want that. I don’t care, Master, I--”
  205.  
  206. “Yan’er!” he growled.
  207.  
  208. A tremor ran through her. In her entire life, she couldn't remember a single time when her Master had been strict with her. This was the first time. Even more tears flowed down her face.
  209.  
  210. “You’ve grown up,” he said softly. Then he reached out and bopped her head.
  211.  
  212. She subconsciously bowed her head, weeping.
  213.  
  214. He shook his head. “Come on,” he said. “I want to take you somewhere.” As he turned to leave, she rose to her feet, wiped the tears off her cheeks, and followed. For the first time in thirteen years, Master and apprentice left the Ninth Sect and traveled to the border region of the ninth continent.
  215.  
  216. There, they found a river, next to which was a village. They arrived around evening, and smoke was rising from the chimneys of the houses. Meng Hao caught sight of the house where he had lived as a child in this life. It had long since changed ownership; the scholar who had found him in the river had passed away many years ago.
  217.  
  218. However, the old man who had cared for him was still alive. He had ended up marrying the village widow, and both of them were now completely ancient, with numerous children and grandchildren.
  219.  
  220. When Meng Hao saw the old man, he thought back to the many warm memories from this life, and a slight smile touched his face.
  221.  
  222. Yan’er stood quietly at his side. She said nothing, but she could sense the tender feelings in her Master’s heart.
  223.  
  224. They left around dawn. Meng Hao didn’t actually meet with the old man in person. However, he left behind numerous age-prolonging, longevity-enhancing medicinal pills, as well as jade slips which would protect the man and his bloodline for generations to come.
  225.  
  226. It wasn’t long after Meng Hao left that the old man yawned and walked out of his room. When he looked down, he saw all the items that Meng Hao had left, and his jaw dropped. After some contemplation, he shivered and looked up into the Heavens. Finally, he smiled.
  227.  
  228. “Haowie, you came back...?” He chuckled as he recalled the young boy from so many years ago.
  229.  
  230. A few days later, Meng Hao stood at the very top of the Vast Expanse Shrine, where he clasped hands to the Heavens.
  231.  
  232. “I am Fang Mu, from the Ninth Sect of the Vast Expanse School. I desire to walk the Transcendence Path. Paragon, please open the portal!”
  233.  
  234. As his voice echoed out, the Paragon first gaped in confusion, then began to reel in shock. A buzz filled the Ninth Sect as countless disciples flew toward the mountain peak upon which rose the Vast Expanse Shrine. There, they saw Meng Hao standing at the peak, and Yan’er standing at the bottom of the mountain, looking up at him.
  235.  
  236. “He’s... going to walk the Transcendence Path....”
  237.  
  238. “Indeed. The Transcendence Path is exactly the type of place for a Chosen like him!” The other Chosen in the Ninth Sect sighed, mixed emotions playing out on their faces.
  239.  
  240. People had long since speculated that he might do something just like this. The truth was that Ancient Realm cultivators weren’t prohibited from walking the Transcendence Path. However, it was usually done only by unique Chosen with special qualifications.
  241.  
  242. As for Meng Hao, if he didn't qualify to be Chosen, then no one in the Vast Expanse School did.
  243.  
  244. Naturally, he was qualified to walk the Transcendence Path.
  245.  
  246. Yan’er stood there silently, looking up at her Master atop the mountain. Her eyes gleamed with determination, and she took a deep breath, telling herself that she had to be strong. Yet, she couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down her cheeks.
  247.  
  248. Meng Hao’s voice was still echoing out when the voice of the 7-Essences Paragon responded from within the Ninth Sect.
  249.  
  250. “Are you sure?”
  251.  
  252. “Absolutely!” Meng Hao replied, his voice filled with a decisiveness that could sever nails and chop iron.
  253.  
  254. Moments later, an intense rumbling sound filled Heaven and Earth, as if someone were working a type of grand magic. It sounded like the sky itself were being ripped open. Everything shook as an enormous rift appeared up above.
  255.  
  256. The rift shone with a seven-colored glow, dazzling and radiant. The light then transformed into a staircase, which descended from above and came to a stop directly in front of Meng Hao. He looked up at the staircase, and could see that within the rift in the sky was another world.
  257.  
