Meng Hao’s eyes glittered as he also raised his hand and then pushed down hard onto his forehead. He was not in the Dao Realm, and thus didn’t dare to make a move. However, he did have the Essence of Divine Flame, which caused a sea of flame to erupt out of the top of his head, and then fly up along with Fang Shoudao and Fang Yanxu to help his father deal with the Deva Tribulation.
Even as the three of them jumped to Fang Xiufeng’s aid, all four coughed up blood. However, the weakening that Fang Xiufeng had been enduring slowed significantly.
Meng Hao’s face was pale white. His mind, body and soul were all melting rapidly, and yet his eyes gleamed with determination. He was willing to pay virtually any price to help his father.
Rumbling echoed out as Meng Hao, Fang Shoudao and Fang Yanxu split the force between them. Fang Xiufeng panted. His body was incredibly weakened and fatigued, and yet, he was now only nine meters away from the vortex!
All he had to do was span those nine meters, and he could enter the vortex and step onto the path!
However, the final nine meters were the most terrifying part of the ninth tribulation. Even without the tenfold increase in power, that final stretch was difficult enough that it proved too much for many ordinary cultivators who were attempting to step into the Dao. With the tenfold increase, it wasn’t even necessary to discuss how much more terrifying it now was.
Fang Xiufeng coughed up a mouthful of blood. With every step he took, he withered even more. His mind, body and soul atrophied. After moving forward for six out of the final nine meters, Fang Xiufeng reached his limit. It was the same for Fang Shoudao, Fang Yanxu and Meng Hao. If they continued any further, the injuries they were sustaining would no longer be temporary, but permanent.
However, even if they became permanent, Meng Hao didn’t care.
“Patriarch Shoudao, Patriarch Yanxu, allow me to sustain the permanent injuries,” he said. Meng Hao took a deep breath. He was just about to explode with more mind, soul and body power, to give the last bit of assistance possible to his father, when Fang Shoudao suddenly roared, the sound of which echoed throughout Planet South Heaven.
“All members of the Fang Clan will sacrifice their blood to help the Clan Chief step into the Dao!”
As his words rang out, all of the members of the Fang Clan on Planet South Heaven trembled. Without the slightest hesitation, they slapped their chests, causing blood to spray out of their mouths. The massive quantity of blood then shot up into the air.
Meng Li’s blood could not be added in, but Fang Yu’s could. Without a moment of hesitation, she spit the blood out, holding nothing back. After she had done so, her body teetered back and forth, and her face was bone white. However, her blood floated up into the air to join the rest.
Sun Hai rushed to hold her up. Although his heart twinged in pain at her sacrifice, he did nothing to stop her.
A vast amount of blood soared up toward Fang Xiufeng. His body trembled, and he almost seemed to be preparing to refuse the blood. He felt guilty at not being able to step into the Dao on his own, instead having to rely on the sacrifices of his fellow clan members.
Those sacrifices were not impossible to recover from, but Fang Xiufeng felt guilty nonetheless.
However, he gritted his teeth, and looked around at the seething Dao mist around him. Finally, he absorbed some of it, not to heal himself, but rather, to help Meng Hao, Fang Shoudao and all the other clan members.
“Xiufeng, stop it!” Fang Shoudao cried. “You don’t need to help us heal. Fang Yanxu and myself can do that on our own. As for the other clan members, we have plenty of medicinal pills in the clan that can help them recover. Hao’er doesn’t need any help at all. The best way you could help us is to step into the Dao!”
“Dad,” Meng Hao yelled, “hurry up and step into the Dao!” There was something else that went unsaid, which was that the great debt that Fang Xiufeng owed the clan would also be borne by Meng Hao!
Fang Xiufeng’s heart trembled, but he was a decisive person. Without any further hesitation, he used the power of the blood to cross the final three meters…. He was like the fish who leaped over the dragon gate! He stepped into the vortex and down onto the path that represented the Dao Realm!
In that instant, the Deva Tribulation vanished, and the vortex stopped spinning and went completely calm. The tribulations ceased, and Fang Xiufeng stood there alone on the path.
At the same time, ripples appeared, with Fang Xiufeng at their center. Ripples… that spread out through the whole Ninth Mountain and Sea.
These ripples resulted from stepping into the Dao, and were something that would occur any time a cultivator successfully transcended the tribulation and stepped into the vortex.
The result was that everyone else in the Dao Realm became aware that someone had reached this point!
Guru Heavencloud had not successfully entered the vortex, so nothing like this happened at that time. But now that Fang Xiufeng had succeeded, the ripples spread out instantly. All of the other Dao Realm experts in the Ninth Mountain and Sea could then sense what was happening, and sent their divine sense out to focus on Planet South Heaven.
“Fang Xiufeng is stepping into the Dao!!”
“The future Clan Chief of the Fang Clan will be in the Dao Realm….”
“Wait a second, that’s not right. How can he step into the Dao on Planet South Heaven? If I remember correctly, in order to save his son, he agreed to never step half a pace off Planet South Heaven. He even pledged an oath upon the Mountains and Seas which, if he violates, will destroy him in body and soul!”
“I can’t believe… that he’s stepping into the Dao on Planet South Heaven. How is this possible!?!?” All of the Dao Realm experts who sensed what was happening were shocked.
