Actually, Meng Hao’s name had appeared on the stone stele in the instant he had slaughtered 64 enemies. Prominently displayed on the golden gate stone stele was a list of 1,000 names.
However, while the names of the top 100 shone with brilliant light, the names of those outside of the top 100 were darkened to the point where you couldn’t read them clearly without using divine sense.
As for Meng Hao’s name, when it appeared, it was in the 997th position!
On any other occasion, few people would have taken note of this. Most people only paid attention to the top 100. The 900 names below that might have their own bit of glory, but not enough to cause any sort of stir.
As of this moment, however, the 10,000 spectators who were staring at the stone stele immediately caught sight of Meng Hao’s name and began to cry out.
“There it is!!”
“He’s in 997th place!!”
“That was so fast! How long has he been in there?” Immediately, various disciples began to analyze the situation, and soon, they determined that from the time Meng Hao disappeared into the golden gate stone stele until the time his name appeared, less time had passed than it would take an incense stick to burn!
In fact, in the brief time in which they discussed the matter, his name leapt from the 997th spot to the 831st! And it didn’t stop there. It leapt again, from the 831st spot to the 498th!
A huge commotion rose up, and everyone was clearly shocked. Everyone was staring at the stone stele, astonished at the progress Meng Hao was making. Based on his reputation, everyone was sure that he would reach the top 100, but what was causing such widespread shock was the speed with which he was moving up in the ranks!
He was rising so quickly that everyone was mentally shaken. When fighting a hundred people, defeating them in a hundred breaths of time was a completely different matter than defeating them in fifty breaths of time. Furthermore, to be able to do so in only ten breaths of time was like the difference between Heaven and Earth!
That was how all of the disciples of the Nine Seas God World currently felt about Meng Hao. Although they could see no images of what was taking place inside the trial by fire, when they calculated how quickly he was moving up, they knew that he was bursting with momentum and energy.
Fan Dong’er’s expression flickered, but quickly returned to normal.
“The real difficulty lies in the top 100,” she murmured to herself, clenching her jaw. “He might be moving quickly in the early stages, but so what?!”
Back in the golden gate stone stele, Meng Hao was laughing out loud. His qi and blood surged like that of an explosive dragon. He advanced courageously, dispatching the blue-robed figures with constant attacks. They were like dried weeds in front of him.
After dispatching the 256 cultivators with boundless qi and blood power, Meng Hao’s eyes glowed with obsession. He was panting a bit, but his heart was filled with the desire to do battle.
“I’m definitely… going to get into the top 10! Even if it technically shouldn’t be possible for me, I can still do it!” He looked down at his bag of holding. Located inside was another item, which was the key to his confidence in being able to win the bet with Fan Dong’er.
This might be a trial by fire, and most of the items in his bag of holding were sealed. However, as Meng Hao had expected, the item that he was counting on could not be sealed. As far as the black pod, the fact that it was also unsealed had been completely unexpected.
Even as he stood there, panting slightly, the void up ahead rippled. Meng Hao was given no rest as a massive aura exploded out in front of him. Shockingly, 512 men in navy blue robes stepped out.
Each one was far more powerful than any of the previous enemies he had fought. Their qi and blood power placed them in a position similar to the peak of the Immortal Realm. However, these were not like Chosen with 90 or more meridians, but rather, more like peak Immortals with 70 meridians or so.
Even still, they were incredibly powerful. Meng Hao wasn’t sure how members of the Nine Seas God World normally passed challenges such as this; perhaps they had a special body tempering technique. In any case, his eyes glittered as he stepped forward and went on the attack again.
Rumbling shook everything as he launched his punch. Massive vibrations could be sensed as he lost track of time, and even forgot that he was in a trial by fire. He focused completely on using his fleshly body to attack and destroy.
This was the first time he had not relied on any magical techniques or divine abilities, nor on his cultivation base. This was a battle fought only with the fleshly body. His entire body was trembling, not because of muscle fatigue, but rather, because it was finally able to utilize the full potential of its power.
In fact, Meng Hao could sense that, because of the constant fighting within the trial by fire, his fleshly body was now showing signs of a breakthrough, and was becoming even more powerful!
He roared as he shot forward, letting out a powerful punch that instantly exterminated three opponents. By the time he finished with the 512th opponent, blood was oozing out of his mouth and he was breathing heavily. Then he looked up and saw, not 1,024 opponents, but rather… a single person!
He wore a long crimson robe, and as he walked forward, the void around him turned bright red. That red color was not visible to the naked eye… it could only be seen with divine sense.
It was something that came only after reaching a certain level of qi and blood power, something that actually influenced the natural law around it!
As soon as Meng Hao saw this crimson-robed figure, his eyes widened, and he could sense the threatening air exuded by the man.
“So, a true body cultivator has finally appeared!” he thought, eyes shining with the desire to fight.
From the qi and blood power emanating off of the man, Meng Hao was able to tell that he was definitely a match for the peak of the true Immortal Realm.
Meanwhile, everyone in the outside world was in an uproar. The more than 10,000 spectators outside of the ninth golden gate stone stele watched as Meng Hao’s name rose up on the list. It went from the 400’s up into the 300’s, all the way until it reached the 101st position!
As for how much time had passed since Meng Hao had started, it was only… a single hour!