  258. It was at this point that an ancient voice echoed out: “The sect rules of the Vast Expanse School state that any disciple who enters the Transcendence Path must leave behind a Soul Lamp. If the lamp shines, the cultivator lives. If the lamp is extinguished... the cultivator has died.”
  259.  
  260. The countless disciples in the area looked on silently.
  261.  
  262. Meng Hao waved his sleeve, causing a stream of soul fire to fly out from his forehead. The soul fire swirled through the air, transforming into the shape of a Soul Lamp.
  263.  
  264. This particular Soul Lamp was different from his collection of Ancient Realm Soul Lamps. It was formed from his own soul fire, and would indicate to the outside world whether or not he was still alive. Based on the state of that flame, people outside would know the state he was in as he walked the Transcendence Path.
  265.  
  266. What people did to the flame on the outside, however, wouldn’t affect Meng Hao. He waved his hand, sending the soul fire lamp over to Yan’er.
  267.  
  268. “Place that in my secluded meditation facilities,” he said, smiling. With that, he took a deep breath, stepping forward onto the staircase and speeding upward toward the rift.
  269.  
  270. As he rose higher into the sky, the Ninth Sect’s 7-Essences Paragon spoke into his ear. “Fang Mu, there are many things in life which can’t be forced. If you reach a point where you can’t go onward, you must turn back....”
  271.  
  272. Just when Meng Hao was about to step into the rift and enter that most ancient Transcendence Path, Yan’er suddenly called out in a loud voice.
  273.  
  274. “Master, do you... do you remember back when you told me the story of Chu Yuyan? You promised that if I wanted to hear the rest of the story, that you would tell it to me.”
  275.  
  276. Meng Hao stopped and looked back down at the mountains below, and at Yan’er, standing there in the crowd. “I remember,” he said, smiling softly. “Do you want to hear it now?”
  277.  
  278. She trembled, tears pouring down her face. “No, not now,” she replied. “Master, can you tell me the rest of the story when you get back...?”
  279.  
  280. The idea of parting with her Master hurt so much that it felt like her heart was being crushed.
  281.  
  282. “Of course,” he replied, nodding. With that he turned, took a deep breath... and stepped into the rift, onto... the Transcendence Path.
  283.  
  284. https://i.imgflip.com/1p1ybu.jpg
  285.  
  286.  
  287.  
  288.  
  289.  
  290.  
  291.  
  292. Chapter 1483: On the Transcendence Path!
  293.  
  294. From the moment of the creation of the Vast Expanse School until now, the Transcendence Path was of vital importance. It could even be considered a trial by fire that formed reserve power for the entire sect.
  295.  
  296. In truth, it wasn’t really a trial by fire. Despite being part of the Vast Expanse School, the things that happened on the Transcendence Path were beyond the control of even Paragons.
  297.  
  298. Everything depended on the individual involved. Everything depended on chance and luck.
  299.  
  300. From ancient times until now, countless disciples of the Vast Expanse School had walked the path, and yet none had reached the end. Everyone who returned had done so from somewhere partway along the path.
  301.  
  302. Those who didn't return died along the way.
  303.  
  304. Actually, the Transcendence Path wasn’t really an actual path.
  305.  
  306. It was a very unique location, so much so that even people who had been there and experienced what lay inside had difficulty explaining it to others. It was almost as if there were some magical law at play which prevented people from explaining what had happened inside.
  307.  
  308. The first thing Meng Hao saw after entering the rift, and the The Heavens, was a lamp.
  309.  
  310. It was... a bronze lamp.
  311.  
  312. It actually looked almost completely identical to the bronze lamp inside of his true self.
  313.  
  314. Except, this bronze lamp was enormous, so large that it was impossible to describe, larger even than Planet Vast Expanse. The starry sky in this location was the type that made one’s mind reel to even look at it.
  315.  
  316. The Transcendence Path... was this bronze lamp.
  317.  
  318. The burning flame of the lamp was made up of three parts, the outer flame, the inner flame, and the heart of the flame.... Apparently, they formed three different dimensions within the world, and the light they cast illuminated everything therein.
  319.  
  320. The world was vastly enormous, as was the bronze lamp. In addition to the dimension in the flame, the body of the bronze lamp itself also contained a shocking dimension.
  321.  
  322. Meng Hao’s first thought upon looking at the shocking lamp was that it was actually the same lamp which existed within his true self.
  323.  