“It’s not over yet. He’s only halfway to a complete success. His chances of failing are still as high as before!”
“If he does succeed, after stepping into the Dao, he’ll have to take nine steps to get one Essence. Fang Xiufeng chose to step into the Dao with the sword, which is the most difficult of all Daos. Those nine steps… will be too difficult.” By now, the shocked divine sense of all of the Dao Realm patriarchs was focused around Planet South Heaven.
Meng Hao could no longer remain seated cross-legged. He rose to his feet within the blood-colored world, and his eyes were fixed up above on his father, who stood there on the path.
His Dao Stepping Tribulation was ten times as powerful and difficult as usual. Normally, he could have stepped easily into the Dao, but with the increased difficulty, it would have been impossible without the aid of the whole Clan. Otherwise, he would have ended up just like Guru Heavencloud, reduced to a Quasi-Dao cultivator with a limited life span.
That was something that Meng Hao could not accept; nor could his mother or sister.
Seeing his father standing there on the path didn’t cause Meng Hao to breathe a sigh of relief. Instead, he was even more worried than before. He could only imagine how difficult the nine steps would be, considering how much more difficult they would be than normal.
“Nine steps for one Essence,” Fang Shoudao said. “Your father’s Essence of the Dao of the sword is focused on killing, which is essentially a type of Slaughter Essence. That’s fundamentally difficult… but now, it will be even more difficult because of the Allheaven….” He sighed, looking older than ever.
“However, if he succeeds…” Fang Yanxu said, his eyes shining brightly with anticipation, “your father might just be a 1-Essence Dao Realm cultivator, but his battle prowess will be comparable to a 3-Essences Dao Lord!”
All of the cultivators on Planet South Heaven were looking at the vortex as Fang Xiufeng took his first step. As he did, rumbling sounds echoed out, filling the vortex and causing it to shake. The only people who could possibly understand what it felt like to be on that path were Dao Realm experts or perhaps Quasi-Dao Cultivators.
Meng Hao had no idea. All he could see was his father trembling after having taken his first step. Ripples emanated out from the vortex, even more violently than before, causing all of the starry sky in the Ninth Mountain and Sea to tremble.
At the same time, the Dao mist converged over the top of his head, forming something that was impossible to make out.
Then, Fang Xiufeng struggled to take a second step, and he trembled violently. When he took the third step, blood sprayed out of his mouth, and he looked like a lamp running low on oil, about to burn out.
After taking the third step, the ripples surging out from the vortex grew even more intense, shaking the entire Ninth Mountain and Sea with their madness. From the level of intensity, it seemed that if all nine steps were taken, the starry sky of the Mountain and Sea Realm itself would be shaken.
Furthermore, after taking those three steps, the Dao mist above Fang Xiufeng’s head consolidated, gradually forming into a shape that resembled a sword.
However, Meng Hao wasn’t paying attention to the sword; he was focused on his father. His face was currently ashen, exactly the same as the faces of his mother and sister.
“Stepping into the Dao involves nine steps, each of which is critically dangerous….” Fang Shoudao said through gritted teeth. He then lifted his right hand, and his fingers flashed with an incantation gesture. He waved his hand toward the outside world, affecting, not Fang Xiufeng within the vortex, but instead, all of the Fang Clan spell formations out on Planet South Heaven. They began to glitter and shine, and then erupted with explosive power. Shockingly, they appeared to be connecting to the teleportation portal on Planet East Victory, forming a channel.
What approached via that channel was not any cultivator… but rather…
“Dao bell, please protect the Clan Chief as he steps into the Dao!!” As Fang Shoudao’s voice echoed out, the air above the ancestral mansion on Planet East Victory shimmered as the Dao bell appeared. It began to toll, sending the sound through the teleportation portal all the way to Planet South Heaven!
It passed through the void and into the vortex, and when Fang Xiufeng heard its toll, he trembled and took a fourth step, then a fifth and a sixth!
It was as if his spirit had been bolstered. His energy surged, and the ripples outside of the vortex began to surge violently. All of the Mountains and Seas were trembling, and the starry skies were shaking. All of the Dao Realm experts now became aware of what was happening.
The Dao mist above Fang Xiufeng’s head was rapidly forming together to form the shape of a sword. It even seemed to have a sharp edge now, and most shocking of all was that it was the color of blood! That was an omen of… using the Dao of the sword to acquire the Essence of Slaughter!
Fang Xiufeng took a seventh step, and he shivered. His energy was now waning; the assistance from the Dao bell could only push him so far, and couldn’t help him to succeed completely. Fang Xiufeng gritted his teeth and then roared as he pushed with everything he had to take yet another step!
He was now only one step away from achieving his Dao. However, even as he lifted his foot up into the air and prepared to take that ninth step, Meng Hao suddenly heard a voice echoing through the void and into his mind.
“Citing the laws of the Mountain and Sea Realm, the Lord of the Ninth Mountain and Sea has requested that the Allheaven Immortal who is currently stepping into the Dao… be destroyed. This matter is not a priority to the Mountain and Sea Realm, nor can a decision about the matter be made by the Mountain and Sea Realm itself.
“Therefore… the Lords of the Nine Mountains and Sea shall make the decision. Lords, please state your opinions.”