To cultivators, a single hour was like nothing. And yet, that was how much time Meng Hao had used to climb all the way to the 101st position!
“This Meng Hao, just… just how powerful is his fleshly body?!?!”
“An hour! It’s only been one hour….”
“I suddenly have the feeling that he… might actually make it into the top 10!”
“Not necessarily. Maybe he used some type of secret technique to bolster his fleshly body for a temporary boost in power!” As the conversations went on, Fan Dong’er’s face was extremely unsightly. Although she didn’t want to admit it, she was actually getting quite nervous. For Meng Hao to get to the 101st position in only one hour was something extremely rare in the golden gate stone stele trials by fire.
Back inside, Meng Hao had no idea where his name was on the list, nor did he care. Because of that item inside his bag of holding, he was confident that he wouldn’t lose. Compared to what was at stake depending on whether he won or lost, the gains he was making in terms of his fleshly body were far more important.
Up ahead, the crimson-robed man stepped forward toward Meng Hao. He only took three steps, but each step caused shocking rumbling like thunder to shake everything. Meng Hao’s heart quivered as though it were being stepped on. He felt stifled, as if, when standing in front of this crimson-robed man, he couldn’t help but feel regret.
But then, his eyes flickered with the desire to fight, and his qi and blood surged, instantly rising up to fight back against the feeling. He did not retreat, he advanced, directly toward the crimson-robed man.
The man looked up, and his eyes shone with a glow like that of blood. As Meng Hao closed in on him, he also charged.
The two did not speak, nor did they use magic. They simply… fought!
Booms rang out, shaking Heaven and Earth. Meng Hao launched punch after punch, as did the crimson-robed man. They went back and forth in midair, occasionally throwing sweeping kicks into the brawl. In a brief moment, they had exchanged hundreds of blows.
Meng Hao was laughing loudly. The more he fought, the stronger he seemed to become. It was as if his true Immortal fleshly body was undergoing tempering. It was exploding past his previous level of battle prowess, leading Meng Hao to the conclusion that he had overlooked the fact that his fleshly body could only grow stronger when he used it to fight! That was the key to growing more powerful!
Meng Hao’s desire to do battle surged. He attacked relentlessly, advanced without pause. The crimson-robed man seethed with qi and blood power, but was forced backward over and over again. It didn’t matter that he was a body cultivator who had reached the point of being able to affect natural law; he was simply no match for Meng Hao’s true Immortal fleshly body.
About a dozen breaths of time passed. Meng Hao roared, and then let out a punch that completely destroyed the crimson-robed man.
The world went quiet and peaceful, and Meng Hao hovered in midair, his qi and blood surging, growing more powerful. Shockingly, a red glow began to spread out around him!
Apparently… he was able to influence this world’s natural law!
As of this moment, Meng Hao looked exactly like a celestial warrior!
“I understand. Body cultivators need repeated bloody battles to progress!” His eyes shone with enlightenment. In any other situation outside, he could rely on magical techniques to kill the crimson-robed opponent as easily as turning over his hand. But he had no such access to magical techniques now, forcing him to temper his fleshly body. He was causing his true Immortal fleshly body… to burst out with the true power that it was capable of.
Almost in the same moment that the crimson-robed opponent vanished, Meng Hao’s name once again climbed up on the list. He didn’t know that though. What he saw was the void up ahead of him rippling as… two crimson-robed men emerged.
It was like a cycle, with 512 as the limit. Every cycle had different body cultivators, wearing different clothing, from different Realms of body cultivation.
2. 4. 8. 16. 32. 64….
There was no rest in this trial by fire. His fleshly body grew stronger, his insane desire for battle growing ever more frenzied. He coughed up blood, but it made him more powerful. Underneath the constant onslaught, his fleshly body gradually approached the point of perfection!
It was at the point when 256 crimson-robed opponents appeared that Meng Hao finally began to fall back. There were simply too many people, all of them body cultivators who could influence natural law. Meng Hao’s fleshly body power was now reaching its limit.
His eyes flickered as they surrounded him, and he gave a cold harrumph. He was not averse to using cheating methods. However, he didn’t want to use his final trump card so easily. Therefore, he tossed out the black pod. The imp appeared, screeching as it shot toward the incoming crimson robed opponents.
A group of crimson-robed men immediately split off to deal with the blackpod imp. The imp was ferocious, and didn’t attempt to dodge. Instead, it used its carapace to defend itself. Although it wasn’t really a match for these crimson-robed men, the more it fought, the more confident it got. When it was injured, the injuries healed. Whenever any of the opponents got near, it would attempt to possess them. However, it quickly became apparent that the crimson-robed men did not actually have the types of bodies that could be possessed. Therefore, the imp simply slashed them to pieces and consumed their flesh and blood!
In the end, the imp was able to take care of a dozen or so crimson-robed opponents, taking a bit of the pressure off of Meng Hao.
Meng Hao was actually shocked at this outcome, and split his attention between fighting the crimson robed men and observing the little blackpod imp. Time went by, and after a few dozen breaths of time, the blackpod imp was struck by one of the crimson-robed body cultivators, and was sent flying. As it flew through midair, it spit out a mouthful of blood and then let out an ear-piercing screech.
“Dagger!!” As soon as it let out the cry, its body distorted, and it transformed into a dagger which shot toward the crimson-robed opponent.