  324. Then he couldn’t help but think of the Devil Realm’s World-Butterflies, or the precious treasure that was the Mountain and Sea Realm, which became the Nine Mountains and Nine Seas.
  325.  
  326. All of those things could contain worlds of living things. This bronze lamp that he was looking at... was that same type of precious treasure.
  327.  
  328. “So, the Transcendence Path... is actually broken up into two parts. One part is in the body of the lamp, the other, in the flame.
  329.  
  330. “As for the flame... it is further broken up into three parts. The outer flame, the inner flame, and the heart of the flame....” Meng Hao’s eyes glittered with determination. With that, he transformed into a flash of light that shot toward the bronze lamp.
  331.  
  332. The bronze lamp seemed to get bigger and bigger as he approached. Time passed. Not even Meng Hao could have predicted that after flying for seven months, going all out with every scrap of power he could muster, he still wouldn’t be able to enter the bronze lamp.
  333.  
  334. By this point, he couldn’t even see the lamp’s flame any more, only a world of bronze.
  335.  
  336. His expression was very serious as he continued to fly onward. Three months later, the lamp started to look different. He could see lands covered with buildings. He saw countless mountain ranges, and even rivers and seas.
  337.  
  338. Eventually, his vision swam until he couldn’t see. Then, when things were clear again... he was within the world of the bronze lamp.
  339.  
  340. Rumbling sounds echoed out, and an indescribable force pushed down onto him. It felt like countless mountains were trying to crush him, as if an enormous hand were pushing down onto his head. The pressure shoved him down out of the air, sending him speeding toward the ground.
  341.  
  342. A moment later, he slammed into the earth.
  343.  
  344. A boom echoed out, and afterward, he lay prone on the ground, blue veins popping out on his neck and face. He let out a roar, and his body shook violently. After enough time passed for three incense sticks to burn, he was finally able to struggle into a crouching position.
  345.  
  346. That effort alone left his garments soaked with sweat. He was trembling physically, and his bones felt like they were on the verge of breaking. His eyes were thoroughly bloodshot.
  347.  
  348. The intensity of the pressure exceeded anything Meng Hao could have imagined, and was the most terrifying weight he had ever borne. Beneath this pressure, every rotation of his cultivation base made it seem like his qi passageways would burst.
  349.  
  350. Despite all of that, his eyes gleamed with focus, and even a tinge of sadness. Gritting his teeth, he ever so slowly rose to his feet. It took two incense sticks’ worth of time, but in the end, he was standing there, roaring at the top of his lungs.
  351.  
  352. In that very same instant, one of his remaining seven Soul Lamps was extinguished.
  353.  
  354. The extinguishing of that Soul Lamp unleashed new life force which flooded into Meng Hao, strengthening him and allowing him to stand tall and straight.
  355.  
  356. His eyes grew redder, but excitement filled his heart.
  357.  
  358. “So, this is the Transcendence Path huh.... I never would have thought that the Soul Lamps I found so difficult to extinguish could be put out here.” He looked around and found himself surrounded by a desolate wasteland. Other than him, no living being could be seen.
  359.  
  360. However, Meng Hao knew that he couldn't possibly be the only person in here. There were other cultivators from the Vast Expanse School who had entered the place in the past, and were still inside after countless years.
  361.  
  362. Taking a deep breath, he took a step forward and began to walk. He felt like a mortal, plodding along. The path to be tread was a long one, that was something he had come to realize fully as he drew closer to the bronze lamp.
  363.  
  364. Considering his current state, walking the entire length of the bronze lamp, and then reaching the second portion of the Transcendence Path, seemed almost impossible.
  365.  
  366. And yet, he didn't give up. Panting, jaw clenched, he walked alone through the wasteland....
  367.  
  368. That year, some important events occurred within the Vast Expanse School.
  369.  
  370. Fang Mu, who had established an unheard-of legend within the Vast Expanse School, who had summoned the Tenth Heaven of all of the Vast Expanse Shrines of the nine sects, stepped onto the Transcendence Path with an Ancient Realm cultivation base.
  371.  
  372. His departure caused the Chosen of the other sects in the Vast Expanse School to breathe sighs of relief. Living in the same era as Fang Mu made them feel as pressured, as if Heaven were weighing down on them.
  373.  
  374. Now they could relax, at least temporarily. No one could say for sure whether Fang Mu would soar along the Transcendence Path, or whether he would fade away and never be heard of again.
  375.  
  376. Another thing that happened that year was that the Sect Leader and the rest of the group who had entered the necropolis finally returned. They had remained within the necropolis for dozens of years, and yet, were not able to reach the ninth land mass. They reached the seventh, but were unable to open the path to the eighth.
  377.  
  378. When they returned, some of the original party members were not with them. Those who did return were all in bad shape, and Bai Wuchen was on the verge of dying.
  379.  
  380. However, all of the group who had returned alive had made significant progress with their cultivation bases. The aura of Transcendence was strong upon them, which caused a huge stir in the Vast Expanse School.
  381.  
  382. Also during that year, Patriarch Chi Feng made a cultivation base breakthrough, acquiring his ninth Essence, and becoming the Eighth Paragon.
  383.  
  384. Outside of the Vast Expanse School, somewhere out in the boundless starry sky, Meng Hao’s true self was in the location of the fourth copper mirror shard, flying along at top speed. His face was pale, and blood oozed out of the corners of his mouth. Behind him was a vast swarm of termites chasing after him, voraciously devouring everything in their path.
  385.  
  386. At the moment, Meng Hao’s true self had black armor that covered his arm and chest, giving him incredible battle prowess. At this point, killing peak 9-Essences cultivators would be an easy task for him. And yet, these termites had him bedraggled and fleeing.
  387.  
  388. The main reason was because there were so many of them they were impossible to even count. Furthermore... each and every one of them emanated brutal auras, the weakest of which was in the Immortal Realm, and the strongest... 9-Essences!
  389.  
  390. Their numbers were beyond description....
  391.  
  392. Thankfully, he had prepared well before coming into this area. As he sped along, he reached a point where he had set up a spell formation. The light of teleportation flickered, and then he vanished. A moment later, the swarm of termites engulfed the teleportation portal.
  393.  
  394. Apparently, the flickering teleportation portal was something that the termites considered to be food. Crunching sounds emanated out, and in the blink of an eye, the spell formation had been completely consumed.
  395.  
  396. However, being unable to consume Meng Hao’s true self, the termites howled in rage. Anyone who could hear the sound of it would be truly shaken.
  397.  
  398. After a while, the termites begrudgingly gave up and returned to their home, a land riddled with countless passageways burrowed here and there.
  399.  
  400. In another location in the starry sky of the Vast Expanse, dazzling light flickered, and Meng Hao’s true self staggered out. He coughed up a mouthful of blood, then closed his eyes and rotated his cultivation base. Rumbling booms like thunder could be heard inside of him as numerous pustules appeared on his skin. They began to wriggle, and then tiny termites burst out from within. They would scream, and moments later, explode.
  401.  
  402. After expelling and destroying several hundred termites, Meng Hao’s body was soaked with blood. However, when he opened his eyes, they shone brightly, and his body quickly recovered.
  403.  
  404. “I wonder how many countless ages that swarm of termites has existed. How unimaginable....” With that, he looked down at the armor which covered him, as it faded away and transformed into four mirror shards.
  405.  
  406. He had found the fourth mirror shard in the termites’ nest, and had extracted it from within the body of the termite queen herself.
  407.  
  408. “With four shards, I have more than half.... Now, to get the fifth shard.
  409.  
  410. “My clone is on the Transcendence Path.... Who would have imagined that path to be so difficult...? If my speculations are correct, completing the Ninth Hex is not something that can be done in a single life.
  411.  
  412. “I have to collect the rest of these mirror shards. Getting only two took me dozens of years, but I suspect that acquiring the final four... will take hundreds of years.” He looked around in exhaustion for a moment before sitting down cross-legged to do breathing exercises. After a while, he rose and sped off in the direction of the fifth shard.
  413.  
  414. https://i.imgflip.com/1p1z4i.jpg
  415.  
  416. -----
  417.  
  418. These chapters have not necessarily seen TLC or the final edit, so the published versions might differ slightly. Please use the power of your spoiler knowledge for good and not evil! For fun, check the wuxiaworld chapters to see the predictions people make, but again, don't reveal spoilers there!
  419.  
  420. If you notice any mistakes that you would like to bring to my attention, please start out your comment with “DB! Error!” or something along those lines.
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